Category Archives: SPIRITUALITY

From Saints Peter and Paul Pray for Us.


Sts-Peter-and-Paul - Pray for Us

Sts-Peter-and-Paul – Pray for Us (access CBCP News from EUZICASA)

CBCP News

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

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http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=58893

Great compositions/performances: ALEXANDER BORODIN – String Quartet No 2 in D major


ALEXANDER BORODIN – String Quartet No 2 in D major

Great compositions/performances: Antonin Dvorak , String Quintet No. 3, In E Flat Major, Op 97, by Dvorak Quartet, with Josef Kodousesk, viola


Henry David Thoreau — ‘A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. … ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

Antonin Dvorak,String Quintet No.3, In E Flat Major, Op 97(It is a Viola Quitet)

NEW AT EUZICASA: WIDGET – CIDSE – TOGETHER FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE (CHANGE FOR THE PLANET -CARE FOR THE PROPLE-ACCESS THIS NEW WEBSITE FROM EUZICASA)


CIDSE - TOGETHER FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE (CHANGE FOR THE PLANET -CARE FOR THE PROPLE-ACCESS THIS NEW WEBSITE FROM EUZICASA)

CIDSE – TOGETHER FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE (CHANGE FOR THE PLANET -CARE FOR THE PROPLE – ACCESS THIS NEW WEBSITE FROM EUZICASA)

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 09:15

“Change for the Planet – Care for the People”- a new CIDSE sustainable lifestyle campaign launched today

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CIDSE Press release, 1 July 2015: “Change for the Planet – Care for the People”- a new CIDSE sustainable lifestyle campaign launched today

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @ChangeandCare #change4planet

CIDSE, the international alliance of 17 Catholic development organisations from Europe and North America, will today launch (1s July 2015) a three year (2015-2017) campaign on sustainable lifestyles: “Change for the Planet – Care for the People.”

“CIDSE and its members call for policy changes and sustainable lifestyle choices. We believe that collective and individual changes are crucial to respond to the urgency we face through climate change, environmental degradation and the consequence they have on people’s lives.” said Bernd Nilles, CIDSE Secretary General.

The campaign links Catholic development work for social justice with the promotion of sustainable living. The global over-exploitation of natural resources puts people and planet at risk, and those suffering most are vulnerable communities and the poor. Furthermore, ethical standards being overlooked in the production phase and throughout the supply chain creates a situation which is tolerant and creates further human rights violations. People often want to consume fair and sustainable products, but politics and markets do not follow this demand, by putting profit before people’s interest.

Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato si’, states: “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”. This campaign aims at contributing to these changes. As Pope Francis affirms, we are convinced that “a change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power”.

“Change for the Planet – Care for the People” therefore calls for a radical change in people’s lifestyles towards living simply and making different and more conscious choices. This campaign will focus over the next three years on energy and food consumption, by calling for better policies as well as on everybody to do their share. Through social media activities, workshops and events we will invite people to make a difference through their daily choices, and to contribute this way to building a better world: cut the amount of the energy you use, buy local and sustainably produced food, place priority on taking public transport, and eat less meat- are examples of daily practices that count. Several successful models of sustainable living all around the world already exist, and our campaign will also be a platform for them to resonate and be tried out by other people. The campaign will further connect people and mobilise the Catholic movement.

In 2015 we especially look to the UN Climate summit in Paris – COP21 (30 November – 12 December) as the key political opportunity to call for a fair global deal for people and planet. Central to this is phasing out fossil fuels and phasing in 100% renewables with sustainable energy access for all. We want to show people’s power to bring about the change we call for, and which policy makers are not delivering. We join our voice with the voices of thousands of people that will mobilise before and during COP21 in Paris and all around the world calling for new models of well-being and development in order to prevent further climate change and to promote justice.

Follow “Change for the Planet- Care for the People” on Facebook and Twitter: @ChangeandCare #change4planet

 

Note to the editors
CIDSE is an international alliance of Catholic development agencies working together for global justice. Our 17 member organisations from Europe and North America come together under the umbrella of CIDSE to fight poverty and inequality. We challenge governments, business, churches, and international bodies to adopt policies and behaviors that promote human rights, social justice and sustainable development. These are important elements of our mission, which we try to achieve through joint advocacy, campaigning and development cooperation work. We work with people of all faiths and none.
http://www.cidse.org/who-we-are.html
www.cidse.org

For additional information please contact:

Chiara Martinelli
Campaign coordinator
martinelli(at)cidse.org

Valentina Pavarotti
Communications Officer
pavarotti(at)cidse.org

 

“Change for the Planet – Care for the People”- a new CIDSE sustainable lifestyle campaign launched today (NEW WIDGET TO ACCESS CIDSE TO FOLLOW SHORTLY AT EUZICASA)


CHANGE FOR THE PLANET CARE FOR THE PEOPLE (VISIT THE WEBSITE)

CHANGE FOR THE PLANET CARE FOR THE PEOPLE (VISIT THE WEBSITE)

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 09:15

“Change for the Planet – Care for the People”- a new CIDSE sustainable lifestyle campaign launched today

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Pope Francis: Greed corrupts and is at the root of many wars Vatican Radio


Pope Francis: Greed corrupts and is at the root of many wars Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis warns against the corrupting effects of greed and accumulating wealth for ourselves, saying they are at the root of wars and family divisions. His words came during his homily at his morning Mass on Friday (June 19th) at the Santa Marta residence.

Listen to this report by Susy Hodges:

Taking his inspiration from the day’s gospel reading where Jesus warned his disciples not to accumulate treasures on the earth but instead in heaven, the Pope reflects on the many dangers posed by greed and human ambition. He said these vices end up corrupting and enslaving our hearts and rather than accumulating wealth for ourselves we should be using it for the common good.

Greed corrupts and destroys

“In the end this wealth doesn’t give us lasting security. Instead, it tends to reduce your dignity. And this happens in families – so many divided families. And this ambition that destroys and corrupts is also at the root of wars. There are so many wars in our world nowadays because of greed for power and wealth. We can think of the war in our own hearts. As the Lord said, ‘Be on your guard against avarice of any kind.’ Because greed moves forward, moves forward, moves forward… it’s like a flight of steps, the door opens and then vanity comes in — believing ourselves to be important, believing ourselves to be powerful… and then in the end pride (comes). And all the vices come from that, all of them. They are steps but the first step is avarice, that desire to accumulate wealth.”

Pope Francis conceded that it’s not easy for an administrator or politician to use resources for the common good and an honest one can be considered a saint.

“There’s one thing that is true, when the Lord blesses a person who has wealth, he makes him an administrator of those riches for the common good and for the benefit of everybody, not just for that person. And it’s not easy to become an honest administrator because there’s always that temptation of greed, of becoming important. Our world teaches you this and it takes us along that road. We must think about others and realise that what I own is for the benefit of others and nothing that I have now can be taken with me. But if I, as an administrator, use what the Lord gives me for the common good, this sanctifies me, it will make me a saint.

Don’t play with fire

The Pope said we often hear many excuses from people who spend their lives accumulating wealth but he stressed the only treasures we should be storing up are the ones that have value in ‘the handbag of Heaven’.

“It’s difficult, it’s like playing with fire! So many people calm their consciences by giving alms and they give what they have left over. This is not an administrator: the administrator’s job is to take (what is needed) for himself or herself and whatever is left over is given to others, all of it. Administering wealth means a continual stripping away of our own interests and not believing that these riches will save us. It’s fine to accumulate riches, it’s fine to accumulate treasures but only those who have a value, let’s say, in ‘the handbag of Heaven.’ That’s where we should be storing them u

via Pope Francis: Greed corrupts and is at the root of many wars Vatican Radio.

No Global author at Vatican Event on Climate and poverty Reduction (access the report from euzicasa)


No Global author at Vatican Event on Climate and poverty Reduction (access the story here)

No Global author at Vatican Event on Climate and poverty Reduction (access the story here)

(Vatican Radio) A Catholic climate scientist and a secular Jewish feminist formed an “unlikely alliance” in the Vatican press office on Wednesday to present a two day conference entitled ‘People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course’. The conference, which will take place at the Pontifical Augustinianum University in Rome, includes some 200 political, religious and civil society leaders from all continents who’ll be discussing Pope Francis’ new encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in light of a climate summit to be held in Paris next December.  

The two day conference, which opens on Thursday, has been organised by the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, together with CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies. Philippa Hitchen has the details….

via  ‘No Global’ author at Vatican event on climate and poverty reduction  

Radio Vaticana: The approach of Peter (A Photogalery at Radio Vatican website! Check it out from euzicasa!)


RADIO VATICANA_ THE APPROACH OF PETER

Radio Vaticana: The approach of Peter (A Photogalery at Radio Vatican website! Check it out from euzicasa!)

