Francis Cardinal Arinze Francis Cardinal Arinze
Prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Roman Curia
Cardinal Priest of S Giovanni della Pigna
Nov 01, 1932
May 25, 1985
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English Cardinal: 'By African standards, I'm not conservative, I'm normal'
Mar 23, 2017
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze is now something of a lion in winter, a robust 84 years old. You

Among other things, Arinze is still a powerful voice for African Catholicism. When ten African bishops issued a collection of essays in advance of the October 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family, they asked Arinze to contribute the preface, knowing that putting his name on the book gave it an instant injection of credibility and news appeal.

(The book was titled Christ
English Interview with Cardinal Arinze
Aug 28, 2016
The state of the Church in Africa.

August 15, 2016


Part 2

(Editor’s Note: His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, recently traveled to the United States to speak at The Church Teaches forum in Louisville, Ky.
(At the forum, he delivered an outstanding presentation on the role of the Sacred Liturgy in developing a Catholic conscience. His Eminence graciously agreed to grant an interview to The Wanderer in which he shared his insights on reasons for the remarkable growth of the Church in his native continent of Africa [which includes 54 independent countries], the historical background of Catholic Christianity in Africa, the challenges and future hopes for Catholicism in Africa, and the continent’s expanding role in missionary activity throughout the world.
(Because of the length of the interview, we are presenting it in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue.)

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Q. Are members of the African clergy serving as missionaries in other parts of the world? If so, do you think their numbers will increase in the coming years?
A. Yes, thanks to God, the priests of Africa are helping to evangelize other parts of their own continent and are also being called to countries in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. And the numbers are increasing. Granted, it is not in apocalyptic proportions but the action is there.
Some bishops, even from the United States, have become friends with African bishops and ask, “Can you send me two or three of your priests?” Perhaps it is to look after African-Americans in their diocese or simply to contribute to the African dimension of their diocese.
There are two big religious congregations in Africa that are missionary in nature. One is in Nairobi and is called Apostles of Jesus; the other, located in Nigeria, is called the Society of St. Paul. The Society of St. Paul was set up by the Catholic Bishops Conference in Nigeria in 1976, at which time I was a member. It has grown to just less than 200 priests at present. Many of them are in the United States.
A bishop I recently spoke to told me some of them are in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and I know African missionaries are also in Cleveland. They were in Boston and are in other parts of the country, as long as the diocesan bishop agrees he wants them for one reason or the other. So the missionary action of priests from Africa is increasing.
There are also a number of diocesan priests from Africa (not belonging to a religious congregation) whose bishop sends them, with an understanding with a bishop from France or Germany or Austria. It is usually for a period of about five years, after which they can either renew or return to Africa.
The bishops make such arrangements both with other parts of Africa and with outside countries. And it is not because we have more priests in Africa, but rather because the Church is catholic and sharing within the Church is healthy and it has been her tradition.
Also, de facto, some dioceses in Africa have been blessed with many priests. My own archdiocese in Nigeria has about 20 priests ordained every year. So the diocesan bishop is forming more parishes and has more priests to assign within existing parishes each year.
We thank God for many priests and seminarians, including many boys between 11 and 18 in junior seminaries. Most of them have been Mass servers for their parishes. The cathedral parish in my own archdiocese sends about 20 boys from the ranks of Mass servers into the junior seminary each year. If the parish priest looks after them well and they serve well at the altar, many of them will have open hearts toward becoming a priest. After completing their studies at the junior seminary, many choose to go on to the major seminary for philosophy and theology.
It is not only the priests who do missionary work. The sisters, sometimes forgotten, also are missionaries to other countries. I discovered that in Italy there are at least 25 convents of sisters from Nigeria that are working in parishes. I am not talking here about student sisters, of whom there may be about 100 in Rome, but sisters that are invited by Italian dioceses. For example, they are invited to look after homes for the elderly citizens of Italy, and they respond. It is an understanding formed between the dioceses and the religious congregations.
Religious also come to the United States. I offered a Mass in Nashville three days ago attended by some sisters having made the long journey from Chicago. Among them were Nigerian sisters — one of them was the regional superior of all the Nigerian Immaculate Heart Sisters’ convents in the United States and Canada. This tells me the response is positive, for which we also thank God.
Finally, why this growth in missionary activity from Africa? Again, I would say, only God knows in His Divine Providence. As St. Paul says, we must not divide ourselves into factions, some for Cephas, some for Apollos, some for Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 1:12), for Paul plants and Apollos waters, but only God gives the increase (cf. 1 Cor. 3:5). Only God knows how the faith grows. At one moment there may be more personnel in one continent or country; in another moment of history, more in another area.

A Successor Of St. Peter

Q. What does Your Eminence see as the main challenges facing the Church in Africa, and what are your hopes for the future of the Church in Africa? In your estimation, might we see a Pope from Africa in the future?
A. One challenge is that of formation of personnel. There must be good formation for those who aspire to become priests, sisters, brothers, and lay leaders. When the seminarians come in big numbers, it becomes more difficult to look after them. If you have a major seminary where there are 400 seminarians, it is more difficult to look after them than where there are 50. Top-notch quality of formation, therefore, is a real challenge — although we like quantity, quality is also very necessary.
If you have large quantities, but poor quality, you are going to have problems. The same holds true for religious sisters. The religious brothers are fewer in number, but they also need solid formation.
Earlier in our discussion, I touched upon the lay apostolate. It must not be presumed that the lay people do not need any formation — all of us need formation. Whether lay people are in economics or in government or in politics or in civil service or are traders in the market or are simply fathers and mothers in a family, they need formation.
Part of that formation has to be theological — that means the faith, knowing more about the faith. Part of it needs to be sacramental — they share in the Mass, Confession, prayer, and their practiced Christian life. And part of that formation is not in the hands of the Church, but needs to be professional for the work in which they are employed. Nevertheless, we also need religious formation for them.
It should not be presumed that all lay people in political life know what to do. There should be a chaplain who can rally people in public life — not to support one political party but to lead discussions on how to live our faith in the political arena. Similarly, the same is true for those working in commerce, large industry, and other areas. And, of course, there must be formation for the parents of families. That, then, is one challenge for the Church in Africa.
Another challenge which I think bears mentioning is self-maintenance. Gradually, the Church in Africa must learn to maintain itself and not to depend on financial help from Europe or America. It is not a bad thing that a growing Church needs financial help, but it is better for a person “to learn how to fish rather than beg for fish from others.” This is already in progress, but continues to be an ongoing challenge.
There is also the challenge of religion and public life. While we do not want to mix religion and politics, our religious convictions should influence our public life — our principles, our motives, the ideals that shape our life.
The Christian virtues of solidarity, togetherness, and subsidiarity (where the higher-level body does not take over what a lower-level body, like the family, can do for itself) must be developed. Then, we must learn to share. Some areas will be richer than others and they must learn to share, both within their country and outside.
There is also the whole area of service. Authority is service; it is not domination. Those in positions of authority should not see it as an opportunity to assert their ego, but as an opportunity to serve. Of course, this is easy to say but difficult to do.
Only God knows if one day the Church might have a Pope from Africa — God did not make me a member of His advisory council and I don’t know the future. In the final analysis, it does not matter from what continent or country he comes but only that the Pope delivers the goods and that he is a good Successor of St. Peter.
That is what is most important. When we gaze back at the last 40 years, look at the various countries from which God has chosen the Pope. Who could have foreseen all that has transpired? And God has not yet finished with His surprises.

Providential Background

Q. How does Your Eminence think that the religious background of the African Traditional Religion has influenced the evangelization of Africa?
A. Before Christianity came to Africa, and even before Islam came to many parts of Africa, there has been the “normal religion” prevalent among most African peoples, more pronounced during some periods than others. It is called African Traditional Religion. The early missionaries did not know what to call it, so some called it animism [the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena].
They thought that Africans put anima into everything, that they put a soul into the trees, the forests, the rivers, and the hills. Others who did not know any better called it fetishism [the worship of, or emotional attachment, to inanimate objects], the worship of idols. Still others called it paganism, a very harsh term which is not a true representation.
The experts today usually use the term “African Traditional Religion.” Generally speaking, it means that the people believe in one God. They also believe in spirits — good spirits and bad spirits. Some of the good spirits are always spirits and some of them are spirits of ancestors, fathers and mothers who were good and have died. Those who are related, and have died before those still on earth, give them a type of cult, a type of honor.
It is a religion that is composed of a worship of God, of the spirits (good and bad), and of their ancestors. Their worship of the bad spirits is simply to offer them some type of victim and tell them, “Please, leave us alone. We don’t want to have anything to do with you.” Their worship of God was most solemn, but rare because they did not know what to offer to Him: “He is so high up and so supreme — what can we give Him?”
Their worship of the spirits was happier because the spirits were thought to be nearer to them. In some places they had a spirit for the family that gives children, another that causes the farm and crops to flourish, another that gives good seasons at the proper time.
African Traditional Religion was a religion that knew sacrifice and prayer, and especially had a sense of the sacred, that the human being is not everything. They believed there are other beings superior to the human being — the other spirits, and higher still, God. The human being must offer, must recognize a Supreme Being by prayer, and especially by sacrifice. That is the desire of the human soul: looking for God.
When Christianity arrived, especially Catholicism with sacrifice, it was welcomed. Some brands of Christianity do not include sacrifice — they have prayer, singing, and preaching, but not really sacrifice. The Catholic Church has sacrifice as central. We could not think of the Catholic Church without the Holy Eucharist: sacrifice and sacrament. Indeed, it fulfills the human soul much more than we may realize.
When I was writing my thesis in theology in 1960 in Rome, I wrote on sacrifice in the traditional religion of the Igbos in Nigeria (as an introduction to Christian sacrifice). That background was not secular — it was religious. It helped the people to embrace Christianity. Christianity was like sunshine coming at midday to people who were looking for the light at four o’clock in the morning.
In that sense, it is clear that African Traditional Religion as a religious background was providential in their acceptance of Christianity and its subsequent growth in Africa. Indeed, many universities have departments in which this religion is given attention.
When I was in Rome in the central office for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which is responsible for the approach of dialogue with other religions, we wrote a circular letter to the bishops of Africa on pastoral attention to African Traditional Religion, recognizing that it is the religious background from which most Christians in Africa come.
So, as is evident from just these few words, the African Traditional Religion has contributed positively and significantly to the remarkable growth of the Catholic Church in Africa.
English Cardinal Arinze in Nigeria: A dialogue of encounter
Dec 05, 2015
The presence of General Yakubu Gowon in Onitsha, Anambra State of Nigeria on 28 November 2015 was very symbolic. Why is it so important to introduce this conversation with General Gowon and not John Cardinal Onaiyekan (Archbishop of Abuja) or many other Church luminaries of Nigeria?


Why singling out General Gowon whereas people from different parts of the world including Catholic Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, traditional rulers, uncountable lay faithful, Christians outside the Catholic Church and people of other religions from different parts of the globe gathered in the Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Onitsha to celebrate the golden jubilee of the episcopal ordination of Francis Cardinal Arinze on 28 November 2015?  Your guess is as good as mine.

During the homily, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the  Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic told the congregation that Cardinal Arinze was ordained Bishop on 29 August 1965. He became the local Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Onitsha in 1967  up to 1984.

Among the numerous challenges of the young Bishop Arinze was the Nigeria / Biafra civil war that started on 6 July 1967 and ended on 15 January 1970 under the watch and active participation of General Yakubu Gowon, the then military Head of State. While Cardinal Arinze was the youngest Bishop in the world then, General Gowon was the youngest Head of State in the world. The Biafra civil war displaced so many people including priests and consecrated persons (male and female). Like Jesus Christ, the young Bishop Arinze had no comfortable place to lay his head. After the civil war, he was faced with the task of searching for the flock akin to the Good Shepherd.

Until recently, many people shy away from talking about the genocide of the Nigeria / Biafra civil war for fear of opening fresh wounds. On this day of the golden jubilee celebration of Cardinal Arinze, the ice was broken. After the speeches of Archbishops Augustine Kasujja, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama and Chief Willie Obiano, General Gowon was invited to greet Cardinal Arinze. One could notice a dialogue of encounter in the presentation of General Gowon. Cardinal Arinze in turn called Monsignor Matthew Obiukwu to also greet Gowon. The Cardinal recalled how shortly after the war he and Monsignor Obiukwu went to visit General Gowon in Lagos to beg him not to send away the missionaries. The Cardinal said, “In that visit I realised that the Nigerian Federal Government had already resolved to deport the missionaries, but Gowon received us well.” Turning to Gowon, he concluded, “As you can see, the Church is still alive.”  In response, Gowon thanked and congratulated the Cardinal.

Dialogue of encounter was the only means by which God could visit the earth in the incarnation (cf. John 1). This dialogue creates space for the low and the mighty to speak heart to heart. This is illustrated vividly in the visit of Mary to Elizabeth. This visit reveals the openness of the human heart that made the baby in the womb of Elizabeth leap for joy. This visit reveals total humility and submission to God as declared by Mary in the Magnificat (cf. Luke 2). Recalling the memories of the civil war, what can we learn from the encounter between Cardinal Arinze and General Gowon? Is it possible to hope that the broken trust in the unity of Nigeria can be restored?  The Church in Nigeria is a symbol of unity. She is alive with the obligation to carry out the mission of building bridges of trust, love and unity across all tribes and ethnic regions in Nigeria. Therefore, the Church must continue to speak out loud and clear on national issues and social justice.

Fr. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua (
English Gowon, Ekwueme, others at episcopal anniversary of Cardinal Arinze
Dec 01, 2015
FORMER Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), Second Republic Vice Pres­ident, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano, as well as more than 40 Bishops and Arch­bishops from all over the world, were among dignitaries, who attended the 50th episcopal anniversary of His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, held at the Basili­ca of the Most High, in Onitsha yesterday.

November 30, 2015

Also in attendance were Catholic priests and other faithful who went to identify with the Cardinal, who started his journey with his ordination as a Priest at the age of 26.

In his homily at the Church service to mark the occasion, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, ex­tolled Arinze for his remarkable achieve­ments in propagating the gospel, not only in Nigeria, but across the globe.

He described Arinze as a combination of fidelity, heroism, determination, endur­ance, faith and joy.

He said, “Your Excellency, if in 2005, the whole world acclaimed you a worthy papabile, it was not by chance. It showed that your capacity was recognized.

“If on that occasion, you were not cho­sen as Pope, surely it was not because of your incapability, but because our conti­nent was not yet ripe for such an election.

“Your popularity is acclaimed the world over, even in Australia.

Also eulogizing the Cardinal at the reception organized soon after the service, the President, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, His Grace, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, described Cardinal Arinze as a man full of energy, courage and capacity to work for God.

He said: “We have produced a wonderful episcopal personal­ity.”

Also speaking, His Grace, Most Rev. Augustine Casuji, said it was not in doubt tnat God endowed him for the great works he has done all the world over.
English Nigeria’s Cardinal Arinze Is God’s Gift To Humanity
Nov 30, 2015
The Vatican, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa, and prominent Nigerians have praised Nigeria’s Cardinal Francis Arinze on the occasion of the 50th Episcopal Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence.


Archbishop Augustine Kassuja, Pope Francis’ Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, spoke yesterday at the Pontifical Mass at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity in Onitsha, Anambra state, and called Arinze God’s gift to humanity.

Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the Apostolic Nuncio to Central Africa, said: “Good fifty years have gone by since Cardinal Arinze was ordained a Coadjutor Bishop, Titular Bishop of Fissiana to succeed Archbishop Charles Heerey.

“At his Episcopal consecration on 29 August 1965, at the age of 32, the young Francis Arinze became the youngest Roman Catholic Bishop in the whole world. Luckily for him, he was ordained just in time to join others at the closing session of the Second Vatican Council, and after the demise of Archbishop Heerey after a long period of illness, the young Francis Arinze succeeded him, on June 26, 1967.

“What we are celebrating today is a combination of fidelity, heroism, determination, endurance, faith and joyful service of the Lord We are paying honour to whom honour is due: first to God, and appreciation to his Eminence.

“Your Eminence, when in 2005, the whole world acclaimed you a worthy Papa bile, it was not by chance. It showed that your capacity was recognized. If on that occasion you were not chosen as a Pope, surely it is not because of your incapacity, but because our continent was not yet ripe for such an election. You have been a sign of hope to many, even those who have not met you in person.”

He eulogised Cardinal Arinze as Ozi Uzo (“the leader”), Obubelu Chukwkwu Uzo (“one who puts God first”), Ome Mgbo Oji (“one who gives out when he has”), Ugo Eji Ejemba (“pride of a nation”).

Present at the mass was General Yakubu Gowon, the former head of state. Expressing joy over the growth of Christianity and Arinze’s role in it, Gowon said: “Cardinal Arinze, who is now 83 years old, has been very consistent in the service to God and humanity. I want to use this opportunity to urge him to continue being consistent in the service of God and humanity. He is a good shepherd that has been consistent in leading his flock. He is a true man of God and I urge him to continue, he is my elder brother, who is my senior with two years”.

Responding to the praise, Cardinal Arinze thanked the Pope and the Vatican for giving him the opportunity to serve God from Onitsha to the Vatican, and Dr Gowon for attending the ceremony.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was born on 1 November 1932 in Eziowelle, a city of the Archdiocese of Onitsha.

He was ordained priest during a ceremony at the Church of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome on 23 November 1958. On 29 August 1965, he was ordained coadjutor Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese and became the substantive Archbishop two years later.

n 1984, Pope St. John Paul II asked him to head, as pro-president, the Secretariat for Non-Christians (now the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue). He was created Cardinal on 25 May 1985.

Since the year 2005, Cardinal Arinze holds the title of Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri-Segni.
English Arinze rebuts cardinal’s claim that Catholic faith is unrealistic: ‘Who do you think you are? Greater than Christ?’
Nov 21, 2015
Catholic , Communion For Remarried , Francis Arinze , Reinhard Marx , Synod On The Family.

ROME, October 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria strongly defended the Catholic faith against the proposal put forward by one influential Synod Father who said last week that it is “unrealistic” for the divorced-and-remarried to refrain from sexual activity – what the Church following Christ calls “adultery.”
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Berlin and a leading advisor to Pope Francis, had said such activity should be judged according to “lived context,” and that such persons should be able to receive Holy Communion.
However, Cardinal Arinze told LifeSiteNews in a video interview on Saturday, “The Ten Commandments are given to us by God. Have we any authority to say it is ‘unrealistic’ to expect people to keep any of the Ten Commandments, not only number six and number nine, also number five – abortion, killing of innocent people, number seven – stealing, whether small sums of money or big?”
“We cannot go on the reasoning that it is ‘unrealistic,’” added the cardinal, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  “You can say it is not easy. I accept that. Christ never promised us that it is easy to follow him. He said those who want to be his disciples must ‘take up their cross daily and follow me.’”
Last week Cardinal Marx told bishops from around the world gathered at the Synod on the Family in Rome that “we should seriously consider” admitting to the sacrament of Holy Communion civilly divorced and remarried Catholics who have chosen to leave a “canonically valid” marriage.
“The advice to refrain from sexual acts in the new relationship not only appears unrealistic to many. It is also questionable whether sexual actions can be judged independent of the lived context,” he stated in his address. LifeSiteNews asked Arinze to respond to this statement, without telling him whose mouth it came from.
Arinze said the position ultimately amounts to allowing people to reject God’s laws outright. If we can tell the divorced and remarried that they no longer have to follow the commandment about not committing adultery, then why should we not tell other people that they no longer have to follow the remaining commandments, he said.
“You might as well tell the man who is walking in the office, and his secretary is a lady, that it is unreasonable to expect them to be chaste,” he said. “Likewise, it would be ‘unreasonable’ to expect people to be honest when they see a chance to take government money, or to take another person's property.”
“If you say, we cannot expect people to be chaste in that situation — to refrain from sexual relations — then you are challenging the fundamental teaching that sexual relations are correct only between husband and wife in a proper marriage, and that between any other two people, it is wrong, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. It is wrong because it is against the order established by God the Creator.”
God invented marriage
The cardinal said that the Catholic position on marriage and the moral norm against adultery is not a human invention that can be amended, but is a “divine law” that comes from God and therefore cannot be changed.
“You cannot name a situation which Christ did not foresee, nor can you tell us that you are wiser than Christ and that you can modify what he has said. We will then ask you, ‘who do think you are? Greater than Christ?’ He is the way the truth and the life,” he said.
Arinze said that nobody, not even the pope, has the power to change the Church’s teaching on marriage and adultery.
“Marriage is not a human invention. God created Adam, and God said, ‘it is not good for man to be alone.’ So, he created Eve. The first man and woman were created by God, which means marriage comes from the creating hands of God. It isn’t the pope who made it; it isn't the United Nations; it isn't the parliament of any nation — no matter how powerful — which means that nobody has the right, or even the power, to reinvent marriage.”
Divorced and remarried Catholics living in sin
Those Catholics who are civilly divorced and remarried are “technically in a state of sin, even if their conscience excuses them,” he said.
“There is such a thing as a state of mortal sin. Mortal sin is a total turning away from God. It is a terrible thing. It can be in reference to any of the Commandments, not only the sixth and the ninth,” he said.
Someone who is in the state of mortal sin is not worthy of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, he said.
“In that case, the person disqualifies himself or herself from receiving Holy Communion because the person is in a state of mortal sin. The simple catechism says the first condition for receiving Holy Communion fruitfully is to be in the state of grace.”
“If the person is in the state of mortal sin, and receives Holy Communion, the person indeed receives Christ, but no grace…Not only no grace, but the person commits sacrilege on top of the sins the person had before.”
“That's the case where St. Paul said, ‘let the person examine  himself; he who receives unworthily receives judgment against himself.’ That is very severe,” he said.
Coming out of sin
Arinze said that receiving Jesus in Holy Communion when in the state of mortal sin can never be an occasion for helping someone come out of sin.
“To come out of sin the sacrament needed is penance, the one we popularly call confession. You go to the priest; you accept you did evil; you say it is through your fault; and you have determined, with God’s grace, to change. Then you get God's forgiveness. That helps."
“But if a person is in mortal sin and has no intention of leaving that action, then receiving Holy Communion does not help that person to become better, because sacrilege [has now been added] on top of the sin the person had before,” he said.
The cardinal said that living the Catholic faith authentically is not about “how we appear to other people,” but about “what God thinks of us.”
“All we have said now is about objective right and wrong,” he said, adding that only God alone can judge whether a person is culpable for the sins he or she has committed.
“Not even half a dozen Cardinals will judge that. God doesn't need our help to judge that. So you can see [the Catholic religion] is all about honesty and openness before God, not about what people think of us,” he said.
English A synod conversation with Catholic Africa’s lion in winter
Oct 18, 2015

October 16, 2015

ROME — Supposedly Pope Paul VI once flirted with the idea of naming patriarchs for each of the world’s continents, as a step towards greater local control. Although the concept never went anywhere, if it had a strong contender for Africa over the past couple of decades, it probably would have been Nigeria’s Cardinal Francis Arinze.

Now 82 (he turns 83 on Nov. 1), Arinze incarnates many of the qualities typically associated with African Catholicism.

He’s got an infectious laugh and a smile that could light up whole city blocks, with a keen wit and a propensity for not taking himself too seriously. At the same time, he’s unyielding in defending Catholic orthodoxy, never mincing words or allowing himself to be cowed by the conventions of political correctness.

Here’s Arinze, for instance, on proposals to address the problem created by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics by allowing them to receive Communion, despite the fact that the Church regards their first marriage as still valid:

“You don’t solve a headache,” he says, “by cutting off the head!”

Or, here’s Arinze on why Western nations shouldn’t try to compel Africa to adopt population control measures as a condition of development assistance:

“The richer countries may have more money, but they shouldn’t turn themselves into professors of moral theology just because other countries are poor,” he said.

Technically, Arinze is out of the game since he no longer holds a Vatican post, and thus is also not a participant in the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops on the family.

In reality, this lion in winter very much remains a point of reference for his fellow African prelates. When 10 of them recently put out a collection of essays in advance of the synod, they asked Arinze to contribute the preface, knowing that putting his name on the book gave it an instant injection of credibility and news appeal.

That book is called “Christ’s New Homeland – Africa” and was published in the United States in late September by Ignatius Press.

Arinze sat down for an interview with Crux on Wednesday in his apartment immediately adjacent to St. Peter’s Square. The following are excerpts from that conversation.

Crux: What would Africans like to see from this synod?

   African cardinals and bishops participating in the Synod of Bishops on the family gathered for a meeting in Rome Oct. 7. At the head of the table are Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, South Africa. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
   Africa’s bishops continue to press their concerns
   Archbishop Charles G. Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana spoke at a press conference on Oct. 8. (Michael O'Loughlin / Crux staff)
   African bishop: We're not here to block reform
   Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya, carried a cross as he led the Stations of the Cross from Holy Family Basilica along a street in the Kenyan capital in April, 2015. (CNS photo/Herman Kariuki, Reuters)
   Kenya’s cardinal determined to be in the thick of the synod action

Arinze: I think they would like the synod to speak with a clear voice that marriage comes from God, as a union between a man and a woman. God created one Adam, one Eve. When Christ came, he blessed that unity of marriage. He went to the marriage feast in Cana, and he did his first recorded miracle, changing water into wine, which means that he approved! Marriage comes from God, not from human beings, so human beings cannot reinvent or redefine it.

You are convinced it’s not possible to invite divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Communion?

That is correct, in the sense that Christ has said, “What God has joined, let no man put asunder,” and the Catholic Church traditionally has interpreted it to mean that a consummated marriage sanctified by the sacrament cannot be broken by any authority.

Including the authority of the Church?

Yes, not even the authority of the Church can break it. That being so, if a man leaves a woman or asks her to go away, or she does the same, and they get a fresh partner, that can’t be approved. Christ has one word for a person who does that: “Adultery.” We cannot improve on what Christ has said. We cannot be wiser than him, or say that “there is a circumstance he did not foresee.” We cannot be more merciful than Christ.

We must look for a way to help the divorced who are remarried, [but] we don’t help them by saying, “Come and receive Holy Communion.”

The Eucharist is not something we possess, and we can give to our friends and those with whom we sympathize …. The idea of sin is not something new invented by modern conservative people in the Church. It is Christ himself who called it a sin, and he used that word “adultery.” He knows what he’s talking about. Without departing from Christ, how can we backpedal?

Remember, only God will conduct the last judgment, not us, not even half a dozen cardinals from the Vatican. God will judge each person’s circumstances, but objectively we cannot approve [divorce and remarriage].

Some African bishops have said that if the Church makes a change on Communion for the divorced and remarried, some people living in polygamous relationships might ask why that can’t be done for them, too. Is that a concern you would share?

Yes. It’s not a bad argument, because the polygamous could say, “Look, my own situation is better than that of these other fellows who threw out their first wife and got another one. I didn’t throw out the first one, she remains, and I only took on a second one. God even tolerated polygamy in the Old Testament!”

We have to look for another way to ensure compassion for those who are in difficulty. You don’t solve a headache by cutting off the head!

There has been conversation in the synod about a finding a “new language,” especially on homosexuality, meaning something that’s more inclusive and welcoming. How does that look from the African perspective?

I would be suspicious, because I would wonder what type of new language you want. Shouldn’t we call things by their name, calling good “good” and evil “evil”? We don’t condemn the person, but we don’t approve the action.

One of the duties of bishops is to teach, and it is very important that the Gospel be undiluted, without adding salt or pepper, but without subtracting them, either. The message is not ours. Christ’s message must shine clearly on what marriage is. If two men come together for business purposes, we’re not worried about that. But if they begin to call it marriage, don’t you see that it’s not all right anymore?

Some at the synod have talked about allowing decisions on the divorced and remarried or on homosexuality to be decentralized, made at the level of regional or national bishops’ conferences or by individual bishops. How do you feel about that?

Are you going to tell me that we can have a national bishops’ conference in one country that would approve something which, in another conference, would be seen as sin? Is sin going to change according to national borders? We’d become national churches. Have there not been other religious affiliations in the world that came dangerously near to that?

National bishops’ conferences are important and should have a clear role, but I don’t think it should include these areas. It looks dangerously like nationalizing right and wrong.

There’s been talk at the synod about what Pope Francis has labeled “ideological colonization.” What does it mean in the African context?

Africans would think immediately of the big countries that have more money, more economic weight, pushing the so-called “Third World”, or developing countries — although every country is developing somehow — to adopt abortion and contraception, but they don’t use those terms, they call it “family planning.” They’ll say you must have it in your government plan, otherwise you have too many people and that’s why you’re not developed. You should reduce your population, and they make it a condition for receiving international financial help.

To take another example, some African governments have assigned prison terms for homosexuality. It’s not that I support those measures, but for the richer countries to say that if you don’t change those laws you’re against human rights and therefore we’ll see that you don’t get financing, this also becomes ideological colonization.

The richer countries may have more money, but they shouldn’t turn themselves into professors of moral theology just because other countries are poor. When I was archbishop, I said to one big agency that came to Nigeria to help us, “We have a minimum dignity below which we’re not prepared to descend for the sake of your money. Don’t go below that!”

Many observers speak about an “African moment” in Catholicism. What does Africa have to give to the Church that it needs right now?

Without boasting or pretending that Africa has a monopoly on good things, there are some things we can bring. [For instance], Africans can share the joy of being a Christian. Christianity is good news in Africa. Young people commit themselves with serious sacrifice to Christianity.

When I was archbishop, I began a monastery of enclosed Benedictine nuns in 1978, the year of three popes. An Italian convent sent four nuns, three Italians and one Nigerian, to get it started. Now there are 120 nuns there. They’ve founded another monastery in Nigeria with 50 nuns, and they’ve taken over one in Italy where there are 10 nuns, all Nigerians. The Italians have died out, only the Nigerians remain. They have sent their nuns to some other convents in Italy and Spain, quietly, without any noise.

Young people are ready to offer themselves. They are responding. Young people are not allergic to sacrifice, and Africans can share that. Africans are sharing in the mission of the Church.
English Cardinal Francis Arinze: 50 years as a Bishop
Sept 17, 2015
Yesterday Saturday 29 August 2015, Francis Cardinal Arinze, 82, marked fifty years as a Bishop. In an interview with Vatican Radio’s English Africa Service to mark to the milestone, Cardinal Arinze was in high spirits.


Although now retired and living in the Vatican, Cardinal Arinze is very much sought after and continues to travel, take on speaking engagements and he writes. He has just completed two books, one of which is about Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi.

The Cardinal is also proud and very upbeat about the state of the Church in his country of origin, Nigeria. “How would you explain this faith (of the Nigerian Catholic Church)? The people believe; the clergy is motivated; the religious are quite a number and they serve the people; the lay people are wonderfully committed!” he exclaims. He puts it down to divine providence.

At fifty years as a Bishop in the Catholic Church and as one of its Cardinals what are his sentiments today?  “What comes to mind spontaneously is gratitude to God…also gratitude to all the people who have helped me along the way since I was ordained priest in 1958 and Bishop in 1965. No one is a priest or Bishop or Cardinal for himself. It is always for the Church, for others. It is they that we serve and it is with them that we move along. To all these people I remain grateful,” he says.

If he were to name a secret to his illustrious apostolate, what would it be? “I don't have a big secret in the sense of hidden but perhaps big, in the sense of Jesus Christ, himself, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist,” Cardinal Arinze responds.

The Cardinal says that it is the Lord Jesus principally in the Holy Mass that he celebrates every day who motivates him…but also Jesus Christ in, “in the tabernacle…Christ in the Holy Eucharist is my secret. Along with Christ is his (Jesus’) Blessed Mother, Mary, whom he gave us on the cross and who in turn gave us Christ on Christmas day,” he explains.

Cardinal Arinze says that the resurrection and the presence of Christ, “with the Apostles between Ascension day and Pentecost –the first novena,” is a source of great consolation to him. It is a reassurance that Jesus continues to be with us, even to this day.  Our Lord Jesus was with the Apostles, “on Pentecost day when the Church was made manifest to the world and was with the early Church after Pentecost. So, Jesus and Mary are my secret, “he finally reveals.

The state of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, his country of origin, is very important to Cardinal Arinze. It fills him with great joy.

“We thank God that he has given strong faith to the Church in Nigeria. How would you explain this faith? The people believe; the clergy is motivated; the religious are quite a number and they serve the people; the lay people are wonderfully committed!  The lay apostolate is very well-organised at the provincial, diocesan and parish levels. It is very encouraging, “the Cardinal says.

Asked why this is so when so many Catholics in the world are struggling in their faith? Cardinal Arinze says, “The Strength of the Church in Nigeria can be attributed (first) to divine providence because God is the director general of the work of evangelization. Second, African traditional religions were a providential preparation for Christianity in Nigeria. In other words, the traditional religions of the people, before the arrival of Christianity and before the arrival of Islam (predisposed the people for the kind of evangelization that came afterwards). The people of Africa with traditional religions believed in one God; they honoured the ancestors and honoured good spirits and tried to avoid the evil spirits. The (Africans) had a religion with prayer, with sacrifice and with a priesthood. When Christianity arrived, especially the Catholic faith, it was like midday Sunshine to a people who were looking for light at 4 O’clock in the morning,” Cardinal Arinze affirms.

He goes on to commend Irish missionaries who were among the earliest in Nigeria. “Another explanation is the good work done by the missionaries especially the Irish missionaries. The Irish were very methodical. They promoted good Catechetical Sacramental preparation and they attended to families,” he emphasises.

Cardinal Arinze also credits his own people, the Nigerians, for the manner in which they received the message of Christ. “We very much thank God for the local people’s response. The first Catechists who were near the missionaries; those who gave missionaries land and helped them with the (local) languages and then the first priests and the religious and the first bishops and the present ones, lay people and families... I believe for all these reasons, the Church in the country is rather strong,” Cardinal Arinze says.

It has often been said that Cardinal Arinze’s life, from the start, was greatly influenced by Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi whom he knew personally. When asked about this, the Cardinal says, “Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi is the first priest that I ever knew. He began our parish in Onitsha, in 1940. He baptised me. My first confession was at his hands; first communion from his hands; he prepared me for confirmation and I was his Mass Server in 1945.” He continues, “The area where Blessed Tansi worked has many vocations to the priesthood and religious life because of the person he was,” the Cardinal says.

According to Cardinal Arinze, Blessed Tansi was a model priest. He promoted the Catholic faith and schooling for children. He championed women’s issues often standing up against entrenched local traditional customs. Blessed Tansi also promoted family life.

“Fr. Tansi was also known for asceticism. He ate very little,” says Cardinal Arinze and tongue-in-cheek adds, “His cook did not have much work.”

Later, Tansi became a Cistercian Monk at Mount Saint Bernard Monastery in Nottingham, England. He joined the Cistercians of the Strict Observance sometimes called the Trappists. Tansi took on the name Cyprian when he became a monk. He was a diocesan priest for 13 years and a Monk for 14 years. He died in 1964 and was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II on 22nd March 1998, in Nigeria.

Of the beatification, Cardinal Arinze says, “One million or two million people were at that Mass. We are now looking forward to a miracle so that Tansi can be canonised. I have written a book about him and this book is expected this year.”

Several events are lined up for the celebration of Cardinal Arinze’s golden jubilee as a Bishop. There will be Mass at the ‘Altare della Cattedra’ in St Peter’s Basilica on the evening of 26 October 2015. This will be a day following the closure of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, scheduled to take place in the Vatican from 4 October to the 25 October. The timing of the golden jubilee Mass in St. Peter’s should provide opportunity for friends of the Cardinal to be present. Priests, the religious, friends and the Nigerian community in Italy will certainly attend.

Apart from other smaller private functions, the big jubilee celebration that should crown all celebrations is probably the one scheduled for Onitsha, Nigeria on 28 November. It is the last day of the liturgical year. Many people in Nigeria will certainly not want to miss that one.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was born on 1 November 1932 in Eziowelle, a city of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria. He was ordained priest during a ceremony which took place at the Church of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome on 23 November 1958. On 29 August 1965 he was ordained coadjutor Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese and became the substantive Archbishop two years later. In 1984 Pope St. John Paul II asked him to head, as pro-president, the Secretariat for Non-Christians (now the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue). He was created Cardinal on 25 May 1985.

Since the year 2005, Cardinal Arinze holds the title of Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri-Segni.

(By Fr. Paul Samasumo, Vatican Radio)
English This Christmas, try and reach out to others
Dec 26, 2014
No Funeral Face for Christmas

How should Christians celebrate Christmas? Cardinal Arinze believes that Pope Francis has shown us how, when during the third week of Advent, the Pope said that a Christian should not be seen wearing a long “funeral face.” Christians, according to Pope Francis, should pray for God’s joy which will be seen at least in a sense of peace, if not in a smile.

The Nigerian-born Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments speaking to Vatican Radio’s English Service for Africa, in Rome, adds, “Christians need to celebrate Christmas because Christ is the centre of history and that Christmas is the best preparation for the feast of Easter.”

Reach out to those less fortune than you

“So we need to be joyful, “says Cardinal Arinze. “As Pope Francis has told us, we need to pray for God’s joy. Then we have to thank God each day for the blessings we have been given. I would say that we should also think about how we can go out of our way to help others who are experiencing difficulties. This is solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are sick, who are poor, who are old or who are orphaned or widowed.  This, in my view, is the best way to celebrate Christmas,” Cardinal Arinze added.

If you can, have a special meal with the family

Cardinal Arinze has acknowledged financial difficulties that many families and individuals are going through, today. “If we are able to, yes, it is a good thing that we give gifts to those we love and if we can, it would be good to have a special meal or banquet for our family. All of these things are good but they are not the most important to the celebration of Christmas. What is most important is to realize that God took on our human nature and the Son of God was born in Bethlehem,” the Cardinal emphasized.

Is 25 December really the birthday of Jesus?

Asked what he would say to detractors who dismiss Christmas because there is no record or proof that Christ was actually born on 25 December? Cardinal Arinze was candid, “Are we sure that Christ was born on 25 December? The answer is no! What is important is that the Son of God was born in Bethlehem. About this, there can be no dispute. That is the important fact.” He insisted.

The Cardinal however explained that in the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday or Christian feast. The Catholic Church decided to choose 25 December in an effort to give new meaning to pre-Christian traditions such as the pagan feast that honoured the Sun.

Events of our Salvation are spread throughout the year

Cardinal Arinze added, “We humans would be overwhelmed. We cannot celebrate all the events of our Salvation at once. As humans, we cannot think of Christmas, the suffering of Christ, the resurrection, Pentecost and so on at the same time. It would be too much. So the Church spreads the celebrations of these events of our Salvation throughout the Liturgical year,” Cardinal Arinze explained.

Christ is the Centre of history

“From the fall of Adam, God promised the world a Saviour. It is not just coincidence that we designate all that period before Christ’s birth as BC, meaning before Christ. The period after Christ’s coming we call AD, anno domini.” The term “Anno Domini” is Latin for, “In the year of the Lord.” Cardinal Arinze says that for Christians, the birth of Christ is at the centre of humankind’s history. “It is the most important event that has taken place since God created the human being on Earth. Christ is the desired of nations,” Cardinal Arinze emphasised.

Christ is the Centre of Christmas

“At the centre of Christmas, we have Christ who is the mystery.  Christ is the mystery because the Son of God took on our human nature and was born in Bethlehem. For love of us and our salvation, he came down from heaven. This is the mystery of Christmas and it is the best preparation for the feast of Easter.” Cardinal Arinze said.

(Fr. Paul Samasumo)

English Current Issue:  Interview Interview 2 Cardinal Arinze on the Role of the Laity
Oct 10, 2013
An interview with the former head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Cardinal Francis Arinze grew up in Nigeria, and in 1965 became the youngest bishop in the world at the age of 32. He was the first African cardinal to head a Vatican office and served as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 2002 to 2008. He is the author of several books, including the autobiographical God's Invisible Hand, Celebrating the Holy Eucharist , and Meeting Jesus and Following Him, all published by Ignatius Press.

Cardinal Arinze's newest book is The Layperson's Distinctive Role (Ignatius Press), and he recently, via e-mail, answered questions from Catholic World Report about that book.

CWR: How did the Second Vatican Council, and then Bl. John Paul II, seek to address the role of the laity? What was distinctive about that approach compared to the pre-conciliar era?

Cardinal Arinze: The Second Vatican Council addressed the role of the laity by teaching that this role is based on Baptism by which the laity “are made one body in Christ and are established among the People of God” (Lumen Gentium, 31). The principal passage on this is LG 31. This teaching is discussed in greater detail in LG 32-37 and also in Gaudium et Spes 43 and in Apostolicam Actuositatem 2-7.

Blessed John Paul II, particularly in his postsynodal apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici, bases the lay apostolate on the mystery of the
Church. “I am the vine and you are the branches” (Jn 15:5; CL 20). The lay people are sharers in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly mission of Jesus Christ (CL 29). A secular character is peculiar to the laity. So this great Pope states: “Thus for the lay faithful, to be present and active in the world is not only an anthropological and sociological reality, but in a specific way, a theological and ecclesiological reality as well” (CL 15).

Distinctive about both approaches is that both Vatican II and Bl. John Paul II consider the lay faithful primarily as called to evangelize the secular order. Before Vatican II many in the Church defined the lay apostolate as a participation in the apostolate of the hierarchy (i.e. of the clergy).

CWR: What are the essential features of the layperson's role compared to the roles of the clergy and religious? What are some of the most common misunderstandings of the role of the laity?

Cardinal Arinze: The essential feature of the layperson’s role is the vocation to bring the spirit of Christ into the arenas of secular life from within, i.e. into the family, work and profession, trade and commerce, politics and government, mass media, science and culture and national and international relations.

The role of the clergy is different. It is to celebrate the sacred mysteries, to preach the Word of God and to gather the people of God together.

The role of the religious is to show, by lives of witness based on the three vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, that the attraction of the grace of Christ is more powerful than the attraction of earthly realities.

Some of the more common misunderstandings of the role of the laity are:

   a. to see the lay apostolate as a participation in the apostolate of the clergy (it can be that, but it is much more than that!);

   b. to regard the clergy as the Church and the laity as their helpers (forgetting that the laity are 99.9 percent of the Church. See the book in reference, chapter I, footnote 2);

   c. to restrict the lay apostolate to cooperation with the clergy in what I called “inner-Church affairs” (for example: work in the parish council, in the diocesan council, in Church financial matters, in catechetics, or as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. All this is important, but is not the high point of the lay apostolate);

CWR: Is it proper, strictly speaking, to speak of "lay ministry"? What is the language that best describes the work of the laity in the Church and in the world?

