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Just reminding erryone of my current location #rio #papafrancis #skyline #beautiful

Posted by on 7-22-13

El Jueves salgo para Puerto Rico y estare participando del JMJ en PR. Un Evento unido al JMJ de Brasil. Seran dias de mucha gracia, poder y misericordia. Contamos con sus oraciones! Para mas info porfavor visiten www.jmj2013pr.com #jmj #jmj2013pr #brasil #puertorico #unasolaiglesia #jovenes #catholic #catolico #papafrancis

Posted by on 7-22-13

“Não tenho ouro nem prata.. Vim aqui transmitir o maior presente que recebi nessa vida: Jesus Cristo” – Papa Francisco, no Palácio Guanabara, na sua chegada no Rio de Janeiro

Posted by on 7-22-13

Nada mejor que coger cosas de los hoteles y encontrartelas un tiempo mas tarde #recuerdoson #abril2013 #antequera #campeonatoespañaporescuelas #catalunya #buenequipo #genialrelevo #granada #bocadecaballo #dientesdeleon #mojopicon #bananas #pasajeros #titofrancis #papafrancis #yayofrancis #quierovolver

Posted by on 7-22-13

El papa Francisco acaba de recitar: “Necesitamos santos sin velo, sin sotana. Necesitamos santos de jeans y zapatillas. Necesitamos santos que vayan al cine, escuchen musica y paseen con sus amigos. Necesitamos santos que coloquen a Dios en primer lugar y que sobresalgan en la Universidad. Necesitamos santos que busquen tiempo cada dia para rezar y que sepan enamorar en la pureza y castidad, o que consagren su castidad. Necesitamos santos modernos, santos del siglo XXI con una espiritualidad insertada en nuestro tiempo. Necesitamos santos comprometidos con los pobres y los necesarios cambios sociales. Necesitamos santos que vivan en el mundo, se santifiquen en el mundo y que no tengan miedo de vivir en el mundo. Necesitamos santos que tomen Coca Cola y coman hot-dogs, que sean internautas, que escuchen iPod. Necesitamos santos que amen la Eucaristia y que no tengan vergüenza de tomar una cerveza o comer pizza el fin de semana con los amigos. Necesitamos santos a los que les guste el cine, el teatro, la musica, la danza, el deporte. Necesitamos santos sociables, abiertos, normales, amigos, alegres, compañeros. Necesitamos santos que esten en el mundo y que sepan saborear las cosas puras y buenas del mundo, pero sin ser mundanos”. Amen!!!!!!! (Esta parte la dije yo) :) #santidadenjeans #santidad #PapaFrancis #Iglesia #yes #holiness

Posted by on 7-21-13

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Keeping it Current...

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Monthlies are notoriously slow, especially in the digital age, when everyone has access to publishing commentary and analysis instantly. That’s not a problem in much of our magazine. The inspirational stories, the profiles of amazing people, the seasonal features, and our many columns keep our content vibrant. But we like to stay close to current events, too. So we try, constantly, to anticipate the future.

What will be in the daily news three or four months from now that will interest you? What can we take the kind of long look at, that the daily or hourly media simply can’t? Or in the case of big, recent news events, how can we offer some type of wrap-up or overview, or how can we help our readers interpret the importance of events?

Such is the case with this month’s cover story about Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land in May. We—and select Catholic press worldwide—had the opportunity to go, courtesy of Israel’s tourism ministry. They wanted to demonstrate all of Israel as safe and interesting. They knew we would want to be in Jerusalem, close to the Holy Father, so they provided a way for us to do both. In addition to the papal story, in future months you’ll see a few stories sparked by the things we saw.

At the end of the day, we are able to report on an aspect of this story that, in the mainstream media, kept getting pushed aside in May by the critical, unsettled business of Israel and Palestine. That neglected story was the reason for the pope’s visit: to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and demonstrate a heartfelt desire for Christian unity.

We editors met and talked about many ways to tell the story of the pope’s historic visit. Though there were a number of truly significant events, we settled on keeping our focus steady. It didn’t make the most news, and it’s not the jazziest of the possible stories, but the union of East and West is a huge issue in the Church, one that we Roman Catholics barely understand. Art Director Jeanne Kortekamp and I tried to infuse that story with the jazz of the pope’s trip, especially through photos.

Let us know how we did!

This blog was taken from John’s “Backstory” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning magazine, click here.

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Photo: archideaphoto/PhotoXpress.com

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The Not Sorrowful Mystery...

