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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Fare Well

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said on Tuesday (May 19th) many people like the Rohingya of Myanmar or the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq have been forced to say farewell to their homes and the lives of all of us are marked by farewells of varying importance.  He said each of us should reflect on our own final farewell from this life and what it means for Christians to entrust themselves to God.  The Pope’s words came during his morning Mass at the Santa Marta residence.

Pope Francis’ homily was a reflection on how our lives are marked by saying goodbye or farewell, how we do it and the reasons why we do it. He took as his inspiration the day’s two gospel readings where Jesus bids farewell to the disciples before his Passion and death and where St Paul bids farewell before going to Jerusalem and weeps on the beach with those who have come to say goodbye to him.

He said our lives are made up of many farewells, small and big ones and with some of them there is a great deal of tears and suffering.

“Let’s think nowadays of those poor Rohingya from Myanmar.  When they left their lands to flee from persecution, they didn’t know what would happen to them.  And they’ve been in boats for months over there. They arrive in a town where people give them water and food and tell them to go away. That’s a farewell. In addition, this great existential farewell is taking place in our times. Think about the farewell for the Christians and Yazidis (in Iraq) who believe they can no longer return to their lands because they were chased out of their homes. This is happening now.”

The Pope said there are small farewells such as when a mother hugs her son who’s going off to fighting in a war and then there’s the final farewell for a person who is leaving this world and this theme of farewell is explored in art and in songs.

“I’m thinking of one, of the Italian “Alpini” regiment, when the captain bids farewell to his soldiers: the captain’s Will. I’m thinking of the great farewell, my great farewell, not when I must say ‘see you then,’  ‘see you later,’ ‘bye for now,’ but ‘farewell.’ These two readings use the word ‘addio’ (farewell in a final sense.)  Paul entrusts everything of his to God and Jesus entrusts to God his disciples who remain on this earth. ‘They are not of this world but look after them.’ We only say ‘addio’ at a time of final farewells, be they of this life or be they our final farewell.”

Pope Francis went to say that each of us would do well to think of our final farewell or passing and examine our conscience, just like Jesus and St Paul did.

“What will I leave behind?  Both St Paul and Jesus in these two readings carry out a kind of examination of conscience: ‘I’ve done this, this and this … And what have I done? It’s good for me to imagine myself at that moment.  We don’t know when it will happen, but it will be that moment when expressions like ‘see you later,’ ‘see you soon,’ ‘see you tomorrow,’ ‘goodbye for now,’ will become ‘farewell.’  Am I prepared to entrust to God all that I have?  To entrust myself to God?  To say that word which is the word of the son entrusting himself to his Father.”

The Pope concluded his homily by praying that the Holy Spirit teaches us how to say farewell and truly entrust ourselves to God at the end of our life.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Irish Marriage ‘Equality’ Referendum – “Why I am voting ‘No’!”

By Brian Ó Caithnia

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Let me explain why I am voting No to the legal redefinition of marriage on May 22nd.

The correct title of this referendum should be “The Abolition of Marriage Bill”. This INSANE legislation is easily the most destructive piece of legislation ever to be proposed in the history of the [Irish] State.

Marriage is a permanent commitment between a man and woman to enter into a comprehensive relationship whose end is the creation and proper raising of children. Marriage is THE fundamental, cross-cultural institution for bridging the male-female divide so that children have loving, committed mothers and fathers.
Same-sex marriage legally abolishes all of the primary characteristics of marriage as they have existed nearly everywhere for all of human history. Marriage will no longer be the institution that regulates the expected norms of mothers and fathers towards their children. As the “Yes” side keep screaming in this debate, marriage for them has “Nothing to do with mothers, fathers and children”, it only has to do with “adult relationships” and their “emotional fulfilment.”

This referendum does not simply “let more people access the marriage contract,” it abolishes the marriage contract, and creates a void where the allocated responsibilities for the raising of children shall become unclear. By advocating a version of marriage that has been stripped bare of its richest and most important characteristics, same-sex marriage advocates are now incapable of explaining why marriage even exists, or why it should continue to exist, as a distinct legal status.

Below I list a number of sample reasons why this INSANE referendum must be rejected. Subsequently, I elaborate upon each point in greater depth:

Part I: The primary end of marriage is not the emotions of adults, but the best interests for children. This referendum abolishes this essential, universal characteristic of marriage.
Part II: A child benefits most from a marriage between their biological mother and father. This fact and ideal will be undermined in the law as children are removed from considerations in marriage contracts.
Part III: This referendum does violence to the rights of children by enabling the artificial creation of children without their biological mother and father.
Part IV: Marriage does not suit relationships between ‘two men’ and ‘two women’.
Part V: Marriage is not a “benefits package”.
Part VI: If marriages between “two men” and “two women” are permitted, there is no logical reason why this cannot be extended to “three men” or more, as has already occurred in Thailand.
Part VII: Changing the legal meaning of marriage shall distort the public understanding of marriage.

