Thursday, 29 October 2015

Dorothy Day and the Scandal of Mercy

In his historic address to the US Congress, Pope Francis boldly invoked four Americans whose witness often conflicted with popular politics. Along with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Merton, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Holy Father lifted up Dorothy Day as an icon of justice in a society plagued by material and spiritual poverty. He lauded a social activism and passion for justice that was inspired “by the Gospel, her faith and the example of the saints.”

Since Francis’s speech to Congress, Day has become an object of our broken and incoherent political rhetoric. Some insist on isolating her rare comments against abortion, while jettisoning her incisive 40-year-long critique of America’s “military-industrial-agricultural-complex” and of the academy’s cooperation with these state powers. Others suggest that because her opposition to abortion was deeply personal, it was therefore politically agnostic.

Read more here

Devotion to the Pope by Fr. Faber

Devotion to the Pope


Frederick William Faber, D.D.

Priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri

Devotion to the Pope

O glorious capacity of human hearts to love! Even all this was not enough. When we serve our dearest Lord in the persons of the Poor and of the Children, we are, as it were, His superiors. We are ministering to Him of our superfluities. He comes before us in pitiable plight, and we are full of pity, and we run to His pity, and we run to His rescue, and succour Him. Sweet task indeed, and a most wonderful relief to our swelling love, which is ever growing so great as to be a burden to itself! Yet there are other kinds of love, to which we reach as we grow in grace, higher kinds bespeaking higher graces, more robust as being more proper to the fullness of our manhood in Christ. We want to obey. We want to receive commands, to hearken to teaching, to practice submission. We have wills of our own, and we want to give them up for the will of Him we love. We cling to our own opinions, and we set a high price upon our own judgements; and we wish to abandon them for His sake. We want to conquer the selfseeking of our understandings, in order that our hearts may grow larger and we may be able to love more vehemently and more exclusively. We want more immolation of self in our service of Jesus, than the tending of the Poor and the Children can supply. Besides, we want Jesus in all ways. We want Him as our Master. It was the name His disciples on earth delighted to give Him. Somehow they contrived to put into it an affectionate sound, above what in His case any other name possesses. They listened to His sermons on the mount and on the plain. They hung upon the words which fell like pearls of price from His beautiful lips. In delighted silence they nourished their souls on His teaching, which was to them the very bread of eternal life. His parables sank into their hearts, and grew there into broad revelations of the mysteries of God. We cannot forego all this. He must be our Master also, not in a dead book, not by hearsay, but our real living Master, at whose feet we can lay down our forwardness, and at the sound of whose voice we can be out of love with our own judgements and conceits. Jesus left Mary to the infant Church, as well as Peter. Was it not perhaps to supply this very craving of primitive fervour, a craving which had fed itself so recently on His own dear presence in the flesh? Even the sublimities of apostolic holiness could not bear that both Jesus and Mary should be withdrawn at once. So in like manner now He has left us the Pope. The Sovereign Pontiff is a third visible presence of Jesus amongst us, of a higher order, of a deeper significance, of a more immediate importance, of a more exacting nature, than His presence in the Poor and in the Children. The Pope is the Vicar of Jesus on earth, and enjoys among the monarchs of the world all the rights and sovereignties of the Sacred Humanity of Jesus. No crown can be above his crown. By divine right he can be subject to none. All subjection is a violence, and a persecution. He is a monarch by the very force of his office; for of all kings he is the nighest to the King of kings. He is the visible shadow cast by the Invisible Head of the Church in the Blessed Sacrament. His office is an institution emanating from the same depth of the Sacred Heart, out of which we have already seen the Blessed Sacrament, and the elevation of the Poor and of Children, take their rise. It is a manifestation of the same love, an exposition of the same principle. With what carefulness then, with what reverence, with what exceeding loyalty, ought we not to correspond to so magnificent a grace, to so marvellous a love, as this which our dearest Saviour has shown us in His choice and institution of His earthly Vicar! Peter lives always, because the Three-and-Thirty Years are always going on. The two truths belong to each other. The Pope is to us in all our conduct what the Blessed Sacrament is to us in all our adoration. The mystery of His Vicariate is akin to the mystery of the Blessed Sacrament. The two mysteries are intertwined.
The conclusion to be drawn from all this is of the most momentous importance. It is no less than this: - that devotion to the Pope is an essential part of all Christian piety. It is not a matter which stands apart from the spiritual life, as if the Papacy were only the politics of the Church, an institution belonging to her external life, a divinely appointed convenience of ecclesiastical government. It is a doctrine and a devotion. It is an integral part of our Blessed Lord’s own plan. He is in the Pope in a still higher way than He is in the Poor or in Children. What is done to the Pope, for him or against him, is done to Jesus Himself. All that is kingly, all that is priestly, in our dearest Lord is gathered up in the person of His Vicar, to receive our homage and our veneration. A man might as well try to be a good Christian without devotion to our Lady, as without devotion to the Pope; and for the same reason as in both cases. Both His Mother and His Vicar are parts of our Lord’s Gospel.
read more here

What are the motives, then, upon which our devotion to the Pope should be based? First and foremost on the fact of his being the Vicar of our dearest Lord. His office is the chief way in which Jesus has made Himself visible on earth. In his jurisdiction he is to us as if he were our Blessed Lord Himself. Then, again, the fearfulness of the Pope’s office is another source of our devotion to him. Can anyone look over so vast a region of responsibility, and not tremble? 