Saint of the Day for Saturday, July 4th, 2015: St. Elizabeth of Portugal


this day in the yesteryear: Henry David Thoreau Begins Two Years of Simple Living (1845)


Henry David Thoreau Begins Two Years of Simple Living (1845)

In 1845, Thoreau, an American author and naturalist, built himself a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. He spent the next two years, two months, and two days there, observing nature, reading, and writing. He also kept a journal that he later used to write his masterpiece, Walden, or Life in the Woods, which compresses his time there into a single calendar year and uses the passage of the seasons to symbolize human development. What were Thoreau’s enigmatic last words? More… Discuss

Human dignity must be center of political debate – Pope on Greek debt crisis :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)



Pope Francis greets Greek pilgrims at a General Audience address in St. Peter’s Square, June 25, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Pope Francis greets Greek pilgrims at a General Audience address in St. Peter’s Square, June 25, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

By Ann Schneible

Vatican City, Jul 1, 2015 / 11:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Wednesday called for prayer for the people of Greece, shortly after the nation defaulted on a significant loan payment on its more than $300 billion debt.

“The news from Greece regarding the economic and social situation of the country is worrying,” Fr. Federico Lombardi, Holy See press officer, said in a July 1 statement. “Pope Francis invites all the faithful to unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people.”

Greece faces a debate over the role of austerity measures, such as pension cuts and tax hikes, as it negotiates new financial bailouts with its creditors. The country’s unemployment rate is above 25 percent, and individuals are unable to remove more than $70 a day from ATMs.

The Vatican’s statement adds that “the dignity of the human person must remain at the centre of any political and technical debate, as well as in the taking of responsible decisions.”

“The Holy Father wishes to convey his closeness to all the Greek people, with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a complex and keenly felt human and social crisis.”

A June 30 deadline for Greece to make a roughly $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund came and went yesterday.

The country, which is part of the eurozone, has been in financial crisis for years. Economically the weakest nation in the eurozone, Greece was hit hard during the 2008 global financial crisis. Beginning in 2010, it began receiving financial bailouts, on the condition that it adopt austerity measures such as pension cuts, tax hikes, and public sector layoffs.

Greece’s unemployment rate is now around 25 percent and its banks have been closed, with ATM withdrawals limited to roughly $66 a day.

The current ruling party, Syriza, was elected in January on an anti-austerity platform. The next month, Greece negotiated an extension on repaying its debt, but yesterday’s default threatens a breakdown of the situation and raises fears of Greece leaving the eurozone.

Greece will hold a referendum July 5 whether or not to remain in the eurozone, and whether or not to support the terms offered by its creditors for a further, third bailout of some $32 billion lasting two years. Germany, the largest creditor to Greece, is strongly in favor of austerity measures in the Mediterranean country as a condition of another bailout.

Greece is also facing a July 20 payment deadline of more than $3.8 billion to the European Central Bank.

It is feared that without another bailout or an extension of Greece’s repayment deadlines, the nation’s crisis could affect the economic stability of the eurozone.

via Human dignity must be center of political debate – Pope on Greek debt crisis :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Saint of the Day for Friday, July 3rd, 2015: St. Thomas


Image of St. Thomas

St. Thomas

St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas … continue reading

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Anti-Catholic history in US shows Church has survived and will continue, historian says: CNA


.- As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

“It’s okay to realize that other people have gone on this same journey, a journey that’s involved persecution, a journey that’s involved a Catholic minority and a non-Catholic majority, and sometimes friction with governments,” said Fr. David Endres, assistant professor of Church history and historical theology at The Athenaeum of Ohio, in an interview with CNA.

“I think it’s important to remember the history, if nothing more than to realize that this is ground that has already been tread by our forefathers,” he added.

“Now is the time to take heart and realize that the compass of the Scriptures and Tradition now need to be emphasized more than ever as our guide; that we cannot look to politicians, we can’t look to the government, we certainly cannot look to pop culture and the media as our guide for morality.”

Fr. Endres spoke with CNA during the Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week campaign by the U.S. bishops to educate Catholics about religious freedom and the current threats to the public practice of religion in the nation.

Among the threats the bishops have warned of in recent years are the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and Catholic adoption agencies being forced out of business because they will not place children with same-sex couples as mandated by state anti-discrimination laws.

The bishops recently voiced grave concerns over the Supreme Court’s recent marriage decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which established same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Although the majority opinion “makes a nod” toward religious freedom, it does not mention the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion and this is very troubling, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore told reporters on a conference call after the decision. Archbishop Lori chairs the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

“The free exercise of religion means that we have a right not only to debate it openly in the public square, but to operate our ministries and to live our lives in accordance to the truth about marriage without violence, or being penalized, or losing our tax exemption, or losing our ability to serve the common good through our social services and through education,” he said in the June 26 conference call.

The omission of “free exercise” in the Court’s majority opinion thus “could give rise to a lot of legal controversies,” Archbishop Lori warned. Without guarantees of the free exercise of religion, religiously-affiliated organizations which oppose same-sex marriage and businesses who cannot serve same-sex weddings could face legal challenges.

The current threats to religious liberty – state and federal laws regulating the free exercise of religion of charitable institutions – are eerily similar to a Supreme Court case from nearly a century ago, and Catholics should take note, Fr. Endres explained.

In 1922, Oregon passed a law forcing all children between the ages of eight and sixteen in parochial and private schools into public schools. The law, the Compulsory Education Act of 1922, was supported by the Ku Klux Klan as a measure to push for standard American education and to prevent what they saw as a foreign influence – the Catholic Church – from educating immigrant children.

The Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, along with a military private school, fought the law in court. Three years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Supreme Court resoundingly struck down the law in a unanimous decision, ruling that it violated the freedom of parents to send their children to parochial schools.

In the history of the U.S., this was perhaps the event that bears the closest resemblance to the present-day struggle between Catholic institutions maintaining their religious freedom, and state and federal laws looking to regulate their consciences, Fr. Endres said.

However, the law is also but one incident in a U.S. history that is checkered with anti-Catholic bigotry and violence. In “Sticks, Stones, and Broken Bones: the History of anti-Catholic Violence in the U.S.”, a 2014 article in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Fr. Endres detailed just how rocky has been Catholicism’s relationship with mainstream American culture.

Colonial-era laws forbade Catholics from becoming lawyers and teachers. In Maryland, Catholic parents could be fined for sending their children to Europe to receive a Catholic education. Distribution of anti-Catholic pamphlets and literature was commonplace.

Once European emigration to the U.S. increased in the 1840s and 50s, this established a largely Catholic minority of Irish and Germans.

Anti-Catholicism was mingled with xenophobia as the mainstream individualist culture was quite suspicious of Catholicism. Consequently, some U.S. residents tried to ensure that immigrants would not gain positions of power. A political party surfaced that at its root was anti-Catholic, the “Know-Nothing Party.”

Convents and churches were victim to mob violence in multiple cases. Two Philadelphia parishes were burned in 1844 after rumors circulated that Catholics were trying to oust Protestant bibles from public schools.

The visit of a papal ambassador from Bl. Pius IX to report on the state of the Church in the U.S. resulted in violent unrest in multiple cities, including the burning of the ambassador’s effigy.

Anti-Catholic violence waxed and waned through the years, but Catholics had never felt they fully “made it” in American society until the election of John F. Kennedy, an Irish Catholic, to the presidency. Afterward, many devout Catholics thought they would be accepted as a permanent part of the American mainstream culture.

“We felt like we had kind of come of age in this country,” Fr Endres told CNA. “And that in general, we were not on the fringes.”

The recent threats to religious liberty are proving more and more that this Catholic peace was a reprieve and not a permanent acceptance of Catholicism in the U.S., he added.

Why has there been so much anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States? The overall conflict between the Church and American culture has centered on freedom and authority, and the fault line still exists today, Fr. Endres explained.

“I would say part of it is the role of individuals vis a vis community and the Church has always upheld quite a communal emphasis,” he said. Historically, the mainstream American culture promoted individualism, and looked down on Catholics who followed the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

This conflict also extends to the debate of the role of community versus the freedom of the individual, he added.

“We have this strange idea that’s developed in this country that freedom means absolute autonomy of persons. And the Church has never believed that true freedom consisted of absolute autonomy, but instead, basically a relationship with God and with one another. We kind of have this path set before us that yes, we are responsible to other people. We are responsible to God in a special way, and absolute autonomy has no place in that kind of worldview.”

Historically, this played out in the Protestant individualistic culture of the U.S. against the Catholic view of community and authority.

This push for absolute autonomy has played out in the push for acceptance of same-sex marriage and of the transgender movement.

On the other side is a Christian anthropology, he said: “how we view our being made in the image and likeness of God, how we view marriage and family life, gender, sexuality, all those kinds of things.”

The question then becomes, “do I have an obligation to anyone but myself?” Fr. Endres asked rhetorically.

“The modern notion would be ‘it’s just you,’” whereas a Christian recognizes that he has an obligation to obey and love God and the Church, and to love his neighbor.

And Catholics are once again being moved to the margins, with laws prohibiting them from publicly practicing their religion and remaining true to Church teaching on sexuality.

However, “it’s important for us to realize then that to be on the margins of society is not always a bad thing,” he added.

