Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wednesday General Audience with Pope Francis

English Summary of Pope’s General Audience
‘As followers of Christ, may we never close our hearts to those in need.’
Pope at Audience CTV
CTV Pope - General Audience
Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of Pope Francis’ General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square:
Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider two particular corporal works of mercy: welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked. Jesus mentions both of these in connection with the Last Judgement (cf. Mt 25:35-36). Nowadays, the “stranger” is often the immigrant in our midst. In every age, the phenomenon of immigration calls for a response of openness and solidarity. In our own day, the growing influx of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty is a summons to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters. Like so many committed Christians who have gone before us, such as Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, we need to find generous and creative ways of meeting their immediate needs. So too, “clothing the naked” increasingly means caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them, and working to ensure that it is upheld and safeguarded. As followers of Christ, may we never close our hearts to those in need. For by openness to others, our lives are enriched, our societies enjoy peace and all people can live in a way befitting their God-given dignity.
Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Wales, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Israel, Australia, Indonesia, China, Japan, Canada and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Knights of Columbus propose novena before election

Knights of Columbus urges U.S. Catholics to pray novena ahead of election

| October 25, 2016      

A young man prays during a novena in 2010 at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The Knights of Columbus is urging its members and other U.S. Catholics to pray a novena from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, the eve of Election Day. (CNS photo/Rafael Crisostomo, El Pregonero)
A young man prays during a novena in 2010 at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The Knights of Columbus is urging its members and other U.S. Catholics to pray a novena from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, the eve of Election Day. (CNS photo/Rafael Crisostomo, El Pregonero)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CNS) — The Knights of Columbus is urging its members and other U.S. Catholics to pray a novena from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, the eve of Election Day.
“The church teaches that Catholics are called to form their consciences based on church teaching and vote in accordance with that well-formed conscience,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who is CEO of the international fraternal organization based in New Haven.
“Pope Francis has said in reference to the U.S. election that we should ‘study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience,’ and this novena is designed to help Catholic Americans do that,” Anderson said in a statement.
The Knights’ novena — nine consecutive days of prayer — asks the intercession of Mary, the mother of Jesus, under her title of the Immaculate Conception. Individuals, families, councils and parishes are all invited to participate, the Knights said.
Mary Immaculate is the patroness of the United States. In 1791, Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States, dedicated his diocese to her. The first U.S. diocese, it covered the entire country. In 1846, the U.S. bishops reaffirmed that dedication and Pope Pius IX ratified it in 1847.
Here is the text of the novena:
“Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your spouse; God the son, who chose Mary as your mother, in union with Mary we adore your majesty and acknowledge your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.
“Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom which has been its heritage.
“Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy, born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our mother, have mercy on the sick, the tempted, sinners — on all who are in need.”
According to the Knights, the prayer was written for the 1959 dedication of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, which includes a bell tower known as the Knights Tower. The Knights of Columbus donated money for the tower’s construction

Faithful Scholar and King

St. Alfred the Great

Image of St. Alfred the Great


Feastday: October 26
Birth: 848
Death: 899

King of Wessex, scholar, and renowned Christian monarch. Alfred was born in 849, the fifth son of the Wessex king. During a journey to Rome in 853, he was accepted as a godson by Pope Leo IV . He was a great scholar, translating classics for his people, and early on seemed destined for a career in the Church. Instead, he became king and was forced to spend most of his reign in conflict with the Danes who were then threatening England. His work as a patron of the arts, literature, and especially the Church made him a beloved figure in England.