Cardinal Arinze: The word “ministry” in the wide sense can be understood as service of God who is glorified by loving service given to people as authorized by the pope or the local bishop.

Ordained ministry refers only to bishops, priests and deacons.

Other liturgical ministers are people like altar servers, acolytes, lectors, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

Some people extend the word “ministry” to leaders of Church choirs, Church wardens, catechists, etc.

Therefore the term “lay ministry” can be understood in various ways and can be vague. Not acceptable is the idea of trying by terminology to clericalize the laity or to suggest that there is no difference between clerics and lay people.

When laypersons take on their own distinctive role in the secular sphere as explained above, it seems better to refer to them as witnesses of Christ, or as lay apostles.

CWR: What are some of the tasks better suited to the laity than to the clergy? What can laity and clergy do to help each other in their respective duties within and for the Church?

Cardinal Arinze: Some of the tasks better suited to the laity than to the clergy are:

   a. being exemplary husbands and wives, fathers and mothers;

   b. being model doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.;

   c.being model politicians and statesmen and women;

   d. being model pilots, business people, actors, actresses, trade unionists, taxi men, bankers, etc.

Laity and clergy can do much good by cooperation in inner-Church affairs. Clerics have to celebrate the sacraments for the laity, give them suitable homilies, supply them with good Catholic books, be able chaplains to lay apostolate organizations and give good leadership in parish affairs. Clerics have to encourage the lay faithful to take on their own distinctive role in secular affairs, supply them with adequate and dynamic Church doctrine, and then allow the laity to take on their own responsibility in those secular areas.

CWR: What today are the main impediments to the laity better realizing and accomplishing the tasks that are unique to their calling?

Cardinal Arinze: Some impediments to the laity better realizing and accomplishing the tasks that are unique to their calling are:

   a. ignorance on the part of some clerics or of some lay people on what the Church teaches as distinctive of the lay apostolate:

   b. ignorance of correct and dynamic theology on the Church and on the differing roles of laity, clerics, and religious;

   c. fear on the part of clerics or of the laity if the laity are encouraged to “take on their own distinctive role”;

   d. the lay apostolate seen as power struggle between clerics and lay people. This could make the clergy afraid and the laity unnecessarily aggressive;

   e. the lay apostolate seen as parallel authority in the Church or as a threat to the clerics;

   f. fear of the unknown shown in the spirit that says: “There is no need to change. The clergy have given good leadership in the past and we had better not experiment with the new ideas”;

   g. Fear shown in the following mentality: “The laity do not know theology. This idea of ‘the layperson’s distinctive role’ is going to bring confusion into the Church.” The response is: “If the laity do not have enough theological formation, give it to them.” The importance of theological and other formation is stressed in the final chapter in my book. Let priest chaplains to the laity be tip-top! We do not promote Church apostolate by ignorance.

CWR: What are some of the things readers will learn about the role of the laity in reading your book?

Cardinal Arinze: In reading this book, The Layperson’s Distinctive Role, I hope that readers with take with them the following convictions:

   a. Every baptized person has a share in the total mission of the Church. Every Christian is called to evangelize, according to the person’s state of life;

   b. clerics and laity cooperate in inner-Church affairs;

   c. in the secular area, the laity are to take on full responsibility;

   d. from clerics, the laity receive the strength given by the sacraments and by dynamic exposition of Church doctrine, and then encouragement to evangelize the secular order;

   e. the laity are not pastors in the Church. Bishops and priests are the pastors. The lay apostolate is not power struggle in the Church;

   f. when we say “Church,” we mean all the baptized, that is, the laity (who are 99.9 percent of the Church), the clergy, and the religious;

   g. Jesus Christ is our Master. All of us, pope, bishops, priests, religious, and laity are servants, brothers and sisters in the service of Christ and our neighbour.
English Cardinal Arinze urges catechism immersion for teachers
Aug 06, 2013
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze spoke to a group of catechists in Sri Lanka, reminding them of the importance of their role in teaching the faith and encouraging them to read the catechism.

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an important book...reading it would improve your knowledge,” he told the group on July 22.

The cardinal delivered an address at Loyola College in Negombo, Sri Lanka, in celebration of the Negombo Regional Catechists Day.

Alongside reading the catechism, he stated that there is a need to live “an exemplary life” and “a life of prayer.”

Cardinal Arinze also acknowledged the commitment and dedicated service of the catechists who teach at the Daham Pasals, or Sunday Schools.

“You have taken the responsibility of your parish priest on your shoulders to teach catechism to the children and also to build up a closer relationship with them and their families.”

Catechists Day was instituted by Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, archbishop of the Colombo diocese, in order to strengthen the faith and bring closer pastoral assistance to Catholics during the Year of Faith.

Instituted by Benedict XVI, the Year of Faith aims to deepen personal conversion and strengthen faith, emphasizing the importance of a return to the sources of the faith, such as the Catechism and the Apostles Creed.

Cardinal Ranjith, who presided over the occasion, said that every catechist should be able to apply to himself the words of Jesus: "My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me.”

“Christ is the teacher who gave the gift of faith to His disciples,” he noted. “For Christians the crucifix is one of the most sublime and popular images of Christ the Teacher.”

Cardinal Ranjith encouraged the catechists to be good examples by living what they teach, saying, “Children will come to a life of God when you impart faith and teach them catechism through your devout life.”
Spanish El cardenal Arinze sobre el aborto
Mar 03, 2013

El cardenal Arinze acaba de hacer, durante su estancia en Estados Unidos, unas declaraciones que no han dejado a nadie indiferente. Y que se agradecen, porque se entienden meridianamente, van a lo esencial e inciden en una de las cuestiones claves de nuestro tiempo.

Preguntado sobre quienes afirman que "estoy personalmente en contra del aborto pero respeto la libertad de elección de los demás", ha afirmado que sostener esto es lo mismo que decir que uno esta personalmente en contra de disparar contra los miembros del Congreso, pero que otros pueden hacerlo pues es su elección y ese derecho a elegir debe de ser respetado.

Y abundaba: "a los políticos que sostienen este argumento se les podría decir: eres congresista o senador, personalmente no estoy a favor de que os disparen a todos vosotros, pero si alguien quiere hacerlo tenemos que respetar su decisión. Pero que quede claro, personalmente no estoy a favor". Bravo por Arinze y la sencillez con que desmonta la hipocresía.

Por cierto, al ser a continuación preguntado sobre los políticos abortistas que se acercan a recibir la comunión, ha respondido de nuevo a los periodistas con sencillez y claridad: "¿De verdad necesitáis un cardenal para que os responda a esto? Preguntad a cualquier niño que se esté preparando para la primera comunión sobre un político que vota a favor del asesinato de millones de niños por nacer y que insiste en que lo volvería a hacer y que como consecuencia de esto millones de niños son asesinados, que además dice que es un buen católico y que quiere recibir la comunión el Domingo. Os contestarán sin dudarlo. No necesitáis a un cardenal para que os responda esto".

He hecho el experimento en casa y funciona. Aunque a veces se agradece que un cardenal confirme las opiniones de mis hijos.
English Cardinal Arinze: Pope's resignation was a 'surprise, like thunder'
Feb 16, 2013

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign the papacy was a "surprise, like thunder that gives no notice that it's coming," said one of the cardinals who was in the room when the pope announced his decision Feb. 11.

"We were about to get the blessing and he said, 'Please sit down. I have something to say important for the church,'" said Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

From the very first words of Pope Benedict's statement, which he delivered in Latin, Cardinal Arinze said he began to fear that it would mean the pope's resignation, he told Catholic News Service.

As the pope's meaning became unambiguous, the cardinals looked at one another "in silence, in surprise," Cardinal Arinze said. "At the end there was silence."

After the pope left the room, "we did not go away," the cardinal said. "We got together in little groups, as it were, each one asking, 'What has happened?' But there was no doubt about esteem for the Holy Father, for his courage and his love for the church.

"It may well be that his health is not as strong as I thought," Cardinal Arinze said. "He loves the church so much that he thinks it's better for the church that he leave and another person take over this heavy burden.

"I haven't any doubt about his wisdom," the cardinal said. "He doesn't rush. He is not rash. He is gentle. But he's also clear-headed and firm."

Cardinal Arinze said he hoped that Pope Benedict's decision to resign would "help many to get more mature in our faith ... help all of us to be deeper in our faith, to be also, let us say, less sentimental."

"Our faith is not on the pope, it is on Christ who is the foundation of the church," the cardinal said. "The pope is a servant. Indeed, one of his titles is 'servant of the servants of God.' ... So his act yesterday was like saying, 'I am a servant. I think another servant should come on.'"

The pope's resignation "can also be a very good example for all of us," Cardinal Arinze said. "Not only bishops. There are politicians, there are heads of state, there are heads of government" who refuse to yield office even when doing so would serve the common good.

"So the pope's action yesterday could, we'll hope, deliver a lesson to such, whether in the church or the state or a university or a corporation," the cardinal said. "Anyone in authority is there to serve."

Many of the other cardinals who were present in the same room as the pope during his announcement expressed both shock and admiration for what the pope did.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope's decision was "unexpected, shocking, emotional and moving."

He told an Italian television program that he saw the pope later that day, as he does every Monday, and found him to be "very much at peace." The cardinal, who worked with the pope at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said he has many "extraordinarily beautiful memories: his gentle ways and a trust that always bolstered me even during difficulties."

Cardinal Raffaele Farina, retired head of the Vatican Secret Archives and the Vatican Library, said the cardinals in the room "were all surprised, at a loss, frozen, no one had expected it."

"Many faces were stained with tears," he told the Italian daily La Repubblica. The pope made "a gesture of great responsibility. He did it with style, aware that the church needed a new guide who is stronger, more stable and more energetic," he said.
Italian Enna: La visita del cardinale Arinze a giovani e immigrati
Apr 22, 2012

Tra le tappe della visita ad Enna del Cardinale Francis Arinze, l’incontro con le comunità straniere presenti ad Enna ed in provincia, era tanto atteso. Il porporato nigeriano martedì ha ascoltato i pensieri, le sensazioni e le richieste degli immigrati ed ha saputo dare loro una parola di conforto, di coraggio e di speranza. “Questo scambio – ha detto Arinze – è già di per se un valore umano prezioso” è stato il primo messaggio del cardinale che rispondendo alle sollecitazioni della comunità rumena, a cui ha dato voce Teodora Pinta, ha detto: “Le badanti sono persone umane con diritti che vengono da Dio”. Il cardinale Arinze è stato accolto dal “kente”: musiche e danze tipiche ghanesi offerte dalla comunità presente ad Enna. Ad Arinze si erano rivolti i rappresentanti delle associazioni e delle confederazioni che si occupano d’accogliere gli immigrati. Presente anche il vicario generale della diocesi della Piana degli Albanesi, Papàs Jani Pecoraro. Grande attenzione da parte di Arinze quando un ospite ghanese ha raccontato la storia sua e dei suoi compagni di un viaggio che li ha visti soffrire le pene della guerra in Libia. Un saluto è giunto anche dalla suora indiana Vimala e dal senegalese Abramo. Quando al porporato nigeriano è stato fatto notare che in provincia di Enna sono presenti settanta comunità, Arinze ha risposto con una battuta e con un sorriso: “Vi saluto, siete le Nazioni Unite”. Arinze ha quindi detto che “le ragioni per cui siete arrivati, sono diverse, quando si è fuori dal suo Paese ci sono molte difficoltà, l’adattamento alla lingua, alla cultura, al lavoro”. Ha quindi portato la sua esperienza di vita che lo ha indotto a dire che “gli italiani sono tra i più aperti e disponibili. Voi – ha detto agli immigrati – rispettate il popolo italiano, la legge italiana, i costumi del popolo che vi dà accoglienza e ricordate che tutti abbiamo bisogno, l’uno degli altri. Se gli italiani vi hanno ospitato, voi avete il dovere di rispettarli”. Una condivisione comune è giunta quando ha espresso il pensiero secondo cui “la gioia quando si condivide cresce, quando si dà gioia agli altri si diventa una persona migliore”. Ad accompagnare il cardinale anche in questo appuntamento sono stati il Presidente del Comitato Scientifico dei festeggiamenti per il 600°, Salvatore Martinez, – “abbiamo desiderato questo incontro, i Centri d’accoglienza indicano una vocazione specifica, quella di considerare l’altro una risorsa” – ed il sindaco Paolo Garofalo il quale ha aperto “le porte della città ai nuovi cittadini ennesi” ringraziandoli per l’apporto e per il messaggio di solidarietà ed integrazione dato ad Enna.

L’incontro con i giovani
La giornata del cardinale Arinze,martedì, era iniziata con la celebrazione di una messa in forma privata nella chiesa di S. Marco e a seguire il primo incontro ufficiale della giornata al Teatro “Garibaldi” dove l’associazione “Crescere Insieme” attraverso gli studenti ha presentato il progetto “Culture a confronto”, ossia i progetti delle scuole della provincia sui temi dell’integrazione. Il porporato nigeriano ha seguito con attenzione i progetti che gli sono stati presentati e alla fine è intervenuto ringraziandoli e dando loro un messaggio sui temi della libertà – “non è il fare ciò che si vuole, ma fare ciò che serve” ha detto Francis Arinze-, dell’educazione della volontà – “bisogna inseguire la volontà di Dio” – della cooperazione che “è indispensabile” ed ha quindi evidenziato, con toni molto apprezzati dai giovani studenti, come “bisogna avere la forza di volontà per fare qualcosa e c’è posto per la religione per orientare la nostra vita. La Chiesa aiuta i giovani a trovare l’armonia e a non avere paura della verità”. L’intervento del cardinale Arinze era stato preceduto da Salvatore Martinez, presidente del Comitato Scientifico per il 600°: “In questa giornata con il cardinale Arinze scriviamo una pagina di politica” e ai giovani ha detto: “Siate protagonisti del futuro che volete”.
French Le cardinal Arinze critique les « non-dits » sur l’avortement
Aug 07, 2011
Lors d’une conférence sur la bioéthique aux Etats-Unis

ROME, Vendredi 15 juillet 2011 ( – « Il faut appeler un chat un chat », a lancé le président émérite de la Congrégation pour le culte Divin et la discipline des sacrements, le cardinal Francis Arinze, lors d’un débat sur l’avortement, samedi dernier, dans le cadre d'une conférence sur la bioéthique organisée au Christendom College de Front Royal, en Virginie, aux Etats-Unis.

« Si une personne est tuée, à quoi lui servent les autres droits ? » a interrogé le cardinal Arinze en évoquant le caractère inviolable des droits liés à la personne humaine et qui viennent de Dieu. « Certains disent 'personnellement je suis contre l’avortement, mais je n’impose pas ma vision aux autres' », a-t-il ajouté. Pour lui, ce comportement est illogique. Ce serait un peu comme dire : « certains voudraient tirer sur vous tous au Sénat et à la chambre des Représentants mais moi je ne leur imposerai pas mes points de vue ».

Tout comme il est « tout à fait illogique », a-t-il poursuivi, de « parler de baleines, de chimpanzés ou d’arbres en danger qui doivent être protégés, ou, comme dans certains pays, de traîner devant les tribunaux ceux qui ont torturé un chien, les accusant de cruauté envers les animaux, alors que l’on parle de pro-choice pour désigner l’assassinat d’enfants à naître, au lieu de dire qu’il s’agit bel et bien d’un homicide ».
Italian Il Cardinale Arinze apre il Millennio
Jul 14, 2010
Al via i festeggiamenti per il Millennio dell’Abbazia della SS. Trinità. L’apertura ufficiale con la solenne celebrazione presieduta dal Cardinale Francis Arinze, che ha esaltato il contributo del monachesimo benedettino alla formazione cristiana della cultura europea. Ricco il cartellone di eventi. Il 3 settembre il prossimo appuntamento…

Benedetto era veramente uomo di Dio, disprezzò ed abbandonò la gloria del mondo perché era pieno di Dio”. Con la celebrazione eucaristica presieduta dal Cardinale Francis Arinze si sono aperti ufficialmente ieri, domenica 11 luglio, i festeggiamenti per il Millenario (1011-2011) dell’Abbazia della SS. Trinità.

Già nella giornata di sabato scorso, con la processione per le vie del Borgo di Corpo di Cava e con un convegno sugli albori della Badia, avevano preso il via gli eventi in calendario, ma è stata la solenne celebrazione del Prefetto della Congregazione per il Culto Divino a consacrare l’apertura dell’anno millenario.

Numerosi i fedeli che hanno riempito in ogni posto la struttura benedettina per trascorrere una giornata all’insegna della spiritualità e della fede. Ed è proprio nel nome dell’ospitalità di San Benedetto che l’Abate Benedetto Maria Chianetta ha voluto salutare tutti gli intervenuti, ribadendo il suo invito nella città anche a Papa Benedetto XVI.

Toccante il momento dell’omelia, allorquando il Cardinale Arinze ha sottolineato il notevole contributo dei benedettini alla Chiesa ed al mondo intero, insistendo soprattutto sull’importanza del cristianesimo nella formazione della cultura europea sin dal Medioevo proprio grazie al contributo del monachesimo benedettino.

Presenti per l’occasione anche il sindaco Marco Galdi, il consigliere regionale Giovanni Baldi, gli assessori Vincenzo Lamberti, Enzo Passa e Carmine Salsano, oltre ai consiglieri comunali Pasquale Senatore, Luigi Gravagnuolo ed Antonio Palumbo.

Il nuovo appuntamento per i festeggiamenti del Millennio è ora previsto per il 3 settembre prossimo, quando si terrà una manifestazione storica in ricordo dell’arrivo all’Abbazia di Papa Urbano II. Il cartellone procederà l’11 settembre con un nuovo convegno sull’influsso monastico cavense nell’Italia meridionale, cui faranno seguito vari concerti di musica sacra.

Sempre per l’anno corrente sono in programma gli incontri di preghiera denominati “Sabati di riflessioni”, guidati dal prof. Armando Lamberti (presente anche sabato scorso), che avranno luogo nel mese di ottobre, ed un nuovo convegno dal titolo “Istituzioni ecclesiastiche e culture religiose”, previsto tra la fine di novembre e gli inizi di dicembre.

Ricco il calendario anche per il 2011, con varie iniziative e progetti che sono ora al vaglio del Comitato Nazionale per il Millennio.
Spanish El cardenal Arinze exhorta a los obispos asiáticos a que hagan respetar las normas litúrgicas de la Iglesia
Sept 13, 2009
El cardenal Arinze, que fue Prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y la Disciplina de los Sacramentos del 2002 al 2008, presidió este domingo en Manila la Misa de clausura de la Asamblea plenaria de la Federación de Conferencias Episcopales Asiáticas. En su homilía, el cardenal exhortó a los obispos de Asia a combatir las «idiosincracias» litúrgicas y los falsos conceptos acerca de la inculturización. Monseñor Arinze, al recordar que la gente va a Misa a adorar a Dios y no a entretenerse, se pronunció claramente a favor de la eliminación del uso de la danza en las ceremonias litúrgicas.

(InfoCatólica) El cardenal Arinze, enviado especial del Papa en el encuentro de los obispos asiáticos, animó a los prelados a que fortalezcan la adoración y reverencia por la Eucaristía.

"La adoración se manifiesta en sí misma en ciertas posturas como la genuflexión, la inclinación profunda, el arrodillarse, el postrarse, el silencio en la presencia del Señor", explicó el cardenal, quien recordó que las culturas asiáticas tienen un profundo sentido de la sacralidad y la trascendencia. La reverencia hacia las autoridades civiles se muestra con actos tales como juntar las manos, arrodillarse o inclinarse mientras se mira al dignatario. El prelado aseguró que no debería ser muy difícil conseguir que ese trasfondo cultural favoreciera una correcta adoración de Cristo Sacramentado.

"La costumbre de algunas partes del mundo de no instalar reclinatorios en las iglesias no debería ser copiada por la Iglesia en Asia", advirtió el cardenal.

Tras alabar los aspectos positivos de las diversas culturas asiáticas, monseñor Arinze predicó en contra de los falsos conceptos surgidos en torno a la inculturación y urgió a que se observen adecuadamente las normas litúrgicas.

"Debe ser claramente explicada y monitoreada la forma en que se distribuye la Sagrada Comunión y no deben permitirse las idiosincracias individuales", explicó el cardenal. "En el rito latino, sólo toman la Sagrada Comunión los sacerdotes concelebrantes. Al resto, sean religiosos o laicos, se les da", dijo monseñor Arinze,

También añadió que "no es correcto que el sacerdote no use las vestimentas litúrgicas alegando que el clima es húmedo y caluroso". "Si es necesario", sugirió monseñor Arinze, "los obispos pueden pedir que se hagan con tejidos más ligeras... pero es inaceptable que el celebrante opte por vestir de paisano en lugar de hacer uso de los ornamentos aprobados por la Iglesia universal o que usen cestas y vasos de cristal para distribuir la Santa Eucaristía". "Este tipo de ´inculturación´ es un gravísimo error".

A continuación el cardenal recordó que "es tradición de la Iglesia que durante la misa las lecturas se tomen sólo de las Sagradas Escrituras. Ni siquiera los escritos de los santos o fundadores de otras religiones deben ser permitidos, por más inspirador que pueda ser tal o cual texto concreto".

El cardenal Arinze exhortó a los obispos del continente asiático a que sigan las normas de la Iglesia para la inculturación litúrgica, de forma que las iglesia locales se libren de las innovaciones cuestionables o claramente equivocadas "de algunos clérigos entusiastas, cuya fértil imaginación inventa algo el sábado por la noche cuyo celo imprudente impone dicha innovación a su inocente comunidad el domingo por la mañana".

Monseñor Arinze aseguró que el uso de la danza en la liturgia debe ser examinada críticamente, porque la mayoría de las veces la atención se traslada hacia los que la llevan a cabo y sirve tan solo como entretenimiento. "La gente", explicó el prelado, "va a Misa no para entretenerse sino para adorar a Dios, para alabarle y darle gracias, para pedir el perdón por sus pecados y cualquier otra necesidad espiritual o material"
Italian Il Papa apre l'Anno Sacerdotale: intervista col cardinale Arinze
Jun 22, 2009

Il Papa – come abbiamo detto – inaugurerà questa sera nella Basilica di San Pietro l’Anno Sacerdotale. Benedetto XVI presiederà la celebrazione dei Secondi Vespri nella Solennità del Sacratissimo Cuore di Gesù, che saranno preceduti da un atto di venerazione delle reliquie del Santo Curato d’Ars. La nostra emittente seguirà in diretta l'evento a partire dalle 17.30. Nella Lettera pubblicata ieri per l’apertura di questo anno speciale il Pontefice propone a tutti i sacerdoti del mondo proprio l’esempio di San Giovanni Maria Vianney, che cercò di “incarnare la presenza di Cristo, testimoniandone la tenerezza salvifica”. Sui frutti che si attendono da questo Anno indetto dal Papa, ascoltiamo il cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto emerito della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, al microfono di Alessandro Gisotti:

R. – Possiamo aspettarci molti frutti: la riflessione da parte dei sacerdoti e anche dagli altri membri nella Chiesa, religiosi e laici, e la preghiera perché è da Dio che viene la forza di seguire Gesù. Possiamo attenderci anche seminaristi più determinati e meglio formati.

D. - Nella Lettera per l’apertura dell’Anno Sacerdotale il Papa sottolinea che abbiamo bisogno di sacerdoti che siano “pastori secondo il cuore di Dio”. Come raccogliere questo invito del Papa all’inizio del Terzo Millennio?

R. – Il sacerdote non è stato ordinato per se stesso ma per il popolo di Dio. Quando lui si vede come ministro di Cristo, che è ministro di misericordia, lui si vedrà come pastore che viene dal cuore misericordioso di Gesù.

D. – Il Papa in tante occasioni non ha nascosto le difficoltà che tanti sacerdoti vivono oggi. Fa un richiamo anche in questa Lettera per l’Anno Sacerdotale, in particolare ribadisce l’importanza del Sacramento della Penitenza. Come riavvicinare i fedeli al confessionale?

R. - Il Papa parla del mondo di oggi dove in alcune aree culturali non tanti vanno a confessarsi, non credono di essere peccatori. Allora il sacerdote, come il Curato d’Ars, deve riportare al popolo il senso di Dio. Se accettiamo di essere peccatori possiamo dire: “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”, e non colpa di mia suocera, colpa del governo… Così, se il sacerdote stesso è convinto del Sacramento della Penitenza e lui si confessa regolarmente sarà in grado di fare i sacrifici per confessare il popolo come il Curato d’Ars che - come il Papa ha notato - sedeva in confessionale 16 ore al giorno e il resto del tempo era davanti al Santissimo.

D. - Benedetto XVI scrive nella Lettera che il celibato è un “dono da vivere in pienezza” proprio mentre anche nella Chiesa c’è chi vorrebbe metterlo in discussione. Un sua riflessione a riguardo…

R. - La mia riflessione è che il celibato sacerdotale non è un tema da discutere ma è un dono da vivere. Dobbiamo ringraziare per questo dono che non manca nella Chiesa da secoli. Ci sono quelli che invece di pregare impiegano il tempo a discutere. San Giovani Maria Vianney guardava al tabernacolo con gli occhi di un innamorato, aveva un tale amore per Gesù che la castità seguiva come conseguenza necessaria. I grandi Santi, San Giovanni Bosco, il Curato d’Ars, San Tommaso d’Aquino, San Bonaventura, loro non spendevano il tempo a discutere il celibato ma a vivere l’amore di Dio.

D. - Il Papa nella Lettera ricorda con tenerezza il suo parroco. Lei ha dei ricordi particolari di un sacerdote, di un parroco legato alla sua infanzia?

R . – Il primo sacerdote che ho conosciuto è stato beatificato da Papa Giovanni Paolo II. E’ il Beato Cipriano Michele Iwene Tansi. Lui ha cominciato nella nostra parrocchia nel 1939 e lì mi ha battezzato nel 1941. Io ero il suo chierichetto di Messa nel 1945. Guardando questo sacerdote si voleva essere come lui ed è molto significativo che nelle due parrocchie dove lui ha lavorato ci siano tante vocazioni al sacerdozio e alla vita religiosa.
English Cardinal visitation
Apr 17, 2009

WORCESTER —  Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze has served as a close confidante of two popes, has met with global leaders to discuss a variety of pressing issues, and is credited with vastly improving the climate between the Roman Catholic Church and members of non-Christian faiths, particularly those living in the Muslim world.

He was so highly regarded by his fellow cardinals that many thought that he would be picked as the successor to Pope John Paul II.

Jackson Mannix, a fifth-grader at St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School in Northboro, said he believes the cardinals would not have made a mistake had they elevated Cardinal Arinze to the papacy.

“I think he’s really cool,” said the son of Regina and Thomas Mannix of Southboro. “He might be a cardinal but he acts just like a regular, ordinary person.”

Vatican officials have maintained that Cardinal Arinze, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, a key posting at the Holy See, has never forgotten his humble roots. Area residents, who have met the prelate during his week-long visit to Central Massachusetts, agree.

“He’s very down to earth,” said Julianne Morin, assistant principal at St. Bernadette, after the cardinal visited with students yesterday morning. “We were a bit concerned (whether there would be a connection) because the cardinal is from a world so removed from that of our students. But he was very accessible to the kids. He didn’t talk down to them.”

Cardinal Arinze is visiting the area at the invitation of Assumption College President Francesco C. Cesareo. He will deliver the final President’s Lecture of the year tomorrow and will be given an honorary degree, a doctorate in sacred theology.

Over the course of his stay, Cardinal Arinze, who has declined interview requests made by the Telegram & Gazette, has made it a point to reach out to local rank-and-file Catholics, church officials said.

For example, he celebrated Holy Thursday Mass at St. George Church and took part in Good Friday services at St. Brigid Church in Millbury. Last night, he met with parishioners at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester, where he had concelebrated Easter Sunday Mass with Bishop Robert J. McManus.

“He’s very understanding” said Mr. Cesareo. “Family and moral values are very important to him.”

Mr. Cesareo got to know Cardinal Arinze after he had invited him to lecture at John Carroll University in Cleveland. At the time, Mr. Cesareo was a member of the college’s History Department and the cardinal was heading what is now known as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

He said Cardinal Arinze had a good chance of becoming pope because of his ecumenical work, particularly with Muslims; Nigeria is 50 percent Muslim and 40 percent Chrisitan.

The cardinal talked about his interfaith work during the informal gathering yesterday in the Cenacle at St. Paul’s. He said Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and others share values and all can find salvation, as long as they follow their consciences.

“God will not deny them (non-Christians) the grace of salvation,” he said, noting all religions have “good, noble truths.”

The cardinal said it’s good for religious leaders to get together to discuss commonalities and society’s woes. He warned, however, that it’s not a good idea for Catholics to represent their church to other faiths as if they are “problem children.”

Cardinal Arinze was born in a hut in Eziowelle, a small village near the Niger River in southern Nigeria.

His parents were peasant farmers and members of an indigenous religion. He followed the footsteps of a brother and studied at a Catholic mission school, becoming baptized a Catholic at age 9.

Cardinal Arinze was ordained in Rome in 1958 and taught logic, liturgy and basic philosophy at an African seminary before ministering for a time in London.

In 1965, he was consecrated a bishop, the youngest at the time, and 11 years later he was elevated archbishop. He was the first African to head his diocese in Nigeria, succeeding Archbishop Charles Heery, an Irish missionary.

Shortly after assuming the post, however, the Nigeria-Biafra War broke out and he was forced to flee. Despite being a refugee himself, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the displaced.

When things settled down and he had returned to the diocese, he focused on improving the shaky relationship between Nigerian Catholics and Muslims. Pope John Paul II summoned him to Rome in 1984 to handle interreligious affairs.

“His desire was to build bridges to people of all faiths,” said Mr. Cesareo. “He’s a very affable and humble individual.”

In 2002, he was named prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

During his tenure at the Vatican, he was criticized by some for his staunch conservative views on such controversial issues as abortion and contraception. In one interview, he said it was appropriate for priests to deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.
English Bishops should not fear retirement when the time comes, says Cardinal Arinze
Mar 19, 2009

Vatican City, Mar 11, 2009 / 04:00 am (CNA).- During the final meditation of the spiritual exercises for Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia, Cardinal Francis Arinze underscored the need for priests and bishops to retire when a long illness keeps them from their ministry. They should use the time they have left to focus on preparing themselves for a holy death, he counseled.

During his reflection, the Nigerian cardinal asked, “Should not the time come in which he who has served God and the Church during many years and now is not well ask to be replaced in his important responsibilities in order to allow one who has better health to take the helm? Is this not perhaps a way to allow one who is sick to better prepare himself for the encounter with the Lord?”

“Undoubtedly those close to the diocesan bishop or to the pastor, when they are sick, will hesitate to speak the word resign in order not to appear ungrateful, but should not the sick person himself face the question? In this way, everything would be much simpler, keeping in mind that the Code of Canon Law asks and admonishes us to always consider that the salvation of souls should be the supreme law of the Church.”

For this reason, priests and bishops should reflect beforehand on how they should respond to a long illness, the cardinal continued. “What would be the best thing to do for the good of the parish and the diocese?” he asked.

Cardinal Arinze encouraged his listeners to prepare for death and to reflect on how it should be confronted.

After recalling the testimony left by John Paul II during his last years in his old age and infirmity, the cardinal underscored the need to remind priests and bishops “of what they already know, that is, of the Christian meaning of death. Such a consideration will help them to live more serenely the final moments of their lives in this valley of tears.”

The death of the Christian “has great value when it is lived in union with Christ. In addition, death teaches in a decisive way the need to leave behind everything, to follow Jesus,” he said.
English Benedict XVI thanks Cardinal Arinze for strengthening his priesthood
Mar 12, 2009
At the conclusion of the Roman Curia’s spiritual exercises on Saturday, Pope Benedict expressed his thanks to Cardinal Francis Arinze for guiding them through the week of meditations and helping “us to renew our priesthood.”

Benedict XVI thanks Cardinal Arinze for strengthening his priesthood

Vatican City, Mar 9, 2009 / 01:45 pm (Catholic News Agency).- At the conclusion of the Roman Curia’s spiritual exercises on Saturday, Pope Benedict expressed his thanks to Cardinal Francis Arinze for guiding them through the week of meditations and helping “us to renew our priesthood.”

Addressing Cardinal Arinze, who is the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Holy Father gratefully said, “You offered us no theological acrobatics, but sound doctrine, the good bread of our faith.”

The Pontiff also noted that the cardinal’s preaching revealed “a great familiarity with the Word of God, seen in the context of the living Church from the Fathers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church - and always contextualized in the readings and in the liturgy.  Precisely for this reason, Scripture was present in its full contemporary significance."

The Holy Father stated that he has "admired and enjoyed this tangible experience" of Cardinal Arinze's fifty years of priesthood, "in the light of which you helped us to strengthen our faith. You used the right words, words with real significance for our lives and for our behavior as priests," he said.
Italian Il cardinale Arinze anticipa i temi degli esercizi spirituali che predicherà a Benedetto XVI e alla Curia romana: se il prete non incontra e segue Gesù la sua vocazione non ha senso
Mar 11, 2009

"Il sacerdote incontra Gesù e lo segue":  è questo il tema degli esercizi spirituali per il Papa e la Curia romana che il cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto emerito della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, tiene nella cappella Redemptoris Mater dal 1° al 7 marzo. Un tema scelto per sottolineare che l'incontro e la sequela non rappresentano solo il centro del sacerdozio ma anche l'essenza di ogni autentica esperienza di fede. "Le riflessioni che offrirò a Benedetto XVI - spiega il porporato in questa intervista al nostro giornale alla vigilia dell'inizio degli esercizi - non sono esclusivamente sacerdotali ma valgono per tutti, perché il cristianesimo è l'incontro di ogni uomo con Gesù".

Perché ha scelto questo tema per gli esercizi spirituali del Papa?

Ho pensato che nell'incontrare e seguire Gesù possiamo vedere la sintesi di tutto il cristianesimo. Da una parte c'è Gesù che ci chiama. Dall'altra ci siamo noi con la nostra risposta:  lo incontriamo, lo seguiamo e questo diventa un programma per tutta la vita. Così accadde per i primi apostoli:  Gesù li vide e disse loro di seguirli. Nella sequela sono compresi l'ascolto, il suo insegnamento, i miracoli, la preghiera. Possiamo dire che gli apostoli hanno fatto tre anni di seminario maggiore e il rettore era il Figlio di Dio.

Però la chiamata di Gesù non vale soltanto per i preti.

Certo. Anche le riflessioni che offrirò al Papa non sono esclusivamente sacerdotali ma valgono per tutti, perché il cristianesimo è l'incontro di ogni uomo con Gesù. Ciascuno può applicarlo a se stesso secondo la propria vocazione e missione. E ciascuno può dare una risposta diversa. Tra i discepoli, c'è stato chi subito ha lasciato le reti e si è messo alla sua sequela. Ma c'è stato anche chi è rimasto attaccato alle cose materiali, ha chiesto tempo, ha voluto prima tornare dai suoi cari per congedarsi.

Da allora sono passati duemila anni. L'uomo di oggi può ancora incontrare Gesù?

Se vuole può incontrarlo. Sempre che riesca a superare due grandi ostacoli. Il primo è la superficialità, la distrazione. E il secondo è la paura. Ponzio Pilato rappresenta il paradigma di quelli che hanno paura di incontrare la verità. Gesù gli parla, ma lui ha paura. Gli dice:  "Io vengo per dare testimonianza alla verità". E Pilato domanda "Cos'è la verità?". Ma la sua domanda non è quella di un filosofo che attende la risposta. Infatti se ne va senza ascoltare, senza aspettare. Senza rendersi conto che la verità sta proprio davanti a lui. Anche oggi tante persone mancano all'appuntamento con la verità, perché hanno paura di ciò che Gesù rappresenta e del suo messaggio. Non si rendono conto che la fede non è un intralcio all'esistenza, ma una promessa di vita e di verità che va oltre il contingente.

Quali sono i luoghi in cui può avvenire questo incontro?

Uno dei luoghi fondamentali - non fisico ma spirituale - è la preghiera. La preghiera è lasciare posto a Dio. È fare silenzio non solo esternamente, ma soprattutto internamente. È ascoltare. Nelle meditazioni che proporrò al Papa parlerò in particolare di questo, ricordando le lunghe ore di preghiera che Gesù trascorreva da solo e sottolineando che gli stessi discepoli gli hanno chiesto:  "Signore, insegnaci a pregare".
Un altro luogo di incontro è la Scrittura:  Gesù è la Parola di Dio che diventa uomo. La Scrittura è Parola di Dio scritta. Quando leggiamo la Bibbia e quando la proclamiamo durante la liturgia, è Dio che parla. Il Vangelo non è un libro polveroso del passato. È la voce di Dio oggi.
Un terzo luogo è la Chiesa, corpo mistico di Cristo. Egli stesso ne ha scelto i primi pilastri, ha dato la garanzia di essere sempre con lei e ha promesso lo Spirito Santo. Nelle meditazioni sottolineerò proprio questa dimensione:  la Chiesa è il corpo di Cristo che ne è il capo. E come tale si ritrova nella liturgia, dove incontra realmente e sostanzialmente Gesù attraverso la comunione eucaristica. E si riconosce nella carità, soprattutto verso gli ammalati, gli anziani, i rifugiati, i poveri. Gesù può parlarci in tutte queste situazioni. Paolo VI ha detto che la Chiesa guarda al volto di ogni persona che soffre e vede Gesù. Non attendiamo che Gesù ci appaia, perché ce lo abbiamo già vicino.

Se per il cristiano incontrare Gesù vuol dire seguirlo, che cosa succede quando questo atteggiamento di sequela manca da parte del sacerdote?

È Gesù che dà senso alla vita del prete. Senza di Lui il sacerdote non si comprende, non ha più senso. Direi che la sua vocazione diventa come una farsa. In nome di chi, infatti, celebra, predica, agisce? San Paolo ha detto:  per me vivere è Cristo. Il sacerdote è ambasciatore di Cristo. Perciò se è necessario per ogni cristiano seguire Gesù, a maggior ragione lo è per il sacerdote. La sua testimonianza è sotto gli occhi di tutti, soprattutto di chi non crede. Certo, è possibile che ci siano mancanze anche nei sacerdoti. Non tutti i preti sono stati e sono santi. Lo stesso Vangelo non nasconde debolezze e cadute dei discepoli di Cristo. C'è stato chi ha chiesto a Gesù di incendiare una città di Samaria o chi si è attribuito il diritto di essere il primo fra tutti. E poi c'è Giuda iscariota, che è stato con Gesù ma non lo ha amato. Ha indurito il suo cuore, lo ha chiuso all'amore. Questo dimostra che il cuore umano può venir meno, che la libertà dataci da Dio può essere usata male. Nella storia della Chiesa questo purtroppo è successo altre volte.

La dimensione penitenziale della quaresima può aiutare il sacerdote a rinnovare l'esperienza dell'incontro con Cristo?

Sì, a cominciare dal gesto di ricevere le ceneri, che vuol dire accettare di essere peccatori. La Chiesa chiede di pregare molto durante la quaresima non solo in segno di adorazione a Dio ma anche di pentimento per i peccati commessi. E non basta ricevere il perdono da Dio, bisogna anche riconoscere che abbiamo offeso l'amore di Dio. E poi c'è il digiuno, al quale il Papa ha dedicato il suo messaggio quaresimale. È un gesto oggi poco considerato, ma che va inteso nel giusto significato. Il suo senso autentico è fare a meno di qualche cosa che piace e condividere i beni con i poveri. La solidarietà con chi soffre è anche un modo di mostrare l'autenticità della nostra celebrazione eucaristica. Alla fine della messa il sacerdote ci dice:  andate e vivete ciò che è stato celebrato, ascoltato, meditato e pregato. Aiutare chi è anziano, solo, carcerato, disabile, è un modo di vivere l'Eucaristia. Benedetto XVI lo dice chiaramente nella Deus caritas est:  l'Eucaristia che non si traduce in opere di carità è frammentata, incompleta.

Ma è ancora attuale il richiamo alla sobrietà che il Papa ha rilanciato nel messaggio di quest'anno?

Digiunare è accettare che siamo peccatori. È fare a meno di qualcosa. È anche uno strumento di "allenamento" spirituale, simile a quello che praticano gli atleti per riuscire in una disciplina sportiva. C'è poi la dimensione più dinamica, che è appunto quella di aiutare i poveri. Spendere meno e aiutare i fratelli che hanno meno:  è lo stile di vita raccomandato dal Papa anche nel messaggio per la Giornata mondiale della pace di quest'anno. Lo spirito cristiano deve andare nella direzione opposta rispetto al consumismo senza freni. Avere le credenze e gli armadi pieni - colmi di cose che spesso non ci servono o che usiamo appena qualche volta - è un'offesa ai poveri.

Cosa significa per lei predicare gli esercizi spirituali a Benedetto XVI?

Non è una cosa da poco. Si può immaginare i sentimenti di chi riceve questo invito. Posso dire che non me lo attendevo, ma proprio per questo è un impegno che prendo molto sul serio. Mi sono detto:  il Papa poteva trovare un bravo teologo, come mai si è rivolto a me? Ma poi ho pensato:  è lui che lo chiede, allora questa è la volontà di Dio. Perché non avere la semplicità di condividere quel poco che ho? È con questo spirito che ho accolto l'invito.
French La foi n’est pas une entrave à l’existence, estime le card. Arinze
Mar 11, 2009

ROME, Mardi 3 mars 2009 ( - L'homme d'aujourd'hui est encore capable de rencontrer Dieu, à la condition de dépasser « deux obstacles » : la « superficialité » et la « peur », a expliqué le cardinal Francis Arinze, qui a aussi rappelé que la foi n'est pas une « entrave » à l'existence.

L'ancien président de la Congrégation pour le culte divin et la discipline des sacrements qui prêche cette année, du 1er au 7 mars, les exercices de Carême au Vatican, a accordé une interview à L'Osservatore Romano, le 1er mars. Il y évoque le thème choisi pour cette retraite : ‘Le prêtre rencontre Jésus et le suit'.

« Nous pouvons voir une synthèse de tout le christianisme » dans le fait de rencontrer et de suivre Jésus, a expliqué le haut prélat africain. « Les réflexions que j'offrirai au pape ne sont pas seulement sacerdotales mais elles valent pour tous, parce que le christianisme est la rencontre de tout homme avec Jésus », a-t-il expliqué.

« S'il le veut », l'homme d'aujourd'hui peut encore rencontrer Jésus, a ajouté le cardinal Arinze. « S'il réussit à dépasser deux obstacles ». « Le premier est la superficialité, la distraction. Et le second est la peur ».

