Find the article on this abomination HERE.This abomination is described as an "accomplishment" and that "ever since human embryonic stem cells were discovered, scientists have had high hopes for them…" when in fact, embryonic stem cell research has accomplished nothing. Fr. Tad Pacholcyzk of the NCBC noted that research using adult stem cells is 20 to 30 years ahead of embryonic stem cell research and actually holds greater promise. Currently, there is no scientific evidence where embryonic stem cells have been used successfully in animal trials. He said, "They’ve found that in the research that has been done that embryonic stem cells actually end up generating tumors in the animals and do not assimilate into the body.” As you know, adult stem cells have shown great promise and effectiveness and the Church strongly supports such research because it doesn't involve using human beings as the source for biological material.
Yet, the 'progressive' moral relativists who promote the culture of death… ignore scientific data and now take the next step of cloning human embryos to further facilitate the creation and destruction of human beings. This activity should be condemned in the strongest terms possible. Once again, because we "can" do something in science, doesn't mean we "ought" to. If only our ethical development as a culture developed and advanced at the same rate as our technological development!
U.S. Army lists Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, and "Islamophobia" as forms of "Religious Extremism" with Al-Qaeda and Hamas
This is more evidence of the toll relativism and secularism has taken on our country. I wonder when we begin as a Church and a nation to recognize the rising Marxism and secular humanism that has become solidly institutionalized now in the current administration and government. Jihad Watch reports:
This is the politically manipulative and ridiculous nonsense that has replaced truthful information about Islam and jihad. And the implications of it are quite ominous. Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism and "Islamophobia" are forms of "Religion Extremism" on par with al-Qaeda and Hamas? Then how long will it be before the Obama Administration goes to war against them, as it has repeatedly declared that it is at war with al-Qaeda?
Obama has repeated many, many times that we are not at war with Islam, and the mainstream media line is that to suggest otherwise would be evidence of "hatred" and "bigotry." But apparently it is not "hatred" and "bigotry" for the U.S. to declare that Catholicism is the same sort of thing as al-Qaeda. More > The persecution has begun and it will only continue to escalate as the trajectory of our government and secular-hedonistic society hurtles down over the precipice. We cannot stand by and remain in our comfort zones, but must speak out and act boldly to assert the truth and beauty of our Catholic Faith.
Pope Francis Embraces His People ...
Dominic Gondreau embracing Pope Francis
Pope Francis is embracing Dominic Gondreau, son of Paul and Christiana Gondreau at St. Peter's Piazza at Easter Sunday Mass. Paul Gondreau is a professor of theology at Providence College in Rhode Island, visiting Rome for a semester teaching. He also happens to be a best friend from my college days at St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Click on the video below to see the entire event of the Pope embracing Dominic. It is beautiful and touching. It occurs at 10:25 into the video.
This is perhaps the most moving scene yet of Pope Francis' loving shepherding of the people of God. It is this personal and heartfelt interaction that is winning the hearts and minds of so many throughout the world. It stands as a beautiful witness to Christ's commandment to "love one another". It also reminds the world of the dignity of every human person and the infinite value of every soul in the heart of God.
Dominic's father, Paul explained how this came about: "I wasn't with [my wife Christiana], in fact, because they only allow one person to sit with the handicapped. I wasn't watching the screen, and [his son] Lucas all of a sudden said, "It's Dominic." I thought he meant Christiana was coming through the crowd to meet us. Then he said, "The Pope is holding Dominic." Then I looked at the big screen. Wow! Lucas and I started crying."
Paul described further:
"An usher got it in his mind that Dominic WAS going to be embraced by the Pope. So when the "popemobile" came by, he told the driver to stop and lifted Dominic up to the Pope. And the rest, as they say, is history. Dominic is now all over the internet. The little boy's vocation of moving others to love is become ever so clear...it is all God's work ... Dominic has ALWAYS been His instrument... which confounds the wisdom of the world."
