RALLY: Ireland Rally for Life. Now in its 11th Year, the All-Ireland Rally for Life is a


National yearly event. It’s a family-friendly rally that is a celebration of the pro-life message. The day begins with music, song and inspiring talks, and face-painting! This is then followed by the Rally which ends with speeches and music. It is an organised walk through the busy city centre of Dublin or Belfast (and more recently Cork City), witnessing to shoppers and members of the general public. We need you to be involved! The March to Save the 8th is taking place especially this year as our 8th amendment is under attack; its on the 10th March in Dublin City Centre, be there! The Aims of the Rally is to CELEBRATE life and the message of life. To RAISE AWARENESS of the hurt and damage that abortion causes to women, families and society. To UNITE all the pro-life groups and individuals working in Ireland so we can become one voice, as together we are stronger. For further information link on to https://rallyforlife.net/


For the latest Choose Life Newsletter link on to




Nov. 2017;

POPE: Fr. Séamus Enright, The Rector of the Redemptorists in Limerick, his parents came from Clounleharde, he had many relations in Moyvane area. Fr Séamus recently had an audience with the Pope in Rome.


POPE Francis has inaugurated a “World Day of the Poor”. The First celebration of that


Day occurs on November 19th. Pope Francis wants us already this coming week to reach out to the Poor around us. He writes, “It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, which falls this year on 19 November, the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.”


Pope Francis on November 2, 2017 –the Feast of All Souls — visited the American Cemetery of Nettuno and the site of the Ardeatine Massacre. He celebrated Mass at the site where 7,860 US soldiers are buried, arranged in soft arcs in wide green meadows under rows of Roman pines. The majority of these individuals died in the liberation of Sicily (from July 10 to August 17...




Smith's Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1919 - 1950) Sat 16 Aug 1930 Page 13


PAPAL CONGRATULATIONS CABLED congratulations . from  the Pope, sheaves of  telegrams, and personal good wishes from Archbishop Mannix down, were received by Father J. J. Gallivan, of-Northcote (Vic.) when he -celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination recently. Born in County Kerry, he arrived in Melbourne in November, 1880.: Forty-three of the "fifty years- have been passed in the Kllmore district. Three nephews are P.P.s in N.S.W.


Families 2018 Ireland

Pope Francis chose Ireland to host next year’s World Meeting of Families to make sure Irish Catholics would take part in a ‘revolution’ promoting marriage and family life, one of the Pope’s key advisors has said. … Speaking to The Irish Catholic about the Autumn 2018 event, Cardinal Kevin Farrell explained that Pope Francis is under no illusions about how family life in Ireland is changing in line with the rest of Europe. “He understands that – he doesn’t think that Ireland is some miracle,” he said. “Nobody thinks that, but he thinks there’s a great spirit in the Irish people of giving of themselves to others, and of taking leadership roles…”




Read more in an article by Greg Daly in the Irish Catholic.


12 May 2017; (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’s plane touched down at Monte Real Air Base shortly before 4:30pm local time in Portugal.




A Word from Pope Francis




Selfishness leads nowhere and love frees. Those who are able to live their lives as a gift to give others will never be alone and will never experience the drama of the isolated conscience. Jesus says something remarkable to us: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Love always takes this path: to give one’s life.




To live life as a gift, a gift to be given—not a treasure to be stored away. And Jesus lived it in this manner, as a gift. And if we live life as a gift, we do what Jesus wanted: “I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” So, we must not burn out life with selfishness. Judas’s attitude was contrary to the person who loves, for he never understood—poor thing— what a gift is. Judas was one of those people who does not act in altruism and who lives in his own world. On the contrary, when Mary Magdalene washed Jesus’s feet with nard—very costly—it is a religious moment, a moment of thanksgiving, a moment of love.






For our final week of Lent 2017 our delightful Pope has a few pointers for us.


“Fast from hurting words, choose kind words.


Fast from sadness and be-filled with gratitude.


Fast from anger and be filled with patience.


Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.


Fast from worries and trust in God.


Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.


Fast from pressures and be prayerful.


Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.


Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.


Fast from grudges and be reconciled.


Fast from words and be silent


–so you can listen.




LADY OF FATIMA CENTENNIAL STATUE FOR EUROPE: will visit the Diocese of Kerry on Saturday 25th March.2017. The Alliance of the Two Hearts commissioned six of these Statues which were blessed by Pope Francis in January, one for each continent. Statue at 9.30am St. John’s Church, Tralee.  7.00pm Church of the Resurrection, Killarney.  One of the statues blessed on that day will be brought to Abbeyfeale Church on Friday, March 24.  Mass will be celebrated at 7.00pm, there will be an opportunity for people to come and pray before the Centennial Statue prior to the 7.00pm Mass and for a short while afterwards.


VISIT of the international centennial Pilgrim Image


This year marks the 100 anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, On 11 January this year, Pope Francis blessed six statues of Our Lady of Fatima to be brought to each continent, to appeal for prayer and reparation for world peace and to promote the sanctity of family life in our world.


One of the statues blessed on that day will be brought to Abbeyfeale on Friday 24thMarch by representatives of the Alliance of the two Hearts. Mass will be celebrated at 7.00pm, and there


will be an opportunity for people to come and pray before the Centennial Statue prior to the 7.00pm Mass and for a short while afterwards. This year marks the 100th anniversary since Our Lady first appeared in Fatima, Portugal on 13 May 1917. The apparitions continued once until 13 Oct 1917. The Vatican has confirmed that the Holy Father Pope Francis will travel to Fatima to mark the centenary of the apparitions




EUROPE: will visit  the  Diocese  of  Kerry  on Saturday 25th March. The Alliance of the Two


Hearts commissioned six of these Statues which were blessed by Pope Francis in January, one for


each continent. 9.30am St. John’s Church, Tralee.  3.00pm St. Kentigern’s Church, Eyeries.


7.00pm Church of the Resurrection, Killarney. 


February 2017

POPE FRANCIS INVITES US TO CELEBRATE ST. VALENTINE’S DAY!  In his document on The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), Pope Francis refers directly to Saint Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to make the most of traditional religious practices, invite couples to grow in love and help their children to prepare for their future married life. This is why, as part of the preparations for World Meeting of Families in Ireland in August 2018, we invite you to mark this St. Valentine’s Day in a special way.  You are also invited to subscribe to the WMOF2018 newsletter to receive the latest updates on preparations for World Meeting of Families 2018 by email http://www.worldmeeting2018.ie/contact and follow us on: Facebook www.facebook.com/wmof2018  and Twitter www.twitter.com/wmof2018.


Pope Francis




Pope Francis’ exhortation in the Apostolic Letter to all Consecrated People:




“Don’t be closed in on yourselves




Don’t be stifled by petty squabbles,




Don’t remain a hostage to your own problems.




You will find life by giving life,




Hope by giving hope, love by giving love.”


Pope Francis’ Five- Finger Prayer




Using the fingers on your right hand, start with the thumb and pray these intentions in this order.




( 1) The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the people easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “ Sweet Obligation.”


( 2 ) The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others.


( 3 ) The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.


( 4 ) The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems.


( 5 ) And finally we have our little finger, the smallest of all. This finger should remind you to pray for yourself. When you have finished praying for others, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.






Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need your strength,


Stay with me, Lord, because you are my life, and without you, I am without fervour.


Stay with me, Lord, because you are my light, and without you, I am in darkness.


Stay with me, Lord, so that I may hear your voice and follow you.


Stay with me, Lord, so that I may be faithful to you.


Stay with me, Lord, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close,


Stay with me, Lord, and let me recognise you in this Holy Communion


as the disciples did at the breaking of bread.  Stay with me, Lord, because


at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to you. Stay with me, Lord,


because I love you and ask no other reward but to love you on earth and during all eternity.  Amen.


The Papal Visit by the Numbers


(excerpted from Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America)




1,000,000 people at closing Mass in Philadelphia




80,000 tickets distributed to watch pope's drive through New York's Central Park




50,000 people on U.S. Capitol grounds to see the Holy Father




25,000 people at canonization Mass in Washington, D.C.




11,500 miles flown, door-to-door




8,000 pounds of potatoes bagged and delivered to D.C. soup kitchens by members of the Church of the Annuciation




71 inmates addressed by pope at Philadelphia's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility




7 World Meeting of Family Congresses held before 2015




6 Fiat 500Ls, the pope's humble ride




2 Popemobiles, the pope's parade ride




1 pope








When Angelo was elected Pope John XX111 in 1958 he described how he felt when he made his first appearance on the balcony in St Peter’s Square.  “I remember Jesus’ warning: “LEARN FROM ME, FOR I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE OF HEART”.  Dazzled by the television lights, I could see nothing but an amorphous, swaying mass.  I blessed Rome and the world as though I were a blind man.  As I came away; I thought of all the cameras and lights that, from now on, at every moment, would be directed at me.  I said to myself:  If you don’t remain a disciple of the gently and humble master, you’ll understand nothing even of temporal realities.  Then Angelo you’ll really be blind!” If we look down our noses at others and don’t look up regularly at God, then we too will be really blind.  Be humble and see – if you and I want to keep things in perspective, we have to stay close to the ground Pope John XX111 did that excellently.



Pope Francis told his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square what his last prayer is just before going to bed.  “Before going to sleep I pray, Lord if you want, you can purify me. And then I say five Our Father’s; one for each one of Jesus’ wounds, because by His wounds we are healed”.  The wounds carried on the body of Jesus two on His Hands, two on His Feet and one on His Side,

POPE FRANCIS’ – THE JOY OF LOVE:  The latest publication from Pope Francis on the Joy of Love has been hailed as inspirational and is most uplifting for all who profess to be followers of Christ.  There is about 6,000 words in it.

VOCATIONS SUNDAY: This Sunday is Vocations Sunday when we pray for vocations to the Priesthood and religious life. The theme this year is ‘’The Church, Mother of Vocations’ Pope Francis has issued a pastoral message on www.vocations.ie. Full details for vocations for Kerry Diocese see www.dioceseofkerry.ie

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis 02 April 2016


Pope Francis has made a surprise announcement to dioceses around the world, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.


Addressing faithful in St. Peter’s Square at a Saturday evening prayer vigil for the Jubilee of Divine Mercy — 11 years to the day after the death of St. John Paul II — the pope announced his wish that, in every diocese, “a hospital, a home for the elderly, for abandoned children, a school where none exists, a home for the recovery of addicts,” or some similar structure be established as “a living memory” of the Year of Mercy.


The Pope said the idea came to him recently during a meeting with directors of a charitable agency. But he thought to himself: “I will share it in the square on Saturday.”






JP publiusnj • a day ago




It should not be forgotten that those Crusaders who did sack Constantinople were excommunicated by Innocent III. Here is a portion of his scathing letter to the Papal Legate who was in the Holy Land:




"How, indeed, will the church of the Greeks, no matter how severely she is beset with afflictions and persecutions, return into ecclesiastical union and to a devotion for the Apostolic See, when she has seen in the Latins only an example of perdition and the works of darkness, so that she now, and with reason, detests the Latins more than dogs? As for those who were supposed to be seeking the ends of Jesus Christ, not their own ends, who made their swords, which they were supposed to use against the pagans, drip with Christian blood, they have spared neither religion, nor age, nor sex. They have committed incest, adultery, and fornication before the eyes of men. They have exposed both matrons and virgins, even those dedicated to God, to the sordid lusts of boys...."