« Aujourd'hui encore, a poursuivi le haut prélat, beaucoup de personnes manquent au rendez-vous de la vérité, parce qu'elles ont peur de ce que Jésus représente et de son message ». « Elles ne se rendent pas compte que la foi n'est pas une entrave à l'existence, mais une promesse de vie et de vérité », a-t-il ajouté.

Le cardinal Arinze a évoqué trois lieux fondamentaux pour la rencontre avec le Christ qui sont la prière, l'Ecriture - « L'Evangile n'est pas un livre poussiéreux du passé, c'est la voix de Dieu aujourd'hui » - et l'Eglise.

Le haut prélat africain a enfin évoqué le message de Carême de Benoît XVI sur le jeûne. « Jeûner, c'est accepter d'être pécheurs ». C'est aussi un instrument « d'entraînement spirituel semblable à celui que pratiquent les athlètes pour réussir dans une discipline sportive », a-t-il expliqué.

« Il y a ensuite la dimension plus dynamique qui est celle d'aider les pauvres ». « L'esprit chrétien doit aller dans la direction opposée au consumérisme sans frein », a souligné le cardinal Arinze. « Avoir les buffets et les armoires pleines - pleines de choses qui souvent ne nous servent pas ou que nous n'utilisons que parfois - est une offense aux pauvres ».
German Vatikan: Fastenexerzitien an der Kurie - Auszüge
Mar 09, 2009

Die römische Kurie hat sich in dieser Woche zu ihren traditionellen Fastenexerzitien zurückgezogen. Auch Papst Benedikt nimmt daran teil, weswegen alle seine öffentlichen Termine, allen voran die Generalaudienz, entfallen. „Der Priester trifft Jesus und folgt ihm nach“ ist in diesem Jahr das Thema der Fastenexerzitien; geleitet werden sie von dem emeritierten nigerianischen Kurienkardinal Francis Arinze, dem früheren Präfekten der Sakramentenkongregation. Reue und Vergebung seien in der Liturgie der Fastenzeit sehr präsent, erinnerte der Kardinal.

„Jeder Sünder muss überlegen, was seine Sünde Jesus, dem Retter, angetan hat. Wenn der Sünder befreit werden will, ist die Bedingung, dass er zunächst die eigene Schuld anerkennt. Die Kirche lehrt uns am Beginn der Heiligen Messe im Schuldbekenntnis, zu bereuen - zu akzeptieren und zu bekennen, dass wir Sünder sind. Sie lehrt uns zu sagen: Meine Schuld, Meine Schuld, meine große Schuld. Viele Menschen sind versucht, das Gegenteil zu sagen: Die Schuld meiner Schwiergermutter, die Schuld meiner Kollegen, die große Schuld meines Vorgesetzten. Solange ein Mensch aber nicht anerkennt, schuldig zu sein, ist er nicht auf dem Weg der Heilung.“

Seiner Kirche habe Jesus die Macht und das Amt gegeben, die Sünden in seinem Namen nachzulassen.

4 „Der Priester muss den Ruf aller zur Heiligkeit verkünden. ... Gleichzeitig darf er den Sündern nicht jede Hoffnung nehmen. Jesus lädt die Sünder dazu ein, in sich zu gehen und weist ihnen einen Platz am Tisch zu. Den Pharisäern, die beanstandeten, dass Jesus mit Sündern bei Tisch saß, sagte er: Nicht die Gesunden brauchen den Arzt, sondern die Kranken. Ich bin nicht gekommen, die Gerechten zu rufen, sondern die Sünder. Hier muss der Priester Jesus folgen und das verlorene Schaf suchen. Er muss die Sünder zur Umkehr einladen, ohne die man nicht ins Reich kommt. Er muss ihnen die Botschaft von der Barmherzigkeit des Vaters verkünden und von der unendlichen Freude im Himmelreich für einen einzigen Sünder, der sich bekehrt.“

Besonders die Priester erinnerte Arinze daran, sich in der Fastenzeit dem Denken in Kategorien der Demut zu öffnen.

„Nehmen wir zwei - erfundene - Fälle von Priestern: einer sagt zu seinem Seelenführer: sie haben mich schon wieder vergessen. Ich warte auf eine Ernennung und erst wenn sie eintritt, werde ich glücklich sein. Jeden Tag lese ich im „Osservatore Romano“ die Rubrik mit den Ernennungen. Ein anderer Priester sagt: Ich habe einen Streit mit meinem Bischof. Aber da er schon 70 ist, warte ich auf den Bischof, der ihn ablöst, dann werde ich heilig! Was antworten wir auf so etwas? Ruhig, Bruder. Keiner kann deine Gelassenheit ohne dein Einverständnis hinwegnehmen. Vielleicht stimmt es, dass man dich bei den Ernennnungen übergangen hat oder dass du Streit mit deinem Bischof hast. Aber vielleicht hast du auch eine ganz andere Krise – eine Krise mit dem Betschemel zum Beispiel, vor dem Allerheiligsten, wo man dich schon lange nicht gesehen hast. Oder vielleicht hast du eine Krise mit der Gewissenserforschung, mit dem täglichen Gebet oder mit dem Rosenkranz. Ein Mensch kann Architekt seines Elends werden. Es braucht nicht einmal eine Frage der Sünde zu sein, sondern eine Frage des spirituellen Elends, des mangelnden inneren Wachstums. Jemand kann sich ein seelisches Gefängnis bauen, das Tor schließen und den Schlüssel in die Tasche stecken. Aber du hast doch den Schlüssel in der Tasche! Du wirst herauskommen, wenn du mit der Gnade Gottes beschließt, den Schlüssel hervorzuholen.“

Die Umkehr des Herzens und die innere Reue drücken sich in äußeren Gesten aus, traditionellerweise im Dreiklang Fasten, Almosen und Gebet. Eine besonders wichtige Rolle dabei spielt die Abtötung, so Kardinal Arinze.

„Die grundlegenden Formen der Abtötungen sind jene, die gewissermaßen Teil unserer Berufung und unserer Sendung (als Priester) sind. Einige Beispiele: Freundlichkeit gegenüber unseren Mitarbeitern, besondes jenen, die wir nicht mögen. Besucher empfangen, wenn wir müde sind oder glauben, sehr beschäftigt zu sein. Schwierige Leute gut behandeln. Endlose Briefe beantworten. Für manche Bischöfe kann es auch Abtötung sein, liturgische Gewänder oder die Mitra in einem feuchtheißen Klima zu tragen, für manche ist es Abtötung, den Fünfjahresbericht für die Kurie zu schreiben. Auch wer selbst in der Kurie arbeitet, hat viel Gelegenheit zur Abtötung: Fern von der normalen diözesanen Situation und der Seelsorge zu arbeiten. Ein Dokument verfassen, das dann von der Generalversammlung oder dem Vorgesetzten mit dem Rotstift radikal umgeschrieben wird. Keinen Publikumsapplaus zu empfangen für ein Dokument, an dem man Tag und Nacht gearbeitet hat – denn das Publikum weiß nur, wer die Unterschrift darunter gesetzt hat. An einem Termin nach dem anderen teilnehmen. Lange und nicht immer interessante Dokumente studieren. Auf die eigene Meinung verzichten, wenn andere die betreffende Sache nicht in derselben Optik sehen. Für einige mag es auch schwierig werden, auf die Versuchung zu verzichten, Kirchenpolitik zu betreiben: jemanden zu suchen, der ein gutes Wort für ihn einlegt, um eine gewünschte Ernennung zu erhalten. Wie man sieht – uns mangelt es nicht an Gelegenheit, uns abzutöten im Versehen unserer täglichen Pflichten.“
German Arinze hofft auf weltweites Interesse für Afrika
Feb 25, 2009
Nigerianischer Kardinal würdigt Initiativen des Papstes für den Kontinent

Vatikanstadt, 22.2.09 (KAP) Afrika bildet heuer einen Schwerpunkt der Tätigkeit des Papstes. Die bevorstehende Afrika-Reise des Papstes nach Kamerun und Angola und die Sondersynode für Afrika im Oktober sind die beiden Hauptakzente. Der nigerianische Kardinal Francis Arinze, der im Auftrag des Papstes die Sondersynode für Afrika leiten wird, sagte im Gespräch mit "Radio Vatikan", er hoffe, dass die Initiativen Benedikts XVI. weltweites Interesse für Afrika auslösen werden.

Die Kirche habe weder politische noch wirtschaftliche Rezepte für Afrika, betonte Arinze. Aber es gehe ihr darum, "den Stimmlosen eine Stimme zu geben und die Menschenrechte zu verteidigen". Das bedeute auch, "den Regierenden zu sagen, dass es ihre Pflicht ist, dem Volk zu dienen, statt den eigenen Interessen zu frönen". Die Kirche rufe in diesem Sinn immer dazu auf, dass die Wahlen korrekt und ehrlich sind. Einige Diözesen hätten sogar Wahlbeobachter ausgebildet. Kirchliches Leben spiele sich nicht nur in Sakristeien ab: "Christen sind Bürger wie alle anderen; Salz und Sauerteig zu sein bedeutet, sich für das Allgemeinwohl einzusetzen".

Afrika müsse bei den Treffen der G 7, G 8 oder G 20 mehr Beachtung finden, forderte der nigerianische Kardinal. Afrika dürfe nicht an den Rand gedrängt werden, sondern müsse als Kontinent anerkannt werden, der für die ganze Welt wichtig ist. Einige der negativen Seiten - Kriege und Spannungen - seien keineswegs nur lokale Ereignisse oder hausgemacht; hier spielten internationale Faktoren eine Rolle.
French Le pape Benoît XVI confie les prédications de Carême au Cardinal Arinze
Feb 23, 2009

Le 19 février 2009  - Eucharistie Sacrement de la Miséricorde - Le cardinal Arinze prêchera la retraite de Carême du pape et de la curie romaine
Le cardinal nigérian Francis Arinze, ancien préfet de la Congrégation pour le culte divin et la discipline des sacrements, prêchera au Vatican les exercices spirituels de Carême du pape et de la curie romaine, du 1er au 7 mars 2009.

Après le cardinal Marco Cé, patriarche émérite de Venise (2006), l’ancien archevêque de Bologne, le cardinal Giacomo Biffi (2007), le cardinal et bibliste français Albert Vanhoye (2008), le quatrième haut prélat à prêcher les exercices spirituels de la curie sous le pontificat de Benoît XVI sera donc le cardinal Francis Arinze.

Agé de 76 ans, le cardinal Arinze prêchera la retraite du pape sur le thème: "Le prêtre rencontre Jésus et le suit". Le 23 novembre 2008, le cardinal nigérian avait fêté ses 50 ans de sacerdoce. Puis, en décembre, il avait publié le volume "Réflexions sur le sacerdoce. Lettre à un jeune prêtre".

Les exercices spirituels de la curie romaine commencent traditionnellement par une méditation le premier dimanche de Carême, cette année le 1er mars à 18h. Les membres de la curie se retrouvent alors avec le pape dans la chapelle "Redemptoris Mater" du Palais apostolique pour la célébration des vêpres, suivie de l’adoration et de la bénédiction eucharistiques.

Ces exercices prennent habituellement la forme de deux méditations le matin et d’une méditation l’après-midi, d’une demi-heure chacune, pendant cinq jours. De plus, les offices sont régulièrement célébrés pour les retraitants dans cette chapelle située au 2e étage du palais apostolique.

Cette année, la semaine d’exercices spirituels prendra fin dans la matinée du 7 mars. Elle se conclut généralement par la célébration des laudes, suivie d’une dernière méditation et d’une intervention du pape, resté en retrait tout au long de la semaine dans une chapelle adjacente.
Pendant tout ce temps, les audiences privées et publiques du pape, dont celle du mercredi, sont suspendues.

Francis Arinze est né dans une famille non chrétienne à Eziowelle, une petite ville au sud-est du Nigeria, le 1er novembre 1932. Elevé dans un milieu animiste, le jeune garçon va se convertir et être baptisé à l’âge de neuf ans. Ordonné prêtre en novembre 1958, il devient d’abord professeur de séminaire. En 1965, il a à peine 33 ans lorsqu’il est nommé par Paul VI
(1963-1978) évêque auxiliaire de l’archidiocèse d’Onitsha, son diocèse natal, au sud du pays, ce qui lui permet d’assister à la dernière session du Concile Vatican II (1962-1965).

Mgr Arinze devient archevêque d’Onitsha en 1967, à 35 ans, au moment de la guerre civile du Biafra (1967-1970) qui voit s’affronter les sécessionnistes ibos et l’armée fédérale. Il devient président de la Conférence épiscopale du Nigeria en 1979. Il n’hésite pas, alors, à dénoncer vigoureusement la corruption et les injustices sociales. Il reçoit Jean Paul II au Nigeria en 1982. Deux ans plus tard, celui-ci l’appelle à Rome pour qu’il soit président du Secrétariat pour les non-croyants. Il est créé cardinal en mai 1985, et continue de travailler à la tête du Secrétariat lorsque celui-ci change de nom en 1988 pour devenir l’actuel Conseil pontifical pour le dialogue interreligieux. En 1994, il est choisi par le pape comme premier président délégué du Synode pour l’Afrique.

Le 1er octobre 2002, le cardinal Arinze est nommé cette fois préfet de la Congrégation pour le Culte divin et la discipline des sacrements. Il a quitté sa charge, pour raison d’âge, le 9 décembre 2008, un mois après avoir fêté ses 76 ans. Une fois encore, le cardinal Arinze vient d’être nommé par Benoît XVI parmi les trois présidents délégués du 2e Synode spécial pour l’Afrique qui aura lieu au Vatican du 4 au 25 octobre 2009.
Italian Ritiro per Pasqua dall'1 al 7 marzo, presiede card.Arinze
Feb 20, 2009

Città del Vaticano - Si terranno dall'1 al 7 marzo e sarà il cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto emerito della Congregazione per il Culto divino e la disciplina dei sacramenti, a presiedere le meditazioni degli esercizi spirituali di Quaresima al Papa e alla Curia romana, sul tema "Il sacerdote incontra Gesù e lo segue".

Durante la settimana saranno sospese tutte le udienze di Benedetto XVI. Il cardinale Arinze ha festeggiato i 50 anni di sacerdozio lo scorso 23 novembre e a dicembre ha pubblicato "Riflessioni sul sacerdozio. Lettera a un giovane sacerdote". Per gli esercizi di Quaresima, il porporato svolgerà 17 meditazioni: una domenica 1 marzo (gli esercizi inizieranno alle 18), tre meditazioni al giorno dal 2 al 6 marzo, a ognuna delle quali seguirà l'adorazione e la benedizione eucaristica, e una sabato 7 marzo, giorno conclusivo degli esercizi, che vedrà anche un intervento di Benedetto XVI. Il corso di esercizi spirituali si svolgerà nella Cappella Redemptoris Mater del Palazzo apostolico, e sarà scandito anche dalla recita delle Ore (lodi, ora nona, ora media, vespri).

Il cardinale Arinze, nato a Eziowelle, in Nigeria, è il secondo africano a predicare gli esercizi di Quaresima. Prima di lui, nel 1984, Giovanni Paolo II aveva chiamato il cardinale Alexandre do Nascimento, arcivescovo di Lubango (Angola).
Italian Il cardinale Arinze terrà gli esercizi spirituali per la Quaresima in Vaticano
Feb 20, 2009

Sarà il cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto emerito della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, a tenere dal primo al 7 marzo in Vaticano, nella cappella Redemptoris Mater, gli esercizi spirituali per la Quaresima alla presenza di Benedetto XVI e della Curia Romana. Tema delle meditazioni di quest’anno: “Il sacerdote incontra Gesù e lo segue”. La giornata del primo marzo inizierà con l’adorazione eucaristica, alle 18.00, cui seguirà la celebrazione dei Vespri, la prima meditazione e la benedizione. I giorni successivi saranno scanditi dalle Lodi, alle 9.00, e dall'Ora Terza alle 10.15, seguite da due meditazioni. Alle 17.00 il cardinale Arinze terrà la terza meditazione del giorno. Alle 17.45 la celebrazione dei Vespri, l’adorazione eucaristica e la benedizione. Sabato 7 marzo, dopo le Lodi, la meditazione conclusiva.
English For Lenten Retreat, Old Worship
Feb 20, 2009
With Ash Wednesday but a week away, one annual mystery of Roman Lent is solved: the Curia's lone senior African, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, will lead this year's Lenten Retreat for the Pope and his top aides.

Whispers in the Loggia, Thursday, February 19, 2009
For Lenten Retreat, Old Worship

With Ash Wednesday but a week away, one annual mystery of Roman Lent is solved: the Curia's lone senior African, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, will lead this year's Lenten Retreat for the Pope and his top aides.

In December, the 76 year-old retired as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, leading the Holy See's interreligious dialogue efforts for two decades before his 2003 appointment as the global church's Worship Czar. Best known for his colorful interventions in the public arena, Arinze -- a convert ordained to the episcopacy at age 32 -- was named a cardinal in 1985.

While the invitation to preach the papal Lenten Retreat has been a venue for prior pontiffs to showcase their preferred papabili -- both Cardinals Karol Wojtyla (1976) and Joseph Ratzinger (2002) led the week of conferences prior to their elections to Peter's chair -- Benedict XVI has conspicuously avoided the custom, entrusting the task to cardinals already retired; last year, the octogenarian Scripture scholar Albert VanHoye SJ preached the exercises, following two former heads of Italy's major sees, Cardinals Marco Cé of Venice in 2006 and Giacomo Biffi of Bologna in 2007.

Always taking up the first full week of Lent, this year's retreat begins on the penitential season's first Sunday, 1 March; Arinze's chosen the theme "The Priest Encounters Jesus and Follows Him" as the basis for his meditations.

With curial business customarily curtailed for the exercises' duration, Benedict will depart Rome for his first visit to Africa ten days after the retreat's close.
French MISSEL : Interview du cardinal Francis Arinze
Jan 11, 2009

Le 09 janvier 2009 -  Eucharistie Sacrement de la Miséricorde - Depuis le premier novembre de cette année, l’Église catholique dispose d’une nouvelle réimpression de la troisième editio typica du Missel latin publié en 2002. Cette “tertia editio typica emendata”, dont les premiers exemplaires ont été imprimés en octobre, a été annoncée par le Bulletin officiel de la Congrégation pour le Culte divin et la Discipline des Sacrements, Notitiae (numéro 501-502, mai-juin 2008, p. 175-176), qui a rendu public un décret signé par le cardinal-préfet, Francis Arinze, et par l’archevêque secrétaire, Albert Malcom Ranjith, le 8 juin 2008. Dans le décret en question, qui a été approuvé par Benoît XVI au cours d’une audience accordée au cardinal Arinze le 2 février dernier, sont sommairement indiquées les nouveautés de la réimpression du Missel par rapport à la première version qui remonte à 2002.

Gianni Cardinale a posé quelques questions au cardinal Arinze, qui dirige depuis 2002 le dicastère du Vatican chargé de la liturgie, pour mieux connaître ces modifications.

Éminence, comme vous l’avez déjà déclaré dans une interview à L’Osservatore Romano du 17 octobre dernier, le changement le plus important introduit dans cette réimpression de la troisième editio typica du Missel latin se trouve à la page 605 et elle concerne la dernière phrase prononcée par le célébrant, l’“Ite, missa est”.

FRANCIS ARINZE : La formule “Ite, missa est” n’est pas abolie, elle reste en vigueur, mais lui seront jointes trois autres possibilités.

Lesquelles ?

ARINZE : “Ite, ad Evangelium Domini annuntiandum”; ou bien “Ite in pace, glorificando vita vestra Dominum”; ou encore: “Ite in pace”.

Pourquoi ce changement ?

ARINZE : Il est le fruit du Synode sur l’Eucharistie célébré en 2005. Dans le numéro 51 de l’exhortation post Synodale "Sacramentum Caritatis", Benoît XVI a voulu rappeler que le salut par lequel le diacre ou le prêtre congédie le peuple à la fin de la célébration eucharistique permet de saisir le rapport entre messe célébrée et mission chrétienne dans le monde. « Dans l’antiquité », rappelle le Pape, « missa signifiait tout simplement « congé » “dimissio”». Dans l’usage chrétien, ce mot a trouvé une signification plus profonde en se transformant en « mission ». Ce salut exprime ainsi la nature missionnaire de l’Église et il est par conséquent bon d’aider le peuple de Dieu à approfondir cette dimension constitutive de la vie ecclésiale, en s’inspirant de la liturgie. Dans cette perspective, pour la prière sur le peuple et pour la bénédiction finale, le Pape Benoît XVI a jugé utile de « disposer de textes, dûment approuvés, qui expliquent ce lien », ne serait-ce que parce que, désormais, pour de nombreux catholiques, la formule “Ite, missa est” semble simplement signifier : “Maintenant, la messe est dite, allez vous reposer”.

Comment a-t-on procédé pour choisir les trois nouvelles formules ?

ARINZE : Déjà, au cours du Synode, de nombreux Pères, qui souhaitaient des alternatives pour exprimer la dimension missionnaire du salut final, avaient suggéré, par exemple, l’idée suivante: « La célébration eucharistique est finie. Allez maintenant vivre ce que nous avons ressenti, reçu, chanté, prié et médité ». Interpellée par le Pape, notre Congrégation a entrepris une étude, suivie d’une vaste consultation, dont sont sorties 72 options différentes. Avant de les présenter à Benoît XVI, nous avons réduit leur nombre à neuf et le Souverain Pontife a choisi les trois que j’ai citées plus haut.

La réimpression du Missel présente aussi d’autres changements…

ARINZE : Pas beaucoup. En effet, on ne voulait pas promulguer une nouvelle édition du Missel proprement dite, mais corriger quelques petites coquilles et imperfections – que seuls les spécialistes avaient remarquées – qui concernaient les accents, la ponctuation, l’usage de la couleur noire ou rouge, ou encore améliorer la disposition graphique des textes, afin de faciliter la tâche du prêtre et de lui éviter d’avoir à tourner la page, lorsqu’il lit une prière.

Dans le décret publié dans le bulletin Notitiae, il est aussi fait référence à des changements dans le numéro 149 de l’Institutio generalis…

ARINZE : C’est un changement qui ne concerne pas les fidèles, mais la manière dont l’évêque doit se mentionner lui-même dans le Canon romain et dans les autres prières eucharistiques.

Toujours dans le décret, il est établi que les prières eucharistiques pour les messes avec les enfants n’apparaissent plus dans la réimpression du Missel…

ARINZE : En effet, on a préféré que ces deux prières eucharistiques ne soient pas considérées comme obligatoires pour toute l’Église. En fait, il n’est peut-être pas vraiment nécessaire d’avoir des prières eucharistiques faites expressément pour les enfants. Ceci dit, s’il y a des épiscopats qui veulent garder ces prières, ils pourront le faire dans les missels nationaux.

On trouve, à l’inverse, à la fin de la tertia editio typica emendata, l’ajout d’un Supplementum avec les textes propres à d’autres messes…

ARINZE : C’est vrai. Il s’agit des textes pour la messe de la veille de la Pentecôte – qui, bien qu’ayant été publiés en 1988, n’avaient pas été insérés dans la tertia editio typica de 2002 à cause d’une erreur matérielle – et des oraisons des célébrations récemment inscrites dans le Calendrier romain général, à savoir : saint Pio da Pietrelcina, le 23 septembre; saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, le 9 décembre et la bienheureuse Vierge Marie de Guadalupe, le 12 décembre. Les dévots de Padre Pio et du célèbre sanctuaire mexicain seront donc très contents. Il y a enfin une antique “Oratio super oblata” ajoutée dans la fête de la Nativité de la Bienheureuse Vierge Marie, le 8 septembre et dans le commun “per annum” de la Bienheureuse Vierge Marie.
English Pope hails Cardinal Arinze on 50th priestly ordination
Dec 26, 2008

POPE Benedict XVI yesterday poured encomiums on the Prefect, Congregation for the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican City, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, as he marked his 50th priestly ordination in Onitsha, Anambra State.

Others who showered praises for the life chastity and priestly activities of  Arinze were the Association of English Speaking Bishops of West Africa, represented by Peter Cardinal Tossy who read the Pope’s message, Archbishop Alaba Job of Ibadan Archdiocese who is President of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and his counterparts from Ebonyi and Imo State, Chief Martin Elechi and Chief Ikedi Ohakim respectively.

According to the Pope, “Cardinal Arinze fervently exercised his priestly ministry by proclaiming the truth of salvation and bringing spiritual comfort to the faithful.

Pope Paul VI, our predecessor of happy memory, seeing your human spiritual gifts raised you to the fullness of the priesthood in 1965, assigned you to the Titular See of Fissiana and designated you Co-Adjutor of the See of Onitsha, to the full government of which you succeeded after two years, said the Pope”.

He praised Arinze for caring for the training of Sacred Ministers and assisting countless children suffering famine during the war.
French Le célibat sacerdotal consacre plus étroitement au Christ
Dec 21, 2008
Nouvel ouvrage du card. Arinze : « Réflexions sur le sacerdoce, lettre à un jeune prêtre »

ROME, Vendredi 19 décembre 2008 ( - « Depuis toujours l'Eglise a eu une profonde considération pour le célibat des prêtres », rappelle le cardinal Francis Arinze dans un livre présenté mardi au siège de Radio Vatican.

De larges extraits de l'ouvrage intitulé Riflessioni sul sacerdozio, lettera a un giovane sacerdote (édition italienne publiée par la librairie éditrice vaticane, 138 pages, 12 euros), (Réflexions sur le sacerdoce, lettre à un jeune prêtre) ont été publiés par L'Osservatore Romano.

« Le Christ a vécu une vie virginale, il a enseigné à ses disciples la chasteté et a proposé la virginité à ceux qui sont disponibles et en mesure de suivre un tel appel », explique la cardinal, préfet émérite de la Congrégation pour le culte divin et la discipline des sacrements.

« Dans la vie sacerdotale, la chasteté perpétuelle pour le royaume des cieux exprime et stimule la charité pastorale. C'est une source particulière de fécondité spirituelle dans le monde » et « un témoignage qui resplendit devant le monde comme chemin concret à la suite du Christ », a-t-il ajouté.

Dans le monde d'aujourd'hui, « plongé dans un intérêt exagéré pour le sexe et sa désacralisation », « un prêtre qui vit avec joie, fidélité et de manière positive son vœu de chasteté est un témoin qui ne peut être ignoré », observe le prélat.

A travers le célibat sacerdotal, poursuit-il « le prêtre est consacré plus étroitement au Christ dans l'exercice de la paternité spirituelle », il se présente « avec plus de promptitude » « comme ministre du Christ, époux de l'Eglise », et « peut vraiment se présenter comme signe vivant du monde à venir, qui est déjà présent par l'intermédiaire de la foi et de la charité ».

Le prêtre, avertit le cardinal, « ne doit pas douter de la valeur ou de la réalité du célibat à cause de la menace représentée par la solitude », présente d'une certaine manière dans chaque état de vie, également dans le mariage.

Il serait donc erroné de chercher à éviter la solitude « en se jetant toujours plus dans le monde actif et en organisant sans cesse de nouvelles rencontres, des voyages ou des visites ».

En revanche, ce dont le prêtre a besoin c'est « de silence, de tranquillité et de recueillement pour se trouver en présence de Dieu, pour apporter une plus grande attention à Dieu et rencontrer le Christ dans la prière personnelle devant le tabernacle », parce que « c'est seulement ainsi qu'il sera capable de voir le Christ dans chaque personne qu'il rencontre dans son ministère ».

La fraternité est tout aussi importante pour bien vivre le célibat, au point que « l'idéal est que l'évêque fasse en sorte que les prêtres vivent par deux ou trois dans les paroisses, plutôt que seuls », parce que « nous avons besoin les uns des autres pour faire croître au maximum nos potentialités ».

Le prêtre, ajoute le cardinal dans son livre, « a comme Maître le Christ », et même s'il n'est pas possible d'en imiter la manière d'agir « dans chaque petit détail », « cela ne nous empêche pas de le suivre de la manière la plus proche possible ».

A côté de la pauvreté et de l'obéissance, l'exercice de la charité est fondamental.

« Un test sur la générosité du prêtre peut consister à se demander quels motifs de charité sont inclus dans ses désirs et combien de pauvres, séminaristes ou candidats à la vie consacrée, pleureront sa mort, reconnaissant qu'est parti leur père dans le Christ et leur bienfaiteur », souligne le cardinal Arinze.
Spanish Cardenal Arinze: el celibato sacerdotal consagra más estrechamente a Cristo
Dec 21, 2008

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO, martes 16 de diciembre de 2008 ( "La Iglesia, desde siempre, ha tenido en gran consideración el celibato de los sacerdotes". Así lo afirma el cardenal Francis Arinze, hasta hace unos días prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y la Disciplina de los Sacramentos, en un libro presentado este martes en la sede de Radio Vaticano.

Amplios fragmentos del texto de este libro, titulado "Reflexiones sobre el sacerdocio, carta a un joven sacerdote" (publicado por la librería Editrice Vaticana) han sido también publicados en italiano por el diario "L'Osservatore Romano".

"Cristo vivió una vida virginal, enseñó a sus discípulos la castidad y propuso la virginidad a los que están dispuestos y en grado de seguir una llamada semejante", explica el cardenal Arinze en su libro.

"En la vida sacerdotal, la continencia perpetua por el reino de los cielos expresa y estimula la caridad pastoral. Es una fuente especial de fecundidad espiritual en el mundo"; "es un testimonio que resplandece ante el mundo como camino eficaz para el seguimiento de Cristo".

En el mundo de hoy, "inmerso en una preocupación exagerada por el sexo y por su desacralización", "un presbítero que vive con alegría, fidelidad y positivamente su propio voto de castidad es un testigo que no puede ser ignorado", observa.

A través del celibato sacerdotal, prosigue el purpurado, "el presbítero se consagra más estrechamente a Cristo en el ejercicio de la paternidad espiritual", se manifiesta "con más disponibilidad" "como ministro de Cristo, esposo de la Iglesia", y puede "verdaderamente presentarse como signo vivo del mundo futuro, que está ya presente por medio de la fe y de la caridad".

El sacerdote, advierte el cardenal, "no debe dudar del valor o de la posibilidad del celibato a causa de la amenaza que representa la soledad", pues ésta está presente en cierta dosis en cada estado de vida, también en la vida matrimonial.

Sería por tanto una equivocación intentar evitar la soledad "lanzándose cada vez más a la actividad y organizando continuamente nuevos encuentros, viajes o visitas".

Lo que el sacerdote necesita en cambio es "el silencio, la quietud y el recogimiento para estar en la presencia de Dios, dar mayor atención a Dios y encontrar a Cristo en la oración personal ante el Tabernáculo", porque "sólo entonces será capaz de ver a Cristo en cada persona que encuentra durante su ministerio".

Para vivir bien el celibato es también importante la aportación de la fraternidad, hasta el punto que "el ideal es que el obispo haga de modo que los sacerdotes vivan de dos en dos o de tres en tres por parroquia, en vez de solos", porque "tienen necesidad unos de otros para hacer crecer al máximo sus potencialidades".

El presbítero, añade el cardenal en su libro, "tiene como Maestro a Cristo", y aunque no le sea posible imitar su forma de actuar "en cada mínimo detalle", "esto no nos exime de seguirlo de la forma más cercana posible".

La obediencia que el sacerdote da al Papa, al obispo y a sus representantes "se basa en la fe" y es el instrumento a través del cual "el sacerdote da a Dios la posibilidad de servirse plenamente de él para realizar la misión de la Iglesia".

"Dios protege al sacerdote que respeta y obedece a su obispo con fidelidad firme y nobleza de carácter".

Como seguidor de Cristo, que en su vida terrena vivió como pobre, el presbítero está llamado a la pobreza.

La virtud de la pobreza tiene que ver también con el uso personal del propio dinero. Evitando todo aquello que pueda apegarle a los bienes terrenos y le incline a gastos excesivos, el sacerdote debe acordarse de los pobres, de los enfermos, de los ancianos y de todos los necesitados en general.

Los medios de transporte, la casa, el mobiliario, el vestido, no deben ponerle en la parte de los ricos y los poderosos.

Un test sobre la generosidad del sacerdote puede consistir en preguntarse qué motivos de caridad se incluyen en sus deseos y cuánta gente pobre, pobres seminaristas o candidatos a la vida consagrada llorarán su muerte, reconociendo que ha fallecido su padre en Cristo y su benefactor.
Italian la pace, necessaria per il futuro dell'Africa
Nov 29, 2008
Vede con speranza il prossimo Sinodo speciale per questo continente

CITTA' DEL VATICANO, martedì, 25 novembre 2008 ( Il Cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, ha sottolineato il bisogno di pace per il futuro dell'Africa in relazione al prossimo Sinodo speciale per il continente, che avrà luogo il prossimo anno a Roma sul tema “La Chiesa in Africa a servizio della riconciliazione, della giustizia e della pace”.

In un'intervista concessa a “L'Osservatore Romano”, il porporato nigeriano ha spiegato che in Africa “vi sono società pacifiche e nazioni democratiche”, ma “vi sono ancora troppe violenze tra gruppi etnici, massacri, corruzione”.

In questo senso, ha sottolineato che il tema del prossimo Sinodo è provvidenziale perché “c'è bisogno di più giustizia e di pace in Africa”.

“La Chiesa non ha una ricetta miracolosa per risolvere i problemi, tantomeno soluzioni politiche o economiche – ha riconosciuto –. Non è la sua missione: essa deve predicare il Vangelo, che comporta il rispetto dei diritti degli altri e la conversione del cuore”.

“Se il cuore viene convertito, gli armamenti cadono dalle mani dei belligeranti”, ha aggiunto.

Il porporato, che ha celebrato questo fine settimana i 50 anni della sua ordinazione sacerdotale, ha ricordato al quotidiano vaticano la propria esperienza come Arcivescovo della Diocesi di Onitsha durante la guerra civile che ha flagellato la Nigeria negli anni Sessanta del Novecento.

Quando è stato chiamato da Giovanni Paolo II per presiedere il Pontificio Consiglio per il Dialogo Interreligioso nel 1984, ha sottolineato, si è mostrato disponibile ad andare dove il Papa lo stava chiamando anche se era “contento di essere Arcivescovo di Onitsha”.

“Sono stati anni certamente non monotoni”, ha confessato. “Quando la guerra toccò direttamente una parte dell'Arcidiocesi, mi occupai di trovare rifugio ai profughi e agli sfollati. Mi interessai di affidare queste persone alla cura di sacerdoti e cercai aiuti internazionali per risolvere il problema della mancanza di beni di prima necessità. Contattai diversi organismi e istituzioni. Fu un periodo fecondo di collaborazione con sacerdoti, religiosi e laici”.
German Friede für Afrika!
Nov 26, 2008
Bevorstehende Sondersynode ist ein Hoffnungsschimmer für den schwarzen Kontinent

ROM, 26. November 2008 ( Kardinal Francis Arinze, Präfekt der Kongregation für den Gottesdienst und die Sakramentenordnung, hat darauf hingewiesen, wie wichtig der Friede für die Zukunft des afrikanischen Kontinents sei. Er tat dies im Rahmen der Vorstellung der bevorstehenden Sondersynode für Afrika, die nächstes Jahr in Rom stattfinden wird. Die Bischöfe werden bei dieser Gelegenheit das Thema „Die Kirche in Afrika im Dienst der Widerversöhnung, der Gerechtigkeit und des Friedens" in den Blick nehmen.

Kardinal Arinze, der selbst aus Nigeria stammt, erklärte in einem Interview mit dem „Osservatore Romano", dass es in Afrika „sowohl eine friedliche Gesellschaft als auch demokratische Nationen gibt", dass jedoch „noch immer viel zu viel Gewalt unter den ethnischen Gruppen, Massaker und Korruption herrscht". Diesbezüglich sei das Thema der bevorstehenden Synode geradezu bezeichnend, denn „es braucht mehr Gerechtigkeit und Friede in Afrika".

„Die Kirche hat kein Geheimrezept dafür, Probleme zu lösen, ebenso wenig wie politische oder wirtschaftliche Lösungen. Das ist auch nicht ihr Auftrag. Sie muss das Evangelium verkünden, das für die Achtung der Rechte des Nächsten und die Bekehrung der Herzen steht. Werden die Herzen bekehrt, so fallen die Waffen aus den Händen der Kriegführenden", fügte er hinzu.

Der Kurienkardinal, der gerade erst sein 50. Priesterjubiläum feierte, blickte im Interview mit der vatikanischen Tageszeitung auf jene Jahre zurück, in denen er Erzbischof von Onitsha war - während des nigerianischen Bürgerkriegs in den 60er-Jahren.

Als er 1984 von Papst Johannes Paul II zum Vorsitzenden des Päpstlichen Rates für den Interreligiösen Dialog ernannt wurde, habe er sich bereit erklärt, dorthin zu gehen, wohin ihn der Heilige Vater rufe - auch wenn er als Erzbischof von Onitsha glücklicher gewesen sei.

„Diese waren bestimmt keine monotonen Jahre", gab er zu. „Als der Krieg plötzlich meine Erzdiözese bedrohte, suchte ich für die Obdachlosen und Evakuierten nach Unterkünften. Ich versuchte, sie Priestern anzuvertrauen, und kümmerte mich um internationale Hilfe, um das Problem der Erstversorgung zu lösen. Ich kontaktierte verschiedene Einrichtungen. Im Hinblick auf die Zusammenarbeit von Priestern, Ordensleuten und Laien war es eine fruchtbare Zeit."
German Mehr Gerechtigkeit für Afrika
Nov 22, 2008


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22/11/2008 14.13.19

Vatikan: Mehr Gerechtigkeit für Afrika

Die Kirche muss sich für mehr Frieden und Gerechtigkeit in Afrika einsetzen. Das sagte der Präfekt der Kongregation für den Gottesdienst und die Sakramentordnung, der nigerianische Kardinal Francis Arinze. Das Gespräch mit der Vatikanzeitung „L`Osservatore Romano“ wurde am Freitag publiziert, anlässlich seines 50. Priesterjubiläums. Die nächste Sondersynode über Afrika komme in dieser Hinsicht sehr gelegen. Zwar dürfe man die positiven und demokratischen Entwicklungen des afrikanischen Kontinents nicht aus den Augen verlieren. Doch gebe es immer noch zu viel Korruption und Gewalt zwischen rivalisierenden ethnischen Gruppen. Die Kirche müsse in Afrika zu mehr Respekt vor den Menschenechten beitragen. – Arinze hat des Weiteren Papst Benedikt XVI. bei einer Privataudienz am Samstag die neueste Version des Römischen Messbuchs übergeben. Es handelt sich um den ersten Nachdruck der dritten Auflage des „Missale Romanum“ von 2002.
English 48 Anniversary: Cardinal Arinze urges Nigerians to appreciate God
Sept 30, 2008
Nigeria’s cardinal at the Papacy in Rome, Cardinal Francis Arinze, flew into Lagos yesterday with a call on Nigerians to thank God for keeping the country as one indivisible entity since independence in 1960.

(Vanguard, 29 September 2008) Cardinal Arinze spoke in an interview with newsmen against the backdrop of the nation’s 48th independence anniversary taking place Wenesday, shortly after arriving the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Mohanmmed Airport, Lagos, aboard the executive jet owned by the Rivers State government.

The Catholic cleric, who was in high spirit, however declined comments on the festering crisis in the Niger Delta region, saying “ I work in The Vatican, in the office for divine worship, I am not competent to speak on political matters. so, that is not my own area, I do not answer questions on issues outside my office.

“I pray for Nigeria and all Nigerians for the 48th independence anniversary.  We should continue to pray for this country, may God bless us all.”

Cardinal Arinze, who was accompanied by the Archbishop of N’djamena, Chad, Matthias Ngarteri Mayadi, also parried questions on measures to achieve global peace saying.

“You want to put words in my mouth, so that you can say I said so,” fired Cardinal Arinze, who didn’t want to be dragged into any controversial issues.

Cardinal Arinze was, in the aftermath of the death of Pope John Paul 11, once taunted as a candidate for the seat of the Catholic Pontiff.
English Cardinal Arinze Advises Against Divorce
Sept 05, 2008
The Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacrament in the Vatican, Francis Cardinal Arinze has criticized those who seek divorce as a way of solving marital problems, saying divorce has adverse and negative consequences on children and the society in general.

Vanguard (Lagos, 25 August 2008) Speaking at his annual lecture tagged "Upholding The Diginity of the Family" at the Bassilica of The Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, he charged Christians to honour and uphold the rights, duties and dignity of the family, urging them to start seeing marriage as coming from God and the basic cell of society.

"Children of broken homes and families devoid of peace, mutual respect and the fear of God, often end up engaging in juvenile delinquency and becoming street urchins. Such homes produce children who never experienced what it means to be loved by their parents and they are often sent out to beg or to work when they should be in school, and the outcome of such morally corrupt families is that the society will be in trouble.

"Divorce tears marriage apart. It desolates both husband and wife. It leaves the children not only in tears but also in misery. We do not deny that there can be serious disagreement between husband and wife, but divorce is not the solution. When husband and wife have a disagreement, they should reflect, pray, sit together and discuss. Accept fault where you are wrong, ask for pardon, or consult a priest or other spiritual adviser, but do not divorce."
English Igbo, major producer of priests— Cardinal Arinze
Aug 13, 2008
AWKA—NIGERIAN-born Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacrament in the Vatican,  Francis Cardinal Arinze has said that  Igbos are one of the highest producers of priests in the Roman Catholic Church, and wants them to keep it up.

(, 13 August 2008) Cardinal Arinze spoke at St. Williams Catholic Church, Nkwelle Ezunaka in Oyi local government area of Anambra State during celeberation of the Golden Jubilee of the priestly ordination and 80th birthday of former chaplain of the Nigerian Army, Rev. Monsignor Matthew Obiukwu.

Delivering the homily at the occasion, Cardinal Arinze appealed to Ndigbo to remain  committed to the church and the production of more priests, adding that “priesthood is a gift and mystery from the Almighty and that is the reason why they act on behalf of Christ in the administering of Sacraments.”

Monsignor Obiukwu, who was the first Nigeria Army Catholic priest Champlain, in his speech thanked  God for keeping him in the vine yard of Lord up to this 50 years in priesthood, inspite of vicissitudes of life.

Commending the Monsignor a prominent member of the church and former deputy governor of Anambra State, Mrs Stella Odife, described the Monsignor as “a good man”.
Italian Cardinale Arinze: l'Eucaristia deve cambiare la vita quotidiana
Jun 23, 2008
Sottolinea la dimensione sociale del mistero.