Now I elaborate on each of the above points:

Part I: The primary end of marriage is not the emotions of adults, but the best interests for children. This referendum abolishes this essential, universal characteristic of marriage.
Why does marriage even exist? The State generally does not regulate intimate relationships between people, and the more intimate they become the less the government regulates them. Why and how has the State come to regulate marriage? It is because all human beings enter the world through the sexual relationships between men and women and the fruit of these relationships, the babies that are created, are totally dependent on others to survive. Sexual relationships inevitably result in babies which are necessary for the continuation and future functioning of a society. The public institution of marriage was created to manage and order the babies that men and women create, and to ensure that these babies will be looked after and will become functioning and stable adults beneficial to society.
There is no contract to govern close friendships, neither is there one between brothers and sisters. Why has the marriage contract emerged between a man and a woman? It is clear that the relationships between men and women are special and distinct because they alone can create children. Marriage clearly came into existence not for the emotions of adults, but because of the evident needs of children. If there were no children, there would have been no need for the public institution of marriage.
To the libertarians reading this, even Justin Raimondo recently wrote that “Marriage evolved because of the existence of children: without them, the institution loses its biological, economic, and historical basis, its very reason for being.”
One objection that is often raised against marriage being an institution designed from its inception for children is, what about couples that cannot have children? Well, ask yourself, if a football team loses a match, is it still a football team? The end goal of forming a team is to win a game, but if you lose, does that mean that you are not a team? Of course not! It just means that you were a team that did not achieve the end goal for which you were designed, but you are still a team! Similarly, as the end of marriage is children, even if for whatever reason you cannot have children, it does not mean you are not married.

Part II: A child benefits most from a marriage between their biological mother and father. This fact and ideal will be undermined in the law as adult emotions become the over-riding factor in marriage.
This Referendum is altering Article 41 that is entitled “The Family.” The whole point of family law is to protect the best interests of the child. There are literally tens of thousands of social science studies that demonstrate that the single best family environment for a child is to be raised by BOTH their BIOLOGICAL parents in a permanent low-conflict relationship. Children benefit best from the self-evident biological, physiological, and psychological differences between men and women which find their complementarity in marriage. Furthermore, neither adopted parents, nor foster parents, nor single parents, nor orphanages, nor step-parents (which includes two-men or two-women unions where the child retains one natural parent) come close in their ability to replace the natural biological family.
Marriage law is built on the “end of marriage” being children. Since neither “two men” nor “two women” are biologically capable of having children, how can marriage any longer be about providing the best environment for the procreation and proper raising of children? Logically, the secondary goal of marriage, being the “unity and well-being of the spouses” shall henceforth be the primary goal of marriage.
The “emotional fulfilment of the adults” shall thus inexorably over-ride the “interests of children.” When marriage is only about emotional fulfilment, once the fleeting “warm fuzzy feeling” wears off, on what grounds can one enforce a marriage contract? This is exactly what has happened in countries like the United States, where marriage is now the only legal contract that society does not enforce; either partner can break the bond with impunity. Marriage cannot be built only upon emotions because then it cannot be accepted that there is any real permanency in marriage and no-fault divorce would inexorably follow.

Part III: This referendum does violence to the rights of children by enabling the artificial creation of children without their biological mother and father.
This referendum shall create a demand for artificial surrogacy to be provided by the State. This shall create a dystopian nightmare suitable for an Aldous Huxley novel. Children shall be bought and sold like cattle, ordered from catalogues to be without a father or a mother.
Ironically, although the end of marriage shall no longer be children, as is so often screamed by the “Yes” campaigners when they attack the “Mothers and Fathers Matter” posters, these “two men” or “two women” unions shall now have a right to found a family.
Article 41 that is being altered in this referendum is uniquely entitled “The Family” and declares “The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.” Since marriage, properly understood, is the foundation of the family, and since the state shall soon be subsidising and promoting the artificial creation of children through surrogacy and IVF, the logical consequence is that “two men” or “two women” will be capable of demanding that the State provide and enable for the artificial creation and surrogacy of children.
This is a already something that should be outlawed for heterosexual couples, because it involves the commodification of children, creating a whole industry of “made to order” designer babies, where babies are purchased in catalogues. Like from a dystopian book by Aldous Huxley, we already see a “market for sperm” and the “renting of wombs” that is repulsive to human dignity.
As it stands in Ireland as a result of the Children’s Rights Referendum, such IVF children shall not be legally allowed find who their real parents are until the age of eighteen. Dr. Joanna Rose was conceived by anonymous sperm donation in the UK in the 1970s and has stated that this new industry “violates international human rights” of children.
The law creates social norms and moulds public opinion. By legalising “two men” and “two women” marriages, this absurd and abhorrent practice of surrogacy shall gain in momentum as Dr. Joanna Rose stated, “The focus on adults’ “right” to a child, end up trampling the rights of children.”
Furthermore, an immediate consequence of redefining marriage to include “two men” and “two women” unions is that a “right” to children from adoption agencies shall be created. Adoption agencies are already inundated with demands by traditional mother and father marriages who for whatever reason cannot procreate. Oftentimes, Irish people have to go to East Asia to adopt because there is little likelihood of them being able to adopt in Ireland.
What this law shall do is it shall create a “right” for these “two men” and “two women” unions to be allocated children. When the ideal family of a married man and woman are already available, adoption agencies will be forced to allocate children to these “two men” and “two women” unions. This is what has already happened in the United Kingdom and North America.

