Keep your eyes open!...


October 30, 2015  

(Rev 6:9-11) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (Holy and True), dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them one; And it was said to them that they should rest for a little time till their fellow servants and their brethren, who are to be slain even as they, should be filled up.

ACN REPORT: Persecuted and Forgotten? A report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-2015

COMMENTARY: Christian Persecution Reaches 'Extreme' Levels in These 10 Countries

Aid to the Church in Need U.K. has released a report titled "Persecuted and Forgotten? A report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-2015" that reveals the rapid growth of Christian persecution in nations such as China, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia within the last two years.

The report was presented to the Parliament's House of Lords last week and was compiled by ACNUK members John Pontifex, John Newton and Clare Creegan.

"Over [the] last 48 months the situation [for Christians] has become worse in countries including, China and Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria. These are countries that show a massive deterioration of the position for Christians and indeed other minorities," said Pontifex, who discussed the document with Vatican radio last week.

"In fact, the number of countries which seem to be extreme in terms of persecution of Christians rose from six to 10 within this time frame of the last two years.

"What this report seeks to set out is the extent to which Christians have been forced from their homelands as a result of what we are describing as religiously motivated ethnic cleansing of Christians," he added.

Pontifex further explained that he's concerned Christianity could be completely eradicated from countries such as Iraq, where the population of believers has dropped to around 200,000 from over 1 million in 2002.

"This means that we're on course now to see potential eradication of Christianity from Iraq potentially within five years, if indeed trends continue as they have," continued Pontifex. "If you consider that of the 200,000 Christians 100,000 of them are displaced, looking for an exit from Iraq, you can see just how close to a point of eradication we are."

"I use that word eradication advisedly because Christians have [by] no means sought to leave Iraq out of wish to do so. They feel they've been driven out by the attacks in Mosul and the Nineveh plains where Christians have been driven out by IS who've given them a 'choice,' — either convert or die," he emphasized.

Pontifex said the driving away of Christians in Iraq and even Nigeria by radical groups could limit the reach of the faith and the persecution might lead to a day in which people will no longer be able to say that Christianity is a global religion.

EXPOSE: “Abducting Women” and “Destroying Churches” is “Real Islam”—Iraqi Grand Ayatollah


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Christians Persecuted by Muslims Even in the West

CHALDEAN CATHOLIC BISHOP SORO: “It takes a fool not to see the truth when the truth is presented to them simply and objectively and in a non-offensive way. That is our duty, who know the truth. We have to articulate it in a way that helps the people to see it.”

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Patience

5. They said of Isidore, the priest in Scetis, that if anyone had a monk who was sick or weak or insolent and wanted to send him away, he would say, 'Bring him to me.' Then he would take him, and cure him by his patience.

October 27, 2015  

(Gal 1:6-9) I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. Which is not another: only there are some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI DECEMBER 31, 1930: On Christian Marriage


Your Holiness!
Your Beatitudes, Eminences and Excellencies!

On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus I extend fraternal greetings to you on the occasion of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church on the theme of the family.

In our restless and disturbing world the human person needs a firm and unshakeable foundation upon which he can rest and upon which he can build his life with confidence. At the same time, secular society, aimed primarily at the gratification of individual needs, is incapable of giving the human person clear moral direction. The crisis of traditional values which we see in the consumer society leads to a contradiction between various preferences, including those in the realm of family relationships. Thus, feminism views motherhood as an obstacle to a woman’s self-realization, while by contrast having a baby is more often proclaimed as a right to be attained by all means possible. More often the family is viewed as a union of persons irrespective of their gender, and the human person can ‘choose’ his or her gender according to personal taste.

On the other hand, new problems are arising which have a direct impact on traditional family foundations. Armed conflicts in the contemporary world have brought about a mass exodus from areas gripped by war to more prosperous countries. Emigration often leads to a disruption of family ties, creating at the same time a new social environment in which unions of an inter-ethnic and inter-religious nature arise.

These challenges and threats are common to all the Christian Churches which seek out answers to them, proceeding from the mission that Christ has placed upon them – to bring humanity to salvation. Unfortunately, in the Christian milieu too we often hear voices calling for the ‘modernization’ of our ecclesial consciousness, for the rejection of the supposedly obsolete doctrine of the family. However, we ought never to forget the words of St. Paul addressed to the Christians of Rome: ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God’ (Rom. 12: 2).

The Church is called to be a luminary and beacon in the darkness of this age, and Christians to be the ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light to the world’. We all ought to recall the Saviour’s warning: ‘If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’ (Matt. 5: 13-14). The salt which has lost its savour are those Protestant communities which call themselves Christian, but which preach moral ideals incompatible with Christianity. If in this type of community a rite of blessing of same-sex unions is introduced, or a lesbian so called ‘bishop’ calls for the replacement of crosses from the churches with the Muslim crescent, can we speak of this community as a ‘church’? We are witnessing the betrayal of Christianity by those who are prepared to accommodate themselves to a secular, godless and churchless world.

The authorities of some European countries and America, in spite of numerous protests, including those by Catholics, continue to advocate policies aimed at the destruction of the very concept of the family. They not only on the legislative level equate of the status of the same-sex unions to that of marriage but also criminally persecute those who out of their Christian convictions refuse to register such unions. Immediately after the departure of Pope Francis from the USA, President Barack Obama openly declared that gay rights are more important than religious freedom. This clearly testifies to the intention of the secular authorities to continue their assault on those healthy forces in society which defend traditional family values. Catholics here are found at the forefront of the struggle, and it is against the Catholic Church that a campaign of discrediting and lies is waged. Therefore courage in vindicating Christian beliefs and fidelity to Church tradition are particularly necessary in our times.

Today, when the world ever more resembles that foolish man ‘which built his house on the sand’ (Matt. 7: 26) it is the Church’s duty to remind the society of its firm foundation of the family as a union between a man and woman created with the purpose of giving birth to and bringing up children. Only this type of family, as ordained by the Lord when he created the world, can forestall or at least halt temporarily modern-day society’s further descent into the abyss of moral relativism.

The Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, has always in her teaching followed Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition in asserting the principle of the sanctity of marriage founded on the Saviour’s own words (Matt. 19: 6; Mk. 10: 9). In our time this position should be ever more strengthened and unanimous. We should defend it jointly both within the framework of dialogue with the legislative and executive branches of power of various countries, as well as in the forums of international organizations such as the UN and the Council of Europe. We ought not to confine ourselves to well-intentioned appeals but should by all means possible ensure that the family is legally protected.

