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My People

Vol. 28, Issue 7, July 2015

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14


Families Have Key Educational Mission

Pope Francis addressed the family's role in educating their children in his May 20 General Audience. The Pope's address follows:

"... Today we will pause to reflect on an essential characteristic of the family, the natural vocation to educate children so they may grow up to be responsible for themselves and for others. What we heard from the Apostle Paul, at the start, is very beautiful: 'Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged' (Col 3:20-21). This is a wise rule: children should be raised to listen to their parents and obey their parents, who, in turn, should not order them around in a negative way, so as not to discourage the children. Children, indeed, must grow without becoming discouraged, step by step. If you parents say to your children: 'Let's climb this ladder' and you take them by the hand and, step by step, help them climb, things will go well. But if you say: 'Go up!' - 'But I can't' - 'Go!', this is called provoking your children, asking them to do things they don't have the ability to do. That is why the relationship between parents and children must be one of wisdom, of a great balance. Children, obey your parents, this pleases God. And you parents, don't provoke your children by asking of them things they can't do. And this needs to be done so that children can grow up to be responsible for themselves and for others.

"It would seem like an obvious statement, there are difficulties still in our times. It is hard to educate when parents only see their children in the evening, when they come home tired from work. Well, those who are fortunate enough to work! It is even more difficult for parents who are separated, who are weighed down by their condition: the poor dears, they have had real hardships, they have separated and frequently the child is taken hostage and the father speaks ill of the mother, and the mother speaks ill of the father, and so much harm is done. But I say to separated parents: never, never, never take your child hostage! You separated because of many difficulties and reasons, life has given you this trial, but the children should not be the ones to carry the weight of this separation, they should not be used as hostages against the other spouse, they should grow up hearing their mother speak well of their father, even though they are not together, and the father speak well of their mother. For separated parents this is very important and very difficult, but they can do it.

"Above all, the question is: how should we educate? What tradition do we have today to pass on to our children?

"Intellectual 'critics' of every kind have silenced parents in countless ways, in order to protect the younger generations from the damage - real or presumed - of family education. The family stands accused, among other things, of being authoritarian, of favoritism, of conformism, of the emotional repression that generates conflict.

"In fact, a rift has opened up between the family and society, between the family and school, the educational pact today has been broken; and thus, the educational alliance between society and the family is in crisis because mutual trust has been undermined. There are many symptoms. For example, at school relationships between parents and teachers have been compromised. At times there is tension and mutual distrust; and naturally, the consequences fall on the children. On the other hand, the number of so-called 'experts' has multiplied, and they have assumed the role of parents in even the most intimate aspects of education. With regard to emotional life, personality, and development, rights and duties, these 'experts' know everything: objectives, motivations, techniques. And parents must simply listen, learn, and adapt. Deprived of their role, they often become overly apprehensive and possessive of their children, to the point of never correcting them: 'You cannot correct the child.' They tend to entrust them more and more to the 'experts,' even in the most delicate and personal aspects of their lives, putting themselves alone in a corner; and thus parents today run the risk of excluding themselves from the lives of their children. And this is very grave! Today there are cases like this. I am not saying that it always happens, but there are cases. The teacher will admonish the child at school and send a note to the parents. I remember a personal anecdote. Once, when I was in the fourth grade, I said a bad word to the teacher and the teacher, being a good woman, called my mom. She came the next day, they spoke together, and then I was called. And my mother explained to me in front of the teacher that what I had done was bad, that I shouldn't have done it; but my mother did it with such sweetness and she asked me to apologize to the teacher in front of her. I did it and then I was glad that I did: the story had a happy ending. But that was only the first chapter! When I got home, the second chapter began ... Imagine today if a teacher were to do something of the kind, the next day the parents, or one of the two, would seek to admonish her, because the 'experts' say that children should not be reproached like this. Things have changed! That is why parents should not exclude themselves from their children's education.

"It is clear that this approach is not good: it is not harmony, it is not dialogue, and rather than fostering cooperation between the family and other educational agencies, schools, gymnasiums ... it counteracts it.

