your eyes open!...
October 30, 2017
(Eph 2:19-22) Now
therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: but you are fellow
citizens with the saints and the domestics of God, Built upon the
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the
chief corner stone: In whom all the building, being framed together,
groweth up into an holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are built
together into an habitation of God in the Spirit.
NCR: Who Are All Those Saints in the Roman Canon?
SIGNS & WONDERS: The Catholic Saints are a key to understanding the meaning of life
CATHOLIC STAR HERALD: Death and faith in Jesus Christ by Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan
I wonder how many people realize that Halloween, the celebration on the
last day of the month of October, is the runner up to the following
day, Nov. 1, All Saints Day. Halloween, All Hallows Eve, takes its name
from the Eve before the Feast of the Hallowed Ones, All Saints. The
origin of Halloween, its roots, reaches back to the Christian calendar.
Undoubtedly, that connection is lost in our society with all the hoopla
that is now associated with Halloween.
All Saints Day, Nov. 1, begins the month of November where,
traditionally, we remember those who have gone before us into death.
All Saints Day is the celebration of those who, in eternal life, are
already with God in the joy of Heaven. These are the hallowed ones, the
Saints. They are women and men who became holy while living ordinary
lives on Earth with all the challenges, sadness, joys and achievements
of life. They are the goodly company of men and women who are now with
God. They are sisters and brothers to us in the Communion of Saints.
About them the Preface of the Mass for the Solemnity of All the Saints
prays so exquisitely: “rejoicing in the glory bestowed upon those
exalted members of the Church through whom you give us, in our frailty,
both strength and good example.” On the second day of November the
Church commemorates All the Faithful Departed whose journey from this
life to life with God in the heavenly Jerusalem is not completed.
Though they have not yet reached the goal of all the baptized due to
their sins, they are on their way and are encouraged and assisted by
our prayers for them. All the Souls in Purgatory benefit from the
commemoration of them at the Masses offered on All Souls Day.
During the month of November, in particular, the Church considers and
reflects on the mystery of death from the perspective of faith in Jesus
Christ. A faith that understands the sorrow that death brings to the
living and a faith whose rituals are designed to affirm the central
confession of Christians that Christ died and rose from death. He died
a real human death and burst from its clutches.
As people of faith it serves us well to make sure that our loved ones
are aware that when we die, we want a Mass of Christian Burial to be
celebrated for us. Since the absence of religious practice in many
families is more common these days it is very wise to make sure that
our loved ones know that when we die, we want a Catholic funeral. Too
many faithful, practicing Catholics are denied a Catholic funeral
because their survivors who are distant from the Church are not
familiar with our Catholic practices at the time of death and burial. I
have heard stories that involve arranging some kind of “farewell
service” with the deceased person’s favorite music playing; heartfelt
personal tributes are given; a slide show of the deceased’s life is
presented; readings from a book of poetry — all this, however well
intentioned, for a person who was a faithful parishioner. No prayers
are offered. Mass in Church does not take place. A one-stop funeral in
a 20-minute service. When cremation is done, the cremains either end up
on the mantle in the living room, in the attic or in some locket of
For us a funeral is a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gift of the
life of the deceased and it offers hope and consolation to the
survivors. It is not a celebration of a person’s life. It is an act of
worship and thanksgiving to God for the gift of the life of the
deceased. Its prayers, music and Scripture readings offer hope and
consolation to the grieving. It is an expression of faith in the face
of death. It celebrates and makes present the death and resurrection of
the Lord Jesus in which the baptized participate. So, a little bit of
advice from your bishop, make sure that your survivors know your wishes
for a Funeral Mass.
Remember Halloween leads to All the Saints who are praising God who in
turn lead us to pray for All the Souls awaiting the glory of the Saints.
Perhaps, each day in this month of November we might pray for the dead:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine
upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of
God, rest in peace.
UNIVERSALIS: Let us make haste to our brethren who are awaiting us, A sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot.
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of
this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about
earthly honours when their heavenly Father honours them by fulfilling
the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to
them? The saints have no need of honour from us; neither does our
devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we
venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I
think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all
else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long
to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the
blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets,
the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company
of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united
in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The
Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do
nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are
indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.
Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again
with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on
the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us,
hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our
coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the
saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire
to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their
glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an
ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such
When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning:
that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and
that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as
he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with
glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head,
crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple
robes are a mockery rather than an honour. When Christ comes again, his
death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also
have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of
the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in
splendour with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory
as belongs to himself, its head.
Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted
and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such
blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus,
what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"
1. Insensibility both in the body and in the spirit
is deadened feeling, which, from long sickness and negligence, lapses into
loss of feeling.
October 27, 2017
(Rom 12:4-8) For
as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the
same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ; and every one
members one of another: And having different gifts, according to the
grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used according to the
rule of faith; Or ministry, in ministering; or he that teacheth, in
doctrine; He that exhorteth, in exhorting; he that giveth, with
simplicity; he that ruleth, with carefulness; he that sheweth mercy,
MARK MALLET BLOG: Participating in Jesus
REFLECTION: "The Mystical Body" by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
“I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big
success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work
from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the
world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water,
which, if given time, will rend the hardest monument of pride.”
This is wisdom from William James: The deep, important things that most
affect us are usually not big and showy, but tiny, perhaps even
We see the truth of this just by looking at the human body. How little
of it we see from the outside. Inside a human body are countless
hidden, silent processes, all going on at once. Cells are growing and
dividing, enzymes are fighting viruses, nerves are carrying messages to
and fro, cancerous cells are being attacked by the immune system, even
while the hair are greying, the body is digesting food, and is
imperceptibly aging. Whether we are healthy or sick at a given moment
depends largely on countless, silent, hidden processes.
Moreover, inside all this, there is an even more-complex web of hidden
connections between these various processes. Everything is
interconnected, no part does anything that doesn’t affect everything
This is true too of any social body. Every community or society has a
certain visible life that can be seen and whose overt interconnections,
to an extent, can be grasped, charted, and written up into textbooks.
But, just as with the human body, most of the deep things in a
community are under the surface, invisible, silent, available only
through another kind of instrument, the intuitive gaze of the mystic,
novelist, poet, or artist.
And all of this is even more true of the body of Christ, the community
of the baptized, the sincere. Most of the important processes there are
Like any other body, partly this body is visible – physical,
historical, something that can be observed from the outside. Historical
Christianity, the churches, in their concrete history, are the visible
body of Christ – people, institutions, buildings, virtue and sin
enfleshed in history. But the body of Christ is more than meets the
physical eye, a billion times more. As in every body, countless,
silent, invisible processes are going on beneath. Inside the body of
Christ, as in all bodies, there are deadly viruses, an immune system,
cancer-cells, and health-carrying enzymes. What’s deepest inside of
life is not visible to the naked eye. Thus, for example, Therese of
Lisieux, with her highly-tuned mystical sense, understood her hidden
life in a monastery as a part of the immune-system inside the body of
Christ. Without ever leaving the small town of Lisieux she touched the
lives of millions of people. That shouldn’t be surprising, given that
the invisible interconnections inside of a body.
