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Message for World Day of Peace: find inner peace in God

butte_mt_mary

Homily, Pope Benedict XVI, New Year Day, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“May God bless us and make his face to shine upon us.” We proclaimed these words from Psalm 66 after hearing in the first reading the ancient priestly blessing upon the people of the covenant. It is especially significant that at the start of every new year God sheds upon us, his people, the light of his Holy Name, the Name pronounced three times in the solemn form of biblical blessing. Nor is it less significant that to the Word of God – who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14) as “the true light that enlightens every man” (1:9) – is given, as today’s Gospel tells us, the Name of Jesus eight days after his birth (cf. Lk 2:21).

It is in this Name that we are gathered here today. I cordially greet all present, beginning with the Ambassadors of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. I greet with affection Cardinal Bertone, my Secretary of State, and Cardinal Turkson, with all the officials of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; I am particularly grateful to them for their effort to spread the Message for the World Day of Peace, which this year has as its theme “Blessed are the Peacemakers”.

Although the world is sadly marked by “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,” as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that “the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift. All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’ (Mt 5:9)” (Message, 1). This beatitude “tells us that peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort … It is peace with God through a life lived according to his will. It is interior peace with oneself, and exterior peace with our neighbours and all creation” (ibid., 2, 3). Indeed, peace is the supreme good to ask as a gift from God and, at the same time, that which is to be built with our every effort.

We may ask ourselves: what is the basis, the origin, the root of peace? How can we experience that peace within ourselves, in spite of problems, darkness and anxieties? The reply is given to us by the readings of today’s liturgy. The biblical texts, especially the one just read from the Gospel of Luke, ask us to contemplate the interior peace of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. During the days in which “she gave birth to her first-born son” (Lk 2:7), many unexpected things occurred: not only the birth of the Son but, even before, the tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, not finding room at the inn, the search for a chance place to stay for the night; then the song of the angels and the unexpected visit of the shepherds. In all this, however, Mary remains even tempered, she does not get agitated, she is not overcome by events greater than herself; in silence she considers what happens, keeping it in her mind and heart, and pondering it calmly and serenely. This is the interior peace which we ought to have amid the sometimes tumultuous and confusing events of history, events whose meaning we often do not grasp and which disconcert us.

The Gospel passage finishes with a mention of the circumcision of Jesus. According to the Law of Moses, eight days after birth, baby boys were to be circumcised and then given their name. Through his messenger, God himself had said to Mary – as well as to Joseph – that the Name to be given to the child was “Jesus” (cf. Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31); and so it came to be. The Name which God had already chosen, even before the child had been conceived, is now officially conferred upon him at the moment of circumcision. This also changes Mary’s identity once and for all: she becomes “the mother of Jesus”, that is the mother of the Saviour, of Christ, of the Lord. Jesus is not a man like any other, but the Word of God, one of the Divine Persons, the Son of God: therefore the Church has given Mary the title Theotokos or Mother of God.

The first reading reminds us that peace is a gift from God and is linked to the splendour of the face of God, according to the text from the Book of Numbers, which hands down the blessing used by the priests of the People of Israel in their liturgical assemblies. This blessing repeats three times the Holy Name of God, a Name not to be spoken, and each time it is linked to two words indicating an action in favour of man: “The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make his face to shine upon you: the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (6:24-26). So peace is the summit of these six actions of God in our favour, in which he turns towards us the splendour of his face.

For sacred Scripture, contemplating the face of God is the greatest happiness: “You gladden him with the joy of your face” (Ps 21:7). From the contemplation of the face of God are born joy, security and peace. But what does it mean concretely to contemplate the face of the Lord, as understood in the New Testament? It means knowing him directly, in so far as is possible in this life, through Jesus Christ in whom he is revealed. To rejoice in the splendour of God’s face means penetrating the mystery of his Name made known to us in Jesus, understanding something of his interior life and of his will, so that we can live according to his plan of love for humanity. In the second reading, taken from the Letter to the Galatians (4:4-7), Saint Paul says as much as he describes the Spirit who, in our inmost hearts, cries: “Abba! Father!” It is the cry that rises from the contemplation of the true face of God, from the revelation of the mystery of his Name. Jesus declares, “I have manifested thy name to men” (Jn 17:6). God’s Son made man has let us know the Father, he has let us know the hidden face of the Father through his visible human face; by the gift of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts, he has led us to understand that, in him, we too are children of God, as Saint Paul says in the passage we have just heard: “The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba, Father’” (Gal 4:6).

