Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Prodigal is a modern telling of a timeless story. 2000 years ago Jesus gave an amazing story of a father and son and the amazing reconciliation that would bring them together again. This five minute short film is a modern adaptation of that story.
From Grassroots Films of Brooklyn, New York comes The Human Experience - the story of a band of brothers who travel the world in search of the answers to the burning questions: Who am I? Who is Man? Why do we search for meaning? Their journey brings them into the middle of the lives of the homeless on the streets of New York City, the orphans and disabled children of Peru, and the abandoned lepers in the forests of Ghana, Africa. What the young men discover changes them forever. Through one on one interviews and real life encounters, the brothers are awakened to the beauty of the human person and the resilience of the human spirit.
Good Friday's Way of the Cross in the Colosseum can be a precious occasion to help believers go to the heart of the faith, says Cardinal Camillo Ruini, formerly the Pope's vicar for Rome.
The cardinal was asked by Benedict XVI to write the meditations for the traditional Way of the Cross led by the Pope.
The Vatican publishing house printed 30,000 copies of the meditations, which were on sale in bookstores today. The reflections are illustrated with reproductions of the Via Crucis by Joseph Fuhrich, found in the Church of St. John Nepomuceno of Vienna, Austria.
The cardinal confided to Vatican Radio and to L'Osservatore Romano his hopes for this essential event of Holy Week, broadcast around the world.
"When the cardinal secretary of state [Tarcisio Bertone] asked me to write the texts of the Via Crucis I was surprised and, spontaneously, tried to avoid it: I thought, in fact, that I was not the right person for such a task," he confessed.
The cardinal said he drew from a synopsis of the four Gospels and the pastoral constitution from the Second Vatican Council, "Gaudium et Spes."
"The simplest thing was to try to present that what happened in Christ's passion is also the meaning of what happened, a meaning that has many levels of profundity," explained the 79-year-old cardinal.
He said the central message is that "in Jesus we see the true face of man and also the true face of God."
"It is in his cross, and of course in the resurrection -- cross and resurrection in the end are inseparable -- that this mystery of the incarnate Word, the meaning of the incarnation of Christ is revealed in its fullness, and thus we are revealed to ourselves," he reflected.
Cardinal Ruini suggested that the the Way of the Cross in the Colosseum is important "not only because so many participate and because it is broadcast worldwide, but because it helps to go to the heart of the mystery of Easter."
"I think it is a great occasion to help these persons to enter more profoundly into the heart of our faith, or to rediscover it if they were estranged," he said.
The cardinal acknowledged that this year's Way of the Cross comes in a moment of particular suffering because of the scandals of sexual abuse in the Church. He noted a spirit "which would like to uproot trust in the Church -- and I fear, in the end, faith in Christ, faith in God, from men's heart."
He explained, "There are two motives of suffering that are together: suffering for the faults of the children of the Church, in particular of priests, and suffering because of this hostile will to the Church."
Hence, the retired vicar-general for the Diocese of Rome affirmed that "going with Jesus on the way of the cross, each one of us is called to sincerely look in the face first of all our own sins."
John Paul II
Cardinal Ruini said the memory of Pope John Paul II accompanied him in preparing the meditations, particularly the image of the Polish Pope on "the last occasions in which he himself was able to make the way from the Colosseum to the Palatine: arriving to the last part of it, namely to the rather difficult stairs that lead to the Palatine, he would grip the railing with force, suffering and tenacity, determined not to give up following his Lord, also physically."
The cardinal mentioned other memories, such as "the faces of people crammed together along the barriers" that mark the Way of the Cross: faces of a "diverse humanity and quite different attitudes, yet each one showing in his own way that he was living an experience that touched him inside, realizing that the Via Crucis was addressed also to him."
"My hope is that what I have written will not be an obstacle to this desire," Cardinal Ruini concluded, "but a little help to give that personal answer that the crucified Jesus awaits from each one of us."
During the weekly general audience, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the significance of each day throughout Holy Week.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
March 30, 2010. Thousands of people gathered at the Vatican to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of John Paul II.
Benedict XVI celebrated the mass in the basilica. The Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary of Karol Wojtyla for almost 40 years, also attended.
“Throughout John Paul II’s life he showed charity, the ability to give himself to others in a generous way, without reservation and without measure”.
During the Mass, Benedict XVI remembered the suffering John Paul experienced during the last years of his life.
“He allowed himself to be consumed for Christ and for the Church, for the whole world, his was a suffering lived until the last for love and with love”.
Benedict XVI also talked about the great responsibility that comes with being the successor of a Pope as legendary as John Paul II.
Five years ago, during his last hours, John Paul II convened some of his closest collaborators to give them thanks and tell them goodbye.