It is this background too that can help give us a sense of the mystical
union we have with each other inside “the communion of saints”. What
precisely is this? It’s the belief that there exists among us, among
all of us who have been baptized, at a level too deep for words, a
union that is as real, intimate, and physical as is a sexual union.
Wild as this sounds, it is clearly taught in scripture (1 Corinthians,
for example, is most explicit) and lies at the root of the Christian
understanding of the Eucharist. For the early Christians, celebrating
Eucharist together was an act of intimacy akin to sexual union. That
was one of the reasons they surrounded the Eucharist with the kind
reverence and discretion that judicious lovers employ. For example,
they practiced a certain discipline they called the “discipline
arcani”. This was a custom within which they didn’t allow anyone who
wasn’t fully initiated to be present at the Eucharist, much like
healthy lovers who fear exhibitionism.
Beyond this radical intimacy, the union among ourselves in the
“communion of saints” is also a presence to each other beyond distance.
Inside the body of Christ, we are present to each other and carry each
other across the miles. Everything we do, good or bad, affects all the
others. For this reason the church teaches that there is no such thing
as a private act – of sin, virtue, or anything else. Nothing is private
inside a body, everything affects everything. Moreover our union with
each other links us, even beyond death. Inside the “communion of
saints”, we believe that our loved ones who have died are alive, still
with us, and able to communicate with us and we with them.
To believe this is to be both consoled and challenged. Consoled, in
knowing that we carry each other in love and union, across all
distance, even through death. But challenged too in knowing that
everything we do, be it ever so private, is either a bad virus or an
healthy enzyme affecting the overall health of the body of Christ and
the family of humanity.
by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[I Cor. 16:4-12; Matt. 21:28-32] In
the parable about the two sons, the second promptly said, “I go,” and
went not. This is an image for all hasty good intentions that lack the
constancy, will and patience to fulfil them. A light heart is
immediately ready for every good thing presented to it, but a soft and
lazy will refuses to do it from the very beginning. This infirmity is
found in nearly everyone.
How can one avoid such unreliability before one's own self and others?
This is how: do not begin anything without thinking it over and
calculating whether there will be enough strength for the undertaking.
This is what the Lord asked us to do in the parables about the man who
set off to war, and the other who set about building a house. In what
lies this calculation? These parables are related by the Lord in order
to instruct us to arm ourselves in advance with self-denial and
patience. Look to see whether you have these buttresses that all
laborers for goodness have. If you have them, begin the undertaking;
but if not, then first store them up. If you stock yourself up with
them, then no matter what you meet on the path to what you intend to
do, you will endure and overcome it all, and you will bring what you
have begun to a finish.
Calculating does not mean that as soon as the deed becomes a bit
difficult you drop it, but rather that you should inspire yourself for
every labor. From this there will come firmness of will and constancy
in deeds. And it will never be the case with you that you say — “I go,”
and then go not.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"
10. Waves never leave the sea, nor do anger and
grief leave the avaricious.
October 25, 2017
(Mat 5:10) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT REVIEW: When evil triumphed: The 100th anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT: 100 years after Russian revolution, Christianity faces new challenges
EASTERN ORTHODOX PERSPECTIVE: A Homily for the Centenary of the Revolution Archimandrite Naum (Baiborodin)
THE TABLET: Time to Recall Christian Martyrs to Communism, Says Russian Catholc Church
Russia’s Catholic Church has appealed to Western Christians to
remember martyrs of Communist rule during the upcoming centenary of the
1917 Russian revolution, rather than just helping commemorate the
country’s better-known dissidents. “The sufferings in Soviet prisons
and labour camps remain an issue for the whole of society here, not
just religious communities,” said Mgr Igor Kovalevsky,
secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “But stories of
witness and martyrdom are universally known and respected. Churches
have been built to those who died for their faith, who deserve to be
compared to the martyrs of Christianity's first centuries.” The priest
was speaking amid preparations for the hundredth anniversary of the
1917 October Revolution, which heralded more than eight decades of
In a Tablet interview, he said the work of dissidents such as Alexander
Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) and Nadezhda Mandelstam (1899-1980) had become
well known worldwide, but should not overshadow the tens of thousands
of Christians who died for their beliefs. At least 21 million people
are believed to have died in repression, persecution and “terror
famines” after 1917, including 106,000 Orthodox clergy shot during the
1937-8 Great Purge alone, according to Russian government data. A total
of 422 Catholic priests were executed, murdered or tortured to death
during the period, along with 962 monks, nuns and laypeople, while all
but two of the Catholic Church's 1240 places of worship were forcibly
turned into shops, warehouses, farm buildings and public toilets.
In his Tablet interview, Mgr Kovalevsky said the Catholic Church was
ready to help commemorate all those who died, but was particularly
concerned to preserve the memory of the Soviet Union’s Christian
victims. Speaking earlier this year, Patriarch Kirill blamed the
revolution's violence on "horrible crimes committed by the
intelligentsia against God, the faith, their people and their country",
and urged citizens to mark the centenary with “deep reflection and
TESTIMONIES: 100 years after the October Revolution, the martyrdom of the Catholic Church in the USSR
The volume "The Catholic Church in the Soviet Union from the Revolution
of 1917 to Perestrojka", by Prof. Jan Mikrut of the Pontifical
Gregorian University of Rome, presents the Via Crucis that the Catholic
Church, of the both rites, traversed in that era, chronologically and
thematically. The Via Crucis is populated by numerous figures who have
already been raised to the glory of the altars, but also by others
whose beatification process is still ongoing and thousands of unknown
heroes of the faith whose story we will never know.
I recall the memories of the late Card. Kazimierz Swiatek, Bishop of
Pinsk in Belarus, who, in recounting his arrest, described particular
fact: ... I was detained in Brest prison. There was a fly with me. Her
buzz brought me some comfort and joy. After a while, however, the fly
settled on the parapet and stopped giving any signs of life. I was
alone. Then I was deported to Siberia.
A curious story came to me from Ukraine. After Yuriy Gagarin carried
out the first space flight, non-believers wanted to exploit the event
to promote atheism. And so one of them went to an orthodox church, and
told the pastor he was to inform the faithful that Yuriy Gagarin had
been to space and had not seen God and therefore God did not exist. He
threatened that if the failed to give such an announcement they would
close the church. The humble priest therefore, at the end of the Sunday
liturgy, told his faithful: Dear brothers and sisters, Yuriy
Alekseevich Gagarin flew into space but did not see God. But the Lord
saw him, blessed and therefore Gagarin returned happily to earth.
