Pray For Your Shepherds That They Not Become Like Ravenous Wolves!
By: Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis asked Catholics to pray for their bishops and priests, asking God to help them be real shepherds who are poor, humble and meek.
“Pray for us bishops and priests,” he said May 15 during an early morning Mass with employees of Vatican Radio. “We need to remain faithful, to be men who watch over our flocks and over ourselves.”
Celebrating the Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope asked the employees to pray that God would defend bishops and priests from what St. Augustine defined as their principal temptations: money and pride.
“If we follow the path of riches, if we follow the path of pride, we will become wolves and not shepherds,” the pope said. “Pray for this.”
According to Vatican Radio, the pope’s brief homily focused on the initial verses of the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (20:28-29) in which St. Paul tells the elders in Ephesus: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.”
The pope said the passage is one of the most beautiful in the New Testament, “full of tenderness and pastoral love” in explaining how bishops and priests must love God and the members of their flocks and how pastors and their people should love each other.
“A bishop isn’t a bishop for himself, but for his people; a priest isn’t a priest for himself, but for his people,” he said. They must serve the flock, help them grow and protect them from danger, he said.
“When the priest has this beautiful relationship with his people,” the pope said, love grows between them and the unity of the church increases.
However, Pope Francis said, “when a priest, a bishop, runs after money, the people don’t love him and this is a sign.”
St. Paul is a model for pastors, he said. The apostle reminded the early Christian communities that he worked with his own hands, “he didn’t have money in the bank, he worked. And when a bishop or a priest follows the path of vanity” or falls prey to “the spirit of careerism — which does much damage to the church — he ends up being ridiculous.”
The faithful, he said, have no love for a bishop or priest who “takes advantage, likes to be seen as all-powerful.”
So, pray for bishops and priests, he said, “that we would be poor, that we would be humble, meek and at the service of the people.”
Taken From: Today’s Catholic News
NARAL…The Demonic Incarnate!
Father John Hollowell - So most of you are aware by now that Kermit Gosnell, the man who was accused of killing countless children after they were born in the most horrendous ways was convicted yesterday on three counts of murder (Or, as some news outlets phrased it “killing fetuses”…sigh…deliver us Lord from all evil)
NARAL, a collection of washed up sixties protestors clinging to the notion that a woman is more free if she can have her child chopped up in her womb, issued a statement yesterday saying that the Gosnell murders were the fault of the pro-life movement making abortion harder to get.
As a follower of NARAL and Planned Parenthood (the Axis of Evil) on Twitter, they ACTIVELY FIGHT every attempt to somehow regulate the abortion industry and make it safer. They tweet out screams for their followers to either a) contact their congressman and fight the proposed bill of the day or b) get prepared to live in the 1800′s again.
The Axis of Evil makes EVERY law that is proposed sound as if it will be an attack on women and will prevent them from being truly liberated.
On the flip side, the pro-life movement has been pushing for restricting and regulating the abortion industry, and such regulations would have made the Gosnell much less likely. However, as it currently stands, the abortion industry is one of the least regulated industries in our country. You should expect more regulatory hurdles to maintain a lemonade stand in the USA than you should expect if you hope to chop up children in mother’s wombs.
The other reason NARAL’s comments yesterday betray the insanity and lunacy to which they have fallen is that no REASONABLE person would read the accounts of how Gosnell tortured and murdered children born alive and say, “if only abortion were more accessible, this wouldn’t happen.” Gosnell was a psychopath, and his crimes had NOTHING to do with the fact that abortion “is not available enough.”
NARAL is on the run, and the dinosaurs who run NARAL know that no young people are coming forward to join their washed up cause, and as someone who considers NARAL the demonic made flesh, I personally enjoy seeing statements like the one they made yesterday because it is the equivalent of watching a house divided against itself crash in on itself and burning to the ground amidst a see of insanity and madness.
Originally posted at: On This Rock
Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Boston Colleges Refuses to Rescind its Offer to Ireland’s Pro-Abortion Prime Minister
By Cardinal Sean O’Malley: Because the Gospel of Life is the centerpiece of the Church’s social doctrine and because we consider abortion a crime against humanity, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies.
Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College’s graduation this year. I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation. The Irish Bishops have responded to that development by affirming the Church’s teaching that “the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong” and expressed serious concern that the proposed legislation “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.”
