Patrick J. Buchanan, syndicated columnist, former presidential candidate, and author of Suicide of a Superpower, on presidential politics in the U.S. and the Catholic vote.
Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, on China's record on religious freedom, its one child policy and the recent, disturbing news about its military build up.
Friday, January 13, 2012
The following is from VIS News
VATICAN CITY, 7 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was a Note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith containing pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith. Summarised extracts of the English-language version are given below.
"With the Apostolic Letter of 11 October 2011, 'Porta fidei', Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith. This Year will begin on 11 October 2012, … and will conclude on 24 November 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King".
"The beginning of the Year of Faith coincides with the anniversaries of two great events which have marked the life of the Church in our days: the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, … and the twentieth of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church".
Recommendations for the Universal Church
- The main ecclesial event will be the thirteenth General Assembly of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops, on "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" to be held in October. It is during the Synod that the Year of Faith will begin.
- Encouraging pilgrimages of the faithful to the See of Peter and to the Holy Land.
- Inviting the faithful to recognise the special role of Mary in the mystery of salvation, to love her and follow her as a model of faith and virtue.
- Holding symposia, conferences and large gatherings to encourage encounters with authentic witness to the faith and to promote understanding of the contents of Catholic doctrine, especially the teachings of Vatican Council II.
- Deepening knowledge of the primary documents of Vatican Council II and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is especially true for candidates for priesthood, novices in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as for those in a period of discernment for joining an Ecclesial Association or Movement.
- More attentive reception of the homilies, catechesis, addresses and other speeches and documents of the Holy Father.
- Planning ecumenical initiatives aimed at the restoration of unity among all Christians. In particular, there will be a solemn ecumenical celebration in which all of the baptised will reaffirm their faith in Christ.
- A Secretariat to coordinate all of the different initiatives of the Year of Faith will be established within the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. The Secretariat will also open a dedicated website.
- At the conclusion of the Year, on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, there will be a Eucharist celebrated by the Holy Father, in which a solemn renewal of the profession of faith will take place.
Recommendations for episcopal conferences
- Dedicating a day of study to the topic of faith, its personal witness and its transmission to new generations.
- Promoting the republication in paperback and economical editions of the documents of Vatican Council II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, and their wider distribution using modern technologies.
- Translating the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church into languages which lack a translation. Also, encouraging initiatives of charitable support to enable translations into the local languages of mission countries, where the local Churches cannot afford the expense.
- Promoting television and radio transmissions, films and publications focusing on the faith and on Vatican Council II. This should be done using the new styles of communication, especially on the popular level.
- Disseminating knowledge of local saints and blesseds, the authentic witnesses of the faith.
- Maximising the catechetical potential of local artistic patrimony, possibly with ecumenical cooperation.
- Educators in centres of theological studies, seminaries and Catholic universities should be encouraged to demonstrate the relevance within their various disciplines of the contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Preparing pamphlets and leaflets of an apologetic nature, with the help of theologians and authors, to help the faithful respond to the questions which arise in difficult contexts, including the challenge of sects and problems related to secularism.
- Examining local catechisms and various catechetical supplements in use in the particular Churches to ensure their complete conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and preparing new ones in case of need.
- Ensuring that the contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are present in the "Ratio" of formation for future priests, and in the curriculum of their theological studies.
Recommendations at the diocesan level
- It is hoped that each particular Church will celebrate the opening and the solemn conclusion of the Year of Faith.
- Organising a study day in each diocese on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, particularly for priests, consecrated persons and catechists.
- Each bishop could devote a pastoral letter to the topic of faith, keeping in mind the specific pastoral circumstances of his faithful, reminding them of the importance of Vatican Council II and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Organising catechetical events, especially for young people and those seeking the meaning of life, helping them to discover the beauty of ecclesial faith.
- Reviewing the reception of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the life and mission of dioceses, particularly in the realm of catechesis.
- Focusing the continuing education of the clergy on the documents of Vatican Council II and on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Organising penitential celebrations in which all can ask for God's forgiveness, especially for sins against faith.
- Renewing creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study, especially at Catholic universities.
- Promoting encounters with non-believers who sincerely search for the ultimate meaning and definitive truth of their lives and of the world, taking as an example the dialogues of the Courtyard of the Gentiles, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture.
- Paying greater attention to Catholic schools, which are a perfect place to offer students a living witness to the Lord and to nurture their faith, using such instruments as the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and "Youcat".
Recommendations for parishes, communities, associations and movements
- All of the faithful are invited to read closely and meditate upon Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter, "Porta fidei".
- Intensifying the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, in which the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to participate in the Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness.
- Priests should devote greater attention to the study of the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, apply this to their pastoral care and offer cycles of homilies on the faith or on certain specific aspects.
- Catechists should hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and guide groups of faithful towards a deeper common understanding thereof.