The present hostility to Catholic teaching on sexuality might actually be a “call instead to remain faithful on the margins,” he said, because the Catholic faith is counter-cultural.

“We are speaking a truth that is not always popular, but which we believe very strongly comes from Christ and more broadly from the revelation of God to man. And if you really believe that, you can’t accommodate.”

Throughout U.S. history, some Catholics have remained faithful to the Church, while others accommodated to the culture. For example, some German Catholic immigrants and priests in the 19th century left the Church to become Protestant because they couldn’t endure the anti-Catholic hostility.

“Americanists,” the subjects of the 1899 encyclical Testem benevelentiae nostrae of Leo XIII, were American Catholics who had been so affected by the American culture that they were no longer authentically Catholic. This problem exists today.

“Americanism shows that more or less constant feature of American Catholic history, where Catholics have to make that choice of whether they are going to identify primarily as American, and then Catholic secondarily, or Catholic as a primary identity and American as a second,” Fr. Endres said.

“So what’s going to be the noun, and what’s going to be the adjective?”

Tags: Religious freedom, Fortnight for Freedom, Supreme Court, Religious liberty, SCOTUS, Obergefell v. Hodges, US Catholic history

Saint of the Day for Thursday, July 2nd, 2015: St. Bernardino Realino


Image of St. Bernardino Realino

St. Bernardino Realino

St. Bernardino Realino was born into a noble family of Capri, Italy in 1530. After receiving a thorough and devout Christian education at the hands of his mother, he went on to study medicine at the … continue reading

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Chewed or brewed: A brief history of Popes and coca leaves :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Coca leaves. Credit: Naira Teixeira Dias via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

By Mary Rezac

Vatican City, Jun 30, 2015 / 04:21 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis might chew coca leaves – or maybe sip coca tea – during his visit to Bolivia next week, the Vatican has said.

Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao told local media that Francis had asked to chew coca leaves in the country, one of several stops during his visit to South America July 5-13.

The coca leaf, whose daily use and cultural importance in the Andes region rivals that of coffee in the United States, is embroiled in controversy in the international community because of its use as the main ingredient in the addictive drug, cocaine.

In 1961, the U.N. convention on narcotic drugs declared coca an illegal substance, and tried to phase out its cultural use by 1989 – but the local coca culture refused to die.

Many indigenous Bolivians believe the coca leaf to be sacred, and people of all social classes can be found either drinking the plant’s tea or chewing its leaves throughout the country.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, a former coca farmer himself, has staunchly defended the plant as a cornerstone of his country’s culture and economy, fighting for the use of the plant in its natural form.

Morales has revived the natural coca economy, and Bolivia now turns out coca products ranging from flour to toothpaste, shampoo and lotions.

“This leaf,” Morales told a 2007 U.N. General Assembly, “represents…the hope of our people.”

A number of international studies, including one published by Harvard University, found raw coca leaves to be packed with nutrients including protein, calcium, iron and other vitamins. A 1995 World Health Organisation report said there were “no negative health effects” from coca use in leaf form.

In its natural form, coca leaves have a mild stimulant effect considered similar to coffee, and they can be chewed or brewed into tea to fight hunger, exhaustion or altitude sickness – likely the reason Pope Francis might partake of the plant upon his arrival in the country.

And he’s following in his predecessor’s footsteps – Pope John Paul II drank tea made from coca leaves during his 1988 visit to Bolivia, and Pope Paul VI is reported to have drank the tea during a visit to the Andes region in 1968. Queen Sophia of Spain, and the British Princess Anne, are also said to have partaken in the plant in its natural form.

When asked if the Pope would have some coca leaves or tea in Bolivia, Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi said he couldn’t confirm what the Pope would do one way or another, though he acknowledged that Pope Francis likes to take part in local cultures.

“(I) wouldn’t be surprised because the Pope likes taking part in popular customs. The Pope will do as he sees fit. From what I know there are ways of dealing with the altitudes that form part of popular culture: some drink a sort of mate tea, others chew coca leaves. The Pope hasn’t talked to me about what he plans to do, we shall see. We’ll see if he follows local customs.”

Tags: Pope Francis

via Chewed or brewed: A brief history of Popes and coca leaves :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

From Radio Vatican: 01/07/2015 15:25: The Pope expresses his closeness to Greece in time of crisis


Pope Francis \ Activities

Pope Francis: Christians and Jews, brothers and friends

 

Pope Francis \ Activities

Pope Francis: Christians and Jews, brothers and friends

Pope Francis on Tuesday met with members of the International Council of Christians and Jews. – OSS_ROM

30/06/2015 12:34
 
(Vatican Radio) This week members of the International Council of Christians and Jews have been meeting to discuss “The 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate: The Past, Present, and Future of the Christian-Jewish Relationship”, and it was on this theme that Pope Francis addressed the participants on Tuesday in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican.

He told them that Nostra Aetate represented a definitive “yes” to the Jewish roots of Christianity and an irrevocable “no” to anti-Semitism adding, that both faith traditions were no longer strangers, but friends and brothers.

Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report

The Holy Father said that in celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of this document,  “we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue.  He then added, “ in this way, we can express our thanks to God for all the good which has been realized in terms of friendship and mutual understanding these past fifty years.”

The Pope underlined that despite different perspectives, both Christians and Jews confess one God, Creator of the Universe and Lord of history.  And he, Pope Francis continued, “in his infinite goodness and wisdom, always blesses our commitment to dialogue.”

Elaborating further, the Holy Father explained that both faith traditions, “find their foundation in the One God, the God of the Covenant, who reveals himself through his Word.”  “In seeking a right attitude towards God”, he Pope said, “Christians turn to Christ as the fount of new life, and Jews to the teaching of the Torah.  This pattern of theological reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity arises precisely from Nostra Aetate and upon this solid basis, he noted, can be developed yet further.  

In conclusion, Pope Francis stressed the importance the Holy See places on relations with the Jewish community and praised the International Council of Christians and Jews’ annual meetings, which he said, offer a notable contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue.  

Holy Mass with the imposition of the Pallium 2015.06.29


Holy Mass with the imposition of the Pallium 2015.06.29

Pallium


Pallium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
For other uses, see Pallium (disambiguation).

 
Pope Innocent III depicted wearing the pallium in a fresco at the Sacro Speco Cloister

The pallium (derived from the Roman pallium or palla, a woolen cloak; pl.: pallia or palliums) is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has remained connected to the papacy.[1]

The pallium, in its present Western form, is a narrow band, “three fingers broad”, woven of white lamb’s wool from sheep raised by Trappist monks, with a loop in the centre resting on the shoulders over the chasuble and two dependent lappets, before and behind; so that when seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y. It is decorated with six black crosses, one on each tail and four on the loop, is doubled on the left shoulder and sometimes is garnished, back and front, with three jeweled gold pins. The two latter characteristics seem to be survivals of the time when the Roman pallium was a simple scarf doubled and pinned on the left shoulder.

In origin, the pallium and the omophor are the same vestment. The omophor is a wide band of cloth, much larger than the modern pallium, worn by all Eastern Orthodox bishops and Eastern Catholic bishops of the Byzantine Rite. The theory that explains its origin in connection with the figure of the Good Shepherd carrying the lamb on his shoulders, so common in early Christian art, may be an explanation a posteriori. The ceremonial connected with the preparation of the pallium and its bestowal upon the pope at his coronation, however, suggests some such symbolism. The lambs whose wool is destined for the making of the pallia are solemnly presented at the altar by the nuns of the convent of Saint Agnes. The Benedictine nuns of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere later weave the lambs’ wool into pallia.

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 30th, 2015: First Martyrs of the See of Rome


Image of First Martyrs of the See of Rome

First Martyrs of the See of Rome

The holy men and women are also called the �Protomartyrs of Rome.� They were accused of burning Rome by Nero , who burned Rome to cover his own crimes. Some martyrs were burned as living torches at … continue reading

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Saint Peter’s tomb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

 
The floor above Saint Peter’s tomb (see text)

 
St. Peter’s baldachin, by Bernini, in the modern St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s tomb lies directly below this structure.

Saint Peter’s tomb is a site under St. Peter’s Basilica that includes several graves and a structure said by Vatican authorities to have been built to memorialize the location of St. Peter’s grave. St. Peter’s tomb is near the west end of a complex of mausoleums that date between about AD 130 and AD 300.[1] The complex was partially torn down and filled with earth to provide a foundation for the building of the first St. Peter’s Basilica during the reign of Constantine I in about AD 330. Though many bones have been found at the site of the 2nd-century shrine, as the result of two campaigns of archaeological excavation, Pope Pius XII stated in December 1950 that none could be confirmed to be Saint Peter’s with absolute certainty.[2] However, following the discovery of further bones and an inscription, on June 26, 1968 Pope Paul VI announced that the relics of St. Peter had been identified.