Joint Press Release of the Holy See and of the Patriarchate of Moscow




The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12 next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration.




This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will. They invite all Christians to pray fervently for God to bless this meeting, that it may bear good fruits.




PAPAL ENYCLICAL: Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has recently published his Encyclical on the Environment entitled Laudato Si (Praise be to him). This is the first time a pope has devoted one entirely to environmental issues. The pontiff unambiguously accepts the scientific consensus that changes in the climate are largely man-made, and also laments a loss of biodiversity and growing scarcities of safe water.

         Francis is especially strong on the link between environmental problems and poverty, arguing that developing nations will bear the brunt of today’s ecological crisis and that poor people are ill-equipped to adapt to a changing climate. It’s essential, he insists, “to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

        For Christians, Francis says, there’s a special obligation to care for “our common home” rooted in the Biblical idea of nature as God’s creation. Yet he says the message of Laudato Si is intended for all, because no one is exempt from the consequences when, as he puts it, the Earth begins “to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Fr. Donal Dorr, will be speaking on the Pope’s Encyclical in Killarney on the evening of 28th September 2015.

Pope to Knights of Columbus: Seek new ways of being a leaven in society



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met today with the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and later addressed the organization’s Board of Directors.


In his remarks, Pope Francis recalled the vision of the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Venerable Father Michael McGivney. He called on the Knights to “continue to seek new ways of being a leaven of the Gospel and a force for the spiritual renewal of society.”


The Pope expressed his gratitude “for the unfailing support which your Order has always given to the works of the Holy See.” In particular, he drew attention to the Knights’ Vicarius Christi Fund, which provides aid for the Pope’s personal charities. The Holy Father described the Fund as “an eloquent sign of your solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his concern for the universal Church” . . . a solidarity that “also seen in the daily prayers, sacrifices and Apostolic works” of the Knights of Columbus throughout the world.

“As the present Year of Faith draws to its close,” Pope Francis concluded, “I commend all of you in a special way to the intercession of Saint Joseph, the protector of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who is an admirable model of those manly virtues of quiet strength, integrity and fidelity which the Knights of Columbus are committed to preserving, cultivating and passing on to future generations of Catholic men.”




Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/articolo.asp?c=736036

of the Vatican Radio website






Vatican City, Sep 27, 2013 / 06:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his daily homily Pope Francis reflected on the nature of what it means to be a Christian, saying that an authentic follower of Christ is able to endure difficulties with a positive attitude.


The Pope imparted his message to those gathered in the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse for his daily Mass on Sept. 27.


Stressing the need and importance of sacrifice in the Christian’s life of faith, the Pope began his homily by reflecting on the Gospel reading from St. Luke where Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is.


Pope Francis recounted how it was after this question that Peter replies with his declaration that Jesus is the Christ, but that once Jesus warns of his upcoming passion and death, “Peter was frightened and scandalized.”


This attitude, said the pontiff, is “just like many Christians” who declare that “this will never happen to you, I will follow you up to this point.”


“This is the temptation of a spiritual wellbeing.”




Just like the rich young man from the gospel, “who wanted to follow Jesus but only up to a certain point,” the Pope explained that “the scandal of the Cross continues to block many Christians” who complain about the wrongdoings and insults they suffer, rather than following the way of the cross.


“The proof if somebody is a true Christian is his or her ability to endure humiliations with joy and patience.”


Concluding his homily, the Holy Father emphasized that it is our own choice “whether to be a Christian of well-being or a Christian close to Jesus,” who walks with him along the path of the cross.



(Vatican Radio) He who speaks ill of his neighbor is a hypocrite who lacks the courage to look to his own shortcomings. Speaking during his homily at morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis focused on the fact that gossip has a “criminal” side to it, because every time we speak ill of our brothers, we imitate Caine’s homicidal gesture.


The seed of Pope Francis’ homily on Friday was Jesus’s thought provoking query when he asked: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” After having spoken about humility – he said – Jesus speaks to us of its opposite: “of that hateful attitude towards one’s neighbor when one becomes a “judge” of his brother”. In this context – the Pope points out – Jesus uses a strong word: “hypocrite”.


“Those who live judging their neighbor, speaking ill of their neighbor, are hypocrites, because they lack the strength and the courage to look to their own shortcomings. The Lord does not waste many words on this concept. Further on he says that he who has hatred in his heart for his brother is a murderer. In his first letter, John the Apostle also says it clearly: anyone who has hatred for his brother is a murderer, he walks in darkness, he who judges his brother walks in darkness”.


And so – Pope Francis continued – every time we judge our brothers in our hearts – or worse still when we speak ill of them with others, we are Christian murderers:


“A Christian murderer…. It’s not me saying this, it’s the Lord. And there is no place for nuances. If you speak ill of your brother, you kill your brother. And every time we do this, we are imitating that gesture of Caine, the first murderer in History”:


And the Pope added that in this time in history when there is much talk of war and so many pleas for peace, “a gesture of conversion on our own behalf is necessary”. “Gossip – he warned – always has a criminal side to it. There is no such thing as innocent gossip”. And quoting St. James the Apostle, the Pope said the tongue is to be used to praise God, “but when we use our tongue to speak ill of our brother or sister, we are using it to kill God”, “the image of God in our brother”. Some may say – the Pope commented – that there are persons who deserve being gossiped about. But it is not so:


“Go and pray for him! Go and do penance for her! And then, if it is necessary, speak to that person who may be able to seek remedy for the problem. But don’t tell everyone! Paul had been a sinner, and he says of himself: I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor, a violent man. But I have been mercifully treated”. Perhaps none of us are blasphemer – perhaps… But if we ever gossip we are certainly persecutors and violent. We ask for grace so that we and the entire Church may convert from the crime of gossip to love, to humility, to meekness, to docility, to the generosity of love towards our neighbor”.



Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/articolo.asp?c=728214

of the Vatican Radio website



POPE: The Pope called for a day of solidarity on Sat. Sept. 7th with the people of Syria through prayer and fasting.

8.4 million are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. 5.8 million forced to abandon their homes. 2 million seeking shelter in neighbouring countries.




The second part of Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference given on the papal plane from Brazil has been published in English by ZENIT


This isn’t the official translation which is yet to appear, though the Secretariat of State is said to be working on it.


Like the first part, the Holy Father’s words are revelatory. As reported widely elsewhere, he discusses the subject of homosexuality and “gay lobbies”; his wish to visit Asia, and travel to Jerusalem where he hopes to meet Patriarch Bartholomew; his call for a “profound theology of woman”; John Paul II’s definitive “no” to women priests; the canonization date for John XXIII and John Paul II; and his desire for a review of "matrimonial ministry."


But he also makes some other interesting remarks which have gained less attention:


• He says that once a bishop, there is “always the danger of thinking oneself superior to others, not as others, somewhat as a prince. These are dangers and sins.” But he adds that the work of a bishop is a good thing and he likes it; the bishop, he says, helps the faithful to go forward and aids communion. Pressed if he likes being Pope, he replies that he does – “if you do what the Lord wants, you are happy,” he says. “This is my sentiment, what I feel.”


• He talks about his wish to be walking the streets but understands it’s not possible. He says he was a “street priest” in Buenos Aires.


• He recalls how he “couldn’t stand” the charismatic renewal movement in the 1970s and 1980s, saying at the time that they confused “a liturgical celebration with a samba school.” But he says he repented of this when he got to know them better, and believes that now the movement has done so much good for the Church. Charismatic movements are a “grace” he says that not only prevent Catholics from joining Pentecostal sects, but serve the Church and renew her.


• Pope Francis speaks effusively of Benedict XVI, saying: “I love him so much. I’ve always loved him,” and that his resignation was an “example of [his] greatness.” He says he was aware of concerns that his predecessor might “encumber him”, or make a “revolution” against him, but says instead Benedict is like a “wise grandfather” to him. “When a grandfather is at home with a family, he is venerated, loved, listened to. He is a man of prudence! He doesn’t meddle,” he says, and reveals that he has telephoned Benedict when he has had a “difficulty or something I didn’t understand.” Again he repeats: “He [Benedict] is a great man, he is great!”


• In answer to another question, he insists his spirituality remains that of a Jesuit, not a Franciscan.


• Asked about the best and worst moments of being Pope so far, he highlights a recent meeting with Italian bishops at the end of their ad limina visit, his visit to Lampedusa (“something to weep about” but which “did me good”), his meetings with students of the Jesuit colleges, and his encounters with seminarians and women religious which was “very lovely.” The worst thing: he had “very painful sciatic” in the first month after his election which he doesn't “wish on anyone!”


• What surprised him most? “The good people I’ve met…so many good people, so many good people, but good, good, good!”


• The Pope tells the reporters he misses Buenos Aires “at times” but that it is a “serene missing.”


• Asked about the Orthodox Churches, Pope Francis says they keep a “pristine liturgy, so beautiful” and that in contrast “we have lost a bit the sense of adoration.” God is at the center of the Orthodox Church, he affirms, and they have a “richness.” Consumerism has done us “much harm”, he says, adding: “so many times the ‘luxus’ of the West makes us lose the horizon.” He says we must all “read and reread” Dostoyevksy because “he has wisdom” and one can perceive “what the Russian spirit is.”


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/english-translation-of-second-part-of-papal-press-conference#ixzz2bD3eJGzs



Lumen Fidei: A Summary on Pope Francis' First Encyclical






Prayer of St. Francis

in celebration of the inauguration of Pope Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.







30 MARCH 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters,


1. In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross. We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: “What happened?”, “What is the meaning of all this?” (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us!


Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.


2. But let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, he is life itself, because he is the Son of God, the living God (cf. Num 14:21-28; Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10). Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; he is the everlasting “today” of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness… and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!


Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.


3. There is one last little element that I would like to emphasize in the Gospel for this Easter Vigil. The women encounter the newness of God. Jesus has risen, he is alive! But faced with empty tomb and the two men in brilliant clothes, their first reaction is one of fear: “they were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground,” Saint Luke tells us – they didn’t even have courage to look. But when they hear the message of the Resurrection, they accept it in faith. And the two men in dazzling clothes tell them something of crucial importance: “Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee… And they remembered his words” (Lk 24:6,8). They are asked to remember their encounter with Jesus, to remember his words, his actions, his life; and it is precisely this loving remembrance of their experience with the Master that enables the women to master their fear and to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles and all the others (cf. Lk 24:9). To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have travelled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.


On this radiant night, let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who treasured all these events in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51) and ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May he open us to the newness that transforms. May he make us men and women capable of remembering all that he has done in our own lives and in the history of our world. May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us each day not to look among the dead for the Living One. Amen.





POPE Francis told thousands of journalists 16 March 2013, “I love you so much and I thank you for all that you have done,” Pope Francis told over 5,000 journalists today at Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. “We aren’t called to communicate about ourselves, but on this trinity of truth, goodness and beauty,”




"This is the first lesson of Catholics in Asia. For us, the vitality of the Church is not measured by how many Catholics there are but by the quality of faith," Manila archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle.


COLUMBAN: The year 2015 sees the 1400th anniversary of the death of St Columban (Columbanus)

The project Columbanus' Life & Legacy seeks to explore the connections between Ireland and Europe resulting from the life and legacy of St. Columbanus (c. 540-615).