QUÉBEC, lunedì, 23 giugno 2008 ( L'Eucaristia è una chiamata all'amore nelle situazioni concrete della vita quotidiana, ha affermato il Cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto della Congregazione vaticana per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, nell'omelia che ha pronunciato sabato durante il 49° Congresso Eucaristico Internazionale, svoltosi a Québec (Canada) dal 15 al 22 giugno.

“L'Eucaristia non è solo un mistero in cui credere e da celebrare, ma anche un mistero da vivere”, ha spiegato. “Al termine della Messa, il diacono, o il sacerdote, ci dice che siamo inviati a vivere il mistero che abbiamo celebrato, meditato e ricevuto”.

“La Santa Eucaristia ci invia a mostrare amore e solidarietà ai fratelli e alle sorelle che sono nel bisogno. [...] Siamo anche inviati a consolare quanti soffrono, ad aiutare a liberare le vittime della schiavitù, incluse quelle delle forme di oppressione sessuale, razziale o di altro tipo, a dare speranza ai bambini di strada e ad aiutare i popoli sottosviluppati a raggiungere un livello accettabile di vita umana”.

Il Cardinale Arinze ha aggiunto che l'amore per il prossimo non si limita a questo, ma si estende a quanti soffrono la fame e i bisogni spirituali.

“La gente è affamata della Parola di Dio, del Vangelo liberatore di Gesù Cristo”, ha affermato. “Per questo, l'opera missionaria, la catechesi nelle sue molteplici forme e che porta la gente alla Chiesa e ai sacramenti sono manifestazioni necessarie dell'amore per il prossimo”.

Secondo il porporato, la vita dei santi riflette l'amore per l'Eucaristia trasformato in servizio. Sottolineando che il Congresso di Québec ha celebrato la Giornata per l'Africa, ha portato l'esempio di molti eroi africani, tra cui i beati Cyprian Michael Tansi della Nigeria, Isidore Bakanja del Congo e David Okelo e Gilde Irwa dell'Uganda.

“Questi grandi seguaci di Gesù hanno ottenuto la vita dalla Santa Eucaristia”, ha osservato. “Nella forza della Santa Eucaristia, questi testimoni di Cristo nel mondo hanno camminato per i 40 giorni e le 40 notti del loro pellegrinaggio terreno fino all'incontro con il Signore nella vita eterna”.
English African cardinal opines on politicos and abortion
Apr 14, 2008
Nigerian-born Cardinal Francis Arinze said in a recently-released video that even little children know whether or not a pro-abortion politician should receive communion; reminded listeners of a 2002 letter sent by pope to US bishops on relativism.

(, April 12, 2008) A newly released video of a 2007 appearance of Francis Cardinal Arinze shows the cardinal addressing the issue of Catholic politicians who support permissive abortion laws but also present themselves for Holy Communion.

Speaking in a “Question and Answer” session at gathering for Familyland USA in 2007, the cardinal said the answer to the question was so obvious that even children preparing for First Communion could answer it correctly.

In a satirical manner, Cardinal Arinze criticized a standard pro-abortion political argument.

“To the person who says, ‘Personally, I am against abortion, but then if people really want to do it I leave them free’ you can say ‘You are a member of the senate or the congress.

“‘Personally I am not in favor of shooting the whole lot of you, but if somebody else wants to shoot all of you in the senate or all of you in the congress, it’s just pro-choice for that.

“That is what they are saying,” the cardinal argued.

“They are saying that personally, he is not in favor of killing these millions of children in the womb, but if others want to do it, he is pro-choice.”

Cardinal Arinze made a joking aside, saying, “And then you ask me ‘What does the Holy See do, why doesn’t the Pope send a dozen Swiss Guards to arrest them all’.”

The cardinal continued, “You may have heard about the letter that the present Holy Father, as prefect of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith, sent to American bishops on that issue.

The letter, which was issued in 2002, addresses the “cultural relativism that exists today” and condemns “the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy”. It also goes on to elaborate the obligations of Catholics in this cultural situation, focusing on life issues.

“So the matter is very clear,” Cardinal Arinze said.

The cardinal noted that he is often asked if a politician who votes for abortion should receive Holy Communion.

He said his reply was, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

“Get the children for first communion and say to them, somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time and these babies are killed, not one or two, but in millions, and that person says I am a practicing Catholic, should that person receive communion next Sunday?

“The children for first communion will answer that at the drop of a hat. You don’t need a cardinal to answer that.”
Italian Il cardinale Arinze: tutti abbiamo contribuito alla morte di Gesù
Mar 22, 2008
Il Venerdì Santo ci ricorda che Cristo è morto per i nostri peccati.

(Radio Vaticana, 21/03/2008) Tutti noi abbiamo contribuito in vario modo con i nostri peccati alla sua Passione e alla sua morte in Croce. Ascoltiamo la riflessione del cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto della Congregazione per il culto divino e la disciplina dei Sacramenti, intervistato da Giovanni Peduto:

R. – Tutti noi siamo colpevoli, chi più, chi meno. Ma tutti noi abbiamo contribuito. Ha dato la sua vita per tutta l’umanità. Gesù è morto – come Giovanni l’evangelista dice al capitolo 11 – per raccogliere tutti i Figli di Dio dispersi. E’ vero che, immediatamente, sono i capi degli Ebrei di quel tempo e Ponzio Pilato che hanno mancato di giustizia, di verità, di carità ... Però, noi non siamo innocenti. Ogni peccatore può dire in verità: “Gesù è morto sulla Croce per me!”. San Paolo ci dà l’esempio.

D. – Prima di esalare l’ultimo respiro, Gesù grida: “Dio mio, Dio mio perché mi hai abbandonato?”. Qual è il significato vero di questo grido?

R. – Sono le parole iniziali del famoso Salmo 22, quel salmo che mostra grande sofferenza, grande agonia ma anche grande fiducia in Dio. Allora, chi legge quel Salmo per intero, vede anche dove dice che confida in Dio. E’ per dimostrarci che Gesù veramente ha sofferto sulla Croce: non è una vuota apparenza! Lui è veramente Uomo, ma è anche Dio, e in quanto Dio non può soffrire, come Uomo non solo può soffrire, ma ha sofferto grande, grande angoscia. Eppure, ha sempre detto: “Padre, non secondo la mia volontà [umana], ma secondo la Tua volontà!”. Perciò, Gesù si offre. Ma ha sofferto, e in quella sofferenza quasi che il Padre l’avesse abbandonato ... Ma Lui sapeva che il Padre non l’aveva abbandonato, ma era una manifestazione della profondità della sofferenza.
English True liturgical reform must avoid “wild liturgy,” Cardinal Arinze explains
Mar 20, 2008
Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Church’s “liturgist-in-chief,” recently made a speech at an African university in which he criticized liturgical abuses and protested Masses where the recklessly innovative priests act as “Reverend Showman”.

Nairobi, Mar 19, 2008 / 02:33 am (CNA).- The Nigerian-born Cardinal Arinze, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, was in Kenya to conduct a workshop and a retreat on liturgy for the bishops, according to CISA.  While he was at the Catholic University of East Africa, the cardinal delivered a public lecture in which he discussed the importance of following liturgical rubrics and the proper place of inculturation in the liturgy.

The cardinal discussed sentiments that cause errors in worship, such as regarding everyone as an expert in liturgy, extolling spontaneity and creativity to the detriment of approved rites and prayers, seeking immediate popular applause or enjoyment, and ignoring approved liturgical texts.

He said that liturgical abuses were often due to an ignorance that rejects elements of worship whose deeper meaning is not understood or whose antiquity is not recognized.

Cardinal Arinze clarified the nature of the reforms of Vatican II, saying they must be seen as continuous with the past rather than as a dramatic break.  “The Catholic Church is the same before and after Vatican II. It isn’t another Church,” he said.

Some aspects of liturgical rites can be modified according to pastoral needs.  “The Church does not live in the Vatican Museum,” the cardinal said.  However, he said that incorporating local traditions into the practice of the faith, which is known as inculturation, should be compatible with the Christian message and in communion with the universal Church.

Inculturation, he said, “should make people part of a Church which is universal but also local.”

Cardinal Arinze attacked distortions of inculturation, saying, “It is a caricature of inculturation to understand it as the invention of the fertile imagination of some enthusiastic priest, who concocts an idea on Saturday night and tries it on the innocent congregation the following morning. He may have good will, but good will is not enough.”

The cardinal also condemned individualistic experimentation, saying, “the person who of his own authority adds or subtracts from the laid down liturgical rites is doing harm to the Church.”

Proper inculturation, the cardinal said, required bishops to guide the introduction of new elements into worship.  Innovations should take place only after careful consideration, after bishops have set up a multi-disciplinary group of experts to study a cultural element to be included in the liturgy.

The group of experts should then make their recommendation to their bishops’ conference.  If both the bishops’ conference and the Holy See approve the innovation, after limited experiment and “due preparation” of the clergy and the people, the new element may be incorporated.  “Otherwise it is wild liturgy,” said Cardinal Arinze.

Cardinal Arinze characterized a successful celebration of the Mass as one that “manifests the Catholic faith powerfully, encourages those who have the faith already, shakes up those who are slumbering and those who are at the edge, and makes curious those who are not Catholics at all.”

The Mass must send Catholics home “full of joy, ready to come back again, ready to live it and to share it.”

The cardinal encouraged future priests’ proper formation in liturgy and the ongoing liturgical formation of both clergy and lay people.
Italian Serve una formazione liturgica permanente
Nov 17, 2007
Così il cardinale Arinze al convegno dei direttori degli Uffici liturgici diocesani.

(Radio Vaticana, 15/11/2007) Formarsi bene per celebrare meglio. Il cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto della Congregazione per il culto conclude in pratica con questo slogan il Convegno dei direttori degli Uffici liturgici diocesani, che ha riunito per quattro giorni ad Assisi i principali esperti di liturgia di tutta la Penisola. “Ogni membro della Chiesa ha bisogno di una formazione liturgica permanente”, ricorda il porporato fin dall’omelia della Messa che presiede di buon mattino nella Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli. E quindi aggiunge: “In modo speciale ne necessitano il diacono, il sacerdote e il vescovo, a causa del loro ruolo specifico”. La liturgia, infatti, “non è a disposizione del nostro arbitrio – prosegue Arinze, citando l’esortazione post-sinodale di Benedetto XVI "Sacramentum Caritatis" – e non può subire il ricatto delle mode del momento”. Una seria formazione mette perciò al riparo da tali rischi. La conferma viene poi anche da una tavola rotonda in cui alcuni direttori di uffici liturgici diocesani parlano della propria esperienza. E così ci si accorge che “formarsi bene per celebrare meglio” è molto più che uno slogan. Ma una vera e propria esigenza della vita di fede.
Italian Il cardinale Arinze: ogni credente è chiamato alla santità
Nov 04, 2007
La Chiesa celebra la Solennità di Tutti i Santi.

(Radio Vaticana, 01/11/2007) Oggi la Chiesa celebra la Solennità di Tutti i Santi: il Papa alle 12.00 si affaccerà dalla finestra del suo studio privato per la recita dell'Angelus con i pellegrini giunti in Piazza San Pietro. Ma sul senso di questa festa e sul significato della comunione dei Santi ascoltiamo la riflessione del cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto di Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, al microfono di Giovanni Peduto:

R. – La comunione dei Santi è l’unità di tutti coloro che credono in Cristo: quelli che sono già arrivati nella casa del cielo; quelli che sono in Purgatorio; e quelli che sono ancora sulla terra. E’ la Chiesa vista nelle tre stagioni: noi, pellegrinanti sulla terra; quelli che sono arrivati in Purgatorio e che anche se al momento ancora soffrono, sono sicuri di andare poi in cielo; e quelli che sono già arrivati a casa, in cielo. La celebrazione del 1° novembre mette l’enfasi sui nostri fratelli e sorelle che sono già arrivati in cielo, con Dio e che possono vedere Dio com’è, per sempre.

D. – Cosa intendere per intercessione dei Santi?

R. – I Santi in cielo possono pregare per noi. Se, ad esempio, quando Padre Pio poteva pregare per noi quando era in terra, tanto più lo può fare ora che è in cielo, cominciando proprio da Maria Santissima, gli Angeli ed i Santi. Loro, quindi, pregano per noi, intercedono per noi, come fedeli, come parrocchie, come diocesi, per tutta la Chiesa. E’ in questo senso che diciamo che i Santi pregano per noi ed ognuno di noi ha il suo Santo patrono e generalmente è bene prendere il nome di qualcuno in cielo, come proprio protettore santo.

D. – Tutti siamo chiamati a diventare santi, ma cosa si intende per questa chiamata universale alla santità?

R. – La santità è la pienezza della carità. Chi ha più amore per Dio e per il prossimo, è santo. Così è stato definito il Concilio Vaticano II. La chiamata alla santità non è un qualcosa riservato soltanto a qualcuno, ma è rivolta a tutti la chiamata universale alla santità. Così insegna il Concilio nel grande documento della Lumen Gentium e così la Chiesa propone per la nostra ammirazione, imitazione i Santi in diverse situazioni e vocazioni nella vita. Ci sono sacerdoti e noi sappiamo che sono molti, come Tommaso d’Aquino, Giovanni Bosco, Giovanni Maria Vianney, religiosi come San Benedetto, San Bernardo, Teresa d’Avila, Teresa di Lisieux e la Beata Teresa di Calcutta. Ma non solo, ci sono anche i laici: basta pensare a Tommaso Moro, Carlo Lwanga, Santa Maria Goretti, martire a soli 11 anni, i Beati Luigi e Maria Beltrami Quattrocchi, marito e moglie, Gianna Beretta Molla e tanti altri ancora. L’Apocalisse dice 144 mila: un numero che non si può contare, che include tutti i popoli, tutte le culture e tutte le nazioni che cantano il nuovo canto dell’Agnello di Dio, di Cristo Redentore. E’ la chiamata per tutti noi.

D. – Anche lei, eminenza, avrà qualche Santo che invoca più spesso?

R. – Senza dubbio. I miei patroni carissimi sono San Francesco d’Assisi e San Francesco Saverio, perché ho preso lo stesso nome di battesimo e di cresima. Certamente tutti i Santi sono grandi, ma questi due sono sicuramente più cari a me, proprio perché io porto il loro nome e loro mi danno l'esempio su come andare avanti. Ma sono anche molto legato al Beato Cipriano Michele Tansi, quel sacerdote nigeriano che mi ha battezzato, che mi ha confessato la prima volta e mi ha conferito la Prima Comunione: io ero il suo chierichetto nel 1945 e Papa Giovanni Paolo II lo ha beatificato proprio nella sua diocesi nel 1998. Non potevo certo esserne indifferente.
Italian Un bilancio della sua missione negli Stati Uniti
Oct 03, 2007
Il cardinale Francis Arinze fa un bilancio della sua missione negli Stati Uniti, fra i laici e i sacerdoti che chiedono la formazione cristiana permanente.

(Radio Vaticana, 02/10/2007) L’approfondimento della fede, tradotto in un'esperienza di formazione permanente, è un desiderio costante sia del laicato sia di numerosi sacerdoti degli Stati Uniti. Agli esponenti di entrambe le categorie ha parlato il cardinale Francis Arinze, prefetto della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti. Il porporato è rientrato da un viaggio che lo ha portato dapprima nella diocesi di Colorado Springs, per l'incontro con i gruppi laicali, quindi nel Kentucky per un analogo appuntamento con i sacerdoti. Il convegno è stato organizzato da "Legatus", un’organizzazione di laici ad alto livello nelle industrie, negli uffici, creata da Thomas Monahan. Tema di quest'anno: matrimonio e famiglia. Giovanni Peduto ha sentito il cardinale Arinze:

R. - Se la famiglia sta bene, se il matrimonio si stabilisce secondo le leggi del Creatore, c’è speranza per la Chiesa e per la società, altrimenti siamo nei guai, perché tutti noi proveniamo dalla famiglia. Allora, ho parlato dell’importanza di guardare “le istruzioni” del Creatore. Ad esempio, se uno compra uno computer, studia le istruzioni di chi l’ha fatto. Se uno compra un aereo jet, è nel suo interesse seguire le istruzioni di chi ha costruito questo apparecchio. Se il matrimonio e la famiglia li vediamo bene, ci accorgiamo che non sono nostra invenzione, il Creatore è Dio e se vogliamo che funzionino bene, dobbiamo seguire le “istruzioni” del Creatore e così saremo in giusta linea, perché Dio sa ciò che è buono per noi. La dottrina della Chiesa non è altro che spiegare i Dieci Comandamenti, spiegare la natura umana creata da Dio, elevata allo stato di grazia da Cristo Redentore. Il Sacramento del matrimonio diventa per i cristiani un’elevazione di quel contratto già naturale di legame tra un uomo ed una donna: non è una definizione che noi possiamo “rifare” perché il Signore ha già fatto tutto. Questa è la linea di ciò che ho detto e io ho visto grande interesse tra di loro.

D. - Eminenza, passiamo ai sacerdoti del Kentucky: cosa può riferirci in proposito?

R. - Si tratta della diocesi di Covington. Il vescovo, Roger Joseph Foys, e i suoi sacerdoti dedicano tre giorni alla formazione continua ogni due anni, recandosi fuori della diocesi in un luogo separato. Questa volta il loro focus era sulla liturgia e sull’Eucaristia e mi hanno chiesto di animare le riflessioni per due giorni: parlando, facendo delle proposte, a cominciare con il posto occupato dalla liturgia nella nostra vita ecclesiale e nella nostra vita personale di cristiani e di sacerdoti, e poi il posto centrale della Santissima Eucaristia in tutto quel complesso di culto della Chiesa del quale è centro e apice. Ruotano intorno all’Eucaristia tutta la vita della Chiesa, tutti gli altri Sacramenti ed anche i nostri sforzi, le iniziative apostoliche. Il sacerdote deve sentirsi bene con Gesù nella Santissima Eucaristia, che è sacrificio da una parte e Sacramento dall’altra parte. Così, il sacrificio della Messa l’Eucaristia non finisce, è Sacramento che continua. E dunque: visita al Santissimo Sacramento, ora di adorazione - addirittura tutta la giornata, perché no, si fa già da molte parti - e poi venerazione ed adorazione dell’Eucaristia in processioni eucaristiche, benedizione eucaristica ed anche congresso eucaristico. Per tutto questo, il documento recente del Santo Padre Sacramentum Caritatis, è di grandissima attualità.
English Cardinal Takes to Cyberspace to Teach the Faith
Sept 28, 2007
One cardinal is using every avenue of technology available to tell the entire world just what the Catholic Church is really about.

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi, 28 September 2007) Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, has his own webcast available on the Internet.

ZENIT reports that the Cardinal Arinze webcast aims at clarifying Church teaching. It is produced by the Ohio-based apostolate for Family Consecration, founded by Jerome Coniker and his wife, Gwen. Gwen's cause for beatification is now being considered.

The site explains: "Just when you'd think the confusion surrounding religion, God or truth is at its highest, we are helped by technology to plug directly into the Vatican where, in a webcast, Cardinal Arinze will tell you just what the Catholic Church really is about and what her true message is on living a joyful and fulfilling life."

Using both podcasting, which is audible, and webcasting, which includes video footage, the 74-year-old cardinal discusses such topics as theology of the body, Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," the Second Vatican Council, family, and the liturgy.

Lectures and homilies given by the cardinal over the last several years are also available.
English Visiting cardinal discusses changes in Mass
Sept 17, 2007
To encourage Catholics to apply their faith in daily life, the Vatican is considering alternative endings to the priest's last line of the Mass: "The Mass is ended. Go in peace."

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 15, 2007) "Many people, when they hear, 'Go, the Mass is ended,' think that what we are saying is, 'It is finished, you can go and rest,'" said Cardinal Francis Arinze, who heads the Vatican's office on liturgy and sacraments. He spoke Thursday night to 120 people at LeMont Restaurant on Mount Washington, during a benefit for the Apostolate for Family Consecration, an Ohio ministry where he spends part of each summer.

After the Synod for the Eucharist in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI asked Cardinal Arinze's office to consider optional closing words. So far he has received more than 70 suggestions, he said.

Examples include "Go and live what we have celebrated" and "We have celebrated the good news of Christ, go and share this with your brethren," he said.

At the dinner the apostolate presented its highest award to a popular priest from this region, the Rev. Michael Scanlan, chancellor of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Father Scanlan, a Harvard Law School graduate who later became a Franciscan, revitalized the Steubenville campus when it was near bankruptcy, making it a center of the Catholic charismatic movement.

In brief remarks Thursday, he stressed that the university is no longer exclusively identified with the charismatic movement, which stresses supernatural gifts such as speaking in tongues and healing.

"We are inclusive," he said. "What the church loves, we love."

When people ask him if he's conservative, "I've said I'm liberal in matters where Pope John Paul II is liberal and I'm conservative in matters where Pope John Paul II is conservative. I'm following the church," he said.

"Ours is a commitment to dynamic orthodoxy."
English Nigeria needs public spirited leaders
Sept 07, 2007
“Every society needs leaders who distinguish themselves by their competence and spirit of service, and may God give Nigeria many of such leaders who will become catalysts for justice development, respect for the right of others, peace and joy”.

(Sunday Tribune, 02.09.2007) These were the words of Cardinal Arinze, during the Cardinal’s annual lectures held at the Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Onitsha. Arinze, who spoke on the topic ‘Leadership as Service; the Nigerian Situation’, stated that leadership positions in all strata of the society should be a tool for service and divine representation of the people, instead of avenues for self promotion.

He charged leaders to be careful to respect the liberties of their subjects, stating that a true leader is sensitive to the plight of his subjects, with a view to encouraging free and participatory leadership.

Arinze urged the followers, to always display a deep sense of responsive obedience, adding that leadership is a joint responsibility.

“Everyone has a share in striving to indentify and build up the best leaders with a sense of service. It is unhealthy and unhelpful for the people in a society to sit down and lament their fate in having poor and selfish leaders. They have to ask themselves what actions they have taken in enabling such leaders to emerge and to remain in office,”he sounded

The Cardinal, however disclosed that abuses of leadership positions can be reduced when the people demand clearer programmes from political parties, insist on free and fair elections and show deep and public resentment for currupt public officers and their ill-gotten whealth.

He maintained that this change can be achieved without resorting to ethnic war or violent clashes, but through bible based education on the benefits of service oriented leadership.
English Why Leaders Abuse Office, By Cardinal Arinze
Sept 04, 2007
THE Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacrament, at the Vatican, Francis Cardinal Arinze has called on Nigerian political and religious leaders to see leadership as a service, saying that deviation from this virtue leads to abuse of office and corruption.

Posted to the web 3 September 2007

By Anayo Okoli
Vanguard (Lagos)

THE Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacrament, at the Vatican, Francis Cardinal Arinze has called on Nigerian political and religious leaders to see leadership as a service, saying that deviation from this virtue leads to abuse of office and corruption.

According to Arinze, leadership should be made a joint responsibility between the leaders and the led, and both sides must appreciate the quality of leadership.

Arinze who spoke yesterday in Onitsha while giving a lecture entitled, "Leadership as Service: the Nigerian Situation", organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, emphasized the need for training leaders to know that leadership is service. Making allusions to the Bible, Arinze explained that even Jesus Christ led by service and also preached that as a good virtue.

He called on leaders to make their appointments based on merit irrespective of who the person is, saying that appointments should not be a "weapon to reward friends and punish enemies"

His words: "The good leader should be convinced that he or she is there for the good of the community, for its service, to help the community realize its best objectives.

The leader is there for the people, not the people for the leader. It follows that the leader should embody the best hopes of his people and be ready to sacrifice himself for those hopes. The good leader should have clear ideas of the good of his people. He should not be afraid of the reality.

Together with like-minded members of the community, he should carefully map out where their society is going, what equipment it has or should have, what impediments are on its way, and how it can get there. The able leader is anxious to identify the best capable people who can help to clarify these objectives, to articulate them and to make them available to the people of the community, since everybody cannot be an expert.

"A good leader has the ability to share a vision, to present the desirable objectives to convince people and to bring them along to share his vision, his inspiration, his fire. But you cannot inspire unless you first have fire. A leader who cannot fire people with enthusiasm or conviction is not a good leader.
English Leadership, a Joint Responsibility - Cardinal Arinze
Sept 04, 2007
Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacrament in the Vatican City, Cardinal Francis Arinze, has advised Nigerian leaders to use their positions to inspire the people to show interest in governance and nation-building, by exhibiting attributes that can convince them to share in the vision of improved society.

Posted to the web 4 September 2007

By Emeka Osondu
This Day (Lagos)

Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacrament in the Vatican City, Cardinal Francis Arinze, has advised Nigerian leaders to use their positions to inspire the people to show interest in governance and nation-building, by exhibiting attributes that can convince them to share in the vision of improved society.

Delivering a lecture entitled "Leadership as Service. The Nigerian Situation," organised by the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Onitsha, Cardinal Arinze said political leaders should be concerned about the good of the people and not exploit the poor and unemployed.

He said in politics and governance, it is the good of the people that should be of utmost importance by any leadership that has the improvement of the society at heart, just as such leadership should exhibit, honesty, transparency, probity and respect in the administration of public affairs and funds, among others.

"A good leader is open to discussion and dialogue. He is not afraid of facts. He does not hush anyone. Socrates said he could argue with a slave and the slave could be right, because the truth of a proposition does not depend on the dignity of the person who propounded it.

"Therefore a secure leader does not hesitate to change policy in the light of overwhelming fresh evidence," he said.

He does not regard as enemies those who have differing views. He dialogues with them sincerely. But when a decision is made, he is courageous and firm in carrying it out," he stressed.

The Cardinal stated that by exhibiting such positive traits, the people are encouraged to join forces in promoting the visions put forward for solving those problems identified in the society as well as beef up their support for the administration, which he said will incidentally go a long way to building up of such leadership. According to him, "every society has to ask itself what it does to prepare its leaders and to keep them in good shape. High targets should be set.

Talented people should be identified, with past performance as an indication. Ongoing formation is needed for those in active service."The people can approach the solution by demanding clear programmes from the political parties, insisting that elections rigging has to stop, and refusing to share the little bones thrown to them from tables of the corrupt rich."Short-sighted considerations, such as place of origin should be allowed to prevent the appointment of the person who can best deliver the goods. Gratitude and appreciation should be expressed when leaders perform with the proper spirit," Cardinal Arinze advised.

He cited an instance where a political community tolerates leaders who are incompetent, with poor vision of the needs of the society, or even downright cheats and corrupt rogues, arguing that should such misfits who are given chieftaincy titles, applauded even they do not say anything very useful, given front seats in church and other social celebrations and invited to chairman big events and lanch-raising initiatives - then has such a political community not contributed to its having unsuitable leadership.

"Everyone has a share in striving to identify and build up the best leaders with a sense of service. It is unhealthy and unhelpful for the people in a society to sit down and lament their fate in having poor and selfish leaders. They have to ask themselves what action they have taken in enabling such leaders to emerge and to remain in office. "A leader does not come form nowhere.

A leader comes from a people, a culture, and a society. If that society decides that it will no longer tolerate leaders who share public funds as if these were their private money; if the society now says a definite no to bribery and corruption and rigging at elections; and if the community decides that ethnicism and blind tribalism must now cease to be a criterion for appointments, the dawn has begun for that society," the Cardinal contended.
English Top Vatican cardinal addresses St. Louis liturgy conference
Nov 12, 2006
Cardinal Francis Arinze, one of the most popular and powerful Vatican officials to visit St. Louis since Pope John Paul II's 1999 visit, told more than 250 people at the Chase Park Plaza Saturday morning that Latin should be used more frequently in the Roman Catholic liturgy.

(ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/12/2006) The Latin language now, he said "is in the ecclesiastical refrigerator ... Mass today should be in Latin from time to time."

Arinze, as the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is the Roman Catholic church's chief liturgist. He was the keynote speaker on the final day of the Gateway Liturgical Conference, sponsored by the St. Louis Archdiocese. Arinze, 74, had been scheduled to give the keynote address at the 2005 Gateway Liturgical Conference, but had to cancel his trip when John Paul died less than a week before the cardinal's address was scheduled.

Arinze, a native of Nigeria, was president of the Vatican's Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue for 17 years before being named to his present position four years ago. Partially because of the explosive growth of the Roman Catholic church in Africa and because of the his expertise on Islam, Arinze was frequently mentioned as a papabile — or likely next pope — in the immediate wake of John Paul's death.

In his address on Saturday, titled, "Language in the Latin Rite Liturgy: Latin and Vernacular," Arinze said the Roman church used Greek in its early years, but was "Latinized" in the fourth century. "The Roman rite has Latin as its official language," he said. The great religions of the world all "hold on" to their founding languages — Judaism to Hebrew and Aramaic, Islam to Arabic, Hindu to Sanskrit and Buddhism to Pali.

"Is it a small matter," he asked, for priests or bishops from around the world to be able to speak to each other in universal language of the church? Or for "a million students" who gather for World Youth Day every few years "to be able to say parts of the Mass in Latin?"

In an hourlong, often humorous, address that received several standing ovations, Arinze suggested that, in order to give Catholics options, large parishes offer the Mass in Latin at least once a week, and in smaller, rural parishes, at least once a month. (Homilies, he said, should always be in the faithful's native language.) Latin "suits a church that is universal. It has a stability modern languages don't have," he said.

Last month Vatican officials said Pope Benedict XVI would soon loosen restrictions on the Latin, or Tridentine, Mass. In the 1960s the Second Vatican Council approved the use of vernacular translations of the Tridentine Mass, and today most Catholics are familiar with the celebration of Mass in their own languages.

To celebrate the Tridentine Mass now, a priest must obtain permission from his bishop. The rumored papal approval, or indult, would expand the use of the Tridentine Mass by allowing individual priests to celebrate the Tridentine Mass without the approval of the local bishop.

The cardinal was coy about the timing of the indult, which some Vatican watchers believe could come this month. "The pope has not said anything about it," he said. "When the pope does say something, we will all hear it. "
German Kardinal Arinze über die Stärken der afrikanischen Kirche
Nov 01, 2006
Kardinal Francis Arinze hat ein wichtiges Kurienamt inne: Er ist Präfekt der Gottesdienst- und Sakramentenkongregation: Ein wichtiges Amt in Rom.

(Radio Vatikan, 15/10/2006) Er ist der einzige Schwarzafrikaner unter den aktiven Kurienkardinälen. Manche hatten bei der letzten Papstwahl vermutet, er könnte vielleicht der erste „schwarze“ Papst der Kirchengeschichte werden. Wir von Radio Vatikan haben mit ihm über die Situation der Kirche in Afrika gesprochen. Der Kardinal bedauert, dass oft nur wegen schlechter Nachrichten über Afrika gesprochen werde. Dabei gebe es so viel Gutes von dem Kontinent zu berichten. So zum Beispiel die Laien. Arinze freue sich…

„…dass die Laien sich wirklich als die Kirche fühlen. Ich bin gerade von einer Reise nach Nigeria zurückgekehrt. Und ich habe in den Laien ein Bewusstsein erlebt, wirklich die Kirche zu sein. Die Kirche besteht nicht aus Klerikern und vielleicht Ordensleuten, sondern aus uns allen! Das ist etwas, was sehr gut läuft: Die Laien sehen ihre Aufgabe in der Präsenz im öffentlichen Leben, in der Politik, in der Erziehung, in der Ausbildung in der medizinischen Versorgung.“

Eine weitere Stärke der afrikanischen Kirche seien vor allem die zahlreichen Priester- und Ordensberufungen. Man könne hier fast schon von einem Boom sprechen. Weiterhin bleibe der Einsatz für die Menschen erste Priorität, so Kardinal Arinze:

„Die Gerechtigkeit, der Respekt vor den Menschenrechten, der Respekt gegenüber der Frau, die Sorge um die Ärmsten, die Kleinen, diejenigen, für die keiner spricht. Auch ist es wichtig, die Verantwortlichen in der Politik davon zu überzeugen, dass die religiösen Überzeugungen müssen die politischen Entscheidungen beeinflussen. Nicht in dem Sinne, dass die Kirche die Politik diktiert, sondern in dem Sinne, dass die Soziallehre des Christentums in ihrem Eintreten für das Recht, für den Respekt des Anderen, für die Gerechtigkeit, für den Einsatz für das Gemeinwohl: Das ist immer gültig, nicht nur Sonntag morgen!“
English Cardinal Arinze worries over fate of Nigerian youths abroad
Sept 16, 2006
Cardinal Francis Arinze has bemoaned the fate of Nigerian youths seeking greener pastures abroad. The cardinal, who is the Prefect for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacrament of the Catholic Faith in Vatican, made the assertion in Onitsha in an interview with newsmen after a reception organised in his honour by St. Francis Catholic Church, Onitsha.

(Nigerian Tribune, 12.09.2006) He noted with dismay that many Nigerian youths who migrated to various parts of Europe suffered untold hardship.

According to him, “the only exceptions were professionals like medical doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers and journalists, who were employed by reputable organisations with reasonable remuneration”

He said he was moved with pity to see Nigerian youths suffering with no helper, especially young girls, who were deceived by some dubious Nigerians who claimed to have found jobs for them, but later subjected them to prostitution.

Cardinal Arinze stated that some of these youths were involved in hard drugs and ended up serving many years in jail.

He also said that most of the youths who have no money to travel abroad through the air, cross through the Mediterranean Sea with canoes, only to die in the process.
English Cardinal urges Nigerians to pray for success of elections
Jul 25, 2006
A top Vatican official has called on fellow Nigerians to pray for the success of the 2007 general elections.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNS, July 20,2006) -- "The 2007 elections portend ominous signs," Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, told journalists, church and state officials July 1 upon his arrival in Enugu, Nigeria.

The Nigerian-born cardinal said the inability of his homeland's leadership to enforce the constitution may jeopardize the forthcoming elections.

"Such laxity is responsible for the recurring breakdown of law and order in this country," Cardinal Arinze said.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has scheduled elections for April 7-28; incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo, elected in 1999, will end his second term in May.

The cardinal said the last seven years had seen both positive and negative trends.

"The country would have been one of the best democracies in the world if her potential had been properly harnessed," he said.

He called on Nigerians to pray that God would help them choose leaders that would lead the country in the right direction.

"Elections are to select those who would govern us. It matters very much what type of people govern us, because their decisions will affect other people, even generations not yet born," he said.

He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission and other agencies that would be involved in the elections to be fair and allow justice to prevail in their activities.

"You must be aware that it is a serious matter and (you) should, therefore, do your part so that people will vote for the person they think will meet their needs," the cardinal said.

"Those who win should not overcelebrate, but they should go and serve the people, while losers should accept the verdict because everybody cannot win the same seat at the same time," he said, adding that winners and losers should work for the good of the nation.
English Congress To Promote Liturgy In Africa
Jul 24, 2006
His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Vatican has commended Catholics in Africa and Madagascar for their manifestation of joy and sense of community in their liturgical celebrations, their love of song and their desire to see acceptable elements of their culture incorporated into their public worship of the church.

Accra Mail (Accra, July 10, 2006) Cardinal Arinze made this remark at the opening ceremony of a six-day congress for the Promotion of Liturgy in Africa and Madagascar in Kumasi. It was being organised by the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in collaboration with the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference.

The congress aims "to evaluate, promote and re-launch liturgical life" in the African continent. Among those who participated in the congress, the communiqué proceeds, are: superiors of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, members and consultors of African origin belonging to that dicastery, the presidents of SECAM (Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) and of the liturgical commission of CERAO (Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa), and the apostolic nuncio to Ghana, as well as bishops, priests and religious.

In a goodwill message, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI called on the participants and the African Continent to ensure that the praise of God is proclaimed with an authentically African voice and that the faithful enter more deeply into the mysteries that they celebrate, proclaiming them with confidence and live them with joy.

Mr. J.H. Mensah, Senior Minister, who represented President John Agyekum Kufuor, said, "using authentic liturgy will lead to the strengthening of the Catholic Church in Ghana as this will lead to the building of a disciplined society".

Mr. Mensah said in this era of the world relying on "unprincipled methods of living, it is necessary for the Church and the State to work together to get Ghanaians to live as a people of God."

He said since education is fundamental in the life of any country, the government acknowledge the role of the Catholic Church and congratulated the Church for playing that role effectively in the country. Mr. Mensah expressed government's support to the development of the first Ghana Catholic University College of Fiapre in the Brong Ahafo Region in order to provide quality education that would respond to the cultural values of Ghana.

He thanked the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference (GCBC) for lending its support to the government's invitation to Pope Benedict XVI to visit Ghana next year to participate in the centenary celebrations of the planting of Catholicism in the Northern part of Ghana and the golden jubilee of Ghana's independence.

He said he made the invitation to the Pope last March during the investiture of His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Dery, Archbishop Emeritus of Tamale and Ghana's second Cardinal, an invitation reechoed during the recent ad limina of the Bishops of Ghana His Eminence Peter Cardinal Turkson, who presided over the opening ceremony, was happy that Ghana was chosen to host the congress.

He said the hosting has coincided with the achievement of Ghana's Black Stars, who were the last African team to play in the one-sixteenth of the World Cup in Germany, saying their participation has put the nation into the world soccer map.

Most Rev. George Kocherry, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, said he is proud to be the Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana in this era of his life.

This was in reference to the fact that the Nuncio was the only foreigner to have received a national award from President Kufuor, recently.

The delegates participating in the Congress were hosted to a durbar and lunch by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, King of the Ashanti Kingdom at his Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.

The delegates, who were led to Otumfuo's palace by Most Rev. Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Archbishop of Kumasi and Chief Coordinator of the congress, explained the aims and purposes of the congress and thanked the Otumfuo for receiving the delegates.

Cardinal Arinze spoke of the Catholic Church's recognition of the Otumfuo's involvement in the promotion of peace and justice as well as his role in ensuring the availability of education to his people and the recognition of the Church of the Ashanti culture.

He expressed support for the Otumfuo's active involvement in furthering the education of his people and pledged his prayerful support for all activities being promoted by the Asantehene. He later imparted the Apostolic Blessings on Otumfuo and his counselors and presented a Holy Rosary and a medal to the Asantehene.

Cardinal Turkson associated himself with the sentiments of Cardinal Arinze and congratulated the Otumfuo for his great faith in educating the poor and the needy.

The Asantehene, in his remarks, commended the Church's efforts to promote the liturgy in Africa. He said that since language depended on the understanding of the people, any language alien to them would not enable them to properly understand the liturgy of the Church.
English I Owe a Lot to Nigeria
Jul 12, 2006
The Pope's Minister for Congregational Prayer, Cardinal Francis Arinze, says he owes the country a lot for giving him an identity.

This Day (Lagos, July 3, 2006) Arinze expressed his feelings at the weekend in Enugu, at the ordination of some Catholic priests.

According to him, "I am happy to come to my country. I owe our country love, gratitude and prayer for shaping me up to be what I am today," he said.

Arinze said he believed in Nigerian culture, adding that it was dangerous for one not to be rooted in his culture.

He said some Nigerians abroad had lost their identity, as their children could not speak their dialects and do not know their origin.

Arinze urged Nigerians to join hands with government to make the country greater.

Cardinal Arinze in Enugu ordained 11 Catholic priests, urging them to emulate Jesus Christ.

Performing the ceremony at St. Mulumba Church, Arinze urged the new priests to dedicate themselves to evangelical work and lead transparent lifestyle.

Arinze urged them to, "share with all men the word of God you have received with joy. While you meditate on the law of God, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you translate your teaching into action, " he said. He said the impact of their lives would encourage Christians, and urged them to support Bishops and Laity to enhance the unity, peace and development of the Church.
German Kardinal Arinze über die Situation der Kirche in Afrika
Jul 03, 2006
Vorstellung der "Lineamenta" der Zweiten Sonderversammlung der Bischofssynode für Afrika

ROM, 27. Juni 2006 ( Während der Vorstellung der "Lineamenta" der Zweiten Sonderversammlung der Bischofssynode für Afrika unterstrich der Präfekt der Kongregation für den Gottesdienst und die Sakramentenordnung, Kardinal Francis Arinze, am heutigen Dienstag den Vorrang des Evangelisierungsauftrags der Kirche.

Zu Beginn erklärte der Kardinal, dass die Situation in den 53 Ländern des afrikanischen Kontinents sehr unterschiedlich sei. Aus diesem Grund müsse jede Verallgemeinerung vermieden werden. Jedes Jahr sei zwar ein bedeutender Zuwachs an Gläubigen zu verzeichnen, aber man gebe sich in Afrika nicht mit Nummern zufrieden. Zuwachs und Glaubensvertiefung würden nicht als zwei nebeneinander bestehende Realitäten angesehen. Kardinal Arinze erklärte in diesem Zusammenhang, dass er mit zahlreichen Initiativen zur Förderung des Glaubens vertraut sei. Die Selig- und Heiligsprechungsprozesse gehörten genauso dazu wie der Liturgie-Kongress für Afrika und Madagaskar in diesem Jahr.

Die Kirche Afrikas verschließe sich jedoch nicht in sich selbst. Sie teile, so der Kardinal, die Freuden, Hoffnungen, Probleme und Herausforderungen der ganzen afrikanischen Gesellschaft. Damit meinte der Kurienkardinal die Situation in jenen Ländern, die sich im Kriegszustand befinden, aber auch das große Aids-Problem in Afrika. Aktuelle Statistiken der Vereinten Nationen zeigen, dass rund zwei Drittel der insgesamt 24,5 Millionen HIV-infizierten Menschen in afrikanischen Ländern südlich der Sahara leben. Neben negativen Aspekten wie der Immunschwäche Aids, der die afrikanischen Bischöfe gemäß einem heute veröffentlichten Bericht der Nachrichtenagentur "Fides" rund 80 Hirtenbriefe und öffentliche Erklärungen gewidmet haben, seien auch positive Erfolge zu vermelden, wie zum Beispiel die Abschaffung der Apartheid.

Heute käme der katholischen Kirche vor allem die Aufgabe zu, das Evangelium zu verkünden, damit sich die Herzen der Afrikaner verwandeln könnten. Auch die Laien müssten sich ihrer besonderen Rolle bewusst werden, um den Geist Christi auch in das weltliche und oft säkularisierte Leben zu bringen. "Die Laien müssen eine Christianisierung von innen ausführen", forderte Kardinal Arinze. Die "Lineamenta" bezeichnete er als eine große Hilfe, um die verschiedenen Wege aufzuzeigen, die zu Versöhnung, Gerechtigkeit und Frieden führen.

