"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
|January 22 marks the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Every year pro-lifers go to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate for life. This file photo shows a march in a previous year.|
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's Permanent Observer to the United Nations, represented the Holy See at a UN meeting October 30 in New York on the global financial crisis.
His statement follows: "Many economists and analysts are agreed that the crisis can be attributed to a lack of a complete and effective regulatory system, but even more to a widespread disregard for regulatory and supervisory structures, to say nothing of the rules of accountability and transparency.
"My delegation endorses this view and would go one step further: the real crisis does not appear to be merely financial, economic, and technical. Rather, it extends to the broader realm of ethical codes and moral conduct. Unbridled profiteering and the unscrupulous pursuit of gain at any cost have made people forget basic rules of business ethics.
"Our reaction should not be limited to deploring the crisis and offering formal expressions of sympathy to the poorer countries and social strata which have been affected. We need to come up with the ways and means to avoid similar crises in the future.
"In some cases, governments and institutions which rigorously implemented rules at the lower customer level were lax in maintaining that same rigor at the higher level. The same could also be said with regard to the economic systems of poorer countries. International financial institutions which strictly implemented conditionalities and oversight in developing countries neglected to do so when overseeing developed economies. Now that the latter have collapsed, the former also have to bear the consequences.
"Government is the exercise of the virtue of prudence in the enactment of legislative and executive measures capable of directing social activity towards the common good. The principle of subsidiarity requires that governments and large international agencies ensure solidarity on the national and global levels and between generations.
"A second observation pertains to the responsibility of those who work in the financial sector. Lending is a necessary social activity. Nonetheless, financial institutions and agents are responsible for ensuring that lending fulfills its proper function in society, connecting savings to production. If lending is seen merely in terms of trading off financial resources without regard for their reasonable use, it fails to be a service to society. When attempts are made to conceal the real risk that loans will not be repaid, savers are cheated and lenders become actual accomplices in theft.
"It must not be forgotten that at the edges of the financial system there are retired persons, small family businesses, cottage industries, and countless employees for whom savings are an essential means of support. Financial activity needs to be sufficiently transparent so that individual savers, especially the poor and those least protected, understand what will become of their savings. This calls not only for effective measures of oversight by governments, but also for a high standard of ethical conduct on the part of financial leaders themselves.
"A third, and perhaps even more basic, observation has to do with the general public and its choice of values and lifestyles. A lifestyle, and even more an economic model, solely based on increased and uncontrolled consumption and not on savings and the creation of productive capital, is economically unsustainable. It also becomes unsustainable from the standpoint of concern for the environment and, above all, of human dignity itself, since the irresponsible consumer renounces his own dignity as a rational creature and also offends the dignity of others.
"Looking towards the future, there is a need to restore credibility and authenticity to lending, which always needs to be a part of the product chain of goods and services, and not an independent activity.
"Above all, however, there is a need to invest in people. Once the inevitable financial salvage operations are over, governments and the international community should invest their money in aid to the poorest populations.
"The relatively recent and positive experience of microcredit shows that, paradoxically, those who, from the standpoint of cold hard financial calculation, seem least suitable to receive credit, are by and large the most serious and reliable borrowers.
"The history of developed countries also demonstrates that grants for health, education, housing, and other basic services benefiting the weakest socio-economic levels of society, families, and small communities, ultimately prove to be the most profitable investments, since they alone ensure the harmonious functioning of society as a whole . . ."
The contemporary issues involving migrants offer Christians an opportunity to share the Gospel with other races and cultures and to be ministers of God's love and compassion. In his message, dated August 24, 2008, for the day which will be celebrated on January 18, Pope Benedict XVI wrote:
"This year the theme of the Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees is: 'St. Paul migrant, "Apostle of the peoples." ' It is inspired by its felicitous coincidence with the Jubilee Year I established in the Apostle's honor on the occasion of the 2,000th anniversary of his birth. Indeed, the preaching and mediation between the different cultures and the Gospel which Paul, 'a migrant by vocation' carried out, are also an important reference point for those who find themselves involved in the migratory movement today.