On Saturday morning, 9 March 2013, a mob of about 7,000 looted and set fire to Joseph Colony, a Christian residential area near Badami Bagh in central Lahore. At least 160 houses belonging to Christian families, 18 shops and two churches, one Catholic and the other Seventh day Adventist, were burnt.


The immediate reason was that a Christian man in his 20s, Sawan Masih, was accused of blasphemy against Muhammad which is punishable by death under 295-C [Blasphemy Laws] of the Penal Code of Pakistan. Sawan was arrested by police on Friday 8 March 2013 and sent to jail by the magistrate.




Home Far East Magazine Jan-Feb 2013 Montesino’s Denunciation

Montesino’s Denunciation


By Fr Cyril Lovett


One Eventful Sunday

On 21 December 1511, on the island of Española (today divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti) an extraordinary event took place. A small group of Dominican Missionaries were about to change history by means of a homily. During Mass on that particular Sunday, Friar Antonio de Montesinos, made a statement on behalf of the whole Dominican community to the Spanish authorities of the New World. He declared that the indigenous people were true human beings, that they had ‘rational souls’, and that the Spaniards were obliged to love them as they loved their equals. This key moment has been regarded by many as the birth of today’s struggle for human rights. The Background

Friar Antonio and his three companions had arrived barely one year before. They had been horrified at the way their fellow-Spaniards were treating the indigenous people. Pope Alexander VI had given over the whole of Latin America to the Spaniards on condition that they would evangelise those peoples. King Ferdinand and Queen Isobela of Spain had threatened to punish those who did not ‘treat these people well and in a loving manner’. Royal mandates were one thing, what happened on the ground on the other side of the known world, was something very different.


The astonished congregation on that Sunday morning could not believe what they were hearing. “How can you dare treat these unfortunate people so badly?” asked Friar Antonio. “How can you so oppress and overwork them without giving them sufficient food, or curing their ills, so that you are in fact killing them for the sake of gold every day? Have they not got souls? Are you not bound to love them as much as yourselves?” The authorities could hardly wait for Mass to finish. The Royal officials immediately visited the Governor and then went to the Dominican house to apprehend the preacher and demand that he be punished “as a scandal, a preacher of an unheard of doctrine”.


The Follow-up

Then the Superior, Friar Pedro de Cordoba, revealed that the homily had been prepared by the whole community, and that the homily was more than merited because Spaniards were treating the Indians “as if they were the beasts of the field”. The authorities replied with a threat: either the friar would recant all that he had said on the following Sunday, or else the whole Dominican community could pack its bags.


One week later Friar Antonio again climbed the pulpit, but far from retracting anything he had said, he declared that the Dominicans would not absolve anyone who continued to treat the Indians in such a tyrannical manner. They were free to write to whomsoever they wished in Spain to complain. As he finished his homily, the whole congregation turned against the friars.


Why Such a Strong Reaction?

You may well ask why did Friar Antonio’s homily cause such a reaction? Despite Pope Paul III’s Bull Sublime Deus, which had clearly declared the indigenous peoples of the New World fully human beings with all the rights of Christians, the conquerors had argued for a ‘just war’ against the Indians on the grounds that they were clearly inferior. They argued that because the Indians practiced polygamy, idolatory, or ‘other sins against nature’ they had lost the right to liberty, to hold property, to embrace Christianity etc. People were still following Aristotle's opinion that slavery was ‘the natural condition of some human beings’.


And, in fact the lack of manpower to work the mines and cane-fields would give rise to the shameful commerce of African slaves to both North and South America until the late 19th century, at the cost of millions of human lives.


The Consequences

As for the Dominicans of Española, how did their story end? The authorities denounced them to King Ferdinand who told their Provincial in Spain to order the friars to be silent. Three letters were sent ordering them to stop preaching such a doctrine or else return to Spain. Antonio de Montesinos and his superior Pedro de Cordoba returned to Spain to make their case before the King. They had some success because by 1512, 35 laws and ordinances were issued concerning the indigenous: they were free in principle, had the right to own houses and lands, had the right to just remuneration for their labours, and the right to rest for forty days after every five months of work. The Dominicans were not satisfied with these measures. Friar Pedro died of tuberculosis in Santo Domingo in 1521. Friar Antonio, died at the age of 55, in 1540, after evangelising Puerto Rico and Venezuela.


One Happy Result

One Spaniard converted by the famous sermon was Bartolomé de las Casas, who freed his slaves, shared his lands among them, and became a Dominican. Later as Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico, he became the most famous defendant of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. It was extremely difficult to change the mode of action of the Spaniards in the New World, particularly when changing their attitudes to the indigenous involved loss of profits. Proof of this is that almost 40 years later, in 1550, las Casas was still fighting the same battles back in Spain in a series of celebrated debates with Juan Ginés de Sepulveda. And almost five hundred years later, another prophetic Spaniard, Bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, Dom Samuel Ruiz (1924-2011), was still fighting for justice for the indigenous peoples.



Pope Lebanon


Reuters) - Pope Benedict urged multi-faith Lebanon on Saturday to be a model of religious peace for the Middle East, as a civil war raged in neighboring Syria, deepening sectarian divisions.

"Lebanon is called, now more than ever, to be an example," he told political and religious leaders on the second day of a visit that coincided with violent protests across the Muslim world against a U.S.-made film insulting Islam.

Lebanon - torn apart by a 1975-1990 sectarian civil war - is a religious mosaic of over four million people whose Muslim majority includes Sunnis, Shi'ites and Alawites. Christians, over one-third of the population, are divided into more than a dozen churches, six of them linked to the Vatican.

The German-born pontiff, 85, delivered his morning speech in French at the presidential palace after meeting President Michel Suleiman, a Maronite Christian, Sunni Prime Minister Najib Mikati and parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, a Shi'ite.

At a rally later in the day, he told thousands of cheering young people not to let discrimination, unemployment and instability drive them abroad and reminded young Syrian Christians in the crowd that "the pope has not forgotten you."

Addressing young Muslims also there, he said "together with young Christians, you are the future of this fine country and of the Middle East in general. Seek to built it up together!"

Peace between warring factions and among the many religious groups in the Middle East has been a central theme of Benedict's visit, along with his call to Christians not to leave the region despite war and growing pressure from radical Islamists.

Amira Chabchoul, a Muslim onlooker outside the palace said: "We came to support the pope and also get support from him, because our experience has been that when we listen to him, we are touched and we are helped in our lives."


On Friday, protesters against the anti-Islam film dodged gunfire and tear gas to hurl stones at security forces in Lebanon's Tripoli where one demonstrator was killed. Protesters chanted "We don't want the pope" and "No more insults"

A Vatican spokesman said the pope was being kept informed of protests against the film, circulated on the Internet under several titles including "Innocence of Muslims".

Benedict began his visit on Friday with a call for an end to all arms supplies to Syria, where the tiny Christian minority fears reprisals if Islamists come to power at the end of the bloody insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad.

He also described the Arab Spring movement as a "cry for freedom" that was a positive development as long as it ensured tolerance for all religions.

Coptic Christians, about 10 percent of Egypt's population, have come under repeated attack by Islamists since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak. They worry the new government will strengthen Islamic law in the new constitution.

In Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, hardline Salafis have brought a new religious intolerance against fellow Muslims such as Sufis, whose shrines they are destroying as heretical.

"If we want peace, let us defend life," Benedict said. "This approach leads us to reject not only war and terrorism, but every assault on innocent human life."


The pope held a private meeting with leaders of the Sunni, Shi'ite and Alawite Muslim communities and of the Druze, an offshoot of Shi'ism with other influences.

Chief Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, the supreme Sunni leader, praised him for visiting "in these fateful circumstances that Lebanon and the region are living through" and stressed the common goals of both faiths "in the whole Arab world".

"The flight of Christians hurts us Muslims because it means we cannot live with others," he said. Emigration, wars and a low birth rate have cut Christian ranks to 5 percent of the Middle Eastern population compared with 20 percent a century ago.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai told the pope that young Christians in the Middle East were suffering political and social crises that tested their faith.

"Their concerns grow in the face of ... rising religious fundamentalism that believes neither in the right to be different nor in the freedom of conscience or religion, and that resorts to violence as the only way to reach its goals," he said.

At a youth rally outside the Maronite Patriarchate on a mountaintop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Benedict said Middle Eastern Christians had the honor of living in the region where Jesus was born and Christianity began.

Benedict urged the region's young Christians not to "taste the sweet bitterness of emigration".

About 250 Chaldean and Syriac Christians from Iraq waved Iraqi and Kurdish flags as the pope arrived with Rai in his gleaming white popemobile. A giant rosary made of balloons floated above the waiting crowd.

"We flew here three days ago to see him," said Nuhaya Bassam, 33, from Baghdad. "It's definitely worth the hassle, to us, he's God's representative on Earth."

"If anyone needs him right now, it's the Christians of the Middle east," said an Irbil man named Hani, 24.

A Syrian student priest, Khudr Samaan, said he was thrilled to see the pope and he wanted to tell fellow Syrians not to be afraid.

"My family couldn't make it here because of the difficult conditions," he said. "I don't think I could make it back to them if I tried, either, so I'm stuck here a while."

(Writing by Tom Heneghan; Additional reporting by Laila Bassam; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)





SAVED Jews from Hitler
August 5, 2012. (Romereports.com) In 1943, in the midst of the Second World War,  Pius XII urged Catholic institutions to help Jews who were being persecuted by Hitler's Nazi regime.
Here in Rome, one of the many people who risked their lives was Francesco Bertoglio, who back then served as the rector of the Pontifical Lombard Seminary. The current president says that hundreds of Jews were sneaked in. They were dressed as seminarians to make them blend in. But even so, there were people, who were spying from the outside the seminary.

Rector, Pontifical Lombard Seminary

“One night, just before Christmas in 1943, Hitler supporters came in and took away several of the Jews. Not many really, because they were well hidden.”

The former rector tried to stop it. He said the seminary was a neutral zone and German troops were forbidden to enter. However, his resistance only led to his arrest.

Rector, Pontifical Lombard Seminary

“That night, they also took the rector. He was later set free because Monsignor Montini, from the Vatican's Secretariat of State, sent someone on his behalf,  so that German troops, would release him.”

Others managed to escape by taking a tram in this plaza and then hiding in Rome's St. Mary Major Basilica.

Still, more than 70 years later, the courage of this priest, in risking his life to save the life of persecuted Jews, is still recognized. When he was ordained a bishop, he wore this cross, which is actually a gift that was given to him, by the Jews he saved.

Francesco Bertoglio, died in 1970. Thirty one years later, the State of Israel issued the “Righteous Among the Nations” honor  for risking his life for the Jewish people.



God bless our Pope!


For like the sparks of unseen fire

That spark along the magic wire,

From home to home, from heart to heart,

These words of countless children dart:


God bless our Pope!

God bless our Pope!

God bless our Pope!

The great, the good!



Saint Oliver Plunkett

Saint Oliver Plunkett (1 November 1625 - 1 July 1681) was the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. He maintained his duties in Ireland in the face of English persecution and was eventually arrested and tried for treason in London. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on 1 July 1681, and became the last Roman Catholic martyr to die in England. Oliver Plunkett was beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975, the first new Irish saint for almost seven hundred years.





