"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
O Come Let Us Adore Him!
"When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit He lavished on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs, in hope, of eternal life. You can depend on this to be true." (Titus 3:4-8)
Children were the focus of Pope Francis' message for The World Day of Migrants and Refugees which will be observed on January 15. The theme of the Day is "Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless." The message, dated September 8, follows:
" 'Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me' (Mk 9:37; cf. Mt 18:5; Lk 9:48; Jn 13:20). With these words, the Evangelists remind the Christian community of Jesus' teaching, which both inspires and challenges. This phrase traces the sure path which leads to God; it begins with the smallest and, through the grace of our Savior, it grows into the practice of welcoming others. To be welcoming is a necessary condition for making this journey a concrete reality: God made Himself one of us. In Jesus God became a child, and the openness of faith to God, which nourishes hope, is expressed in loving proximity to the smallest and the weakest. Charity, faith, and hope are all actively present in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, as we have rediscovered during the recent Extraordinary Jubilee.
"But the Evangelists reflect also on the responsibility of the one who works against mercy: 'Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin: it is better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea' (Mt 18:6; cf. Mk 9:42; Lk 17:2). How can we ignore this severe warning when we see the exploitation carried out by unscrupulous people? Such exploitation harms young girls and boys who are led into prostitution or into the mire of pornography; who are enslaved as child laborers or soldiers; who are caught up in drug trafficking and other forms of criminality; who are forced to flee from conflict and persecution, risking isolation and abandonment.
"For this reason, on the occasion of the annual World Day of Migrants and Refugees, I feel compelled to draw attention to the reality of child migrants, especially the ones who are alone. In doing so I ask everyone to take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenseless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves. I ask everyone to help those who, for various reasons, are forced to live far from their homeland and are separated from their families.
"Migration today is not a phenomenon limited to some areas of the planet. It affects all continents and is growing into a tragic situation of global proportions. Not only does this concern those looking for dignified work or better living conditions, but also men and women, the elderly and children, who are forced to leave their homes in the hope of finding safety, peace, and security. Children are the first among those to pay the heavy toll of emigration, almost always caused by violence, poverty, environmental conditions, as well as the negative aspects of globalization. The unrestrained competition for quick and easy profit brings with it the cultivation of perverse scourges such as child trafficking, the exploitation and abuse of minors, and, generally, the depriving of rights intrinsic to childhood as sanctioned by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
"Childhood, given its fragile nature, has unique and inalienable needs. Above all else, there is the right to a healthy and secure family environment, where a child can grow under the guidance and example of a father and a mother; then there is the right and duty to receive adequate education, primarily in the family and also in the school, where children can grow as persons and agents of their own future and the future of their respective countries. Indeed, in many areas of the world, reading, writing, and the most basic arithmetic is still the privilege of only a few. All children, furthermore, have the right to recreation; in a word, they have the right to be children.
"And yet among migrants, children constitute the most vulnerable group, because as they face the life ahead of them, they are invisible and voiceless: their precarious situation deprives them of documentation, hiding them from the world's eyes; the absence of adults to accompany them prevents their voices from being raised and heard. In this way, migrant children easily end up at the lowest levels of human degradation, where illegality and violence destroy the future of too many innocents, while the network of child abuse is difficult to break up.
"How should we respond to this reality?
"Firstly, we need to become aware that the phenomenon of migration is not unrelated to salvation history, but rather a part of that history. One of God's commandments is connected to it: 'You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt' (Ex 22:21); 'Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt' (Deut 10:19). This phenomenon constitutes a sign of the times, a sign which speaks of the providential work of God in history and in the human community, with a view to universal communion. While appreciating the issues, and often the suffering and tragedy of migration, as too the difficulties connected with the demands of offering a dignified welcome to these persons, the Church nevertheless encourages us to recognize God's plan. She invites us to do this precisely amidst this phenomenon, with the certainty that no one is a stranger in the Christian community, which embraces 'every nation, tribe, people, and tongue' (Rev 7:9). Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.
"Furthermore, we need to work towards protection, integration and long-term solutions.
"We are primarily concerned with adopting every possible measure to guarantee the protection and safety of child migrants, because 'these boys and girls often end up on the street abandoned to themselves and prey to unscrupulous exploiters who often transform them into the object of physical, moral, and sexual violence' (Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2008).