Nach Kardinal Arinze ist es nicht möglich, diese drei Begriffe getrennt von einander zu behandeln: "Ohne Gerechtigkeit können wir keine Versöhnung haben, und ohne Versöhnung gibt es keinen Frieden." Er erinnerte auch daran, dass man die Kirche in Afrika nicht völlig getrennt von der Kirche in den anderen Teilen der Welt behandeln könne. "Wenn es regnet, regnet es auf das ganze Territorium."
English Cardinal Arinze warns on 2007 polls
Jul 03, 2006
A member of the Vatican, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze  warned yesterday that the 2007 general elections may lead to a major  crisis if the  nation’s leaders failed to uphold the rule of law, saying the inability of past leaders to sanction violators of  electoral laws was responsible for the breakdown of law  and order in  the country.

(, July 01, 2006) ENUGU— He, therefore, asked Nigerians to pray fervently for the success of  the transition programme, stressing that 2007 marks another milestone  in Nigeria’s democratic  experience and should thus be committed to God  so that a righteous leader would be elected for the nation.

Cardinal Arinze who spoke with reporters at the Akanu Ibiam Airport,  Enugu shortly on arrival for this weekend’s puritan ordination of    Holy Ghost  fathers, said  weak leadership and inability of the country to enforce the law effectively on people who violated the  constitution  in the past may jeopardize future elections,  stressing  that unless violators of electoral laws were brought to book, the  nation would continue to witness crisis.

Saying that Nigeria’s democracy in the last seven years had thrived  with some positive and negative aspects, Arinze noted that the country  would have been one of  the best democracies in the world if her  potentials had  been adequately tapped.

His words: “Elections are to select those who would govern us. It  matters very much what type of people govern us because, their  decisions affect other people,  even those not yet born. Therefore, all  those who have a hand in the election should please be aware that it  is a serious matter, and should therefore, do their part so  that  people will freely vote for the persons they think will answer their  need.

The cardinal who was received at the airport by the Catholic Bishop of  Enugu, Rt. Rev. Anthony Gbuji, his Anglican Counterpart, Dr Emmanuel  Chukwuma, acting  National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, among  other dignitaries, however, implored the religious leaders not to  relent in praying for the unity and growth  of christianity  worldwide.

He attributed the crisis in Onitsha, Anambra State to people who, he  said, had “lived above the law”, asking that “something should be done  to render them ‘less  able’ to cause further damage.
English Cardinal Arinze Speaks On Second Synod
Jul 01, 2006
Present at the presentation of the lineamenta was Nigeria-born Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. He made the following observations:

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi), June 28, 2006. "At more than twelve years since the celebration of the first assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa, the Church in Africa is taking this first major step toward the celebration of a Second Synod for Africa. To help us better examine these "lineamenta," it may be useful to reflect briefly on signs of good news about inner Church life in Africa, present problems and challenges on reconciliation, justice and peace in African societies, and what the Catholic Church in Africa has done, or can do, to help.

Good News about Inner Church Life

"There are great differences in the situation of the Church in each of the 53 countries on the African continent. Therefore generalizations should be avoided. The following trends are notable in matters touching the inner life of the Church in African countries.

"Growth is a fact. Experts tell us that Africa is the continent with the highest annual percentage growth for Christianity in the world. Many more Africans get baptized each year. In some African countries seminaries and sisters' novitiates have more candidates than they can conveniently accommodate. New parishes and dioceses get created.

"But Africa is not satisfied with numbers. Growth and deepening in the faith are not forgotten. Some signs of this are the growing number of monasteries and higher ecclesiastical institutes, the organization of yearly retreats in parishes and mission stations that have no resident priest, the growth of diocesan pastoral and catechetical centers, and the many sessions organized in dioceses to reflect on what the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, "Ecclesia in Africa," says to the Church.

"Several causes for beatification are being promoted, one of the latest being that of President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. In the first week of July this year there will be a liturgical congress for all Africa and Madagascar organized in Kumasi, Ghana, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in collaboration with the bishops' conferences of Africa.

"Africans are striving to live their faith more and more. The lay faithful are active. Priests and religious are engaging in missionary work inside and outside Africa.

Problems and Challenges in Society

"But the Church in Africa is not closed in on herself. She shares the joys and hopes, problems and challenges of the wider society in Africa.

"The painful situation of violence and even war in Somalia, the tragedy of Darfur and the yet not totally resolved situation in the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to some extent in the Great Lakes Region, are causes of concern.

"The challenge of building up a nation in harmony and peaceful development out of peoples from many ethnic groups put together as a country by colonial masters remains present, as in Nigeria. Moreover, poverty, disease and especially HIV/AIDS, are real threats and have wiped out large numbers or crippled them.

"At the same time, Africa in the past twelve years has recorded some good news also in these areas. Examples are a smooth passage from apartheid to democracy in the Republic of South Africa, the opposition party winning election without tears in Senegal, Ghana, Malawi and Zambia, and significant steps toward greater democratization in several countries.

Role of the Church

"The Catholic Church, without any pretence at having a political or economic mission, knows that she has to contribute first by preaching the Gospel to call to a conversion of hearts, respect for the rights of other people, repentance and reconciliation, forgiveness and harmony. The lay faithful are made aware of the need to take on their own distinctive role in bringing the spirit of Christ into the various areas of secular life (cf. Vatican II: Apost. Actuositatem, 2, 7; Gaudium et Spes, 43).

"The dioceses in Africa take practical steps to show Christian solidarity to the poor and the needy. Most bishops' conferences have justice and peace commissions which also help to educate citizens on their right and duty to vote. The bishops, especially when gathered in conference, speak on national issues with courage and love. Refugees and displaced persons find the Church as one of the few institutions that care for them and that can put a smile on their faces.

"A discussion of the "lineamenta" being released today will help to focus attention on many ways in which the Church in Africa can serve reconciliation, justice and peace on this vast continent."
English Cardinal Arinze on the African Synod
Jun 28, 2006
"Africans Are Striving to Live Their Faith"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2006 ( Here is the intervention given today by Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, when presenting the "lineamenta," or background paper, of the second Synod of Bishops for Africa.

* * *

At more than twelve years since the celebration of the first assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa, the Church in Africa is taking this first major step toward the celebration of a Second Synod for Africa. To help us better examine these "lineamenta," it may be useful to reflect briefly on signs of good news about inner Church life in Africa, present problems and challenges on reconciliation, justice and peace in African societies, and what the Catholic Church in Africa has done, or can do, to help.

1. Good News about Inner Church Life

There are great differences in the situation of the Church in each of the 53 countries on the African continent. Therefore generalizations should be avoided. The following trends are notable in matters touching the inner life of the Church in African countries.

Growth is a fact. Experts tell us that Africa is the continent with the highest annual percentage growth for Christianity in the world. Many more Africans get baptized each year. In some African countries seminaries and sisters' novitiates have more candidates than they can conveniently accommodate. New parishes and dioceses get created.

But Africa is not satisfied with numbers. Growth and deepening in the faith are not forgotten. Some signs of this are the growing number of monasteries and higher ecclesiastical institutes, the organization of yearly retreats in parishes and mission stations that have no resident priest, the growth of diocesan pastoral and catechetical centers, and the many sessions organized in dioceses to reflect on what the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, "Ecclesia in Africa," says to the Church.

Several causes for beatification are being promoted, one of the latest being that of President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. In the first week of July this year there will be a liturgical congress for all Africa and Madagascar organized in Kumasi, Ghana, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in collaboration with the bishops' conferences of Africa.

Africans are striving to live their faith more and more. The lay faithful are active. Priests and religious are engaging in missionary work inside and outside Africa.

2. Problems and Challenges in Society

But the Church in Africa is not closed in on herself. She shares the joys and hopes, problems and challenges of the wider society in Africa.

The painful situation of violence and even war in Somalia, the tragedy of Darfur and the yet not totally resolved situation in the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to some extent in the Great Lakes Region, are causes of concern.

The challenge of building up a nation in harmony and peaceful development out of peoples from many ethnic groups put together as a country by colonial masters remains present, as in Nigeria. Moreover, poverty, disease and especially HIV/AIDS, are real threats and have wiped out large numbers or crippled them.

At the same time, Africa in the past twelve years has recorded some good news also in these areas. Examples are a smooth passage from apartheid to democracy in the Republic of South Africa, the opposition party winning election without tears in Senegal, Ghana, Malawi and Zambia, and significant steps toward greater democratization in several countries.

3. Role of the Church

The Catholic Church, without any pretence at having a political or economic mission, knows that she has to contribute first by preaching the Gospel to call to a conversion of hearts, respect for the rights of other people, repentance and reconciliation, forgiveness and harmony. The lay faithful are made aware of the need to take on their own distinctive role in bringing the spirit of Christ into the various areas of secular life (cf. Vatican II: Apost. Actuositatem, 2, 7; Gaudium et Spes, 43).

The dioceses in Africa take practical steps to show Christian solidarity to the poor and the needy. Most bishops' conferences have justice and peace commissions which also help to educate citizens on their right and duty to vote. The bishops, especially when gathered in conference, speak on national issues with courage and love. Refugees and displaced persons find the Church as one of the few institutions that care for them and that can put a smile on their faces.

A discussion of the "lineamenta" being released today will help to focus attention on many ways in which the Church in Africa can serve reconciliation, justice and peace on this vast continent.
German 'Eucharistiefeier nicht nur Mahl sondern vor allem auch Opfer'
Jun 21, 2006
Kardinal Arinze predigte zum Abschluß des Kongresses "Freude am Glauben" im überfüllten Fuldaer Dom über die Heiligen Eucharistie und überbrachte Segenswünsche des Papstes.

Fulda (, 19. Juni 2006) Daß die Solidarität der Gläubigen mit den Hungernden, den Kranken, den Gefangenen, den Alten und anderen bedürftigen Personen „integraler Bestandteil und lebendiger Ausdruck unserer eucharistischen Feier und Gemeinschaft“ seien, hat am Sonntag im Fuldaer Dom Francis Kardinal Arinze (Rom), Präfekt der Kongregation für den Gottesdienst und die Sakramentenordnung, zum Abschluß des Kongresses „Freude am Glauben“ betont. In einem Gottesdienst im überfüllten Fuldaer Dom überbrachte der Kardinal die Segenswünsche von Papst Benedikts XVI., der den Teilnehmern seine herzlichen Grüße übermittelte und seiner Begleitung im Gebet versicherte. Als Beistand habe Gott seiner Kirche den Heiligen Geist gesandt, der der Geist der Liebe sei und schöpferisch wirke, schreibt Benedikt XVI. weiter. „Der Heilige Geist führt uns in die Gemeinschaft mit dem lebendigen Gott, in der wir das wahre Leben finden.“ Der Hl. Geist verleihe den Gläubigen die Freiheit der Kinder Gottes, durch die sie eingebunden seien in Gottes Verantwortung für die Welt und die Menschheit. „Derselbe Geist schenkt und garantiert der Kirche die Einheit in Wahrheit und Liebe.“ Der Heilige Vater gab seiner Hoffnung Ausdruck, daß diese Gaben des Heiligen Geistes in allen Angehörigen der verschiedenen geistlichen Gemeinschaften und Bewegungen und in allen Christen stets wirksam sein und ihrem Apostolat neuen missionarischen Schwung verleihen mögen. „Dann seid Ihr auf dem Weg zu Christus und werdet unter der Führung des Nachfolgers Petri und der Bischöfe zu Mitarbeitern an der Heilssendung, die Christus seiner Kirche aufgetragen hat.“

Anschließend legte Arinze die Bedeutung der Heiligen Eucharistie als geistiger Nahrung dar. Dabei unterstrich Arinze, daß die Eucharistie das Sakrament der Erlösung und deren Empfang ein Wunder sei. Des weiteren hob Arinze die soziale Dimension des Kommunionempfangs hervor und machte deutlich, daß für diesen eine angemessene Vorbereitung erforderlich sei.

Jesus Christus selbst habe gelehrt, daß er das Brot des Lebens sei, so der Kardinal zum Auftakt seiner Predigt. Symbolträchtiges Zeichen des „unschätzbaren Geschenks der Hl. Eucharistie“ sei bereits im Alten Testament die Stärkung des Propheten Elia, als er vor seinen Verfolgern in die Wüste geflohen war und ein Engel des Herrn ihn mit den Worten weckte: „Steh auf und iß, sonst ist der Weg zu weit für dich“. Solange die Christen auf Erden pilgerten, sei die Heilige Eucharistie ihre geistige Nahrung und ihr geistliches Getränk. „Das Wunder der Heiligen Kommunion ist immerzu Nahrung für unsere Meditationen“, machte der Kardinal sodann deutlich. Diese wunderbare Gnadengabe werde nur dann Frucht im Leben des Gläubigen bringen, wenn dieser sich auf die Feier der Hl. Eucharistie vorbereite und an ihr teilnehme.

Der katholische Glaube lehre, daß durch das Sprechen der Einsetzungsworte bei der Eucharistiefeier das Brot nicht länger mehr Brot sei, sondern: „Was wir nun vor uns finden, ist der Leib Christi“, so Arinze weiter. Ebenso sei der Wein nicht mehr Wein, sondern Blut Christi geworden. Unter Bezugnahme auf die Lehren des Konzils von Trient erinnerte der Kardinal daran, daß sich der katholische Glaube an die Realpräsenz Christi in der Eucharistie auch im Handeln der Gläubigen zeige, beispielsweise beim Niederknien vor dem Allerheiligsten und der Anbetung des Altarsakramentes, beim Empfang des eucharistischen Segens, bei Prozessionen, Kongresse oder Studientagen zu Ehren der Hl. Eucharistie. Durch den Empfang der Eucharistie würden die Gläubigen mit Christus vereinigt und eins mit ihm. „Indem Jesus uns seinen Leib und sein Blut gibt, werden wir in die Dynamik seiner Selbsthingabe mit hineingenommen, ja geradezu hineingezogen“, fuhr Arinze fort. Jesus habe gelehrt, daß es lebenswichtig für die Christen sei, in ihm zu bleiben. Wenn man mit Christus vereinigt sei und in ihm und von ihm lebe, dann werde man das Leben haben und genug Kraft für die „lange Reise unserer irdischen Pilgerschaft“ finden.

Die Vereinigung mit Christus habe deshalb eine soziale Dimension, weil verschiedene Kommunionempfänger ein und denselben Christus in der Kommunion empfingen, so der römische Kurienkardinal weiter. „Sie sind daher zur größeren Einheit untereinander und miteinander gerufen; sie sind gerufen, einander zu lieben.“ Christus schenke den Gläubigen seine Liebe in der Kommunion und bitte zugleich darum, daß sie diese Liebe mit dem Nächsten teilten, was auf konkrete Solidarität hinauslaufe. Die Eucharistie sei aber nicht nur ein Mahl, sondern vor allem auch ein Opfer, „denn Christus hat sich am Kreuz hingegeben als Opfer für uns Sünder“. Als allgemeine Regel, wie man sich auf die Heilige Messe und den Empfang der Hl. Kommunion vorzubereiten habe, gelte, daß jeder gerufen sei, Christus im Geist der Selbsthingabe zu folgen. „Wir müssen danach streben, daß all unsere täglichen Aktivitäten in der Heiligen Messe als Zentrum des ganzen Tages als fortwährendes Opfer dargebracht werden“, stellte Arinze fest.

Der Glaube verlange von den Katholiken, daß sie im Stand der Gnade seien, bevor sie Jesus in der Hl. Kommunion empfingen. Wer sich einer Todsünde bewußt sei, müsse zunächst das Sakrament der Buße empfangen, bevor er zur Kommunion gehe. Die sakramentale Beichte bezeichnete Kardinal Arinze als den normalen Weg der Reinigung von den Sünden vor dem Kommunionempfang. „Leider kann man nicht die traurige Tatsache übersehen, daß in der heutigen Zeit ein immer größerer Verlust des Sündenbewußtseins stattfindet, was zu einem immer größeren Verlust des Respekts vor der Heiligkeit Gottes führt.“ Beim Hören auf das Wort Gottes in der Kirche, bei Gesang und Meditation wie auch wenn man Gott die Ehre erweise, solle man nie vergessen, daß der Empfang Christi in der Hl. Kommunion nach gebührlicher Vorbereitung „die höchste Form der Teilnahme an der Heiligen Messe“ sei, schloß der Kardinal.

Bischof Heinz Josef Algermissen hatte zu Beginn des Gottesdienstes Kardinal Arinze, der während seines Aufenthaltes in Fulda im Bischofshaus zu Gast war, besonders herzlich begrüßt und im Rückblick auf den Kongreß Gott für wichtige gemeinsame Erfahrungen gedankt. Diese sollten in Kirche und Gesellschaft fruchtbar werden.
Italian Un cardinale vuole portare in tribunale il "Codice Da Vinci"
May 17, 2006
A pochi giorni dall'uscita del film "Il Codice Da Vinci", ispirato al romanzo di Dan Brown, il cardinale nigeriano Francis Arinze ritiene che i cristiani debbano reagire al libro e al film portando in tribunale coloro che, a suo parere, offendono il Cristo e la Chiesa.

CITTA DEL VATICANO (Reuters, 7 maggio 2006) - Dieci giorni fa, un altro prelato, Angelo Amato, numero due della Congregazione per la dottrina della fede, aveva fatto appello al boicottaggio del film.

"I cristiani non devono restare con le mani in mano contentandosi di perdonare e dimenticare", ha dichiarato il cardinale Arinze nel documentario "The Da Vinci Code: a masterful deception", realizzato dal cineasta Mario Biasetti per Rome Reports, agenzia televisiva internazionale cattolica specializzata in questioni religiose.

"A volte, è nostro dovere fare qualche cosa di concreto. Non sarò io a dire a tutti i cristiani quello che devono fare, ma esistono mezzi legali per ottenere che alcuni rispettino i diritti di altri", ha detto il prelato, senza precisare a quali soluzioni legali facesse riferimento.

"Questo è uno dei diritti umani fondamentali: devono rispettarci, rispettare il nostro credo religioso e devono rispettare il nostro fondatore, Gesù Cristo", ha proseguito.

Il documentario sarà distribuito a Roma poco prima dell'uscita del film al Festival di Cannes, il 17 maggio, ma Reuters ha ottenuto la trascrizione delle dichiarazioni del cardinale.

Il libro, di cui sono stati venduti più di 40 milioni di esemplari nel mondo, descrive una inchiesta internazionale che ruota intorno ai segreti della vita di Gesù che una società clandestina cerca di dissimulare da secoli.

Parte dall'ipotesi che Gesù avrebbe sposato la peccatrice Maria Maddalena, avendone una discendenza segreta.
English Vatican Cardinal Arinze speaks out against "The Da Vinci Code"
May 09, 2006
A high-ranking Vatican cardinal has spoken out against the "The Da Vinci Code," the best-selling novel that is about to hit movie screens, saying it is based on wrong facts and can turn people against Christianity.

(Pravda, 05.05.2006) Cardinal Francis Arinze said "The Da Vinci Code" does not offer "a good presentation of Christianity at all. Rather, it does the very opposite, presents it wrongly: wrong facts and orienting people against Christianity."

Arinze, a Nigerian cardinal with a reputation for conservatism, made his comments in a documentary produced by the Rome-based TV news agency RomeReports and made available Friday. He was the latest church official to criticize the best-selling novel by Dan Brown.

"Any film produced on the basis of that book is already in error from the word go, no matter how interesting it may be," said Arinze, who heads the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Church officials have spoken out repeatedly against Brown's novel and the upcoming film, which stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou and is scheduled for release this month.

The novel, with 46 million copies in print, contends that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had descendants, and that Opus Dei, a conservative religious organization close to the Vatican, and the Catholic Church were at the center of covering it up.

RomeReports is a religious TV news agency whose director teaches at the Opus Dei-run University of Santa Croce in Rome. The documentary "The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception," was directed by Rome-based journalist Mario Biasetti, reports AP.
English Cardinal Arinze on How to Live Holy Week
Apr 27, 2006
The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has suggested that Holy Week be lived in a spirit of faith, adoration, love and gratitude.

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2006 ( Cardinal Francis Arinze explained on Vatican Radio that the faithful are approaching a mystery, a "unique and unrepeatable event," from which the Lord expects "a certain response from us."

Palm Sunday marked the start of the liturgical period in which the Church invites believers to reflect on the central mysteries of the faith.

According to Cardinal Arinze, the various stages of Holy Week must be lived "with a spirit of faith, adoration and love for Jesus, who gave his life for us."

He urged "a spirit of thanksgiving to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, because Jesus the Redeemer is the manifestation of the mercy of God, who has not abandoned man to his fallen state, but has sent us a Savior."

The Easter triduum -- the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord -- is the center of the liturgical year, the cardinal stressed.

Unique event

"Whoever does not understand the importance of the paschal mystery -- in the sense that its celebration is the high point of the work of our redemption, through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus -- whoever does not see this does not understand what the Christian faith is about," Cardinal Arinze noted.

"Of course we do not pretend to understand the whole mystery, but the Lord expects a certain response from us to this unique and unrepeatable event," he clarified.

"The first thing to be done is to take part in the Holy Week and Easter celebrations, arrive on time in church, have a missal to read and properly follow all the readings, and reflect, pray and believe in God's grace which operates in us," suggested the cardinal.

"It is also appropriate," he added, "to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church to understand well all that we celebrate."
English Cardinal Arinze at Westminster Cathedral 'Hearts and Minds' event
Apr 06, 2006
Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, delivered the keynote talk at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, as part of a special afternoon event 'Hearts and Minds, devoted to thinking about and celebrating the Liturgy of the Church.

(Archbishop's House, 3 April 2006) The 'Hearts and Minds' event was attended by Kevin McDonald, Archbishop of Southwark; Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood and Bishop Mark Benedict Coleridge, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, and over 400 laity and clergy.

Welcoming Cardinal Arinze to Westminster Cathedral, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor spoke of three liturgies which had deeply moved him in the past year: the funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II in April 2005; the Epiphany Mass at Sri Lanka in January 2006, and a Parish Mass in the Diocese of Westminster which been attended by over 40 different nationalities. The Archbishop of Westminster said Cardinal Arinze's Congregation had given invaluable guidance to liturgical formators in England and Wales.

The text of Cardinal Arinze's talk, 'The Eucharistic Mystery Calls For Our Response' follows below:

Many events in the Church in the last three years have in a special way oriented our attention to the Holy Eucharist. In April 2003, the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, gave to the Church the beautiful Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. At his direction, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum in March 2004. A special Eucharistic Year declared by Pope John Paul was celebrated by the whole Church from October 2004 to October 2005. The October 2005 Synod of Bishops has the Eucharistic mystery as its theme. In this specially Eucharistic climate, it is fitting that we now reflect on what the Lord Jesus asks of us in this mystery of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharistic mystery calls for our response.

1. Holy Eucharist: Christ's inestimable gift

We begin with a statement of fact. The Holy Eucharist is Christ's inestimable gift to his Church. He did not just live for us, work miracles, teach us, and suffer, die and rise again for love of us and for our salvation. He found a wonderful way to continue to be with us and to associate his Church with his sacrifice in a sacramental way. The Second Vatican Council summarises our faith in the Eucharistic mystery: "At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, a pledge of future glory is given to us" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 47; cf also Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1323).

The Holy Eucharist is sacrifice, sacrament and presence. As sacrifice, the Holy Eucharist is the sacramental re-presentation of the paschal mystery, that is, of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Do this as a memorial of me" (I Cor 11:25) is the injunction that Jesus gave his Church through the Apostles. At Holy Mass Jesus Christ associates the Church with himself in the offering of himself to God the Father. The Mass is offered for four principal motives: adoration, thanksgiving with praise, asking pardon for our sins with reparation, and requesting for what we need for body and soul.

The Holy Eucharist is also Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. At consecration the bread is no longer bread, it becomes the Body of Christ; the wine is no longer wine, it becomes the Blood of Christ. The Council of Trent teaches us that in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained" (DS, 1651; cf CCC, 1374). The Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is therefore very much a part of our Catholic faith.

Jesus is present as our Eucharistic Lord. This type of presence is very special. It surpasses all other forms of presence. It is much more than his presence in the Word of God proclaimed in the liturgical assembly, or his presence in the people of God gathered in worship, or his presence and action in the priest celebrant, or even his presence and action in all the other Sacraments. We call the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist the Real Presence (cf Paul VI: Mysterium Fidei, 39; Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7; CCC, 1374), because it is a very special presence, his presence par excellence. In front of this inestimable gift and mystery, what does Jesus ask of us?

2. Faith

The first thing that Jesus asks of us is faith. When God speaks to us, we are expected to listen, to receive, to believe. We are not expected to challenge, to doubt, to argue, or to hive half a dozen lawyers or even theologians who are to find out more facts from him before we decide what our attitude should be. This would be most disrespectful, indeed stubborn and unbelieving. We should not behave like those Jews who on hearing Christ promise that he would give them his body to eat and his blood to drink, refused to believe and retorted: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (Jn 6:52). Indeed those unbelieving disciples "returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him" (Jn 6:66). Rather we should in total faith reply like St Peter who spoke on behalf of the believing Apostles when Jesus asked if they also would go away: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God" (Jn 6:68-69). Here are words of a person of faith. Peter believes because Jesus the Son of God has spoken. And God is neither deceived nor can he deceive. Peter does not need to understand how. It is enough for him to know that Jesus has spoken. Faith is an act of total trust in God who is Truth itself. It is a personal adherence of man to God. The act of faith is most reasonable because it is entirely and supremely reasonable for us human beings to accept what God has said, to entrust our everything ­ will, intelligence, future, prospects ­ to him. Indeed, the person who refuses to believe God is unreasonable, arrogant, insolent and most foolishly self-sufficient. Moreover, God's grace makes supernatural faith possible: "Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace" (St Thomas Aquinas II-III, 2, 9; cf. Vat I: Dei Filius, 3 in DS 3010; CCC, 155, 156).

Faith does not make everything clear to us. It is a sacrifice of our intelligence and will. But it calls on us to meditate on what God has revealed, to read the Holy Scripture, to compare one article of revelation with another, in short to seek understanding, as far as our puny powers of intelligence can go. Theology is faith seeking understanding, says St Anselm (cf Prosl. Prooem.: PL 153, 225 A; also CCC, 158). St Augustine puts it this way: "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe" (Sermo 43, 7, 9: PL 38, 257-258). All of us will not rise to the dizzy theological heights of St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine. But all of us can read the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and from time to time some good book on the teachings of the Fathers of the Church, of the General Councils, and the magisterium of the Popes. In this way our faith is nourished, strengthened and promoted. And we are better equipped to articulate it, to give to anyone who asks of us a statement of what we believe and the reason for our faith (cf I Pet 3:15).

3. Adoration

Adoration is consequent on our Eucharistic faith. If we believe that the Sacrifice of the Mass is a sacramental re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, and that Jesus is really, truly and substantially present in this august Sacrament, adoration is going to follow.

The Mass is the supreme act of adoration, praise and thanksgiving which humanity can offer to God. We owe everything to God: life, family, talents, work, country. Moreover God has sent us his only-begotten Son for our salvation. At Mass we offer God this supreme acknowledgment of his transcendent majesty and thanksgiving for his magnificent goodness towards us. Moreover, at Mass we associate ourselves with all creation in acknowledging the greatness of God. God is not our equal. He is not our colleague. He is our Creator. Without him we would not exist at all. He is the only necessary being. It is normal that we acknowledge this fact. Those who refuse to adore God must not decorate themselves with the apparently nice title of liberal intellectuals.

If we are to call a spade a spade, we shall inform such people that they are unreasonable, ignorant and blind to most obvious facts. A child who refuses to recognise his parents is not a liberal. He is a brat. Would it be wrong to call him stupid, and unaware of common sense, and even of his own best interest? And God is to us much more than parents are to their children. On the other hand, God is not a rival to us human beings. He is not a threat. He is not a killjoy.

God is our loving Father. He is Providence. He takes care of every detail regarding our life. When we adore him, praise him and thank him, we not only do not demean ourselves. Rather we begin to realise our greatness. Our acknowledgment of God's transcendent reality elevates us. The shepherds in Bethlehem and the Magi were all the better because they adore the Child Jesus. St Anselm, St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, St Teresa of Avila, St Thérèse of the Holy Child Jesus, St Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Albert Einstein were all the greater because they offered the sacrifice of t eir intelligence to God the Creator. Christians must not allow themselves to be misled by the errors of a secularistic mentality which lives as if God did not exist. Man is not the centre of reality. God is. By adoring God through the Holy Eucharist, we pay this due tribute to God's transcendence.

4. Manifestations of Adoration and Reverence

It is not superfluous for us to mention some of the ways in which adoration and reverence manifest themselves regarding the Eucharistic mystery. We
human beings are body and soul. External gestures can manifest our faith, strengthen it and help to share it with other people.

The way in which we celebrate the Mass has great importance. This applies first of all to the priest celebrant, but also to deacons, minor ministers, choirs, readers and every other participant, each in that person's own role. The way the priest celebrates the Holy Eucharist affects the congregation in a very special manner. If he celebrates in such a way that his faith and devotion shine out, the people are nourished and strengthened in their Eucharistic faith, the weak in faith are awakened and everyone is sent home energized to live and share the faith. Such a priest has knack or skill of celebration with dignity, faith and devotion for the Eucharist of which the October 2005 Synod of Bishops emphasised the importance (Synod Proposition, 25). We manifest our adoration of our Eucharistic Jesus by genuflection whenever we cross the area of the tabernacle where he is reserved. It is reasonable where he is reserved. It is reasonable for us to bend the knee before him because he is our God. This is a way in which adoration is shown to the Holy Eucharist in the Latin Rite Church. The Oriental Churches and Benedictine Monasteries have the tradition of a deep bow. The meaning is the same. Moreover, our genuflection should be a reverential and deliberate act and not a careless bending of the knee to the nearest pillar characteristic of some people in whom over-familiarity with the tabernacle seems to breed hurried and nonchalant movements. As is well known, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, has written beautifully on the sense of the act of genuflection. (cf. J. Ratzinger: The Spirit of the Liturgy, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2000, p. 184-194). As for those who may ignore the significance of this gesture, it may be well to remember that we are not pure spirits like the angels. A Protestant once was visiting a Catholic church in the company of a Catholic friend. They passed across the tabernacle area. The Protestant asked the Catholic what that box was and why a little lamp was burning near it. The Catholic explained that Jesus the Lord is present there. The Protestant then put the vital question: "If you believe that your Lord and God is here present, then why don't you genuflect, even prostrate and crawl?" The superficial Catholic got the message. He genuflected. Everyone can thus see why the tabernacle of the Most Blessed Sacrament is located in a central or at least prominent place in our churches. It is the centre of our attention and prayer. The October 2005 Synod of Bishops emphasised this point (cf Prop., 6, 28, 34). In some of our churches some misguided person has relegated the tabernacle to an obscure section of the church. Sometimes it is even so difficult for a visitor to locate where the tabernacle is, that the visitor can say with truth with St Mary Magdalene: "They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they laid him" (Jn 20:13).

We also show our adoration and reverence towards the Holy Eucharist by silence in church, by becoming dress and postures at sacred celebrations, by joining other people in singing, giving responses, and gestures such as sitting, kneeling or standing, and by general care over whatever has to do with Eucharistic worship such as reading, discipline in church and tidiness in altar and sacristy equipment.

May I say a further word on the importance of silence in our churches and chapels. Movements of silence help us to prepare for the celebration of Mass. During Mass, a few minutes of silence help us to meditate on the lessons, the Gospel and the homily just heard. Silence after receiving Jesus Holy Communion is a time for personal prayer to Our Lord. At the end of Mass and at all other times in church, silence is a mark of reverence for God's house and especially for Jesus present in the tabernacle.

Some church rectors have the habit of playing recorded soft music as a background in churches almost the whole day outside Mass. This is doubtless well-intentioned.

But it is a mistake. People enter churches to pray, not to be entertained. They are not tourists in a museum or music hall. They need silence in order to concentrate on the tabernacle, or even to reflect on the statues, sacred images which are ongoing catechesis, and the figures of the Way of the Cross.

Gradually in the Church of the Latin Rite from the Middle Ages, Eucharistic devotion has developed in such forms as visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament, personal and group Holy Hour of Adoration, and Eucharistic Benediction, Procession and Congress. None of us should behave as if he or she had outgrown such manifestations of faith and had no need of them. I mention in particular Eucharistic adoration as encouraged by Pope John Paul II (cf Mane Nobiscum Domine, 18) and by the Synod of Bishops of October 2005 (cf Prop., 6). Some parish priests have been surprised by their parishioners signing up for adoration at all hours of day or night. I was told about a Congregation of Sisters in Mexico which has kept up perpetual adoration for 130 years, including the years of persecution. Genuine Eucharistic faith never fails to manifest itself.

5. Observance of Liturgical Norms

In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the observance of liturgical norms is one of the ways in which we show our Eucharistic faith. To a person who asks why there should be liturgical norms at all, we answer that the Church has the right and duty to promote and protect the Eucharistic celebration with appropriate norms. Christ gave the Church the essentials of the Eucharistic celebration. As the centuries rolled by, the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, developed details on how the mysteries of Christ are to be celebrated. Being an hierarchical society, the Church also manifests her nature and structure in the celebration of the Holy Mass.

The Mass is the most solemn action of the sacred liturgy, which is itself the public worship of the Church.

"Liturgy", says Pope John Paul II, "is never anyone's private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated. Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church" (Eccl. de Euch., 52). At the direction of Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum in March 2004 "precisely to bring out more clearly this deeper meaning of liturgical norms" (Eccl. de Euch., 52).

It follows that individuals, whether they be priests or lay faithful, are not free to add or subtract any details in the approved rites of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22). A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude of nobody-will-tell-me-what-to-do, or a defiant sting of if-you-do-not-like-my-Mass-you-can-go-to-another-parish, is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology, but also offends against common sense. Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules and installing creativity ­ in his case personal idiosyncracy ­ as the guide to the celebration of Holy Mass. Our faith guides us and our love of Jesus and of his Church safeguards us from taking such unwholesome liberties. Aware that we are only ministers, not masters of the mysteries of Christ (cf I Cor 4:1), we follow the approved liturgical books so that the people of God are respected and their faith nourished, and so that God is honoured and the Church is gradually being built up.

6. Eucharist and Mission

At the end of the Mass the deacon, or in his absence the priest, says to us "Ite, Missa Est". Our celebration is over. Go now to live and share with other people what we have received, heard, sung, meditated and prayed. The Mass sends us on mission.

The first duty which the Eucharistic celebration enjoins on us is to live the faith and share it with other people. Evangelization in the express form of proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ is a priority (cf Paul VI: Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22). We must share with other people "the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:8). Every Catholic - priest, consecrated person or lay faithful ­ will do this according to that person's vocation and mission in the Church and in the world.

At the Eucharistic celebration Jesus is also sending us to show Christian solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, and the needy in general. At the Last Supper he himself washed the feet of his Apostles, thereby teaching us mutual love and service as an injunction of the Holy Eucharist (cf Jn 13: 1-15). He taught us that the last judgement will be based on whether we have shown love and solidarity towards the needy (cf Mt 25: 31-46). Pope John Paul II says that the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebration can be judged from how we love the poor and people in difficulty (cf Mane Nobiscum Domine, 28).

In his first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI illustrates beautifully how love of God necessarily carries with it love of neighbour. The Holy Eucharist promotes both in a magnificent way. The Holy Father says: "The saints ­ consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta ­ constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbour from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its realism and depth in the service to others" (Deus Caritas Est, 18).

Brother and Sisters in Christ, in the Eucharistic mystery our beloved Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is giving us the inestimable gift of himself. He asks for our response. Shall we refuse to pay him back with love? May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary obtain for us the grace to respond with generosity, with constant faith, with heartfelt adoration and with apostolic dynamism.
Spanish El cardenal Arinze explica las normas litúrgicas emitidas para el Camino Neocatecumenal
Mar 04, 2006
Las normas emitidas por la Santa Sede al Camino Neocatecumenal sobre la liturgia surgen de un proceso de más de dos años, en el que han participado siete cardenales de la Curia Romana por petición del Papa, revela el cardenal Francis Arinze.

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO, jueves, 16 febrero 2006 ( En esta entrevista concedida a «Radio Vaticano», el prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y Disciplina de los Sacramentos comenta la carta que este organismo envió en nombre de Benedicto XVI el 1 de diciembre a los responsables del Camino ( y el discurso que dirigió a miembros de esta nueva realidad eclesial el Santo Padre el 12 de enero (Cf. Cf. Zenit, 12 de enero de 2006).

--¿Qué dicen estos dos documentos?

--Cardenal Arinze: Lo mejor es leer el discurso del Santo Padre […] No voy a leer todo el discurso, sino sólo la parte que afronta la liturgia. Era un encuentro de alegría: el Santo Padre bendijo a muchas familias del Camino Neocatecumenal que estaban a punto de ser enviadas en misión Entre otras cosas, el Santo Padre dijo: «la importancia de la liturgia, y en particular de la santa misa, en la evangelización, y vuestra larga experiencia puede confirmar bien cómo la centralidad del misterio de Cristo, celebrado en los ritos litúrgicos, constituye un camino privilegiado e indispensable para construir comunidades cristianas vivas y perseverantes».

El Papa sigue diciendo: « Precisamente para ayudar al Camino Neocatecumenal a hacer aún más eficaz su acción evangelizadora en comunión con todo el pueblo de Dios, la Congregación para el culto divino y la disciplina de los sacramentos os ha impartido recientemente en mi nombre algunas normas concernientes a la celebración eucarística, después del período de experiencia que había concedido el siervo de Dios Juan Pablo II. Estoy seguro de que cumpliréis atentamente estas normas, que recogen lo previsto en los libros litúrgicos aprobados por la Iglesia».

Estas son las palabras del Santo Padre. Les estaba diciendo: «A través de esta Congregación os he dado directivas; seguidlas».

--¿Cuál es el contenido de estas directivas?

--Cardenal Arinze: El 1 de diciembre de 2005, nuestra Congregación, al concluir numerosos coloquios durante un período de al menos dos años o más, escribió a los responsables del Camino Neocatecumenal una carta de dos páginas. Ofrezco simplemente el sumario: «En la celebración de la santa misa, el Camino Neocatecumenal aceptará y seguirá los libros litúrgicos aprobados por la Iglesia sin omitir ni añadir nada».

Este es el principio básico. Seguir los libros aprobados, no añadir ni quitar. Todo lo demás es un detalle y se presentan seis puntos más precisos para responder a algunas peticiones del Camino Neocatecumenal sobre materias relativas a la celebración eucarística.

En primer lugar, sobre la celebración del sábado por la noche: el domingo es el día del Señor. El Santo Padre decide que las comunidades del Camino Neocatecumenal, al menos un domingo al mes, tienen que participar en la santa misa de la comunidad parroquial. Para las otras tres semanas, el Camino Neocatecumenal, en cada diócesis, debe entablar un diálogo con el obispo diocesano.

Por lo que se refiere a la homilía, pronunciada siempre por el sacerdote o el diácono, se puede hacer una intervención ocasional breve y que no tenga la apariencia de homilía. También esto se puede aceptar.

Sobre el saludo de la paz, se concede el que el Camino Neocatecumenal pueda aprovechar el indulto ya concedido, es decir, que tenga lugar el intercambio de la paz antes del ofertorio, hasta nueva disposición.

En cuanto a la manera de recibir la santa Comunión, se da al Camino Neocatecumenal un período de transición, que no dure más de dos años, para pasar de la manera generalizada entre sus comunidades de recibir la Comunión --por ejemplo, sentados, utilizando una mesa adornada colocada en el centro de la Iglesia, en lugar del altar dedicado-- a la manera normal para toda la Iglesia de recibir la santa Comunión. Esto significa que el Camino Neocatecumenal tiene que caminar hacia la manera prevista por los libros litúrgicos para la distribución del Cuerpo y de la Sangre de Cristo.

Por último, el Camino Neocatecumenal tiene que utilizar también las demás oraciones eucarísticas contenidas en el misal y no sólo la segunda oración eucarística.

La síntesis de todo esto es que el Camino, en la celebración de la santa misa, seguirá los libros litúrgicos aprobados, teniendo en cuenta las especificaciones que acabo de expresar. Esto es lo que dice la carta.

--¿Cómo ha surgido esta carta?

--Cardenal Arinze: Ha surgido de los resultados del examen de esta Congregación sobre la manera en que el Camino Neocatecumenal celebra la santa misa desde hace muchos años, pues tras la aprobación de sus estatutos para un período de cinco años por parte del Consejo Pontificio para los Laicos, el resto de los dicasterios vaticanos tenían que hacer las aprobaciones de su competencia. La competencia de nuestra Congregación es la liturgia.

Para hacer este examen creamos una comisión mixta entre personas nombradas por el Camino Neocatecumenal y personas nombradas por nuestra Congregación. En las discusiones, han surgido muchas prácticas que ellos realizan durante la misa. Han sido examinadas y se vio que muchas de ellas no se realizaban según los libros aprobados.

Este es el «background». Todo ha sido examinado en muchas sesiones por la comisión mixta por un período de dos años o más. Y tuvo lugar también una discusión entre siete cardenales de la Curia romana por voluntad del Santo Padre, quienes examinaron todo. Por tanto, esta carta constituye la conclusión de todo este proceso.
German Kardinal Arinze, Papst betet für Frieden im Tschad
Jan 30, 2006
Der Konflikt zwischen Tschad und Sudan spitzt sich zu. Vergangene Wochen hatte die Regierung in N'Djamena sudanesischen Milizen vorgeworfen, drei Angriffe im Osten des Tschad geführt zu haben.

(Radio Vatikan, 14.01.06 bp) Die sudanesische Regierung führe ihre "Aggressionspolitik" gegen das Nachbarland fort. Laut UNO-ANgaben zogen an der Grenze zwischen dem Tschad und Darfur Truppen auf; bereits Ende Dezember hatte die tschadische Regierung den "Kriegszustand" mit dem benachbarten Sudan erklärt. Kurienkardinal Francis Arinze hat jetzt den Tschad bereist und dort auch den Präsidenten getroffen. Direkt nach seiner Rückkehr sagte er gegenüber Radio Vatikan:

"Ich habe auch gesagt, dass der Heilige Vater viel betet und hofft auf mehr Harmonie zwischen den ethnischen Gruppen im Tschad gebe und auch auf mehr Harmonie zwischen dem Tschad und den Nachbarländern. Im Tschad gibt es 300.000 Menschen, die aus dem Sudan gekommen sind, die dort keinen Platz finden. Das ist auch ein Problem."