Tuesday Morning Papal Homily

Pope’s Morning Homily: Key to Grow God’s Kingdom? Docility, Not Organizational Charts
At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Warns Against Rigidity
L'Osservatore Romano
God’s Kingdom grows through its members’ docility and not with organization charts.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s readings, which discussed the Kingdom of God.
Noting how the Kingdom is not to be confused for a fixed structure, since it constantly evolves and grows, he underscored that accordingly God’s Law is not to only be studied, but is to be journeyed forward with in our lives.
“What is the Kingdom of God?” Francis asked. “Well, perhaps the Kingdom of God is a very well-made structure, everything tidy, organization charts all done, everything and the person who does not enter (into this structure) is not in the Kingdom of God.
“No,” he warned, “the same thing can happen to the Kingdom of God as happens to the Law: unchanging, rigidity… the Law is about moving forward, the Kingdom of God is moving forward, it is not standing still. What’s more: the Kingdom of God is re-creating itself every day.”
The Journey of Yeast and a Seed
In Jesus’ parable about things in our everyday lives, the Pope reminded, he discusses the yeast that does not remain yeast, because once it is mixed in with the flour, it is ‘on a journey’ to becoming bread. Also, the Jesuit Pope recalled, Jesus, points out how a seed does not remain a seed, because it dies and gives life to a tree.
The yeast and the seed are both on a journey to do something, Francis explained, while observing that to do this, however, they die.
“It is not a problem of smallness, be it small, of little count or a big thing. It’s a question of journeying and whilst on this journey the transformation occurs,” he said.
Don’t Be Too Rigid!
For the second day, Francis again warned against being a person who sees the Law, but does not journey forward and has a rigid attitude.
“What is the attitude that the Lord asks from us in order that the Kingdom of God can grow and be bread for everybody and is a house too for everybody?” he asked.
“Docility: the Kingdom of God grows through docility to the strength of the Holy Spirit. The flour ceases to be flour and becomes bread because it is docile to the strength of the yeast and the yeast allows itself to be mixed in with the flour… I don’t know, flour has no feelings but allowing itself to be mixed in one could think that there is some suffering here, right? But the Kingdom too, the Kingdom grows in this way and then in the end it is bread for everybody.”
Just as the flour is docile to the yeast, continued Pope Francis, the seed too allows itself to be fertilized and loses its identity as a seed and becomes something much larger: it transforms itself.
Similarly, he noted, the Kingdom of God recreates iteself each day, journeying “towards hope” and “journeying towards fullness.”
The Pontiff warned that if Christians do not journey forward, they become rigid, and this rigidity, “makes them orphans without the Father.”
“A rigid person only has masters and no father. The Kingdom of God is like a mother that grows and is fertile, gives of herself so that her children have food and lodging, according to the example of the Lord.”
The Pope concluded, encouraging all faithful to ask the Holy Spirit today for the grace of docility.
“Many times we are not docile to our moods, our judgements. ‘But I do what I want….’ The Kingdom does not grow in this way and neither do we grow. It is docility to the Holy Spirit that makes us grow and be transformed like the yeast and the seed. May the Lord give us all the grace of this docility.”

New norms issued today for Catholic funerals involving cremation

With New Cremation Norms, CDF Aims To Bury (Questions Over) Ashes
Given the rather fevered interest over yesterday's heads-up in the side-feed – and, above all, the pastoral import as cremation (long a forbidden option) becomes an increasingly common practice in Catholic funerals – below is the English text of the CDF instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo ("To Rise With Christ"), released at Roman Noon this Tuesday on burial rites involving the ashes/cremains of the deceased.

As with any binding Curial document governing the life of the church, the following was explicitly approved by the Pope and published on his orders.... Yet as the note's most prominent proviso – an almost airtight prohibition on the scattering of ashes following a funeral liturgy – notably overrides a 2008 guidance on the question from the Italian bishops, who will enforce the new norms is anyone's guess.

Here, the complete text (with footnotes):
Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo
regarding the burial of the deceased
and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation

1. To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must “be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). With the Instruction Piam et Constantem of 5 July 1963, the then Holy Office established that “all necessary measures must be taken to preserve the practice of reverently burying the faithful departed”, adding however that cremation is not “opposed per se to the Christian religion” and that no longer should the sacraments and funeral rites be denied to those who have asked that they be cremated, under the condition that this choice has not been made through “a denial of Christian dogmas, the animosity of a secret society, or hatred of the Catholic religion and the Church”.1 Later this change in ecclesiastical discipline was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law (1983) and the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches (1990).

During the intervening years, the practice of cremation has notably increased in many countries, but simultaneously new ideas contrary to the Church’s faith have also become widespread. Having consulted the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and numerous Episcopal Conferences and Synods of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has deemed opportune the publication of a new Instruction, with the intention of underlining the doctrinal and pastoral reasons for the preference of the burial of the remains of the faithful and to set out norms pertaining to the conservation of ashes in the case of cremation.

2. The resurrection of Jesus is the culminating truth of the Christian faith, preached as an essential part of the Paschal Mystery from the very beginnings of Christianity: “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve” (1 Cor 15:3-5). Through his death and resurrection, Christ freed us from sin and gave us access to a new life, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rm 6:4). Furthermore, the risen Christ is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep […] For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:20-22).

