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St Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan & Martyr of Charity

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 7:26 PM

On the 77th anniversary of the death of St. Maximilian Kolbe, which was remembered yesterday August 14, we bring you this reflection on the modern day saint:

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Saint Maximilian Kolbe, August 14: Franciscan, Martyr of Charity

“The man who trusted Mary Immaculate… Franciscan… martyr of charity. He offered himself as victim in the Auschwitz concentration camp to save a father of a family. He founded the Militia and City of Mary Immaculate.”

John Paul II said of him that “he did as Jesus did; he didn’t suffer death but gave his life.” Shortly before the invasion of Poland, the Saint wrote: “To suffer, work and die as gentlemen, not with a normal death but, for example, with a bullet in the head, sealing our love for Mary Immaculate, shedding as a genuine gentleman one’s blood to the last drop, to hasten the conquest of the whole world for Her. I know nothing more sublime.” God took him at his word.

Raymond was born in Zdunska Wola, Poland, on January 8, 1894. His parents, Mary Dabrowska, who was unable to fulfil her dream to be a Religious, and Julius Kolbe, members of the Franciscan Third Order, transmitted to him their faith and devotion to the Virgin. Of five sons born in the marriage, two died prematurely; the three that survived grew up permeated by Franciscan spirituality. In 1906, little Raymond had a vision in which Mary presented him with a white crown and a red crown, whose symbolism he interpreted as a symbiosis of purity (the white one) and prophecy of his martyrdom (the red one). Maria Dabrowska, who was aware of the event, kept in her heart, as the Virgin did, this sword of sorrow that she knew would be the reason for the eternal glory of her dear son. The latter rooted his life and apostolic activity in the Mother.

At 13 he entered the Franciscan Seminary of Lviv, together with Francis, his older brother. There his prayer and love of study grew and he gave proof of his iron-clad vocation. However, the promise to defend Mary, which they both did, was accompanied in Raymond’s case by the idea of arms. He would fight for Her recalling the day in which the Polish Monarch John Casimir consecrated his country to the Virgin before the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa. All that came to his mind and heart because peace had been broken in the Lviv frontier, occupied by Russians and Austrian domination. He soon realized that the priesthood and arms were irreconcilable, but he felt called to swell the lines of those ready to fight to defend the homeland.

There was a moment when he experienced the sting of doubt in regard to his vocation; he influenced his brother’s will and they both left the monastery. However, their mother was there, praying and watching over her sons, with so much faith that she visited them just in the opportune moment. She was the bearer of joyful news. She told them that they would be joined in the monastery by Joseph, the youngest of the brothers, and that both parents had agreed to dedicate themselves to serve God exclusively.

The hesitation having dissipated, in September of 1910 Raymond began his noviciate, taking the name Maximilian when he professed. He took courses in Philosophy and Theology in Rome between 1912 and 1919, obtaining a Doctorate in both disciplines, although he was also brilliantly outstanding in mathematics and physics. At this time, the Virgin inspired him to found the Militia of Mary Immaculate. Now a priest, he returned to Poland with a great physical weakness, but an invincible apostolic spirit. His poor health freed him from other commitments and he was able to dedicate himself wholly to promoting the Militia, which materialized in his country, together with another group of Religious, in 1919. Led by his sublime love for Mary, and believing that it was a way to rescue souls, he created the monthly review “Gentleman of Mary Immaculate,” whose circulation amounted to a million copies in 1939. With this publication he reached Polish homes and other places in the world. At the same time, he taught classes in Krakow.

In 1929 he founded the first “City of Mary Immaculate,” which had its headquarters in the Franciscan monastery of Niepokalanow, which was soon blessed with such a number of vocations that it became the main monastery of the time and one of the most numerous in the whole history of the Church. Two years later, responding to the Pope’s request for missionaries, he left voluntarily for Japan where he created another City and spread the monthly review. He opened a noviciate and a seminary. With an apostolate that included press and radio, he went forward with his dream to “win the whole world, all souls, for Christ, for Mary Immaculate, using all licit means, all the technological discoveries, especially in the realm of communications.”

He returned to Poland in 1936, as Niepokalanow had experienced a crisis in his absence. With the German occupation, he took in thousands of displaced people of Poznan, housing them and helping them spiritually. The Gestapo arrested him in February of 1939 and interned him in the Amtlitz and Ostrzeszow concentration camps. Although he was freed in 1941, he was arrested again, taken to Pawiak and then to Auschwitz, assigning him the number 16670. A prisoner escaped on August 3, 1941 and, as a punishment, 10 other prisoners were selected for execution. Raymond heard the clamour of one of them, Francis Gajowniczka, suffering for his family. Raymond step forward and offered himself to the commandant to die in his stead at the same time as he attested to his condition of priest. It was another visible sign of his holiness.

He was condemned to die of hunger in an underground chamber, the terrible bunker no. 13, together with the nine other prisoners. He, who had written, “I must be as holy as possible,” continued to offer Mass in those conditions, with the help of some guards who provided him with the necessary to consecrate, sharing prayers and songs with his companions and encouraging them in those cruel circumstances. Three weeks later, he was the only survivor. The others died little by little. So his executioners gave him a lethal injection on August 14, 1941. His mother had direct news of the martyrdom he was willing to suffer from a letter he had written to her.

Blessed Pope Paul VI beatified him on October 17, 1971, and Saint Pope John Paul II canonized him on October 10, 1982.

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Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko Is Appointed Member of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 7:05 PM

Pope Francis appointed Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, Archpriest of Rome’s Marian Basilica of Saint Mary Major, a member of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, reported the Holy See Press Office on August 11, 2018.

Currently, Cardinal Rylko is President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major. He was appointed cardinal in 2007.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him cardinal deacon of the Roman church of the Sacred Heart of Christ the King, during the meeting of the College of Cardinals on November 24, 2007. Cardinal Rylko will continue to be an cardinal elector until his birthday on July 4, 2025.  

In addition to his main functions, on June 12, 2008 Benedict XVI appointed him a member of other Congregations of the Roman Curia, including the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for Bishops, and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

In August 2010, Cardinal Rylko presided over the Saturday night Vigil and final Eucharist of the Pilgrimage and Meeting of Young People, which took place from August 5-8 in Santiago de Compostela on the occasion of the Holy Year of Saint James.

As President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Rylko gave the welcome address at the end of the opening Mass of the 26th World Youth Day, held in Madrid in 2011.

On December 28, 2016, he was appointed Archpriest and Administrator of Santa Maria Maggiore.

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Australia: Archbishop Wilson Will Serve Sentence in House Arrest

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:45 PM

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide on August 14, 2018, was assigned by Newcastle Magistrate Robert Stone, to one year of house arrest. He will serve the sentence in his sister’s home, wear a tracking device, and not be eligible for parole for six months.

Pope Francis on July 30, 2018, accepted the resignation of the archbishop. The archbishop was convicted in May of covering up abuses by Fr. James Fletcher in the 1070s. On July 2, 2018, the archbishop was sentenced to a jail term of 12 months.

Two altar boys, 10 and 11 at the time of the incidents, said they told the archbishop that Fr. Fletcher had abused them, but he did nothing.  Fr. Fletcher was convicted of abuse in 2004 and died in prison in 2016.

With his resignation, Archbishop Wilson became the highest-ranking Catholic cleric to resign for his role in hiding abuse.  The archbishop is 67, and suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, said during his trial that he had no recollection of the cases. Ironically, when  Wilson was bishop of the Diocese of Wollongong, he gained a reputation as a “healing bishop” for handling child-abuse scandals.

Archbishop Wilson grew up in Cessnock, in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and served as a priest in nearby Maitland.

He was ordained a bishop in 1996 when he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Bishop of Wollongong. Five years later, he became the eighth Archbishop of Adelaide after Archbishop Leonard Faulkner retired.

In 2006, Archbishop Wilson was made President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, was re-elected in 2008 and also served a further two-year term concluding in 2012.

In 2012 he was elected Vice-President of ACBC and also elected Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Justice Ecology and Development.

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Pennsylvania: Court Releases Report on Abuse in Six Dioceses

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:45 PM

The much-anticipated grand jury report on clerical abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses was released August 14, 2018.

The document – more than 1,350 pages long – cites credible accusations of abuse against more than 300 priests, with more than 1,000 victims involved. The study took two years and was overseen by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

“The cover-up was sophisticated. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up. These documents, from the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives,’ formed the backbone of this investigation,” he said at a news conference in Harrisburg, according to Associated Press.

“Most of the victims were boys, but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were prepubescent. Some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography,” the report said. “… all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.”

The report continued: “We know that the bulk of the discussion in this report concerns events that occurred before the early 2000’s. That is simply because the bulk of the material we received from the dioceses concerned those events. The information in these documents was previously kept hidden from those whom it most affected. It is exposed now only because of the existence of this grand jury.

“That historical record is highly important, for present and future purposes. The thousands of victims of clergy child sex abuse in Pennsylvania deserve an accounting, to use as best they can to try to move on with their lives. And the citizens of Pennsylvania deserve an accounting as well, to help determine how best to make appropriate improvements in the law.

“At the same time, we recognize that much has changed over the last fifteen years. We agreed to hear from each of the six dioceses we investigated so that they could inform us about recent developments in their jurisdictions. In response, five of the bishops submitted statements to us, and the sixth, the bishop of Erie, appeared before us in person. His testimony impressed us as forthright and heartfelt. It appears that the church is now advising law enforcement of abuse reports more promptly. Internal review processes have been established. Victims are no longer
quite so invisible.”

The grand jury made the following specific recommendations:

  1. Eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children.
  2. Create a two-year “civil window” for child sex abuse victims who couldn’t file lawsuits
    before.
  3. Clarify the penalties for a continuing failure to report child abuse.
  4. Prohibit “non -disclosure” agreements regarding cooperation with law enforcement.

