Stressing that Jesus is the only true way, Pope Francis said there are many following Christianity in a confused way such as the motionless and mummified Christian, the vagabond Christian, the stubborn Christian or the half way Christian.
As 2014 draws to a close with all its uproar and confusion, we still look to Christ for True Peace. We wait for the Perfect to come, in ourselves and in our world. The Pope Emeritus still has much to teach:
"I wish to speak on behalf of those young people who, like me feel they are on the outskirts of the Church. We are the ones who do not fit comfortably into stereo-typed roles. This is due to various factors among them: either because we have experienced substance abuse; or because we are experiencing the misfortune of broken or dysfunctional families; or because we are of a different sexual orientation; among us are also our immigrant brothers and sisters, all of us in some way or another have encountered experiences that have estranged us from the Church. Other Catholics put us all in one basket. For them we are those “who claim to believe yet do not live up to the commitment of faith.”
To us, faith is a confusing reality and this causes us great suffering. We feel that not even the Church herself recognizes our worth. One of our deepest wounds stems from the fact that although the political forces are prepared to realize our desire for integration, the Church community still considers us to be a problem. It seems almost as if we are less readily accepted and treated with dignity by the Christian community than we are by all other members of society.
We understand that our way of life puts the Church in an ambiguous position, yet we feel that we should be treated with more compassion – without being judged and with more love.
We are made to feel that we are living in error. This lack of comprehension on the part of other Christians causes us to entertain grave doubts, not only with regards to community life, but also regarding our personal relationship with God. How can we believe that God accepts us unconditionally when his own people reject us?
Your Holiness, we wish to tell you that on a personal level – and some of us, even in our respective communities – are persevering to find ways in which we may remain united in Jesus, who we consider to be our salvation.
However, it is not that easy for us to proclaim God as our Father, a God who responds to all those who love him without prejudice. It is a contradiction in terms when we bless God’s Holy Name, whilst those around us make us feel that we are worth nothing to him.
We feel emarginated, almost as if we had not been invited to the banquet. God has called to him all those who are in the squares and in the towns, those who are on the wayside and in the country side, however we feel he has bypassed our streets. Your Holiness, please tell us what exactly is Jesus’ call for us. We wish you to show to us and the rest of the Church just how valid is our faith, and whether our prayers are also heard. We too wish to give our contribution to the Catholic community.
Your Holiness, what must we do?"
Later in the day Benedict XVI responds:
Saint Paul, as a young man, had an experience that changed him for ever. As you know, he was once an enemy of the Church, and did all he could to destroy it. While he was travelling to Damascus, intending to hunt down any Christians he could find there, the Lord appeared to him in a vision. A blinding light shone around him and he heard a voice saying, “Why do you persecute me? … I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:4-5). Paul was completely overcome by this encounter with the Lord, and his whole life was transformed. He became a disciple, and went on to be a great apostle and missionary. Here in Malta, you have particular reason to give thanks for Paul’s missionary labours, which spread the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean.
Every personal encounter with Jesus is an overwhelming experience of love. Previously, as Paul himself admits, he had “persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it” (Gal 1:13). But the hatred and anger expressed in those words was completely swept away by the power of Christ’s love. For the rest of his life, Paul had a burning desire to carry the news of that love to the ends of the earth.
Maybe some of you will say to me, Saint Paul is often severe in his writings. How can I say that he was spreading a message of love? My answer is this. God loves every one of us with a depth and intensity that we can hardly begin to imagine. And he knows us intimately, he knows all our strengths and all our faults. Because he loves us so much, he wants to purify us of our faults and build up our virtues so that we can have life in abundance. When he challenges us because something in our lives is displeasing to him, he is not rejecting us, but he is asking us to change and become more perfect. That is what he asked of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. God rejects no one. And the Church rejects no one. Yet in his great love, God challenges all of us to change and to become more perfect.