Enda Kenny says we want to “get as much of a consensus as we possibly can” concerning the Ireland’s abortion bill. Source: http://static.independent.ie/
Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. It is my ardent hope that Boston College will work to redress the confusion, disappointment and harm caused by not adhering to the Bishops’ directives. Although I shall not be present to impart the final benediction, I assure the graduates that they are in my prayers on this important day in their lives, and I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church’s Social Gospel and “men and women for others,” especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.
The Only Difference Between Abortion And Infanticide Is Geography…A Mere Technicality!
Bishop James Conley - Our news outlets are not known for their squeamish attitude toward violence. On the contrary, reporters are often criticized for fixating on violence, exploiting it as fodder for the 24-hour news cycle.
We rarely see journalists shying away from a gruesome case. Yet, the media has been reluctant to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell – a Philadelphia abortionist accused of committing unspeakable crimes at his “Women’s Medical Center.”
Already indicted by a grand jury, Gosnell is on trial for running a “house of horrors,” where hundreds of infants were born alive and beheaded with scissors.
The testimony against him includes some of the most shocking statements ever made in an American courtroom. His former aides speak of infants whose hands and feet were kept in jars, and their bodies flushed down toilets, after they were delivered alive and decapitated.
Somehow, this story went largely unnoticed by mainstream reporters. One would expect a murderous doctor, running a “clinic” reminiscent of Auschwitz, to face a media blitz and a burst of public outrage.
Instead, Gosnell’s trial has been treated as a low-key, local story. Pro-life advocates took up the task of publicizing it, using social media to make up for news outlets’ silence.
I suspect journalists would rather ignore what happened at Gosnell’s “Medical Center.” The case raises too many disturbing questions – about the mentality behind abortion, and our culture’s troubling attitude toward human life.
For instance, most “pro-choice” partisans dismiss the idea that abortion leads to infanticide. They distance themselves from thinkers like Princeton’s professor Peter Singer – who defends the killing of newborns, and the “right” to abortion, on the same philosophical basis.
But Gosnell’s trial shows the difficulty of separating abortion from infanticide, in theory and in practice.
Indeed, there is a hideous logical consistency in Gosnell’s career. He started off killing children in the womb, and ended up killing them after birth. At some point, the distinction between abortion and infanticide must have struck him as a mere technicality, just a matter of geography.
Most abortion advocates are, thankfully, not so logical. Most of them find Gosnell’s actions appalling. Yet they have no valid or compelling grounds on which to condemn his particular methods of abortion as wrong.
Indeed, on the level of moral principles, infanticide and abortion are equivalent. Kermit Gosnell took the abortion mentality to its logical conclusion.
This is a hard fact, with disturbing implications. It is an inconvenient fact for journalists, and many members of their audience, to face. This partly explains their reluctance to cover Gosnell’s trial, since it directly raises the question of abortion and its relationship to infanticide.
But the link between infanticide and abortion is not the only issue raised by this case. There is also the larger question of how human life is regarded, in a culture where contraception is widespread and abortion becomes “backup birth control.” After all, most women who seek an abortion are on some form of birth control.
Kermit Gosnell’s actions are the logical outcome of the abortion mentality. But they are also, in a deeper sense, the result of what Blessed John Paul II called the “contraceptive mentality.”
Many people wrongly believe contraception prevents abortion. This is not borne out by statistics, or by careful thinking about the issues.
Research shows that contraception leads to riskier behavior, more unplanned pregnancies, and consequently, more abortion. When contraception fails – as it inevitably does – couples are tempted to eliminate the “unwanted” life.
Kermit Gosnell looked at these “unwanted” lives, and saw burdens placed upon women. He was more ruthless than most, in his efforts to eliminate these living “burdens.”
Most people do not share Gosnell’s ruthlessness. But many in our society seem to share his attitude: that human life is sometimes an inconvenient and unnecessary burden, rather than a sacred gift from God.
This is the “contraceptive mentality” that Blessed John Paul II saw as a root cause of abortion. When we see any human life as a troublesome burden we must manage, rather than a sacred gift entrusted to our care, there is a temptation to get rid of the burden by any means necessary.
The Gosnell case suggests that our society’s view of human life is deeply wrong. It suggests that a culture of contraception cannot avoid becoming a “culture of death” – in which some lives are seen not as gifts, but as burdens.