Solidarity among the Churches and all people of good will is essential for guarding the family from the challenges of the secular world and thereby protecting our future. I hope that one of the fruits of the Assembly of the Synod will be the further development of Orthodox-Catholic co-operation in this direction.

I wish you peace, God’s blessing and success in your labours.

ARCHBISHOP AQUILA: Did Thomas More and John Fisher die for nothing?

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

87. A hermit was asked how it was that some peoplesaid they had seen angels. He answered, 'Blessed is he who always seees his own sins.

October 26, 2015  

(Luk 12:49-52) I am come to cast fire on the earth. And what will I, but that it be kindled? And I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized. And how am I straitened until it be accomplished? Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation. For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three.

VATICAN RADIO: Pope Francis celebrates closing Mass of Synod of Bishops on Family

EXCERPT: Pope Francis addresses Synod of Bishops at conclusion

It (the Synod) 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.

In the course of this Synod, the different opinions which were freely expressed – and at times, unfortunately, not in entirely well-meaning ways – certainly led to a rich and lively dialogue; they offered a vivid image of a Church which does not simply “rubberstamp”, but draws from the sources of her faith living waters to refresh parched hearts. (1)

And – apart from dogmatic questions clearly defined by the Church’s Magisterium – we have also seen that what seems normal for a bishop on one continent, is considered strange and almost scandalous for a bishop from another; what is considered a violation of a right in one society is an evident and inviolable rule in another; what for some is freedom of conscience is for others simply confusion. Cultures are in fact quite diverse, and each general principle needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied. (2) The 1985 Synod, which celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, spoke of inculturation as “the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through their integration in Christianity, and the taking root of Christianity in the various human cultures”. (3) Inculturation does not weaken true values, but demonstrates their true strength and authenticity, since they adapt without changing; indeed they quietly and gradually transform the different cultures. (4)

We have seen, also by the richness of our diversity, that the same challenge is ever before us: that of proclaiming the Gospel to the men and women of today, and defending the family from all ideological and individualistic assaults.

COMMENTARY: Stormy synod ends in stalemate: over to you, Pope Francis

Catholic bishops on Saturday wrapped up a divisive synod by approving a compromise report reflecting a stalemate in the battle between the Church's conservative and liberal wings over its approach to sex, love and marriage.  The document, which Pope Francis is free to ignore or implement as he sees fit, fudges the key issue of whether divorced and remarried believers should be allowed to play a full role in the Church.  And it confirms the pullback from the more explicit opening to lesbian and gay believers supported by progressives when the review of teaching on the family was launched last year.  But it also leaves Francis with room for manoeuvre should he wish to defy his conservative opponents and push on with his attempt to make the Church more relevant and more welcoming towards believers who find themselves in breach of its rules.

Francis, who recognised in closing remarks that the three-week synod had exposed deep divisions in the Catholic family, now has to decide if and when he updates guidelines on Catholic teaching.  The text approved Saturday advocates a "case-by-case" approach to the most controversial question, the handling of divorced and remarried believers, saying they need to play a greater role in the Church but stopping short of explicitly ending the current ban on their receiving communion.  People in this situation need to be treated with discernment, allowed to play a greater role in the Church and not made to feel as if they have been excommunicated, the document states.

Underlining how controversial this section of the text was, the paragraphs related to divorced and remarried believers only just scraped the required two thirds of synod votes to gain approval.

The document includes only one brief article on the Church's approach to gay believers, framing the question in terms of how priests can help support families who have "persons with homosexual tendencies" in their midst. It reiterates that the Church believes every person, regardless of their sexuality, is worthy of respect and a reception which takes care to "avoid every sign of unjust discrimination".  But it strongly reiterates the Church's opposition to gay marriage, saying: "There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and the family."  The emphasis contrasted sharply with first drafts last year which spoke of recognising the value of loving same-sex relationships, to the outrage of those opposed to any dilution of Church teaching that homosexuality amounts to a kind of disorder.

In closing remarks, Francis said the synod had been about confronting "today's realities" without "burying our heads in the sand".  He said the divisions that had emerged reflected important cultural differences which the Church should embrace in the way it applies its teaching -- an ambiguous comment that will concern conservatives.  "We have also seen that what seems normal for a bishop on one continent is considered strange and almost scandalous for a bishop from another," he said.  Francis, 78, also appeared to take a new swipe at the conservatives who had accused him of rigging the synod's organisation to try to engineer progressive conclusions.  "The different opinions which were freely expressed -“ and at times, unfortunately, not in entirely well-meaning ways -“ certainly led to a rich and lively dialogue," he said.

With conservative clerics talking of "Beasts of the Apocalypse" and the "whiff of Satan" stalking the synod, the debates of the last three weeks were played out against backdrop of frenzied claim and counter-claim.  It made for riveting drama and lively headlines but there are many who fear the gathering will be remembered primarily for the divisions on display rather than any progress on making the Church more relevant to the modern world.

OPINION: Synod on remarried Catholics, consensus in ambiguity


Those Three Paragraphs in the Synod Final Report or The German Spin Machine in Overdrive
Final Synod Document Strongly Backs Church Teaching on Family Life
Left Tastes Sour Grapes as Vatican Synod Leaves Doctrine Untouched


Catholic synod decides church rules can be eased
Synod offers striking softening to remarried, proposing individual discernment
Divorced people to be allowed receive Holy Communion on 'case by case' basis

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

85. A hermit said, 'Do not take much notice of your abba, and do not often go to see him; for you will get confidence from it, and start to want to be a leader yourself.

October 23, 2015  

(1Pe 1:13-16) Wherefore, having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ. As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance, But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy: Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Whatever develops in the short term from this synod, God remains with his Church. We should cultivate that peace in our hearts. We need to trust in God’s Word, and we need to pray for and trust the Holy Father. Otherwise we defeat our own discipleship. Confusion – as I was famously misquoted, out of context, a year ago – is of the devil. We shouldn’t be part of it.

CATHOLICCITIZENS.ORG: The Purity of Soul Necessary for Holy Communion by Fr. Stefano Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D.

BLOG: Catholic Teaching on Marriage and Divorce - the Bible, Our Lord, and the Constant Teaching, simple and to the point

: Holy spouses, holy families- Reflections on the final days of the synod by Archbishop José H. Gomez

As synod 2015 began its final week of work, Pope Francis canonized a married couple, Louis and Zélie Martin, whose nine children included the Doctor of the Church, St. Thérčse of Lisieux.

Louis and Zélie led a humble, hidden life. It was rooted in the rhythms of daily Mass and everyday duties — earning a living, making meals and doing the housework, teaching the children, serving in the community, and simply enjoying time together as a family. The couple knew love and joy and also suffering and sadness — four of their children died as infants.