Among them, he called Cardinal Ratzinger, his right hand man as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
A few days later, Cardinal Ratzinger celebrated his funeral before heads of state and leaders of the whole world.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
“We can be sure that today our beloved Pope is at the window of the house of the Father, he sees us and he blesses us. Yes, bless us Holy Father”.
Benedict XVI authorized the opening of the beatification process of John Paul II two months after the Pope died. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is overseeing the process, and depending on the outcome, Pope John Paul II could be declared blessed in 2011.
The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:
During the presentation of a study on child labour, held on 24 March at the Salesian Polytechnical University in Quito, the effectiveness of some projects by Salesians and Jesuits emerged.
The plague of child labour in Ecuador involves a million children and adolescents working, about 18% of the working population. According to a report of the Fides Agency, in a country where 54% are suffering real poverty, child labour to support families takes different forms: 67% is in the agricultural sector, 15% in commerce and the remaining 18% in the third sector of unskilled domestic work.
This was the issue considered on 24 March at the Salesian Polytechnical University in Quito, when there was the presentation of a study by Cristiano Morsolin, a consultant from the SELVAS Observatory on Latin America, who since 2001 has been working on projects of international cooperation in Ecuador, Perù, Colombia and Brazil.
Among examples quoted in the book was that of the Jesuit Fr John Halligan. In 46 years, at the “Centre for the young worker” he founded, about 25,000 people have been helped. Every year about 1,200 children are educated in vocational training in courses of mechanics, wood-work, and baking, and for the girls, beauty-care, needle-work and cookery, as well as each day the support of about 800 parents with meals and voluntary work on Sundays helping to build houses for the families who come into the city from the Andes. The results are very satisfying: of the 42% of the children who come to the Centre not having completed elementary school, 85% finish elementary or middle school and 64% continue to study after they completed their training at the Centre.
Along the same lines there is a Salesian project helping about 8,000 boys and girls each year. In the countryside around Ambato the Salesian project which has been in operation for 30 years has a large farm, where the parents are also taught not to ill-treat their children. In the industrial city of Guayaquil the project mainly concerns street children, the prevention of drug addiction and the care of the addicts. At Esmeraldas, with the strong support of the Bishop Eugenio Arellano Fernández, there is the work of the rehabilitation of the “pandillas”, youth gangs. In the large cities such as Cuenca, much is done in the area of providing hostels as an alternative to living on the streets and providing work training with the help of the Salesian University, street theatre and demonstrations making society aware of the rights of children and of good working conditions, as recognised by the new Constitution of Bolivia, which in article 61 permits work by boys and girls in the family and in the country-side.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, made the following remarks at the conclusion of Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Sunday, March 28, 2010.
“May I ask your patience a couple of minutes longer in what has already been a lengthy — yet hopefully uplifting —Sunday Mass?
“The somberness of Holy Week is intensified for Catholics this year.
“The recent tidal wave of headlines about abuse of minors by some few priests, this time in Ireland, Germany, and a re-run of an old story from Wisconsin, has knocked us to our knees once again.
“Anytime this horror, vicious sin, and nauseating crime is reported, as it needs to be, victims and their families are wounded again, the vast majority of faithful priests bow their heads in shame anew, and sincere Catholics experience another dose of shock, sorrow, and even anger.
“What deepens the sadness now is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem frenzied to implicate the man who, perhaps more than anyone else has been the leader in purification, reform, and renewal that the Church so needs.
“Sunday Mass is hardly the place to document the inaccuracy, bias, and hyperbole of such aspersions.
“But, Sunday Mass is indeed the time for Catholics to pray for “ . . . Benedict our Pope.”
“And Palm Sunday Mass is sure a fitting place for us to express our love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.
“No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI. The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made — — documented again just last week by the report made by independent forensic auditors — — could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.
“Does the Church and her Pastor, Pope Benedict XVI, need intense scrutiny and just criticism for tragic horrors long past?
“Yes! He himself has asked for it, encouraging complete honesty, at the same time expressing contrition, and urging a thorough cleansing.
“All we ask is that it be fair, and that the Catholic Church not be singled-out for a horror that has cursed every culture, religion, organization, institution, school, agency, and family in the world.
“Sorry to bring this up … but, then again, the Eucharist is the Sunday meal of the spiritual family we call the Church. At Sunday dinner we share both joys and sorrows. The father of our family, il papa, needs our love, support, and prayers.”
Monday, March 29, 2010
This is a beautiful story of the deep love for Christ that led the life of Pope John Paul II. Is it a sign of his coming beatification? Let's hope so! The following comes from Zenit:
Physical weakness never affected Pope John Paul II's "rock-like faith," Benedict XVI affirmed today during a Mass for the fifth anniversary of the Polish Pontiff's death.
Benedict XVI celebrated a Mass for the repose of John Paul II's soul today though the anniversary of his death is April 2, which this year falls on Good Friday.
In his homily that reflected on the biblical readings for the liturgy, the Pontiff spoke of the charity toward Christ shown by Mary when she anointed his feet with oil.
