"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.
“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15
"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
In CHEMISTRY, he turned water into wine.
In BIOLOGY, he was born without normal conception;
In PHYSICS, he disproved the Law of Gravity when he ascended to heaven;
In ECONOMICS, he disproved the Law of Diminishing return by feeding 5000 men with two fishes & 5 loaves of bread;
In MEDICINE, he cured the sick and the blind without administering a single dose of drugs,
In HISTORY, he is the Beginning and the End .
In GOVERNMENT, he said that he shall be called WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, PRINCE OF PEACE;
In RELIGION, he said no one comes to the Father except through HIM; He alone among founders of religion who claims to be God!
So WHO IS HE? He is JESUS!
The Greatest Man in History Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer
He had no army, yet kings feared Him...
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. I feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us!
Praise and Honor to Jesus Christ FOREVER!
Have a fruitful Holy Week and Blessed Glorious Resurrection Day to ALL!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
PARIS, MARCH 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Two of the many thousands who will join the Catholic Church this Easter are a mother and daughter from Japan. Their story is unique because the family's father is a Shinto priest.
The Eglises d'Asie, the news agency of the Foreign Missions of Paris, reported the story of Ito Miyuki, 38, and her daughter, Kotone, 5, who will be baptized into the Catholic faith.
The celebration will take place in the parish of Yonezawa in the prefecture of Yamagata.
"My home is a Shinto temple; my work is that of a miko," she told UCANews, referring to a woman assistant in a Shinto temple.
With only a few days left before her baptism, Miyuki continues to play sacred music during her husband's ceremonies. After her baptism, she plans to continue to do so.
She began to work in the Shinto shrine in the prefecture of Shimane at 23.
Later, she returned to live with her parents in Yamagata, where she met Haruhiko, a Shinto priest, and they were married.
Her knowledge of the Christian faith was then very weak, though existent. She attended a Catholic high school, where she was fascinated by the story of the life and work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Three years after her wedding, during a trip to India, she visited the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta and was blessed by the founder, who gave her a rosary, which she still treasures.
However, Miyuki's conversion came later. In 2008, during a dinner, she began to cough up blood. The doctors diagnosed cancer of the pharynx, telling her it was terminal.
Without being able to explain it, the image of Mother Teresa came to Miyuki'a mind and she said to herself: "I want to be baptized before I die!"
On leaving the hospital, she began searching to see how she could receive this sacrament, but someone close to the Church told her that, being a miko, she should reconsider her decision.
However, she persisted with her desire and contacted the parish of Yonezawa, where she was received by the team in charge of the catechumenate.
Two months later, when she was growing used to her illness, her cancer disappeared.
"My life was saved by Jesus Christ; I want to spend the rest of my life in the Church," she thought at the time, realizing that she had become "spiritually thirsty."
For some time Miyuki considered the possibility of abandoning her functions in the shrine, but she was dissuaded by a priest of the parish and the team of laymen that support her.
In regard to her daughter, Kotone herself went to see the priest to ask to be baptized.
"I want to know Jesus," she said at the age of 5. "I love Jesus and I love Mary."
Miyuki's husband has no objection to the prospect of the forthcoming baptism of his wife and daughter. In fact, he says he feels profoundly fortunate.
“Considering my position, I can’t be baptized myself,” he explained. “But for my own part, I do wish I could. This area has a shrinking population, but despite this, all the residents continue to support Shinto festivals with monetary offerings. I feel I must do what I can to meet the needs of those who do so much to protect this shrine.”
After Easter and the baptisms, the Ito family plans to travel to France where, in the company of several Catholic priests, they will go on pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Mary has an important role to play in God’s plan. From all eternity God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. We could say that God’s decrees of creation and redemption are joined in the decree of Incarnation. As Mary is God’s instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to pl ay with Jesus in creation and redemption. It is a God-given role. It is God’s grace from beginning to end. Mary becomes the eminent figure she is only by God’s grace. She is the empty space where God could act. Everything she is she owes to the Trinity.
She is the virgin-mother who fulfills Isaiah 7:14 in a way that Isaiah could not have imagined. She is united with her son in carrying out the will of God (Psalm 40:8-9; Hebrews 10:7-9; Luke 1:38).
Together with Jesus, the privileged and graced Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarna tion is meant to accomplish for all of us.
Sometimes spiritual writers are accused of putting Mary on a pedestal and thereby discouraging ordinary humans from imitating her. Perhaps such an observation is misguided. God did put Mary on a pedestal and has put all human beings on a pedestal. We have scarcely begun to realize the magnificence of divine grace, the wonder of God’s freely given love. The marvel of Mary—even in the midst of her very ordinary life—is God’s shout to us to wake up to the marvelous creatures that we all are by divine design.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
We all share our negligence and so as a Church, let us fast and offer our sacrifices for the sanctification of all priests and religious. Mostly, let us praise and thank God for the Holy Father's tremendous love for the Christ's Church whom Christ has tasked him to take care...
"You must answer for it before God"
"... and before properly constituted tribunals." The pope's pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland, on the scandal of sexual abuse against minors on the part of priests
by Benedict XVI (Source: CER)
1. DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE CHURCH IN IRELAND, it is with great concern that I write to you as Pastor of the universal Church. Like yourselves, I have been deeply disturbed by the information which has come to light regarding the abuse of children and vulnerable young people by members of the Church in Ireland, particularly by priests and religious. I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them.
As you know, I recently invited the Irish bishops to a meeting here in Rome to give an account of their handling of these matters in the past and to outline the steps they have taken to respond to this grave situation. Together with senior officials of the Roman Curia, I listened to what they had to say, both individually and as a group, as they offered an analysis of mistakes made and lessons learned, and a description of the programmes and protocols now in place. Our discussions were frank and constructive. I am confident that, as a result, the bishops will now be in a stronger position to carry forward the work of repairing past injustices and confronting the broader issues associated with the abuse of minors in a way consonant with the demands of justice and the teachings of the Gospel.
2. For my part, considering the gravity of these offences, and the often inadequate response to them on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in your country, I have decided to write this Pastoral Letter to express my closeness to you and to propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation.
It is true, as many in your country have pointed out, that the problem of child abuse is peculiar neither to Ireland nor to the Church. Nevertheless, the task you now face is to address the problem of abuse that has occurred within the Irish Catholic community, and to do so with courage and determination. No one imagines that this painful situation will be resolved swiftly. Real progress has been made, yet much more remains to be done. Perseverance and prayer are needed, with great trust in the healing power of God’s grace.
At the same time, I must also express my conviction that, in order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children. Such an acknowledgement, accompanied by sincere sorrow for the damage caused to these victims and their families, must lead to a concerted effort to ensure the protection of children from similar crimes in the future.