The grave claimed by the Church to be that of St. Peter lies at the foot of the aedicula beneath the floor. The remains of four individuals and several farm animals were found in this grave.[3] In 1953, after the initial archeological efforts had been completed, another set of bones were found that were said to have been removed without the archeologists’ knowledge from a niche (loculus) in the north side of a wall (the graffiti wall) that abuts the red wall on the right of the aedicula. Subsequent testing indicated that these were the bones of a 60-70-year-old man.[4] Margherita Guarducci argued that these were the remains of St. Peter and that they had been moved into a niche in the graffiti wall from the grave under the aedicula “at the time of Constantine, after the peace of the church” (313).[5] Antonio Ferrua, the archaeologist who headed the excavation that uncovered what is known as the St. Peter’s Tomb, said that he wasn’t convinced that the bones that were found were those of St. Peter.[6]

The upper image shows the area of the lower floor of St. Peter’s Basilica that lies above the site of St. Peter’s tomb. A portion of the aedicula that was part of St. Peter’s tomb rose above level of this floor and was made into the Niche of the Pallium[7] which can be seen in the center of the image.

Death of Peter at Vatican Hill

 

The earliest reference to Peter’s death is in a letter of Clement, bishop of Rome, to the Corinthians. (1 Clement, (a.k.a. Letter to the Corinthians), written c. 96 AD. The historian Eusebius, a contemporary of Constantine, wrote that St. Peter “came to Rome, and was crucified with his head downwards,” attributing this information to the much earlier theologian Origen, who died c. 254 AD.[8] St. Peter’s martyrdom is traditionally depicted in religious iconography as crucifixion with his head pointed downward.

Peter’s place and manner of death are also mentioned by Tertullian (c. 160-220) in Scorpiace,[9] where the death is said to take place during the Christian persecutions by Nero. Tacitus (56-117) describes the persecution of Christians in his Annals, though he does not specifically mention Peter.[10] “They were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt.” Furthermore, Tertullian says these events took place in the imperial gardens near the Circus of Nero. No other area would have been available for public persecutions after the Great Fire of Rome destroyed the Circus Maximus and most of the rest of the city in the year 64 AD.

This account is supported by other sources. In the The Passion of Peter and Paul, dating to the fifth century, the crucifixion of Peter is recounted. While the stories themselves are apocryphal, they were based on earlier material, helpful for topographical reasons. It reads, “Holy men … took down his body secretly and put it under the terebinth tree near the Naumachia, in the place which is called the Vatican.”[11] The place called Naumachia would be an artificial lake within the Circus of Nero where naval battles were reenacted for an audience. The place called Vatican was at the time a hill next to the complex and also next to the Tiber River, featuring a cemetery of both Christian and pagan tombs.

Tracing the original tombs

Dionysius of Corinth mentions the burial place of Peter as Rome when he wrote to the Church of Rome in the time of the Pope Soter (died 174), thanking the Romans for their financial help. “You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time.”[12]

 
Fourth century glass mosaic of St. Peter, located at the Catacombs of Saint Thecla.

Catholic tradition holds that the bereaved Christians followed their usual custom in burying him as near as possible to the scene of his suffering. According to Catholic lore, he was laid in ground that belonged to Christian proprietors, by the side of a well-known road leading out of the city, the Via Cornelia (site of a known pagan and Christian cemetery) on the hill called Vaticanus. The actual tomb was an underground vault, approached from the road by a descending staircase, and the body reposed in a sarcophagus of stone in the center of this vault.[11]

The Book of Popes mentions that Pope Anacletus built a “sepulchral monument” over the underground tomb of St. Peter shortly after his death.[13] This was a small chamber or oratory over the tomb, where three or four persons could kneel and pray over the grave. The pagan Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, mentions in 363 A.D. in his work Three Books Against the Galileans that the tomb of St. Peter was a place of worship, albeit secretly.[14]

There is evidence of the existence of the tomb (trophoea, i.e., trophies, as signs or memorials of victory) at the beginning of the 3rd century, in the words of the presbyter Caius refuting the Montanist traditions of a certain Proclus: “But I can show the trophies of the Apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican, or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.”[12]

Pope Francis’ answer to ‘What is faith?’ :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Vatican City, Jun 28, 2015 / 08:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Pope focused on the virtue of faith during his Sunday Angelus address, saying the whole gospel is written in its light.

“Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves,” Pope Francis explained June 28 at St. Peter’s Square, reflecting on the healing of a haemorrhaging woman in the day’s Gospel reading. She believed that if she could but touch Christ’s clothes, she would be healed.

“And so it is,” said Pope Francis. “The need to be freed drives her to dare, and faith ‘snatches’, so to speak, healing from the Lord.”

He waxed on the Gospel reading, saying that the Father, through Christ’s healing, in a sense, said “Daughter, you are not cursed, you are not excluded, rather, you are my daughter!”

“And every time Jesus comes to us, when we go to him with faith, we hear this from the Father: ‘You are my son, you are my daughter! You are healed, you are healed. I forgive all, all. I heal everyone and everything.’”

Pope Francis also discussed Christ’s raising of a 12 year old girl who had died, saying that in her father’s appeal to Jesus, we feel “the great faith which this man has in Jesus.”

Christ’s reaction – “Do not fear, only have faith” – give courage, the Pope said. “He says to us, so often: ‘Do not fear, only have faith!’”

“These two episodes – a healing and a raising from death – have a single center: faith. The message is clear, and can be summarized in one question: do we believe that Jesus can heal and can raise from the dead? The whole Gospel is written in the light of this faith: Jesus is risen, has conquered death, and because of this victory we too will be resurrected.”

Francis lamented that “this faith, which for the first Christians was secure, can tarnish and become uncertain, to the point that some confuse resurrection with reincarnation.”

“The word of God this Sunday invites us to live in the certainty of the resurrection: Jesus is the Lord, Jesus has power over evil and over death, and wants to take us to the Father’s house, where life reigns. And there we will meet all, all of us in this square today, we will meet in the Father’s house, in the life that Jesus gives us.”

He added that Christ’s resurrection “acts in history as a principle of renewal and of hope. Anyone who is desperate and weary unto death, if they rely on Jesus and on his love, can begin to live again … faith is a force of life, it gives fullness to our humanity; and who believes in Christ must be recognized precisely because they promote life in all situations, so that everyone, especially the weakest, can experience the love of God which frees and saves.”

Concluding, Pope Francis said, “We ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the gift of a strong and courageous faith, which drives us to speakers of hope and of life among our brethren.”

via Pope Francis’ answer to ‘What is faith?’ :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

‘The unthinkable is real,’ author warns about persecutions of Middle East Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


‘The unthinkable is real,’ author warns about persecutions of Middle East Christians

The remains of St. Mary's Syrian Orthodox parish in Homs, Syria. Credit: Syrian Orthodox Diocese of Homs. Photo courtesy of the Aid to the Church in Need.

The remains of St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox parish in Homs, Syria. Credit: Syrian Orthodox Diocese of Homs. Photo courtesy of the Aid to the Church in Need.

.- Growing unrest in the Middle East is causing great concern for the Christian community around the world, and author George J. Marlin is hoping to enlighten Western Christians on how seriously matters are progressing, as their brethren in the Middle East continue to undergo persecution.

His latest book, Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy, was published earlier this month by St. Augustine’s Press, and details the rise of radical Islamism and its impact on Christians throughout the Middle East.

“Western civilization was built on Christianity which, sadly enough, is being forgotten for Western Europe, and even in this nation here,” Marlin told CNA.

“I think the Church’s job is to remind the West that its civilization was based on the concept that man is a creature made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore is entitled by his very nature … basic rights, including the freedom to practice one’s religion.”  

Marlin is chairman of Aid to the Church in Need- USA, a Catholic charity under the guidance of the Pope that supports and aids the persecuted and suffering Church around the world. Last year, Aid to the Church in Need raised $100 million internationally.

As chairman, Marlin is given information daily about struggling Christians around the world, particularly in the Middle East.

“I’ve been able to see and speak firsthand to bishops and archbishops in the area, and other people who are often persecuted in the area,” Marlin said.

Marlin says that for the Christians, their “most daunting task is to survive.”    

“They’re concerned about survival, they’re concerned about getting three meals a day, they’re hoping they can educate their kids someday. They’re hoping they can come back to their home.”

“More importantly, we have to keep in mind that these Christians are beginning to feel abandoned by the Christian world because, although the Pope has come out and made some statements, Cardinal Dolan of New York has made some statements … in the Western media, a lot of this is being ignored,” Marlin stated.  

The book examines the history of both Christianity and Islam in the Middle East; followed by an in-depth look at eight countries in the region where Christians are particularly persecuted; it then includes perspectives of various experts from the region.

“It’s eye-opening for me as I am talking right now to so many other Americans that they’re shocked to learn that there are Christians in the Middle East,” Marlin stated.  “So I thought it was important to take this data and put together a story of what exactly is happening in Middle East at this point in time.”

He added that Christians can often regard only Europe as historically Christians, and “sometimes forget that the first center [of the Church] was in Antioch, Syria before St Peter moved it to Rome, and so the apostles and early martyrs of the Church were in the Middle East.”

Marlin said that it is important for people to realize that even before the Islamic State “came on the scene two years ago,” the 21st century has continually experienced “systemic persecution of Christians.”