He said that John Paul II's whole life unfolded in the sign of charity, "of this capacity to give himself in a generous way, without reservations, without measure, without calculation."
"What moved him," the Pope said, "was love for Christ, to whom he had consecrated his life, a superabundant and unconditional love. It is precisely because he drew ever closer to God in love, that he was able to make himself a fellow wayfarer with the man of today, spreading in the world the perfume of the love of God."
The Holy Father said that those who worked closely with John Paul II could sense his "certainty 'of contemplating the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,' [...] a certainty that accompanied him in the course of his existence and that, in a particular way, was manifested during the last period of his pilgrimage on this earth."
The Pontiff affirmed that John Paul II's "progressive physical weakness [...] never affected his rock-like faith, his luminous hope, his fervent charity."
"He let himself be consumed by Christ, for the Church, for the whole world," the Pope said. "His was a suffering lived to the end for love and with love."
Benedict XVI gave a special greeting to Polish pilgrims who participated in the Mass, saying their countryman represents a particular responsibility for them.
He said: "The life and work of John Paul II, a great Pole, can be a reason for pride for you. However it is necessary for you to remember that this is also a great call to be faithful witnesses of the faith, the hope and the love that he taught us uninterruptedly."
The following comes from the CNA:
The Holy Father welcomed the 25th World Youth Day in his remarks before the Angelus in a St. Peter's Square full of flags and banners from all over the world.
From behind the altar at the entrance of the Vatican basilica where he had just celebrated Palm Sunday Mass, the Pope recalled the first World Youth Day, and John Paul II's call for youth to be witnesses to the truth for their generation.
Noting the origins of World Youth Day (WYD) within the United Nation's "International Year of Youth" in 1985, Benedict XVI remembered the invitation from Pope John Paul II during the inaugural celebration for young people to “profess their faith in Christ who 'has taken the cause of man upon himself.'"
Pope Benedict said, "Today, I renew this call to the new generation, to give testimony with the meek and luminous strength of the truth, so that the men and the women of the third millennium don't lack the most authentic model: Jesus Christ."
The Holy Father hosted a celebration for WYD 2010 in the square on Thursday evening at which more than 70,000 young people were in attendance.
In light of the Year for Priest, the Brooklyn Archdiocese has launched an original video and a website dedicated to guide young men who may be discerning signs of a vocation to the priesthood.Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio says the website is a new way of inviting young men to consider the Lords call to priesthood.The website offers testimonials, resources and information on becoming a priest in Brooklyn.
Hat tip to Catholic Fire on this one.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
This is great news for the city of New Orleans and for the Church. Soon we may be able to celebrate another kind of Saint from the city of New Orleans! The Sisters of the Holy Family continue Mother Delille's work today in 4 States as well in Central America. The following comes from the CNA:
Benedict XVI has approved the cause for the canonization of a Spanish religious sister and cleared the way for the beatification of eight other individuals. Among others advancing on the road to declared sainthood is Servant of God Henrietta Delille of New Orleans, who was declared to have lived a life of "heroic virtue."
Sixteen new decrees regarding cases of possible saints were approved in the Vatican in a meeting between the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, and Pope Benedict on Saturday morning.
A miracle was approved for the cause Spanish sister Boniface Rodriguez Castro, foundress of the Congregration of the Missionary Servants of St. Joseph. According to Vatican Radio, she showed exemplary humility in her life, continuing to live with dignity and faith even after being sent away from the order she founded in support of working women, bearing the contempt of her fellow sisters and living a life of silence.
She was exonerated and recognized for her holiness only after her death in 1905.
Among the eight candidates now authorized for beatification are three 20th century martyrs: German diocesan priest, Fr. Gerhard Hirschfelder, who died in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in 1942; Slovenian Luigi Grozde, lay member of the Catholic Action group who was killed "out of hate for the Faith" in 1943; and Bishop Szilard Bogdanffy of Romania who died in jail in 1953.
The single American to be recognized in this most recent round of decrees is Mother Henrietta Delille, foundress of the Louisiana-based Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family. A free woman of African descent, Venerable Henrietta Delille started the African American congregation in 1842 with the goal of educating the children of slaves and caring for the sick, poor and elderly.
The order carries on the original mission of the foundress today, providing education to youth in more than 20 institutions in the United States and offering care and shelter for the elderly.
According to the order's website, the Sisters of the Holy Family also have a presence internationally in Nigeria and Belize.
Dates for the canonization and beatifications have not been released but will be announced by the Vatican as they are scheduled.
Benedict XVI will preside over all Holy Week celebrations. For 8 days, thousands of pilgrims will visit the Eternal City, to mark the death and resurrection of Jesus, in the heart of the Church.
On Palm Sunday the Pope will bless palms and olive branches in St. Peter's Square to commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.