Read the Full Report Here

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California: Richard Sipe Dies at 85

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:43 AM

Richard Sipe died August 8, 2018, in San Diego. He was 85.

He was devoted full time to research into the sexual and celibate practices of Roman Catholic bishops and priests. That path led him to the study of the sexual teaching of the church and its effects on behavior, especially sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

He had spent his life searching for the origins, meanings, and dynamics of religious celibacy. His six books, including A Secret World and Celibacy in Crisis, explore various aspects of the questions about the pattern and practice of religious celibacy.

He spent 18 years as a Benedictine monk and Catholic priest. In those capacities, he was trained to deal with the mental health problems of priests. He and Marianne had been married since 1970 and have one son. Both as a priest and married man he practiced psychotherapy, taught on the faculties of Major Catholic Seminaries and colleges, lectured in medical schools, and served as a consultant and expert witness in both civil and criminal cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests.

Sipe was born Walter Richard Sipe on Dec. 11, 1932, in Robbinsdale, Minn., a farming town of 5000 within the shadow of Minneapolis. He had an upbringing that he joked could have been a chapter of a Sinclair Lewis novel: The dominant values were Republicanism and pro-business; life centered around school and the church, and Main Street was two blocks long and full of stores. Sipe’s father owned several gas stations.

The family was devoutly Catholic, and Sipe admired the enthusiastic young monks who came down to do parish work from St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, 80 miles away.

“I was pious, I was intellectually inclined, I think I needed community support,” Sipe said. “You know, if you’re one of 10 kids, how do you make your mark?”

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Pope Francis Tweets on Martyrs

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:46 AM

“Still today there are so many martyrs, so many who are persecuted for the love of Christ. They are the real strength of the Church!”

That was the Tweet Pope Francis sent on August 14, 2018,  from Pope Francis @Pontifex. The Holy Father has on numerous occasions cited the example of martyrs.

Two Colombian martyrs are examples of the nation’s desire to overcome divisions and violence, Pope Francis said in their beatification on September 8, 2017, during an outdoor Mass at Villavicencio, Colombia.

The Pope cited the text that begins and ends the Gospel of Matthew:  “I will be with you always, to the close of the age.”

“This promise is fulfilled also in Colombia: Monsignor Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve, Bishop of Arauca, and the martyred priest of Armero, Pedro María Ramírez Ramos,” the Holy Father declared. “They are a sign of this, an expression of a people who wish to rise up out of the swamp of violence and bitterness.”

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Benedict XVI Recalls Maximilian Kolbe’s Hope

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:14 AM

On the 77th anniversary of the death of St. Maximilian Kolbe, we bring you this reflection of Benedict XVI on the saint of modern times, from the Zenit archives:

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the saints’ examples show how prayer sustains hope, even in humanly desperate situations.

The Pope spoke of the saints’ hope at the general audience last Wednesday, shortly after his return from vacation in northern Italy. The Holy Father particularly called to mind two saints of modern times: Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and Maximilian Kolbe.

He began his address at papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, thanking all those who had made his vacation possible, and assuring those who write him that he grants their request to remember them in prayer.

“[Those who write me] expressed their joys to me but also their worries, their life plans, but also their family and work problems, their heartfelt expectations and hopes as well as the anxieties connected with the uncertainty that humanity is experiencing at this time,” he said. “I can assure each and all of you of my remembrance, especially in the daily celebration of holy Mass and in the recitation of the holy rosary.

“I know well that the first service I can render the Church and humanity is, in fact, prayer, because by praying I confidently place in the Lord’s hands the ministry that he himself has entrusted to me, together with the destiny of the whole ecclesial and civil community.”

The Pontiff affirmed that “those who pray never lose hope, even when they find themselves in difficult and even humanly desperate situations.”

Examples

“How many examples, in fact, we can recall of situations in which it was precisely prayer that sustained the journey of saints of the Christian people,” he continued. “Among the testimonies of our age I would like to mention that of two saints whose memory we recall these days: Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, whose feast we celebrated on Aug. 9, and Maximilian Mary Kolbe, whom we remember tomorrow, Aug. 14, vigil of the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Both ended their earthly life with martyrdom in the Auschwitz concentration camp. It would seem that their existence could be regarded as a defeat, but it is precisely in their martyrdom that the brilliance of love shines which conquers the darkness of egoism and hatred.”

Benedict XVI recalled a phrase attributed to St. Maximilian: “Hatred is not a creative force: love alone is.”

“Heroic proof of love was his generous offer of himself instead of a prison companion, an offer that culminated in death in a starvation bunker on Aug. 14, 1941,” he added.

The testimony given by St. Teresa Benedicta was similar, the Pope explained.

“Witnesses who succeeded in fleeing from the terrible massacre recounted that Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, while dressed in the Carmelite habit, and moving consciously toward death, was outstanding for her peaceful conduct and her serene attitude, and her calm behavior and attention to the needs of all,” he said. He added that “prayer was the secret of this saint, co-patroness of Europe.”

“It is moving to see how humble and trusting recourse to Our Lady is always the source of courage and serenity,” Benedict XVI concluded. “[L]et us renew our trust in her who from heaven watches over us with maternal love at every moment. We say this, in fact, in the familiar prayer of the Hail Mary, asking her to pray for us ‘now and at the hour of our death.'”

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Pope’s Remarks and Q & A with Young People in Circus Maximus (Full Text)

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:32 AM

Below is the Vatican-provided translation of the Pope’s remarks at his meeting and prayer event with young Italians at Rome’s Circus Maximus on August 11, 2018, along with his Q & A with young people:

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Greeting of the Holy Father

Today there began the “Per mille strade verso Roma” – “For a thousand roads to Rome” event, a meeting of prayer between the Holy Father and young Italians sponsored by the Italian Episcopal Conference in preparation for the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “Young people, the faith and vocational discernment” (3-28 October 2018).

At 16.30, after the arrival during the morning of tens of thousands of young people from almost 200 Italian dioceses, and their reception at the Circus Maximus, there was a moment of entertainment as they awaited the Holy Father.

At 18.30 Pope Francis arrived at the Circus Maximus for the meeting and prayer with the young. After a tour by popemobile in the meeting area and greetings to the Holy Father from a representative of young Italians, there began the Pope’s dialogue with a few young people. Then, after a moment of hymns, prayers and testimonies, Pope Francis greeted those who would follow the nocturnal vigil with an evening of celebrations, music and testimonies, then transferring from Circus Maximus to Saint Peter’s Square, pausing in various Churches of Rome throughout the night, during which they will participate in various appointments linked to spirituality, art and culture, shows and entertainment.

The following is the Holy Father Francis’ dialogue with the young people, and the Pope’s final greeting:

Dialogue of the Holy Father with the young

First question

Letizia

Dear Pope Francis, I am Letizia, I am 23 years old, and I am studying at university. I would like to say a word about our dreams and how we see the future. When I had to make the important choice of what to do at the end of my last school year, I was afraid to trust what I really dreamed of wanting to become, because it would have meant completely uncovering myself in the eyes of others, and of my own.

I decided to entrust myself to the opinion of some adults whose profession and choices I admired. I turned to the professor that I esteemed the most, the professor of art, the one who teaches the things I find most interesting. I told him I wanted to follow his path, to become like him. And I received the answer that now it was not as it used to be, that times have changed, that there was a crisis, that I would not find work, and that it would be better to choose a field of study that better responded to the needs of the market. “Choose economics”, he told me. I felt a great disappointment; I felt betrayed in the dream that I had confided to him, when instead I was looking for an encouragement from the figure I wanted to imitate. In the end, I chose my path, I chose to follow my passion and I study art.

Instead, one day, in an oratory where I am an educator, one of my girls told me to trust myself, to value my own choices. She told me that I was almost a role model for her and that she would like to do what I was doing.

It was there, at that moment that I consciously decided that I would fully take on the commitment to become an educator: I would not be that traitorous and disappointing adult, but I would give my time and energy, with all the hardships it might entail, because a person had trusted in me.

Lucamatteo

Holy Father, when we look to our future we are accustomed to imagining it tinted with the grey, dark and menacing colours. To tell the truth, it seems to be that we see a blank page, with nothing…

Sometimes I have tried to draw my future. But at the end I see something that does not satisfy me. I will try to explain: I think that we draw it, but often we happen to start out from a grand design, a sort of great fresco from which, to our dismay, gradually we remove some details, we remove pieces. The result is that our plans and dreams, out of fear of others and their judgement, end up being smaller than they were at the outset.

And above all, I end up creating something I don’t always like…

Answer of the Holy Father

Good evening. I will tell you the truth: I knew your questions and had already prepared an answer, but also – hearing them – I would like to add something spontaneously. Because the way in which they have asked the questions goes beyond what is written.

You, Letizia, used a very important word, which is “dream”. And both of you said another very important one: “fear”. These two words will enlighten us a little.

Dreams are important. They keep our outlook broad, they help us to embrace the horizon, to cultivate hope in every daily action. And the dreams of the young are the most important of all. A young person who does not dream is anaesthetized; he cannot understand life, the power of life. Dreams wake you up, they carry you ahead, they are the brightest stars, those which indicate a different path for humanity. So, you have in your heart these shining stars that are your dreams: they are your responsibility and your treasure. Make them also be your future!

And this is the work you must do: transform the dreams of today into the reality of the future, and this takes courage, just as we have heard from both of you. To the girl they said, “No, no, study economics because with this you will die of hunger”, and to the boy, “Yes, the plan is good but let’s take away this piece, and this, and this…”, and at the end nothing remains. No! God ahead with courage, courage in the face of resistance, difficulties, all that which would extinguish our dreams.