Marlin’s hope is that the book, as well as the work of Aid to the Church in Need, “jolts the conscience of the West, because too many people in Europe and in the United States have their head in the sand trying to ignore this problem here.”  

Marlin emphasized that persecution isn’t restricted to the brutal, attention-grabbing ways the Islamic State uses to execute its captives. Christians in the Middle East are also persecuted through pressure to convert, employment and education discrimination, church bombings, murder, destruction of homes and businesses, kidnapping, and being treated as second-class citizens.

Documents and manuscripts dating back thousands of years have also been destroyed. “We have Christians being driven out, they may never come back,” Marlin stated. “We have the institutional Church being destroyed, and we have the patrimony of the Church being destroyed.”

“These same tactics are used in these countries and are profiled in this book,” Marlin said. “It’s going on every day and it has been going on throughout this century and obviously centuries before this. It’s time, I’m hoping, that people begin to catch on, particularly the Christians in the United States.”

An example he gave was the Chaldean Archeparchy of Mosul: in 2004, a year after the US invasion of Iraq, it had 20,600 members. By 2013 the number had dropped to 14,100, and last summer, most of the remaining Christians in the city and its environs fled before the Islamic State.

In January, its bishop, Amel Nona, was transferred to the Chaldean eparchy for Australia, leaving the Mosul archeparchy vacant, perhaps fated to become a titular see.

Marlin suggested that in light of the scale of persecution faced by many Christians in the Middle East, “the President of the United States to appoint a special Middle East envoy just to deal with these Christian persecutions.” He also raised the possibility of economic sanctions, and denying foreign aid to countries who persecute their citizens.

He said that the only way groups such as the Islamic State “are going to be put out of business is if modern Islam stands up and says ‘this is wrong’. These radical groups, if they are not tamed, if they are not destroyed or eliminated, they may destroy the Christian presence in the Middle East.”

Marlin’s book concludes with an epilogue and an appendix that provides important documents pertaining to the persecution of Christians, including addresses from Pope Francis, Benedict XVI, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

Tags: Church in Middle East, Aid to the Church in Need

via ‘The unthinkable is real,’ author warns about persecutions of Middle East Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Saint of the Day for Monday, June 29th, 2015: St. Peter, First Pope (St. Apostol Petru)


Image of St. Peter, First Pope

St. Peter, First Pope

St. Peter, from the Crypt of St. Peter, c.700 Ad Giclee Print

St. Peter, from the Crypt of St. Peter, c.700 Ad Giclee Print

Simon Peter or Cephas, the first pope, Prince of the Apostles, and founder, with St. Paul, of the see of Rome. Peter was a native of Bethsaida, near Lake Tiberias, the son of John, and worked, like … continue reading
29 июня в день памяти апостола его ...

The New Testament indicates that Peter was the son of John (or Jonah or Jona)[4] and was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis. His brother Andrew was also an apostle. According to New Testament accounts, Peter was one of twelve apostles chosen by Jesus from his first disciples. Originally a fisherman, he played a leadership role and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few apostles, such as the Transfiguration. According to the gospels, Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah,[5] was part of Jesus’s inner circle,[6] thrice denied Jesus,[7] and preached on the day of Pentecost.[8]

According to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus. Tradition holds that he was crucified at the site of the Clementine Chapel. His mortal remains are said to be those contained in the underground Confessio of St. Peter’s Basilica, where Pope Paul VI announced in 1968 the excavated discovery of a first-century Roman cemetery. Every June 29 since 1736, a statue of Saint Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica is adorned with papal tiara, ring of the fisherman, and papal vestments, as part of the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. According to Catholic doctrine, the direct papal successor to Saint Peter is Pope Francis

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picture of the day: ‘The Great Compromiser’



‘The Great Compromiser’

Statesman Henry Clay of Kentucky, who died on June 29, 1852, was a master politician in the era preceding the Civil War. Born in 1777, Clay was a lawyer by trade. He began his lengthy political career in the Kentucky legislature and made three unsuccessful bids as the Whig Party’s presidential candidate. By the time of his death, Clay had served his country as secretary of state under John Quincy Adams, U.S. Senator and Speaker of the House of Representatives. Clay was the chief architect of the Compromise of 1850, a contribution that earned him the nickname ‘The Great Compromiser.’

Image: Library of Congress

A hope for peace: Vatican, Palestine sign treaty protecting religious liberty :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Riad al-Malki, Palestine’s foreign minister, signs the Comprehensive Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See, June 26, 2015. Credit: L’Osservatore Romano.

Riad al-Malki, Palestine’s foreign minister, signs the Comprehensive Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See, June 26, 2015. Credit: L’Osservatore Romano.

.- The comprehensive agreement signed on Friday by the Holy See and the State of Palestine may serve the twofold goal of stimulating peace in the Middle East and providing a model for similar treaties with other Middle East countries.

The text of the treaty was agreed upon May 13, and the document was signed June 26 in the Apostolic Palace by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States (the Vatican’s ‘foreign minister’), and by Riad al-Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine.

The Vatican-Palestinian agreement recognizes freedom of religion in Palestine, and outlines the rights and obligations of the Church, its agencies, and its personnel in the territory. The comprehensive agreement follows upon a “basic agreement” which was signed in February 2000.

It backs a two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, though the bulk of the agreement regards freedom of religion and conscience, as well as the Church’s freedom of action, its staff and jurisdiction, legal status, places of worship, social and charitable activity, and use of communications media. It also includes issues of a fiscal and proprietary nature.

In an address following the signing, Archbishop Gallagher underscored that the agreement is signed with the State of Palestine, and that “this is indicative of the progress made by the Palestinian Authority in recent years, and above all of the level of international support, which culminated in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 29 November 2012, which recognized Palestine as non member Observer State at the United Nations.”

Archbishop Gallagher voiced hope “that the present Agreement may in some way be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both parties. I also hope that the much desired two-State solution may become a reality as soon as possible.”

“This certainly requires courageous decisions, but it will also offer a major contribution to peace and stability in the region.”

For his part, al-Malki noted that the agreement’s provisions “span the shared vision of the two Parties for peace and justice in the region, the protection of fundamental freedoms, the status and protection of Holy Sites, and the means of enhancing and furthering the presence and activities of the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Palestine.”

He noted that “for the first time, the Agreement includes an official recognition by the Holy See of Palestine as a State, in recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom and dignity in an independent state of their own, free from the shackles of occupation. It also supports the vision for peace and justice in the region in accordance with international law and based on two states, living side by side in peace and security, on the basis of the 1967 borders.”

He drew attention to Palestine’s special status as “the birthplace of Christianity and as the cradle of monolithic religions,” saying the agreement “embodies our shared values of freedom, dignity, tolerance, co-existence, and equality of all. This comes at a time when extremism, barbaric violence, and ignorance threaten the social fabric and cultural identity of the region and indeed of human heritage. At this backdrop, the State of Palestine reiterates its commitment to combat extremism, and to promote tolerance, freedom of consciousness and religion, and to equally safeguard the rights of all its citizens.”

“These are the values and principles that reflect the beliefs and aspirations of the Palestinian people and its leadership, and they are the pillars upon which we continue to endeavor to establish our independent and democratic State.”

The Palestinian foreign minister added that the agreement “upholds the Church’s standing as an important contributor to the lives of many Palestinians.”

Archbishop Gallagher commented that he is pleased that “guarantees have been given for the work of the Catholic Church and her institutions. Catholics do not seek any privilege other than continued cooperation with their fellow-citizens for the good of society. I am also pleased to say that the local Church, which has been actively involved in the negotiations, is satisfied with the goal attained and is happy to see the strengthening of its good relations with the civil Authorities.”

He added that the agreement “offers a good example of dialogue and cooperation” in the Middle East, “and I earnestly hope that this may serve as a model for other Arab and Muslim majority countries. With this in mind, I would like to emphasize the importance of the chapter dedicated to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”

A Vatican observer who took part in the negotiations told CNA that the agreement is particularly important because it is the first of its kind signed with a majority Muslim country, in which the state juridically acknowledges the Holy See and clearly recognizes freedom of conscience, “as has never been done in the past.”

Vincenzo Buonomo, an adviser to Vatican City State, wrote in L’Osservatore Romano that “the explicit acknowledgement of authentic conscientious objection as a practice consistent with the right of freedom of thought, belief, and religion is notable for its current relevance.”

Buonomo also stressed that value of the agreement is given by the participation of the Palestinian Catholic community in the negotiations, which began in 2010. “The local Church has been shown to be an effective agent, providing a valuable contribution not only towards the consolidation of the ecclesial reality, but also to the image of Palestine and the Holy Land as a whole,” wrote Buonomo.

The Israeli foreign ministry reacted to the treaty’s signing with a statement expressing its “regret regarding the Vatican decision to officially recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state.”

The Israeli foreign minister stressed that this “hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel.”

“Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem,” the statement read.

The foreign ministry also announced that “Israel will study the agreement in detail, and its implications for future cooperation between Israel and the Vatican.”