On Holy Thursday, the day that honors the institutions of the Eucharist and the priesthood, the Pope will celebrate the Chrism Mass with cardinals, bishops, priests and religious in Rome. During the celebration he will bless the oils to be used the rest of the year for the anointing the sick and during confirmation ceremonies.
In the afternoon, Benedict XVI will preside over the Easter Triduum liturgies, which include rich symbolic elements such as the washing of the feet of twelve priests at St. John Laternans Basilica, the same way Jesus did at the Last Supper.
There will also be a collection to raise money for the rebuilding of the seminar in Port au Prince, Haiti, which was destroyed by the January earthquake that also killed 26 seminarians. The 200 others who survived were left with nothing and need urgent help.
Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Jesus. At a the moving ceremony hundreds will join the pope in adoring the Cross.
At night, standing under the light of countless candles, the pope will preside over the Via Crucis at the Colosseum in Rome, the place which recalls the martyrdom of many Christians.
The resurrection of Jesus will be celebrated Saturday night at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peters Basilica. The pope will celebrate over adult baptisms and will bless the fire for ceremonies at the basilica.
On Easter Sunday, the morning mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Square followed by the Urbi et Orbi blessing and Easter greetings delivered in over 60 languages.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Watch CBS News Videos Online
Bob Simon tells the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza, a Tutsi woman who survived Rwanda's genocide by the Hutus in 1994.
Miracle in Rwanda is a play telling the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza that is currently on tour.
Leslie Lewis Sword brilliantly transforms herself into a host of characters to tell the incredible story of Rwandan Genocide Survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza, a real life messenger of hope.
Performer and writer Sword traveled to Rwanda with Immaculée to develop this unique piece of theater. In fact, this return of Immaculée to Rwanda was the subject of a SIXTY MINUTES feature, bringing international attention to the story of MIRACLE IN RWANDA.
Immaculée visits the bathroom she found refuge in 12 years earlier.
Immaculée's family was brutally murdered during the three-month slaughter that began in April 1994. Miraculously, Immaculée managed to survive. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently and cramped together in an undiscovered extra bathroom in a local pastor's home.
Immaculée's terror escalated as hundreds of machete-wielding killers searched the house repeatedly for her without success, determined to find and butcher her. Ultimately, Immaculée moves beyond intense fear and rage, to find a deeper connection to God than she ever thought possible.
Crafted by Leslie Lewis Sword and co-creator Edward Vilga, with an uplifting message of forgiveness and compassion, MIRACLE IN RWANDA chronicles these dramatic events through the interior life of Immaculée. The message is one of personal empowerment, of overcoming all obstacles through the power of faith, and ultimately finding peace of mind amidst unbelievable hardship. Often called "our generation's Anne Frank"—yet one who thankfully survived—the true miracle of Immaculée's story is her ability to forgive.
After premiering at TheatreZone in Naples, Florida’s, a triumphant NYC Soho run of MIRACLE IN RWANDA inspired a world tour that has spanned a dozen cities and five continents.
Thanks for posting this Deacon Greg! This is amazing! From the good Deacon:
As often as we've all heard this song, I doubt anyone has heard "The Prayer" performed like this -- see if you can spot some of the familiar faces (including The Priests!) adding their voices to this soaring rendition. And you can find out more about this recording, and how to get a copy, right here.
Friday, March 26, 2010
On 10 April the first public display in the new millennium of the Turin Shroud will begin. It is an event intended to help people of today to renew their faith in the Lord and in His mercy.
Yesterday morning in the Holy See Press Office Fr Federico Lombardi chaired a press conference introducing the event which will conclude on 23 May. Among those who spoke were Cardinal Severino Poletto, Archbishop of Turin and the Pontifical Custodian of the Shroud, Prof. Fiorenzo Alfieri, Cultural Representative of the City of Turin and President of the Committee for the 2010 Exhibition of the Shroud, Mons. Giuseppe Ghiberti, President of the Diocesan Commission for the Shroud and Dr Maurizio Baradello, a Salesian-Cooperator, Director General of the Committee for the Exhibition.
In recent years improvements have been made for the preservation and the display of the Shroud. For the last ten years it has been kept flat and not rolled up and in 2002 the “patches” applied by the Poor Clare Nuns of Chambéry were removed and the fold marks and creases on the image smoothed out.
The theme of the exhibition chosen by Cardinal Poletto is “Passio Christi, passio hominis”, underlining the connection between the Holy Shroud image, representing the passion of Jesus Christ, and human suffering in the world of today so that the linen cloth may be a point of reference for believers recalling God’s mercy and service of one’s brothers and sisters.
As in 1998 and in 2000, the 2010 Exhibition is organized by the Archbishop of Turin in cooperation with the Province and Municipality of Turin and Region of Piedmont. The Italian Church and diocese of Turin, together with the public institutions, have provided economic resources and logistics to support this event. An important contribution has been made by two financial institutions in Turin the CRT Foundation and the Saint Paul Company.
