A call for all humanity to be awakened to our call to Holiness and the right to
life, from conception to natural death. This is a gift from God to every
individual as we are unique in the sight of God, even if you do not believe. God
gave us the breath of life because he loves us so much, and He will always be at
our side. Always - always - just ask Him to care for you.
God Bless. (RTM - website)
Pope Francis: 'The Church is the Community of God's People'
Italian Newspaper Publishes Interview with Pontiff
hits The Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, published an interview with Pope
Francis conducted by the paper’s co-founder, Eugenio Scalfari. The interview,
which ran three pages long, took place at …
**** Scalfari, who is atheist, jokingly began his interview
saying that some of his colleagues told him that the Pope would try to convert
him. “"Proselytism,” the Holy Father said, “is solemn nonsense, it makes no
sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our
knowledge of the world around us.”
September 30, 2013 -- 4:50 PM:
Former Abortion Practitioner Lays His Surgical
Instruments at the Feet of the Pope
The pro-life movement is filled with former abortion practitioners who have
experienced a monumental change of heart. Many have converted to Christianity,
become pro-life, and some now work as legitimate doctors or become associated
with pregnancy centers providing women with tangible abortion alternatives.
Pope Francis Announces Date During
Consistory By Staff
VATICAN CITY, September 30, 2013 (Zenit.org)
- In the first consistory that he has convened, Pope Francis has announced
that the canonization of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII will be
held on Sunday, April 27th, 2014 in Rome.
return trip from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, the Holy Father indicated
Divine Mercy Sunday, which falls on the same day, as a possible date. The Pope
stated that having the canonization in the winter would make it difficult for
pilgrims with limited resources to attend. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims,
particularly from Poland are expected to attend the canonization.
Several months ago, the Holy Father paved the way for the
canonization of Blessed John XXIII, authorizing the process without the need
for a second miracle.
The first miracle attributed to John Paul II was the
miraculous cure of a French nun who suffered from an irreversible and advanced
form of Parkinson’s disease. The second miracle necessary for his canonization
that was a approved was the healing of a Costa Rican woman who suffered from a
Daily dispatch - August 21,
Benedict XVI Visits Castel Gandolfo -- Excerpts only.
One such visitor, who met with the Pope Emeritus several weeks
ago, reported that Benedict spoke of his motivations for resigning.
“God had told me," he said, clarifying that it was not any
kind of apparition or phenomenon of that kind, but rather a “mystical
experience” in which the Lord had developed in his heart an “absolute desire” to
remain alone with Him, withdrawn in prayer.
Ratzinger, the anonymous source revealed, declared that this
“mystical experience” has lasted all these months, increasing more and more the
longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. In addition, the
Pope Emeritus reflected that the more he observes the “charisma” of Pope
Francis, the more he understands that his choice was “the will of God."
Daily dispatch - May 17, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org "I would like to
ask you a question: how many of you pray to the Holy Spirit every day? Probably
few, but we must satisfy this desire of Jesus and pray every day to the Holy
Spirit, so that he opens our heart towards Jesus."
- Pope Francis, General Audience, May 15,
Pope's Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences "I am Convinced of the Urgent need for Continued Dialogue and
Cooperation between the Worlds of Science and of Faith"
VATICAN CITY, Nov. 8, 2012 (Zenit.org).-
Here is the translation of the Pope Benedict XVI's address to the Pontifical
Academy of Sciences on the occasion of their Plenary Assembly.
* * *
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I greet the members
of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the occasion of this Plenary
Assembly, and I express my gratitude to your President, Professor Werner Arber,
for his kind words of greeting in your name. I am also pleased to salute
Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, your Chancellor, and to thank him for his
important work on your behalf.
The present plenary session, on “Complexity and Analogy in Science:
Theoretical, Methodological and Epistemological Aspects”, touches on an
important subject which opens up a variety of perspectives pointing towards a
new vision of the unity of the sciences. Indeed, the significant discoveries
and advances of recent years invite us to consider the great analogy of
physics and biology which is clearly manifested every time that we achieve a
deeper understanding of the natural order. If it is true that some of the new
notions obtained in this way can also allow us to draw conclusions about
processes of earlier times, this extrapolation points further to the great
unity of nature in the complex structure of the cosmos and to the mystery of
man’s place within it. The complexity and greatness of contemporary science in
all that it enables man to know about nature has direct repercussions for
human beings. Only man can constantly expand his knowledge of truth and order
it wisely for his good and that of his environment.
In your discussions, you have sought to examine, on the one hand, the
ongoing dialectic of the constant expansion of scientific research, methods
and specializations and, on the other, the quest for a comprehensive vision of
this universe in which human beings, endowed with intelligence and freedom,
are called to understand, love, live and work. In our time the availability of
powerful instruments of research and the potential for highly complicated and
precise experiments have enabled the natural sciences to approach the very
foundations of corporeal reality as such, even if they do not manage to
understand completely its unifying structure and ultimate unity. The unending
succession and the patient integration of various theories, where results once
achieved serve in turn as the presuppositions for new research, testify both
to the unity of the scientific process and to the constant impetus of
scientists towards a more appropriate understanding of the truth of nature and
a more inclusive vision of it. We may think here, for example, of the efforts
of science and technology to reduce the various forms of energy to one
elementary fundamental force, which now seems to be better expressed in the
emerging approach of complexity as a basis for explanatory models. If this
fundamental force no longer seems so simple, this challenges researchers to
elaborate a broader formulation capable of embracing both the simplest and the
most complex systems.
Such an interdisciplinary approach to complexity also shows too that the
sciences are not intellectual worlds disconnected from one another and from
reality but rather that they are interconnected and directed to the study of
nature as a unified, intelligible and harmonious reality in its undoubted
complexity. Such a vision has fruitful points of contact with the view of the
universe taken by Christian philosophy and theology, with its notion of
participated being, in which each individual creature, possessed of its proper
perfection, also shares in a specific nature and this within an ordered cosmos
originating in God’s creative Word. It is precisely this inbuilt “logical” and
“analogical” organization of nature that encourages scientific research and
draws the human mind to discover the horizontal co-participation between
beings and the transcendental participation by the First Being. The universe
is not chaos or the result of chaos, rather, it appears ever more clearly as
an ordered complexity which allows us to rise, through comparative analysis
and analogy, from specialization towards a more universalizing viewpoint and
vice versa. While the very first moments of the cosmos and life still elude
scientific observation, science nonetheless finds itself pondering a vast set
of processes which reveals an order of evident constants and correspondences
and serves as essential components of permanent creation.
It is within this broader context that I would note how fruitful the use of
analogy has proved for philosophy and theology, not simply as a tool of
horizontal analysis of nature’s realities, but also as a stimulus to creative
thinking on a higher transcendental plane. Precisely because of the notion of
creation, Christian thought has employed analogy not only for the
investigation of worldly realities, but also as a means of rising from the
created order to the contemplation of its Creator, with due regard for the
principle that God’s transcendence implies that every similarity with his
creatures necessarily entails a greater dissimilarity: whereas the structure
of the creature is that of being a being by participation, that of God is that
of being a being by essence, or Esse subsistens. In the great human enterprise
of striving to unlock the mysteries of man and the universe, I am convinced of
the urgent need for continued dialogue and cooperation between the worlds of
science and of faith in the building of a culture of respect for man, for
human dignity and freedom, for the future of our human family and for the
long-term sustainable development of our planet. Without this necessary
interplay, the great questions of humanity leave the domain of reason and
truth, and are abandoned to the irrational, to myth, or to indifference, with
great damage to humanity itself, to world peace and to our ultimate destiny.
Dear friends, as I conclude these reflections, I would like to draw your
attention to the Year of Faith which the Church is celebrating in
commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. In
thanking you for the Academy’s specific contribution to strengthening the
relationship between reason and faith, I assure you of my close interest in
your activities and my prayers for you and your families. Upon all of you I
invoke Almighty God’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace.
[Text from Vatican Radio]
Pope's Address to Doctrine Congregation "Natural Moral Law Is Neither Exclusively Nor Mainly Confessional"[ 2010-01-22]
**** ( Excerpts Only ) The natural moral law is neither exclusively
nor mainly confessional, even if the Christian Revelation and the fulfillment of
Man in the mystery of Christ fully illumines and develops its doctrine. As the
Catechism of the Catholic Church says, it "states the first and essential
precepts which govern the moral life" (No. 1955).
Established in human nature itself and accessible to every rational creature,
the natural moral law thus determines the basis for initiating dialogue with all
who seek the truth and, more generally, with civil and secular society. This
law, engraved in every human being's heart, touches on one of the essential
problems of reflection on law and likewise challenges the conscience and
responsibility of legislators. ****.
On Christian Unity in 2009
"When He Wishes and When We Are Prepared, [God] Will Create Unity"
[2010-01-20] VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).-
Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today during the general
audience in Paul VI Hall.
Austrian cardinal apologizes to Medjugorje bishop January 19, 2010
Headlines - ( Excerpts ) Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph
Schönborn has written to Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar, apologizing for any
problems he might have caused with his “private” visit to Medjurgorje in
December. Bishop Peric, who heads the diocese in Bosnia-Herzegovina where
Medjugorje is located, had complained that the Austrian cardinal’s visit lent
credence to the reported apparitions there. Bishop Peric, who has strongly
cautioned against acceptance of the apparitions, wrote to Cardinal Schönborn
earlier this month, expressing “regret” about the Austrian cardinal’s visit,
saying that it had aggravated problems in the Mostar diocese.
The timing of the cardinal's apology—coming soon after Cardinal Schönborn met
in a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI—lends weight to the report by an
Italian Catholic web site (translated on the Catholic Light site) that the Holy
Father was also unhappy about the publicity generated by Cardinal Schönborn’s
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
Pope's Homily for Feast of Mary, Mother of God
"The First to See the Face of God Made Man" [2010-01-10]
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The nation's Catholic bishops have
activated nearly 19,000 churches across the country to stand up to efforts in
Congress to force Americans to pay for abortions under a government-run health
care bill. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' effort could
have a dramatic effect
At the close of their 2008 Plenary Assembly which met in Cornwall, 22-26
September, the Bishops of Canada issued a pastoral letter, titled “Liberating
Potential”, which invites all the faithful “to discover or rediscover,” the
message of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae,
issued by Pope Paul VI in 1968.
******* Benedict XVI Is Latest YouTube
click here(Zenit.org)Vatican channel on YouTube:
www.youtube.com/vatican Pope Gives Thumbs Up to Vatican Initiative
Bishops Renew Resolve on Health Care Reform
Laud House Decision, Prepare to Work With Senate
BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).-
As the U.S. bishops closed the first session of their fall general assembly
today, the president introduced an item not on the agenda, but "critical:" the
country's health care reform. *** The statement, dated Nov.
17, thanked those congress members who voted against including the federal
funding of abortion in the health care reform plan of the House of
Representatives. *** The bishop underlined the conference's desire to look
for a "principled position" that will continue a law to prevent the use of
taxpayer money for abortion. "Killing a child in the womb
is not health care," he stated.
George: Time to Move Beyond Clergy Scandals
BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 16, 2009 (Zenit.org)
.- The U.S. bishops' conference president is urging his fellow prelates to move
beyond the clergy abuse scandals of the past, and look to build unity within the
Church. *** He affirmed that
"without ordained priests, the Church would be deprived of the Eucharist."
Atheist Defends Religion
ROME, NOV. 15, 2009 (Zenit.org).-
The atheists' offensive has in its turn given rise to numerous books defending
God and organized religion. An interesting turn in the debate comes from a book
just published by someone who does not believe in God, but still defends
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).-
Benedict XVI has an invitation for young Catholics: to bring their faith to
the digital world as they have "an almost spontaneous affinity" for using
the new means of communication.
The Pope made this exhortation in his message for the May 24 World
Communications Day. The message was released today by the Vatican, though it
is dated Jan. 24, feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists
ROME, JAN. 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- (Excerpts) Imagine a medicine that has a staggering 75%
success rate in treating cancer, and yet is a natural and ethical product, owned
by a nonprofit company headed by devout Catholics.
Too good to be true? That's what I thought. The medical world is not short of
bogus cancer "cures." Treatment for the disease is a multi-billion dollar
industry that has led to questionable or unproven methods springing up
throughout the world.
Dalgarno felt it was "truly God's work," not only because it could help counter
the push toward euthanasia, but also because their products are less expensive,
less dangerous and more ethical. Embryonic stem cell research plays no part in
"We put our work daily under the protection of Our Lady," says Dalgarno,
"knowing she is guiding our work and the 'mission in the health field' that we
feel called to."
Like the Good News, this does seem too good to be true, but perhaps that just
shows that this drug really does have the Divine hand behind it.
More details on CellAdam and Biostemworld's other nature-based disease
prevention products can be found at:
* * *
Edward Pentin is a freelance writer living in Rome. He can be reached at:
Testing Marian Apparitions?
According to the Italian journal Petrus, Pope Benedict XVI
will soon make available to all bishops a directory for the evaluation of
alleged Marian apparitions. This directory is reportedly
already in use by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This may be
true, but the report appears highly speculative at this stage, so read it
Does Pope Benedict XVI plan to Issue a "Vademecum" on
Apparitions. ( Excerpt) More complex is
the case of Medjugorje: for more than a quarter of a century, the Madonna is
supposed to have appeared every day to the visionaries, and once a month to
have spoken a message to mankind. .But Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's
right-hand man, has never hidden his skepticism. “Since 1981, Mary would have
appeared tens of thousands of times in Medjugorje. This is a phenomenon that
cannot even be compared to other Marian apparitions”. For this reason, the
Vatican has asked Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (one of the most
important agencies of religious tourism which belongs to the Vicariate of
Rome) to delete from their catalogue visits to the most famous place in
Bosnia-Hercegovina, where, nevertheless, more than two million faithful are
visiting every year. Where is the problem? Two factions have been created: one
in favor of the apparitions, and therefore on the side of visionaries; the
other one openly on the side of the diocesan bishop, Msgr. Ratko Peric, who
like his late predecessor, does not believe in the truthfulness of these
phenomena, and after having never been listened to, already some time ago
asked the alleged visionaries to live a hidden life and not disclose any
messages attributed to the Madonna. This failure to obey the Bishop would
already be enough, according to the ‘Vademecum’ devised by Benedict XVI, to
declare the apparitions of Medjugorje to be false.
Legion Of Mary Welcome. to the Official
Website of the International Centre of the
Legion of Mary Founded in Dublin
VATICAN CITY, 6 JUNE 2006
www.zenit.org Here is the description of the Legion of Mary
which appears in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful,
published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Legion of Mary was founded in Dublin, Ireland, by a group of 15 people
under the guidance of Frank Duff, a young civil servant with the
Medjugorje -- The
Canonical status of Rev. Father Tomislav Vlaši?, OFM. Bishops to the Rescue!
www.catholiculture.org And going a little further afield, Bishop Ratko Peric of
Mostar-Duvno (Bosnia and Herzegovina) has clarified the status of the
wayward Medjugorje priest, Fr. Tomislav Vlaši?. Fr. Vlaši? is the
founder of an association called "Queen of Peace, Totally Yours -- Through Mary
to Jesus". ( Excerpts Only )The
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with its letter
prot. 144/1985-27164 of 30 May 2008, has authorized me as the local Bishop of
the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno to inform the diocesan community of the canonical
status of Fr. Tomislav Vlašić, the founder of the association
"Kraljice mira potpuno Tvoji — po Mariji k Isusu"
— (Queen of Peace, totally Yours — Through Mary to Jesus).
The letter signed by the Secretary of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Angelo Amato, states the following: --- read
Canonical status of Rev. Father Tomislav Vlaši?, OFM.-
This regards the fact that the same Congregation of the Holy See applied
ecclesiastical sanctions against Rev. Father Tomislav Vlašić, through a Decree
of the Congregation (prot. 144/1985) of 25 January 2008, signed by Cardinal
William Levada, Prefect, and by Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary of the
Congregation along with the "Concordat cum originali" of 30 January 2008,
verified by Msgr. John Kennedy, Official of the Congregation.
The Decree was handed over to Rev. Fr. Tomislav
Vlašić in the General Curia of the OFM in Rome on 16 February 2008 and the
notification was co-signed by the Minister General of the Franciscan Minor
Order, Father José R. Carballo, the Ordinary of Fr. Vlaši?.
The Decree of the Congregation mentions that Rev.
Fr. Tomislav Vlašić, a cleric of the Franciscan Minor Order — the founder of the
association 'Kraljice mira potpuno Tvoji — po Mariji k Isusu' and who
is involved in the "phenomenon Medjugorje" — has been reported to the
Congregation "for the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of
consciences, suspected mysticism, disobedience towards legitimately issued
orders and charges contra sextum."
Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith, and my predecessor as Archbishop here in San Francisco, wrote in 2004:
"No bishop is eager to forbid members of his flock from receiving the precious
Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who invites us into communion with Himself and
his Body, the Church, as grace and salvation." In that same year, the U.S.
bishops acknowledged that pastoral sensitivity, and they endorsed the
following approach to this question of denying Holy Communion: "Given the wide
range of circumstances involved in arriving at a prudential judgment on a
matter of this seriousness, we recognize that such decisions rest with the
individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral
principles. Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most
prudent course of pastoral action. Nevertheless, we all share an unequivocal
commitment to protect human life and dignity and to preach the Gospel in
difficult times." From that statement I conclude that it is my responsibility
as Archbishop to discern and decide, prayerfully, how best to approach this
question as it may arise in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
History of Church Teaching on Abortion
US Bishops Issue Fact Sheet
[2008-09-04] WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 4, 2008 (Zenit.org).-
(Excerpts) Here is a fact sheet issued by the U.S. episcopal conference's
Committee on Pro-Life Activities, which clarifies the Church's constant teaching
Pope Notes Secret to Effective Planet-Saving Says Key Is Recognizing Role of Creator BRESSANONE, Italy, AUG. 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).(Excerpts)-
Benedict XVI says initiatives to save the planet are only effective if they are
based on the awareness that creation begins with God.
"I think, therefore, that true and effective initiatives to prevent the waste
and destruction of creation can be implemented and developed, understood and
lived, only where creation is considered as beginning with God."