H/T Mark Shea here

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Final Footnote of Synod

"The Real Scandal Is A Fear of Love"  here & below;

8 An acrostic look at the word “family” [Italian: “famiglia”] can help us summarize the Church’s mission as the task of: Forming new generations to experience love seriously, not as an individualistic search for a pleasure then to be discarded, and to believe once again in true, fruitful and lasting love as the sole way of emerging from ourselves and being open to others, leaving loneliness behind, living according to God’s will, finding fulfilment, realizing that marriage is “an experience which reveals God’s love, defending the sacredness of life, every life, defending the unity and indissolubility of the conjugal bond as a sign of God’s grace and of the human person’s ability to love seriously” (Homily for the Opening Mass of the Synod, 4 October 2015: L’Osservatore Romano, 5-6 October 2015, p. 7) and, furthermore, enhancing marriage preparation as a means of providing a deeper understanding of the Christian meaning of the sacrament of Matrimony; Approaching others, since a Church closed in on herself is a dead Church, while a Church which doesn't leave her own precincts behind in order to seek, embrace and lead others to Christ is a Church which betrays her very mission and calling; Manifesting and bringing God’s mercy to families in need; to the abandoned, to the neglected elderly, to children pained by the separation of their parents, to poor families struggling to survive, to sinners knocking on our doors and those who are far away, to the differently able, to all those hurting in soul and body, and to couples torn by grief, sickness, death or persecution; Illuminating consciences often assailed by harmful and subtle dynamics which even attempt to replace God the Creator, dynamics which must be unmasked and resisted in full respect for the dignity of each person; Gaining and humbly rebuilding trust in the Church, which has been gravely weakened as a result of the conduct and sins of her children – sadly, the counter-witness of scandals committed in the Church by some clerics have damaged her credibility and obscured the brightness of her saving message; Labouring intensely to sustain and encourage those many strong and faithful families which, in the midst of their daily struggles, continue to give a great witness of fidelity to the Church’s teachings and the Lord’s commandments; Inventing renewed programmes of pastoral care for the family based on the Gospel and respectful of cultural differences, pastoral care which is capable of communicating the Good News in an attractive and positive manner and helping banish from young hearts the fear of making definitive commitments, pastoral care which is particularly attentive to children, who are the real victims of broken families, pastoral care which is innovative and provides a suitable preparation for the sacrament of Matrimony, rather than so many programmes which seem more of a formality than training for a lifelong commitment; Aiming to love unconditionally all families, particularly those experiencing difficulties, since no family should feel alone or excluded from the Church’s loving embrace, and the real scandal is a fear of love and of showing that love concretely.

I totally get this Pope - cum Petro and sub Petro

"And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all." Pope Francis.

Link to Terry here

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Church's First Duty

Full document here

Pope Francis' concluding remarks to Synod of Bishops 

It was about bearing witness to everyone that, for the Church, the Gospel continues to be a vital source of eternal newness, against all those who would “indoctrinate” it in dead stones to be hurled at others.
It was also about laying bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.
It was about making clear that the Church is a Church of the poor in spirit and of sinners seeking forgiveness, not simply of the righteous and the holy, but rather of those who are righteous and holy precisely when they feel themselves poor sinners.
It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Final Symphony (Tribute to Pope John Paul II)


Fr Denis Lemieux writes here & below:

"Vainglory is the idea that happiness lies in the good opinion of other people. Pride couldn’t care less about other people and what they think, since they are inferior beings, but vainglory cares intensely about such matters. What matters with vainglory is not what you are or what you do, but what people think about what you are and do.

Vainglory has many manifestations. There is the more obvious form of it—attention seeking, spotlight hogging, the person who needs to be ‘the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral’. There is the desperate hunger to be popular, to be liked, to be well thought of—in my own country of Canada this is a major factor in the pressure to either not hold or at the very least not express unpopular political opinions. Indeed, much evil goes unchecked in the world because of this form of vainglory—we just want everyone to like us.

In personal relationships, there is the inordinate desire to be loved, to have that special person look at us in that special way—again, the important thing is not our being or our deeds, but the good regard of the other. How many women, in particular (and sometimes men, too) sacrifice their true selves, their beliefs, their principles, because of that need for love?