"Moreover, the dividing line between migration and trafficking can at times be very subtle. There are many factors which contribute to making migrants vulnerable, especially if they are children: poverty and the lack of means to survive - to which are added unrealistic expectations generated by the media; the low level of literacy; ignorance of the law, of the culture and frequently of the language of host countries. All of this renders children physically and psychologically dependent. But the most powerful force driving the exploitation and abuse of children is demand. If more rigorous and effective action is not taken against those who profit from such abuse, we will not be able to stop the multiple forms of slavery where children are the victims.
"It is necessary, therefore, for immigrants to cooperate ever more closely with the communities that welcome them, for the good of their own children. We are deeply grateful to organizations and institutions, both ecclesial and civil, that commit time and resources to protect minors from various forms of abuse. It is important that evermore effective and incisive cooperation be implemented, based not only on the exchange of information, but also on the reinforcement of networks capable of assuring timely and specific intervention; and this, without underestimating the strength that ecclesial communities reveal especially when they are united in prayer and fraternal communion.
"Secondly, we need to work for the integration of children and youngsters who are migrants. They depend totally on the adult community. Very often the scarcity of financial resources prevents the adoption of adequate policies aimed at assistance and inclusion. As a result, instead of favoring the social integration of child migrants, or programs for safe and assisted repatriation, there is simply an attempt to curb the entrance of migrants, which in turn fosters illegal networks; or else immigrants are repatriated to their country of origin without any concern for their 'best interests.'
"The condition of child migrants is worsened when their status is not regularized or when they are recruited by criminal organizations. In such cases they are usually sent to detention centers. It is not unusual for them to be arrested, and because they have no money to pay the fine or for the return journey, they can be incarcerated for long periods, exposed to various kinds of abuse and violence. In these instances, the right of states to control migratory movement and to protect the common good of the nation must be seen in conjunction with the duty to resolve and regularize the situation of child migrants, fully respecting their dignity and seeking to meet their needs when they are alone, but also the needs of their parents, for the good of the entire family.
"Of fundamental importance is the adoption of adequate national procedures and mutually agreed plans of cooperation between countries of origin and of destination, with the intention of eliminating the causes of the forced emigration of minors.
"Thirdly, to all I address a heartfelt appeal that long-term solutions be sought and adopted. Since this is a complex phenomenon, the question of child migrants must be tackled at its source. Wars, human rights violations, corruption, poverty, environmental imbalance, and disasters, are all causes of this problem. Children are the first to suffer, at times suffering torture and other physical violence, in addition to moral and psychological aggression, which almost always leave indelible scars.
"It is absolutely necessary, therefore, to deal with the causes which trigger migrations in the countries of origin. This requires, as a first step, the commitment of the whole international community to eliminate the conflicts and violence that force people to flee. Furthermore, far-sighted perspectives are called for, capable of offering adequate programs for areas struck by the worst injustice and instability, in order that access to authentic development can be guaranteed for all. This development should promote the good of boys and girls, who are humanity's hope.
"Lastly, I wish to address a word to you, who walk alongside migrant children and young people: they need your precious help. The Church too needs you and supports you in the generous service you offer. Do not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable.
"I entrust all child migrants, their families, their communities, and you who are close to them, to the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth; may they watch over and accompany each one on their journey. With my prayers, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing."
The universal right to food and water was the subject of Pope Francis' General Audience on October 19. The Pope has been focusing on the works of mercy and this session covered the first two corporal works of mercy. The Pope's address follows:
"... One of the consequences of what we call 'well-being' is that it leads people to close in on themselves, and become insensitive to the needs of others. It does everything to deceive them by presenting ideals of ephemeral life, which later vanish after a few years, as though our life were a fashion to follow and change at every season. It is not so. The reality must be accepted and dealt with for what it is, and often we are made to encounter situations of urgent need. It is for this reason that, among the works of mercy, there is the reminder of hunger and thirst: to give food to the hungry - there are many today - and drink to the thirsty. How often the media tells us about populations who are suffering from the lack of food and water, with serious consequences, especially for children.
"Faced with certain items of news, and especially certain images, public opinion is touched, and from time to time solidarity campaigns are started. Generous donations are made, and in this way one can contribute to alleviate the suffering of many. This form of charity is important, but perhaps it does not directly get us involved. When, as we walk along the street, we cross the path of a person in need, or a poor person who is begging at the entrance to our home, it is very different, because they are no longer an image; we are involved personally. There is no longer any distance between me and him or her, and I feel engaged. The call of poverty in the abstract does not reach us, but it makes us think, and makes us denounce it; however, when we see poverty in the flesh of a man, of a woman, of a child, this plea reaches us!