As you take up the challenges of this hour, I ask you to remember "the rock from which you were hewn" (Is 51:1). Reflect upon the generous, often heroic, contributions made by past generations of Irish men and women to the Church and to humanity as a whole, and let this provide the impetus for honest self-examination and a committed programme of ecclesial and individual renewal. It is my prayer that, assisted by the intercession of her many saints and purified through penance, the Church in Ireland will overcome the present crisis and become once more a convincing witness to the truth and the goodness of Almighty God, made manifest in his Son Jesus Christ.
3. Historically, the Catholics of Ireland have proved an enormous force for good at home and abroad. Celtic monks like Saint Columbanus spread the Gospel in Western Europe and laid the foundations of medieval monastic culture. The ideals of holiness, charity and transcendent wisdom born of the Christian faith found expression in the building of churches and monasteries and the establishment of schools, libraries and hospitals, all of which helped to consolidate the spiritual identity of Europe. Those Irish missionaries drew their strength and inspiration from the firm faith, strong leadership and upright morals of the Church in their native land.
From the sixteenth century on, Catholics in Ireland endured a long period of persecution, during which they struggled to keep the flame of faith alive in dangerous and difficult circumstances. Saint Oliver Plunkett, the martyred Archbishop of Armagh, is the most famous example of a host of courageous sons and daughters of Ireland who were willing to lay down their lives out of fidelity to the Gospel. After Catholic Emancipation, the Church was free to grow once more. Families and countless individuals who had preserved the faith in times of trial became the catalyst for the great resurgence of Irish Catholicism in the nineteenth century. The Church provided education, especially for the poor, and this was to make a major contribution to Irish society. Among the fruits of the new Catholic schools was a rise in vocations: generations of missionary priests, sisters and brothers left their homeland to serve in every continent, especially in the English-speaking world. They were remarkable not only for their great numbers, but for the strength of their faith and the steadfastness of their pastoral commitment. Many dioceses, especially in Africa, America and Australia, benefited from the presence of Irish clergy and religious who preached the Gospel and established parishes, schools and universities, clinics and hospitals that served both Catholics and the community at large, with particular attention to the needs of the poor.
In almost every family in Ireland, there has been someone – a son or a daughter, an aunt or an uncle – who has given his or her life to the Church. Irish families rightly esteem and cherish their loved ones who have dedicated their lives to Christ, sharing the gift of faith with others, and putting that faith into action in loving service of God and neighbour.
4. In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values. All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected. Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel. The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations. It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, which has contributed in no small measure to the weakening of faith and the loss of respect for the Church and her teachings.
Only by examining carefully the many elements that gave rise to the present crisis can a clear-sighted diagnosis of its causes be undertaken and effective remedies be found. Certainly, among the contributing factors we can include: inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life; insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries and novitiates; a tendency in society to favour the clergy and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person. Urgent action is needed to address these factors, which have had such tragic consequences in the lives of victims and their families, and have obscured the light of the Gospel to a degree that not even centuries of persecution succeeded in doing.
5. On several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future. I have sat with them, I have listened to their stories, I have acknowledged their suffering, and I have prayed with them and for them. Earlier in my pontificate, in my concern to address this matter, I asked the bishops of Ireland, "to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected, and above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes" (Address to the Bishops of Ireland, 28 October 2006).
With this Letter, I wish to exhort all of you, as God’s people in Ireland, to reflect on the wounds inflicted on Christ’s body, the sometimes painful remedies needed to bind and heal them, and the need for unity, charity and mutual support in the long-term process of restoration and ecclesial renewal. I now turn to you with words that come from my heart, and I wish to speak to each of you individually and to all of you as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
6. To the victims of abuse and their families
You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings. It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope. It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your relationship with the Church. I know some of you find it difficult even to enter the doors of a church after all that has occurred. Yet Christ’s own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope. I believe deeply in the healing power of his self-sacrificing love – even in the darkest and most hopeless situations – to bring liberation and the promise of a new beginning.
Speaking to you as a pastor concerned for the good of all God’s children, I humbly ask you to consider what I have said. I pray that, by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – you will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you. I am confident that in this way you will be able to find reconciliation, deep inner healing and peace.
7. To priests and religious who have abused children
You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.
I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment. By offering prayers and penances for those you have wronged, you should seek to atone personally for your actions. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy.
8. To parents
You have been deeply shocked to learn of the terrible things that took place in what ought to be the safest and most secure environment of all. In today’s world it is not easy to build a home and to bring up children. They deserve to grow up in security, loved and cherished, with a strong sense of their identity and worth. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person, to be inspired by the truth of our Catholic faith and to learn ways of behaving and acting that lead to healthy self-esteem and lasting happiness. This noble but demanding task is entrusted in the first place to you, their parents. I urge you to play your part in ensuring the best possible care of children, both at home and in society as a whole, while the Church, for her part, continues to implement the measures adopted in recent years to protect young people in parish and school environments. As you carry out your vital responsibilities, be assured that I remain close to you and I offer you the support of my prayers.
9. To the children and young people of Ireland
I wish to offer you a particular word of encouragement. Your experience of the Church is very different from that of your parents and grandparents. The world has changed greatly since they were your age. Yet all people, in every generation, are called to travel the same path through life, whatever their circumstances may be. We are all scandalized by the sins and failures of some of the Church's members, particularly those who were chosen especially to guide and serve young people. But it is in the Church that you will find Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and for ever (cf. Heb 13:8). He loves you and he has offered himself on the cross for you. Seek a personal relationship with him within the communion of his Church, for he will never betray your trust! He alone can satisfy your deepest longings and give your lives their fullest meaning by directing them to the service of others. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and his goodness, and shelter the flame of faith in your heart. Together with your fellow Catholics in Ireland, I look to you to be faithful disciples of our Lord and to bring your much-needed enthusiasm and idealism to the rebuilding and renewal of our beloved Church.
10. To the priests and religious of Ireland
All of us are suffering as a result of the sins of our confreres who betrayed a sacred trust or failed to deal justly and responsibly with allegations of abuse. In view of the outrage and indignation which this has provoked, not only among the lay faithful but among yourselves and your religious communities, many of you feel personally discouraged, even abandoned. I am also aware that in some people’s eyes you are tainted by association, and viewed as if you were somehow responsible for the misdeeds of others. At this painful time, I want to acknowledge the dedication of your priestly and religious lives and apostolates, and I invite you to reaffirm your faith in Christ, your love of his Church and your confidence in the Gospel's promise of redemption, forgiveness and interior renewal. In this way, you will demonstrate for all to see that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (cf. Rom 5:20).
I know that many of you are disappointed, bewildered and angered by the way these matters have been handled by some of your superiors. Yet, it is essential that you cooperate closely with those in authority and help to ensure that the measures adopted to respond to the crisis will be truly evangelical, just and effective. Above all, I urge you to become ever more clearly men and women of prayer, courageously following the path of conversion, purification and reconciliation. In this way, the Church in Ireland will draw new life and vitality from your witness to the Lord's redeeming power made visible in your lives.