And then there is the burning desire to have one’s contributions acknowledged, one’s gifts appreciated, one’s work valued. The need to be thanked. The need to not just do what is right but to have someone notice that we are doing what is right and say ‘Hey, good job, you! You are doing what is right! Kudos to you!’"

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Right Road

The Right Road

I think that we are frightened of going on the right road because it is a road of humility and it is a road of littleness. So we are always being tempted by the extraordinary, by what we think will cure us in a way that we do not need to give our hearts. And so we're seduced by the mysterious and the powerful.
Jean Vanier, Man Alive, CBC, March 1992

Monday, 19 October 2015

Synod is being distorted by critics, says Cardinal Wuerl

Full article here
The synod has no intention of changing Church teaching, Cardinal Wuerl said, so perhaps the charges or discontent are motivated by not liking the Pope or the way he calls people to live the Gospel. 
“I wonder if some of these people who are speaking, sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes halfway implying, then backing off and then twisting around, I wonder if it is really that they find they just don’t like this Pope. I wonder if that isn’t part of it,” he said. 
“Pope Francis is calling for a Church that, to my mind, is much more in contact with the Gospel, with the living out of the Gospel. Not just the articulation of the Gospel, the voicing of the Gospel, the proclaiming of the Gospel, but the personal living of it,” he said. While many people find this approach “attractive,” he said, “for reasons known only to them, there are some who find this somewhat threatening.”

Abbey Roads: What happened to John Paul II kids, and the Ratzin...

Abbey Roads: What happened to John Paul II kids, and the Ratzin...: Martyrs of Gorkum It's the papacy kids - not the personality who happens to occupy the Petrine Office. Do you believe in the Re...

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Pope Francis: ‘Beware of Those who Limit the Gratuity of Salvation’

Vatican City,  (ZENIT.orgDeborah Castellano Lubov | 512 hits

God’s love is free, so don’t try to be a controller of salvation. 
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, urging those gathered to not be fooled by those who want to limit God’s love.
"One of the hardest things for all Christians to understand,” the Pope said, “is the gratuitousness of salvation in Jesus Christ.”
The Holy Father observed that some of us have gotten too used to hearing that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to love, save, and die for us, to the extent that some “prefer not to understand this truth.”
Francis spoke on how Jesus and St. Paul were criticized for promoting this idea by those scholars who did not understand. St. Paul, the Pope pointed out, met great difficulty in making his people realize that the “gratuitousness of salvation”  is true doctrine.
In reference to today's feast day of St. Teresa, Pope Francis noted how this year marks the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth. He noted how we celebrate this mystic today, but she was also was judged in her day.
"How many saints," the Holy Father lamented, "have been persecuted for defending love, the gratuitousness of salvation, the doctrine. Many saints. We think of Joan of Arc."
The Holy Father reminded those gathered that the Lord has given faithful the grace “to understand the horizons of love" and warned them against those who try to convince us otherwise.
The Pope concluded, posing two questions: “Do I believe that the Lord saved me gratuitously, freely? Do I believe that I have done nothing to merit salvation?”
“Let us ask ourselves these questions,” the Pope urged, adding that, “only in this way will we be faithful to this merciful love: the love of a father and a mother, because God also says He is like a mother with us; love, expanded horizons, without limits.  And let us not be fooled by scholars [of the Law] who limit this love.”

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Enemy Within

There are more and more groups to-day oriented toward issues and causes. There are peace movements, ecological movements, movements for oppressed people, for the liberation of women, against torture, etc. If there is a consciousness within the movement that within each person there is a world of darkness, fear and hate, they can then radiate truth and inner freedom and work toward justice and peace in the world. If not, they can become very aggressive and divide the world between the oppressors and the oppressed, the good and the bad. There seems to be a need in human beings to see evil and combat it outside oneself, in order not to see it inside oneself.
Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, p.29

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Pope Francis: Humility necessary for fruitfulness

2013-12-19 Vatican Radio
“Humility is necessary for fruitfulness,” Pope Francis said at Mass this morning in the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said that the intervention of God overcomes the sterility of our life and makes it fruitful. Then he put us on guard against the attitude of pride that makes us sterile.

Often in the Bible we find women who are sterile, to whom the Lord gives the gift of life. That was the starting point of Pope Francis’ homily on the day’s readings, particularly the Gospel, which tells the story of Elizabeth, who was sterile but who had a son – John. “From the impossibility of giving life,” the Pope said, “comes life.” And this, he continued, happened not only for sterile women but to those “who had no hope of life,” such as Naomi who eventually had a grandson:

“The Lord intervened in the life of this woman to tell us: ‘I am capable of giving life.’ In the Prophets too there is the image of the desert, the desert land that cannot grow a tree, a fruit, to bring forth anything. ‘But the desert will be like a forest,’ the Prophets say, “it will be huge, it will flower.” But can the desert flower? Yes. Can the sterile woman give life? Yes. The promise of the Lord: ‘I can!’ From dryness, from your dryness I can make life, salvation grow. From aridity I can make fruit grow!”