Working as a vicar in the chapel of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn in
Vilnius, I often welcomed the testimonies of the faith of the simple
people who, despite the persecution, kept their faith intact. Once an
old lady confided to me in the sacristy that she knelt on her knees and
prayed in the church of St. Casimir, which had recently transformed
into a Museum of Atheism. A museum clerk approached her, saying that
she was not allowed to pray in that place as it was a museum of
atheism. The old lady, however, answered resolutely that even if that
was a museum for some, for her it would always be a church and
therefore a house of prayer.
I will forget never the blessing ceremony of the first stone of the new
church in the town of Marx on Volga, which took place in the early
1990s. Before the liturgy I was approached by the older people, begging
me to put a simple brick in place of the angular stone. When I asked
why they had this desire, as most usually wish the cornerstone to
originate from some holy place, they proceeded to tell a truly moving
story. During the religious persecution in the USSR, the old Marx
church was destroyed. The inhabitants of that city, however, brought
bricks from the ruins to their homes. They put them in the visible
places and for long decades they prayed in front of those simple
bricks. So, thanks to those bricks, the faith could be preserved and
passed on to young people. We want the new church under construction to
have a bond with the old, destroyed one, they told me.
Misremembering the Russian Revolution: Romanticism Not Reality
To understand why the Church battled Communism, just look at what happened to Russia
No pomp as Russia revolution centenary nears
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"
8. Let us monks, then, be as trustful as the birds
are; for they have no cares, neither do they gather into barns.
October 24, 2017
(Luk 12:2-3) 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.
MARK MALLET BLOG: Revelation Illumination
FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA St. Andrews Productions: The Miracle of Illumination of All Consciences by Dr. Thomas W. Petrisko
From as far back as the 16th century, when St. Edmund Campion of
England spoke of “a great day that would reveal all men’s consciences,”
a coming “day of enlightenment” has been foretold. It is purported to
be a day in which God will supernaturally illuminate the conscience of
every man, woman, and child on earth. Each person, then, would
momentarily see the state of their soul through God’s eyes and realize
the truth of His existence. This predicted event is now said to be
imminent, as talk concerning the certainty of this miracle has
intensified. This book is a comprehensive and authoritative guide on
this coming event, using Scripture and testimony from the Saints and
Visionaries to explain this coming miracle of God’s Mercy. ‘It will be
an act of God...an act of His Mercy. Whether the world will avoid
annihilation of several entire nations, will depend on how each of us
reacts to this act of His Mercy. At a time when the world has lost its
sense of sin, we will suddenly see ourselves as God sees us. We will
recognize our sins.- Fr. Philip Bebie, CP Thomas W. Petrisko
MORE ON "THE WARNING": http://www.godswarning.com
A MOMENT WITH MARY: Satan fears the Rosary
In his book The Last Exorcist—composed of texts from various blogs,
Father Amorth reports an entire dialogue he had, in his role as
exorcist, with the devil.
Father Amorth: “What are the virtues of the Madonna that make you angriest?”
Demon: “She makes me angry because she is the humblest of all
creatures, and because I am the proudest; because she is the purest of
all creatures, and I am not; because, of all creatures, she is the most
obedient to God, and I am a rebel!”
Father Amorth: “Tell me the fourth characteristic of the Madonna that
makes you so afraid of her that you are more afraid when I say the
Madonna’s name than when I say the name of Jesus Christ!”
Demon: “I am more afraid when you say the Madonna’s name, because I am
more humiliated by being beaten by a simple creature, than by Him…”
Father Amorth: “Tell me the fourth characteristic of the Madonna that makes you most angry!”
Demon: “Because she always defeats me, because she was never compromised by any taint of sin!”
“During an exorcism,” Father Amorth remembers, “Satan told me, through
the possessed person, ‘Every Hail Mary of the Rosary is a blow to the
head for me; if Christians knew the power of the Rosary, it would be
the end of me!'”
BLOG: The Ted Bundy Rosary Miracle
MATTHEW KELLY: The Rosary teaches us how to just be, and that is not a small or inisignificant lesson.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"
6. He who has tasted the things on high easily
despises what is below. But he who has not tasted the things above finds
joy in possessions.
October 20, 2017
(Joh 17:20-23) And
not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word
shall believe in me. That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me,
and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may
believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me,
I have given to them: that, they may be one, as we also are one. I in
them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one: and the
world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them, as thou hast
also loved me.
CATHOLIC STAR HERALD EXCERPT: Catholic and Orthodox ‘journeying toward unity’
Back in June, Pope Francis met with a delegation of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate of Constantinople who came to Rome to celebrate the feast
of Saints Peter and Paul. Pope Francis has a close tie with the
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, who he has met
with several times since becoming pope in 2013. In fact, he was the
first Patriarch of Constantinople to ever attend an installation of a
pope of Rome. Francis often invites the patriarch to join him on
historical occasions and has visited the Holy Phanar in Constantinople
for a Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bartholomew.
While the two leaders share a great rapport, the two great churches of
the East and West are still separated after almost a millennium.
Pope Francis is building upon the foundation of rapprochement laid by
all the popes going back to Pope Saint John XXIII who called for an
Ecumenical Council aimed at modernizing the church and healing the
divisions of Christianity. While they were together on a joint
pilgrimage to the Holy Land, they discussed the possibility of an
“ecumenical synod” in 2025 to mark the 1,700th anniversary of the Great
Council of Nicaea. It was at this Council that the undivided church
produced the Nicene Creed. They have also banded together in their
efforts to confront such global issues as fostering peace and
addressing climate change and abuse of the environment.
Anthony Limberakis, who lives in Philadelphia and serves as national
commander of the Order of Saint Andrew, an Orthodox organization that
promotes the work of the patriarch in the U.S., believes that the two
churches are certainly on the road “journeying toward unity.” He said,
“The fact that these two leaders have come together for reconciliation
is an example for others. They have reaffirmed their willingness to
continue their dialogue and to try and accomplish full communion
between the churches.” Father John Chryssavgis, an Orthodox priest and
theological advisor to Patriarch Bartholomew, remarked on the close
ties of the leaders that “underlines the serious and sincere commitment
to the unity that the two ‘Sister Churches’ seek, it also recognizes
the need, regardless of confessional differences, for a united witness
to a broken world, where social injustice abounds, where the ecological
crisis has reached alarming heights and where power and religion are
At the June meeting in Rome, Pope Francis said that the journey toward
unity or full communion should respect their ancient and unique
traditions. He said we are not seeking some wooden uniformity that in
the end would be boring, but rather a diversity that respects each
tradition. “Peter and Paul, as disciples and apostles of Jesus
Christ, served the Lord in very different ways,” said the pope to the
Orthodox delegation. He added, “Yet in their diversity, both bore
witness to the merciful love of God our Father, which each in his own
fashion profoundly experienced, even to the sacrifice of his own life.”