Certainly, dreams must be made to grow, they must be purified, put to the test and also shared. But have you ever asked yourselves where your dreams come from? My dreams, where do they come from? Were they born from watching the television? Listening to a friend? Daydreaming? Are they great dreams or are they little. meagre ones, that satisfy as little as possible? The dreams of comfort, the dreams only of wellbeing: “No, no, I am all right like this, I won’t go ahead”. But these dreams will make you die, in life! They will turn your life into something that is not great. The dreams of tranquillity, the dreams that send the young to sleep and make a courageous youth one who instead stays on the couch. It is sad to see young people on the couch, watching life pass by in front of them. Young people – I have said it before – without dreams, who “retire” at 20, 22 years of age: what a bad thing, a young pensioner! Instead, the youth who dreams of great things goes ahead, he or she doesn’t retire early. Do you understand? Like that, young people.

And the Bible tells us that the great dreams are those capable of bearing fruit. the great dreams are those which bring fruitfulness, which are capable of sowing peace, of sowing fraternity, of sowing joy, like today; these are the great dreams in which we think of everyone as US. Once, a priest asked me a question: “Tell me, what is the opposite of ‘I’? And I naively fell into the trap and said, “you”. “No, father, that is the seed of war. The opposite of “I” is “we”. If I say: the opposite is you, then I make war; if I say that the opposite of selfishness is “we”, I make peace, I make community, I carry ahead the dreams of friendship and peace. Think: the real dreams are the dreams of us. The great dreams include, involve, are extrovert, they share, they generate new life. And great dreams, to remain as such, need an inexhaustible source of hope, an Infinite that breathes into them and opens them up. The great dreams need God so as not to become mirages or a delirium of omnipotence. You can great of great things, but by yourself it is dangerous, because you can fall prey to the delirium of omnipotence. But with God do not be afraid: go ahead. Dream big.

And then, the word you used, “fear”. Do you know? The dreams of young people scare adults a bit. They scare them, because when a young person dreams, he goes far. Perhaps because they have stopped dreaming and risking. Very often life causes adults to stop dreaming, to stop risking; perhaps because your dreams challenge their life choices, dreams that lead you to criticise, to criticise them. But do not let yourselves be robbed of your dreams. There was a boy, here in Italy, twenty, twenty-two years of age, who started to dream and to dream big. And his father, an important businessman, tried to convince him otherwise but he said, “No, I want to dream. I dream what I feel inside”. And in the end, he went away, to dream. And his father followed him. And that boy sought refuge in the bishopric, he took off his robes and gave them to his father: “Let me go on my path”. This young man, an Italian of the thirteenth century, was called Francis and he changed the history of Italy. Francis risked so he could dream big; he knew no boundaries and ended his life dreaming. Let us think: he was a young man like us. But how he dreamed! They said that he was mad because he dreamed in this way. And he did so much good, and continues to do so. The young scare adults a bit because adults have stopped dreaming, they have stopped risking, and they have organised themselves well. But as I said before, do not let yourselves be robbed of your dreams. “And how can I make sure, Father, that no-one robs me of my dreams?” Look for good teachers capable of helping you to understand them and to make them real, gradually and with serenity. Be good teachers in turn, teachers of hope and trust towards the new generations who will follow you. “But how, I can become a teacher too?”. Yes, a young person who is capable of dreaming becomes a teacher, through his or her witness. Because it is witness that shakes and moves hearts, and shows the ideals that everyday life covers up. The dream is a great strength. “Father, where can I buy the pills that make me dream?” No, those no! Those will not make you dream, they will send your heart to sleep. They will burn out your neurons. Dreams cannot be bought. Dreams are a gift, a gift from God, a gift that God sows in your hearts. Dreams are given to us freely, but so that we give them away freely to others too. Offer your dreams: no-one, taking them, will impoverish you. Offer them to others freely.

Dear young people: “No” to fear. What the teacher said to you? Was he afraid? Yes, perhaps he was afraid; but he had sorted everything out, he was calm. But why did he not want a girl to take the same path? He frightened you. And what did he say? “Study economics: you will earn more”. This is a trap, the trap of having, of setting yourself up in wellbeing and not being a pilgrim on the path of your dreams. Take a risk on that path: do not be afraid. Take a risk, because you will be the ones to realize your dream, because life is not a lottery: life is realized. And we all have the capacity to do it.

Saint Pope John XXIII said: “I have never met a pessimist who achieved anything good” (Interview by Sergio Zavoli with Msgr. Capovilla in Jesus, no. 6, 2000). We must learn this, because it will help us in life. And fear makes us pessimistic. No pessimism. Risk, dream and go ahead.

Second question

Martina

Holy Father, I am Martina and I am 24. Some time ago, a teacher made me reflect on how our generation is not capable even of choosing a television programme, let alone committing itself to lifelong relations…

In effect, I find it difficult to say I am engaged. I prefer instead to say that I “am with” someone: it is simpler! It involves less responsibility, at least in the eyes of others.

Within, though, I strongly feel the wish to commit myself and to plan and build a life together, starting now.

So I wonder: why are the desire to build authentic relations and the dream of forming a family considered less important than others, and must be subordinate to pursuing professional realization? I perceive that adults expect something of me: that first I reach a profession, then I start to be a “person”.

We need adults who remind us of how beautiful it is to dream together as a couple! We need adults who have the patience to be close to us and thus to teach us the patience of being next to someone; who listen to us profoundly and teach us to listen, rather than always to be right!

We need points of reference, impassioned and solid.

Do you not think that the figures of truly stimulating adults are rare on the horizon? Why are adults losing the sense of society, of mutual help, of commitment for the world and in relationships? Why does this at times also affect priests and educators?

I believe that it is always worth being mothers, fathers, friends, siblings… for life! And I don’t want to stop believing this!

Answer of the Holy Father

Martina is brave, isn’t she? She rattles our stability, and she speaks with fire! I would like to ask her if she is a relative of Saint John Crysostom for how she speaks, so strongly, with such force!

To choose, to be able to decide for yourself would appear to be the highest expression of freedom. To choose and to be able to decide for yourself. And in a certain sense it is. But the idea of choice that we breathe today is an idea of freedom without bonds, without commitments and always with an escape clause: “I choose… but…”. She put her finger in the wound: choosing that for our entire life, the choice of love… There too we can say, “I will choose, not now, but when I finish my studies”, for example. That “I choose, but…”: that “but” blocks us, it does not let us go, it does not let us dream, it takes away our freedom. There is always a “but”, which at times becomes greater than the choice, and suffocates it. And in this way freedom disintegrates and does not keep its promises of life and happiness. And so we conclude that freedom too is a deception and that happiness does not exist.

Dear young people, the freedom of each person is a great gift, a gift that is given to you and which you must nurture to make it grow, to make your freedom grow, to develop it; freedom does not admit half measures. And she pointed at the greatest freedom, which is the freedom of love; but why must I finish my university career before thinking of love? Love comes when it wants to – true love. Is it a bit dangerous, to speak to the young about love? No, it is not dangerous. Because the young know well that when there is true love and when there is simple enthusiasm dressed up as love: you distinguish between them well, you are not stupid! And for this reason, let us have the courage to speak about love. Love is not a profession: love is life and if love comes today, why must I wait three, four, five years to make it grow and make it stable? In this I would ask parents to help the young to mature when there is love, so that love matures, not to move them ahead and say, “No, because if you get married how, then the children will come and you will not finish your career, and all the effort we have made for you”; we have all heard this story. In life, instead, we must always put love in first place, but true love; and there you must learn to discern, when there is true love and when there is just enthusiasm. “Why do I find it difficult to say I am engaged?” That is, to show, to display that new identity card in my life. Because there is a world of conditioning. But there is another thing that is very important: “But you, do you want to get married?” “But, let’s do something: you go ahead in this way, pretend not to love, study, and then start to live a double life”. The greatest enemy of love is the double life: do you understand? Or must I be clearer? The greatest enemy of love is not only not letting it grown now, waiting until your career is underway, but to live a double life, because if you start to love that double life, love is lost. Why do I say this? Because in true love, the man has a task and the woman has another task. Do you know which is the greatest task of a man and a woman in true love? Do you know? Totality: love does not tolerate half measures. Either all or nothing. And to make love grow, it is necessary to avoid short cuts. Love must be sincere, open, courageous. In love you must put all your meat on the flame, we say in Argentina.

There is something in the Bible that strikes me greatly: at the end of the Creation of the world, it says that God created man in His image and likeness, and says, “He created them male and female, both in his image and likeness”. This is love. When you see a wedding, a couple of a man and a woman who go ahead in the life of love, there is the image and likeness of God. What is God like? He is like that marriage. This is the image and likeness of God. It does not say that man is the image and likeness of God. No. Both of them, together, are the image and likeness of God. And then it continues, in the New Testament: “a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”. This is love. And what is the task of the man in love? To make his wife or fiancée more of a woman. And what is the task of the woman in love? To make her husband or fiancé more of a man. It is a job for two, who grow together; but the man cannot grow alone, in the marriage, if he does not make his wife grow, and the woman cannot grow in marriage if she does not make her husband grow. And this is unity, and this is what it means to be a single flesh: they become one, because one makes the other grow. This is the idea of love and of marriage.

Do you think that an ideal like that, when you feel it is true, when it is mature, must be moved ahead for other interests? No, it must not. It is necessary to risk in love, but in true love, not in amorous enthusiasm dressed up as love.

So, we must ask ourselves: where is my love, where is my treasure? Where is the thing I consider most precious in life? Jesus speaks about a man who had sold everything he had to buy a precious pearl of very high value. Love is this: selling everything to guy this precious pearl of very high value. Everything. This is why love is faithful. If there is infidelity, there is no love; or it is an ailing love, or a small one, that does not grow. Selling everything for one thing. Think well of love, think about it seriously. Do not be afraid of thinking of love: but the love that risks, faithful love, the love that makes the other grow, so they grow mutually. Think of fruitful love.

I have seen here, as I toured, some children in their parents’ arms: this is the fruit of love, true love! Take a risk on love!

Third question

Dario

Holy Father, my name is Dario, I am 27 years old and I am a nurse in palliative care.