Zufrieden zeigte sich der gebürtige Nigerianer mit der Lage der Kirche vor Ort. Zwar fehlten die Priester, aber die Kirche sei in humanitären Fragen sehr engagiert:

"Man sieht dort eine junge Kirche, in den letzten 75 Jahren evangelisert. Eine Kirche mit viel Hoffnung und viel Vitalität. Gott sei Dank."
English Catholic Church in Need of Personnel, Says Cardinal Arinze
Jan 27, 2006
The Catholic Church in Chad, which just celebrated its first National Eucharistic Congress, is in great need of workers, says Cardinal Francis Arinze.

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi, January 20, 2006) The Nigerian-born prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments offered that assessment following his recent visit to the country to preside over the congress as the pope's envoy. He spoke with Vatican Radio.

The Church in Chad "is in great need," said Cardinal Arinze, 73. "It does not have, for example, enough priests or men and women religious. It needs and receives missionaries."

The country's eight dioceses, one an apostolic prefecture, are headed by seven prelates: three from Chad, two Italian, one a Spaniard and a Canadian. Added to these is a French priest, the prefect of Mongo.

But it is a joyful church. The communities live the Eucharist "together, sharing life, the joys of life and of being an ensemble as church, "said Arinze.

He said he found a serene people, even in their poverty. "I was very impressed by their sense of peace, their desire to share, their personal discipline," he said. "I did not see a police presence; they are a very disciplined people."

The church was established 75 years ago. Its first priest was ordained 35 years ago. The population of Chad is 9.8 million. About 51 per cent are Muslim, 35 per cent Christian and seven per cent traditionalist.
Italian Inviato papale trova in Ciad una Chiesa bisognosa ma felice
Jan 21, 2006
Il Cardinal Arinze presiede il I Congresso Eucaristico Nazionale nel Paese africano.

CITTA’ DEL VATICANO/MOUNDOU, giovedì, 19 gennaio 2006 ( Nonostante le enormi carenze tra le quali deve portare avanti la sua missione, la Chiesa cattolica in Ciad – che ha iniziato l’anno con la celebrazione del primo Congresso Eucaristico Nazionale – mostra una grande gioia.

Lo ha constatato il Cardinale nigeriano Francis Arinze – prefetto della Congregazione vaticana per il Culto Divino –, che ha presieduto l’avvenimento ecclesiale in qualità di inviato papale.

Il porporato ha condiviso ai microfoni della “Radio Vaticana” le sue impressioni al ritorno dal Ciad, dove le comunità vivono l’Eucaristia “insieme, condividendo la vita, le gioie della vita e quella di essere insieme come Chiesa”.

La Chiesa nel Paese è sorta 75 anni fa, e ne sono trascorsi appena 50 da quando il Vangelo è arrivato in alcune zone del Ciad, che ha otto diocesi; il primo sacerdote ordinato – 35 anni fa – è più giovane del porporato nigeriano.

Il Cardinal Arinze ha tracciato in questo modo il profilo ecclesiale del Ciad, dove ha trovato “un popolo sereno, pur nella loro povertà”. “Mi ha colpito molto il loro senso di pace, il loro desiderio di condivisione, la loro disciplina personale. Non ho notato la presenza della polizia, è un popolo molto disciplinato”, ha riconosciuto.

Moundou, la seconda diocesi del Paese – a cinque ore di macchina dalla capitale, N’Djamena –, è stata la sede del I Congresso Eucaristico Nazionale, i cui momenti principali – secondo il Cardinal Arinze – sono stati “l’apertura, il 5 gennaio, con la lettura del messaggio del Papa, con le manifestazioni di gioia dei fedeli, e il saluto di benvenuto del Vescovo”.

Per tre giorni, ogni mattina due Vescovi hanno offerto una catechesi sull’Eucaristia, centrata su tre temi: Eucaristia-Fede, Eucaristia–Vita, Eucaristia-Missione.

Il pomeriggio di venerdì 6 gennaio si è svolto un atto penitenziale seguito dalla confessione individuale. “Tanti sacerdoti si sono sacrificati per confessare i fedeli, un popolo meraviglioso”, ha riconosciuto il porporato.

Il giorno successivo, il pomeriggio e la sera ha avuto luogo la processione eucaristica che è partita da quattro punti, formando quattro processioni che arrivavano alla cattedrale, dove ci sono state mezz’ora di adorazione e la benedizione con il Santissimo.

Il Congresso si è concluso domenica 8 gennaio con una Santa Messa solenne durante la quale è stata letta la lettera del Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefetto della Congregazione vaticana per l’Evangelizzazione dei Popoli.

Durante l’offertorio sono state lette le proposte delle otto diocesi su ciò che vogliono raggiungere come risultato del Congresso. La colletta è stata raccolta per i malati di AIDS.

“Quando ho tenuto l’omelia ho visto che i fedeli veramente seguivano con attenzione”; “c’era davvero di che ringraziare il Signore”. “Il Vescovo, che al termine della Messa voleva ringraziare, ha avuto difficoltà a terminare il suo discorso a causa della grande commozione”, ha proseguito il Cardinal Arinze.

Ad ogni modo, il porporato ha ricordato all’emittente pontificia che la Chiesa in Ciad “ha bisogno di molto. Non ha, ad esempio, sufficienti sacerdoti, religiosi, religiose. Necessita di missionari e ne riceve”.

Alla guida delle otto diocesi (una è prefettura apostolica) ci sono sette presuli: tre del Ciad, due italiani, uno spagnolo e uno canadese. A questi si aggiunge un sacerdote francese, prefetto di Mongo.

“La Chiesa del Ciad, però, può anche dare, ad esempio, la gioia per ciò che si ha, perché per essere felici non è necessario possedere banche mondiali. Infatti, il successo non dà la gioia”, ha osservato il porporato.

“Questo non significa che noi vogliamo che i popoli del mondo restino poveri: piuttosto, occorre assicurare un minimo di benessere per vivere con dignità la vita. Ma è anche vero che si può dire che molti Paesi africani che sono poveri sono lieti (…). La gente canta di gioia. Infatti era difficile durante il Congresso fermare il coro. La loro gioia era trasparente e questo colpisce moltissimo”, ha riconosciuto.

La popolazione del Ciad è inferiore a 10 milioni di persone: il 51% è musulmano, il 35% cristiano, il 7% animista e il 7% professa altri culti. I cattolici rappresentano circa il 10% degli abitanti del Paese.
Italian “La gente non va a Messa per essere intrattenuta”
Nov 24, 2005
Di fronte alle improvvisazioni a cui si assiste durante le liturgie, soprattutto nella scelta delle musiche, il Cardinal Francis Arinze ribadisce l’importanza di fare della Messa un momento di riflessione e incontro con Dio, più che una forma di intrattenimento.

CITTA’ DEL VATICANO, giovedì, 17 novembre 2005 ( In un’intervista rilasciata alla rivista statunitense “Inside the Vatican”, il Prefetto della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti ha tracciato un bilancio complessivo del recente Sinodo dei Vescovi sull’Eucaristia e degli sviluppi nella pratica liturgica a 40 anni dalla chiusura del Concilio Vaticano II.

“Per quanto riguarda la musica nella liturgia, dovremmo iniziare dicendo che la musica gregoriana è la preziosa eredità della Chiesa – ha osservato –. Non dovrebbe essere eliminata. Se quindi in una diocesi o in un Paese particolare nessuno ascolta più la musica gregoriana, allora qualcuno ha commesso un errore”.

La Chiesa, ha spiegato, non dice che dovrebbe esserci solo musica gregoriana: “c’è posto per la musica che rispetta quella lingua specifica, quella cultura, quel popolo”, ed è una questione “che deve essere affrontata dalla Conferenza Episcopale, perché in genere va al di là dei confini di una diocesi”.

“L’ideale sarebbe che i Vescovi avessero una Commissione di Musica Liturgica che studia il testo e la musica degli inni. E quando la Commissione è soddisfatta, il parere viene presentato ai Vescovi per l’approvazione, a nome del resto della Conferenza”, ha proposto.

Secondo il Cardinale, “non ci devono essere individui che compongono qualcosa e lo cantano in chiesa. Non è una cosa giusta. Non importa quanto sia grande il loro talento”.

Quanto agli strumenti utilizzati nella liturgia, “la Chiesa dovrebbe essere consapevole del fatto che adorare in chiesa non è lo stesso che cantare in un bar, o in un raduno di giovani”.

“Non mi pronuncerò dicendo ‘mai la chitarra’ – ha spiegato –. Sarebbe piuttosto rigido. Gran parte della musica per chitarra, però, potrebbe non essere adatta per la Messa”.

Per il porporato, “il giudizio dovrebbe essere lasciato ai Vescovi del luogo. E’ più saggio, anche perché ci sono strumenti in molti Paesi che non vengono usati ad esempio in Italia o in Irlanda”.

“La gente non va a Messa per essere intrattenuta – ha constatato il Prefetto della Congregazione vaticana –. Va a Messa per adorare Dio, per ringraziarlo, per chiedergli perdono per i peccati ed altre cose di cui ha bisogno”.

“Quando vuole divertirsi, sa dove andare: nella sala parrocchiale, nel teatro, presumendo che il suo divertimento è accettabile da un punto di vista teologico morale”, ha aggiunto il porporato, che ha da poco celebrato il 40° anniversario della sua ordinazione episcopale.

Ombre e luci del Sinodo sull’Eucaristia

Nel corso dell’intervista, il Cardinale Arinze, che alla recente XI Assemblea Ordinaria del Sinodo dei Vescovi, convocata per discutere sul Sacramento dell’Eucaristia, è stato uno dei Presidenti delegati, ha quindi tirato le somme su questo avvenimento ecclesiale che ha riunito 252 Vescovi da tutto il mondo.

“Rafforzare la nostra fede nella Santa Eucaristia. Nessuna nuova dottrina, ma freschezza di espressione della nostra fede eucaristica. Incoraggiamento nella celebrazione nel senso dell’attenzione; una celebrazione che mostri la fede”, ha spiegato enunciando alcuni degli aspetti che sono stati affrontati.

“Il Sinodo ha ringraziato i sacerdoti per il loro ministero, e anche i diaconi e gli altri che assistono alla celebrazione della Messa”, ha proseguito, aggiungendo che è stata anche sottolineata “l’importanza dell’adorazione eucaristica fuori dalla Messa che ha i suoi frutti nella Messa stessa”, “l’atto supremo di adorazione”.

“Il Sacramento, però, non termina dopo la Messa – ha ricordato Arinze –. Cristo è nel tabernacolo per essere portato ai malati, per ricevere le nostre visite di adorazione, lode, amore, supplica. I Padri sinodali non hanno solo parlato di adorazione, hanno fatto adorazione ogni giorno. Cristo era esposto nell’ostensorio nella cappella vicino all’Aula sinodale, un’ora al mattino, una al pomeriggio”.

Il Sinodo ha quindi sottolineato l’importanza di una buona preparazione alla Santa Eucaristia, “incoraggiando il sacramento della Penitenza come modo di crescere nella fedeltà a Cristo”.

Il Cardinale ha rilevato nel mondo occidentale la tendenza di sempre più cattolici ad avere “un concetto più protestante dell’Eucaristia, considerandola soprattutto un simbolo”. “I Padri sinodali riconoscono che molti cattolici non hanno una fede corretta nella Presenza Reale di Cristo nella Santa Eucaristia – ha affermato –. Questo è stato menzionato anche in una delle Proposizioni finali ”.

Visto che “per molti cattolici l’omelia domenicale è l’unico insegnamento religioso che ricevono durante la settimana”, il Prefetto ha poi ricordato come molti Padri sinodali abbiano sottolineato l’opportunità di “temi suggeriti per le omelie domenicali”, proponendo “che le quattro aree principali della fede cattolica siano coperte dall’omelia in un ciclo triennale”.

Le quattro parti principali sono, come afferma il Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica: “Ciò in cui crediamo; come adoriamo, ad esempio i Sacramenti; cosa viviamo, la vita in Cristo, la legge morale, i dieci comandamenti, la vita cristiana vissuta; e la preghiera”.

“Anche se l’omelia dovrebbe riguardare le letture delle Scritture e gli altri testi liturgici, bisogna trovare un modo per coprire l’intera area della fede cattolica in un periodo di tre anni, perché molti cattolici ignorano la questioni fondamentali. E’ un fatto, nessuno può negarlo”, ha denunciato.

Ripensando il Concilio Vaticano II

Secondo il Cardinal Arinze, “il Vaticano II ha portato molte cose positive, ma non tutto è stato un bene e il Sinodo ha riconosciuto che ci sono state delle ombre”.

Ad esempio, “è stata trascurata un po’ la Santa Eucaristia fuori dalla Messa. C’è molta ignoranza. Molte tentazioni di protagonismo per il sacerdote che celebra”.

A quest’ultimo proposito, il porporato ha spiegato che se il sacerdote “non è molto disciplinato, diventerà presto un ‘artista’. Può non rendersene conto, ma proietterà se stesso più che Cristo. E’ davvero molto difficile per il fatto che l’altare sta di fronte alle persone. Anche coloro che leggono la prima e la seconda lettura possono adottare piccole tattiche per far concentrare l’attenzione su di sé e distrarre la gente”.

“Ci sono quindi dei problemi. Ad ogni modo, alcuni di questi non sono stati provocati dal Vaticano II, ma dai figli della Chiesa dopo il Vaticano II. Alcuni di loro parlando del Vaticano II propongono la loro agenda personale. Dobbiamo stare attenti a questo, alla gente che porta avanti le proprie idee giustificandosi come se questo corrispondesse allo ‘spirito del Vaticano II’”, ha continuato.

“Se solo la gente fosse più fedele non a ciò che è stato stabilito da gente che ama fare leggi per altra gente, ma che deriva da ciò in cui crediamo – ha esclamato –! Lex orandi, Lex credendi. E’ la nostra fede che dirige la nostra vita di preghiera, e se ci genuflettiamo davanti al tabernacolo è perché crediamo che Gesù è lì, e che è Dio”.

Contrariamente a quanto pensano molti, ha precisato il Cardinale, “anche quando era in vigore la Messa tridentina c’erano abusi. Molti cattolici non lo sapevano, perché non conoscevano il latino! Per cui, quando il sacerdote alterava le parole, non se ne accorgevano”.

“L’area più importante, quindi, è la fede e la fedeltà ad essa, una lettura fedele dei testi originali, la loro traduzione fedele, così che la gente celebri sapendo che la liturgia è la preghiera pubblica della Chiesa”.

“Non è proprietà di un individuo, quindi un individuo non la modifica, ma compie sforzi per celebrarla come la Santa Madre Chiesa desidera – ha concluso –. Quando questo accade, la gente è felice, si sente nutrita. La sua fede aumenta, viene rafforzata. Va a casa felice e desiderosa di tornare la domenica successiva”.
English What Will be the Consequences of the Synod?
Nov 24, 2005
Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship spoke today to Inside the Vatican about the recent Synod of the Eucharist and related issues. In the final question, he addresses the reasons pro-choice politicians should not present themselves to receive communion (November 12, 2005).

Inside the Vatican: What do you think were the positive results of the Synod?

CARDINAL FRANCIS ARINZE: Many. Strengthening our faith in the Holy Eucharist.

No new doctrine, but freshness of expression of our Eucharistic faith. Encouragement in the celebration in the sense of good attention; a celebration which shows faith.

The Synod thanked priests for their ministry and also deacons and others who assist at the celebration of Mass, and underlined the importance of Eucharistic adoration outside Mass which has its fruits in the Mass itself because the Mass is the supreme act of adoration.But the sacrament does not finish after Mass. Christ is in the tabernacle to be brought to the sick, to receive our visits of adoration, praise, love, supplication. The Synod Fathers did not only talk about adoration, they did adoration every day. Christ exposed in the monstrance in the chapel near the Synod Hall, one hour in the morning, one hour in the afternoon. Then on October 17 a Holy Hour of Adoration in St Peter’s Basilica, with the Pope leading us himself. That was more eloquent than words.

The Synod also stressed the importance of good preparation for the Holy Eucharist; to receive communion. Therefore confession of sins, for those who are in mortal sin and in any case encouraging the sacrament of Penance as a way of growing in fidelity to Christ. And also that not everybody is fit to receive Holy Communion, so those who are not fit should not receive.

All along I feel the Synod struck very positive notes.

ITV: Reading the reports of the Synod, the prevailing attitude seems to be that despite a few shadows, by and large, the effects of the liturgical reform have been positive.

However in the Western world, increasing numbers of Catholics have a more Protestant concept of the Eucharist, seeing it mainly as a symbol. Is there recognition that this is a problem?

ARINZE: There is a recognition that this is a problem. The Synod Fathers recognize that many Catholics don't have correct faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. This was mentioned in one of the propositions as well.

It was recognized so much that many of the Synod Fathers suggested that there be themes suggested for homilies on Sundays.

Seeing that for many Catholics the Sunday homily is about the only religious instruction they get in a week, (many persons won't go to catechism classes, doctrinal instruction, discussion, etc.) the Synod Fathers suggested that the four major areas of Catholic faith should be covered by the homily in a three year cycle. The four main parts are as in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

First part, what we believe. Second part, how we worship, ie sacraments. Third part, what we live, life in Christ, so the moral law, the ten commandments, the Christian live lived, and the fourth part, prayer.

So that although the homily should be on the Scripture readings and the other liturgical texts, some way has to be found to cover the whole area of Catholic faith in a period of three years because many Catholics are really ignorant of fundamental matters. That is a fact; nobody could deny it.

It is also a fact that the liturgical renewal after Vatican II has brought many things positive; for instance, more attention to Holy Scripture, more attention to the people's participation in the liturgical celebration, the people's understanding of what it is; although understanding is not everything, but it is one element. The vernacular, if the translations are good, can help in this direction. And also, sharing of roles in the liturgy, ie when the deacon is reading the Gospel, proclaiming it, we listen.

So, Vatican II brought many good things but everything has not been positive and the Synod recognized that there have been shadows. There has been a bit of neglect of the Holy Eucharist outside Mass. A lot of ignorance. A lot of temptations to showmanship for the priest who celebrates facing the people. If he is not very disciplined he will soon become a performer. He may not realize it, but he will be projecting himself rather than projecting Christ. Indeed it is very demanding, the altar facing the people. Then even those who read, the First & Second Reading can engage in little tactics that make them draw attention to themselves and distract the people.

Not to talk of abuses, clear cut abuses where people are going against the books in the liturgy, doing things that the liturgy says should not be done. Then wrong ideas on creativity, believing that after Vatican II the important thing is to make something new.

A scenario where a parish team every week decides how they will have Mass next Sunday, as if the liturgy were something that we put together and not something that we receive. That wrong idea that the important thing is something new every week, which is not true. The people want to adore God. After all, our national anthem is the same, and we sing it every time. We are not tired because we love our country. Our Father, Hail Mary, although we say them many times, they don't get old.

So there are problems. However some of the problems were not caused by Vatican II, but they were caused by children of the Church after Vatican II. Some of them talking of Vatican II push in their own agenda. We have to watch that. People pushing their own agenda justifying it as the "spirit of Vatican II".

Moro ever, the review of the various rites was done by human beings, not by angels. So two good scholars can disagree whether this particular rite was retouched in the best possible way or not. A good scholar can say, "I think it could have been retouched in this way, rather than that." That is allowable as an opinion, but not to celebrate it that way.

There are also problems caused by the world of today, and Vatican II is not to be blamed for that. Let us say for example that many marriages are breaking down, it wasn't Vatican II that caused them. It is just that sexuality got far too much attention in many cultures. There are some things today that people will write about which they would not have written about 60 years ago in the area of sexuality. There is much more hedonism, there is much more instant communication of errors, there is much more imposition of cultural patterns by means of television and all the derivatives and the world has become more and more one in these last 40 years with instant communication. So there are many elements which contribute to what happens.

ITV: Following on from that, Pope Benedict has written extensively about the problems in the modern liturgy. In the light of both your concerns, are we likely to see tougher action to stop these abuses and errors, outlined in Redemptionis Sacramentum?

ARINZE: Many people would want it, Obviously, there are some major areas the Holy Father decides. But there are areas which are already clear in the liturgical books where all you need is to consult a bishop or a priest. He knows what to do.

So, if only people would be more faithful to what has been laid down not by people who just like to make laws for other people, but what follows from what we believe. Lex orandi, Lex credendi. It is our faith that directs our prayer life, and if we genuflect in front of the tabernacle it is because we believe that Jesus is there, and is God.

If at Mass, we are self-controlled, we are disciplined, we don't talk in the Church and don't converse as if we were in a football stadium, it is because of what we believe. Therefore, the most important area is faith and fidelity to that faith, and a faithful reading of the original texts, and their faithful translations, so that people celebrate knowing that the liturgy is the public prayer of the Church.

It is not the property of one individual, therefore one individual does not tinker with it, but makes effort to celebrate it as Holy Mother Church wants. When that happens, the people are happy, they feel nourished. Their faith grows, their faith is strengthened. They go home happy and willing to come back next Sunday.

But when that does not happen, you make quite a problem for those who come to Mass. If the people can say: "Our parish priest who said Mass last Sunday did funny things that are not according to any liturgical book that we know", that is rather serious.

ITV: In Sacrosanctum Concilium (Vatican II's Decree on the Liturgy), it indicated at Mass, pride of place must be given to Gregorian chant. But the reality is that few Catholics under the age of 50 would ever have heard a Te Deum sung in their parish church. Liturgical music today is largely guitars and tambourines, etc. Is this an appropriate form of musical expression for divine worship?

ARINZE: For music in the liturgy, we should start by saying that Gregorian music is the Church's precious heritage. It should stay. It should not be banished. If therefore in a particular diocese or country, no one hears Gregorian music anymore, then somebody has made a mistake somewhere.

But, the Church is not saying that everything should be Gregorian music. There is room for music which respects that language, that culture, that people. There is room for that too, and the present books say that is a matter for the Bishops Conference, because it generally goes beyond the boundaries of one diocese.

The ideal thing is that the bishops would have a Liturgical Music Commission which looks at the wording and the music of the hymns. And when the commission is satisfied, judgment is brought to the bishops for approval, in the name of the rest of the conference.

But not individuals just composing anything and singing it in church. This is not right at all. No matter how talented the individual is. That brings us to the question of the instrument to be used. The local church should be conscious that church worship is not really the same as what we sing in a bar, or what we sing in a convention for youth. Therefore it should influence the type of instrument used, the type of music used.

I will not now pronounce and say never guitar. That would be rather severe. But much of guitar music may not be suitable at all for the Mass. Yet, it is possible to think of some guitar music that would be suitable, not as the ordinary one we get every time, the visit of a special group, etc.

The judgment would be left to the bishops of the area. It is wiser that way. Also, because there are other instruments in many countries which are not used in Italy or in Ireland, for instance.

But music should nourish faith, burst from our faith and should lead back to the faith. It should be a prayer. Entertainment is quite another matter. We have the parish hall for that, and the theater. People don't come to Mass in order to be entertained. They come to Mass to adore God, to thank him, to ask pardon for sins, and to ask for other things that they need. Those are the reasons for Mass. When they want entertainment, they know where to go. Parish hall, theater, presuming that their entertainment is acceptable from a moral theological point of view.

ITV: Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli in an article in Il Giornale of the 22 October was quoted as saying that your Congregation for Divine Worship had given a reserved opinion to the Holy Father against the Church granting a universal indult for the Tridentine Mass. Is this true, and if so, what would be the reasons against this?

ARINZE: To begin with, it is not within the competence of this Congregation to handle requests for the Mass of the Tridentine rite. The Holy Father has set up a special commission known as the Ecclesia Dei commission and it looks into that for groups that want it.

It is the Ecclesia Dei commission that examines that, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos is the President of that Commission. If there are any suggestions along those lines, he would bring them to the Holy Father.

Priests and bishops have to ask themselves when some of our Catholics are asking for the Tridentine Mass, could it be that we should examine how we celebrate Mass? Could it be that they have seen many abuses? And they are sick and tired, and therefore they say, "Look, we have had enough of this. Let’s go back to how it was 50 years ago." Could it be?

Unfortunately, what some don't know is that even when there was the Tridentine Mass there were abuses. Many Catholics did not know, because they did not know Latin! So when the priest garbled the words, they were not aware of this.

ITV: Recently, an issue that has been given a lot of attention are the moral obligations of Catholics during election times. Is it a duty of them to vote for pro-life politicians, and should those Catholic pro-choice politicians be given communion?

ARINZE: You are asking me if a politician says, "I vote for abortion, and I will continue to ask for abortion." Then you ask should he be given holy communion. So, you are really saying, this politician says, "I vote for the killing of unborn children." Because we call things by their names. And he calls that pro-choice.

Suppose somebody voted for the killing of all the members of the House of Representatives, "for all of you being killed. I call that pro-choice. Moreover, I am going to receive Holy Communion next Sunday." Then you ask me, should he be given communion. My reply, "Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that question?" Can a child having made his First Communion not answer that question? Is it really so complicated? The child will give the correct answer immediately, unless he is conditioned by political correctness. It is a pity, cardinals have to be asked such questions.

If a person has a way of life which is against the major Commandments, and makes a boast of it, then the person is in a state which is publicly sinful. It is he who has disqualified himself, not the priest or the bishop. He should not go to communion, until his life should be in line with the Gospel.
Spanish Benedicto XVI felicita al cardenal Arinze por sus cuarenta años de episcopado
Nov 06, 2005
Benedicto XVI recibió este lunes en audiencia al cardenal Francis Arinze, prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y la Disciplina de los Sacramentos, con motivo del cuadragésimo aniversario de su ordenación episcopal.

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO, lunes, 31octubre 2005 ( En el encuentro, que tuvo lugar en la Sala Clementina del Palacio Apostólico Vaticano, participaron amigos nigerianos del purpurado.

El cardenal presidió este domingo una misa de acción de gracias en la iglesia de Santa María en Transpontina, situada muy cerca del Vaticano.

En las palabras de felicitación que el Papa le dirigió en inglés durante el encuentro, imploró «a Dios que le guíe y fortalezca en su servicio a la Iglesia, lleno de amor y celo».

El cardenal Arinze nació en Eziowelle, localidad de la archidiócesis de Onitsha, Nigeria, el 1 de noviembre de 1932.

Ordenado el 23 de noviembre de 1958, en Roma, fue consagrado obispo el 29 de agosto de 1965 por monseñor Charles Heerey, arzobispo de Onitsha, sede de la que el ahora cardenal fue coadjutor.

Presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal de Nigeria, 1979 a 1984, fue nombrado por Juan Pablo II presidente del Secretariado para los No Creyentes, el 8 de abril de 1984 y el mismo Papa le creó cardenal el 25 de mayo de 1985.

Fue presidente del Consejo Pontificio para el Diálogo Interreligioso del 27 de mayo de 1985 hasta el 1 de octubre de 2002, cuando fue nombrado prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y la Disciplina de los Sacramentos.

En este Sínodo de los Obispos sobre la Eucaristía desempeñó el papel de copresidente delegado.
French Dans le projet de Dieu, le salut inclut toute l’humanité
Nov 06, 2005
La Bonne Nouvelle catholique n’est pas « un article de contrebande qu’il faut cacher » mais une réalité à annoncer au grand jour, a affirmé le cardinal Francis Arinze, préfet de la Congrégation pour le culte divin et la discipline des sacrements.

ROME, Vendredi 28 octobre 2005 ( - Le cardinal Arinze, également président émérite du Conseil pontifical pour le dialogue interreligieux a donné une conférence ce mercredi sur le thème « L’Eglise catholique aujourd’hui et les religions du monde » à l’Athénée pontifical « Regina Apostolorum ». « Il arrive un moment où nous devons annoncer Jésus », a précisé le cardinal, car nous avons l’obligation envers Dieu de « chercher la vérité religieuse ».

Cette vérité est que « Jésus Christ est le seul sauveur de toute l’humanité ». Il existe « un seul Dieu, un seul médiateur entre Dieu et l’humanité », a poursuivi le cardinal africain, en rappelant que Jésus a institué l’Eglise comme « voie ordinaire pour le salut ».

Le salut, a-t-il ajouté, est « une initiative divine », « à laquelle nous sommes appelés et à laquelle nous répondons ». Ce n’est pas nous qui sommes à l’origine de cette initiative mais Dieu, et « sans la grâce, personne n’est sauvé ».

Le salut, qui dans le projet de Dieu inclut toute l’humanité et embrasse les membres des diverses religions « sera toujours le salut de Jésus sauveur », a affirmé le cardinal Arinze. Et même si les personnes concernées ne le connaissent pas, lorsqu’elles arriveront au ciel, elles trouveront cette « douce surprise », a-t-il ajouté.

D’où vient alors la nécessité des missionnaires ? L’Eglise catholique a le « mandat divin d’aller dans le monde entier », a répondu le cardinal nigérian, précisant qu’après 2000 ans de christianisme « la mission du Rédempteur ne fait que commencer ».

Il ne suffit pas d’avoir « la possibilité d’être sauvé », a-t-il poursuivi, il faut aussi « recevoir les moyens du salut dans leur plénitude et abondance », et « nous n’avons tous ces moyens que dans l’Eglise ».

L’Eglise, a-t-il expliqué, est « une communion de foi, de charité, de culte, de service fondée par Jésus Christ », qui lui a promis « son assistance et la présence de l’Esprit Saint jusqu’à la fin du monde ».

Selon le card. Arinze, l’Eglise catholique est unique pour plusieurs raisons. Tout d’abord, celui qui a fondé l’Eglise est le Fils de Dieu lui-même, qui « a enseigné, fait des miracles, souffert, est mort, est ressuscité, et a donné à l’Eglise le pouvoir de célébrer ses mystères jusqu’à la fin des temps ».

Lorsque l’Eglise célèbre la messe, c’est Jésus lui-même qui célèbre, tout comme dans les autres sacrements la personne principale qui agit est le Christ, a-t-il précisé.

Les moyens pour adhérer à cette grande « famille du salut », a-t-il expliqué, sont le Baptême et la foi, à travers lesquels « nous entrons dans l’Eglise comme on entre dans une maison par la porte ».

Reconnaissant l’importance fondamentale du dialogue et de la collaboration entre les religions, le cardinal Grinze a toutefois rappelé la nécessité de sauvegarder et promouvoir l’identité chrétienne et catholique des pays européens, afin que celle-ci « ne se vende pas au profit d’une collaboration nébuleuse ».
Spanish “España tiene el peligro de perder su propia cultura e identidad por entender mal la relaciones interreligiosas”
Oct 30, 2005
El que fuera Prefecto del Consejo Pontificio para el Diálogo Interreligioso durante 18 años, el cardenal Francis Arinze, actual Prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y Disciplina de los Sacramentos, declaró para la Agencia Veritas que “España tiene el peligro de perder su propia cultura e identidad católica por entender mal la relaciones interreligiosas”.

(, 27/10/2005) El cardenal Arinze desarrolló una ponencia “La Iglesia católica y las otras religiones” dentro del Master “Iglesia, Ecumenismo y Religiones” que se está desarrollando en el Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum en Roma dirigido por el profesor español Andreu Rocha.

“Como en España, en mucos países de Europa el principal problema es que muchos cristianos son demasiado liberales, no saben suficiente sobre el propio cristianismo, son relativistas en materia religiosa y por eso muchos adoptan otra religión como la musulmana, hindú... y los demás cristianos piensan que esto no importa. Aquí está el peligro. Muchos de los países europeos de raíz cristiana tienen más personas musulmanas, budistas e hindúes que nunca en la historia, y muchos cristianos son demasiado indiferentes ante este factor, esto no supone ningún progreso”, aclaró el cardenal.
Spanish La íntima relación entre evangelización y diálogo interreligioso
Oct 30, 2005
La Buena Noticia del Evangelio no «es una mercancía de contrabando que hay que esconder», sino una realidad que hay que predicar abiertamente, considera el cardenal Francis Arinze, prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y la Disciplina de los Sacramentos.

ROMA, jueves, 27 octubre 2005 ( En una conferencia dictada este miércoles sobre el tema «La Iglesia católica hoy y las religiones del mundo», el purpurado, antiguo presidente del Consejo Pontificio para el Diálogo Interreligioso, recordó que el diálogo con los creyentes de otras religiones forma parte del mandato misionero de Cristo a la evangelización

«Llega un momento en el que tenemos que anunciar a Jesús», pues «ante Dios tenemos la obligación de buscar la verdad religiosa», subrayó.

Esta verdad consiste en el hecho de que «Jesucristo es el único salvador de toda la humanidad», aclaró el cardenal nigeriano.

Con su conferencia inauguró el master en «Iglesia, ecumenismo y religiones», que ofrece la Facultad de Teología del Ateneo Pontificio «Regina Apostolorum».

«Sólo hay un Dios, sólo hay un mediador entre Dios y la humanidad», añadió al dirigirse a los estudiantes de los diferentes continentes de este nuevo master, recordando que Jesús instituyó la Iglesia como «camino ordinario para la salvación».

La salvación, reconoció, «es una iniciativa divina» a la que «estamos llamados». No somos nosotros quienes «comenzamos la aventura», sino que es Dios, pues «sin la gracia nadie se salva».

Si bien el proyecto divino de salvación incluye a toda la humanidad y es posible salvarse siendo miembros de otras religiones, no hay que olvidar, advirtió, que se trata de «la salvación de Jesús salvador».

Por este motivo, aclaró, aunque los interesados no le conozcan, cuando lleguen al cielo se encontrarán con esta «dulce sorpresa».

¿De dónde viene, entonces, la necesidad de los misioneros?, se preguntó el cardenal. La Iglesia católica ha recibido «el mandato divino de ir por el mundo entero».

No basta solo «tener la posibilidad de la salvación», siguió aclarando, es necesario también «recibir los medios para la salvación en su plenitud y abundancia» y «sólo en la Iglesia podemos encontrar todos estos medios».

Reconociendo la «importancia fundamental del diálogo y de la colaboración entre las religiones», el prelado recordó la necesidad de defender y promover la identidad cristiana y católica de los países europeos.

Hay personas que «quieren destruir la identidad religiosa de algunas naciones» para las que el elemento cristiano ha sido fundamental, denunció.

Al mismo tiempo, reconoció, el cristianismo en estos países se ve amenazado por los mismos bautizados que son «demasiado liberales», «no saben lo suficiente sobre el cristianismo» y «son relativistas en materia religiosa».

Esto permite que otras religiones o sectas penetren fácilmente, quitando fieles a la Iglesia, concluyó.

La conferencia del cardenal Arinze tuvo lugar en vísperas de los cuarenta años de la publicación de la declaración del Concilio Vaticano II «Nostra Aetate» sobre las relaciones de la Iglesia católica con las demás religiones (28 de octubre de 1965).
German 'Eucharistie ist nicht ökumenisch'
Oct 24, 2005
Präfekt der Liturgiekongregation: "Es stimmt etwas nicht, wenn man in einer Pfarrei sieht, dass fast alle kommen, um die Kommunion zu empfangen, aber nur einige beichten gehen"

Vatikan (, 12. Oktober 2005) Vor Verzerrungen im Eucharistie-Verständnis warnt Kardinal Francis Arinze, der der Präfekt der Liturgiekongregation. Mit Blick auf die Debatten bei der Eucharistie-Bischofssynode, die derzeit im Vatikan stattfindet, meinte Arinze : "Wie wir die Messe zelebrieren, das zeigt, was wir über die Eucharistie glauben, und unser Glauben dirigiert unsere Feier." Und da geht es dem afrikanischen Kardinal im Gespräch mit Radio Vatikan vor allem um eine Klarstellung: "Die Eucharistie ist eine Feier der katholischen Kirche und keine ökumenische Feier. Ökumenismus bleibt immer wichtig in der Kirche, aber die Feier der heiligen Messe ist keine ökumenische Feier. Der Kommunionempfang - das versteht man - gilt nur für die Katholiken." Erst wenn die Christen wirklich alle wieder in Einheit zusammen seien, dürften sie gemeinsam die Eucharistie feiern. "Das ist unsere Hoffnung und unser Gebet." Arinze erinnert aber auch daran, dass auch Katholiken nicht einfach wie selbstverständlich immer zur Kommunion zugelassen seien. "Die Kirche und der heilige Paulus lehren uns, dass, wer im Zustand der Todsünde ist, erst beichten und danach zur Kommunion gehen soll. Es stimmt etwas nicht, wenn man in einer Pfarrei sieht, dass fast alle kommen, um die Kommunion zu empfangen, aber nur einige beichten gehen."
French Un cardinal africain proscrit les danses pendant la messe
Oct 24, 2005
Chanter en dansant "c’est bon pour la salle paroissiale mais pas pendant la messe", a estimé jeudi le cardinal nigérian Francis Arinze, préfet de la Congrégation pour le culte divin et la discipline des sacrements, en rendant compte devant la presse des travaux du Synode convoqué à Rome par Benoit XVI.

(chrétienté.info, 13 octobre 2005) Pour le prélat nigérian qui évoquait les réflexions des évêques sur la meilleure liturgie à proposer aux catholiques du monde entier par delà leurs différences de cultures et de langues, "les chants sont destinés à permettre aux fidèles d’intérioriser le sacrement de communion".

Il ne peut s’agir de faire de la musique ou de chanter pour des raisons de "divertissement ou de folklore", a-t-il estimé.

"Les danses, c’est bon pour la salle paroissiale mais pas pendant la messe", a-t-il conclu en faisant explicitement référence à l’Afrique : " On nous dit vous êtes africains, donc vous aimez danser. Donc dansez, dansez... ce n’est pas bon".
French « Les heures précieuses passées devant la Très Sainte Eucharistie »
Oct 15, 2005
« Les heures que nous passons devant la Très Sainte Eucharistie sont très précieuses » : déclare le cardinal Francis Arinze, préfet de la Congrégation pour le Culte divin et la Discipline des sacrements, en évoquant le développement de l’année de l’Eucharistie, au micro de Radio Vatican : le synode sur l’Eucharistie sera aussi l’occasion d’un bilan de l’année de l’Eucharistie.

ROME, Dimanche 2 octobre 2005 ( - Le cardinal Arinze souligne que ce bilan est très différent selon les lieux, les diocèses, les recteurs, les universités, les séminaires, les abbés : il n’est pas égal partout. Mais en général, fait-il remarquer, « nous pouvons louer Dieu parce qu’aujourd’hui il y a une plus grande attention à l’eucharistie et la manifestation de cette foi dans les célébrations eucharistiques ».

Il précise : « Il y a aussi eu des journées d’étude, promues par des universités et des grands séminaires, et les adorations eucharistiques sont plus nombreuses, en dehors de la messe. Au Nigeria (patrie du cardinal Arinze, ndlr), et ailleurs, par exemple, j’ai vu des chapelles qui exposaient le Saint Sacrement toute la journée et parfois même la nuit. Rendons grâce à Dieu pour tout cela, car les heures que nous passons devant la Très Sainte Eucharistie sont très précieuses ».

« Chacun aura ses attentes, fait-il observer. Mais je crois que nous pouvons dire que le Peuple de Dieu attend du synode une nouvelle affirmation de notre foi catholique sur l’Eucharistie, sacrifice et sacrement et présence réelle. Certes, il ne s’agit pas d’affirmer une nouvelle doctrine, mais de répéter la doctrine de toujours. Mais on attend aussi que le synode encourage la célébration eucharistique comme manifestation de la plénitude de la foi. La foi se manifeste dans la célébration, mais en même temps la célébration nourrit et manifeste aussi notre foi. Les gens attendent en outre, un encouragement concernant l’activité apostolique, l’activité de l’Eglise des différents états de vie : les clercs, les religieux, les laïcs, tous nourris de la très sainte Eucharistie, qui est source et sommet de toute la vie de l’Eglise ».

Pour ce qui est des principales problématiques que le synode devra affronter, le cardinal Arinze souligne que « chaque participant a la liberté de parler de quatre points : l’Eucharistie dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, la foi de l’Eglise dans l’Eucharistie, l’Eucharistie et la vie de l’Eglise et, enfin, l’Eucharistie mission de l’Eglise. Chacun aura la liberté de choisir de parler sur un de ces thèmes. Certes, chaque cardinal, et chaque évêque s’exprimera et choisira de mettre l’accent sur tel ou tel point, mais je crois aussi que l’on ne peut pas ne pas parler de la façon de célébrer, de ce que nous appelons aujourd’hui l’ars celebrandi (l’art de célébrer) : c’est-à-dire d’une façon de célébrer la sainte messe qui manifeste la foi, nourrit la foi, devient vraiment la joie et l’activité de l’Eglise. La célébration eucharistique n’est certainement pas une chose privée. On abordera certainement également le thème de la communion ecclésiale en lien avec l’eucharistie : qui reçoit la sainte communion doit être quelqu’un qui est en communion dans la foi, dans la vie de l’Eglise, et donc en unité avec l’évêque et avec le pape. La célébration eucharistique n’est pas une célébration œcuménique. L’œcuménisme doit être promu mais l’eucharistie ne devient pas un moyen - comme sil elle était une possession privée que nous donnons à ceux qui sont nos amis. L’Eucharistie est la célébration de l’Eglise déjà unie et non pas la célébration de tous les chrétiens, avec des fois différentes sur ce que l’on célèbre. Il est assez important de clarifier cela. Le thème de la mission est aussi important parce que l’Eucharistie nous envoie évangéliser. On ne peut pas ne pas aborder également cela ».
English Cardinal Arinze Visits Onitsha Prison
Oct 07, 2005
AS part of activities marking his 40 years of episcopacy and 20 years as a cardinal, Cardinal Francis Arinze on Sunday visited Onitsha prisons donating N100,000 to the inmates and promised to renovate the chapel there.

Daily Champion (Lagos), August 31, 2005 - Speaking during the visit, Arinze who is also Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacrament in The Vatican, exhorted the prisoners that their stay in the facility was just for a while and prayed that God will help them learn how to live a good life when their jail terms expire.

The cardinal who said the teaching of the church was more important than food, urged them to avail themselves of any opportunity to hear God's word.

He promised to celebrate mass with them on September 11 in order to share the gospel with them.

Earlier, a set of prisoners who were repatriated from Thailand in 2003 for various drug offences, had urged Cardinal Arinze to prevail on Federal Government to grant them amnesty.

Austin Umego, who spoke on behalf of the prisoners noted that they were about 339 and scattered all over prisons in Nigeria, even as he said that some of them have stayed between 14 and 16 years in prison.

He commended Cardinal Arinze for being instrumental to the treaty the Federal Government signed with the Thailand Government leading to their repatriation to Nigeria.

