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Prayer for the Popaclypse...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Most of us know that DC, New York, and Philadelphia are likely to evolve into overpopulated bedlam this week for the Pope’s historic visit to the US and to Cuba. Many of us will be staying far, far away from these cities. Some of us are heading right into the mouths of the hydrae.

Many of us Catholics will be staying home, enjoying the festivities from afar via our favorite social media channels. Many will post up in front of their televisions on couches, dressed in pajamas or sweatpants, like some eager Summer Olympics watchers. Some of us are likely staying up-to-date every minute of every hour on who is saying what about the Pope when. Some of us do this for a living, after all.

Some Catholics may even be calling out of work (now that is un-American!). Many will be making the tangible trip to one of these three blessed East Coast cities. We will be braving strained transportation networks, overdone security precautions, and likely, some fear and loathing. Many will be pilgrims. Many adventurers. Some public. Some press. Some security detail. Some clean-up crew. Many vacationers. Many workers. There will likely be some mess. And, some stress.

I encourage us all to say (at least one) prayer. Both for the some and for the many. If you have many friends or family who reside in these regions, please pray for them and their patience. If you know some making the trek for business or for pleasure, please pray for their conscientiousness and courtesy. If you know many Catholics, pray for their joy and continued positive attitudes. If you know some social media gurus, pray they keep the conversation civil and encouraging for all.

Let us pray for the District of Columbia and for the recent canonization of the Franciscan Saint Junipero. Let us pray for our nation’s leaders, and their missed lunches. Let us pray for New York City. Let us pray for raised awareness of changes facing our climate and the world’s diverse peoples. Let us pray for the world’s leaders. Let us pray for Philadelphia and for the world’s families, especially those in America. Let us pray for the world’s poor, and for those poor in spirit on social media. Let us pray for our leaders in our myriad communities.

Peace and Good on the road to Philadelphia.

 

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Methods of Travel—Part One...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

“In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”
—Pope Francis

In planning my trip to Philadelphia these past few weeks, I was overcome with nostalgia for travel as a child. I recall not having to plan, not packing my own bags, not even thinking about my next meal. Mom and Dad would take care of all the devilish details. I could just sit in the backseat with the Prydain Chronicles and let them know when my stomach grumbled as we passed the ever-present Cracker Barrel signs. I wouldn’t even have to worry about myself or the animals getting car sick. Mom would give us our obligatory Dramamine dose. We would nap when we felt unnatural waves coming through the icy gray mountain roads of Tennessee, or sooner.

During this planning, I realized how incredible a gift that was our parents gave us as children. We could really enjoy the good parts of travel—the experiences, the vistas and landscapes, the short little forays into alien lands at rest stops, the smell of different trees burning in different fireplaces, the way rain felt different in Illinois then it did in South Carolina, the different Happy Meal toys found in the same boxes around the country. Are we able to slow down any longer and enjoy these little details of travel? Do we stop to savor small moments anymore? Or do we plan out every possible detail of our trips?

As intensive as my own planning might have been, I cannot even imagine the extent to which Pope Francis’ trip is planned. There must be a small army of people whose sole purpose is to plan for any imaginable contingency, to have backup plans, alternate routes, maps within maps. And that doesn’t even account for the security or transit concerns in large American metropolitan areas like the District of Columbia, New York City, or Philadelphia. Though I will get to reap the benefits of their thinking and caution in Philadelphia, I wonder, too, how much say Pope Francis himself has in such matters. What if the pope wants to stop at Tommy DiNic’s for a roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwich at the world-famous Reading Terminal Market? Does he have the option for such small pleasures?

Read more tomorrow in Part II…

 

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Pope Francis in Washington, DC – Day 1...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Pope, A Saint, and a President

No, this is not the beginning of a joke. It’s actually a summary of Pope Francis’s first full day in Washington, DC. The first stop on his schedule was a visit to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama. But, as it turns out, the pope actually started his day in his usual off-the-script manner.

As he prepared to leave the Vatican embassy, the pope made a quick stop to greet students of local Catholic schools who have been marking his departures and arrivals at the embassy. After making his way down the row, greeting each student, Pope Francis finally got in to a Fiat. The dichotomy wasn’t lost on those present, some of whom referred to the pope as “the big man in the small car.”