"Born into a family of Jewish immigrants in Tarsus, Cilicia, Saul was educated in the Hebrew and Hellenistic cultures and languages, making the most of the Roman cultural context. After his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus (cf. Gal 1:13-16), although he did not deny his own 'traditions' and felt both esteem and gratitude to Judaism and the Law (cf. Rm 9:1-5; 10:1; 2 Cor 11:22; Gal 1:13-14; Phil 3:3-6), he devoted himself without hesitation or second thoughts to his new mission, with courage and enthusiasm and docile to the Lord's command: 'I will send you far away to the Gentiles' (Acts 22:21). His life changed radically (cf. Phil 3:7-11): Jesus became for him his raison d'ętre and the motive that inspired his apostolic dedication to the service of the Gospel. He changed from being a persecutor of Christians to being an Apostle of Christ.
"Guided by the Holy Spirit, he spared no effort to see that the Gospel which is 'the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek' (Rm 1:16) was proclaimed to all, making no distinction of nationality or culture. On his apostolic journeys, in spite of meeting with constant opposition, he first proclaimed the Gospel in the synagogues, giving prior attention to his compatriots in the diaspora (cf. Acts 18:4-6). If they rejected him he would address the Gentiles, making himself - an authentic 'missionary to migrants' - as a migrant and an ambassador of Jesus Christ 'at large' in order to invite every person to become a 'new creation' in the Son of God (2 Cor 5:17).
"The proclamation of the kerygma caused him to cross the seas of the Near East and to travel the roads of Europe until he reached Rome. He set out from Antioch, where he proclaimed the Gospel to people who did not belong to Judaism and where the disciples of Jesus were called 'Christians' for the first time (cf. Acts 11:20, 26). His life and his preaching were wholly directed to making Jesus known and loved by all, for all persons are called to become a single people in Him.
"This is the mission of the Church and of every baptized person in our time too, even in the era of globalization; a mission that with attentive pastoral solicitude is also directed to the variegated universe of migrants - students far from home, immigrants, refugees, displaced people, evacuees - including for example, the victims of modern forms of slavery, and of human trafficking. Today too the message of salvation must be presented with the same approach as that of the Apostle to the Gentiles, taking into account the different social and cultural situations and special difficulties of each one as a consequence of his or her condition as a migrant or itinerant person. I express the wish that every Christian community may feel the same apostolic zeal as St. Paul who, although he was proclaiming to all the saving love of the Father (Rm 8:15-16; Gal 4:6) to 'win more' (1 Cor 9:22) for Christ, made himself weak 'to the weak... all things to all men so that [he] might by all means save some' (1 Cor 9:22). May his example also be an incentive for us to show solidarity to these brothers and sisters of ours and to promote, in every part of the world and by every means, peaceful coexistence among different races, cultures, and religions.
"Yet what was the secret of the Apostle to the Gentiles? The missionary zeal and passion of the wrestler that distinguished him stemmed from the fact that since 'Christ [had] made him His own,' (Phil 3:12), he remained so closely united to Him that he felt he shared in His same life, through sharing in 'His sufferings' (Phil 3:10; cf. also Rm 8:17; 2 Cor 4:8-12; Col 1:24). This is the source of the apostolic ardor of St. Paul who recounts: 'He Who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles' (Gal 1:15-16; cf. also Rm 15:15-16). He felt 'crucified with' Christ, so that he could say: 'It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me' (Gal 2:20), and no difficulty hindered him from persevering in his courageous evangelizing action in cosmopolitan cities such as Rome and Corinth, which were populated at that time by a mosaic of races and cultures.