Finally, the Bishop of Rome encouraged his listeners to present the teachings of
the faith in public, availing of prevailing concern for the future of the
However, he added, the key is that "we ourselves find a new way of living, a
discipline of making sacrifices, a discipline of the recognition of others to
whom creation belongs as much as it belongs to us who may more easily make use
of it; a discipline of responsibility with regard to the future of others and to
our own future, because it is a responsibility in the eyes of the One who is our
judge and as such is also redeemer but, truly, also our judge."
Marian Dogma Nothing New
Interview With Puerto Rico's Cardinal Aponte
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, MARCH 18, 2008 (Zenit.org)(Excerts).-
By declaring Mary the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, Benedict XVI wouldn't be
saying anything new about her, only clarifying her role in salvation, says
Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez.
On the Teachings of Aphraates - by Pope Benedict
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2007 (Zenit.org).-
Often in Aphraates’ teachings, Christian life is presented in a clear ascetic
and spiritual dimension: Faith is its base, its foundation; it makes of man a
temple where Christ himself lives. Faith therefore enables a true charity that
is expressed in the love toward God and toward one’s neighbor.
Dear brothers and sisters, to conclude, we return again to Aphraates' teaching
on prayer. According to this ancient sage, prayer is achieved when Christ dwells
in the heart of Christians, inviting them to a coherent commitment of charity
toward their brethren. He writes: "Give
relief to those in distress, visit the ailing,
Be solicitous to the poor: This is prayer.
Prayer is good, and its works are beautiful.
Prayer is accepted when it gives relief to your neighbor.
Prayer is heard when it includes the forgiveness of sins.
Prayer is strong when it is full of God’s strength"
Pray Rosary for Peace, Benedict XVI Urges
Zenit News ) -
Pray the Rosary for Peace
Pray Rosary for Peace, Benedict XVI Urges OCT. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org)
"This is something that Mary has also offered in various apparitions," the Pope
explained today to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for
the midday Angelus."I am thinking especially of her appearance at Fatima which
took place 90 years ago," the Holy Father said from the window of his study. "To
the three little shepherds, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, presenting herself as
'the Madonna of the Rosary,' she insistently recommended praying the rosary
every day to bring an end to the war."
"We also desire to welcome the Virgin's maternal request, committing ourselves
to saying the rosary with faith for peace in our families, in countries, and in
the whole world," he added.On this day that the Church celebrates Our Lady of
the Rosary, the World Day of the Rosary also takes place. That initiative began
11 years ago in Mexico, uniting millions of people on five continents to pray
the rosary in public places.
The Pope explained, "[T]he rosary is a means given by the Virgin for
contemplating Jesus and, meditating on his life, for loving and following him
always more faithfully."
Army of Mary incurs
excommunications - 12 September 2007
( Excerpts )
The “Community of the Lady of All Nations”, better
known as the Army of Mary,
has forced Catholic Church authorities to sanction this group which has
its headquarters in the Archdiocese of Quebec City.
(Excerpt) As well, the
propagation of devotion and prayers to the "Lady of all Peoples"
was also banned.
May EveryMoment Of Your
When we the
creature put ourselves above the Creator, we fall into the sin of pride. Every sin begins with a lie. The serpent says we can be
like God and decide for ourselves objectively and arbitrarily.Genesis3: Wherever good and evil meet, there is
suffering ---------- Father Benedict Groeschel Pride alienates man from heaven, humility leads to heaven.St.
Bridget -Sweden Where
there is patience and humility, there is neither wrath nor disturbance.
St. Francis-Assisi Humility is truth,
truth is humility.St. Padre Pio. TheProfession of
Faith HandedDown Through
Peterand the Apostles. The
Apostles Creed:I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus
Christ, his only son our Lord. He was
conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified died and was buried. He descended to the dead..The third day he arose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the
Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, he forgiveness of
sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen. The
Nicene Creed Includes: We believe in one holy catholic apostolic
Thus the Creed's final
" AMEN "
repeats and confirms it's first words: " I Believe." May Your Creed Be
For You As A MirrorCatechism of the CatholicChurch.1064 Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you
believe, and rejoice in your faith each day.647
"I BELIEVE "C.C.C.144
Obedience Of Faith: To obey (from
the Latin ob-audire,
" hear or to listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the
word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is
Truth itself. Abraham is a model of such obedience offered by the Sacred
Scripture. the Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.
NOW THAT'S GOD!! Don't tell GOD how Big your storm is. Tell the storm how Big your GOD is, in Truth and Love.♥
*** St. Francis de Sales
- Patron of Journalists
Francis labored at the difficult
and dangerous task of preaching to the Protestants of Chablais and effected the
return of some 70,000 souls to the Catholic faith. In 1602 he became bishop of
Genf. His zeal for souls is attested in 21,000 extant letters and 4,000 sermons
which exemplify how he applied St. Paul's words: "I have become all things to
all men." You may epitomize his character in two words, kindliness and
lovable ness — virtues that were the secret of his success. Most widely known is
the saint's Introduction to the Devout Life, which, with the Imitation of Christ, is rightly considered the finest outline of
Catholic Media Can Help
Holy See Upholds Decree for "Call to Action" Lincoln Bishop
Had Warned of Excommunications LINCOLN, Nebraska, DEC. 11, 2006 (Zenit.org).(Excerpt) - The Vatican has upheld a 1996 excommunication decree issued by Bishop
Fabian Bruskewitz in relation to Call
to Action and
11 other organizations, the Lincoln Diocese says.
A Nov. 24 letter from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation
for Bishops, confirmed that the Holy See agrees with Bishop Bruskewitz's ruling
on the matter, according to the Southern Nebraska Register, the diocesan
In early 1996, Bishop Bruskewitz received a letter notifying him that a local
Call to Action (CTA) chapter had been formed in the Lincoln Diocese. Two weeks
later, on March 19, the prelate issued a statement of extrasynodal legislation,
which was published in the Southern Nebraska Register.
Citing Call to Action, Call to Action Nebraska and the other entities, Bishop
Bruskewitz wrote, "Membership in these organizations or groups is always
perilous to the Catholic faith and most often is totally incompatible with the
Catholics who had such memberships were invited to remove themselves from the
organizations and seek the sacrament of reconciliation so that they could return
to full communion with the Catholic Church. Those who refused to do so within a
month were automatically excommunicated.
Local CTA members objected to the bishop's instruction and appealed his
decision, but Bishop Bruskewitz remained steadfast.
"Parents have to tell children that they can't test everything in the medicine
cabinet or drink everything under the sink," the bishop explained. "The Church
is our mother and gives us these instructions as protection against dangers we
might not perceive. … It is liberating, not enslaving."
Years of support
CTA Nebraska then appealed to the Holy See to reverse the legislation, but the
appeal was rejected.
The Vatican's response was no surprise to Bishop Bruskewitz. "I received nothing
but 10 years of support from officials of the Holy See, including our previous
Holy Father, Pope John Paul II and our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,"
According to the Register, Cardinal Re in his letter stated:
"The judgment of the Holy See is that
the activities of 'Call to Action' in the course of these years are in contrast
with the Catholic Faith. … Thus to be a member of this Association or to support
it, is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith."
Cantalamessa on the End of the World Pontifical Household Preacher on Sunday's Gospel
ROME, NOV. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a
translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.
* * *
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (b)
Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32
The Gospel of the second to last Sunday of the liturgical year is the classic
text on the end of the world.
There has always been someone who has taken it upon
themselves to wave this page of the Gospel in the face of their contemporaries
and provoke psychosis and fear. My advice is to be calm and to not let yourself
be in the least bit troubled by these visions of catastrophe. Pope,
Curia Aides Reaffirm Value of Priestly Celibacy
Special Meeting Stresses Need for Formation
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2006 (Zenit.org).-
(Excerpts) Benedict XVI and his collaborators in the Roman Curia reaffirmed the
importance of priestly celibacy, and stressed the need for a "human and
Christian formation" for priests and seminarians
* * *
"This morning, November 16, in the Apostolic Palace, the Holy
Father presided over one of the periodic meetings with heads of dicasteries of
the Roman Curia to engage in a joint reflection. Participants in the meeting
received detailed information on petitions for dispensation from the obligation
of celibacy presented in recent years and on the possibility of readmission, to
the exercise of the ministry, of priests who at present meet the conditions
established by the Church. The value was reaffirmed of the option for priestly
celibacy, according to the Catholic tradition, and the need was confirmed for a
solid human and Christian formation for seminarians as well as for already
ordained priests." Perpetual
Eucharistic Adoration: a Parish's Fuel
Interview With a Monsignor in Sicily
ROME, NOV. 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).-(Excerpts)
The archpriest of one of the best-preserved historical centers of Sicily thinks
that "the first thing that any parish should engage in is perpetual Eucharistic
Monsignor Michele Placido Giordano, archpriest of Mistretta, has always promoted
this type of prayer. In fact, the Church of the Most Holy Savior, in Mistretta,
is one of only a handful of churches in Italy that has perpetual Eucharistic
adoration. On Nov. 9, Benedict XVI urged a
rediscovery of this practice, when he met with participants in the
plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic
ROME, NOV. 4, 2006 (Zenit.org).-(Excerpts)
Here is an adapted excerpt from an address that Archbishop John Foley, president
of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, gave at a meeting of new
bishops Sept. 23. The meeting was at the Regina Apostolorum university.
* * *
"The Bishop and the Communications Media"
My brother bishops:
It is truly a joy to be with you as you gather here in Rome at the beginning of
your episcopate for a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter, for an encounter with
our Holy Father, the successor of Peter, and for reflection on various themes
which can have great importance in your own ministry as bishops. Naturally, as
president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, I am delighted
that your relationship with and use of the communications media form part of the
Frankly, I am convinced that communication is THE essential work of a bishop.
Jesus has told us to teach all nations and we have been advised to preach from
the housetops (perhaps now TO the housetops, since that is where the television
antennae are normally located). Certainly, nothing can help our task of teaching
and preaching more than the communications media, and sometimes nothing can
complicate our responsibility to teach and preach more than the communications
At the Second Vatican Council, - - -
What about Catholic media: Should we
have them and, if so, what kind?
I should warn you that for about 25 years, before coming to Rome, I was
associated with a diocesan newspaper in Philadelphia, my home diocese. …
Thus, I am frankly prejudiced in favor of diocesan newspapers -- which, I am
convinced, should be sources of information, formation, inspiration, continued
Catholic education and reinforced Catholic identification.
There has been an accusation leveled against the Church that we tend to forget
to continue to form people after they have graduated from Catholic schools or
from religious education programs. The Catholic press in general and the
diocesan newspaper in particular provide a means of continuing formation and
education that cannot be matched by any other method -- not even adult education
programs, which, in fact, the Catholic press cannot only publicize but also
I am a firm believer in the axiom, "Scripta manent" -- "The written words
remain" -- and Catholic newspapers provide authentic information and formation
to which Catholics can make continuing reference.
By the way, many diocesan newspapers feature a weekly or at least periodic
column by the bishop -- and, where that is a feature of the newspaper, it is
often the most popular feature in the newspaper. People are really interested in
what you have to say -- and, of course, it helps if you write well and briefly.
about radio and television? Your decision must be based on your
assessment of the local or even national situation -- but, whatever you do,
present quality Catholic programming, and do not have people think less of the
Church because what they hear is lacking in quality production techniques.
* * *
As many of you know, in the United States and in Latin America and indeed in
Europe, there is the Eternal Word Television Network -- a 24-hour religious
programming service which had its origins in a cloistered convent in Alabama in
the southern United States. The famous Mother Angelica also started an
international radio station.
* * * A new form of
communication which offers tremendous possibilities, but also some difficulties,
is the Internet.Many dioceses and even parishes
have their own web sites. As you may know, the Vatican Web site is www.vatican.va.
I am happy to report that it was I who got the .va
domain for the Vatican to let people be assured that whatever
messages came from that .va address were authentic.
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who get seemingly Catholic
Internet addresses and
provide either misinformation or even pornography on those sites. You can be
sure of whatever has a .va
domain -- and, of course, you can have confidence in many other Catholic Web
sites -- but the danger of usurpers and hackers can exist on some sites
which wish to appear Catholic but are not.
I should say a word about interviews. Sometimes, the media will "ambush" you,
and it is important always to reflect in your manner and in your responses the
example of Christ -- kind, clear and complete.
Never say anything you do not wish to see in print or hear on the air; if you do
not know something or are not at liberty to say anything about the subject, say
that; also try to become adept at using their question to give your answer. That
is, you will have a point you wish to make which is related to the question they
have asked; use their question to give your answer, because you may never have
another opportunity to make the point you wish to make.
It is perhaps obvious to say that your responses should always be truthful in
content and gracious in delivery. God is truth and God is love
-- and we should reflect both in our witness to him both in prepared remarks and
in our occasional responses to inquiries from the media.
Father Cantalamessa on Priorities
-- ( Click to read the Full Story )
"So, never forget to pose this question to yourself: 'What are the important
things in my life?' Put these things at the head of your agenda."
Pontifical Household Preacher on Sunday's Liturgical Readings ROME, NOV. 3, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is
a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.
* * *
Love the Lord your God
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (b)
Deuteronomy 6:2-6; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 12:28b-34
(Zenit.org) (Excerpts) The danger is that we
will systematically sacrifice the important things to pursue those that are
urgent but often secondary.
How do we avoid this danger? A story will help us understand how. One day an old
professor was asked to speak as an expert to some large North American
corporations on personal time management. He decided to try an experiment.
( read article)
* * *
Then, with a friendly gesture the old professor bid farewell to his audience and
left the room. To the "big rocks" mentioned by the professor -- health, family,
friends -- we need to add two others, which are the biggest of all, the two
greatest commandments: love God and your neighbor.
Truly, loving God,
more than a commandment, is a privilege, a concession. If one day we find him,
we will not cease to thank God for commanding us to love him and we will not
desire to do anything else but cultivate this love.
Pope Recalls Padre Pio and His Works
"Faith in God and Scientific Research Cooperate"
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here
is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered in St. Peter's
Square on Oct. 14 to a group of pilgrims connected with the charitable works of
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
The Prayer Groups have
spread to parishes, convents and hospitals, and today the more than 3,000 groups
are present on every continent. You, here today, are a representative crowd! That original response given to the appeal of the Pope has marked for
ever the character of your "spiritual" network: your prayer, as the Statutes
"with the Church,
through the Church and in the Church" (Preface), to live always in full adhesion
to the Magisterium, in ready obedience to the Pope and to the Bishops, under the
guidance of the presbyter appointed by the Bishop..
McCarrick Shares Political Wisdom Addresses Plenary Assembly of Canadian Bishops CORNWALL, Ontario, OCT. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).-
Bishops in their role as pastors and leaders are called to show courage, clarity
and love, says the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said this Tuesday when commenting on "involvement in
public life and the social teaching of the Church" to the Canadian bishops'
conference, gathered for its plenary assembly in Cornwall. The assembly ends
The cardinal said that the involvement of the Church in politics is a formidable
task, especially when religious points of view appear to be banned from the
public sphere, and a "secular religion" imposed. "This anti-religious construct
makes no sense," stated the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Task Force on
Catholics in Political Life. "Decisions that affect the national welfare of a
nation cannot be arrived at without the use of ethical and moral principles and,
at the very basis, these tend to come from religious values." Catholic social
doctrine helps to shed light on this, though it "has no intention of giving the
Church power over the state," said Cardinal McCarrick, 76.
"Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways
of thinking and modes of conduct proper to the faith," he continued. "Its aim is
to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is
just and what is in accord with the nature of every human being." The Church's
objective, he said, is the formation of the consciences of those involved in
politics, and to stimulate action in response to the authentic requirements of
Eucharistic Congress to Focus on 3 Themes Gift, Covenant
and Life of the World OTTAWA,
OCT. 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).(Excerpts)-
The 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Canada will focus on the
Eucharist as gift, covenant and life of the world, reported the archbishop of
Benedict XVI has told Cardinal Ouellet that he hopes to come to the closing
ceremony on June 22, but the trip has not been officially confirmed.
Address to Bishops of Western Canada "The Human Need to Confront Sin Never Goes Away" VATICAN
CITY, OCT. 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).-(Excerpts
Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today to the bishops of the Western
Catholic Conference of Canada, with whom he met on the occasion of their
five-yearly visit to Rome.
* * *
Dear Brother Bishops,
"We should celebrate and rejoice ... he has come to life; he was lost and is
found" (Lk 15:32). With fraternal affection I warmly welcome you, the Bishops of
the Western Catholic Conference of Canada, and I thank Bishop Wiesner for the
good wishes offered on your behalf. I warmly reciprocate them and assure you,
and those entrusted to your pastoral care, of my prayers and solicitude. Your
meeting with the Successor of Peter concludes the visits "ad limina Apostolorum"
of the Canadian Bishops' Conference. Notwithstanding the increasingly secular
climate within which you serve, your reports contain much from which you can
draw encouragement. In particular, I have been heartened to note the zeal and
generosity of your priests, the selfless dedication of the Religious present in
your Dioceses and the increasing readiness among the laity to embolden their
witness to Christ's truth and love in their homes, schools, places of work and
in the public sphere.
"Where God is excluded from the public forum," the Pope said, "the sense of
offense against God -- the true sense of sin -- dissipates, just as when the
absolute value of moral norms is relativized the categories of good or evil
vanish, along with individual responsibility."
The Holy Father made his observation today when addressing bishops from the
Western Catholic Conference of Canada, who were making their five-yearly visit
to the Vatican.
Benedict XVI continued: "When the
need to seek forgiveness and the readiness to forgive are forgotten, in
their place a disturbing culture of blame and litigiousness arises."
"This ugly phenomenon, however, can be dispelled," the Pope said. Then,
referring to the Gospel parable of the prodigal son, he added: "Following the
light of Christ's healing truth is to say with the father: 'My son, you are with
me always and all I have is yours' and we must be glad 'because your brother ...
who was lost ... is found.'"
The Holy Father made these reflections based on the reports and personal
meetings he had with the Canadian bishops.
For Benedict XVI, recovery of the sense of sin is a pastoral priority, as it
also implies recovery of the sense of God.
