Monday, May 14, 2018

ACN News -Christians in India suffer from discrimination, attacks by fundamentalist Hindus




N THE SOUTH Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Christians are complaining about increasing violence and discrimination by fundamentalist Hindus. In early May, about 20,000 Christians of various denominations in at least 16 towns took to the streets to demonstrate against anti-Christian aggression.

Since the start of the year, there have been reports of more than 15 cases involving violent attacks in Tamil Nadu. But the suppression of the Christian minority in mostly Hindu India is also intensifying in other parts of the country.

Nearly 80 percent of the total population of India is Hindu, with Christians accounting for just two percent of the population.

The offenses range from acts of desecration in churches to the rape of nuns and even the murder of a pastor, which provoked major protests by the Christian population.

Thousands took to the streets. The victim, a pastor of an independent Christian Church in the district of Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, was found hung in January after he had complained to police about cases of harassment by Hindus.

Bishop Thomas Paulsamy of the Diocese of Dandigul reports that Christians in Tamil Nadu feel increasingly under threat from radical Hindu fundamentalists. The bishop spoke to us of his extreme disappointment about the increase in violent attacks.

"We Christians actually cultivate good relations with Hindus, Muslims and other religious groups," the bishop said. "We travel together, eat together and live together. Many even come into our churches." At Christmas, for example, he said, thousands of non-Christians attended Catholic liturgies, including many Hindus.

However, the bishop said, a Hindu nationalist minority is disturbing this peaceful co-existence in this way. In Bishop Thomas’ neighboring diocese, mainly protestant churches have recently been attacked and Bibles burned.

Bishop Paulsamy is chair of the Committee for Disadvantaged Castes and Tribes at the Indian bishops' conference. There is a discussion currently underway, he reported, on how the Christian minority in India can be protected more effectively.

An inter-religious working group has already been created in which representatives of a number of religious minorities, including Muslims, discuss possible solutions together. In addition, more and more bishops are now speaking out publicly and have protested against Hindu aggression. "But they do so always peacefully, never violently," Bishop Paulsamy stressed.
Bishop Paulsamy believes the main cause of deteriorating relations between Hindus and Christians is the rise to power of Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Before the BJP was in power, relations had been much more peaceful and harmonious, Bishop Paulsamy said.

Since Modi became prime minister, however, he indicated, fundamentalist Hindu groups have become increasingly powerful. "The BJP supports the fundamentalists," said the bishop.

According to its constitution, India is a secular and democratic republic. "All people have an equal right to freedom of conscience, and free profession, practice and propagation of religion," reads Article 25 of the constitution. However, Paulsamy warns that Prime Minister Modi wants to turn India into a Hindu country. He said: "He does not want the constitution to apply, but rather the religious principles and values of Hinduism."

Modi's ministers have repeatedly emphasized their support for measures intended to "protect" the Hindu religion, the bishop said. In the eyes of Hindu nationalists, religious minorities are seen as a threat, especially Muslims and Christians.

Following their electoral victory in 2014, the BJP government also wanted to reintroduce a nationwide anti-conversion law—a move which blocked by the law and justice ministry, which argued that any legislation from the central government which restricts the free choice of religion is a violation of the constitution.

Even so, anti-conversion laws are in force in seven of 29 Indian states. Conversion was also banned in Tamil Nadu, a state with a comparatively high proportion of Christians at 12 percent of the population.

Though the law has been rescinded, the government frowns upon conversions. It is unlikely that the Modi government will abandon efforts to impose a nationwide conversion ban.

National elections are slated for May 2019. The opposition is trying to form a coalition party to stand as one against the BJP. Whether this succeeds in challenging Modi's majority is far from certain. Christians may be faced with an additional five difficult years with the BJP in power.

If Modi and the BJP are re-elected, Bishop Paulsamy is certain discrimination against the Christian minority will continue. He concluded: "As long as the BJP is in government it will make life difficult for Christians in India."

—Maximilian Lutz


With picture of Bishop Thomas Paulsamy of Dindigul, India, celebrating Mass (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Monday, May 07, 2018

ACN News -Attack on church in Central African Republic kills 19


A PRIEST has described seeing at least 19 Christians being killed when gunmen “rained down bullets” on more than 2,000 people gathered for Mass in the Central African Republic.

Father Moses Otii, parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in the country’s capital of Bangui, reported that 120 parishioners were injured during the violence, which included grenade attacks. The assault took place May 1, 2018.