- Parishes can help to distribute the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other resources appropriate for families - the primary setting for the transmission of the faith - for example, during the blessing of homes, the Baptism of adults, Confirmation and Marriage.
- Promoting missions and other popular programmes in parishes and in the workplace, to help the faithful rediscover the gift of baptismal faith and the task of giving witness.
- Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life are asked to work towards the new evangelisation, each according to their proper charism.
- Contemplative communities should pray specifically for the renewal of the faith among the People of God, and for a new impulse for its transmission to the young.
- Associations and Ecclesial Movements are invited to promote specific initiatives, through the contribution of their proper charism.
- All of the faithful should try to communicate their own experience of faith and charity to their brothers and sisters of other religions, believers and non-believers. In this way, it is hoped that the entire Christian people will begin a kind of mission towards those with whom they live and work.
The Note concludes by stating that "the recommendations provided here have the goal of inviting all of the members of the Church to work so that this Year may be a special time in which we, as Christians, may share that which is most dear to us: Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind".
CDF/ VIS 20120107 (1430)
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The Punjab government in Pakistan stands accused of “brutal injustice” for sending bulldozers into a Church-owned site and demolishing a church, a school for poor girls, and homes for poor, elderly and homeless people.
Poverty-stricken families living on the two-acre site in Lahore were woken at 6.30 am and were asked to evacuate their homes.
All the buildings on the site were destroyed, including a small church and at least seven houses which still had the occupants’ belongings inside.
With nowhere to go, a number of families and people working in the school camped out overnight on the demolished site, in Allama Iqbal Road, in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu district, and the following morning, January 11th, a protest march was held.
Stating that the Church had proof of ownership of the site dating back to 1887, Catholic Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore condemned the state government of Punjab, accusing it of “carrying out a criminal act of land-grabbing”.
Speaking from Lahore in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), he said he had summoned priests of the diocese to a crisis meeting to prepare to go to the High Court to reclaim the site.
Condemning the demolition job, Bishop Shaw said, “What the state government of Punjab has done is a very, very brutal act of injustice.”
“How can they do such a thing, just to come in, wreck a charitable institution and ruin the lives of people living there? They do not listen to anybody.”
He added, “This is a criminal act of land-grabbing by the government functionaries.”
Warning of further government action to seize Church-owned property, he said,
“Everybody is worried now that the state government and especially the ruling party in the Punjab Province [the Muslim League ‘N’] have their eye on our buildings and land.”
One of those who lost their homes was Zoniba Richard, aged 62. She said her belongings were destroyed, that she was homeless and without family to go to.
Mrs. Richard said she slept out in the cold on the first night after the demolition.
Asked about her plans for the future, she said, “I don’t know. I can only trust in God.”
She was interviewed on the site by Joris van Voorst tot Voorst, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (Netherlands).
He happened to be in Lahore at the time on a fact-finding exercise and was on the scene within hours of the incident alongside Dr. Pieter Omtzigt, also from the Netherlands.
Dr. Omtzigt said, “The rights of minorities are being trampled upon.”
Dr. Alexander John Malik, Anglican Bishop of Lahore, also condemned the demolition and demanded that the Punjab government rebuild what had been destroyed.
He said that a Blasphemy Law case should be registered for the desecration of the Bibles, crosses and the church without prior ecclesiastical permission.
In a message from the Anglican Church of Pakistan, the bishop stated that the demolition “manifests unaccounted power and explains grave injustice and cruelty towards non-Muslims/religious minorities in Pakistan.”
Saying that the Church had not received prior warning of the demolition plans, Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, National Director of the Catholic Church’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), spoke to ACN from the site.
He said, “People are very sad. They are very angry. They are still sitting in the place that they call home.”
The priest added, “We have the papers to show who the rightful owners of the site are.”
“The government must have done something which was not correct to change the facts of the case.”
Fr. Yousaf said that the site is still registered in the name of the Lahore Charitable Association, a trust made up of clergy and lay people from different Christian denominations with the Catholic Bishop of Lahore presiding as chairman.
He said that controversy over the ownership had arisen a few years ago when the main building on the site was used as a refuge for destitute women run by religious Sisters.
One of the women given refuge converted to Islam and began harassing the Sisters and querying the rightful ownership of two rooms which she had occupied.
The state authorities were notified and their subsequent discussions with the Church broke down.
According to local newspaper reports, local government officials claim the site was declared state land by the authorities in 2007.
Since then, he said, the government had notified the owners of the center several times.
It is understood that the site is very valuable and that the state government is anxious to profit from it.
Critics have pointed to a dramatic change in policy towards minority groups since the death of Salman Taseer, Governor of the Punjab, who was assassinated on January 4th, 2011, for his outspoken criticism of oppression of minority groups.
With pictures of local men with Dr. Pieter Omtzigt standing in ruins of homes and a picture of Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore (© ACN)
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.
|Original drawing from the Honolulu Academy of Art|
The following excerpt from The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life will not only give much hope to parents whose children have fallen away from their faith, but will also greatly comfort their mothers.