Saint John tells us that perfect love casts out fear (cf. 1 Jn 4:18). And so I say to all of you, “Do not be afraid!” How many times we hear those words in the Scriptures! They are addressed by the angel to Mary at the Annunciation, by Jesus to Peter when calling him to be a disciple, and by the angel to Paul on the eve of his shipwreck. To all of you who wish to follow Christ, as married couples, as parents, as priests, as religious, as lay faithful bringing the message of the Gospel to the world, I say, do not be afraid! You may well encounter opposition to the Gospel message. Today’s culture, like every culture, promotes ideas and values that are sometimes at variance with those lived and preached by our Lord Jesus Christ. Often they are presented with great persuasive power, reinforced by the media and by social pressure from groups hostile to the Christian faith. It is easy, when we are young and impressionable, to be swayed by our peers to accept ideas and values that we know are not what the Lord truly wants for us. That is why I say to you: do not be afraid, but rejoice in his love for you; trust him, answer his call to discipleship, and find nourishment and spiritual healing in the sacraments of the Church.
Here in Malta, you live in a society that is steeped in Christian faith and values. You should be proud that your country both defends the unborn and promotes stable family life by saying no to abortion and divorce. I urge you to maintain this courageous witness to the sanctity of life and the centrality of marriage and family life for a healthy society. In Malta and Gozo, families know how to value and care for their elderly and infirm members, and they welcome children as gifts from God. Other nations can learn from your Christian example. In the context of European society, Gospel values are once again becoming counter-cultural, just as they were at the time of Saint Paul.
In this Year for Priests, I ask you to be open to the possibility that the Lord may be calling some of you to give yourselves totally to the service of his people in the priesthood or the consecrated life. Your country has given many fine priests and religious to the Church. Be inspired by their example, and recognize the profound joy that comes from dedicating one’s life to spreading the message of God’s love for all people, without exception.
I have spoken already of the need to care for the very young, and for the elderly and infirm. Yet a Christian is called to bring the healing message of the Gospel to everyone. God loves every single person in this world, indeed he loves everyone who has ever lived throughout the history of the world. In the death and Resurrection of Jesus, which is made present whenever we celebrate the Mass, he offers life in abundance to all those people. As Christians we are called to manifest God’s all-inclusive love. So we should seek out the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized; we should have a special care for those who are in distress, those suffering from depression or anxiety; we should care for the disabled, and do all we can to promote their dignity and quality of life; we should be attentive to the needs of immigrants and asylum seekers in our midst; we should extend the hand of friendship to members of all faiths and none. That is the noble vocation of love and service that we have all received. Let it inspire you to dedicate your lives to following Christ.
Gary Krupp- Pope Pius XII – Documentation – interview
Here is an amazing interview setting the record straight about Pope Pius XII and WW II. Gary Krupp, a Jew who grew up hating Pius XII providentially discovers documents that turned him about and set him on a crusade to proclaim the Pope’s heroism and love for the Jewish people:
podcast part 1
podcast via Landmines at Foundationstone.org
1. THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
2. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.
3. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!
Writes Fr. Z:
In my desire to get my ears and mind around the new encyclical, Lumen fidei, of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, to sort the “voices” and get to know the trajectory of its arguments, I decided to read it aloud.
VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Raymond Burke has rallied all people of goodwill to take a firm stance in protecting and promoting human dignity, warning that it is under “constant attack in an ever more secularized world.”
In a forceful keynote address to members of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute at the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens June 28, the Roman Curia’s most senior U.S. cardinal said belief in the dignity of all people is the most fundamental means of the New Evangelization.
He singled out for criticism U.S. politicians who are constantly pushing to liberalize restrictions upon abortion, observing they are backed by “powerful lobby groups with vested interests, such as Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International.”
He also criticized other countries such as the United Kingdom for forcing through same- sex “marriage” legislation without any regard for its consequences and the United Nations for linking aid to poor countries with provisions for contraception and abortion.
