Wednesday 1st April 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Finnish Scholar In Rome . . . A Non-Catholic Sets The Catholic Record Straight

April 5, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By ALBERTO CAROSA

ROME — Villa Lante al Gianicolo, located on one of the many picturesque hills of Rome with a unique view of the eternal city, is probably one of the best-preserved Renaissance villas in the city and is the property of Finland. This stately mansion houses the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Finland’s cultural institute, and the Finnish Embassy to the Holy See.
One of the main purposes of a cultural institute is obviously to arrange cultural events, such as the conference, “Pilgrims or Benefice Hunters? Ordination of Finnish Clergy in the Fifteenth Century Roman Curia.” It was held there February 19, under the auspices of the institute’s current director, Tuomas Heikkilä, a professor of history attached to the University of Helsinki. He has authored books on Finland’s patron saint, St. Henry of Uppsala.
Although I feared facing some of the usual anti-Catholic Church tirades that the intriguing title seemed to suggest, I nonetheless decided to attend the event, due to my interest in covering the Christian presence in Scandinavia. But, to my pleasant surprise, I had to eat humble pie, because the event turned out to be exactly the opposite, with a non-Catholic speaker exposing an anti-Catholic bias in a noted scholarly work.
The conference consisted in the presentation of and reflections on a book the speaker, Dr. Jussi Hanska, who teaches medieval history at the University of Tampere and Ecclesiastical History at the University of Helsinki, coauthored with his Finnish colleague Kirsi Salonen of the Universities of Turku and Tampere. The title is Finland: Entering a Clerical Career at the Roman Curia, 1458–1471, of the series Church, Faith, and Culture in the Medieval West (Ashgate Publishing Co., 2013).
As a follow-up to his lecture, Professor Hanska confirmed in a subsequent e-mail interview that the book was the result of his most demanding commitment ever, in the form of a decade-long project. It was prompted, as happens at times, almost by chance when some ten years ago he was at the Vatican Library to do research.
While consulting a book, The Church in Italy in the Fifteenth Century by the British historian Denys Hay (1915-1994), he was struck by what he read on pages 54-55. As a result of a single document investigated, the British scholar concluded that the Ordinations of priests at the Roman Curia, and specifically in the Camera Apostolica (Apostolic Chamber), during that century entailed proceedings that often “must have lacked dignity, and usually they must have involved only the most superficial verification of qualification and title. The ill-arranged, not to say slatternly, organization of the registers themselves confirms that a certain degree of disorderliness pervaded the whole process.”
To employ more updated language, we might say that the whole process was marked by an evident “lack of transparency.”
The above-mentioned document, identified as ASV, Cam. Ap., Libri format., vol. 4, f. 2r., is kept in the Vatican Secret Archives and Professor Hanska ultimately decided to see it for himself. He could not have been more astonished in finding out that the thesis upheld by Denys Hay — namely, that the ordinands were overwhelmingly some sort of uneducated, greedy, benefice-seekers adventurers whom the Vatican Curia failed to unmask and reject, be it for lack of diligence or due to incompetence or bribes-based complicity — was devoid of foundation.
The negative conclusions so arbitrarily drawn by Denys Hay, he continued, have serious implications. Although his book was published long ago, in 1977, it was reprinted in 2002 and still retains considerable clout in British and American academic circles, all the more so if one considers that there is hardly any other book in Italian (or in any other language) which tries to describe what the Italian clergy and their parishioners were like in the 15th century.
This was the century prior to the Reformation and in Italy it has generally been seen with either neglect or recrimination. Whereas Protestants tended to see the Church becoming ever-more corrupt, Catholics lamented that it was “paganized” by the Renaissance. Be that as it may, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations like Professor Hay’s are precisely the kind of material that can trigger and/or foster what is at times known under a specific term, “black legends,” namely, a sort of mud-slinging exercise against the Catholic Church and its clergy.
Alas, long gone are the days when the English-speaking cultural domain was graced by academics of the caliber of Christopher Dawson (1889-1970), a British scholar who is considered among the greatest English-speaking historians of the 20th century!
Back to Professor Hanska’s discovery. The initial result of his mere curiosity soon developed into a much wider plan and actually turned into a mammoth job: a thorough screening of 14 volumes of Libri Formatarum, viz., the registers of Ordinations which have survived thus far. Due to this massive material, he had to limit his investigation to the pontificate of Paul II, from 1464 to 1471, for a total amount of 1,673 Ordinations of secular clergy (excluding religious orders, since they represented a particular case from the viewpoint of canon law) in the Roman Curia.
Next step was to source information on these clergy: Who were they? Where did they come from? What was their background? Why did they decide to be ordained in Rome? Besides the good amount of data already contained in the Libri Formatarum, Professor Hanska was able to collect further evidence from other sources, such as the Repertorium Germanicum and other documents from the Vatican Secret Archives.
Again, Professor Hay’s assumption that those ordained in the Camera Apostolica were inept candidates with neither education nor titles, but with enough money to “buy” their Ordinations, was proven wrong.
For example, the Finnish professor wondered, how could these Ordinations have “lacked dignity” if their religious celebration took place in the majestic Basilica of St. John Lateran, in the Sancta Sanctorum Chapel? Moreover, a great many of the names in the list of the candidates to presbyteratus were preceded by two initials, H and L, standing for Habuit Letteram, meaning that they had received from their bishops a littera dimissorialis, viz., the permission to be ordained in another diocese.
But Professor Hanska further pointed out that another abbreviation could be noted: r.p.e., namely, rector parochialis ecclesiae. This is the clear indication of a certain status, in the sense that these ordinands had already a cura animarum, viz., they were taking care of souls in a parish church and therefore in terms of canon law being fully ordained was mandatory. Normally a stipend was also attached to a parish church, and this stipend could be used in part to pay the vicar taking care of the parish church during the ordinand’s absence and the rest by the latter as a bursary, if he was also a university student.
We should also bear in mind, the professor emphasized, that we know nothing about half the ordinands, but whenever data are available about them, invariably the same picture emerges: They were well-educated members of the clerical establishment and at times not even foreign pilgrims, but persons living in Rome, many of them even in the Curia or relatives to well-known members of the Curia, in some instances next-of-kin of the Pope himself.
And the few cases of ordinands coming from Finland, the professor concludes, are no exception, since the relevant documentation points to the fact that they were also members of the career religious establishment, however low-ranking they might have been — a far cry from any idea of benefice-hunters.
To sum it up all, all available data confirm that well-educated members of the then ecclesiastical elite were ordained in the Camera Apostolica, rather than scoundrels, rogues, and crooks as contended by Professor Hay in his book.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Lying About Card. Burke

