"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 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Every year pro-lifers rally in Washington, D.C., to observe this anniversary and to stand up for life. This file photo shows a march in a previous year.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone addressed representatives of the Aspen Institute from around the world on October 15 in Rome. The Aspen Institute states its mission is twofold: "to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues."
Cardinal Bertone referred to the group's meetings for several days prior to his address, indicating: "There are two key questions that you have addressed: first, the economic, political, and social challenges to Western democracies, with particular reference to strategies for emerging from the present crisis, and second, the problems associated with information media that are now globalized.
He continued: "In this regard, I would like to begin by providing some pointers, in the light of the Church's Social Doctrine and especially Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, which can help shed light upon your reflections and the decisions that need to be taken for the common good.
“I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope”
"The present economic crisis has forcibly reminded us of something which has always characterized human existence, but which in recent years seems to have been forgotten, partly through growing material prosperity, namely the precariousness of life and the sense of human finitude. We are brought up against our limitations by the restlessness of our desires, which profoundly characterize our human nature, since there is an irrepressible demand for eternity inscribed in our DNA. Despite the dramatic nature of the crisis, with all the discouragement and demoralization that ensued, it can paradoxically serve as a positive occasion for rediscovering the most authentic human desires and opening up to a new outlook on humanity and the present moment. In his Encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI states that 'the current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time' (Caritas in Veritate, 21). The Holy Father urges us, therefore, to look to the future with confidence, since the present crisis, far from causing us to become closed in on ourselves, can actually provide incentives for the release of new creative energies and initiatives. These are more necessary now than ever, and yet they must be built on solid foundations.
"Here we can learn from European history. The world that Saint Benedict faced 1,500 years ago was a world in crisis politically, economically, and socially. Yet Saint Benedict did not despair. On the contrary, through the monasteries that he founded and the Rule that he wrote which brought together the spiritual, transcendent dimension of man (the ora) with the material dimension (the labora) he contributed to the shaping of a new era, heralding a new culture, a fresh economic conception and a renewed political inspiration.
"What was Benedict's genius? We could summarize it by saying that he sensed the need to put man back into the center, recognizing the value of every dimension of his existence, his needs, and his desires. Now, when the Holy Father speaks of an ethical dimension in the economy, is he not referring precisely to the need to put man back into the center, just as Benedict did (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 45)? This means, first and foremost, becoming aware of the original and indestructible relations that constitute the human being. Undoubtedly, one cause of the economic crisis is the pervasiveness of a false ethical notion of efficiency, that would make personal profit into an absolute. Behind this 'ethic' lies not only greed, but above all a concept of man severed from all relations: man fundamentally alone, pursuing his own fulfillment within a restricted horizon that is exclusively materialistic. Whereas putting man back into the center means rediscovering the relations that make him who he is and make possible his integral human growth. We are not talking here about merely functional relations, but rather relations that could be defined as 'ontological.' The then Cardinal Ratzinger recalled this when speaking of the crisis of cultures: 'We need men who keep their eyes looking at God, learning from there true humanity' (Address given at Subiaco, April 1, 2005). Putting man back into the center means valuing and favoring his transcendental dimension. Man is not truly at the center unless he in turn can affirm the centrality of God, and unless his economic choices guarantee the life conditions that are indispensable if people are to be able to rise towards God.
"At the same time the original horizontal relations that nurture human growth must also be promoted. In central place is undoubtedly the family, a reflection of the communion of love between God and men (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 12). The family is the principal setting for every person's growth, since it is here that we learn to open ourselves to life and to the whole world. The bonds that it creates are therefore indispensable for development, as we can see for ourselves: where the family is stronger, the fall-out from the recent crisis has been humanly less damaging. This is mainly because the family generates relations of trust and teaches trust. We cannot think to recover from a crisis that thoroughly undermined the fiduciary system, without the help of 'places of trust,' since 'human life becomes impossible if one can no longer trust other people and is no longer able to rely on their experience, on their knowledge' (J. Ratzinger, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures - The Europe of Benedict). What is more, the family has the capacity to open all mankind to the dimension of genuine fraternity, 'to the recognition that the human race is a single family' (Caritas in Veritate, 53). The Holy Father reminds us that 'the theme of development can be identified with the inclusion-in-relation of all individuals and peoples within the one community of the human family, built in solidarity on the basis of the fundamental values of justice and peace' (ibid., 54).