"This pastoral priority reflects
an eager hope that the faithful will experience God's boundless
love as a call to deepen their ecclesial unity and overcome the
division and fragmentation that so often wound today's families and
communities," he added. The Pope recommended that the bishops promote the sacrament of reconciliation.
"While this sacrament is often considered with indifference, what it effects is
precisely the fullness of healing for which we long," he assured. "A newfound
appreciation of this sacrament will confirm that time spent in the confessional
draws good from evil, restores life from death, and reveals anew the merciful
face of the Father."
Arian Heresy Still Tempts, Says Cardinal Bertone
ROME, OCT. 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).-
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the new Vatican secretary of state, says that the
Church continues to be tempted by the Arian heresy, the idea that Christ is not
"If Christ's divinity is doubted," the foundation of Christianity
is doubted, he said.
However, according to the Vatican secretary of state, the Church not only faces
the threat of Arianism, but also of a new Pelagianism, one of the worst
heresies, which arose in the fifth century.
"This hinges on thinking that we can build a Church ourselves and in believing
that it is possible to save ourselves, without the Lord's grace and help," he
noted. "They are recurring dangers which appear successively in history."
These two challenges were addressed in the 2000 declaration "Dominus
Iesus," signed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio
Bertone, in their capacity as prefect and secretary, respectively, of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 6, 2006 (Zenit.org)
(Excerpts Only) A theologian prostitutes himself when he subjects himself to the
"dictatorship of common opinions," Benedict XVI told members of the
International Theological Commission.
The Pope delivered that message today in a homily during a Mass he celebrated in
the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace for some 30
theologians of the commission.
"To speak to meet with applause, to speak oriented to what men want to hear, to
speak obeying the dictatorship of common opinions, is considered a sort of
prostitution of the word and of the soul," said the Holy Father quoting the
First Letter of St. Peter.
The theologian needs a form of "chastity," which implies "not to be subjected to
such standards, not to seek applause, but to seek obedience to the truth," the
Pontiff said. Benedict XVI continued: "And I believe this is the
fundamental virtue of the theologian, this discipline, even hard, of obedience
to the truth, which makes us collaborators of the truth, a mouth of truth, so
that we will not speak in this river of words of today, but that we are really
purified and chaste through obedience to the truth, so that truth may speak in
Recalling an experience of St. Thomas Aquinas (1221-1274), the Holy Father
explained: "In theology, God is not the object of our speech. This is our normal
conception. In reality, God is not the object; God is the subject of theology."
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 8, 2006 (Zenit.org).-
( Excerpts Only ) Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today in
English and French to the bishops of Ontario, Canada, on the occasion of their
five-yearly visit to Rome.
St. John was also compelled to urge his communities to remain in that love.
Already some had been weakened by the disputes and distractions which eventually
lead to division.
Pope Exhorts New Church Entities to Obedienc:Sees Them as "Sign of Beauty of Christ"
VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2006
Excerpts- Benedict XVI wrote a message to express
the Church's gratitude to the ecclesial movements and new communities and to
call them to obedience and communion with the Pope and bishops. ***
*** At the same time, Benedict XVI thanked them "for
the willingness you show in welcoming the operational guidelines, not only of
Peter's Successor, but also of bishops in the various local Churches who,
together with the Pope, are the custodians of truth and charity in unity."
"I trust in your ready obedience," he stated. "The movements must face all
problems with sentiments of profound communion, in a spirit of adherence to
Faustina:: Humility and Obedience : "Satan can even clothe himself in a
cloak of humility, but he does not know how to wear the cloak of obedience and
thus his evil designs will be disclosed."
When it comes right down to it, do people have issues with the Church or with
Catholics ? Or do we have issues with Christ. "What's wrong is still wrong even
if everyone is doing it, and what's right is still right even if no one is doing
Succession Pope Benedict: Christ Present Via Apostolic Succession
"Greatest Guarantee of Perseverance in the Lord's Word" VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2006
Excerpts: Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's
address at today's general audience, which he dedicated to explain apostolic
In today's catechesis, we consider how the ministry of the
apostles continues through their successors, the bishops. The apostles
themselves appointed others to take their place and to carry on their work. St.
Irenaeus, writing at the end of the second century, links the tradition handed
down from the apostles to the historical succession of bishops in the Churches
Irenaeus points in particular to the Church of Rome, founded by the Apostles
Peter and Paul. The succession of bishops in this Church can be seen as the sure
sign and criterion of the unbroken transmission of the apostolic faith.
Consequently, he says, every Church throughout the world must be in accord with
the Roman Church ["Adversus Haereses" III, 3, 2].
The Church's perseverance in the apostolic tradition is thus guaranteed by the
continuity between the original community of the apostles and the College of
Bishops. Through apostolic succession, the Holy Spirit makes the Risen Christ
present to his Church in the ministry of those ordained to preach the Gospel, to
celebrate the sacraments and to serve as loving shepherds of his flock.
Ring of truth
A brief overview of the latest articles by
Pope Benedict XVI in which he refers to The Splendor of Truth. Pope Benedict
emphasizes the importance of truth, love
and service, in a spirit of collegiality to encourage and to
recall the centrality of the Catholic faith in its
authentic expression. - - - - -
- the first encyclical of Pope Benedict teaches the Word
as Jesus taught, the Greatest Commandment is Love. ... God Is Love: John 1: 4:19 There is no fear
in Love; perfect love drives out fear. So then love has not been made
perfect by anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.
John 1: 4:18- We love because God first loved us. --- ( Webmaster - R T M )
José Baamonde established the Service for the Elucidation of Sects and New
Religious Movements (SPES) Foundation, in 1989. He currently heads the
foundation's documentation-and-research section.
In the context of a congress on "Psychological Manipulation, Sectarian Groups
and Other Alternative Movements," which closed Saturday at Madrid's
Autonomous University, Baamonde gave a lecture on "The Permeability of New Age
According to the expert, a fundamental element of New Age is man's
self-divinization, explained as follows: "God is within me; God and I are
one same conscience; I am God."
Baamonde applied this process to the Silva Method of mind control, a typical
practice of this new spirituality, which "is practiced even by some priests and
*** New Age is "the great challenge of the present century for society," he
added, because "it raises flags such as pacifism, universal brotherhood and
ecology, which can hardly be challenged by the public of a society that
increasingly lacks a true formation."
In this connection, he recalled Pope John Paul II's words to a group of
U.S. bishops in 1993: "At times New Age ideas make headway in preaching,
catechesis, congresses and retreats, and thus succeed in influencing even
practicing Catholics, who perhaps are not aware of the incompatibility of those
ideas with the faith of the Church."
Alpha and omega
"It is manifest that the disorientation in regard to the topics
included in the present study not only affects young people but also families,
reinforcing the conviction of the importance of implementing family catechesis,"
He concluded: "New Age gains followers day by day with the final objective, they
say, of erasing universal borders to achieve the creation of a supra-religion
where man is the alpha and omega, the beginning and end of all things, thus
achieving a caricature of religion: It is no longer man who is created in the
image and likeness of God but God who is created in the image and likeness of
ROME, JUNE 10, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In his
commentary on this Sunday's readings, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the
preacher of the Pontifical Household, discusses how Christ choose his apostles
and founded the Church on the principle of service, not power.
* * *
He Chose the 12 and Sent Them
In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus "calls" to himself the Twelve and makes them
"Apostles." Therefore he "sends" them to do what he did: to preach the kingdom,
to take care of the sick, to free people from fear and demonic powers. He tells
them: "Freely you received. Give freely."
That day Jesus decided to inaugurate the future structure of his Church. She
would have a hierarchy, a government, namely, the men "called" by him and "sent"
to continue his work. It is because of this that the Church is defined as
"one, holy, catholic and apostolic," because it is founded on the Apostles.
But all these notions of harvest and laborers, flock and shepherds, governors
and governed do not enjoy a good press today. We live in an atmosphere of
democracy and equality among men. If someone must exercise authority he must do
so, we think, in our name, in as much as we ourselves, with elections, confer
the mandate on him. Hence the widespread rejection or disparagement of the
hierarchy of the Church: Pope, bishops, priests.
One constantly runs into people, especially college and university students, who
have invented their own Christianity. They have, at times, a notable religious
sense, beautiful sentiments. They say that, if they wish to, they address God
directly; however, they do not want to hear talk of the Church, of priests, of
going to Mass and other such things. Their motto: "Christ yes, the Church no."
Undoubtedly the Church can and must be more democratic, that is, the laity
should have a greater voice in the election of pastors and the way they exercise
their function. But the Church cannot be reduced altogether to a
democratically governed society, with decisions made from below. She is not
something that men establish on their own initiative, for their good. If the
Church was only this, there would no longer be any need for her; the state or a
philanthropic society would suffice!
The Church is Christ's institution. Her authority does not come from
the consensus of men; it is a gift from above. Because of this, even
in the most democratic form we might desire for the Church, she will always
be about authority and apostolic service. This is not, or should never be,
about superiority and power, but about "free" service, the giving of one's life
for the flock, as Jesus said when speaking of the good shepherd.
What keeps some people alienated from the institutional Church are, in
the majority of cases, the defects, inconsistencies and errors of the
leaders: inquisitions, prosecutions, incorrect use of power and money, scandals.
All these things are, sadly, true, though often exaggerated and regarded outside
any historical context. We priests are the first ones to be conscious of our
misery and inconsistency, and to suffer because of it.
The Church's ministers are "chosen among men" and are subject to the temptations
and weaknesses of all men. Jesus did not intend to found a society of the
perfect. The Son of God -- said Scottish writer Bruce Marshall -- came into
this world and, as the good carpenter he became in Joseph's school, gathered the
most twisted and knotty boards he found and built a boat with them -- the Church
-- which, despite everything, has withstood the sea for 2,000 years!
Priests "clothed in weakness" have an advantage: They are more prepared to be
compassionate of others, to not be surprised by any sin or misery, to be, in a
word, merciful, which is perhaps a priest's most beautiful quality.
too, precisely because of this, Jesus placed Simon Peter, who denied him three
times, at the head of the apostles: he had to learn to forgive "seventy times
EDINBURGH, Scotland, JUNE 10, 2005 (Zenit.org)
Excerpts- Allowing same-sex partners to adopt children
would not be in the best interest of Scotland, or its children, says the
archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, commenting on a proposal made by Scotland's Adoption
Policy Review Group to allow unmarried and same sex couples to adopt, said today
in a press release that the policy is "clearly not in the best
interests of children."
"The proposals to permit homosexual couples to adopt are contrary to the common
good," the cardinal added. "Such a measure would distort the understanding of
the family, cause harm to children and promote the status of homosexual
"The demands for parental rights for homosexual partners are more
to do with fulfilling their wish for status rather than meeting needs of
children. It is the view of the Catholic Church that to place children in such a
situation is to put them in an environment that is not conducive to their full
The cardinal continued: "This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to
the principle, recognized in the United Nations Convention
on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the
weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every
♥ Catholic Media Can Help
Teachings John Paul II
made a strong appeal Dec. 3, 2004 to Catholic Newspapers.
People need sources of
information on the Catholic Church that are complete and
authentic," he said."Catholics
must be constantly updated on the teaching of the Church and on the
way it adapts in our life of today." ...
John Paul IIon various occasions and
again on Jan. 23, 2005, says
modern technology can be used for good,
for spreading the truth of our salvation in Jesus Christ, and for fostering
harmony and reconciliation,"...
In reference to articles below a continuing appeal goes out for the
media to give sources of trustworthy, complete and authentic information.
Reliable sources can be accessed to ensure Catholic information is complete and authentic
as John Paul II requests. Bishop's of the Diocese are familiar with media and
organizations who are submissive to the teachings of the Church and guided by
No initiative can lay claim to the
title 'catholic' without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authorities,
in accordance with Can.312.
Ecclesiastical authority is entitled to regulate, in view of the common good,
the exercise of rights which are proper to Christ's faithful.
Can 305 -1All associations of
Christ’s faithful are subject to supervision of competent ecclesiastic
authority. This authority is to ensure
that integrity of faith and morals is maintained in them and that abuses in
ecclesiastical discipline do not creep in.”
209. Faithful are bound to preserve communion with the Church at
To be in full communion with
the Catholic Church we must give consent and adhere to all teachings of the
Church, reaffirmed withVatican II and
confirmed by John Paul II.
As Catholic's we believe in apostolic succession, which means
Bishop's are God's representatives on earth. Christ's
faithful are to be submissive in obedience to what the
Bishops office demands of him as guardian of the faith
entrusted to him. The principle is that we must obey lawful authorityin all things but sin.
More Specific Reference Listed on Request -
- - -
( Webmaster R .T. M )
Committed to Truth When the media's commitment to truth is
defective, then people's judgments and conduct are likewise
However, "the media must also demonstrate
its commitment to truth,"
given the profound influence it exercises, as for many people, "the
search for truth is linked to what they see in the media,"
Some so-called Catholic media are really anti-Catholic. Others are bent on showing how you can disagree
with the magisterium and still be Catholic -- that's such a waste of energy.(Zenit.org)
Source Of References Used Above: John
Paul II Makes Appeal to Catholic Newspapers
CITY, DEC. 3, 2004(Zenit.org)(Excerpts)To
be agents of the "civilization of love,"People need sources of information on the Catholic Church that are complete and
authentic," he said. "Catholics must be
constantly updated on the teaching of the Church and on the
way it adapts in our life of today."
JAN. 23, 2004 (Zenit.org.)
Some so-called Catholic media are really anti-Catholic.
Others are bent on showing how you can disagree
with the magisterium and still be Catholic -- that's such a waste of energy.
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 2005 (Zenit.org)In Message for 2005 World Communications Day"Modern
technology places at our disposal unprecedented possibilities for good, for
spreading the truth of our salvation in Jesus Christ, and for fostering harmony
and reconciliation," the Pope writes in themessage.
FEB. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org)However, "the media must also
demonstrate its commitment to truth," given the profound influence it
exercises, as for many people, "the search for truth is linked to what they
see in the media," they said.
Media Urged in Evangelization
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).-
Exc. Using the media to spread
the Gospel message isn't an option for believers, a missionary told a
Vatican-organized symposium. ...
"To evangelize through the media is not something merely optional but an
imperative," said Father Gerardo Pastor, when addressing a congress on "The
Church and the Media: An Unlimited Future."
Afraid of Media, Urges Editor
Advice From a French Journalist at Vatican Symposium
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).-Exc.
The Church has nothing to hide, says a French editor at a recent Vatican
symposium on the media.....
"Although the sacred must be preserved, in all else the Church has nothing to
hide," explained Franz-Oliver Giesbert, editor of the French weekly Le Point.
line to view -
What Catholic Media
Should Be Interview: JAN.
Catholic media should be responsible for supporting the renewal
of the Church and communicating hope to the faithful, says the publisher of
a leading weekly newspaper. ... Q: What is the mission of Catholic media in general? The mission of the Catholic media is to promote
the new evangelization.
Helping Catholics to apply the riches of their faithand the wisdom
of the Church's teaching in order to understand, evaluate and engage
the emerging secular culture poses quite a challenge.
There are lights and shadows. That's life! Some
so-called Catholic media are really anti-Catholic. Others are bent on showing how you can disagree
with the magisterium and still be Catholic -- that's such a waste of energy.
But the most important mission is for the Good News to be communicated. If that doesn't happen, all the investigative stories are just a dead end.
Catholic media can have a
disproportionate impact on the culture, precisely because of the one they
ultimately represent: Jesus Christ, "the powerful one. " Truth
and grace are more powerful than any sophisticated media manipulation.
What is the single most important element that
Catholic editors and writers need to
remember in their job? That Christ has
won the victory over evil. It doesn't mean turning a blind eye to abuses and
failures in the Church. But it does mean speaking the truth in charity, not
in anger or resentment. It also means not giving in to the too-human
temptation of confusing professionalism with cynicism.
True Catholic media
are permeated with hope andcommunicate hope. As St. Augustine said,
Easter people and Alleluia is our song."
Media Seen as Colleagues, Not Foes
Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta Speaks in Rome
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2005 (Zenit.org)
former president of the U.S. bishops' conference says "the Church and the
media must regard one another as colleagues, rather than adversaries, in
seeking to serve and improve society."
"The media, for
its part, must also seek proper Church authorities as spokesmen for the Church,
both universally and locally,"
Archbishop Gregory continued: "As members of the
Church, we must also realize that when we fail to participate in the efforts of
the media within our communities, we inevitably create a vacuum that is usually
filled by people who lack the knowledge or the authority to represent the
"The media must have a passion in its pursuit of truth. Truth involves not only
the facts, but also the circumstances that surround factual reality," he said.
"The Church expects the media to be fair, principled and balanced in carrying
out its mission."
Media Urged to
Be Committed to Truth and Human Dignity
FEB. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).
Excerpts. A press conference Feb.
16, at the conclusion of the meeting, was attended by, among others, Bishop
William Skyland and Archbishop Brendan O'Brien, presidents of the U.S. and
Canadian bishops' conferences, respectively.
The media should be guided by the principles of human dignity and truth,and not lead to the "dehumanization" of society, say
the bishops of the Americas.
During the working sessions, the prelates acknowledged that the media is"a gift of God" and
"great wealth for humanity," said a statement issued by the Latin American
bishops' council, CELAM.
However, "the media must also demonstrate its
commitment to truth,"given the profound influence it exercises,
as for many people, "the search for truth is linked
to what they see in the media," they said.
"When the media's commitment to truth is defective,
then people's judgments and conduct are likewise defective. For this reason, the
Church feels especially committed to seeing that the media defends ethical
imperatives,"explained the prelates.
Considering "the great demands that weigh on communicators," the prelates
reflected on their obligation to be pastorsto "Catholics working in
the media: to support them in their faith, to help them to be witnesses of
Christ in their world, to offer them the possibility to know the Church well and
to acquire good ethical formation."
Pope Urges Church to
Rethink Its Attitude Toward Media
Publishes Apostolic Letter "The Rapid Development"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).-
John Paul II
in a new apostolic letter calls the entire Church to a pastoral and cultural
"revision" of its presence in and attitude toward the media. ......