According to the Umego, some of the prisoners who were jailed in 1988 are in Onitsha, Owerri, Ilesha, Calabar,Kuje prisons.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Arinze has said that the selection of Pope Benedict XVI as leader of the Catholic Church worldwide was a blessing to the world and the church.

According to Arinze, it was worth praising God that the selection was peaceful, even as he thanked Nigerians who were part of the four million pilgrims who visited Rome to pay their last respects to the late Pope John Paul II
English The Liturgy is the Expression of the Faith
Jul 15, 2005
I met the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he was Archbishop of Munich, in 1977 or 1978, during a visit to Germany I made when I was Archbishop of Onitsha, in Nigeria. By Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

(30Days, May 2005) I had heard him spoken of as a theologian, but had never met him beforehand. I got to know him a lot better when I was nominated by John Paul II as President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, in 1984 that is, and then in the role of member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

I would say that he is a great personality. In him I see a priest, a bishop, a cardinal and now a Pope dedicated to Jesus Christ and the Church; a person of faith, of Catholic faith without reduction, intelligent. Pope Benedict knows how to articulate the faith in clear, lucid form; in a form that works for the instructed and is not too difficult for the simple. When one has the good fortune to hear him, one remains enriched doctrinally and spiritually. He is a very intelligent person, but at the same time does not oppress the other, he knows how to listen. If the other truly presents a positive argument, he does not hesitate to accept it. I myself have seen him ready to change his position when he found himself faced with arguments that were truly persuasive.

It is often forgotten that the role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is that of promoting and defending the faith and not of repressing dissenting theologians. Thus people imagined Cardinal Ratzinger only as a severe and meticulous referee ready to whistle an offside or disallow invalid goals… Well –if it’s right that there should be a referee to avoid the game finishing in “broken bottles” – the faith is something much more important than a game of football, and the figure of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, cannot be reduced to that of a petulant referee. Enough to look at L’Osservatore Romano of 24 April with two dense pages of the bibliography he has produced in the last forty years. Truly impressive!

To the people who do not know him personally, I say: wait, listen, open your eyes, open your ears also, because a person cannot see if he closes his eyes, and cannot hear anything if he doesn’t want to hear.

Some are frightened of the truth, so that when they hear the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith being talked about they immediately say that they are suffering from a headache or high blood pressure, but I say to them don’t be afraid: when you read more of the texts of this Pope, you will feel, you will taste more the joy of being faithful witnesses of Jesus!

Pope Benedict XVI as theologian and cardinal wrote much about the liturgy, because «lex credendi, lex orandi»: the liturgy is the expression of faith and it is the faith that guides the liturgy. The liturgy is not the field of those who like to do things their own way, it is not a field for “do it yourself”. The liturgy is the official expression of the faith of the Church, the celebration of the mysteries of Christ.  And Cardinal Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict – had rather clear ideas about the liturgy, and was not afraid to express them. This encourages us greatly in our work at the Congregation for Divine Worship, as might well be guessed. Those who are not afraid to open their ears, let them understand!
French Des heures de marche sous le soleil tropical
Jun 17, 2005
Des heures de marche sous le soleil tropical: le cardinal Arinze a confié à son retour à Rome combien la foi eucharistique des catholiques de Tanzanie l’a impressionné.

ROME, Mardi 14 juin 2005 ( – Le cardinal Francis Arinze, préfet de la Congrégation pour le Culte divin et la discipline des sacrements, est en effet revenu à Rome après un voyage en Tanzanie, où il a été invité par la conférence épiscopale pour examiner différentes questions liées à la liturgie en particulier à propos du document « Redemptionis Sacramentum ».

La Tanzanie, faisait observer en substance le cardinal Arinze, jouit d’une notable stabilité politique et sociale, et n’a jamais vécu de situation de violence ou de coup d’Etat. C’est pourquoi la population vit en paix et se montre très active du point de vue religieux, et témoigne d’une foi particulièrement intense.

Le cardinal Arinze donnait l’exemple de la foi eucharistique. Il a en effet constaté, à l’occasion de la Fête du Saint-Sacrement, à laquelle il avait été invité par le cardinal Polycarp Pengo, archevêque de Dar-es-Salaam, que les paroisses ont organisé des processions du Saint-Sacrement auxquelles les catholiques ont pris part au prix de longues marches de parfois quatre heures pour rejoindre le lieu de la célébration de la messe.

« J’ai été très impressionné, a confié le cardinal Arinze, de voir les gens agenouillés dans la poussière à trois heures et demi de l’après-midi sous le soleil tropical ».

Un invité du président de la République de Tanzanie participait à la rencontre des évêques avec le cardinal Arinze, qui a souligné les bonnes relations existant entre les évêques et le chef de l’Etat.

Le cardinal Arinze a également rendu visite au grand séminaire: il a célébré la messe et rencontré les séminaristes. « Nous pouvons être pauvres, a fait remarquer le cardinal nigérian, mais attention, nous sommes contents. Je ne dis pas « pauvres mais contents », je dis « pauvres et contents ». »
English Thanks Cardinal Arinze, we will be good citizens
Jun 07, 2005
A good Christian is a good citizen indeed. Francis Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria could not have been more right in that when he preached to a Tabata Catholic congregation in Dar es Salaam recently.

(Guardian/Tanzania, 04 Jun 2005) The Vatican`s high-ranking official said that believers cannot say that they are good Christians if they cannot abide by the law.

The law is not only the commandments of God, but by fulfilling the divine stipulation, one abides by the secular directive.

God`s law is ingrained in the laws of the state, and if some people say they are good Christians, there is no way they can do that without manifesting their good citizenship through obedience to the requirements of the state.

Conversely, they cannot say they are good citizens if they do not abide by the will of God.

The will of the Almighty is simple but strict. You do it and you are good. You don’t and you are bad.

It is through this law of God that man can and indeed will manifest his virtuous deeds.

Often enough we have heard of a proud declaration by a citizen, who has successfully evaded paying tax.

This kind of man cannot be a good Christian for God forbids tax evasion.

We find illustration of His approval of taxation in an encounter of Jesus Christ with the Pharisees.

On one occasion they schemed to trap Jesus and showed Him a coin, asking him to tell them whether it was right to pay tax or not.

``Whose likeness is that on the coin?`` Jesus asked them.
They answered and said the figure was that of Caesar.

``Then pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.``

That simply means paying tax is not bad. A Christian at that, who wants to get free service from the state or who does that without paying for it when it is a duty to do so, is committing a punishable crime.

Arinze spoke as a Christian but there are other religions too that worship the Almighty.

In that context, all roads lead to Rome and believers of these other faiths too cannot say they are good members of their religions if they do not abide by the laws of the state.

Only the other day we read about and saw the picture of a boy whose hands had been bound with a string by a relative, doused with paraffin and then set alight for having stolen something.

Such cruelty runs counter to the will of God. To be so unkind to a child just because the child is alleged to have stolen a couple of coins, is an offence against the state and far from being the will of God.

Children today have fallen victim to evils by the very people they trust as their guardians. The resort of a child is the society. The last are a child`s parents.

Of late we have heard of acts of Sodom and Gomorrah upon these little ones who look on us for protection and direction.

On May 25 this year Resident magistrate William Mtaki sentenced 39 year-old Paulo John to life in prison for sodomising his 9-year old son over a period of eight months.

“It seemed the boy could not take it any more and that was probably why he fled to my home,” public witness and Kimara Matangani 10-cell leader, Elimwambie Kimaro, told the court.

There can be no doubt that Paulo is as much a bad citizen as he is a bad Christian.

The act of having turned against his own flesh and blood with the wrath of a barbarian and subjected the little boy to so much anguish could not have made him a darling of the Almighty.

The fate of the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah illustrated the wrath of God upon those who perform the heinous act of sodomy.
The Almighty so detests the aberrant sexual act that He punishes it severely.

Yet the church appears to be turning into a haven of sodomy. Do we remember consecration a homosexual bishop in America? Have we forgotten the sodomy scandal of the Roman Catholic Church in the US where some priests were suspended and the church settled a couple of the cases by paying millions of dollars? As believers we must be good citizens to change this period of darkness.

And now, there is a pending case at Kisutu magistrate court, where a Dar es Salaam Catholic archdiocesan priest Sixtus Kimaro is alleged to have sodomized a 17-year-old boy. Whether that is true or not, the court of law will tell us.

We understand elephants kiss may be as a sign of love as humans do. But one thing is certain.

Of the sexual act, it is man alone that practises sodomy. Other animal species do not. Where have our ethical principles gone?
English Francis Cardinal Arinze Has Family’s Support
Apr 19, 2005
A pro-basketball star and his U.S. college-professor dad are rooting for Francis Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria to become the next pope — after all, he's family.

(New York Post, April 18, 2005) Ifeanyi Arinze, a biochemistry teacher at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., is Arinze's younger brother, and Ifeanyi's son, Niki, is a top hoopster for the London Towers in England.

"Me and my dad call him 'The Cardinal' — it's kind of in a jokey way most of the time, but that title also carries a lot of respect, and we have to show that, too," said Niki, a 25-year-old former Wake Forest University star.

"It's just something we've lived with for years now — that my uncle is the cardinal for Nigeria and may be the next pope."

But the young man said his uncle is not a big hoops fan.

"He's not really into sports. And if he was, then it would probably be soccer . . . That's huge in Nigeria," Niki said.

He described the 72-year-old cardinal as "a very caring and loving guy [who is] always interested in other people."

And he said that despite his uncle's busy schedule, the cardinal has always managed to keep in touch with his American relations and to follow Niki's basketball career.
English Nigerian cardinal's hometown awaits Vatican conclave
Apr 19, 2005
At a fork in the rutted track leading through the lush landscape of southeastern Nigeria, a billboard reads "Eziowelle for Jesus" and an arrow points the way to the sleepy town.

EZIOWELLE, Nigeria (Reuters, April 18, 2005) - With chickens scratching in the red earth, an occasional motorbike putting by and little other action, Eziowelle is about as far removed as possible from the hushed stone hallways and cool frescoed domes of Vatican City.

But this week, Eziowelle residents are not only for Jesus, they are also for local Cardinal Francis Arinze, who is among the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals who entered a conclave on Monday to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II.

Born and raised in the remote farming settlement, Arinze, 72, is fourth in the Vatican hierarchy and is often mentioned among the leading candidates to become head of the world's more than one billion Catholics.

He bears the muted hopes of the world's poorest continent and supporters say Arinze's humble origins mean he would champion the cause of developing nations and of Africa, which boasts the world's fastest growing Catholic population.

"An African Pope would open up Africa to the outside world. He would show the way we are in Africa and in Nigeria, that we are not all thieves, we are not all fraudulent people, we are not all bad," Ifeoma, 35, as she came out of Mass in Lagos.


Like in many African villages, Eziowelle's school is a run-down building with no windows and few materials. Pupils dressed in bright pink uniforms trek long distances to class in rubber sandals or bare feet.

"If he becomes pope, this place will become like a small western country and we could have heaven here on earth," said Veronica Obidike, a woman in her 60s selling spices at the town's central market of wooden stalls and makeshift kiosks.

Obidike said the dirt access road, which becomes an impassable mud bath in the rainy season, should be paved and that water services and other infrastructure the state has failed to provide should finally be extended to Eziowelle.

"We need all of those things. We want everything that is good," Obidike said, voicing the widespread belief that an African pope could bring positive change to Africa in the way Pope John Paul helped end communism's grip on Eastern Europe.

Born into an animist family of the region's Igbo tribe, Arinze was not baptised until the age of 9, when he converted to Catholicism.

"His father was a palm wine tapper and we used to go to his father's house to drink," said an 89-year-old villager who gave his name only as Onyeka.

Arinze's father's compound is now empty and his mother's simple hut next door is home to the family gardener who wears a grubby blue T-shirt with a fading picture of a pizza and the words, "A Slice of Heaven".

Neighbours pointed to a tree in the dusty courtyard, saying Arinze's mother was buried beneath it.


A theological conservative who has spoken out against homosexuality and pornography, Arinze has worked as a consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, the Vatican department that keeps an eye on doctrinal integrity.

Before moving to Rome in 1985, Arinze spent 18 years as bishop of Onitsha, a market town near Eziowelle.

Arinze's conservative legacy lingers at his former parish, the Church of the Holy Trinity, where women are not allowed to enter without wearing a headscarf. A slightly misleading sign at each entrance informs church-goers that "females should not wear male dresses and males should not wear female dresses".

While Catholic conservatism is faced with the challenge of remaining relevant in a modern world, in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, Arinze's views are common.

"He is a good man. Every time he comes he helps us change our bad habits and attitudes," said Christian Ozoemenam, 20, building an extension to Eziowelle's Saint Edward's church.

While many Nigerians openly support Arinze, most appear fatalistic about his chances and wonder whether the world is ready for its first African pope in more than 1,500 years.

"I respect and love him, but I don't think the world is ready for a black pope. It's only a tall dream," said local resident John Bosco George.
English Pope Contender: Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria
Apr 17, 2005
The same year Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria was ordained a priest, an older colleague was undergoing psychiatric care, deemed mentally unbalanced by his desire to incorporate African rites into the ritual of the Catholic Church.

(Associated Press, April 16th, 2005) Years later, after the upheaval that ousted Latin and brought myriad local languages into Catholic churches, Arinze still was holding out.

He would allow African drums to be played in only two of the many parishes he administered as a bishop.

Through decades of change, Arinze, 72, has remained a strong voice of the establishment, leading to his rise to the No. 4 position in the Vatican and a chance to become the first African pope.

John Paul gave Arinze custody of the church’s style of worship, sacraments and liturgy. Arinze also helped mediate the church’s rapprochement with other religions at a time when fundamentalist Islamic and Protestant sects replaced communism as the biggest challenge to Catholic proselytizing.

Arinze shepherded a flock that saw the act of worship transformed from a formal Latin recitation interspersed with equally foreign European chants into a riotous celebration where priests proceed up the aisle surrounded by gyrating, spear-wielding dancers and cathedrals resonate to thump of drums.

His concept of change has limits. A collection of pastoral letters published in 1983 exhort against straying from church dogma on abortion, sex and chastity. As the church was preparing to tell married adherents it was acceptable to enjoy sex, he counseled caution.

“Even among the married, sexual satisfaction must not be sought in a way which disregards man’s character as a person and degrades him to the animal level,” he wrote.

At a 2003 lecture at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Arinze drew gasps and protests when he lumped homosexuality together with pornography.

Colleagues describe Arinze as focused, spiritual and tireless but also flexible and a good listener.
English Notre Dame to present Arinze with doctorate at commencement
Apr 16, 2005
The University of Notre Dame plans to award an honorary doctorate to Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Vatican official who's included on many short lists of contenders to become the next pope, during its commencement ceremony on May 15.

(AP/, April 15 2005) Arinze, a Nigerian native who most recently has led the Vatican's initiatives on worship, sacraments and liturgy, agreed to accept the doctorate in October, Notre Dame spokesman Matt Storin said Thursday.

If Arinze, 72, emerges as the next pope during the conclave that begins Monday, it likely would prevent him from traveling to South Bend next month to accept the honor.

"If Cardinal Arinze is elected the next pope, we do not expect him here. We think he'll have another scheduling conflict," Storin said.

Notre Dame first invited Arinze to receive an honorary degree last year, but the cardinal could not accept because of a scheduling conflict.

"We then invited him to come for this year and he sent us his acceptance, written in his own hand, in October," Storin said.

Notre Dame already has bestowed an honorary degree on one future pope. In 1960, it honored Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who took the name Paul VI when he became the pontiff three years later.

Notre Dame generally does not disclose citations for honorary degrees before they are awarded, but Storin said it was recognizing Arinze for his dedication to interfaith dialogue, particularly with Muslims. Arinze headed the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue until October 2002.

At that time, John Paul II named Arinze prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which reviews liturgical texts.

Arinze has visited Indiana at least once. In November 1999, he preached on the Feast of All Saints at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, telling 1,500 worshippers that all are called to be holy.

"It is not true that holiness is only expected of the clergy and others just sneak into heaven. No, no, no, it's not good theology," he said, drawing laughter.

One other cardinal widely considered among the favorites to become the next pope also has received an honorary degree from Notre Dame. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, received one in 2003, two years after his elevation to the College of Cardinals.

Also honored have been several other cardinals who will vote on the next pope during the conclave: Americans Adam Maida of Detroit (in 1997), William Henry Keeler of Baltimore (1998) Edmund Casimir Szoka of the Vatican (1999), Italian Agostino Cacciavillan (2000) and German Walter Kasper (2002).
English Francis Cardinal Arinze
Apr 13, 2005
Cardinal Francis Arinze is on the shortlist of candidates to succeed Pope John Paul II. And because he comes from Nigeria, the cardinal has attracted considerable media attention and prompted questions about whether the world is ready for a black pope. But his background runs deeper than skin color. Arinze is one of the leading cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church and was “Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship” and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Roman Curia when elected under Pope John Paul II.

(The Manila Times, April 12, 2005) Arinze was one of the principal advisers to the Pope and is widely considered a strong candidate to succeed him, a possibility that would make him the first African pope in more than 1,500 years. His interreligious credentials and the influence of the Catholic faith have helped enhance the prominence of the church in Africa, a continent divided by religious and political sanctions.

Arinze was born in Eziowelle, Nigeria, on November 1, 1932. He was baptized at the age of nine by the first Nigerian to be canonized, Michael Tansi. At the age of 15, he entered All Hallowa Seminary Ognissanti of Nuewi and graduated in 1950.

He stayed at that seminary to teach until 1953. Arinze later entered the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu, where he studied philosophy.

In 1955 he went to Rome to study theology at the Pontifical Urban University. On November 23, 1958, Arinze was ordained priest at the university chapel.

From 1961 to 1962 Arinze was professor of liturgy, logic and basic philosophy at Bigard Memorial Seminary. There he was appointed regional secretary for Catholic education for eastern Nigeria. Arinze was then transferred to London, where he attended the Institute of Pedagogy and graduated in 1964. On July 6, 1965, he was appointed to the titular church of Fissiana in Nigeria and named coadjutor to the Archbishop of Onitsha.

Cardinal Arinze has worked extensively in the United States, where he presides over a dedication of the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

As coadjutor Father Arinze proved himself a highly intelligent and able leader. After great consideration of his successes throughout his early pastoral career, Arinze was consecrated Bishop on August 29, 1965. Two years later he was asked to take over the pastoral government of the archdiocese and on June 26, 1967, was named Archbishop.

In 1979 Archbishop Arinze continued his rise to the Church hierarchy. His peers elected him president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, where he served until 1984.

In 1985 Pope John Paul II requested his services to become president of the Secretariat for Non-Christians. Today the organization is called the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Before assuming the position, Arinze was made cardinal by Pope John Paul II in a consistory on May 25. Cardinal Arinze served as president of the council until October 1, 2002.

On May 8, 1994, Arinze presided over the altar of the Chair of Saint Peter’s Basilica as president of the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

On October 24, 1999, he received a gold medallion from the International Council of Christians and Jews for his outstanding achievements in interfaith relations. He traveled extensively and became a popular speaker in the United States, where he cultivated many devotees of his pastoral leadership.
English Arise, Rejoice, God is Calling You
Apr 11, 2005
Commencement Address at Georgetown University,
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 17, 2003.

God be praised for this major event today in the life of Georgetown University. Nearly a thousand young people are graduating. To you, dear young friends, I say: Allow serious religion to lead you to lasting joy. Happy parents and friends surround their loved ones. With them I say: Let us thank God for the gift of the family. The Company of Jesus, the Jesuits, initiated and nourish this University. With them I rejoice at the patrimony of Saint Ignatius and especially that the Catholic Church is God's gift to the world. To all I say: Arise, rejoice, God is calling you.

1. Serious Religion leads to lasting Joy.
My dear graduands, at this turning point in your lives, it is helpful to keep to essentials. One of them is to locate in what happiness consists. Everyone wants to be happy. Every human being desires lasting joy.

True happiness does not consist in the accumulation of goods: money, cars, houses. Nor is it to be found in pleasure seeking: eating, drinking, sex. And humans do not attain lasting joy by power grabbing, dominating others, or heaping up public acclaim. These three things, good in themselves when properly sought, were not able to confer on Solomon, perfect happiness. And they will not be able to confer it on anyone else! (cf Eccles 1:2-3; II King 11:1-8; Mt 20:24-28; I Jn 2:15-16).

Happiness is attained by achieving the purpose of our earthly existence. God made me to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next. Saint Augustine found this out in his later age after making many mistakes in his youth. He then cried out to God: "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (St Aug. Conf. I, 1). My religion guides and helps me towards this. My Catholic faith puts me in contact with Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (cf Jn 14:6). God's grace helps me to live on earth in such a way as to attain the purpose of my earthly existence.

My dear graduands, allow your religion to give your life its essential and major orientation. In our lives, religion is not something marginal, peripheral, additional, optional. My Catholic faith gives meaning and a sense of direction to my life. It gives it unity. Without it my life would be like an agglomeration of scattered mosaics. It is my religion, for example, that inspires my profession, that teaches me that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving (cf Acts 20:35), that helps me to appreciate that to reach the height of my growth potential, I must learn to give of myself to others as I practice my profession as lawyer, doctor, air hostess, congress member or priest (Vatican II: Gaudium et Spes, 24).

Allow your religion to give life, joy, generosity and a sense of solidarity to your professional and social engagements. In a world of religious plurality, you will of course learn to cooperate with people of other religious convictions. True religion teaches not exclusion, rivalry, tension, conflict or violence, but rather openness, esteem, respect and harmony. At the same time you should keep intact your religious identity, your distinction as a witness of Jesus Christ.

2. Thank God for the Gift of the Family.
As I see joy and just pride reflected on the faces of the parents and friends of these graduands, I think of God's goodness in giving the gift of the family to humanity.

It is God himself who willed that a man and a woman should come to establish a permanent bond in marriage. Marriage gives rise to the family. In this fundamental cell of society, love grows. There the exercise of sexuality has its correct locus. There human maturity is nurtured. There new life utters its first cry and later smiles at the parents. There the child is first introduced to religion. Is it any wonder that the Second Vatican Council called the family "the church of the home" (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11)?

In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce.

But the family has friends too. It is nourished and lubricated by mutual love, strengthened by sacrifice and healed by forgiveness and reconciliation. The family is blessed with new life, kept united by family prayer and given a model in the Holy Family of Nazareth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Christian families are moreover blessed by the Church in the name of Christ and fed by the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. It was beautiful that at the beatification of Mr. and Mrs. Luigi and Maria Beltrame-Quattrocchi in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City on October 21, 2001, three of their children were present.

May God bless all the families here present and grant our graduands who will one day set up their own families his light, guidance, strength, peace and love.

3. The Patrimony of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
We rejoice with the Jesuit Community that set up and keeps up Georgetown University. In the patrimony of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, love of the Church is prominent. It is a joy, an honor and a responsibility to belong to the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church. This Mystical Body of Christ, this largest of all religious families that ever existed, is the divinely set-up family for all peoples, languages and cultures. This Church has produced Saints from every state of life, men and women who, open to God's grace, have become signs of hope. But this same Church also has sinners in her fold. Far from discouraging and rejecting them, the Church offers them hope, wholesome Gospel teaching, saving sacraments and the invitation to abandon the food of pigs, make a U-turn and return to the refreshing joy of their Father's house, like the prodigal son (cf Lk 15: 14-24).

This Church has inherited from Christ, the Apostles and her living tradition, a non-negotiable body of doctrine on faith and morals. The tenets of the Catholic faith do not change according to the play of market forces, majority votes or opinion polls. "Jesus Christ is the same today as He was yesterday and as He will be for ever" (Heb 13:8). This is the Church that Saint Ignatius invites all his spiritual children to love and cherish. This is the Church to which we have the joy to belong.

My dear graduands, parents and the Jesuit Community of Georgetown, arise, rejoice, because God is calling us. And may God's light, peace, grace and blessing descend on you and remain with you always.
English Welcome to Eziowelle, Home of Cardinal Arinze
Apr 10, 2005
Nothing in Eziowelle suggests that this is the village that may produce the next Pope of the Catholic Church. Its most prominent son is Cardinal Francis Arinze, who is currently rated as one of the top three likely to succeed Pope John Paul II, from this dusty community. Charles Onyekamuo visits the village, speaks with the Cardinal's elder brother, inspects the family house, and reports

This Day, April 8, 2005) Lagos - The road to Eziowelle is not exactly smooth. Right from the Afor-Igwe market junction in Umunachi, Dunukofia council area of the state which shares borders with the town, the three-kilometre stretch to Eziowelle reminds you of the utter neglect by governments, at both the second and the third tiers, of the various feeder roads that dot communities in the in Nigeria. Eziowelle, which literally means 'a good place', is an agrarian community lying about eight kilometres east of Onitsha, Anambra state's commercial nerve centre.

The red-earth road, though wide enough, is dusty, bumpy and erosion-ravaged. A ride to Eziowelle from Afor-Igwe, something that would have ordinarily taken 10 minutes, is an unimaginably stressful and unpleasant experience. On the whole, it takes about 30 minutes or more on a commercial motorcycle, popularly called "Okada", to get to Eziowelle. Commuter buses don't ply the road, and as THISDAY leant from a guide, "the Gala man", a commercial motor-cycle operator in the area, the approach of rainy season will mean as it normally is, that the in-mates of Eziowelle and other communities like Abacha and Abatete would totally be shut out from the rest of the world.

Forget the dusty road. Forget the bumpy details. There is an outside chance that it would not be shut out from the world, at least not physically. This is the road that leads to the village of the man who might become the next Pope, the most influential religious leader in the world who heads the Catholic Church with membership closing in on 1.5 billion. This is the road to the home of 73-year-old Cardinal Francis Arinze, Nigeria's precious gift to the Catholic Church. Eziowelle is indeed a good place, despite the fact that a road leading to the hometown of a world figure like Cardinal Arinze is impassable.

The death and burial of Pope John Paul II, the 84-year-old Pontiff of the Catholic church, mean that a successor would soon be announced by the body of cardinals. Their duty is fill the vacuum, following laid down rules guiding succession to the great office, and in conformity, as the church believes, with the dictates of the Holy Spirit.

Cardinal Arinze is one of the cardinals in the Vatican City, the Pope's abode in Rome, who, given his rich credentials, is being considered as one of the possible successor to the Papacy. This consideration, a possibility as a matter of fact, gained currency following his rich experience as Vatican's head of Lithurgy and its chairman on Inter-Religious Affairs.

Perhaps, this also accounted for the media commentaries around the world, which seem to be agreeing with this possibility which, if it comes to pass, would make Cardinal Arinze, who was ordained a priest of the Catholic church in Rome in 1958, the first black African to become a pope in the history of Catholicism in its over 1,500 years of existence. This may also have accounted for the horde of local and international journalists who have literally shifted their offices to Eziowelle, Cardinal Arinze's home town in the last three days.

Ezi-Owelle is not particularly a spectacular community. Located on an undulating landscape, the rustic town remained in the main agrarian, with bushy farmlands strewing in between settlements. The people are very lively, and from what one can see, highly industrious. The young and the old are seen clearing their land holdings, preparatory to farming activities in anticipation of what Pa Okeke, 69, an indigene of Eziowelle called the "April rains". The Eziowelle town is serviced by a market, Eke Eziowelle, a post office, schools (both secondary and primary) and churches. They are, as it were, a testimonial of the town's contact with modernity.

The industry of the people, many of whom are businessmen, and of other vocations, is attested to by the changing face of Eziowelle through the provision of these infrastructure, provided mainly through self help and the erection of modern houses, (storey-buildings and bungalows alike) which now seem to be replacing some ancient red mud architecture.

The Church Where Arinze was Converted

St. Edward's Catholic Church Parish in the town, built by the missionaries in the 1930s, is the single largest church in the town, and is reputed to be the church where Cardinal Francis Arinze was converted into Christianity and baptised. The church with the ancillary Primary School which goes by the same name has undergone a lot of redesigning and renovations. It is the church where Cardinal Francis first knew Christ.

When Francis was Growing Up

Francis was born 73 years ago into the family of Joseph Arinze Nwankwu and Benedict Arinze. Pa. Arinze Nwankwu who died at about the age of 87 was converted and baptised in the Catholic Church along with his wife, Benedict, now deceased, in about 1957. It was then that he adopted the baptismal name of "Joseph" with his wife, adopting "Benedict", according to Chief Christopher Arinze, 79, the cardinal's eldest brother.

Besides Christopher, a retired primary school teacher, Pa Arinze and Benedict Nwankwu were also blessed with Linus, Cecilia, Francis, Victoria, Justin and Catherine making the Pa Arinze Nwankwu's a nuclear family of seven (four males and three females). Out of this number, however, Linus and Cecilia are now late.

'Our Father was A Farmer'

Pa Christopher said their father was just a farmer and their mother a housewife. He said he was senior to both Linus and Cecilia before Francis was born; and had since started primary school with his immediate younger brother, the Late Linus, before Francis joined them at the age of nine. That time, the family was living together in their family house, a four-bedroom bungalow at Odida-UmuiKwelle, village, Ezi-Owelle where they were all born.

Now, Pa Christopher said he left the family house to a location about 400 metres away where he formed his own nuclear family. Linus and Justin too moved, leaving the family house to distant cousins. The last that occupied the house was called Luke. He is also deceased. A young woman of about 38 who gave her name as Felicia said she was Luke's daughter. But the small compound, which now houses two other small bungalows of about two rooms and a parlour each, was somehow desolate. The doors were under lock and key, and except for the fruits like paw-paw, mango tress and jerry cans of water in front of the buildings, there was nothing to suggest that they were habitable.

Even Felicia could not explain why they too had to abandon the compound. Barely literate, she just pointed to her father's grave, and then picked a young girl of about two whom she strapped with a wrapper to her back and took a bush path besides the building into a distance. From the amount of dirt and perspiration all over her body, it was evident that she was just returning from a farm, given the hoe on her head.

"I don't know what is happening there, I live here now", Pa Christopher said in apparent indifference to what may have become his father's compound from where he relocated to raise his own family. He sat in front of his six-bedroom bungalow with two of his children playing around. The house is painted in a fading white colour while on its front pavement are palm kernels and sprouting yam seedlings being prepared for planting. There are also jerry cans of water as well as disused cushions. The whole compound is enclosed with a red gate with Pa Christopher's rickety Peugeot saloon 504 parked just in front of the gate.

"That car has been giving me problems. I can't even put it in order. It has been parked there for more than two days now", he said, in apparent disgust.

But he found time to further explain that the way he started school at St. Edward's primary school, the only missionary school in the community then was strange and that his father didn't object. According to him, he and other members of Arinze Nwankwu family had gone for an "Ash Wednesday" service at St. Edward's Catholic Church, and thereafter took time to observe some pupils in the classroom.

"There and then, I took interest and started school", he said. Although he failed to say the exact date this incident took place, he was quick to say that Francis joined him and Linus at St. Edward's Catholic School, around 1939 where he did his standard one. He later went to St. Anthony's Primary School in the neighboring Umudioka community in the present Dunukofia local government area where he finished up to standard six.

The school at Umudioka, he explained, was a catholic school, where Rev. Father Michael Iwene Tansi was both a teacher and the Parish Priest of the St. Anthony's Catholic Church there. He added that he was also attending the school then. His explanations gave the impression that the St. Edward's in his native Eziowelle was just a junior primary for only standard one pupils.

'Father Tansi Influenced Cardinal Francis'

"The school at Umudioka Dunukofia was a catholic school and Rev. Father Tansi from Aguleri was living with us in the same compound. He was a Parish Priest as a matter of fact at St. Anthony's Umudioka," he explained.

It was obvious, he said, that it was Rev. Father Tansi, who was later beatified by the late Pope John Paul II at Onitsha in 1998, that influenced his younger brother, Francis, into priesthood.

"I can say it was Father Tansi who influenced him to join the junior seminary at Nnewi then. He did his juniorate there, and later proceeded to Biggard Memorial seminary in Enugu where he did his philosophy for three years. That was when Arch-Bishop Heerey was the metropolitan Bishop at Onitsha", he said.

Pa Christopher said the church sent the young Francis to Rome to study Theology for four yeas after which he was ordained as a Priest in August of 1958.

'Francis, Very Intelligent, Industrious'

In retrospect, he said Francis was very quiet, industrious and exceptionally intelligent and "more intelligent than all of us". He also described him as a very hospitable person who abhors fighting but always wanting to keep the peace, Francis, he said was very good in drama while at school, in much the same way that he was sociable, humble, quiet and respectful, painstaking and studious adding that he never played with his books.

After his ordination as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in 1958, Pa Christopher said his brother; Francis returned to Nigeria that same year and was received by the people of Eziowelle at St. Edward Catholic Church, after which another reception was organised by the members of his immediate family at his father's compound. He recalled one Francis Nwaonyeugbo (late) from Onitsha, who was the Cardinal's teacher in standard three at St. Anthony's Catholic Primary School, Umunachi, Dunukofia, and one Patrick Okeke from Alor community, Idemili South Council Area, who taught him in standard six at St. Anthony's, attended and extolled publicly his intelligence, explaining how he came first in all the classes he attended - a factor he noted easily made Rev. Father Tansi notice him and took interest in him.

Francis, he said, was, upon his return in 1958, ordained as a priest and as Catholic Education Secretary in Enugu from where he was taken to be co-adjustor to late Arch-Bishop Heerey at Onitsha. He was on that position when the civil war broke out in 1967, and thereafter and naturally succeeded Heerey upon his death in 1976 as the Arch-Bishop of Onitsha. It was from this position Pa Christopher further explained that Arch-Bishop Francis Arinze was transferred to Rome by the Pope in 1984, and made a cardinal in 1986.

"Four of our family members attended and spent four days in Rome", he said adding that the cardinal had been in Rome since that time till today, only coming home occasionally on holidays.

'Cardinal Francis Does Not Treat His Family Specially'

Although members of the Arinze family are happy that one of theirs rose to the position of a cardinal in the church, they maintain that it neither adds nor removes anything from them.

"We have become Christians ever before he came back. People look at us as brothers and sisters of the cardinal; but it doesn't add or remove anything from us", he said. Cardinal Francis Arinze, Pa Christopher said, is not a person selective in his relationship with members of his family but threats them as equal members of the human society in his usual humane disposition.

"As a person, he doesn't help the family particularly, but every body no matter where you come from. He helps mostly the poor, the indigent and widows. He doesn't give us any preference. He spends about 15 minutes with me whenever he returns, nothing special.

"There was a particular time he returned home last two years. I begged him for financial help but he brought out long list of those who had written him for financial help. My name was in the list. He told me I was simply one of the people he had to attend to. So, there was no special treatment, but he knows my problems. Whatever he gives me, I take, but I don't look up to him to solve all my problems because he has a lot of people he helps. I depend solely on my pension stipend and what I get from where I supervise a pupil school at Umunachi for the upkeep of my family. We are managing", he said.

Pa Christopher said the position of Cardinal Arinze had tremendously influenced the Christian life of members of the Arinze family in so many ways. One, he said they try to be visible in church activities, stressing that the Cardinal's position had made them to be alert, up and doing putting extra effort in church activities so that we "don't incur the derision of the public".

Eziowelle Now Has 10 Reverend Fathers!

There is no doubt that the pioneering work of Cardinal Arinze in the Christendom has had a profound influence on many young men who took to or are aspiring to the priesthood in Eziowelle. According to Pa. Christopher, Eziowelle now boasts about 10 Reverend fathers. This was corroborated by Reverend father, Philip Nwafor, the Parish Priest at St. Edward's Catholic Church, Eziowelle, who told THISDAY in his office that two more priests of the community's origin would be ordained by July this year, to bring the number to 12. About 12 seminarians from the town, some of whom, at the senior level he also said are aspiring to be priests. The pioneering work of Cardinal Arinze, he said, was a very big inspiration on these youngsters who took to priesthood and or arecaspiring to.

According to the Traditional Ruler of Eziowelle, HRH, Igwe Mike Okonkwo Etusi, Cardinal Francis Arinze has influenced the spiritual life of Eziowelle people through his humility, dedication to the service of God and humanity and through his peaceful approach to issues as well as his love for his fellow humans.


Those who spoke to THISDAY in Eziowelle and indeed Anambra state were cautious and philosophical in their perception of whether or Arinze would succeed Pope John II who was buried yesterday at the Vatican City in Rome.

They all shared the view that the business of who becomes the next Pope remained that of the cardinals of the church from whom a first among their equals could be chosen "as directed by the Holy Spirit".

Again, Igwe Mike Okonkwo Etusi, who is the custodian of the culture of Eziowelle people and a stanch Catholic said though the cardinal is their son and an illustrious one for that matter, the Eziowelle people mourn with the rest of the world the transition to glory April 2, 2005, of Pope John Paul II, whom he described as a peaceful man and lover of mankind. He remarked that the two trips the Pope made to Nigeria, and Onitsha particularly, afforded the people of Nigeria the opportunity of seeing a Pope first hand, adding that the late Pope was a great communicator, lover of democracy and good governance.

"We miss him greatly", he said.

To the Eziowelle people, the issue of whether Cardinal Arinze becomes the Pope or not, he said, doesn't really bother them much because they are largely Catholics and as Catholics, they believe that it is a spiritual office which anybody who emerges the Pope would be through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

"Every cardinal of the church", he said, "is qualified and on that score our son is qualified. If it is the will of God that he becomes the next pope, we will be happy, but if he falls we are not worried. Anybody who becomes the Pope eventually, we will all be happy because he will be acceptable to us and will get our total, unalloyed support."

But in the event that cardinal Arinze emerges the pope, the people of Eziowelle he stated would continue to as when he was not to be faithful to the faith because "we are worshippers of God and not the Pope. If eventually he becomes the pope, it will, morally speaking, be good for us. We will be happy."

"Eziowelle is proud of all her illustrious citizens, including most importantly the cardinal who has distinguished himself in his calling. He is a role model to the people of the community and we are proud of him, and it makes us more faithful to the tenets of Catholicism and Christianity. The fact that his services are appreciated worldwide makes us feel good and proud. Any community with such a citizen will be proud of him", he said.

To Rev. Father Philip Nwafor, the parish priest of St. Edward's Catholic Church in Eziowelle, it will be abnormal to prompt the Holy Spirit who directs and works in the church. Saying that all the cardinals are qualified to succeed the late Pope John Paul II, Rev. Father Nwafor said they had been praying that God gives the church a man as good as the late Pope so that the church will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Cardinal Arinze, he noted, is a lover of people who in turn love him dearly, explaining that it is the reason every year whenever he is on vacation he comes home to celebrate mass with his people.

"So, after the mass, you see the love because the people will receive him and express their gratitude to God for giving them a son who had been adjudged qualified to work in the Vatican.

"He is a simple, humble man who relates well with everybody, the young and the old. His intellect is God given and he uses it well to serve the church and humanity. He practices what he believes, which is the Catholic Church to the core.

"We will feel as other Nigerians, happy of course if he becomes the next Pope.

"There will be joyful celebration, and his papacy will usher a greater break through in Christianity in Nigeria, Africa and the entire third world whom I feel would be more committed in their Christian practices", he said.

The catholic Arch-Bishop of Onitsha and the metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province where cardinal Arinze served last as an Arch-Bishop before leaving for Rome in 1984, Most. Rev. Val Okeke expressed deep sympathy over the death of Pope John Paul II whom he said would be remembered for many reasons, which included his visits to the oppressed people of the world, his fight for elimination of poverty, oppression and inequality, racial discrimination, and promoted religious brotherhood and the cause of humanity.

He noted that Cardinal Arinze whom he praised for elevating the church and the teachings of Christ through his activities shared in these visions of the late Pope but would not be drawn into whether he would be a Pope or not.

"The important thing is to mourn the dead, while the issue of a successor rests with the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church does not hassle over who becomes the Pope, but once God chooses a candidate, there is no petition writing or court litigation as is obtainable in politics", he said.

But Paul Mason, the BBC Business Correspondent in Nigeria, told THISDAY in Eziowelle that the possibility of Cardinal Arinze emerging the next Pope of the Catholic World remained strong.

According to him, Cardinal Arinze's emergence will represent continuity with the teachings of John Paul II, and that he "will probably run the papacy in a very similar way". He said the big challenge is the shift in the central gravity of the church from the rich countries to the poor ones, and a Pope from any developing country will simply symbolise that change.
English Cardinals Concelebrate Historic Mass at Cathedral
Apr 05, 2005
Praise and thanksgiving were in abundance at last Sunday's historic afternoon liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels where Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze told the packed congregation that Christ unites all peoples of the world "as no one else can, or will."

(The Tidings, July 25, 2003) More than 2,000 people, including immigrants and visitors from several African countries, attended the 3:30 p.m. Mass, concelebrated by Cardinal Roger Mahony and culminating weekend festivities commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Igbo (Nigerian) Catholic Community in Southern California.

In his opening remarks, Cardinal Arinze thanked Cardinal Mahony for welcoming the church of God "in its many colors" with "God's people" from many parts of Africa and around the world.

Referring to the day's Gospel reading of the Good Shepherd, Cardinal Arinze said that Jesus is our shepherd, and we should learn from Him by reading His Word at least 10 minutes a day.

"Do not say you don't have enough time," said Cardinal Arinze. "There will be enough time for whatever you consider important."

He added, "The church teaches us the Ten Commandments, the church teaches us human rights, …the rights of the family; justice and peace…harmony, living together as brothers and sisters."

The church also teaches the importance of being a good citizen, as well as standing up for the rights of the unborn, said Cardinal Arinze. "Nobody pretends that being a Christian is easy," he added.

At the same time, the cardinal reminded the assembly, "there is room for everybody in the church," which has "no reserved seats." He concluded his homily by saying, "It is a joy to be a Catholic."

At the end of the liturgy, Cardinal Arinze announced that the Los Angeles Archdiocese would receive a gift of relics of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi. The previous day, Cardinals Arinze and Mahony had participated in the dedication of the Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi Shrine at St. Cecilia Church in Los Angeles. Blessed Tansi, who was known for his work with the poor in Nigeria, was beatified in 1998 and, if canonized, will be the first West African saint.

Both of the cardinals received framed portraits of the Tansi shrine from the Igbo Southern California community as momentoes of the occasion.

Cardinal Arinze --- as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments, the Vatican's top liturgy official --- publicly congratulated Cardinal Mahony for the extraordinary turnout of people for the day's event as well as for the new cathedral which he described as "really original."

He said the cathedral "delivers a message" that God is "transcendent." He prayed that visitors to the cathedral would be enlivened and quickened in faith.