Father Otii said that the attackers “outnumbered the police and the police retreated, then the attackers started shooting at the church and throwing hand grenades at the people.”

He added: “With my own eyes I saw three hand grenades thrown in front of the church, but thank God in an area without people, and a grenade thrown in among many people gathered in the open air within the church’s compound.”

“The grenade was thrown from behind the parish walls into the crowd of people at Mass. It exploded.”
“Normally our Masses are celebrated in the open air since our church cannot contain more than 2,000 people. And we had more than 2,000 people for the Mass.”

He continued: “So many people were injured. They started running in all directions. We had people almost everywhere – our rooms, refectory, parish halls, our kitchen, and even in the toilets.”

“Others could not run. For example, a lady had both legs cut off by the grenade, she couldn’t move. It was a commotion with people running and people crying.”

Father Otii was on the altar with 15 concelebrating priests, when he saw the gunmen outside the Church targeting the Christians.

He said: “I saw the attackers waving their arms in what I interpreted as ‘calm down’ gesture just before they started raining bullets at the people gathered at Mass. I heard gunshots during the prayer of the faithful, just before the offertory.”

The priest added: “Immediately when things calmed down, we got some young people from the parish to help transport the injured to the hospital.”

Father Otii also said: “There are now bullet holes in the walls of the church and parish halls from this attack.”

He added: “Until now no one has claimed responsibility. People saw the attackers come from the direction of PK5 [neighborhood], which is just close to the parish – the majority of PK5 residents are Muslim.”

According to reports, PK5 is home to a number of former Séléka rebels. A mosque was also burnt down following the Church attack. Two men were killed.
Among those killed in Our Lady of Fatima Church was Father Albert Baba, who served in a nearby parish.

Father Otii said: “I knew him well. He was a calm speaker, he was in his 70’s. He was someone joyful. He was lively despite his age. During Eucharistic celebrations, he liked dancing. He had his own style of animating the Eucharistic celebrations.”

“Father Albert worked as Justice and Peace coordinator in the Archdiocese of Bangui. Where there was injustice he went and spoke to people from all walks of life to help them. He would surely want a prayer of peace to be heard after these attacks in our country.”

Protesters carried the priest’s body through the street of Bangui towards the presidential palace. President Faustin Archange Touadera called for three days of nation-wide mourning after the attacks.

Calling for peace, Father Otii said: “My prayer after the attacks in Bangui – Good Lord, bring us peace so that we can live like brothers and sisters together. Save all innocent people from their suffering. Good Lord stop the violence and transform the hearts of those attackers.”

“Come Lord, come to help us. May the blood of your servant Father Albert and of all the innocent that pours in this country not be in vain.”


Murcadha O Flaherty and John Newton



With picture of Father Moses Otii, showing bullet holes in our Lady of Fatima Church, Bangui, Central African Republic (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brook

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

ACN News -In wake of church massacre, Nigerian bishops call on president to step down


Nigeria’s bishops have issued a formal statement calling on the President to “consider stepping aside” and accusing the government of security failures which they blame for the murder of 17 Christians including two priests.

Father Joseph Gor, Father Felix Tyolaha and 15 parishioners were killed during a funeral Mass in Mbalom, Benue State by gunmen, with reports that about 30 Fulani militants waited for the faithful to gather at the church before attacking. They also burned down some 50 homes in the area.

Condemning the “rampaging and murderous terrorists”, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a formal statement, asking: “…how can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless and armless citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in their sacred places of worship?”

Writing in bold typeface, the bishops stressed: “…it is time for [Nigeria’s President Mudammadu Buhari] to choose the part of honor and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.” 

Accusing the President of ignoring repeated calls to step up security, the bishops assert: “He should no longer continue to preside over the killing fields and mass graveyard that our country has become.”

Written in the wake of the funeral Mass killings, which took place last Tuesday (April 24th), the bishops assert that they have lost confidence in the country’s security apparatus.

In their statement, the bishops declare: “Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told to defend themselves. But defend themselves with what?”

The statement notes that the “government should encourage and empower citizens to secure themselves and their environments. This is not the time to disarm people with legally procured weapons of self-defense.”

The CBCN statement reports that, back in January, Father Gor, one of the priests killed last Tuesday, had warned about the continuing threat posed by Fulani herdsmen of whom he said: “They still go grazing around. No weapons to defend ourselves.”  

Highlighting security concerns across Nigeria’s Middle-Belt, Father Alexander Yeyock, parish priest of. St John’s Catholic Church, Asso village in nearby Kaduna State, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “The concern now is that the entire nation should not depend so much on national security protection.”

