reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Archbishop Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, Apostolic Nuncio in Nicaragua, appealed July 17, 2018, for peace in the beleaguered country where more than 360 have died in violence in the past three months.
“I wish to express, on behalf of the Holy Father and the Holy See, my deep concern for the grave situation the country is facing. Obviously, it is unacceptable to think that the dead and victims of violence can solve the political crisis and guarantee a future of peace and prosperity in Nicaragua,” he was quoted in Vatican News.
Archbishop Sommertag and the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Jose Silvio Baez were assaulted on July 9, 2018, by pro-government paramilitaries, according to Vatican News.
The attack happened when the bishops, priests and a delegation of journalists arrived outside the San Sebastian Basilica in Diriamba, south of the Nicaraguan capital to help anti-government protesters trapped inside the besieged church. The Catholic Church in Nicaragua has strongly condemned the attack.
Bishop Silvio Jose Baez was punched in the stomach, sustained an injury to his arm and his pectoral cross was snatched from him during the melee. One of the priests accompanying the Bishops had his cell-phone stolen from him and some of the journalists were also punched and shoved and had their equipment stolen. A message posted afterward by the Nicaraguan Catholic Bishops conference condemned the violence and reiterated that the Bishops were standing on the side of the suffering people in the nation.
Since violent demonstrations erupted in April, more than 250 people have been killed. The Catholic Bishops have asked that the next national election, scheduled for 2021, be held sooner. President Daniel Ortega has rejected that appeal.
ROME (CNS) — The “prosperity gospel” that U.S. President Donald Trump and many of his advisers and followers seem to espouse does not promote solidarity for the common good, but sees God as giving his blessings to the rich and punishing the poor, said an influential Jesuit journal.
The philosophy “is used as a theological justification for economic neo-liberalism” and is “a far cry from the positive and enlightening prophecy of the American dream that has inspired many,” said the article in La Civilta Cattolica, a journal reviewed at the Vatican before publication.
The article was written by the journal’s editor, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, and by Marcelo Figueroa, an evangelical pastor, who is director of the Argentine edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
In an email, Father Spadaro described the article as “what I consider the second part of our article on the relationship between politics and fundamentalism in the United States.”
The first article, published in July last year, was titled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism” and examined what the authors saw as growing similarities in the rhetoric and world views adopted by some evangelical fundamentalists and some “militant” Catholic hardliners.
They decried what they saw as an “ecumenism of hate” resulting from the political alliance in the United States of Christian fundamentalists and Catholic “integralists.”
The article set off widespread debate, ranging from criticism that it was a superficial reading of the U.S. reality from the outside to praise for shining a light on ways that some tenets of the Christian faith have been manipulated for political gain.
The new article describes the “prosperity gospel” as a theological current that emerged from neo-Pentecostal evangelical communities in the United States and is thriving now in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, South Korea, China, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
“At its heart is the belief that God wants his followers to have a prosperous life, that is, to be rich, healthy and happy,” Father Spadaro and Figueroa wrote. In such a view, opulence and well-being are “the true signs of divine delight.”
The modern “prosperity gospel” owes much, they said, to E.W. Kenyon, a U.S. pastor who lived 1867-1948, and “maintained that through the power of faith you can change what is concrete and real,” the Civilta article said. “A direct conclusion of this belief is that faith can lead to riches, health and well-being, while lack of faith leads to poverty, sickness and unhappiness.”
“In the United States millions of people regularly go to the megachurches that spread the prosperity gospel,” the article said. Preachers including “Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and others have increased their popularity and wealth thanks to their focus on knowing this gospel, emphasizing it and pushing it to its limits.”
They see the purpose of faith as being to win God’s favor, which is demonstrated in material wealth and physical health, a position that is “far removed from the life of conversion usually taught by the traditional evangelical movements,” Father Spadaro and Figueroa wrote.
The teachings of the prosperity gospel have obvious implications for how a believer in that philosophy views and treats others, they said. “There can be no compassion for those who are not prosperous, for clearly they have not followed the rules and thus live in failure and are not loved by God.”
The philosophy, they said, promotes policies that are “unjust and radically anti-evangelical.”
“One of the serious problems that the prosperity gospel brings is its perverse effect on the poor,” the authors wrote. The philosophy “not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centered outlook,” which allows them to wash their hands of the obligation to work for justice and accept sacrifices for the common good.
Macrina the Younger was the granddaughter of Macrina the Elder and sister of St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebastea. She was well educated, especially in scripture. She was engaged to be married when she was twelve, but when her fiance died, she decided to dedicate her life to God. On the death of her father, she and her mother retired to the family estate in Pontus and lived a life of prayer and contemplation in a community they formed there. Macrina became head of the group when her mother died and lived in Pontus until her death. Her feast day is July 19.
Katy Perry, who met the pope in April, talked about her mother's hope she one day "come back to God."
Katy Perry revealed her mother prayed her whole life the singer would “come back to God” and said she’s now focused on “spirituality and heart wholeness” while in her 30s.
In a Vogue Australia interview published Tuesday, Perry, 33, said her parents were not big fans of her 2008 hit “I Kissed a Girl.”
“My mom has prayed for me my entire life, hoping I’d come back to God,” Perry said. “I never left Him, I was just a little bit secular, I was more materialistic and more career-driven.”
Katy Perry at the Met Gala for the "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme.
The singer said now that she’s in her 30s, she’s evolved to become “more about spirituality and heart wholeness.” Her change comes after she met Pope Francis in April with her mother and boyfriend Orlando Bloom. Perry was in Vatican City during the “United to Cure” international conference.
Perry said Tuesday she’s been a “big fan” of the pope.
“It’s a combination of compassion, humility, sternness and refusal. He is rebel – a rebel for Jesus,” Perry told the magazine. “He is bringing the Church back to humility and connecting with people. He’s very humble and not frivolous.”
Perry's visit to the Roman Catholic capital, however, is somewhat ironic following the news of the “American Idol” judge’s controversial estate case. Perry’s court battle with two nuns began in 2015 when she sought to purchase an 8-acre convent from them for $14.5 million in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.
In March, Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, one of the nuns involved in the lawsuit filed by the singer, died after collapsing in court. According to TMZ, the nun collapsed during a hearing related to Perry's convent case.
Hours before her death, Holzman told KTTV, "We asked [local businesswoman Dana Hollister] to save us, to buy the property. She had nothing to do with forcing herself on us.”
She added: "And to Katy Perry, please stop. It's not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people."
Perry won the suit and owns the property, despite the nuns wanting their friend and entrepreneur Dana Hollister to own the property.
Fox News' Morgan Evans contributed to this report.