"In reading the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters that Paul addressed to various recipients, we perceive a model of a Church that was not exclusive but on the contrary open to all, formed by believers without distinction of culture or race: every baptized person is, in fact, a living member of the one Body of Christ. In this perspective, fraternal solidarity expressed in daily gestures of sharing, joint participation and joyful concern for others, acquires a unique prominence. However, it is impossible to achieve this dimension of brotherly mutual acceptance, St. Paul always teaches, without the readiness to listen to and welcome the Word preached and practiced (cf. 1 Thes 1:6), a Word that urges all to be imitators of Christ (cf. Eph 5:1-2), to be imitators of the Apostle (cf. 1 Cor 11:1). And therefore, the more closely the community is united to Christ, the more it cares for its neighbor, eschewing judgment, scorn, and scandal, and opening itself to reciprocal acceptance (cf. Rm 14:1-3; 15:7). Conformed to Christ, believers feel they are 'brothers' in him, sons of the same Father (Rm 8:14-16; Gal 3:26; 4:6). This treasure of brotherhood makes them 'practice hospitality' (Rm 12:13), which is the firstborn daughter of agape (cf. 1 Tm 3:2, 5:10; Ti 1:8; Phlm 17).
"In this manner the Lord's promise comes true: 'then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters' (2 Cor 6:17-18). If we are aware of this, how can we fail to take charge of all those, particularly refugees and displaced people, who are in conditions of difficulty or hardship? How can we fail to meet the needs of those who are de facto the weakest and most defenseless, marked by precariousness and insecurity, marginalized and often excluded by society? We should give our priority attention to them because, paraphrasing a well known Pauline text, 'God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God' (1 Cor 1:27).
". . . May the World Day for Migrants and Refugees . . . be for all an incentive to live brotherly love to the full without making any kind of distinction and without discrimination, in the conviction that any one who needs us and whom we can help is our neighbor (cf. Deus Caritas Est, n. 15). May the teaching and example of St. Paul, a great and humble Apostle and a migrant, an evangelizer of peoples and cultures, spur us to understand that the exercise of charity is the culmination and synthesis of the whole of Christian life.
"If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life!"
— Pope John Paul II
"The commandment of love - as we well know - is nourished when disciples of Christ, united, share in the banquet of the Eucharist which is, par excellence, the sacrament of brotherhood and love. And just as Jesus at the Last Supper combined the new commandment of fraternal love with the gift of the Eucharist, so His 'friends,' following in the footsteps of Christ Who made Himself a 'servant' of humanity, and sustained by His Grace cannot but dedicate themselves to mutual service, taking charge of one another, complying with St. Paul's recommendation: 'bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ' (Gal 6:2). Only in this way does love increase among believers and for all people (cf. 1 Thes 3:12).
"Dear brothers and sisters, let us not tire of proclaiming and witnessing to this 'Good News' with enthusiasm, without fear and sparing no energy! The entire Gospel message is condensed in love, and authentic disciples of Christ are recognized by the mutual love they bear one another and by their acceptance of all.
"May the Apostle Paul and especially Mary, the Mother of acceptance and love, obtain this gift for us. As I invoke the divine protection upon all those who are dedicated to helping migrants, and more generally, in the vast world of migration, I assure each one of my constant remembrance in prayer and, with affection, I impart my apostolic Blessing to all."
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
According to pollsters, over half of the voters who would identify themselves as "Catholic" voted for Barack Obama, whose public position and voting record on both abortion and infanticide disclosed that he was the most extreme pro-abortion candidate for U.S. President in history.
Why would so many Catholics ignore the clear teaching of the Church and fail to use the disqualifying issue of abortion as the basis for their vote? The consistent universal teaching of the Catholic Church has always been that abortion is an "abominable crime."
In this last election, it became clear that a number of bishops blamed, at least in part, the ambiguous statement published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, known as Faithful Citizenship.
Reporting on the November Baltimore national meeting of the bishops, the Chicago Tribune stated that "some bishops said they were surprised to see Catholics cite the document [Faithful Citizenship] as justification for selecting candidates, like Obama, who support abortion rights." The Chicago Tribune uses as an example Sr. Jamie Phelps, a theologian at Xavier University in Louisiana who served on Obama's Capital and National Catholic Advisory Board, who found no difficulty in claiming that Faithful Citizenship "…made it clear that while the rights of an unborn child are a priority, voters should consider a whole range of issues regarding the preservation and quality of life."