At the White House, Pope Francis began his address, saying, “As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.” He went on to hit on the topics of climate change, religious freedom, and our need to care for the least among us, invoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

After his meeting with President Obama, the pope traveled to Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle for midday prayer with the US bishops. The pope reminded the bishops to “flee the temptation of narcissism” and that “harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor.” Encounter and dialogue, he said, must be the hallmarks of a bishop’s interactions with others, especially with those who hold differing opinions.

The day culminated in the canonization Mass for Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra (a gathering outside the Mass is pictured above), the first saint canonized on US soil. During his homily, Pope Francis noted that Serra’s motto, “always forward, never to turn back,” is a challenge all Catholics should heed. The pope urged those present to “keep moving forward!”

Notable Quotes from Day 1

Address at the White House

“Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions.”

Homily at the canonization of Junipero Serra

“The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.”

The Crowd Reaction from Day 1

The air in D.C. was abuzz with anticipation surrounding Pope Francis’s arrival, but there was especially an overwhelming feeling of excitement for those waiting to see the pope at the canonization of Junipero Serra.

The White House address received a tremendous amount of coverage. There were many takeaways from his speech, particularly about climate change and quoting Dr. King.

Perhaps the most touching story from day one was that of little Sofía Cruz, 5, of Los Angeles, who went out in the street to give the pope a letter about her family and the issue of immigration. It goes to show that even the smallest can impact this world.

Pope Francis in Washington D.C.

The post Pope Francis in Washington, DC – Day 1 appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Pope Francis on Divorce and Remarriage...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

During his August 5 general audience, Pope Francis addressed the issue of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, saying they “are not, in fact, excommunicated—they are not excommunicated—and they absolutely must not be treated as if they were,” reported Catholic News Service (CNS).

In his first general audience since June, the pope resumed his talks addressing various issues facing families, saying, “Today, I want to draw our attention to another reality: how to care for those who, after the irreversible failure of the matrimonial bond, have undertaken a new union.”

According to Church teaching, in most cases such couples are not permitted to receive Communion. But bishops at the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family last October and preparing for the general synod October 4-25 have been studying and discussing possibilities for allowing some of these couples to return to the sacraments.

“How can we tell these parents to do everything possible to raise their children in the Christian life, giving them the example of a convinced and lived faith, if we keep them at a distance from the life of the community as if they were excommunicated?“ the pope asked.

As the studies and discernment continue, Pope Francis said, it is essential that Catholic pastors “openly and coherently demonstrate the willingness of the community to welcome and encourage” divorced and remarried couples and their families to participate in Church life.

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.51dnUgKdvKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

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Featured photo: KavaStudio2015 / Shutterstock

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Pope Francis’ Love for Mother Earth...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Tomorrow, Pope Francis will address the United Nations at their headquarters in New York City. The significance of this address cannot be understated. Personally, I’ve been looking forward to his UN speech (and his visit to the United States, as a whole) with bated breath. From the moment it was announced that the pope would visit our nation, excitement has grown exponentially among both Catholic and non-Catholic Americans alike.

Then there was the release of the pope’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. With the meetings he’s had with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about environmental initiatives, it’s clear that care for God’s creation is crucial to the Holy Father.

If it’s important to the leader of our Church, shouldn’t it be important to each of us in our daily lives? Some have tried to politicize the pope’s environmental concerns, suggesting that he stick to theology and priestly duties. However, Pope Francis has made it clear that taking care of our world is not a political act, but rather an act of love.

Nature truly is lovable. My family has been going to northern Ontario to a cabin on a lake since before I was born. I grew up making summer trips there with the whole raucous Imwalle family, and celebrated every Christmas there until I was 19. I know what it is to love a place because nature flourishes there. And I can’t imagine seeing that nature suffer because of humanity’s negligence and mistreatment of our planet.

Some might say I’m “catastrophizing,” that I probably won’t see the kind of environmental devastation I fear in my lifetime. Perhaps. But it’s not just about me, my generation, and my hope to be able to enjoy nature the way God intended (and this is coming from a member of the supposedly self-centered Millennial generation!). Truly, future generations deserve to be able to take a walk in the woods, bask in the glory of God’s creation, and have hope and confidence that it will be there as long as it’s protected.