Part IV: Marriage does not suit relationships between ‘two men’ and ‘two women’.
Relationships between “two men” and “two women” are vastly different to marital relationships between a man and a woman anyway. As one author wrote:
“Gay and lesbian relationships have not been as financially intertwined as marriage historically, which was traditionally structured on the basis that women were the property of men. For a lot of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people, being independent financially is an important part of who they are. To be told by the law that their financial relationship is now expected to mimic that of a married couple is unknown territory.”
In fact, there are some ironic cases of same-sex marriage campaigners in the United States. Having acquired the right to marry another man, they were shocked to discover the burdensome and potentially very expensive regulations that have developed in the contract called marriage, which brings me to my next point-

Part V: Marriage is not a “benefits package”.
There are few financial rewards that pertain to marriage. The main “privileges” arise simply because the law recognises your spouse as your closest next of kin, arising from the western religious legal tradition that a husband and wife become “one-flesh”. These privileges of kin can be acquired already without redefining marriage.
In fact, for many people, financially speaking, they are much better off if they do not get married, especially in the United States and now in Ireland with tax individualisation.
The main “privileges” acquires in marriage are really just those that marriage actually does by its essence, being that your spouse becomes your closest next of kin. Thus, you gain visiting rights when your spouse is in hospital, as would any kin.
Same-sex marriage campaigners who want to attain these few benefits of marriage can use alternative ways to acquire next of kin privileges without have to redefine society’s most fundamental institution.

Part VI: If marriages between “two men” and “two women” are permitted, there is no logical reason why this cannot be extended to “three men” or more, as has already occurred in Thailand.
Furthermore, if marriage is merely an emotional commitment to someone, how can you deny marriage to “parent-child” couples? Why do couples caring for each other have to be in a sexual relationship? What about single Moms with their adult sons, who arguably engage in more caretaking than some married folk? Why are best friends who are not sexually intimate excluded from marriage benefits?
There is no logical ground to reject any of the above once traditional marriage between a man and a woman whose end is the procreation and proper raising of children is rejected. Same-sex marriage will lead inevitably to expanding the definition of marriage to include these relationships.
In reality, the end result of this will be that marriage shall lose all its legal standing entirely, and instead of traditional marriages getting some benefits, nobody shall acquire any benefits because to do so shall invoke discrimination. Same-sex marriage shall bring about the abolition of marriage, as numerous leading same-sex marriage campaigners have openly proclaimed.

Part VII: Changing the legal meaning of marriage shall distort the public understanding of marriage
Marriage is not a factory for childbearing. Marriage existed to encourage men and women to create the next generation in the right context and simultaneously to discourage the creation of children in other contexts-out of wedlock in fatherless homes.
Laws do more than incentivize or punish. They educate directly and indirectly. They define the boundaries of organizations, institutions, and relationships in the public square. One of the most basic ways that the law of marriage helps regulate out-of-wedlock births, for example, is by defining a socially shared category of married births, without which the very idea of unmarried childbearing disappears.
The same-sex marriage advocates are shrewdly aware of the importance of the law is in forming the behaviour and opinions of the people. We often hear how these unions of “two men” or “two women” will never be fully accepted as being equal to marriage until the constitution recognises them as such, despite the fact that civil unions have already given them everything but the name “marriage”.
Same-sex marriage changes the public meaning of marriage. The idea that a mother and father is the norm for children must be made anathema to appease the new “two men” and “two women” unions. The leading same-sex advocates themselves and even some US courts have begun ruling in this manner. In order to make gay relationships fully equal, the state-through the courts-must repress from its own consciousness (and hopefully from their point of view eventually from the people of the state) the idea that the procreative potential of opposite-sex couples is worthy of special attention. To this end, fines and punishments shall be allotted upon dissenters as we have already seen in bakeries in Ireland and across the world.

In conclusion, the legalisation of same-sex marriage is simply INSANE and must be voted down. The principles of marriage as it has naturally existed for thousands of years are being undone in an unhinged and ignorant social experiment that does violence to the rights of children for whom marriage was created in the first place.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”

Vote No!

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Gay man makes heartfelt plea. Watch before you vote!