In life the moments in which I have been confronted with faith are rare and sometimes I have understood that doubts exceed the certainties, the questions I ask have answers that are not tangible and which I can not touch, sometimes I even think that the answers are not plausible.

I realize that we should spend more time on this: it is so difficult in the midst of the many things we do every day … And it is not easy to find a guide that has time for exchange and research.

And then there are the great questions: how is it possible that a great and good God (as they have told me) allows injustice in the world? Why do the poor and the marginalized have to suffer so much? My work puts me daily in front of death, and seeing young mothers or family fathers abandoning their children makes me ask: why allow this?

The Church, bearer of the Word of God on earth, seems increasingly distant and closed in its rituals. For young people the “impositions” from above are no longer sufficient, we need proof and a sincere witness of the Church that accompanies us and listens to us for the doubts that our generation poses every day. Pointless glories and frequent scandals now make the Church barely credible in our eyes.

Holy Father, with what eyes can we reread all this?

Answer of the Holy Father

Dario put his finger in the wound and repeated the word “why” more than once. Not all “whys” have an answer. Why do children suffer, for example? Who can explain this to me? We do not have the answer. Only, we will find something by looking at Christ crucified and His Mother: there we will find a way to feel something in the heart that is an answer.

In the Lord’s Prayer (cf. Mt 6:13) there is a request: “Lead us not into temptation”. This Italian translation has recently been adjusted to the precise translation of the original text, because it could sound ambiguous. Can God the Father “lead us” into temptation? Can He fool His children? Of course not. And therefore the true translation is: “Do not abandon yourself to temptation”. Keep us from doing evil, free us from bad thoughts … Sometimes the words, even if they speak of God, betray His message of love. Sometimes we are the ones who betray the Gospel. And he spoke of this betrayal of the Gospel, and he said: “The Church, bearer of the Word of God on earth, seems increasingly distant and closed in its rituals”. What he said is strong; it is a judgement on us all, and also in a special way for – let us say – pastors; a judgement on us, the consecrated ones, the consecrated ones. He told us that we are increasingly distant and closed in our rituals. Let us listen to this with respect. It is not always the case, but sometimes it is true. For the young, impositions from above are no longer sufficient: “We need proof and a sincere witness of the Church that accompanies us and listens to us for the doubts that our generation poses every day”. And he asks all of us, pastors and faithful, to accompany, to listen, to bear witness. If I am a Christian, a lay faithful, a lay faithful, a priest, a nun, a bishop, if we Christians do not learn to listen to suffering, to listen to problems, to be silent and to let people talk and listen, we will never be able to give a positive answer. And so many times the positive answers can not be given with words: we must give them, risking ourselves in testimony. Where there is no testimony, there is no Holy Spirit. This is serious.

Of the early Christians it was said: “Look how they love each other”. Because people saw the testimony. They knew how to listen, and then they lived as the Gospel says. Being a Christian is not a status of life, a qualified status: “I thank you, Lord, because I am a Christian and I am not like others who do not believe in you”. Do you like this prayer? (they answer: no). This is the prayer of the Pharisee, the hypocrite; this is how hypocrites pray. “But, poor people, they do not understand anything. They did not go to catechesis, they did not go to a Catholic school, they did not go to the Catholic university … but, they are poor people …”: is this Christian? Is it Christian or not? (they answer: no) No! This is a scandal! This is a sin. “I thank you, Lord, because I am not like the others: I go to Mass on Sunday, I do this, I have an orderly life, I confess, I am not like the others …”. Is this Christian? (they answer: no) No. We have to choose witness. Once, in a lunch with young people in Krakow, a young man told me: “I have a problem at university because I have a partner who is agnostic. Tell me, Father, what should I say to this agnostic companion to make him understand that ours is the true religion?” I said, “My friend, the last thing you have to do is tell him something. Begin to live as a Christian, and he will be the one to ask you why you live like that”.

Dario continued: “Pointless glories and frequent scandals now make the Church barely credible in our eyes. Holy Father, with what eyes can we reread all this?”. The scandal of a formal Church, not a witness; the scandal of a Church that is closed because she does not reach out. Every day he [Dario] must come out of himself, whether he is happy or sad; he must go out to caress the sick, to give the palliative care that will make their transit to eternity less painful. And he knows what it means to come out of himself, to go to others, to go beyond the boundaries that give security. In Revelation there is a passage in which Jesus says: “I knock at the door: if you open, I will come in and will dine with you”: Jesus wants to come to us. But I often think of Jesus knocking on the door, but from inside, because we let him go out, because we often, without witness, hold him prisoner to our formalities, our closures, our selfishness, our clerical way of life. And clericalism, which is not just clerics, is an attitude that affects all of us: clericalism is a perversion of the Church. Jesus teaches us this path of exit from ourselves, the path of witness. And this is the scandal – because we are sinners! – that we do not go out of ourselves to give testimony.

I invite you to ask – to Dario or to someone else – who does this work, who is able to come out of himself, to give testimony. And then, to reflect. When I say “the Church does not bear witness”, can I also say this about myself? Do I bear witness? He can say it, because he bears witness every day, with the sick. But I can say that? Can any one of us criticize that priest, that bishop or that other Christian, if he is not able to come out of himself to bear witness?

Dear young people – and this is the last thing I will say – Jesus’ message, the Church without witness, is just smoke.

Greeting of the Holy Father

Dear young people,

Thank you for this prayer meeting, in view of the upcoming Synod of Bishops.

I thank you also because this appointment was preceded by an intertwining of many paths on which you have become pilgrims, together with your bishops and priests, along the roads and paths of Italy, amid the treasures of culture and faith that your forefathers left as their legacy. You have travelled through the places where people live and work, full of vitality and marked by hardships, in cities as well as in villages and remote hamlets. I hope you have breathed deeply the joys and difficulties, life and faith of the Italian people.

In the passage of the Gospel we have heard (cf. Jn 20: 1-8), John tells us of that unimaginable morning that changed forever the history of humanity. Let us imagine it, that morning: at the first light of dawn of the day after Saturday, around the tomb of Jesus, everyone starts running. Mary of Magdala runs to warn the disciples; Peter and John run towards the tomb … Everyone runs, everyone feels the urgency to move: there is no time to waste, we must hurry … As Mary had done – remember? – as soon as conceived was Jesus, to go to help Elizabeth.

We have many reasons to run: often just because there are so many things to do and there is never enough time. Sometimes we hurry because we are attracted by something new, beautiful, or interesting. Sometimes, on the contrary, we run to escape from a threat, from a danger…

The disciples of Jesus run because they have received the news that the body of Jesus has disappeared from the grave. The hearts of Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, and John are full of love and beat wildly after the separation that seemed definitive. Perhaps the hope of seeing the face of the Lord again is rekindled in them! As on that first day when he had promised: “Come and see” (Jn 1:39). The one who runs the fastest is John, certainly because he is younger, but also because he has never ceased to hope after seeing Jesus die on the cross with his own eyes; and also because he was close to Mary, the Mother, and in this way he has been “infected” by her faith. When we feel that faith is weaker or tepid, let us go to Her, Mary, and She will teach us, she will understand, she will make us feel the faith.

Since that morning, dear young people, history has no longer been the same. That morning changed history. The hour when death seemed to triumph, is shown in reality to be the time of its defeat. Even that heavy boulder, placed before the tomb, could not resist. And from that dawn of the first day after Saturday, every place where life is oppressed, every space in which violence, war, misery dominate, where man is humiliated and trampled – in that place a hope of life can still be rekindled.

Dear friends, you set off and have come to this meeting. And now my joy is to feel that your hearts beat with love for Jesus, like those of Mary Magdalene, of Peter, and of John. And because you are young, I, like Peter, am happy to see you run faster, like John, driven by the impulse of your heart, sensitive to the voice of the Spirit that inspires your dreams. This is why I say to you: do not be content with the prudent step of those who wait at the end of the line. do not be content with the prudent step of those who wait at the end of the line. It takes courage to risk a leap forward, a bold and daring leap to dream and realize like Jesus the Kingdom of God, and to commit yourselves to a more fraternal humanity. We need fraternity: take risks, go ahead!

I will be happy to see you running faster than those in the Church who are a little slow and fearful, attracted by that much-loved Face, which we adore in the Holy Eucharist and recognize in the flesh of our suffering brother. May the Holy Spirit drive you in this race forward. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We are in need! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us, as John waited for Peter before the empty tomb. And another thing: walking together, these days, you have experienced how hard it can be to welcome the brother or sister who is next to me, but also how much joy his presence can give me if I receive this in my life without prejudice or a narrow mind. Walking alone allows us to be freed from everything, and perhaps faster, but walking together makes us become a people, the people of God. The people of God that gives us security, the security of belonging to the people of God … And with God’s people you feel safe, in the people of God, in your belonging to the people of God you have an identity. An African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far, go with someone”.

The Gospel says that Peter first entered the tomb and saw the cloths on the ground and the shroud folded in a separate place. Then the other disciple also entered, who, the Gospel says, “saw and believed” (verse 8). This pair of verbs is very important: seeing and believing. Throughout the Gospel of John it is said that the disciples, seeing the signs that Jesus performed, believed in Him. Seeing and believing. What signs are these? Water transformed into wine for the wedding; some sick people healed; a blind man who gains his sight; a large crowd satiated with five loaves and two fish; and the resurrection of His friend Lazarus, who died four days beforehand. In all these signs, Jesus reveals the invisible face of God.

It is not a representation of the sublime divine perfection that transpires from the signs of Jesus, but the story of human frailty that meets the Grace that lifts up again. There is the wounded humanity that is healed by the encounter with the Master; there is the fallen man who finds an outstretched hand to cling to; there is the loss of the defeated who discover a hope of redemption. And John, when he enters Jesus’ tomb, carries in his eyes and in his heart those signs given by Jesus, immersing himself in the human drama to revive him. Jesus Christ, dear young people, is not a hero immune from death, but rather He who transforms it with the gift of His life. And that carefully folded sheet says it will no longer be needed: death no longer has power over Him.

