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.

Pope: Love our Enemies

JUNE 19, 2018 14:06 POPE’S MORNING HOMILY

Pope’s Morning Homily: Bless and Love Your Enemies

During Morning Mass, Francis Admits It Is ‘Difficult Logic’ to Practice

JUNE 19, 2018 14:06DEBORAH CASTELLANO LUBOVPOPE’S MORNING HOMILY

We are called to bless and love our enemies and those who persecute us.
According to Vatican News, the Pope gave this tough challenge during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, June 19, 2018. He was reflecting on today’s Gospel according to St. Matthew (Mt 5:43-48), in which Jesus invites his followers to a higher standard of human relations, so as to be “perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

To be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, Christians, the Pontiff underscored, should forgive, love, and bless our enemies. The mystery of Christian life, he said, is loving our enemies and praying for our persecutors.

To be forgiven, the Pope reminded, we too must forgive. A major challenge for Christians is to overcome our feelings and resistances to bless and love those who have wronged us.

“To pray for those who want to destroy me, my enemies, so that God may bless them: This is truly difficult to understand,” the Pope admitted, adding: “We can recall events of the last century, like the poor Russian Christians who, simply for being Christians, were sent to Siberia to die of cold. And they should pray for the executing government that sent them there? How can that be? Yet many did so: they prayed.

“We think of Auschwitz and other concentration camps,” the Pope said. “Should they pray for the dictator who sought a ‘pure race’ and killed without scruple, even to pray that God should bless him? And yet many did so.”

We must learn from Jesus and martyrs, the Pope said, who practiced this “difficult logic.” We see this in Jesus’ prayer for those who put Him to death on the Cross. Jesus, Francis noted, asks God to forgive them.

“There is an infinite distance between us – we who frequently refuse to forgive even small things – and what the Lord asks of us, which he has exemplified for us: To forgive those who seek to destroy us.

It is often very difficult within families, for example, when spouses need to forgive one another after an argument, or when one needs to forgive their mother-in-law.

The Pope said this is not easy.

“Rather,” he said, “we are invited to forgive those who are killing us, who want us out of the way… Not only forgive, but even pray that God may watch over them! Even more, to love them. Only Jesus’ word can explain this.”

It is a grace, the Holy Father noted, “to understand this Christian mystery and be perfect like the Father, who gives good things to the good and the bad.”

Pope Francis concluded, calling on faithful to think today of their enemy and pray for the grace to love them.

“I think all of us have one – someone who has hurt us or wants to hurt us. The Mafia’s prayer is: ‘You’ll pay me back.’ The Christian prayer is: ‘Lord, give them your blessing, and teach me to love them.’ Let us think of one enemy, and pray for them. May the Lord to give us the grace to love them.”

Pope: Be bishops for your flock

Pope at Mass: , not for your career
Vatican NEWS 2018-05-15

Pope Francis says he prays all bishops follow the example of the Apostle Paul with his obedience to the Holy Spirit and his love for his flock. His words came during his homily at Mass celebrated on Tuesday morning in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence.

By Susy Hodges

Pope Francis focused his reflections on the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles where Paul, “compelled by the Holy Spirit,” takes his leave from the Church Elders at Ephesus to go to Jerusalem. “It’s a decisive move, a move that reaches the heart, it’s also a move that shows us the pathway for every bishop when it’s time to take his leave and step down,” he said.

Paul’s examination of conscience
Retracing the biblical account of how Paul summoned the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus to take his leave of them, Pope Francis noted how the Apostle made an examination of his conscience, telling the Elders what he had done for the community and leaving them to judge his work. Paul seemed “a bit proud,” said the Pope, but in actual fact “he is objective.”  He only boasts about two things: “his own sins and the Cross of Jesus Christ which saved him.”

The Apostle is listening to the Holy Spirit
Describing how Paul feels “compelled by the Holy Spirit” to go to Jerusalem, Pope Francis said: “This experience by the bishop, the bishop who can discern the Spirit, who can discern when it is the Spirit of God speaking to him and who knows how to defend himself when spoken to by the spirit of the world.”

In some way, the Pope said, Paul knows that he is going “towards trials, towards the cross and this recalls for us Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, doesn’t it?”

The Apostle, he went on, “is obediently offering himself up to the Lord. That (expression) compelled by the Holy Spirit. The bishop who always goes forward but according to the Holy Spirit.  This is Paul.”

His farewell: watch over the flock
Turning next to Paul’s farewell words, Pope Francis noted how Paul takes his leave amidst the pain of those present by giving them advice in a testament which is not a worldly testament “about leaving belongings to this person or that person.”
Paul’s great love, said the Pope, “is Jesus Christ.  His second love is for his flock. Take care of each other and of the entire flock. Keep watch over the flock: you are bishops for your flock, to take care of it and not in order to advance your ecclesiastical career.”