This has to be the best video I have ever seen online.

Thanks to Gertrude for the link via Twitter.

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Two talks from the Rome Life Forum

Below are two links to videos of talks given at the Rome Life Forum earlier this month. The first, given by Father Linus Clovis, is an analysis of the current crisis in the Church.

Fr Linus Clovis is the director of the Secretariat for Family and Life in St Lucia and the Spiritual Director of Family Life International. Fr Clovis acquired his PhD in Mathematics in London thereafter entering the Angelicum seminary in Rome where he was ordained by St Pope John Paul II. Fr Clovis is a Canon Lawyer and an author. Fr Clovis is an outstanding Pro-lifer/ Pro-Family speaker and he championed the fight against the introduction of abortion in his homeland.

The second talk, by John Henry Westen, is on ‘The impact of the new papacy on the pro-life and pro-family movement’.

John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party. John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.

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An Off Topic Forum – Experimental

The recent flurry of unsavoury mudslinging that has occurred under otherwise worthy and devout posts has prompted us to try a new tactic to handle this apparent need.

Just below  our headline picture is the menu bar. At the far right is a link to “Off Topic Forum” where you can freely let go at one another if you so wish.

Give it a try, and let us know how you like it, or not.

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Judge For Yourself

Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP has recently been chosen by Pope Francis to be a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

I knew nothing of Fr Timothy before I decided to write this, except that he is a bete noir of traddies far and wide. Bruvver Eccles described him this morning as “Fr Radagast”, which made me LOL. (check out the Hobbit movies and his hair)

Things and persons are best brought into the light, before judgement, so here he is, addressing an audience at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2012:

It is a long video, but I have no doubt much “debate” will result.

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Lectio divina: Ascension, 7th Sunday of Easter, Year B

The Ascension. A miniature from the Largvisi Triodion A-25, 134v, 15th century. National Center of Manuscripts, Tbilisi, Georgia

Ascension and Mission

Paris,  May 15, 2015  (ZENIT.org)  Monsignor Francesco Follo 


1) Legal certainty and joy.

In the Creed we recite “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.” That means that we believe the fact that Christ’s humanity has entered the heart of God. Where God is, there is heaven, and love is heaven on earth. Consequently, “the Ascension does not point to Jesus’ absence, but tells us that he is alive in our midst in a new way. He is no longer in a specific place in the world as he was before the Ascension. He is now in the lordship of God, present in every space and time, close to each one of us. In our life we are never alone: we have this Advocate who awaits us, who defends us. “(Pope Francis, General Audience, April 17, 2013).

It is therefore correct to say that one of the lessons that comes from the Ascension is that we too can rise to the top, but only if we remain tied to Jesus. If we entrust our lives to Him, if we let ourselves be guided by Him, we are sure to be in safe hands, in the hands of our savior, of our defense advocate. “In our life we are never alone: we have this Advocate who awaits us, who defends us.” (Pope Francis, General Audience, and April 17, 2013)

Another lesson that we must have clear is that entering into the glory of God demands daily fidelity to his will, even when it requires sacrifice and acceptance of the cross because “the elevation on the cross signifies and announces the elevation of the ascension into heaven “(Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 661). In this ascent “the Crucified and Risen Lord guides us. We have with us a multitude of brothers and sisters who, in silence and concealment, in their family life and at work, in their problems and hardships, in their joys and hopes, live faith daily and together with us bring the world the lordship of God’s love, in the Risen Jesus Christ, ascended into Heaven, our own Advocate who pleads for us.”(Pope Francis, General Audience, April 17, 2013)

A third lesson comes from the first reading of today’s Mass, which presents the event of the Ascension as recounted by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. It teaches us how to have the joy of the Apostles that comes by the certainty of the constant presence of the risen Jesus in our personal life and in that  of the community.

This certitude and this joy can be ours if we ask with a sincere heart and mind the blessing that Jesus gave to the Apostles while ascending into Heaven.

In this way, like the Apostles, we will live the ascension of the Risen Lord not as a separation or as the Lord’s permanent absence.

In this way we will have confirmed and increased the certainty that the Risen Crucified One is alive and that in Him the doors of God, the doors of eternal life have been always open.

In this way, on Ascension Day, we may have in our hearts not just the pain of departure, but also the certainty and the joy of the constant proximity of Christ, although in a different way than in his earthly life. “He, that two thousand years ago was a special man in history, continues to this day to live in history as the soul of the Church” (H.U. von Balthasar).

2) Ascension and Mission.

In the short narration of the Ascension (third reading of this Sunday) that Saint Mark makes, we see that, more than on the Ascension per se, the Risen Jesus invites us to draw the consequences of his going to the Father: the Apostles and with them the Christians of all times are his ambassadors and his missionaries sent to bring the Gospel to the whole world. “And they went forth and preached[1] everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied them” (Mk 16, 20). Jesus goes to heaven and the disciples are in the world. But the departure of Jesus is not a true absence, but another way to be present “The Lord worked with them and gave foundation to the Word” (Mk 16, 20). “The Ascension is not a cosmic geographic journey, but the navigation of the heart that leads you away from isolating yourself to the love that embraces the universe” (Benedict XVI, 10 March 2010).