Dear young people, is it possible to encounter Life in places where death reigns? Yes, it is possible. We would want to say no, that it is better to stay away, keep far away. Yet this is the revolutionary novelty of the Gospel: Christ’s empty tomb becomes the last sign in which the definitive victory of Life shines forth. So we are not afraid! We do not stay away from the places of suffering, of defeat, of death. God has given us a power greater than all the injustices and fragility of history, greater than our sin: Jesus conquered death by giving His life for us. And He sends us forth to announce to our brothers that He is the Risen One, He is the Lord, and He gives us His Spirit to sow with Him the Kingdom of God. That morning of Easter Sunday changed history, let us have courage.

How many tombs, so to say, await our visit today! How many wounded people, even young ones, have sealed their suffering by placing, as they say, a stone on top of it? With the power of the Spirit and the Word of Jesus we can move those boulders and let beams of light enter into those ravines of darkness.

The journey to Rome was beautiful and tiring; think, how much effort, but how much beauty! But equally beautiful and challenging will be the return journey to your homes, to your countries and to your communities. Undertake it with the trust and energy of John, the “beloved disciple”. Yes, the secret is there – in being and knowing that you are “loved”, “loved” by Him, by Jesus, the Lord, He loves us! And each one of us, returning home, put this in your heart and in your mind: Jesus, the Lord, loves me. Undertake with courage and with joy the path towards home, take it with the awareness o being beloved by Jesus. Then life becomes a good race, without anxiety, without fear, that word that destroys us. Without anxiety and without fear. A race towards Jesus and to your brothers, with a heart full of love, faith and joy: go like this!

[Vatican-provided text]

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Chaldean Bishops Appeal for Peace in Syria, and Dialogue Between Iran & US

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:20 AM

Here is the recently issued final statement of the 2018 Chaldean Synod, originally published on www.saint-adday.com, the official site of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Babylon:

***

The Statement:

In response to His Beatitude (H. B.) Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako’s invitation, the Synod of the Chaldean Church held its’ annual meeting, 7-13 August 2018, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Baghdad. Bishops of different dioceses participated, including Australia, America, Canada, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, bearing in mind concerns and hope of their people, particularly the current situation in Iraq and the region as well as the challenges facing them in diaspora. Synod Bishops commenced the opening session by thanking God for: the return of a good number of the Internally Displaced People (DPIs) to their towns in Nineveh Plain; the relative improvement of security in Iraq; and the pastoral achievements in the dioceses

In conclusion, they issued the following statement:

First: Ecclesiastical Affairs

Synod participants reviewed the situation of their dioceses inside and outside Iraq; chose bishops for the vacancies; discussed their needs, especially the urgent need for well-prepared priests, nuns and monks, who will keep the “Eastern Identity”, culture and traditions of each country; focused on the suffering of Christians and their fellow citizens in Iraq, due to ISIS occupation of Mosul and the towns of Nineveh Plain and the displacement of its’ residents, in addition to the decline in the political, economic and social status quo in Iraq.

On the other hand, Synod Fathers commended the efforts made by the Churches, who are still working hard to provide social and humanitarian assistance, besides the restoration of homes in order to encourage the return of the rest of displaced families. Hence, Synod members assured their commitment to stand by Iraqis and provide them with assistance as far as they could despite all the challenges.

Furthermore, Synod Fathers called upon faithful wherever are they, to be steadfast and patient in living their faith and hope; and to uphold the heritage, of their church, and ancestors along with the language. They also extended their sincere thanks to all the Ecclesiastical Institutions and International Civil Organizations that supported them during their long-suffering: “With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies ahead of us, Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection” (Hebrews 12: 1-2).

Second: Public Affairs

Since, Iraqi Christians still await the forming of a strong national civil Government that provides them and all other Iraqi citizens with equality, freedom, democracy and decent life that respects pluralism, the Synod Fathers strongly support the contents of H. B.’s letter to Iraqi politicians, dated on 30 July 2018; endorse the efforts of Iraqis, especially those who showed a good will in building national unity; confront strictly the widespread corruption; and ensure the “accurate” functioning of constitutional institutions to work diligently for promoting Iraq economy and providing employment opportunities for the upcoming generations away from quotas and sectarianism. They also demand that Government help displaced families in restoring their homes, rehabilitating their infrastructure, maintaining their properties and stop the process of demographic change. At the same time they  urge the international community help them having a decent and safe return.

In conclusion, Synod Fathers wish that the war in Syria and other Middle East countries will end and that everyone will make an effort to establish an everlasting peace in the region. They also appeal that the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran adopt dialogue and diplomatic means to resolve outstanding problems rather than impose punishing actions where innocent people always pay the price, especially that Iraqis have experienced thirteen years of sanction. Wars and sanctions won’t bring other than negative results.

Finally, Synod Fathers conveyed their best wishes to all Muslim sisters and brothers for the upcoming Eid al-Adha al Mubarak and extended their warmest congratulations and sincere wishes to continue living together in peace, stability and love.

ش

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New York: Holy See Sets Prayer Service Ahead of UN Opening

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:15 AM

On the occasion of the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Holy See Mission to the United Nations traditionally sponsors a Prayer Service for the United Nations Diplomatic Community and personnel, together with religious and ecumenical leaders in the New York area, the Mission announced on August 13, 2018.

This year the Prayer Service will take place on Monday, September 17, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Family, 315 East 47th Street (between First and Second Avenues). 

Archbishop Luis Castro Quiroga of Colombia, the former President of the Colombian Bishops Conference and one of the leaders in the Colombian Peace Process, will give a brief meditation. As customary, the Holy See also invited the Secretary-General and the President-elect of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly to participate and give brief remarks.

According to a statement from the Holy See Mission, prayers will be offered in gratitude for all that the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly has been able to achieve, and for the success of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly.

“It will be an occasion to entrust to God our efforts for peace in the world, for the development and advancement of the human family, for the completion and implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the implementation of the Global Compact for Refugees, for the high level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis, and other upcoming events on the agenda of the 73rd Session,” according to the statement.

The Church of the Holy Family draws people of many nations. On October 4, 1965, Pope Paul VI held an ecumenical meeting in the church, marking the first occasion of a reigning pope to visit a parish church in the Western Hemisphere.

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LITURGY Q&A: Deacon’s Role at Incensing

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:00 AM

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

 Q1: My question regards the role of the deacon(s) in the proper incensing of the altar after the entrance procession and similarly during the offertory. Specifically, I am unclear as to whether there is a distinction between the privileges of bishops and priests with regards to whether the deacon(s) accompany the celebrant as he incenses around the altar. The Ceremonial of Bishops seems to directly assert that the deacon(s) should accompany the celebrant, as it states that “the bishop, accompanied by the two deacons assisting him, incenses the altar and the cross” (131). However, the wording in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) is different as it states that during a Mass with a deacon, “he assists the Priest in putting some (incense) into the thurible and in incensing the cross and the altar” (173). So, I was curious if this difference in wording (i.e. “assisting” vs. “accompanying”) highlights perhaps a privilege of bishops to have their deacon-chaplains accompany them when incensing, as opposed to priests doing so alone (comparable to bishops remaining seated before the Gospel procession when adding incense, as opposed to standing like priests), or if this is purely a difference in wording that gets across the same idea of all deacons accompanying the celebrant. I have seen both interpretations in the liturgy, with some bishops choosing to have the deacons remain behind the altar, but also some priests choosing to have deacons accompany them. Is there a “right” way to approach this? – C.R., Abington, Massachusetts

Q2: Does liturgical law (or custom) allow a deacon, when presiding at a liturgy wherein incense will be used (e.g., presiding at morning prayer or evening prayer; presiding at Benediction; or presiding at a funeral service), when he places the incense, to bless the incense also (as a priest or bishop would)? In the absence of a higher minister and if he’s presiding at a liturgy in which he is an “ordinary” minister, is there any reason why he could not? The GIRM states: “179. During the Eucharistic Prayer, the Deacon stands near the Priest, but slightly behind him, so that when necessary he may assist the Priest with the chalice or the Missal. From the epiclesis, until the Priest shows the chalice, the Deacon usually remains kneeling. If several Deacons are present, one of them may place incense in the thurible for the Consecration and incense the host and the chalice at the elevation.” On the other hand, the Code of Canon Law states in Canon 1169 §3, “A deacon can impart only those blessings expressly permitted by law.” – D.M., Loose Creek, Missouri

A: As both questions relate to deacons and incensing, I have opted to address them together.

First, some contextualization is in order so as to properly frame a response.

The first edition of the GIRM was frequently accused of vagueness and imprecision in its rubrical indications, leaving those in charge of arranging ceremonies somewhat perplexed as to how to proceed.

Because of this, when the Ceremonial of Bishops was issued in 1984 it was far more detailed in its descriptions of rites. It also declared that the previous liturgical books remained in force unless the Ceremonial explicitly changed it.

Therefore, in practice, the Ceremonial of Bishops served as a practical guidebook for masters of ceremonies and all those in charge of liturgical celebrations, especially in areas where the instructions of the missal were approximate or unclear.

When the third typical edition of the Roman Missal was published it incorporated many of the precisions of the Ceremonial, changed a few, and generally described the rites with greater detail.

It is important, however, to remember the contexts of each volume. The Ceremonial is concerned with celebrations by bishops, the missal with normal celebrations by priests. That is why the missal hardly ever mentions the specific roles of a bishop except in the case of stating that before the Gospel only the bishop places incense and blesses the deacon while remaining seated.

The different contexts are at the root of the different wordings in the liturgical books, but these differences do not necessarily imply different norms.

Thus, the fact that the Ceremonial, in describing the entrance procession, mentions two deacons and the missal one is based on the presumption that in a solemn Mass the bishop would normally be accompanied by two deacons, whereas this would be uncommon in a parish situation even on solemn occasions.