POPE Pius xi


Andrea Tornielli



It was October 2, 1931, eighty years ago. Pius XI published an encyclical, Nova impendet, of amazing relevance in this time of crisis and unemployment. SIR, the Religious Information Service run by Paolo Bustaffa, remembers him recalling a document issued by Pope Ratti. I submit here a few excerpts from the encyclical.


"A new scourge threatens - indeed, it has already in large measure smitten - the flock entrusted to Us. It strikes most heavily at those who are the most tender and are Our most dearly beloved; upon the children, the proletariat, the artisans and the "have-nots". We are speaking of the grave financial crisis which weighs down the peoples and is accelerating the frightful increase in unemployment in every land. We behold multitudes of honest workers condemned to idleness and want, when all they desire is an opportunity to earn for themselves and their families that daily bread which the divine command bids them ask of their Father Who is in heaven. Their cry is in Our ears."


"These things Our fatherly heart cannot behold without anxiety. Therefore, as Our predecessors have done in like circumstances, especially Our immediate predecessor, Benedict XV, of holy memory, We raise Our voice and direct Our appeal to all those in whom Faith and Christian charity are lively: Our call is to a Crusade of charity and of succour. Which, by caring for bodies and comforting souls, will bring to pass a re-birth of quiet confidence, will put to flight the deadly counsels which misery engenders, and will quench the flames of hatred and passion putting in their place the ardours of love and of concern to the end that the peoples, linked in the noble bond of peace, may move forward towards individual and collective prosperity."


"It is then to a crusade of piety and love – and certainly of sacrifice too - that we rally all the sons of the one Father, all the members of the one great family, which is the family of God himself. It belongs to the sons and to those members of the one family to share not only in the common joys, but also in the common sorrows."


"To this Crusade we summon all, as to a sacred duty. For Charity is a formal commandment of the evangelical law which Jesus Himself proclaimed as the first and greatest commandment, including and summing up all the others. In days of War and of implacable hatred, Our immediate predecessor so strongly and so often inculcated Charity that it became the mark of his pontificate."


“As an effect of rivalry between peoples, there is an insensate competition in armaments which, in its turn, becomes the cause of enormous expenditure, diverting large sums of money from public welfare; and this makes the present crisis more acute. Therefore We cannot refrain from renewing and from making Our own the solemn warnings of Our predecessor, which have, alas! not been heeded, as well as our own words, We exhort you all, Venerable Brethren, to busy yourselves with the work of enlightening public opinion in this matter, by all the means at your disposal, including both pulpit and press, so that the hearts of men may be turned towards the dictates of right reason, and, still more, to the laws of Christ.”




POPE intentions; Teachers. That all teachers may know how to communicate the love of truth and instill authentic moral and spiritual values. Church in Asia. That the Christian communities of Asia may proclaim the Gospel with fervor, witnessing to its beauty with the joy of faith.

VOCATIONS: Sunday, September 25th is Priesthood Sunday. contact Vocations Director, Fr Liam Lovell on 087 1640967 or

e-mail: liam.lovell@yahoo.ie



Prayer of the Month

Heavenly Father, you promised that

those who instruct others in the ways of

wisdom will shine like the stars for all

eternity. Fill the hearts and minds of

teachers with true knowledge and give

the very existence of true and lasting

them the ability to share the truth with

their students. May the Holy Spirit open

the minds of all people so that they may

more readily recognize the truth and hold

fast to it in the midst of a world that denies

values. Amen.



Georges Danton, he converted to the Catholic Faith thanks in part to his wife. He was arrested by the revolution for daring to demand that the continued massacre of people end. So on April 5, 1794 he was guillotined, He said:

I leave it all in a frightful welter; not a man of them has an idea of government. Robespierre will follow me; he is dragged down by me. Ah, better be a poor fisherman than meddle with the government of men!





Pope speaks at Seminarians Mass, Spain, Aug. 20th 2011.



I am very pleased to celebrate Holy Mass with you who aspire to be Christ’s priests for the service of the Church and of man, and I thank you for the kind words with which you welcomed me. Today, this holy cathedral church of Santa María La Real de la Almudena is like a great Upper Room, where the Lord greatly desires to celebrate the Passover with you who wish one day to preside in his name at the mysteries of salvation.

Looking at you, I again see proof of how Christ continues to call young disciples and to make them his apostles, thus keeping alive the mission of the Church and the offer of the Gospel to the world. As seminarians you are on the path towards a sacred goal: to continue the mission which Christ received from the Father. Called by him, you have followed his voice and, attracted by his loving gaze, you now advance towards the sacred ministry. Fix your eyes upon him who through his incarnation is the supreme revelation of God to the world and who through his resurrection faithfully fulfills his promise. Give thanks to him for this sign of favour in which he holds each one of you.

The first reading which we heard shows us Christ as the new and eternal priest who made of himself a perfect offering. The response to the psalm may be aptly applied to him since, at his coming into the world, he said to the Father, “Here I am to do your will” (cf. Ps 39:8). He tried to please him in all things: in his words and actions, along the way or welcoming sinners. His life was one of service and his longing was a constant prayer, placing himself in the name of all before the Father as the first-born son of many brothers and sisters. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews states that, by a single offering, he brought to perfection for all time those of us who are called to share his sonship (cf. Heb 10:14).

The Eucharist, whose institution is mentioned in the Gospel just proclaimed (cf. Lk 22:14-20), is the real expression of that unconditional offering of Jesus for all, even for those who betrayed him. It was the offering of his body and blood for the life of mankind and for the forgiveness of sins. His blood, a sign of life, was given to us by God as a covenant, so that we might apply the force of his life wherever death reigns due to our sins, and thus destroy it. Christ’s body broken and his blood outpoured – the surrender of his freedom – became through these Eucharistic signs the new source of mankind’s redeemed freedom. In Christ, we have the promise of definitive redemption and the certain hope of future blessings. Through Christ we know that we are not walking towards the abyss, the silence of nothingness or death, but are rather pilgrims on the way to a promised land, on the way to him who is our end and our beginning.

Dear friends, you are preparing yourselves to become apostles with Christ and like Christ, and to accompany your fellow men and women along their journey as companions and servants.

How should you behave during these years of preparation? First of all, they should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study and of gradual insertion into the pastoral activity and structures of the Church. A Church which is community and institution, family and mission, the creation of Christ through his Holy Spirit, as well as the result of those of us who shape it through our holiness and our sins. God, who does not hesitate to make of the poor and of sinners his friends and instruments for the redemption of the human race, willed it so. The holiness of the Church is above all the objective holiness of the very person of Christ, of his Gospel and his sacraments, the holiness of that power from on high which enlivens and impels it. We have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify.

Meditate well upon this mystery of the Church, living the years of your formation in deep joy, humbly, clear-mindedly and with radical fidelity to the Gospel, in an affectionate relation to the time spent and the people among whom you live. No one chooses the place or the people to whom he is sent, and every time has its own challenges; but in every age God gives the right grace to face and overcome those challenges with love and realism. That is why, no matter the circumstances in which he finds and however difficult they may be, the priest must grow in all kinds of good works, keeping alive within him the words spoken on his Ordination day, by which he was exhorted to model his life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.

To be modeled on Christ, dear seminarians, is to be identified ever more closely with him who, for our sake, became servant, priest and victim. To be modeled on him is in fact the task upon which the priest spends his entire life. We already know that it is beyond us and we will not fully succeed but, as St Paul says, we run towards the goal, hoping to reach it (cf. Phil 3:12-14).

That said, Christ the High Priest is also the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep, even giving his life for them (cf. Jn 10:11). In order to liken yourselves to the Lord in this as well, your heart must mature while in seminary, remaining completely open to the Master. This openness, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, inspires the decision to live in celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and, leaving aside the world’s goods, live in austerity of life and sincere obedience, without pretence.

Ask him to let you imitate him in his perfect charity towards all, so that you do not shun the excluded and sinners, but help them convert and return to the right path. Ask him to teach you how to be close to the sick and the poor in simplicity and generosity. Face this challenge without anxiety or mediocrity, but rather as a beautiful way of living our human life in gratuitousness and service, as witnesses of God made man, messengers of the supreme dignity of the human person and therefore its unconditional defenders. Relying on his love, do not be intimidated by surroundings that would exclude God and in which power, wealth and pleasure are frequently the main criteria ruling people’s lives. You may be shunned along with others who propose higher goals or who unmask the false gods before whom many now bow down. That will be the moment when a life deeply rooted in Christ will clearly be seen as something new and it will powerfully attract those who truly search for God, truth and justice.

Under the guidance of your formators, open your hearts to the light of the Lord, to see if this path which demands courage and authenticity is for you. Approach the priesthood only if you are firmly convinced that God is calling you to be his ministers, and if you are completely determined to exercise it in obedience to the Church’s precepts.

With this confidence, learn from him who described himself as meek and humble of heart, leaving behind all earthly desire for his sake so that, rather than pursuing your own good, you build up your brothers and sisters by the way you live, as did the patron saint of the diocesan clergy of Spain, St John of Avila. Moved by his example, look above all to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests. She will know how to mould your hearts according to the model of Christ, her divine Son, and she will teach you how to treasure for ever all that he gained on Calvary for the salvation of the world. Amen.

Announcement of the Holy Father

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With great joy, here in this Cathedral Church of Santa María La Real de la Almudena, I announce to the People of God that, having acceded to the desire expressed by Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, together with the members of the Spanish episcopate and other Archbishops and Bishops from throughout the world, as well as many of the lay faithful, I will shortly declare Saint John of Avila a Doctor of the universal Church.

In making this announcement here, I would hope that the word and the example of this outstanding pastor will enlighten all priests and those who look forward to the day of their priestly ordination.

I invite everyone to look to St John of Avila and I commend to his intercession the Bishops of Spain and those of the whole world, as well as all priests and seminarians. As they persevere in the same faith which he taught, may they model their hearts on that of Jesus Christ the good Shepherd, to whom be glory and honour for ever. Amen.


Pope Benedict XVI attends the Via Crucis in the Plaza de Cibeles Aug 2011.

Dear young people, we have celebrated this Way of the Cross with fervour and devotion, following Christ along the path of his passion and death. The commentaries of the Little Sisters of the Cross, who serve the poor and most needy, have helped us enter into the mystery of Christ’s glorious Cross, wherein is found God’s true wisdom which judges the world and judges those who consider themselves wise (cf. 1 Cor 1:17-19).

We have also been assisted on this journey to Calvary by our contemplation of these wonderful images from the religious patrimony of the Spanish dioceses. In these images, faith and art combine so as to penetrate our heart and summon us to conversion. When faith’s gaze is pure and authentic, beauty places itself at its service and is able to depict the mysteries of our salvation in such a way as to move us profoundly and transform our hearts, as St Teresa of Jesus herself experienced while contemplating an image of the wounded Christ (cf. Autobiography, 9:1).

As we were making our way with Jesus towards the place of his sacrifice on Mount Calvary, the words of Saint Paul came to mind: “Christ loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). In the face of such disinterested love, we find ourselves asking, filled with wonder and gratitude: What can we do for him? What response shall we give him? Saint John puts it succinctly: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn 3:16). Christ’s passion urges us to take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles. On the contrary, he became one of us “in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way — in flesh and blood … hence in all human suffering we are joined by one who experiences and carries that suffering with us; hence con-solatio is present in all suffering, the consolation of God’s compassionate love — and so the star of hope rises” (Spe Salvi, 39).