You can see that Dominic really wanted to hug the Pope, and you can see in the video that he succeeds eventually in getting his right arm around his neck, not anxious to let go! The Pope embraces him and kisses him. A moment Dominic will never forget... nor will millions who witnessed it as it spreads over the web.
Paul noted on Facebook that:
"Tradition holds that St. Francis and St. Dominic at one time enjoyed an historic encounter. Today another encounter between "Francis and Dominic" occurred, between the Pope and my son!"
These acts of love are more powerful than any force on the face of the earth. These acts will inspire incredible acts of love throughout the world. It brings us "outside of ourselves", as the Holy Father has exhorted us in recent days. Christianity's appeal to the world must be through selfless love, above all else. It is this witness of the preciousness of life that gives life to the world!
Pope Francis ... In the Middle?
The AP put out a surprisingly decent article summarizing Pope Francis' pontificate to this point, with all of its tumult. The Pope's actions have caused both liberal and conservative Catholics to scratch their heads in mixed feelings ... attempting to interpret the Pope's actions as leaning towards an authentic revival of orthodoxy and orthopraxy (right action) or what is clearly less "traditional"... or perhaps both?I think Fr. Z's blog does a wonderful job of interpreting the Pope's pontificate to this point, in a spirit of charity, yet with some genuine and understandable concerns. Take a look at his article here. I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit and the essence of Fr. Z's perspective. Here is an excerpt:
*****************************Before liberals and traditionalists both have a spittle-flecked nutty, each for their own reasons, try to figure out what he is trying to do.
Firstly, we are not succeeding in evangelizing. We are going backwards, globally. Francis knows this. This has to be foremost in his mind. This fact was probably foremost in the considerations of the College of Cardinals. How could it not be? So, Francis is faced with the obligation to address the problem of evangelization.
I think what Pope Francis is up to is trying to project, re-project, is an image of the Church as compassionate. He is trying to help people remember (or learn for the first time) that she is actually all about compassion, charity in its truest form.
We’ve lost the message and we have to get it back.
I’ll wager that, as a Jesuit, Francis doesn’t care about liturgy very much. He is just not into – one whit – either what traditional liturgy types or what liturgical liberals want.
Some liberals live and breathe liberal liturgy. On the other end of the spectrum, such as the undersigned, traditional Catholics think that liturgy is critical but for different reasons (“Save The Liturgy, Save The World”, comes to mind). Francis isn’t invested in either of these camps.
For Francis, I think, it is more a matter of “a pox on both your houses” (READ MORE HERE)
******************************I think traditional, orthodox Catholics are rightfully concerned about Pope Francis' liturgical anomalies. Yet, it is heartening to realize that the Pope's track record on dogma is rock solid ... a fact that will serve to make it increasingly difficult for liberals who want to see women priests or acceptance of contraception and the like.It is a difficult thing to be "all things to all people" ... it appears the Holy Father wants to make the faith as accessible and welcoming as possible. What orthodox, traditional Catholics rightly worry about at this stage of his pontificate ... is that the Pope believes traditional garb, traditional Masses are apparently an obstacle to evangelization. Correct liturgical theology and the tradition of the Church does not see a conflict between traditional liturgy, dress and orthopraxy. Sure, take the bus, live in simpler quarters, wear a simpler pectoral cross and shoes, celebrate feet washing with the imprisoned, daringly mingle with the people of God ... I think everyone sees the witness of Christ in all of these kinds of things. But I think the rub is that he could be doing all that he's doing and still be straight as an arrow -- like Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus liturgically. Be all things to all people, but do not apologize for who you are and your sacred traditions. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta brought the Catholic Church to the corners of the earth in the most destitute (and often very non-Christian) areas. She wore her habit and did not compromise who she was one iota. Her Catholicity and traditional dress and practice of the faith were not an obstacle to her mission. Indeed, it animated her service and made it fruitful. I pray that Pope Francis' reign as Bishop of Rome will compromise neither orthodoxy nor orthopraxy.Peace + DDG
Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy Meet in Humble Pope Francis
The readings are truly overwhelming on this Palm Sunday. These readings embody the core … the essence of our Catholic Faith: That Christ the Word … became flesh … to engage the enemy … sin and death … and conquer it through humiliation and suffering for love of us … so we might have life in abundance now and especially for eternity.
