Chapel Veils: a re-emerging tradition

A new and well made video from CNS

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Papal Theologian Speaks

From Mark Lambert’s blog

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Is It Time to Hunker Down?

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

As Ireland votes overwhelmingly for same sex marriage and the rest of the Western world,The Benedict Option it seems, can’t wait to follow their example, is it time to throw in the towel in the cultural slugfest?

As radical Islam advances giving us nightmares and as the economic “recovery” looks increasingly shaky is it time to hunker down?

Over at The Week Damon Linker analyzes what Rod Dreher calls “The Benedict Option”.

This is the idea that the church will follow the pattern of St Benedict. To understand what this means we have to understand the social conditions in Benedict’s day.

It was the end of the fifth century. The once mighty Roman Empire was collapsing. Economic decline was forcing a retreat of the Roman armies across the empire. Famine and plague decimated the population. Moral decay ate away at the family and robbed the population of energy and ambition. In the vacuum the barbarians were invading from the North and the East.

Benedict headed for the hills.

He established small monastic communities of prayer, work and study to survive the social upheaval.

These Christian communities went on to become little havens of peace and lighthouses in the storm. Before long they became the only centers of education, health care, social justice and learning. They preserved the remnants of the earlier classical civilizations and went on to be the kernels of what would be medieval Christendom.

The Benedict Option is the idea that this is where we are headed. It’s not a new idea. T.S.Eliot predicted the continued decay and disintegration of Western civilization and that a new monastic movement would arise and carry the flame and become the nexus of a new Christendom. Cardinal George’s famous prophecy considered the same.

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

The classic novel, Canticle for Lebowitz is set in a future where this has already happened.

Read the original article here.

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Catholicism Is Cool

If you think this is cool, try Catholicism. To the casual eye, most of its depth is hidden.

Sainthood (which is Catholicism in the ultimate degree) is cool because it starts at absolute zero. Let me explain.

Pre-Saints live in a world of feelings, sensations and ideas that are produced by their external environment, their upbringing, their experiences and their internal constitution.

With so many variables, it is no surprise how individual every one is. It is also no surprise how they are all so prone to ignorance, misinformation, neurosis and even psychosis

How can one unite so many unique individuals, both living and dead, and also those yet to be? How can one unite all those with all the creatures of the universe and with all of the Heavenly Host?

Well, this is my suggestion: Take everything and everyone down to absolute zero. Rid oneself of possessions, relations, activities (except breathing!), and even one’s precious ego-will-identity. This is not easy by any means and will require help from Above for success. Without Divine Grace, such an endeavour can lead to madness or worse. Heaven cannot be taken by violence!

All that will be left is one’s “being”, and in that supposedly bleak spot one will make a marvellous discovery: one’s puny naked being is purely contingent on the greater, nay, infinite Being who is full of Joy and Life and Truth, and who shows the Way for people to attain this Blissful state in saecula saeculorum.

That Being is Christ, the great I AM whose name was given to Moses, so, so long ago.

Catholicism is the distilled and formalised system and community, open to all, which shows the way to Communion with God in Heaven. Its imperfect human members hinder its purpose, but cannot ultimately stop it from reaching fruition.

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The Irish referendum: personal implications for Catholics’ public actions

From:  https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/24

by

Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap.

May 24, 2015

That 40% of Irish voters bucked some of their own priests and bishops and nearly all of their politicians and major media to side with a true-marriage campaign that mustered hardly one euro for every ten spent by its opponents says something about the resiliency of natural law and Church teaching on marriage. But, silver linings aside, the outcome of the constitutional referendum on marriage in Ireland is a disaster.

“Same-sex marriage” has usually been imposed by activist judges; in Ireland it won by popular vote. “Same-sex marriage” is often insinuated into the legal landscape by blurring distinctions between it and “same-sex unions”; in Ireland marriage itself was expressly on the line. “Same-sex marriage” in most places set in only after decades of relentless secular media promotion; in Ireland it seems to have come about almost overnight.

