Category Archives: Church Teaching

Pray for your Enemies

“Silence implies consent.” St. Thomas More, OFS

A Christian can never remain silent in the face of violence, poverty, hunger, corruption or abuse of power. –
Pope Benedict XVI


The Lord said, “Pray for your enemies”
I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
The Catholic Church and its faithful followers have many enemies who are hostile to the Church.

      • Hollywood: The amount of filth and immorality publicly promoted is baffling. The show, SMILF, on SHOWTIME is outright blaspheming Mary, the Mother of God and mocking the the Lord’s prayer.
        Please pray for the writers and promoters who attack the Church.
      • Prime Time News: There are some prime time news outlets that are underreporting important Church news or by innuendo distorting the news.
        Pray for those enemies who distort the news or promote fake news.
      • Educational Institutions: Some institutions who educate the younger generation have an anti-Christian agenda or turn away anyone who wishes to express their christian values.
        Pray for educational administrators.
      • Democratic Party’s Pro Abortion support: An example of abortion support is what congressional minority speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said, “being a practicing Catholic” she believed “abortion is sacred.” Her statement implies she is speaking for the Catholic Church. This is heresy.
        Pray for her. Pray for our bishops to report strongly and often that killing children in the womb is an evil offense against God.
      • Enemies of Marriage: According to the Institute for Family Studies, only about half of the children in the United States are living in a household headed by married parents, The steady increases in divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and cohabitation threatens what God intended. Pray for those who believe that Marriage is passé.
      • Enemies within the Catholic Church We live in a time when Church teaching is under attack by members of the clergy, i.e., “Rev. James Martin, S.J. said, “Catholics should “reverence” homosexual “marriage,” he favors homosexual kissing during Mass and supports transgenderism for children. Pray for the enemies of Church teaching.
      • Read the Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Succcess.

Church’s teaching on women’s ordination

November 02, 2016, Pope, in press conference, says John Paul’s teaching on women’s ordination is definitive.

Pope Francis fielded questions from reporters during his return flight from Sweden to the Vatican on November 1.

Asked about refugees, the Pope praised Sweden’s tradition of offering a haven to those fleeing violence. He called for generosity in welcoming refugees, spoke of the importance of integrating them into society, and distinguished them from migrants, who “must be treated with certain rules, because to emigrate is a right, but it is a very regulated right.”

When asked about women’s ordination, Pope Francis said, “On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the final word is clear, it was said by St. John Paul II and this remains.” When asked whether the ban on ordination of women is “forever,” the Holy Father replied that the statement by St. John Paul “leads in that direction.”

Pope Francis went on to explain that the Church is not discriminating against women by adhering to the male-only priesthood, but recognizing that women have a different role—and in many ways a superior role. He remarked that “women can do so many things better than men.” He remined reporters that the Church has a Marian as well as a Petrine dimension, and that the role of the Virgin Mary is more important than that of St. Peter. “Much more,” he emphasized.

Pope Francis also discussed his ecumenical initiatives, his relations with the charismatic movement, his recent meeting with the president of Venezuela, secularization, and human trafficking.

As he reflected on secularization, he spoke about the experience of France, citing the worldliness of clerics in the French court, a “Tower of Babel” mentality with respect to culture, the legacy of the Enlightenment, and “spiritual worldliness” in the Church.

“Aggressive gender ideology

Cardinal Wuerl decries ‘aggressive gender ideology’
The Nature of the Human Being, Male or FemaleJune 02, 2016

Lamenting “aggressive gender ideology” and criticizing the Obama administration’s recent letter on the use of bathrooms and locker rooms by public school students who state they are transgendered, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington emphasized in a recent blog post that the human body “is not extraneous, but goes to our very essence.”

“Before all else in this world, before we are able to form a single thought or make any decisions, from the very moment of our origin and conception, we have a body that is intrinsically sexually differentiated and constituted male or female in a way that cannot really be changed,” he said. “Furthermore, the body reveals that man and woman are made to complement one another – they are made for love, the reality that forms the basis of family.”

“This is the objective, intrinsic, self-evident truth of who and what we are,” he continued. “Revealed in the body and discernable by right reason, this truth thus applies to all regardless of religious beliefs. Also, one’s subjective choices or beliefs cannot alter this reality – what is revealed in the body as one sex cannot be changed to the other.”

Stating that the Church must be “a beacon of truth in the darkness,” Cardinal Wuerl added:
One of the enervating forces of our culture is the assertion that everything is up for grabs. What was once grasped as objective truth is now dismissed as mere construct, and there is a growing relativism that seeks to reconstruct the most fundamental realities.