It is true that Christ will raise us up on the last day; but it is also true that, in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. In Baptism, actually, we are immersed in the death and resurrection of Christ and sacramentally assimilated to him: “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12). United with Christ by Baptism, we already truly participate in the life of the risen Christ (cf. Eph 2:6).

Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning. The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of the Church: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven”.2 By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. In our own day also, the Church is called to proclaim her faith in the resurrection: “The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live”.3

3. Following the most ancient Christian tradition, the Church insistently recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places.4 In memory of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord, the mystery that illumines the Christian meaning of death,5 burial is above all the most fitting way to express faith and hope in the resurrection of the body.6 
The Church who, as Mother, has accompanied the Christian during his earthly pilgrimage, offers to the Father, in Christ, the child of her grace, and she commits to the earth, in hope, the seed of the body that will rise in glory.7

By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body,8 and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity.9 She cannot, therefore, condone attitudes or permit rites that involve erroneous ideas about death, such as considering death as the definitive annihilation of the person, or the moment of fusion with Mother Nature or the universe, or as a stage in the cycle of regeneration, or as the definitive liberation from the “prison” of the body. Furthermore, burial in a cemetery or another sacred place adequately corresponds to the piety and respect owed to the bodies of the faithful departed who through Baptism have become temples of the Holy Spirit and in which “as instruments and vessels the Spirit has carried out so many good works”.10

Tobias, the just, was praised for the merits he acquired in the sight of God for having buried the dead,11 and the Church considers the burial of dead one of the corporal works of mercy.12 
Finally, the burial of the faithful departed in cemeteries or other sacred places encourages family members and the whole Christian community to pray for and remember the dead, while at the same time fostering the veneration of martyrs and saints.

Through the practice of burying the dead in cemeteries, in churches or their environs, Christian tradition has upheld the relationship between the living and the dead and has opposed any tendency to minimize, or relegate to the purely private sphere, the event of death and the meaning it has for Christians.

4. In circumstances when cremation is chosen because of sanitary, economic or social considerations, this choice must never violate the explicitly-stated or the reasonably inferable wishes of the deceased faithful. The Church raises no doctrinal objections to this practice, since cremation of the deceased’s body does not affect his or her soul, nor does it prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life. Thus cremation, in and of itself, objectively negates neither the Christian doctrine of the soul’s immortality nor that of the resurrection of the body.13

The Church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased, because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased. Nevertheless, cremation is not prohibited, “unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine”.14 In the absence of motives contrary to Christian doctrine, the Church, after the celebration of the funeral rite, accompanies the choice of cremation, providing the relevant liturgical and pastoral directives, and taking particular care to avoid every form of scandal or the appearance of religious indifferentism.

5. When, for legitimate motives, cremation of the body has been chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority. From the earliest times, Christians have desired that the faithful departed become the objects of the Christian community’s prayers and remembrance. Their tombs have become places of prayer, remembrance and reflection. The faithful departed remain part of the Church who believes “in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church”.15

The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of their family or the Christian community. It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect, which eventuality is possible, most especially once the immediately subsequent generation has too passed away. Also it prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices.

6. For the reasons given above, the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted. Only in grave and exceptional cases dependent on cultural conditions of a localized nature, may the Ordinary, in agreement with the Episcopal Conference or the Synod of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, concede permission for the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence. Nonetheless, the ashes may not be divided among various family members and due respect must be maintained regarding the circumstances of such a conservation.

7. In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.

8. When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.16

The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect on 18 March 2016, approved the present Instruction, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation on 2 March 2016, and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 15 August 2016, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Gerhard Card. Müller

Luis F. Ladaria, SJ
Titular Archbishop of Thibica

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pope & Saint

St. Boniface I

Image of St. Boniface I


Feastday: October 25
Patron of brewers; Fulda; Germany; World Youth Day
Death: 422

Boniface I Ordained by Pope Damasus I, St. Boniface was a priest at Rome and served as papal legate to Constantinople under Innocent I. When Pope Zosimus died in December, 418, a majority elected Boniface pope, and a minority elected Eulalius pope. Pope and antipope were consecrated on the same day. The Council of Spoleto was convoked in 419 to settle the dispute. Symmachus the Prefect supported Eulalius, and the Emperor Honorius supported Boniface, who was enthroned after the council. Boniface condemned Pelagianism and encouraged St. Augustine to write against it. When Boniface died in 422, he was buried in a chapel which he had built in the cemetary of St. Felicity.

