Friday, November 04, 2011

Yet more proof of the goodness of Pope Pius XII

The article below is very important to me personally. I have always believed that Pius XII was not guilty of Nazi collaboration. I've clung to this belief through my faith and the historic testimony of Jewish survivors who were not listened to. Since the Vatican archives have been open to this matter, I can only believe that if anyone continues to spread this lie, than they are doing so willfully. I hope to see Pope Pius XII canonized in my lifetime or, at the least, formally recognised, to the world, for the lives he was able to save.

Researcher thinks Pius XII went undercover to save Jews

By David Kerr

Rome, Italy, Nov 4, 2011 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).



The Jewish New Yorker who has made it his life’s work to clear the name of Pope Pius XII of being anti-Semitic believes the wartime pontiff actually went undercover to save the lives of Jews in Rome.
Gary Krupp came across the evidence in a letter from a Jewish woman whose family was rescued thanks to direct Vatican intervention.


“It is an unusual letter, written by a woman who is alive today in northern Italy, who said she was with her mother, her uncle, and a few other relatives in an audience with Pius XII in 1947.” Next to Pope Pius during the meeting was his Assistant Secretary of State, Monsignor Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.


“Her uncle immediately looks at the Pope and he says, ‘You were dressed as a Franciscan,’ and looked at Montini who was standing next to him, ‘and you as a regular priest. You took me out of the ghetto into the Vatican.’ Montini immediately said, ‘Silence, do not ever repeat that story.’”


Krupp believes the claim to be true because the personality of the wartime Pope was such that he “needed to see things with his own eyes.” “He used to take the car out into bombed areas in Rome, and he certainly wasn't afraid of that. I can see him going into the ghetto and seeing what was happening,” says Krupp.


Krupp and his wife Meredith founded the Pave the Way Foundation in 2002 to “identify and eliminate the non-theological obstacles between religions.” In 2006 he was asked by both Jewish and Catholic leaders to investigate the “stumbling block” of Pope Pius XII’s wartime reputation.


Krupp, a very optimistic 64-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., thought he had finally hit a wall. “We are Jewish. We grew up hating the name Pius XII,” he says. “We believed that he was anti-Semitic, we believed that he was a Nazi collaborator—all of the statements that have been made about him, we believed.”


But when he started looking at the documents from the time, he was shocked. And “then it went from shock to anger. I was lied to,” says Krupp.


“In Judaism, one of the most important character traits one must have is gratitude, this is very important, it is part of Jewish law. Ingratitude is one of the most terrible traits, and this was ingratitude as far as I was concerned.”


Krupp now firmly agrees with the conclusions of Pinchas Lapide, the late Jewish historian and Israeli diplomat who said the direct actions of Pope Pius XII and the Vatican saved approximately 897,000 Jewish lives during the war. Pave the Way has over 46,000 pages of historical documentation supporting that proposition, which it has posted on its website along with numerous interviews with eye-witnesses and historians.


“I believe that it is a moral responsibility, this has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church,” says Krupp, “it has only to do with the Jewish responsibility to come to recognize a man who actually acted to save a huge number of Jewish lives throughout the entire world while being surrounded by hostile forces, infiltrated by spies and under the threat of death.”


Krupp explained that Pope Pius used the Holy See’s global network of embassies to help smuggle Jews out of occupied Europe. In one such instance, the Vatican secretly asked for visas to the Dominican Republic– 800 at a time – to aid Jewish rescue efforts. This one initiative alone is estimated to have saved over 11,000 Jewish lives between 1939 and 1945.


Closer to home, the convents and monasteries of Rome—neutral territory during the war—were used as hiding places for Jews. Krupp speculates that the wartime actions of Pope Pius XII, whose birth name was Eugenio Pacelli, can be further understood in the light of his own personal history. His great boyhood friend was Guido Mendes who hailed from a well-known Jewish family in Rome. Together they learned the Hebrew language and shared Shabbat dinners on the Jewish Sabbath.


Later, upon his election to the papacy in 1939, A.W. Klieforth, the American consul general in Cologne, sent a secret telegram to the U.S. Department of State explaining Pope Pius’s attitude towards Nazism in Germany.


The new Pope “opposed unalterably every compromise with National Socialism,” Klieforth wrote, after a private chat with the pontiff in the Vatican. The two men had got to know each other during Archbishop Pacelli’s 12 years as nuncio in Germany.
Pope Pius, explained Klieforth, “regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel but as a fundamentally wicked person,” and “did not believe Hitler capable of moderation.” Hence he “fully supported the German bishops in their anti-Nazi stand.”


Krupp describes the reputation of the wartime Pope as both glowing and intact until 1963, when German writer Rolf Hochhuth penned his play “The Deputy.” It portrayed Pope Pius as a hypocrite who remained silent about Jewish persecution.
The Pave the Way website carries evidence from a former high-ranking KGB officer, Ion Mihai Pacepa, who claims that the tarnishing of the Pope’s reputation was a Soviet plot.

Krupp explains how the communists wanted to “discredit the Pope after his death, to destroy the reputation of the Catholic Church and, more significantly to us, to isolate the Jews from the Catholics. It succeeded very well in all three areas.”


But he also firmly believes that a fundamental revision of Pope Pius’s wartime record is now well underway. “The dam is cracking now, without question,” he says.
Ironically, perhaps, Krupp says he meets more resistance when he speaks at Catholic parishes than in Jewish synagogues. “Many Jews,” he explains, “have been extremely grateful, saying, ‘I’m very happy to hear that. I never wanted to believe this about him,’ especially those of us who knew him, who were old enough to know him.”

Friday, October 07, 2011

And the verdict is . . .