"And therefore, we get into the habit of avoiding those in need, of not approaching them, somewhat masking the reality of the needy, following the current trend of keeping away from them. There is no longer any distance between me and the poor person when I come across him. In these cases, what is my reaction? Do I look elsewhere and walk by? Or do I stop to speak to him and take an interest in his situation? And if I do this, it will not be without someone saying: 'This is crazy, why speak to a poor person!' Do I see if I can welcome this person in some way, or do try to get away from him as soon as possible? But perhaps he is only asking for what is needed: something to eat and drink. Let us think for a moment: how often do we recite the 'Our Father,' yet do not pay close attention to those words: 'Give us this day our daily bread?'
"In the Bible, a Psalm says that God is 'he who gives food to all flesh' (136:25). The experience of hunger is hard. Those who have endured war or famine know about it. However, this experience is repeated every day, and coexists alongside abundance and waste. The words of the Apostle James are ever timely: 'What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead' (2:14-17) because it is incapable of doing works, of doing charity, of love. There is always someone who is hungry or thirsty and who needs me. I cannot delegate this to another. This poor person needs me, my help, my word, my commitment. We are all involved in this.
"There is also the teaching from that page in the Gospel in which Jesus, seeing the many people who by now were following Him, asked His disciples: 'How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?' (Jn 6:5). His disciples responded: 'It is impossible. It would be better for you to send them away...' Instead, Jesus says to them: 'No. You give them something to eat' (cf. Mt 14:16). He took the few loaves and fish that they had with them, and He blessed them, broke them, and distributed them to everyone. This is a very important lesson for us. It tells us that the little we have, if we entrust it to God's hands and share it with Him in faith, becomes an overabundant wealth.
"In his Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Benedict XVI affirms: 'Feed the hungry is an ethical imperative for the universal Church.... The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights.... It is therefore necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination' (n. 27). Let us not forget the words of Jesus: 'I am the bread of life' (Jn 6:35), and 'If any one thirst, let him come to Me' (Jn 7:37).
"These words are a provocation for all of us believers, a provocation to recognize that, through giving food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, our relationship with God passes. A God who has been revealed in Jesus, His merciful face."
Inspiring story. That is the quick and easy storyline describing the path Fr. Andrew Cozzens took to becoming the next auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
On October 11, 2013, Pope Francis appointed him as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Bishop Cozzens' ordination to the Episcopacy took place December 9, 2013, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, at Saint Paul Cathedral.
The drama began during his mother Judy's fifth month of pregnancy. Her doctor told her she was carrying a deformed fetus and not to continue the pregnancy. He told her she was carrying a "freak." she simply told him that the baby was her's and that she would take whatever God sent her!
After this, a replacement doctor filled in. He said he believed nothing was wrong and made a bet with the former doctor. At stake was the cost of delivery which was beyond their health care coverage - about $1,200. Whichever doctor lost would have to pay for the delivery. On August 3, 1968, Andrew was born! the pro-abortion doctor lost the bet!
The only problems were eczema, allergies, and asthma.
At his ordination, Archbishop John Nienstedt, principal consecrator and celebrant, stated that the title of bishop is one of service, not honor. The bishop is to minister to the word of God in season and out. On the same hand, he stated that the bishop because he is Catholic has a universal perspective on his mission of evangelization. He is called to witness the truth of the Catholic faith on behalf of those who are Catholic, non-Catholic, and even non-believers. None of these must escape his notice or his pastoral concern.
An example of a talk held by Bishop Cozzens is from the 18th Annual Benefit for The Catholic Servant, a monthly publication. He said that Francis' approach to the new evangelization consists of four (4) calls to us ... 1. to get out of our "comfort zones" in evangelization efforts; 2. to encounter others with our love of Christ; 3. to keep evangelization rooted in prayer as evangelization itself is the fruit of prayer; 4. to remember that the Resurrection is always active.
He then went on to say that it is important to put victims first ... because we want to bring healing. For example, the pro-life movement, despite some seeming failures on the political level, continues to make good progress. Pro-lifers' work might not seem like much in terms of success, but Jesus can see the larger impact ... the impact is big.
Cozzens favorite argument against abortion is the George Bailey argument. Bailey is the character in It's A Wonderful Life who gets a glimpse of what the world would be like if he never existed.