11. To my brother bishops
It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse. Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations. I recognize how difficult it was to grasp the extent and complexity of the problem, to obtain reliable information and to make the right decisions in the light of conflicting expert advice. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgement were made and failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness. I appreciate the efforts you have made to remedy past mistakes and to guarantee that they do not happen again. Besides fully implementing the norms of canon law in addressing cases of child abuse, continue to cooperate with the civil authorities in their area of competence. Clearly, religious superiors should do likewise. They too have taken part in recent discussions here in Rome with a view to establishing a clear and consistent approach to these matters. It is imperative that the child safety norms of the Church in Ireland be continually revised and updated and that they be applied fully and impartially in conformity with canon law.
Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people towards the Church to which we have consecrated our lives. This must arise, first and foremost, from your own self-examination, inner purification and spiritual renewal. The Irish people rightly expect you to be men of God, to be holy, to live simply, to pursue personal conversion daily. For them, in the words of Saint Augustine, you are a bishop; yet with them you are called to be a follower of Christ (cf. Sermon 340, 1). I therefore exhort you to renew your sense of accountability before God, to grow in solidarity with your people and to deepen your pastoral concern for all the members of your flock. In particular, I ask you to be attentive to the spiritual and moral lives of each one of your priests. Set them an example by your own lives, be close to them, listen to their concerns, offer them encouragement at this difficult time and stir up the flame of their love for Christ and their commitment to the service of their brothers and sisters.
The lay faithful, too, should be encouraged to play their proper part in the life of the Church. See that they are formed in such a way that they can offer an articulate and convincing account of the Gospel in the midst of modern society (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and cooperate more fully in the Church’s life and mission. This in turn will help you once again become credible leaders and witnesses to the redeeming truth of Christ.
12. To all the faithful of Ireland
A young person’s experience of the Church should always bear fruit in a personal and life-giving encounter with Jesus Christ within a loving, nourishing community. In this environment, young people should be encouraged to grow to their full human and spiritual stature, to aspire to high ideals of holiness, charity and truth, and to draw inspiration from the riches of a great religious and cultural tradition. In our increasingly secularized society, where even we Christians often find it difficult to speak of the transcendent dimension of our existence, we need to find new ways to pass on to young people the beauty and richness of friendship with Jesus Christ in the communion of his Church. In confronting the present crisis, measures to deal justly with individual crimes are essential, yet on their own they are not enough: a new vision is needed, to inspire present and future generations to treasure the gift of our common faith. By treading the path marked out by the Gospel, by observing the commandments and by conforming your lives ever more closely to the figure of Jesus Christ, you will surely experience the profound renewal that is so urgently needed at this time. I invite you all to persevere along this path.
13. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is out of deep concern for all of you at this painful time in which the fragility of the human condition has been so starkly revealed that I have wished to offer these words of encouragement and support. I hope that you will receive them as a sign of my spiritual closeness and my confidence in your ability to respond to the challenges of the present hour by drawing renewed inspiration and strength from Ireland’s noble traditions of fidelity to the Gospel, perseverance in the faith and steadfastness in the pursuit of holiness. In solidarity with all of you, I am praying earnestly that, by God’s grace, the wounds afflicting so many individuals and families may be healed and that the Church in Ireland may experience a season of rebirth and spiritual renewal.
14. I now wish to propose to you some concrete initiatives to address the situation.
At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.
Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.
I am confident that this programme will lead to a rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fullness of God’s own truth, for it is the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32).
Furthermore, having consulted and prayed about the matter, I intend to hold an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. Arrangements for the Visitation, which is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal, will be made in cooperation with the competent offices of the Roman Curia and the Irish Episcopal Conference. The details will be announced in due course.
I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church.
In this Year for Priests, I commend to you most particularly the figure of Saint John Mary Vianney, who had such a rich understanding of the mystery of the priesthood. "The priest", he wrote, "holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of his goods." The Curé d’Ars understood well how greatly blessed a community is when served by a good and holy priest: "A good shepherd, a pastor after God’s heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy." Through the intercession of Saint John Mary Vianney, may the priesthood in Ireland be revitalized, and may the whole Church in Ireland grow in appreciation for the great gift of the priestly ministry.
I take this opportunity to thank in anticipation all those who will be involved in the work of organizing the Apostolic Visitation and the Mission, as well as the many men and women throughout Ireland already working for the safety of children in church environments. Since the time when the gravity and extent of the problem of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions first began to be fully grasped, the Church has done an immense amount of work in many parts of the world in order to address and remedy it. While no effort should be spared in improving and updating existing procedures, I am encouraged by the fact that the current safeguarding practices adopted by local Churches are being seen, in some parts of the world, as a model for other institutions to follow.
I wish to conclude this Letter with a special Prayer for the Church in Ireland, which I send to you with the care of a father for his children and with the affection of a fellow Christian, scandalized and hurt by what has occurred in our beloved Church. As you make use of this prayer in your families, parishes and communities, may the Blessed Virgin Mary protect and guide each of you to a closer union with her Son, crucified and risen. With great affection and unswerving confidence in God’s promises, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord.
From the Vatican, 19 March 2010, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
Prayer for the Church in Ireland
God of our fathers,?renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,?the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,?the charity which purifies and opens our hearts?to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus Christ,?may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment?to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.
Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,?inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal?for the Church in Ireland.
May our sorrow and our tears,?our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,?and our firm purpose of amendment?bear an abundant harvest of grace?for the deepening of the faith?in our families, parishes, schools and communities,?for the spiritual progress of Irish society,?and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace?within the whole human family.
To you, Triune God,?confident in the loving protection of Mary,?Queen of Ireland, our Mother,?and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,?do we entrust ourselves, our children,?and the needs of the Church in Ireland.
Love the greatest justice(Source: EWTN)
In preparation for the upcoming Liturgical Season of Lent, which will begin on Ash Wednesday, 17 February, we publish Benedict XVI's Lenten Message. The theme of this year's Message is "The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ" (cf. Rm 3:21-22).
Thanks to Tyndale.com for this photo
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Each year, on the occasion of Lent, the Church invites us to a sincere review of our life in light of the teachings of the Gospel. This year, I would like to offer you some reflections on the great theme of justice, beginning from the Pauline affirmation: “The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ” (cf. Rm 3, 21-22).
Justice: “dare cuique suum”
First of all, I want to consider the meaning of the term “justice,” which in common usage implies “to render to every man his due,” according to the famous expression of Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the third century. In reality, however, this classical definition does not specify what “due” is to be rendered to each person. What man needs most cannot be guaranteed to him by law. In order to live life to the full, something more intimate is necessary that can be granted only as a gift: we could say that man lives by that love which only God can communicate since He created the human person in His image and likeness. Material goods are certainly useful and required — indeed Jesus Himself was concerned to heal the sick, feed the crowds that followed Him and surely condemns the indifference that even today forces hundreds of millions into death through lack of food, water and medicine — yet “distributive” justice does not render to the human being the totality of his “due.” Just as man needs bread, so does man have even more need of God. Saint Augustine notes: if “justice is that virtue which gives every one his due ... where, then, is the justice of man, when he deserts the true God?” (De civitate Dei, XIX, 21).