Posted on Jul 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

What’s “Joyful” about the Presentation in the Temple in the Holy Rosary. To me, hearing the news about the baby and hearing that a sword will pierce her own heart would be devastating to our Mother Mary. Do you know how it ended up being a Joyful mystery instead of a Sorrowful mystery?

Because it was a happy occasion in the first place. And there is only the one bummer piece of prophesy, and even that one follows from the joy of what Christ brings to the world. All of which is covered by Simeon, who is thrilled, by the way, to get to hold the child in the first place.

At this point, there is no such thing as Baptism. This particular ritual, offering the baby to the service of God in the Temple, is the Jewish version of this happy day. Imagine, then, you take your baby to the Baptism and some old man jumps out of nowhere to wax on about what a very important baby this is. The Savior of the World, this one, and the old man is oh so happy to be able to witness this person’s presence in the the world. The old man prattles on about the immeasurable change this will create. And then he mentions that this will be particularly hard on you, Mom. But your hardships will also help humanity for the rest of time.

Is that so bad? It’s not a Sorrowful Mystery because it’s not a sorrowful occasion. The Jewish ritual of presenting a child to the temple of was an act of obedience and gratitude. It was a way to thank God for the child. If you were doing it today, you might hit the IHOP on the way home to celebrate.

And we’re happy that Mary and Joseph led by example in following the rules. They didn’t have to do that. Jesus is the New Testament with God, after all. They present Jesus, the Lord, to the Lord. We’re happy about that. It shows us that they followed God’s laws. They could have sat home, thinking, “This IS the Lord. He’ll have His own book soon enough.” 

Here is a lovely article about how nice it all really is.  That should help.

And note that there are a bizzlion depictions of this event in art. And everyone always looks happy.

You can be happy, too.

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Evangelization in the Style of St. Philip...

Posted on Jul 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The other morning during my devotions, I came across the story of St. Philip as he encountered the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26–40), following the resurrection of Jesus and his subsequent appearances to the disciples. First, while I’m familiar with this story, I surprised myself with how little I could recall ever reflecting on it. I think this passage can help us engage in the New Evangelization.

My reflection did not center on Philip’s sharing of the Good News with the eunuch, but on how he got there in the first place. You see, Philip was in tune with the Holy Spirit. So much so that the Scriptures state the Spirit prompted him to go share the Good News, but not in some preplanned or programmed way. On the contrary, it all seems rather spontaneous.

Here’s Philip on his way to wherever, and he gets a sense inside—kind of a inner whisper if you will—”Pssst! Philip, it’s me, God. Go over there and share the Good News with that total stranger. Listen to his needs and help him understand how Jesus will meet them.” Philip did what we may consider kind of crazy and followed this inner prompting to share Jesus. The eunuch converted right there, even asking Philip to baptize him!

Rather than talk about plans and programs for evangelization, if we spent more time getting in tune with the Holy Spirit and the promptings of the Spirit, wouldn’t the New Evangelization have more impact in our lives and in the Church?

This blog post is taken from Franciscan Media Productions FREE e-newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Click here to learn more about American Catholic Radio.

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Pope Francis prays for success of initiative to co...

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

In the wake of the decision of the State tethered Church of England to have wyshyps (female bishops), the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham set up a “Exploration Day”.

You know that the Ordinariate was created according to the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, for Anglicans who want to be Catholic and want to retain their customs, liturgy, etc.

Benedict XVI is, of course, the Pope of Christian Unity.

Anglicans have a true home in the Catholic Church.

I just read this press release from the Ordinariate:

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27.07.2014

Pope Francis Prays For Success of Ordinariate’s Exploration Day

Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham’s forthcoming “Called To Be One” exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate’s purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it.

The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

The full text of Archbishop Mennini’s letter reads as follows:

“At the request of the Secretariat of State, I have been asked to inform you that  the Holy Father Francis, on learning of the national day of exploration entitled “Called to be One”, organised by the various Groups of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and due to take place on Saturday 6 September 2014, wishes to convey his good wishes and prayers for a successful and inspiring event. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion and presentation of the Catholic Faith and the Gospel in Great Britain”.

The Nuncio ends with his own prayerful good wishes for a very successful day.