“Every individual, groups and community should struggle to defend themselves.  This is grossly unfortunate.”

Father Yeyock’s parish was attacked a month ago when two Catholic men were shot dead, an atrocity which took place almost exactly a year after Fulani militants murdered 12 Christians during the Easter Vigil service at his church.

Referring to tension in his parish and across the region, Father Yeyock said: “In Asso, farmers go to farms in fear and in groups… Bereaved families have come to terms with the reality that attacks by Fulani herdsmen, [occur] frequently in Asso, but no place is spared.”

Father Yeyock added: “It’s again unfortunate that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are known by the government of Nigeria, those who sponsor them, too, and yet no action is taken.”

Highlighting that Fulani militants receive military training abroad before going on to target Christians, he said: “With the news of the current attacks, Nigerians have argued with the earlier narrative from the federal government who have very often told the world that it was always a clash between the herdsmen and farmers.” 

“It’s now evidently revealing that there is more to it than meets the eye… It is purely a religious jihad in disguise.” 

According to reports, the Acting Governor of Benue State, Benson Abounu, said last Tuesday’s attack showed that the security breakdown had “gone beyond [a] farmers-herders crisis.”


Editor’s Notes:



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action. 

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide. 

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

How to Avoid Purgatory

How to Avoid Purgatory by Father Paul O'Sullivan via EWTN

 I am grateful to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.



How to Avoid Purgatory, Ch. 13

by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan
1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.
2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you. When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"

3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid them let him bear them manfully. Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear.

4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.

5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive others, God forgives us.
6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity, whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years.

7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favour to others when it is possible. These and suchlike little acts are a splendid penance.
8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them constantly, get others to do so . . . and ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most generously.
9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.

10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus, I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death"

Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1997. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 06, 2018

ACN News -In Pakistan, God shines a light into Catholic girl’s fearful existence



DOLLY Sarwar Bhatti is an 11-year old Catholic girl. She is a fifth-grader at St. Anthony’s school in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and her place of birth.

In this interview, Dolly speaks of the everyday  concerns of a young Christian girl from a poor family, living in a country where a significant degree of chaos and lawlessness reign, and where Christians are targeted by Islamic radicals, either through violence or by way of the country’s infamous blasphemy law.


“Last year I was very unhappy because my father fell ill; he suffered hepatitis, and because of that he lost his job. Therefore, we have no money to pay our school fees; our teacher has taken our school bags into her custody.

“This is the saddest moment I ever experienced, because I love to go school and study, but along with my younger sister and brother, I just can’t right now.

“Even though we passed our exams, we have to stay home. The teacher has told us we can’t even get our exam results and we might even miss the start of new classes; we also have no money to buy books.

“God always help us and gives us strength. My maternal grandmother used to help us with food and also with our school fees, but she passed away. I pray to God that her soul may rest in peace. 

“Even in this time of darkness, I can see the light by going to the church and reading the Bible. I regularly read the Bible and I go to church every afternoon. Those are moments of joy and happiness, because I know that God does good things for us; and He helps us through His people.

“My mom and dad are always involved in this happiness. We pray regularly as a family. It is always my family that is my strength; I always feel that  God  is with me and He has never ever forsaken me or my family—even though we are passing through hard times. I always keep my Bible with me and read passages, which always gives me strength and happiness.

“The area where we are living is not safe at all, because the majority of local youth is involved in drugs and the majority of the inhabitants of this area are Pathan people, and many of them are involved in both terrorism and drug trafficking. This country is not safe because of all the terrorism and bombings.

“These days, Christians are not safe in Pakistan, particularly girls, who are often victims of rape and murder. For that reason, we never leave the house without our parents and we do not get to play outside at all.

“I don’t personally know anyone someone who has been accused of blasphemy but I was very touched by the news of that Christian couple who were burned alive by the mob; and I just heard a story about a Christian boy named Sajid who was tortured by Muslims. This is very bad news; more such news comes from our school friends and relatives.

“I am often afraid; I fear that someone might accuses my father, mother, or myself, because it is an easy way to target someone in this country. We can freely worship in our church in the area and we haven’t experienced any violence, but at the gate of our church there are always two youngsters checking that no one who enters the church creates violence.

“Often, in the area where I live with my family, and also at school, I experience discrimination, even though it is a missionary school. Muslim boys and girls always treat Christian girls as ‘cheap,’ which means they don’t not want to drink water from the same tap from which Christian girls drink and they don’t want to sit anywhere near me or other Christian girls.