Last year we saw a societal redefinition of marriage and family. Today, the concept of humanity itself is called into question with an aggressive “gender” ideology which holds that whether a person is male or female is not an objective reality, but is subjectively determined. Increasingly, those who do not go along with this new order are denounced and ostracized as bigoted. It is as if we all must now affirm that the world is flat lest we be condemned of discrimination.

____________________________________

Throughout history, but more acutely in our day, people have pondered the mystery of their life. The details on resumes – occupations, education, residence – really do not answer the fundamental question of our very essence. We want to know the objective and enduring truth about ourselves, “Who am I? What am I? What does it mean to be human?”

To understand this question of our nature, we must begin with the observation that we each have a body – a body that we did not personally make. We are bodily creatures and not simply spiritual beings, and we did not and cannot subjectively create ourselves.

This body is not extraneous, but goes to our very essence. The body is the outward visible sign of the reality of the person.   It is in the body that we obtain our being and existence, our primary nature and identity. It is in and through the body that we think, believe and feel, and how we experience and know things and the world around us.

We see in the body also that we are human. We are different from the birds and fish and animals. Moreover, we are persons and not mere things or mechanical objects.

In a particular way, the body also reveals to us the innate truth of our human nature that we are from the beginning made male or female. Before all else in this world, before we are able to form a single thought or make any decisions, from the very moment of our origin and conception, we have a body that is intrinsically sexually differentiated and constituted male or female in a way that cannot really be changed. Furthermore, the body reveals that man and woman are made to complement one another – they are made for love, the reality that forms the basis of family.

This is the objective, intrinsic, self-evident truth of who and what we are. Revealed in the body and discernable by right reason, this truth thus applies to all regardless of religious beliefs. Also, one’s subjective choices or beliefs cannot alter this reality – what is revealed in the body as one sex cannot be changed to the other.

For its part, religious faith confirms and expands upon this truth of human nature. Scripture teaches that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Humanity is explicitly made male and female and inherently in relationship, made in the image and likeness of God the Trinity who is Love and Truth. Thus every human is to be cherished and respected precisely as he or she is made from the moment of conception.

Jesus said that he came into the world to testify to the truth (John 18:37) and so must we who are his disciples. It is the Church’s duty “to serve humanity in different ways, but one way in particular imposes a responsibility of a quite special kind: the diakonia of the truth” (Fides et Ratio, 2). Central to this mission is proclaiming the truth of the human person. It is only in this truth that one can be free.

This service in the truth is particularly needed today. One of the enervating forces of our culture is the assertion that everything is up for grabs. What was once grasped as objective truth is now dismissed as mere construct, and there is a growing relativism that seeks to reconstruct the most fundamental realities.

Last year we saw a societal redefinition of marriage and family. Today, the concept of humanity itself is called into question with an aggressive “gender” ideology which holds that whether a person is male or female is not an objective reality, but is subjectively determined. Increasingly, those who do not go along with this new order are denounced and ostracized as bigoted. It is as if we all must now affirm that the world is flat lest we be condemned of discrimination.

Now the federal government has issued a “guidance” for “transgender students,” which says that school bathrooms and locker rooms should effectively be open to persons of the opposite sex. This development is deeply disturbing, as noted in a letter from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops objecting to this decree.

“It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality,” says Pope Francis on this very issue (Amoris Laetitia, 56). It is not an act of discrimination to assert, “We cannot say that what is false is true.” By saying this, we are not advancing an alternate ideology, but proposing and defending reality and genuine human dignity.

In the face of this cultural divide, the Church will do what we have always done – what we can only do – and that is to be a beacon of truth in the darkness, lovingly giving voice to what it means to be authentically human and helping people to appreciate themselves as they were created (cf. Amoris Laetitia, 285). This means standing firm in the truth that sexual differentiation is not a construct of the mind, much less a social construct, but is a permanent reality revealed in the body, male or female, whether or not one chooses to acknowledge or accept this reality (Id.). To do otherwise, to not testify to the truth, would be to deny our own identity as Catholics and as a Church.

– See more at: http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2016/05/nature-human-male-female/#sthash.zukjqcE7.dpuf

Gift of Peace at Mass

Circular Letter on the Ritual Expression of the Gift of Peace at Mass
by Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

CDW Letter Regarding the Sign of Peace 2014 Description:
In a circular letter to the world’s bishops approved by Pope Francis on June 7, 2014, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) issued the protocol for the ritual expression of the exchange of peace at Mass. The circular letter was sent to conference presidents on July 12, 2014. The circular letter makes explicit the meaning of this sign, and that the exchange of this sign of peace will remain between the Lord’s Prayer and the Lamb of God, and will not be moved to an earlier part of the Mass. Vatican, July 12, 2014
Some practical guidelines are offered below to better explain the content of the exchange of peace and to moderate excessive expressions that give rise to disarray in the liturgical assembly before Communion.