It's been two weeks since the blow up regarding the continuation of the Life Teen ministry at our parish. After talking to friends, lots of thinking and finally - praying - I've settled into a place of peace if not total acceptance. As usual, I left going to Jesus last. I followed my own meandering and emotional path and finally, finally, eventually got to Him who should be my first stop, not my last, when my heart is troubled.

I started waking up when I prepared for this past Monday's first Arise meeting of our 3rd season of Arise. The title of this week's theme was "Called to Follow in Christ's Footsteps", a clear reminder to me of what I need to do when troubled by temporal matters. So, that was the beginning of the calming of my heart and mind. And now, for the next six weeks, it will be this following I will focus on.

The reading this week - Luke 24: 13-35, talks about recognizing the truth. In verse 25, Luke gives us Jesus' words that we are foolish men and slow of heart to believe. The key words, foolish and slow of heart resonated. How foolish I am to not turn immediately to Christ when I am troubled. My slowness of heart underscores, not my lack of faith in His guidance but, my weakness and enslavement to my emotions. Instead of railing as I'm asking why this has happened, I need to by-pass the emotions and go directly to He who has all the answers.

That turn of heart and mind lead me to pickup my copy of The Treasury of Catholic Wisdoma resource filled with the writings of many of our greatest Catholic writers. It was here that I found inspiration in the counsel of St. John of the Cross. One of the four maxims he counsels us to follow is "resignation". St. John, in these writings, is addressing his brother members of his religious community (of their monastery). Since we regard our parishes as our communities, we can easily take these words for our own good guidance.

. . . he should never intermeddle, either in word or in thought, with the things that happen in the community, nor with those of individuals, nor must he take note of anything concerning them, be it good or evil, nor of their personal qualities . . . in order to preserve his tranquility of soul . . .

Two of St. John's sayings were especially beneficial as a reminder of our inability to deal with problems easily if we overlook Jesus' presence in our life.

He who wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide, will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens.

AND - The virtuous soul that is alone and without a master is like a lone burning coal; it will grow colder rather than hotter.

As I read Blessed is he who, setting aside his own liking and inclination, considers things according to reason and justice before doing them, I thought of my lack of humility, the feeling I carried within myself that my thoughts and feelings on the situation that disturbed me so much were feelings of righteousness; that my pastor was wrong in what he did and how he did it. It's not my business to judge what is right or wrong. I am an observer of these events, once removed from direct involvement.

As I read The soul that journeys to God, but does not shake off its cares and quiet its appetites, is like one who drags a cart uphill and accepted the importance of this message, I was able to shrug off the unnecessary load I was carrying.

See that you do not interfere in the affairs of others, nor even allow them to pass through your memory, for perhaps you will be unable to accomplish your own task reminded me of the importance of resignation. The modern equivalent to St. John's words might be "don't go borrowing trouble". We all have enough of our own troubles to deal with; we don't need to take up the burden of others and make it our own. We CAN offer prayer and emotional support but that is very different from making the problem ours.

I am reminded again and yet again to trust in God. Rest in His protection. In tribulation, immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction . . . Abide in peace, banish cares, take no account of all that happens, and you will serve God according to His good pleasure, and rest in Him.

And so I turned, finally, to the Answerer of All and I found my clear path to what I needed to do and not do. 1.) Don't church hop. There is no perfect place. 2.) Focus on prayer and my relationship with God. 3.) Ask for words that will console others. And 4.) Always ask what He wants of ME, not what I want from Him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Update to Saturday's post

There isn't too much to say but there does seem to be some second thoughts and reflecting on actions going on. This conflict may not be over with yet. By the time Fr. Jeff finished his homily, it finally hit me that I had not done the one thing that we should always do and that is to turn to God for guidance. I was so busy talking to a couple of girlfriends and trying to work out my feelings that I didn't just turn to God for His insight and wisdom. How typical.

I talked to Quanah on Saturday and he tolded me to also turn to St. Michael the Archangel. His greatest weapon against evil wasn't the sword but his humility. Here's the well-known short verson of the prayer:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen. It is the longer prayer to St. Michael that I have to study. I suspect that it is there that I will find the references to humility.

"Many people have the wrong idea about God, the Bible and humility, or being humble. They think being humble means groveling in front of others or thinking we're no good and others are good. That’s not the Bible's picture. God says when you are humble, you are free from pride and arrogance. You know that in your flesh you are inadequate, yet you also know who you are in Christ. You don't need to defend yourself when you understand the Bible's picture of humility, for you know who you are in Christ. You are able to be a peacemaker without needing to fight for your rights. You are able to walk humbly in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, not your own personal power. Godly humility is being comfortable with who you are in the Lord and therefore putting others first. The meaning of humility in the Bible is one of loving others, not being a wimp!"

Understanding the Meaning of Humility in the Bible

Doug Britton, 2008

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).

I still have a lot of work to do on myself and oh how I wish I could become a successful peacemaker between people and rise above the clutter of my own feelings right away.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with over my life is the disappointment I have to deal with with Church leaders and laity. True, none of us are perfect, but I can't help but hold people actively involved in the Church, to a higher standard. It's not a good expectation. It suggests that I am better than they and can judge their actions. But still, when things happen, when decisions are made that directly impact other people in a negative way, I have to take a position. I can't just sit on the fence.

We don't have a Life Teen organization at our parish anymore. There will be no youth minister or youth ministry for the time being. This is through no fault of the recently resigned youth minister. It is entirely about the whisperings of people who don't like Life Teen and a pastor who listens to them and, for his own unknown reasons, has not been supportive of Life Teen.

It is wrong to judge an entire group by the poor decisions of one couple and then question what kind of example other core members are providing. It is wrong to, on the one hand, say that half the core members must go because they are part of a couple and then, on the other hand, say that the omitted individual can be involved with Life Teen but just not be called a core member. It's confusing and, worse yet, deceitful. So rather than play this silly game aof bait and switch, the youth minister resigned.