What is the Cause of Injustice?
The Evangelist Mark reports the following words of Jesus, which are inserted within the debate at that time regarding what is pure and impure: “There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him … What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts” (Mk 7, 14-15, 20-21). Beyond the immediate question concerning food, we can detect in the reaction of the Pharisees a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause. Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes “from outside,” in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes that prevent it being achieved. This way of thinking — Jesus warns — is ingenuous and shortsighted. Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious cooperation with evil. With bitterness the Psalmist recognises this: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51,7). Indeed, man is weakened by an intense influence, which wounds his capacity to enter into communion with the other. By nature, he is open to sharing freely, but he finds in his being a strange force of gravity that makes him turn in and affirm himself above and against others: this is egoism, the result of original sin. Adam and Eve, seduced by Satan’s lie, snatching the mysterious fruit against the divine command, replaced the logic of trusting in Love with that of suspicion and competition; the logic of receiving and trustfully expecting from the Other with anxiously seizing and doing on one’s own (cf. Gn 3, 1-6), experiencing, as a consequence, a sense of disquiet and uncertainty. How can man free himself from this selfish influence and open himself to love?
Justice and Sedaqah
At the heart of the wisdom of Israel, we find a profound link between faith in God who “lifts the needy from the ash heap” (Ps 113,7) and justice towards one’s neighbor. The Hebrew word itself that indicates the virtue of justice, sedaqah, expresses this well. Sedaqah, in fact, signifies on the one hand full acceptance of the will of the God of Israel; on the other hand, equity in relation to one’s neighbour (cf. Ex 20, 12-17), especially the poor, the stranger, the orphan and the widow (cf. Dt 10, 18-19). But the two meanings are linked because giving to the poor for the Israelite is none other than restoring what is owed to God, who had pity on the misery of His people. It was not by chance that the gift to Moses of the tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai took place after the crossing of the Red Sea. Listening to the Law presupposes faith in God who first “heard the cry” of His people and “came down to deliver them out of hand of the Egyptians” (cf. Ex 3,8). God is attentive to the cry of the poor and in return asks to be listened to: He asks for justice towards the poor (cf. Sir 4,4-5, 8-9), the stranger (cf. Ex 22,20), the slave (cf. Dt 15, 12-18). In order to enter into justice, it is thus necessary to leave that illusion of self-sufficiency, the profound state of closure, which is the very origin of injustice. In other words, what is needed is an even deeper “exodus” than that accomplished by God with Moses, a liberation of the heart, which the Law on its own is powerless to realize. Does man have any hope of justice then?
Christ, the Justice of God
The Christian Good News responds positively to man’s thirst for justice, as Saint Paul affirms in the Letter to the Romans: “But now the justice of God has been manifested apart from law … the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (3, 21-25). What then is the justice of Christ? Above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that “expiation” flows from the “blood” of Christ signifies that it is not man’s sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the “curse” due to man so as to give in return the “blessing” due to God (cf. Gal 3, 13-14). But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his “due”? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another in order to realize himself fully. Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need — the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.” This happens especially in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ’s action, we may enter into the “greatest” justice, which is that of love (cf. Rm 13, 8-10), the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love.
Dear brothers and sisters, Lent culminates in the Paschal Triduum, in which this year, too, we shall celebrate divine justice — the fullness of charity, gift, salvation. May this penitential season be for every Christian a time of authentic conversion and intense knowledge of the mystery of Christ, who came to fulfill every justice. With these sentiments, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 30 October 2009Taken from:L'Osservatore RomanoWeekly Edition in English10 February 2010, page 3
Friday, March 19, 2010
Is it true?
Though they may sound authentic but their founders are just like the founder of the cult in the Philippines called Iglesia ni Cristo™ in whose founder claimed the same.
But whose Bible they are talking about? Thanks to Karl Keating of www.catholic.com for this priceless article about that FACT that the BIBLE is ACTUALLY a CATHOLIC BOOK, NOT theirs!
Whose Bible Is It, Anyway?
KARL KEATING (Source: Catholic Educational Source or visit Catholic Answers or subscribe to This Rock Catholic Magazine)
Most Protestants are at a loss when asked how they know that the 66 books in their Bible belong in it.
The most overlooked part of the Bible, apologetically speaking, is the table of contents.
It does more than just tell us the pages on which the constituent books begin. It tells us that the Bible is a collection of books, and that implies a collector. The identity of the collector is what chiefly distinguishes the Protestant from the Catholic.
Douglas Wilson knows this. Writing in Credenda Agenda, a periodical espousing the Reformed faith, he notes that “the problem with contemporary Protestants is that they have no doctrine of the table of contents. With the approach that is popular in conservative Evangelical circles, one simply comes to the Bible by means of an epistemological lurch. The Bible ‘just is,’ and any questions about how it got here are dismissed as a nuisance. But time passes, the questions remain unanswered, the silence becomes awkward, and conversions of thoughtful Evangelicals to Rome proceed apace.”
Most Protestants are at a loss when asked how they know that the 66 books in their Bibles belong in it. (They are at an even greater loss to explain why the seven additional books appearing in Catholic Bibles are missing from theirs.) For them the Bible “just is.” They take it as a given. It never occurs to most of them that they ought to justify its existence. All Christians agree that the books that make up the Bible are inspired, meaning that God somehow guided the sacred authors to write all of, and only, what he wished. They wrote, most of them, without any awareness that they were being moved by God. As they wrote, God used their natural talents and their existing ways of speech. Each book of the Bible is an image not only of the divine Inspirer but of the all-too-human author. So how do we know whether Book A is inspired while Book B is not? A few unsophisticated Protestants are satisfied with pointing to the table of contents, as though that modern addition somehow validates the inspiration of the 66 books, but many Protestants simply shrug and admit that they don’t know why they know the Bible consists of inspired books and only inspired books. Some Protestants claim that they do have a way of knowing, a kind of internal affirmation that is obtained as they read the text.
Wilson cites the Westminster Confession — the 1647 Calvinist statement of faith — which says that the Holy Spirit provides “full persuasion and assurance” regarding Scripture to those who are converted. The converted,” says Wilson, “are in turn enabled to see the other abundant evidences, which include the testimony of the Church.” But the “testimony of the Church” cannot be definitive or binding since the Church may err, according to Protestant lights. (Protestants do not believe the Church is infallible when it teaches.) What really counts is the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. Without it, the Protestant is at a loss — but, even with it, he is at a loss. When young Mormon missionaries come to your door, they ask you to accept a copy of the Book of Mormon. You hesitate, but they say that all they want is for you to read the text and ask God to give you a sign that the text is inspired. They call this sign the “burning in the bosom.” If you feel uplifted, moved, prodded toward the good or true — if you feel “inspired,” in the colloquial rather than theological sense of that word — as you read the Book of Mormon, then that is supposed to be proof that Joseph Smith’s text is from God.