As part of the route followed by visiting pilgrims there will be a video presentation explaining the Shroud they are about to see. As they leave the Cathedral they will have the opportunity to go to confession – with priests hearing in various languages, and also to visit the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
A variety of events connected with the exhibition of the Shroud will be held. On the http://www.sindone.org/the_holy_shroud__english_/00024122_The_Holy_Shroud.html site it is possible book visits and also find more useful information. Over 1,300,000 pilgrims have already made bookings and many more are expected.
Pope Benedict XVI will be in Turin on Sunday 2 May to venerate the Shroud.
During the upcoming Holy Week, pilgrims from multiple areas in England will walk 120 miles around the country carrying a life-sized wooden cross. The experience offers participants an opportunity to rejuvenate spiritually and is “intense and rewarding.”
The annual pilgrimage, called Student's Cross, is the oldest in the nation and will bring together more that 250 people. The pilgrims will set out on March 27 from 10 different parts of the country and convene at the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk on April 2, Good Friday. The 10 groups will remain in the area to celebrate the Easter Vigil.
“Pilgrimage is an intense and rewarding experience,” said Dave Stanley, Student's Cross 2010 director on Tuesday. “It is more relevant today than it has ever been for those prepared to face its challenges.”
Reflecting on the pressures and worries associated with modern life, Stanley noted that the event has spiritual benefits to it. “Going on pilgrimage is a fantastic way to strip back to the basics, examine the fundamental questions in life and consider what is really important,” Stanley said.
The pilgrimage can also offer a time for vocation discernment. According to Stanley, it “enables people to think deeply about the direction they are taking, how they can see their role in the world and how God can play a part in their lives. It also offers a unique way to celebrate Easter – both a chance to recharge your spiritual batteries and a crash course in community living.”
Though the title of the pilgrimage bears the word 'student,' it is intended for those of all ages and has been since its inception in 1948.
“We are an immensely varied group of people,” the director noted.“ From the very young to the very experienced. From people who feel secure in their faith as Christians, to people who have simply found that walking with friends restores them in some way. We are students, parents, teenagers and children, people with jobs and people without. Fit and unfit, wildly enthusiastic and apparently reluctant. What we have in common is that we find this pilgrimage an invaluable way of connecting with what is most important in our lives.”
Thursday, March 25, 2010
In a message for the inaugaration of the 10th International Youth Forum, the Holy Father reminded the 300 young participants from around the globe that "Learning to Love," the theme of the event, is "central in faith and in the Christian life."
The forum, which runs Monday to Friday of this week in Rocca di Papa, Italy, offers sessions on love in several different dimensions, including as a vocation, a life choice, and regarding sexuality.
"As you know," wrote Benedict XVI, "the starting point of each reflection on love is the very mystery of God, since the heart of Christian revelation is this: Deus caritas est (God is love)."
The Pope continued, adding that it is in man's likeness to God that we understand the "profound identity of the person" and "his or her vocation to love.
"Man is made for love; his life is fully realized only if he has lived in love."
Benedict XVI exhorted the youth to "discover their vocation to love" which is "the key of all existence."
The Pope paid particular attention to vocations to the priesthood and to matrimony in his message. Of the priesthood, he wrote that "people consecrated to celibacy are also an eloquent sign of the love of God for the world and of the vocation to love God over all things."
Speaking of the "greatness and beauty" of matrimony, he underscored that "the relation between man and woman reflects divine love in a totally special way; therefore the conjugal bond assumes an immense dignity."
The forum will also include addreses by Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, noted Jesuit psychologist Msgr. Tony Anatrella, and French secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Jean Laffitte.
Married couples from five different continents will also be on hand to offer their perspectives on Christian matrimony.
On Thursday evening, participants will answer the Pope's open invitation to youth to go to St. Peter's Square to celebrate World Youth Day 2010. Then, on Palm Sunday they will be in attendance at Mass presided over by the Pope.
The International Youth Forum is held every three years.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
As current federal health-care legislation moves forward toward law, we need to draw several lessons from events of the last weeks and months:
First, the bill passed by the House on March 21 is a failure of decent lawmaking. It has not been “fixed.” It remains unethical and defective on all of the issues pressed by the U.S. bishops and prolife groups for the past seven months.
Second, the Executive Order promised by the White House to ban the use of federal funds for abortion does not solve the many problems with the bill, which is why the bishops did not -- and still do not – see it as a real solution. Executive Orders can be rescinded or reinterpreted at any time. Some current congressional leaders have already shown a pattern of evasion, ill will and obstinacy on the moral issues involved in this legislation, and the track record of the White House in keeping its promises regarding abortion-related issues does not inspire confidence. The fact that congressional leaders granted this one modest and inadequate concession only at the last moment, and only to force the passage of this deeply flawed bill, should give no one comfort.