The invitation of Christ to embrace the universe, announcing to all men the Gospel “Go into the whole world” (Mk 16: 15), was not perceived as crazy, but as a mandate of charity to bring salvation to all.

With the ascension there is a twist in the path of redemption. From Jerusalem where it was accomplished, the mission of Christ, the redemptive mission, which is now entrusted to the apostles, expands into a universal dimension. The group, hitherto compact, dissolves physically speaking, but not emotionally. While the Redeemer “departs” into the sky, the apostles depart each in a different direction from the geographical point of view, but deeply in communion with one another and with Christ. The popular tradition dictates what would be the goal of everyone: for Peter, Antioch and Rome, for Matthew, Ethiopia, for Thomas, India and so on. But our thoughts go in particular to the apostle on whom we know in great detail, Paul of Tarsus, the tireless traveler who brought the Gospel in today’s Turkey, Greece and Rome. And after him  let us  also thank the countless missionaries who for twenty centuries, with heroism often expressed by martyrdom, continued and continue the work of the apostles, to share with the largest possible number of people the good, holy, true and pleased life that the Gospel of Jesus has been announcing and implementing for  the last two millennia. Like them let us become missionaries of joy, announcing to the world that God is a communion of eternal love, infinite joy that does not remain closed in itself, but expands to those whom He loves and who love him.

It is really a miracle that eleven men were able to develop a “body”, the Mystical Body, in which millions and millions of believers found and find themselves. It is humanly impossible. The explanation lies in the words “The Lord worked with them.” And with a very specific purpose. The compact group, made up of Jesus and the first apostles, has not dissolved, it has spread throughout the world. They were scattered: they are united in faith, love and hope. The hope, in particular, to reconvene in unity, in the presence of the One who came before us at the side of his and our Father.

The verbs used by Christ to send to mission retain their relevance:

– ‘ To go’ indicates the dynamism and the courage to plunge into the always new situations in the world;

– ‘ To proclaim the Gospel’, because people become followers not so much of a doctrine, but of a Person;

– ‘To believe‘  to the announcement of a faith that includes undoubtedly the knowledge of its truth and of the events of salvation, but that mostly comes from a true encounter with God in Jesus Christ and from  the love for Him by trusting in Him, so that our entire life is indeed affected.

 ‘To baptize’ indicates the sacrament that transforms people and places in the life of the Trinity and of the Church. Baptism, is the sacrament that gives us the Holy Spirit, making us children of God in Christ, and marks the entry into the community of faith, the Church. We do not believe without the grace of the Holy Spirit; and we do not believe alone, but together with our brothers and sisters. “In Baptism, we are immersed in that inexhaustible source of life that is the death of Jesus, the greatest act of love in all history; and because of that love we can live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, sin and death, but in communion with God and with our brothers “(Pope Francis, General Audience, January 8, 2014).

3) The missionary spirit of Virginity.

It is good to reflect on Jesus’ last words, when He sends his disciples to preach in the world that, even if it does seem, has the need of the infinity, truth, love, hope and joy that Heaven is and has.

It is a task that shakes us too, today, so great it is.

It is a task that seems not for poor humans like us, but for angels. This is why Jesus assures His Presence “working with us, confirming His Word with miracles that accompany it” (Mk 16, 20).

It is a task for all the baptized, because through baptism all Christians become disciples and missionaries called to bring the Gospel to the world.

But what is the missionary way of the consecrated Virgins in the world?

It is to be icons, living images of Christ, chaste, poor and obedient (see Vat. II Council, Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life, Perfectae Caritatis, 1) in front of the ecclesial and human community.

How can they “make a live painting” of Christ?

By a communion with God and with the brothers and sisters in humanity, which is not diminished but increased by the solitude in which they are called to live. The virgins are such and are missionaries if they “use” their emotions and their body as Christ did: not to possess or be possessed, but to give communion to everyone they meet.

In short, the unique vocation of the consecrated Virgins in the world indicates a clear mission: to enhance the dignity of the woman testifying in the life of the world in which they remain immersed, the full meaning of  the love  that they have received from Jesus Christ to be given to their brothers and sisters in humanity.

Patristic Reading

Saint Augustine, bishop of Hyppo

Sermo de Ascensio Domini,

Mai 98, 1-2: PLS 2, 494-495

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.

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Stolen Property

By Michael Voris on The Vortex.

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Click here to see a video recording of this post.

I’m Michael Voris coming to you from London, England.

