“When a Christian has no difficulties in life . . .
something is wrong.”
Vatican City, May 28, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News).- Faithful Christians will always face difficulties, said Pope Francis on Tuesday, warning that a worldly, career-based approach to faith avoids the suffering and persecution inherent in following Christ.
“Many Christians, tempted by the spirit of the world, think that following Jesus is good because it can become a career, they can get ahead,” the Pope said.
“When a Christian has no difficulties in life – when everything is fine, everything is beautiful – something is wrong.”
He suggested this temptation is common for a Christian who is “a great friend of the spirit of the world, of worldliness.”
“You cannot remove the cross from the path of Jesus, it is always there,” he added.
Pope Francis delivered his homily at morning Mass at the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence. Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Monsignor José Octavio Ruiz Arenas, respectively the president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, concelebrated Mass.
“Think of Mother Teresa: what does the spirit of the world say of Mother Teresa? ‘Ah, Blessed Teresa is a beautiful woman, she did a lot of good things for others.’ The spirit of the world never says that the Blessed Teresa spent, every day, many hours in adoration … Never!” the Pope said.
He explained that the worldly spirit “reduces Christian activity to doing social good.”
“As if Christian life was a gloss, a veneer of Christianity,” he said. “The proclamation of Jesus is not a veneer: the proclamation of Jesus goes straight to the bones, heart, goes deep within and changes us. And the spirit of the world does not tolerate it, will not tolerate it, and therefore, there is persecution.”
Just as Pope Francis criticized career-based Christianity, he also warned about a solely culture-based approach to the faith.
He criticized the attitude of following Jesus because one was born in a Christian culture. He said this ignores “the necessity of true discipleship of Jesus, the necessity to travel his road.”
“If you follow Jesus as a cultural proposal, then you are using this road to get higher up, to have more power. And the history of the Church is full of this, starting with some emperors and then many rulers and many people, no?” the Pope observed.
The Holy Father said that this attitude is present even among some priests and bishops.
He concluded with an exhortation to follow Jesus Christ truly.
“Following Jesus is just that: going with him out of love, behind him: on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as Jesus did,” he said.
“Let us ask for this grace: to follow Jesus in the way that he has revealed to us and that he has taught us. This is beautiful, because he never leaves us alone. Never! He is always with us. So be it.”
When are Catholics going to Wake Up and Start Fighting Back?
By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: Let’s begin this week with a simple statement of fact. America’s Catholic bishops started pressing for adequate health-care coverage for all of our nation’s people decades before the current administration took office. In the Christian tradition, basic medical care is a matter of social justice and human dignity. Even now, even with the financial and structural flaws that critics believe undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the bishops continue to share the goal of real health-care reform and affordable medical care for all Americans.
But health care has now morphed into a religious liberty issue provoked entirely – and needlessly — by the current White House. Despite a few small concessions under pressure, the administration refuses to withdraw or reasonably modify a Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate that violates the moral and religious convictions of many individuals, private employers and religiously affiliated and inspired organizations.
Coupled with the White House’s refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion. Access to inexpensive contraception is a problem nowhere in the United States. The mandate is thus an ideological statement; the imposition of a preferential option for infertility. And if millions of Americans disagree with it on principle – too bad.
The fraud at the heart of our nation’s “reproductive rights” vocabulary runs very deep and very high. In his April 26 remarks to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the president never once used the word “abortion,” despite the ongoing Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia and despite Planned Parenthood’s massive role in the abortion industry.
Likewise, as Anthony Esolen recently noted so well, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s public statement on the conviction of abortionist Gosnell was a masterpiece of corrupt and misleading language. Gosnell was found guilty of murdering three infants, but no such mention was made anywhere in the NARAL Pro-Choice America statement.
None of this is finally surprising. Christians concerned for the rights of unborn children, as well as for their mothers, have dealt with bias in the media and dishonesty from the nation’s abortion syndicate for 40 years. But there’s a special lesson in our current situation. Anyone who thinks that our country’s neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again.