Someday, I hope people look back at Pope Francis’ steadfast care for our planet, and name it as one of many reasons to proclaim him a saint. For now, we have the pleasure of listening to him.

Follow me at @StAnthonyMag for more coverage of Pope Francis’ in New York City!

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.

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Photo: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters

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Should Congressman boycott Pope Francis?...

Posted on Sep 23, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

I am on vacation, so I don’t want to drift to far into the papal visit (which I am not closely following right now).  I might add this, however:

While we don’t expect anything along the lines of what Benedict XVI delivered either in Westminster Hall or to the German Bundestag, if a Pope shows up at U.S. Congress, and you are a Congressman… you go.

This comes via my friend Fr. Gerry Murray, who is doing some TV coverage of the Pope’s travel to Cuba and North America. HERE

Don’t Boycott the Pope
Priest says lawmakers should hear Francis out, even if they don’t like message
by Fr. Gerry Murray

Boycott the pope? That is what a Catholic congressman, U.S. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has announced he might do when Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress on Thursday.

“If the pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend,” Gosar said. [No, you go and listen.]

Gosar claims that is what Pope Francis plans to do. [Even that’s what Francis does, you go.  This isn’t a General Audience in St. Peter’s square.  This is the floor of Congress and you are a Congressman.]

“Pope Francis is intending to spend the majority of his time on one of the world’s greatest stages focusing on climate change,” he said.

But no one knows what Francis will spend the “majority of his time” speaking about until he actually speaks. Still, Gosar thinks he knows.

“I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life,” Gosar said. [It may be that, as a Congressman, you should be there… in Congress, for the address.  Just saying’]

The congressman is way out of line here. Is he rebuking the pope ahead of time for ignoring things he will undoubtedly speak about during his time in Cuba and the United States?

No one knows exactly what he will say to the House and Senate members, but Francis has addressed these issues already in various speeches during his pontificate, and he is no passive bystander in defending those who are persecuted, or put to death unjustly. His message is clear.

But what about the issue of global warming or climate change? Will Francis repeat what he said in his encyclical letter Laudato Si that man-made climate change is real and requires urgent solutions? Certainly he will, but that does not mean anyone should walk out on him. If you disagree with that message from the pope, you can, as a good Catholic, argue against it and state your reasons with clarity — and charity.

The climate change debate is a scientific debate, not a religious debate. The moral and religious debate touches upon what we should do if, in fact, man is the cause of climate change, and if, in fact, man has the true capability to reverse course and undo global warming without causing even greater problems.

Francis’ judgment on scientific questions is as good as the science he marshals in support of his conclusions. The same standard applies to his critics.

So Gosar, and the rest of us, should sit back, listen to what the pope says, and then engage in the kind of rational discussion that furthers our common efforts to promote the welfare of our society and our world.

Boycotting the pope is a bad idea, especially when the man threatening to do this is, as he states, “a proud Catholic” who attended a Jesuit college where he “was taught to think critically, to welcome debate and discussion and to be held accountable for my actions.” Well, let’s start the debate and discussion by being present when Francis talks about whatever he wants to talk about.

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D., is pastor of Holy Family Church in New York.

If for no other reason, go so that the fakers who claim to be “devout”, such as Nancy “the Theologian” Pelosi can’t crook their digits and say “At least we were there.”

UPDATE:

If at the White House Pope Francis can sit an listen with attention to the self-righteous, hypocritical and manipulative blather from POTUS, then congressmen can earn their paycheck by going to a joint session of Congress and listen to the Pope, whether they are onside or not.   This is what public figures do.

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Should Congressman boycott Pope Francis?...

Posted on Sep 23, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

I am on vacation, so I don’t want to drift to far into the papal visit (which I am not closely following right now).  I might add this, however:

While we don’t expect anything along the lines of what Benedict XVI delivered either in Westminster Hall or to the German Bundestag, if a Pope shows up at U.S. Congress, and you are a Congressman… you go.