Cyprian Uzoh, who traveled from San Jose for the Mass, said that he would take up Cardinal Arinze's challenge to read the Bible more often.

Uzoh was a teenager when the cardinal became the bishop of Onitsha in 1965 at age 32 --- at the time, the youngest bishop in the Catholic Church. According to Uzoh, whose father was a personal friend of the cardinal, Cardinal Arinze is "brilliant…a very powerful speaker."

Earlier on Sunday, Cardinal Arinze met at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center with members of the Nigerian Catholic community who had traveled to Los Angeles from throughout the U.S. In a dialogue session with the cardinal, they expressed their concerns about how they are ministered to, how their youth are affected by U.S. culture, and the divisions that sometimes arise within their communities over the style and language of worship.

Cardinal Arinze cautioned that, as a Vatican official, neither he nor "the Vatican" can simply step in "like a firefighter" to resolve problems within a particular parish or diocese. "For me to lecture the bishops of Nigeria on what to do about a particular situation is not appropriate," he said. "It is much better if you yourselves approach your priests and bishops."

He acknowledged the challenge of raising children and maintaining cultural identity, a problem that increases as children get older and discover more about what other youth in American society do, how they live, "how things are done, how they dress --- some of them like scarecrows," he said dryly. "You do the best you can, and it will be appreciated."

Cardinal Arinze was baptized by Blessed Father Tansi and was ordained to the priesthood at the church of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome on Nov. 23, 1958. He attended the Second Vatican Council as a newly-ordained bishop, and in 1967 was named archbishop of Onitsha, Nigeria.

In 1985 he was elevated to cardinal and named to head the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He served in that position until he replaced Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in October 2002.

On Oct. 24, 1999, Cardinal Arinze received a gold medallion from the International Council of Christians and Jews for his "outstanding achievements in inter-faith relations." He has written and published several books, including: "Meeting Other Believers: The Risks and Rewards of Interreligious Dialogue," and "Religions for Peace: A Call For Unity to the People of the World."

Ed. Note: To see the mural of Blessed Father Tansi, visit
French « L’art de célébrer, c’est savoir prier », par le card. Arinze
Mar 10, 2005
« L’art de célébrer, c’est savoir prier », déclare le cardinal Francis Arinze au micro de Radio Vatican, à l’issue de l’assemblée plénière du dicastère dont il est le préfet, la Congrégation pour le Culte divin et la discipline des sacrements, et en cette année de l’Eucharistie.

CITE DU VATICAN, Mardi 8 mars 2005 ( – « L’art de célébrer, c’est en réalité savoir prier. L’art de célébrer, donc, privilégie le silence, la contemplation, le sens de la stupeur devant le mystère que nous célébrons », a déclaré le cardinal nigérian.

A l’invitation de Jean-Paul II de favoriser chez les chrétiens « l’art de la prière », le cardinal répond : « Oui, parce que la prière personnelle est alimentée par la prière eucharistique, et ainsi de la prière de la communauté. Alors, nous devons être tous attentifs aux moments de silence durant les célébrations, spécialement durent la Sainte Messe. Dans ce sens, la méditation avant la messe, après la communion, et après la messe est très importante ».

Pour l’année de l’Eucharistie, le cardinal Arinze exhorte à prendre davantage conscience de la « nécessité de retourner à la stupeur devant le grand mystère de l’eucharistie : nous devons retourner au grand respect pour Notre Seigneur dans ce don inestimable de l’Eucharistie. Et ce respect s’exprime par la façon de célébrer, la façon de recevoir Jésus et dans l’adoration eucharistique ».

Enfin, le cardinal Arinze précise qu’au cours de l’assemblée « les évêques et les cardinaux ont souligné l’importance de la formation liturgique qui est une nécessité pour tous, séminaristes, prêtres, évêques, religieux, religieuse, et laïcs. Nous devons tous faire des progrès dans ce que nous pensons déjà connaître ».
German Kardinal Arinze: Die Liturgie stärkt den Glauben
Mar 04, 2005
Der Präfekt der Kongregation für den Gottesdienst und die Sakramentenordnung sprach in "Radio Vatikan" über die derzeit stattfindenden Liturgie-Beratungen seiner Kongregation in Rom, bei der 51 Kongregationsmitglieder – unter ihnen 32 Kardinäle – teilnehmen.

ROM, 3. März 2005 ( Die heilige Messe sollte den Glauben der Gläubigen vertiefen und in ihnen den Wunsch lebendig werden lassen, "am nächsten Sonntag oder sogar jeden Tag" in die Messe zu gehen, wünscht sich Kardinal Francis Arinze.

Die drei Hauptthemen des Treffens, das am Freitag zu Ende geht, sind die Kunst der Messfeier, die Predigt und die liturgische Ausbildung.

Zum Vortrag von Kardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Erzbischof von Buenos Aires, über "ars celebrandi" ("Über die Kunst der Messfeier") erklärte Kardinal Arinze am Dienstag in "Radio Vatikan": "Die Kunst der Messfeier ist wichtig. Es handelt sich dabei aber nicht um eine akademische Frage", betonte er. "Es geht nicht nur darum, liturgische Normen zu beachten –das ist immer wichtig –, sondern vor allem darum, dass die Feier den Glauben des Priesters und der Gläubigen widerspiegelt. Es soll eine Feier sein, die den Glauben der Menschen vertieft, damit sie sich beim Verlassen des Gottesdienstes wirklich gesättigt und bestärkt fühlen und den Wunsch haben, am nächsten Sonntag oder sogar jeden Tag zur Messe zu gehen", sagte der Kardinal. "Kurz gesagt, es geht darum, dass es eine würdige und disziplinierte Feier ist, voller Glaube und Andacht."

Die Predigt in der Messfeier – über dieses Thema hielt Kardinal Ivan Dias von Bombay (Indien) einen ausführlichen Vortrag – zeichnet sich nach Kardinal Arinze vor allem durch den "klar erkennbaren liturgischen Inhalt" aus, "der sich besonders auf die Schriftlesungen bezieht", sowie durch einen "soliden theologischen Inhalt". Das Ziel jeder Predigt sei die Stärkung der Glaubenden: "Das Volk Gottes muss gute Nahrung erhalten", so der Kardinal. Und "für viele Christen ist die Homilie die großartige wöchentliche Gelegenheit, im Glauben wirklich gestärkt und ausgebildet zu werden".

Der Kardinal erinnerte auch daran, dass sie nicht zu lang dauern sollte: "Die Homilie muss die richtige Länge haben. Es geht zwar nicht um Mathematik, aber es ist schon notwendig, sich daran zu erinnern, dass wir in der Kirche Gläubige im Alter von 80 und von 20 Jahren haben, dazu noch 7-jährige Kinder. Wie lange können sie aufmerksam zuhören?", fragte er deshalb.

Zur liturgischen Ausbildung, ein Thema, das die Ausführungen von Kardinal Philippe Barbarin von Lyon (Frankreich) zum Gegenstand hatten, sagte Msgr. Arinze: "Eine solche Ausbildung ist nicht nur für den Klerus wichtig, sondern auch für Ordensfrauen und Ordensmänner und für Laien – für uns alle! Es ist eine Ausbildung, die fortgeführt werden muss, denn niemand kann ihre Inhalte voll und für alle Zeiten kennen.

Es wäre wunderschön, wenn man vor dem sonntäglichen Gang zur Messe die Messtexte zu Hause lesen könnte – besonders die Lesungen und die Gebete, die man später, wieder zu Hause, noch einmal durchdenken kann. So würde unser Glaube tatsächlich mehr und mehr wachsen."
English From mud-brick bungalow to Sistine chapel
Mar 02, 2005
The fourth-ranking cardinal in the Vatican and the African with the best chance of succeeding Pope John Paul II began his stellar Church career as a child of poor pagan parents in a mud-brick bungalow in the forests of southern Nigeria Nigeria.

(AFP, February 25, 2005) EZIOWELLE, Nigeria - As the current pope clings to life in a Roman hospital, Cardinal Francis Arinze, the 72-year-old Prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is seen by many as a credible candidate to replace him and become the first African to rule the Holy See since the death of Gelasius I in 496 AD.

And if the college of cardinals sitting in the Sistine chapel does decide that the Holy Spirit has chosen Arinze to lead the Church, the tiny Nigerian farming village of Eziowelle might well become a place of pilgrimage for the world's hundreds of millions of Catholics.

Pilgrims would be best advised to come in the early months of the year, however, as by the end of April when the rains return the track is all but impassible, explained the village priest Father Philip Chinedu Nwafor as he drove his battered old Mercedes Benz into town.

"The state government has promised to repair the road," he said, as school children and villagers called out "Father" as he passed along the bumpy track the way to the heart of Eziowelle's 6,000-strong community; the Saint Edward Roman Catholic Church.

It might be a while before the road is repaired -- Anambra State is in such crisis that lawmakers meet among the ruins of a state assembly building burned down last year by political thugs -- but Eziowelle has something else to be proud of as the world begins to wonder about the papal succession.

"His name will work magic for us. We cannot say when this will be, but we are hopeful that Arinze's name will soon begin to bring the good things of life to the village," declared Celestina Emecheta, who at 68 was born four years after Eziowelle's most famous son.

The house where he was born is still standing, despite being a somewhat ramshackle bungalow of mud-brick and rusting corrugated iron, painted in faded chocolate brown and framed on one side by a mango and a pawpaw tree.

A newer family home in concrete stands close by, but Arinze's fame has not brought riches to his relatives, as is demonstrated by the simple heap of dark red laterite soil marking the grave of the cardinal's mother.

"He does not want an elaborate grave for his parents and this grave as it is is an ample demonstration of his simplicity and humility, qualities for which he is known," said Father Philip as he showed a reporter around the village.

Once a year, in August, Cardinal Arinze leaves the marble halls of the Vatican, where for two decades he has been a senior officer of the Church, and returns to Eziowelle to stay in the parsonage and celebrate mass in the humble surroundings of Saint Edward's church.

It was here, as an eight-year-old child of parents who worshipped the traditional deities of the Igbo people, that Arinze first heard the teaching of the church from the Reverend Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, the missionary who became his mentor and was in 1998 beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Since those days the village has become a devout and energetic Catholic community, proud to have sent a cardinal, nine priests, 14 reverend sisters and one reverend brother to do the work of the church.

Now, perhaps, Eziowelle could become the first village in sub-Saharan Africa to send a Pope to the Vatican for, unless Italian cardinals decide it is time to wrest back control of the papacy, Arinze could be the perfect candidate.

He was ordained a priest in November 1958 and eight years later became Africa's youngest bishop, leading the Catholics of the swarming market city of Onitsha, a major trading centre on the lowest downstream crossing of the mighty Niger Niger  River.

He became an archbishop in 1967 and stayed in Nigeria Nigeria  right through its brutal civil war, in which Onitsha and Arinze's Igbo people faced off against the Nigeria Nigeria  federal army in a losing battle that saw around a million people die of disease and starvation.

In 1985, the pope summoned him to Rome to work in the Curia -- the church's "government" -- and he won a reputation as an able diplomat and a staunch defender of the conservative values championed by the present pontiff.

Perhaps crucially, he became an expert on Islam and led the Vatican's interfaith dialogue.

If John Paul II's time as pope will be principally remembered for his role in facing down Communism and championing the cause of Eastern Europe, the next 20 years will likely see the church seeking way a way to live alongside an increasingly restive Muslim world.

Whether this record will be enough to land him the top job remains to be seen, but in Eziowelle his neighbours have faith that the Holy Spirit will make the right choice.

"God put Arinze there as number four in the Catholic hierarchy. We are glad at this. We are happy and will accept whatever God has planned for him," said Igwe Michael Okonkwo-Etusi, the traditional ruler of the village.
English No Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians or Rainbow Sashers
Feb 19, 2005
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Cardinal in charge of the sacraments of the Church has made it plain in an on-camera interview with EWTN that pro-abortion politicians may not be admitted to Holy Communion: "Are we going to change Divine Law, how God made us?"

VATICAN CITY, February 16, 2005 ( – A February 11 EWTN broadcast of the news program, World Over Live, with host Raymond Arroyo, featured an interview with Arinze, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The interview covered a wide range of topics, including female altar servers, Latin in the Mass, abortion and the rainbow sash movement.

Arroyo questioned the Vatican Cardinal saying: “Last year, you were asked at a press conference whether a politician, a Catholic politician who supports abortion publicly should be permitted to the Communion rail, should be permitted to receive Communion publicly. What is your response to that?”

Cardinal Arinze responded, “The answer is clear. If a person says I am in favour of killing unborn babies whether they be four thousand or five thousand, I have been in favour of killing them. I will be in favour of killing them tomorrow and next week and next year. So, unborn babies, too bad for you. I am in favour that you should be killed, then the person turn around and say I want to receive Holy Communion. Do you need any Cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?

Laughing, Arroyo responded, “It should be pretty transparent.” To which the Cardinal concluded, “Simple, ask the children for First Communion, they'll give you the answer.”

Similarly, Cardinal Arinze ruled out Communion for homosexual activists.

Arroyo noted that while some US bishops have refused Communion to Rainbow Sash activists, others such as Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis - St. Paul have not. Flynn, after meeting with Cardinal Arinze in Rome recently, suggested
English Cardinal Arinze denies he approved U.S. Archbishop giving sash wearing "gays" Holy Communion
Jan 28, 2005
During the past five years, at the time of the Catholic Church's most holy day of Pentecost Sunday,[1] openly 'gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender' persons wearing rainbow colored body sashes have gathered in large groups inside several U.S. Cathedrals to protest the Church's teachings and divine laws against sodomy. By Barbara Kralis.

(, January 23,2005) Scandalized and sorrow filled faithful sit watchfully in the pews as sash-wearing persons, whose acts are 'intrinsically disordered,'[2] walk arm and arm down the aisles in an attempt to receive the Eucharist.

Most all U.S. Bishops have denied them Holy Communion.

Four known bishops continue to give them the Eucharist. The scandal of a few continues to disunite the Church.

Remarkably, on December 14, 2004, Catholic News Service [CNS] published an article entitled "Archbishop speaks to Vatican officials about Rainbow Sash protests." CNS is owned and operated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB].

CNS quotes U.S. Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

While in Rome during his December 2004 'ad limina' [3] meeting, Flynn said he discussed in private with His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments [CDW], whether sash-wearing 'gays' should be allowed to receive Holy Communion.

Archbishop Flynn told CNS that after speaking to Cardinal Arinze, he was not asked to change his policy of giving the Eucharist to sash-wearing persons. He said he received no sense that the Vatican was pushing for a single policy on this.

"I got the clear understanding that this is recognized as a very complex pastoral issue which must constantly be looked at in all its ramifications," CNS quoted Flynn as saying.

"There was encouragement to keep on teaching and also to be aware of the forces everywhere, including the United States, that are against the long tradition of the teachings of the Church."

Flynn added, "Sometimes we don't come to the same conclusion about how to handle it."

Interestingly, in a private letter to this writer, dated January 15, 2005, Cardinal Arinze refuted the statements given by Archbishop Flynn. Cardinal Arinze's secretary wrote:

"Dear Ms. Kralis, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, asks me to thank you for your communication regarding a news release from the "Catholic News Service" dated December 14, 2004. It concerns the Cardinal's private discussion with the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, His Excellency Archbishop Harry J. Flynn.

"Cardinal Arinze wants you to know that the report was not exact and does not show his stand. He has written Archbishop Flynn about it.

"Rainbow Sash wearers, the Cardinal says, are showing their opposition to Church teaching on a major issue of natural law and so disqualify themselves from being given Holy Communion.

"I wish you a happy New Year. Sincerely."

Does this indicate that the faithful Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul will suffer scandal once more on Pentecost Sunday — 2005?

Just recently, the Rainbow Sash Movement has issued a national call for others who oppose the Church's teachings on sodomy to join them on May 15, 2005 by wearing the Rainbow Sash in a parish or a Cathedral.

Will Cardinal Mahony [Archdiocese of Los Angeles], Bishops Clark [Rochester], and Gumbleton [Detroit] distribute the Eucharist to the sash-wearing sodomites once again in open dissent from Church teachings?

The Church's teachings and divine law are well defined on the matter of sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion that most all U.S. Bishops have dutifully denied these manifestly sinful persons the Eucharist. As stated in canon law, c.915, they are not to receive the Eucharist. [4]

In fact, the decision of the USCCB has been to deny the groups of militant 'gay' protesters from receiving the Eucharist at Mass at each plenary meeting. This was a precedent set by Cardinal James A. Hickey, Archbishop of Washington, D.C. in 2000 at a Mass in St. Matthew's Cathedral.

It is well to note that the Rainbow Sashers did not wear their sashes to the 2004 Pentecost Sunday Mass at Cardinal Mahony's Cathedral as a way of saying 'Thank You' for his warm reception of them in years past. Cardinal Mahony has notified the Rainbow Sash Movement [RSM] that his Cathedral will welcome Rainbow Sash Members as part of the Catholic Family to his Cathedral, and when RSM members present themselves for Communion, they will receive 'It.' [5]

There are absolutely no grounds for considering 'gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders' to be in anyway similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan. Homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts "close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved." [6]

Let us pray for 'munus episcopale' or office of the Bishops or 'Episcopes' [overseers] in guarding the truth that has been entrusted to them by the Holy Spirit, to bring all souls to God, no matter at what cost, even if it means persecution and death of the Bishop [2 Tim l: 14].

"It was at Antioch [where Ignatius was bishop] that the disciples were called Christians for the first time" (Acts 11:26). St. Ignatius taught:

"The Bishop holds the supreme office in the community not by his own efforts or merits, nor by men's doing, nor for personal glory. No, he holds it through the love of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." [7]


  1. Seventh Sunday after Easter, 'Whitsunday;' an important solemn Holy Feast honoring the visible descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. It honors the establishment of the Church founded by our Lord on St. Peter. It occurs 50 days after Easter; the Priest's vestments are red signifying the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire. The coming of the Holy Spirit on this Feast is the complement of the Redemption and the Spirit of God comes into the hearts of men.

  2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church §2357-2359.

  3. The obligation incumbent on certain members of the hierarchy of visiting, at stated times, the "thresholds of the Apostles," Sts. Peter and Paul, and of presenting themselves before the pope to give an account of the state of their dioceses. The object of the visit is not merely to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles, but, above all, to show the proper reverence for the Successor of St. Peter, to acknowledge practically his universal jurisdiction by giving an account of the condition of particular churches, to receive his admonitions and counsels, and thus bind more closely the members of the Church to its Divinely appointed head. (Catholic Encyclopedia, published 1912)

  4. "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion" [Code of Canon Law c.915].

  5. "The Rainbow Sash Movement PR Newswire Press Release," 5/27/04,

  6. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 'Considerations Regarding Proposals to be given legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,' §4; Catechism of the Catholic Church §2357.

  7. St. Ignatius of Antioch, to the Philadelphians.

Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various Christian and conservative publications. She is a regular columnist at, Catholic, The Wanderer newspaper, New Oxford Review Magazine, Washington Dispatch, MichNews, Catholic Citizens of Illinois, Phil Brennan's WOW, ChronWatch, etc. Her first journalism position was with Boston Herald Traveler, 1964. Barbara published/edited 'Semper Fidelis' Catholic print newsletter. She and her husband, Mitch, live in the great State of Texas, and co-direct the Jesus Through Mary Catholic Foundation. She can be reached at:
English Cardinal sits down for a rare interview
Jan 25, 2005
Cardinal Francis Arinze was the Vatican's point man for interreligious outreach for 18 years. Yet, he is famously reluctant to be interviewed. Cardinal Francis Arinze received an achievement award Tuesday from Thanks-Giving Square leaders.

(The Dallas Morning News, January 21, 2005) The 72-year-old Nigerian-born cardinal charmed a small crowd at Thanks-Giving Square this week with his acceptance speech for an award he got for his interfaith work.

God, he said, deserves the credit for anything he's achieved as a cleric.

"When you praise a suit well-made, you are praising the tailor," he said with a smile. "Not the wood that the suit is put on in the tailor shop."

After his speech Tuesday, he reluctantly but thoughtfully answered a few questions from The Dallas Morning News.

In 2002, after serving as the head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, he was named the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments. That shifted his focus from what may be the Vatican's strongest outreach program to the most sacred internal workings of the Catholic Church. It also places him near the top of the Vatican hierarchy.

He was in Dallas for a conference on Catholic liturgy. He'd worked with Thanks-Giving Square on several interfaith events over the years, but this was his first visit since changing jobs. Thanks-Giving Square leaders decided to present him with an award while he was here.

He received his award on the same day news broke about a Catholic archbishop being kidnapped in Iraq. The cleric's release the next day scarcely lessens the danger that religious leaders face in many parts of the world.

There is no easy advice the Vatican can offer its clergy, Cardinal Arinze said.

"We cannot solve violence with violence. We have to try to solve hatred with love," he said.

"If we try to pay hatred back with hatred, that will not be a good solution. ... I know this is easy to say, difficult to do. As Christians, this is what Christ taught us," he said.

"Easy to say, difficult to do – but not impossible. With God's help. I must add that: with God's help."

His two decades of interfaith work spanned a time when some chasms seemed to close while others grew larger. Cardinal Arinze suggested that the bridge builders don't get as much attention as the bridge destroyers.

"There are many people sacrificing themselves for others. Often they do not catch the headlines. One evil action catches the headlines," he said.

"But occasionally, the headlines mention people like Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta – occasionally. Such people remind us that there is hope."

Despite the internal focus of his current job, Cardinal Arinze thrust himself into last year's American presidential campaign when he issued a statement from the Vatican saying Catholic politicians who unambiguously support abortion are "not fit" to receive Communion.

Democratic candidate John Kerry, a Catholic, had said that he was personally opposed to abortion but supported the legal right of a woman to obtain one.

Someone who publicly embraces a particular faith has an obligation to live in accord with that faith, the cardinal said Tuesday.

"A person should be clear on what that person's religion teaches ... and make an effort to live it," he said.

"It demands sacrifice. But every student or ... athlete who wants to win in the Olympic Games knows that sacrifice is necessary if you want a good result."

Finally, the cardinal addressed the health of Pope John Paul II, now 84 and suffering visibly from Parkinson's disease.

"He is well," the cardinal said. "He is not a teenager. He cannot do skiing now. But he is well. He is calm, and he does his work in faith and love."
English Message aux bouddhistes
Oct 17, 2004
Le cardinal Francis Arinze a pris l’habitude d’adresser chaque année un message aux bouddhistes pour leur grande fête annuelle de la Vesakh, laquelle célèbre la naissance, l’“illumination” et la mort de Bouddha, par des cérémonies et des processions autour des temples.

(DICI, 13/04/2002) Ce 9 avril, le prélat originaire du Nigeria invita les bouddhistes à rejoindre les catholiques dans la lutte contre «la culture de mort, où l’avortement, l’euthanasie et les expériences génétiques sur les êtres humains ont déjà obtenu ou sont en passe d’obtenir une reconnaissance légale.»

«C’est notre conviction commune, ajoute-t-il, que le respect pour la vie humaine habite d’abord le cœur des hommes avant de devenir une réalité sociale.»
French Divergences romaines sur les danses au cours des cérémonies liturgiques
Oct 07, 2004
Le 8 octobre, à San Antonio, aux Etats-Unis, le cardinal Arinze, préfet de la Congrégation pour le culte divin et la discipline des sacrements, a vivement critiqué la "créativité incontrôlée" et "l’imagination trop fertile".

(DICI, 25/10/2003) Le 8 octobre, à San Antonio, aux Etats-Unis, le cardinal Arinze, préfet de la Congrégation pour le culte divin et la discipline des sacrements, a vivement critiqué la "créativité incontrôlée" et "l’imagination trop fertile", qui ne correspondent pas avec la "véritable inculturation". Le prélat a rappelé que l’inculturation n’est nullement un encouragement à pratiquer "des célébrations liturgiques non autorisées".

Dans un entretien accordé au Corriere della Sera du 15 octobre, Mgr Piero Marini, maître des célébrations liturgiques pontificales, a au contraire plaidé en faveur de l’introduction "de légitimes éléments culturels" dans la liturgie. Il a ainsi répondu à de nombreuses critiques lui reprochant les liturgies pontificales de ces dernières années.

Entre autres, le 5 octobre, lors de la messe de canonisation de trois missionnaires, une danse africaine a accompagné l’offertoire et une danse indienne la consécration. Cela n’a pas manqué de susciter des critiques. Mgr Marini y a répondu en soulignant que "s’il n’est pas pertinent d’introduire la danse dans les paroisses italiennes, elle a par contre sa place dans les célébrations missionnaires". Et c’est ainsi qu’au cours de la cérémonie de béatification de Mère Teresa, des Indiennes vêtues de saris très colorés sont venues devant l’autel danser sur une musique rythmée, avec des fleurs et des bâtons d’encens, juste avant la récitation du Notre Père.
English Cardinal Says Gays Mock Family
Sept 16, 2004
Cardinal Arinze gave the commencement speech at Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown University, and the Nigerian prelate's reiteration of Church teachings on the family.

(4 June 2003) "In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce."
English More Latin in the Liturgy
Sept 12, 2004
From the Keynote address to the USA convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, October 7-11, 2003.

While retaining Latin as the language in the Latin rite, the Council appreciated the usefulness of the use of the mother tongue among the various peoples of the world (cf. SC, no. 36).

Since the Council, the use of the mother tongue has become so widened and general that many priests now find it not easy to celebrate Mass in Latin.

Vatican II did not abolish Latin. It would be good that occasionally a parish sings the more popular parts of the Mass in Latin: think of what this means in terms of preserving and respecting our patrimony, showing the Church as a community that has a memory, and facilitating international Eucharistic celebrations.
English The Five Positive Results of the Litugical Reform
Sept 12, 2004
From the Keynote address to the USA convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, October 7-11, 2003.

In the liturgical life of the Church, some very good developments have taken place since Sacrosanctum Concilium was promulgated. Let us begin by listing some of them. In this way we thank God who guides his Church all through the ages. We also express gratitude to all those who have had a hand in this liturgical promotion, from those who worked on the liturgical texts, to the bishops, priests and members of liturgical committees or commissions like yourselves.

Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter, Vicesimus Quintus Annus, of December 4, 1988, in commemoration of twenty-five years of SC, lists five of these positive results (cf no. 12). The first is the place given to the Bible in the liturgy. Sacrosanctum Concilium insisted that the table of God's word is to be made more abundantly available to the people of God in the liturgy. If we reflect back to the past forty years, we see how the renewed liturgical rites have been made much richer with biblical texts. In the Mass, the lectionary is so arranged as to cover most of the Bible in a three-year Sunday reading and a two-year weekday lessons program. The responsorial psalms help to elucidate the readings. The sacramental rites and the celebrations of the sacramentals are suitably fitted with rich biblical texts. So is the Liturgy of the Hours. In this way not only are the faithful exposed, as it were, to a greater part of Holy Scripture so as to become more familiar with it, but each community has the opportunity, in the specific setting of the liturgical celebration, to enter ever more deeply at all the levels of the human person into the great mystery of God's transforming love which the Scripture proclaims. In country after country, immense effort is undertaken to provide the Christian people with translations of the Bible.

A second happy development is the sustained effort to translate the various liturgical texts into the current language of the people and also to face the challenges of adapting liturgical celebration to the culture of each people.

A third reason for gratitude is "the increased participation of the faithful by prayer and song, gesture and silence, in the Eucharist and the other sacraments" (VQA, no. 12). One has only to compare the way an average parish community takes part at Sunday Mass today to the way it did fifty years ago.

We are also encouraged because of "the ministries exercised by lay people and the responsibilities that they have assumed in virtue of the common priesthood into which they have been initiated through Baptism and Confirmation" (VQA, no.12). Very many happy developments have really taken place on this point.

Lastly, and as a summary of the above four areas, we must thank God "for the radiant vitality of so many Christian communities, a vitality drawn from the wellspring of the liturgy" (VQA, no. 12).

Each of these five positive results offers us reasons for joy and encouragement. But each also assigns us a task, poses us a challenge and enjoins on us to see that the developments remain truly positive, according to the desire and directives of the Council, and of the Pope and the Bishops who guide us today and tomorrow in the Church that Christ founded. How this applies to each of these five developments will be the focus for the rest of this paper. 3. Bible and Liturgy
English Church Architecture: Is Iconoclasm Back?
Sept 12, 2004
From the Keynote address to the USA convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, October 7-11, 2003.

Church architecture, earlier mentioned in this paper, is so important that I would like to return to it here. The shape of the church building has its importance. As someone has said, a gym that looks like a church is still a gym.

Some questions can be of help. Does this church building help to raise people's minds to God, to the transcendent? Where are the tower, the bell, the Cross? Within the church, is the sanctuary clearly distinguished from the rest of the church? Why were the beautiful altar rails that have been there for one or two centuries removed against the wishes of many of the parishioners?

Why is it so difficult to make out where the tabernacle is located? Where is Our Blessed Mother's statue or image? Is iconoclasm back?

I am aware that the renovation of church buildings can be a contentious issue. Bishops and members of Liturgical Commissions have the delicate task of weighing all sides of the question. But before the hammer or compressor machine is applied to objects that have touched the devotional sensitivity of the people for decades or even centuries, those who have to take the decision cannot avoid asking themselves whether there are reasons weighty enough to upset so many people and ask the parish or diocese to pay for the exercise.
English Liturgical Abuses
Sept 12, 2004
From the Keynote address to the USA convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, October 7-11, 2003.

The truth is that genuine inculturation has nothing to do with the product of the over-fertile imagination of an enthusiastic priest who concocts something on Saturday night and inflicts it on the innocent Sunday morning congregation now being used as a guinea pig. True and lasting inculturation demands long study, discussions among experts in interdisciplinary platforms, examination and decision by Bishops, recognitio from the Apostolic See and prudent presentation to the people of God. Moreover, it should be noted that in religious matters, people's sensitivity and piety can easily be hurt by ill-considered and hasty novelties. In religious practices, most people are understandably conservative in the good sense and unwilling to endure frequent changes.

Even when we give the hasty innovator the benefit of the doubt, that the motivation is a sincere attempt to bring the liturgy home to the people, it remains true that the results are generally disastrous. Unapproved innovations distract and annoy the people. They often draw attention to the priest rather than to God. They generally do not last long. They are often superficial. And they scandalize because they run against Church norms and regulations. If many lay people had only one request to make, they would ask that the priest celebrate Mass, or other rites, simply according to the approved books. Many lay faithful complain that rarely do they find two priests celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice in the same way. The Roman liturgy is not a free-for-all experimentation field where each celebrant has the option to tag on his cherished accretions. Repeated and laid-down action is part of ritual. The people are not tired of it, as long as the celebrant is full of faith and devotion and has the proper ars celebrandi (art of how to celebrate).


It is therefore clear that inculturation does not encourage banalization or trivialization of the sacred liturgy. Spontaneity run wild can manifest itself in many ways. At the beginning of Mass the priest can trivialize by amusing the people on the weather, by saying "Good morning everybody" instead of "The Lord be with you" or "The grace of Our Lord... ", which are the proper liturgical opening greetings. He can banalize by an exaggerated autobiographical introduction and trite jokes in his misguided effort to warm the people up for worship! He may not realize that he is now drawing attention to himself instead of to God and the liturgical celebration of the day. Other distractions and even desacralizations can come through dances that offend against good sense and do not help to raise people's mind to God, loquacious and unnecessary commentaries, over-dosage singing monopolized by the choir which allows no time for personal prayer, and the introduction of bizarre vestments and unacceptable vessels for the Holy Eucharist.
English Laicizing the Clergy
Sept 12, 2004
From the Keynote address to the USA convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, October 7-11, 2003.

We have also the opposite mistake of trying to laicize the clergy. When the priest no longer wishes to bless the people with the formula "May Almighty God bless you ", but prefers the seemingly democratic wording, "May Almighty God bless us ", then we have a confusion of roles. The same thing happens when some priests think that they should not concelebrate a Mass but should just participate as lay people in order to show more solidarity with the lay faithful. "In liturgical celebrations ", says SC, "whether as a minister or as one of the faithful, each person should perform his role by doing solely and totally what the nature of things and liturgical norms require of him" (SC, no. 28).
English The Sad Error of the Lay Faithful Struggling Around the Altar
Sept 12, 2004
From the Keynote address to the USA convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, October 7-11, 2003.

There should be no attempt to clericalize the laity. This could happen when, for example, lay people chosen as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion no longer see this role as being called on to help when the ordinary ministers (bishop, priest and deacon) are not available in sufficient numbers to cope with the high number of communicants.

When the extraordinary ministers see their role as a power display to show that what the priest can do, the lay faithful can do too, then we have a problem. How else can we explain the sad error of the lay faithful struggling around the altar to open the tabernacle or to grab the sacred vessels -- all against sane liturgical norms and pure good sense?
English Church Architecture
Sept 12, 2004
From the Keynote address to the USA convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, October 7-11, 2003.

Church architecture, earlier mentioned in this paper, is so important that I would like to return to it here. The shape of the church building has its importance. As someone has said, a gym that looks like a church is still a gym. Some questions can be of help. Does this church building help to raise people's minds to God, to the transcendent? Where are the tower, the bell, the Cross? Within the church, is the sanctuary clearly distinguished from the rest of the church? Why were the beautiful altar rails that have been there for one or two centuries removed against the wishes of many of the parishioners?

Why is it so difficult to make out where the tabernacle is located? Where is Our Blessed Mother's statue or image? Is iconoclasm back? I am aware that the renovation of church buildings can be a contentious issue. Bishops and members of Liturgical Commissions have the delicate task of weighing all sides of the question. But before the hammer or compressor machine is applied to objects that have touched the devotional sensitivity of the people for decades or even centuries, those who have to take the decision cannot avoid asking themselves whether there are reasons weighty enough to upset so many people and ask the parish or diocese to pay for the exercise.
English The Translation of the New Missal into English
Sept 12, 2004
Translation of the new Missal into English from the Latin text is the fruit of a long and bitter struggle – one that mirrors the battle over authority in the Church.

(The Tablet, 17 January 2004) Convinced that the vernacular Missals of the 1970s were too sharp an interruption in the organic development of liturgy, in the late 1990s Rome caused a sharp interruption of its own when it wrested control of translations, leading to an ugly stand-off. But now the new men at the head of ICEL, the mixed commission responsible for English translations, faithfully reflect the Vatican’s new priorities. Work on the new Missal is again under way; Catholics could be speaking the new words in as little as two years. But what will they sound like?

The depth of feeling against Rome’s takeover was on view at a series of conferences before Christmas to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium , the first – and key – document of the council. At one of them, held at the Benedictine College of Sant’Anselmo in Rome, Fr Ignacio Calabuig captured the mood of many liturgists. Departing from his text, the Catalan turned to Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Nigerian head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW), and in a trembling voice said (in Italian): “I feel I must tell the Prefect that the devastating impression the Congregation seems to be spreading, that people of great culture in their own lands are not capable of translating liturgical texts into their own mother tongue, is causing great discontent and concern in the Church.” The entire audience of 600 people clapped for so long that Cardinal Arinze felt compelled to join in. In his 39 years in Rome, wrote the veteran Jesuit liturgist Fr Robert Taft in a Christmas letter: “I never saw anything like it before.”
English Cardinal's speech upsets university
Sept 11, 2004
A Roman Catholic cardinal seen as a top contender to succeed Pope John Paul II has sparked student and faculty protests at Georgetown University with a remark he made about homosexuals in a commencement speech.

(Sydney Morning Herald, May 23 2003) A letter protesting against the speech by Cardinal Francis Arinze was signed by about 70 faculty members at the Jesuit university and delivered on Wednesday to Dr Jane McAuliffe, dean of the university's school of arts and sciences.

Dr McAuliffe, a specialist in Islamic studies, invited Cardinal Arinze - president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue - to speak on Christian-Muslim relations at the school's graduation ceremonies last Saturday.

Instead, the Nigerian prelate told the graduates that happiness was found not in the pursuit of material wealth or pleasures of the flesh, but by fervently adhering to religious beliefs.

Cardinal Arinze then spoke of the importance of family to the Roman Catholic Church.

"In many parts of the world, the family is under siege," Cardinal Arinze said. "It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalised by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce."

Theresa Sanders, a professor of theology at the university, protested by leaving the stage where Cardinal Arinze was speaking. Other students upset with the comments also left, according to emails on a subscription list used by many of the university's gay and lesbian students.

Ed Ingebretsen, a professor of English at Georgetown and a priest in the American Catholic Church, said on Wednesday that Cardinal Arinze's remarks were in line with Catholic doctrine, but nonetheless seemed out of place at the commencement ceremony.

"These things are exactly what he's paid to say," Professor Ingebretsen said. "[But] it's a graduation; why he decided to do the pro-family thing no one seems to know."

Professor Ingebretsen said he was compelled, as a writer, to post a short apology on the email subscription list "on behalf of Catholics" for Cardinal Arinze's "insensitive remarks", which he termed "un-Christian".

Dr McAuliffe issued a two-sentence statement acknowledging that she had been contacted by several students and faculty "to express their reaction, both negative and positive" to the address. "As an academic community, vigorous and open discussion lies at the heart of what we do, and there are many different voices in the conversation."

Cardinal Arinze, 70, is widely mentioned as a candidate to succeed John Paul II, which would make him the first African Catholic pope.

He ascended through the ranks of the church's hierarchy in Africa, where Catholicism is flourishing. He was called by John Paul II in 1984 to work in the Vatican.
English Cardinal says liturgical change reflects the Church is alive
Sept 11, 2004
People have a right to their opinions about various aspects of the liturgy, but the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council will continue as the Catholic Church continues, said Cardinal Francis Arinze.

(, 6 Apr 2004) "The church is alive. It is not in the Vatican museums or sealed like some kind of 'ecclesiastical refrigerator.' It is alive and it will change," said the cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

The Nigerian cardinal spoke on Friday at a Vatican press conference marking the publication of a book of papal documents and of speeches from a 4 December Vatican meeting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Sacrosantum Concilium, the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

Catholic World News reports that Cardinal Arinze was closely questioned by journalists who saw evidence of an internal dispute among Vatican officials regarding liturgical reform. When one reporter suggested that discussions of liturgy sometimes became battles, the cardinal replied with a smile that "the liturgy is not a battlefield, but the worship given to God." He went on to say that "one can't stop men from having opinions."

Prodded about a more concrete sign of disagreements within the Vatican, Cardinal Arinze admitted that he could not give a date for the publication of a long-awaited document on abuses in the Eucharistic liturgy. That document, originally promised by Pope John Paul II more than a year ago, has been seriously delayed by critics. Vatican officials had said that it would be published before the end of 2000, then that it would appear in February of this year. Now informed sources say that it could finally be issued in the near future-- but say that it will not contain any significant policy changes. Cardinal Arinze declined to encourage the speculation on the document's timing, instead assuring the reporters that they would be "the first to know" when the document is published.

The book that was launched on Friday is titled Spiritus et Sponsa. It is published by Librarie Editrice Vaticana, and divided into two main parts.

The first main section is made up of pontifical documents: an apostolic letter from Pope John Paul II entitled Spiritus et Sponsa (from which the volume takes its title); and a chirograph of November 2003 on sacred music.

The second main section consists of addresses delivered at the December conference, reflecting on the liturgical changes of the past 40 years. There are also sections on liturgical music and on the papal liturgies of the current pontificate. Among the contributors are Cardinals Arinze, Francis George, Joachim Meisner, Christian Tumi, and Ivan Dias.
English Cardinal Arinze Explains Reasons for Instruction on Eucharist
Sept 11, 2004
Cardinal Francis Arinze minces no words when it comes to the Blessed Sacrament.

VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2004 ( "The Holy Eucharist is the greatest treasure that the Church has on earth: It is Christ himself," said the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

"Is it any wonder if the Church is careful to protect and guard the celebration of this august mystery?" he asked.

The dicastery he oversees published the recent instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum" on matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Eucharist. In this interview, the cardinal clarifies the reasons for the publication of the much-anticipated document.

From the document, it is evident that in recent decades the practice of the Eucharist has been neglected in liturgical forms and weakened in its profound meaning. What are the established aims in the instruction?

Cardinal Arinze: The aim of the instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum" is to encourage the observation of norms concerning the celebration of the holy Eucharist and to encourage the worship of the holy Eucharist outside Mass, such as in visits to the Blessed Sacrament and in Eucharistic holy hours, Benediction, processions and congresses.

As a result of the directive given us by the Holy Father in Paragraph 52 of his encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," the instruction had to mention some abuses expressly and ask that they be avoided.

You said on Vatican Radio that the celebration of the Eucharist is not an ecumenical act and even less so, an interreligious one. Could you explain better what you meant to say?

Cardinal Arinze: The Eucharistic celebration is not an ecumenical celebration because it is an internal celebration of the Catholic Church.

It is the highest celebration of the Church by Catholics who have full communion of faith and morals with the Pope and with the bishops in communion with him.

An ecumenical celebration is a good thing when duly approved by heads of the Christian religious communities involved. An example is a prayer or Bible service by Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans and Presbyterians. An ecumenical celebration is very different from a Mass.

It is clearer still that the Eucharistic celebration is not a service for Jews, Muslims, Hindus and followers of traditional religions. What we believe guides how we pray.

In the United States, but also in Europe, a great debate erupted over the consistency of Catholic politicians. There are several cases in which politicians declare themselves Catholics and then vote on laws and make statements in clear contrast with Church teachings, as is obvious in the case of the support of laws that facilitate abortion, euthanasia, homosexual marriages, and the spread of anti-life contraceptive schemes. Access by these public personages to the Eucharist creates scandal among the faithful. Does the instruction address this problem? What are the indications furnished on this matter by the dicastery over which you preside?

Cardinal Arinze: Moral theology and canon law explain which Catholics may and which may not receive holy Communion.

The instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum" mentions some of these details in paragraphs 81 and 82, but does not examine the question you pose in a direct way. It is for the bishops in each diocese and country to explain to their people this discipline and the doctrine that gives origin to it.

More than on the errors, "Redemptionis Sacramentum" emphasizes the central importance of the Eucharist. How much does the Eucharist count in the life of the Church and of the Christian community?

Cardinal Arinze: The Eucharistic sacrifice is "the fount and apex of the whole Christian life." The Eucharist is at the center of the life of the Church. The holy Eucharist is the greatest treasure that the Church has on earth: It is Christ himself.

Is it any wonder if the Church is careful to protect and guard the celebration of this august mystery and to promote the worship of it?
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