But as the Church now tries to figure out how, for the umpteenth time in her history, she must go about teaching people how to be human, she must also explain to Catholics what it means to be Catholic. Specifically, she must be clear that some public actions carry personal consequences for Catholics especially when we are talking about Catholics who play a part in bringing about a repudiation of perennial natural law and a rejection of irrefutable Catholic doctrine. Obviously—and without reading souls, but considering things objectively—degrees of personal culpability for such acts will vary depending on two main factors: the specific actions taken by individuals and their places in the social or ecclesiastical order.

At the lower end of the responsibility scale are, I suppose, rank-and-file Catholics who cast a personal ballot securing, not just passage of the amendment, but its passage by a higher margin than would have occurred without their vote. At the higher end of the responsibility scale are, of course, Catholics who, from positions of political, social, or ecclesiastical prestige, lent their influence to the cause of “same-sex marriage”. But any Catholic who directly helped to bring about Ireland’s decision to treat as marriage unions of two persons of the same sex has, at a minimum, arrayed himself against the infallible doctrine of the Church and, quite possibly, has committed an act of heresy. (See my Primer of 27.III.2013). In either event, the technical term for such an action is “sin”; the consequences of sin are always spiritual and sometimes canonical; and the solution for sin is repentance and Confession.

May all Catholics, whether contributing to this disaster or grieving it (even from afar), set ourselves to righting it as soon as possible.

Note: As we sort out this latest mess, I urge Catholics to avoid running down the rabbit hole of wondering whether this supporter or that of “same-sex marriage” has been excommunicated for such support. Latae sententiae sanctions must be, in my opinion, eliminated from canon law but, in the meantime, debating latae sententiae penalties shifts attention away from the real problem at hand (the legalization of “same-sex marriage”) which all must address, and toward the intricacies of penal canon law which precious few are qualified to talk about.

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The Pope’s homily on Pentecost Sunday

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on the Solemnity of Pentecost

 English translation the Pope’s homily this Pentecost Sunday“As the Father has sent me, even so I send you…  Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:21-22).  The gift of the Spirit on the evening of the Resurrection took place once again on the day of Pentecost, intensified this time by extraordinary outward signs.  On the evening of Easter, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and breathed on them his Spirit (cf. Jn 20:22); on the morning of Pentecost the outpouring occurred in a resounding way, like a wind which shook the place the Apostles were in, filling their minds and hearts.  They received a new strength so great that they were able to proclaim Christ’s Resurrection in different languages: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).  Together with them was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the first disciple and the Mother of the nascent Church.  With her peace and her smile, she accompanied the joyful young Bride, the Church of Jesus.The word of God, especially in today’s readings, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit: he guides us into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13), he renews the face of the earth (Ps 103:30), and he gives us his fruits (cf. Gal 5:22-23).

In the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he has returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come to guide them into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13).  Indeed he calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth”, and explains to his disciples that the Spirit will bring them to understand ever more clearly what he, the Messiah, has said and done, especially in regard to his death and resurrection.  To the Apostles, who could not bear the scandal of their Master’s sufferings, the Spirit would give a new understanding of the truth and beauty of that saving event.  At first they were paralyzed with fear, shut in the Upper Room to avoid the aftermath of Good Friday.  Now they would no longer be ashamed to be Christ’s disciples; they would no longer tremble before the courts of men.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, they would now understand “all the truth”: that the death of Jesus was not his defeat, but rather the ultimate expression of God’s love, a love that, in the Resurrection, conquers death and exalts Jesus as the Living One, the Lord, the Redeemer of mankind, of history and of the world.  This truth, to which the Apostles were witnesses, became Good News, to be proclaimed to all.

The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth.  The Psalmist says: “You send forth your Spirit… and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 103:30).  The account of the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is significantly linked to this Psalm, which is a great hymn of praise to God the Creator.  The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same.  Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the “garden” in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect (cf. Gen 2:15).  Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam.  In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation.  In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator, as another Psalm says: “How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2, 10).

In the Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul wants to show the “fruits” manifested in the lives of those who walk in the way of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22).  On the one hand, he presents “the flesh”, with its list of attendant vices: the works of selfish people closed to God.  On the other hand, there are those who by faith allow the Spirit of God to break into their lives.  In them, God’s gifts blossom, summed up in nine joyful virtues which Paul calls “fruits of the Spirit”.  Hence his appeal, at the start and the end of the reading, as a programme for life: “Walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:6, 25).