Here, dear brothers and sisters, is the foundation of our peace: the certainty of contemplating in Jesus Christ the splendour of the face of God the Father, of being sons in the Son, and thus of having, on life’s journey, the same security that a child feels in the arms of a loving and all-powerful Father. The splendour of the face of God, shining upon us and granting us peace, is the manifestation of his fatherhood: the Lord turns his face to us, he reveals himself as our Father and grants us peace. Here is the principle of that profound peace – “peace with God” – which is firmly linked to faith and grace, as Saint Paul tells the Christians of Rome (cf. Rom 5:2). Nothing can take this peace from believers, not even the difficulties and sufferings of life. Indeed, sufferings, trials and darkness do not undermine but build up our hope, a hope which does not deceive because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (5:5).

May the Virgin Mary, whom today we venerate with the title of Mother of God, help us to contemplate the face of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. May she sustain us and accompany us in this New Year: and may she obtain for us and for the whole world the gift of peace. Amen!

Year of Faith: Read the Catechism in a Year…

An easy way to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church for this Year of Faith

For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here’s an easy way to do it. Simply subscribe to this List and – starting October 11, 2012 – you’ll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you’ll read the whole catechism in a year.

Pope Beer! — “Ensouled” with Gregorian Chant from Ghetto Blaster on Full Moon…

A number of commemorative souvenirs have been produced to mark Pope Benedict XVI's four-day visit to Germany. One brewery in Berlin has gone as far as creating a special beer in his honor. But no ordinary brew would do: This beer was serenaded by Gregorian chants by the light of the new moon.

Here’s a nice change-up story on Pope Benedict XVI state visit to Germany.

And I might add, a far superior use of moon-glow as compared to Lunatics like this fellow proclaiming there is no God. Now, who wants to bet a sixer’ of PB that this guy is a priest within 10 years? Heck, he even looks like Jesus… 

From Spiegel Online:

A number of commemorative products have been feverishly produced in anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany this week. Souvenir vendors will hawk pope candles, postcards, t-shirts and other items to his followers at events around the country. Select bakeries are even reportedly creating special bread in honor of the Holy Father. But in Berlin, where Benedict arrived on Thursday, the pope has had a beer made in his name.

The organic pilsner, called Papst Bier, or “pope beer,” was brewed at the Brauhaus Südstern, just a stumble away from the German capital’s papal diplomatic mission, the Apostolic Nunciature, where Benedict will stay overnight after visiting parliament and addressing a stadium full of pilgrims on Thursday.
According to Helmut Kurschat, whose brewery is the only one in Berlin’s traditionally alternative Kreuzberg district, the special tipple is meant to be a sign of neighborliness.

“The Apostolic Nunciature is just 60 meters from our brewery,” he told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It made sense to brew a special pope beer.”

Gregorian Chants from a Ghetto Blaster

But a standard brewing process wouldn’t do for the Holy Father. Brewers “ensouled” their creation by playing Gregorian chants with a ghetto blaster on the night of a new moon, 54-year-old Kurschat said. The result is a “pleasant, hoppy pilsner with a natural finish,” he says.

The brewery has invited beer enthusiasts to raise a glass “in a peaceful demonstration of good taste” to the pope in their beer garden, from where they will be able to observe the massive media and security furor surrounding the Catholic leader. The playful invitation refers to a number of demonstrations expected throughout the city during the papal visit, part of the reason police have been placed on high alert.
A heavy police presence has turned the neighborhood around the papal mission in the neighboring Neukölln district into a high-security zone, complete with barriers and parking bans. Meanwhile residents around the Apostolic Nunciature have been forbidden to open their windows or set foot on their balconies. They will also have to show identification before they are allowed to enter their homes.