You know this one hits home with me: Mercy Monday: visit the prisoner

#MercyMonday - Visit the Imprisoned

Communications • Mon, Oct 24 2016

Visit the prisoners

People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God.  No matter what someone has done, they deserve the opportunity to hear the Word of God and find the Truth of the message of Christ.
  • See if your parish, or a nearby parish, has a prison ministry and if so, get involved.
  • Volunteer to help out or donate to charities that give Christmas presents to children whose parents are in prison.
  • support and/or participate in ministries to those who are incarcerated;
  • support programs sponsored by agencies that advocate on behalf of those who are unjustly imprisoned;
  • support job-training and educational programs designed to rehabilitate prisoners;
  • pray for the families of inmates;
  • support programs that provide holiday gifts for prisoners and their families;
  • support efforts that seek the abolition of the death penalty.
Dear Jesus,
Make me aware of those who suffer and struggle against pains and imprisonment, no matter what their form. Help me offer comfort and care. Give us the perseverance and the strength to take action even when it is hard. Help us to understand that to care for others is to care for you.
We ask this through the intercession of our mother as we pray Hail Mary…

Monday morning papal homily

Pope’s Morning Homily: Don’t Be Too Rigid
At Casa Santa Marta, Says ‘The Law Was Not Drawn Up to Enslave Us But to Set Us Free, Make Us God’s Children’
L'Osservatore Romano
Don’t be too rigid.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis warned against this natural tendency, and reminded how God wishes for us to be good and merciful, during his homily today during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.
The Holy Father drew inspiration from today’s Gospel reading according to St. Matthew, which tells of when Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and in doing so, ignited the anger of the righteous.
“It is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God’s Law,” Francis noted.
Jesus’ action, the Jesuit Pontiff pointed out, provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was “indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath” because Jesus violated God’s Law by doing so on the Sabbath day which is set aside for rest and worship. Francis also recalled how Jesus called the synagogue leaders ‘hypocrites,’ and how Jesus often referred to those who followed the Law too rigidly by this name.
To Make Us God’s Children
“The Law,” the Pope said, “was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children.”
“Behind an attitude of rigidity, there is always something else in the life of a person,” the Holy Father said. “Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!”
Often, Francis added, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life, or it can have to do with something pathological.
Francis also commented on how those who are both rigid and sincere often are afflicted with difficulties and suffering, which is because they lack the freedom of God’s children.
“They do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law,” the Pope said, adding, “They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!”
Prodigal Son
Recalling the parable of the Prodigal Son in which the eldest son, who always behaved well, was indignant with his father because he rejoiced when the youngest son, after having led a life of debauchery, returns home repentant.
This attitude, the Pope explained, shows what is behind a certain type of goodness: “the pride of believing in one’s righteousness.”
“The elder son,” the Pontiff said, “was rigid and conducted his life following the Law, but saw his father only as a master. The other put rules aside, returned to his father in a time of darkness, and asked for forgiveness.”
Difficult Balance
“It is not easy to walk within the Law of the Lord without falling into rigidity,” he underscored.
Pope Francis concluded, praying for all those who think that by becoming rigid they are following the path of the Lord.
“May the Lord make them feel that He is our Father and that He loves mercy, tenderness, goodness, meekness, humility. And may He teach us all to walk in the path of the Lord with these attitudes.”

Saturdays Jubilee message

Summary of Jubilee Audience: On Mercy & Dialogue
‘How much we need to encourage dialogue in our families, our schools and our workplaces!’
Pope at Audience CTV
CTV Pope - General Audience
Saturday morning, Pope Francis held one of his “Jubilee Audiences” — a general audience that during this Year of Mercy generally is held one Saturday a month.
Here is the English-language summary of his address:
* * *
Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: Throughout this Jubilee Year, we have reflected on God’s mercy and our own responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to be “merciful like the Father”. In this light, we now turn to the dialogue of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:6-15). Through dialogue, in fact, we come to know and respect others; we come to see each individual as a gift of God. How much we need to encourage dialogue in our families, our schools and our workplaces! For only through dialogue can we truly understand others and their needs, and work together for the good of society and the care of our common home. Dialogue between the religions can make a real contribution to the building of a world of peace and solidarity. God has placed a seed of goodness in each of us and he asks us to use it in the service of his creation. Through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal cooperation, may we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world.
Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Scotland, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that the Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]