Also, No. 131 in the Ceremonial says that the bishop, “accompanied by the two deacons assisting him, incenses the altar and the cross.” Therefore in both the missal and the Ceremonial the primary function of the deacon is to “assist” the celebrant.

GIRM No. 173 says that the deacon “assists the Priest … in incensing the cross and the altar”; it would be difficult to see how he can assist the priest while incensing the altar if he does not accompany him. This assisting would usually be in the nature of holding back the folds of the chasuble so that the priest’s arms are free to move.

We must also remember that the wording of GIRM No. 173 exercises verbal economy because it takes into account the description of the incensing in GIRM No. 123 and does not repeat itself. The Ceremonial, on the other hand, is deliberately detailed.

Therefore, I would say that being accompanied by one or two deacons during the incensing of the altar is not an episcopal privilege but is applicable to any priest presiding at a solemn celebration.

That said, there may be occasions when the limits of space or other logistical concerns mean that the celebrant, whether bishop or priest, won’t be accompanied while incensing the altar.

To the second question, we can answer in the affirmative.

In celebrations that foresee the possibility of their being presided over by a priest or deacon, the deacon carries out the rites in the same way as the priest unless the rubrics themselves explicitly make a distinction. Since this is not done in the case of blessing incense when a deacon presides at Lauds, Vespers, Benediction, a funeral service outside of Mass and other similar occasions, then it can be legitimately deduced that he may also bless the incense as it forms part of the normal rite.

The particular case of GIRM No. 179 mentioned by our readers is a different situation. At this moment the deacon simply places incense into the thurible for practical reasons but does not bless it.

On the one hand, he would not bless the incense because, in the middle of Mass, there are priests and or bishops present, and a deacon would not give a blessing in these cases.

However, more importantly, it is because incense is never blessed at this particular moment as it is seen as something practical to assure that there is sufficient incense to last the Eucharistic Prayer. If there is only one deacon, he remains at the altar while the acolyte acting as thurifer places incense in the thurible and incenses the Host and chalice at the elevations.

Bishop Peter Elliott describes this in his book “Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite”:

“403. For the incensation of the Host and the chalice, there are two possibilities, (a) If there is more than one deacon, one of them (the deacon of the Word) leaves the altar and joins the thurifer after the Sanctus. He places incense in the thurible and kneels for the epiclesis. He incenses the Host and the chalice at each elevation with three double swings, by modern practice kneeling at the center of the sanctuary. Then he returns to his place at the altar after the acclamation. (b) When there is one deacon assisting, he remains at the altar, and the thurifer incenses the Blessed Sacrament at each elevation. In this case, the M.C. or boat bearer helps to prepare incense. At each elevation one of the candle bearers kneeling at the credence table, or another server, may ring the bell.”

* * *

Readers may send questions to zenit.liturgy@gmail.com. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

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Cardinal Sean O’Malley Orders Investigation of St. John’s Seminary, Orders Rector to Take ‘Sabbatical’

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 10:05 AM

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, is ordering an investigation of St. John Seminary in his city, stressing he is ‘very concerned.’

In the statement he released on Aug. 10, 2018, the Cardinal stated the current rector will effectively be on ‘sabbatical’ until after the investigations are completed.

“Earlier this week,” his statement began, “I was informed that two former seminarians of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston had posted allegations on social media sites including the Archdiocese’s Facebook page that during their time at the seminary they witnessed and experienced activities which are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood. ”

At this time, he stated he was not able to verify or disprove these allegations.

“As Archbishop of Boston, with responsibility for the integrity of the seminary and its compliance with the Church’s Program for Priestly Formation,” he continued, “I am committed to immediate action to address these serious matters and have made the following decisions regarding St. John’s Seminary: First, I have asked Msgr. James P. Moroney, Rector of St. John’s, to go on sabbatical leave for the Fall Semester, beginning immediately, in order that there can be a fully independent inquiry regarding these matters. Second, I have appointed Rev. Stephen E. Salocks, Professor of Sacred Scripture, to serve as Interim Rector at St. John’s.”

Cardinal O’Malley stressed noted he directed this group “to proceed with due seriousness of their assignment and as soon as possible to submit to me the findings of the inquiry and a set of recommendations to assure appropriate standards of professional behavior in compliance with Church teaching at all levels of seminary life.” The faculty, staff and students at the seminary, he had noted, would be advised of his expectation that they will fully cooperate with the inquiry. “The allegations made this week are a source of serious concern to me as Archbishop of Boston. The ministry of the Catholic priesthood requires a foundation of trust with the people of the Church and the wider community in which our priests serve,” he said, concluding: “I am determined that all our seminaries meet that standard of trust and provide the formation necessary for priests to live a demanding vocation of service in our contemporary society. “

The full statement is published below.

In response to national media reporting accusations of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual improprieties with several adults and his criminal violations of the sexual abuse of minors, Cardinal O’Malley issued a July 24 statement condemning such “morally unacceptable” behavior, and stressed that it is “urgent” that the Church addresses such matters and protects victims.

In the statement, the Cardinal acknowledged these accusations are understandably a source of great disappointment and anger for many, saying he is “deeply troubled by these reports that have traumatized many Catholics and members of the wider community.”

Cardinal O’Malley stressed his “conviction” that the following three specific actions are required at this time:

  • First, a fair and rapid adjudication of these accusations
  • Second, an assessment of the adequacy of our standards and policies in the Church at every level, and especially in the case of bishops
  • Third, communicating more clearly to the Catholic faithful and to all victims the process for reporting allegations against bishops and cardinals

“Failure to take these actions will threaten and endanger the already weakened moral authority of the Church and can destroy the trust required for the Church to minister to Catholics and have a meaningful role in the wider civil society.”

“In this moment there is no greater imperative for the Church than to hold itself accountable to address these matters, which I will bring to my upcoming meetings with the Holy See with great urgency and concern.”

These cases and others, Cardinal O’Malley stressed, require more than apologies. They illustrate, he noted, that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse. “While the Church in the United States has adopted a zero tolerance policy regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests we must have clearer procedures for cases involving bishops.”

“Transparent and consistent protocols are needed to provide justice for the victims and to adequately respond to the legitimate indignation of the community,” the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said, adding: “The Church needs a strong and comprehensive policy to address bishops’ violations of the vows of celibacy in cases of the criminal abuse of minors and in cases involving adults.”

Stressing that his experience in several dioceses and his work with the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors had brought him to this conclusion, he said: “The Church needs to swiftly and decisively take action regarding these matters of critical importance.”

“In every instance of claims made by victims of sexual abuse, whether criminal violations or the abuse of power, the primary concern must be for the victim, their family and their loved ones. The victims are to be commended for bringing to light their tragic experience and must be treated with respect and dignity.”

***

Here is Cardinal O’Malley’s full August 10 statement:

Earlier this week I was informed that two former seminarians of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston had posted allegations on social media sites including the Archdiocese’s Facebook page that during their time at the seminary they witnessed and experienced activities which are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood.

At this time I am not able to verify or disprove these allegations. As Archbishop of Boston, with responsibility for the integrity of the seminary and its compliance with the Church’s Program for Priestly Formation, I am committed to immediate action to address these serious matters and have made the following decisions regarding St. John’s Seminary.

First, I have asked Msgr. James P. Moroney, Rector of St. John’s, to go on sabbatical leave for the Fall Semester, beginning immediately, in order that there can be a fully independent inquiry regarding these matters.

Second, I have appointed Rev. Stephen E. Salocks, Professor of Sacred Scripture, to serve as Interim Rector at St. John’s.

Third, I have appointed the Most Rev. Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, Dr. Francesco Cesareo, President of Assumption College and President of the USCCB National Review Board, which advises the USCCB on matters of child and youth protection policies and practices, and Ms. Kimberly Jones, CEO of Athena Legal Strategies Group to oversee an inquiry into the allegations made this week, the culture of the seminary regarding the personal standards expected and required of candidates for the priesthood, and any seminary issues of sexual harassment or other forms of intimidation or discrimination. The inquiry will be staffed by Mark Dunderdale, Esq., Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Professional Standards and Oversight.

I have directed this group to proceed with due seriousness of their assignment and as soon as possible to submit to me the findings of the inquiry and a set of recommendations to assure appropriate standards of professional behavior in compliance with Church teaching at all levels of seminary life. The faculty, staff and students at the seminary will be advised of my expectation that they will fully cooperate with the inquiry.

The allegations made this week are a source of serious concern to me as Archbishop of Boston. The ministry of the Catholic priesthood requires a foundation of trust with the people of the Church and the wider community in which our priests serve. I am determined that all our seminaries meet that standard of trust and provide the formation necessary for priests to live a demanding vocation of service in our contemporary society.

****

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 289 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 38,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit www.BostonCatholic.org.

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Pope Receives More From Chile at Santa Marta to Work Toward Preventing Abuses & Cover Ups in Future

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 7:10 AM

Below is a working English translation of the declaration that the Vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, issued Friday evening, August 10, 2018, in Rome:

***

The Holy Father Pope Francis received this morning in his residence Domus Santa Marta Monsignor Juan Ignacio González, Bishop of San Bernardo (Chile), and Ana María Celis Brunet, President of the Chilean National Council for the Prevention of Abuses and Accompaniment of Victims.

The goal of the meeting was to collect information and exchange views on the steps that are being taken in Chile to deal with cases of abuse and to prevent them from happening again. An important point of the conversation has been about the suffering of the victims and their need to find consolation and healing.

Pope Francis, who follows with interest each step forward made by the Chilean Episcopal Conference, has expressed his wish that they continue to clarify all questions in order to be able to give an appropriate response to everyone.

[Working English Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit Vatican Correspondent]

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It Takes Vigor to Be a Faithful Catholic in Nigeria!