I know this post is probably making no sense at all, and I've left out a lot of details but this is my world today and it's a disappointing world. I expect the actions of love and compassion and non-judgment to be hard at work in my world and over and over again and this isn't the first time I've seen it missing.

So - once again I will pull into my shell, pray and attend Mass as a devotion only between myself and my Lord and avoid interaction with the people. Talking with others about my feelings will only lead me into gossip and bitter speaking and the inability to understand, accept, and forgive.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reassuring News

Catholic Church Growing

Thank you, Fr. Dwight, for sharing this reassuring article.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

FORTHCOMING EXHIBITION OF THE VATICAN SECRET ARCHIVES

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2011 from http://www.news.va/en




At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present an exhibition entitled "'Lux in Arcana' - the Vatican Secret Archives unveiled". The exhibition will be inaugurated in Rome's Capitoline Museums in February 2012.


Participating in today's conference were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church; Bishop Sergio Pagano B., prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives; Giovanni Alemanno, mayor of Rome; Dino Gasperini, Rome's local councillor for culture and the historical centre, and Umberto Broccoli, superintendent for the city's cultural heritage.


Cardinal Bertone pointed out that "the inherent richness of this exhibition is amplified by the fact that it is being organised outside the Vatican, on the Capitol Hill which symbolically represents the 'heart' of Rome and its relationship with the papal city down the centuries. The challenge was to make the resources of the Vatican Secret Archives, with all their academic knowledge and experience, converge with those of the capital city, the Capitoline Museums and the office of the superintendent for archives and museums of the local authorities of Rome".


For his part, Cardinal Farina explained that "ancient pontifical documents of great importance, as well as letters concerning significant aspects of the life of the Church in the world, will be leaving the Vatican for the first time and will be available to be viewed by visitors to the Capitol Hill, traditional headquarters of the government of Rome".

Bishop Pagano noted that the exhibition "aims to throw light on the reality of this venerable institution (the Vatican Archives), on its nature, its contents and its activities. Hence the choice of theme as 'Lux in Arcana'".


"Among the millions of documents held in the Vatican Secret Archives we have chosen around one hundred which illustrate the complexity of the overall holdings", said the bishop. These include "the 'Dictatus papae' of Gregory VII (1073-1085); Clement VII's letter to the English parliament on the matrimonial cause of Henry VIII (1530), and the codex of the trial of Galileo Galilei (1616-1633)".


The exhibition, he explained, "thus offers the wider public its first chance to enter the reality of the Vatican Secret Archives. ... Modern technology will enable visitors to enter the Pope's archive and to understand the role it has played over the centuries at the service of the Holy See and the world of culture, preserving and handing down an enviable patrimony of knowledge".

Finally the mayor of Rome highlighted how "the city of Rome, capital of Italy and see of the Roman Pontiff, is proud to host this event which, in some way, underlines the bond between the secular city and the religious city. ... It is a courageous gesture on the part of the Holy See to organise an exhibition at this level, at the same time agreeing to let these precious documents leave the Vatican. 'Lux Arcana' is an opportunity to recount to Romans and pilgrims the extraordinary adventure of man".

Saturday, May 28, 2011

UNAIDS to Vatican: Pope's HIV-condom view helpful
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY – The head of the U.N. AIDS agency told a Vatican conference Saturday that the pope had opened the door to greater dialogue with his groundbreaking comments on condoms and HIV prevention — even as Vatican officials stressed abstinence and marital fidelity as the best prevention.

Dr. Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, was invited to speak to the conference on preventing HIV and caring for HIV-positive people, a significant event in and of itself, given that the Vatican usually only invites like-minded outsiders to its conferences and UNAIDS has not been like-minded on this issue at all.

UNAIDS holds that condoms are an "integral and essential" part of HIV prevention programs, which it says should also include education about delaying the start of sexual activity, limiting sexual partners and marital fidelity. The Catholic Church opposes condom use as part of its overall opposition to artificial contraception.

The Church does, however, play a crucial role in caring for HIV-positive people, particularly in Africa where some two-thirds of the world's 22 million infected people live. It runs hospitals and hospices, orphanages and clinics and has played a critical role in helping to de-stigmatize those with the virus and stress the need for changes in sexual behavior to stop its spread.

But the Church has long been accused of contributing to the AIDS crisis because of its opposition to condoms.

That was why Pope Benedict XVI made headlines last year when he said in the book "Light of the World" that a male prostitute who intends to use a condom might be taking a first step toward greater responsibility because he is looking out for the welfare of his partner.

"This is very important," Sidibe told the conference. "This has helped me to understand his position better and has opened up a new space for dialogue."

At the same time, however, the Vatican officials speaking at the conference either glossed over or made no reference whatsoever to Benedict's condom remarks — evidence of a certain "one step forward, two steps back" mentality that often characterizes developments in the Catholic Church.

Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's envoy to the Geneva-based U.N. agencies, cited several other Benedict quotes from the book, but not the condom comments. Monsignor Zygmunt Zimowski, head of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, which hosted the meeting, didn't mention Benedict at all, citing instead Pope John Paul II about the "crisis of values" behind the AIDS crisis. Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau of the Vatican's bioethics advisory board briefly showed a slide with the remarks but didn't mention them.

The discrepancy reflects to some degree the way in which the pope's remarks were received. Progressives saw his comments as a justification of condom use in a break with church teaching; conservatives insisted he wasn't altering doctrine and that the opposition to condoms remained. After three attempts at clarification, the Vatican eventually issued a definitive ruling saying the pope hadn't changed church teaching.

Nevertheless, the impression left at least within the AIDS community was that he had made an opening — and Sidibe latched onto that Saturday.