This comes via my friend Fr. Gerry Murray, who is doing some TV coverage of the Pope’s travel to Cuba and North America. HERE

Don’t Boycott the Pope
Priest says lawmakers should hear Francis out, even if they don’t like message
by Fr. Gerry Murray

Boycott the pope? That is what a Catholic congressman, U.S. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has announced he might do when Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress on Thursday.

“If the pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend,” Gosar said. [No, you go and listen.]

Gosar claims that is what Pope Francis plans to do. [Even that’s what Francis does, you go.  This isn’t a General Audience in St. Peter’s square.  This is the floor of Congress and you are a Congressman.]

“Pope Francis is intending to spend the majority of his time on one of the world’s greatest stages focusing on climate change,” he said.

But no one knows what Francis will spend the “majority of his time” speaking about until he actually speaks. Still, Gosar thinks he knows.

“I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life,” Gosar said. [It may be that, as a Congressman, you should be there… in Congress, for the address.  Just saying’]

The congressman is way out of line here. Is he rebuking the pope ahead of time for ignoring things he will undoubtedly speak about during his time in Cuba and the United States?

No one knows exactly what he will say to the House and Senate members, but Francis has addressed these issues already in various speeches during his pontificate, and he is no passive bystander in defending those who are persecuted, or put to death unjustly. His message is clear.

But what about the issue of global warming or climate change? Will Francis repeat what he said in his encyclical letter Laudato Si that man-made climate change is real and requires urgent solutions? Certainly he will, but that does not mean anyone should walk out on him. If you disagree with that message from the pope, you can, as a good Catholic, argue against it and state your reasons with clarity — and charity.

The climate change debate is a scientific debate, not a religious debate. The moral and religious debate touches upon what we should do if, in fact, man is the cause of climate change, and if, in fact, man has the true capability to reverse course and undo global warming without causing even greater problems.

Francis’ judgment on scientific questions is as good as the science he marshals in support of his conclusions. The same standard applies to his critics.

So Gosar, and the rest of us, should sit back, listen to what the pope says, and then engage in the kind of rational discussion that furthers our common efforts to promote the welfare of our society and our world.

Boycotting the pope is a bad idea, especially when the man threatening to do this is, as he states, “a proud Catholic” who attended a Jesuit college where he “was taught to think critically, to welcome debate and discussion and to be held accountable for my actions.” Well, let’s start the debate and discussion by being present when Francis talks about whatever he wants to talk about.

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D., is pastor of Holy Family Church in New York.

If for no other reason, go so that the fakers who claim to be “devout”, such as Nancy “the Theologian” Pelosi can’t crook their digits and say “At least we were there.”

UPDATE:

If at the White House Pope Francis can sit an listen with attention to the self-righteous, hypocritical and manipulative blather from POTUS, then congressmen can earn their paycheck by going to a joint session of Congress and listen to the Pope, whether they are onside or not.   This is what public figures do.

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Pope Francis’ Winning Smile...

Posted on Sep 23, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

That smile. Oh, that smile. When Pope Francis exited the plane at Joint Base Andrews, it was there. Those present for the welcome erupted. How could you not?

His smile—and his wit—have drawn people to him, as well as back to the Church. He seems to be able to spread his message without seeming condescending or authoritarian. But it is a message which he is not afraid to preach. It is a message he most certainly will be sharing during this visit. This morning he is at the White House, tomorrow he is at Congress. Later this week, he will be at the UN, along with that smile.

People I have talked to here in DC—both Catholic and non-Catholic—feel drawn to this pope. For those who question his teachings, the pope says, “I’m ready to recite the Creed.” Of course, he said it with a smile.

Follow me at @StAnthonyMag for more of my thoughts on this historic visit!

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here

51dnUgKdvKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 

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CNS photo/Bob Roller

 

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Pope Francis’ Winning Smile...

Posted on Sep 23, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

That smile. Oh, that smile. When Pope Francis exited the plane at Joint Base Andrews, it was there. Those present for the welcome erupted. How could you not?

His smile—and his wit—have drawn people to him, as well as back to the Church. He seems to be able to spread his message without seeming condescending or authoritarian. But it is a message which he is not afraid to preach. It is a message he most certainly will be sharing during this visit. This morning he is at the White House, tomorrow he is at Congress. Later this week, he will be at the UN, along with that smile.