Third, the combination of pressure and disinformation used to break the prolife witness on this bill among Democratic members of Congress – despite the strong resistance to this legislation that continues among American voters – should put an end to any talk by Washington leaders about serving the common good or seeking common ground. Words need actions to give them flesh. At many points over the past seven months, congressional leaders could have resolved the serious moral issues inherent in this legislation. They did not. No shower of reassuring words now can wash away that fact.
Fourth, self-described “Catholic” groups have done a serious disservice to justice, to the Church, and to the ethical needs of the American people by undercutting the leadership and witness of their own bishops. For groups like Catholics United, this is unsurprising. In their effect, if not in formal intent, such groups exist to advance the interests of a particular political spectrum. Nor is it newsworthy from an organization like Network, which – whatever the nature of its good work -- has rarely shown much enthusiasm for a definition of “social justice” that includes the rights of the unborn child.
But the actions of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in providing a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops were both surprising and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging. In the crucial final days of debate on health-care legislation, CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the American bishops in their approach to members of Congress. The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the Catholic Health Association and similar “Catholic” organizations.
Here in Colorado, many thousands of ordinary, faithful Catholics, from both political parties, have worked hard over the past seven months to advance sensible, legitimate health-care reform; the kind that serves the poor and protects the rights of the unborn child, and immigrants, and the freedom of conscience rights of health-care professionals and institutions. If that effort seems to have failed, faithful Catholics don’t bear the blame. That responsibility lies elsewhere. I’m grateful to everyone in the archdiocese who has worked so hard on this issue out of love for God’s people and fidelity to their Catholic faith. Come good or bad, that kind of effort is never wasted.
A “friendship” exists between science and faith, said the Holy Father during his catechesis on Wednesday morning in which he spoke of St. Albert the Great, “one of the greatest teachers of scholastic theology” and the patron of those who study natural sciences. He used the saint’s example to urge young people to seek God’s guidance for their “life project.”
As a teacher, scholar and writer in the 13th century and “being a man of prayer, science and charity,” said the Pope, St. Albert “enjoyed great authority in his interventions, in various events of the Church and of the society of that time.”
There was “something of prodigious” about the culture of the Dominican, the Holy Father said, explaining that beyond philosophy and theology his “encyclopedic interests” included every other known discipline at that time including physics, chemistry, astronomy and even botany and zoology.
Pope Benedict said that this teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas still has much to teach us, particularly, he pointed out, “St. Albert shows us that there is no opposition between faith and science.”
St. Albert, the Pope remarked, “reminds us that there is friendship between science and faith, and that scientists can, through their vocation to study nature, follow an authentic and absorbing path of sanctity."
“A man of faith and prayer,” he was able to “ serenely cultivate the study of natural sciences and advance the understanding of the micro and macrocosm” and doing so “to nourish (his) thirst and love for God.”
His dedication to the sciences was not accidental. The Bible, pointed out the Holy Father, “speaks to us of creation as the first language through which God ... reveals to us something of himself.”
Referring to the Book of Wisdom in particular, he said that the “phenomena of nature, endowed with greatness and beauty” are affirmed, “they are like the works of an artist, through whom, by analogy, we can know the Author of creation.”
All scientists who are inspired in their work like St. Albert was, see a world that “appeared and appears as the good work of a wise and loving Creator,” the Holy Father noted.
“Scientific study is thus transformed into a hymn of praise,” he observed.
At the beginning of his address, the Holy Father had recalled St. Albert’s path to finding his vocation, following his calling from his native Germany to the Dominican order in Padova, Italy.
Drawing inspiration and a lesson for today’s youth from the experience of the 13th century saint, Pope Benedict XVI said, “often, in the years of youth, God speaks to us and indicates to us the our life project. As for Albert, also for all of us personal prayer nurtured by the Word of the Lord, the association with the Sacraments and the spiritual guidance of illuminated men are the ways to discover and follow the voice of God.”
Gianni has been a barber for more than 50 years. His hands have touched the heads of many clients, including one who is on the way to sainthood.
Hat tip to Catholic Fire!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The following comes from the CNA:
In his weekly column for the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver lists several “lessons” Catholics can take from the the health care debates over the past several months. He notes that the legislation “remains unethical and defective” and expresses his disappointment at the Catholic Health Association's “damaging” efforts in opposing the bishops and supporting the bill.
The first lesson that can be drawn from the recent health care discussions, the prelate explains, is that the Senate bill passed by the House of Representatives “is a failure of decent lawmaking” and remains “unethical and defective on all of the issues pressed by the U.S. bishops and prolife groups for the past seven months.”
The Senate bill was passed in the House 219-212 on Sunday evening after President Obama promised Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) that he would issue an executive order banning the federal funding of abortion if Stupak and his pro-life Democratic allies would support the legislation.