"What is the task of politics, then, in the present context? Above all, it is to help put man back into the center, favoring those original relations of which I have just spoken. In this sense the role of the State is crucial. On the one hand, it cannot be 'interventionist,' an absolute regulator of the life of individuals from the economic or the social point of view, drawing up legislation that, through a false understanding of the principles of freedom and equality, risks undermining social cohesion. On the other hand, neither can the State be a mere 'onlooker,' viewing society as a great 'market' capable of self-regulation and of discovering the right balance by itself. On the contrary, the present crisis helps to highlight the importance of the State's role, while recognizing it as subsidiary to the family and to civil society. In this sense, public authorities at every level of government must permit and encourage the emergence and the reinforcement of a political and economic context in which different subjects are free to operate, taking care to avoid the systemic imbalances that helped trigger the crisis that erupted two years ago. Politics that gives pride of place to man in all his dimensions, not just to individual particular interests, would not only favor a more stable economic recovery, to everyone's benefit, but would contribute positively to overcoming the crisis of confidence that has involved not only financiers, but also the world of institutions, especially in the West. At the heart of this renewed commitment there must be 'an ethics which is people-centered' (ibid., 45), one that recognizes the value of the great resource that is labor so-called human capital and that at the same time favors a notion of enterprise for which the pursuit of profit is not the exclusive and self-justifying goal.
"Such an approach can also favor adequate management of globalization. The internet is perhaps the most potent symbol of globalization today. Thousands of items of information can be simultaneously available all over the world to innumerable people. The risk of a depersonalization of communication to the great detriment of authentic human relations is all too evident. It is the centrality of the human person and the value of personal testimony that will form the nucleus of the Message for the next World Communications Day, to be published on January 24, 2011, which the Holy Father has entitled: 'Truth, proclamation, and authenticity of life in the digital age.'
"Global communication raises serious questions, on which you had an opportunity to reflect yesterday, both concerning the political use of the internet, and concerning the protection of privacy. Once again it can be helpful, mutatis mutandis, to refer to the example of Benedict of Norcia. The holy Abbot sensed that one of the challenges of his time was the risk of losing the great cultural patrimony of antiquity. Accordingly he entrusted to his monks the custody and the transmission of that patrimony, giving rise to the dense network of libraries that has made it possible for our world today to benefit from the riches of antiquity. This was a real landmark in the history of culture, which Saint Benedict achieved at a time when it was extremely difficult to locate and obtain access to the great works that had shaped the world as it was then known. That particular difficulty no longer exists; paradoxically, one of the risks at present is that the great flow of information at our disposal, instead of generating culture, collates data uncritically and limits itself to spreading gossip, investigating people's private lives, and influencing the life of entire countries, not always for the better. In this area too, it is the fundamental task of politics to search for solutions centered 'on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples . . . clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity" (ibid., 73). In this sense, Pope Benedict continues, 'the media can make an important contribution towards the growth in communion of the human family and the ethos of society when they are used to promote universal participation in the common search for what is just' (ibid.). Political decisions must be inspired, therefore, not only by the concern, necessary though it is, for management and regulation of the internet, but rather by a broader reflection on the quality of communication in our globalized world, for the good of individuals and societies.
"Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the current crisis must not make us yield to despair or to malaise, neither can our response be limited to seeking new technologies with a view to escaping from the present situation. On the contrary, we can take the opportunity to reflect fruitfully on every aspect of man and human existence. I believe that the significance of my presence here today lies in the opportunity it gives me to share with you the positive stance that the Church has always promoted, the positive stance that colors our view of man with the realistic awareness that the soul of every reform is in the final analysis achieved through the reform of every soul. Genuine reform consists in acquiring greater awareness of everyone's personal responsibility for his own destiny and for his neighbor. In the words of T.S. Eliot: 'There is work together . . . and a job for each: every man to his work' (Choruses from the Rock).
Christians pray especially for unity during January each year. My People is printing some of Pope Benedict XVI's remarks at a November 18 plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Vatican City.
The Holy Father referred to the group's recent 50th anniversary.
". . . On June 5, 1960, on the eve of the Second Vatican Council which identified ecumenical commitment as central for the Church, Bl. John XXIII created the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity which in 1988 was given the name of 'Pontifical Council.' This Act was a milestone on the ecumenical journey of the Catholic Church. In the course of 50 years great headway has been made.