Humility is the thread that weaves throughout the several readings of our Passion Sunday.
Jesus rides today into Jerusalem as the acclaimed messiah, but in humility – on a donkey rather than a horse, which was typically the sign of the king and conqueror. Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem is conducted in humility. This is also to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah:
“Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
shout for joy, O daughter, Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
a just savior is he,
Meek, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass.”
How can we begin to enter into the depth of the Paschal Mystery presented so beautifully in every one of our readings? First, we must ask the Holy Spirit to help us and move our hearts and minds to conform not to worldly and natural inclinations, but rather to become docile and receptive, even meditative (this Holy Week and always) about what it means to us … that God would manifest himself in such humiliation, and in such self-emptying love.
Jesus’ distinguishing attribute and inner disposition … is His humility. Jesus describes himself, saying: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.”
Humility is the foundation of all the virtues, in our spiritual life, because it is perfectly contrary to the original sin of Pride, which Jesus came to destroy. While charity is the greatest and is the form of all virtues … humility is the necessary disposing virtue … for us to do the Holy Will of God and to perform truly loving acts … acts done in charity of heart.
One who obeys Christ’s commandment to “love one another” must be humble. To do the will of another absolutely requires humility. One can’t be full of charity without humility.
Jesus’ humility in His Passion is all the more astonishing because He also happens to be GOD! We are merely dust and ashes … So we must reflect with Sirach: “how can dust and ashes be proud?” (Cf. Sirach 10:9)
Humility derives from the latin “humus”, meaning literally dirt, soil, earth… to be “lowly” as Mary our model in faith describes herself as “his lowly servant”.
So we could know God as He is personally and intimately, he stripped and emptied Himself, as Paul describes in his letter to the Philippians in our Passion Sunday readings … “he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death….” For God to create worlds and galaxies seems more comprehensible to us as the omnipotent God, but for God to reduce himself to the nothingness of a creature is even more vexing to our comprehension and confounds us to silence, reducing us to nothingness, dependence and yielding all that we are to our loving Father.
Herein is the challenge of our spiritual life and our meditation going into the Paschal Mystery of Holy Week: to accept and embrace the unfathomable humility of God … coming to our ordinariness, weakness and sin… suffering for us … for one reason… GOD’s INFINITE LOVE.
What are we called to do in response to Christ’s love?
1. Acknowledge very bluntly and candidly … our sins and to do this in the sacrament of reconciliation. It is not enough to admit them only to oneself or to God in the heart. We must confess our sins as Christ ordained it … to a priest who acts in His person.
2. Practicing Humility in our daily lives – as Christ manifested in our Gospel and as Paul described it. Prayer is indispensable for growth in humility. If you are not praying, you are not humble.
3. An important means to attaining humility and becoming more available to God in prayer and as servant to others… is to simplify our lives. This increases our capacity to grow in charity.
How do we do these things? – examination of conscience using the teachings of the Church and the Commandments. Praying daily, practicing humility – which means putting others first and admitting our sins, weaknesses and failings, which Christ bore for us in his Way of the Cross and Passion.
Finally, we are a very busy culture and serve many masters – how can we de-complicate and simplify our lives – to make ourselves more available to others: just being more present to family members, friends and those in need? Taking more time for family prayer? Turning off the TV, the computer surfing?
A very recent and striking example of humility and simplicity integrated with daily life … is our new Pope Francis. Much has been said about the Pope and his orthodoxy is clear … he stands with Pope Benedict, he stands as yet another faithful shepherd of the Church who will clearly uphold the timeless truth of the Gospel.