Archbishop Chaput points out in his column that although the president promised an executive order, the bill still has problems, “which is why the bishops did not -- and still do not – see it as a real solution.”
“Executive Orders can be rescinded or reinterpreted at any time. Some current congressional leaders have already shown a pattern of evasion, ill will and obstinacy on the moral issues involved in this legislation, and the track record of the White House in keeping its promises regarding abortion-related issues does not inspire confidence,” the archbishop cautions.
“The fact that congressional leaders granted this one modest and inadequate concession only at the last moment, and only to force the passage of this deeply flawed bill, should give no one comfort,” he adds.
Archbishop Chaput also highlights how the “combination of pressure and disinformation used to break the prolife witness on this bill among Democratic members of Congress – despite the strong resistance to this legislation that continues among American voters – should put an end to any talk by Washington leaders about serving the common good or seeking common ground.”
“At many points over the past seven months, congressional leaders could have resolved the serious moral issues inherent in this legislation. They did not. No shower of reassuring words now can wash away that fact.”
The archbishop then laments the harm done by “self-described 'Catholic' groups,” that “ have done a serious disservice to justice, to the Church, and to the ethical needs of the American people by undercutting the leadership and witness of their own bishops.” He notes that for “groups like Catholics United, this is unsurprising. In their effect, if not in formal intent, such groups exist to advance the interests of a particular political spectrum. Nor is it newsworthy from an organization like Network, which – whatever the nature of its good work -- has rarely shown much enthusiasm for a definition of 'social justice' that includes the rights of the unborn child.”
However, he continues, “the actions of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in providing a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops were both surprising and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging.
“In the crucial final days of debate on health-care legislation, CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the American bishops in their approach to members of Congress. The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the Catholic Health Association and similar 'Catholic' organizations.”
Addressing the efforts of the faithful in his archdiocese, the Denver archbishop notes that “many thousands of ordinary, faithful Catholics, from both political parties, have worked hard over the past seven months to advance sensible, legitimate health-care reform; the kind that serves the poor and protects the rights of the unborn child, and immigrants, and the freedom of conscience rights of health-care professionals and institutions. If that effort seems to have failed, faithful Catholics don’t bear the blame. That responsibility lies elsewhere.”
“I’m grateful to everyone in the archdiocese who has worked so hard on this issue out of love for God’s people and fidelity to their Catholic faith. Come good or bad, that kind of effort is never wasted.”
To read Archbishop Chaput's full column, visit: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/3631.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
It is significant that when God becomes man, His first word to us is not, “Keep it up!” or “What do you think?” but “Repent!” Many people are put off by that, as they would be by a total stranger walking up and saying, “Stop it!” But then, Jesus is not a total stranger. He knows us better than anybody, which is why His first word is “Repent!” Not one of us can hear that word with an ounce of reflection and not immediately recognize those things of which we need to repent. That’s why we reflect so rarely. The good news is that Jesus did not come merely to depress us with the fact that there’s plenty wrong with us. He came to deliver us from the sins He called us to see and repent of. Today, hear the voice of Jesus and repent. He will surely forgive and deliver you from all sin.
Hat tip to Mark Shea at Catholic Exchange!
Monday, March 22, 2010
The Holy Father prayed the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square today, their numbers increased by pilgrims taking advantage of a long weekend due to the Solemnity of St. Joseph. On the Fifth Sunday of Lent, he offered a perspective on the day’s liturgy in which Jesus condemns the sin and saves the sinner.
Sunday’s Liturgy offers the story of Jesus defending the adulterous woman from the scribes and Pharisees. Wanting to condemn her to death by stoning, they present the case to Jesus’ judgment, wishing also to put him to the test.
“The scene is loaded with drama,” said the Pope at the Angelus, “the life of that person depends on the words of Jesus, but his life does too.”
When the “hypocritical accusers” entrust the case to the judgment of Jesus, “in reality it is actually him that they want to accuse and judge.”
“Jesus, though, is ‘full of grace and truth,’” pointed out the Pope. “He knows the heart of every man, he wants to condemn sin, but save the sinner and unmask hypocrisy.”
Benedict XVI cited the observation of St. Augustine on the Biblical account. Augustine examined the meaning of Jesus’ bending down to write on the earth with his finger while under the insistent interrogation of the accusers.
“This gesture shows Christ as a divine legislator,” he said, alluding also to God’s action of writing the law with his finger on the stone tablets.
“Therefore, Jesus is the Legislator, he is Justice in person.”
Jesus’ words that call for the man without sin to cast the first stone are “full of the disarming force of the truth, that topples the wall of hypocrisy and opens the consciences to a greater justice, that of love, in which consists the full fulfillment of every precept.”
He added, “It is justice that saved also Saul of Tarsus, transforming him into St. Paul.”
As the accusers leave the scene Jesus absolves the woman of her sin, said the Holy Father, therefore giving her “a new life oriented to the good.”