This country is planted thick with churches and convents and monasteries and practically all of them are stolen property. Buildings that originally were built by Catholic religious orders and everyday Catholics over the course of centuries were ripped off from the Catholic Church in a handful of years because Henry VIII couldn’t control his sexual desires.

So part of the fabric of English Catholicism is this undercurrent of having been victimized by the Protestant, usurping monarchy and greedy noblemen. It’s woven into the very life and language of some faithful English Catholics — even so far as questioning the legitimacy of the royal family because the monarchy was also a victim of theft during the religious battles of England.

But how did all this come to pass almost 500 years ago? How did a country, a nation so faithful to the Church that it was called “Mary’s Dowry,” simply flip so easily to the state-run Protestant entity known as Anglicanism, or the Church of England?

This much is certain: because of the cowardice and political machinations of the Catholic bishops of the time. Those bishops simply miscalculated. They thought that Henry’s threat to the Church would pass soon enough and things would go back to life as usual. What they failed to include in their calculus was all the other characters waiting in the wings to devour the Church — people like Lutheran-in-spirit Thomas Cranmer and the large number of English who had much to profit from a financially weakened Church and so forth. There were many Englishmen just waiting for the moment when they could tear the Church apart and seize Her lands, holdings, properties, buildings, etc. Those bishops, just like many today, failed to see the larger, much broader agenda at work just beneath the surface.

The Church has all kinds of enemies, all types that have an interest in seeing Her be destroyed. Some hate the teachings. Others have a guilty conscience and take it out on the Chuch. Others still are indifferent and simply see the Church as standing in the way of cultural “progress.” Others see the Church as an artifact of the Middle Ages whose time has passed, and who should be relegated to history. Many have a specific agenda, such as sodomite marriage, and want the Church out of the debate.

Despite the intentions, they are all motivated by evil, and when people are motivated by evil (and it doesn’t matter if it’s conscious or not), they are capable of anything when put in the right circumstances.

Consider what happened here in this very country: the gruesome martyrdom of Catholics, the outlawing of the Faith, the overrunning of hundreds of monasteries and schools and parishes.

This was a Catholic country through and through, and it was a lustful desire of the Catholic king that brought it all tumbling down.

The son of King Henry VIII, Edward VI, is the one who essentially bulldozed the Church over the cliff here, while after a brief Catholic respite under half-sister Mary, Elizabeth I came to the throne and finished the job. But that coy old witch was very clever indeed.

In order to bring an end to the sectarian revolts, she advanced a hybrid religion, one that looked Catholic on the outside, to win the favor of all the stupid, largely Catholic populace, too uneducated to really notice that underneath the Catholic veneer was a decidedly anti-Catholic religion.

Things appeared rather normal to most people, who went about their business as usual as England was slowly transformed into the non-Catholic nation that it is today, stripped of nearly all its former Catholic glory.

When smart Catholics caught on and began a quiet seditionist movement to keep the Faith alive by sneakily importing English priests from a secret seminary established in France, Elizabeth showed her true colors by capturing and killing many of them. More than 200 years before France’s Reign of Terror against the Faith, Satan had a warm-up act in the Elizabethan terror campaign on these shores.

It would not be long after “Good Queen Bess,” as protestant history references her, that Englishmen in search of public office would have to renounce belief in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Blessed Lord.

That this happened under the reign of King Charles II of the Stuarts is one of those historical ironies. As King of England he was also head of the Anglican church (small c), which historians note he roundly despised. But he played the game, even looking the other way when notable English martyr and archbishop of Armaugh Oliver Plunkett was hanged, drawn and quartered at the infamous Tyburn, which Elizabeth had put to good use.

As Charles lay dying, a priest, John Huddlestone, who had saved his life in battle during his youth, was now smuggled in to save his soul. Protestant King Charles II converted to the Catholic faith his last full day on earth, and following absolution and anointing, the Blessed Sacrament was held over him and he made a profession of faith, breaking English law.

Today, Protestant anti-Catholicism has been overthrown by secular anti-Catholicism. A widely acclaimed novel — “Wolf Hall” by author Hillary Mantel — has been turned into a spectacular TV production by the BBC and has now begun airing on PBS back in the States as of Easter Sunday. The novel seeks to deliberately turn history on its ear and depict St. Thomas More as a villainous, rotten man and Thomas Cromwell as an effective administrator having to contest the evil More at every turn. It is very important to note that author Hillary Mantel has said publicly that the Catholic Church is not a place for respectable people.

There is a lesson for Catholics in the West everywhere outside of England to learn from English Catholics: the tide is turning swiftly and strongly against Catholics. Just as happened here almost 500 years ago, the power of the state was used to extinguish Catholic life, and it all began because of King Henry’s lust.

America doesn’t have a king — at least officially, Mr. Obama — but the culture sets patterns and views like a king. Whether those powers are assumed into a single lust-crazed, murderous monarch, or spread out over a society that kills for love of sex, matters little in the end. The powers that be — whether king or culture — cannot let Catholic truth remain, because Catholic truth is an affront to them.