Tags: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Vatican diplomacy, Palestinian Christians, State of Palestine

via A hope for peace: Vatican, Palestine sign treaty protecting religious liberty :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Catholics and Orthodox should meet, cooperate more often, Pope exhorts :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Pope Francis addresses delegates of Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, at the Private Library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, June 27, 2015. Credit: L’Osservatore Romano.

Pope Francis addresses delegates of Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, at the Private Library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, June 27, 2015. Credit: L’Osservatore Romano.

Vatican City, Jun 27, 2015 / 11:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Greeting a delegation of the leader of Eastern Orthodoxy on Saturday, Pope Francis voiced hope that Catholics and Eastern Orthodox would encounter each other more often, so as to overcome prejudices.

“I hope, therefore, that opportunities may increase for meeting each other, for exchange and cooperation among Catholic and Orthodox faithful, in such a way that as we deepen our knowledge and esteem for one another, we may be able to overcome any prejudice and misunderstanding that may remain as a result of our long separation,” the Bishop of Rome said June 27 at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

He was receiving representatives of Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who are in Rome to observe the June 29 feast of Saints Peter and Paul, who were martyred in the city and who are the principal patrons of the Church of Rome.

“Your presence at the celebrations of our feast testifies once again to the deep relationship between the sister Churches of Rome and Constantinople, foreshadowed by the bond which unites the respective patron Saints of our Churches, the Apostles Peter and Andrew, brothers in blood and faith, united in apostolic service and martyrdom,” Francis told them.

He recalled his own visit to Constantinople and to Patriarch Bartholomew, for the feast of St. Andrew, that Church’s patron, saying, “The embrace of peace exchanged with His Holiness was an eloquent sign of that fraternal charity which encourages us along the path of reconciliation, and which will enable us one day to participate together at the altar of the Eucharist.”

“Attaining that goal, towards which we have set out together in trust, represents one of my main concerns, for which I do not cease to pray to God,” reflected the Bishop of Rome. “It is my desire that we may be able to face, in truth but also with a fraternal spirit, the difficulties which still exist.”

He mentioned his support for the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, adding that “the problems which we may encounter in the course of our theological dialogue must not lead us to discouragement or resignation.”

“The careful examination of how in the Church the principle of synodality and the service of the one who presides are articulated, will make a significant contribution to the progress of relations between our Churches.”

The Pope looked forward to the Pan-Orthodox Synod, assuring the delegates of his prayers “and that of many Catholics,” adding that “I trust also in your prayers for the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church, on the theme of the family, which will take place here in the Vatican this coming October, at which we are looking forward also to the participation of a fraternal delegate from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

“I renew my gratitude for your presence and for your cordial expressions of closeness,” he concluded. “I ask you to convey my fraternal greeting to His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew and to the Holy Synod, together with my most heartfelt appreciation for having desired to send eminent representatives to share our joy.”

“Please pray for me and for my ministry.”

Tags: Eastern Orthodoxy

via Catholics and Orthodox should meet, cooperate more often, Pope exhorts :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Angelus Domini 2015.06.28 Live in the San Peter Square (“non dimenticare di pregate per me”, his Holiness of us Christians)


Angelus Domini 2015.06.28

Saint of the Day for Sunday, June 28th, 2015: St. Irenaeus


Image of St. Irenaeus

St. Irenaeus

The writings of St. Irenaeus entitle him to a high place among the fathers of the Church, for they not only laid the foundations of Christian theology but, by exposing and refuting the errors of the … continue reading

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Just a thought: When immorality changes the definition of morality one’s left with…amorality. George – B.


Just a thought:  When immorality changes the definition of morality one’s left with…amorality.

George – B.

Saint of the Day for Friday, June 26th, 2015: St. Anthelm


Image of St. Anthelm

St. Anthelm

Carthusian monk and bishop, defender of papal authority. Anthelm was born in 1107 in a castle near Chambery, in Savoy, France. He was ordained a priest and visited the Carthusian Charterhouse at … continue reading

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Cardinal sends Ramadan wishes to suffering Muslims, rebukes religious violence :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Vatican City, Jun 25, 2015 / 02:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an oblique rebuke to the Islamic State and other militants, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran has wished Muslims a peaceful and joyful Ramadan and acknowledged the pain of those who have suffered or died because of violence.

“With Pope Francis, we wish you that the fruits of Ramadan and the joy of Eid al-Fitr may bring about peace and prosperity, enhancing your human and spiritual growth,” Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said in a June 12 letter to Muslims.

His remarks alluded to ongoing violence in the Middle East and elsewhere. He asked both Christians and Muslims to pray.

“Our prayer is much needed: for justice, for peace and security in the world; for those who have deviated from the true path of life and commit violence in the name of religion, so as to return to God and change life; for the poor and the sick,” said the French-born cardinal.

His comments follow the rise of militant groups in Iraq and Syria such as the Islamic State. Some Islamist militants accuse other Muslims of apostasy and target them for violence. While Christians and other religious minorities sometimes suffer disproportionately, millions of Muslims have suffered as well.

The cardinal’s Ramadan message spoke to these victims.

“For some of you and also for others from other religious communities, the joy of the feast is shadowed by the memory of the dear ones who lost their life or goods, or suffered physically, mentally and even spiritually because of violence,” he said.

The cardinal lamented the killings, enslavement, crimes against women, forced migration, and the destruction of religious and cultural heritage.

“We are all aware of the gravity of these crimes in themselves. However, what makes them even more heinous is the tentative of justifying them in the name of religion. It is a clear manifestation of instrumentalizing religion for gaining power and richness.”

He continued:

“There is no life that is more precious than another one because it belongs to a specific race or religion. Therefore, no one can kill. No one can kill in the name of God; this would be a double crime: against God and the very person.”

Cardinal Tauran called on leaders in education, media, and religion to teach “the sacred character of life and the derived dignity of every person, regardless of his or her ethnicity, religion, culture, social position and political choice.”

He stressed the need for authorities to provide security and public order to protect people from “the blind violence of the terrorists.”

Ramadan is a Muslim month of fasting intended to commemorate the revelation of the Quran to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. This year, it lasts from June 17-July 17. It ends with the holiday Eid al-Fitr, which breaks the fast.

Cardinal Tauran told Muslims he hoped and prayed that they may be enriched by the Ramadan practices of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and visits to family members.

“Our feasts, among others, nourish in us hope for the present and the future,” he said. “It is with hope that we look at the future of humanity, especially when we do our best to make our legitimate dreams become a reality.”

Tags: Islam, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Tauran

via Cardinal sends Ramadan wishes to suffering Muslims, rebukes religious violence :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Saint of the Day for Thursday, June 25th, 2015: St. William of Vercelli


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St. William of Vercelli

William of Vercelli, Saint 1085-1142. founder, born in Vercelli Italy he was brought up as an orphan became a hermit on Monte Vergine, Italy after a pilgrimage to Compostella and attracted so many … continue reading

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Mgr Yousif Mirkis, archevêque de Kirkouk en Irak : « Toute ma vie je n’ai connu que des troubles »


Mgr Yousif Mirkis, archevêque de Kirkouk en Irak : « Toute ma vie je n’ai connu que des troubles »

What happens when an entire country becomes infested with demons? :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


What happens when an entire country becomes infested with demons?

Credit: Estitxu Carton via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Credit: Estitxu Carton via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Vatican City, Jun 16, 2015 / 03:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Can a country with deep Christian roots like Mexico find itself at the mercy of demons? Some in the Church fear so.

And as a result, they called for a nation-wide exorcism of Mexico, carried out quietly last month in the cathedral of San Luis Potosí.

High levels of violence, as well as drug cartels and abortion in the country, were the motivation behind the special rite of exorcism, known as “Exorcismo Magno.”

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, the archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara, presided at the closed doors ceremony, the first ever in the history of Mexico.

Also participating were Archbishop Jesús Carlos Cabrero of San Luis Potosí, Spanish demonologist and exorcist Father José Antonio Fortea, and a smaller group of priests and lay people.

The event was not made known to the general public beforehand. According to Archbishop Cabrero, the reserved character of the May 20 ceremony was intended to avoid any misguided interpretations of the ritual.

But how can an entire country become infested by demons to the point that it’s necessary to resort to an Exorcismo Magno?

“To the extent sin increases more and more in a country, to that extent it becomes easier for the demons to tempt (people),” Fr. Fortea told CNA.

The Spanish exorcist warned that “to the extent there is more witchcraft and Satanism going on in a country, to that extent there will be more extraordinary manifestations of those powers of darkness.”

Fr. Fortea said that “the exorcism performed in San Luís Potosí is the first ever carried out in Mexico in which the exorcists came from different parts of the country and gathered together to exorcise the powers of darkness, not from a person, but from the whole country.”

“This rite of exorcism, beautiful and liturgical, had never before taken place in any part of the world. Although it had taken place in a private manner as when Saint Francis (exorcised) the Italian city of Arezzo,” he stated.

The Spanish exorcist explained, however, that the celebration of this ritual will not automatically change the difficult situation Mexico is going through in a single day.