What George Baileys are we missing because of abortion? What kind of world would we have if they had lived?
Choose Life, Religious Outreach Newspaper, National Right to Life Committee, 2014 - Issue 1, Page 2
Pope Francis celebrated the Jubilee for Prisoners on November 6 in Vatican City. His homily follows:
"The message that God's word wants to bring us today is surely that of hope, the hope that does not disappoint.
"One of the seven brothers condemned to death by King Antiochus Epiphanes speaks of 'the hope God gives of being raised again by him' (2 Macc 7:14). These words demonstrate the faith of those martyrs who, despite suffering and torture, were steadfast in looking to the future. Theirs was a faith that, in acknowledging God as the source of their hope, reflected the desire to attain a new life.
"In the Gospel, we have heard how Jesus, with a simple yet complete answer, demolishes the banal casuistry that the Sadducees had set before Him. His response - 'He is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to Him' (Lk 20:38) - reveals the true face of God, who desires only life for all His children. The hope of being born to a new life, then, is what we must make our own, if we are to be faithful to the teaching of Jesus.
"Hope is a gift of God. We must ask for it. It is placed deep within each human heart in order to shed light on this life, so often troubled and clouded by so many situations that bring sadness and pain. We need to nourish the roots of our hope so that they can bear fruit; primarily, the certainty of God's closeness and compassion, despite whatever evil we have done. There is no corner of our heart that cannot be touched by God's love. Whenever someone makes a mistake, the Father's mercy is all the more present, awakening repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace.
"Today we celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy for you and with you, our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned. Mercy, as the expression of God's love, is something we need to think about more deeply. Certainly, breaking the law involves paying the price, and losing one's freedom is the worst part of serving time, because it affects us so deeply. All the same, hope must not falter. Paying for the wrong we have done is one thing, but another thing entirely is the 'breath' of hope, which cannot be stifled by anyone or anything. Our heart always yearns for goodness. We are in debt to the mercy that God constantly shows us, for He never abandons us (cf. Augustine, Sermo 254:1).
"In his Letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks of God as 'the God of hope' (15:13). It is as if Paul wants to say also to us: 'God hopes.' While this may seem paradoxical, it is true: God hopes! His mercy gives Him no rest. He is like that Father in the parable, who keeps hoping for the return of his son who has fallen by the wayside (Lk 15:11-32). God does not rest until He finds the sheep that was lost (Lk 15:5). So if God hopes, then no one should lose hope. For hope is the strength to keep moving forward. It is the power to press on towards the future and a changed life. It is the incentive to look to tomorrow, so that the love we have known, for all our failings, can show us a new path. In a word, hope is the proof, lying deep in our hearts, of the power of God's mercy. That mercy invites us to keep looking ahead and to overcome our attachment to evil and sin through faith and abandonment in Him.
"Dear friends, today is your Jubilee! Today, in God's sight, may your hope be kindled anew. A Jubilee, by its very nature, always brings with it a proclamation of freedom (Lev 25:39-46). It does not depend on me to grant this, but the Church's duty, one she cannot renounce, is to awaken within you the desire for true freedom. Sometimes, a certain hypocrisy leads to people considering you only as wrongdoers, for whom prison is the sole answer. I want to tell you, every time I visit a prison I ask myself: 'Why them and not me?' We can all make mistakes: all of us. And in one way or another we have made mistakes. Hypocrisy leads us to overlook the possibility that people can change their lives; we put little trust in rehabilitation, rehabilitation into society. But in this way we forget that we are all sinners and often, without being aware of it, we too are prisoners. At times we are locked up within our own prejudices or enslaved to the idols of a false sense of wellbeing. At times we get stuck in our own ideologies or absolutize the laws of the market even as they crush other people. At such times, we imprison ourselves behind the walls of individualism and self-sufficiency, deprived of the truth that sets us free. Pointing the finger against someone who has made mistakes cannot become an alibi for concealing our own contradictions.
"We know that in God's eyes no one can consider himself just (cf. Rom 2:1-11). But no one can live without the certainty of finding forgiveness! The repentant thief, crucified at Jesus' side, accompanied Him into paradise (cf. Lk 23:43). So may none of you allow yourselves to be held captive by the past! True enough, even if we wanted to, we can never rewrite the past. But the history that starts today, and looks to the future, has yet to be written, by the grace of God and your personal responsibility. By learning from past mistakes, you can open a new chapter of your lives. Let us never yield to the temptation of thinking that we cannot be forgiven. Whatever our hearts may accuse us of, small or great, 'God is greater than our hearts' (1 Jn 3:20). We need but entrust ourselves to His mercy.