A moment’s thought will show that the “burning in the bosom” proves too much. It proves not only that the Book of Mormon is inspired but that your favorite secular poetry is inspired. You can get a similar feeling anytime you read an especially good novel (or, for some people, even a potboiler) or a thrilling history or an intriguing biography. Are all these books inspired? Of course not, and that shows that the “burning in the bosom” may be a good propaganda device but is a poor indicator of divine authorship.
Back to the Protestant. The “full persuasion and assurance” of the Westminster Confession is not readily distinguishable from Mormonism’s “burning in the bosom.” You read a book of the Bible and are “inspired” by it — and that proves its inspiration. The sequence is easy enough to experience in reading the Gospels, but I suspect no one ever has felt the same thing when reading the two books of Chronicles. They read like dry military statistics because that is what they largely are.
Neither the simplistic table-of-contents approach nor the more sophisticated Westminster Confession approach will do. The Christian needs more than either if he is to know for certain that the books of the Bible come ultimately from God. He needs an authoritative collector to affirm their inspiration. That collector must be something other than an internal feeling. It must be an authoritative — and, yes, infallible Church.
Please visit Catholic Answers for more reading and information about Karl Keating
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Our unified prayer for Christian Unity was granted by God. Traditional Anglicans are now coming home to Rome after centuries of being separated from the True Church. Let us all praise and thank God through Peter's Successor that there would be more and more Christians who will be led back home to Rome.
Canadian Anglicans Ask for Catholic Ordinariate
Send Petition With Steps to Advance Process
VICTORIA, British Colombia, MARCH 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The leaders of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada sent a petition to the Vatican requesting full communion with the Catholic Church through the implementation of "Anglicanorum Coetibus."
The apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus," published in November, offered a way for groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church through the establishment of personal ordinariates, a new type of canonical structure.
In this way, they would be able to retain some elements of their liturgical and spiritual traditions while being unified under the Pope.
The petition from Canada, dated March 12, was sent to Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In it, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC), a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion, expressed gratitude for the congregation's "positive response of December 16, 2009 to our letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of October 5, 2007."
Leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion, which has some 400,000 members worldwide, sent a letter to the Holy See in October 2007 to request full unity with the Catholic Church. They declared their adherence to Catholic doctrine, but expressed the desire to retain some distinct Anglican traditions.
The letter was received by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which responded in July 2008 with the promise to consider this possibility.
The next year, on October 20, 2009, the congregation's prefect, Cardinal William Levada, announced Benedict XVI's intention to create a way for these Anglican groups to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. A few days later, on November 9, "Anglicanorum Coetibus" was published.
In their petition, the ACCC leaders expressed the desire to "seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of Catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment."
"We have all read and studied with care the apostolic constitution 'Anglicanorum Coetibus' with the complementary norms and the accompanying commentary," they affirmed.
"And now," the Anglican bishops continued, "in response to your invitation to contact your dicastery to begin the process you lay out, we respectfully ask that the apostolic constitution be implemented in Canada."
They requested "that we may establish an interim governing council of three priests (or bishops) and that this council be given the task and authority to propose to His Holiness a terna for appointment of the initial ordinary."
The letter concluded, "It is our hope and prayer that these proposals may be useful in setting in train the process set out in the most welcome, gracious, and generous response of the Holy Father to our petition."
This petition, signed by the ACCC's leader, Bishop Peter Wilkinson of Victoria, as well as two suffragan bishops for different regions, Bishop Craig Botterill and Bishop Carl Reid, follows closely after the announcement that their U.S. brethren were requesting a Catholic ordinariate.
Leaders of the Anglican Church in America announced on March 3 the decision to formally request the implementation of "Anglicanorum Coetibus" in the United States.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland businessman – Jewish, not Catholic – is fighting mad about & concentrated effort by the media to denigrate the Catholic Church in this country.
I’m going to say things here today that many Catholics should have said 18 months ago. Maybe it’s easier for me to say because I am not Catholic, but I have had enough, more than enough, disgustingly enough.
During my entire life I’ve never seen a greater vindictive, more scurrilous, biased campaign against the Catholic Church as I have seen in the last 18 months, and the strangest thing is that it is in a country like the United States where there is supposed to be mutual respect and freedom for all religions.
This has bothered me because I too am a minority in this country. You see, unfortunately and I say this very advisedly the Catholics have forgotten that in the early 1850’s when the Italians, the Poles, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, all of Catholic persuasion, came to this country looking for opportunity because of famine, (particularly the Irish) they were already looked upon with derision, suspicion and hatred. Consequently the jobs they were forced to take were the jobs that nobody else wanted bricklayers, ditch diggers, Jewish junkmen, street cleaners, etc.
This prejudice against your religion and mine has never left this country and don’t ever forget it, and (sic) never will. Your people were called Papists, Waps, Guineas, frogs, fish eaters, ad infinitum.
And then after the Civil War, around 1864, the fundamentalists, conservatives, Protestants and a few WASP’s began planting burning crosses throughout the country, particularly in the South. And today; as far as I’m concerned, very little has changed. These gentlemen now have a new style of clothing they’ve gone from bed sheets to gentlemen’s suits.
There is a concentrated effort by the media today to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. You don’t find it this bad overseas at all. They have now blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage. You and me have been living in a false paradise. Wake up and recognize that many people don’t like Catholics. What are these people trying to accomplish?
From the Sojourner’s Magazine dated August, 2002, listen carefully to a quote, “While much of the recent media hype has focused on the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal, relatively little attention has been given to the high rate of sexual misconduct in the rest of American Christendom. This is truly a crisis that crosses the borders of all religions.”
Now let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, research by Richard Blackman at Fuller Theological Seminary shows that 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact. In a 1990 study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior by a colleague; 17% of laywomen said that their own pastors had sexually harassed them. Phillip Jenkins concludes in his book “Pedophiles and Priests” that while 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia, 10% of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.
This is not a Catholic problem. This is a problem of pure prejudice. Why the papers, day after day, week after week, month after month, see fit to do nothing but come out with these scurrilous stories? When I spoke recently to one of the higher ups in the newspaper I said, “This is wrong”. He said, “Why, do you want us to shoot the messenger?” I said, “No, just change the message”. He said, “How?” I said, “I’ll tell you how”.
Obviously, this is not just a Catholic problem. And solutions must be broader and deeper than those carried out by Catholic cardinals. The whole church has a responsibility to offer decisive leadership in the area of sexual misconduct whether it is child abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual harassment.