"How did we get to this point? There is no doubt that parents or, better yet, certain past educational models had their limitations, there is no doubt. But it is also true that there are mistakes that only parents are allowed to make, because they can compensate for them in a way that is impossible for anyone else. On the other hand, as we well know, life has become stingy with the time for talking, reflecting, and facing oneself. Many parents are 'sequestered' by work - mom and dad have to work - and by worries, uncomfortable with the new needs of their children and with the complexity of modern life - which is the way it is and we must accept it as it is - and they find themselves as if paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake. The problem, however, is not just talking. Superficial 'dialogue' does not lead to a true meeting of mind and heart. Let us ask instead: do we seek to understand 'where' our children really are in their journey? Where is their soul, do we really know? And above all: do we want to know? Are we convinced that they, in reality, aren't waiting for something else?

"Christian communities are called to offer support to the educational mission of families, and they do this first of all with the light of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul recalls the reciprocity of duties between parents and children: 'Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged' (Col 3:20-21). At the foundation of everything is love, that which God gives us, which 'is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but ... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things' (1 Cor 13:5-7). Even the best families need support, and it takes a lot of patience to support one another! But such is life. Life is not lived in a laboratory, but in reality. Jesus Himself experienced a family upbringing.

"Also in this case, the grace of the love of Christ leads to the fulfillment of what is inscribed in human nature. How many astounding examples we have of Christian parents filled with human wisdom! They show that a good family upbringing is the backbone of humanity. Its radiance in society is the source that allows us to fill in the gaps, wounds, and voids in parenthood that affect less fortunate children. This radiance can work real miracles. And in the Church these miracles happen every day!

"I hope that the Lord bestows on Christian families the faith, freedom, and courage necessary for their mission. If family education rediscovers the pride of its leadership, many things will change for the better, for uncertain parents and for disappointed children. It is time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile - for they have exiled themselves from their children's upbringing - and to fully resume their educational role. We hope that the Lord gives this grace to parents: to not exile themselves from the education of their children. And this can only be done with love, tenderness, and patience."

Artisans Of Peace Needed

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - Following his address to the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 6, Pope Francis travelled by car to the Kosevo stadium, where he was awaited by more than sixty thousand people to participate in the Holy Mass. The readings were dedicated to peace and justice, and the ceremony took place in the Croatian language. In his homily (which he pronounced in Italian, with translations in Croatian), the Holy Father emphasized that peace is God's plan for humanity, and again denounced those who seek confrontation between cultures and civilizations; citing the prophet Isaiah, he reiterated that if the work of justice is peace, then that peace is built by hand, day by day. The following is the full text of his homily.

"The word peace echoes several times through the Scripture readings which we have just heard. It is a powerful, prophetic word! Peace is God's dream, His plan for humanity, for history, for all creation. And it is a plan which always meets opposition from men and from the evil one. Even in our time, the desire for peace and the commitment to build peace collide with the reality of many armed conflicts presently affecting our world. They are a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal and, in the context of global communications, we sense an atmosphere of war.

"Some wish to incite and foment this atmosphere deliberately, mainly those who want conflict between different cultures and societies, and those who speculate on wars for the purpose of selling arms. But war means children, women, and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement of peoples; it means destroyed houses, streets, and factories; it means, above all, countless shattered lives. You know this well, having experienced it here: how much suffering, how much destruction, how much pain! Today, dear brothers and sisters, the cry of God's people goes up once again from this city, the cry of all men and women of good will: no more war!

"Within this atmosphere of war, like a ray of sunshine piercing the clouds, resound the words of Jesus in the Gospel: 'Blessed are the peacemakers.' This appeal is always applicable, in every generation. He does not say: 'Blessed are the preachers of peace,' since all are capable of proclaiming peace, even in a hypocritical, or indeed duplicitous, manner. No. He says: 'Blessed are the peacemakers,' that is, those who make peace. Crafting peace is a skilled work: it requires passion, patience, experience, and tenacity. Blessed are those who sow peace by their daily actions, their attitudes, and acts of kindness, of fraternity, of dialogue, of mercy ... These, indeed, 'shall be called children of God,' for God sows peace, always, everywhere; in the fullness of time, He sowed in the world His Son, that we might have peace! Peacemaking is a work to be carried forward each day, step by step, without ever growing tired.