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 6:46 AM

Loveth / ACN Photo

—By Patience Ibile

NIGERIA has been in the news for some years now because of Islamic terror, most recently in the form of deadly attacks by largely Muslim Fulani herdsmen targeting Christian farmers. For many Catholics in the country there is, however, also a quieter battle going on—one that requires defiance, and stubborn pride to keep the faith in the face of overly aggressive evangelical groups and—in the country’s north—an unfriendly, pushy, if not violent, Muslim majority. Okoghe Loveth Osemudiamhen (Loveth for short) speaks of her determination to remain true to the Church of Rome:

“I am from the Edo State, Esan by tribe, currently doing my national youth service in Abuja, Nigeria. I am 28 and a Catholic by birth, and being part of a Catholic family has been an exquisite experience. I grew up with parents who were both Catholics and I embraced the Catholic doctrines and teachings.

“I had the privilege to be a member of what we call the block Rosary. Praying the Rosary together with other kids is what attracted me initially to the Catholic faith. I have never dreamt of leaving the Catholic faith, not even for a second.

“I joined a lot of associations in the Church such as catechism classes—and being a catechumen was even more amazing than I could ever imagine. I’ve learnt more about Catholic teachings that groomed me to become a better person in life. I also had the opportunity to serve as secretary in a Catholic youth organization. Plus, I am a member of the choir, a chronic chorister for that matter, and also a member of the Legionaries of Mary. All these societies shaped me into being the woman I am today.

As a teenager, I attended a Catholic school that helped to mold me into a decent lady, thanks to the Reverend Sisters who served as teachers. Nothing will separate me from the Catholic faith. Not even marriage! Serving as a lector and altar girl have been beautiful experiences. Loving the Catholic faith is an understatement: I adore and admire the faith and I don’t think I can do without it.

“That is the reason why whenever I visit any evangelical Church, I am always uncomfortable; not because there is no God in the Pentecostal Churches, but just because of the way I am so attached to the Catholic Church and its teachings.

“The Catholic faith impacts my life positively in so many ways: For instance, I would want to dress worldly sometimes, but whenever I think of where I belong—in the Catholic Church, that is—I can’t help but dress decently, speak decently and be modest in all I do. My faith molded me to live a simple life full of humility and honesty, to live in peace with all brothers and be modest in all areas of my life.

“I have never had any regret or doubt about my faith, and I don’t think I will ever have doubts, even in the face of criticisms that surround the Catholic faith. Several attempts were made by a lot of people from evangelical Churches to pull me away from the Catholic faith. They were not successful because of my devotion to the Catholic Church.

“According to these critics, Catholicism is all about saying the rosary, praying to the blessed Mary. They make a mockery of my faith by saying, ‘there is no light in the Catholic Church and you are worshipping idols’which are all false allegations. Nonetheless, some of my siblings were foolishly converted by evangelical ministries.

“Some people ask me funny questions like, ‘why are you Catholic? Is Catholicism even a Church? Do you know that Catholics worship idols?’ I am not intimidated nor do I have any doubts about my faith.

“I don’t really feel threatened by the Islamic faith either, nor am I afraid of the vigorous activities of Muslims. As a matter of fact, Muslims are now trying to emulate the Catholic faith by sending their kids to Catholic school—because these parents are very sure that their children will get a good up-bringing there. The way their children are catching up with Catholic doctrines is amazing!

A lot of people leave the Catholic Church simply because they are in a hurry to get one favor or the other from God; counting on quick miracles, they have no time to wait patiently on God; they tend to move from one Church to the other; they forget that that doesn’t produce miracles—faith in God does. Catholics all over the world need to believe more.

“Know that God sees your tears and knows what you are going through; He has vowed not to leave you orphans. So, brace up and take courage.

“Be punctual in attending to Church activities, be regular in saying the rosary or a novena to the Holy spirit, in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and in going to Mass and confession; by so doing, whatever you ask in His name shall be given unto you, as St. Matthew says. Therefore do not be intimidated and do not be distracted. Shalom!                               

***

Patience Ibile writes for Aid to the Church in Need, an international papal charity providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK);www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)

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It Takes Vigor to Be a Faithful Catholic in Nigeria!

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 4:56 AM

NIGERIA has been in the news for some years now because of Islamic terror, most recently in the form of deadly attacks by largely Muslim Fulani herdsmen targeting Christian farmers. For many Catholics in the country there is, however, also a quieter battle going on—on that requires defiance, and stubborn pride to keep the faith in the face of overly aggressive evangelical groups and—in the country’s north—an unfriendly, pushy, if not violent, Muslim majority. Okoghe Loveth Osemudiamhen (Loveth for short) speaks of her determination to remain true to the Church of Rome:

”I am from Edo State, Esan by tribe, currently doing my national youth service in Abuja, Nigeria. I am 28 and a Catholic by birth, and being part of a Catholic family has been an exquisite experience. I grew up with parents who were both Catholics and I embraced the Catholic doctrines and teachings.

“I had the privilege to be a member of what we call the block Rosary. Praying the Rosary together with other kids is what attracted me initially to the Catholic faith. I have never dreamt of leaving the Catholic faith, not even for a second.

“I joined a lot of associations in the Church such as catechism classes—and being a catechumen was even more amazing than I could ever imagine. I’ve learnt more about Catholic teachings that groomed me to become a better person in life. I also had the opportunity to serves secretary in a Catholic youth organization. Plus, I am a member of the choir, a chronic chorister for that matter, and also a member of the Legionaries of Mary. All these societies shaped me into being the woman I am today.

As a teenager, I attended a Catholic school that helped to mold me into a decent lady, thanks to the Reverend Sisters who served as teachers. Nothing will separate me from the Catholic faith. Not even marriage! Serving as a lector and altar girl have been beautiful experiences. Loving the Catholic is an understatement: I adore and admire the faith and I don’t think I can do without it.

“That is the reason why whenever I visit any evangelical Church, I am always uncomfortable; not because there is no God in the Pentecostal Churches, but just because of the way I am so attached to the Catholic Church and its teachings.

“The Catholic faith impacts my life positively in so many ways: For instance, I would want to dress worldly sometimes, but whenever I think of where I belong—in the Catholic Church, that is—I can’t help but dress decently, speak decently and be modest in all I do. My faith molded me to live a simple life full of humility and honesty, to live in peace with all brothers and be modest in all areas of my life.

“I have never had any regret or doubt about my faith, and I don’t think I will ever have doubts, even in the face of criticisms that surround the Catholic faith. Several attempts were made by a lot of people from evangelical Churches to pull me away from the Catholic faith. They were not successful because of my devotion to the Catholic Church.

“According to these critics, Catholicism is all about saying the rosary, praying to the blessed Mary. They make a mockery of my faith by saying, ‘there is no light in the Catholic Church and you are worshipping idols’which are all false allegations. Nonetheless, some of my siblings were foolishly converted by evangelical ministries.

“Some people ask me funny questions like, ‘why are you Catholic? Is Catholicism even a Church? Do you know that Catholics worship idols?’ I am not intimidated nor do I have any doubts about my faith.

“I don’t really feel threatened by the Islamic faith either, nor am I afraid of the vigorous activities of Muslims. As a matter of fact, Muslims are now trying to emulate the Catholic faith by sending their kids to Catholic school—because these parents are very sure that their children will get a good up-bringing there. The way their children are catching up with Catholic doctrines is amazing!

A lot of people leave the Catholic Church simply because they are in a hurry to get one favor or the other from God; counting on quick miracles, they have no time to wait patiently on God; they tend to move from one Church to the other; they forget that that doesn’t produce miracles—faith in God does. Catholics all over the world need to believe more.

“Know that God sees your tears and knows what you are going through; He has vowed not to leave you orphans. So, brace up and take courage.

“Be punctual in attending to Church activities, be regular in saying the rosary or a novena to the Holy spirit, in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and in going to Mass and confession; by so doing, whatever you ask in His name shall be given unto you, as St. Matthew says. Therefore do not be intimidated and do not be distracted. Shalom!                               

—Patience Ibile

***

Patience Ibile writes for Aid to the Church in Need, an international papal charity providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK);www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)

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Make NO Mistake and Never Forget: Mothers are Women and Female is their Gender

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 4:51 AM

By Larry Peterson, republished from the Catholic Writers’ Guild blog.

__

I found myself writing this around Mother’s Day because the legal definition of “gender” has become controversial. I begin with a quote from Cardinal Giovanni Ravasi; President of the Pontifical Council of Culture:

“The love of man and woman, capable of generating life, is a sign that points to God.”

The following comes from personal experience. My youngest brother, Johnny, had just turned two when Mom died. The previous six months she had been, for the most part, in the hospital. Johnny grew up without ever knowing his mom and her hugs or her voice or her caress. His “shrink” told him his problems with relationships were due to the fact he had lost his mom as a baby. Johnny took his own life three years ago.

Bobby was six years old when  Mom died. He always had an anger in him that could expose itself to perceived provocations. He passed away suddenly, eleven years ago. His killer was congestive heart failure. I still think his heart had been irreparably broken at age six and it just took another forty years to give out.

Danny was ten. He is still fine, and we are in frequent contact. I was the oldest, and my sister was second. Dad died a few years after Mom, and we tried to be a mom and a dad to our three brothers. We did our best, but we were in way over our heads. We did survive as a family but, as you can see, having no mom had profound consequences (the dad part I will leave for another day).

I move ahead 16 years to the birth of my daughter. Times were changing, and when Mary came along, I was present, and all decked out in my scrubs and sterile gloves (prior to that time, dads were not allowed into the delivery room).

I was sitting at the end of the delivery room table with my right hand holding the top of my wife’s head. I was looking up into a mirror watching the birth take place. And then, Doctor Butler began to lift his arms and in his hands was a baby. Our baby — a girl.

It seemed that almost instantly the nurse was next to me handing me, my daughter. Her face was still gooey, and her eyes were wide open. She was not crying; rather, she kept staring at me. Her eyes were as blue as the sky and as big as saucers. That was my moment, etched within my mind forever. A more profound moment was on the way.