Recently, churches have shown unprecedented unity on issues of poverty and welfare reform. Now it is necessary to call for a broad based ecumenical council addressing the issue of sexual misconduct in the church not only the Catholic Church, all churches, including synagogues. Its goal would be transparency and openness in developing stringent, forward?looking guidelines, consistent with denominational distinctions, for preventing and addressing sexual misconduct within Christian churches and church?related institutions.
Such a council could include not only denominational representatives but also a majority presence from external organizations such as child protection agencies, law enforcement, psychiatric services, victims’ agencies, and legal and legislative representatives.
Crisis. “Crisis” in Chinese is one word. “Crisis” in Chinese means, on the one side, a real crisis problems etc., but the other side means great opportunity.
We have a great opportunity facing us. Crisis is often accompanied by an opportunity for extraordinary growth and leadership. We have that today. Even though you are the lowest ?? by far the lowest of any organized religion today when it comes to sexual harassment ?? American churches have a unique opening to develop and adopt a single set of policies, principles, practices, and common language on sexual misconduct in Christian institutions that is binding across denominations.
A system of cross denomination review boards could be established to help compliance and accountability. A centralized resource bank could be formed that provides church wide updates on new legal, financial, psychological and spiritual developments in the field. Guidelines, both moral and legal, could be established on how clergy, churches, and victims should best use civil and criminal actions in pursuit of justice and financial restitution for injury. A national database could be established with information on all applicants for ordination in any member Christian religion. Every diocese, conference, presbytery, and district could have a designated child protection representative whose job is to ensure that the policies and procedures are understood and implemented and that training is provided.
Any religious institution, or system, that leaves power unexamined or smothers sexuality with silence rather than promoting open conversation that can lead to moral and spiritual maturity becomes implicated in creating an unhealthy and potentially abusive environment. An ecumenical Christian council authentically dedicated to strong moral leadership in the area of clergy sexual misconduct might move the church beyond the extremes of policing our own or abandoning our own.
For Christians, the true scandal is not about priests. It’s about a manipulation of power to abuse the weak. When Jesus said, “Whoever receives the child, receives me”, he was rebuking his followers for putting stumbling blocks in front of the defenseless. Church is supposed to be a place where one can lay one’s defenses down; where one is welcomed, embraced, and blessed. This can only be authentically expressed in a culture that requires absolute respect for each individual’s freedom and self hood. Until all churches bow humbly under the requirement, the indictments by wounded women and children will stand.
Just what are these Kangaroo journalists trying to accomplish? Think about it. If you get the New York Times day’ ,after day; the Los Angeles Times day after day, our own paper day after day ………………….. looking at the record, some of these writers are apostates, Catholics or ex-Catholics who have been denied something they wanted from the Church and are on a mission of vengeance.
Why would newspapers carry on this vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know and maybe some of you don’t the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday, at cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Needless to say, that Catholic education at this time stands head and shoulders above every other form of education that we have in this country. And the cost is approximately 30% less.
If you look at our own Cleveland school system, they can boast of an average graduation rate of 36%. Do you know what it costs you and me as far as the other 64% who didn’t make it?
Look at your own records. You (Catholic schools) graduate 89% of your students Your graduates in turn go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, and all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it’s free, but it costs you Catholics at least 30% less to educate students compared to the costs that the public education system pays out for education that cannot compare.
Why? Why would these enemies of the Church try to destroy an institution that has 230 colleges and universities in the United States with an enrollment of 700,000 students?
Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like the Catholic Church which has a non profit hospital system of 637 hospitals which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people not just Catholics in the . United States today?
Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like that? Why would anyone want to destroy an institution that clothes and feeds and houses the indigent 1 of 5 indigents in the United States, I’ve been to many of your shelters and no one asks them if you are a Catholic, a Protestant or a Jew; just “come, be fed, here’s a sweater for you and a place to sleep at night” at a cost to the Church of 2.3 billion dollars a year?
The Catholic Church today has 64 million members in the United States and is the largest non-governmental agency in the country. It has 20,000 churches in this country alone. Every year they raise approximately $10 billion to help support these agencies.
Why, after the “respected” publication, the New York Times, running their daily expose’ on the Church, finally came to the conclusion of their particular investigation, which was ongoing for a long time. And guess what: buried in the last paragraph, they came up with a mouse. In their article “Decades of Damage” the Times reported that 1.8% of American priests were found guilty of this crime whereas your own Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome reported 1.7% the figure I gave you earlier.
Then again they launched an attack on the Church and its celibate priests. However, the New York Times did not mention in their study of American priests that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in the face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
Why wouldn’t the New York Times, the paper of record they call themselves, mention this? You had to read it in the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times refused to print it.
If you read only the New York Times, you would begin to believe that priests are cowards; craven; sexually frustrated; unhealthy criminals; that prey on the innocent. What a shame.
Sometimes freedom of the press should have some type of responsibility, too. So I say this to you: instead of walking around with a hangdog look ?? I talk to a lot of Catholics all the time, “how’s everything going?” ………… “Well, in the face of things I guess okay”. That’s the wrong answer! The wrong answer!
Also, I ran into a fellow who said they started a discussion at some social function on pedophilia and he said, “I excused myself and left the room.” I said, “why did you do that?” “Well, you know how it is”.
I believe that if Catholics had the figures that I enumerated here, you don’t have to be ashamed of anything. Not only are you as good as the rest, but you’re better, in every respect.
The Catholic Church helps millions of people every day of the week, every week of the month, and every month of the year. People who are not Catholics, and I sit on your Catholic Foundation and I can tell you, and what I am telling you is so. Priests have their problems, they have their failings just as you and I in this room do, but they do not deserve to be calumniated as they have been.
In small measure let’s give the media its due. If it had not come out with this story of abusive priests, (but they just as well could have mentioned reverends, pastors and rabbis and whatever), probably little or nothing would have been. done. But what bothers me the most is this has given an excuse to every Catholic hater and Catholic basher to come out loudly for the denigration of your Church.
If some CEO’s are crooks it does not follow that every CEO is crooked; and if some priests are sexually ill it does not follow that all are sick. And your Church teaches that you’ve got to take in the sick and a priest who is this way has to be taken in and cannot be thrown out the 21st story of a building. He’s got to be looked upon and given the same type of health that you would give anybody who has a broken leg or cancer or whatever.
The Church today, and when I say the Church keep in mind I am talking about the Catholic Church, is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by an infinitesimally small number of wayward priests that, I feel, have probably been totally weeded out by now.
You see, the Catholic Church is much too viable to be put down by the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer take your choice, they can’t do it, they’re not going to do it and sooner or later they are going to give up. But you’ve got to make sure that you don’t give up first.