The president of the USCCB, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, stated that future versions should be modified so that portions are not "misused or misinterpreted," causing Catholics to overlook the "whole issue of proportionate reason."
The truth of the matter is, Faithful Citizenship is confusing, not only in its statement of moral law, but also in failing to clearly distinguish between intrinsic evils, i.e., acts which are never permissible under any circumstances and which if supported by a candidate would disqualify him from your vote, and, on the other hand, other important concerns of our times on which reasonable Catholic minds can and do differ. Plus, Faithful Citizenship fails to even mention, much less address, two of the intrinsic evils which must be opposed in our culture and our laws.
"[T]here is little perception of our fundamental need of God's forgiveness . . . Our modern consciousness . . . is generally no longer aware of the fact that we stand as debtors before God and that sin is a reality which can be overcome only by God's initiative."
Pope Benedict XVI
Faithful Citizenship states: "A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position." The bishops fail to state any Church authority to support such a statement that it is wrong only if one intends to support these evils.
Bishop Richard H. Ackerman of Covington, in 1976 issued a pastoral letter in which he stated: "No Catholic can, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who is wrong on this [abortion] issue." He doesn't draw any distinction between a Catholic voter who intends to support abortion, and one who does not consider it an issue of importance. Regardless of a voter's intent, the killing of unborn children continues.
Faithful Citizenship goes on to state that: "There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other moral grave reasons."
Apparently even some bishops found that this statement needed to be further clarified in order to "dispel any confusion or misunderstanding." Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas, Texas, and Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Forth Worth, Texas, issued a joint pastoral letter that no Catholic in good conscience can ever vote for a pro-abortion political candidate, regardless of other issues: "…there are no 'truly grave moral' or 'proportionate' reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year."
Obviously these two bishops also thought that Faithful Citizenship fails to draw a clear distinction between issues involving intrinsic evil (abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, cloning, and embryonic stem cell research) and issues involving prudential judgment, on which reasonable Catholics can disagree, "such as the War in Iraq, housing, healthcare, immigration, and others." The two Texas bishops continue in their pastoral letter in regards to other important issues, "such as immigration reform, healthcare, the economy and its solvency, care and concern for the poor, and the war on terror, …these are matters of 'prudential judgment.' But let it be clear: issues of prudential judgment are not morally equivalent to issues involving intrinsic evils. No matter how right a given candidate is on any of these issues, it does not outweigh a candidate's unacceptable position in favor of an intrinsic evil such as abortion or the protection of 'abortion rights.'" (Emphasis by bishops)
Although Faithful Citizenship dealt with many prudential concerns of our day, it ignored completely two intrinsic evils long supported by the politically correct news media.
As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church , "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." Today with courts redefining the reality of marriage to include homosexual couples, deeming that they are equally qualified to adopt children, one is left unable to justify why the bishops fail to even include this intrinsic evil as an issue. By passing Proposition 8, the California electorate overruled its Supreme Court, which, in an act of raw judicial power, decided that the state could not deny homosexuals the "right to marry."
Although the Catholic Church has long condemned artificial contraception as being an intrinsic evil, the U.S. bishops fail to even mention as an issue of our times the billions of U.S. tax dollars being spent each year to fund the production and distribution of birth control pills, condoms, and sterilization, not only in the United States but throughout the world.
According to The Catholic World Report, many bishops issued blunt statements that a Catholic could not in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion, while other bishops suggested that abortion was an important issue, but voters should weigh the candidates' position on other issues. Obviously, Faithful Citizenship has failed to bring unity among the bishops themselves.
The Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the diocese that the pro-abortion "Catholic" Delaware Senator Joe Biden is from, stated Catholics cannot vote under any circumstances for a candidate who is pro-abortion. Bishop Joseph Martino, as reported by The Catholic World Report, also asserted his own authority as primary teacher, stating: "No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese."
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix published Catholics in the Public Square, a booklet informing readers of the duty of Catholics not to vote for pro-abortionists, in which he stated: "When it comes to direct attacks on the innocent human life, being right on all other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter [abortion]."
"Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless
there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts waged
inside the souls of modern men, for nothing happens in the external world that
has not first happened within a soul."
Bishop Fulton Sheen
Sadly, as reported by The Wanderer, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas, who is also the Vice President of the USCCB, would not grant permission for the distribution of this booklet in his diocese.
On the other hand, dioceses in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Texas, and New Mexico made purchases of Catholics in the Public Square for distribution. Archbishop Jose Gomez in San Antonio and Bishop Kevin Vann in Fort Worth stated that the booklet was "an excellent tool for Catholics to help form their conscience in preparing to vote on election day."
A statement of the Lexington, Kentucky, Bishop Ronald Gainer, which was endorsed only by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, one of the other three Kentucky bishops, stated that abortion and the "defense of the sacredness of human life" represent "the paramount issue of our time."
An article in the November 2008 Homiletic & Pastoral Review, edited by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., states: "Whether it be abortion, contraception, homosexuality, or other immoral behavior made legal, our bishops have abrogated their duty to sternly oppose these evils and have instead opted for a politically correct token opposition acceptable to government officials."
So when the USCCB teaches in a manner that is confusing, leading to misunderstandings, more of the Catholic faithful are misled as to their Catholic duty. If the moral teachings of the Church are presented in a confusing way, the voters will (and did) vote for their perceived self-interest.
Faithful Citizenship also adds to the confusion by failing to clearly state that even though there are other prudential concerns, America will never successfully address these issues unless it first stops the legalized killing of unborn children. In his 1987 farewell address, concluding his visit to the United States, John Paul II clearly told us this:
"All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person:
"This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival – yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn."
With the recent rekindling of the genocidal violence between the Tutsis and the Hutus in the Congo, we ought to remember the message of Our Lady of Rwanda, or as she called herself, Nyina wa Jambo (Mother of the Word). Archbishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro, Rwanda, and the Vatican gave official approval to her appearances in 2001. She has appeared from 1981 to 1989 to at least three, possibly seven, visionaries in Kibeho, Rwanda, just a year after Pope John Paul II's visit to Rwanda.
Her first apparition occurred in Kibeho, Rwanda, on November 28, 1981. She called to Alphonsine Mumureke as the girl was serving lunch in the school cafeteria. When she entered the corridor "a very beautiful woman" identified herself with, "I am Mother of the Word. I have heard your prayers. I would like you and your companions to have more faith. Some do not believe enough."
Witnesses tell of Alphonsine speaking in several languages and then remaining motionless and unresponsive for a quarter hour. A second apparition occurred in the dormitory the evening of the next day. Mary continued to give advice and encouragements, make remarks to bring the school, both teachers and students, to come to believe and listen to her important message. There were even signs such as twinkling lights which all could see.
Alphonsine's companions, the other visionaries, were Agnes Kamagaju, Vestine Saima, the doubter Marie-Claire Mukangang, the pagan Emanuel Segatashya, and Stephanie Mukamurenzi, as in other apparitions, young people just twenty-one to thirteen-years-old. Alphonsine continued to receive apparitions every year on November 28 until 1989.
The thousands of pilgrims to Kibeho also witnessed several extraordinary phenomena: the dance of the sun like that in Lourdes, the sun's replacement by a greenish moon, a dance of the stars, and luminous crosses in the sky. The greatest miracle, however, was this wave of conversions and prayers, especially among the youth.
Mary revealed to the visionaries the bloodbath that could be stopped by prayer. To Alphonsine she revealed heaven, hell, and purgatory. In a private revelation in February 1994 Agnes is said to have foreseen her parents being killed. She was told, "Do not lose time in doing good and praying. There is not much time and Jesus will come."
The genocide started in April and by June 800,000 had been killed, mostly brutally with machetes and clubs. Included were Marie-Claire who was killed in Byumba and Emanuel while fleeing Kigali. The broader war from 1998 to 2003 killed another estimated 4 million people.
"Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and it is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes."