Pope Francis’ blessing on the exploration day and Archbishop Mennini’s words of support for it follow a statement of welcome for the initiative from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. In his capacity as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Cardinal said: “the Ordinariate both enriches the Catholic Church with Catholic aspects of the beautiful heritage and culture of Anglican patrimony and advances the cause of unity which must be the ultimate aim of all ecumenical activity… I wish you every success with this initiative. I hope it will attract many interested enquirers”.

Last week Mgr Newton warmly invited all those who are interested in the Ordinariate to attend the exploration day “whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do” . Mgr Newton’s invitation came in his response to the Church of England General Synod’s decision to allow women to be ordained as bishops. In the same statement Mgr Newton said that, though that decision was a very happy one for many within the Church of England, it made the position undeniably harder for those within the Anglican Church who still longed for unity with Rome.

The Ordinariate was set up by Pope Benedict in 2011 to make it possible for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to do so, bringing with them much of the heritage and traditions of Anglicanism. Pope Benedict described these as “treasures to be shared”. On the exploration day, each of the 40 or so Ordinariate groups across the country will host a different event, with the common theme of the vision for Christian unity which is at the heart of the Ordinariate.

I am glad to hear of Pope Francis’ prayers for the success of this initiative to help Anglicans come into the Catholic Church.

As Benedict, so Francis.

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One Small Step...

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

This week marked two historic anniversaries: The Apollo 11 moon landing and the Scopes “Monkey Trial.” Both challenged our understanding of what it means to be human and even what it means to be a person of faith.

There are still Americans who believe that the 1969 moon landing was faked. Fox broadcast a documentary in 2001 entitled “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?” and a 2013 IFC offering on the work of directing legend Stanley Kubrick suggests that he helped to create much of the footage. Depending on the pollster, somewhere between 6% and 20% of Americans (and nearly 30% of Russians) believe that Neil Armstrong took a stroll on a Hollywood back lot and not the lunar surface.

And while John Scopes’s insistence on creation theory was a publicity stunt rather than a clash of sincerely held beliefs, 46% of Americans today think he had the right idea—a statistic that hasn’t shifted in 30 years.

Where does that leave us? Are there some who believe we were created by God (with Adam, Eve, the serpent, the garden, the whole nine fundamentalist yards), but that we shouldn’t reach beyond the tallest trees our apish non-ancestors inhabited? Or have we grown so used to being lied to that we resist believing anything at all?

I think it’s OK to accept what can be proven and believe in what cannot. I’m proud that Franciscan Roger Bacon pioneered the scientific method and that the father of genetics was Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel. With countless others in the Catholic intellectual tradition, they show us that science isn’t opposed to God—it’s just one more way to explore and understand the wonder of the created world.

There is a vast universe out there that will take us every bit of eternity to explore, but we can still celebrate what we know of our small corner.

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Image courtesy of xedos4, freedigitalimages.net

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Mar Mattai monastery taken....

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Located 20 miles north-east of Nineveh, Mar Mattai monastery lies tucked away on top of Maqlub Mountain known to the Assyrians as Tura D’alpayeh.

Mosul (Iraq) (AFP) – Jihadist militants have taken over a monastery in northern Iraq, one of the country’s best-known Christian landmarks, and expelled its resident monks, a cleric and residents said Monday.

Islamic State (IS) fighters stormed Mar (Saint) Behnam, a 4th century monastery run by the Syriac Catholic church near the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh, on Sunday, the sources said.

Fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stormed the Saint Behnam monastery on Monday, located 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Mosul. 

“You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately,” a member of the Syriac clergy quoted the Sunni militants as telling the monastery’s residents.

He said the monks pleaded to be allowed to save some of the monastery’s relics but the fighters refused and ordered them to leave on foot with nothing but their clothes.

Christian residents from the area told AFP the monks walked several miles along a deserted road and were eventually picked up by Kurdish peshmerga fighters who drove them to Qaraqosh.

The Syriac cleric said five monks were expelled from Mar Behnam. Christian families in the area said there may have been up to nine people living at the monastery.

The incident was the latest move by the Islamic State, which last month declared a “caliphate” straddling large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria, to threaten a Christian presence in the region spanning close to two millennia.

Over the weekend, hundreds of families fled Mosul, a once-cosmopolitan city which is the country’s second largest and lies around 15 kilometres (10 miles) northwest of Mar Behnam.

They abandoned homes and belongings after IS fighters running the city issued an ultimatum for Christians to convert, pay a special tax, leave or face the sword.

Families who were forced on the road and leaders of Iraq’s Chaldean and other churches said Mosul was now emptied of Christians for the first time in history.