"Faith, even when it is as tiny as a grain of mustard seed, can move mountains (cf. Mt 17:20). How many times has the power of faith enabled us to utter the word pardon in humanly impossible situations. People who have suffered violence and abuse, either themselves, or in the person of their loved ones, or their property‚Ä¶ there are some wounds that only God's power, His mercy, can heal. But when violence is met with forgiveness, even the hearts of those who have done wrong can be conquered by the love that triumphs over every form of evil. In this way, among the victims and among those who wronged them, God raises up true witnesses and workers of mercy.
"Today we venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary in this statue, which represents her as a Mother who holds Jesus in her arms, together with a broken chain; it is the chain of slavery and imprisonment. May Our Lady look upon each of you with a Mother's love. May she intercede for you, so that your hearts can experience the power of hope for a new life, one worthy of being lived in complete freedom and in service to your neighbor."
EWTN offers a number of biographical DVDs. Some of the subjects are canonized, some blessed and all inspiring. All of them are inspirational.
Fr. Vincent Capodanno's film is called "The Grunt Padre in Vietnam," based on the book The Grunt Padre by Fr. Daniel Mode. It retells of his life as a chaplain during the Vietnam War. He died ministering to hopelessly out numbered marines. It features the personal stories of several veterans who remember him.
Ray Lowry writes, "I was the last Catholic priest to see Vince alive and the first to see him dead. On December 6, 1966, Vince and I changed jobs; I went out to 1/7 on the Batangan Peninsula and Vince replaced me at 1st Med. Within weeks of arriving in Vietnam I had heard stories about Vince and he indeed 'became a legend in his own time.' His CO at 1/7, Lt. Col. Buzz Lubka, told me that Fr. Capodanno 'could walk on water.' He was an inspiration to me and made me a better chaplain for knowing him. I'll never forget the night he died, but that is a story in itself. Fr. Mode has indeed captured the essence of the man. I still think of Vince daily. I am honored to have known him and to have shared my life with him as a Chaplain with the Marines in Vietnam. May God grant his noble soul eternal rest."
St. Junipero Serra has been quite misunderstood. "Serra: Ever Forward, Never Back" was filmed on location in the places he traveled, Spain, Mexico, and California. It shows his perseverance despite many trials in both the Old and New Worlds. Carolyn Williams gave this mini-series five stars. "I watch EWTN nightly for the daily Mass," she wrote, "and when this series ran for a week, I enjoyed it so much that I decided it was something I would like to watch again."
Archbishop Fulton Sheen is well known to those who are old enough to remember his Emmy-winning television show, "List Is Worth Living." He is virtually unknown, however, to many others. Some of the show's memorable episodes are included on the "Servant of All" DVD set. Interviews with those who knew him, including Regis Philbin and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, are also included. Some of these timeless episodes are "Ages of Man," "False Compassion," "Love is a Many Splendored Thing," "The Divine Sense of Humor," and "Angels." Other Sheen DVDs available at Amazon include "Sheen Gems," "His Irish Wit and Wisdom," "Faith Hope, and Love with Archbishop Sheen" and "His Last Words."
"Jerzy Popieluszko" is called "Messenger of Truth" in the subtitle of his DVD. Another is simply called "The Making of a Martyr." He was the chaplain of the Solidarity movement in Poland, that eventually helped topple the Soviet Union. He was martyred for speaking the truth. Cardinal Dolan called it, "A must-see documentary for all who believe in the rights of religious liberty and those who are lovers of freedom and defenders of truth."
St. Bakhita's story goes from life of slavery in Africa, eventually to a whole new life in a convent in Italy. Throughout her often harsh life Bakita was ever kind and generous, blessing hundreds even after her death. It is aptly subtitled, "From Slave to Saint." Another DVD of her life is called "Two Suitcases" which tells the story through another Canossian sister to her spiritually searching brother.
"The Healing Prophet" is the title of one of Solanus Casey's DVDs. Another is "Solanus Casey: Priest, Porter, Prophet." He too had difficulties living out his vocation. He was a simple priest, not allowed to preach or hear Confession. What he did do was pray through the intercession of St. Joseph and many were healed. He also just loved those who came to monastery, sometimes counseling them, but always simply loving them.