". . . These are 50 years in which a true knowledge and greater esteem has been acquired with the Churches and Ecclesial Communities, overcoming prejudices crystallized by history: we have grown in theological dialogue and in the dialogue of charity; various forms of collaboration have developed, among which, in addition to those for defending life, for safeguarding creation and for combating injustice, collaboration in the field of ecumenical translations of Sacred Scripture has been important and fruitful.
"In recent years, then, the Pontifical Council has been involved, among other things in an extensive project, called the Harvest Project, in order to draw up a first estimate of the goals achieved in the theological dialogues with the principal Ecclesial Communities since the Second Vatican Council.
"This is valuable work that has highlighted both the areas of convergence and those in which it is necessary to continue to deepen reflection.
"As I thank God for the fruits already gathered, I encourage you to persevere in your commitment to promoting a correct assessment of the results achieved and to make known exactly the present state of the theological research at the service of the journey towards unity. Today some people think that this journey, especially in the West, has lost its impetus; therefore the urgent need to revive ecumenical interest and to give fresh purpose to the dialogues is felt.
"Moreover we are presented with unheard-of challenges: the new anthropological and ethical interpretations, the ecumenical formation of the new generations and the further fragmentation of the ecumenical scene. It is essential to become aware of these changes and to identify ways to proceed effectively in the light of the Lord's desire: 'that they may all be one' (Jn 17:21).
"Also with the Orthodox Churches and the Ancient Churches of the East, the 'closest intimacy' (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 15). The Catholic Church is eagerly continuing the dialogue, seeking seriously and rigorously to deepen the common theological, liturgical, and spiritual patrimony in order to face with serenity and commitment the elements that still divide us. With the Orthodox she has reached a crucial point in comparison and reflection: the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church's communion. And the ecclesiological issue is also the center of the dialogue with the Ancient Churches of the East: despite many centuries of misunderstanding and distance, it is joyfully noted that a precious common patrimony has been preserved.
"Dear friends, even in the presence of problematic situations or difficult points for the dialogue, the goal of the ecumenical journey remains unchanged, as does the firm commitment to pursue it. However, it is not a commitment in accordance with political categories, so to speak, in which comes into play the ability to negotiate or the greatest skill in finding compromises through which we as good mediators might expect, after a certain time, to reach agreements acceptable to all. Ecumenical action has a dual movement.
"On the one hand there is the convinced, passionate, and tenacious search to find full unity in truth, to conceive of models of unity, to throw light on disagreement and obscure points in order to attain unity. And this takes place in the necessary theological dialogue but especially in prayer and penance, in that spiritual ecumenism which constitutes the vibrant heart of the whole journey: the unity of Christians is and remains prayer, it dwells in prayer.
"On the other hand, there is another active movement that stems from the firm awareness that we do not know the time of the fulfillment of unity between all Christ's disciples and we cannot know it, because it is not 'we who can decide it,' God 'decides' it. It comes from on high from the unity of the Father with the Son in the dialogue of love which is the Holy Spirit; it is a participation in the divine unity. And this must not diminish our commitment; indeed it must make us ever more attentive to understanding the signs and times of the Lord, knowing and recognizing with gratitude what already unites us and working to consolidate and increase it. In the end, also on the ecumenical journey it is a question of leaving to God what is His alone and of exploring, with seriousness, constancy, and dedication, what is our duty, bearing in mind that the binomials of acting and suffering, of activity and patience, of effort and joy are part of our commitment . . ."
Fred H. Summe is Vice President of Northern Kentucky Right to Life, P.O. Box 1202, Covington, Kentucky 41012
From around the world, the secular media reports:
What triggered a barrage of generalisms from the secular press was the publication of excerpts by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, taken from Light of the World: The Pope, The Church, and The Signs of the Times, a newly released book of the interview of Pope Benedict XVI, by the German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald.
As so frequently in the past, the sex-crazed secular press put its own spin on the Pope's words, while denying its readers the full text, in order to promote sexual promiscuity by implying that the Catholic Church now approves the use of condoms to help prevent the spread of AIDS.
Even the so-called Catholic news media wasted no time in muddling the clear teaching of the Church. For example, in an article with the misleading headline "Pope's Remarks Open New Chapter in Condom Debate," appearing in the December 3, 2010, edition of The Catholic Telegraph, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, it was stated: "It was the first time Pope Benedict or any pope has said publicly that condom use may be acceptable in some cases . . . some Vatican theologians and officials have argued that for married couples in which one partner is HIV-infected, use of condoms could be a moral responsibility." (Naturally, The Catholic Telegraph fails to identify or quote any such Vatican theologians or officials, giving the false impression that this statement is no doubt well accepted as being true.)