He also reminded all present that day that the churches of East and
West always commemorate the feast of the two great Apostles together.
He said this is the right thing to do, especially together as Orthodox
and Catholics, because the feast is also a celebration of “their
self-sacrifice for love of the Lord, for it is at the same time a
commemoration of unity and diversity.” He said gathering together to
remember these two patrons of the church “increases our desire for the
full restoration of communion between Catholics and Orthodox.”
Fatima fulfilled: Archbishop celebrates return of Russia to Christ
Parolin, Kirill Say ‘New Stage’ In Catholic, Orthodox Church Relations
Pope talks Ukraine with Hilarion
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"
4. A non-possessive man is pure during prayer,
but an acquisitive man prays to material images.
October 18, 2017
(Luk 10:1-6) And
after these things, the Lord appointed also other seventy-two. And he
sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither
he himself was to come. And he said to them: The harvest indeed is
great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the
harvest that he send labourers into his harvest. Go: Behold I send you
as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and
salute no man by the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say:
Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace
shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall return to you.
POPE FRANCIS (letter to Japanese Bishops):
“The genuine evangelistic strength of your Church, which comes from
being a Church of martyrs and confessors of the faith, is a great asset
to guard and develop.”
MUST READ: Pope Pius IX and Japan. The History of an Oriental Miracle
CATHOLIC MILITANT: Cardinal Rallies Catholics to Evangelize Japan
A leading Vatican prelate is calling on Catholics to resume the
evangelization of Japan. Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the
Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, told an audience in the
archdiocese of Nagasaki Tuesday that the time has come to "resume
missio for non-Christians." Catholics, he said, must "put in the eyes
of non-Christians the identity of Jesus through their lives,
approaching them all with patience and friendship."
The Christianization of Japan will not be easy, the cardinal conceded.
Hearkening back to the centuries of extraordinary persecution Japanese
Catholics suffered, he reminded his audience that living and sharing
God's grace is challenging. Even so, he noted, this same challenge was
encountered and met "in Jerusalem, as well as in Rome and Greece at the
time of the Apostles, and not only in the early centuries of the
Filoni observed that faith in Christ has always been regarded as
revolutionary, owing to man's fallen nature. The recovery of missionary
zeal, he affirmed, will ultimately transform Japanese society:
[T]he present difficulties will not disappear magically in the near
future, given the acceleration of secularization of society. However,
you must not resign yourself to the immensity of problems because the
essential work is accomplished by grace, that is, from God. God loves
the Japanese and knows the problems and anguish of this people.
Cardinal Filoni echoed his call to arms in Nagasaki during a visit to Osaka.
Japan, he said, "is not immune from the evils that afflict our century:
secularization, religious indifference, ethical subjectivism, loss of
the sense of the sacred, that afflict many ancient Western Christian
He noted that it has been four-and-a-half centuries since the first
Catholic missionaries landed on Japanese shores and that, today,
Christians are a tiny minority in the country.
The problem afflicting the Church in Japan, he said "is faith." Christ
is too-little pursued; there is no "intimate relationship with Him in
prayer" and "when this is lacking, the face of the Church is blurry,
the mission loses strength and conversion goes backwards."
Cardinal Filoni urged Catholics to go into Japanese society — afflicted
by solitude, suicide and rising despair — to offer hope which is the
message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Looking to the model of St. Theresa of Calcutta, he advised, "Do not
worry about the numbers. Help one person at a time and always start
with the person closest to you. ... It is the same evangelistic way of
Jesus: to announce the good news of the Kingdom of God by looking into
the eyes of individual people, in parishes, in hospitals, in schools,
in workplaces or in the streets, anywhere."
Cardinal Filoni observed that the Church in Japan faces great
challenges and great hope. Speaking to a group of seminarians, he
offered them hope:
It is true that the priests, religious and you the seminarians of Japan
are small in number but the power of salt and light stems not from
quantity but from quality and authenticity. Although the Apostles were
only twelve, with zeal and with the power of the grace of Christ, they
carried His message everywhere.
NCR: A Visit to Nagasaki, the Catholic Heart of Japan
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"
3. The non-possessive ascetic is a son of detachment,
and thinks of what he has as if it were nothing. When he becomes a solitary,
he regards everything as refuse. But if he worries about something, he
has not yet become non-possessive.
October 16, 2017
(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.
"God does not forget his children, his memory is for the righteous, for
those who suffer, who are oppressed and ask, 'Why?' and yet they do not
stop trusting in the Lord".
NEWS REPORT: Pope adds 35 saints to church, nearly all martyrs
ACN: Christian persecution reaches historic levels
The persecution of Christians is worse than at any time in history, according to a new report that was issued Oct. 12, 2017.
The “Persecuted and Forgotten?” report concludes that the persecution
of Christians reached a high water mark in 2015-17—with growing attacks
on the faithful by ISIS, Boko Haram, and other extremist groups.
The new report, produced by international papal charity Aid to the
Church in Need, also identified growing problems in a number of
Muslim-majority countries and authoritarian states, such as Eritrea and
The Report’s editor John Pontifex said: “In terms of the numbers of
people involved, the gravity of the crimes committed and their impact,
it is clear that the persecution of Christians is today worse than at
any time in history. Not only are Christians more persecuted than any
other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the
very worst forms of persecution.” The report finds in the countries
under review that many faith communities have suffered at the hands of
extremists and authoritarian regimes; however, it concludes that
Christians have experienced the most hostility and violence.
The report supports this claim with a series of examples showing the
extent of the problems facing Christians in each of the 13 core
countries it assesses in depth—as well as providing an overview of the
state of religious freedom for the country’s various denominations.
“Persecuted and Forgotten?” found that members of China’s 127
million-strong Christian population have suffered growing persecution
following new attempts to bring Christianity in line with communist
ideals. More than 2,000 churches and crosses have been pulled down in
China’s coastal Province of Zhejiang—and clergy are still being
routinely detained by authorities.
During the campaign of genocide by ISIS and other Islamist militant
groups in the Middle East, Christians were disproportionately affected
by the extremists.
In Iraq, more than half of the country’s Christian population became
internal refugees and Syria’s second city of Aleppo, which until 2011
was home to the largest Christian community, saw numbers dropping from
150,000 to barely 35,000 by spring 2017—a fall of more than 75 percent.
Despite national governments and international organizations having
declared that a genocide has taken place, local Church leaders in the
Middle East have said that they feel forgotten by the international
community—which they claim is overlooking the needs of displaced
Extremism has been a growing problem in Africa—particularly in Nigeria
where ISIS affiliate Boko Haram has displaced more than 1.8 million
In one diocese alone—Kafanchan—within five years, 988 people had been
killed, and 71 Christian-majority villages had been destroyed, as well
as 2,712 homes and 20 churches.