In his homily on Sunday Pope Francis called them “holy spouses.”

St. Louis and St. Zélie are not rarities. How many holy spouses are there, hidden saints of the everyday, in every time and every place in the Church? There are holy spouses and holy families in every part of the world today — ordinary men and women trying to live faithfully by the Church’s teachings and the grace of her sacraments.

This is what the synod is meant to be all about — helping spouses in their vocations as husbands and wives, helping them to meet the challenges they confront in society, inspiring them to live out God’s beautiful plan for their lives.

In the media coverage of the synod, we can be tempted to think that the Church’s doctrines and practices are a kind of political “policy” or a set of “positions” on issues. But the truth is that the Catholic faith is not a program or a set of rules. Catholicism is a vision of creation, a vision of the human person and the human family, a vision that is grand and transcendent.

Everything in the Church — all our teachings, practices and disciplines — flows from this vision, which is given to us by God in the Scriptures and the Church’s living tradition.

Pope Francis has said that in thinking about the family, we must be “led by the Word of God, on which rests the foundation of the holy edifice of the family, the domestic Church and the family of God.”

This is true. And as we enter this final week of the Synod, I think it is important for us to keep this “foundation” in mind, to try to see God’s vision for the family more clearly and to understand how important the family is for the Church’s future and the future of civilization.

God’s dream

St. Paul called marriage a “great mystery.”

This mystery is written into the pages of sacred Scripture from beginning to end ­— from the marriage of the first man and woman at creation to the cosmic wedding feast of Christ and his bride when the new heavens and earth come and time is no more.

Pope Francis speaks of the Creator’s design in terms of wonder and awe. At last year’s extraordinary consistory, he invoked “God’s magnificent plan for the family.” At the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and again in his homily opening the current synod, he called marriage “God’s dream for his beloved creation.”

Jesus Christ revealed this dream by coming into the world in a human family. The Holy Family of Nazareth shows us that every family is meant to be an “icon” of God, an image of the Holy Trinity in the world.

I always remember the beautiful words of St. John Paul II at Puebla, Mexico, at the beginning of his pontificate: “Our God in his deepest mystery is not a solitude but a family, since he has in himself fatherhood, sonship and the essence of the family, which is love.”

This is God’s plan for the human family. Every family is called to be a “domestic church” reflecting the communion of love in the Trinity. Every married couple is given a vocation — to live their love forever in a mutual and complete gift of self; to renew the face of the earth with children, who are the fruits of their love and the precious love of our Creator. Married love is forever and cannot be dissolved because it is the sign of God’s own covenant with creation.

The Church’s mission is to continue God’s “family plan” for creation — to call men and women from every nation and people to form a single family of God, united in his son, Jesus.

So that is why the Church will always take these matters of human sexuality, marriage, family and children so seriously.

That is why the litany of the Church’s great martyrs includes countless men and women who died defending the Church’s doctrines and practices — Agnes and Cecilia in ancient Rome; Thomas More and Charles Lwanga; the Franciscans martyred in Georgia during the evangelization of the New World. And there were many more.

The family crisis

Some of my brother bishops have remarked on the sense of urgency — some even call it anxiety — that has been felt during this synod. The somber mood is reflected in the working document that has formed the basis for our discussions during these past three weeks.

Pope Francis has spoken often of the profound cultural crisis facing the family. And there is a sense in this synod that the family “as we know it” is in danger of disappearing — threatened by forces that are economic, cultural and ideological.

At the root of the family crisis is a crisis of confidence in God — a loss of the sense that he is our Father and Creator, and that he has a plan, a “dream” for his creation, a plan for our lives.

The family today is threatened by the same “anthropocentric” and “technocratic” mentality that Pope Francis warns about in Laudato Si’, his encyclical on creation.

This mentality rejects the “realities” of creation and human nature. Everything — nature, the human body and mind, social institutions — everything is seen as so much “raw material” to be “engineered” using technology, medicine, even law and public policy.

What the pope calls the “technocratic paradigm” underlies the existential threats that confront human life and the family today — from artificial contraception and embryonic experimentation, to the surgical manipulations of femininity and masculinity required for “transgenderism,” to the redefinition of marriage and the forced sterilization and abortion policies prevalent in some parts of the world.

The way forward

In confronting this broad cultural crisis of the family, the Church needs to proclaim once more the beautiful truth about the human person and God’s loving plan for creation and the family.

“The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place … is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world,” Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si’.

At the center of our Father’s plan for the world, we find the married couple and the family.

That is why the Church cannot allow marriage and family to be reduced to cultural constructs or arbitrary living arrangements. Because if we lose the family, we lose God’s plan for our lives and for the world.

Marriage and family are gifts from the Creator that are “written into” the order of his creation and expressed in the bodily differences of men and women and their vocation to a communion of love that is faithful for life and fruitful in creating new life.

Pope Francis affirms this in Laudato Si’ and he emphasized it again during his yearlong catechesis on the family.

The human person is God’s “masterpiece,” created body and soul in his image and likeness, the pope said.

The natural differences between men and women and their “complementarity” stand at the “summit of divine creation,” and order the couple to “communion and generation, always in the image and likeness of God.”

These basic truths of creation are the source for everything that the Church believes, teaches and practices regarding marriage and family.

The Church is called to proclaim these truths to the world in all their fullness and in all their beauty. We are called to do everything that we can to support those couples and families who are trying to live these truths — to be “holy spouses” and “holy families.”

The Church is also called to reach out with tenderness to those who are having trouble understanding and living these truths.

But Pope Francis has also urged us in strong words not to sacrifice the truths of creation in a vain effort to “please the people” or to make the Church’s teachings sound less demanding.

At the end of the extraordinary synod last year he cautioned against “a destructive tendency … that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots.”

This is always a natural temptation when we are faced with human weakness and misunderstanding.

But the pope reminds us that kindness and compassion can never be separated from the truth of God’s plan. A person’s conscience is sacred. But our conscience is only reliable if it is formed according to the truth that God has written into our hearts and the loving plan he has for our lives.

The words we speak in mercy must always be the truth, or our words are not merciful at all, just sentimental feelings.

Telling people what they want to hear will never do them any good, unless what we are saying is the truth they need to know.

All of us in the Church, in these difficult times, are called to accompany people, to meet them where they are at and to walk with them in charity and tenderness and compassion. But the journey of the Christian life is always a journey of conversion. Our “destination” is not where we want to go, but where God wants to lead us.