"So how does one do this, how do we build peace? The prophet Isaiah reminds us succinctly: 'The effect of righteousness will be peace.' Opus justitiae pax ('the work of justice is peace'), from the Vulgate version of Scripture, has become a famous motto, even adopted prophetically by Pope Pius XII. Peace is a work of justice. Here too: not a justice proclaimed, imagined, planned ... but rather a justice put into practice, lived out. The Gospel teaches us that the ultimate fulfilment of justice is love: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' When, by the grace of God, we truly follow this commandment, how things change! Because we ourselves change! Those whom I looked upon as my enemy really have the same face as I do, the same heart, the same soul. We have the same Father in heaven. True justice, then, is doing to others what I would want them to do to me, to my people.

"St. Paul, in the second reading, shows us the attitude needed to make peace: 'Put on then ... compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.' These are the attitudes necessary to become artisans of peace precisely where we live out our daily lives. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking that this all depends on us! We would fall into an illusive moralising. Peace is a gift from God, not in the magical sense, but because with His Spirit He can imprint these attitudes in our hearts and in our flesh, and can make us true instruments of His peace. And, going further, the Apostle says that peace is a gift of God because it is the fruit of his reconciliation with us. Only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled with God can human beings become artisans of peace.

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, today we ask the Lord together, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the grace to have a simple heart, the grace of patience, the grace to struggle and work for justice, to be merciful, to work for peace, to sow peace and not war and discord. This is the way which brings happiness, which leads to blessedness."

Pope Gives Sarajevo A Message Of Hope

"The Church is not born isolated, she is born universal, one and Catholic, with a precise identity, open to all, not closed, an identity which embraces the entire world, excluding no one. Mother Church closes her door in the face of no one, no one! Not even to the greatest sinner, to no one! This is through the power, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Mother Church opens, opens wide her doors to everyone because she is mother." - Pope Francis

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - Pope Francis arrived shortly after 9 a.m., June 6 in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the destination of his eighth apostolic trip. The central theme of the Holy See's concern for Bosnia-Herzegovina - visited twice by St. John Paul II - is peace, and this is perpetuated in the theme chosen for Pope Francis' visit: "Peace be with you."

The Pontiff, who left Rome at 7.30 a.m., was received at the international airport of Sarajevo by President Dragan Crovic, the Croat member of the tripartite (Serb, Croat and Bosnian) Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, by the president of the Episcopal Conference and cardinal archbishop of Sarajevo, Vinko Puljic, and by Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, apostolic nuncio. From there he transferred by car to the presidential palace for the welcome ceremony and courtesy visit to the members of the Presidency: acting president Mladen Ivanic, the Croatian member Dragan Covic and the Bosnian member Bakir Izetbegovic.

Following the courtesy visit, Francis entered the presidential drawing room where he pronounced his first discourse in Sarajevo, before the civil authorities, the diplomatic corps, the bishops and various other religious leaders.

"I am pleased to be in this city which, although it has suffered so much in the bloody conflicts of the past century, has once again become a place of dialogue and peaceful coexistence," said the Pope. "Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have a special significance for Europe and for the whole world. Bosnia and Herzegovina has advanced from a culture of conflict and war to a culture of encounter.

"For centuries in these lands, communities were present who professed different religions, who belonged to distinct ethnic and cultural groups, each endowed with its own rich characteristics; each fostered its own traditions, without these differences having impeded for any length of time the establishment of mutually fraternal and cordial relationships," he continued. "The very architecture and layout of Sarajevo reveal visible and substantial characteristics of these different communities, each a short distance from the other - synagogues, churches, and mosques - so much so that Sarajevo has been called the 'Jerusalem of Europe.' Indeed it represents a crossroads of cultures, nations, and religions, a status which requires the building of new bridges, while maintaining and restoring older ones, thus ensuring avenues of communication that are efficient, sure, and fraternal.

"We need to communicate with each other, to discover the gifts of each person, to promote that which unites us, and to regard our differences as an opportunity to grow in mutual respect," he remarked. "Patience and trust are called for in such dialogue, permitting individuals, families, and communities to hand on the values of their own culture and welcome the good which comes from others' experiences. In so doing, even the deep wounds of the recent past will be set aside, so that the future may be looked to with hope, facing the daily problems that all communities experience with hearts and minds free of fear and resentment.