The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit.  Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin.  There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites”; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways.  The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers.  The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22).  The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace.  Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace.

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Lectio Divina: Pentecost, Year B

The Spirit Gives Life

Paris, May 22, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo

1) Acceptance of the Spirit, the perfect Comforter.

In the Gospel passage of this Sunday of Pentecost, Jesus says “When the Paraclete (the Comforter), that I will send you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify of me; and you also bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning .”(Jn 15: 26-27).

During his earthly life Jesus was the Comforter “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28) When Jesus promises us the Comforter, it is almost as if he says, “Go to him, all you who are weary and burdened, and he will refresh you.”

How does this “Comforter” console us? He consoles us by being a witness to our spirit that we are children of God (cf. Rom 8:16). The proof that we are children is that God sent into our hearts the Spirit of his Son who cries: Abba, Father (see Gal 4: 8). Continue reading

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A well-rehearsed media pantomime

Some may have noticed this week that the usual committed secularist media in Australia have recently again set out to “get” Cardinal George Pell. Well, no surprises there. Strident secularist forces and certain like-minded Catholics have been together at this for some time now.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse is now sitting in Cardinal Pell’s home town, the rural city of Ballarat in Victoria. Dr Pell was never bishop there, but an assistant priest and episcopal vicar for education in the Ballarat diocese in his earlier days before assuming responsibilities in the Melbourne archdiocese and then. of course, in Sydney.

In media reports there have been the usual errors of fact (for example that he was a parish priest in Ballarat, that he was the “head ” of the Church in Australia, that as episcopal vicar for education in Ballarat he was the principal of Catholic schools in the diocese). One wonders if the media persons cannot even get facts right what worth their media reports may have at all.

The Australian blogger, Vexilla Regis, gives a good account of what’s really going on, yet again, way down there.

Please read Like rabitd dogs: the persecutors.

… So we have gathered the players, The Church herself, her principal Australian representative and a host of hostile media and political forces sullenly observing her progress, resentful of her opposition to their causes and of  the apparent  strength of her position. But what is this? She stumbles, falling into the mud and they pounce and begin to tear at her .

Powerful stuff! ← (© Frere Rabidt)

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Lazarus-like he rises, to rant

Originally posted on Dominus mihi adjutor:

No plaintive excuses, no unconvincing avowals of “I would have if I could have”. It has been busy here, in a disconcertingly unspectacular way. So blogging by your correspondent has been passive not active.

One topic in the past few weeks that has grabbed my attention is the matter of the bidding prayers at Mass. My eye settled first on a post at the New Liturgical Movement (NLM), and then more recently on a pastor’s heartfelt reflection by Fr Ray Blake in Brighton.

At NLM, Dr Kwasniewski rightly laments the general standard of bidding prayers/prayers of the faithful/general intercessions/universal prayer – call it what you will. He urges that they should be solidly founded theologically, well and aptly written, and that they should be sung (after all, if the bidding prayers have any real liturgical pedigree, it is to be found in the litany form).

Fr Blake is more forthright. He…

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The Plan to Destroy Civilization

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School of the Annunciation signs partnership agreement with Franciscan University Steubenville, USA.

The School of the Annunciation, Buckfast Abbey, has signed an agreement with Franciscan University Steubenville to form a collaborative partnership. Image result for school of the annunciation In the first phase of the partnership Dr Andrew Beards, Academic Director at the School, has joined the online teaching staff of Franciscan University’s popular online, distance-learning MA in Catechesis and Evangelisation (MACE).  Dr Beards joins a faculty teaching US students that includes Dr Hahn, Dr Bob Rice, Sr Johanna Paruch and Dr Petroc Willey.

News will follow in the coming weeks and months on further developments arising from this exciting collaboration between the School of the Annunciation and Franciscan University. Fr Guy de Gaynesford STL, the Rector of the School of the Annunciation, writes: ‘All those associated with the School of the Annunciation will naturally be absolutely delighted to learn of the beginning of this exciting collaborative partnership with a world renowned Catholic university.  The remarkable progress both sides have achieved in creating this partnership was made possible by our common fidelity to the Catholic faith, our shared academic expertise and our joint passion to form disciples of the Lord for the work of the New Evangelisation.’