Both Michael Sean Winters of the Fishwrap and David Gibson of RNS posted intellectually dishonest hit pieces against Card. Burke. They purposely misread what Card. Burke said in order to put him in the worst light they could. At least…Continue Reading

Pope says prayers, not ‘gossip,’ needed for successful synod on family

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — No matter how weary, wounded or sinful a family has become, the church will always do everything to try to help family members heal, convert and reconcile with the Lord,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke says confusion spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’

LifeSiteNews: Since the extraordinary synod on the family, we have entered a period of uncertainty and confusion over several “hot-button” issues: communion for divorced and “remarried” couples, a change of attitude towards homosexual unions and an apparent relaxing of attitudes…Continue Reading

Bishop backs Catholic school’s removal of teacher over pro-marriage Facebook comments: cites Pope Francis

SOMERVILLE, NJ, March 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic school has decided not to rehire a theology teacher who rejected the argument in favor of gay “marriage” on her private Facebook page, her family has announced. The controversy began last…Continue Reading

Creepy Catholicism.

Martin O’Malley is the latest Catholic politician to come out as a duplicitous “Catholic.” Deacon Kandra posts an excerpt here from an interview in which O’Malley displays some amazingly twisted thinking to support homosexual marriage–even though he’s a Catholic. As far…Continue Reading

Polish Bishops’ Conference rejects Holy Communion for divorced and “remarried”

The Polish Bishops’ Conference has issued a communiqué firmly rejecting the proposals that divorced and “remarried” Catholics should be admitted to Holy Communion without amendment of life. The communiqué, published on 12th March, includes the following statement: “In view of the…Continue Reading

Celtic Catholic priest and friends pile on archbishop

On Monday March 16, KALW radio’s City Visions will host a program “Can Bay Area Catholics and Archbishop Cordileone find Common Ground?” Scheduled guests are the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto; Most Holy Redeemer parishioner and teachers’ union representative Ted DeSaulnier; and…Continue Reading

The Traditional Case for Capital Punishment

A group of Catholic publishers recently issued a joint statement urging an end to capital punishment. I have great respect for all of them – I have written for all of them at one point or another. I disagree with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: Pope Is Not Above the Word of God and the Catholic Faith

Edit: Rorate tends to understate things.  They want a sober response.  We’d like to offer this translation of Giuseppe Nardi’s appreciation of their take on Cardinal Müller’s recent letter appearing in the Osservatore Romano and additional commentary from other important Italian…Continue Reading

Is the Synod Secretariat Stacking the Deck Again?