(1 Cor 13:4-7)
Our Lady emphasized beforehand and as she had several times before the need for repentance and prayer. "I have come to prepare the way for my Son," she told the visionaries and us, "for your good, and you do not want to understand. The time remaining is short and you are absent-minded. You are distracted by the goods of this world which are passing. I have seen many of my children getting lost and I have come to show them the true way."
"If I am now turning to the parish of Kibeho," she explained, "it does not mean I am concerned only for Kibeho or for the diocese of Butare or for Rwanda, or for the whole of Africa. I am concerned with and turning to the whole world."
Anathalie and Marie-Claire got similar urgent messages, "We must dedicate ourselves to prayer, we must develop in us the virtues of charity, availability, and humility," and "we must recite the Rosary and the beads of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady to obtain the grace of repentance."
Jesus Himself told Emanuel, "Too many people treat their neighbors dishonestly. The world is full of hatred. You will know my Second Coming is at hand when you see the outbreak of religious wars. Then, know that I am on the way."
Not unexpectedly the name given to the Marian sanctuary at Kibeho is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. It had been a place of pilgrimage since 1988, with the unofficial approval of Bishop Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, of the Butare Diocese, of which Kibeho was at that time a part.
Books with further information on the apparitions include Meetings with Mary by Janice T. Connell, The Day Will Come and The Final Hour by Michael H. Brown, The Woman And The Dragon by David Michael Lindsey, and The Thunder of Justice by Ted and Maureen Flynn. There is also the video "Kibeho, Africa: Mary Speaks to the World."
A Congress met in November in Vatican City on "The Heritage of the Magisterium of Piux XII and the Second Vatican Council." This event was promoted by the Pontifical Lateran University and the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Pope Benedict XVI talked to the participants on November 15. He said:
". . . I have admired the demanding theme on which you have concentrated your attention. In the last years, when one spoke of Pius XII, the attention was drawn in an excessive way to only one issue, considered, moreover, in a rather unilateral manner. Every other consideration aside, this has impeded an adequate approach to the figure of great historical-theological depth that Pope Pius XII has been. The convergence of the impressive activity that took place during this Pontificate and, in a singular way, his Magisterium on what you have considered in these days is an eloquent proof of what I just affirmed. Indeed, his Magisterium is characterized for the vast and beneficent breadth, and also for his exceptional quality, such that one cannot fail to say that it constitutes a precious heritage of which the Church has and continues to treasure.
"I have spoken of 'the vast and beneficent breadth' of this Magisterium. It suffices to recall, in this regard, the Encyclicals and the many Addresses and Radio Messages contained in the 20 volumes of his "Teachings." There are more than 40 Encyclicals published by him. Among them Mystici Corporis stands out, in which the Pope deals with the theme of the true and intimate nature of the Church. On the scale of research he sheds light on our profound ontological union with Christ and in Him, through Him and with Him with all the other faithful moved by His Spirit, who are nourished by His Body and, transformed in Him, are able to continue to extend His salvific work in the world.
"Intimately linked to Mystici Corporis are two other Encyclicals: Divino afflante Spiritu on the Sacred Scripture and Mediator Dei on the Sacred Liturgy. These present two sources from which those who belong to Christ Head of that Mystical Body, the Church must draw. In this wide ranging context, Pius XII has considered the various categories of persons: priests, religious, and laity who, by the will of the Lord, partake in the Church, although with different vocations and duties. Thus he has pronounced wise norms on the formation of priests, who must distinguish themselves for personal love for Christ, simplicity and sobriety of life, loyalty to their Bishop and open to those who are entrusted to their pastoral care. Then in the Encyclical Sacra Virginitas and in other documents on religious life Pius XII has put in clear light the excellence of the 'gift' that God grants to certain persons inviting them to consecrate themselves totally to His service and to their neighbor in the Church.