"I have come here as a pilgrim of peace and dialogue, eighteen years after St. John Paul II's historic visit, which took place less than two years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accord. I am happy to see the progress which has been made, for which we must thank the Lord and so many men and women of good will. However, we should not become complacent with what has been achieved so far, but rather seek to make further efforts towards reinforcing trust and creating opportunities for growth in mutual knowledge and respect. In order to favor this path, the solidarity and collaboration of the International Community is fundamental, in particular that of the European Union and of all Countries and Organizations operating in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina is indeed an integral part of Europe, the successes and tragic experiences of the former are integrated fully into the latter's history of successes and tragedies. They constitute, too, a clear call to pursue every avenue of peace, in order that processes already underway can be yet more resilient and binding.

"In this land, peace and harmony among Croats, Serbs, and Bosnians, and the initiatives taken to extend these even further, as well as the cordial and fraternal relations among Muslims, Hebrews, and Christians, and other religious minorities, take on an importance that goes beyond its boundaries. These initiatives offer a witness to the entire world that such cooperation among varying ethnic groups and religions in view of the common good is possible; that a plurality of cultures and traditions can coexist and give rise to original and effective solutions to problems; that even the deepest wounds can be healed by purifying memories and firmly anchoring hopes in the future. I saw at my arrival this morning in the Muslim, Orthodox, Jewish, Catholic, and children of other religions whom I met at the airport - together and joyful! This is a sign of hope! May we stake our future on this.

"In order to successfully oppose the barbarity of those who would make of every difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence, we need to recognize the fundamental values of human communities, values in the name of which we can and must cooperate, build, and dialogue, pardon, and grow; this will allow different voices to unite in creating a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of the fanatical cries of hatred.

"Responsible politicians are called to the important task of being the first servants of their communities, taking actions which safeguard above all the fundamental rights of the human person, among which the right to religious freedom stands out. In this way it will be possible to build, with concrete measures, a more peaceful and just society, working step-by-step together to solve the many problems which people experience daily. In order for this to come about, it is vital that all citizens be equal both before the law and its implementation, whatever their ethnic, religious, or geographical affiliation. All alike will then feel truly involved in public life. Enjoying the same rights, they will be able to make their specific contribution to the common good.

"The Catholic Church, by means of the prayer and the works of her faithful and her institutions, is taking a part in the process of material and moral reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, sharing the country's joys and concerns. The Church is committed to offering her particular solicitude and closeness to the poor and to those most in need, inspired by the teaching and example of her Divine Master, Jesus. The Holy See praises the work carried out in these recent years, and is determined to continue promoting cooperation, dialogue, and solidarity, in the sure knowledge that peace and mutual listening in an ordered and civil society are indispensable conditions for authentic and lasting development. Through the contribution of all, and leaving behind completely the dark clouds of storms gone by, the Holy See fervently hopes that Bosnia and Herzegovina may continue along the journey embarked upon, so that after the winter chill, springtime may come to blossom. And already we see spring blooming here!" exclaimed the Pope.

"With these thoughts I implore the Almighty for peace and prosperity in Sarajevo and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina," he concluded.

Do Something!

by Leiann Spontaneo

Across the United States, there are various pro-life organizations you many not have heard of. The following contacts are provided for you by the contacts themselves to start a little grassroots effort.

Mary Urdahl of ProLife Across America, provides that they are a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to changing hearts and saving babies' lives. They are committed to bringing positive, persuasive messages, offering information and alternatives - including adoption and post abortion assistance to those in need. Prolife Across america's mission since 1989 has been to reach out through billboard, radio, and newspaper ads to people who may not be reached in any other way. Their ads create an "atmosphere of life," in a "culture of death." So often the tender and touching ads are the only visible sign offering hope and help to someone who may be on the brink of an abortion decision. Mary Urdahl may be contacted by e-mailing:

According to Gavin Rhoades, Brian Fisher/Online for Life's Public Relations Specialist, Online for Life rescues babies and families from abortion by connecting abortion-minded women and men to local life-affirming centers using compassion and technology. The at-risk family receives grace, factual information, and an ultrasound. Their mission is to save unborn babies from abortion by connecting women and men in crisis pregnancy situations with compassionate, loving, truthful local help. Online For Life is saving babies from abortion - one family at a time. Though the pro-life movement is active in various government and judicial arenas, OFL focuses on each family, each mom and each dad in communities across America and seeks to help provide a continuum of care where appropriate. OFL may be telephoned at(214) 295-7301 and e-mailed at: Donations may be made at Like/Follow on social media and spread the word: (1) Facebook: (2) Twitter: @OnlineForLife and (3) Instagram: Online4Life

John Jansen, Project Coordinator of Pro-Life Action League, states that since the Pro-Life Action League was started in 1980 they have always said that one of the most important things pro-life people can do is to stand outside of abortion clinics on a regular basis, to either pray or to actually offer help to abortion-bound women by warning them about the dangers abortion poses to them. This is "sidewalk counseling" and it is a tactic that has saved the lives of thousands of babies. Jansen says that he can't tell how many times they have heard from women who have told that just because of the presence of pro-lifers standing outside of an abortion clinic on the day they were going there to have an abortion - sometimes even if all the pro-lifers were doing was praying - that alone was enough to make them change their minds and decide to keep their baby instead. All too often Jansen states women have abortions simply because they believe there is no other choice for them and because they believe abortion is their most convenient option. Pro-Life Action League believes that we pro-lifers have to be there outside the abortion clinics and let women know they have other choices. If you would like to become involved in praying or sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic in your community, please contact Pro-Life Action League by email: info@proliferation.ort and by phone (773) 777-2900. By social media go to their Website Facework: and Twitter: http://twitter. com/ProLifeAction

According to Dr. Anthony Vento, of Prieses For Life, as a Private Association of the Faithful recognized and approved, under the Canon Law, of the Catholic Church and working in harmony with the goals of the Bishops' Pro-Life Committee and the local diocesan respect life offices, Priests for Life seeks to unite, encourage, and provide ongoing training to priests and deacons who give a special emphasis to the "life issues," especially abortion and euthanasia in their ministries; instill a sense of urgency in all clergy to teach about these issues and to mobilize their people to help stop abortion and euthanasia; assist clergy and laity to work together productively for the cause of life; provide ongoing training and motivation to the entire pro-life movement. All pro-life groups, whether Catholic or Protestant, recognize the benefit of the leadership of the clergy in the pro-life movement and often yearn for more of it. The pro-abortion community also sees the key role such leadership plays as reflected in former abortionist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson's comment to the clergy, "We would have never gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful, and strong." Means to Fulfill Goals: With the co-operation of bishops and their respect life offices, Priests for Life provides a bi-monthly newsletter to priests and deacons. It is also available to the general public. We offer pro-life seminars and retreats to both clergy and laity. With the permission of their respective ordinaries, the National Director, Fr. Frank Pavone and his associated travel the country full time to meet with priests and pro-life groups. Priests for Life offers a wide range of audios, videos, and brochures and regularly uses the media of television, radio, and the press to spread the message of life. Priests For Life may be contacted by phone: 888-735-3448 ext. 260, 718-980-4400 ext. 260, fax: 718-980-6515, avento@priestsfor, P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, New York, 10314 and

Finally Stephanie Hopping, editor of Celebrate Life Magazine, provides that American Life League is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown and nine other dedicated pro-life Americans. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life educational organization in the United States. American Life League exists to serve God by helping to build a society that respects and protects individual innocent human beings from creation to death - without compromise, without exceptio, without apology. The distinguishing mark of American Life League, by which they are to be recognized, is their absolute commitment to the sacredness of every innocent human being's life. That ranges from the single-cell human embryo to the elderly, the infirm, and others at risk of having their life terminated by acts of abortion or euthanasia. The pro-life position is that neither abortion nor euthanasia are every medically necessary nor should they ever be permitted. Today American Life League's programs include the Associate Program (which includes 120 Associate groups nationwide), Celebrate Life Magazine, Stop Planned Parenthood International, the Pill Kills, Saint Michael the Archangel High School, and their most recently launched project, the Culture of Life Studies Program, a series of educational supplements designed for youth. At American Life League they work diligently with their Associates and partners to educate others about the sanctity of life and promote a culture of life. Most important to American Life League's work is their supporters, without whom American Life League would not succeed. For those who want to become involved in helping American Life League defend human life, becoming an American Life League supporter and/or volunteering with American Life League or one of its Associate groups can help make a difference. More details about American Life League's history, mission, and programs along with myriad educational resources can be found at this main website: Their contact information is: American Life League, P.O. Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22555-1350, phone: 540-659-4171, and fax: 540-659-2586.