Dear young friends, may Christ’s love for us increase your joy and encourage you to go in search of those less fortunate. You are open to the idea of sharing your lives with others, so be sure not to pass by on the other side in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion. The different forms of suffering that have unfolded before our eyes in the course of this Way of the Cross are the Lord’s way of summoning us to spend our lives following in his footsteps and becoming signs of his consolation and salvation. “To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves — these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself” (ibid.).

Let us eagerly welcome these teachings and put them into practice. Let us look upon Christ, hanging on the harsh wood of the Cross, and let us ask him to teach us this mysterious wisdom of the Cross, by which man lives. The Cross was not a sign of failure, but an expression of self-giving in love that extends even to the supreme sacrifice of one’s life. The Father wanted to show his love for us through the embrace of his crucified Son: crucified out of love. The Cross, by its shape and its meaning, represents this love of both the Father and the Son for men. Here we recognize the icon of supreme love, which teaches us to love what God loves and in the way that he loves: this is the Good News that gives hope to the world.

Let us turn our gaze now to the Virgin Mary, who was given to us on Calvary to be our Mother, and let us ask her to sustain us with her loving protection along the path of life, particularly when we pass through the night of suffering, so that we may be able to remain steadfast, as she did, at the foot of the Cross.




The United States is not necessarily "a nation in decline or struck to the core" according to the head of the Vatican Bank. "The United States remains the most technologically advanced country in the world, with the highest GDP, surpassing one and a half times that of Europe, four times that of China, and ten times that of Italy,"



World Youth Day is cooperating with Caritas to build a residential complex in Madrid for families at risk of social exclusion. The complex will house 127 families. Likewise, in Brazil, opportunities are being made available for youth affected by poverty and violence. Both projects will be presented to WYD participants, encouraging them to assist through financial donations and social networking.

“The formative aspect of World Youth Day would be incomplete if we failed to remind young people that their faith remains incomplete unless they help others, unless they are generous, unless they try to do something about changing what they see is wrong,” said Yago de la Cierva, executive director of World Youth Day.

Furthermore, many of the hundreds of thousands of youth in Madrid over the course of WYD will be engaged in charitable work. Madrid’s Highland School held a fundraiser and sent 2,500 Euro to missions in Mexico. WYD’s Solidarity Fund is making it possible for those in poor countries to attend WYD.


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/the-press-doesnt-get-wyd#ixzz1UkfFHQqA


There is the belief "that, because there is no universal moral standard by which to judge others, we ought to tolerate the behaviour of others.











The late Pope John Paul's wooden coffin was exhumed from its resting place in a crypt under Saint Peter's Basilica Friday, ahead of a beatification ceremony that will put him one step from sainthood.


Church officials including Kraków Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former secretary to the late pope, prayed and held a brief ceremony in front of the coffin. It was then carried a short distance to the tomb of Saint Peter.


Following Sunday's beatification Mass in the basilica, thousands of pilgrims are expected to file past the wooden coffin to pay their respects. Afterwards the coffin will be moved to a new crypt in the basilica, near the Michelangelo statue of the Pieta.


The marble slab that covered his first burial place will be sent to Poland, where the late Pope was born.


Among the thousands expected to attend the ceremony is controversial President Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwean leader has been banned from travel to the European Union, but the Vatican is a sovereign state and not part of the political bloc.

PILGRIMAGE to Rome for Beatification of Pope John Paul on 29th April, details from 087 2618 412.



By Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday, 25 December 2010



“Verbum caro factum est” – “The Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14).

Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the

world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came

to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is

no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.

This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most

daring hope. First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an

event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the

person of Jesus of Nazareth! Being in his presence, observing his works and

hearing his words, they recognized in Jesus the Messiah; and seeing him

risen, after his crucifixion, they were certain that he was true man and

true God, the only-begotten Son come from the Father, full of grace and

truth (cf. Jn 1:14).

“The Word became flesh”. Before this revelation we once more wonder: how can

this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the

eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one

answer: Love. Those who love desire to share with the beloved, they want to

be one with the beloved, and Sacred Scripture shows us the great love story

of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ.

God in fact does not change: he is faithful to himself. He who created the

world is the same one who called Abraham and revealed his name to Moses: “I

am who I am … the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … a God merciful and

gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (cf. Ex 3:14-15;

34:6). God does not change; he is Love, ever and always. In himself he is

communion, unity in Trinity, and all his words and works are directed to

communion. The Incarnation is the culmination of creation. When Jesus, the

Son of God incarnate, was formed in the womb of Mary by the will of the

Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, creation reached its high point.

The ordering principle of the universe, the Logos, began to exist in the

world, in a certain time and space.

“The Word became flesh”. The light of this truth is revealed to those who

receive it in faith, for it is a mystery of love. Only those who are open to

love are enveloped in the light of Christmas. So it was on that night in

Bethlehem, and so it is today. The Incarnation of the Son of God is an event

which occurred within history, while at the same time transcending history.

In the night of the world a new light was kindled, one which lets itself be

seen by the simple eyes of faith, by the meek and humble hearts of those who

await the Saviour. If the truth were a mere mathematical formula, in some

sense it would impose itself by its own power. But if Truth is Love, it

calls for faith, for the “yes” of our hearts.

And what do our hearts, in effect, seek, if not a Truth which is also Love?

Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young

people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their

life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the

family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion

to their earthly existence.

“The Word became flesh”. The proclamation of Christmas is also a light for

all peoples, for the collective journey of humanity. “Emmanuel”,

God-with-us, has come as King of justice and peace. We know that his Kingdom

is not of this world, and yet it is more important than all the kingdoms of

this world. It is like the leaven of humanity: were it lacking, the energy

to work for true development would flag: the impulse to work together for

the common good, in the disinterested service of our neighbour, in the

peaceful struggle for justice. Belief in the God who desired to share in our

history constantly encourages us in our own commitment to that history, for

all its contradictions. It is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is

offended and violated, since the one born in Bethlehem came to set every man

and woman free from the source of all enslavement.

May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was

born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and

peaceful coexistence. May the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel

ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved

Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East; may it bring

them comfort and hope for the future and bring the leaders of nations to

show them effective solidarity. May it also be so for those in Haiti who

still suffer in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the recent

cholera epidemic. May the same hold true not only for those in Colombia and

Venezuela, but also in Guatemala and Costa Rica, who recently suffered

natural disasters.

May the birth of the Saviour open horizons of lasting peace and authentic

progress for the peoples of Somalia, Darfur and Côte d’Ivoire; may it

promote political and social stability in Madagascar; may it bring security

and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and in Pakistan; may it

encourage dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and may it advance

reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and

courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not

lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and

conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep

alive the flame of hope. May the love of “God-with-us” grant perseverance to

all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and

inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for

the religious freedom of all.

Dear brothers and sisters, “the Word became flesh”; he came to dwell among

us; he is Emmanuel, the God who became close to us. Together let us

contemplate this great mystery of love; let our hearts be filled with the

light which shines in the stable of Bethlehem! To everyone, a Merry






POPE in England







Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Search For Him, Know Him and Love Him, and He Will Set You Free"








Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


“The Kingdom of God is very near to you!” (Lk 10:9). With these words of the Gospel we have just heard, I greet all of you with great affection in the Lord. Truly the Lord’s Kingdom is already in our midst! At this Eucharistic celebration in which the Church in Scotland gathers around the altar in union with the Successor of Peter, let us reaffirm our faith in Christ’s word and our hope – a hope which never disappoints – in his promises! I warmly greet Cardinal O’Brien and the Scottish Bishops; I thank in particular Archbishop Conti for his kind words of welcome on your behalf; and I express my deep gratitude for the work that the British and Scottish Governments and the Glasgow city fathers have done to make this occasion possible.


Today’s Gospel reminds us that Christ continues to send his disciples into the world in order to proclaim the coming of his Kingdom and to bring his peace into the world, beginning house by house, family by family, town by town. I have come as a herald of that peace to you, the spiritual children of Saint Andrew and to confirm you in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32). It is with some emotion that I address you, not far from the spot where my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass nearly thirty years ago with you and was welcomed by the largest crowd ever gathered in Scottish history.


Much has happened in Scotland and in the Church in this country since that historic visit. I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul’s call to you to walk hand in hand with your fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others. Let me encourage you to continue to pray and work with them in building a brighter future for Scotland based upon our common Christian heritage. In today’s first reading we heard Saint Paul appeal to the Romans to acknowledge that, as members of Christ’s body, we belong to each other (cf. Rom 12:5) and to live in respect and mutual love. In that spirit I greet the ecumenical representatives who honour us by their presence. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation Parliament, but also the 100th anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, which is widely acknowledged to mark the birth of the modern ecumenical movement. Let us give thanks to God for the promise which ecumenical understanding and cooperation represents for a united witness to the saving truth of God’s word in today’s rapidly changing society. Among the differing gifts which Saint Paul lists for the building up of the Church is that of teaching (cf. Rom 12:7).


The preaching of the Gospel has always been accompanied by concern for the word: the inspired word of God and the culture in which that word takes root and flourishes. Here in Scotland, I think of the three medieval universities founded here by the popes, including that of Saint Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary of its foundation. In the last 30 years and with the assistance of civil authorities, Scottish Catholic schools have taken up the challenge of providing an integral education to greater numbers of students, and this has helped young people not only along the path of spiritual and human growth, but also in entering the professions and public life. This is a sign of great hope for the Church, and I encourage the Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level. The evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times, when a “dictatorship of relativism” threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good. There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.


For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum. Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility. Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.


Saint Ninian, whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ. His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the first evangelization of this country. That work was later taken up by Saint Mungo, Glasgow’s own patron, and by other saints, the greatest of whom must include Saint Columba and Saint Margaret. Inspired by them, many men and women have laboured over many centuries to hand down the faith to you. Strive to be worthy of this great tradition! Let the exhortation of Saint Paul in the first reading be your constant inspiration: “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer” (cf. Rom 12:11-12).


I would now like to address a special word to the bishops of Scotland. Dear brothers, let me encourage you in your pastoral leadership of the Catholics of Scotland. As you know, one of your first pastoral duties is to your priests (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7) and to their sanctification. As they are alter Christus [another Christ] to the Catholic community, so you are to them. Live to the full the charity that flows from Christ, in your brotherly ministry towards your priests, collaborating with them all, and in particular with those who have little contact with their fellow priests. Pray with them for vocations, that the Lord of the harvest will send labourers to his harvest (cf. Lk 10:2).


Just as the Eucharist makes the Church, so the priesthood is central to the life of the Church. Engage yourselves personally in forming your priests as a body of men who inspire others to dedicate themselves completely to the service of Almighty God. Have a care also for your deacons, whose ministry of service is associated in a particular way with that of the order of bishops. Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called.


Dear priests of Scotland, you are called to holiness and to serve God’s people by modelling your lives on the mystery of the Lord’s cross. Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience. Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God’s people. May the example of Saint John Ogilvie, dedicated, selfless and brave, inspire all of you. Similarly, let me encourage you, the monks, nuns and religious of Scotland to be a light on a hilltop, living an authentic Christian life of prayer and action that witnesses in a luminous way to the power of the Gospel.


Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord (cf. Eph 4:1) and of yourselves. There are many temptations placed before you every day – drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol – which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive.