"In the same way, it is important to assure that media professionals receive the
necessary formation and pastoral attention to confront the particular tensions
and ethical dilemmas that arise in their daily work," he writes. "Often these
men and women 'sincerely desire to know and practice what is ethically and
morally just,' and look to the Church for guidance and support. ......
"Such is the importance of the mass media that, fifteen years ago, I considered
it inopportune to leave their use completely up to the initiatives of
individuals or small groups, and suggested that they be decisively inserted into
Vatican Notification on "Jesus
Symbol of God"
ROME, FEB. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).-
The text of the Vatican notification warning about the 1999 book
by Jesuit Father Roger Haight, is posted
As We Celebrate Mass (The Eucharist) When Heaven Unites With Earth
" That We May All Be One In The
All Children Of God - He Is The Vine - We Are The Branches
Cardinal Pell on
True and False
Synopsis of a Talk on Newman and a Drama CHICAGO, FEB. 10, 2005 (Zenit.org)
Australian Cardinal George Pell delivered an address to members of the Lumen
Christi Institute at the University of Chicago last fall, on the
"primacy of truth" and the
"primacy of conscience."
ZENIT offers this synopsis of the
Sydney archbishop's speech.
Cardinal John Newman's view of conscience is far from that usually held by those
who speak of "primacy of conscience" today. Newman believes a good
Catholic conscience can never accept a position of
dissent against central Church teaching. Moral truth is the key to conscience,
and this is very difficult to deny coherently.
This specifically Catholic view rejects the mistaken primacy of conscience
doctrine and clearly asserts the primacy of truth. The Pope writes: "In any
event, it is always from the truth that the dignity of conscience derives. In
the case of the correct conscience,
it is a question of the objective truth
received by man; in the case of the erroneous
conscience, it is a question of what man,
mistakenly, subjectively considers to be true. It is never
acceptable to confuse a 'subjective' error about moral good with the 'objective'
truth rationally proposed to man in virtue of his end, or to make the moral
value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience equivalent to the
moral value of an act performed by following the judgment of an erroneous
conscience" ("Veritatis Splendor," 63).
The point is that no one -- at least, no Christian -- believes conscience simply
asserts the first thing that comes into our heads.
Conscience looks for real answers to our questions; and where can it look except
to the truth? But then the value of conscience surely lies not in
conscience itself but in the objective truth to which conscience looks for
answers. It is the truth that is primary, and it is from the truth that
conscience takes its value.
Nonetheless, a false notion of conscience has helped
to carry many away from Catholic practice and indeed from Catholic faith. If there are two opposing versions of conscience, and there are, this
is the obverse side to Newman's claim that true conscience helps us to recognize
the One True God.
A debased notion of conscience, a barely concealed enthusiasm for autonomy
disguised as an appeal to the primacy of conscience, weakens our sense of
obligation, damages our purity of heart, and makes it harder and harder to see
Catholic Theologian - Fr.William
The late Fr. William G. Most was one of the
most distinguished Catholic teachers, theologians and Scripture scholars of our
time. His long teaching career, extending well over 50 years, was marked by
unswerving fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, theological brilliance,
and an ability to communicate clearly to layman and professional alike.
Is conscience a small still voice, the voice of God? Not exactly. If it
were the voice of God, there could never be an error - but errors are
far from rare. Rather, conscience is a judgment of reason on the morality of
acts to be done here and now, or acts done.
God is involved in the sense spoken of in Jer 31:33:
"I will write my law on their hearts". This is echoed in Romans 2:15, where St.
Paul says of the gentiles who do not know revealed law: "They show the work of
the law written on their hearts".
Modern anthropology shows that primitive people have a remarkable knowledge
of the basic things in the moral law. However, this can be blotted out by bad
customs of the tribe, or by faulty instruction in schools, e. g, when the
children are taught "Values Clarification" which says that if something feels
good, it is good, or by such things as proportionalism, which says there are no
moral absolutes, no act is good or bad by its nature: we must consider, they
say, the intentions and circumstances. Intention, they say, can make any act
morally permitted. These views of course are strongly condemned by the
Encyclical Veritatis splendor of Oct 5, 1993.
So, there are some things wrong by their very nature. Aristotle, who thought
morality depended on a golden mean, e.g., courage is a middle position between
rashness and timidity, yet said that there are things to which the mean does not
apply: murder, adultery, theft (Ethics 2. 6).
So conscience, since it is a
judgment of reason, and not the voice of God, can
err. There are two kinds of errors, vincible, and invincible.
Vincible error is that which can and should be avoided or corrected. Invincible
at least practically cannot.
To avoid error, conscience must follow the teachings of the Church.
Vatican II did not change this. In Constitution on Divine Revelation
§10: "The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether
written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition] has been entrusted exclusively to
the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name
of Jesus Christ." This does not clash with what is said on the
Declaration on Religious Liberty §3: "A man should not be forced to act
against his conscience. Nor should he be prevented from acting according to his
conscience, especially in religious matters." But that declaration has in mind
force from the civil state. It taught there is religious liberty - which does
not mean a right to be wrong, but just a right not to be jailed etc. for wrong
religious beliefs. This does not change what was said in On Revelation §
10, just cited, for the On Revelation text does not refer to force by the
state but to divinely protected teaching from the Church, which operates by the
authority of Christ. In fact even the Declaration on Religious Liberty §
1 says: "It [this document or council] leaves untouched traditional Catholic
doctrine about the obligations of men and societies towards the one true
Church." This really calls for an established Church, supported by the State
-not however in such a way that the State prohibits other religions.
So a man should follow his conscience, but before that point,
he has a strict moral obligation to align his conscience with the law of
God as taught by the Catholic Church under divine protection. He may not
say: "But I think differently, my conscience tells
me something else". To such a one we quote Mt. 18:15-17, which
tells us that when a Christian does wrong, we should first correct him
privately, then, if need be, with the help of two or three witnesses. But then
finally, call in the church: "If he will not hear the Church, let him be to you
as a pagan and a publican." The man in question may
not appeal to his conscience. He has the obligation to line that up with the
teaching of the Church.If he refuses, then we treat him like a
pagan and a publican, not like a Catholic who is just exercising his rights. For the Catholic Church is not a democracy, in which the authorities must
dialogue with persons. Yes, all should be done in a pastoral and kindly
way. But when all is done, the bottom line is: he
must accept the teaching of the Church. Hence the Epistle to
Titus says (3:10): "After one or two warnings, avoid a heretical man." The word heretical here is not yet as technical term:
it means anyone who holds false doctrine and refuses to hear the Church.
He is to be considered as Mt 18:17 says, as a pagan and a publican.
Suppose a man wanted to call himself a Mason, but broke with basic Masonic
teachings. He would not be a real Mason at all. Similarly, one who does
not follow the above teachings of the Catholic Church, especially that in On
Revelation §10 really should not call himself/herself Catholic, but Protestant.
For Protestants follow private interpretation, each one decides for himself.
Catholics follow the Church.
Suppose a man get a false notion that it is mortally sinful to eat a banana?
We should of course try to correct his thinking. If we cannot, and if after that
he eats a banana, he is guilty of mortal sin, not because eating a banana is
mortal sin, but because of his bad faith.
May we turn this around as it were and say that if a man cannot be convinced
that something, e.g., contraception, is sinful, he is justified? Not
objectively. Subjectively if he cannot be brought to see the truth, he may not
contract the formal guilt for contracepting. This, sadly, can happen today, when
there has been and is so much false teaching even by priests and bishops on this
matter and other things too. But no priest may knowingly give Holy Communion
etc. to such a one, if his sin is publicly known. (Eucharist may be refused only
to public sinners, not to those who sin outside of public). Nor may we tell him:
If you think it is all right, it is all right. Cf. Leviticus 4, where several
cases are given in which a person violates the law of God without knowing he is
doing something wrong at the time of acting. When he finds out, he is obliged to
offer a sacrifice to make up for even unwitting violation. God punished Pharao
and his household severely for the fact that the King, in good faith, took the
wife of Abraham: Genesis 12:17. FEB.14 2005
Webmaster Promoting Fidelity To Church Teachings
In regard to a program( "Heaven's Key to
one-hour documentary whichexplains how the world can achieve lasting world peace.)aired on Vision TV-
Dec. 8- 2004 The webmaster
of this site is posting some information that was not clarified by the promoters
of the documentary.Thank you, to Vision
TV for your commitment and gracious words of encouragement.
promoted (via email) contained this paragraph.
can honor Our Lady on The Feast of Her Immaculate Conception (and the 150th
Anniversary of the Solemn Proclamation of this Dogma of Catholic Faith) by
watching this all-important national TV viewing."
promotion of the program certainly appeared it would
be a Catholic program. Thoughit leads one to believe that it is an authentic Catholic program, Fr. Gruner's
views are not a true representation of the Catholic faith.
Until the program was viewed it was notindicated that it would lead into anti Papal promotion
by portraying that the Pope is, to put it mildly, suppressing truth about
Fr. Gruner and Fátima CrusaderClick
on line to view full article.
suspended Canadian priest
owns and publishes theFátima Crusade
andCatholic Family News,
which express a critical view of the post-conciliar changes in the
Church, especially in matters of the liturgy. In
recent yearsCatholic Family News( The Remnant and other small Catholic papers ) has also
become very critical of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II in matters such as
ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.
Again, it is not just the implementation of Vatican II in these areas,
but the very direction the Council and the post-conciliar popes have taken. This
criticism reached its zenith in 2000 with the publication of We Resist You to Your Face, the
"You" being Pope John Paul II. Co-sponsors of this document include Catholic Family News and The Remnant, and traditionalist
authors Marian Horvat and Atila Sinke Guimarăes. This resistance is intended to
restore the Traditional Catholic Faith, as they understand it, by
resisting what they see as novelties and innovations in the governance of the
Church since Vatican II and in particular under the present Pope.
However, the doctrine of the Ordinary Magisterium,
that of Papal Primacy in all matters of governance, the obligation of religious
assent and obedience to non-infallible teaching (Lumen
gentium 25), the concurrence of the apostolic college of the bishops
(both at the Council and since) to the whole body of conciliar teaching and
policies, together with the acceptance of the overwhelming majority of orthodox
clergy, theologians and laity, argue in favor of the teachings and their
application. This does not mean that in a particular cases the
specific application is not debatable. However, it is the rejection of the whole
conciliar direction, not just its abuses or particular applications, which does
not seem legitimate. While I do not question the good will of those who have,
what they see, as the best interests of the Church and souls at heart, I
disagree profoundly with their conclusions, as well as the manner of giving
fraternal correction to the Holy Father.
(Material such as this is often put into
Churches without permission, thereby leaving a false perception that it is
Catholic literature approved by authorities, often times to be lead away from the
Holy Catholic Apostolic Church and the Gospel teachings of Jesus
Christ our Redeemer.) -
R.T.M Re: Gruner's Fatima Website Review:(
Excerpts taken form review bywww.catholiculture.org ) Review expressed concern
of promoted Links: Caution
- Danger (
Gruner's Fatima website promotes links that reflect a
continuing rejection of the liturgical reforms of the last three Popes as well
as some of the work of the Second Vatican Council.
Example(s) appears the web site is to undermine the authority of the Church. Many of
the sections link non-Catholic or secular sites. This does not conform to their
claim to be 100% Catholic
Gruner's site is Linked to
Society of Saint Pius X -Danger-External
links to sites that support the Feeneyite and/or the Lefebvrite position.(This
is a schismatic group) Following is a description taken from their own home page:
The priests of the Society of Saint Pius X
celebrate only the Traditional Latin Mass and actively oppose the liberal
changes which have been undermining and destroying the Catholic Church since the
Second Vatican Council.
Vision TV airs program"Heaven's Key to
Peace A documentary
by Nicholas Gruner, promoted through email.
can honor Our Lady on The Feast of Her Immaculate Conception (and the 150th
Anniversary of the Solemn Proclamation of this Dogma of Catholic Faith) by
watching this all-important national TV viewing."
Subject: Dec. 8. - Fr. Gruner on
you in good faith, I would appreciate it if someone could contact me to let me
know how it came about that the program set out by Fr. Nicolas Gruner was
aired on Vision TV on Dec 8th 2004, as the program portrayed that the Pope is
possibly, to put it mildly, suppressing truth about Fatima. Fr. Gruner's
views are not a true representation of the Catholic faith,--
it leads one to believe that it is an authentic Catholic program, without
any indication that it would lead into anti Papal promotion.
Reply to webmaster From:VisionTV
Audience Sent: Thursday,
January 27, 2005 10:28 AM Subject:
Heaven's Key to Peace
Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention and for your patience as
we investigated this matter.(Excerpts)
On a first review of "Heaven's Key
to Peace", while we had some questions about the views being expressed, there
did not appear to be any specific violation of our ethical standards. We
therefore made the determination that the program was suitable for broadcast
with a disclaimer attached. Please note that, in screening programs, we do not
see it as our role to challenge the content being presented as the starting
point in our review is that each Mosaic program is free to express its faith
perspective so long as there is not a direct violation of our Code of Ethics.
Your research and comments,
however, have put the program in a new light. We have shared your concerns
with the purchaser of the airtime and have yet to receive satisfactory
answers. Please be assured that "Heaven's Key to Peace" will not be
re-broadcast on VisionTV, unless we are provided with assurances that the
purchase and use of our airtime is in compliance with the letter and spirit of
all aspects of our Code of Ethics.
We thank you again for bringing
this matter to our attention. It is often through feedback from viewers that
we are able to improve our broadcast standards and we appreciate you taking
the time to share your expertise with us.
Interview With Professor Arturo Cattaneo
- posted below -
ROME, JAN. 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- At its plenary assembly in November,
the Pontifical Council for the Laity reflected on the need "to rediscover
the true face of the parish." The topic of the relationship
between the parish and ecclesial movements was presented by Father Arturo
Cattaneo, professor of canon law in Venice, and of ecclesiology in Rome and
Q: Ecclesial movements continue to grow. Will they
eventually replace parishes?
Father Cattaneo: No, because the parish will always play a fundamental and
It is, as John Paul II has said, the ultimate presence of the Church in a
territory and, in a certain sense, the Church itself, close to the homes of its
sons and daughters. Because of this, one must think of
the parish as the "common home of the faithful," the "first place of the
incarnation of the Gospels"; it cannot be replaced with movements.
The ecclesiastical authority, which approves the statutes, and watches
over the activity of these movements, is the competent entity to avoid their
becoming a parallel Church.....
Nevertheless, the parish priest must be careful that the
movement to which we belong does not monopolize the parish's activities and that
no one is discriminated against....
In this perspective, the enrichment the parish receives from
the apostolic vitality of movements is appreciated. Monsignor Renato Corti, vice
president of the Italian episcopal conference, observed recently that to
"underline the great and urgent task of evangelization will
make us all more sensitive to the unity of the mission, and will give us the
courage to take the necessary steps toward conversion." .....
Father Cattaneo: The freedom of the faithful certainly finds its
intrinsic limit in the obligation to maintain the communion of the Church and
therefore its unity.....
Mention must also be made of the spirit of service, which will
lead members of movements to be happy to support the initiatives of the bishop
and parish priest, according to the characteristics of the charism itself.
The members of a movement, will
thus avoid falling into action that is not very ecclesial, which might turn out
to be counterproductive for the harmonious integration in the communion of the
local and parish Church
Papal Address to Pontifical Academy of Sciences
"Paths of Discovery Are Always Paths Towards Truth" VATICAN CITY, NOV. 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).Excerpts
- Here is the text of the address John Paul II delivered today to the
participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Significance of the
Sign of the Cross
LAKE MARY, Florida, NOV. 22, 2004 (Zenit.org).-(
Excerpts) The simple gesture that Catholics make thousands of
times in their lives has a deeper meaning most of them don't realize.
Now, the multifaceted significance of the sign of the cross has
been investigated and explained by Bert Ghezzi, author of
"Sign of the Cross: Recovering the Power of the Ancient
Press). He told ZENIT how the sign came about, what six meanings it has and
why making it reverently can enhance one's life in Christ.
Q: Beyond the words themselves, what does the sign mean? Why is it a mark of
Ghezzi: The sign means a lot of things. In the book, I describe six meanings,
with and without words. The sign of the cross is: a
confession of faith; a renewal of baptism; a mark of discipleship; an
acceptance of suffering; a defense against the devil; and a victory over
When you make the sign, you are professing a mini
version of the creed -- you are professing your belief in the Father,
and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. When you say the words and pray in
someone's name you are declaring their presence and coming into their presence
-- that's how a name is used in Scripture.
2004 - Year of the
Eucharist - 2005 Proclaimed by
POPE JOHN PAUL II -October 17, 2004 ( Web Editor R.T.M.)
Canadian pilgrims attended the Eucharistic celebration of the 26th
anniversary of his pontificate and the opening of the Year of The Eucharist.
Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus and the
celebration. Among them were twenty four pilgrims from British Columbia and
Alberta. The group of pilgrim's with their
Spiritual Director Monsignor Luterbach also participated in the
evening Eucharistic Celebration. The Holy Father
presided at the
celebration to mark the start of
the Year of the Eucharist in conjunctionwith the ending of International Eucharistic Congress held in
As Pope John Paul passed down
the aisle of St. Peter's Basilica pictures were taken by the group who were
within touching distance of the Holy Father. Shouts of " Papa, Papa " and
shouts of joy rose from the enthusiastic pilgrims who filled the Basilica. The
Swiss Guards preceded Pope John Paul as he gave his Papal Blessing while exiting
the Basilica. An estimate of one thousand clergy, including Cardinals, followed
in procession leaving pilgrims with a rekindled fire of living faith, filled
with love for Christ and His Church.
Zenit News Agency translated the address given by the Holy Father at the
noon Angelus, as well as the Papal address given at the Mass.( Access to the complete
documents from Zenit below.)
Rome: Vatican City - St Peters Basilica Pope John Paul II -
October 17 2004
of the year of the Eucharist - Photos R.T.M
2004 - Year of the
Eucharist - 2005 He
is with us! " Thy Will Be Done"
October 2004 -- R.T.M
Webmaster Together let us invoke the Queen of Peace and
renew our commitment to the service of reconciliation, dialogue and solidarity.John Paul II
- Grotto of the
Apparitions to the basilica of Lourdes In this way we shall merit the happiness
which the Lord has promised to the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)(Zenit.org)Excerpts
LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004
John Paul II hopes that the Year of the
Eucharist will be a time of encounter with Christ for believers and nonbelievers
alike. Year of the Eucharist a Time of
Encounter, Says Pope
Tells of Event's Focus on Christ VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org)(Excerpts).-
John Paul II hopes that the Year of the Eucharist will be a time of encounter
with Christ for believers and nonbelievers alike.