“At the previous school I attended, one run by the government, I felt very uncomfortable because of some of the textbooks; they referred to non-Muslims in ways that upset me. For example, there is the word kafir, which means non-believer, referring to someone Muslims don’t want to sit close to or eat with.

“But still I love my county because my family and my uncles and aunts live in here. I wish we could all move to another country, where we can be more respected and enjoy free education; where my family and I would be safe.

“I want to become a stewardess. I still have faith that my life will be a successful life, because I'm a student and I'm a child of God. Yes, as a Christian I have hope that the world will become more peaceful and I so wish that for my country as well. Many people think that Pakistanis are cheaters, terrorists, and greedy people.

“No one is helping solve the problem of poverty and lack of education. Other countries and our own leaders show little interest in helping solve our problems. If they would help us in the field of education, there would no double standard. The level of education in government schools is very poor, compared to private schools whose fees are so high that only the wealthy can afford to go there. Even the fees for missionary schools are high.

“There are Christians in the West? I thought that only Muslims were living in the West; but if that is so why do those Christians not come here to relieve our problems and suffering? If Christian children don’t get a good education they won’t be able to apply for respectable jobs and they will be obliged to do very humble jobs, like sweeping streets and cleaning gutters.

“My favorite prayers in scary times are "Our Father in Heaven" and "Hail Mary.” These prayers always give me strength. If I would get a chance to talk to world leaders, I would only ask them create peace in the world. No one in the world should be killed by bombs or blasphemy accusations!”
—Tabassum Yousaf


With picture of Dolly Sarwar Bhatti (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Archbishop Fulton Sheen's 3 Reasons for Making a Holy Hour of Adoration



According to the late Father Andrew Apostoli:

1.  FRIENDSHIP:  Jesus asked for it. 

2.  TRANSFORMATION:  When we pray in the presence of Jesus, the grace of the Lord begins to affect us.  Our hearts must be transformed and cleansed.

3.  REPARATION AND INTERCESSION:  for all the offenses against Jesus and "so no one will be lost and all will be saved". -  Saint Padre Pio.

Jesus told Sister Faustina that there are two thrones of His Mercy in this world.

I.  "The Tabernacle of my Eucharistic Presence".

II.  The confessional.



Thursday, March 29, 2018

ACN News -In Indonesia, Jesuit pastor forgives Muslim assailant




IT BEGAN AS an ordinary Mass, Feb. 18, 2018 at St. Lidwina Catholic Church in the Yogyakarta region of Java, the main island of Indonesia. The pews were full.
The celebrant that day was German-born Father Karl-Edmund Prier, S.J., a liturgical music expert who has lived in Indonesia since 1964. Father Prier regularly says Mass at St. Lidwina Church, which is part of the Archdiocese of Semarang.
The people had just finished singing the Kyrie, when suddenly a young man—a Muslim, it turned out afterward—entered the church. He walked toward the altar, shouted out and drew a long sword, which he swung toward the congregation.
Father Prier tells the story: "At that moment, the culprit walked up to the altar, shouting, swinging his long sword. After entering, the man walked between the rows of chairs in the church. And then came towards me. He looked at me and saw I was wearing liturgical clothes.  Suddenly, he stopped. Maybe he thought that this is God's house …”
"I thought, maybe that person would undo his intention and wouldn’t attack me and the people. However, my guess was wrong: he twice hit me on the back, and once hit my head with the sword." Two churchgoers and a police officers were also wounded. The attacker was shot in the stomach.
Father Prier was hospitalized for four days because of his head injury. Looking back at the incident, he says: "I am not afraid, nor do I get angry. A shepherd cannot run away from his sheep."
"A person can sometimes be afraid of being possessed by a bad spirit, but if he or she remains calm, the Holy Spirit will offer protection. I am not angry with the perpetrator. I forgive him. Suppose I met him and he apologized, I would say, 'No, say nothing, I forgive you.’”
"In the Lord's Prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, Jesus asked them to forgive the guilty one. The Lord's Prayer must be implemented, which means the culprit is not repaid in kind. As to the people, I told them not to be afraid. Like I'm not afraid, either."
Two weeks after the incident, Archbishop Robertus Rubiyatmoko of Semarang Msgr. Robertus  presided at Mass at St. Lidwina’s Catholic Church. Father Prier was among 20 priests concelebrating.
Meanwhile, a prominent Muslim leader, Mohamad Syafii Maarif, expressed his disappointment over this incident. He met with the archbishop shortly after the attack.
"We are very grateful for Syafii’s presence so spontaneously, quickly and responsively at that time; it really calmed everything down. The people are calm and not provoked, but there is a growing sense of brotherhood and solidarity,” Archbishop Rubiyatmoko said.