For more information, please click here; to read the Executive Summary of the 2017 “Persecuted & Forgotten?” Report, please visit www.churchinneed.org/persecution
MORE: Christians in Middle East feel 'abandoned, betrayed' by the West
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"
2. A non-possessive monk is lord of the world.
He has entrusted his cares to God, and by faith has obtained all men as
his servants. He will not tell his need to man, and he receives what comes
to him as from the hand of the Lord.
October 13, 2017
(Rev 12:5-6) And
she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron
rod. And her son was taken up to God and to his throne. And the woman
fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that
there they should feed her, a thousand two hundred sixty days.
YOUTUBE FILM: Fatima, the 13th day
YOUTUBE VIDEO: The Miracle of the Sun in Fatima October 13, 1917
REVIEW: FATIMA AND MODERNITY: PROPHECY AND ESCHATOLOGY by Antonio Dos Santos Marto, Bishop of Leiria-FŠtima, Portugal
CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: Fatima: Spectacular signs for a skeptical age
CATHNEWS: 'Miracle' Mother outshines the sun
On that day in Fatima Portugal, 100 years ago, no less than 40,000
people saw the sun dance in the sky and then seemingly hurtle down to
earth in a manner akin to an apocalyptic event; a very real phenomenon
widely reported in the secular press of the day.
This ‘miracle’ of course was the sideshow to something much deeper and
much more beautiful; the heavenly visitation of the Queen of Heaven to
the three shepherd children of Fatima. To these young children aged 7,
9 and 10 years, she confided a simple yet powerful secret that if
heeded, would bring about peace in the world. She implored them on
several occasions to spread this singular message: “Pray the Rosary.”
Unfortunately, history plays testament to the fact that humanity has,
in the main, failed to pay heed to this simple request. War, the
pulverisation of the human person, and the plethora of problems which
afflict the family unit, give evidence that we can do no worse than
actually listen to a mother who cares deeply for each and every one of
her dear children.
A most striking fact that should touch us at our very core, our heart,
is that Mary should visit us on as many occasions as she has through
the ages and in such varied places and situations.
One of the most famous of these visits was that in Guadalupe Mexico and
it is timely as well as thought-provoking here to ponder Our Lady’s
words to St Juan Diego… “Let not your heart be disturbed…am I not here,
who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection...do not grieve nor
be disturbed by anything.”
This is the same relationship which each one of us is invited to have
with our Mother and the Rosary is a normative way by which we can enter
into this grace-filled encounter with this Mother who reaches out to us
MANILLA TIMES: Mary warns us of chastisements. Do we listen?
With this year’s centenary of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions in 1917,
many devotees fear Apocalyptic end times are approaching. Many fret
over the Third Secret of Fatima, published in 2000 despite the Blessed
Virgin’s instructions to disclose it in 1960, as conveyed by visionary
Sister Lucia Dos Santos. As in the first two Secrets – touching on hell and World War II – the
Third spoke of chastisements for man’s disregard of God and
transgressions against His law.
Wrote the late Fatima expert Fr. Malachi Martin: “Lucia’s single page
written formulation of the ‘Third Secret’ covers three main topics. A
Physical Chastisement of the nations, involving catastrophes, man-made
or natural, on land, on water and in the atmosphere of the globe. A
Spiritual Chastisement, far more frightening and distressing –
especially for Roman Catholics – than physical hardship, since it would
consist of the disappearance of religious belief, a period of
widespread unfaith in many countries.”
One vision spoke of the Pope with companions climbing a hill over dead
people, being slain by bullets and arrows. Speaking about the Third
Secret in 1980, Pope Saint John Paul II said that divine punishments
could no longer be stopped, though praying the Rosary could mitigate
them. The following year, on the anniversary of the first Fatima apparition
on May 13, John Paul II was shot in St. Peter’s Square, a failed
assassination attempt seen as possibly fulfilling Sister Lucia’s vision.
Those who closely followed the life of the shepherd
girl-turned-visionary nun, who died at 97 in 2005, may be most worried
about the warning she received from Jesus Christ Himself. At a
monastery in Rianjo, Spain, in 1931, He told her in a vision: “Make it
known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King
of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him
The Lord was believed to be referring to the Catholic hierarchy’s
failure then to execute the instruction delivered by Our Lady of
Fatima, for the Pope in communion with all other bishops to consecrate
Russia to her Immaculate Heart, for the nation’s conversion and world
peace. “If not, Russia will spread its errors throughout the
world, fomenting wars and persecution of the Church,” said Sister Lucia
of Mary’s warning in 1917, the year before the Christian monarchy
became the communist Soviet Union and spread atheism and
The Vatican contends that St. John Paul II fulfilled the instruction in
1984, when he consecrated all nations to the Immaculate Heart. Several
years later, the Soviet empire dissolved, and the communists lost power
in Russia. Today, its authoritarian government is strengthening
the Russian Orthodox faith, restoring church property seized by
government under communism, and building places of worship using state
So should the Fatima warnings no longer bother us? Not so fast.
Addressing half a million pilgrims in Fatima on May 13, 2010, then-Pope
Benedict XVI cautioned: “Whoever thinks that the prophetic mission of
Fatima is over, is deceived.” Both he and Sister Lucia have said that
the Third Secret speaks about the end times, and reflects the
prophecies in the Bible. She is quoted in a 1986 book on the Third Secret: “The Most Holy Virgin
made me understand that we are living in the last times of the world.”
Another Fatima disciple, the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a
hugely popular American TV preacher in the last century, declared: “…
the two great forces of the Mystical Body of Christ and the mystical
body of Antichrist are beginning to draw up their battle lines for a
catastrophic contest.” That echoes Sister Lucia’s own words in a 1957
interview: “She told me that the devil is about to wage a decisive
battle against the Blessed Virgin, … where one side will be victorious
and the other side will suffer defeat. Also, from now on we must choose
sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil; there is no
in-between.” ‘The world has gone the opposite way’ Well, if the Fatima
apparitions are supposed to get mankind on God’s side in some
cataclysmic final confrontation, it looks like the world missed the
The year after being nearly fatally shot, John Paul II reviewed the
Third Secret, then lamented: “The world has gone in the opposite
direction than the one intended by Our Lady at Fatima.” In 1957, Sister
Lucia told her interviewer Fr. Augustin Fuentes: “Father, the Most Holy
Virgin is very sad because no one has paid attention to her message,
neither the good nor the bad. The good continue on their way but
without giving any importance to her message. The bad, not seeing the
punishment of God actually falling upon them, continue their life of
sin without even caring about the message. But believe me, Father, God
will chastise the world and this will be in a terrible manner.” That
was six decades ago. Now, a century after Fatima, God may be tired of
A couple of years ago, University of California, Santa Cruz, professor
Thorne Lay told LiveScience.com that between 2004 and 2014, the average
annual rate of earthquakes of magnitude 8 or stronger nearly tripled to
1.8. Yet smaller quakes didn’t increase.
In Nature.com last September, oceanographers Wei Mei and Shang-ping Xie
reported that “over the past 37 years, typhoons that strike East and
Southeast Asia have intensified by 12-15 percent, with the proportion
of storms of categories 4 and 5 [like Yolanda and Nina]having doubled
or even tripled. In contrast, typhoons that stay over the open ocean
have experienced only modest changes.” Add to that the surge in Zika,
Ebola, SARS and other incurable diseases, plus escalating tensions
pitting the West against Russia, China, and the Islamic world.