"...Then the child will read all the treasures of grace, solicitude, and tenderness enclosed in the heart of his mother. He will know that, next to God, it was the tears, prayers, and sighs of that mother which brought about his salvation. 'O mother,' he will exclaim, 'I used to love you because you gave me an earthly life, and provided for my food and my childhood needs; now I love you a thousand times more tenderly, because of the eternal life I have received, and without which the first would have been a fatal gift, a source of calamities and torture for me.
O new and happy Monicas, how great your triumphs and joys will be, when you see yourselves surrounded by a whole circle of children whose glory you have secured after having brought them into existence! Then, Christian fathers, your sacrifices, courage, and heroic constancy in strengthening your sons by profitable examples, and in rearing them by noble, laborious training, will no longer be unknown...
It is a very beautiful prayer that Saint Faustina wrote in her diary. We pray to see God's mercy in every aspect of our lives, through our human bodies and thereby transforming ourselves into His mercy.
I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.Text source.
- Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearences, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors' souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors' needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me (...).
O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself , for you can do all things. (163)
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The start of the new year made me review my spiritual life like I am sure many of you were called to do. One place I needed to concentrate on was reading books that would enrich my spiritual life. In the past, I would choose one book and read it prior to daily Mass. But at home, I would read a good mystery novel. I would only give up secular books during Lent. But while I sat there in church, adoring our Lord, I felt Him calling me to read more good books. A big boost to this resolution came from one of my good friends, blogger Mary of
The Beautiful Gate. She,a very generous soul, send me a collection of books, many of which I had been wanting to read. Some of those books along with others I have in my collection are really helping me to find out exactly where I should focus my attention.
Main priorities: - Asking God to help me love Him more.
- Keeping interior peace
- Being more silent and careful with words
The books I am currently reading or have read so far are:
1. The End of the Present world and the Mysteries of the Future Life by Father Charles Arminjon and translated by Susan Conroy. I am actually finishing reading this book which I began I few months ago.
The following is an excerpt from the book on how it will be in heaven for husbands and wives:
Without doubt, in heaven the spouses who have come from earth will themselves be like angels, and will no longer aspire to the delights of the senses. However, they will taste the ever-pure pleasures of the spirit, and, as they were one in flesh during their earthly exile, so in glory they will form one single heart and soul, in the delights of another union that will have no end.
In heave, we shall see and recognize one another, and in heaven, we shall love one another..."
2. Progress in Divine Union by Father Raoul Plus, SJ - Recently finished reading.
The following is an excerpt about the silence of the Blessed Mother.
"The great model of interior silence is the Blessed Virgin. She lived on supernatural realities alone; other things did not count. She kept the divine in her heart; the human remained ath the door and could gain no entrance..."
-or advice to busy people on improving their spiritual life-
"Let us be active, yes, if possible, very active, but calmly, under the eye of God, only for His glory and with sufficient good sense to forbid ourselves whatever might impede our life or union, our prayers, and our spirit of prayer which alone can fructify our activity and zeal."
3. Keep it Simple: The busy Catholic's guide to growing closer to God by Emmanuel de Gibergues (Currently reading).
The following are the 4 Principal Signs of the Virtue of Simplicity
-1. Indifference to our own success. (We need to see the purity of our intentions)
-2. Joy in the success of other s or in their spiritual progress (we should rejoice because God has been glorified).
-3. Attachment to the Will of God (Be prepared to sacrifice my personal tastes, to give myself up to whatever obedience exacts from me.)
-4. To desire nor covet the praise and approbation of men for the good that I do and to retain my calm and interior peace if I receive only reproaches and blame.
4. The Soul of a Lion: Dietrich von Hildebrand by Alice von Hildebrand
This book is an in depth biography by someone who knew him intimately, his wife who is amazing in her own right. She shares with the reader the amazing life of this Catholic convert philosopher who was considered a big enemy of the Nazis. He was the only son in a loving family of talented people. His entire family were much involved and surrounded themselves with good art and music. They were friends were famous composers like Wagner and Strauss. I am just up to the part when Dietrich is a young man but already he is a very moral young man.
One description of his personality really made an impression on me. He was even-tempered. Nothing upset his cool. It is a good quality to imitate.
Well, there are my book selections so far. I also need to finish the Secret Diary of Elizabeth Leseuer. I took a break from it because I lent it to my friend. I find her diary to be filled with virtues that would benefit all of us in our quest to being closer to God.
Monday, January 09, 2012
The following interview with Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J., by Anita Crane, appeared in the Dec. 1997 edition of Crisis Magazine. Father Hardon died on Dec. 30, 2000, and the cause for his canonization has already been introduced.
You can read the entire interview at Crisis Magazine's site
Mahalo to Venny V. for sharing.