Jihadist fighters want to create a state based on an extreme interpretation of sharia — or Islamic law — and have targeted all minorities in the Mosul area.

Other groups such as Shiite Turkmen, Shabak and Yazidis have suffered even more than the Christians, who have largely escaped summary executions since IS swept the region in early June.

Mar Behnam is a major Christian landmark in Iraq and a site where the local community and pilgrims traditionally pray for healings and fertility.

It was built by Assyrian king Sennacherib II as a penance for having his children Behnam and Sarah killed because they had converted to Christianity.

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Urgent Appeal...

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

“Christian families have been expelled from their houses and their valuables were stolen and …their houses and property expropriated in the name of the Islamic State.” 

Genghis Khan

“This has never happened in Christian or Islamic history. Even Genghis Khan or Hulagu didn’t do this,” Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako said. 
(Hulagu Khan led a Mongol army which sacked Baghdad in 1258, killing tens of thousands.)

An urgent message of 
Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad
To all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world
To the voice of moderate brother Muslims who have a voice in Iraq and all the world
To all who have a concern that Iraq could remain a country for all His Children
To all leaders of thought and opinion
To all who announce the freedom of the human being
To all protectors of the dignity of human beings and of religion
PEACE AND MERCY FROM GOD!

The control exercised by the Islamist Jihadists upon the city of Mosul, and their proclamation of it as an Islamic State, after several days of calm and expectant watching of events, has now come to reflect negatively upon the Christian population of the city and its environs.

The initial sign was in the kidnapping of the two nuns and 3 orphans who were released after 17 days. At the time, we experienced it as a flash of hope and as a clearing of the sky after the appearance of storm clouds.
Suddenly we have been surprised by the more recent outcomes which are the proclamation of an Islamic state and the announcement calling all Christians and clearly asking them to convert to Islam or to pay the jizyah (the tax all non- Muslims must pay while living in the land of Islam) – without specifying the exact amount. The only alternative is to abandon the city and their houses with only the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else. Moreover, by Islamic law, upon their departure, their houses are no longer their properties but are instantly confiscated as property of the Islamic state.

In recent days, there has been written the letter ‘N’ in Arabic on the front wall of Christian homes, signifying ‘Nazara’ (Christian), and on the front wall of Shiite homes, the letter ‘R’ signifying ‘Rwafidh’ (Protestants or rejecters). We do not know what will happen in future days because in an Islamic state the Al-sharia or Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the issuance of new I.Ds for the population based on religious or sectarian affiliation.

This categorization based upon religion or sect afflicts the Muslims as well and contravenes the regulation of Islamic thought which is expressed in the Quran which says, “You have your religion and I have my religion” and yet another place in Quran states, “There is no compulsion in religion”. This is exactly the contradiction in the life and history of the Islamic world for more than 1400 years and in the co-existence with other different religions and nations in the East.

With all due respect to belief and dogmas, there has been a fraternal life between Christians and Muslims. How much the Christians have shared here in our East specifically from the beginnings of Islam. They shared every sweet and bitter circumstance of life; Christian and Muslim blood has been mixed as it was shed in the defense of their rights and lands. Together they built a civilization, cities, and a heritage. It is truly unjust now to treat Christians by rejecting them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing.
It is clear that the result of all this discrimination legally enforced will be the very dangerous elimination of the possibility of co-existence between majorities and minorities. It will be very harmful to Muslims themselves both in the near and the distant future.

Should this direction continue to be pursued, Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe.

We call with all the force available to us; we call to you fraternally, in a spirit of human brotherhood; we call to you urgently; we call to you impelled by risk and in spite of the risk. We implore in particular our Iraqi brothers asking them to reconsider and reflect upon the strategy they have adopted and demanding that they must respect innocent and weaponless people of all nationalities, religions, and sects.

The Holy Quran has ordered believers to respect the innocent and has never called them to seize the belongings, the possessions, the properties of others by force. The Quran commands refuge for the widow, the orphaned, the poor, and the weaponless and respect “to the seventh neighbor.”

We call Christians in the region to act with reason and prudence and to consider and to plan everything in the best way possible. Let them understand what is planned for this region, to practice solidarity in love, to examine the realities together and so be able together to find the paths to build trust in themselves and in their neighbors. Let them stay close to their own Church and surround it; endure the time of trial and pray until the storm will be over.

 † Louis Raphael Sako 
Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldean
 17 July 2014
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Ain Karem: Prayerful Spot...