In 1799 a notice was placed in a French newspaper that a citizen Brachi had died in prison. Little did the people realize that this was Pope Pius VI who had occupied the Chair of Saint Peter for 25 years. He had been taken prisoner by Napoleon’s forces and died in prison as an indigent. At that time the thought was that this was the end of the Catholic Church, this was 200 and some odd years ago. And the reason was that there was no Pope to succeed him at that time.
But you fooled them then, and we’re going to fool them again.
I’ve been talking more or less about the United States of America as far as the importance of the Church. Let’s bring it home to Cuyahoga County and the seven surrounding counties.
In education, you save the county 420 million dollars per year. Wherever there’s a Church and most other churches have fled the inner city there’s a Catholic Church; and wherever there’s a Catholic Church there’s an absence of drug dealers. You talk to any bank that has real estate mortgages in the inner city, and they will tell you that the one thing that keeps up the value in that particular area is your Church. I’ve seen, for example, on Lorain near the Metro Catholic Schools there at the Church the nuns used to go out in the morning with brooms and sweep away the drug dealers from around the particular area.
On Health and Human Services, the homeless, adoption, drugs, adult care and so on, you saved the county 170 million dollars a year.
At the end of the day the difference that your local Catholic institutions make in the eight counties that comprise this diocese are several billion dollars per year.
Why don’t we hear about this? Why, because it’s good news. If some priest was caught with his hand in the collection plate it would be front page news. But the fact that you have thousands of students being education (sic) free, as far as the rest of the country is concerned, doesn’t make news. Why? Because it is not newsworthy, it’s not dirty.
I’m not here to deny freedom of the press, but I believe that with freedom comes responsibility, and with rights you have an obligation. You cannot have rights that are irresponsible.
Unfortunately, our society today is protected by all rights and ruled by some of their wickedness. Anybody who expects to reap the benefits of freedom must understand the total fatigue of supporting it. The most important element of political speech, as Aristotle taught, is the character of the speaker. In this respect, no matter what message a man brings in, it shouldn’t collide with his character.
The other day was shocked when I opened up America, a Catholic magazine, and my good friend Cardinal Keeler, who is a very dear friend of mine, was being fingerprinted by the Baltimore police not for a crime, but as part of the new law put in place that all members of the Church hierarchy must be fingerprinted.
Amos, of the Old Testament, accused the people of Samaria in words that seared and phrases that smote. They “cram their palaces,” he said, “with violence and extortion.” They had “sold the upright for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals” from Gucci, no doubt. But he also said that all this could be reversed, if only the people of Samaria would turn away from their own self absorption and toward those who, however silently, cry out for help. “Then,” promised Amos, “shall your justice flow like water and your compassion like a never failing stream” (Amos 5:24)
The worst feature of contemporary society is its tendency to leave each of us Locked up in himself or herself, connection less. To lessen this isolation we have developed all kinds of therapies spiritual, psychological, and physical front groups that meet and talk endlessly all day long in spas week spas, month spas, life spas. But none of these things, from primal screams to herbal wrap, seem to be doing the trick, any more than the huge houses and wine parties the.: the Samaritan did.
What we need to do is open our heart to the plight of others, even some of your priests who have been condemned. They’re human beings and they should be shown the same type of compassion we have shown anybody who is critically ill. We need to open our hearts to the plights of others, like our hearts were a dam, so that indeed our justice and compassion may flow to all.
What is essential is that each of us steps forward to hold out our hand to someone. There is no other way to walk with God.
One of the biggest Catholic bashers in the United States wrote “Only a minority, a tiny minority of priests, have abused the bodies of children.” He continues, “I am not advocating this course of action, but as much as I would like to see the Roman Catholic Church ruined. I hate opportunistically retrospective litigation even more.”
Now he’s talking about our tort monsters. “Lawyers who grow fat by digging up dirt on long?forgotten wrongs and hounding their aged perpetrators are no friends of mine.”
I’m still quoting this man, “All I’m doing” he said, “is calling attention to an anomaly. By all means, let’s kick a nasty institution when it is down, but there are better ways than litigation.” These words are from a Catholic hater.
I never thought in my life I would ever see these things.
Walk with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non governmental agency today in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” And be proud, speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you’re a Catholic.
NOTE: Even though of the Jewish faith, Miller has been a staunch supporter of the Cleveland Diocese and Bishop Anthony Pilla. It was published in the May-June issue of the Buckeye Bulletin.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
JOS, Nigeria (AFP)(from Loganswarning.com) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Washington led calls for restraint on Monday after the slaughter of more than 500 Christians in Nigeria, as survivors told how the killers chopped down their victims.
Funerals took place for victims of the three-hour orgy of violence on Sunday in three Christian villages close to the northern city of Jos, blamed on members of the mainly Muslim Fulani ethnic group.
While troops were deployed to the villages to prevent new attacks, security forces detained 95 suspects but faced bitter criticism over how the killers were able to go on the rampage at a time when a curfew was meant to be in force.
Media reported that Muslim residents of the villages in Plateau state had been warned by phone text message, two days prior to the attack, so they could make good their escape before the exit points were sealed off.
Survivors said the attackers were able to separate the Fulanis from members of the rival Berom group by chanting ‘nagge’, the Fulani word for cattle. Those who failed to respond in the same language were hacked to death.
One local paper said the gangs shouted Allah Akhbar (God is Great) before breaking into homes and setting them alight in the early hours of Sunday. Churches were among the buildings that were burned down.
The Vatican led a wave of outrage with spokesman Federico Lombardi expressing the Roman Catholic Church’s “sadness” at the “horrible acts of violence”.
The UN chief told reporters he was “deeply concerned”.
“I appeal to all concerned to exercise maximum restraint,” he said.
“Nigeria’s political and religious leaders should work together to address the underlying causes and to achieve a permanent solution to the crisis in Jos.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged “all parties to exercise restraint”, but also called on the Nigerian government to “make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
“The Nigerian government should ensure that the perpetrators of acts of violence are brought to justice under the rule of law and that human rights are respected as order is restored,” the chief US diplomat said.
The death toll was initially put at a little over 100 but then shot up. The information ministry said pregnant women were among those killed and around 200 people were being treated in hospital.
“We have over 500 killed in three villages and the survivors are busy burying their dead,” said state information commissioner Gregory Yenlong.
“People were attacked with axes, daggers and cutlasses — many of them children, the aged and pregnant women.”
Survivors wail as children, women buried in Nigeria
Much of the violence was centred around the village of Dogo Nahawa, where gangs set fire to straw-thatched mud huts as they went on their rampage.
Lord forgive them for they do not know what they are doing...
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Madrid, Spain, Mar 9, 2010 / 03:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla of Alcala de Henares remarked this week that by signing a bill into law that dramatically liberalizes abortion in Spain, King Juan Carlos has actively cooperated with the evil of abortion.
Despite numerous requests that the Spanish monarch refuse to sign the bill, King Juan Carlos put his signature to the new measure during a private ceremony last weekend. The law will take effect in July.