There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to pray for vocations: I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life. This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!


Dear friends, I express once more my joy at celebrating this Mass with you. I am happy to assure you of my prayers in the ancient language of your country: Sìth agus beannachd Dhe dhuibh uile; Dia bhi timcheall oirbh; agus gum beannaicheadh Dia Alba.


God’s peace and blessing to you all; God surround you; and may God bless the people of Scotland!








Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Sep 16, 2010 / 11:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- “We couldn't desire a better start” for the Pope's visit to the U.K., said Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, referring to the great crowds in Edinburgh. The Pope spent the morning at the queen's residence, but the thousands were able to see him traveling to and from the palace.


Pope Benedict XVI was met by what locals estimated to be 100,000 people on Princes St. in central Edinburgh as he made his way to the queen's residence on Thursday morning. Among the throng were 1,000 bagpipers who accompanied the Holy Father in a parade.


Upon arriving at the palace, the Pope gave his state welcome, encouraging British leaders to be a force for good. In her speech, Queen Elizabeth II highlighted points of cooperation between the Holy See and the U.K., hoping for mutually better understanding through dialogue so that “old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established.”


At a press conference following the occasion, the Vatican spokesman described the encounter between the two heads of state as a meeting between families due to the warm atmosphere in the Palace of Holyrood House. Their time together consisted of a private meeting along with the queen's husband Prince Philip, introductions to other members of the royal family, a gift exchange and a reception with around 400 guests representing different areas of British life.


Of the mix of members of parliament, education, healthcare and other British officials who were invited, around 120 were able to personally meet the Holy Father as he greeted them one by one.


Following the final reception in the back garden of the expansive estate, which is a former Augustinian monastery, the Holy Father made his way to Cardinal Keith O'Brien's house for lunch as the first scarce raindrops of a cool, but otherwise dry morning began to fall.


Speaking to journalists in the frenetically busy makeshift press office on site, Fr. Lombardi reflecting on the numbers of cheering people in the streets, saying, “We couldn't desire a better beginning for this trip ...”



Yesterday, on the EWTN "Open Line" radio broadcast, I received a question from a mother whose adult sons have left the Catholic Church and gone into "non-denominational" Protestantism. Concerned about maintaining a good relationship with them while telling them that they've made a big mistake in leaving the Faith, she asked what practical things she can do to help them come home.






Posted by Patrick Madrid




Deborah said

I heard it once said, that those who leave the Catholic church leave cause' they are not fed, or they don't know much and can learn more elsewhere... Coincidentally as soon as they leave and get to a non-denominational church, with the anti-Catholic indoctrination taught by many of these so called churches, (I've experienced this myself when I left the one true Catholic church) these new ex-Catholic Protestants seem to now know "EVERYTHING" about the Catholic church...But as I learned... ironically, I was being fed at the Catholic church...you see I was getting the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist every time I attended mass, and I couldn't get that at the protestant church...

Concerned Mom, I would just make yourself ready for when your son comes to you, because he will, with those typical talking points that they are taught in opposition of the Catholic church...Like...Why do you baptize infants, and The Pope is not who you say he is...and The authority is the bible alone, and once saved always saved, and Faith alone. and so on... You be prepared to apologise, (And I don't mean say sorry) I mean to defend the Church and her teachings, brush up on APOLOGETICS, and know how to use apologetics because you can win him back...Truth, when one hears the truth, it resonated through your heart mind body and soul...You plant the seed and it will grow, and with lost and lots of prayer, he will come back...I did, and thank God for all those who prayed for me, and all those who had patience, wisdom and knowledge to correct me and educate me on the truth. Without them I'd still be lost.




Anonymous said...

This may not help but I'm going to put it anyways... the RCC has a very glorios history. There is a link below of 13 episodes from Dr. Thomas E. Woods about the "unheard story of the RCC" (since our public schools tend to be biased against the church) in various fields such as the sciences and universities and priest's achievements.






meg said...

How about reading Catholicism and Fundamentalism in preparation - it's been years but it's a good source if memory serves.


Mostly pray, pray, pray, and fast, too, for your children. Daily rosary. My mother got 3 out of 4 of us back that way.




Maria said...

I would think that she would have to speak to her sons about the gravity of their decision to turn their back on Jesus in Holy Eucharist for "the teachings of men." Protestants can obviously be saved by being protestant -- but what of the salvation of Catholics who possessed the fullness of Truth and left?




By PATSY McGARRY and MARK HENNESSY in London, www.irishtimes.com, Updated: 18/09/2010

Pope talks of 'shame and humiliation' of abuse scandals




Irish Times Latest News


Pope Benedict XVI today spoke of the "shame and humiliation" brought by child abuse allegations against the Catholic Church.


Speaking during a televised service at London's Westminster Cathedral, he acknowledged the "immense suffering" inflicted by ministers. "I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the church and by her ministers," the Pope said.


"Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives.


The vigil will be the climax of the third day of the Pontiff's historic visit.


Benedict XVI's itinerary has not changed as a result of a police investigation which resulted in six arrests on Friday and this morning is meeting the British prime minister David Cameron


Mr Cameron missed the Pope's address to MPs in Parliament's Westminster Hall on Friday because he was attending the funeral of his father, Ian, who died last week.


The Pope will greet Mr Cameron at Archbishop's House, in central London, before welcoming Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and then Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the Opposition.


He will attend Mass at Westminster Cathedral at 10am.


Spectators will be able to catch a glimpse of the Pontiff as he travels by Popemobile along Horse Guards Road, The Mall, Constitution Hill and Hyde Park Corner from 6pm on his way to the Hyde Park prayer vigil.


It is intended as a celebration of the vitality of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and will include music, readings and drama as well as prayer and contemplation.


The event will be compered by television presenter Carol Vorderman and writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and teenage Britain's Got Talent star Liam McNally will sing.


Representatives from every Catholic diocese in England, Scotland and Wales will take part in a procession.


Speakers will include Barry and Margaret Mizen, the parents of murdered schoolboy Jimmy Mizen, who will talk about their son's death and how their faith has helped them through the past two years.


The couple said it was "a privilege" to be asked to take part.


During his visit, the Pope has warned of the faith's "increasing marginalisation" and repeatedly argued religion should be recognised for its "vital" contribution to the nation.


Last night Pope Benedict expressed fears for the future of religion as his historic visit to Britain continued despite six arrests over an alleged plot against him.


On a day that saw him make first visits by a pontiff to Lambeth Palace and Westminster Abbey, the pontiff expressed concerns “at the increasing marginalistion of religion, particularly of Christianity” and pointed to “worrying signs” that believers’ rights to freedom of religion and of conscience were under threat.


In a powerful address last night to leaders of British society at Westminster Abbey, where he took part in an ecumenical celebration, Pope Benedict said: “There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere.


“There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.


“And there are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience and freedom of religion.”


He also told his audience – who included former British prime ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher – that moral failure was to blame for the global crisis.


As crowds of the faithful – and protesters – thronged the streets of Westminster, the pontiff called for a strong role for religion in politics. Religion, he argued, should be recognised for its “vital” contribution to the nation.


Earlier, at a meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the pope gave thanks for “the remarkable progress” made in ecumenical relations in recent decades. But he continued, “we recognise that the church is called to be inclusive, yet never at the expense of Christian truth”.


Later at Westminster Abbey, he acknowledged the progress made on the ecumenical journey but said, “We must also recognise the challenges which confront us, not only on the path to Christian unity, but also in our task of proclaiming Christ in our day.”


The pope began the day with a reference to the child abuse scandal, saying schools must provide a “safe environment” for children. Speaking to religious leaders in St Mary’s College Twickenham, he said: “I wish to add a particular word of appreciation for those whose task it is to ensure that our schools provide a safe environment for children and young people. Our responsibility towards those entrusted to us for their Christian formation demands nothing less.”


Last night the National Secular Society, which has strongly opposed the state visit and the pope’s handling of child sex abuse cases and his views on homosexuality and other issues, called on protesters to join a march taking place near Hyde Park this afternoon.


The call came as six north African men, five employed as London street-cleaners, were being questioned by police last night under anti-terrorism legislation, following a dawn raid by armed officers. So far, however, nothing has been found to show they were involved in any plot to harm the pope, though police acted on information received late on Thursday night.


Security remained tight for the visit, but no changes were made to the pope’s plans for his busy day of engagements.



B 16 in Scotland


Written by Sherry

Thursday, 16 September 2010 06:08

I got up at 3:30 am to see the Pope's arrival in Scotland. I quickly got

frustrated with the EWTN coverage. (Raymond Arroyo talking about Elizabeth I

and the Scottish Reformation occurring 600 years ago. Ray. Baby. "Good

Queen Bess" died just over 400 years ago and the Scots are celebrating the

450th anniversary of their Reformation this year. Try again.)

It was a real relief to listen to the cheery, professional commentary of the

BBC's Scottish talking heads, who were well informed, remarkably positive,

and sounded genuinely surprised and pleased with the Pope, regularly using

language like "warm" to describe his interactions with the Queen. Besides,

listening to their accents (Scottish and Welsh) was such fun. And may I say

that listening to their accents goes very well with a big, strong mug of

Yorkshire Gold tea.

It was lovely to see Edinburgh again. Prince's Street, the National Gallery

of Art, and of course, Edinburgh Castle with its 11th century chapel. My

sister and I visited as part of a victory celebration when I finished grad

school. It was May and like today, reasonably good weather - but c-o-l-d!

O-o-o-o-o . . . how that wind whips down the Royal Mile.

It was touching to watch an English Queen named Elizabeth stand side by side

with the Pope at Holyrood Palace where long ago, a a pregnant Catholic Queen

named Mary watched her secretary be stabbed to death by her husband's

agents. It was fun to contemplate John Knox - whose home was only a couple

blocks away and whose stern visage is still visible about the city - rolling

in his grave and thundering in his righteous rage, for he was not the sort

of man who let worldly things like a sense of occasion silence him.

For four centuries, a stern and very anti-Catholic Reformation identity

dominated Scotland, and suddenly, within two generations, it has vanished.

The historic enemies have rapidly become co-belligerents in many areas

including defending the value of religion against an aggressive

anti-religious secularism as Pope Benedict's speech made clear.

Those who came seemed very happy to be there. The crowds were, I

understand, considerably smaller than when Pope John Paul II came in 1982.

(Update: I see that the BBC has estimated that 125,000 gathered to see the

Pope in Edinburgh. That's respectable in a country that only has 700,000

Catholics. Approximately 250,000 came to see John Paul II. ) That would be

just after JPII had survived an assassination attempt the year before, so

security was considerably bulked up, I'm sure. But I would guess the

security for this papal journey is even tighter.

One of the fun things about this work are the amazing people you get to

meet. I once interviewed a man who had been part of both Presidential and

papal security details.


I love it. There is a sharp 106 year old Scottish women attending the papal

Mass in Glasgow. She was glowing in her beautiful maroon hat and scarf as

she spoke of what it meant to her.

They estimate the crowd at the Glasgow Mass to be about 70,000. It

certainly looked impressive in the wide angle shots. About 300,000 attended

Mass at the same venue with Pope John Paul II in 1982. Where would they

have put them?





Whispers in the Loggia

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

For the Pope, Parliament Goes Dry

As has been well noted over the run-up to the UK PopeTrip, no shortage of

unprecedented measures are being taken across the board to ensure the

weekend pilgrimage's safe and smooth operation.