However, what has been especially evident early on with our new Pope, is that, in addition to his orthodoxy, we recognize orthopraxy, which is a less often used term to describe derived from modern Greek ὀρθοπραξία (orthopraxia) meaning "correct action/activity" or an emphasis on conduct, both ethical and liturgical. Put another way, the Pope puts his faith into action seriously. He is a traditional, orthodox Pope who fearlessly lives Gospel simplicity in humility. This can be said of our previous modern Popes as well, but Pope Francis is bringing his own gifted and inspired witness to the Papacy.
It is significant that Francis first hours as pope are more noteworthy in what he has done than in what he's said. His actions, (orthopraxy) show humility and a selfless heart, taking time with people, being close to them. For example:
He appeared the night of his election in a simple white cassock and chose to keep simple pectoral cross, foregoing the ornate, larger cross prepared for him. He also passed on more formal and regal shoes and cope.
He meekly waived with one hand from time to time from the loggia, then bowed for people to pray for him in silence before he blessed them.
He rode back after his election in the bus with cardinals rather than his private car and entourage.
He returned to his hotel himself to pay his bill and pick up his luggage when this would normally be done by aides.
He called his old newspaper kiosk in Argentina … and spoke to the owner to let him know he’d be cancelling his daily paper he used to pick up… then asked for his prayers. The owner broke down in tears after finally realizing it really was Pope Francis.
He greeted his cardinals standing with them rather than in his throne chair which he has exchanged for a simpler chair.
He has spent much time deviating from security detail to embrace the faithful heading into mobs of people to greet and bless them.
Upon entering the papal apartment, he said “300 people could fit in here”… suggesting this was much more than was needed.
He appeared, without entourage, at St. Mary Major to pray before Our Lady ... he spent a half hour in silent prayer. The necessity of prayer in his life is clear. It is the foundation of all that he does. We must put out into the deep of prayer in order to put out into the deep of mission, as Blessed Pope John Paul the Great said.
One of my favorite examples from Pope Francis is that either before or after the morning masses he has been celebrating in the residence he is currently staying in at the Vatican … Pope Francis sits in the pews towards the back of the church beside the other faithful, for a moment of personal prayer. See the article on this at Whispers in the Loggia. It is so moving and profound to see this pope in a white cassock in the back of church praying with everyone else. I’m wondering if this has ever happened in modern history.
Because of his simple example of taking the bus, now Curia cardinals are taking taxis and simpler transportation… instead of expensive cars around Rome. This teaches us in a very practical way … that our actions impact others far more than our words! So too for us, we can imitate the humility of Christ by simplifying our lives and being more eagerly available to others. This is kenotic … emptying of self to allow us to be filled with God’s love.
Pope Francis is leading by example in humility and simplicity. It seems the Pope is calling us to live in simplicity ... by showing us how to live in simplicity and humility. His motivation is the love relationship he has with Christ, who loved him and gave himself for Him and each of us.
So, Christ rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday ... in simplicity and humility on a donkey. We anticipate the humiliation and suffering He will endure, beginning Holy Thursday night in the Garden. This image, along with the image Pope Francis has given to the world... brings to mind the fundamental call to simplify our lives and become more humble and prayerful, in the imitation of Christ who emptied and humbled himself to save us.
All of us in the church must become simpler and rededicate ourselves to humility. Our lives must become more focused on what really matters. We must resolve to become more intensely focused on family; focused on vocation; focused on relationships with those around us; focused on the dignity of human person; focused on those who are in need; focused on transforming our culture of death and hedonism and all of this through being focused on prayer and holiness.