And that salvation, Pope Francis said, is this: “The intervention of God who makes us fruitful, who gives us the capacity to give life.” He warned that we cannot do it by ourselves. And yet, the Pope said, many people have tried to imagine that we are capable of saving ourselves:

“Even Christians, eh? We think of the Pelagians for example. All is grace. And it is the intervention of God that brings us salvation. It is the intervention of God that helps us along the path of sanctity. Only He can do it. But what are we to do on our part? First, recognize our dryness, our incapacity to give life. Recognize this. Second, ask: ‘Lord, I want to be fruitful.’ I desire that my life should give life, that my faith should be fruitful and go forward and be able to give it to others. Lord, I am sterile, I can’t do it. You can. I am a desert: I can’t do it. You can.”

And this, he added, could be our prayer during these days before Christmas. “We think about how the proud, those who think they can do it all by themselves, are struck.” The Pope turned his thoughts to Michal, the daughter of Saul. She was a woman, he said, “who was not sterile, but was proud, and was not able to understand what it was to praise God,” and in fact laughed at the praise that David gave to the Lord. And she was punished with sterility:

“Humility is necessary for fruitfulness. How many people imagine they are just, like Michal, but who are really [sorry souls (poveracce)]. The humility to say to the Lord: ‘Lord, I am sterile, I am a desert’ and to repeat in these days this beautiful antiphon that the Church makes us pray: O Son of David, O Adonai, O Wisdom – today! – O Root of Jesse, O Emmanuel, come and give us life, come and save us, because only You can, by myself I cannot!’ And with this humility, this humility of the desert, this humility of a sterile soul, receive grace, the grace to flourish, to give fruit, and to give life.”

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Importance of Affectivity in Life

The Importance of Affectivity in Life

8. Faced with the aforementioned social situation, people in many parts of the world are feeling a great need to take care of themselves, to know themselves better, to live in greater harmony with their emotions and feelings and to seek affective relationships of quality in the best manner possible. These proper aspirations can lead to a desire to put greater effort into building relationships of self-giving and creative reciprocity, which are empowering and supportive like those within a family. In this case, however, individualism and living only for one’s self are a real danger. The challenge for the Church is to assist couples in their emotive maturation and affective development through fostering dialogue, virtue and trust in the merciful love of God. The full commitment required in marriage can be a strong antidote to the temptation of a selfish individualism.

9. Cultural tendencies in today’s world seem to set no limits on a person’s affectivity in which every aspect needs to be explored, even those which are highly complex. Indeed, nowadays the question of affective fragility is a pressing one; a narcissistic, unstable or changeable affectivity does not always allow a person to grow to maturity. Particularly worrisome is the spread of pornography and the commercialization of the body, fostered also by a misuse of the internet and reprehensible situations where people are forced into prostitution. In this context, couples are often uncertain, hesitant and struggling to find ways to grow. Many tend to remain in the early stages of their affective and sexual life. A crisis in a couple’s relationship destabilizes the family and may lead, through separation and divorce, to serious consequences for adults, children and society as a whole, weakening its individual and social bonds. The decline in population, due to a mentality against having children and promoted by the world politics of reproductive health, creates not only a situation in which the relationship between generations is no longer ensured but also the danger that, over time, this decline will lead to economic impoverishment and a loss of hope in the future. The development of bio-technology has also had a major impact on the birthrate.

Source here

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Synod blog-out

Joe at Catholic Commentary writes:

Synod blog-out

I don't want to know about the Synod. The Synod being run by the media, that is. Didn't someone once refer to a "Council of the media" that wasn't the same as the "Council of the aula"? Aren't those treating us to a repeat of this doing the Church the same disservice that was done at the time of the Council?

I don't want to know about those who are predicting disaster for the Church as it gives up on teaching anything worthwhile about marriage.

I don't want to know about those who have convinced themselves that they can cite Pope Francis as being in favour of "all change" when he talks of charity and mercy; or of those who believe that "all change" is for the good, and that Pope Francis can be canonised in the cause.

I don't want to know about those who have organised themselves into lobby groups, of the left or of the right ("liberal" or "traditional" in ecclesial terminology though the political terminology seems to me more appropriate), some claiming their particular cardinalatial or episcopal heroes in support, but nevertheless operating in a most secularised manner in order to apply as much pressure to the Synod Fathers as they can. I don't want to know about their attempts to manipulate the "Synod of the media" so that it presents their point of view.

Source here

Losing Weight healthily

After Before Tips to come!