Sidibe said previously the AIDS community and Catholic Church were "talking over" one another and often worked in opposition to one another in dealing with the AIDS crisis. But he said Benedict's words had opened a new possibility for working together, particularly in agitating for greater access to anti-retroviral treatments for the world's poorest patients.

"Yes, there are areas where we disagree and we must continue to listen, to reflect and to talk together about them. But there are many more areas where we share common cause," Sidibe said.

Increasing access to treatment has become an even greater rallying cry following the recently published results of a nine-nation study showing that HIV-positive patients who received early treatment were 96 percent less likely to spread the virus to their uninfected partners.

Sidibe called the research a "game-changer" in the fight against AIDS, particularly for couples where one person is HIV-positive.

Zimowski concurred, saying it even gives hope to such couples who want to have children — in other words, sex for procreation in keeping with church teaching.

That said, all 1,763 couples in the National Institutes of Health study, where one partner had HIV and the other didn't, were urged to use condoms and the study's authors stressed that condoms remain crucial for protection.

The Vatican's emphasis on the need for changes in sexual activity has been boosted by studies showing that at least in Africa, prevention programs focusing on condom promotion aren't working and that what works is male circumcision and reducing the number of sexual partners.

Yet Dr. Edward Green, former director of the AIDS research project at Harvard University, said there is little financial support for programs that advocate partner reduction, particularly among Western donors who uniformly insist on condom distribution as part of prevention efforts.

Green says he belongs to no particular church and bases his findings on empirical evidence, not morality.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Absence of God Leads Nowhere

This story was originally posted on a political blog I keep that follows the activities of the Tea Party Patriots in my area. I felt it was appropriate to place here as it is very clear that where there is an absence of the presence of God, there is no future.

Arkady Faktorovich immigrated here from the Ukraine over 30 years ago. A former Lt. in the Russian Army, an engineer by training and vocation, and a Jew, he has a very particular point of view that we should not dismiss. In short, Mr. Faktorovich sees our country now going in the same direction from what he, himself, fled from decades ago.


Arkady Faktorovich of Los Banos, CA via a circuitous route that started from the Ukraine 30 plus years ago, visited us again for the May 12th general meeting. This time he spoke to us of Russian history. It was the first presentation ever he did on this particular topic and included information that up until 3 years ago, had not be declassified by the Russian government.

Arkady's presentation was sequential, starting from Alexander II and continued to the current time of Vladimir Putin. His purpose tonight was to illustrate how the Russian people, through their history, had never had a hunger for freedom fostered by their leadership. Alexander II was assassinated two days before he would have signed a democratic constitution so, in light of their history from 1881 onward, it would be an interesting "what-if" question to speculate upon of what the history of Russia might have evolved into had he NOT been assassinated. But, he was so it's only speculation.

Arkady has the basis for a good and very readable book on Russian history. I see it as shaping into four parts - 1.) the time of Alexander II through Nicholas II and the destruction of the Romanov family; 2.) the Middle Era of the early days of the revolution; 3.) the Modern Era from the Cold War to the early days of perestroika, and; 4.) the present day. Broken into distinct parts, it is clear where the commonalities lie in the thoughts and actions of the major players involved in each era. The differences, though also distinctive, were over-ridden in the quest for power and dominance. As each period broken down, it was the quest for power at the expense of the country itself, that moved each period to a fall and the building of the next. At no time were the Russian people filled with the hunger for freedom. Why? Because they didn't know what it felt like. It was not in their national psyche nor in their gut. Interestingly, because of the over 200 ethnic groups in the old USSR, the changes were more one of a move towards nationalism and the retreat from the centralized rulership of Russia.

Arkady Faktorovch sees many similarities between 20th century Russian history and the the political direction our country is taking in the 21st century. He will return on May 26th to speak about the Federal Reserve and money in this country. And, as anyone will understand, where you have the quest for control of money, you have the quest for power.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Reflection, Not Rejoicing

BINLADEN-VATICAN May-2-2011 (400 words) xxxi

Vatican says bin Laden's death cause for reflection, not rejoicing

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican said the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, a man who sowed division and hatred and who caused "innumerable" deaths, should prompt serious reflection about one's responsibility before God, not rejoicing.

The Vatican statement May 2 came the day after President Barack Obama announced that U.S. forces had killed bin Laden in an attack on his hideout in northwest Pakistan. In several U.S. cities, the news prompted street demonstrations and expressions of jubilation.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, released a brief written statement reacting to the news.

"Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions to this end," Father Lombardi said.

"In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred," the spokesman said.

The Vatican missionary news agency, Fides, reported that Christian schools and other institutes were closed and churches put on guard in Pakistan's main cities out of fear of possible repercussions on the Christian minorities there. Pakistani Christians are often identified in extremist literature with the West and the United States.

Paul Bhatti, a government adviser for religious minorities in Pakistan, told Fides that "the situation is tense."

"In fact, there are strong fears of reactions -- senseless reactions -- against the Christian minorities. The government is giving the maximum attention to prevention measures," he said.

Father Mario Rodrigues, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Pakistan, said after a meeting with government officials May 2: "They put us on alert, requesting the closure of our institutes and making available additional police personnel around the churches. The Christians of Pakistan are innocent victims in this and other situations. Any pretext is used to threaten them or launch an attack."

Rodrigues said some experts predicted that bin Laden's killing would weaken the Taliban and their ideologies, which could help diminish anti-Christian persecution in the long term. But he said radical Islamic groups were flourishing in Pakistan, and other extremist leaders could arise.

What is needed, he said, is a serious policy of interreligious tolerance at every level -- cultural, social, political and legislative.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Pope beatifies John Paul II before 1.5M faithful
By NICOLE WINFIELD and VANESSA GERA, Associated Press


VATICAN CITY — Some 1.5 million pilgrims flooded Rome Sunday to watch Pope John Paul II move a step closer to sainthood in one of the largest Vatican Masses in history, an outpouring of adoration for a beloved and historic figure after years marred by church scandal.