"In this perspective the Pope strongly insists on the return to the Gospel and to the authentic charism of the Founders and Foundresses of the various religious Orders and Congregations, foreseeing also the necessity of some healthy reforms. There have also been numerous occasions in which Pius XII has treated the responsibility of laity in the Church, in particular taking advantage of the large international Congresses dedicated to this theme. He willingly faced problems of specific professions, indicating, for example, the duty of judges, of lawyers, of social workers, of doctors: to the latter, the Supreme Pontiff dedicated numerous discourses illustrating the deontological norms that must be respected in their work. In the Encyclical Miranda prorsus, the Pope dwelt on the great importance of the modern means of communication, which in an ever more incisive way are influencing public opinion. This is exactly why the Supreme Pontiff, who utilized the new invention of the radio maximally, emphasized the duty of journalists to supply truthful information respectful of the moral norms.
"Pius XII also addressed his attention to science and to the extraordinary progress that it achieved. While admiring the conquests reached in these fields, the Pope did not fail to warn about the risks that research which disregards moral values could bring. It suffices to recall one example: the famous discourse he pronounced when the atom was split; with extraordinary foresight, however, the Pope admonished about the need to impede at whatever cost that these ingenious scientific progresses would be used to build deadly arms that would be able to provoke dreadful catastrophes and even the total destruction of humanity. How can one not recall the long and inspiring discourses concerning the hoped-for re-ordering of civil society, national and international, for which he indicates justice as a necessary foundation, true supposition for coexistence among peoples: 'opus iustitiae pax!' Equally worthy of special mention is the Mariological teaching of Pius XII, that would reach its culmination in the proclamation of the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary Most Holy, through whom the Holy Father intended to emphasize the eschatological dimension of our existence and exalt the dignity of the woman as well.
"What can be said of the quality of Pius XII's teaching? He was contrary to improvisations: he wrote each discourse with the maximum care, weighing each phrase and each word before pronouncing it in public. He attentively studied the various questions and he had the habit of asking council from renown specialists when he treated themes requiring a particular competence. By nature and temperament Pius XII was a realistic and measured man, disinclined to easy optimism, but he was likewise immune from the danger of pessimism that is not suitable for believers. He abhorred sterile polemics and was deeply distrustful in regards to fanaticism and sentimentalism.
"These interior attitudes of his justify the value and depth, as well as the trustworthiness of his teaching and explain the confident adhesion that not only the faithful reserve for them but also many people who do not belong to the Church. Considering the lofty and widespread quality of Pius XII's Magisterium, one must consider how he was able to do so much although he had to dedicate himself to many other duties connected to his office as Supreme Pontiff: the daily governing of the Church, the nomination and the visits of Bishops, the visits of the heads of state and of diplomats, the countless audiences granted to private persons and many diverse groups.
"Everyone acknowledges Pius XII's uncommon intelligence, iron memory, singular familiarity with foreign languages and a noteworthy sensitivity. It is said that he was an accomplished diplomat, an outstanding jurist, an excellent theologian. All this is true but it does not explain everything; in him there was also the continuous effort and the firm will to give himself to God without regard for his delicate health. This was the true driving force of his behavior: all was born from love for his Lord Jesus Christ and from love for the Church and for humanity. Indeed, before all else he was a priest in constant and intimate union with God, a priest who found the strength for his enormous work in long periods of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, in silent colloquy with his Creator and Redeemer. From there sprang the origin and impulse of his Magisterium as, on the other hand, it was for his every other activity.
"Therefore it must not be surprising that his teaching continues even today to shed light in the Church. Already 50 years have passed since his death, but his multifaceted and fruitful Magisterium remains even for Christians today one of priceless value. Certainly the Church, Mystical Body of Christ, is a living and vital organism, not steadfastly defending what was 50 years ago. But development occurs in coherency. This is why the heritage of the Magisterium of Pius XII has been gathered by the Second Vatican Council and reproposed to the later Christian generations. It is well known that of the oral interventions and writings presented by the Second Vatican Council Fathers, over 1,000 references cite the Magisterium of Pius XII. Not all the documents of the Council have an array of Notes, but in those documents that do have them, the name of Pius XII recurs more than 200 times. This means that, with the exception of Sacred Scripture, this Pope is the most authoritative and frequently cited source. It is also well known that the special notes of these documents are not, generally, simple explicative references, but often constitute true and proper integral parts of Conciliar texts. They do not furnish only justifications to support what the text affirms, but offer an interpretive key.