ANGELUS Before the Start of Year
of the Eucharist
A Time of Intense Encounter With Christ, Says John Paul II
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).-
Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today when praying the
midday Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope expressed this today when praying the midday Angelus with thousands of
people gathered in St. Peter's Square. Many were on hand to congratulate him on
the 26th anniversary of his pontificate, which he marked a day earlier. "I wish to
express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who, on the occasion of the
anniversary of my election to the Chair of Peter, sent me their good wishes and
assured me of their prayers," he said today before praying the Angelus with the
crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"I pray to the Lord to comfort each one with the abundance of his gifts, I
commend myself to him and invoke, through the intercession of the Most Holy
Virgin, his constant help for the fruitful exercise of my ministry in the
Church," he added.
Then he added: "Thank you very much!" The people responded with loud cries of
congratulations. Hours later, John Paul II was to preside at a Mass in St.
Peter's Basilica to mark the start of the Year of the Eucharist.
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).-
Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today from St.
Peter's Basilica, via television, to the faithful in Guadalajara, Mexico. The
latter were participating in the closure of the International Eucharistic
* * *
1. "Know that I am with you always, to the
close of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Gathered before the Eucharist, we feel with particular intensity at this
moment the truth of Christ's promise: He
is with us!
The proposals, which are also recommendations to live the Year of the Eucharist,
summarized the ideas that arose from the prior theological pastoral symposium,
catecheses, and reflections of the various linguistic groups.
The document that condenses the conclusions of the linguistic groups was
presented and approved in a general assembly last Saturday. Cardinal Jozef Tomko,
the papal legate, presented these conclusions:
1. It is urgent to emphasize the importance of Sunday Mass, central part of the
2. The feast and procession of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Christ)
must be emphasized again.
3. Eucharistic adoration in all its forms must be revalued, including nocturnal
4. Emphasize the importance of frequent and worthy Communion, coupled with the
sacrament of reconciliation.
5. Encourage the spirit of mission, which stems from the Eucharist.
6. Share one's table and Mass with the poor, in the service of charity. Combine
spiritual commitment with the need of the poor.
7. Renew faith, sacrifice, communion and service in the Eucharist, as a sign for
the Catholic Church and the world.
ROME, NOV. 3, 2004 (Zenit.org).(Excerpts)-
Nov. 21 will mark 40 years since the promulgation by Pope Paul VI of the Second
Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium."
To better understand the way in which this document was written,
ZENIT interviewed Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel, who collaborated day by day in the
drafting of the document.
Q: Today, many see Vatican II as a confrontation between conservatives and
progressives. What is your opinion?
Father Gumpel: The press exerted strong pressure on the council. It is true that
some favored traditional and others very advanced positions, but each case must
be assessed individually.
Some council experts and some bishops gave the press unilateral reports. The
media quoted them without taking into account or knowing that there were other
positions, and this exerted much influence on public opinion.
The Second Vatican Council is the first in which
the mass media was admitted, and this is something that has been underestimated.
The press office did not assess sufficiently the influence of the press in
leading public opinion in a direction that did not correspond to the truth of
The criteria of selection of the media were oriented to sensationalism; they did
not understand how a council develops or how the Church discusses.
The press was not much interested in knowing the doctrine of the Council of
Trent, of Vatican I, of the magisterium of Pius XII. They were only interested
in things that could spread scandal and sensationalism and so they created an
absolutely unreal situation.
Moreover, we were in the middle of the '60s. They were stormy times and the
media wished to give the idea that the Church was adapting itself increasingly
to what was happening in society. So those who defended positions that were not
very orthodox had the support of the press.
Rosary for Peace Devotion to Mary Should
Bring One Closer to God, Says Pope
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).(Excerpts)-John
Paul II encouraged pastors to form the faithful in such a way that popular
devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary will lead to an encounter with God."This devotion will help to consolidate the bonds of communion
with pastors of the Church of Christ, addressing the disintegration of the
faith, so many times fomented by the proselytism of sects," the
John Paul II's pastoral visit to Lourdes on Aug. 14-15
Used with permission
LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)
Excerpts - Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered at
the start of the torch procession Saturday night at the Grotto of the
Apparitions to the basilica of Lourdes.
1. When the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in the Grotto at Massabielle, she began a dialogue between Heaven and earth
which has lasted through time and continues to this day.
2. To you, dear brothers and sisters, I entrust a
particular intention for our prayer this evening: join me in imploring the
Virgin Mary to obtain for our world the longed-for gift of peace. May forgiveness and brotherly love take root in human
hearts.May everyone see in his
neighbor not an enemy to be fought, but a brother
to be accepted and loved, so that we may join in
building a better world.
3. Together let us invoke the Queen of
Peace and renew our commitment to the service of reconciliation, dialogue and
solidarity. In this way we shall merit the
happiness which the Lord has promised to the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).
*** Queen of Heaven and Earth, we ask your intercession
on all children's prayer groups, past and present.
Bishops Reminded of Media's
Role in Evangelization
Archbishop Foley Addresses Seminar in Rome
ROME, SEPT. 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican official told bishops that the work of evangelization
requires effective use of the media. Archbishop John Foley, president of the
Pontifical Council for Social Communications, delivered that message today at a
seminar attended by French-, Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking bishops with fewer
than five years of ordination, the Vatican Information Service reported.
Specifically, the archbishop stressed that all dioceses should have a pastoral
plan for communications. He told the new bishops that "the effective use of the
media is essential for evangelization and for the episcopal ministry in today's
"Listening to the Good News of Jesus Christ is the most important type of
communication that human beings can receive," Archbishop Foley
said. "Therefore, our first responsibility is
precisely to communicate this news in the most effective way possible."
"How can we communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ?"
he asked. "Obviously with good example, ... through
the preaching and teaching of the basic truths of the faith, knowledge of the
Bible, and by helping people to pray."
"We communicate the Good News of Christ through the
positive work that the Church does in his name," and through the
media, he added.
Recalling the 1992 pastoral instruction "Aetatis Novae" on communication,
Archbishop Foley said that this
document "suggests that a pastoral plan for communication be developed in
each diocese and that communication be part of pastoral plans."
The archbishop referred to radio and television programs and Catholic
publications and said they should be of high quality.
"That mark of high quality," he added,
"must come from our authenticity, our credibility as representatives of the
Gospel of Christ."
This Sunday, Sept. 5, the Pope will make his fifth visit to Loreto, site of the
house in which the Holy Family once lived, to beatify three new blesseds of the
The house in question is the one from Nazareth,
where Mary was born and raised, and pronounced her “fiat” to the Angel Gabriel’s
announcement. It is also considered the According to Catholic tradition it was “transported by the
angels” around 1291 from Palestine to Dalmatia, Croatia, and is now found at
Loreto, on the eastern Italian coast.
The story of the house is not one of doctrine, of course, but of long and
The original house in Nazareth lay protected for many years in an underground
crypt thanks to Constantine, who, in 312, built the first Basilica over the holy
spot. It remained a place of peaceful pilgrimage through the beginning of the
crusades (in 1219 St. Francis of Assisi visited). Defeated in 1291, Christians
were forced to withdraw from the Holy Land and destruction of the house by the
Turks seemed imminent.
It is then, in May 1291, that the house appeared in a field in Tersatto,
Dalmatia, most likely brought by Christians fleeing the Holy Land. It remained
in Dalmatia for three years until it was again “transported” across the sea to
Italy, first to an area near Lecanati and finally to its last home a few miles
away in Loreto.
Whether it is the original house is disputed. However the dimensions of the
house, 31 feet by 13 feet, seem to match those in Nazareth and the materials
used for its walls are similar to those used in Nazareth and very dissimilar to
Italian building materials.
Like the Icon of Kazan, however, the importance of the house lies
less in its authenticity than in its history.
It has been a place of pilgrimage for over 2,000 of the Church’s most celebrated
members: St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri, St. Francis
de Sales, St. John Capistrano, St. Clement Hofbauer, St. Alphonsus de Liguori,
St. Louis de Montfort, St. John Bosco, St. Thérčse, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Mother
Cabrini and St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
At the Vatican, Our Lady of Loreto is credited for
restoring health to Popes Pius II, Paul II and Pius IX. More than fifty Popes
have testified to the authenticity of the house at Loreto and in 1669 the Litany
of Loreto was approved for use in the Mass, one of only five approved public
Many in the English-speaking world will have heard of, if not been educated by,
Loreto Sisters. Interestingly, the Loreto Sisters were formed in Ireland, not
Italy, by Irish IBVM (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded by
Englishwoman Mary Ward) nun, Frances Mary Teresa Ball (1794-1861) who
established an IBVM house in 1822 in Dublin and called it Loreto House. The
Loreto Sisters, now numbering more than one thousand, have houses and schools on
6 continents and in 16 countries including Australia, the United States, Canada,
England, India, Mauritius, and Gibraltar. Not surprisingly, Our Lady of Loreto, known as the
“flying house,” is the patron saint of aviators.
Both Pina Suriano and Alberto Marvelli were members of the
Catholic Action lay movement, founded in 1868 under Pope Pius IX.
The movement is the largest lay Catholic organization in Italy (over 400,000
members) and has branches in nearly 50 countries throughout the world, all of
whom will be represented at Loreto this week. (Catholic Action, though active in
some parishes in the United States, is not organized at the episcopal level
there and so there is no U.S. delegation to Loreto). ***
Pope John Paul II’s support for Catholic Action is connected to
his unceasing call to lay people to “have the courage of the future.”
“The Pope speaks of a new season for the Church,” said H.E. Msgr. Stanislaw
Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, co-sponsor of the
Congress in Loreto, “Catholic Action is among the protagonists of this new
Whether through Catholic Action or any number of the many other Catholic lay
movements, Pope John Paul II encourages lay people, and particularly youth to
become involved in the future of the Church.
“There are many indications which cause one to hope in the kairos of a new
springtime for the Gospel!” the Pope said on Tuesday, Aug. 31 in a message to
the participants at Loreto.
“All faithful lay people can be involved in this
important work if they are aware of their own baptismal vocation and of the
three duties which it imparts – priestly, prophetic and regal. Trusting in the
grace of God and strengthened by a living sense of belonging to the Church as
a ‘house and school of communion,’ lay people are prepared to listen to the
teaching and directives of their pastors in order to be efficient
collaborators with them in the building of the ecclesial community of which they
are a part.”
***Readers may contact Delia
Gallagher at email@example.com.
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 3, 2004 (Excerpts - Zenit.org).- John Paul II told
Catholic Action to relaunch its organization with the "humble and courageous
decision to begin afresh from Christ," in a message sent to their first
Italian Catholic Action, in cooperation with the Pontifical Council for the
Laity, headed by Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, organized the First International
Congress on Catholic Action currently being held in Rome and Loreto from Aug.
The theme is inspired by the Pope himself who addressed the following words to
Catholic Action in an
address to representatives of Italian Catholic Action in 2002: "Duc in Altum,
Catholic Action, Have the Courage of the Future!"
John Paul II will bring the meeting to a close on Sunday, Sept. 5, in the Marian
shrine of Loreto, where he will raise to the altar three great promoters of
Catholic Action: young lay Italians Alberto Marvelli and Pina Suriano, and
Catalan priest Pere Tarres i Claret.
Far from being an arbitrary choice, to "have the courage of the future" is an
"attitude" which "gathers consistency and impetus from the memory of the
precious gift that Catholic Action has been since its birth," the Pope
Catholic Action "has been a force of growth, structure, and stimulation of that
contemporary current of promotion of the laity that found solemn confirmation in
Vatican Council II," the Holy Father said.
In fact, "in it generations of faithful matured
their own vocations in the course of Christian formation which has led them
to the full awareness of their own co-responsibility in building the Church,
stimulating apostolic impulse in all realms of life," he
continued. "Today I must repeat once again: the Church needs Catholic Action!"
John Paul II emphasized.
Catholic Action "has always been, and must still be today a
place of formation for the faithful who, enlightened by the social doctrine of
the Church, are committed in the front line in the defense of
the sacred gift of life, in safeguarding the dignity of the human person, in
implementing educational freedom, in the promotion of the real meaning of
marriage and the family, in the exercise of charity towards the neediest, in the
quest for peace and justice in the application of the principles of subsidiarity
and solidarity in different social situations that interact among themselves."
However, this "great responsibility"
calls for an “awareness of being sustained by the
omnipresent strength of the Spirit," he emphasized.
***Catholic Action dates back to 1867, the year when two youths
established the Italian Catholic Youth Society, adopting as their program the
motto "Prayer, Action, Sacrifice."
Pope Pius IX approved the association in 1868. It was established with its
present name and structure by Pope Pius XI in 1931
God Alone Is Sufficient for Us, Says John Paul
Comments on Psalm 15(16) at General Audience
VATICAN CITY, JULY 28, 2004 (Zenit.org).-
God is the human being's only good, said John Paul II as he offered a meditation
on a Psalm that rejects idolatry.John Paul II referred to a commentary of St.
Augustine on the Psalm: "The Psalmist does not say: O God give me heritage! What
will you give me as heritage?" "He says instead: Everything that you give me
besides yourself is vile. You yourself be my heritage. It is you whom I love ...
to hope for God from God, to be filled of God by God. He is sufficient, besides
him nothing can satisfy you," the Pope said.
If God is all that a person can have, then outside of God there is only death,
the Pontiff explained. In this connection, one can say
that "intimacy" with God ensures "victory over death."
ON SHARING A PROCESS OF DISCERNMENT -
Webmaster (R.T.M) “You did not choose Me,
I chose You, and I commission you to go out and bear fruit”( John 15:16 ) Discernment: The
definition of discernment in the Webster Dictionary : to take time, to ponder, to have clear insight, or
keen judgement. When speaking of spiritual discernment
( usually in prayer) it also includes invoking the Holy Spirit for guidance especially in the
Spirit of wisdom and truth. In learning and discerning the teachings of the Church we are assured of
authenticity, when teachings are in harmony with the Word of God
- the Bible and the Magisterium. - The Catechism
of The Catholic Church.
of The Catholic Church
is an excellent guideline and resource to rekindle our knowledge of what the
Church teaches.(cf. Catechesi Tradendae
are given that we may more fully understand the path that God desires us to
follow. Perhaps by sharing this information which was gained through spiritual
direction and prayer, the process of discernment can strengthen our spiritual
journey. Every catechist
should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus." My teaching is not mine, but His who sent Me."(cf.
Catechesi Tradendae ) When
exposed to teachings that are opinions or views, we do well to go to the
Catechism for reference in discerning the authenticity of those teachings .
Areas that the
Church approaches with discernment and great caution are apparitions and private
revelations. Because of the possibility of human error in receiving and
transmitting messages, the Church follows certain procedures
in the discerning process. ( It is evident that there can be three
sources: good spirit, evil spirit, auto-suggestion. -
Fr. William G. Most) Errors have been detected regarding
the accurate transmission of visions by many of
the great saints, such as Joan of Arc who had a vision in which she believed she
would be saved from being burned at the stakes. Discernment is essential
and prudence is advised when private revelations have not been given
official recognition by the Church. When to much focus is centered on private revelation and
predictions of future events it may cause us to be distracted from God, who alone can lead us to the
fullness of truth. As Pope John
Paul II says in the article above
God is sufficient for us, beside Him nothing can satisfy us.
Further authenticity can be
assured when we remain in fidelity to the Pope, the bishops and the clergy who are endowed with the authority of
Christ. They represent Christ on earth, as teachers and guardians of the faith.
C.C.C. # 888
415They are "heralds of the faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are
authentic teachers" of the apostolic faith " endowed with the authority of the
Christ" C.C.C. # 888-891-
When the Church through
its supreme Majisterium propose a doctrine " for belief as divinely revealed,"
419and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions " must be adhered to
with the obedience of faith." The Magisterium
or the teachings of the Church are endowed with the authority of Christ. Christ
is the same yesterday - today - and tomorrow. It does well to remember,
the past cannot be changed - the present is a gift from God - and
the future is reserved for God alone. On our journey to attain holiness we do best to
keep our minds and hearts focused on Jesus. Today is the time to be open
sanctified grace, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but at the present moment.
St. Francis gave these words in wisdom "
Sanctify yourself and others will be sanctified."
* The Past:
Cannot be changed.
Is a gift from God.
Is for God alone.
(R.T.M.) Information on Discernment of Private Revelation,
scroll toward the bottom of this page.
Psychics and Other Fortune-Telling(www.ewtn.com) Theologian Colin Donovan STL
(Excerpts) The practice of trying to divine the future,
whether by directly occult means such as calling up spirits (divination,
properly speaking), asking questions of spirits (e.g. a Ouiji Board) or by
"reading it" in cards, numbers, the stars etc., is forbidden by the First
Commandment. The future is known to God alone,
who is its Master. Besides being illicit means to gain knowledge (the dead, the
spirits, occult powers), such practices suggest that man is not, by means of
free-will, a cooperator with God in determining his future.
The use of these grievously sinfulpractices can lead to a fatalistic perspective on
life, in which the person feels bound to the judgments of psychics, readers and
other third parties, rather than his God-given reason and knowledge of the moral
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
has this to say on these matters.
2115 God can reveal the future to his
prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists
in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever
concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it.
Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or
demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices
falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes,
astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of
clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal
a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human
beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers.
contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
On the face of it, all Catholic Bishops are in
communion with the Pope, namely, all those who were ordained Bishops with the
Pope’s approval. They are under his jurisdiction, and by their position in the
Church, acknowledge him as their visible head. A Bishop may cease to be in
communion with the Pope if he commits an excommunicable offense, (as did
Archbishop Lefebvre, when he ordained Bishops contrary to Rome’s instruction).
We are speaking now of visible communion. In this sense, a Bishop is
either in communion with the Pope, or he is not.