Within moments baby Mary was being lifted from my hands and taken to her waiting mom. Still lying on the delivery table, Loretta reached out for her baby. That was the moment I understood the power and intrinsic importance of a mom. A mother and her child are forever bound by an unbreakable bond that can only be felt between them. I also believe that dynamic is similar to every child that a mom gives birth to.

There are many moms who have, because of whatever circumstance and oftentimes out of love and humility, given their child up for adoption. In my heart of hearts, I do not believe any woman “happily” gives away her own child. Interestingly, the adoptive parents will generally love that child as if she or he was their very own and the children would assuredly love them back.

But, at some point in time, the children have a need arise within themselves to ‘find” their birth mom and/or birth dad. That is because an unbreakable bond is always there. No one can remove it or take it away or replace it. It is what it is.

For some, gender neutrality may be the “feel-good” movement for the present moment. But it is a premise built on quicksand and defies all of the Natural Law. Pope St. John Paul II summed it up best:

“God has assigned a duty to every man, the dignity of every woman.” 

Within those words are the inspiration for both men and women to defend what God has created.

Please say a prayer for all those folks who cannot remember what having a mom was like.

**

Copyright© Larry Peterson 2018

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South Sudan: War Contagious, has Negative Impact on Society, Says Bishop Hiiboro

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 4:33 AM

War is contagious and has a negative impact in the society and the country, says Catholic Bishop of Tombura-Yambio, as reported on the AMECEA News Blog sourced from Catholic Radio Network (CRN).

Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala says the conflict in Western Equatoria has greatly affected children especially those whose parents were in armed oppositions controlled areas, Anisa Radio reports.

He was addressing hundreds of people attending the release of former child soldiers at Asanza in Yambio County, Gbudue State.

When war broke out in Juba in 2013, people in Yambio were unaware that it would reach them, but out of a sudden just overnight people came to realize that young people have taken up arms and went to the bush to fight the government, the Bishop reminds the people.

An anonymous 15-year old girl explains that she was on her way home from school when the former South Sudan National Liberation Army abducted her and many other friends and took them to the bush. She reveals that in the bush they were washing clothes, cooking food and fetching water for the armed men daily while boys were engaged in looting people’ s property.

President Kiir grants amnesty to Dr. Machar and all armed oppositions

The President of the Republic granted amnesty to leader Dr. Riek Machar and all armed opposition groups. South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday read the amnesty order Salva Kiir Mayardit issued three days after signing a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement in Khartoum, Sudan.

Those who “waged war against the government” were granted a general amnesty, Kiir stated late Wednesday. He also called on his forces to observe a ceasefire agreed in June by both the government and Machar’s forces.

As part of the power-sharing deal, Machar will return to the country as the first vice president, with four other deputies. There will be 35 ministers and 550 parliamentarians. Armed opposition troops are expected to go to cantonment sites for training to be unified with the government army.

Human Rights Watch calls for release of South Sudan peace activist

Human Rights Watch calls on National Security Service to immediately and unconditionally release Peter Biar Ajak. The Body says the National Security Service should take the activist to court and charge him with a recognizable crime.

Human Rights Watch urges authorities to also end the arbitrary detention of many others held by the security service, in violation of their rights. Associate Africa Director Jehanne Henry says “South Sudan’s security agents have long harassed and arbitrarily detained people, apparently to silence independent voices”.

The director says “South Sudan desperately needs public dialogue and greater respect for human rights, not more repression and violations”. “South Sudanese authorities should release everyone being held arbitrarily and change the way the national security agency operates,” Henry adds. “National Security officials should be subject to the same oversight as all security forces and held accountable for their abuses”, the official notes.

 Civil society and donor evaluate community safety in Torit

Members of Civil Society Network in Eastern Equatoria and a donor from Oxfam met to discuss and verify the impact of the work of organizations in addressing security, safety, and fragility.

Charles Okullu, Network chairperson, says the aim of the meeting is developing a theory of change and capacity building mechanism in security reforms, Radio Emmanuel reports. He urges members of civil society network to share out their experiences in working in the field of security and safety.

Okullu cites cases of child abduction, early and forced marriages as major security threats in Torit and Kapoeta States. He appreciates South Sudan Law Society for conducting awareness training for civil society organizations on how to address threats in the state.

The chairperson explains that the evaluation is to give a true picture to the donor to see whether civil society organizations are moving on the right track or need adjustment. The chairperson was talking to Radio Emmanuel in Torit on Wednesday.

Minister encourages people to hope on Khartoum peace agreement

Tonj State of Information Minister expresses hope on the peace signed in Khartoum, Sudan to be lasting to end the suffering of the people of South Sudan.

According to Don Bosco Radio, James Ayiek Bath on behalf of the state government conveys a congratulatory message of Governor Anthony Bol Madut to citizens on the peace the warring parties signed last Sunday.

He appreciates President Salva Kiir Mayardit for accepting Dr. Riak Machar Teny to work with him once again for the sake of the people.

Ayiek calls on the other political parties to dialogue for lasting peace and development of the country. He urges all armed opposition groups to put down their guns and support the peace deal. The minister was speaking to Don Bosco Radio on Wednesday in Tonj.

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Canada: Bishops Warn Against Euthanasia Being Included in Palliative Care

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 2:48 AM

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has participated in the public consultation on palliative care coordinated by Health Canada, which is in response to the passing of Bill C-277- An Act providing for the Development of a Framework on Palliative Care in Canada.

The consultation, which ran between May to July 2018, sought to engage Canadians so as to develop a national framework on palliative care. Themes such as advance care planning, person and family-centered care, access issues, special populations, health care provider training and supports, caregiver needs, and community engagement were addressed. The CCCB’s submission addressed questions especially geared for those involved in the delivery and administration of healthcare in Canada. The Conference’s submission was developed with the assistance of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute and with several resources released by Covenant Health in Edmonton Alberta and others.

The CCCB submission underscored the importance of the spiritual care dimension in palliative care, the human and personal dimensions in the care to be given, including the spiritual / religious needs of families and communities. Furthermore, it strongly emphasized that palliative care is not to include euthanasia or assisted suicide, or what is being called in Canada “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAid).

The CCB Submission 

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Peru: Jesuit Priest Fr. Carlos Riudavets Montes Killed

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 6:15 PM

A Spanish Jesuit missionary priest working among the indigenous people in Peru’s Amazonia regions was found dead the morning of August 10, 2018, reported Vatican News. The body of Father Carlos Riudavets Montes was found with his hands tied and several stab wounds lying in the kitchen of the Valentín Salegui school he ran in Yamakai-entsa district in the Amazonian jungle province of Bagua.

The priest’s body was discovered by the school’s cook, Gumercinda Diure, the director of education of the Amazonia region told RPP radio. Diure said it did not appear to be burglary because nothing was stolen.

The Jesuit province of Peru has confirmed the death of Fr. Riudavets.  “We express dismay and sorrow at the death of Father Carlos Riudavets, the Jesuit province of Peru said in a statement.

Fr. Victor Hugo Miranda, the spokesperson for the Peruvian Jesuit province told Vatican News that the Jesuits of Peru have expressed their concern and worry at what has happened and are awaiting information from authorities regarding the murder of Fr. Riudavets.

While rejecting all forms of violence, Fr. Miranda said,  the Jesuits of Peru are proud of the work in the mission of Fr. Riudavets. Fr. Riudavets, 73, whose school provides education to the children of the Yamakai-Entsa indigenous group, served in the north-central part of the Peruvian Amazon for 38 years.

A native of Sanlúcar de Guadiana (Huelva), in Spain, Fr. Riudavets came to Peru as a young scholastic in the pre-priesthood preparation stage.  He studied theology in Lima and had experience in teaching in Piura in the north.  After his priestly ordination, he was sent in 1980 to the Jesuit mission in the Vicariate San Francisco Javier del Alto Maranon, an area that includes part of Jaén (in the region of Cajamarca) that is the land of the Awajun-Wampis people.

Fr. Miranda said Fr. Riudavets worked for almost 40 years among the indigenous people as a teacher and then principal and was very close to the people.

Diure said Fr. Riudavets had been threatened by a student who was expelled from the school.  Police said they are investigating the killing.

The Peruvian bishops conference has urged the authorities to clarify facts and arrest those responsible.

The Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM) noted that Fr. Riudavest was much loved by the people of the area, especially by the Awajún-Wampis.   Fr. Riudavest leaves behind a legacy of commitment, responsibility, and love for the indigenous people, REPAM said.

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Circus Maximus: Pope Joins 70,000 Italian Youth

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 6:10 PM

Pope Francis on August 11, 2018, joined 70,000 Italian youth in Rome’s Circus Maximus. The gathering included questions from the young people, answers from the Holy Father, and musical entertainment.

The 70,000 young people hail from various dioceses of Italy, in Rome for weekend encounters with the Pope. The events culminate a weeklong walking pilgrimage that some 40,000 young people began on August 3 through the territories of their dioceses, called  “Per Mille Strade”, the Italian for “Across Thousand Roads”.

A featured part of the entertainment came from “The Sun”, considered the most fashionable rock band of Catholic inspiration today, in Italy and beyond. “We are atypical rockers, but fortunately we are! Because our lives are full of joy, love, and fullness!” Francesco Lorenzi says, speaking for him and his bandmates. He does not hide that giving testimony to one’s faith is penalizing in the music business: “We will not become U2, but God has freed our souls and gives us so much joy through our work.”

Zenit has an exclusive interview with the Christian rock star

Pope Francis tends to draw a positive reaction from young people. Just 10 days ago, on July 31, 2018, he welcomed to St. Peter’s Square a joyful and sometimes noisy group of some 60,000 youth age 13-23, visiting from 18 nations.

They came to Rome for the 12th International Pilgrimage of Altar Boys and Girls, running from July 28 – August 4. The event is sponsored by Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium (C.I.M.).

 

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