6. Consideration of this theme is important. If the faithful through their ritual gestures do not appreciate and do not show themselves to be living the authentic meaning of the rite of peace, the Christian concept of peace is weakened and their fruitful participation at the Eucharist is impaired. Therefore, along with the previous reflections that could form the basis for a suitable catechesis by providing some guidelines, some practical suggestions are offered to the Conferences of Bishops for their prudent consideration:
a) It should be made clear once and for all that the rite of peace already has its own profound meaning of prayer and offering of peace in the context of the Eucharist. An exchange of peace appropriately carried out among the participants at Mass enriches the meaning of the rite itself and gives fuller expression to it. It is entirely correct, therefore, to say that this does not involve inviting the faithful to exchange the sign of peace “mechanically”. If it is foreseen that it will not take place properly due to specific circumstances or if it is not considered pedagogically wise to carry it out on certain occasions, it can be omitted, and sometimes ought to be omitted. It is worth recalling that the rubric from the Missal states: “Then, if appropriate, the Deacon or the Priest, adds: “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” (emphasis added).
8 b) On the basis of these observations, it may be advisable that, on the occasion of the publication of the translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal in their own country, or when new editions of the same Missal are undertaken in the future, Conferences of Bishops should consider whether it might not be fitting to change the manner of giving peace which had been established earlier. For example, following these years of experience, in those places where familiar and profane gestures of greeting were previously chosen, they could be replaced with other more appropriate gestures.
c) In any case, it will be necessary, at the time of the exchange of peace, to definitively avoid abuses such as:
• the introduction of a “song for peace”, which is non-existent in the Roman Rite.9
• the movement of the faithful from their places to exchange the sign of peace amongst themselves.
• the departure of the priest from the altar in order to give the sign of peace to some of the faithful.

• that in certain circumstances, such as at the Solemnity of Easter or of Christmas, or during ritual celebrations such as Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Sacred Ordinations, Religious Professions, and Funerals, the exchange of peace being the occasion for expressing congratulations, best wishes or condolences among those present.10
d) Conferences of Bishops are likewise invited to prepare liturgical catecheses on the meaning of the rite of peace in the Roman liturgy and its proper realization in the celebration of the Holy Mass. In this regard, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments attaches to this Circular Letter, some helpful guidelines.

Understanding same-sex attraction

Same-sex attraction: Read this before you risk your credibility.
By Dr. Jeff Mirus Oct 14, 2015

I mentioned two weeks ago that Living the Truth in Love from Ignatius Press is an important book, and that I would have more to say about it. Having now read each of its score of theoretical, testimonial and pastoral essays, I am even more convinced that everyone concerned about the “gay revolution” should read them as well.

I learned something valuable from each one of this winning combination of writers, who possess personal, academic, therapeutic, medical and pastoral experience with same-sex attraction. But to my surprise the essay which had most to offer me personally was Jane Hallman’s “Do No Harm: Considerations in Supporting Youth with Same-Sex Attraction.” Hallman pointed out that young people who experience SSA are already likely to feel “different”, as if they do not “belong” owing to problems in their affective development. Therefore, if they experience anger and rejection as they try to discuss their difficulties with friends, parents, family members and other significant adults, it only exacerbates the problem. Hence her title: “Do no harm.”

In particular, common parental reactions, such as scorn and denial from fathers and “How can you do this to me?” from mothers, will almost inevitably alienate the child even further from a healthy affectivity. Instead, all who love the child must continue to accept him or her with love, including a continuation of habitual displays of affection, such as looking pleased rather than distraught when the child seeks to spend time with the parent. The focus needs to be on taking the child’s experiences seriously while maintaining a clear moral instruction which distinguishes feelings (which generally arise unbidden) from sins. This is the best context for other appropriate steps, such as counseling.

The Way Forward
There is no one best way for a same-sex attracted person to deal with his or her disordered affectivity. As with other disordered affectivities (including, really, all the inordinate attachments which constitute temptations in our lives), bringing them under control is largely a process of prayer, sacramental life, sound spiritual direction, helpful insights and encouragement from others, trial and error, sin, and repentance—all leading over time to self-mastery.

Sometimes God intervenes with a particular gift of grace which removes even the temptation that this (or any other) cross entails. This point is made by Robin Beck in her personal testimony entitled “Why Maintaining Biblical Language Matters.” She recognizes the importance of confidence in Christ’s ability to make of us a new creation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). At a certain point in committing herself to Christ, Beck experienced freedom from all of homosexuality, both “the behavior and the desire.”

