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July/August 2006, Volume XIV, No. 7


Against God and Country
Editorial 3

Pope Benedict XV
Dimitri Cavalli 12

Why is marriage precious?
Doug McManaman 13

Historical Chart 1965-2006
Courts—Legislation—Consequences 17

«- Detail from David, Gerard (1460-1523), The Wedding at Cana (Musee du Louvre, Paris )

Letters: 4-8; Ian Hunter (The Gospel of Judas] 9; Ulrich (Fisherman's Wife] 10; Goodden (Faithful chronicler of the higher madness) 11; Catholic Insight Staff (Defend Marriage) 32; News in Brief 33-41; Boo% Reviews: 42-44.

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Who was Pope Benedict XV?


Ihe election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 sparked considerable interest in his namesakes. Among them was the last pope named Benedict, who reigned from 1914 to 1922 and is probably the least known of the 20 -century pontiffs. In fact, Prof. John F. Pollard's 1999 biography of Benedict XV is appropriately entitled The Unknown Pope.

World War I A former Vatican diplomat, Giacomo Cardinal Delia Chiesa of Bologna, was elected pope on September 3, 1914, and took the name Benedict XV The new pope immediately devoted his attention to World War I, which had broken out about a month earlier. Despite tremendous pressures, Benedict XV refused to take sides and maintained the Vatican's strict neutrality. The pope sought to play the role of mediator between the Peace Note Allies (France, Britain, Russia) and On August 1, 1917, Benedict XV the Central Powers (Germany, submitted his Peace Note to the belAustria) and frequently appealed for ligerent powers. His plan for a "just the restoration of peace. Benedict's and lasting peace" among nations neutrality outraged both sides, who included international arbitration to accused him of sympathizing with settle disputes, freedom of the seas, their enemies. Pope Benedict XV reciprocal disarmament and renunWith his calls for peace ignored, ciation of war debts, and the evacuaBenedict organized massive relief efforts on behalf of tion and restoration of all occupied territories. refugees, civilians, and prisoners of war. In his biograThe belligerent powers, including the United States, phy The Life of Benedict XV (1959), Walter H. Peters all rejected the pope's peace note. However, President writes that the pope "had depleted the [Vatican's] treas- Woodrow Wilson's famous "Fourteen Points," which he ury in charitable contributions during the war and articulated in January 1918, were similar to Benedict's after." In fact, when the pope died in 1922, the Vatican peace proposals. After the war ended, the Pope was Secretary of State had to borrow money to pay for the excluded from the peace conferences. funeral. Reports of atrocities poured into the Vatican with On the Jews demands that the Pope condemn them. Since the Although Benedict XV opposed the establishment Vatican was rarely able to verify the reports, which were of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, thinking it would often exaggerated and the product of harm Catholic interests there, he publicly defended the wartime propaganda, the Pope limited rights of Jews. On February 9, 1916, Pietro Cardinal himself to condemning atrocities in general Gasparri, the Vatican Secretary of State, replied to an Dimitri Cavalli is a terms. "And we do proclaim it without appeal the Pope received from the American Jewish social studies editor in modification, condemning openly every Committee (AJC) to intervene on behalf of Jews who New York City. He is injustice by whatever side it has been com- were being persecuted in Poland. Gasparri informed the planning to write books mitted," he said on January 22, 1915. C o n t i n u e d on page 43 » on both Pope Pius XII
and Joe McCarthy, the late manager of the New York Yankees.

A r m e n i a n Genocide Pope Pius XII, who used Benedict's wartime policies as a model for his own during World War II, was not the first pontiff to confront genocide. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire exterminated over one million Armenians. Prof. Pollard details how Benedict XV responded to the Armenian genocide. In July 1915, the Pope instructed Msgr. Luigi Dolci, the apostolic delegate in Constantinople (presentday Istanbul), to protest the massacres with the Ottoman government. The Pope called on Germany and Austria-Hungary to pressure their Turkish ally to stop the killings and made a personal appeal on behalf of the suffering Armenians to the Ottoman Empire's Sultan Mehmed V, who was also the Islamic Caliph (spiritual leader of Muslims).



AJC that the Pope "considers all men his brethren" and: "he will not cease to inculcate the observance among individuals, as among nations, the principles of natural right and to reprove every violation of them. This right should be observed and respected in relation to the children of Israel, as it should be as to all men, or it would not conform to justice and to religion itself to derogate therefrom solely because of a difference of religious faith." At the time, the Vatican's letter received substantial attention in the international press and earned enthusiastic praise from Jews. "Among all the Papal Bulls ever issued with regard to Jews throughout the history of the Vatican there is no statement that equals this direct, unmistakable plea for equality for the Jews and against prejudice upon religious grounds," Herman Bernstein, the editor of the American Hebrew newspaper in New York City, said, as quoted by the New Yor^ Times (April 17, 1916). The AJC hailed the letter as a "virtual encyclical against anti-Jewish prejudices." Death On January 22, 1922, Pope Benedict XV died after being stricken with pneumonia. Many statesmen, newspapers, and leading representatives of the Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim faiths all graciously eulogized him and recalled his countless efforts on behalf of peace and to alleviate the human suffering caused by war. The Turks, who appreciated the Pope's charitable efforts on their behalf, erected a statue of Benedict XV in Istanbul that honours him as "the benefactor of all people, irrespective of nationality or religion." Over the next few decades, Pope Benedict XV gradually faded from memory. He was nearly forgotten by his flock and the rest of the world, and Benedict's successors greatly overshadowed his relatively short but active papacy. Fortunately, the decision of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to choose the name Benedict gave both Catholics and nonCatholics the opportunity to rediscover Benedict XV, who is no doubt one of the most underrated and underappreciated popes in recent centuries. Q

FR. L E O N A R D K E N N E D Y , C.S.B,
sanctify their work, sanctify themselves, and sanctify the world. They strive to be "contemplatives in the middle of the world." They are aware that they are the sons and daughters of God the Father, and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, that Christ dwells in them, where he brings them joy and asks them to help others to come close to Christ. The title of this book indicates that Opus Dei is a controversial enterprise. There are a number of questions, friendly and unfriendly, concerning it. It is to the credit of the writer of this book that he has presented them fairly and, in the same unbiased manner, has given them the answers or explanations that are offered to them by himself or by members of Opus Dei. The complaints concerning Opus Dei are: (1) that it does not make public many aspects of itself and seems to thrive on secrecy; (2) that, besides the ordinary forms of corporal penance, such as fasting, it requires some of its members to use unsuitable forms; (3) that women members are given certain types of work that would indicate that males are superior to females; (4) that Opus Dei is very wealthy and disguises this fact; (5) that it is really a church within the Church; (6) that it tries to store up political power; (7) that it requires blind obedience from some of its members; and (8) that it is bent on recruitment of new members and is aggressive in its recruitment methods. It seems that some of these complaints are made because of insufficient knowledge of the facts. And that Opus Dei did make some mistakes years ago but that they have been corrected over time. This is a very good book, easy to read, thorough in its message, and most enlightening. Q,


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