The turnout for the beatification far exceeded even the most optimistic expectation of 1 million people, the number Rome city officials predicted. For Catholics filling St. Peter's Square and its surrounding streets, and for those watching around the world, the beatification was a welcome hearkening back to the days when the pope was almost universally beloved.

"He was like a king to us, like a father," Marynka Ulaszewska, a 28-year-old from Ciechocinek, Poland, said, weeping. "I hope these emotions will remain with us for a long time," she said.

Pope Benedict XVI, who has set off controversies with remarks on Islam, contraception, and other issues, praised John Paul for turning back the seemingly "irreversible" tide of communism with faith, courage and "the strength of a titan, a strength which came to him from God."

John Paul is universally credited with helping bring down communism in his native Poland with support for the Solidarity labor movement, accelerating the fall of the Iron Curtain.

"He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress," Benedict said. "He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope."

John Paul's beatification, the fastest in modern times, has triggered a new wave of anger from sex-abuse victims because much of the criminality occurred during his 27-year watch. Critics also say John Paul left behind empty churches in Europe, too few priests in North and South America, priests who violate their celibacy requirement in places like Africa and a general dwindling of the faith in former Christian strongholds.

John Paul's defenders argue that an entire generation of new priests owe their vocations to John Paul, and that millions of lay Catholics found their faith during the World Youth Days, which were a hallmark of his papacy.

Vatican officials have insisted that the saint-making process isn't a judgment of how John Paul administered the church but rather whether he lived a life of Christian virtue.

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood when he dispensed with the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the beatification process to begin weeks after his April 2, 2005, death. Benedict was responding to chants of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately" which erupted during John Paul's funeral.

With a sea of red and white Polish flags fluttering in the square, the beatification evoked the days after the pope's death in 2005, when some 3 million faithful held vigil under his studio window and filed past his remains for days on end.

Pilgrims from Mexico to Mali repeated the procession after the Mass Sunday, for hours filing past the simple wooden coffin that had been raised from the grottoes underneath St. Peter's Basilica to the church's center aisle, where it was surrounded by four Swiss Guards standing at attention.

Beatification is the last major milestone before a candidate is declared a saint. John Paul needs another miracle attributed to his intercession before he can be canonized.

Already, Vatican officials have said reports of inexplicable cures were pouring in, suggesting it is only a matter of time before John Paul is declared a saint, or even a doctor of the church — an even greater honor.

Police placed wide swaths of Rome miles (kilometers) from the Vatican off limits to private cars to ensure security for the estimated 16 heads of state, eight prime ministers and five members of European royal houses attending.

Helicopters flew overhead, police boats patrolled the nearby Tiber River and some 5,000 uniformed troops manned police barricades to ensure priests, official delegations and those with coveted VIP passes could get to their places amid the throngs of pilgrims.

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, wearing a black lace mantilla, mingled with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Poland's historic Solidarity leader and former President Lech Walesa and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who sidestepped a European Union travel ban to attend.

"He went all over the world," said Bishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, who came to Rome for the ceremony. "Today, we're coming to him."

Many in Rome and in capitals around the world erupted in cheers, tears and applause as Benedict pronounced John Paul "Blessed" and an enormous color photo of a young, smiling John Paul was unveiled over the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica.

"John Paul is an angel, he has such charisma," said Esperanza Concilion, a 69-year-old hairdresser who traveled from Guadalajara, Mexico for the beatification.

Catholics jammed churches from Mexico to Australia to pray and watch broadcasts of the Rome Mass on television.

"He was a model and an inspiration who united the world with his extraordinary charisma," said John Paul Bustillo, a 16-year-old medical student named after the pontiff who turned out Sunday along with more than 3,000 others for a six-mile (10-kilometer) race followed by a Mass near Manila Bay in the Philippines.

In Brazil, which has more Roman Catholics than any other nation, the beatification resonated among the faithful and sparked hope that it might renew faith in the church in the South American nation.

"The beatification is going to renovate the faith of those who may have lost their way and left the church," said Adimir Godoy, as he left a Sunday mass at the Santa Cecilia church in central Sao Paulo. "We were all blessed by the life of Pope John Paul and he deserves to be a saint."

In John Paul's native Poland, tens of thousands of people gathered in rain in a major sanctuary in Krakow and in Wadowice, where the pontiff was born in 1920 as Karol Wojtyla. Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his wife Malgorzata watched the ceremony together with Wadowice residents.

After the nearly 3-hour Mass, Benedict prayed before John Paul's coffin, which had a copy of the Lorsch Gospels on it, an illuminated medieval book of the Gospels that is one of the most precious in the Vatican's collection.

The basilica was expected to stay open for as long as it takes to accommodate the throngs of faithful who paid their respects and took photos as loudspeakers piped in hymns and clips of some of John Paul's most memorable homilies and speeches.

The sealed coffin will ultimately be moved to a side chapel inside the basilica just next to Michelangelo's famous marble "Pieta" statue.

Police put the figure of those attending the Mass at 1.5 million; only a few hundred thousand could fit into St. Peter's Square and the surrounding streets but others watched it on some of the 14 huge TV screens set up around town or listened to it on radios in Polish or Italian.

During the Mass, Benedict received a silver reliquary holding a vial of blood taken from John Paul during his final hospitalization. The relic, a key feature of beatification ceremonies, will be available for the faithful to venerate.

It was presented to him by Sister Tobiana, the Polish nun who tended to John Paul throughout his pontificate, and Sister Marie Simone-Pierre of France, whose inexplicable recovery from Parkinson's disease was decreed to be the miracle necessary for John Paul to be beatified.