People I have talked to here in DC—both Catholic and non-Catholic—feel drawn to this pope. For those who question his teachings, the pope says, “I’m ready to recite the Creed.” Of course, he said it with a smile.

Follow me at @StAnthonyMag for more of my thoughts on this historic visit!

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here

51dnUgKdvKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 

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CNS photo/Bob Roller

 

The post Pope Francis’ Winning Smile appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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The Hottest Ticket in Town...

Posted on Sep 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Here in DC, everyone is talking about Pope Francis—and he hasn’t even arrived yet. Even us journalists are getting excited about this leg of the trip. So excited, that trying to get credentials to the events are hard to come by. Reporters are begging and pleading to whoever they can to grab that golden ticket—myself included. With nearly 8,000 members of the media covering this visit, just like everyone else, we would like even a glimpse of this immensely popular pontiff.

Unfortunately, I have not found that ticket yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m not relying on my best journalistic skills to try. All prayers are appreciated.

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here51dnUgKdvKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

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The Lord Never Disappoints...

Posted on Sep 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our blog today is an excerpt from Franciscan Media’s new book The Spirit of Saint Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francisedited by Alicia von Stamwitz.

In listening to what John the Baptist says, who bears witness to Jesus as the Savior, our confidence in Jesus should grow. Many times we trust a doctor: this is good, because the doctor is there to cure us. We trust in a person: this too is good, because brothers and sisters can help us. It is good to have this human trust among ourselves. But we forget about trust in the Lord: this is the key to success in life. Trust in the Lord, let us trust in the Lord!…

Listen carefully, young people, who are just beginning life now: Jesus never disappoints. Never. This is the testimony of John: Jesus, the good One, the meek One, will end as a lamb, who is slain. Without crying out. He came to save us, to take away sin. Mine, yours and that of the whole world: all of it, all of it.

And now I invite you to do something: let us close our eyes, let us imagine the scene on the banks of the river, John as he is baptizing and Jesus who is approaching. And let us listen to John’s voice: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Let us watch Jesus and, in silence, each one of us, say something to Jesus from his or her heart. In silence.

“Your sins are great? Just tell the Lord: Forgive me, help me to get up again, change my heart!”
–Pope  Francis

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Photo by Jakub Krechowicz / Shutterstock

 

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The Lord Never Disappoints...

Posted on Sep 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our blog today is an excerpt from Franciscan Media’s new book The Spirit of Saint Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francisedited by Alicia von Stamwitz.

In listening to what John the Baptist says, who bears witness to Jesus as the Savior, our confidence in Jesus should grow. Many times we trust a doctor: this is good, because the doctor is there to cure us. We trust in a person: this too is good, because brothers and sisters can help us. It is good to have this human trust among ourselves. But we forget about trust in the Lord: this is the key to success in life. Trust in the Lord, let us trust in the Lord!…

Listen carefully, young people, who are just beginning life now: Jesus never disappoints. Never. This is the testimony of John: Jesus, the good One, the meek One, will end as a lamb, who is slain. Without crying out. He came to save us, to take away sin. Mine, yours and that of the whole world: all of it, all of it.

And now I invite you to do something: let us close our eyes, let us imagine the scene on the banks of the river, John as he is baptizing and Jesus who is approaching. And let us listen to John’s voice: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Let us watch Jesus and, in silence, each one of us, say something to Jesus from his or her heart. In silence.

“Your sins are great? Just tell the Lord: Forgive me, help me to get up again, change my heart!”
–Pope  Francis

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Photo by Jakub Krechowicz / Shutterstock

 

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Pope Francis: Our Spiritual Guide...

Posted on Sep 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

On March 13, 2013, Pope Francis caught the world’s attention by choosing St. Francis of Assisi as his patron. He quickly showed what that means for him: riding the bus with the cardinals back to the Domus Sanctae Marthae (where he has chosen to live) and paying his own bill at the hotel where he stayed before the conclave. A few months later, he carried a small bag onto the plane for his trip to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

On October 4, the pope visited Assisi and, in effect, explained how St. Francis inspires him. Among his audience were the eight cardinals who had completed the first of several meetings to advise him about the reform of the Roman Curia and the governance of the worldwide Church.