—Antonius E. Sugiyanto


With damaged statue at St. Lidwina Church (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Editorial by Bishop of Honolulu on the Medical Assisted Suicide Bill

Reprinted here with permission from Bishop Larry Silva.

“While our Legislature may not base its decisions on eternal consequences, it should still think beyond the individual terminally ill person,” writes Larry Silva, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, in opposition to HB 2739.

Etymology, the study of the roots of words, has always fascinated me. Take the word “autonomy,” which derives from the Greek “auto,” meaning “self” and “nomos,” meaning “law.” To be autonomous then is to live by one’s own law.

The recent discussions regarding the House Bill 2739, the so-called Our Care, Our Choice Act, tout autonomy. Yet I find it ironic that the act of taking one’s life, which people have been doing quite autonomously for thousands of years, is now only to be sanctioned if one has the permission of one’s “health” care provider, the state Legislature and the governor.

My wonder at this apparent contradiction is compounded when I think of how, until now, we have prided ourselves on helping people not take their own lives. We have suicide prevention programs and hotlines, and have always considered suicide a tragedy that wreaks havoc on so many survivors who feel grief and frustration that they were not able to prevent this “autonomous” decision from being made.

Of course, I have heard the reply, “This is not suicide.” In fact, HB 2739 speaks of the death certificate that is to be prepared once a person has freely decided to take a life-ending chemical. It says, “The death certificate shall list the terminal disease as the immediate cause of death.” In other words, it will lie about the real immediate cause of death, which is freely and deliberately ingesting a poison into one’s system. If we call it another name besides suicide, then it may become respectable.

Under no circumstances should we call it what it is, since certain insurance benefits may not be available to one’s estate if one commits suicide. So let’s also lie to the insurance company by calling it “death with dignity” or some other title that will make it sound more respectable.

As a spiritual leader, I also must raise the question of whether someone who deliberately, with documentable soundness of mind and determination of will, violates God’s basic commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” may be flirting with a fate worse than a debilitating terminal illness. That person may be very surprised to arrive in the next life only to be met with unimaginable pain and isolation, from which there is no pill that will ever allow escape. God does allow us the autonomy to make such decisions, but he warns us of the dire consequences — and relentlessly attempts to turn us away from such self-destructive decisions.

While our Legislature may not base its decisions on eternal consequences, it should still think beyond the individual terminally ill person.

What of family members who will have to live with the weight of their own consciences regarding this very unnatural process? What of those who are suffering depression, which can be even more dark and painful than physical pain, including our beloved young people? Won’t this suggest to them that if life becomes too burdensome, checking oneself out of it sooner than later is a legitimate option?

If this door to choosing death is opened, will insurance companies and health care facilities continue to provide very expensive but ingenious treatments, developed over generations by scientists, technicians, and medical personnel? Or will the “bottom line” lead them to refuse these expensive treatments because the patient has the choice of a much quicker and less expensive death?

Will medical personnel or pharmacists be forced to provide a lethal drug against their consciences because the patient has lawfully insisted upon having it? In other words, the “auto” in “autonomous” would easily become a cancer that would inflict us all.

Larry Silva is bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Holy Week Meditation - The Sins that will be Punished more Severely

"Ecce Homo" by Phillip de Champaign

Picture source

The following is Our Blessed Mother's instructions to Sister Mary of Jesus (Maria de Agreda)

"For in view of the patience and meekness of my most holy Son and my own example, the wicked and all mortals shall be covered with unutterable confusion because t hey have not pardoned each other with fraternal charity.

The sins of hate and vengeance shall be punished with greater severity than other sins on the judgment day; and in t his life these vices will soonest drive away the infinite mercy of God and cause eternal punishment of men, unless they amend in sorrow.

Those that are kind and sweet toward their enemies and persecutors, and who forget injuries, resemble on that account more particularly the incarnate Word:  for Christ always went about seeking to pardon and to load with blessings those who were in sin.  By imitating the charity and the meekness of the Lamb, the soul disposes itself to receive and maintain that noble spirit of charity and love of God and the neighbor, which makes it apt for all the influences of divine grace and benevolence."

Fourth Book of the City of God