Of the second, John F. Oldani, Jr. summarizes, "Very interesting. Very interesting. I really enjoyed it. Need to watch it again. Very interesting! Farm boy grows up, works hard, stays humble, works miracles, suffers, dies, and is found casket under water, body expected to be completely deteriorated but is completely intact, even in better shape than when he died! Very interesting!"
"Media Apostle" tells of Fr. James Alberione's boyhood, of the vision as a seminarian that changed his live and finally to his founding what became a worldwide Catholic media empire and the Pauline Family of ten congregations and institutes under the patronage of St. Paul.
The life of "St. Gianna Berretta Molla" was that of a exemplary wife, mother, and physician, a saint. It includes many photographs and home videos from the Molla family. It also features the story of the St. Gianna Physicians guild, founded to promote Christian medical ethics.
Pope Francis stressed the need for a "change in direction" in agriculture and food production in a letter to The Food and Agriculture Organization on the occasion of World Food Day (October 16). The letter, dated October 14, follows:
"1. The fact that the FAO has chosen to devote today's World Food Day to the theme 'Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too,' leads us to consider the struggle against hunger as an even more difficult objective to attain in the presence of a complex phenomenon such as climate change. With regard to facing the challenges that nature poses to man, and that man poses to nature (cf. Enc. Laudato si', 25), I would like to submit some reflections to the consideration of the FAO, its Member States and those who participate in its activity.
"What is the cause of the current climate change? We must question our individual and collective responsibilities, without resorting to the facile sophistry that hides behind statistical data or conflicting predictions. This does not mean abandoning the scientific data we need more than ever, but rather going beyond merely interpreting the phenomenon or recording its many effects.
"Our condition as people who are necessarily in relation to one another, and our responsibility as the guardians of creation and its order, require us to retrace the causes of the current changes and to go to their root. First and foremost, we must admit that the many negative effects on the climate derive from the daily behavior of people, communities, populations, and States. If we are aware of this, a mere evaluation in ethical and moral terms is not sufficient. It is necessary to act politically and therefore to make the necessary decisions, to discourage or promote certain behaviors and lifestyles, for the sake of the new generations and those to come. Only in this way can we preserve the planet.
"The responses to be put into effect must be suitably planned, and cannot be the fruit of emotion or fleeting motives. It is important to plan them. In this task, an essential role is played by the institutions called upon to work together, inasmuch as the action of individuals, while necessary, becomes effective only if framed in a network made up of people, public, and private bodies, and national and international apparatuses. This network, however, cannot remain anonymous; this network is fraternity, and must act on the basis of its fundamental solidarity.
"2. Those who are engaged in work in the fields, in farming, in small-scale fishing, or in the forests, or those who live in rural areas in direct contact with the effects of climate change, are aware that if the climate changes, their life changes too. Their daily lives are affected by difficult or at times dramatic situations, the future becomes increasingly uncertain and in this way the thought of abandoning homes and loved ones begins to arise. There is a prevalent sense of abandonment, the feeling of being abandoned by institutions, deprived of possible technical contributions, or even of just consideration on the part of all those of us who benefit from their work.
"From the wisdom of rural communities we can learn a style of life that can help defend us from the logic of consumerism and production at any cost, a logic that, cloaked in good justifications, such as the increasing population, is in reality aimed solely at the increase of profit. In the sector in which the FAO works, there is a growing number of people who believe they are omnipotent, or able to ignore the cycles of the seasons and to improperly modify the various animal and plant species, leading to the loss of variety that, if it exists in nature, has and must have its role. Producing qualities that may give excellent results in the laboratory may be advantageous for some, but have ruinous effects for others. And the principle of caution is not enough, as very often it is limited to not allowing something to be done, whereas there is a need to act in a balanced and honest way. Genetic selection of a quality of plant may produce impressive results in terms of yield, but have we considered the terrain that loses its productive capacity, farmers who no longer have pasture for their livestock, and water resources that become unusable? And above all, do we ask if and to what extent we contribute to altering the climate?
"Not precaution, then, but wisdom: what peasants, fisherman, and farmers conserve in memory handed down through the generations and which is now derided and forgotten by a model of production that is entirely to the advantage of a limited group and a tiny portion of the world population. Let us remember that it is a model which, despite all its science, allows around eight hundred million people to continue to go hungry.