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The village of Ain Karem (directly west of Jerusalem) has two Catholic churches: one commemorating the famous canticle of Mary (Lk 1:46-55, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord . . .”) and the other the canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1:68-79, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel . . .”). Outside these churches, ceramic plaques provide the text of these prayers in many languages (over 50 for Mary’s canticle).

The Church of the Visitation is at the edge of the city and contains an upper church and crypt built after World War II on the site of earlier Byzantine and Crusader churches. In the 14th century, this shrine was under the care of Armenian monks, but the Friars Minor have been there since 1679. Visitors to custodia.org can find photos, the floor plan, pilgrim accounts over the centuries, and other information via the “Sanctuaries” and “Church of the Visitation” links. May 31 is the feast of the Visitation.

The Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist is in the city and is built over the reputed site where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived and where John grew up. A Crusader church built there in the 12th century was replaced six centuries later. The Friars Minor arrived in the 17th century. The birth of St. John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24.

This blog was taken from Pat McCloskey’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, click here.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

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What Did the Imam Really Say? Revisited...

Posted on Jul 20, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I read at Il Giornale today that the prayer read by the Imam in the Vatican Gardens was indeed from the Sura 2, wherein Allah is asked to crush infidels (that’s us) and let Islam triumph over the whole world (that’s us, too). Vatican Radio, at the time, tried to give this an allegorical spin. It didn’t work very well.  At a certain point it seems they also tried to edit out the troubling passage.

Suffice to say that an Imam sang: “grant us victory over the heathen/disbelieving/infidel” (Sura 2: 286) in the Vatican Gardens, in front of the Pope, during an “ecumenical” gathering for peace.

I wrote about this, when it happened, in my entry What Did the Imam Really Say? I posted video there and the comments are interesting (especially HERE).

My fast translation:

He wasn’t in a mosque, but in the Vatican Gardens and, a few meters away from him, there was also Pope Francis. It’s 8 June, Pentecost Sunday. In the Vatican, at prayer for peace in the Midde East, there are, with the Pontiff, Abu Mazen and Shimon Peres. But the Sure II read by the Imam wasn’t agreed on ahead of time. This is about a breach in protcol that many have taken as an offense.

The incident, reported by Andrea Morigi in Libero, was for a long time swept under the carpet. The text read by the Palestinian Sunni Imam was not agreed upon ahead of time and the harsh tones about infidels (miscredenti) were not in line with the spirit of the day which had been proposed by Bergoglio during his visit in the Holy Land. “At that moment,” Morigi recounts, “the dignitaries of the three monotheistic religions didn’t bat an eye. Those who knew Arabic pretended not to notice anything, even if the videos of the event show them decidedly embarrassed.” Pope Francis, however, wasn’t in a position to take in the importance of what happened. On an official level, the breach in protocol was immediately minimized: Fr Bernd Hagenkord, the Jesuit head of the German section of Vatican Radio, tried to give another reading of Sura II from the Koran. It’s a pity that the passage read by the Imam was immediately excised by Vatican Radio itself.

[...]

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CCC 2014 Convocation Complete Success...

Posted on Jul 18, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (http://ift.tt/1mF0mVh) met for its annual convocation July 8-11 in Hanceville, AL, at the priest retreat house of the Shrine of Most Blessed Sacrament

Keynote speaker was the Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco. Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. Charles Connor and Matt Fradd also spoke at the conference.

 

Matt Fradd
On July 9, twenty-nine priests from across the United States gathered in Hanceville, Alabama for the annual Confraternity of Catholic Clergy convention. For the first talk, they welcomed Matt Fradd, one of a new breed of evangelists and apologists who are conversant in popular culture and are developing creative approaches to reach youth and young adults. Matt brought to the members of the CCC key information and resources for dealing with a pastoral issue which is both pervasive and daunting – pornography.

Matt told the story of his own journey from porn addiction to renewal of faith and a lifestyle of freedom. He was eight years old the first time he stumbled across pornography in the home of a relative. The attraction led to a habit and eventually addiction. Having become an agnostic and cynical about religion, he nonetheless attended World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, which was for him a life-changing experience. His new found faith let him to seek chastity and freedom from pornography. He stressed that chastity does not mean reaching a place where temptation is gone, but a daily choice to love authentically.