Our media outlets thrive on provocation and controversy, but they shrink from life’s deeper questions. They shy away from suggesting that abortion might lead to infanticide. They don’t dare to ask whether the “contraceptive mentality” makes us callous toward life.
The popular media will not take the risk of raising these more fundamental questions by publicizing Gosnell’s trial. That is why we must raise awareness of this case, to help the world see the consequences of contraception and abortion.
Originally posted at: The Southern Nebraska Register
The Trappings Of The Evil One Are Subtle!
By: Catherine Harmon
“There can be no dialogue with the prince of this world: let this be clear!” Pope Francis reminded the faithful during his homily at this morning’s Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel. Vatican Radio has excerpts from and a summary of the homily:
“The way of the Christians is the way of Jesus,” he said. “If we want to be followers of Jesus, there is no other way: none other than that, which He indicated to us—and one of the consequences of this is hatred—it is the hatred of the world, and also the prince of this world. The world would love that which belongs to it. [But Jesus tells us], ‘I have chosen you, from the world’: it was precisely He, who rescued us from the world, who chose us—pure grace! With His death, His resurrection, He redeemed us from the power of the world, from the power of the devil, from the power of the prince of this world. The origin of the hate [we experience], then is this: that we are saved. It is that prince who does not want that we should have been saved, who hates.”
…There are “many persecuted Christian communities in the world…indeed there are more persecuted communities in this time than in the early days: today, right now, in this day and in this hour.” Asking himself why this is the case, the Pope said, “Because the spirit of the world hates.” From this comes a perennially valid admonishment:
“There can be no dialogue with the prince of this world: let this be clear! Today, dialogue is necessary among us humans, it is necessary for peace. … But with that prince, it is impossible to dialogue; one can only respond with the Word of God who defends us, for the world hates us—and just as he did with Jesus, so will he do with us. ‘Only look,’ he will say, ‘just do this one small little scam…it is a small matter, nothing really.” And so he begins to lead us on a road that is slightly off. This is a pious lie: ‘Do it, do it, do it: there is no problem,’ and it begins little by little, always, no? Then [he says]: ‘But…you’re good, you’re a good person—You [get away with] it.’ It is flattering—and he softens us by flattery: and then, we fall into the trap.”
… “You may ask the question,” continued Pope Francis, ‘Father, what is the weapon to defend against these seductions, from these blandishments, these enticements that the prince of this world offers?’ The weapon is the same weapon of Jesus, the Word of God—not dialogue, but always the Word of God, and then humility and meekness. … These are the weapons that the prince and spirit of this world does not tolerate, for his proposals are proposals for worldly power, proposals of vanity, proposals for ill-gotten riches.”
“Today,” continued Pope Francis, “Jesus reminds us of this hatred that the world has against us, against the followers of Jesus.”…The Pope concluded with an invocation to the Virgin Mary, asking her, “to help us become meek and humble in the way of Jesus.”
Originally Posted at: Catholic World Report
“Same-Sex Marriage” Is Clearly Contrary To God’s Plan For The Human Family. Catholics Who Endorse Evil Damage Their Relationship With God.
By: Bishop Thomas Tobin
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
Since the legislative approval of “same-sex marriage” in Rhode Island, a number of people have requested that I offer some guidance on this development. It is for that purpose that I write at this time. In particular I wish to invite members of the Catholic Church in Rhode Island to a moment of prayer and reflection as we respond to this new challenge of the post-Christian era into which, clearly, we have now entered.
First, like many others, I am profoundly disappointed that Rhode Island has approved legislation that seeks to legitimize “same-sex marriage.” The Catholic Church has fought very hard to oppose this immoral and unnecessary proposition, and we are most grateful to all those who have courageously joined us in this effort. When all is said and done, however, we know that God will be the final judge of our actions.
As I have emphasized consistently in the past, the Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. I sincerely pray for God’s blessings upon them, that they will enjoy much health, happiness and peace. We also offer our prayerful support to families, especially parents, who often struggle with this issue when it occurs in their own homes.
Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15)
At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.
Despite this serious regression in the public morality of our state we need to recognize that there are other major issues that demand our attention. We must continue to engage our culture, remembering that Jesus called us to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” (Mt 5:13-14) Be assured, therefore, that the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Providence will continue its mission of preaching the Gospel, advocating for what is right and just, and serving the needs of our community to the very best of our ability.