Meanwhile security around the Olympic Stadium, where the pope will celebrate mass before a large crowd, has also been tightened considerably. After he addresses politicians in the Bundestag, Benedict will travel to the stadium to be greeted by choirs and trumpets. There he will say mass for some 70,000 followers before heading to the Apostolic Nunciature to rest up for the next three days of his Germany trip.

kla — with wires

The Satanic Bumblebee — Conrad Black on the Church and her enemies…

Catholicism, and the Oceans, Will Survive

2010 was a year of turmoil, and of triumph.

 

By Conrad Black — National Review Online

The year now ending has been one of immense alarm followed by serenity’s sudden rushes to the head. It is hard now to remember the hysteria generated by the tawdry and often appalling scandal of clerical abuse of young men in the Roman Catholic Church, between February and July. The New York Times appeared to be offering free visits to New York with city tours of all boroughs, capped by five-course dinners in five-star restaurants, for anyone who could recall an indiscreet clerical hand on the knee from decades before. I repeat it is a grievous problem and there were many disgusting and shameful incidents, compounded by excessive episcopal indulgence in many cases. These facts do not alter or diminish the fidelity, dedication, and self-discipline of the 99 percent of Roman Catholic religious personnel who have served through living memory throughout the world with unblemished devotion, nor blight the education and care they gave to an approximately equal percentage of the scores of millions of children confided to them.

All bad news for the Roman Catholic Church brings that Church’s enemies swarming out like hornets whose nest has just been squirted with a garden hose. To the litigators, the editorial mudslingers, the deep, thick, serried ranks of militant skepticism, Rome is a Satanic bumblebee which infests the brave, aging secular world of utilitarian progress and the methodical human march toward a plenitude of knowledge. Earlier this year, they thought they saw the end, at last, of Rome’s ghastly, tenebrous, saturnine magisterium that defies all laws of nature and reason by not simply crashing to the ground as the endlessly proclaimed laws of rational aerodynamics require. They were, as always, mistaken.

The long-promised ecclesiastical fall of Rome was to be celebrated, like a spectacular crash at the great Farnborough Air Show, by the fiasco of Pope Benedict’s madly insouciant visit to Godless Britain to beatify the already Venerable Doctor John Henry Cardinal Newman in September. The allegedly dogmatic pope supposedly combined all the dislikes of the British caricaturist, commentator, and pub bore: Germanic, authoritarian, sophistical, pompous, superstitious, and curial. In the first half of 2010, the pope was reviled as complicit in the crime of hiding the molestations, and even as an ex-Nazi and a ruthless dogmatist. In his British visit, though, Benedict was seen as intellectually courageous, the quietly spoken wise man. He was apologetic for the Church’s failings, solicitous of its victims, indomitable in the championship of Christian faith, and reverently admiring of Newman, a quintessential Englishman and one of the intellectual giants and greatest English prose stylists of the 19th century. The pope did not put a Prada-clad foot wrong. Leftist pundits who had predicted huge outpourings of hostility were completely silenced, as the pope came and went in an ambiance of reciprocated good will in which all, including Queen Elizabeth, the prime minister, and the archbishop of Canterbury joined.

Benedict was finally recognized as a Nazi resister whose cousin was liquidated because of a mental defect, and who deserted the German Army; and as a great scholar devoted to the reconciliation of faith and reason, who has been decisive and effective and unsung in combating child abuse in the Church for 30 years and had largely eliminated it before it was fanned into a conflagration this year. It was like Edward VII’s visit to Paris in 1903, when he arrived to shouts of “perfidious Albion” and left a week later to choruses of “Long live the King!” Benedict appealed to the strong British appreciation of the underdog, the undemonstrative man of principle. As the year ends, these qualities are again demonstrated by the pope’s refusal to tolerate the ordination of bishops by China’s puppet Catholic Patriotic Association, the People’s Republic’s enactment of Napoleon’s famous dictum that “the people must have their religion and the state must control it.” China antedates the Roman Catholic Church, but Communist China does not, and this usurpation, like all its precedents in church history, will be a complete failure.