But maybe it’s all coincidence, and we can just continue our merry way.
Or as St. Alphonsus Liguori, the 18th Century saint who popularized the
Wednesday novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, said: “Many sinners
will not believe in the divine threats until the chastisement has come
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"
1. Non-possessiveness is the resignation of cares,
life without anxiety, an unencumbered wayfarer, alienation from sorrow,
fidelity to the commandments.
October 11, 2017
(Luk 1:28) And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
YOUTUBE VIDEO: Mass Rosary praying on the borders of Poland
ICN: Poland: 'The Rosary to the Borders'
The Polish Episcopal Conference has issued the following statement:
Several million Poles prayed the rosary at the same time throughout the
country this Saturday. This was the largest prayer event in Europe
after the 2016 World Youth Day.
"The Rosary to the Borders" is the name of the prayer initiative, which
took place on 7 October, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. On the
100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima, pilgrims went to the
borders of Poland, where Holy Mass was celebrated simultaneously in 300
churches at 11am, with the Rosary prayed at 2pm.
This was an initiative started by lay people, the aim of which was,
among others, to promote the Rosary prayer. The Secretariat of the
Polish Bishops' Conference invited the faithful to attend the Masses
and to join in the recitation of the Rosary.
The organizers indicate that the intention of the prayer is peace in
Europe and in the world, so that the walls of hatred and hostility may
Organizers reminded that the year 2017 is in particular devoted to
Virgin Mary, because of the important anniversaries that are celebrated
this year: the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima, the
300th anniversary of the coronation of the image of Our Lady of
Czestochowa, Poland, and the 140th anniversary of the apparitions in
Millions of people took part in the Holy Mass. This exceeded the
boldest expectations of the organizers. People gathered in prayer
together not only at the borders of Poland, but also in town squares,
at village borders, in churches and chapels, in hospitals, at the
airports and in many other places.
It was also a great media event. Participants shared in social media
videos and photos of the praying groups, with the hashtag (in Polish)
#RůzaniecDoGranic and #RozaniecDoGranic.
MORE: Polish Catholics come together at the country's borders, praying to 'save Poland'
OP-ED CATHOLIC HERALD: Praying the rosary is not ‘controversial’. It’s our best weapon against evil
ACN: A call for a million children around the world to pray the rosary for peace in Syria
We have lauched the “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” campaign,
scheduled for Oct. 18, 2017, in honor of October as the month of the
Holy Rosary and to petition the Lord for peace in Syria, especially for
the sake of the children in the war-ravaged nation.
We are calling for children everywhere to say the rosary on that day at
9AM on Oct. 18, in their respective time zones. That day, the rosary
will also be dedicated to a prayer for unity and peace throughout the
world. In many parts of the world, plans calls for an interruption in
the classroom so that students can participate and pray along.
The children’s rosary campaign was initiated in 2005 in Venezuela. The
initiators have placed their faith in a quotation from St. Padre Pio,
“When one million children pray the rosary, the world will change.”
This gave the initiative its name. The response from all over the world
has been great. Last year, children in 69 countries took part in the
Our international president, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, wrote in his
letter of invitation to children everywhere to join in: “In 2017
especially, the 100th anniversary of the appearances of the Queen of
the Holy Rosary at Fatima, the best thing we can do for peace in this
world is to take the message from heaven seriously. Is it not
significant that God chose children in Fatima to be the recipients of
the most momentous peace plan for the new age? The children understood
the language of Our Lady and, most importantly, believed her words.
Shouldn’t we be doing so much more to teach children and support them
in playing a part in this peace plan, a plan that is more topical than
Materials for the prayer campaign can be downloaded at www.millionkidspraying.org
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"
7. He who has conquered this passon has cut out
care; but he who is bound by it never attains to pure prayer.
October 9, 2017
(Ezekiel 16:20-21, 27) “And
you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and
these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so
small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up
as an offering by fire to them? . . . Behold, therefore, I stretched
out my hand against you, and diminished your allotted portion, and
delivered you to the greed of your enemies . . . ”.
VICTIMS OF ABORTION: Broken Branches Issue 119 Oct/Nov
NEWS REPORT (USA): An Advance on Abortion
CNA: The Bible's Teaching Against Abortion
EXCERPT WND: SPIRIT OF BAAL 'MANIFESTING' NOW IN AMERICA
One of the most consistent signs in a nation’s fall into apostasy is
the reemergence of a certain spirit – the spirit of Baal. Messianic
rabbi Jonathan Cahn detailed the highly important role of this false
god during the apostasy of ancient Israel.
“Ba’al means lord, or master, or owner,” Cahn said. Switching to the
more common pronunciation of “Baal,” Cahn explained how the pagan god
has a symbolic meaning that goes far behind his actual historical
“Baal’s importance, or his dynamic, is that when a nation has known
God, as Israel knew God, and then they turned away from God, they
turned to Baal,” he said. “Baal is the anti-God. Baal is the substitute
god. Baal is the god of apostasy, of the turning away from God.” Cahn
linked Baal with the practice of idolatry, or the way humans can create
their own god.
“Once you create your own god, you can create your own truth,” he said.
“Once you create your own truth, you can overrule everything, call good
evil and evil good. … Idolatry is linked to relativism, because you’re
creating truths. Once you change your gods, everything else changes. It
starts with that.” Cahn explained how the worship of Baal was not just
the worship of a false god, but was the precursor to the degeneration
of an entire culture.
“It’s a move toward carnality,” he said of the change. “It’s a move
toward materialism, but it was also a god of debasement, because you
had sexual immorality. In the cult of Baal, you had ‘sacred
prostitutes.’ You took sexuality out of marriage and put it into the
public culture. So you have that going on. You had male prostitutes,
now you have homosexuality.
“Then one more step, you have the offering up of children. You have
this big statue of Baal, with bronze arms and bull head and they would
place their baby on those arms and have it rolled into the fire. This
is what happened in ancient Israel. This was a long-term apostasy.” The
messianic rabbi compared the situation of ancient Israel during its
fall away from God to what is happening in America today.
“It’s a dangerous period,” he intoned. “It’s a period of apostasy,
acceleration of apostasy. The same events that happened there, we’re
replaying it now. It’s all affected our lives.”