____

Associated Press writers Daniela Petroff in Vatican City, Bradley Brooks in Sao Paulo, Jim Gomez in Manila and Monika Scislowska in Krakow contributed to this story.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI

EASTER 2011





“In resurrectione tua, Christe, coeli et terra laetentur!
In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice!” (Liturgy of the Hours).



Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and across the world,

Easter morning brings us news that is ancient yet ever new: Christ is risen! The echo of this event, which issued forth from Jerusalem twenty centuries ago, continues to resound in the Church, deep in whose heart lives the vibrant faith of Mary, Mother of Jesus, the faith of Mary Magdalene and the other women who first discovered the empty tomb, and the faith of Peter and the other Apostles.

Right down to our own time – even in these days of advanced communications technology – the faith of Christians is based on that same news, on the testimony of those sisters and brothers who saw firstly the stone that had been rolled away from the empty tomb and then the mysterious messengers who testified that Jesus, the Crucified, was risen. And then Jesus himself, the Lord and Master, living and tangible, appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and finally to all eleven, gathered in the Upper Room (cf. Mk 16:9-14).

The resurrection of Christ is not the fruit of speculation or mystical experience: it is an event which, while it surpasses history, nevertheless happens at a precise moment in history and leaves an indelible mark upon it. The light which dazzled the guards keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb has traversed time and space. It is a different kind of light, a divine light, that has rent asunder the darkness of death and has brought to the world the splendour of God, the splendour of Truth and Goodness.

Just as the sun’s rays in springtime cause the buds on the branches of the trees to sprout and open up, so the radiance that streams forth from Christ’s resurrection gives strength and meaning to every human hope, to every expectation, wish and plan. Hence the entire cosmos is rejoicing today, caught up in the springtime of humanity, which gives voice to creation’s silent hymn of praise. The Easter Alleluia, resounding in the Church as she makes her pilgrim way through the world, expresses the silent exultation of the universe and above all the longing of every human soul that is sincerely open to God, giving thanks to him for his infinite goodness, beauty and truth.

“In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice.” To this summons to praise, which arises today from the heart of the Church, the “heavens” respond fully: the hosts of angels, saints and blessed souls join with one voice in our exultant song. In heaven all is peace and gladness. But alas, it is not so on earth! Here, in this world of ours, the Easter alleluia still contrasts with the cries and laments that arise from so many painful situations: deprivation, hunger, disease, war, violence. Yet it was for this that Christ died and rose again! He died on account of sin, including ours today, he rose for the redemption of history, including our own. So my message today is intended for everyone, and, as a prophetic proclamation, it is intended especially for peoples and communities who are undergoing a time of suffering, that the Risen Christ may open up for them the path of freedom, justice and peace.

May the Land which was the first to be flooded by the light of the Risen One rejoice. May the splendour of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle East, so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence. In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid. In the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East, may all citizens, especially young people, work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person. May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them; may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them, so that the pressing needs of so many brothers and sisters will be met with a concerted response in a spirit of solidarity; and may our words of comfort and appreciation reach all those who make such generous efforts and offer an exemplary witness in this regard.

May peaceful coexistence be restored among the peoples of Ivory Coast, where there is an urgent need to tread the path of reconciliation and pardon, in order to heal the deep wounds caused by the recent violence. May Japan find consolation and hope as it faces the dramatic consequences of the recent earthquake, along with other countries that in recent months have been tested by natural disasters which have sown pain and anguish.

May heaven and earth rejoice at the witness of those who suffer opposition and even persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. May the proclamation of his victorious resurrection deepen their courage and trust.

Dear brothers and sisters! The risen Christ is journeying ahead of us towards the new heavens and the new earth (cf. Rev 21:1), in which we shall all finally live as one family, as sons of the same Father. He is with us until the end of time. Let us walk behind him, in this wounded world, singing Alleluia. In our hearts there is joy and sorrow, on our faces there are smiles and tears. Such is our earthly reality. But Christ is risen, he is alive and he walks with us. For this reason we sing and we walk, faithfully carrying out our task in this world with our gaze fixed on heaven.

Happy Easter to all of you!


© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thoughts on Greed (cross-over post from The Best of My Life)

A fellow blogger recently wrote of greed, a word I have been reflecting upon lately myself. She also generously allows readers to repost anything she writes. Her post follows here, in italics. My reaction to it follows. Sometimes I was so nervous thinking about the future of our children and grandchildren. Given this time, the natural damage so becomes. Thousands of paddy every year disappear. Thousands of hectares of forests turned into barren. Humans multiply, while the food supply is inadequate. Future generations will find so many challenges, due to our mistakes today. Indeed the earth is able to meet all human life who lived on this planet. But the earth will never be enough for a greedy! Unfortunately, human greed is not just one person. Eventually, rations for the next generation which they entrusted to us, have we robbed today. Conscious or not, we have become robbers our offspring. Stop the greed! I read this essay with great interest as I just recently read an essay by Pope Benedict XVI on the writer, Ambrose Autpert from the early centuries of the Catholic Church (8th Century). Ambrose wrote a treatise on the combat between the vices and the virtues. Benedict writes, "In this treatise, Autpert sets contempt for the world against greed . . . a contempt for the false vision of the world that is presented to us and suggested to us precisely by covetousness . . . It insinuates that 'having' is the supreme value of our being, of our life in the world . . . And thus it falsified the creation of the world and destroys the world." In this treatise, and in his follow-up treatise, Autpert confirms that "In the earth's soil various sharp thorns spring from different roots; in the human heart, on the other hand, the stings of all the vices sprout from a single root, greed." When I first read Holy Father's essay on Autpert, I was deeply moved by this section on greed. It expanded the meaning of greed for me to apply it to some specific aspects of my own life and particular behaviors. And truly, on a global basis, there can be no doubt that if we are poor stewards of our earth, we don't need to look very far to discover the root - GREED.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Good morning, dear friends,

I believe that we each are called to help when we see where there is need. Any little thing helps. If each of us responded, the great and the small would be helped because we would each be responding to the capacity that we are able in that moment.