By the time of the pope’s British trip, the swords of the worldwide Catholic-baiters had already been blunted by the sudden surge of alarm over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. For several months, War of the Worlds horrors of the destruction of the world’s oceans, the end of the shrimp industry, the irreversible sliming of the entire Gulf and Atlantic coastlines of America, had shouldered and bullied into the back of the public mind the cherished prospect of the exposure of the Roman Church as a racket of pedophiles and predatory Sodomites. Of course, the oil spill was a terribly serious problem too. But in the one case as in the other, there was a determined effort, halting at first, hampered by bumbling and by an urge to downplay and deny, but soon indomitably determined and focused, to address the causes of the problem and stop it, and then to put things right as much and as quickly as possible and prevent repetition. It is not obvious why the swift and dramatic progress in both crises came as such a surprise, and to many, even apparently, as a disappointment.

In the most imperfect days of the Church’s very human history as the custodian of the Christian message and mission, it plumbed much greater depths of depravity than these. The modern media seem to believe it can make or break anything, sacred or profane. The irrational hysteria over the oil spill must have contained a backlash from the rout of the Global Warming Terror. The mad Copenhagen Conference proposal to commit the advanced world to $100 billion in annual Danegeld to the world’s 77 designated poor countries — including the chief carbon-emissions-footprint offender of them all, China — was finally dismissed as nonsense, as was much of the “settled science” Al Gore had invoked to make himself a green centimillionaire and a Nobel laureate.

The Church’s enemies forgot that it does not have adherents because of its personnel, but because it is an ark of faith. The atheists, though often articulate and courageous and knowledgeable, and heavy-laden with the ammunition provided by the fatuity and hypocrisy of much Christian history, can never deal with the insuperable evidence of spiritual forces, miracles, and any ecclesiastical concept of grace. Nor can they surmount the challenge of man’s inability to grasp the infinite, the absence of an end and beginning of space or time. In these vast areas, notions of the supernatural and the deity will always circulate, no matter how great dissent may be. And no one, and certainly not a rag-tag of sacerdotal perverts, will displace Rome from its 2,000-year primacy in this sphere. Even more fundamentally, the ecology of the world has survived paroxysms of destruction such as World War II, when endless oil spillages and pollutions of the air and water were inflicted on the world for over five years. The world and its institutions are racked by the consequences of human failings, but they have what life and its primary modes of organization must have to go on. This is the trite but salutary lesson of 2010, and isn’t a bad Christmas message.

Al Qaeda threat to murder Pope foiled in London

Pope Benedict XVI Blessing of the Host

SOURCE: Debka/file

Scotland Yard arrested five Algerian men at dawn Friday, Sept. 17 following intelligence of a potential terrorist threat to Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to London. The Counter-Terror Command ordered the arrests at business premises in central London and homes in Muslim areas of East and North London where searches continue. The five suspects aged from 26 to 50 are not British nationals and were employed by a private street cleaning service. They are suspected of “the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism Act 2000. A papal spokesman said the pontiff was calm and his UK schedule would remain unchanged.
No further information is available from official sources in London. The reports indicate that the five Algerians reached their London rendezvous overnight to prepare for their operation – apparently to assassinate the pope. There, they may have been given their weapons or explosives. The UK Counter-Terror Command appears to have acted in the nick of time to prevent the attack shortly after receiving intelligence.
After the arrests the security arrangements for his visit were reviewed, particularly with regard to crowd access and his continued use of the Popemobile which is bulletproof. English and Scottish police spent months planning the security arrangements for the pope’s visit, including safe transport and crowd control.

The Pope spent the day visiting Catholic schools in London and is scheduled to address two houses of parliament later Friday.
Security controls and heavily armed guards patrol the streets around Westminster, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and Whitehall.
Earlier Friday, Jonathan Evans, head of MI5, the British domestic security service, warned that the UK faces a wave of terrorist attacks from a new generation of al Qaeda and Irish Republican militants.

In his first public speech in three years, he said it is only “a matter of time” before Britain is the victim of an attack from extremists based in Somalia. After briefing the British premier David Cameron, the MI5 chief said there remains “a serious risk of a lethal attack taking place.”