The Vatican today announced that the vice president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family will be a consulter to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. Professor José Granados‘ appointment,…Continue Reading

Gay activist: Of course our goal is to ‘indoctrinate children into LGBTQ agenda’

TORONTO, March 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A homosexual activist has candidly admitted that gay-themed materials and policies pushed in grade schools across North America are for the sake of “indoctrinating” children into an unquestioning acceptance of homosexuality. “I am here…Continue Reading

Pope . . . giving holy Communion to remarried divorcees “won’t solve anything”

On the second anniversary of his pontificate, the Holy Father gave a lengthy interview to a Mexican television journalist. – CNA/Bohumil Petrik VATICAN CITY — In a new, wide-ranging interview published Friday on the second anniversary of his election, Pope…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis on 13 March, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday 11 April, at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. The rite of publication will involve the reading of various passages of the Bull before the Holy Door of…Continue Reading

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has named the former President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the new Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The Congregation for Catholic Education is responsible for houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities. In addition, the Holy Father…Continue Reading

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday: remember persecuted Christians

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the persecuted Christians in the world on Sunday – Palm Sunday – during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, Pope Francis delivered a homily, in which he reflected on the plight of all those who endure humiliation because of their faithfulness to the Gospel, all those who face discrimination and pay a personal price for their fidelity to Christ. “We think…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday Homily

pope742

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – Palm Sunday – the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. Please find, below, the official English translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks. ***************************** At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8).  Jesus’ humiliation. These words show us God’s way…Continue Reading

Amendment By Consent

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Here is a short pop quiz. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress in March about the parameters of the secret negotiations between the United States and Iran over nuclear weapons and economic sanctions, how did he know what the negotiators were considering? Israel is not a party to those…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Solid Scholarship On The Middle Ages

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Fried, Johannes. The Middle Ages, trans. from the German by Peter Lewis. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2015. Pp. Xi + 580. The Middle Ages are generally considered to be the period between 500 and 1500 AD. That thousand-year period in Johannes Fried’s narrative begins with Boethius under the reign of the…Continue Reading

“What Is Historical Church Teaching On Contraception?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Part 1 “Contraception cannot be an expression of total self-giving, because in contraception, something is…Continue Reading

Transforming The St. Patrick’s Day Parades

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON St. Patrick’s Day, which is a holy day of obligation for Catholics in Ireland, has been corrupted in America by homosexual activists who flaunt their opposition to Catholic doctrine. Celebratory parades have been co-opted for dissident political purposes. Since the seventh century, St. Patrick has been revered as the patron saint…Continue Reading

How Far Can One Sink?

By DONALD DeMARCO “With [Premier] Wynne’s sex education curriculum, we have at last splashed down in a miasmal sewer in which it’s hard to sink any further.” So writes Harley Price, who has taught philosophy at a number of prestigious universities. Many, including outraged parents and indignant members of the medical establishment, agree with him.…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Message From Cardinal Burke

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

John Paul II At World Youth Day In Denver . . . “The Outcome Of The Battle For Life Is Already Decided”

(Editor’s Note: Pope John Paul II gave the following homily at the Mass at Cherry Creek State Park, Denver, for World Youth Day VIII, on Sunday, August 15, 1993, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. John Paul II died ten years ago on April 2, 2005 and we reprint his Denver WYD homily here to honor…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . The Lessons Of Holy Week On Faithful Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As Holy Week is upon us once again, and we join in with the condemnation of the crowd, crying “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,” we relive the betrayal of sin which marks every human life. We accompany the Lord Jesus Christ on His way of the cross and journey with Him all the way to Calvary.…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: As readers of this column know, we like to quote Fr. George Rutler from time to time because his weekly bulletin columns at the Church of St. Michael in New York City are sources of both information and inspiration. After starting his March 22 column by noting that history is “replete with the failures of famous figures,” such…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marguerite D’Youville

By CAROLE BRESLIN By 1701 the European colonies in North America had expanded beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Anglo population in the English American colonies had reached 275,000. The French had recently established a colony in Detroit. Catholics, however, were persecuted as Massachusetts passed a law ordering all Roman Catholic priests to leave or face execution. New York passed a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Faustina And Divine Mercy

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Divine Mercy Chaplet had never been one of my favorite devotions until my aunt died. As she lay in the hospital during her final hours, I sat in the room, visiting with the endless stream of visitors who stopped in to see their fellow volunteer. By six o’clock, the room was quiet. I decided to read…Continue Reading