Church History Portrays Saints And Sinners

by Michael Halm

Saints and Sinners by Eamon Duffy is a different sort of Church history. Duffy focuses in on the popes, both the holy and the unholy. He also ties these vicars of Christ to their place in His story, how God has worked through them with anecdotes from their lives.

Reviewer Peter Stanford called it an "outstanding work of popular scholarship." T.F.X. Noble went even further and called it "the best one-volume history of the papacy ever written." The reader can judge for himself.

"[Pope] Stephen's invocation of Matthew 16 is the first known claim by a pope to an authority derived exclusively from Peter," Duffy writes. This was, he explains, in response to Cyprian editing out such references from his book Unity of the Catholic Church, and so dividing it.

Gregory was an example of one of the saints. He was the great-grandson of Pope Felix III and a relative of Pope Agapitus I. His father was a Church regionary, a lay official responsible for temporal affairs for the Roman See. His mother became a nun when widowed, living in retirement on her own property, where two aunts reported having visions of "St." Felix. He retired himself from his secular career, donated his wealth to the Church and became a hermit. He missed that simple, prayerful life as a "Great" pope.

Charlemagne is said to have cried "as if he had lost a brother" upon hearing of Pope Hadrian's death. In 799 his nephew Paschalis had incited a mob to blind and rip out the tongue of Hadrian to make him unfit to serve as pope. A year later after receiving protection from Charlemagne Hadrian crowned him emperor.

Dunn even includes Popess Joan, not because there actually was or could ever be a popess, but because it figured in the story of John XXII and the Franciscans. William of Ockham, the famous Franciscan philosopher, argued that one false pope proved there could be another.

The papacy of holy Celestine only lasted six months. Unlike Gregory, he did go back to his hermitage. He was the last pope to resign before Benedict XVI.

Although the book does not cover the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Francis by name, Duffy does write about the post-Vatican Church and the future. He ties the Bolshivik Revolution to Fatima and to the failed assassination of Pope John Paul II. He explains that the then Cardinal Ratizinger's Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, "generalized the meaning of the 'Third Secret' into an unexceptional meditation on the difficulties of the Christian life in the modern world."

In talking about John Paul II and especially his vision of the Church of the Third Millennium, Duffy writes of "a spiritual status and prestige greater than at any time since the high Middle Ages. This standing was based in large part on the personality and patent Christian goodness of so many of the recent popes, and on the manifest greatness of Wojtyla himself."

He begins the last section of the book, "The Oracles of God," with Pius X in 1903. The son of a postman and a seamstress, Giuseppe Sarto's papacy was marked by simplification of Canon Law, improved seminaries, the breviary and missal, and more frequent Eucharist. He was a people's pope like John XXIII, John Paul I, and now Francis. He chose the name Pius X as successor to Pius IX, with whom he identified.

Over a hundred years ago as Patriarch of Venice, Sarto wrote, "God has been driven out of public life by the separation of Church and State; He has been driven out of science now that doubt has been raised to a system ... He has been driven out of the family which no longer considered sacred in its origins and shorn of the grace of the sacraments.

He continues, "the abilities and inclinations of the last pope of the twentieth century and the first of the twenty-first, point elsewhere, to a more exalted, lonely, and hierarchic vision of the papal office and the Church it serves ... towards a recovery of balance, a restoration of order, and true faith in the flux of time."

The Church certainly has survived the flux of time in the past. On his return to Rome from the Avignon papacy, Martin V found it "so dilapidated and deserted that it bore hardly any resemblance to a city." When Leo X tried to raise funds for rebuilding, the abuses of indulgences prompted an even greater schism started by Luther.