So let the Pope speak for himself. The following is an excerpt from Chapter 11, "The Journeys of a Shepherd":
Seewald: "In Africa you stated that the Church's traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church's own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms."
Pope: ". . . the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDS victims, especially children with AIDS . . . we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms.
"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality."
Seewald: "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?"
Pope: "She, of course, does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."
"Is he [the Pope] saying that in some cases condoms can be permitted?" was the question put to Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican's highest court, to which he replied, "No, he's not," as reported in LifeSiteNews.com.
"What he's commenting on in fact, he makes the statement very clearly that the Church does not regard the use of condoms as a real or a moral solution but what he's talking about in the point he makes about the male prostitute is about a certain conversion process taking place in an individual's life," explains Cardinal Burke. "[T]his could be a sign of someone who is having a certain moral awakening. But in no way does it mean that prostitution is morally acceptable, nor does it mean that the use of condoms is morally acceptable."
"The pope didn't say, 'Oh good, you should use a condom,'" stated Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the president-elect of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. "You get the impression that the Holy See or the Pope is like Congress and every once in a while says, 'Oh, let's change this law.' We can't."
In an article appearing in The Wanderer, a truly Catholic newspaper, Janet Smith, Ph.D., a consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family, explains that Benedict XVI was advocating conversion, not condoms, in the strivings for moral behavior.
"The Holy Father is simply observing that for some homosexual prostitutes the use of a condom may indicate an awakening of a moral sense; an awakening that sexual pleasure is not the highest value, but that we must take care that we harm no one with our choices.
“If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life!”
— Pope John Paul II —
"He is not speaking to the morality of the use of a condom, but to something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature."
Dr. Smith stresses that the Pope was not focusing on condoms, but simply describing the use of condoms by a male prostitute, in discussing growth of an individual toward Jesus. The Church has always taught that every individual has a need for conversion. "The intention behind the use of the condom (the desire not to harm another) may indicate some growth in a sense of moral responsibility," states Dr. Smith.
"Christ Himself, of course, called for a turning away from sin. That is what the Holy Father is advocating here; not a turn toward condoms. Conversion, not condoms!"
Dr. Smith goes on to note: "In his second answer he says that the Church does not find condoms to be a 'real or moral solution.' That means the Church does not find condoms either to be moral or an effective way of fighting the transmission of HIV. As the Holy Father indicates in his fuller answer, the most effective portions of programs designed to reduce the transmission of HIV are calls to abstinence and fidelity."
Without ever offering any real evidence, the news media continues to promote as accepted scientific fact that the use of condoms prevent the spread of AIDS.
Common sense would dictate that a piece of latex, which often fails to prohibit the passage of sperm, cannot always prevent the passage of the much smaller AIDS virus from infecting someone else. Even the manufacturers of the condoms only claim limited effectiveness when properly used. Use by homosexual males in an unnatural and sometimes violent sexual act is not "proper use."
As The Lancet (journal of the English Medical Society) concluded: "The possible consequences of condom failure when one partner is HIV infected are serious enough and the likelihood of failure sufficiently high that condom use by risk groups should not be described as 'safe sex.'"
As pointed out by Population Research Institute: "Increased condom use, on the other hand, seems to actually contribute to higher levels of infection. Why? Because when you tell young people that condoms will protect them against HIV infection, many will take greater sexual risks as a result. Of course, condoms often fail even when they are used consistently which is, as it turns out, not often. Those who argue that 'consistent condom use' will lower HIV infection rates have produced no evidence to speak of. Consistent condom use is rare."
More importantly, as Msgr. Angel Rodriguez Luno, a moral theologian at Rome's Holy Cross University and a consultor to the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, reminds us: ". . . if unmarried persons do not abstain from sexual relations, or if spouses are not mutually faithful, these are sexual acts which are immoral in themselves, whether or not a condom is used."
Saints for Dummies by Fr. John Trigilio, Jr., and Fr. Kenneth Brighenti covers all the basics about saints. They begin with sharing what the word saint means.
"Saints are simply ordinary men and women who, through their faith, overcome weakness, failures, and shortcomings." They quote Blessed Teresa of Calcutta that a saint never quits trying to do better.