The most valuable thing in Matt’s talk was a practical pastoral strategy that any priest or deacon can immediately put to use. He described porn addiction as a seven step “activation sequence” which can be consciously countered by a “deactivation sequence.” He further gave the CCC member priests four questions they can ask of a penitent: How often do you fall? How old were you when you started looking at porn? Have you talked to anyone about this outside confession? Do you want to stop? These questions help the priest assess if the penitent has a serious problem with porn and gives the priest a chance to invite him or her to meet outside of the sacrament for further help. Effective resources for someone struggling with porn include: theporneffect.com, integrityrestored.com, reclaimsexualhealth.com. Finally, Matt provided for each participant in the conference information on the accountability software CovenantEyes and a copy of the book Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women Who Turned From Porn To Purity.


The members of the CCC were grateful to have these new, effective tools for helping people gain freedom in the painful and difficult struggle against pornography.

 

Scott Hahn
The second talk of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy was by the renowned Biblical scholar-convert-apologist Scott Hahn. He spoke about the New Evangelization, with the intent of showing that this recent summons of the Church is not a catchphrase, a program, or a slogan, but an urgent priority, rooted deeply in the Church’s mission and nature.

The concept of a New Evangelization goes back to Pius XII, who was searching for new ways to proclaim the Gospel to the modern world. To this end he appointed Angelo Roncalli, the future John XXIII, to lead a commission to see if the Church was ready for a new council to finish the work of Vatican I. Though Roncall concluded that the time for a new council had not arrived, the seed had been planted in his mind, and thus he called Vatican II when he was elected pope. He was followed by Paul VI, who consciously chose to be named after the great evangelizing apostle of the New Testament. In view of the many journeys of John Paul the Great, people tend to forget that Paul VI was the first “traveling pope,” with trips to the United States, Portugal, Uganda, Columbia, and other countries. John Paul II first used the phrase “new evangelization” during his trip to Poland in 1979. It was an unscripted phrase, drawn from his heart, in reaction to the deprivation of faith he saw as the result of years of communist control. He wanted to re-evangelize the de-christianized. The next time he used the phrase was on his visit to the United States, when he saw the need for the gospel to be proclaimed to those whose faith had suffered from secularism and materialism.

The key insight offered by Dr. Hahn for accomplishing the New Evangelization is to see it in light of the sacraments, in particular, the Eucharist. Evangelization is not just a proclamation of the Gospel message, successful when a person responds in faith. It is the beginning of a journey, a preparation for entering the family of God, requiring conversion and catechesis, the final goal of which is the Eucharist. To take part in the New Evangelization means to bring those already “sacramentalized” to find in the Eucharist the abundant grace of salvation which they hear proclaimed in Sacred Scripture. In the New Evangelization, priests have a privileged mission of spiritual fatherhood, becoming spiritual life-givers through the sacraments.


Fr. Charles Connor
The morning talk for the second full day of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy Conference was by Fr. Charles Connor, prolific author and scholar, Professor of Theology and Church history at Mount Saint Mary Seminary Emmitsburg, Maryland, and host of numerous programs on EWTN. In is talk Fr. Connor set out to compare the insights and spirituality of the priesthood in the writings of the two newly canonized popes, John XXIII and John Paul II. People often try to contrast the two popes, as one being liberal and progressive and the other conservative, but a careful look shows that they present a consistent spirituality on the priesthood.

The spirituality of the priesthood of St. John XXIII is found most clearly in his encyclical on the anniversary of the death of St. John Vianny, Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia, published in August of 1959. He extolls John Vianny as a saint who “attracts and pushes us to the heights of priestly life.” John Vianny was a model of sacrifice and penance, who gave himself tirelessly to God’s people in priestly charity. His faithful chastity produced a generous openness of heart to others. He taught that man’s greatest privilege was to pray, and encouraged a simple form of prayer, in which the Christian pours out his heart in all simplicity, becoming a beggar before God.

John Paul II became pope at a time when many theologians spoke of confusion about the nature and role of the priest. To respond to this trend, he explained and reflected on the theology of Vatican II on the priesthood. One finds his insights expressed in his yearly Holy Thursday letters to priests, his book Gift and Mystery, and his encyclical letter on priestly formation, Pastores Dabo Vobis. There, John Paul affirms that the priest is ontologically configured to Christ, the head of the mystical body and the spouse of the Church. Celibacy is a treasure. The priest is called to a life of prayer, offering himself to the one to whom he has been configured. He is a man who “sits at the school of the Eucharist.” John Paul’s theology and spirituality on the priesthood is completely at one with that of John XXIII. Thus, Fr. Connor concludes, we do not need a new theology of the priesthood, as if priesthood will otherwise become out of date. What we need is a “refreshment” in the eternal truths of the mystery of the priesthood, and for each priest to find his “today” in the “today” of Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.