I believe that the Evil One interferes with our ability to see clearly the good that we do, especially the small things, thereby slowing us down and inhibiting our future actions.

I pray that, during the holy season of Lent, you all will find yourselves trusting more in yourself and in the capacity you have to give. It isn't necessarily the opportunities we miss that are as important as the opportunities that we see clearly and respond to.

Blessings, Annie

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pseudo-Dionysius and Pope Gregory the Great

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

Pseudo-Dionysius shows that in the end the journey to God is God himself, who makes himself close to us in Jesus Christ. Thus, a great and mysterious theology also becomes very concrete, both in the interpretation of the liturgy and in the discourse on Jesus Christ: with all this, Dionysius the Areopagite exerted a strong influence on all medieval theology and on all mystical theology, both in the East and in the West. . . .

Where the light of love shines, the shadows of reason are dispelled; love sees; love is an eye, the experience gives us more than reflection. Bonaventure saw in Saint Francis what this experience is: it is the experience of a very humble, very realistic journey, day by day; it is walking with Christ, accepting his Cross. In this poverty and in this humility, in the humility that is also lived in ecclesiality, is an experience of God which is loftier than that attained by reflection. In it we really touch God's Heart. (Church Fathers and Teachers; Page 29, 30)



Pope Gregory the Great


He was a man immersed in God: his desire for God was always alive in the depths of his soul, and precisely because of this he was always close to his neighbor, to the needy people of his time. Indeed, during a desperate period of havoc, he was able to create peace and give hope. This man of God shows us the true sources of peace, from which true hope comes. Thus, he becomes a guide also for us today. (Church Fathers and Teachers; Page 42)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Taking a Turn on the Benedict Highway

For Christmas, my son, Quanah, gave me Pope Benedict XVI's book, '>Church Fathers and Teachers from Saint Leo the Great to Peter Lombard. By exploring both the lives and the ideas of the great popes, abbots, scholars and missionaries who lived during the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christendom, Pope Benedict XVI highlights the key elements of catholic dogma and practice that remain the foundation stones not only of the Roman Catholic Church but of Christian society itself. This book is a wonderful way to get to know these later Church Fathers and Teachers and the tremendous, spiritually rich patrimony they have bequeathed to us.

I started reading this book yesterday and it has been hard to put down. It is so rich, so filled with depth of thought, that I decided that for the time being, I would share selections from the book here. They won't be long selections, more like paragraphs that make a profound statement. The first is from his reflections on Boethius and Cassiodorus, ecclesiastical writers from the 5th Century.

From prison, Boethius tells us through his work, De Consolatione Philosophiae,

" . . . he sought consolation, enlightenment, and wisdom in prison. And he said that precisely in this situation he knew how to distinguish between apparent goods, which disappear in prison, and true goods, such as genuine friendship, which even in prison do not disappear. The loftiest good is God: Boethius -- and he teaches us this -- learned not to sink into a fatalism that extinguishes hope. He teaches us that it is not the event but Providence that governs, and Providence has a face. It is possible to speak to Providence because Providence is God.

. . . Life's difficulties not only reveal how transient and short-lived life is, but are even shown to serve for identifying and preserving authentic relations among human beings. [In his Adversa Fortuna he shows how life's difficulties] makes it possible to discern false friends from true and makes one realize that nothing is more precious to the human being than a true friendship. The fatalistic acceptance of a condition of suffering is nothing short of perilous, the believer Boethius added, because 'it eliminates at its roots the very possibility of prayer and of theological hope, which form the basis of man's relationship with God' " (page 13, 14)

Benedict himself writes at the end of this address - " . . . we live in a time of intercultural encounter, of the danger of violence that destroys cultures, and of the necessary commitment to pass on important values and to teach the new generations the path of reconciliation and peace. We find this path by turning to the God with the human Face, the God who revealed himself to us in Christ." (page 18)


Saturday, January 29, 2011

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE 45th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the occasion of the 45th World Day of Social Communications, I would like to share some reflections that are motivated by a phenomenon characteristic of our age: the emergence of the internet as a network for communication. It is an ever more commonly held opinion that, just as the Industrial Revolution in its day brought about a profound transformation in society by the modifications it introduced into the cycles of production and the lives of workers, so today the radical changes taking place in communications are guiding significant cultural and social developments. The new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.

New horizons are now open that were until recently unimaginable; they stir our wonder at the possibilities offered by these new media and, at the same time, urgently demand a serious reflection on the significance of communication in the digital age. This is particularly evident when we are confronted with the extraordinary potential of the internet and the complexity of its uses. As with every other fruit of human ingenuity, the new communications technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.

In the digital world, transmitting information increasingly means making it known within a social network where knowledge is shared in the context of personal exchanges. The clear distinction between the producer and consumer of information is relativized and communication appears not only as an exchange of data, but also as a form of sharing. This dynamic has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations. On the other hand, this is contrasted with the limits typical of digital communication: the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one’s interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence.

Young people in particular are experiencing this change in communication, with all the anxieties, challenges and creativity typical of those open with enthusiasm and curiosity to new experiences in life. Their ever greater involvement in the public digital forum, created by the so-called social networks, helps to establish new forms of interpersonal relations, influences self-awareness and therefore inevitably poses questions not only of how to act properly, but also about the authenticity of one’s own being. Entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search for personal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoiding dangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence, or excessive exposure to the virtual world. In the search for sharing, for “friends”, there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful, and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself.

The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new world of potential friendships. This is a great opportunity, but it also requires greater attention to and awareness of possible risks. Who is my “neighbour” in this new world? Does the danger exist that we may be less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life? Is there is a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world “other” than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting? It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.