A moment for mission

So as we enter these final days of the synod, I find myself turning to our newest saints. Not only the holy spouses St. Louis and St. Zélie Martin. But also our newest American saint, St. Junípero Serra, who blazed the trails of holiness in the New World.

I believe that all of us in the Church need a new missionary confidence and courage for the times we are living in.

In fact, we are living in a time of hope, a new missionary moment — a time when the Church has a great opportunity for the new evangelization of our continents and the world.

Every day, as bishops from around the world gather in this Synod Hall, we are witnessing the reality that the Gospel has been enculturated in “every nation under heaven.”

This has been striking for me, this experience of the universal Church: to realize that the Church today is able to truly pray, teach and evangelize in one voice — as one family of God, drawn from every nation, people and language, united in our faith in the Gospel and our communion with the Holy Father in Rome.

With the unity of our doctrine and practice, and the rich diversity of our local traditions of popular piety — the Church has tremendous resources to resist pressures and worldly powers and to proclaim the Gospel to a new generation.

We need to challenge the “orthodoxies” and the “anthropology” of our culture. We need to find creative, positive ways to proclaim God as Creator and to show the beauty of his plan for the human person and the family.

Counting on the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, my prayer in this final week is that all of us in the Church will stay united in our apostolic desire to be missionary disciples. And that we will use this new moment to carry the beauty of God’s plan for our lives and his original dream for creation — to the ends of the earth.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

84. A hermit said, 'He who bears scorn and injury and loss with patience, can be saved.'

October 22, 2015  

(Isa 41:10) Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God: I have strengthened thee, and have helped thee, and the right hand of my just one hath upheld thee.

SAINT JOHN PAUL II NATIONAL SHRINE:  Celebration of the Feast Day of St. John Paul II

: John Paul II: "Open wide the doors to Christ"


Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself.

He who was born of the Virgin Mary, the carpenter's Son (as he was thought to be), the Son of the living God (confessed by Peter), came to make us all "a kingdom of priests".

The Second Vatican Council has reminded us of the mystery of this power and of the fact that Christ's mission as Priest, Prophet-Teacher and King continues in the Church. Everyone, the whole People of God, shares in this threefold mission. Perhaps in the past, the tiara, this triple crown, was placed on the Pope's head in order to express by that symbol the Lord's plan for his Church, namely that all the hierarchical order of Christ's Church, all "sacred power" exercised in the Church, is nothing other than service, service with a single purpose: to ensure that the whole People of God shares in this threefold mission of Christ and always remains under the power of the Lord; a power that has its source not in the powers of this world but in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection.

 The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force but expresses itself in charity and truth.

The new Successor of Peter in the See of Rome, today makes a fervent, humble and trusting prayer: Christ, make me become and remain the servant of your unique power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of your power that knows no eventide. Make me be a servant. Indeed, the servant of your servants.

5. Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ's power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows "what is in man". He alone knows it.

So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.

Precisely today the whole Church is celebrating "World Mission Day"; that is, she is praying, meditating and acting in order that Christ's words of life may reach all people and be received by them as a message of hope, salvation, and total liberation.


“Despite the limitations brought on by age, I continue to enjoy life. For this I thank the Lord. It is wonderful to be able to give oneself to the very end for the sake of the Kingdom of God!

“At the same time, I find great peace in thinking of the time when the Lord will call me: from life to life! And so I find myself saying, with no trace of melancholy, a prayer recited by priests after the celebration of the Eucharist: In hora mortis meae voca me, et iube me venire ad te (At the hour of my death, call me and bid me to come to you). This is a prayer of Christian hope, which in no way detracts from the joy of the present, while entrusting the future to God’s gracious and loving care....

“Grant, O Lord of life,...when the moment of our definitive ‘passage’ comes, that we may face it with serenity, without regret for what we shall leave behind. For in meeting you, after having sought you for so long, we shall find once more every authentic good which we have known here on earth, in the company of all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and hope....Amen.”


The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

83. A brother asked a hermit, 'Tell me one thing, that I may keep it and live by it.' He said, 'If you can suffer injury and endure, this is a great thing, it is above all virtues.'

October 20, 2015  

(Mat 6:33) Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT, O.F.M. CAP.: Truth, conscience and the work of the synod

LIFESITE NEWS: Romanian doctor makes blunt, powerful plea to pope and bishops in her Synod talk

Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea, Doctor at the Center for Diagnosis and Treatment-Victor Babes and President of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Bucharest (Romania) made the following presentation to Pope Francis and the Synod bishops on Friday:

Your Holiness, Synod Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, I represent the Association of Catholic Doctors from Bucharest.

I am from the Romanian Greek Catholic Church.

My father was a Christian political leader, who was imprisoned by the communists for 17 years. My parents were engaged to marry, but their wedding took place 17 years later.

My mother waited all those years for my father, although she didn’t even know if he was still alive. They have been heroically faithful to God and to their engagement.

Their example shows that God’s grace can overcame terrible social circumstances and material poverty.

We, as Catholic doctors, defending life and family, can see this is, first of all, a spiritual battle.

Material poverty and consumerism are not the primary cause of the family crisis.

The primary cause of the sexual and cultural revolution is ideological.

Our Lady of Fatima has said that Russia’s errors would spread all over the world.

It was first done under a violent form, classical Marxism, by killing tens of millions.

Now it’s being done mostly by cultural Marxism. There is continuity from Lenin’s sex revolution, through Gramsci and the Frankfurt school, to the current-day gay-rights and gender ideology.

Classical Marxism pretended to redesign society, through violent take-over of property.

Now the revolution goes deeper; it pretends to redefine family, sex identity and human nature.

This ideology calls itself progressive. But it is nothing else than the ancient serpent’s offer, for man to take control, to replace God, to arrange salvation here, in this world.

It’s an error of religious nature, it’s Gnosticism.

It’s the task of the shepherds to recognize it, and warn the flock against this danger.

“Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The Church’s mission is to save souls. Evil, in this world, comes from sin. Not from income disparity or “climate change”.

The solution is: Evangelization. Conversion.

Not an ever increasing government control. Not a world government. These are nowadays the main agents imposing cultural Marxism to our nations, under the form of population control, reproductive health, gay rights, gender education, and so on.

What the world needs nowadays is not limitation of freedom, but real freedom, liberation from sin. Salvation.

Our Church was suppressed by the soviet occupation. But none of our 12 bishops betrayed their communion with the Holy Father. Our Church survived thanks to our bishops’ determination and example in resisting prisons and terror.

Our bishops asked the community not to follow the world. Not to cooperate with the communists.

Now we need Rome to tell the world: “Repent of your sins and turn to God for the Kingdom of Heaven is near”.