He called for anti-terror controls and measures to be kept in place as he had “no reason to believe the position would significantly improve in the immediate future.”

How the spirits of the just are made perfect — The Litany of Humility

The readings of Holy Mass today were on humility… In his weekly Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Christ did not limit himself to taking just the lowest place at the table, Jesus, taught the Pope, repeatedly offers humanity “a model of humility and of free giving” and showed the world “radical humility” by accepting the Cross.””

Blessed be God forever…

THE LITANY OF HUMILTY

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,

Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…

From the desire of being extolled …

From the desire of being honored …

From the desire of being praised …

From the desire of being preferred to others…

From the desire of being consulted …

From the desire of being approved …

From the fear of being humiliated …

From the fear of being despised…

From the fear of suffering rebukes …

From the fear of being calumniated …

From the fear of being forgotten …

From the fear of being ridiculed …

From the fear of being wronged …

From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …

That, in the opinion of the world,

others may increase and I may decrease …

That others may be chosen and I set aside …

That others may be praised and I unnoticed …

That others may be preferred to me in everything…

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Helpful — Compendium of Pope Benedict XVI’s Addresses in Portugal

The Restless Friar put this helpful compendium together:

Compendium of Pope Benedict XVI’s Addresses in Portugal

The Holy Father has just concluded his four day trip to Portugal, honoring Our Lady of Fatima and commemorating the ten year anniversary of the beatification of Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Here is a Compendium of the various addresses he gave during the trip:

May 11, 2010:

May 12, 2010:

May 13, 2010 – Feast of Our Lady of Fatima:

May 14, 2010:

END OF POST/SOURCE: Psalm 46:11 — A Journey To Truth

(Full Text) Oporto Homily — Pope Benedict XVI

From the Vatican’s website:

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Homily for Mass in Oporto
Friday, 14 May 2010

(14 May 10 – RV) Below the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s homily for Mass in Oporto, Portugal:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,“It is written in the book of Psalms, … ‘His office let another take’. One of these men, then […] must become a witness with us to his resurrection” (Acts 1:20-22). These were the words of Peter, as he read and interpreted the word of God in the midst of his brethren gathered in the Upper Room following Jesus’ ascension to heaven. The one who was chosen was Matthias, who had been a witness to the public life of Jesus and his victory over death, and had remained faithful to him to the end, despite the fact that many abandoned him. The “disproportion” between the forces on the field, which we find so alarming today, astounded those who saw and heard Christ two thousand years ago. It was only he, from the shore of the Lake of Galilee right up to the squares of Jerusalem, alone or almost alone at the decisive moments: he, in union with the Father; he, in the power of the Spirit. Yet it came about, in the end, that from the same love that created the world, the newness of the Kingdom sprang up like a small seed which rises from the ground, like a ray of light which breaks into the darkness, like the dawn of a unending day: it is Christ Risen. And he appeared to his friends, showing them the need for the Cross in order to attain the resurrection.

On that day Peter was looking for a witness to all this. Two were presented, and heaven chose “Matthias, and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26). Today we celebrate his glorious memory in this “undefeated city”, which festively welcomes the Successor of Peter. I give thanks to God that I have been able come here and meet you around the altar. I offer a cordial greeting to you, my brethren and friends of the city and the Diocese of Oporto, to those who have come from the ecclesiastical province of Northern Portugal and from nearby Spain, and to all those physically or spiritually present at this liturgical assembly. I greet the Bishop of Oporto, Dom Manuel Clemente, who greatly desired this visit of mine, welcomed me with great affection, and voiced your sentiments at the beginning of this Eucharist. I greet his predecessors, his brother Bishops, all the priests, women and men religious, and the lay faithful, and in particular those actively involved in the Diocesan Mission, and, more concretely, in the preparations for my visit. I know that you have been able to count on the practical cooperation of the Mayor of Oporto and the public authorities, many of whom honour me by their presence; I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to greet them and to express to them, and to all whom they represent and serve, my best wishes for the good of all.