Notes:

The School of the Annunciation: Centre for the New Evangelisation is the UK’s only Higher Education School dedicated to the New Evangelisation. The School of the Annunciation was founded by Dr Andrew Beards, Academic Director, Dr Caroline Farey, Director of Studies, Deacon Nick Donnelly, Director of Formation, together with the Abbot of Buckfast. Fr Guy de Gaynesford has recently been appointed the School’s first Rector. The patrons of the School of the Annunciation are His Eminence George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, and the Right Reverend Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth Over the past year the School has launched three new courses in evangelisation, catechesis and Latin that combine on-line learning with residentials in the beautiful surroundings of Buckfast Abbey. Together with six Summer Schools and weekend courses, on subjects ranging from sacred Scripture, philosophy and liturgy, the School has enrolled 129 students from the United Kingdom, Ireland, US, Australia, Gibraltar, Malta, and Dubai.

Press officer: n.donnelly@schooloftheannunciation.com 01229 821866/07938 986186

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What Is the Deepest Root of Sin? It’s Not in Your Wallet and It’s Much Closer Than You Might Think

By:

In polling friends as to what they think is the deepest root of all sin, I got three main answers. One was a shrug indicating no answer at all (i.e., “I dunno”). Another was to refer to Scripture: For the love of money is a root of allmirror of pride kinds of evils (1 Tim 6:10). I’ll discuss below why this is an inadequate answer. The third main response was that original sin (and the concupiscence that followed) is the source of all of our other sins. The only problem with that answer is that it doesn’t explain Adam and Eve’s (original) sin, nor does it explain the fall of the angels, who seem to have fallen in great numbers without original sin or concupiscence and are now demons. Therefore an even deeper root must be sought.

Referencing St. Thomas Aquinas and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, permit me to answer that the deepest root of all sin is inordinate self-love. From this root springs all sin, including the original sin of Adam and that of the angels. It is true that our fallen condition has intensified the problem of inordinate self-love, but the possible temptation to it was there before.

For to what else did Satan appeal when he said to Eve, and you will be like God (Gen 3:5)? And indeed, by what were Lucifer and all the other fallen angels tempted when they mysteriously rebelled and, in effect, declared their non serviam (I will not serve)? Adam and Eve as well as all the angels (though sinless and not fallen) chose to love themselves more than God. They would not love or trust God more than they loved themselves. For the angels it was a “one and you’re done” decision. For us, the drama continues, but will end with our definitive and lasting decision either to love God or to love our own self more.

The inordinate love of self is the most fundamental root of all sin. We all know its power and its pernicious quality. Even the most wonderful things we do are tainted when we do them more for personal praise and glory than for love of God and neighbor.

Read the original article here

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Ireland, Do the Right Thing This Week and Vote Against Same-Sex “Marriage”. Voting “Yes” would be a betrayal of Our Lord’s mission to save us from sin

By Deacon Nick Donnelly

I’m hearing that some parish priests in Ireland are concerned that Catholics, who are devout and regular Mass-goers, are intending to vote “Yes” this week in Enda Kenny’s Same-Sex “Marriage” referendum. In my experience the vast majority of ordinary Catholics want to do the right thing, so the fact that so many are considering voting “Yes” indicates a shocking level of misunderstanding and confusion over these important issues of Faith and morality.

On such an important moral decision, that will impact the lives of future generations, genuine Catholics will be asking themselves, “How does Our Lord Jesus Christ want me to vote?” We can be assured that Our Lord has given us the means, through Holy Mother Church, to come to the right decision, knowing that we will have to give an account of our actions before the judgment of God. This divine judgement should be uppermost in our thoughts rather than the judgment of our secularist neighbours and the judgment of the anti-Catholic media.

“Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching. (Mark 12:38–40; Luke 12:1–3; John 3:20–21). Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church678)

Therefore, I want to look at some of the possible reasons Catholics could propose for voting “Yes” from the perspective of the Gospels and the Church’s teaching.

Who Am I to Judge?