The principle is that wemust
obey lawful authority in all things but sin.
( Excerpts taken from - EWTN
- QUESTIONS - Ask The Experts)
Q: In an earlier reply you mentioned that only the priest should say or sing the
final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer. This leads to a further question --
one perhaps not so much of liturgy in the narrow sense as of theology of the
sacraments: Why has the Eucharistic Prayer always been reserved to the
celebrant/concelebrants? It is worded in first person plural, and so it might
seem appropriate for everyone to join in, as in the Credo? Complete text can be
viewed - www.zenit.org
This ecclesial dimension helps us grasp the reason why the
Eucharistic Prayer is reserved to the priest.The
celebrant, in saying the Eucharistic Prayer, is acting at the same time in the
person of the Church and in the person of Christ.
In acting in the person of the Church he
does not simply represent the actual assembly, but the entire Church.
In acting in the person of Christ the priest makes it possible for the present
assembly to exercise the common priesthood of the faithful and thus to unite
themselves in heart and mind to Christ, as he offers his perfect sacrifice to
the Father and who allows us to share in this sacrifice.
In the first place, it would obscure the reality of
ecclesial communion by reducing the prayer to an act of those who happen to be
present and not an act of the whole Church. The Church not only extends beyond
all political frontiers but breaks the bonds of space and time so as to enter
into the realm of the communion of saints
Finally, the common recitation might also bring us to forget that since
both the common priesthood and its exercise is a gift of grace. We are not equal
partners with Christ but beneficiaries of his love.
These are not the only reasons, and the theme merits more than one treatises.
My only hope is that I have not committed a sin of
presumption in trying to do justice to such a mystery, not only by
treating it so briefly, but in trying to explain it in the first place.
Calls It a "Work of Justice"
Dioceses Must Fill Need for Catechesis,
Says Cardinal Castrillón
VATICAN CITY, JULY 29, 2004 (Zenit.org).-
The faithful have a right to sound catechesis, and
it is up to parishes and diocesan movements in communion with the bishop to
provide such instruction, says a Vatican official.
When opening the European Catechetical Conference, Cardinal Darío Castrillón
Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, referred to the plea of many
Catholics who want to learn more about the faith. The Vatican dicastery
organized the conference.
"The parishes and the new ecclesial movements present in the local Church
will be real communities of faith if they maintain direct catechetical relations
with all the faithful of that portion of the People of God entrusted to their
bishop, collaborating with him," the cardinal said.
"Catechesis is not simply one more activity among the many endeavors of the
diocese in evangelization, but represents a unique and fundamental 'work
of justice,'" he added.
Consequently, the cardinal said that "the supplication that Paul heard in the
vision of Macedonia, 'Help us,'" must always resound in the heart and mind of
every priest and catechist.
The challenge of catechesis, he added, cannot be properly
addressed today if the duty to proclaim the truth in the "new 'areopagi'"
is not emphasized.
These "areopagi" are "the world of politics and economics, the world of art in
all its diversified and noble expression, the world of communication and of
scientific research, the world of computer science," the Vatican prefect
He added: "All available honest and congruent means" must be used
"to resolve that break between the Gospel and culture which generates
serious damages in civil society and the Church."
Redemptionis Sacramentum http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?RecNum=6067 A Matter of Helping, Not Hindering, the Faith
In short, the Instruction should give rise
to healthy curiosity and generous acceptance in the Church, so that we may
contemplate with renewed wonder this great mystery of our faith and foster
the appropriate Eucharistic behavior and attitudes.
Angelo Amato, S.D.B
In this Commentary on the Instruction 'Redemptionis
Sacramentum' Angelo Amato says that, "Arbitrary treatment of the liturgy
not only distorts the celebration but gives rise to uncertainty in
text] Categories:Issues >
Scandals>Catholicism > Sacraments>Persons
> Popes>Catholicism > Liturgy Larger Work:L'Osservatore RomanoPublisher & Date:Vatican, June
From a doctrinal viewpoint, the
Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum is a follow up to the Encyclical
Ecclesia de Eucharistia (cf. n. 2).1In the Holy Father's
Encyclical, as well as giving us a most exalted lesson on the Eucharist as the
mystery of the faith that continuously nourishes and builds the Church in
history, he does not fail to refer several times to the shadows and abuses that
obscure sound faith and Catholic teaching on this sacrament
(cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 10; Redemptionis Sacramentum, n.
Harmony between the 'lex orandi' and the 'lex credendi' Arbitrary treatment of the liturgy not only distorts the celebration but
gives rise to uncertainty in matters of doctrine and perplexity and scandal on
the part of the People of God (cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 11).
In fact, rather than being expressions of freedom, abuses on the contrary reveal
a superficial knowledge or even ignorance of the great biblical and ecclesial
tradition concerning the Eucharist.
The Instruction instead seeks to
further true freedom, the freedom to do what is worthy and right in the
celebration of this sacrament.
Because of this intrinsic bond between the profession and the
celebration of the faith, the faithful have the right to demand of pastors "that
the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass be celebrated for them in an integral manner,
according to the entire doctrine of the Church's Magisterium" (Redemptionis
Sacramentum, n. 12).
In the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the Holy
"I consider it my duty... to, appeal urgently that the
liturgical norms for the celebration of the Eucharist be observed with great
fidelity. These norms are a concrete expression of the authentically ecclesial
nature of the Eucharist; this is their deepest meaning. Liturgy is never
anyone's private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which
the mysteries are celebrated....
"Our time, too, calls for a renewed awareness and
appreciation of liturgical norms as a reflection of, and a witness to, the one
universal Church made present in every celebration of the Eucharist. Priests
who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and
communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate
their love for the Church....
"No one is permitted to undervalue the mystery entrusted to
our hands: it is too great for anyone to feel free to treat it lightly and
with disregard for its sacredness and its universality" (n. 52). These
assertions sum up in the best possible way the doctrinal significance of the
Instruction: the liturgical norms are a tangible expression of the
ecclesiality of the Eucharist.
Reception of the Instruction as an ecclesial event "Moreover, it is precisely in its doctrinal
effectiveness that we discover the profoundly pastoral character of the
Document, whose acceptance thus becomes a favorable opportunity for formation,
catechesis and evangelization".5
Therefore, acceptance of the
Instruction must not end at the initial phase, but it must become an ecclesial
event of communion and formation.
The Bishops, priests and lay faithful
should not, therefore, accept the immediate opinions made at a first glance.
They must be patient and take the time to read, assimilate and properly digest
the content of the Instruction.
In short, the Instruction should give
rise to healthy curiosity and generous acceptance in the Church, so that we may
contemplate with renewed wonder this great mystery of our faith and foster the
appropriate Eucharistic behavior and attitudes.
(Excerpt) zenit.orgDate: 2004-04-23
Vatican document requested by John Paul II and
written by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, in
collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The faithful "should cling to the
Bishop as the Church does to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ does to the
Father, so that all may be in harmonious unity, and that they may abound to the
glory of God".
Words of St. Ignatius of Antioch.
(cf. Faith of The Early Fathers Vol.I ). "Let us be careful then if we would be
submissive to God, not to oppose the Bishop."
As the successors of
St. Peter, Pope John Paul II together with appointed Bishops are shepherds and
guardian of the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church which was instituted by Jesus
Christ. To participate in building the Kingdom of God, may we as laity journey
together with our shepherds, that there may be unity in both body and in spirit.( R.T.M )
C.C.C #100 - The
task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to
the Majesterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the Bishops in
communion with him. ***
Luisa Piccarreta: A Compilationwww.catholicculture.org The purpose of this compilation is to provide information on the
visionary Luisa Piccarreta, her writings and on the Kingdom of the Divine Will
movement. Possibly due to bad translations, noted theologians, including Fr.
William Most and Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., have found that the underlying
premises of Luisa's writings are not consistent with the magisterial teaching of
the Roman Catholic Church. Presently her writings are being studied by the
Latest Official Information about Luisa Piccarreta ( Excerpt taken form the document)( In 1998 the now retired Archbishop of
Trani, Carmelo Cassati, ordered the
suspension in the United States
of Divine Will Conferences, because of the controversies noted
As for the status of the writings with the Holy See, the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed the following in a letter to
EWTN of 4 October 2003,
The writings of Luisa Piccarreta have not been judged by
this Dicastery: as such they enjoy neither the official approbation, nor the
official condemnation, of this Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In
fact, they are currently being studied, by reason of competence, by the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints, after this Servant of God,
independently of the content of her writings, received the nihil obstat
of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding her cause for
As such, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
makes, at this time, no pronouncement on the writings in question.
More information can be found on the
Apologetics DECREE of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy
Office Condemning and Placing on the Index of Certain Books Author:Holy Office Description:
By this decree of August 31, 1938, the Holy Office condemned and
placed on the Index of Forbidden Books three works of Luisa Piccarreta
concerning the Divine Will. The original Latin follows the [full
Categories:Issues > Heresies Publisher & Date:Acta Apostolicae Sedis, t. 30, 1938, p.
318., August 31, Given in
Rome at the Palace of the Holy Office, August 31, 1938. Romulus Pantanetti,
Notary of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office Note: In
its edition of September 11, 1938, L'Osservatore Romano noted that "the
three books covered by this decree would not have ordinarily merited particular
consideration, in view of their small size and limited weight. But they were
condemned because they represent a false and dangerous mysticism which is
frequent in our days. The principal subject of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta
is the Divine Will, conceived in an exaggerated and erroneous manner and
presented in language and terminology superabounding with inexactitudes and
extravagances. The small volumes in question have already appeared in numerous
editions and have been translated into other languages.... For this reason it
was opportune to put the faithful on their guard."
Divine Will Proponents from Archbishop Carmelo Cassati(January
22, 1998) to the Authorized Promoters ofThe Kingdom of the Divine Will
(cf. excerpts below)
On the 28th of November 1994 I wrote a
letter "To Whom it may concern." In this letter, I presented Mr. Thomas Fahy and
Mr. & Mrs. Miguel Machado "as persons worthy of our trust to gather information,
objects, writings, or any other things, which may be inherent to promoting this
Cause (of Beatification), as well as monetary offerings."
Afterwards I wrote other letters "To Whom it may concern" to Bishops of many
parts of the world for each one of you as trustworthy persons, and as authorized
promoters to speak about Luisa. Unfortunately, when dealing with things
concerning our faith, enthusiasm is not enough. Reflection is also necessary.
Perhaps, without realizing it, we are hurting the very same Cause of
Beatification of Luisa.
This is because, if it is true that: "private revelation may not add anything
essentially new to Public Revelation, though it may extend what the Church
already holds by means of a definable development of doctrine, it is the task of
those who explain her doctrine to others (including her authorized promoters) to
reconcile it with the teaching of the Church. Poor or exaggerated explanations
of her writings have already scandalized some faithful, who then attribute the
error to the Servant of God" (William G. Bilton to Arthur & Joanne Kirby, April
To insist a lot with conferences and propaganda on Luisa can be dangerous for
the Cause because, before the Church pronounces itself in her regard, a true
"cult" to Luisa could develop, and this would in no way be in harmony with the
tradition of the Church.
America is very far away and the Bishop
responsible for the Cause cannot know what is being said in Luisa's name.
You can keep the conferences you have already been committed to, but after them
you must stop your activity both concerning conferences and printed matter.
I thank you for what you have done in Luisa's name and I bless you.
(Signed)+ Carmelo Cassati
In 1998 the now retired Archbishop
of Trani, Carmelo Cassati, ordered the suspension in the United States of Divine
Will Conferences, because of the controversies noted earlier.*Note*
A Web Site advertising conferences are now using "New and Divine
Holiness" in promotions.
* Note* This specific article in small print is posted in awareness to caution
viewers to the possible content of New Age material.
A web site promoting Divine Will
transmission portrays -The Big Dipper - Masters and Enlightened Ones (etc):
Who are the Great Ones who transmit Divine Will?The Great Beings who transmit Divine Will have been called "Ray Lords,
Great Ones, or Custodians," for they act as custodians of the Divine Will of
God/Goddess, All-That-Is, and convey these energies into our solar system and
into the earth. They bring humanity the energy of Divine Will.
THAT WEB SITE WILL NOT BE
PROMOTED OR POSTED.
The International Consultation on New Age, being held in Rome, was convoked by a
commission of various Vatican bodies on "Sects and New Religious Movements," a
Vatican press statement reports.
Members of the commission include representatives of the Congregation for the
Evangelization of Peoples, of the pontifical councils for Promoting Christian
Unity, for Culture, and for Interreligious Dialogue.
The study is a follow-up to the February 2003 publication of a provisional
report entitled "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian
Reflection on the 'New Age.'"
That text explained that the "New Age is not, properly speaking, a religion, but
it is interested in what is called 'divine.' The essence of New Age is the loose
association of the various activities, ideas and people that might validly
attract the term."
The statement reveals that preparation for the meeting was based on the answers
of the episcopal conferences to a questionnaire sent to them when that document
In addition to the representatives of the four Vatican organizations, some 20
experts, selected by episcopal conferences worldwide, are attending the
three-day meeting that ends Wednesday.
The meeting is addressing two issues that are particularly worrying to the
experts, the statement clarifies: The two are the "discernment of the
psychological techniques promoted by the New Age, and a profound comparison
between the New Age's answers and those offered by Christian spirituality."
Finally, Vatican sources revealed that the meeting seeks to "present some
pointers for pastoral reflection on the New Age as a proposal for the
episcopate." The last plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, held in Rome
from March 11-13, indirectly addressed the issue of reflection on the present
"challenge of unbelief and of religious indifference."
WORLD SEEN FROM ROME
VATICAN DOSSIER - ZENIT Media Need to Be Used for
Gospel, Says John Paul II Urges Moves to Counter Unethical Use of Social Communications
VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).(Excerpts)-
John Paul II appealed to all the faithful to be conscious of the importance of
the Catholic media in the "cultural atmosphere in which we all live."
The Pope encouraged the Church's involvement in the media when he
received in audience today the general assembly of the Italian bishops'
conference, which a day earlier approved a directory entitled "Communication and
"We know well the penetrating influence that the media exercises today on
ways of thinking and on behavior, personal and collective, orienting toward a
view of life that, unfortunately, often tends to corrode fundamental ethical
values, in particular, those that affect the family," the Holy Father said.
"The means of communication are presented to be used also for different ends and
results, contributing in a notable way to the affirmation of positive models of
life and to the very spread of the Gospel," he added. Vatican Document Targets Abuses Against
Eucharist Reiterates and Explains Key Norms for Worthy Celebration and
Reception For complete
document scroll down
The Diocesan Bishop, High Priest of his Flock [19-25]The Conference of Bishops [26-28]
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).-
A new Vatican instruction on the Eucharist takes pains to emphasize that the
Blessed Sacrament "is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it
according to his own whim." The Vatican press office today presented the
instruction "'Redemptionis Sacramentum': On Certain Matters to Be Observed
or to Be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist."
The 70-page document was written at the request of John Paul II by the
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, in collaboration with
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The preamble explains that the instruction is not a "compendium of norms" on
the Eucharist, but rather tries to take up "some elements of the liturgical
normative previously enunciated and established, which continue to be valid,
to reinforce the profound meaning of the liturgical norms" (No. 2).
In his encyclical "Eucharistia de Ecclesia," published last year, the Pope
announced this document to offer "dispositions of a juridical nature," as
"no one is permitted to undervalue the mystery entrusted to our hands" with
the Eucharist (No. 52).
On several occasions, the document repeats the spirit of this expression:
"The Mystery of the Eucharist is too great for anyone to permit himself to
treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal
ordering would be obscured" (No. 11, see No. 8).
When presenting the
instruction today, Cardinal Francis Arinze,
prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, explained
that the Church must give clear norms as otherwise each priest would
celebrate Mass in his own way.
The cardinal added that the instruction is intended to avoid "abuses" that
take place, which at times "threaten the validity of the sacrament."
"All abuses regarding the Holy Eucharist are not of the same weight," he
said. "Some threaten to make the sacrament invalid. Some are manifestations
of deficiency in Eucharistic faith. Others contribute to confusion among the
people of God and to growing desacralization of Eucharistic celebrations.
They are not banal."
In fact, the document does not give new norms, but "specifies" them, the
cardinal said at the press conference. The novelty is "especially in the
spirit," as it seeks to motivate these norms with an "attitude of faith and
reverence for the Eucharist."
The first of the document's eight chapters focuses on "The Regulation of the
Sacred Liturgy," and explains the role of the Apostolic See, the diocesan
bishop, the episcopal conference, priests and deacons in the regulation of
No. 24 states: "It is the right of the Christian people themselves that
their diocesan Bishop should take care to prevent the occurrence of abuses
in ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the
Word, the celebration of the Sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God
and devotion to the saints."
The second chapter addresses "The Participation of the Lay Christian
Faithful in the Eucharistic Celebration," and seeks to avoid the
"clericalization" of the laity, an idea on which the Holy See has insisted
"The community that gathers for the celebration of the Eucharist absolutely
requires an ordained Priest, who presides over it so that it may truly be a
Eucharistic convocation," No. 42 explains. "Accordingly, terms such as
'celebrating community' or 'celebrating assembly' … and similar terms should
not be used injudiciously."
The instruction affirms in No. 47 that "It is altogether laudable to
maintain the noble custom by which boys or youths, customarily termed
servers, provide service of the altar after the manner of acolytes, and
receive catechesis regarding their function in accordance with their power
of comprehension. Nor should it be forgotten that a great number of sacred
ministers over the course of the centuries have come from among boys such as
"Girls or women may also be admitted to this service of the altar, at the
discretion of the diocesan Bishop and in observance of the established
norms," it adds.
The third chapter illustrates "The Proper Celebration of the Mass," to
remind the faithful of the fundamental norms necessary for the validity of
the sacrament, as the "bread" that "must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and
recently made," and the wine "fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not
mixed with other substances."
"The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass
and is a part of the Liturgy itself, should ordinarily be given by the
Priest celebrant himself," No. 64 states. "He may entrust it to a
concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a
Deacon, but never to a layperson."