But—again, as with other trials that come to us through God’s permissive will—most of us are not healed in this way, but through a patient struggle to conquer sin without completely eliminating temptation. For this reason, many will find Daniel C. Mattson’s witness more helpful: “Total Abandonment to Divine Providence and the Permissive Will of God”. There are also testimonies from Joseph Prever (“The Curse of the Ouroboros: Notes on Friendship”), Eve Tushnet (“In This Our Exile”), David Prosen (“Breaking Free”), Doug Mainwaring (“Married and Same-Sex Attracted: Are We Hiding the Light of the Gospel under a Basket?”), and Bob and Susan Covera, whose “From Pain to Peace” explains their journey as parents of a same-sex attracted child.

Incidentally, one fairly common thread throughout the book is the importance of the Courage and EnCourage apostolates, founded by Fr. John Harvey and continuing under the leadership of one of the editors, Fr. Paul Check. This apostolic work has helped many men and women deal with the challenge of same-sex attraction in accordance with a sound spiritual life and a true

Christian anthropology.

What We Know and What We Don’t
New challenges invariably lead the Church and her members to a fuller and more accurate understanding of and response to the problems each challenge represents. In the present case, it has been necessary to explore the philosophical and theological dimensions of Eros along with the biological and psychological developmental factors that might incline a person to same-sex attraction. This need is addressed by the sections of Living the Truth in Love which deal with theoretical knowledge and pastoral care.

For example, Rachel Lu addresses the question of sexual identity in “Eros Divided: Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Homoerotic Love?”. In addition, although Bob Schuchts may be too quick to claim an almost miraculous process of healing in Christian therapy, his emphasis on “Restoring Wholeness in Christ” is clearly important to the kind of self-knowledge and spiritual growth which must be part of any healing process. Deborah Savage explains what she believes is “At the Heart of the Matter: Lived Experience in Saint John Paul II’s Integral Account of the Person”. My favorite natural law theorist, J. Budziszewski, explains how we can make important connections through “The Conversational Use of Natural Law in the Context of Same-Sex Attraction”.

Msgr. Livio Melina studies a much-contested issue: “Homosexual Inclination as an ‘Objective Disorder’: Reflections of Theological Anthropology”. There is even an essay on “The Healing Role of Friendship in Aelred of Rievaulx’s De spiritali amicitia”—a work which some of the witness essays mention as well—by Dennis J. Billy, C.Ss.R. All of these authors are impressively credentialed in their fields.

In the pastoral section (after learning from Dr. Hallman to do no harm), we find careful considerations of the psychological and medical aspects of same-sex attraction. Again, the titles are indicative. Timothy G. Lock explores “Same-Sex Attractions as a Symptom of a Broken Heart: Psychological Science Deepens Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity”. And Timothy Flanigan, MD details “HIV and Other Health Risks Associated with Men Who Have Sex with Men”.

Two essays map out the cultural background underlying the way we deal with same-sex attraction. Jennifer Roback Morse’s essay, “Understanding the Sexual Revolution”, explains what old hands have long known about the tactics used to break down traditional sexual morality, an analysis which will put things into perspective for those new to the struggle. Peter Herbeck insists in “Our Prophetic Moment” that only a strong and vibrant Catholic proclamation of the vision of Christ for the human person and human sexuality can possibly make a positive difference. Accommodation is deadly.

Edited, introduced and concluded by Fr. Paul Check of Courage and moral philosopher Janet Smith of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Living the Truth in Love not only covers many aspects of the subject but also permits the expression of a variety of slightly different (but always Christian) viewpoints on how best to deal with same-sex attraction—both personally and in counseling. As Janet Smith states in the preface, “We believe that some of the differences are matters of prudence, and others perhaps are more serious. We include different positions because we believe it is important that we remain in dialogue with those who share important foundational views.”

This actually makes the book stronger. Whether there will ever emerge a single paradigm for best addressing same-sex attraction by those who are morally committed to chastity as enjoined by Christ and the Church, it is clear at this stage that one size does not fit all in terms of successfully coming to terms with SSA and integrating it into a thoroughly Christian life. I found myself more indebted to some contributors than others, but let me say again that I benefited from all of them.

For those who are not otherwise genuinely expert in the problem of same-sex attraction (which is the vast majority of us), I would venture to say that, after the publication of Living the Truth in Love, it has become irresponsible to hold forth on this subject based on gut feelings. Do not risk your credibility! Before addressing same-sex attraction again, read this extraordinarily apt, fascinating and incomparably convenient book.

Editor recommends: Timothy G. Lock explores “Same-Sex Attractions as a Symptom of a Broken Heart.