Archbishop Cordileone
On the afternoon of July 10, His Excellency Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, delivered the keynote address at the annual conference of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. With clear and substantive theological arguments, he exhorted the members of the Confraternity to explain and defend the Church’s teaching on marriage.

Marriage is unique. No other human relationship is based on the three goods (or bonae) of marriage: fruitfulness, faithfulness, and permanence. Sadly, people fail to appreciate the nature of marriage, as is shown by widespread advocacy for same sex marriage. This advocacy, though, has been a long time in the making. By the use of contraception, people have stopped seeing fruitfulness as part of marriage. By the legalization of no-fault divorce, people no longer regard permanence as essential to marriage. (However, in spite of “swinging” and experiments of “open marriage” fidelity does continue to be valued.) Thus marriage in no longer viewed as a way of providing for the well-being of children, but for the satisfaction of adults. It has become re-interpreted according to what St. John Paul II called the utilitarian ethic.

The true nature and value of marriage has been guarded and proclaimed by the church, because it is a natural symbol for the mystical union of God the soul — a union which, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI points out in Deus Caritas Est, the two become one yet remain their distinct selves. The Song of Songs was, for this reason, the book of the Old Testament most frequently commented upon during the patristic period. There are also numerous references to marriage in the New Testament, such as the wedding at Cana, the parable of the ten bridesmaids, the teaching on the mystery of Christ and the Church in Ephesians Chapter 5, and the wedding feast of the Lamb in the Book of Revelation. Perhaps we are less aware of the nuptial imagery present in liturgy and church architecture. A canopy over an altar represents a canopy used at Jewish weddings. Veils used during liturgy, such as chalice veils, or more ancient practices of placing a veil in front of the altar or over the hands of communicants at the altar rail, is reminiscent of a marriage veil. The altar cloth has been understood to symbolize the bed clothes of the marriage bed.

Because marriage thus symbolizes the possibility and hope of intimacy with God, it is of the highest importance that priests explain and defend the institution of marriage. Just as it will be harder for a child to see God as a loving Father when he lacks the presence of a loving father in his life, so it will be harder for people to grasp Christ’s offer of spiritual intimacy if they have no knowledge or experience of the truth of marriage. Archbishop Cordileone thus encouraged all the members of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy with the words of St. John Paul II, “Do not be afraid.” We should proclaim the truth in charity and be willing to suffer for the truth. We have a rich tradition – the theology of the body, a true understanding of freedom, a correct view of the human person, a sense of the transcendent nature of the person. We should not let the pressure of the present culture make us reticent about speaking up on behalf of marriage. We are not in the situation of many lay people who might lose their jobs or be blocked in their careers if they stand up for marriage. If we defend the institution of marriage, the worst that can happen to us is that people will be angry at us and call us names. In fact, defending marriage may even be the key to the new evangelization. When people, especially young people, see the truth of the Church’s teaching about marriage, they will be led to conclude that if the Church is right about this one important area of life, she might be right about everything else too. Archbishop Cordileone offered a final, practical way to participate in the new evangelization – to celebrate the mass with care, reverence and devotion, and thus “renew the Church from the heart.”

The members of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy deeply appreciated Archbishop Cordileone’s thought provoking and inspiring words, and have asked him to continue to work with them as their Episcopal Advisor, which he as graciously agreed to do.


Rev. Peter Pilsner, Deacon Thomas Boucek and Thomas McKenna contributed to this article
 
Archbishop Cordileone presented with the Pope St. John Paul the Great Award 
from Fr. Trigilio for his heroic defense of unborn human life and for traditional marriage

 
Archbishop Cordileone, episcopal advisor to the CCC, Main Celebrant and Homilist at Mass in Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament

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That Wasn’t My Plan...

Posted on Jul 18, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

When I was a child, I planned on being a major league baseball player.  As a teen, I planned to be a drummer in a world renowned rock band.  In college, I studied medicine and planned on a life in medicine to help people.  Well… I am none of those.  Not long ago, I came across a quote that has stuck with me:

My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned, and that’s ok.

