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Franciscan Seculars

St. Francis of Assisi
Pray for your enemies.
The Pope said “Christians should forgive, love, and bless your enemies. The mystery of Christian life is loving our enemies and praying for our persecutors.


Respect Laws of Country That Receives You: Pope

Pope to Migrants: With Respect for Culture & Laws of Country That Receives You, May You Work Out Together the Path of Integration

Pope Celebrates Mass for Migrants in St. Peter’s Basilica on Fifth Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Visit to Lampedusa on July 8, 2013
JULY 06, 2018 15:20DEBORAH CASTELLANO LUBOVPOPE AND HOLY SEE

‘With respect for the culture and laws of the country that receives you, may you work out together the path of integration.’

Despite technically being on ‘summer break,’ Pope Francis said this during the Mass he wished to celebrate for Migrants, at the Altar of the Chair, in St. Peter’s Basilica today, July 6, at 11 a.m. The news of the Mass–which coincided with the fifth anniversary of the visit of Pope Francis to Lampedusa on July 8, 2013–was announced by Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, in a statement earlier this week.

The Mass was a time of prayer for the deceased, for the survivors and for those who assist them. Approximately 200 people were present, including refugees and caregivers. While always free, participation was reserved for those with tickets.

In his homily, the Holy Father called for treating migrants as Jesus had treated the poor and disadvantaged, but also stressed that migrants ought to be properly integrated.

Noting he wished to celebrate the fifth anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa with them, who represent rescuers and those rescued on the Mediterranean Sea, he said: “I thank the rescuers for embodying in our day the parable of the Good Samaritan, who stopped to save the life of the poor man beaten by bandits. He didn’t ask where he was from, his reasons for travelling or his documents… he simply decided to care for him and save his life.”

To the rescued, Francis reiterated his solidarity and encouragement, noting he is “well aware” of the tragic circumstances that they are fleeing.

“I ask you to keep being witnesses of hope in a world increasingly concerned about the present, with little vision for the future and averse to sharing. With respect for the culture and laws of the country that receives you, may you work out together the path of integration.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying: “I ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and to stir our hearts to overcome all fear and anxiety, and to make us docile instruments of the Father’s merciful love, ready to offer our lives for our brothers and sisters, as the Lord Jesus did for each of us.”

Here is the Vatican-provided text of the Holy Father’s homily:

***

“You who trample upon the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land… Behold the days are coming… when I will send a famine on the land… a thirst for hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:4.11).

Today this warning of the prophet Amos is remarkably timely. How many of the poor are trampled on in our day! How many of the poor are being brought to ruin! All are the victims of that culture of waste that has been denounced time and time again. Among them, I cannot fail to include the migrants and refugees who continue to knock at the door of nations that enjoy greater prosperity.

Five years ago, during my visit to Lampedusa, recalling the victims lost at sea, I repeated that timeless appeal to human responsibility: “ ‘Where is your brother? His blood cries out to me’, says the Lord. This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us (Homily, 8 July 2013). Sadly, the response to this appeal, even if at times generous, has not been enough, and we continue to grieve thousands of deaths.

Today’s Gospel acclamation contains Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). The Lord promises refreshment and freedom to all the oppressed of our world, but he needs us to fulfill his promise. He needs our eyes to see the needs of our brothers and sisters. He needs our hands to offer them help. He needs our voice to protest the injustices committed thanks to the silence, often complicit, of so many. I should really speak of many silences: the silence of common sense; the silence that thinks, “it’s always been done this way”; the silence of “us” as opposed to “you”. Above all, the Lord needs our hearts to show his merciful love towards the least, the outcast, the abandoned, the marginalized.

In the Gospel we heard, Matthew tells us of the most important day in his life, the day Jesus called him. The Evangelist clearly records the Lord’s rebuke to the Pharisees, so easily given to insidious murmuring: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’” (9:13). It is a finger pointed at the sterile hypocrisy of those who do not want to “dirty the hands”, like the priest or the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is a temptation powerfully present in our own day. It takes the form of closing our hearts to those who have the right, just as we do, to security and dignified living conditions. It builds walls, real or virtual, rather than bridges.

Before the challenges of contemporary movements of migration, the only reasonable response is one of solidarity and mercy. A response less concerned with calculations, than with the need for an equitable distribution of responsibilities, an honest and sincere assessment of the alternatives and a prudent management. A just policy is one at the service of the person, of every person involved; a policy that provides for solutions that can ensure security, respect for the rights and dignity of all; a policy concerned for the good of one’s own country, while taking into account that of others in an ever more interconnected world. It is to this world that the young look.