Catholics in America, unlike here in England, can’t easily relate to the reality of having your churches stolen from you and your property ripped from you. But the lesson to be learned from Merry Olde England is this: When the scales tip far enough (and they are tipping most decidedly), anything can happen.

Catholics in the West need to be preparing spiritually for persecution. The forces gathering against the Church from every side may be multi-dimensional, but they are totally united in their goal because of who it is that commands them.

http://www.churchmilitant.com/mp3/vort-2015-05-06-mp3.mp3 (And this is the audio recording of the post.)

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Novena in preparation for Pentecost

Prayers to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts

pentecox FIRST DAY (Friday, 6th Week of Easter)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit 

Only one thing is important – eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared -sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness of all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 

 

To be recited daily during the Novena

ACT OF CONSECRATION

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen. 

The remaining Novena prayers can be found on this EWTN site

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Ascension Thursday Sunday

Forty Days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Acts of the Apostles records Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The ascension is an important Christian feast attesting and celebrating the reality of the God-Man Jesus Christ’s returning to the Father, to return again in the future parousia. The Ascension is the final component of the paschal mystery, which consists also of Jesus’ Passion, Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Descent Among the Dead, and Resurrection.

The Solemnity of the Ascension commemorates Jesus’ return to heaven 40 days after his Resurrection. Thus Ascension Day falls 40 days after Easter, on the 6th Thursday of Easter. In some parts of the world, the feast is transferred to the Sunday after the traditional date.

Evidence from John Chrysostom, Egeria, Gregory of Nyssa, and Church historian Socrates, suggest that Ascension Day probably originated in the 4th century AD. However, Augustine says the festival is apostolic. Often the feast was celebrated with a procession, symbolizing Christ’s journey to the Mount of Olives. Until rather recently, the Paschal Candle (lighted at the Easter Vigil) was extinguished on Ascension Day. It is often celebrated as an octave, the proper preface and Ascension collect being used until the Saturday before Pentecost. In many Catholic dioceses, the Ascension is celebrated on the 7th Sunday of Easter, which is the Sunday following the traditional date. Likely, this is done to make it easier for the faithful to fulfill their obligation to attend Mass on this day, but it removes the connection with the biblical chronology. (Source: ChurchYear.Net)

Hilary White posts about the current discrepancy in the Church Calendar in her inimitable style over at her blog Orwell’s Picnic

and here is Father Z’s annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday

 

 

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To My Precious Children, from Your ‘Stay at Home’ Mum

Brother Burrito:

Stunning stuff!

Originally posted on The Politics of Mothering:

henry and eleanor

So far, I have avoided the personal in my writing – preferring to focus on the political. But the personal is political. The maternal is political. And so it is fitting to write this today. The day before the nation goes to the polls to cast votes for parties who have no respect for family life, or the desire of children to have greater time with their parents, or the desire of many a parent to spend more time with their children; and on the day a person who denigrates mothering publishes a letter full of maternal sentiment – with no hint of irony.

Yes, the ‘businesswoman’ Katie Hopkins used HuffPost to write an open letter to her children in which, to the surprise of many on social media, she betrayed herself as human rather than some inflammatory wicked witch of the Tweets she has made herself out to be…

View original 1,050 more words

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From Croatia, With Love

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Not Crowded, but Close – A Brief Reflection and Clarification on the Communion of Saints in Heaven

By:

Many of you know that I write the weekly “Question and Answer” column for the Our Sunday Visitor newspaper. Every now and again I get a question that stands out as unique, one that I had not thought of before. And such is the case with the question below. I had never thought of Heaven as potentially being crowded or considered it a drawback. But the question led me to reflect on the deeper experience of what we call the Communion of Saints in Heaven.

My answer is brief due to the limits of that particular column (600 words or less). But I choose not to expand my answer here, hoping that its brevity might provoke a few more readers.

There is an online catalogue of my “Question and Answer” column at OSV here: Msgr Pope’s OSV Columns.

Q: The descriptions in the Bible seem to describe a vast amount of people and the paintings I have seen from the Renaissance make it look rather crowded and busy. Frankly I hate big cities and crowds. Are these descriptions accurate or am I missing something? –Doris Leben, Wichita, KA

A: The danger to avoid when meditating on Heaven is taking earthly realities and merely transferring them to Heaven. Whatever similarities heavenly realities have to things on earth, they will be experienced there in a heavenly and perfected way, with unspeakable joy.

The more biblical and theological way to understand the multitudes in Heaven is not as some physical crowding, but as a deep communion. In other words the Communion of Saints is not just a lot of people standing around talking or moving about.