Our Lenten season has been about prayer, penance and almsgiving so as to obtain a clearer focus on Christ. We attain clear focus by simplifying our lives with less distraction, less clutter, renunciation of materialism and more time and eager availability to one another ... to be present to one another in each other's concerns and needs. In a word, to be an alter Christus ... another Christ to those around us. In so doing, we imitate Our Lord’s example given to us in the Paschal Mystery we are about celebrate. Peace+ DDG
Media Dubiously Suggesting Pope Francis Supported Gay Civil Unions?
UPDATE: LifeSiteNews reports: Miguel Woites, a confidant of Pope Francis while he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, is denying a widely publicized claim that the then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio suggested the endorsement of gay civil unions as an alternative to "homosexual marriage" during a private meeting with fellow bishops in 2010.
In an interview granted to the Catholic news agency ACI Prensa, Woites said that the story "isn't true. It's a complete error." More >
You have probably noticed the media is ablaze (as expected) with stories attempting to cast our new Holy Father as once supporting gay civil unions as a cardinal. However, there is only one problem ...
NONE of the stories actually quote him, nor put forward any evidence ... except what we lawyers identify as HEARSAY. That is, rumor and assertion without substance... wishful thinkers who desire to bend the Church to their erroneous views, attempt to construe him as being in favor of "civil unions" for homosexuals. It is really pathetic to see the desperation of the mainstream media and heterodox "catholics" attempt to dig up contradictory positions of Cardinal Bergoglio.
While it is a bit disconcerting that his biographer and his spokesman while he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, LifeSiteNews reported on Cardinal Bergoglio's battle against homosexual marriage being recognized by the state:
"Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God," writes Bergoglio in a letter sent to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, where he is archbishop. "We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.... "The Argentinean people will have to confront, in the coming weeks, a situation whose result could gravely injure the family. We are speaking of a bill regarding marriage between people of the same sex," a bill that calls into question "the identity, and the survival of the family: father, mother, and children." The latter, warns Bergoglio, might also be threatened by homosexual adoption, which would be a true form of discrimination."
Bergoglio (as well as the Magisterium) is staunchly against homosexual "marriage" because it is a "destructive pretension against the plan of God" ... which is with reference to the Natural Law.
Is it probable, is it consistent for one to conjecture that Bergoglio, especially now as Pope Francis... has been or would ever be in favor of civil unions for homosexuals, which would accord the civil rights of marriage, including adoption ... to homosexuals? The question of homosexuality... the actions associated with it and the civil implications ... is fundamentally disordered in its nature. Because Bergoglio's explicit stance on homosexuality accurately reflects his correct understanding of the Natural Law (of which the Magisterium is the rightful interpreter), so too he could not possibly be "for" homosexual civil unions. Indeed, as much as the media would like us to believe these unsubstantiated assertions ... there is simply no evidence other than hearsay statements of others sympathetic to the cause. The Pope's clarity on the matter of homosexuality and its recognition in society's laws is unmistakable. Peace + DDG
The Washington Times reports that Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi received Holy Communion at the inaugural Mass for Pope Francis.
I find this news extremely scandalous and disappointing, for reasons that should not require explanation... but of course, I've not yet even begun to vent.
Brietbart reported on the joint statement Cardinal Bergoglio delivered on behalf of the Latin American church leaders some years ago, which casts clear light on the position of Pope Francis:
"In the Aparecida Document, a document that represents a joint statement by Latin American church leaders but presented by Francis in 2007, the leaders stated, “we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence,’ that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortions, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”
It seems the liberal, Catholic democrats just live for the opportunity to flaunt their blatant disobedience before the world stage. They are constantly in the face of the Church, relentless in their resolve to change the Church's teaching (as if it could change?). It seems the Vatican has decided to let them come to the inaugural Mass, and flaunt their anti-life, culture of death philosophy before the Successor of Peter and the entire world, as if to say "you can be Catholic and be pro-abortion, pro-embryonic stem cell research, pro contraception...". Indeed, as Cardinal Burke has made clear time and time again ... Once "a Catholic politician has been admonished that he should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” the cardinal added, “as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion.”