Many people have mistakenly assumed that Pope Francis’ famous declaration “Who am I to judge?” means that the Church now approves of homosexuality and accepts homosexual sex acts. This is not true.

What did Pope Francis mean by “Who am I to judge?” The Holy Father immediately preceded this statement with an explicit reflection on the need for conversion and repentance from sins committed by homosexual persons and all of us.  He said, “If a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets.” This is the context for Pope Francis then saying, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” Clearly, Pope Francis was talking about homosexual persons who have repented of the sins of homosexuality in their search for the Lord with good will.

Following the long-established tradition of the Church, founded on God’s Word, Pope Francis presented homosexuality in the context of the need for repentance from sin, which we all share. Voting “Yes” would be a rejection of the Church’s teaching on sin and our need for God’s forgiveness.

Jesus Was Tolerant and Compassionate

It is common to hear people justifying the acceptance of active homosexuality and sex outside of marriage by claiming that Jesus was tolerant and compassionate. This is to mistake Our Lord’s compassion for sinners with a moral laxity towards sin. The Gospels show that Jesus did not mince His words when naming our inclination towards evil. “If you then, who are evil” (Luke 11:13). Our Lord sees sin as a mortal sickness and sees His own role as the Divine Physician sent to cure us of the sickness of sin. A good doctor is compassionate and caring towards his patients, but is definitely not tolerant towards the diseases causing our sickness:

And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31–32)

Our Lord is compassionate and caring towards homosexual persons engaging in homosexual acts, in the same way that He is towards all of us when we sin, but He is not tolerant and accepting of the sins that make us mortally sick. Voting “Yes” would be a betrayal of Our Lord’s mission to save us from sin.

God Forgives Us No Matter What We Do

Another possible reason for why some Catholics are thinking about voting “Yes” is the mistaken notion that God forgives us even if we don’t repent and change our behaviour. This common error confuses God’s love with God’s forgiveness. It is true that God loves us no matter what we do, because as St. Paul wrote, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). However, Our Lord’s very first words at the start of His public ministry spoke of the necessity for repentance and conversion. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In order to avail ourselves of God’s freely offered loving mercy, we have to first repent of our sins, and determine to make a firm amendment of life according to God’s commandments.

The Church clearly teaches that homosexual sex acts, along with adultery and masturbation, are gravely sinful because they misuse the procreative purpose of sex, and make a nonsense of its meaning as self-giving love between man and woman.

It is a serious mistake to presume on the forgiveness of God when He has so generously given us not only the means to avoid the self-harm of sin, through the Church’s moral teaching,  but also the grace to strive to overcome sin through the sacraments of healing — Confession and the Sacrament of the Sick. Voting “Yes” misleads people to presume on the forgiveness of God without the need for repentance.

This Is About Equality, Not Morality

Some people argue that the Marriage Equality referendum has nothing to do with morality, but is purely about legal equality. Our Lord categorically rejected the separation of the law from morality, especially regarding marriage. When a Pharisee tested Jesus about the law concerning divorce He returned to the moral source of marriage established by God in the creation of man as male and female:

Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4–6)

The Marriage Equality referendum is a profoundly immoral act, because it seeks to change the God-given, exclusive, meaning of marriage as the loving union of man and woman for the procreation of children. Voting “Yes” would be a repudiation of God’s purpose for marriage.

Love Is Good, Marriage Is Good

Some Catholics may have come to the conclusion that because homosexuals love each other they should be allowed to marry. This reasoning is confused in a number of ways. God’s creation of the complementarity of the sexes shows that the wonderful gift of erotic love is ordered to the self-giving of husband and wife for the procreation of children. Marriage, with the exchange of vows of fidelity, permanence and openness to life, creates the conditions for the self-giving of erotic love between man and woman.

Homosexual persons can genuinely experience the love of friendship and affection, but homosexual erotic expression is a disorder of the nature and purpose of eros. As Our Lord taught about erotic love, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh, so they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:5–6). Voting “Yes” will be a rejection of God’s purpose for erotic love and marriage and a devaluing of the true love of friendship.