"Therefore we can rightly say that in the person of the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII the Lord has made an exceptional gift to his church for which we must all be thankful. Therefore I renew the expression of my appreciation for the important work you undertook in preparing and carrying out this International Symposium on the Magisterium of Pius XII and I hope that the precious inheritance that the immortal Pontiff left to the Church continues to be reflected upon to draw useful application to the problems emerging today . . ."
The weather seems to be pretty much as much an act of God as it always has been, despite the controversy over the cause of the current climate change.
The current Old Farmer's Almanac invited comments as its website, www.almanac.com. George Goggle wrote, "God is on His Throne and He is in control!! Nothing is going to happen outside of His will."
Chad Heilig wrote, "In the next 20 years the government will bury the global warming hoax the same as they did with the next ice age scare they pulled 30 years ago. The government has more in common with weather than you think. They are both cyclical."
Bill Parks agreed, "God is in control. If man DID have such an influence upon the climate, then the century and a half of burning coal to fuel the industrial revolution and heat homes would have killed most of us off long ago."
"It is God's earth," Karri George writes and then asks, "Do we (humans) actually have the audacity to believe we can ruin what God has made? Yes, we do need to be responsible for how we act (keep earth litter free, find multiple sources of fuel, etc.). We do have to be accountable for what we (humans) have ruined or withered."
The correlation between greenhouse gases and global warming seems to have been proven. There seems, however, still to be some disagreement on which causes which.
Dr. Larry Vardiman asks in Acts and Facts, "Does Carbon Dioxide Drive Global Warming?" He explains that the so-called "Hockey Stick Diagram" of global temperatures over the last few centuries clearly shows a decline along the "handle" between A.D. 1000 and the Little Ice Age about A.D. 1700. During the coldest period canals in Holland and the Thames froze over every winter. Since then the "blade" part of the diagram shows a sharp rise in temperature of four-fifths of a degree.
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols. I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put My spirit within you and make you live by My statutes, careful to observe My decrees."
The Little Ice Age corresponds to the Maunder Minimum in sunspots (1645 to 1715). This seems to confirm the common sense idea that the sun's output has something to do with the Earth's temperature. That is, after all, the reason for our seasonal variation in temperature.
Looking at the concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide in ancient ice over the last 22 thousand years does show a correspondence between these greenhouse gases and temperature change. The change in the gases, however, lags behind that of the temperature by about 800 years. One explanation is that the warmer oceans cannot hold as much of these gases.
Henrik Svensmark has developed a theory called cosmoclimatology based on his discovery that cloud cover correlates inversely with sunspots. Just last year Svensmark proved that cosmic rays increase cloud condensation nuclei.
According to his theory the sun's increased activity better prevents cosmic rays from forming low-level clouds. Fewer clouds in turn reflect less sunlight and so warm the Earth.
The Old Farmer's Almanac No. 217 notes cycles of 11, 106, 213, and 429 years in the sun's activity. In this issue Joseph D'Alco, co-founder of The Weather Channel, asks, "Is Global Warming on the Wane?" He explains that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) began in 1995 and will last, as its name implies, for decades. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) began its cool El Nina phase in 2007.
The Russian Academy of Sciences warns of another mini ice age due to a quieter sun over the next 50 years. Deep ocean heat has not increased since 2004. The Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research data shows carbon dioxide steadily increasing over the last 20 years while the temperature varies considerably.
The Almanac makes interesting comparisons with the last warm cycle, from the Dust Bowl of the 1930s through the 1950s. This was followed by a cold spell through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1979 Winooski, Vermont, studied the possibility of putting a dome over the town to protect it from the cold. In 1980 a summer heat wave changed their minds. That was the mid-point of sunspot cycle 21.
The final word is likely that of Mike Shaw at almanac.com quoting Genesis 8:22, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."
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.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com