St. Paul teaches, So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members, one of another (Rom 12:5). And though we experience this imperfectly here on earth, we will experience it perfectly in Heaven. As members of one another we will have deep communion, knowing and being known in a deep and rich way. Your memories, gifts, and insights will be mine, and mine will be yours. There will be profound understanding and appreciation, a rich love and sense of how we all complete one another and really are all one in Christ.

Imagine the glory of billions of new thoughts, stories, and insights that will come from being perfectly members of Christ and of one another. Imagine the peace that will come from finally understanding and being understood. This is deep, satisfying, and wonderful communion—not crowds of strangers.

Therefore, the biblical descriptions of Heaven as multitudes should not be understood as mere numbers, but as the richness and glory of communion. The paintings showing “crowds” should be understood as an allegory of deep communion, of being close in a way we can only imagine.

St. Augustine had in mind the wonderful satisfaction of this deep communion with God and with one another in Christ when he described Heaven as Unus Christus amans seipsum (One Christ loving Himself). This is not some selfish Christ turned in on Himself. This is Christ, the Head, in deep communion with all the members of His Body, and all the members in Christ experiencing deep mystical communion with Him and one another, together swept up into the life of the Trinity. Again, as St. Paul says, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Cor 3:23).

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FATIMA: the prophecy of a crisis and the promise of an eagerly awaited triumph

 From Rorate Caeli:

Francesca Bonadonna

Famiglia Domani

May 22, 2014

Blessed Jacinta Marto

Blessed Jacinta Marto

Almost a century has passed since the great Fatima event when Our Lady, messenger of God, appeared to the three little shepherds to give an immensely important message and to offer Her maternal intercession for a humanity afflicted by sin – a humanity, more narcotized than ever by creeping secularisation. Most Holy Mary is the Queen of the eagerly awaited kingdom, foreseen according to Her promise and unforeseen according to its time and modality; the hope of a new millennium for the children of Light i.e. the militant forces of the People of God moved by the Holy Ghost amid the breakers of unrest and disorder but heading towards the safe harbor described in St. John Bosco’s dream, which points to the two pillars of salvation: the Holy Eucharist and the Virgin Mary.

In 1917 at the Cova da Iria, Our Lady launched a strong, clear message – a message that very few have accepted into their lives: the Consecration to Her Immaculate Heart, unfulfilled, according to the instructions given to Sister Lucia, for us to avoid the errors of communism and the outcome of wars and persecutions to Holy Church and the Holy Father. Human weakness and the failed response to the Divine call have irremediably determined the frightful, perverse scenario of our times of which we are helpless onlookers.

This frightful scenario is like an overflowing river that engulfs us each day, crossing our paths, our squares, our cities, our country and the entire world. The TV channels and radio stations are polluted by a cesspit of lies, where there is nothing that refers to God for the edification of society: on the contrary, we have promoters of easy conquests like the non-fulfilling politicians and statesmen, at the service of skilful direction, who make false promises which shortly after come to nothing.

A crisis that was foreseen and made known in 1917, is now full-blown: at little less than a century away we are at the countdown for the shortening of these times of iniquity, prepared by the false myths of science which, more than ever, dare to challenge God’s creative omnipotence by changing and shunning the natural law based on the procreative action of the family, the only source of life and the only school of universal, perennial values.

An induced disorientation, that displaces the best consciences and confounds the toughest intellects, blinded by their lust for power and fame, led astray by the satanic illusion of false promises that depart from the service of the good to which we must be devoted until the end. Our Lady spoke to the three little shepherds in order ‘to scatter the proud in the imagination of their hearts and exalt the humble’, in a time of apostasy activated to annul the dogma of the Faith and turn absolute truths upside down. It is the Church that suffers because of the betrayal of Her ministers who, having been sucked into the vortex of corruption, drive the sheep away from the fold, helpless as they are, to discern the voice of their shepherd.

We are on the threshold of the Great Promise of Fatima, that of the Woman Clothed with the Sun, at the dawn of a new era of peace: She, who will triumph with a sudden mysterious act and will clothe humanity in a new light – the radiant light of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Spouse of Christ, who continuously prays, cries and suffers with His Church, for the loss of Her children, hoping to the very last for their salvation, as a mother does on the threshold of giving birth to new life.

[A Rorate translation by contributor Francesca Romana]

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

930884b919b4f0509452d9f740ae26e8O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and tender Mother of men, in accordance with thy ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to thee myself, my brethren, my country, and the whole human race.

Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us, and around us, as It has reigned and triumphed in thee.

Reign over us, dearest Mother, that we may be thine in prosperity and adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death.

O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts and preserve them from the deluge of impurity which thou didst lament so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to be pure like thee. We want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and thee. We want to call down upon our country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity.

Therefore, we now promise to imitate thy virtues by the practice of a Christian life without regard to human respect.

We resolve to receive Holy Communion regularly and to offer thee our prayers of the Rosary each day, together with our sacrifices, in the spirit of reparation and penance. Amen.

 

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