It is difficult to become a saint. Difficult, but not impossible. The road to perfection is long as one’s lifetime. Along the way, consolation becomes rest; but as soon as your strength is restored, you must diligently get up and resume the trip.
– St. Padre Pio
Trigilio has a doctorate in theology and is a retired Navy chaplain, while Brighenti, also a doctor of philosophy, has worked as a hospital chaplain. Together they co-host a weekly television program, "Crash Course on Catholicism" and have co-authored Catholicism For Dummies, Women in the Bible For Dummies, and John Paul II For Dummies.
This book, they explain, is written for those not already saints, those curious about saints, or curious about a particular saint, or anyone wanting to overcome his or her own shortcomings and become a saint rather than a dummy.
The book includes cartoons illustrating the more humorous aspects of trying to become more saint and less dummy.
It also includes optional sidebars like that answering "Are Christopher and Valentine still saints?" They are still saints. A saint cannot be "defrocked." They and other formerly honored saints have just been removed from the Church calendar of feasts to make room for newer, more reliably documented saints.
They give examples of saints who exemplify the saintly virtues Thomas More for prudence, Joseph for justice, Teresa of Calcutta for fortitude, and Josemaria Escriva for temperance.
Trigilio and Brighenti inform about some of the more notable saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the apostles, and some of the more notorious ones: Augustine who overcame a playboy lifestyle, Camillus de Lellis who overcame a gambling addiction, Dismas the thief, angry Jerome, falsely accused Padre Pio, and nearly despairing Monica.
They explain that saints, although reverenced, are not worshiped. They are not angels except for three exceptions, the archangels mentioned in the Bible, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
Much of the book is lists including that of thirteen undecayed saints, thirty-two martyrs, plus the mentioning of hundreds more from Rome, Bethlehem, Mexicon, North America, Korea, and Japan.
Saints come from all walks of life. They list eleven virgins, eleven founders of orders, and eleven nobility. They list nine Latin fathers of the Church, thirteen Greek fathers, and ten Orthodox saints.
They list the seventy-five popes (including Peter who was also an apostle) who have been canonized, thirty-two doctors of the Church, and only twenty-four pastors.
Their top ten list of lists, however, includes such saint-related things as favorite litanies or list-like prayers to saints, and novenas or nine days of prayers before a feast day, favorite shrines, families of saints, things saints are the patron of, places where saints lived and died, and saints' feast days.
All of the fathers' books can be found at dummies.com. At the site is also "a cheat sheet" which explains what it takes to become a saint, two verified miracles after death or a martyr's death and a virtuous life, then the process of canonization is explained.
Some "little known facts" about saints are collected like Pope Blessed John XXIII's answer when asked, "How many people work at the Vatican?" "About half of them."
Another fact is that St. Isidore of Seville became the patron of the internet because he compiled the first written database in the sixth century, a 20-volume encyclopedia on everything known at the time, from A to Z.
(Editor's note: Mr. Fanelli writes from California. We welcome contributions from prisoners and would like to hear from a variety of prisoners.)
Going to Grandma's on Christmas eve
Was so much fun I wouldn't wanna leave.
Though this sounds trite and ill conceived
My love for Christmas you must believe.
As a child I'd live for Christmas day.
With anticipation and hope I'd always pray,
That Santa'd bring new toys for me to play.
And I was never let down in any way.
But I grew and Santa left my heart.
Christmas shows came to fill the part.
The Grinch and Peanuts I loved from the start,
And Rudolph saves Christmas from falling apart.
The time did pass, I have to tell,
That every year I'd wait until
The shopping malls were packed like hell.
Oh, how I love that Christmas smell.
But if you want a Christmas high,
One that's better than you can buy,
Open your heart and then just try
To trust in Jesus until you die.
Pope Benedict XVI sent a message, dated November 15, to participants in a conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.
The message follows: ". . . The theme you have chosen this year 'Caritas in Veritate: toward an equitable and human health care,' is of particular interest for the Christian community in which care for the human being, for his transcendent dignity, and for his inalienable rights is central. Health is a precious good for the person and the community to be promoted, preserved, and protected, dedicating the necessary means, resources, and energy in order that more and more people may benefit from it.
"Unfortunately the fact that still today many of the world's populations have no access to the resources they need to satisfy their basic needs, particularly with regard to health care, is still a problem. It is necessary to work with greater commitment at all levels to ensure that the right to health care is rendered effective by furthering access to basic health care. In our day on the one hand we are witnessing an attention to health that borders on pharmacological, medical, and surgical consumerism, almost a cult of the body, and on the other, the difficulty of millions of people in achieving a basic standard of subsistence and in obtaining the indispensable medicines for treatment.