No, my life has not gone as planned, but I am happy.  There has been good times, bad times, and times somewhere in between.  I smile when I am happy when things go my way.  I frown when I am sad because I had a bad day.  No matter what happened, when I lie in bed at night, I know it will be ok.  How do I know… my faith!

I place my trust in God knowing He has a plan for me, for each one of us.  We are His children and His plan for us is to someday enter into His Heavenly Kingdom.  How do we get there? Listen to Him through prayer, open your heart to His message.  He led the Israelites out from the tyranny of the Egyptians, through the vast unknown of the desert and to the promised land.  He is waiting to lead each one of us through the vast unknown that awaits us each day, to the promise land, Heaven.  We just need to put our faith, our trust in Him.  Life doesn’t always go as we want, but keep the faith for God knows what we truly need.

“I pray, not wish. Because I have God, not a genie.”- @_phenomenalbeauti (photorepost.com)

***God Bless***

 

featured image: @MPGlassmeyer/ twitter.com

 

 

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Christmas in July...

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

So far it’s been a hectic summer in my world, with lots of travel and a move thrown in. Time for relaxing has been hard to come by. I’m sure that’s the case for many of us — life just seems to get busier all the time. And in the midst of the chaos, a little book appeared in my mailbox — A Eucharistic Christmas: Advent Meditations on the Presence of Christ. The cover was so peaceful, I had to take a moment and flip through its pages. Just a few minutes spent reading brought a sense of calm and the reminder of Jesus’ presence. For example:

eucharistic ChristmasCountless demands and activities of all sorts sweep us along so that we easily become disconnected from the Lord. He will daily recharge the batteries of our life and ministry…as we pray before the tabernacle and maintain our living relationship with Jesus.

This collection of meditations will definitely enhance the Advent season, but there’s always room for a little bit of Christmas in July!

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Christmas in July...

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

So far it’s been a hectic summer in my world, with lots of travel and a move thrown in. Time for relaxing has been hard to come by. I’m sure that’s the case for many of us — life just seems to get busier all the time. And in the midst of the chaos, a little book appeared in my mailbox — A Eucharistic Christmas: Advent Meditations on the Presence of Christ. The cover was so peaceful, I had to take a moment and flip through its pages. Just a few minutes spent reading brought a sense of calm and the reminder of Jesus’ presence. For example:

eucharistic ChristmasCountless demands and activities of all sorts sweep us along so that we easily become disconnected from the Lord. He will daily recharge the batteries of our life and ministry…as we pray before the tabernacle and maintain our living relationship with Jesus.

This collection of meditations will definitely enhance the Advent season, but there’s always room for a little bit of Christmas in July!

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The 2013 Scalfari Interview now BACK on the Vatica...

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Can someone explain to me why the first Scalfari Interview from October 2013 is once again back on the Vatican’s website under the official category of the Holy Father’s speeches? HERE

It had been on the website. There are problems with that interview. The interviewer says he didn’t take any notes or record it.  Nevertheless he put “” around the Pope’s words.

How does that work, especially when the interviewer is an inveterate and notorious left-leaning atheist?

The interview was taken down. HERE

Now it is back.

Why?

Is that interview to be considered now in some respect part of the Holy Father’s Ordinary Magisterium?

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Finding Clarity...

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve read all the books and articles about organization and decluttering but I always find excuses for not doing it. Even when my spare room upstairs looked like it could audition for an episode of Hoarders, it was either too hot, too cold, I didn’t have enough time, or I was too tired. I would make a half-hearted attempt and then think, “Well, it’s not taking up that much room….” I suspected that it wasn’t just the surface stuff that I was avoiding.

So over the long 4th of July weekend, the weather forecast promised unseasonably cool temperatures, I took a couple vacation days, and tackled a project that had been hanging over me since I moved into my house 15 years ago. It turned into a surprisingly spiritual experience. I turned over years of memories—good and bad—that had gotten buried under the busyness of my day-to-day life. But I realized that I didn’t need to keep the stuff in order to keep the memories. I discovered that limiting my options for hobbies would allow me more time and energy to pursue the ones I was truly passionate about. I cleared off the desk my dad built for me and thought of all the things I’d written at that desk. I found things that I had been searching for off and on for years.10488058_10152680190499179_8932916372087737408_n

As I excavated layers of accumulated stuff, I thought about the past decade and all the things that had been happening in my life that somehow were reflected in the mess. I made peace with how it got that way and I felt a renewed commitment to diving into the next chapter of my life with a little more clarity—and a lot more space.

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."