Without a doubt this is a time of challenge, even disappointment for many of us, but it is also an opportunity to be steadfast and courageous, and to renew our commitment to Christ and His Church. As our Lord Jesus Christ told us, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33)
Dear brothers and sisters, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, may God be with you as you continue your journey of faith, and may He bless you and your families with His finest gifts, now and always.
Originally posted at: www.diocesepvd.org
When Being Comfortable Is More Important Than Being Catholic: Complacency
Fr. Dwight Longenecker - I’m continuing a series on things that are destroying American Catholicism. They all begin with the letter ‘C’–as does the solution to the problem.
You can use the ‘Categories’ tool to pull up the whole series as they are written. Here is a link to the first article in the series on Cultural Catholicism.
Cultural Catholicism which blends a particular culture with the Catholic faith is destroying American Catholicism because it keeps the faithful from seeing that Catholicism, by its very definition, should transcend culture and challenge culture.
The second thing that is killing American Catholicism is another ‘C’ word: Complacency. Too many American Catholics are complacent. They are lukewarm, and when a church is lukewarm (as it says in the Book of Revelation) God will spit them out. Why are American Catholics lukewarm in their faith? The problem is not simply laziness. It is linked with the first problem of cultural Catholicism.
Too many American Catholics have soaked up the materialistic spirit of the American age totally uncritically. They have chosen the way of materialism, hedonism, utilitarianism and consumerism, and this has dulled their commitment to Christ and the gospel. What are all these “ism’s”? Materialism is not simply buying lots of stuff at the mall. It is also a philosophy that the physical world is really all that matters. This translates into an attitude about the church in which all that matters is the good works of feeding the poor and doing peace and justice. While these things are important–to focus on them alone makes the church, (as Pope Francis says) no more than an NGO–just another charity.
Hedonism is the pleasure principle. If it feels good do it. You needn’t be a debauched drug addict to be a hedonist. Your a perfectly good candidate for the hedonist party with your dedication to a nice, comfortable middle class lifestyle. If you live for pleasure–even if it is a refined and tasteful pleasure–you’re a hedonist.
Utilitarianism is putting practicality first. It is relying on worldly common sense rather then the Holy Spirit. It is making choices according to the bottom line, efficiency and practicality. Most American Catholics choose birth control, for example, because it is a practical, seemingly common sense decision. While we should be practical and efficient and choose wisely–we are also called not just to be practical, but radical. The saints are never utilitarian. Instead they are devoted to the wild and wonderful and unpredictable love of God.
Finally, consumerism is not just soaking up just as much of the world’s resources as possible. It is also a mentality that one is a customer. It’s Frank Sinatra’s theme song, “I Did it My Way”. It’s the attitude, “I’m paying. I’ll choose.” When this attitude comes into the church everybody is the loser. It breeds discontent, disorder and dissent.
Together these “ism’s” produce a kind of lethargy in the American Catholic Church. There’s a deadness and torpor. Eyes glaze over. Parishes become like yesterday’s porridge: cold and hard to stir. The fire is gone. The Church is complacent.
How to counter complacency? By another ‘C’ word: Compassion. By ‘compassion’ I don’t simply mean feeling sorry for people. Instead I mean what the word means: “Passion With”. Passion is emotion that is disciplined and informed and active. “Compassion” is emotion and fire for God that is disciplined, informed and active. Compassion in this sense is an active nurturing of the love of God which is put into action to counteract the consumerism, utilitarian, hedonism and materialism of our society.
This “Compassion” starts not with a movement or a sermon or a new rule or regulation for religion. It starts in the human heart. It starts in each individual human heart.
It starts now. With my heart. It starts now with yours.
Read the first article in this series here.
When Being an American is more Important Than Being Catholic:
by Fr. Dwight Longenecker: Reading Sherry Weddell’s excellent Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus is making me think about the American church and what ails her. Can anybody deny that there is a sickness in the body ecclesia? When 50% of Catholics vote for a man who stoutly defends same sex marriage and partial birth abortion can we say that Catholics in America are okay?
Catholics Voting for Staunch Defenders of Partial Birth Abortion and Homosexuality
I don’t think so.
Thus a series of posts on what’s killing Catholicism. All the words begin with the letter ‘C’. I can’t help it. I was brought up as a Biblical Evangelical and our pastors always used alliteration to make their points memorable.