Of all the firsts set to roll starting tomorrow morning, however, one

particularly stands out: drunkenness being a celebrated tradition in the

Mother of Parliaments, the Telegraph reports that the roughly 20

taxpayer-subsidized bars in the Palace of Westminster will be shuttered on

Friday in deference to B16's visit and speech in Westminster Hall -- site of

the trial of St Thomas More on charges of high treason in 1535.


Speaking of which engagement (just on a more serious note), the Catholic

Herald's man in Rome, Edward Pentin -- who memorably scored the Coup of the

Century (well, the first one) early last year -- relays word from the

Vatican Palace that the pontiff's Westminster address before an audience of

parliamentarians, diplomats, academic and business leaders is being

considered by papal aides as among Benedict's "most important speeches



Built in the late 11th century, the site of the talk is the only remaining

part of the first royal residence raised along the banks of the Thames, the

bulk of its most recent incarnation dating to the mid-1800s following its

16th century predecessor's destruction in an 1834 fire. (Much of the "New

Palace" had to be rebuilt again following heavy damage taken by bombings

during World War II.)


The speech to be followed by a historic Evensong at Westminster Abbey

alongside the archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the Pope's

Whitehall programme gets underway just after 5pm London time Friday





In the Crucifix of Westminster, the Pope Sees the Suffering of Those Children

The complete text of the homily at the cathedral of London, with a touching tribute to the victims of sexual abuse. "In the life of the Church, in her trials and tribulations, Christ continues to be in agony until the end of the world"


by Benedict XVI








Dear Friends in Christ,


I greet all of you with joy in the Lord and I thank you for your warm reception. I am grateful to Archbishop Nichols for his words of welcome on your behalf. Truly, in this meeting of the Successor of Peter and the faithful of Britain, "heart speaks unto heart" as we rejoice in the love of Christ and in our common profession of the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles. I am especially happy that our meeting takes place in this Cathedral dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, which is the sign of God’s redemptive mercy poured out upon the world through the passion, death and resurrection of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In a particular way I greet the Archbishop of Canterbury, who honours us by his presence.


The visitor to this Cathedral cannot fail to be struck by the great crucifix dominating the nave, which portrays Christ’s body, crushed by suffering, overwhelmed by sorrow, the innocent victim whose death has reconciled us with the Father and given us a share in the very life of God. The Lord’s outstretched arms seem to embrace this entire church, lifting up to the Father all the ranks of the faithful who gather around the altar of the Eucharistic sacrifice and share in its fruits. The crucified Lord stands above and before us as the source of our life and salvation, "the high priest of the good things to come", as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews calls him in today’s first reading (Heb 9:11).


It is in the shadow, so to speak, of this striking image, that I would like to consider the word of God which has been proclaimed in our midst and reflect on the mystery of the Precious Blood. For that mystery leads us to see the unity between Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, the Eucharistic sacrifice which he has given to his Church, and his eternal priesthood, whereby, seated at the right hand of the Father, he makes unceasing intercession for us, the members of his mystical body.


Let us begin with the sacrifice of the Cross. The outpouring of Christ’s blood is the source of the Church’s life. Saint John, as we know, sees in the water and blood which flowed from our Lord’s body the wellspring of that divine life which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit and communicated to us in the sacraments (Jn 19:34; cf. 1 Jn 1:7; 5:6-7). The Letter to the Hebrews draws out, we might say, the liturgical implications of this mystery. Jesus, by his suffering and death, his self-oblation in the eternal Spirit, has become our high priest and "the mediator of a new covenant" (Heb 9:15). These words echo our Lord’s own words at the Last Supper, when he instituted the Eucharist as the sacrament of his body, given up for us, and his blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant shed for the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mk 14:24; Mt 26:28; Lk 22:20).


Faithful to Christ’s command to "do this in memory of me" (Lk 22:19), the Church in every time and place celebrates the Eucharist until the Lord returns in glory, rejoicing in his sacramental presence and drawing upon the power of his saving sacrifice for the redemption of the world. The reality of the Eucharistic sacrifice has always been at the heart of Catholic faith; called into question in the sixteenth century, it was solemnly reaffirmed at the Council of Trent against the backdrop of our justification in Christ. Here in England, as we know, there were many who staunchly defended the Mass, often at great cost, giving rise to that devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist which has been a hallmark of Catholicism in these lands.


The Eucharistic sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ embraces in turn the mystery of our Lord’s continuing passion in the members of his Mystical Body, the Church in every age. Here the great crucifix which towers above us serves as a reminder that Christ, our eternal high priest, daily unites our own sacrifices, our own sufferings, our own needs, hopes and aspirations, to the infinite merits of his sacrifice. Through him, with him, and in him, we lift up our own bodies as a sacrifice holy and acceptable to God (cf. Rom 12:1). In this sense we are caught up in his eternal oblation, completing, as Saint Paul says, in our flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the Church (cf. Col 1:24). In the life of the Church, in her trials and tribulations, Christ continues, in the stark phrase of Pascal, to be in agony until the end of the world (Pensées, 553, éd. Brunschvicg).


We see this aspect of the mystery of Christ’s precious blood represented, most eloquently, by the martyrs of every age, who drank from the cup which Christ himself drank, and whose own blood, shed in union with his sacrifice, gives new life to the Church. It is also reflected in our brothers and sisters throughout the world who even now are suffering discrimination and persecution for their Christian faith. Yet it is also present, often hidden in the suffering of all those individual Christians who daily unite their sacrifices to those of the Lord for the sanctification of the Church and the redemption of the world. My thoughts go in a special way to all those who are spiritually united with this Eucharistic celebration, and in particular the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and those who suffer mentally and spiritually.


Here too I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ’s grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives. I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of the victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people. I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests.


Dear friends, let us return to the contemplation of the great crucifix which rises above us. Our Lord’s hands, extended on the Cross, also invite us to contemplate our participation in his eternal priesthood and thus our responsibility, as members of his body, to bring the reconciling power of his sacrifice to the world in which we live. The Second Vatican Council spoke eloquently of the indispensable role of the laity in carrying forward the Church’s mission through their efforts to serve as a leaven of the Gospel in society and to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in the world (cf. Lumen Gentium, 31; Apostolicam Actuositatem, 7). The Council’s appeal to the lay faithful to take up their baptismal sharing in Christ’s mission echoed the insights and teachings of John Henry Newman. May the profound ideas of this great Englishman continue to inspire all Christ’s followers in this land to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ, and to work strenuously to defend those unchanging moral truths which, taken up, illuminated and confirmed by the Gospel, stand at the foundation of a truly humane, just and free society.


How much contemporary society needs this witness! How much we need, in the Church and in society, witnesses of the beauty of holiness, witnesses of the splendour of truth, witnesses of the joy and freedom born of a living relationship with Christ! One of the greatest challenges facing us today is how to speak convincingly of the wisdom and liberating power of God’s word to a world which all too often sees the Gospel as a constriction of human freedom, instead of the truth which liberates our minds and enlightens our efforts to live wisely and well, both as individuals and as members of society.


Let us pray, then, that the Catholics of this land will become ever more conscious of their dignity as a priestly people, called to consecrate the world to God through lives of faith and holiness. And may this increase of apostolic zeal be accompanied by an outpouring of prayer for vocations to the ordained priesthood. For the more the lay apostolate grows, the more urgently the need for priests is felt; and the more the laity’s own sense of vocation is deepened, the more what is proper to the priest stands out. May many young men in this land find the strength to answer the Master’s call to the ministerial priesthood, devoting their lives, their energy and their talents to God, thus building up his people in unity and fidelity to the Gospel, especially through the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice.


Dear friends, in this Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood, I invite you once more to look to Christ, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection (cf. Heb 12:2). I ask you to unite yourselves ever more fully to the Lord, sharing in his sacrifice on the Cross and offering him that "spiritual worship" (Rom 12:1) which embraces every aspect of our lives and finds expression in our efforts to contribute to the coming of his Kingdom. I pray that, in doing so, you may join the ranks of faithful believers throughout the long Christian history of this land in building a society truly worthy of man, worthy of your nation’s highest traditions.


Westminster Cathedral, September 18, 2010





ope's 'Astonishing' Visit to Britain

Share by Edward Pentin Saturday, September 18, 2010 8:35 AM Comments (3)


A nun laughs as she chats with a police officer while she waits to see Pope Benedict XVI's popemobile cross Lambeth Bridge in central London Sept. 17. (CNS photo/Andrew Winning, Reuters)


Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster described the events of yesterday in which the Pope gave addresses in Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, and Lambeth Palace as “astonishing.”


It was the first time the Successor of Peter had ever set foot in any of these historic buildings which have been pillars of Church and State in Britain for the past two millennia.


In his first briefing of the visit to journalists today, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the welcome the Pope received at Westminster Hall and Abbey were “extraordinary”. He added that the Pope was “very impressed” by the richness of the Anglican liturgy in Westminster Abbey.


The Vatican spokesman said the Holy Father has was “obviously grateful” for the kind hospitality that has been shown him during his four day visit. Summaries of all of yesterday’s historic speeches can be found here.


Benedict XVI made a second reference on this trip to the sexual abuse scandal today, during his homily during Mass at Westminster Cathedral. He expressed “deep sorrow” for sexual abuse by priests, and called them “unspeakable crimes”. But he also spoke about it in the context of Christ’s suffering which has been imitated through the history of Christian martyrdom.

Some commentators were wondering whether the Pope was equating being a victim of child abuse to being a martyr, but Fr. Lombardi said there was no parallel. Although both clearly involve suffering, they are of “different” kinds, he said.


Fr. Jonathan How, a spokesman for the bishops conference, told me the Pope was simply placing the “humiliation and shame” of Christ in the context of the abuse scandal. “If we feel shamed and humiliated by [the abuse],” he said, “we are only sharing in what the victims and Christ experienced.”


At the briefing with Fr. Lombardi, a journalist pointed out that the Pope looked tired but happy during the visit. Fr. Lombardi responded by stressing that the Pope is 83 years old, but has a “profound spirit and serenity” on this visit. He said the Holy Father’s attitude on these visits, ones which are preceded by a good deal of controversy, is that they always work out well.


“He is perhaps more in touch with the reality than the media,” he said, adding that the general attitudes of society and the faithful are always more favourable than hostile. Fr. Lombardi said he himself is “not surprised or shocked” by protestors who are marching near Hyde Park this afternoon.


“We know there are groups that criticize and have the right to express their views – something the Pope has said is a positive tradition in the United Kingdom,” he said. “We recognize what the reality is and that large numbers want to meet the Pope.”


Later today, the Pope will visit an old people’s home during which he will probably address issues related to marriage, life and the family. Afterwards he will lead a prayer vigil in Hyde Park on the eve of the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.



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Posted by T Pitt Green on Saturday, Sep 18, 2010 9:48 AM (EST):There’s so much hope in leaving the false boundaries between us in the past - and to be all the better known by our Love.


Posted by peter gerard on Saturday, Sep 18, 2010 10:24 AM (EST):As a Briton, I have been concerned by the intensely negative media approach to the Papal visit, but the faithful have now spoken and from Edinburgh to Glasgow and London, the Pope has been given the kind of welcome that is rightly associated with his status. Those who would portray these islands as secular should look at the reception the Pope has received from Catholics and non-Catholics.