“[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 —
"In the health-care sector too, which is an integral part of everyone's life and of the common good, it is important to establish a real distributive justice which, on the basis of objective needs, guarantees adequate care to all. Consequently, if it is not to become inhuman, the world of health care cannot disregard the moral rules that must govern it.
"As I emphasized in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, the Church's social doctrine has always highlighted the importance of distributive justice and of social justice in the different areas of human relations (cf. n. 35).
"Justice is promoted when one welcomes the life of the other and assumes responsibility for him, responding to his expectations, for in him one perceives the very Face of the Son of God Who for our sake became man. It is on the divine image imprinted in our brother and sister that the most exalted dignity of every person is founded and inspires the need for respect, care, and service. Justice and charity, in the Christian perspective, are very closely linked: 'Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is "mine" to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is "his," what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting . . . If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Not only is justice not extraneous to charity, not only is it not an alternative or parallel path to charity: justice is "inseparable from charity" and intrinsic to it. Justice is the primary way of charity' (ibid., 6).
"In this regard, St. Augustine taught using concise and incisive words that 'justice consists in helping the poor' (De Trinitate, XIV, 9: PL 42, 1045).
"To bend down, like the Good Samaritan, over the wounded man left by the roadside is to fulfill that 'greater justice' which Jesus asks of His disciples and practiced in His life, because the fulfillment of the Law is love. The Christian community, in following in the Lord's footsteps, has complied with His mandate to go out into the world 'to teach and to heal the sick' and, down the centuries, 'has felt strongly that service to the sick and suffering is an integral part of her mission' (John Paul II, Motu Proprio Dolentium Hominum, n. 1), to bear witness to integral salvation, which is health of soul and body.
"The pilgrim People of God on the tortuous paths of history, joins forces with many other men and women of good will in order to give a truly human face to health-care systems. Justice in health care must be among the priorities on the agenda of Governments and International Institutions.
"Unfortunately, alongside the positive and encouraging results there are opinions and mindsets that damage it: I am referring to issues such as those connected with the so-called 'reproductive health,' with recourse to artificial techniques of procreation that entail the destruction of embryos, or with legalized euthanasia.
"Love of justice, the protection of life from conception to its natural end and respect for the dignity of every human being should be upheld and witnessed to, even going against the tide: the fundamental ethical values are the common patrimony of universal morality and the basis of democratic coexistence.
"The joint effort of all is required, but also and above all a profound conversion of one's inner orientation. Only if one looks at the world with the Creator's gaze, which is a loving gaze, will humanity learn to dwell on earth in peace and justice, allocating the earth and its resources justly to every man and every woman, for their good.
"For this reason, 'I would advocate the adoption of a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realization of our need for a changed lifestyle, and on prudence, the virtue which tells us what needs to be done today in view of what might happen tomorrow' (Benedict XVI, Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, n. 9, December 8, 2009).
"To our suffering brothers and sisters I express my closeness and my appeal to experience illness also as an opportunity of grace to grow spiritually and to participate in Christ's sufferings for the good of the world; and I offer all of you who are committed in the vast field of health care my encouragement for your precious service. As I pray for the motherly protection of the Virgin Mary, Salus infirmorum, I cordially impart to you my Apostolic Blessing, which I also extend to your families."
Pope Benedict XVI
that faithfully visit and height of Your Presence
Church and human history;
that in the admirable sacrament
of Your Body and Your Blood
We do participate in the divine life
and let us taste in advance the joy of eternal life;
we adore you and we bless you.
Kneeling before You, the source and lover of life
truly present and alive among us
we beseech Thee.
Awakens in us
respect for nascent human life,
make us able
to see the fruit of the womb
the admirable work of the Creator,
incline our hearts
the generous hospitality of every child
that comes to life.
Bless the families, sanctified the union of husband
realize their love fruitful.
Accompanies the light of Your Spirit
the choice of legislatures,
so that peoples and nations
recognize and respect the sanctity of life,
of every human life.
Guide the work of scientists and physicians,
so that progress
contributes to the integral good of the person
and that person does not suffer
deletions and injustices.
Give charity creative
administrators and economists,
so they know, understand, and promote
sufficient conditions so that young families
can calmly open
the birth of new children.