Not only us, the Catholic laity, but also many Christian Orthodox are anxiously praying for this Synod. Because, as they say, if the Catholic Church gives in to the spirit of this world, it is going to be very difficult for all the other Christians to resist it.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

79. A hermit said, 'Even if you have succeeded in the habit of keeping silent, you should not have that in you as though it was a kind of virtue, but say: "I am not worthy to speak."'

October 19, 2015  

(Mat 16:18) And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

NEWS.VA: Pope Francis marks 50th anniversary of Synod's institution

Pope Francis on Saturday morning marked the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops as a permanent body. Gathered with the Fathers of the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops – who are currently meeting in Rome to discuss the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in contemporary society – Pope Francis spoke of both the process and the substance of the Synod as constitutive and expressive of the Church’s own nature and mission.

“Journeying together,” said Pope Francis in an enlargement on the Greek words from which the English word 'synod' is derived, “laity, pastors, and the Bishop of Rome, is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice.”

The Holy Father went on to say that each and everyone has a place in the Church, and that the key to journeying well together is listening. “A synodal Church is a Church of listening,” said Pope Francis. “It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn: the faithful, the College of Bishops, [and the] Bishop of Rome; each listening to the others; and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the ‘Spirit of truth’ (Jn 14, 17), to know what he ‘says to the Churches’ (Rev 2: 7).”

“The Synod of Bishops,” continued Pope Francis, “is the convergence point of this dynamism – this listening conducted at all levels of Church life,” starting with the people, who “also participate in Christ’s prophetic office” and who have a right and a duty to be heard on topics that touch the common life of the Church. Then come the Synod Fathers, through whom, “[T]he bishops act as true stewards, interpreters and witnesses of the faith of the whole Church, which [they] must be able carefully to distinguish from often shifting public opinion.” In all this, the Successor to Peter is fundamental. “Finally,” explained Pope Francis, “the synodal process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, called upon to speak authoritatively [It. pronunciare] as ‘Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians’: not on the basis of his personal beliefs, but as the supreme witness of the Faith of the whole Church, the guarantor of the Church’s conformity with and obedience to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ and the Tradition of the Church.”

The Holy Father went on to explain that the Synod always always acts cum Petro et sub Petro – with Peter and under Peter – a fact that does not constitute a restriction of freedom, but a guarantee of unity. “In fact,” he said, “the Pope is, by the will of the Lord, ‘the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful’.”

FULL TEXT: Pope Calls for a "Listening Church"

LIFESITE NEWS: Voice of Family warns Synod proposal to give more authority to bishops conferences will shatter the Church

: Antonio Socci Blog: END OF CATHOLICISM

In fact, last March, the Cardinal Mueller , Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had responded to Marx that delegate decisions doctrinal or disciplinary matters of family or marriage to the national bishops' conferences "is an absolutely anti-Catholic who does not respect the catholicity of the Church " .

The truth does not change with the climate. If the truth is not everywhere the same is no longer true. It would be the triumph of the "dictatorship of relativism" in the Church as well, and therefore its end.

Cardinal Burke has repeated: "is simply contrary to faith and Catholic life. The Church follows the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ (and) is a worldwide. There is no change in these truths, from one place to another or from one time to another. Certainly the teaching of these truths into account the particular needs of each area. But this does not change the teaching "that, indeed," should be even stronger in the places where it is more compromise. "

If it passes the idea of "regional diversity" - also indicated to the Synod - "The Church is no longer Catholic [universal]. This means "Burke adds" that is no longer 'a' in his teaching around the world. We have 'a' faith alone. We have 'a' [set of] sacraments. We have 'a' government in the world. This means 'Catholic'. "

A reform of the papacy that would transform the Church into a federation of local churches who decide - each for himself - about divorced and remarried and homosexuality, then a commandments and sacraments - would undermine the "divine constitution" of the Church (that is, the Church as it was founded by Christ) and such a reform is not in the powers of any pope. Why the Pope is not greater than Jesus Christ.

As you see, more to the Synod goes live and the more we discover that - at the bottom - the real clash is on the fundamentals of the Catholic faith and the survival of the same church as Christ instituted it and as has existed for two thousand years.

CHIESA: Synod. The “Conspirator” Who Does Everything in the Light of Day

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

78. A hermit said, 'If anyone says, "Forgive me", and humbles himself, he burns up the demons that tempt him.'

October 16, 2015  

(Luk 12:2-5) For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed: nor hidden that shall not be known. For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers shall be preached on the housetops. And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: Fear ye him who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you: Fear him.

NEWS.VA: Pope asks forgiveness for the scandals that have rocked the Church

: Pell vs Pope

Cardinal George Pell sent the Pope a public warning in July about his lurch to the Left:

Cardinal George Pell has publicly criticised Pope Francis’ decision to place climate change at the top of the Catholic Church’s agenda.  Cardinal Pell, a well-known climate change skeptic, told the Financial Times the church had “no particular expertise in science”.

“The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters,” he said, “We believe in the autonomy of science.”

It is now close to all-out war: Civil war has erupted at the top of the Catholic Church, with 13 ­cardinals, including Australia’s George Pell, warning the Pope in a letter that the church is in ­danger of collapsing like liberal Protestant churches in the modern era. 

The cardinals say the threat of collapse has been accelerated by the “abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation’’.

As well as Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s Secretary for the Economy, cardinals from Bologna, ­Toronto, New York, Galveston, Nairobi, Mexico, Utrecht, Durban and Caracas signed the letter, as well as other senior Vatican ­officials. These included Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, the church’s Prefect for Divine Worship, and German Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Prefect for Doctrine.

The row centres on the three-week Synod on the Family under way in Rome and being attended by about 300 delegates, mainly bishops, from around the world…

The letter complained the ­process seemed “designed to ­facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions’’. Several of the signatories, including Cardinal Pell, have also raised concerns ­inside the synod…

One point of contention is whether long-established rules should be changed to allow divorced and civilly remarried Cath­olics to receive communion…

In a statement ­released after the leaking of the letter, a spokesman for Cardinal Pell said: “There is strong agreement in the synod on most points but obviously there is some disagreement because minority elements want to change the church’s teachings on the proper dispositions necessary for the ­reception of communion. Obviously there is no possibility of change on this doctrine.”


Cardinal says liberals and Islamists are 'Beasts of Apocalypse'
Cardinal Pell tells synod: no one can change ‘essential Church teachings’
Cardinal Burke proclaims controversial Synod proposals ‘simply contrary’ to Catholicism

EXCERPT: Messages of Our Lady in Akita, Japan

It was on Saturday, October 13, the anniversary day of the last Apparition of the Virgin Mary to the three children of Fatima, that Mary gave to Sister Agnes Her third Message, the most important and serious one:

“If men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the Bishops and the priests.