“A thinly disguised population-control agenda is steadfastly at work in the sheep’s clothing called ‘maternal health,’” he said. But the agenda, he noted, “actually has nothing to do with maternity and nothing to do with health.”
Cardinal Burke, who is prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura — the Church’s closest equivalent to a Supreme Court — also drew attention to the persecution of Christians, which he said is “at a high point throughout the world.”
Observing that the world is facing “virulent strains of secularism,” he noted: “One only has to read the daily newspaper or turn on the television for the evening news to know that Christians holding to the truth of the moral law is no longer tolerated by many and that the secularist agenda never ceases in its efforts to overshadow, drown out and intimidate the witness of faithful Christians.”
Havemus Papam! The crowds are jubilant in St. Peter’s Square awaiting our new Holy Father’s appearance at the Vatican balcony. I’m waiting for his first Urbi et Orbi blessing. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Who?
VATICAN CITY — The screening of an anonymous YouTube clip about the decline of Christian populations in Europe and North America and the growth of the continents’ Muslim community launched heated debate and some serious objections at the Synod of Bishops Saturday evening.
ROME — Holy Father, meet my mother.
Capping a whirlwind nine-day trip with a final visit to the Vatican, Timothy Cardinal Dolan introduced his 84-year-old mom to Pope Benedict XVI yesterday — then jokingly asked the pontiff if he could make her “the first lady of the College of Cardinals.”
Amid cheers and applause, Dolan walked his mom, Shirley, up to the stage to greet his boss during a papal audience before an enthusiastic crowd inside the Paul VI Hall.
“Holy Father, here is my mom!” Dolan said he told the pope.
Unable to resist the temptation to make a joke, Dolan, 62, pointed out that he’s one of the few princes of the church young enough and lucky enough to still have his mother alive.
SPLASHNEWS.COMMAMMA MIA! Timothy Cardinal Dolan introduces his 84-year-old mother, Shirley, to Pope Benedict XVI, also 84, yesterday at the Vatican.
“I asked him if he would declare her the first lady of the College of Cardinals,” he said.
Dolan recounted that the pope, who turns 85 in April, then paid his mom the ultimate compliment, telling her, “You look too young to be the mother of a cardinal.”
The cardinal said his mom — showing that a quick wit is a family trait — shot back, “Holy Father, was that an infallible statement?”
Priests’ Secretary writes of Boston Catholics hitting the fan or more to the point:
Now, one blog has announced an all-out “Boston Catholic Tea Party” to drive the communication of their dismay all the way to the Vatican.
“Were fed up” sums up the feelings and furor of Boston Catholics who know better than to sit silent while dissent from Church teaching is tolerated by those responsible for teaching the faithful. Bloggers are making their voices heard at least in the bloggosphere.
The bloggers set up an on-line letter-signing campaign with concerns addressed to: Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Cardinal William J. Levada. These concerns are spelled out in an open letter format in which they ask that two Boston-area priests in particular be banned from future Boston Archdiocesan programs. Specific points of dissent promoted by these priests (one is an archdiocesan official!) are listed in the letter.
Today’s post at BrianHehirExposed states:
…we’re asking you to join the “Boston Catholic Tea Party” and help rid these upcoming conferences from “negative attitudes of the world” such as those the Holy Father alluded to. Today’s the day to start firing away!
Online letter here
John Thavis posted in Catholic News Service:
The Vatican is hosting two hours of Eucharistic Adoration “in reparation for abuses committed by priests and for the healing of this wound within the church.”The service in St. Peter’s Basilica this Saturday will feature an hour of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour of prayer and meditation, and a solemn blessing at the end.
The unusual initiative was organized by Catholic university students in Rome. Sources said the event was originally planned for the small Church of St. Anne inside Vatican City, but that it was moved to St. Peter’s at the suggestion of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who is archpriest of the basilica.