"It is strictly to be considered an abuse to introduce into the celebration
of Holy Mass elements that are contrary to the prescriptions of the
liturgical books and taken from the rites of other religions," No. 79
Chapter 4, on "Holy Communion," confirms "The Church's custom shows that it
is necessary for each person to examine himself at depth and that anyone who
is conscious of grave sin should not celebrate or receive the Body of the
Lord without prior sacramental confession, except for grave reason when the
possibility of confession is lacking; in this case he will remember that he
is bound by the obligation of making an act of perfect contrition, which
includes the intention to confess as soon as possible," No. 81 states.
The fifth chapter addresses "Certain Others Matters Concerning the
Eucharist." No. 112 states: "Except in the case of celebrations of the Mass
that are scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the
language of the people, Priests are always and everywhere permitted to
celebrate Mass in Latin."
Regarding the sacred vessels, No. 117 states in part: "Reprobated,
therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common
vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or
which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass,
earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be
applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or
On priestly vestments, it says that "the vestment proper to the priest
celebrant at Mass is the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole. Likewise the
Priest, in putting on the chasuble according to the rubrics, is not to omit
No. 142 says: "A faculty is given in the Roman Missal for the Priest
concelebrants at Mass other than the principal concelebrant (who should
always put on a chasuble of the prescribed color), for a just reason such as
a large number of concelebrants or a lack of vestments, to omit the
chasuble, using the stole over the alb."
"The Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Worship Outside
Mass," is the title of the sixth chapter, which in No. 130 states: "It
should also be borne in mind that removing or retaining the consecrated
species for a sacrilegious purpose or casting them away are 'graviora
delicta,' the absolution of which is reserved to the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith."
The seventh chapter, dedicated to the "Extraordinary Functions of the Lay
Faithful," states in No. 153 that it is "never licit for laypersons to
assume the role or the vesture of a Priest or a Deacon or other similar such
No. 151 recalls that "Only out of true necessity is there to be recourse to
the assistance of extraordinary ministers in the celebration of the
No. 158 states: "the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer
Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is
prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when
the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very
celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged."
Grave offenses ("graviora delicta") against the holiness of the sacrament
are addressed in the eighth chapter entitled "Remedies." They are:
"a) taking away or retaining the consecrated species for sacrilegious ends,
or throwing them away;
"b) the attempted celebration of the liturgical action of the Eucharistic
Sacrifice or the simulation of the same;
"c) the forbidden concelebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice with ministers
of Ecclesial Communities that do not have the apostolic succession nor
acknowledge the sacramental dignity of priestly Ordination;
"d) the consecration for sacrilegious ends of one matter without the other
in the celebration of the Eucharist or even of both outside the celebration
of the Eucharist."
No. 184 says: "Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of
Christ's faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical
abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in
law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.
It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be
submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in
truth and charity."
Private Revelations and Discernment of Spirits by Fr. William G. Most - Catholic
St. John of the Cross, a Doctor of the Church and one of the greatest of
mystic theologians, who had had so many special favors himself, is very
severe with persons who desire to be the recipients of visions and
revelations. He never wearies of repeating that the proximate means of union
with God in this life is the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and
love. True growth consists in intensified love, which is founded on faith
and hope. Now although St. John encourages everyone to aim at infused
contemplation, even though relatively few attain it, he strongly reproves
anyone who desires to be the recipient of a vision or revelation. They
desire to see; faith holds on without seeing.
St. Teresa of Avila, who herself had an abundance of visions, takes a
similar stand. She admits that great profit can be had from such things when
they are genuine and are received in the proper spirit. Yet she says (Interior
Castle 6. 9): "I will only warn you that, when you learn or hear that
God is granting souls these graces, you must never beg or desire Him to lead
you by this road. Even if you think it is a very good one... there are
certain reasons why such a course is not wise."
She then goes on at length to explain her reasons: First, such a desire
shows a lack of humility; second, one thereby leaves self open to "great
peril because the devil has only to see a door left a bit ajar to enter";
third, the danger of auto-suggestion: "When a person has a great desire for
something, he convinces himself that he is seeing or hearing what he
desires." Fourth, it is presumption for one to want to choose his own path,
as only the Lord knows which path is best for us. Fifth, very heavy trials
usually go with these favors: could we be sure of being able to bear them?
Sixth, "you may well find that the very thing from which you had expected
gain will bring you loss."
She then adds that there are also other reasons, and continues with some
wholesome advice that one can become very holy without this sort of thing:
"There are many holy people who have never known what it is to receive a
favor of this sort, and there are others who receive such favors even though
they are not holy." We think of the frightening words of Our Lord in Mt.
7.22-23. Speaking of the last day, He said: "Many will say to me on that
day: "Lord , Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out devils in
your name, and work many miracles in your name? And then I will tell them: I
never knew you. Depart from me you workers of iniquity." St. Teresa adds:
"It is true that to have these favors must be a very great help towards
attaining a high degree of perfection in the virtues; but one who has
attained the virtues at the cost of his own work has earned much more
It is, then, a sad mistake to center one's spiritual life about
recounting and hoping for special revelations. Yes, we do well to follow
those that have been approved by the Church, such as Lourdes and Fatima (the
the Church does not require belief in any private revelation). But even
there, they should not be the center of our spiritual lives except in so far
as they are an exhortation to what the Gospel already calls for. Thus the
three requests of Fatima are all just repetitions of what general theology
provides: 1) Penance: which in the Gospel sense, means moral reform and
reparation for sin; 2) Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: this is
merely the natural conclusion of learning what our Father's plan is, of His
approach to us in which He has given her an all-pervading role; and 3) The
Rosary, consisting mostly of lines from the Gospel, plus prayers composed by
Discernment of Spirits
Apparitions and the Spiritual Life
Since there is today so great a number of alleged apparitions of Our
Lady, and since so many become so attached to them as to almost center their
spiritual lives about them, it is good to consider some principles about
visions and revelations.
First, these things are definitely not part of the core of the spiritual
life. St. John of the Cross, the Mystical Doctor, is very hard on these
things. He goes so far as to tell souls that if a vision comes, they should
at first not accept, to hold off and consider its authenticity only if it
comes again. The reason he gives is this: faith holds on without seeing
proof; those who want visions want to see, not to believe without seeing
(cf. Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ages of the Spiritual Life II,
575-88 and Poulain, The Graces of Interior Prayer, 299-399).
Authority of the Church
We distinguish two kinds of actions by the local bishops of places of
1) a decision that it is or is not authentic. Since the Church herself
has no providential protection in the area of private revelations, the
bishop could be in error. We are not obliged to believe him, or even the
Pope himself in such a case.
2) an order to all not to go in pilgrimage to the place of the supposed
visions. This is a different matter, it is an exercise of authority, which
the local bishop does have. Therefore if there are violations of this order,
and yet visions seem to continue, we may be absolutely certain that the
visions are false. Our Lady or the Saints will never appear to promote
disobedience. Even if there seem to be benefits to the devotion of people,
we must still obey. And we need to recall how demanding the Church is of
proof for alleged miracles. At Lourdes, after thousands of seeming miracles,
the Church has checked and approved only a little over 60 cases since the
start of that shrine.
The objection will be raised: The Church was so slow in approving Fatima,
and so people lost so many graces while waiting. We reply: They lost nothing
at all. Visions are not like sacraments, which produce their effect by their
own power (that is, the power of Christ working through them) in those who
do not place an obstacle. One of the most approved series of visions are
those of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary. On one occasion, He had told
her to do something, but her Superior did not approve. When He came again,
she asked Him about this, and He replied: "Therefore not only do I desire
that you should do what your Superior commands, but also that you should do
nothing of all that I order without their consent. I love obedience, and
without it no one can please me"(Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary # 47).
We can understand this: He Himself redeemed the world precisely by
obedience (Cf. Rom 5:19). Without obedience His sacrifice would have been
empty externalism, the kind God reproved in the ancient Jews in Isaiah
29:13: "This people honors me with their lips, but heir heart is far from
me." Lumen gentium # 3 says "by His obedience He brought about redemption."
So there is no grace to be had by disobeying. To wait will not entail any
loss at all; rather, God's favor will be upon those who obey.
If the local bishop does not approve, it is not good to say: let us wait
for Rome to speak. Normally Rome respects the local bishop, and is highly
unlikely to reverse his decision. Even if Rome did reverse it, we would have
no guarantee, for, as we said, the providential protection promised to the
Church does not cover private revelations.
PRINCIPLES FOR DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS
What kind of Spirit is at work when someone receives a vision, a
revelation, or a more routine favor? To determine this is called the
discernment of spirits. It is of great importance to find the right answer.
It is evident that there can be three sources: good spirit, evil spirit,
Poulain, Graces of Interior Prayer, p. 322, thinks that at least
three fourths of the revelations given to those who have not reached high
sanctity are illusions. And there are many cases known of illusions even in
canonized saints. So St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross are quite
prudent their advice concerning privately revelations (which we have already
seen). We think also of the words of Our Lord (Jn 20:29): "More blessed are
they who have not seen and have believed."
[In what follows, the numerous examples given by the author have been
somewhat reduced in the interest of brevity.]
Five causes of error in revelations
(1) Faulty interpretation of visions by the recipient.
St. John of the Cross warns about this in Ascent of Mount Carmel
II. 19. Thus St. Joan of Arc in prison had a revelation that she would be
delivered by a great victory--it was her martyrdom, which she did not
Prophecies of punishment, and promises of special favors should be
considered as conditional. E.g., the Scapular promise should not be taken to
refer to mere physical wearing of the Scapular: it must be, as Pius XII
said, the outward sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that
is really lived. If it is used this way then even if the vision of St. Simon
Stock might not be true, the promise will be fulfilled, as we explained
2. Visions of the life and death of Christ, or other historic scenes,
must be understood to be approximate only.
Thus some saw Jesus with three nails, some with four. Blessed Veronica of
Binasco saw the whole life of Christ, and so did St. Frances of Rome and
Catherine Emmerich. The Bollandists, Jesuit experts in studying the lives of
the Saints, tell us there are many historical errors in these.
NOTE: Pope John XXIII, ordered The Poem of the Man God put on the
index, on Dec. 16, 1960. The Index is now abolished, but Cardinal Ratzinger
in a letter of Jan 31, 1985 wrote:..."The Index of forbidden books keeps all
of its moral authority and therefore the distribution and recommendation of
the work is considered improper when its condemnation was not made lightly
but with the most serious motivation of neutralizing the harm which such
publication could inflict on the more unwary faithful."
So the Pontifical
Imprimatur claimed for it is bogus.
3. Human action may mingle with the divine action.
St. Catherine Labouré foretold many events correctly, but failed on
others. It is especially easy for this to happen with ideas that appeal to
our own desires or fit with preconceived ideas. Benedict XIV (Heroic Virtue
III. 14. p. 404) said: "The revelations of some holy women canonized by the
Apostolic See whose saying and writings in rapture and derived from rapture
are filled with errors."
4. A true revelation may later be altered involuntarily by the
This happens especially with intellectual locutions which need to be
translated into words. Again, God may seem to promise a cure without saying
if it is total or partial, sudden or slow, or even physical or moral. Again
if a revelation is received in an instant, but it takes long to write it all
down. St. Bridget admits such a thing in her own case.
5. Secretaries may alter without intending to do so.
The accuracy of the text is disputed in the works
of Mary of Agreda,
Catherine Emmerich, and Mary Lataste. It has been shown that 32 passages
from the latter have been taken word for word from St. Thomas' Summa Theologiae.
Similarly, compilers sometimes modify them. The first edition of
Catherine Emmerich had St. James the Elder present at the death of the
Blessed Virgin. When it was seen that this was incompatible with Acts of
Apostles, it was dropped from later editions.
Five Causes of False Revelations
1. Pure bad faith, fakery.
Magdalen of the Cross was a Franciscan of Cordova, born in 1487, who
entered a convent at age of 17. From the age of 5 the devil appeared to her
as various Saints, led her to desire to be considered a saint. At 13 he said
who he was, offered an agreement: he would spread her reputation for
holiness, and give her at least 30 years of pleasures. She agreed, and it
all came true--ecstasies, levitation, prophecies, simulated stigmata. At
door of death she confessed. Exorcism was needed.
2. Overactive imagination.
We said above that human faculties may mingle with the divine action.
Someone may imagine a saint is near him. He may imagine intellectual
locutions. Cf. St. John of Cross, Ascent II. 29. St. Teresa said (Interior
Castle 6.6) that if one has once had a real vision, he will recognize
Hallucinations can come from excess in abstinence, fasting, and vigils.
3. Illusion in thinking one remembers things that never happened.
Some may imagine they have had visions. Some invent stories and convince
themselves--in good faith. Some relate trips to far lands where they have
never been. The line between imagination and reality is dim in young
children--something similar can happen later too. This is not rare. If a
spiritual director finds his advice has little effect, there is reason for
seeing illusion. Some make false charges in courts in this way.
4. The Devil may give false visions or revelations.
We saw this in the case of Magdalen of the Cross.
5. Predictions by falsifiers.
Some make these at first for their own amusement, then find they have a
tiger by the tail. St. Bonaventure (De profectu religiosorum III. 76)
said he was fed up with such things, on the troubles of the Church and the
end of the world. During the great Western Schism at end of 14th century,
there were many holy mortified men who had false revelations, and even
thought they would be the pope. At fifth Lateran Council in 1516 Leo X had
to publish an order prohibiting preachers from giving public prophecies.
There were many during the French Revolution, clear and in detail on the
past, vague on the future.
In 19th century there was an epidemic of prophecy especially on "the
great Pope and the great King" inspired by the 17th century commentary on
the Apocalypse by Ven. Holzhauser. Pius IX in an Allocution of April 9, 1872
said: "I do not give much belief to prophecies, because those especially
that have come recently do not deserve to be read."
What degree of certainty or probability is possible?
1. When God so wills, He can give full certainty to the recipient. We who
are not the recipients can also be sure of revelations given to another,
e.g. , the OT prophets, for they furnished certain signs of their mission.
This can be done by miracles worked in a framework in which a tie is made
between the miracle and the claim.
2. Beyond this area, probability is the most that is attainable. We need
then to work with various signs. We should: (a) Get detailed information on
the person to whom the revelation seems to have been made; and on what facts
seem to have been revealed.
Often we must work by exclusion, i.e. , show that it comes not from the
devil, nor from the human mind. But psychology still cannot give full
replies on some things that seem supernormal operations of the human mind:
hypnotism, somnambulism, telepathy, thought-reading, etc. For data on the
uncertainties of psychology see Richard M. Restak, [Neurologist in
Washington D. C. ] "See no Evil. The Neurological defense would blame
violence on the damaged brain" in The Sciences, July/August 1992, pp.
3. Inquiries to be made about the alleged recipient:
(1) If the person is canonized, the Church has already checked--but
canonization does not guarantee the truth of any supposed revelation given
to the Saint.
(2) If not canonized: (a) What are the natural qualities or defects,
physical, intellectual, and moral. Is he sincere, cool-headed, of sound
judgment, of perfect mental equilibrium. Or is his mind weakened by poor
health, vigils, fasts etc.
(b) Degree of education of the recipient--what books he has read, what
information he may have picked up from other more learned persons. Much care
is needed. Some say that Mary of Agreda was an ignorant girl. But she could
read, knew the Bible well, and Cardinal Gotti showed several of her
revelations were borrowed from a 15th century book, The Raptures of Blessed
Amadeus. And she admits the help of theologians. Yet she said, in
exaggeration: "No human mind could have imagined this work" (III, # 789).
(c) What virtues does the person have? What was his general level before
and after the alleged revelation? If a great advance in holiness is seen,
and it seems to have come from the revelation, there is good probability for
the revelations. We think of the Fatima children. But if the seer has stayed
at the ordinary level of virtue, the visions come under some suspicion, for
would God use extraordinary means to lead to a merely ordinary state of
holiness? Exception: God might use an ordinary person to help others. The
message of Fatima for example would have ample justification even if the
children had not become holy: this message God wanted given to the world.
And the three things asked for are theologically sound and called for
independently of any revelation.
(d)We need to watch out for the work of satan--he may really promote good
things for a while, provided that in the long run he gains. The revelations
of Necedah, Wi. seemed to have good fruits, yet were false. Rosaries were
said to change to gold. Similarly for Bayside. But disobedience showed them
St. Margaret Mary was told by Our Lord: (Autobiography, #
57):"Listen, My Daughter, and do not lightly believe and trust every spirit,
for satan is angry and will try to deceive you. So do nothing without the
approval of those who guide you.Being thus under the authority of
obedience, his efforts against you will be in vain, for he has no power over
Sometimes satan urges people to immoderate penances, so that they will in
time give up. He may make contemplatives desire the active life, or vice
versa. Blessed Jordan of Saxony, second General of the Dominicans,
contracted a high fever. He had a prior skilled in medicine who told him to
sleep on a soft bed. But satan appeared to Jordan in the night and rebuked
his self-indulgence. Jordan gave into this two nights. But the third night
Jordan saw that he should obey his doctor, and so did. Jordan had previously
put himself under obedience to the doctor.
(e) Humility is a major key. Satan has the greatest horror of it. (Cf.
the above words of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary.) Yet satan can lead a
person to false humility. Pride shows in contempt for others, in an
independent spirit as to the Superior and the spiritual director, in
obstinacy in opinions, in refusal to submit to examinations (cf. Teresa
Neumann), in anger. It shows too in desiring to publish the graces the
person thinks he has received--when it is not necessary. Humility leads to
wanting to hide them, except in cases of real usefulness.
(f) Has the person claimed revelations before? Made predictions that were
not fulfilled? If there was no reason to suppose the failed predictions were
conditional, then they will seem not of divine origin.
(g) Has the recipient suffered great trials before or after the
revelation, such as sicknesses, contradictions, lack of success.
Extraordinary graces are very likely to bring great trials, as St. Teresa of
Avila remarked, (cited above), in Interior Castle 6. 9. It is specially
likely that the recipient will encounter skepticism or hostility. Bl.
Juliana of Liege was chosen by God to establish the Feast of the Blessed
Sacrament. Visions on it began two years after her entering the novitiate at
age 16 in 1208. Only 22 years later did she dare to submit her project to
some learned theologians, who approved it, but her enemies got revenge by
pillaging her convent. In 1256 the Bishop of Liege established the Feast in
one parish in his diocese, but died the same year. The convent was again
pillaged. She was calumniated, forced to leave the convent, wandered during
the last 20 years of her life, and died at age 66 after fruitless work for
50 years. Finally Pope Urban IV established the feast a century after the
start of the revelations.