“One of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection,” said Peter. His Successor now repeats to each of you: My brothers and sisters, you need to become witnesses with me to the resurrection of Jesus. In effect, if you do not become his witnesses in your daily lives, who will do so in your place? Christians are, in the Church and with the Church, missionaries of Christ sent into the world. This is the indispensable mission of every ecclesial community: to receive from God and to offer to the world the Risen Christ, so that every situation of weakness and of death may be transformed, through the Holy Spirit, into an opportunity for growth and life. To this end, in every Eucharistic celebration, we will listen more attentively to the word of Christ and devoutly taste the bread of his presence. This will make us witnesses, and, even more, bearers of the Risen Jesus in the world, bringing him to the various sectors of society and to all those who live and work there, spreading that “life in abundance” (cf. Jn 10:10) which he has won for us by his cross and resurrection, and which satisfies the most authentic yearnings of the human heart.

We impose nothing, yet we propose ceaselessly, as Peter recommends in one of his Letters: “In your hearts, reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15). And everyone, in the end, asks this of us, even those who seem not to. From personal and communal experience, we know well that it is Jesus whom everyone awaits. In fact, the most profound expectations of the world and the great certainties of the Gospel meet in the ineluctable mission which is ours, for “without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5) and who encourages us: ‘I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Mt 28:20)” (Caritas in Veritate, 78).

Yet even though this certainty consoles and calms us, it does not exempt us from going forth to others. We must overcome the temptation to restrict ourselves to what we already have, or think we have, safely in our possession: it would be sure death in terms of the Church’s presence in the world; the Church, for that matter, can only be missionary, in the outward movement of the Spirit. From its origins, the Christian people has clearly recognized the importance of communicating the Good News of Jesus to those who did not yet know him. In recent years the anthropological, cultural, social and religious framework of humanity has changed; today the Church is called to face new challenges and is ready to dialogue with different cultures and religions, in the search for ways of building, along with all people of good will, the peaceful coexistence of peoples. The field of the mission ad gentes appears much broader today, and no longer to be defined on the basis of geographic considerations alone; in effect, not only non-Christian peoples and those who are far distant await us, but so do social and cultural milieux, and above all human hearts, which are the real goal of the missionary activity of the People of God.

This is the mandate whose faithful fulfilment “must follow the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and of self-sacrifice even unto death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his resurrection” (Ad Gentes, 5). Yes! We are called to serve the humanity of our own time, trusting in Jesus alone, letting ourselves be enlightened by his word: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (Jn 15:16). How much time we have lost, how must work has been set back, on account of our lack of attention to this point! Everything is to be defined starting with Christ, as far as the origins and effectiveness of mission is concerned: we receive mission always from Christ, who has made known to us what he has heard from his Father, and we are appointed to mission through the Spirit, in the Church. Like the Church herself, which is the work of Christ and his Spirit, it is a question of renewing the face of the earth starting from God, God always and alone.

Dear brothers and sisters of Oporto, lift up your eyes to the One whom you have chosen as the patroness of your city, the Immaculate Conception. The angel of the Annunciation greeted Mary as “full of grace”, signifying with this expression that her heart and her life were totally open to God and, as such, completely permeated by his grace. May Our Lady help you to make yourselves a free and total “Yes” to the grace of God, so that you can be renewed and thus renew humanity by the light and the joy of the Holy Spirit.

END OF POST/SOURCE

(Full Text) Fatima Homily: Pope Benedict XVI

From the Vatican’s website:

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Esplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima
Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dear Pilgrims,

“Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations […], they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9). So the first reading of this Eucharist began, and its words are wonderfully fulfilled in this assembly devoutly gathered at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I too have come as a pilgrim to Fatima, to this “home” from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times. I have come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary’s presence and maternal protection. I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place. I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings. Finally, I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lúcia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that “I love” Jesus, that the Church and priests “love” him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary’s maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach.

These are the “people whom the Lord has blessed”. The people whom the Lord has blessed are you, the beloved Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, with your pastor, Bishop Antonio Marto. I thank him for his words of greeting at the beginning of Mass, and for the gracious hospitality shown particularly by his collaborators at this Shrine. I greet the President of the Republic and the other authorities who serve this glorious Nation. I spiritually embrace all the Dioceses of Portugal, represented here by their Bishops, and I entrust to Heaven all the nations and peoples of the earth. In God I embrace all their sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt. May our great hope sink roots in the lives of each of you, dear pilgrims, and of all those who join us through the communications media.