In the digital age too, everyone is confronted by the need for authenticity and reflection. Besides, the dynamic inherent in the social networks demonstrates that a person is always involved in what he or she communicates. When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others. To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically. Furthermore, it is also true in the digital world that a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it. In these new circumstances and with these new forms of expression, Christian are once again called to offer a response to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its “popularity” or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!

I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Saviour of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfilment (cf. Eph 1:10). The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive, which stimulates the heart and moves the conscience; one which reflects the example of the risen Jesus when he joined the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). By his approach to them, his dialogue with them, his way of gently drawing forth what was in their heart, they were led gradually to an understanding of the mystery.

In the final analysis, the truth of Christ is the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning which is reflected in the immense popularity of social networks. Believers who bear witness to their most profound convictions greatly help prevent the web from becoming an instrument which depersonalizes people, attempts to manipulate them emotionally or allows those who are powerful to monopolize the opinions of others. On the contrary, believers encourage everyone to keep alive the eternal human questions which testify to our desire for transcendence and our longing for authentic forms of life, truly worthy of being lived. It is precisely this uniquely human spiritual yearning which inspires our quest for truth and for communion and which impels us to communicate with integrity and honesty.

I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world. I repeat my invitation to them for the next World Youth Day in Madrid, where the new technologies are contributing greatly to the preparations. Through the intercession of their patron Saint Francis de Sales, I pray that God may grant communications workers the capacity always to carry out their work conscientiously and professionally. To all, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2011, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales
BENEDICTUS XVI


© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pope: Marriage is not an absolute right

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Nicole Winfield, Associated Press –
Sat Jan 22, 9:51 am ET

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI told priests Saturday to do a better job counseling would-be spouses to ensure their marriages last and said no one has an absolute right to a wedding.

Benedict made the comments in his annual speech to the Roman Rota, the Vatican tribunal that decides marriage annulments. An annulment is the process by which the church effectively declares that a marriage never took place.

Benedict acknowledged that the problems that would allow for a marriage to be annulled cannot always be identified beforehand. But he said better pre-marriage counseling, which the Catholic Church requires of the faithful, could help avoid a "vicious circle" of invalid marriages.

He said the right to a church wedding requires that the bride and groom intend to celebrate and live the marriage truthfully and authentically.

"No one can make a claim to the right to a nuptial ceremony," he said.

Benedict has used his annual speech to the Rota to impress on its members the indissolubility of marriage and that they should avoid the temptation of granting annulments on a whim. Last year, he urged the tribunal to work harder to encourage couples to stay together and not confuse "pastoral charity" with the need to uphold church law.

On Saturday, Benedict said priests had an important pastoral job to discern whether would-be spouses are prepared and able to enter into a valid marriage.

"The church and society at large place too much importance on the good of marriage and the family founded on it to not make a profound commitment to it pastorally," Benedict said.

The Vatican's concern about marriage annulments is largely directed at the United States, which in 2006 had more annulment cases launched than the rest of the world combined.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Angelus

POPE BENEDICT XVI
ANGELUS

St Peter's Square
Sunday, 27 January 2008


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In today's liturgy the Evangelist Matthew, who will accompany us throughout this liturgical year, presents the beginning of Christ's public mission. It consisted essentially in preaching the Kingdom of God and healing the sick, showing that this Kingdom is close at hand and is already in our midst. Jesus began his preaching in Galilee, the region where he grew up, the "outskirts" in comparison with the heart of the Jewish Nation which was Judea, and in it, Jerusalem. But the Prophet Isaiah had foretold that this land, assigned to the tribes of Zebulun and Napthali, would have a glorious future: the people immersed in darkness would see a great light (confer Isaiah 8: 23-9: 2). In Jesus' time, the term "gospel" ["evangelium"] was used by Roman emperors for their proclamations. Independently of their content, they were described as "good news" or announcements of salvation, because the emperor was considered lord of the world and his every edict as a portent of good. Thus, the application of this phrase to Jesus' preaching had a strongly critical meaning, as if to say God, and not the emperor, is Lord of the world, and the true Gospel is that of Jesus Christ.

The "Good News" which Jesus proclaims is summed up in this sentence: "The Kingdom of God - or Kingdom of Heaven - is at hand" (confer Matthew 4: 17; Mark 1: 15). What do these words mean? They do not of course refer to an earthly region marked out in space and time, but rather to an announcement that it is God who reigns, that God is Lord and that his lordship is present and actual, it is being realized. The newness of Christ's message, therefore, is that God made himself close in him and now reigns in our midst, as the miracles and healings that he works demonstrate. God reigns in the world through his Son made man and with the power of the Holy Spirit who is called "the finger of God" (Luke 11: 20). Wherever Jesus goes the Creator Spirit brings life, and men and women are healed of diseases of body and spirit. God's lordship is thus manifest in the human being's integral healing. By this, Jesus wanted to reveal the Face of the true God, the God who is close, full of mercy for every human being; the God who makes us a gift of life in abundance, his own life. The Kingdom of God is therefore life that asserts itself over death, the light of truth that dispels the darkness of ignorance and lies.

Let us pray to Mary Most Holy that she will always obtain for the Church the same passion for God's Kingdom which enlivened the mission of Jesus Christ: a passion for God, for his lordship of love and life; a passion for man, encountered in truth with the desire to give him the most precious treasure: the love of God, his Creator and Father.

Monday, January 17, 2011

John Paul II to be beatified in May.


Faithful hold photos of the late Pope John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI delivers his weekly Angelus blessing to the crowd gathered below in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican January 16, 2011. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Returning

After much thought, I've decided to return to posting articles and posts about Holy Father. However, I've also decided to expand my scope and include other matters that I find interesting about the Catholic Church. I've missed being here and it's now time to return. God bless to all.