Sex Is a Private Matter

It is commonplace to hear the complaint that the Church is obsessed with sex and should stay out of the bedroom. However, this ignores the fact that the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality has its origins in Our Lord’s commands. Jesus did not see sex as a private matter which people were free to exercise according to their desires: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28)

Jesus clearly saw the human sexual drive as powerful force that should be controlled according to the moral commands of God, especially the Sixth Commandment that restricts sexual acts to marriage. Voting “Yes” is to abandon Our Lord’s teaching on sexuality.

Follow the Lead of the Bishops and Priests 

Some Catholics will no doubt be considering voting “Yes” as a consequence of confusion caused by statements made by a number of bishops and priests. I find such confusion in the thinking of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin when he defends marriage as the union of man and woman while at the same time talking positively about homosexual relationships without mentioning the necessity of sexual abstinence. An example of this was contained in his latest address on the referendum:

An ethics of equality does not require uniformity. There can be an ethic of equality which is an ethic of recognizing and respecting difference. A pluralist society can be creative in finding ways in which people of same-sex orientation have their rights and their loving and caring relationships recognized and cherished in a culture of difference, while respecting the uniqueness of the male-female relationship.

The confusion comes from the fact that the archbishop presents homosexual relationships as being equivalent to, but different from, heterosexual relationships. His omission of any reference to the morality of chastity and continence is at the heart of this confusion.

When Our Lord confronted the moral anarchy that was harming people’s lives, He spoke directly and clearly out of a profound sense of compassion. His words to the woman caught in adultery were not confusing: “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again'” (John 8:10–11).

Our Lord’s compassion is shown by the fact that He did not condemn the adulterous woman, and that He commanded her not to sin again. To vote “No” on May 22 is not to condemn homosexual persons; rather it is an act of loving compassion which embraces us all in our desire to follow God’s will that we may not sin again.

Originally published in the Catholic Voice Ireland.

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Thought for the Day

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Kenyan Bishop on international indifference after massacre of 150 Christian students

It is not only very sad, it is also very shameful, that Bishop Anthony Muheria of Kitui (Kenya) should have to announce the cold indifference shown by the international community to the callous massacre of so many young Christian students at the hands of islamic jihadists in his country last Easter. 

From Rome Reports on 17/5/15

When Pope Francis met with Bishops from Kenya, one of the main issues they talked about was the recent massacre of 150 Christian students in the University of Garissa. It’s an attack that was carried out by Muslim extremists. On Holy Thursday, Christian students were separated for Muslims and were then shot.

Visibly shaken, Bishop Anthony Muheria says he was disappointed by the international reaction, which didn’t pay much attention to the tragedy.

MSGR. ANTHONY MUHERIA
Bishop of Kitui (Kenya)
“They only address something if they are directly affected. If the victims had been exchange students from the United States, I think the international reaction would have been a lot different.”

That’s why the international community, he says, needs to take action to stop Islamic extremism. The problem he says, is no longer isolated. Rather, it’s a global challenge.

MSGR. ANTHONY MUHERIA
Bishop of Kitui (Kenya)
“This is what we have to highlight time and time again. If the victim is American, Italian, Kenyan, African, Indian, Asian. Whether the person is educated or not, Muslim, poor or rich- a life is a life and 150 people are too many.”

Since the tragedy struck, the Church is providing moral and spiritual support for the victim’s families.

MSGR. ANTHONY MUHERIA
Bishop of Kitui (Kenya)
“As a Church we’re trying to help people. First comes forgiveness, especially in this Year of Mercy. They can’t leave any room for hatred or revenge in their hearts. It’s not easy because it’s only human for them to feel a sense of pain and bitterness.”

Even though Christians were clearly targeted in the attack, the Church has a strong presence in Kenya. About one third of the population is Catholic, which breaks down to about 7 million people. The country also has more than 5,000 seminarians.

MSGR. ANTHONY MUHERIA
Bishop of Kitui (Kenya)
“We need a moment of grace. A moment where we can feel the active presence of the Holy Spirit. That testimony cannot come to life without the help of the Holy Spirit.”

During the Pope’s Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter the Pope prayed for the 150 Christians students who were killed because of their faith.

The Pope has consistently denounced the persecution of Christians and the complicit silence that often comes with it.

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