“It would be a big mistake to think that by performing a full scale exorcism of the country everything would automatically change right away.”

Nevertheless, he emphasized that “if with the power we’ve received from Christ we expel the demons from a country, this will certainly have positive repercussions, because we’ll make a great number of the tempters flee, even if this exorcism is partial.”

“We don’t drive out all the evil spirits from a country with just one ceremony. But even though all will not be expelled, those that were removed are not there anymore.”

Fr. Fortea emphasized that “when the exorcists of a country drive out its demons, it has to be done in faith. You’re not going to see anything, feel anything, there’s not going to be any extraordinary phenomenon. We have to have faith that God conferred on the apostles a power, and that we can use this power.”

“In any case, if this ritual were to be carried out in more countries once year, before or after, this would put an end to any extraordinary manifestations which would show us the rage of the devil. Because, without a doubt, the demons hate to be driven out of a place or to be bound with the power of Christ.”

The Spanish exorcist said that “it would be very desirable that when there’s an annual meeting of exorcists in a country, a ritual such as this exorcismo magno that took place in Mexico be performed.”

He also emphasized that a bishop “can authorize its occurrence once a year with his priests in the cathedral.”

“The bishop is the shepherd and he can use the power he has received to drive away the invisible wolves from the sheep, since Satan is like a roaring lion prowling around looking for someone to devour, and the shepherds can drive away the predator from the victim,” he concluded.

Tags: Mexico, Exorcism, Demons

via What happens when an entire country becomes infested with demons? :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Modern martyrs should inspire US Christians, archbishop says :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Baltimore, Md., Jun 22, 2015 / 04:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The plight of persecuted religious believers overseas should inspire American Catholics and others to continue their defense of religious freedom at home, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said.

“What solidarity we should have with these believers. We should be inspired by their courage and renewed in our resolve not to let religious freedom in our country be compromised by degrees until it all but disappears from our society,” the archbishop said.

“They are the ones who teach us about God’s precious gift of religious freedom,” he said in a June 21 homily. “No matter how great the threat to life and property, these believers exercise that God-given freedom which no tyrant can eradicate – the freedom to bear witness to one’s faith even at the cost of one’s life.”

U.S. religious freedom challenges are not the same magnitude as outright persecution facing Christians in other countries, he said, but U.S. Christians are nevertheless “in the same boat.”

Archbishop Lori’s homily came during Mass at Baltimore’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. About 1,000 people attended the Mass, which launched the U.S. bishops’ third Fortnight for Freedom event.

Archbishop Lori heads the U.S. bishops’ religious freedom committee.

“We seek the freedom to bear witness to Christ’s love, not just in church but in our service to the wider community through works of justice and charity, education, social services, and health care,” the archbishop said, echoing the 2015 campaign’s theme “Freedom to Bear Witness.”

The event, from June 21-July 4, coincides with the feasts of saints including Thomas More and John Fisher. It is intended to raise awareness about threats to religious freedom in the U.S. and about the need for religious freedom protections like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Fortnight for Freedom campaign began in 2012 in the wake of the Obama administration’s efforts to mandate that employers provide insurance coverage for drugs and procedures to which they have religious and moral objections, such as sterilization procedures and contraceptive drugs, including drugs which have abortion-causing effects.

While the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling against the Obama administration mandate in favor of Hobby Lobby provided some protections for closely-held for-profit corporations and their owners, the federal courts are still considering legal challenges for non-profits and other groups.

The rise of “gay marriage” and strict application of anti-discrimination law have also caused problems for Catholics and other religious believers. Small businesses with moral reservations about participating in same-sex ceremonies have faced discrimination lawsuits for declining to provide services, while Catholic-run adoption agencies have been forced to close because the law would require them to place children with same-sex couples.

Archbishop Lori said religious freedom relates to “our most fundamental relationship, our relationship with God.”

He said there are “many intolerant voices” working to stifle religious freedom by “labelling as bigotry long-held beliefs about the sanctity of life and marriage,” by imposing “a grey and godless secularism,” and by “branding basic religious liberty protections as ‘a license to discriminate’.”

“Increasingly religious institutions in the United States are in danger of losing their freedom to hire for mission and their freedom to defend the family,” he said. “It is one thing for others to disagree with the Church’s teaching but quite another to discriminate against the rights of believers to practice our faith, not just in word but in the way we conduct our daily life, ministry, and business.”

Efforts to pass state-level religious freedom protections have faced increasing opposition from activist groups and large businesses. The controversy over Indiana’s 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act was so intense that the Indiana legislature passed an amendment that critics said significantly undermined religious freedom in the state.

The activist group Catholics for Choice has launched a campaign to undermine the Fortnight for Freedom. It has placed ads in the front cover wraparound of the Washington Post Express showing a caricature of a bishop who points at the viewer and says “We want you to help us discriminate.”

Catholics for Choice said the ad shows a Catholic bishop “recruiting an army of intolerance.” It claimed the bishops want the “freedom to discriminate against anyone who disagrees with them.”

Archbishop Lori in his homily praised the early Christians’ courageous witness of faith amid persecution, as well as later saints like St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher and English and Irish martyrs. He cited the recent execution of 20 Coptic Christians and one companion in Libya, whom Islamic militants beheaded for being Christian.

He prayed that Catholics will “allow Christ to awaken our faith and to stir us into action so that we may preserve, protect, and defend our God-given freedom to bear him witness…may God bless us and keep us always in his love!”

Tags: Religious freedom, Fortnight for Freedom

via Modern martyrs should inspire US Christians, archbishop says :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015: St. Joseph Cafasso


Image of St. Joseph Cafasso

St. Joseph Cafasso

Joseph Cafasso was born at Castelnuovo d’Asti in the Piedmont, Italy, of peasant parents. He studied at the seminary at Turin, and was ordained in 1833. He continued his theological studies at the … continue reading

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Saint of the Day for Monday, June 22nd, 2015: St. Thomas More


Image of St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More, Martyr (Patron of Lawyers) St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the … continue reading

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In Middle East martyrdoms, Pope Francis sees seeds of Christian unity :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Vatican City, Jun 20, 2015 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Meeting with Syriac Orthodox leaders on Friday, Pope Francis decried the continuing martyrdom of Middle East Christians, and gave special mention to two Christian bishops kidnapped in Syria two years ago.

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of unity in the Church and the instrument of the building up of the kingdom of God, which is a kingdom of peace and of justice,” the Pope said June 19.

“Let us ask the Lord, too, for the grace of always being ready to forgive and of being workers of reconciliation and peace. This is what animates the witness of the martyrs.”

The Roman Pontiff encouraged prayers for the victims of violence in the Middle East. He particularly mentioned Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Gregorios Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Paul Yazigi, two archbishops of Aleppo, Syria who were kidnapped together in 2013.

The Pope’s comments came during a meeting with Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch, who was accompanied by a delegation of his Church.

The Syriac Orthodox Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which rejected the Council of Chalcedon held in 451. The Church has about 1.2 million members around the world, and its patriarchate is now based in Damascus.

The Roman Pontiff told Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem that the Syrian Church has been “a Church of martyrs from the beginning.” He lamented that the Syriac Orthodox Church, with other Christian communities and other minorities, continues to endure “the terrible sufferings caused by war, violence, and persecutions.”

“So much suffering! So many innocent victims. In the face of all this, it seems that the powers of this world are incapable of finding solutions,” the Pope said.

He added: “in this moment of harsh trial and of sorrow, let us strengthen ever more the bonds of friendship and fraternity between the Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church. Let us hasten our steps along the common path, keeping our gaze fixed on the day when we will be able to celebrate our belonging to the one Church of Christ around the same altar of Sacrifice and of praise.”

“Let us exchange the treasures of our traditions as spiritual gifts, because that which unites us is much greater than that which divides us.”

The tradition of papal meetings with Syriac Orthodox leaders dates back to 1971 when Blessed Paul VI met with then-Patriarch Ignatius Jacob III. Pope Francis said that at that encounter, both leaders “consciously began what we can call a ‘holy pilgrimage’ toward full communion between our Churches.”

Bl. Paul VI and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch signed a common declaration of faith that laid a “dynamic foundation” for the journey to unity, Pope Francis said.

He cited Saint Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Magnesians, in which the Church Father prayed for unity among Christians. He also prayed a Syrian prayer that asks for God’s sanctification and prays that Mary’s prayers be “strength for our souls.”

Tags: Syrian Civil War, Church unity, Oriental Orthodoxy, Syriac Orthodox Church

via In Middle East martyrdoms, Pope Francis sees seeds of Christian unity :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

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Saint of the Day for Saturday, June 20th, 2015: St. Vincent Kaun


Doamna Stanca (died 1603) was the wife of Michael the Brave.


Doamna Stanca (died 1603) was the wife of Michael the Brave. Tradition says that they were married in the Proieni church, Vâlcea County, in 1584.

Doamna Stanca at Făgăraș

In 1600, the sometime master of Făgăraș Citadel, Michael the Brave, gave the castle and the Făgăraș domain to Doamna Stanca. He retreated there after the defeat at Mirăslău (18/28 September 1600) and sheltered his family there until 1601.