The Psalmist has shown us the right attitude to adopt in conscience before God: “I have chosen the way of faithfulness, I set your ordinances before me” (Ps 119,30). A commitment to faithfulness and right judgement that all of us hope to pursue together with government leaders in our world and all people of good will. For this reason, we are following closely the efforts of the international community to respond to the challenges posed by today’s movements of migration by wisely combining solidarity and subsidiarity, and by identifying both resources and responsibilities.

I would like to close with a few words in Spanish, directed particularly to the faithful who have come from Spain.

I wanted to celebrate the fifth anniversary of my visit to Lampedusa with you, who represent rescuers and those rescued on the Mediterranean Sea. I thank the rescuers for embodying in our day the parable of the Good Samaritan, who stopped to save the life of the poor man beaten by bandits. He didn’t ask where he was from, his reasons for travelling or his documents… he simply decided to care for him and save his life. To those rescued I reiterate my solidarity and encouragement, since I am well aware of the tragic circumstances that you are fleeing. I ask you to keep being witnesses of hope in a world increasingly concerned about the present, with little vision for the future and averse to sharing. With respect for the culture and laws of the country that receives you, may you work out together the path of integration.

I ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and to stir our hearts to overcome all fear and anxiety, and to make us docile instruments of the Father’s merciful love, ready to offer our lives for our brothers and sisters, as the Lord Jesus did for each of us.

Mass migration waters down Europe’s Christian identity:

By Athanasius Schneider, Catholic, Immigration, MILAN, Italy, July 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) —

A Catholic bishop has stated that the mass migration from Africa and Asia into Europe in recent years is part of a plan to change the Christian identity of Europe.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, 57, told an interviewer from Milan’s Il Giornale last week that “the phenomenon of so-called “immigration” represents an orchestrated and long-prepared plan by international powers to radically change the Christian and national identities of the European peoples.”

The Church, he said, was being exploited.

“These powers use the Church’s enormous moral potential and her structures to more effectively achieve their anti-Christian and anti-European goal,” he stated.

“To this end they are abusing the true concept of humanism and even the Christian commandment of charity. ”

Asked to comment on Italy’s new and very outspokenly Euro-skeptic Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, the bishop said that he did not know Italy’s political situation well, but that he applauded any European government’s attempt to emphasize their nation’s sovereignty and “historical, cultural, and Christian identity” against “a kind of new Soviet Union” with “an unmistakably Masonic ideology”: the European Union.

In the interview, the bishop also answered questions about the “doctrinal confusion” in the Catholic Church, on intercommunion, on the dubia concerning Pope Francis’s controversial encyclical Amoris laetitia, and on the phenomenon of children being raised by same-sex couples.

Regarding doctrinal confusion, Bishop Schneider reflected that even forty years ago Pope Paul VI had realized there was a problem in the Church, saying: “We believed that after the Council a sunny day for the history of the Church would arrive. What arrived instead was a day of clouds, of storms, of darkness, of searching, of uncertainty. The smoke of Satan entered through some crack into the temple of God.”

The situation has become worse, Schneider said, leading “the great” Cardinal Carlo Caffaro to say, shortly before he died, that “Only a blind man could deny that there is a great confusion in the Church.”

Concerning recent attempts by some bishops to admit non-Catholics to Holy Communion, Bishop Schneider underscored that since the result of communion is the “perfect union of all the members of the [Catholic] Church”, granting it to a someone who continues to reject the Catholic faith is a “lie.”

The dubia (questions) touching on the admission of Catholics in irregular marital unions have not been resolved, the bishop said. He noted that some clerics at every level had simply decided to allow communion to people living as if they were legitimately married, but that “no ecclesiastical authority has the power to dispense with the Sixth Commandment and the indissolubility of marriage.”  

The bishop was just as candid with his opinions about homosexuality, especially regarding same-sex couples raising children.

“The Catholic Church, just like every human person of common sense and simple reason has always rejected homosexual activity,” he said. “Entrusting children to homosexual so-called couples is a violation of a fundamental right of every child to be raised and educated by a daddy and a mommy.”

“The entrustment of children to homosexual so-called couples represents in the last analysis a moral abuse of children, the smallest and most defenseless,” Schneider continued. “This phenomenon will go down in history as one of the greatest degradations of civilization. Those who daily fight such a crying injustice are the true friends of children and heroes of our age.”