OP-ED: There's nothing Catholic about 'Catholics for Choice'
Earlier this week, Washingtonians who ride the metro were greeted by a
shocking advertisement from "Catholics for Choice" – though it was
utterly un-Catholic. The cover ad in the Washington Post Express blared
the slogan "Public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice
value" and argued for free abortions for the "poorest women."
The idea that we ought to fight poverty by eliminating poor children is
pernicious. It is also the very antithesis of any Catholic notion of
social justice, which is about recognizing the dignity of every human
person, including the unborn, and advocating for policies that
alleviate and lift people out of poverty.
Science teaches us that the unborn child of a poor woman is a member of
our human family. Any embryology textbook will confirm that each and
every fetus is a unique member of the species homo sapien, one of us.
It is a fact that every human being on the planet began as a tiny
Faith also teaches us that the unborn child of a poor woman is a member
of our human family, and an especially vulnerable one. Faith tells us
that both the unborn child and the mother facing poverty deserve our
love, our compassion, and our assistance. Catholic charities have been
caring for the least among us for 2,000 years, operating food pantries,
homeless shelters, foster care, adoption services, and hospitals, as
well as education and job training programs.
"Catholics for Choice" is not an authentic voice for any faith, but
rather is just another abortion advocacy group with misleading
letterhead and a horrid message.
As Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, "Any country that accepts abortion is the poorest of the poor."
CHILD SACRIFICE IN 21ST CENTURY AMERICA by George Weigel (2012)
Abortion, America and God’s judgment
Abortion: Legalized Child Sacrifice to Satan
"Do not join homicide to lust, violence to disobedience, and do not
think that God does not see, simply because man does not see. God sees
everything and remembers everything. You ought to remember that, too."
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"
4. He who mourns for himself has also renounced
his body; and, at the appropriate time, he does not spare it.
October 6, 2017
(Mat 16:18-19) 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. And I will
give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou
shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever
thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
CATECHISM OF CATHOLIC CHURCH: 892
Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles,
teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular
way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without
arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a
"definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary
Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation
in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful
"are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from
the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.
VIA Father Joseph Iannuzzi, STD, Ph.D.: Can a Pope Become a Heretic?
BLOG: Can a Pope Teach Heresy in his Ordinary Magiserium?
CANON LAW MADE EASY: Can a Pope Commit Heresy? (“Heresy” Defined)
MARK MALLET BLOG: The Papacy is not one Pope
OPINION CHURCH MILITANT: Public Criticism of the Pope
GUARDIAN EDITORIAL: Is the Pope Catholic?
A group of conservative clerics has accused Pope Francis of heresy for
his attempts to liberalise the church’s treatment of divorced people.
This raises an interesting question: how long must a pope be dead
before his opinions can safely be ignored? For many people the answer
is “no time at all”: it is not just humanists, Muslims and Protestants,
but the vast majority of the world’s Catholics who take little notice
of Catholic doctrine when they disagree with it. The Catholic right
ignores more than a hundred years of consistent papal teaching against
the excesses of capitalism, along with more recent denunciations of the
death penalty, of wars of aggression and of environmental destruction.
The Catholic left ignores the pope’s teachings on sexuality – and
everyone ignores the ban on contraception.
Popes themselves, however, are meant to take their predecessors very
seriously even though neither party is writing infallibly. Papal
encyclicals read like legal documents, buttressed with footnotes to
prove that doctrine has not changed, and that they are just repeating
what their predecessors meant, even when they contradict what was
plainly said. Those magnificent robes conceal some very fancy footwork
at times. It is an article of faith – literally – that doctrine can
never change, only develop, and the eye of faith can clearly see the
subtle differences between change, development and decay. So the
19th-century denunciations of democracy and freedom of thought and
conscience are now ignored, but pope John Paul II’s refusal to admit
women priests looks certain to stand for another couple of centuries at
What, though, of Pope John Paul II’s equally clear denunciation of
divorced and remarried couples taking communion, restated forcefully
only 14 years ago? “Those who obstinately persist in manifest grave
sin”, as he referred to remarried divorcees, are to be banned from
participation in the central rite of the church. Even at the time, this
was widely ignored – his letter is one of those laws from which
historians can conclude that the conduct banned was commonplace. There
can be very few Catholic congregations in the west without divorced and
remarried communicants and everyone knows this. To turn them away at
the altar rails would cause a public scandal, and that is also banned.
So it’s unlikely that the letter had any effect on the facts on the
But the efforts of the present pope, Francis, to reverse his
predecessors’ policy have provoked a vigorous backlash. Whether he is
changing doctrine, as his opponents charge, or merely the
interpretation of doctrine, as his supporters claim, there is no doubt
that he wants the church to encourage some of the people who are in
breach of its regulations on sexuality to take communion. The issue is
simply no longer controversial in any other church, despite Jesus’s
clear statement of principled opposition to divorce.
Only the Catholic church has the combination of bureaucracy and
authoritarianism that makes it so difficult for the clergy to learn
from the experience of their flocks. The very idea that the church
should learn from the world and not teach it outrages some Catholics.
The most recent development is the publication of a long letter
accusing the pope of heresy for his beliefs about remarriage, signed by
62 conservative clergy, who appear keen on refighting the Reformation
500 years on: they also accuse Francis of various Lutheran heresies
incomprehensible to the untrained mind. Francis sees the church as a
hospital; his enemies see it (as Luther did) as a kind of fortress
against error and infidels. The important thing, though, is that
Francis after years of debate is winning the argument. There are 4,000
bishops in the worldwide church; only one, who is 94, has signed it.
Plenty of Catholics may disagree with Francis. But no one in the
hierarchy dares publicly ignore him, at least while he’s alive.
MORE: An A to Z defense of Pope Francis
RELATED NEWS REPORTS
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Pope Francis' retooling of the JPII Institute shows his modus operandi
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"
3. The lover of money sneers at the Gospel, and
is a willful transgressor. He who has attained to love scatters his money.
But he who says that he lives for love and for money has deceived himself.
October 4, 2017
(Mat 16:24-25) Then
Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For he that will
save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my
sake, shall find it.
NEWS REPORT: Scientists say part of St. Francis of Assisi legend is true
OPINION: Mystic Mantra: Unencumbered by baggage
When I am dying, lay me naked on the ground and let me lie there after
I’m dead for some time,” were instructions of Saint Francis of Assisi
to his companions before he died on October 3, 1226. Francis is
universally loved because of his deep love for God, care for the poor
and sensitivity towards all creatures who he fondly called mother
earth, brother sun and sister water.
Born in 1181 to wealthy cloth merchants Pietro and Giovanna Bernardone
in Assisi, Italy, “Francesco” lived in luxury with romantic dreams of
knighthood. A serious illness dashed his dreams of glory. Recovering,
he began questioning the ultimate meaning of life. On meeting a leper,
Francis gave him alms and embraced him warmly, which, in his own words,
“changed bitterness into sweetness”.