Comforts the married couples who suffer
because of their inability to have children,
and in Your goodness take care of them.
Educate people to take care
children orphaned or abandoned,
so thy can fell the warmth of Your Love
the comfort of Your Divine Heart.
With Mary Your Mother, the great believer,
in the bosom of which You took
our human nature,
we expect from You
Although our one true Savor and,
the strength to love and serve life
pending still live in You
in the communion of the Blessed Trinity.
Pope Benedict XVI
November 27, 2010
vatican city During his general audience on November 17, Pope Benedict XVI discussed devotion to the Eucharist. The Pope commented: " . . . I would like to affirm with joy that today there is a 'Eucharistic springtime' in the Church: How many people pause in silence before the Tabernacle to engage in a loving conversation with Jesus! It is comforting to know that many groups of young people have rediscovered the beauty of praying in adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
"I am thinking, for example, of our Eucharistic adoration in Hyde Park, London. I pray that this Eucharistic 'springtime' may spread increasingly in every parish . . .
"Venerable John Paul II said in his Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia: "In many places, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of holiness. The devout participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is a grace from the Lord which yearly brings joy to those who take part in it. Other positive signs of Eucharistic faith and love might also be mentioned' (n. 10).
". . . Let us also renew our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As we are taught by the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 'Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real, and substantial way, with His Body and His Blood, with His Soul and His Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic Species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man' (n. 282).
"Dear friends, fidelity to the encounter with the Christ in the Eucharist in Holy Mass on Sunday is essential for the journey of faith, but let us also seek to pay frequent visits to the Lord present in the Tabernacle! In gazing in adoration at the consecrated Host, we discover the gift of God's love, we discover Jesus' Passion and Cross and likewise His Resurrection. It is precisely through our gazing in adoration that the Lord draws us towards Him into His mystery in order to transform us as He transforms the bread and the wine.
"The Saints never failed to find strength, consolation, and joy in the Eucharistic encounter. Let us repeat before the Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament the words of the Eucharistic hymn 'Adoro te devote': [Devoutly I adore Thee]: Make me believe ever more in You, "Draw me deeply into faith, / Into Your hope, into Your love."
vatican city During the Angelus on November 14, Pope Benedict addressed the current economic crisis. November 14 was Thanksgiving Day in Italy, where thanks is given to God for the harvest.
The Pope said: "The full gravity of the current economic crisis, discussed these past few days at the 'G20 Summit,' should be understood. This crisis has numerous causes and is a strong reminder of the need for a profound revision of the model of global economic development (cf. Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, n. 21).
"It is an acute symptom which has been added to a long list of many far more serious and well-known problems, such as the lasting imbalance between wealth and poverty, the scandal of world hunger, the ecological emergency, and the now widespread problem of unemployment.
"In this context, a strategic revitalization of agriculture is crucial. Indeed, the process of industrialization has often overshadowed the agricultural sector, which although benefiting in its turn from modern technology has nevertheless lost importance with notable consequences, even at the cultural level. It seems to me that it is time to re-evaluate agriculture, not in a nostalgic sense but as an indispensable resource for the future.
"In the present economic situation, the dynamic economies are tempted to pursue advantageous alliances, which nevertheless may have detrimental results for other poorer States, situations of extreme poverty among the masses, and the depletion of the natural resources of the earth that God has entrusted to man, as it says in Genesis, so that he may till it and keep it (cf. 2:15). And in spite of the crisis it can still be seen that in the old industrialized countries, lifestyles marked by unsustainable consumerism are encouraged. These also prove damaging for the environment and for the poor. Then a really concerted aim for a new balance between farming, industry, and services is necessary so that development may be sustainable, so that no one will lack bread and work, air and water, and that the other fundamental resources may be preserved as universal rights (cf. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, n. 27). Thus it is essential to cultivate and spread a clear ethical awareness that is equal to facing the most complicated challenges of our time. Everyone should be taught to consume in a wiser and more responsible way. We should promote personal responsibility along with a social dimension of rural activities based on the undying values of hospitality, solidarity, and sharing the toil of labor. Many young people have already chosen this path and many professionals are also returning to agricultural enterprises, feeling that in this way they are not only responding to personal and family needs but also to a sign of the times, to a concrete sensibility for the common good.
"Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that these reflections may serve as an incentive to the international community, as we thank God for the fruits of the earth and the work of mankind."
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano English edition)
"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." (Ez 36:25-27)
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