At the bishop’s residence, in the room where Francis stripped himself of the clothes provided by his father, Pope Francis told a group of poor people assisted by Caritas: “The Christian cannot coexist with the spirit of the world, with the worldliness that leads us to vanity, to arrogance, to pride. And this is an idol; it is not God. It is an idol! And idolatry is the gravest of sins!”

Pope Francis continued: “And we all must strip ourselves of this worldliness: the spirit opposing the spirit of the Beatitudes, the spirit opposing the spirit of Jesus. Worldliness hurts us. . . . Spiritual worldliness kills! It kills the soul! It kills the person! Kills the Church!

“It is God’s strength that supported Francis’ renunciation,” said the pope. It was a renunciation of the spirit of the world, “the cancer of society and the enemy of Christ.”

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.

CommemorativePopeBook_460x340 (1)

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Photo: CNS/Paul Haring

 

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Not everything is “Rah! Rah! Francis!”, even i...

Posted on Sep 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

There is a lot of energy swirling around and about the Holy Father’s visit to Cuba and, soon, to these United States.  I’ve already heard MSM hype about how Francis is the pretty much the first Pope who has ever smiled or kiss a baby.  As a matter of fact, he is the first Pope who has ever thought about poor or who has been nice.  He is the most wonderfulest fluffiest Pope ehvur.  He’s not like mean old Benedict!  He was harsh and Francis is humble!

This is going to get really tiresome.

Meanwhile, not everything is “Rah! Rah! Francis!”, even in the MSM.  It is good to know what they are saying as well.

First, check out George Will at WaPo.  All I can say is brutal.   His piece seems to be a preemptive strike not just against Francis and what he might say to Congress and to the UN about environmentalism and capitalism, but against the lib dems who will try to coopt Francis for cynical political reasons.   The libs will accuse Will of shilling for the GOP, but I don’t think that that is what he is doing.

Pope Francis’ fact-free flamboyance

Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert’s indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak — if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.

[…]

Pretty rough stuff.

We don’t, by the way, have to accept Will’s simplification of the science and Gallileo issue or about medieval economies.

Next comes something from the Weekly Standard by Jonathan V. Last.

Pope Francis: Menace or Farce?

Back in 1999, The Weekly Standard ran one of my favorite cover lines ever: The New Europe: Menace or Farce? I often think of that question when I watch Pope Francis.

It’s only been two and a half years since Francis assumed the chair of St. Peter, yet he’s already compiled an entire dossier’s worth of . . . interesting . . . incidents.

For instance, the Holy Father seems to have a habit of appearing to endorse all sorts of left-wing political causes. There was the time he posed with environmental activists holding an anti-fracking T-shirt. And the time he posed for pictures holding a crucifix made from a hammer and a sickle. And the time he held up a poster calling for the British to hand the Falkland Islands back to Argentina. In each instance, the official Vatican response has been to suggest that Francis didn’t mean to endorse anything because he’ll pretty much smile and pick up anything you hand him, like some sort of consecrated Ron Burgundy.

[…]

While this piece also indicts the Pope’s handlers, the bucks land on the Pontiff’s desk.

Anyway… it is good to know what else is going on, apart from the cloying sweet stuff.

The moderation queue is definitely ON.

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SSPX not in schism...

Posted on Sep 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Michael Voris and his initiative Church Militant have been militating pretty hard these days against the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX – a society of priests, not lay people, having a less than perfect canonical status).

Michael is pushing hard that the SSPX is schismatic.

I have been saying for years that the SSPX is not.  Canonically screwed up? Yes.  Schismatic? No.

So, in a recent piece (HERE) Voris provides the headline:

CM EXCLUSIVE: A Canon Lawyer Speaks on the SSPX
Former canonist for Holy See confirms Society is in material schism

But if you read that piece, which is an interview with a good canonist, Marc Balestrieri, you find that you could post the headline:

Former canonist for Holy See confirms Society is not in de iure schism

Material schism is vague.  Maybe they are in material schism.  Maybe they aren’t.  Formal schism, on the other hand, is not fuzzy.  I think we should throw “schism” around and about the heads of the SSPX, even though we don’t want to minimize that they are in a decidedly bad canonical situation and confusion surrounds their status.