The first problem is cultural catholicism. The Poles, Italians, Irish, French, Czech, German and more Catholics came here from the old country and the bishops reckoned the best thing to do with them all was to allow cultural parishes. So in the same town the Irish Catholics went to St Patrick’s and the Poles to St Stanislaus and the Italians to St Anthony of Padua. Geesh, a man in my parish who grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania said that when he was a boy a girl from his Czech parish fell in love with an Irish boy and the Irish priest wouldn’t marry them because it was a mixed marriage.
I’m all for cultural customs and so forth, but the problem is that the immigrant Catholics–in a foreign land–clung to their culture for security and happiness and part of that culture was their Catholicism. The didn’t distinguish their culture from their Catholicism. Then, after a few generations, when they were all really American and stopped being Italian or Irish or German they also stopped being Catholic. The Catholic faith wasn’t much deeper than Mama’s special spaghetti sauce or stories of the Blarney stone.
Of course they didn’t all stop being Catholic. Something else happened which was even more subtle and insidious. They became Americans and because their mindset was that their Catholic faith was something which blended with their culture, instead of being Italian-Catholics or Polish Catholics they became American Catholics. Just as nationalism and love of culture blended with their Catholic faith when they were ethnic minorities, now it blended seamlessly with their new American culture. Just as Catholicism gave their former culture God’s approval, not their Catholicism gave American values and culture God’s approval.
Thus we have what I call AmChurch: the American Catholic church which is happily and blissfully blended with everything wonderful about America. Except that the “wonderful” values of most Americans are unapologetically materialistic, hedonistic and self centered. Thus at least 50% of American Catholics live like their American neighbors–going to the mall, getting as much stuff as possible, giving as little as possible, having a neat and tidy two children and a double income, and basically smiling their way to success like everyone else.
Now this grates with me because I was brought up as an Evangelical fundamentalist and I realize the roots are deep. More than that, I come from seven generations of sturdy Pennsylvania Dutch anabaptists–Mennonnites, Amish, Brethren and such. These people had exactly the other point of view. They were first and foremost Christians. They considered it the default setting that each person had to hear the call of Christ and leave their nets and follow him. The church was a pilgrim people–a people set apart. They were suspicious of the surrounding culture and very suspicious of officialdom of every kind. If the Catholics absorbed culture the Mennonite were deliberately counter cultural.
The Mennonite approach, however, has it’s problems. The gospel says we’re to be “in the world but not of the world”. We’re not actually supposed to be totally counter cultural. We’re supposed to be yeast in the dough, a light set on the hill. You get too counter cultural and you become a weird sect like the Branch Davidians
Being a happy Benedictine oblate I see the solution as being something more than both of these ways. The problem with cultural Catholics in America is that they have never come to realize that the Catholic faith transcends every culture. That’s what Catholic means for goodness sake! It’s universal. The Catholic faith is therefore embedded in every culture and takes from every culture what is useful and good, but because it transcends culture it is also automatically counter cultural in the right way.
The Catholic should always be in a constant tug of war with the culture around him. Here affirming what is good–there condemning what is bad. Here supporting all that is full of life, love, truth beauty and goodness and there condemning and avoiding all that is full of death, hate, lies, ugliness and evil.
The answer to Cultural Catholicism, therefore, is what I call Comprehensive Catholicism–a Catholicism that embraces all things for their essential worth. If their value is precious and eternal the more highly we love them. If their value is trash–well we love trash for what its worth too: to be thrown on the rubbish pile and burnt. This sort of constantly discerning Catholicism is what is needed at the individual and local level, but the reason people opt for cultural Catholicism is because it is easy.
This is the core problem with Cultural Catholicism: by its very nature it goes with the flow. In its love and acceptance of the ethnic culture it is uncritical, and because individual cultural Catholics are uncritical of their culture they are also uncritical of the level of their Catholic faith. They chortle along quite happily living the unexamined life.
When the test comes this kind of Catholicism will simply wither and die in the heat. “When the test comes?” We are in the middle of the test already. What I see in the American Catholic Church is a huge “F” on that test. The opportunity to stand up and be counted and to stand against the culture of death in this country has already been lost by the majority of so called Catholics because so blinded by the love of their culture, they didn’t even realize there was a test to start with.