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 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.

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

Monday, March 26, 2018

Meditation On The Passion Of Christ, Catholic Audiobook

Checklist for Sanctity. It is Doable!

 Someone was nice enough to list them. See below:

Questionnaire for the Process of the Beatification and Canonization of a Saint


Was denial of his own will and mortification characteristics of the servant of God?
Did he restrain the motions of anger?
Did he bear persecutions with meekness and patience?
Was he unduly tenacious of his own opinion?
Was he sparing in the use of food and drink?
Did he observe the fasts of the church?
Did he indulge in long hours of sleep?
Was his bed comfortable or uncomfortable?
Was he anxious to be well clothed and well housed?
Did he neglect the comforts of life?
Did he mortify the senses?
Did he love silence and solitude?
Was he modest in his demeanor?


Was he strong and faithful in the duties of his office; tireless in work; patient in persecution, injury, calumny, and trouble of mind? Has he born all these in a cheerful spirit?
Was he always himself not elated by prosperity or depressed by adversity?
Did he despise the honors, riches, and pleasures of the world?
Did he constantly defend the rights of the church and restrain the immorality of wicked men?


Was he affable and friendly toward others?
Was he subject to his parents and superiors?
Did he show himself thankful for favors received? And strive to excite gratitude in others?
Did he discharge with justice the office committed to him avoiding all favoritism?
Did he so temper the severity of justice with kindness the no one could ever have just cause of complaint against him?
Did he render unto God due reverence and obedience?
Did he pay venerations to the Saints?
Did he accept the decrees of the Supreme Pontiffs with proper respect and reverence?
Was he exact in the observance of the sacred rites and ceremonies of the Church?
Did he endeavor to promote the worship of God?
Did he respect the rights of all and give them what was due to them?
Did he hate usury and fraud of every kind?


Did he direct all of his actions to the attainment of eternal glory as his last end, and select the necessary and useful means?
Did he love simplicity, and was he sincere and true in thought and word, and did he hate all duplicity and falsehood?
Did he seek the advice of prudent men and act on it?
Were all his acts good, and did he first invoke diving aid for their due performance?
Had he a deep hatred of idleness as a source of vice, and did he love meditation and solitude?


Did he often return thanks to God that he was born in the bosom of the Catholic Church or that he was given the grace of conversion to it, and pray that all would be brought within her fold?
Did burn with the desire of propagating the faith?
Did he teach the truths of Christianity to the faithful, and did he teach the catechism?
Did he rejoice when some erring soul was converted to the Catholic faith?
Was he grieved when the Church suffered loss or persecution?
Was the decoration of the house of God dear to him, and the observance of the sacred ceremonies?
Did he love devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and endeavor to propagate it? How?
Did he pray long and frequently before the Blessed Sacrament?
Did he show a tender devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ? Did he often meditate on the mystery? With what fervor and piety? And did he strive to enkindle this devotion in others?
Did he burn with desire for shedding his blood for the truths of the faith?
Did he venerate the Sacred Scriptures and the writings of the Holy Fathers?
Did he obey the laws of the church and the commands of his superiors?
Did he show honor to the sovereign pontiff and all the ministers of God?
Did he desire to gain indulgences?
Did he hate all bad books and everything opposed to the faith?
Did he frequently approach the sacrament of penance and the blessed Eucharist?


Did firmly hope for salvation from the merits of Christ our Lord?
Did he despise the things of the world and how did he show his contempt?
In trying circumstances did he place his trust in God alone and have recourse to prayer?
Did he show his hope in God by ardent and pious exclamations?
Did he raise up others to confidence in God?
Did he show desire by word and work to suffer for eternal glory, and he rejoice and the near approach of death as the beginning of true life?
With what confidence did he practice good works? Did he strive to excite this confidence in others?
In adversity was he resigned to the goodness of God and the decrees of his providence?
Did he direct his desires and all his actions to God as his last end?
Did he bear cheerfully adversity and persecution?
Did he desire with Saint Paul to be dissolved and be with Christ, and did he bear suffering and infirmity with a joyous spirit?


(To Neighbor – Spiritual)

Did he pray for the conversion of sinners?
What were the relations to his enemies? Did he forgive them, receive them meekly, and pray for them?
Did he prevent discord?
Had he at heart the good name of others?
With what frequency and fervor did he offer up prayers of the souls of the deceased?

(To Neighbor – Temporal)

Did he comfort the afflicted?
Did he excuse, when opportune, the defects of others?
What was his attitude toward the sick?
Did he love the poor, help them according to his ability, and strive to induce others to assist them?
Did he instruct the ignorant and give council to those in doubt?
Did he admonish sinners and restore peace and concord among the quarrelsome?
Did he devote himself to the physical and spiritual well being of the sick?

(To God)

Was his mind always fixed on God and in union with God, and by what acts, words, or aspirations was this union made manifest?
Did he hate sin and take care to preserve himself free from every defect?
Did he speak often of God?
Was his prayer constant and fervent?
Did he remain long in prayer before the most Blessed Sacrament?
Did he lead others the practice of prayer? How?
Did he meditate on the passion of Christ?
By what acts did he show his devotion to the Passion?
How did he show devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary?
Did he prevent the commission of sin, and feel sorrow for it when committed by others?
Did he endeavor to inflame others with charity toward God?
Did he by fasting and mortification bring the flesh into subjection that he might be more pleasing to God?
Had he a supernatural desire for affliction, contradiction, contempt and how did he bear them?
Did he endeavor with all his might to excite others to praise the divine goodness?