Athanasius Schneider, the auxiliary bishop of Astana, was born in the Soviet Union in 1961, the child of minority German Catholics who were sent to gulags after the Second World War. Like other German Catholics trapped in the USSR, the Schneiders catechised their children in secret. Not having much money for train fares, they could take their children to the nearest available Mass only once a month. In an interview with the Catholic Register, Bishop Schneider said that his elders  “imbued us children with the crystal-clear, concrete and beautiful Catholic faith of all ages, which they themselves received from their parents and grandparents.”

Islamist Invasion: The visions of John Paul II

The Islamist Invasion: The visions of Pope John Paul II

Source:http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/11/24/st-john-paul-ii-had-vision-of-an-islamist-invasion-of-europe/

(Mgr Mauro Longhi, who often accompanied the former Pope on hiking trips while still a student, said St John Paul was a mystic who “dialogued” with Our Lady [His Blessed Mother] and had prophetic visions.)

Mgr Mauro Longhi said… [Pope John Paul II] foresaw a ‘mortal wound’ to the Church in the third millennium [2000 – 2999] He had a prophetic vision of an “Islamist invasion” of Europe, a former confidant has claimed. He made the remarks during a lecture at the Hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul in Bienno, northern Italy, which has been posted on YouTube.

During one meeting in 1992, Mgr Longhi says, John Paul II told of a disturbing vision he had had about the future of Europe.

“The Pope told me: ‘Tell this to those whom you will meet in the Church of the third millennium. I see the Church afflicted by a mortal wound. More profound, more painful than those of this millennium,’ referring to Communism and Nazi totalitarianism. ‘It is called Islamism. They will invade Europe. I have seen the hordes come from the West to the East,’ and then told to me each country one by one: from Morocco to Libya to Egypt, and so on till the East.

“The Holy Father added: ‘They will invade Europe, Europe will be like a basement, old relics, shadows, cobwebs. Family heirlooms. You, the Church of the third millennium, must contain the invasion. Not with armies, armies will not be enough, but with your faith, lived with integrity.

Mgr Longhi accompanied Pope John Paul II on hiking and skiing trips from 1985 until he was ordained 10 years later. He said the Pope would leave Rome in a modest car, so as not to attract attention, and stay at an Opus Dei home in the mountains in Abruzzo.

At night, the Pope would often kneel before the Tabernacle in the chapel of the building, conversing “at times even animatedly” with the Lord.

Mgr Longhi also said that Cardinal Andrzej Deskur, one of John Paul II’s closest friends, told him the pontiff had the “gift of visions”. “He speaks to God Incarnate, Jesus; he sees His face and he sees also the face of Our Lady, His [Blessed Mother],” the cardinal said.

Pope John Paul II is well-known for promoting inter-faith dialogue between Catholics and Muslims, most famously becoming the first Pope to set foot inside a mosque in 2001.

However, in his 2003 encyclical Ecclesia in Europa, the former pontiff wrote that dialogue with Islam “needs to be conducted prudently, with clear ideas about possibilities and limits, and with confidence in God’s saving plan for all his children.”

“It is also necessary to take into account the notable gap between European culture, with its profound Christian roots, and Muslim thought,” he added.

Pope on Saving Earth

Let Us Think of Lord’s Instructions to St Francis of Assisi to ‘Go and Repair My House’

Pope Francis Addresses International Conference Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth

JULY 06, 2018 15:33DEBORAH CASTELLANO LUBOVSOCIAL DOCTRINE AND THE COMMON GOOD

Here we can think back on the call that Francis of Assisi received from the Lord in the little church of San Damiano: “Go and repair my house, which, as you can see, lies in ruins”. Today, the ‘common home’ of our planet also needs urgently to be repaired and secured for a sustainable future.

Pope Francis stressed this at the opening of the International Conference Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth, held on the third anniversary of the Holy Father Francis’ Encyclical Laudato si’, in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall from July 5-6, 2018, noting there is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse.

He expressed his hope “that concern for the state of our common home will translate into systematic and concerted efforts aimed at an integral ecology.”

“May Saint Francis of Assisi,” the Holy Father prayed, “continue to inspire and guide us on this journey, and may our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.”

“After all,” the Pope underscored, “that hope is based on our faith in the power of our heavenly Father.”

“He, ‘who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way.

“In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!” (ibid., 245).”