Cardinal Burke is applying canon 915, which says:
"Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."
The fact that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are Catholic and are "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin" is indisputable, due to their standing position for years as democrats in favor of abortion (and embryonic stem cell research, for that matter). Allowing these politicians to come into the heart of the Church and receive Holy Communion before the entire world ... and in front of Pope Francis, Cardinal Burke and the entire curia is breathtakingly scandalous. It is the textbook case for why canon 915 exists, it seems to me. When will politics take a back seat to authentic truth and love as taught by the Magisterium of the Church? Is it REALLY the most loving and merciful thing to allow Biden and Pelosi to receive Holy Communion at the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis? Is it not authentic love (and one's duty before Christ as shepherds of the Church) to deny Holy Communion ... not only to prevent misleading hundreds of thousands of Catholics via scandal but also to encourage conversion and thus, the salvation of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi? But no - political correctness and "getting along" prevails again, even over the salvation of souls. This is the new "secular religion" of our age.Upon learning of Biden and Pelosi's intention to attend the inaugural Mass, the Holy See could have sent a message, explaining the Church's teaching, their admitted obstinacy to the Church's teaching on abortion and other life issues and warned them that they will be denied Holy Communion at the Mass, saving them some public embarrassment by suggesting they not come forward to receive. Then, the Holy See could not be accused of grandstanding or attempting to embarrass Pelosi, Biden and any other politicians it may apply to. That being said, it is time for the Church (via their shepherds especially) to draw some lines in the sand, as the Church is obligated by canon law and faithfulness to Christ's teaching to do.
Much has been said about Curial reform. Fiat! Let it be done! Let us pray even harder, simplify our lives even more, be more converted to Christ ... Peace + DDG
Pope Francis' First Impression: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
I have been up awhile tonight perusing the blogs and articles on Pope Francis. What strikes me the most is his humility ... and the fact that the most notable impressions he makes on people (including me) are those emanating from his ACTIONS more so than his words. This is a lesson for us, I think.
The humility of taking the bus home with the other cardinals, scooting over to St. Mary Major for prayer time before Our Lady, his greeting the cardinals standing rather than on his throne seat, keeping his simple bishop's pectoral cross, bowing while asking tens of thousands in the piazza to stop and pray silently for him... I can go on and on.
I am reminded of St. Francis ... the deacon of Assisi ... who said, "preach the Gospel and use words if necessary". This certainly seems to be Pope Francis' modus operandi. I am reading many traditionalists in the blogs who are freaking out about him not celebrating the Mass in the Extraordinary Form or at least ad orientem. I love the traditional Mass and all of the thing Pope Benedict accomplished in that regard. However, it appears Pope Francis' theology is rock solid and yet very practical and to the point. He does not mix words when he says things like, “when we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess a Christ without the Cross … we aren't disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.” He stands strongly against so-called "gay marriage" and abortion.
Yet, this man is already manifesting himself as very humble and unmoved by the pomp and potential distracting elements of the Papacy. He is reminiscent of Pope John XXIII, who came into the papacy as the so-called "transitional pope"... no one expected much of anything from him. Yet, he did away with the papal tiara and being carried on a throne (he cited his heavy weight as another good reason to spare those having to carry him!). He would sneak out of the Vatican (unprecedented) and visit prisoners. He was not descended from aristocratic family ... yet he called the Second Vatican Council! Pope Francis is very similar and may be packing more punch for reform than people may expect!
Francis seems unmoved by pomp … his humility is striking. I think this is the remedy for the problems in the curia. I think he is, well... blunt in his speaking. E.g. “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil. When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil." …. Hmm. I like his spunk. Seems he calls a spade a spade and thinks what he thinks. He seems comfortable in his own skin and not obliged to "people please", while at the same time showing remarkable humility and warmth. He seems independent in his thought, yet very solid in his faithfulness to Church teaching and tradition This has to bode well for us. Peace+ DDG ;- ) \\
George Weigel reveals his insider insight once again in an excellent article with the National Review. I have an excerpt below. Find the whole article here. The 2005 runner-up takes the checkered flag in 2013?