Pope Benedict XVI is in England 19th Sept. 2010 to canonize John Henry
Newman. Born in London in February 1801 to John Newman, a banker and his
wife, John Jnr. was brought up in the Protestant Faith. He was a brilliant
student who delighted in reading the Bible and went to Oxford University in
1825 where he was a brilliant student and was ordained into the Anglican
priesthood. He read widely, did parochial work while he taught at Oxford
University. He also did deep research into the Christian Church. He saw the
Catholic Church as being in error and the Pope as anti Christ. Worried about
the lax nature of the Anglican faith, John was involved in the Oxford
Movement which sought to reform Anglicanism. Going on a European tour in
1832 he was impressed with Rome, but saw the Catholic Faith as “degrading
and idolatrous”. He wrote Tracts aiming to make the Church of England more
disciplined and more sound in its doctrine. He had a huge influence because
of his writing and preaching, but was much criticized by the Anglican
establishment. In 1842 John withdrew to live a monastic life, writing and
reflecting, until finally in 1845 he was received into the Catholic Church.
He was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome in 1846. Joining an order of
priests devoted to reflection and meditation he wrote many articles, books
and poems including The Sacred Spring, his autobiography, The Dream of
Gerontius, and Idea of a University. At the invitation of the Irish Bishops
John was invited to Dublin where he spent four years trying to found a Irish
University. He was very involved in education and founded a school for boys
as well as being involved in publishing and writing. He was very influential
in England defending the Catholic Church, its doctrine and social justice.
John’s credibility and popularity as well as his sincerity helped to make
the Catholic Church respectable and influential in England after the dark
days of the Penal Laws and persecution. His writings reflect his deep
spiritual life and he is the author of many hymns including Lead Kindly
Light. Finally, in 1879 John was elevated to the rank of Cardinal by Pope
Leo XIII, an honour which was very well received by all Catholics and non
Catholics in England. He died in 1890. In 1991 a miracle was attributed to
him and John was declared Venerable.  Pope Benedict  canonized him in
Fr. Kevin. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney




The last four days began in anxiety, but ended in euphoria


By William Oddie on Monday, 20 September 2010


The visit was a personal triumph for the Holy Father himself (Photo: PA)


How does one sum up the papal visit in a few words? A survey of the four days, event by event – four days which began (so far as I am concerned) in anxiety which quickly turned to relief and ended finally in euphoria – simply can’t be done in less than the length of a short book, and I have only 400 or 500 words for this post, though in the print edition of the paper which appears later this week I shall be given more than double the space for an extended version of it, in which I shall look also at the very interesting coverage of the visit by the secular media. That aspect of the visit will have to be briefly summarised here by the words of Dr George Carey in the News of the World: “he came, he saw, he conquered”.


The richness, volume and sheer variety of the teaching the Pope gave us, and its perfect suitability for each of its many very different audiences, ranging from his intellectually hugely impressive address to the leaders of civil society in Westminster Hall to his call to that enthusiastic audience of schoolchildren to aim at becoming saints, was astonishing. And perhaps the first thing that needs to be said is that this was above all a personal triumph for the Holy Father himself. What came over consistently was the huge warmth, the seemingly inexhaustible loving kindness of the Pope’s gentle but nevertheless powerful personality. After all the caricatures, the man emerged.


Despite his intellectual impressiveness, which was evident throughout, everyone now knows that this is no withdrawn, scholarly rigorist, incapable of relating to people or understanding their lives: this alleged coldness, it was widely claimed, was what explained the supposed lack of enthusiasm about the visit, even among Catholics.


Well, we will hear no more now about his purported lack of charisma, an assessment invariably followed with a comparison, to Pope Benedict’s disadvantage, with John Paul II. Pope Benedict is, we have now all seen, hugely charismatic: but his charisma is of a different kind, less dramatic, less forcefully energetic than that of Pope John Paul.


Of course; they were always very different men: but Pope Benedict has all the charisma he needs, and in both the senses given by the Oxford Dictionary: 1) “a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others” and 2) “a divinely conferred power or talent”. For, in the end, let us never forget that what we have witnessed has come from God, whose presence has been very close throughout not only to the Pope himself but also to all who were praying for his success – protecting, inspiring, allaying our fears and in the end fulfilling all our hopes.











The Pope's Last Wishes in the United Kingdom

He has gathered from his journey "how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the Good News of Jesus Christ." And therefore he has urged the bishops to preach the Gospel in its entirety: "including those elements which call into question the widespread assumptions of today’s culture"


by Sandro Magister








ROME, September 19, 2010 – On this, his fourth and last day in the United Kingdom, Benedict XVI has elevated to the honors of the altar Blessed John Henry Newman, during the Mass celebrated in Cofton Park in Birmingham (in the photo).


In the homily, the pope again brought to light the relevance of Newman's vision, in particular for teachers and priests.


In the afternoon, also in Birmingham, in the chapel of the Francis Martin House of Oscott College, Benedict XVI met with the bishops of England, Scotland, and Wales.


In the speech he addressed to them, he insisted on the revival of evangelization, on the fight against pedophilia, and on a more devout celebration of the Eucharist with the new English translation of the missal.


The pope also urged the bishops to be "generous" in welcoming the Anglican communities that want to enter the Catholic Church: "a prophetic gesture that... helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity."


Below are the final part of the homily and the salient passages of the speech to the bishops.









[...] The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing "subjects of the day". His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world.


I would like to pay particular tribute to his vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today. Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together. The project to found a Catholic University in Ireland provided him with an opportunity to develop his ideas on the subject, and the collection of discourses that he published as "The Idea of a University" holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn. And indeed, what better goal could teachers of religion set themselves than Blessed John Henry’s famous appeal for an intelligent, well-instructed laity: "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it" ("The Present Position of Catholics in England", IX, 390). On this day when the author of those words is raised to the altars, I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us.


While it is John Henry Newman’s intellectual legacy that has understandably received most attention in the vast literature devoted to his life and work, I prefer on this occasion to conclude with a brief reflection on his life as a priest, a pastor of souls. The warmth and humanity underlying his appreciation of the pastoral ministry is beautifully expressed in another of his famous sermons: "Had Angels been your priests, my brethren, they could not have condoled with you, sympathized with you, have had compassion on you, felt tenderly for you, and made allowances for you, as we can; they could not have been your patterns and guides, and have led you on from your old selves into a new life, as they can who come from the midst of you" ("Men, not Angels: the Priests of the Gospel", in "Discourses to Mixed Congregations", 3).


He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison. No wonder that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here. One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls. What better way to express the joy of this moment than by turning to our heavenly Father in heartfelt thanksgiving, praying in the words that Blessed John Henry Newman placed on the lips of the choirs of angels in heaven: "Praise to the Holiest in the height / And in the depth be praise; / In all his words most wonderful, / Most sure in all his ways!" ("The dream of Gerontius").







[...] In the course of my visit it has become clear to me how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the Good News of Jesus Christ. You have been chosen by God to offer them the living water of the Gospel, encouraging them to place their hopes, not in the vain enticements of this world, but in the firm assurances of the next. As you proclaim the coming of the Kingdom, with its promise of hope for the poor and the needy, the sick and the elderly, the unborn and the neglected, be sure to present in its fulness the life-giving message of the Gospel, including those elements which call into question the widespread assumptions of today’s culture. As you know, a Pontifical Council has recently been established for the New Evangelization of countries of long-standing Christian tradition, and I would encourage you to avail yourselves of its services in addressing the task before you. Moreover, many of the new ecclesial movements have a particular charism for evangelization, and I know that you will continue to explore appropriate and effective ways of involving them in the mission of the Church. [...]


Another matter which has received much attention in recent months, and which seriously undermines the moral credibility of Church leaders, is the shameful abuse of children and young people by priests and religious. I have spoken on many occasions of the deep wounds that such behaviour causes, in the victims first and foremost, but also in the relationships of trust that should exist between priests and people, between priests and their bishops, and between the Church authorities and the public. I know that you have taken serious steps to remedy this situation, to ensure that children are effectively protected from harm and to deal properly and transparently with allegations as they arise. You have publicly acknowledged your deep regret over what has happened, and the often inadequate ways it was addressed in the past. Your growing awareness of the extent of child abuse in society, its devastating effects, and the need to provide proper victim support should serve as an incentive to share the lessons you have learned with the wider community. Indeed, what better way could there be of making reparation for these sins than by reaching out, in a humble spirit of compassion, towards children who continue to suffer abuse elsewhere? Our duty of care towards the young demands nothing less.


As we reflect on the human frailty that these tragic events so starkly reveal, we are reminded that, if we are to be effective Christian leaders, we must live lives of the utmost integrity, humility and holiness. As Blessed John Henry Newman once wrote, "O that God would grant the clergy to feel their weakness as sinful men, and the people to sympathize with them and love them and pray for their increase in all good gifts of grace" (Sermon, 22 March 1829). [...]


Finally, I should like to speak to you about two specific matters that affect your episcopal ministry at this time. One is the imminent publication of the new translation of the Roman Missal. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the contribution you have made, with such painstaking care, to the collegial exercise of reviewing and approving the texts. This has provided an immense service to Catholics throughout the English-speaking world. I encourage you now to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration. "The more lively the eucharistic faith of the people of God, the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples" (Sacramentum Caritatis, 6).


The other matter I touched upon in February with the Bishops of England and Wales, when I asked you to be generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus." This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all. Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when that goal can be accomplished. [...]





The program and texts of Benedict XVI's trip:


> Apostolic Journey to the United Kingdom, 16-19 September 2010





The latest three articles from www.chiesa:



> Newman spoke this evening in Hyde Park

The teaching of the great convert, in the pope's meditation on the eve of his beatification. "Passion for the truth is costly: it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied"



> In the Crucifix of Westminster, the Pope Sees the Suffering of Those Children

The complete text of the homily at the cathedral of London, with a touching tribute to the victims of sexual abuse. "In the life of the Church, in her trials and tribulations, Christ continues to be in agony until the end of the world"



> "Unam Sanctam." The Church of Peter in London

Benedict XVI invites young people to become saints. He calls for unity among Christians and religious men. And to politicians and men of culture, he proposes reciprocal "purification" between reason and faith






Monday, September 20, 2010

An insider's view of the papal trip to Britain

I met Paul Burnell, a UK-based Catholic journalist, at "The Church Up Close" program in Rome earlier this month. Paul checked out of the newsroom to attend the beatification Mass for Cardinal John Henry Newman as a regular member of the faithful this weekend. I asked him if he would be willing to share his experience with OSV Daily Take. Thank you, Paul, for giving us this exclusive insider's view:


By Paul Burnell


Pope Benedict came to Britain to beatify John Henry Cardinal Newman – one shy intellectual Catholic genius honouring another. But in a certain sense the pope’s visit resembled that of the forgotten hero in the Newman story – Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Italian Passionist who received Newman into the Church.


Pronouncing the Church’s latest Blessed at the massive outdoor Mass in Birmingham on September 19, the Pope revealed that his feast day would be October 9, the day when Blessed Dominic arrived soaked to the skin and freezing at Littlemore near Oxford after traveling on top of a stage coach to Oxford from the North of England. Blessed Dominic believed in the conversion of England, a vision that had inspired his order’s founder, St Pa