As Mollie Hemingway, Stephen Krason and Wayne Laugesen have all pointed out, the current IRS scandal – involving IRS targeting of “conservative” organizations – also has a religious dimension. Selective IRS pressure on religious individuals and organizations has drawn very little media attention. Nor should we expect any, any time soon, for reasons Hemingway outlines for the Intercollegiate Review. But the latest IRS ugliness is a hint of the treatment disfavored religious groups may face in the future, if we sleep through the national discussion of religious liberty now.
The day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over. We need to wake up.
Boy Scouts Cave To Political Correctness!
In response to the Boy Scouts of America’s extremely disappointing decision to allow “openly gay scouts,” Father Richard Perozich of the Diocese of San Diego wrote the following:
From a Catholic spiritual understanding, homosexual attraction is a strong tendency toward a moral evil. In no case can it be approved. Even a young Scout with this condition can be helped. If, however, he declares this condition as his identity with the right to act on it, the other Scouts need to be protected from him and the influence of his ideation, any homosexual sexual touching or talk, or invitation to participate in or to accept this evil.
I would not allow a child under my care to be near either another child or an adult who identifies with, encourages acceptance of, or practices homosexuality. Our parish gave material support to the Scouts in our region until yesterday. We have withdrawn financial aid but will support them with prayer so that the adults retreat from their cowardice before the evil of homosexuality and its perpetrators, and be about protecting and forming young men according to classic Scout values in accord with Catholic teaching.
Pray that more of our bishops and priests have the moral courage to address this most unfortunate situation, and provide moral guidance to their flocks.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Power struggles within the Church began during Jesus’ lifetime, but they “should not exist” precisely because Jesus’ example teaches us that “the power is service” and that “the greatest is the one who serves the most,” the pope said. As he has done during the Mass, he celebrates every morning at Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pontiff continued today to deliver his lessons on reforms “within” the curia based on the primacy of ethical ways of life and attitudes over structural reforms.
Thus, today he said that for Christians, service is real power; for that reason, power struggles have no place in the Church. As Vatican Radio reported, the pope spoke about today’s Gospel, talking about what Jesus said about his passion, as his disciples were busy arguing over who was the greatest among them. “The power struggle within the Church,” the Holy Father noted, “is not something new;” indeed it “began during Jesus’ lifetime.”
However, “from Jesus’ evangelical perspective, power struggles within the Church must not exist” because real power, the one the Lord “taught us by his example” is “the power to serve.”
“Service is real power. As he did it, as the one who came not to be served but to serve, his service was but the service to the Cross. He humbled himself unto death, even death on a cross for us, to serve us, to save us. Within the Church, there is no other way to move forward. For Christians, going ahead, progress means humbling oneself. If we do not learn this Christian rule, we shall never, never be able understand the true message of Jesus on the power.”
Moving forward, then, “means humbling oneself” and “serving always”. In the Church, “the greatest is the one who serves the most, the one who is in the service of others the most.” This “is the rule.” And yet from the start until now, there have been “power struggles within the Church,” even “in our way of speaking.”
“In the eyes of the world, when someone is given a higher charge, people say, ‘Ah, this woman was promoted to president of this association or that man was promoted . . . !’ This verb, to promote, is, yes, a beautiful verb, and must be used within the Church. Yes, this one was promoted to the Cross; that one was promoted to humiliation. This is the true promotion, resembling the most to Jesus!”
The Pope said that Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in the Spiritual Exercises, asked the Crucified Lord for “the grace of humiliation.” This is “the true power of the Church’s service.” This is the true way of Jesus, the true promotion; not the ways of the world.
“His service is the way of the Lord. As He made His service, we have to follow Him, the way of service. This is real power within the Church. Now I would like to pray for all of us, that the Lord may give us the grace to understand this, namely that real power within the Church is service; and also to understand the golden rule that He taught us by His example. For Christians, progress, moving forward means humbling oneself. Let ask for this grace.”
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