Well, not really. Cardinal Bergoglio was used in 2005; he knows precisely who used him and why; and while he is a man of the Gospel who is not looking to settle scores, he is also a man of prudence who knows who his friends, and who his enemies, are. Here’s the story:
In April 2005, the progressive party (which was a real party then) came to Rome after the death of John Paul II thinking it had the wind at its back and clear sailing ahead — only to find that the Ratzinger-for-pope party was well-organized; that Ratzinger had made a very positive impression by the way he had run the General Congregations of cardinals after John Paul II’s death; that he had deep support from throughout the Third World because of the courtesy with which he had treated visiting Third World bishops on their quinquennial visits to Rome over the past 20 years; and that, after his brilliant homily at John Paul’s funeral Mass, he was indisputably the frontrunner for the papacy.
onfronted with this reality, the progressives panicked. Their first blocking move against Ratzinger was to try to run the aged Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, S.J., emeritus archbishop of Milan, who was already ill with Parkinson’s disease and had retired to the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem. The idea was not to elect Martini pope; it was to stop the Ratzinger surge. Then, when Ratzinger blew past Martini with almost 50 percent of the vote on what was assumed to be the “courtesy” first ballot (where some votes are cast as gestures of friendship, esteem, etc.), and subsequently went over 50 percent the following morning, the panic intensified. Martini was summarily abandoned (or may have told his supporters to forget it). The progressives then tried to advance Cardinal Bergoglio — who was very much part of the pro-Ratzinger coalition; who embodied “dynamic orthodoxy,” just like John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger; who had been persecuted by his more theologically and politically left-leaning Jesuit brethren after his term as Jesuit provincial in Argentina (they exiled him to northern Argentina, where he taught high-school chemistry until rescued by John Paul II and eventually made archbishop of Buenos Aires); and who was doubtless appalled by the whole exercise on his putative behalf. Read More >
Pope Francis and Our Encounter With Christ's Mercy
As we continue to get to know our new Pope Francis I, his spirituality becomes increasingly clear. I am very taken by his description of the encounter with Christ arising out of our encounter with sin and His Divine Mercy!
I pulled the excerpts below from an article written by Silvina Premat, linked to by Dawn Eden's blog on Patheos. The cardinal puts the right focus on the primacy of grace, in a way reminiscent of St. Augustine. The grace described by the cardinal, now pope... is what we call in theology "prevenient grace" which is that grace that moves us to act. It is not merited and precedes any deliberation on the part of the human person. In a word, it is the action of God's loving seeking of his prodigal children, always enticing us to deeper conversion.
Pope Francis tells us that only those who have encountered the mercy of Christ are truly comfortable with the Lord. That is, one must experience their NEED for mercy through the experience of sin and emptiness in one's soul ... to encounter Jesus, who revealed Himself as "savior" from sin and the "narrow gate" to eternal life.
Peace+ DDG :-) \\
Cardinal Bergoglio presented El atractivo de Jesucristo, published by Encuentro, at the International Book Fair in Buenos Aires which was entitled, “The Book, from the Author to the Reader.” These are excerpts from the talk given by His Eminence Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio during the book presentation, April 27, 2001:
"... Everything in our life, today just as in Jesus’ time, begins with an encounter. An encounter with this Man, the carpenter of Nazareth, a man like all men and yet different. The first ones, John, Andrew, and Simon, felt themselves to be looked at into their very depths, read in their innermost being, and in them sprang forth a surprise, a wonder that instantly made them feel bound to Him, made them feel different.
When Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?”, “his ‘Yes’ was not the result of an effort of will, it was not the fruit of a ‘decision’ made by the young man Simon: it was the emergence, the coming to the surface of an entire vein of tenderness and adherence that made sense because of the esteem he had for Him–therefore an act of reason;” it was a reasonable act, “which is why he couldn’t not say ‘Yes.’”
We cannot understand this dynamic of encounter which brings forth wonder and adherence if it has not been triggered–forgive me the use of this word–by mercy. Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord. I beg the theologians who are present not to turn me in to the Sant’Uffizio or to the Inquisition; however, forcing things a bit, I dare to say that the privileged locus of the encounter is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin.
In front of this merciful embrace–and I continue along the lines of Giussani’s thought–we feel a real desire to respond, to change, to correspond; a new morality arises. We posit the ethical problem, an ethics which is born of the encounter, of this encounter which we have described up to now. Christian morality is not a titanic effort of the will, the effort of someone who decides to be consistent and succeeds, a solitary challenge in the face of the world. No. Christian morality is simply a response. It is the heartfelt response to a surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy (I shall return to this adjective). The surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy, using purely human criteria, of one who knows me, knows my betrayals and loves me just the same, appreciates me, embraces me, calls me again, hopes in me, and expects from me. This is why the Christian conception of morality is a revolution; it is not a never falling down but an always getting up again.
As we shall see, this authentic, in a Christian sense, conception of morality which Giussani presents has nothing to do with the spiritualistic-type quietisms of which the shelves of the religious supermarkets of today are full. Trickery. Nor with the Pelagianism so fashionable today in its different, sophisticated manifestations. Pelagianism, underneath it all, is a remake of the Tower of Babel. The spiritualistic quietisms are efforts at prayer and immanent spirituality which never go beyond themselves.
Jesus is encountered, just as 2,000 years ago, in a human presence, the Church, the company of those whom He assimilates to Himself, His Body, the sign and sacrament of His Presence. Reading this book, one is amazed and filled with admiration at the sight of such a personal and profound relationship with Jesus, and thinks it is unlikely to happen to him. When people say to Fr. Giussani, “How brave one has to be to say ‘Yes’ to Christ!” or, “This objection comes to my mind: it is evident that Fr. Giussani loves Jesus and I don’t love Him in the same way,” Giussani answers, “Why do you oppose what you think you don’t have to what you think I have? I have this yes, only this, and it would not cost you one iota more than it costs me.… Say “Yes” to Jesus. If I foresaw that tomorrow I would offend Him a thousand times, I would still say it.” Thérèse of Lisieux says almost exactly the same thing: “I say it, because if I did not say ‘Yes’ to Jesus I could not say ‘Yes’ to the stars in the sky or to your hair, the hairs on your head…” Nothing could be simpler: “I don’t know how it is, I don’t know how it might be: I know that I have to say ‘Yes.’ I can’t not say it,” and reasonably; that is to say, at every moment in his reflections in this book, Giussani has recourse to the reasonableness of experience.
It is a question of starting to say “You” to Christ, and saying it often. It is impossible to desire it without asking for it. And if someone starts to ask for it, then he begins to change. Besides, if someone asks for it, it is because in the depths of his being he feels attracted, called, looked at, awaited. This is the experience of Augustine: there from the depths of my being, something attracts me toward Someone who looked for me first, is waiting for me first, is the almond flower of the prophets, the first to bloom in spring. It is the quality which God possesses and which I take the liberty of defining by using a Buenos Aires word: God, in this case Jesus Christ, always primerea, goes ahead of us. When we arrive, He is already there waiting.
He who encounters Jesus Christ feels the impulse to witness Him or to give witness of what he has encountered, and this is the Christian calling. To go and give witness. You can’t convince anybody. The encounter occurs. You can prove that God exists, but you will never be able, using the force of persuasion, to make anyone encounter God. This is pure grace. Pure grace. In history, from its very beginning until today, grace always primerea, grace always comes first, then comes all the rest.