By the 18th Century, despite all the historical evidence to the contrary, relics and other devotions too had become considered superstitions and monasteries useless. The French Revolution was horrible, yet Dunn comments, "it was hard to maintain that the new arrangements were much worse than those which had produced unbelievable bishops like Tallyrand or the Cardinal of Toulouse."

Duffy connects the past and the future with the revolutionary Vatican II council, particularly its documents Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Specs. Ecumenism, though in Pius XI's Mortalium Annos was given a boost.

"The persecution of heresy and enforcement of Catholicism had been reality since the days of Constantine, and since the French Revolution pope after pope had repeatedly and explictly denounced the notion that non-Catholics had a right to religious freedom."

This movement toward reconciliation with other Catholicism too prompted schism by Archbishop Marchel Fefebvre. Mercifully now many of the schismatics have been reconciled. As Protestant denomination become more and more secularized, and the persecution by anti-Christian terrorists continues, so too does the story of the Church's saints and sinners.

The note on the third edition (2006) says that it includes an updated bibliography, an extensively revised and extend account on Pius XII, the death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI.

Blessed Oscar Romero: A Martyr And Shepherd

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Catholic Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a letter to Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador, president of the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador, for the beatification of Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez, former archbishop of the same archdiocese and martyr, killed in hatred of the faith on March 24, 1980. The beatification Mass, celebrated in Plaza del Divino Salvador del Mundo in the Salvadoran capital, was attended by the Pope's special envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The following is the full text of the letter:

"The beatification of Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamex, who was the pastor of this beloved archdiocese, is a cause for great joy for Salvadorans and for those who rejoice in the example of the best sons of the Church. Msgr. Romero, who built peace with the strength of love, bore witness to faith, giving his life to the extreme.

The Lord never abandons His people in difficulties, and always shows solicitude to its needs. He sees oppression, He hears the cries of pain of His children, and He comes to their aid to free them from oppression and to lead them to a new land, of 'milk and honey,' fertile and spacious. Just as He chose Moses to guide His people in His name, He continues to raise pastors after His own heart, who graze His flock with wisdom and prudence.

In this beautiful central American country, bathed by the Pacific Ocean, the Lord granted His Church a zealous bishop who, loving God and serving his brothers, converted himself in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd. In times of difficult co-existence, Msgr. Romero knew how to guide, defend, and protect his flock, remaining faithful to the Gospel and in communion with all the Church. His ministry was distinguished by his particular care for the poorest and most marginalized. And at the moment of his death, as he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of love and reconciliation, he received the grace of fully identifying himself with He Who gave His life for His flock.

On this day of celebration for the Salvadoran nation, and also for our brother countries in Latin America, let us give thanks to God for granting to the bishop martyr the capacity to see and hear the suffering of his people, and for forming his heart so that, in His name, he was guided and enlightened, and his work was filled with Christian charity.

The voice of the newly Blessed continues to resonate today, reminding us that the Church, a convocation of brothers around the Lord, is the family of God, in which there should be no division. Faith in Jesus Christ, when it is well understood and its full consequences are realized, generates communities that are builders of peace and solidarity. This is what the Church is called to do today in El Salvador, America and the world at large: to be rich in mercy, to convert into leaven for reconciliation for society.

Msgr. Romero invites us to good sense and reflection, respect for life and harmony. It is necessary to reject 'the violence of the sword, of hatred' and to live 'the violence of love, which caused Christ to be nailed to a cross, which enables us all to overcome our selfishness and ensures there may no longer be such cruel inequalities between us.' He was able to see and to experience in his own flesh 'the selfishness that lurks in those who do not wish to give what is theirs for the benefit of others.' And, with a father's heart, he cared for the 'poor majority,' urging the powerful to transform their weapons into ploughshares.

May those who regard Msgr. Romero as a friend in faith, those who invoke him as a protector and intercessor, those who admire him, find in him the strength and encouragement to build the Kingdom of God, and to commit themselves to creating a more equitable and dignified social order.

It is the right time for true national reconciliation when faced with today's challenges. The Pope participates in your hopes, and unites himself to your prayers so that the seed of martyrdom may flourish and become entrenched in the true paths of the sons and daughters of that nation, which proudly bears the name of the divine Savior of the World.