During an interview with Intereconomia TV on Saturday, Bishop Reig Pla openly commented, “What (the King) has done constitutes remote cooperation with evil.”
“The King should have thought about whether or not he was cooperating with the implementation of a law that will cause the death of innocent people,” the bishop said, noting that the King could have chosen a different option. “He could have refused to sign it, saying that his conscience came before signing a law that will not bring about good.”
Bishop Reig Pla rejected claims by some bishops that the King had no choice because of the constitutional requirement that he must sign duly passed laws. The new law “will not only make the abortion situation worse, but it will also lead to the imposition of sexual education in the classroom, as well as gender ideology, which is this government’s calling card.”
More than 60,000 people singed a petition urging the King not sign the bill into law, but last Wednesday his order to move forward with the measure was published in the Official State Bulletin, naming July 5 as the date it would go into effect.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
By Alexandra Williams
Extra small condoms for boys as young as 12 could soon be on our shelves.
The Hotshot condoms are going on sale in Switzerland after research found that not enough 12 to 14-year-old boys were having protected sex.
The condoms are likely to end up on sale in Britain, said their manufacturer Lamprecht AG.
A spokesman said the UK would be ‘top priority’ if the company expanded abroad, considering it had the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.
Nysse Norballe said: ‘At the moment we are only producing the Hotshot in Switzerland.
‘But the UK is certainly a very attractive market since there is a very high rate of underage conception.’
A standard condom has a diameter of 52mm in comparison with the Hotshot’s 45mm. Both are the same length – 190mm.
According to a study of 13 to 20-year-olds, a quarter said that a standard condom was too large.
Hilary Pannack, of teenage pregnancy charity Straight Talking Peer Education, said: ‘We know young people are having sex and if this is what it takes to protect them, we need to go along with it.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1255126/Swiss-government-produces-extra-small-condoms-boys-young-12.html#ixzz0hPW6sR8M
Friday, March 5, 2010
Among its list of ANTI-CATHOLIC doctrines, Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo, Number 6 enumerates some list of Catholic doctrines they so strongly oppose Purgatory which states:
“The apostasy of the Catholic Church from the Church established by Christ in the first century took place with their turning away from the teachings of God taught by Christ and His Apostles (Worship of Images, Mass, and Priests as vicars or successors of Christ, Mediator Saints, Purgatory). Therefore, the apostasy takes place whenever there is a teaching of God the Catholic Church violates. In view of this, all the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church should be rejected.
Let’s say for example a member of the cult Iglesia ni Cristo™ at Cenon Bibe's Tumbukin Natin Blog (Central at Kaanib ng INC Aatras na sa Debate) by the name Jay Manalo repeatedly accused Catholics as "idol worshippers".
Jay Manalo said: Posted Date: 22 February, 2010 Time: 07:33
“WALANG KWENTANG TAO ANG GUMAWA NG REBULTO AT SUMASAMBA DITO SAIAH 44:9-20”
This is one example of the many double standard, two-faceted man-made teachings in the cult. They openly complained about Catholic holy images of Jesus and the Saints accusing us of worshipping them while they themselves cannot criticize themselves while offering flowers before the image of Felix Manalo in Central temple in the Philippines.
Jay Manalo, a member of the cult also make fun of Catholic practice of honoring their dead relatives. After I pointed out their immense reverence to Felix Manalo's image in Central, he was caught saying this statements Posted Date: 22 February, 2010 Time: 07:17
“kayo po ba ang pag namatay ba ang nanay at kamag anak mo mahal mo sa buhay,matalik mong kaibigan,di ka pag ng bibigay ng bulalak tanda ng inyong pag respeto sa PATAY,at pag alala mang catholic defender” [how about you when yoru mother and your beloved relatives, your closest friends, are you not paying them proper respects by offering flowers as a form of reverence for the DEAD for their memory mr. catholic defender]Mr. Jay Manalo forgot that the Iglesia ni Cristo™ is very strict in its implementation of its man-made doctrines (teachings Felix Manalo formulated according to PASUGO Mayo 1961, p. 4 and PASUGO Mayo 1963, p. 27) and strictly cautions its members NOT to hold on to any CATHOLIC PRACTICES such as remembering the dead.
(Eraño Manalo's image adorned with flowers Source: INC Church)
“Kaya kapag ang tao'y namatay kasamang namamatay ang kanyang kaluluwa. Kung ang namatay ay inilibing, saan kaya naroroon ang kaluluwa? Ang kaluluwa ay dumidikit sa alabok." [That’s why when a person dies together with his/her soul he/she dies. When the dead is buried, where would his/her soul be? His/her soul fuses to the ashes.]
The same teaching was published in their Official Magazine PASUGO issued in December 1966, page 10:
"Kung patay na ang tao ay wala nang nalalamang anuman. Wala siyang isip. May bahagi ba ang patay sa anumang ginagawa ng buhay? Wala! Walang nababahagi ang patay." [When a person dies he/she knows nothing any longer. He/She has no more thoughts. Does the dead have any connection with the living? Nothing! A dead relates nothing!]While they criticize Catholics, they also restricted their own members, former catholics, of adhering to the practice while their ministers are free to do so for Felix Manalo.
PASUGO Mayo 1964, p. 3: (patula)
Sa ubod ng aming puso at damdamin;
Nagkapalad kami sa gintong layunin;
Sa sikap ng Sugong naghirap sa amin.
Ang pagtatagumpay, dangal at alindog;
Ng Iglesia ngayo'y banal na kinaloob;
Sa isang pag-asa kami ay nabuklod;
Ang aming dalangin sa paninikluhod;
Salamat sa SUGO... Salamat sa Dios."
Notice here, that when Felix Manalodied in April of 1963, they fervently pray with suplications praying to the dead Felix Manalo.
PASUGO Disyembre 1964, p. 2: (ukol kay Erdy)
Tandang-tanda namin noon nang ang sugo ay namatay;
Ikaw noon ay nanumpa sa harap ng kanyang bangkay;
Para ko pang nakita na nagtaas ka ng kamay;
At ikaw ay lumuluhang pangako ay inusal;
Ang sabi mo'y tutupad ka sukdang ikaw ay mamamatay;
Mamahalin ang Iglesiang pasugo ng Amang Banal."
Notice above Pasugo quotes. What did Erano Manalo do? He swore and oath with his right hand raised before the dead body of his father Felix Manalo. And he was in tears swearing to uphold what his father has began.
Just like as its own Ministers and the late Eraño Manalo's double standard man-made beliefs, no wonder Jay Manalo, a member of the cult only inherited his own confusion.
The truth of the Catholic Church cannot be hidden and even from the mouth of its own detractors came the truth that we Catholics do not worship the statues but we only venerate them for they represent the image (just as they have their own statue and photos of the Manalo clan).
So maybe you are curious what was Jay Manalo's reply?
It's a deafening silence!
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