Pope Francis concluded, imparting his Apostolic Blessing and asking those present to pray for him.

Here is the Vatican-provided text of the Pope’s address:

Your Eminences,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome all of you assembled for this International Conference marking the third anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ on care for our common home. In a special way, I would like to greet His Eminence Archbishop Zizioulas, because he and Cardinal Turkson together presented the Encyclical three years ago. I thank all of you for coming together to “hear with your hearts” the increasingly desperate cries of the earth and its poor, who look for our help and concern. You have also gathered to testify to the urgent need to respond to the Encyclical’s call for change, for an ecological conversion. Your presence here is the sign of your commitment to take concrete steps to save the planet and the life it sustains, inspired by the Encyclical’s assumption that “everything is connected”. That principle lies at the heart of an integral ecology.

Here we can think back on the call that Francis of Assisi received from the Lord in the little church of San Damiano: “Go and repair my house, which, as you can see, lies in ruins”. Today, the “common home” of our planet also needs urgently to be repaired and secured for a sustainable future.

In recent decades, the scientific community has developed increasingly accurate assessments in this regard. Indeed, “the pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world” (Laudato Si’, 161). There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse.

So I express my hope that concern for the state of our common home will translate into systematic and concerted efforts aimed at an integral ecology. For “the effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now” (ibid.). Humanity has the knowledge and the means to cooperate in responsibly “cultivating and protecting” the earth. Significantly, your discussions have addressed some of this year’s important steps in this direction.

The COP24 Summit, to be held in Katowice, Poland, in December, could prove a milestone on the path set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement. We all know that much still needs to be done to implement that Agreement. All governments should strive to honour the commitments made in Paris, in order to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most” (ibid., 169), and we cannot afford to waste time.

Along with states, local authorities, civil society, and economic and religious institutions can promote the culture and practice of an integral ecology. I trust that events such as the Global Climate Action Summit, to be held from 12-14 September in San Francisco, will provide suitable responses, with the support of citizens’ pressure groups worldwide. As I observed, along with His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, and unless we give priority to solidarity and service” (Message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation, 1 September 2017).

Financial institutions, too, have an important role to play, as part both of the problem and its solution. A financial paradigm shift is needed, for the sake of promoting integral human development. International organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank can encourage effective reforms for more inclusive and sustainable development. It is to be hoped that “finance… will go back to being an instrument directed towards improved wealth creation and development” (BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 65), as well as towards care for the environment.

All these actions presuppose a transformation on a deeper level, namely a change of hearts and minds. In the words of Saint John Paul II: “We must encourage and support an ‘ecological conversion’” (Catechesis, 17 January 2001). Here the religions, and the Christian Churches in particular, have a key role to play. The Day of Prayer for Creation and its associated initiatives, begun in the Orthodox Church, are beginning to spread among Christian communities throughout the world.

Finally, dialogue and commitment to our common home must make special room for two groups of people at the forefront of efforts to foster an integral ecology. Both will be at the centre of the next two Synods of the Catholic Church: young people and indigenous peoples, especially those from the Amazon region.

On the one hand, “Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded” (Laudato Si’, 13). It is the young who will have to face the consequences of the current environmental and climate crisis. Consequently, intergenerational solidarity “is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us” (ibid., 159).

Then too, “it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions” (ibid., 146). It grieves us to see the lands of indigenous peoples expropriated and their cultures trampled on by predatory schemes and by new forms of colonialism, fuelled by the culture of waste and consumerism (cf. SYNOD OF BISHOPS, Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, 8 June 2018). “For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values” (Laudato Si’, 146). How much we can learn from them! The lives of indigenous peoples “are a living memory of the mission that God has entrusted to us all: the protection of our common home” (Address, Puerto Maldonado, Peru, 19 January 2018).

Dear brothers and sisters, challenges are not lacking! I express my heartfelt gratitude for your efforts in the service of care for creation and a better future for our children and grandchildren. Sometimes it might seem too arduous a task, since “there are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected” (Laudato Si’, 54). Yet “human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start” (ibid., 205). Please continue to work for “the radical change which present circumstances require” (ibid., 171). For “injustice is not invincible” (ibid., 74).

May Saint Francis of Assisi continue to inspire and guide us on this journey, and “may our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope” (ibid., 244). After all, that hope is based on our faith in the power of our heavenly Father. He, “who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way. In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!” (ibid., 245).