Dear brother, I ask you to pray and to ask for prayers for me, and I impart my apostolic blessing to all those who join in any way in the celebration of the new Blessed."

Engagement Is A Special Time

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - Engagement, the time devoted to laying the groundwork for a project of love taken on in full freedom and awareness, was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during May 27's general audience.

"Betrothal is, in other words, the time in which two people are called to work on love, a shared and profound task" as "the alliance of love between a man and a woman, an alliance for life, cannot be improvised, and is not made in a day; it is a path on which one learns and refines... It is, I dare say, an artisanal alliance. To make two lives one is almost a miracle of freedom and of the heart, entrusted to faith. We must perhaps work more on this point, as our 'sentimental coordinates' have become a little confused. Those who wish to attain everything immediately, also give up on everything straight away at the first hurdle (or at the first opportunity)... Engagement channels the will to preserve something together, something that should never be bought or sold, betrayed or abandoned, however tempting the alternatives may be."

Francis recalled the Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni's novel "I promessi sposi," "The Betrothed," and invited those present to read it as it is "an authentic masterpiece which recounts the story of a betrothed couple who suffer greatly, who walk a path full of many difficulties before arriving at the end, at marriage. Do not forget this masterpiece on betrothal ... read it and you will see beauty and suffering, but also the faithfulness of the betrothed couple."

"The Church, in her wisdom, maintains the distinction between engaged and married couples - they are not the same - precisely in view of the delicate and profound nature of this fact. We are careful not to light-heartedly dismiss this wise teaching, nurtured by the experience of happily married life. The powerful symbols of the body hold the keys to the soul: we cannot treat the bonds of the flesh lightly, without opening up lasting wounds to the spirit", continued the Holy Father, remarking that "today's culture and society have become rather indifferent to the delicate and serious nature of this passage. And on the other hand, they cannot be said to be generous with the young, who seriously intend to maintain a household and start a family. Rather, they set up a thousand obstacles, mental and practical."

Pre-matrimonial courses are a special expression of preparation that offer engaged couples what may indeed be the sole opportunity to "reflect on their experience in terms that are not banal. Yes, many couples stay together for a long time, also intimately, at times living together, without truly knowing each other," he observed. "Therefore there is a need to re-evaluate engagement as a time to get to know each other and for sharing a plan ... And focusing also here on the essential point: the Bible, to be rediscovered together, in a conscious way; prayer, in its liturgical dimension, but also in terms of 'domestic prayer' ... in the Sacraments ... in which the Lord comes to reside in the betrothed couple and prepares them to truly accept each other with the grace of Christ; and fraternity with the poor, the needy, which leads us towards sobriety and sharing. Couples who make this commitment both grow, and all this leads to preparing a beautiful marriage celebrated in a different way, not worldly but Christian."

The Pope invited couples to reflect on and repeat to each other the words of the prophet Hosea: "And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord." "May every engaged couple think of this and say to each other, 'I will make you my spouse.' Wait for that moment; it is a moment on a path on which one proceeds slowly, a path of ripening. One must not pass through the different stages too quickly. Ripening takes place in this way, step by step."

Therefore, "the time of betrothal must truly be a time of initiation ... in surprise at the spiritual gifts that the Lord, through the Church, enriches the horizon of the new family that he prepares to live in His blessing."

Pope Francis concluded by asking the thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square to pray to the Holy Family of Nazareth so that engaged couples may understand the beauty of the path of preparation for lifelong marriage, and greeted couples in the square by wishing them a happy engagement.

Edge To Edge

Pray The News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray that the United States will be "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."
  • We pray that we will turn to God in repentance.
  • We pray that we will be peacemakers and work tirelessly for peace.
  • We pray for an end to war and violence.
  • We pray for the victory of the civilization of life and love over the culture of death.
  • We pray for engaged couples to grow in relationship to Jesus and to each other.
  • We pray for all families, and especially struggling families, to grow in relationship with the Lord and with one another.
  • We pray with Pope Francis that "the Lord bestow on Christian families the faith, freedom, and courage necessary for their mission."
  • We pray for the success of the Bible Institute.
  • We pray that the Bible Institute will lead to many conversions, and to growth in the Christian life.

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