Doamna Stanca settled there with their two children, Nicolae Pătrașcu and Lady Florica. Michael built a church for his family in the southern part of the city. After the Battle of Mirăslău, the three were held hostage in the city, and after the killing of the Voivode near Turda, on 9/10 August 1601, Doamna Stanca lived there as a slave.

“Two Generations Ice-skating ” (above: Me, 1963/ Bellow: my Father and friends, 1934. Both pictures at the Cetatea Fagaras, Tara Fagarasului, Romania Mare, si… Mai Mica) My Photo Collection)


"Two Generations Ice-skating " (above: Me, 1963/ Bellow: my Father and friends, 1934. Both pictures at the Cetatea Fagaras, Fagaras, Romania) My Photo Collection)

“Two Generations Ice-skating ” (above: Me, 1963/ Bellow: my Father and friends, 1934. Both pictures at the Cetatea Fagaras, Fagaras, Romania) My Photo Collection)

image of today: Tatal meu in fata Statuii Doamnei Stanca, cetatea Fagaras, Romania Mare, 1939 (©my phopt collection)


Tatal meu in fata Statuii Doamnei Stanca, cetatea Fagaras, 1939

Tatal meu in fata Statuii Doamnei Stanca, cetatea Fagaras, 1939

Haiku – Words, poetic thought by George-G (The Smudge ans other poems) (“Words know the meaning…”)


Haiku – Words, poetic thought by George-G
(The Smudge ans other poems)

Words know the Story,
what has been, is, will be.
Words – learn the meaning.

©By George -B

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 16th, 2015: St. John Francis Regis


Image of St. John Francis Regis

St. John Francis Regis

St. John Francis Regis Confessor of the Society of Jesus June 16     True virtue, or Christian perfection, consists not in great or shining actions, but resides in the heart, and … continue reading

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Mosul archbishop’s plea to the West: Save us from ISIS :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) (ISIS is Satan)


New York City, N.Y., Jun 13, 2015 / 07:43 am (Aid to the Church in Need).- A leading Iraqi prelate has called on world governments to increase their efforts to defeat ISIS and restore land and property to some 120,000 exiled Iraqi Christians.

Marking the first anniversary of ISIS’s capture of Mosul, Syrian Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Mouche called on “people who have the responsibility” to come to the rescue of the ousted Christian communities, whose people, he added, long to go home.

In an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the archbishop said that military action is the “best solution.”

“We ask everyone to put pressure on the people who have the responsibility to free the [towns and villages] as soon as possible so the people can come back and live in peace in their homes and continue their lives there,” he said.

The archbishop’s comments reflect ongoing frustration felt by a number of senior Middle East clergy about what they perceive as the West’s reluctance to commit to a full-scale intervention to confront and overcome extremism in the region – a move many Church leaders opposed until very recently.

Archbishop Mouche also said that if the West is unable to redouble its efforts in the fight against ISIS, it should open its doors to Christians and other minorities seeking asylum.

“I am calling on the international community: if they cannot protect us, then they must open their doors and help us start a new life elsewhere,” he said, adding, however that “we would prefer to remain in Iraq and be protected here.”

Speaking of his own hardship, the prelate said: “I am like someone who is dreaming or drunk. I can’t understand what is going on around me. It is a nightmare.”

Asked about widespread reports of destruction of religious artifacts and Churches buildings in Mosul, he said his contacts with the city had been severed. But he confirmed that “all our heritage is in Mosul, and in Qaraqosh,” on the Nineveh Plain. He singled out the monastery of St Behnam, which dates back to the fourth century AD. The monastery is rumored to have been partially destroyed by ISIS.

“We have no news about our churches and monasteries, because we have no-one left in Mosul to report on it,” the archbishop concluded.

Tags: Mosul, ISIS

via Mosul archbishop’s plea to the West: Save us from ISIS :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Saint of the Day for Saturday, June 13th, 2015: St. Anthony of Padua


Image of St. Anthony of PaduaSt. Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony was canonized (declared a saint) less than one year after his death. There is perhaps no more loved and admired saint in the Catholic Church than Saint Anthony of Padua, a Doctor of … continue reading

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Christians belong in Middle East, Antioch patriarchs say in call for peace :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Damascus, Syria, Jun 10, 2015 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The five Christian patriarchs of Antioch met in Syria on Monday, calling for peace in the Syrian civil war while reaffirming that Christians have a place in the Middle East.

The Christian leaders described themselves as an authentic people of the land, who are “deeply rooted in its earth that was watered by the sweat of our fathers and grandfathers, and we confirm more than ever that we are staying.”

“We do not condemn those that choose to leave, but we remind Christians that steadfastness in faith often entails a great deal of tribulation,” they said in a statement following the June 8 meeting. “We call on everyone who claims to have an interest in our fate to help us to remain.”

The five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of Antioch attended the meeting, held in Damascus at the headquarters of the local Greek Orthodox archdiocese. The apostolic nuncio to Syria also attended, Reuters reports.

The patriarchs are Gregory III Laham (Melkite Greek Catholic), Bechara Rai (Maronite), Ignatius III Younan (Syriac Catholic), John X Yazigi (Greek Orthodox), and Ignatius Aphrem II (Syriac Orthodox).

The annual meeting is normally held in Lebanon, but the churches agreed to meet in Damascus so as to reassure all Christians of the region, according to Asia News.

The Syrian civil war and the conflict in Iraq have caused massive casualties and life disruptions for Muslims and Christians alike. Millions of Iraqi and Syrian refugees have been displaced from their homes.

The rise of the Islamic State has also threatened many Christians and Muslims.

via Christians belong in Middle East, Antioch patriarchs say in call for peace :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

today’s holiday: St. Barnabas’s Day


St. Barnabas’s Day

Before England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, June 11 was the day of the Summer Solstice. In addition to being the longest day of the year, it was also St. Barnabas‘s Day (or Barnaby Day), and this association gave rise to the old English jingle, “Barnaby bright, Barnaby bright, the longest day and the shortest night.” It was customary on this day for the priests and clerks in the Church of England to wear garlands of roses and to decorate the church with them. Other names for this day were Long Barnaby and Barnaby Bright. More… Discuss

Polish, Eastern Catholic bishops stand firm on pastoral care for families :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


By Andrea Gagliarducci

Rome, Italy, Jun 9, 2015 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During recent meetings which were held separately, both the Polish bishops and the Eastern Catholic bishops from Europe have discussed the family in view of the upcoming Synod on the Family, and are likely to uphold Catholic pastoral care for families.

The bishops from Poland will be on the front line at the synod, giving an overall view of the family and not focusing merely on the contentious issues of access to Communion for the divorced and remarried, and pastoral openings to homosexual relationships.

A source in a congregation at the Roman Curia told CNA that “the feeling of the Polish bishops is that John Paul II’s teaching on marriage and family has been betrayed” by the “shadow council” led by some German bishops at the Pontifical Gregorian University on May 25.

The lecture delivered the last week of May to the Polish bishops’ conference’s general assembly by Fr. Dariusz Kowalczyk, SJ, gives one to understand the issues at stake for the Polish bishops.

Grounded in St. John Paul II’s pastoral care and speaking about granting access to Communion for the divorced and remarried, Fr. Kowalczyk indicated two criticisms.

“The first question we should ask ourselves,” he said, “is this: Does the Church have the authority to give sacramental absolution and Holy Communion to divorced persons cohabiting in non-sacramental unions? This question of Communion for those people is comparable to the issue of the mandatory celibacy of priests, or on another the level, to that of ordaining women.”

He then continued: “If we answer the question of Communion for remarried divorcees by saying that a change in the Church’s current doctrine and practice is possible, then a second question can be asked: From the pastoral viewpoint, would the new, proposed sacramental practice be useful? Would it edify the Church or not? After all, the fact that something could be possible from the doctrinal point of view, does not necessarily imply that it would be good for the Church from a pastoral point of view.”

Fr. Kowalczyk then concluded that “We have two arguments here: one is doctrinal and the other pastoral – a risk of confusion on the indissolubility of marriage. Both concern the sacramental sign, which has theological, anthropological, and didactic meanings.”

The doctrinal argument, he said, “can be considered from two perspectives: that of sin, which contradicts sacramental Communion (understood both as a sacramental sign and as grace), and that of the relation between the meanings of each of the sacraments.”

The arguments presented by Fr. Kowalczyk – that admitting the divorced and remarried to Communion would contradict the nuptial significance of the Eucharist, and it would also confuse people about the indissolubility of marriage – will be core issues at October’s Synod of Bishops.

via Polish, Eastern Catholic bishops stand firm on pastoral care for families :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

MORE HERE:

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 9th, 2015: St. Ephrem


Image of St. Ephrem

St. Ephrem

“I was born in the way of truth: though my childhood was unaware of the greatness of the benefit, I knew it when trial came.” Ephrem (or Eprhaim) the Syrian left us hundreds of hymns … continue reading

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