“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see Cardinals opposing Cardinals, Bishops against other Bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises, and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

“The demon will be especially implacable against the souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of My sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them.

“...Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able to still save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in Me will be saved.”
The last Sunday of May, 1982, during the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Sister Agnes was completely cured from her deafness.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

77. A brother asked a hermit, 'What is the way to make progress?' The hermit answered, 'Humility. The more we bend ourselves to humility, the more we are lifted up to make progress.'

October 13, 2015  

(Exo 8:19) And the magicians said to Pharao: This is the finger of God. And Pharao's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had commanded.

VIDEO: The Miracle of the Sun in Fatima October 13, 1917

BLOG: The Stages of the Miracle of the Sun

PATHEOS: So That All May Believe: The “Miracle of the Sun”

COMMENTARY: Fatima Is for the Holiness of Families

The apparition at Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917, is the only approved apparition in 2,000 years in which the entire Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph appeared at the same time. The three little shepherd children saw Our Lady with St. Joseph and the Child Jesus, both blessing the world, during the time tens of thousands of people were witnessing the sun miracle.

The Miracle of the Sun was one of the most spectacular miracles recorded in the history of the Church. It was heaven’s verification of the message that the Mother of God came to deliver to the world. A miracle had been foretold months in advance, as to its exact day and hour. While the nature of the miracle was not foretold, three things were foretold: “In October, I will tell you [1] who I am and [2] what I want, and [3] I will perform a miracle so that all may believe” (July 13, 1917).

It is not correct to say that Our Lady foretold the Miracle of the Sun. She simply foretold a miracle, without stating what kind. The miracles of Jesus in the New Testament were to bring people to faith with a response in love. Such, too, was the reason for the Holy Family miracle of Fatima.

2015 Relic Tour Schedule - Saint Maria Goretti

The Relics of Saint Maria Goretti are touring the United States in 2015.
Here is a link to schedule that I posted below:

Please note that modifications to the schedule (to start times, end times, etc.) are an ongoing possibility.  This page will always have the most up-to-date information.  Please check it before making your plans.

SEE ALSO: The Relics of Saint Therese, the “Little Flower”, and Her Parents, Joined Together in Reliquary, Go on Tour

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

75. A hermit said, 'Do not ignore your neighbour for you do not know whether God's Spirit is in you or in him. I tell you that your servant is your neighbour.'

October 12, 2015  

(Joh 8:31-32) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth: and the truth shall make you free.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Marriage as a witness to hope

Archbishop Charles Chaput delivered the following speech, termed an intervention, Oct. 7 in Rome at the Synod of Bishops on the Family. Pope Francis is leading selected bishops from around the world this month to discuss pastoral issues concerning marriage and family.


The Instrumentum seemed to present us with two conflicting views: pastoral despair or a decision to hope. When Jesus experienced the pastoral despair of his Apostles, he reminded them that for man a thing may seem impossible, but for God all things are possible.

In mastering nature for the purpose of human development, we human beings have wounded our oceans and the air we breathe. We’ve poisoned the human body with contraceptives. And we’ve scrambled the understanding of our own sexuality. In the name of individual fulfillment, we’ve busied ourselves with creating a new Babel of tyranny that feeds our desires but starves the soul.

Paragraphs 7-10 of the Instrumentum did a good job of describing the condition of today’s families. But overall, the text engenders a subtle hopelessness. This leads to a spirit of compromise with certain sinful patterns of life and the reduction of Christian truths about marriage and sexuality to a set of beautiful ideals — which then leads to surrendering the redemptive mission of the Church.

The work of this synod needs to show much more confidence in the Word of God, the transformative power of grace, and the ability of people to actually live what the Church believes. And it should honor the heroism of abandoned spouses who remain faithful to their vows and the teaching of the Church.

George Bernanos said that the virtue of hope is “despair, overcome.” We have no reason to despair. We have every reason to hope. Pope Francis saw this himself in Philadelphia. Nearly 900,000 people crowded the streets for the papal Mass that closed the World Meeting of Families.

They were there because they love the Pope, but also because they believe in marriage. They believe in the family. And they were hungry to be fed by real food from the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

We need to call people to perseverance in grace and to trust in the greatness God intended for them — not confirm them in their errors. Marriage embodies Christian hope – hope made flesh and sealed permanently in the love of a man and a woman.

This synod needs to preach that truth more clearly with the radical passion of the Cross and Resurrection.

MORE FROM ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Disunity in the Church is perilous, Archbishop Chaput cautions at synod

: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[II Cor. 1:8-11; Luke 5:27-32]

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. What a consolation for sinners! But it is necessary to leave sins and do only good; and when doing good, to continue to call oneself a sinner not only on the tongue, but in the heart. Do not sin, but as a true sinner repent and call to the Lord for forgiveness. When you will be disposed in such a way, it means that you stand in the truth; as soon as you give way to self-righteousness and start considering yourself sinless, know, that you are turning aside from the right path and have headed toward those for whom there is no salvation. How we can combine a proper life with feelings of sinfulness is something only scribes ask. They write, but do not do. For the one who follows the path of action this is so clear that he cannot understand how it could be any other way.


Then why be good?  Why keep the commandments? What difference does our response make?

Our response makes a big difference, but not in terms of giving God offense, driving God away, or making God punish or reward us. It makes a difference in how we stand and feel in the face of love. We cannot offend against God, but we can offend against others and ourselves. We can, like Satan, live in bitterness and unhappiness right within love itself and we can deeply hurt others. The spiritual and moral precepts of the faith, all of them, including the ten commandments, are therefore meant to do a couple of things:

First, for anyone who is mature in the faith, living out what faith and morality asks of us is in fact a natural response of gratitude for being loved and a natural expression of sensitivity to others. The desire to be good and to keep the commandments, as Martin Luther once said, follows from genuine faith and love the way smoke follows fire. The intent is never to earn love or reward, but to respond properly to them. This is true in the case of mature love and faith. However, for those of us who are still struggling to be mature, the spiritual and moral precepts of the faith are meant as a discipline – precisely as a discipleship – that helps teach us what it means to be a spiritual and a sensitive human being. Trying to be good should still not be an attempt to somehow earn love or heaven, but rather an acknowledgement, a humble one, that one still needs a lot of help in knowing how to live in the face of love.