To all of you I impart my blessing. And please, remember to pray for me.

Thank you!
[Vatican-provided translation]
JULY 06, 2018 15:33SOCIAL DOCTRINE AND THE COMMON GOOD
About Deborah Castellano Lubov

New concerns over marijuana addiction

Ex-Drug Czars Bill Bennett, John Walters: Mr. Trump, please don’t legalize marijuana at the federal level By William J. Bennett and John P. Walters | Fox News

Dr. Marc Siegel examines the effects of the drug.

President Trump has spoken out forcefully about defeating the illegal drug problem—as powerfully as any recent president, including Ronald Reagan. Now he is urged to support marijuana legalization in the midst of the most deadly drug abuse epidemic in American history. President Trump should refuse—it’s a bad deal with unsustainable consequences.

Obviously, decriminalizing the sale and possession of marijuana will make the drug more available and increase use. The advocates of decriminalization contend, however, that the harm of more use is less than the harm caused by current law and its enforcement. This is ridiculous.

First and foremost, marijuana is already associated with more abuse and dependency (now called substance abuse disorder) than all other illegal drugs combined. Roughly four out of seven problem users of illegal drugs are using marijuana. This is a dangerous blind spot exploited by many legalization advocates (although some of them are now warning about the growing risk of heavy marijuana use under legalization).

If you doubt legalization brings a rapid increase in marijuana use and addiction, consider the situation in Colorado. This is the test case; the experiment in legalization created by the Obama Administration. Colorado permitted the so-called “medical” sale of marijuana in 2009 and “recreational” sale in 2013. Some seem to believe, falsely, that marijuana use in Colorado has been accompanied by a decline in other drug use. This is emphatically not true. Last year more Coloradans died from drug overdoses than at any time in the state’s history. The cruel “Colorado experiment” has failed. Nonetheless, legalizers want to repeat it from sea to shining sea.
Second, marijuana use is not safe. Legalization advocates frequently play on the fact that many Americans have used the drug without recognizable harm as proof that most marijuana use is benign. We are all victims of our experience. The genuine research points to massive ignorance about the known dangers.

As the American Academy of Pediatrics notes: “The adverse effects of marijuana have been well documented” and include “impaired short-term memory, decreased concentration, attention span, and problem solving” which “interfere[s] with learning.” Researchers have also reported: “Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risks of early school-leaving and of cognitive impairment and psychoses in adulthood.” And other researchers have warned that States that have legalized “medical” marijuana find an association with higher 12th grade drop-out rates and lessened college attainment.

There is no known, safe level of marijuana use. And the highly concentrated forms of cannabis brought to the market in recent years probably increase all the known harms of marijuana use.

But the most troubling research has found: “Persistent adolescent-onset cannabis users” showed “an average 8-point IQ decline from childhood to adulthood.” Marijuana use can permanently lower intelligence and worsen, perhaps cause, serious mental illness. As the Journal of the American Medical Association has reported: “There is little doubt about the existence of an association between substance use and psychotic illness…studies suggest that the association between cannabis use and later psychosis might be causal, a conclusion supported by studies showing that cannabis use is associated with an earlier age at onset of psychotic disorders, particularly schizophrenia.”

The science warns that marijuana use makes you less intelligent and can bring on serious mental illness. There is no known, safe level of marijuana use. And the highly concentrated forms of cannabis brought to the market in recent years, probably increase all the known harms of marijuana use.

Finally, marijuana is the gateway to greater drug use and for more and more Americans that means early death. Not all marijuana users turn to opioids, cocaine, meth, and other drugs of abuse, but many of them do and each year, tens of thousands of those who move on to other drugs die of overdoses. Such deaths topped 60,000 in 2016, increasing over 20 percent in one year. Substance abuse is additive, not self-limiting. More marijuana users means more users of other drugs—more addiction and more overdose deaths.

President Trump is being asked to expand vastly the marijuana gateway to addiction and death as opioid supply increases, the meth supply is growing, and the supply of cocaine is at record levels. This can only push the historic overdose death rates to staggering new levels.
The President should forcefully reject marijuana legalization. He should direct his staff to get the facts out and push back against the ignorance that risks turning our drug policy into one of the worst self-inflicted wounds in American history.
_________________________
William J. Bennett was secretary of education for President Ronald Reagan and former director of drug control policy for President George H.W. Bush. John P. Walters is Hudson Institute’s chief operating officer and former director of drug control policy for President George W. Bush.