"3. The issue is directly reflected in the emergencies that intergovernmental institutions such as the FAO are called upon to confront and manage on a daily basis, well aware that climate changes do not belong exclusively to the sphere of meteorology. How can we forget that climate contributes to making human mobility unstoppable? The most recent data tell us that there is increasing migration for climatic reasons, swelling the numbers of that convoy of the least, the excluded, those who are denied a role in the great human family. A role that cannot be granted by a State or by a status, but which belongs to every human being by virtue of being a person, with his or her dignity and rights.
"It is not enough to be upset or moved by those who, at every latitude, ask for their daily bread. Decisions and action are needed. Very often, also as the Catholic Church, we have reiterated that the level of world production is sufficient to ensure food for all, provided that distribution is equitable. But can we still continue along this line, if market logic follows other routes, to the point of making food products a commodity like any other, to use produce increasingly for non-food uses, or to destroy food for the simple fact that there is excess in relation to profit and not to need? Indeed, we know that the mechanism of distribution remains theoretical if the hungry do not have effective access to foodstuffs, and if they continue to depend upon more or less conditional external support, if the correct relationship is not established between need and consumption, and not least, if waste is not eliminated and food loss is not reduced.
"We are all required to cooperate in this change of course: political decision-makers, producers, those who work the land, fisheries, and forests, and every citizen. Certainly, each one with his or her different responsibilities, but all in the same role of constructors of an internal order within nations and an international order that no longer permits that development be the prerogative of the few, nor that the goods of creation be the patrimony of the powerful. There is no lack of possibilities or positive examples and good practices that make available to us the experiences that can be followed, shared and spread.
"4. The wish to act cannot depend upon the advantages that may derive from it, but is instead a requirement linked to the needs that are manifest in the lives of people and of the entire human family. Material and spiritual needs, but in any case real, not the fruit of the decisions of the few, of the fashions of the moment or models of life that make the person an object, human life a tool, even for experimentation, and the production of food a mere economic affair, to which it is possible to sacrifice even the food that is available, destined by its nature to ensure that every person may have a sufficient quantity of healthy food every day.
"We are now close to the new phase that in Marrakech will call all States Parties to the Convention on climate change to give effect to these commitments. I echo the desire of many in expressing my hope that the objectives outlined by the Paris Agreement do not remain simply as good words, but rather that they are transformed into courageous decisions able to make solidarity not only a virtue but also a working model in economics, and fraternity no longer an aspiration but a criterion for domestic and international governance.
"These ... are some reflections I wish to extend to you at this moment, in which there are concerns, trepidations, and tensions caused also by the climate question which is increasingly present in our daily lives and has an impact on the living conditions of so many of our brothers and sisters, including the most vulnerable and marginalized. May the Almighty bless your efforts in the service of humanity as a whole."
(A Christian Perspective on World News)
Washington - Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement regarding the election of Donald Trump as President-Elect.
The American people have made their decision on the next President of the United States, members of Congress as well as state and local officials. I congratulate Mr. Trump and everyone elected yesterday. Now is the moment to move toward the responsibility of governing for the common good of all citizens. Let us not see each other in the divisive light of Democrat or Republican or any other political party, but rather, let us see the face of Christ in our neighbors, especially the suffering or those with whom we may disagree.
We, as citizens and our elected representatives, would do well to remember the words of Pope Francis when he addressed the United States Congress last year, "all political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity." Yesterday, millions of Americans who are struggling to find economic opportunity for their families voted to be heard. Our response should be simple: we hear you. The responsibility to help strengthen families belongs to each of us.
The Bishops Conference looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning to its natural end. We will advocate for policies that offer opportunity to all people, of all faiths, in all walks of life. We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security. We will call attention to the violent persecution threatening our fellow Christians and people of other faiths around the world, especially in the Middle East. And we will look for the new administration's commitment to domestic religious liberty, ensuring people of faith remain free to proclaim and shape our lives around the truth about man and woman, and the unique bond of marriage that they can form.
Every election brings a new beginning. Some may wonder whether the country can reconcile, work together, and fulfill the promise of a more perfect union. Through the hope Christ offers, I believe God will give us the strength to heal and unite.
Let us pray for leaders in public life that they may rise to the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage. And may all of us as Catholics help each other be faithful and joyful witnesses to the healing love of Jesus.
(Source: USCCB press release)
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