Why be good if God loves us anyway? For the same reason that an artist doesn’t deface a masterpiece and a lover doesn’t violate his or her beloved. Ethics follow naturally when truth, beauty, and love are properly appropriated.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

74. A hermit said, 'I would rather be defeated and humble than win and be proud.'

October 9, 2015  

(Rom 13:3-4)  For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God's minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.

GEORGE J. MARLIN, CHAIRMAIN ACN USA: The United States must also do what it can to provide those Christians committed to staying put in Iraq and Syria with all the humanitarian aid they need — aid programs must be tailored specifically to come to the aid of Christians; they also need political support, as in helping them gain permanent status and full citizenship in Kurdistan; and, as the situation requires, the military support to protect them from ISIS and other Islamic extremists. That is what many of the local bishops in the region want, although they are reluctant to say so out loud.

INTERRELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF RUSSIA: “Strictly adhering to the standards of international law, our country is again prepared to render support to the people whose life, health and freedom are really endangered by the actions of international terrorists.”

The statement expresses hope that “the assistance of Russia will stave off the threat of terror and hasten the coming of peaceful life in this country and in the entire Middle East on the basis of dialogue and accord among different ethnic, religious and ideological groups.”

NEWS REPORT: Islamic State murders 12 Christians for refusing to renounce Christ

Twelve Christians have been brutally executed by the Islamic State, including the 12-year-old son of a Syrian ministry team leader who had planted nine churches, because they refused to renounce the name of Jesus Christ and embrace Islam. The martyrs were faithful to the very end; right before one woman was beheaded by the terror group, she appeared to be smiling slightly as she said, “Jesus!”

According to Christian Aid Mission, a humanitarian group which assists indigenous Christian workers in their native countries, the horrific murders took place on August 28 in an unnamed village outside Aleppo, Syria.

“In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam,” Christian Aid revealed, according to a report from Morning Star News. “When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.”

: Letter from Aleppo: 20 years a bishop--fighting for his faithful to stay in Syria

PRAVMIR.COM:  His Holiness Patriarch Kirill: One сannot remain indifferent to the suffering of the Syrian people

: Iraqis Urge Russia to Strike Islamic State

: Russian Church: The Fight in Syria is a 'Holy War'

Russia's powerful Orthodox Church on Wednesday voiced support for Moscow's decision to carry out air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, calling it a "holy battle."

"The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it," said the head of the Church's public affairs department, Vsevolod Chaplin, quoted by Interfax news agency.

Russia on Wednesday launched its first air strikes in Syria after President Vladimir Putin won parliamentary approval to use force abroad.

"The only correct way to fight international terrorism.... is to act preemptively, to battle and destroy fighters and terrorists on the territories they have already seized, not to wait for them to come to us," Putin said in televised comments.

In an official statement, the Church's Patriarch Kirill said "Russia took a responsible decision to use military forces to protect the Syrian people from the woes brought on by the tyranny of terrorists."

The Patriarch, who often weighs in on political matters in support of the Kremlin, said armed intervention was necessary since "the political process has not led to any noticeable improvement in the lives of innocent people, and they need military protection."

He cited the suffering of Christians in the region, the kidnapping of clerics and the destruction of churches, adding that Muslims "are suffering no less."

Church spokesman Chaplin said that the decision on military action "corresponds with international law, the mentality of our people and the special role that our country has always played in the Middle East."

A senior Muslim cleric also backed the military intervention, saying Syrians are "practically our neighbors."

"We fully back the use of a contingent of Russian armed forces in the battle against international terrorism," said Talgat Tadzhuddin, head of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, in comments to RIA Novosti state news agency.

A council representing Russia's main religions -- Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism -- will release a joint statement on Russia's role in Syria that will "support the decision that was taken by our government," said Orthodox spokesman Chaplin.

Russia's Orthodox Church, after years of repression under the Soviets, has regained much of its influence and built up close ties with the government despite a formal separation of Church and state. President Vladimir Putin is regularly depicted attending services.

The Church has sought to increase its influence in the armed forces and achieved its goal of reintroducing religious chaplains banned by the Soviets.

Robert Moynihan: Russia in Syria

A Christian power in the Middle East The "Russia in Syria" story is of far different importance -- I will not say of greater or lesser importance, only of different importance -- than the Pope's meetings in America, or the unfolding of this present Synod. What is happening in Syria deserves our attention -- even if we cannot understand what it really means or where it will lead. The Russians, in a way puzzling to me (and, I think, to many), have simply waltzed (or, perhaps better, flown) into the country, with little fanfare (how did they do it?) and now, in a series of dozens of evidently quite accurate bombing sorties based, it seems, on quite good satellite intelligence, now seem likely to sharply curtail the activity and power of the monstrous, head-decapitating ISIS movement, perhaps as soon as in the next few weeks -- though the US efforts to do something similar over the past 18 months have yielded only... meager results.

This raises many important geopolitical, geostrategic questions, too many to address here. But three may be mentioned. First, the plight of the Christians in the Middle East may suddenly be less dire, if a powerful, self-declared Christian nation is now entering the scene militarily. Second, OPEC could be split, with consequences for the price of oil, for the global economy, and for the dependence of Europe on Russian as opposed to Saudi Arabian (and neighbors) oil and gas. Third, the flood of immigrants into Europe might begin to crest, and then to subside, meaning, that a solution to the immigration crisis may have been found in this unexpected Russian intervention.

Of course, strategists in the US are watching all of this with various levels of interest, surprise, and alarm. Some think the Russians will get bogged down. Some think they have stolen a march and are now in a powerful position. Some think they will stay. Some think they will leave in a few weeks.

But what seems clear is that "something" has stirred the Russian bear into activity in a new way, in a new sphere, and the world is different in October than it was in August, for this reason.

OPINION: Top Western Middle East Reporter: Let's Welcome Russia's Entry Into Syria War

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

74. A hermit said, 'I would rather be defeated and humble than win and be proud.'

October 7, 2015  

(Luk 1:38) And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.


: Observing the month of the Holy Rosary

A MOMENT WITH MARY: Why pray the Rosary? (I)

October is the month of the Rosary. Pope Benedict XVI explained why we should pray the Rosary:

"The Rosary is not a practice relegated to the past, like prayers of previous eras we might think of with nostalgia. On the contrary, the Rosary is enjoying a new springtime."

"The Rosary is undoubtedly one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generations nourish for Jesus and his mother Mary."

"In today's world, which is so fragmented, this prayer helps us to place Christ at the center, as did the Virgin who meditated interiorly about everything that was said about her Son, and about what He said and did."

"When reciting the Rosary, we relive the important and meaningful moments of salvation history; we visit anew the stages of Christ's mission."