This is the same grace, pointed out the Pope, that later influenced the Apostle’s words to the Philippians, “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”
“God desires for us only the good and life,” summarized Pope Benedict. “He provides the health for our soul by way of his ministry, freeing us from evil with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that no one is lost, but all have a way of repenting.”
He continued with an exhortation to all priests to follow the model of St. Jean Vianney, patron of priests, in the ministry of Sacramental forgiveness, “so that the faithful rediscover the meaning and the beauty, and may be healed by the merciful love of God…”
The Pope concluded by calling for us to learn from Jesus’ example “to not judge and to not condemn our neighbor” and “to be intransigent with sin – starting with our own! – and indulgent with people.
“May the holy Mother of God who, exempt from every fault, is mediatrix of grace for every repentant sinner, help us,” he prayed.
After the Angelus, Pope Benedict recalled the celebration of the 25th anniversary of World Youth Day on Palm Sunday. He said he expects numerous youth at St. Peter’s Square on Thursday to celebrate the milestone in a special encounter.
Convocation with Daniel Cardinal DiNardo on the campus of Houston Baptist University.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on March 20th of this year Fr. Paul Marx, OSB passed from this world into the Life that never ends--this is the hope that the whole pro-life movement nurtures in its heart for the one whom Pope John Paul II called "the Apostle of Life."
"In the more than forty-year pro-life career of Fr. Marx, and through his almost three million miles of world travel, Human Life International (HLI) saw the blossoming of the world's conscience about the issues of life," said Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, Fr. Marx's successor as president of HLI. "Father put pro-life 'on the map' in a literal sense and through his efforts gave the world direct and organized opposition to the culture of death."
Often referred to as "the father of the international pro-life movement", Fr. Marx visited all 50 states and 91 countries in his over 40 years of pro-life activism. Seeing the advance of anti-life forces before most did, he founded the Human Life Center in 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade. In 1981, the Human Life Center became Human Life International (HLI), the world's first and largest international pro-life organization. Fr. Marx was president of HLI until his retirement in 1999.
Father Marx authored over one dozen books, including The Death Peddlers: War on the Unborn (1971), Death Without Dignity: Killing for Mercy (1982), Confessions of a Pro-Life Missionary (1988), Fighting for Life (1989), The Flying Monk (1990), The Warehouse Priest (1993), and his autobiography, Faithful for Life (1997).
President Ronald Reagan once wrote in a personal letter to Fr. Marx, "You can be proud of all you've done to summon this Nation and others to reflection and positive action on issues affecting the sanctity of human life. God bless you."
"We pray for the repose of his soul and for the strengthening of the spiritual children and pro-life family that Father leaves as a legacy in more than 100 countries" said Rev. Euteneuer.
Father Marx died just short of his 90th birthday. He liked to point out that he was born 10 days before the late Pope John Paul II, who once said to him, "You are doing the most important work on earth."
A Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Marx will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 26 at St. John's Abbey.
Below is the full text of the statement of Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of HLI.
"Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on March the 20th of this year Fr. Paul Marx, OSB passed from this world into the Life that never ends -- at least that is the hope that the whole pro-life movement nurtures in its heart for the one whom Pope John Paul II called 'the Apostle of Life.'
"In the forty-year pro-life career of Fr. Marx, and through his three million miles of world travel, Human Life International saw the blossoming of the world's conscience about the issues of life. Father put pro-life 'on the map' in a literal sense and through his efforts gave the world direct and organized opposition to the culture of death. He will be missed dearly by all pro-lifers, especially those of us who had a chance to work intimately with him, and whose lives were changed irrevocably as a result.
"When that blessed day comes, when the fight for life is finally won, people will look back at this dark age of destruction and wonder who opposed the onslaught. Standing among the greatest champions for life will be Fr. Marx, not only for his own work, but for the work done by the countless other pro-life warriors he inspired.
"We pray for the repose of his soul and for the strengthening of the spiritual children and pro-life family that Father leaves as a legacy in more than 100 countries."
Saturday, March 20, 2010
"Health care is such an important issue for the United States. It's very disturbing to see that there seems to be a rush to push through legislation without carefully weighing all of the consequences.
I think it's unfortunate that some Catholic groups have not paid close enough attention to what the bishops are saying regarding the present legislation. It would undermine the Hyde Amendment and put us at the mercy of regulations that could very easily be altered.
As many studies have shown, the vast majority of Americans favored the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal money from being used to pay for abortions. The only thing we are asking is that this be enshrined in the new legislation.
In our enthusiasm for universal health care, we cannot underestimate the importance of having a strong and firm backing for the principles of the Hyde Amendment incorporated into this legislation. The administration should take more time to craft legislation that will create a consensus in the country rather than trying to force through this legislation by using procedural gimmicks."
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, blogging on health care reform yesterday.