From the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world of the Second Vatican Council
(Gaudium et spes, nn. 37-38)
All human activity is to find its purification in the paschal mystery
Holy Scripture, with which the experience of the ages is in agreement, teaches the human family that human progress, though it is a great blessing for man, brings with it a great temptation. When the scale of values is disturbed and evil becomes mixed with good, individuals and groups consider only their own interests, not those of others.
The result is that the world is not yet a home of true brotherhood, while the increased power of mankind already threatens to destroy the human race itself.
If it is asked how this unhappy state of affairs can be set right, Christians state their belief that all human activity, in daily jeopardy through pride and inordinate self-love, is to find its purification and its perfection in the cross and resurrection of Christ.
Man, redeemed by Christ and made a new creation in the Holy Spirit, can and must love the very things created by God. For he receives them from God, and sees and reveres them as coming from the hand of God.
As he gives thanks for them to his Benefactor, and uses and enjoys them in a spirit of poverty and freedom, he enters into true possession of the world, as one having nothing and possessing all things. For all things are yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods.
The Word of God, through whom all things were made, himself became man and lived in the world of men. As perfect man he has entered into the history of the world, taking it up into himself and bringing it into unity as its head. He reveals to us that God is love, and at the same time teaches us that the fundamental law of human perfection, and therefore of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love.
He assures those who have faith in Gods love that the way of love is open to all men, and that the effort to restore universal brotherhood is not in vain. At the same time he warns us that this love is not to be sought after only in great things but also, and above all, in the ordinary circumstances of life.
He suffered death for us all, sinners as we are, and by his example he teaches us that we also have to carry that cross which the flesh and the world lay on the shoulders of those who strive for peace and justice.
Constituted as the Lord by his resurrection, Christ, to whom all power in heaven and on earth has been given, is still at work in the hearts of men through the power of his Spirit. Not only does he awaken in them a longing for the world to come, but by that very fact he also inspires, purifies and strengthens those generous desires by which the human family seeks to make its own life more human and to achieve the same goal for the whole world.
The gifts of the Spirit are manifold. He calls some to bear open witness to the longing for a dwelling place in heaven, and to keep this fresh in the minds of all mankind; he calls others to dedicate themselves to the service of men here on earth, preparing by this ministry the material for the kingdom of heaven.
Yet he makes all free, so that, by denying their love of self and taking up all earths resources into the life of man, all may reach out to the future, when humanity itself will become an offering acceptable to God.
Pope Benedict XVI will go to Malta in April of this year. According to the Vatican, the Apostolic Journey to Malta will take place April 17-18th.
On April 17th. the Pope will arrive at the International of Malta in Luqa. There will be a courtesy visit with the President of the Republic at the Grand Masters’ Palace of Valletta. Then the Pontif will visit to the Cave of Saint Paul in Rabat.
On the 18th the Pontif will celebrate Holy Mass at the Floriana Granaries, and then lunch with the Bishops of Malta and Papal Entourage at the Apostolic Nunciature in Rabat. Pope Benedict will then go by boat from the Port of Kalkara to the Great Port of Valletta to meet and address the young people. Then, it’s on to Luqa and home to Rome.
Thank You, Jesus! I could kiss her, Mary Ann Glendon that is! This morning she dropped some hot coals on the head of Notre Dame’s President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
(Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.)
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.
Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision–in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops–to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.
In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.
Ed Morrissey notes Notre Dame has lost their “token pro-lifer”. He also has a nice photo of the lady after my own heart.
March 19th is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. It is the Saint that will once again be the center of attention for the Gallegos Family. According to Senaida Kane, the sister of Bishop Alphonse Gallego, this year’s celebration marks the 75th year that the family will gather in his honor. This tradition was established by Joseph and Caciana Gallegos as they called their family together to pray the Rosary in veneration of the great St. Joseph.
One member of the family will be looking on from the heavenly heights, no doubt. He is Bishop Alphonse Gallegos Member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, California, whose cause for beatification and canonization was introduced to the Vatican in Rome in November, 2006.
St. Joseph, pray for us!