"With Mary, we turn our heart to the mystery of Jesus. Jesus is placed at the center of our life, of our time, of our cities, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory."

VIA A MOMENT WITH MARY: Why pray the Rosary? (II)

Pope Benedict XVI addressed this question by giving these intentions:

"May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us she might "irrigate" society, beginning with our daily interactions, and purifying it from so many negative forces by opening it to the newness of God."

"Prayed in an authentic way, not in a superficial way, the Rosary indeed brings peace and reconciliation. It contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the heart of each Ave Maria."

"The Rosary, when it is not a mechanical repetition of traditional formulas, is a biblical meditation that makes us retrace the events of the Lord's life in the company of the Blessed Virgin, preserving them, like her, in our heart."

"Let this good habit never stop. Let it continue even with greater zeal, that, at the school of Mary, the lamp of faith may shine ever more brightly in the heart of Christians and in their homes."

VIA A MOMENT WITH MARY: An Especially Effective Weapon

Remember that Sister Lucia (one of the three visionaries of Our Lady of Fatima (1917 in Portugal) confided the following to Father Fuentes on December 26, 1957: "The Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary."

The earliest victory on record won by the Rosary was a victory against the Cathars. It took place on September 12, 1213, in Muret, France. This victory was fought by 800 French knights called by Pope Innocent III and led by Simon de Montfort. They faced an army of 34,000 Cathars assisted by Spaniards led by Peter II of Aragon. Throughout the battle, Saint Dominic prayed the Rosary in the church of Muret. The victory was spectacular: only 8 were reported killed on the French side against 10,000 on the Spanish and Cathar side, including Peter II. This victory brought back peace.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

69. The hermits said, 'If an angel really appears to you, do not accept it as a matter of course, but humble yourself, and say, "I live in my sins and am not worthy to see an angel.'"

October 5, 2015  

(1Th 5:19-21) Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things: hold fast that which is good.

NEWSBLOG: Don Bosco’s prophesy and today’s world-wide war against the Church (Part I) by Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M.Cap.

Rev. Joseph Leo Iannuzzi: End Time Questions

In light of my recent article, I have been asked to clarify the following points pertaining to these End Times in which we are living.

1) Is it true that on account of its recent scandals and infiltration by the freemasons, "the Church has failed us?"
2) Is it true that we are living in the End Times, and that many cardinals, bishops and priests are taking many souls with them to hell?
3) When the Antichrist soon comes will he kill Christians (even the Pope), put an end to the perpetual sacrifice of the Mass and leave the Church without a shepherd, a hierarchy or the Sacraments?
4) Can someone in good faith believe in a Marian apparition before the Church approves it?

Answers: continued here

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

68. The devil appeared to a monk disguised as an angel of light and said to him, 'I am the angel Gabriel, and I have been sent to you.' But the monk said, 'Are you sure you weren't sent to someone else? I am not worthy to have an angel sent to me.' At that the devil vanished.'

October 2, 2015  

(Mar 10:6-9)  But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.


The Synod on the Family begins its second session in Rome this Sunday. The Oct. 4-25 synod will have the theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world.” Sunday’s Gospel offers a powerful reminder of one of the most difficult issues facing today’s families and, consequently, the Synod.

Certain Jews had come to Jesus with a question about divorce. This was not simply an academic question in those days. Neither is it theoretical today. The Jewish ideal of marriage was high but Jewish law regarded the woman as a thing. The law had deteriorated to the point that a man could divorce his wife on almost any grounds but a woman could divorce her husband only if he allowed it or if he was guilty of a very few serious offenses or was a leper. Marriage was devalued.

Our problems are more complicated both among the general population and among Catholics. Many couples do not marry at all. Still other marriages end in divorce.   While the world screams for unity, it is made manifest in the coming together of two persons in marriage. The unity of humankind is made incarnate in the life expression of a family. It is in the union of a man and a woman that we find the most perfect expression of the Trinitarian Life. We have the assurance of Christ himself that where two or more gather in his name, he is with them. The Sacrament of Matrimony is the union of two persons in the name of Christ. As the love of the Father and the Son breathe forth the Spirit, the union of husband and wife creates a new spirit. This spirit reflects the spirit generated in every gathering of the Church. The family is more than an economic unit, more than a physical or psychological union. Within marriage lies the possibility of mirroring the Church and reflecting the love of the Father and Son.

ONLINE PETITION: Filial Appeal to His Holiness Pope Francis on the Future of the Family


An Instrumentum laboris (working paper) was prepared for the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and published on June 23, 2015. It covers a range of topics germane to the Synod’s theme of the family. Paragraph 137 addresses a key document of the modern Magisterium, Humanae Vitae, in a way that both calls the force of that teaching into question and proposes a method of moral discernment that is decidedly not Catholic. This approach to discernment contradicts what has hitherto been taught by the Magisterium of the Church about moral norms, conscience, and moral judgment, by suggesting that a well-formed conscience may be in conflict with objective moral norms.

As Catholic moral theologians and philosophers, we feel morally obligated to speak out against the distortion of Catholic teaching implicit in paragraph 137. If endorsed by the Synod, the defective text of the Instrumentum laboris would lead to confusion among the faithful. Paragraph 137 should be removed and replaced by a paragraph that speaks of the conscience in a more precise fashion, that celebrates the wisdom and beauty of Humanae Vitae, and that helps spouses to appreciate that the graces are available to them to live out God’s plan for the gift of sexuality.

: Twelve Fatal Flaws in the Instrumentum Laboris, the “Working Document” of Synod 2015

CHIESA ANALYSIS: Synod’s Turn To Speak. But Decisions Will Be Up To Francis

EXCERPT SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X: Petition to the Holy Father

Most Holy Father, For the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the consolation of the Church and of all faithful Catholics, for the good of society and of all humanity, in this crucial hour we petition you therefore to let your voice resound throughout the world with a word of truth, clarity, and firmness, in defense of Christian and even merely human marriage, in support of its foundation, namely, the difference and complementarity of the sexes, upholding its exclusivity and indissolubility.  With filial piety we beg you to let your voice be heard by all, and that it be accompanied by actions too in support of the Catholic family.

We entrust this humble petition to the patronage of Saint John the Baptist, who underwent martyrdom for having publicly defended the sanctity and exclusivity of marriage, even against a scandalous civil authority in a case of “divorced-and-remarried persons.”  And we pray the Precursor give Your Holiness the courage to recall before the whole world the true doctrine concerning natural and Christian marriage.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

67. The hermits said, 'We become more humbled when we are tempted, because God, knowing our weakness, protects us. But if we boast of our own strength, he takes away his protection, and we are lost.
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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