Yet not always do such things happen. St. Catherine Labouré had early
success with the Miraculous Medal.
(h) Has the recipient been fearful of deception, open to Superiors or
Director, and never desired revelations? St. Teresa of Avila was told in a
vision to found a reformed Carmelite house, but yet did nothing until she
had consulted four advisors (Autobiography 32). Mary of Agreda is quite the
opposite. St. Ignatius in his rules for first Week, 13, says satan tries to
keep the person from being open. St. Monica as St. Augustine reports desired
revelations about his coming marriage; they were false (Confessions 6. 13).
So if a revelation has been desired that alone makes it doubtful. This is
especially so if answers of pure curiosity are desired or answers to
scholastic questions. Mary of Agreda was imprudent here, and was encouraged
in imprudence by her confessors.
(i) It is probably good to employ the testimony of expert psychologists
as to ecstatic states etc. However, psychology is not so solid and exact a
science that absolute trust should be placed in their results.
Further Points to be Checked
1. Do we have an entirely authentic text? Some things have been
suppressed or corrected in some cases. There may also have been additions.
2. Is the teaching in full accord with the teachings of the Church and
with the certain conclusions of history and of science? If free from all
errors, this need not prove it is of divine origin. But also, since there
can be mixtures in private revelations, one false teaching need not lead us
to conclude that all points are false.
3. Is there a revelation of the vices and sins of others? This does not
always prove a revelation is false, but calls for careful checking. Some
Saints have had a knowledge of the secrets of hearts, which helped in
reforming souls: St. Joseph of Cupertino, St Catherine of Siena, St. John
Vianney. St. John of the Cross, in Ascent II. 26 warns that satan at times
will make false revelations of the sins of others. Further, sometimes
seeming knowledge is only the result of imagination.
4. Is the information useful for salvation of souls? If it is merely to
satisfy curiosity it is unlikely to be of divine origin. Some seeming seers
act like mediums, give information on births, marriages, legal processes,
diseases, political events etc. God does not run an Inquiry Office. Some are
very clever at observing and can work with little things. Seances often push
furniture about and cause vibrations in musical instruments etc. God does
not do these things. Also suspect are revelations that merely give truisms.
A large abundance of revelations taken alone does not disprove. We have
cases like this in St. Bridget, St. Gertrude, St. Frances of Rome, St.
Catherine of Siena, St. Margaret Mary, St. Ignatius and others.
5. Is all in accord with the dignity and gravity of the Divine Majesty?
Some alleged revelations descend into vulgar speech. If there is neurotic
exaltation and crowds weeping over their sins as at revivals, it is at least
suspect. Satan at times appears taking repulsive shapes. On the other hand,
St. Frances of Rome once saw 6 devils in the form of 6 beautiful doves--when
she saw through it, they changed to crows and tried to harm her. Satan at
times takes on the appearance of Christ Himself.
6. Are there sentiments or peace of disquiet? St. Ignatius considers this
sign important. The good Spirit may cause momentary disquiet, but then
brings peace. It is the opposite with satan. But the peace alone will not
prove the words are divine.
7. Revelations to direct princes or clergy are suspect: Mary of Agreda
kept up correspondence with Philip IV of Spain for 20 years. The King
divided his sheets of paper into two columns so she could comment in the
opposite column. But the comments are mostly commonplace, with general
advice anyone could have given. She had no comments on the King's relaxed
morality and his culpable carelessness on things for which he was
We might sum up the characteristics thus:
1) Signs of the spirit of God:
fits with teaching of Church; serious;
gives light to the soul, docility, discretion: no hurriedness or
exaggerations; humble thoughts; confidence in God, rightness of intention,
patience in suffering, self-denial, sincerity and simplicity in conduct, no
attachments not even to the gifts, great desire to imitate Christ in all
things (a very strong sign), gentleness, kindness;
2) Signs of the evil spirit:
the opposite of the above--spirit of
falseness or lie, suggestion of useless things, curious things, impertinent
things, darkness, restlessness in the soul, a bold,
obstinate spirit, many
indiscretions, pride, lack of hope, disobedience, vanity, self-satisfaction,
impatience, rebellion of the passions, hypocrisy, pretense, attachment to
earthly things, forgetfulness of Christ and of imitating him, a false
charity including bitter zeal, indiscretion.
Excerpted and adapted from Theology 523: Our Lady in Doctrine and
Devotion, by Father William G. Most. Copyright (c) 1994 William G. Most.
MEDJUGORJEAugust 8 2004
In response to
a request on information
Medjugorje: 20 Years Later, the Questions Linger
Church Has Not Ruled on Reported Apparitions
ROME, JULY 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- June 24
marked the 20th anniversary of the first reports of Marian apparitions in
Medjugorje, the little village in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On that day in 1981, six children of Medjugorje, a hamlet of a few houses
located 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Mostar, said they had seen the Blessed
Virgin on a nearby hill.
Since then, the hamlet has become part of the world circuit of pilgrimages,
drawing at least 15 million people. Prayer meetings and associations of all
kinds have started worldwide.
Still, the Holy See and the bishop of Mostar have questions about Medjugorje.
Two elements in particular have made ecclesial approval of the apparitions
difficult: the conduct of the Franciscans who directed the visionaries' parish
in Medjugorje, and the quantity and character of the messages attributed to
For now, neither the diocese nor the Holy See have approved or disqualified the
In September 1998, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a letter in response to a question from a
"We specify that, in regard to the credibility of the alleged apparitions, this
dicastery adheres to what was already established by the bishops of former
Yugoslavia in the Zara Declaration of April 10, 1991," the letter stated.
On that occasion, the Yugoslavian bishops said: "In virtue of the investigations
conducted to date, it is not possible to affirm that these are supernatural
apparitions or revelations."
The Vatican aide's letter acknowledged that the investigations do not rule out
the apparition reports. So, for now, the apparitions are a matter of personal
Archbishop Bertone confirmed the prohibition to organize official pilgrimages,
but explained that "private" pilgrimages are allowed, with the stipulation that
they not be regarded as authentication of the events, "which still require an
examination by the Church." He suggested that Bosnian bishops study the matter
www.ewtn.com [This answer is not intended as an exhaustive history, an
attempt to settle allegations or open questions, much less to judge the
authenticity of the apparitions.] Answered by Colin B.
History. On June
24, 1981, six children in the town of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (today,
Bosnia-Herzegovina), began to experience phenomena which they alleged to be
apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This apparition had a message of
peace for the world, as well as a call to conversion, prayer and fasting. It
also entrusted to the children secret messages about events to be fulfilled
in the future. These "secrets," confided individually to different
visionaries, have not been revealed to the public. The apparitions
themselves have continued almost daily since 1981, with some of the now
young adults continuing to experience them regularly (those who have not yet
received all the secrets intended for them) and others not. Originally they
occurred on a hilltop near the town where a large Cross commemorating the
Redemption exists. They have since occurred in many other places, including
the parish church, St. James, and wherever the visionaries happen to be
located at the time of the apparition.
The news that Our Lady might be appearing immediately began
to attract pilgrims to Medjugorje, first from the surrounding countryside, and
then, despite the communist government of that day, from Europe and the whole
world. These included clergy and theologians, as well as experts from the
physical and medical sciences who testified to some kind of phenomenon taking
place when the apparition was said to be occurring. The private judgement of
these early visitors did much to bolster people's belief in the events at
Medjugorje. In addition, some pilgrims reported seeing the sun spin and being
able to look at it without pain or eye damage, others that their rosaries
turned gold colored, still others that remarkable physical or spiritual/moral
healings had taken place. All of these contributed to the fame of the alleged
The initial, informal, response of the Bishop Zanic of Mostar, in whose diocese
Medjugorje is found, is said to have been favorable. However, it is alleged that
comments attributed to the vision that was critical of the secular clergy and
himself convinced him the visions could not be authentic. He nonetheless
established a commission in 1982, comprised of theologians, scientific experts
and religious superiors to investigate the Medjugorje events. Its three year
study produced a vote from two members of the commission in favor of
supernaturality, one that it was authentic initially but no longer so, one
abstention and eleven votes that nothing supernatural was occurring there.
Since the Medjugorje events had exceeded the scope of a
local event, Cardinal Kuharic, President of the Yugoslavian Bishops
Conference, announced in January 1987 that a national commission
would be established to continue investigating. This decision had been
communicated to the Holy See, which stated that it accepted the judgment
of the diocesan commission under the authority of the local bishop but urged,
as well, that the work be continued at the national level.
The Bishops' Conference's instructions to the faithful were that pilgrimages
should not be organized to Medjugorje on
the basis of its being supernatural and that the
Marian devotion of
Catholics should be in accordance with Church
In April 1991 the following declaration was made by the
Bishops' Conference of the former Yugoslavia:
The bishops, from the very beginning, have been following
the events of Medjugorje through the Bishop of the diocese [Mostar], the
Bishop's Commission and the Commission of the Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia
On the basis of the investigations so far it can not
be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.
However, the numerous gatherings of
the faithful from different parts of the world, who come to
Medjugorje, prompted both by motives of belief and various other motives,
require the attention and pastoral care in the first
place of the diocesan bishop and with him of the other bishops also,
so that in Medjugorje and in everything connected
with it a healthy devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Mary may be promoted in accordance with the teaching of the Church.
For this purpose the bishops will issue specially suitable
liturgical-pastoral directives. Likewise, through their Commission they will
continue to keep up with and investigate the entire event in Medjugorje.
From the point of view of an ecclesiastical evaluation the
status of Medjugorje has not changed since this 1991 declaration. The Holy See
has allowed this status to remain as it is. Responding to bishops on the matter
it simply repeats the aforementioned decision. However, a response from the
Secretary of the Doctrinal Congregation, Archbishop Bertone, to a French bishop
in 1996 precipitated a flurry of reports that Medjugorje was off-limits to
Catholics. In August 1996 the Director of the Holy See's Press Office, Dr.
Joaquin Navarro-Valls, stated:
You cannot say people cannot go there until it
has been proven false. This has not been said, so anyone can go if they want.
...When one reads what Archbishop Bertone wrote, one
could get the impression that from now on everything is forbidden, no
possibility [for Catholics to travel to Medjugorje] ... nothing has changed,
nothing new has been said.
...The problem is if you systematically organize
pilgrimages, organize them with the bishop and the Church, you are giving a
canonical sanction to the facts of Medjugorje. This is different from people
going in a group who bring a priest with them in order to go to confession.
...Has the church or the Vatican said no [to
Catholics visiting Medjugorje]? NO. ... The difference, in the terms of canon
law, is that an official pilgrimage, organized by the diocese with the bishop,
is a way of giving a juridical sanction to the facts; you are saying
this is true. News
More recently in a letter to the Bishop of St. Denis, Archbishop Bertone
commented on a statement by the current Bishop of Mostar that the alleged
apparitions were not simply lacking evidence of supernaturality but were in fact
NOT supernatural (i.e. definitively so). He stated:
The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not
ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural
phenomena as a court of first instance. As for the credibility of the
"apparitions" in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the
bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991:
"On the basis of the investigations so far, it can not be affirmed that one is
dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations." Since the division of
Yugoslavia into different independent nations it would now pertain to the
members of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina to eventually reopen
the examination of this case, and to make any new pronouncements that might be
What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of
FamilleChretienne, declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only
non constat de supernaturalitate, but likewise, constat de non
supernaturalitate of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje",
should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop
of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but
which is and remains his personal opinion.
Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje,
which are conducted privately, this Congregation
points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as
an authentication of events still taking place and which still call for an
examination by the Church.Letter to Bishop
Mystical Phenomena. The presence of remarkable
phenomena is for many sufficient evidence of the validity of an alleged
apparition. For others the judgment by local Church authority that there is no
evidence of supernaturality at a site suggests fraud, mental illness or the
demonic. The Church for her part, however, takes great care before affirming the
certain supernaturality or non-supernaturality of phenomena, as the Roman
statements given above show. There are likewise few examples of outright
condemnation. When they do occur it is usually on the basis of doctrine which is
contrary to the faith.
The reasons for such caution are rooted in the Church's common teaching. St.
Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross both assert that as a general rule
mystical phenomena (whether in the lives of saints or in apparitions) are the
work of the angels. Unless God Himself needs to act to immediately produce an
effect (such as to create out of nothing or to infuse sanctifying grace into the
soul), He works through creaturely instruments. Thus the intellectual lights
granted in contemplative prayer, the visions and locutions of private
revelations, the levitations of the saints, the ecstasies of mystics and
visionaries, and most external phenomena associated with mysticism, are produced
by the angelic nature. Since both good and evil spirits possess the angelic
nature the presence of such phenomena alone is an equivocal sign of
authenticity. This means that a great deal of unexplained phenomena can occur
without indicating positively that the event is from God. This is why the Church
looks, among other things, for evident supernaturality, that is, for effects
beyond the ability of men or angels which can be attributed to God alone.
Theologians remain divided in judging which phenomena fall clearly into the
category of strict supernaturality. However, the practice of the Church in the
canonization process of recognizing as miraculous those cures which meet certain
strict criteria is a standard that has been applied in approving apparitions, as
well (e.g. Lourdes, Beauraing, Banneux). At Fátima the Miracle of Sun
likewise fell into the category of a natural prodigy. It is clear, however, that
the phenomena which many laity have experienced in connection with alleged
apparitions in our days, and which they consider to be proof that they are
authentic, do not in fact rise to the level of evident supernaturality.
Angelic or demonic activity would be sufficient to explain them. Without a
proof of the supernatural order there is little likelihood of the Church
affirming an apparition as authentic.
In the case of Medjugorje the commissions found
that nothing directly connected with the apparition met this strict standard. As
the earlier quoted statements show, the Church remains open to new evidence of
supernaturality should it occur and has not judged that Medjugorje is NOT
supernatural, much less condemned it.
What the Church has forbidden. From the
statements given to date by ecclesiastical authorities it is clear that no one
holding an office in the Church (bishop, pastor, rector, chaplain or other) may
by virtue of that office lend official sanction to activities which tend to
assert the supernaturality of Medjugorje, that is, to contradict the decisions
made by competent local authority. Those statements speak only of pilgrimages
organized under official auspices; however, common sense tells us that a
conference or other activity sponsored by a diocese, parish or other Catholic
institution would also be prohibited. Likewise, there
could not be public veneration (cultus) of the Blessed Virgin under the title of
Our Lady of Medjugorje, since this would suggest the certainty
of her appearing there. The title Queen of Peace, however, is
already part of the patrimony of the Church.
The Yugoslavian statement speaks of liturgical-pastoral directives which may
be developed. Catholics would be obliged to obey whatever positive or negative
directives the Bishops' Conference or the local bishop issued regarding the
Do the decisions of the Church amount to an obligation to believe
in the intellect that Medjugorje is not supernatural? The answer is no. First,
even private revelations approved by Rome bind the faithful to accept them
only based upon reasonableness, not faith. Pope Benedict XIV stated,
Although an assent of Catholic faith may not be given to revelations thus
approved, still, an assent of human faith, made according to the rules of
prudence, is due them; for according to these rules such revelations are
probable and worthy of pious credence. [Benedict XIV, De Serv. Dei Beatif.]
This means that once a private revelation has achieved Papal approbation it
is unreasonable, i.e. imprudent but not against the faith, to not accept it as
authentic. The contrary would also be true. If Rome judged a private revelation
to not be supernatural, the reasonable person would be satisfied with that
conclusion. Would they sin if they did not accept it? They might sin by
imprudence, rash judgement or the like, but not against the faith or the
obedience they owed the Holy Father. Catholics must always, however, following
the external precepts imposed by the Church in such matters, that is, what they
may or may not do, as opposed to what they think.
As far as theological judgements made at the local level, therefore, the
standard could not be any higher, and is certainly lower. The issue of
Medjugorje, therefore, cannot be resolved solely on the basis of the local
Church's finding that there is no evidence to date of supernaturality. This is
even more clear in light of the statement of Archbishop Bertone that the
Bishop of Mostar's 1998 statement that it is certainly "not supernatural" is
his own personal opinion. Others are therefore entitled to their personal
What the Church permits. As the already cited
statements note, Catholics may go to Medjugorje. Such pilgrimages may even
include priests acting as chaplains, as opposed to officially sponsoring them.
Also, the Church has not suppressed discussion of Medjugorje, therefore, it is
allowed. Common sense, however, says that Catholics on both sides of the
Medjugorje issue should exercise prudence and charity in speaking of others who
believe differently. Medjugorje is not a litmus test of orthodoxy, though every
Catholic will have a moral obligation to accept the judgement of Rome, in the
manner Pope Benedict explained, should it ever be rendered.
St. Augustine probably gave the simpliest and most helpful rule
for all matters of the Church's life when he said (in my paraphrase):Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL
In necessary things unity,
in undecided things freedom,
and in all things charity
Did Apparitions Aim to Prepare Rwanda
for the Worst?
VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Why did the Virgin Mary appear in a
This is a key question in the wake of a declaration of Bishop Augustine Misago
of Gikongoro, which was published by the Vatican and which confirmed the
veracity of the Kibeho visionaries in the 1980s.
Stefano De Fiores, a member of the International Pontifical Marian Academy,
responded to this question in an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire,
and underlined the common elements of the Virgin's revelations in Rwanda with
those of other places.
The apparitions were a "call to prayer, conversion and fasting; but, above
all, a message of reconciliation," De Fiores said.
He noted that the diocesan approval of the apparitions in Rwanda does not
change Catholic theology.
"Jesus, is Revelation," De Fiores said. "To go beyond would be very dangerous.
As St. Thomas said, apparitions must be understood in the realm of charisms,
especially that of prophecy, offered for moral behavior and the spiritual
He added: "The list of truths is not enlarged, but the Church and community
are given a push, to prepare for times to come that might be difficult."
Rwanda in 1994 suffered a genocide, in which government-orchestrated massacres
left more than 500,000 people dead, most of them Tutsis or politically