Paul’s testament
Noting how Paul entrusted the Elders to God, knowing that He will take care of them, the Pope stressed that the Apostle spoke of having no desire to have any money or gold for himself. He described Paul’s testament as “a witness, as well as an announcement and a challenge.” This was no worldly testament, said Pope Francis because Paul had nothing to leave to others, “only the grace of God, his apostolic courage, Jesus Christ’s revelation and the salvation that Our Lord had granted him.”

The Pope thinks about when his time will come
“When I read this, I think about myself, he declared, “because I am a bishop and I must take my leave and step down.”
He concluded his homily with a prayer: “I am thinking of all bishops. May the Lord grant all of us the grace to be able to take our leave and step down in this way (like Paul), with that spirit, with that strength, with that love for Jesus Christ and this faith in the Holy Spirit.”

Our Lady of Good Success

Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our Times
April 19, 2000 | TFP.org 

“At the end of the nineteenth century and throughout a great part of the twentieth,
many heresies will be propagated…

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Our Lady of Good Success appeared in Quito, Ecuador to a Spanish nun whose little-known but extraordinary life has a direct connection with our days.

The Pope’s “infallibility will be declared a dogma of Faith by the same Pope chosen to proclaim the dogma of the mystery of my Immaculate Conception. He will be persecuted and imprisoned in the Vatican through the usurpation of the Pontifical States and through the malice, envy, and avarice of an earthly monarch.”

“Unbridled passions will give way to a total corruption of customs because Satan will reign through the Masonic sects, targeting the children in particular to insure general corruption.

“Unhappy, the children of those times! Seldom will they receive the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. As for the sacrament of Penance, they will confess only while attending Catholic schools, which the devil will do his utmost to destroy by means of persons in authority.

“The same will occur with Holy Communion. Oh, how it hurts me to tell you that there will be many and enormous public and hidden sacrileges!

“In those times, the sacrament of Extreme Unction will be largely ignored.… Many will die without receiving it, being thereby deprived of innumerable graces, consolation, and strength in the great leap from time to eternity.

“The sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with the Church, will be thoroughly attacked and profaned. Masonry, then reigning, will implement iniquitous laws aimed at extinguishing this sacrament. They will make it easy for all to live in sin, thus multiplying the birth of illegitimate children without the Church’s blessing….

“Secular education will contribute to a scarcity of priestly and religious vocations.”

“The holy sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised, for in this both the Church and God Himself are oppressed and reviled, since He is represented by His priests.“The devil will work to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every way, working with baneful cunning to destroy the spirit of their vocation and corrupting many. Those who will thus scandalize the Christian flock will bring upon all priests the hatred of bad Christians and the enemies of the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This apparent triumph of Satan will cause enormous suffering to the good pastors of the Church…and to the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on earth who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of God Our Lord, asking for light, sanctity, and perfection for all the clergy of the world, to whom he is King and Father.”

Unhappy times will come wherein those who should fearlessly defend the rights of the Church will instead, blinded despite the light, give their hand to the Church’s enemies and do their bidding. But when [evil] seems triumphant and when authority abuses its power, committing all manner of injustice and oppressing the weak, their ruin shall be near. They will fall and crash to the ground.

“Then will the Church, joyful and triumphant like a young girl, reawaken and be comfortably cradled in the arms of my most dear and elect son of those times. If he lends an ear to the inspirations of grace–one of which will be the reading of these great mercies that my Son and I have had toward you–we shall fill him with graces and very special gifts and will make him great on earth and much greater in Heaven. There we have reserved a precious seat for him because, heedless of men, he will have fought for truth and ceaselessly defended the rights of the Church, deserving to be called ‘martyr.’”

“At the end of the nineteenth century and throughout a great part of the twentieth, many heresies will be propagated in these lands.…

“The small number of souls who will secretly safeguard the treasure of Faith and virtues will suffer a cruel, unspeakable, and long martyrdom. Many will descend to their graves through the violence of suffering and will be counted among the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the country and the Church.

“To be delivered from the slavery of these heresies, those whom the merciful love of my Son has destined for this restoration will need great will-power, perseverance, courage, and confidence in God. To try the faith and trust of these just ones, there will be times when all will seem lost and paralyzed. It will then be the happy beginning of the complete restoration….

“In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license.… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women.

“He who should speak seasonably will remain silent.

“There shall be scarcely any virgin souls in the world. The delicate flower of virginity will seek refuge in the cloisters.…Without virginity, fire from heaven will be needed to purify these lands.
“Sects, having permeated all social classes, will find ways of introducing themselves into the very heart of homes to corrupt the innocence of children. The children’s hearts will be dainty morsels to regale the devil.…

“Religious communities will remain to sustain the Church and work with courage for the salvation of souls.… The secular clergy will fall far short of what is expected of them because they will not pursue their sacred duty. Losing the divine compass, they will stray from the way of priestly ministry mapped out for them by God and will become devoted to money, seeking it too earnestly.

“Pray constantly, implore tirelessly, and weep bitter tears in the seclusion of your heart, beseeching the Eucharistic Heart of my most holy Son to take pity on His ministers and to end as soon as possible these unhappy times by sending to His Church the Prelate who shall restore the spirit of her priests.”