With his new-found love for the poor and forsaken, Francesco prayed in
San Damiano’s church for guidance. He heard a voice from the crucified
Christ: “Francis, repair my house which is in ruins.” Believing this to
be a call to repair dilapidated churches, he bought bricks to renovate
churches. He even disposed off silks from his family’s cloth-shop to
acquire funds for this. Infuriated, his father ordered him to abandon
his work and inherit the family business. But, Francis left home and
began his spiritual quest.
Francis’ spirituality is inspirational in many ways. First, he
experienced God’s profound love in two peak moments of Jesus’ life: his
birth in Bethlehem’s crib and his death on Calvary’s cross. This led
him to preach and practice love not in mere words but in the selfless
and sacrificial gift of himself for the welfare of others.
Second, Francis’ mystical “inner eye” saw the whole cosmos originating
from God and finding final fulfilment in God. Thus, everything and
everyone — animate or inanimate — was brother, sister, mother and
friend. His “Canticle of the Creatures” echoes this exquisitely.
Third, Francis can be considered the pioneer of interfaith dialogue. In
1219, he travelled to Damietta, Egypt, to dialogue with Sultan Malek
al-Kamil at a time when Christian-Muslim relations were terribly
strained. Later, Francis composed the beautiful hymn: Lord, make me a
channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow your love...
Freed from all attachments to family, fame and fortune, Francis’
lifestyle has attracted many youth who, over centuries, have left
everything to serve God and the poor. His companions were first called
Fratres Minores — “Little Brothers” — who pledged “to walk in the
footsteps of Jesus”.
Francis of Assisi inspires us to live harmoniously and happily as
“little brothers/sisters” if we live unencumbered by burdensome egos,
treasure our connectedness to Mother Earth, and, in his alleged advice,
“Preach constantly — and, if necessary, with words!”
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!: St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims by Frank M. Rega, S.F.O.
"The most important book on St. Francis in English, in recent years." Brother Alexis Bugnolo, Editor, the Franciscan Archive, www.franciscan-archive.org
is a rare and daring approach to the life of St. Francis and one that
is so necessary in our world at this time." From the Preface by Father
Angelus M. Shaughnessy, O.F.M. Capuchin and EWTN Priest.
. ecumenical revisionists are now seeking to deconstruct the great
Franciscan and refashion him into a multi-cultural icon, as forewarned
in this . . . forthcoming book, which concentrates on his Islamic
encounters during the 5th Crusade." Rod Pead - Editor, "Christian Order"
EXCERPT (with permission): (Sultan)
Al-Kamil made another attempt to test St. Francis, this time in the
matter of the Gospel teachings of Christ. This incident shows that he
had some familiarity with Christian doctrine, perhaps based on what had
already been preached to him by Francis. The Sultan confronted the
friar with the words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, recounted in the
Gospel of St. Matthew:
say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right
cheek, turn to him also the other: And if a man will contend with thee
in judgment, and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him.
(Matthew 5: 39-40).
The sultan asked Francis why, in the
light of this teaching of Jesus, should Crusaders be invading the lands
of the Muslims? Since the passage teaches “turning the other cheek” and
repaying evil with good, the sultan was contending that there was no
justification for the Crusader invasions, even though he knew that the
Muslims had taken the land by force from the Christians centuries
Once again the response of Francis surprised al-Kamil.
He declared that the sultan had not completely studied the Gospel, and
pointed out to the king the words Jesus had spoken earlier in the same
And if thy right
eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is
expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than
that thy whole body be cast into hell. And if thy right hand scandalize
thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee
that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body
be cast into hell. (Matthew 5: 29-30).
proceeded to impart a distinctive interpretation to these lines, by
referring them to those who attempt to turn Christians away from their
faith and love of God. The sultan was as dear to him as his own eye, he
admitted to the potentate. But, explaining Our Lord’s words that
a person should pluck out his own eye if it leading him astray, Francis
Here He wanted to teach us that every man, however
dear and close he is to us, and even if he is a precious to us as the
apple of our eye, must be repulsed, pulled out, expelled if he seeks to
turn us aside from the faith and love of our God. That is why it is
just that Christians invade the land you inhabit, for you blaspheme the
name of Christ and alienate everyone you can from His worship. But if
you were to recognize, confess, and adore the Creator and Redeemer,
Christians would love you as themselves. . . .”
When Francis had finished addressing the sultan, “All the spectators were in admiration at his answers.”
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"
1. After the tyrant just described, many learend
teachers next treat of the thousand-headed demon of avarice. We, unlearned
as we are, did not wish to change the order of the learned, and we have
therefore followed the same convention and rule. So let us first say a
little about the disease, and then speak briefly about the remedy.
October 2, 2017
(Mat 18:10) See
that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that
their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in
NEWSLETTER: Padre Pio’s Love for the Holy Angels
LETTER: St. Padre Pio on Listening to Your Guardian Angel
BLOG EXCERPT: Padre Pio on Guardian Angels
Padre Pio had the privilege of having his Guardian Angel visibly beside
him all his life. He played with him when he was a child, and the
Guardian Angel sang for him when he was sad.
"My Guardian Angel has been my friend since my infancy." Padre Pio said
about his Guardian Angel: "Little companion of my infancy, angiolino,
angioletto, my secretary, inseparable companion, celestial person,
celestial messenger, brother, friend, prevents danger, one of the
family, translates for me the letters in other languages, I send him to
console people suffering, prevents from stumbling, never lives us alone
for an instant, from the cradle to the grave, even when we are
sinning." Padre Pio said about the Angels: "The Angels envy us for one
thing only: they cannot suffer for God."
When Padre Pio was a young friar, he wrote a letter to his confessor in
which he said: "When I close my eyes and the night comes, I can see the
Heaven that appears in front of me. I am encouraged by this vision so I
can sleep with a sweet smile on the lips and with a perfect calm on the
forehead waiting my small companion of my infancy came to wake up me
and start praying together prayers to the beloved of our hearts." Padre
Pio often recommended that if people wanted to send him a message or a
petition they could send him their guardian angel. Fr. Dominic, who
handled the American mail for Padre Pio, asked him: "Padre . . . a
woman wants to know if she sends her Guardian Angel to you, does he
come?" Padre Pio replied, "Tell her that her Angel is not like she is.
Her Angel is very obedient, and when she sends him, he comes!"
"It will be a great joy when at the moment of death we will be able to
see our Guardian Angel. "Padre Pio once said to a person: "We will pray
for your mother, so that the Guardian Angel will be with her in
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard,
To rule and guide. Amen.
of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"
46. When the devil wishes to tie two people to
each other by a shameful bond, he works on the inclinations of both of
them, and then lights the fire of passion.
Dr. Zambrano Home
2000: Bringing the World to Jesus
Tribulation Times Archives:
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