Some excerpts:

It is the more probable opinion among approved authors that refusal of obedience of a Catholic to the Pope which is not predicated upon a rejection of the principle of his authority as Roman Pontiff as Caput Romanae Ecclesiae constitutes material, not formal schism. However, if those lay faithful receiving the Sacraments from them at any one point in time also severed themselves entirely from, or refused submission in principle to, the Roman Pontiff and per can. 1330 of the Code of Canon Law manifested in word or in deed externally such actions, then they are presumed to have descended into formal schism.

I don’t think SSPX members or followers do that. At least the sane one’s don’t.

The Prefect’s use of the term de facto emphasizes the factual divide in communion between the Holy See and the SSPX Bishops. If he had intended to emphasize clearly the existence of formal schism on their part, he most likely would have employed the term de iure given the context of the assertion.

The absence of the use of such term on his part, however, does nothing to mitigate the gravity of the material schism by which souls are at grave risk of not being saved for as long as the situation perdures.

Agreed.  The SSPX is canonically screwed up.  But they are not formally schismatic.

Concerning the invalidly of absolution involves, he explains what “common error” is and what it isn’t.

SSPX priests are presumed at Universal Law only to possess jurisdiction or the faculty to absolve from sin in two exceptional circumstances.  First, pursuant to the norm of can. 976, “Any priest, even though he lacks the faculty to hear confessions, can validly and lawfully absolve any penitents who are in danger of death, from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present.” “Any priest” according to this norm would include validly ordained SSPX priests. Second, in conformity with the norm of can. 144, § 1, whenever (1) Common Error of Fact or Law and (2) Positive and Probable Doubt of Fact or Law have been verified to exist in a certain fact pattern, the Church “supplies” a iure universali the faculty required for SSPX priests to absolve from sins validly. “Error” in this norm means a state of erroneous judgment; “doubt” in this canon means a grave, positive and probable doubt asserted by numerous doctors of Canon Law of unimpaired reputation extant on the part of the SSPX priest acting as confessor.

While canonists find no controversy in the assertion that SSPX priests who are validly ordained and not otherwise impeded have the faculty to absolve the faithful from sin in danger of death of a penitent (cf. can. 976), the jurisprudence of the Roman Rota does provide some rare official light into the other question of whether SSPX priests possess the jurisdiction required to witness marriage validly.

The canonist lays out really well the situation of priests of the SSPX and that they don’t possess faculties (right now) validly to absolve and they cannot witness marriages (thus, making them invalid because of lack of form. He explains that judgments of the Church’s highest tribunal on marriage has consistently ruled that the marriages were invalid because SSPX priests cannot witness marriages.

The thrust here is that the judgments of the Roman Rota has found SSPX marriages invalid because of lack of form.  This provides a parallel for understanding also that the SSPX also don’t have faculties to hear confessions.  “Error” of judgment is excluded, because the teaching of the Holy See has been clear.  “Doubt” is excluded because canonists are in line.

Canon 144 only refers to the Church supplying “potestatem regiminis executivam”, the “executive power of governance”.

Keeping with confession as an example, and one that involves internal forum, can. 144 covers instances wherein a priest who lacks the faculty to hear confessions at all, or he just lacks them in a particular place or situation, nevertheless believes he has the faculty and the penitent also believes he does.   Thus, it doesn’t quite cover the situation of SSPX priests, who know very what proper authority as instructed about their state: they lack faculties.  They, however, do not obey proper authority.   They might honestly believe that they can receive confessions because of some state of “emergency” that the Church is in, but, intellectually, they know that the Church has told them that they don’t.  They aren’t ignorant of the facts, though they – even with sincerity – may not accept them.  Some lay people are up to date on the controversy, though most are not.

More HERE.

I thank Mr. Voris, because he laid out will with this interview many of the issues that plague the sacramental life of followers of the SSPX and he explodes the claim that the SSPX is formally schismatic.

I’ll repeat also what I have written may times.  I look forward to the complete reconciliation of the SSPX.  They have great contributions to make.  I also think that Pope Francis might be the one to resolve this formally.  It took Nixon to go to China.

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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."