Yes! The Lord, our great hope, is with us. In his merciful love, he offers a future to his people: a future of communion with himself. After experiencing the mercy and consolation of God who did not forsake them along their wearisome return from the Babylonian Exile, the people of God cried out: “I greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being exults in my God” (Is 61:10). The resplendent daughter of this people is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marvelling at God’s presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. She did not view herself as a fortunate individual in the midst of a barren people, but prophecied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for “his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1:47, 50).

This holy place is the proof of it. In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady “come from heaven”, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: “How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me”. And Francisco could say: “What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126).

Brothers and sisters, in listening to these innocent and profound mystical confidences of the shepherd children, one might look at them with a touch of envy for what they were able to see, or with the disappointed resignation of someone who was not so fortunate, yet still demands to see. To such persons, the Pope says, as does Jesus: “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mk 12:24). The Scriptures invite us to believe: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:29), but God, who is more deeply present to me than I am to myself (cf. Saint Augustine, Confessions, III, 6, 11) – has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses. For this to happen, we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul (cf. Theological Commentary on The Message of Fatima, 2000). Yes! God can come to us, and show himself to the eyes of our heart.

Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man. He has the power to inflame the coldest and saddest of hearts, as we see in the case of the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:32). Henceforth our hope has a real foundation, it is based on an event which belongs to history and at the same time transcends history: Jesus of Nazareth. The enthusiasm roused by his wisdom and his saving power among the people of that time was such that a woman in the midst of the crowd – as we heard in the Gospel – cried out: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you!”. And Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:27-28). But who finds time to hear God’s word and to let themselves be attracted by his love? Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer? Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith? Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one’s life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world.

“Their descendants shall be known among the nations, […] they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9) with an unshakable hope which bears fruit in a love which sacrifices for others, yet does not sacrifice others. Rather, as we heard in the second reading, this love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7). An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

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The Just Judge — Setting the record straight in the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy

“The Catholic Church is probably the safest place for children at this point in history…” Father Thomas Brundage, JLC

Then-presiding judge for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee gives first-person account of church trial 

By Fr. THOMAS BRUNDAGE, JLC 

For CatholicAnchor.org 

To provide context to this article, I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003. During those years, I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy. Two of the four men died during the process. God alone will judge these men. 

To put some parameters on the following remarks, I am writing this article with the express knowledge and consent of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, OMI, the Archbishop of Anchorage, where I currently serve. Archbishop Schwietz is also the publisher of the Catholic Anchor newspaper. 

I will limit my comments, because of judicial oaths I have taken as a canon lawyer and as an ecclesiastical judge. However, since my name and comments in the matter of the Father Murphy case have been liberally and often inaccurately quoted in the New York Times and in more than 100 other newspapers and on-line periodicals, I feel a freedom to tell part of the story of Father Murphy’s trial from ground zero. 

As I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts, I am also writing out of a sense of duty to the truth. 

 The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself. 

My intent in the following paragraphs is to accomplish the following: 

To tell the back-story of what actually happened in the Father Murphy case on the local level; 

To outline the sloppy and inaccurate reporting on the Father Murphy case by the New York Times and other media outlets; 

To assert that Pope Benedict XVI has done more than any other pope or bishop in history to rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of child sexual abuse and provide for those who have been injured; 

To set the record straight with regards to the efforts made by the church to heal the wounds caused by clergy sexual misconduct. The Catholic Church is probably the safest place for children at this point in history. 

Before proceeding, it is important to point out the scourge that child sexual abuse has been — not only for the church but for society as well. Few actions can distort a child’s life more than sexual abuse. It is a form of emotional and spiritual homicide and it starts a trajectory toward a skewed sense of sexuality. When committed by a person in authority, it creates a distrust of almost anyone, anywhere. 

As a volunteer prison chaplain in Alaska, I have found a corollary between those who have been incarcerated for child sexual abuse and the priests who have committed such grievous actions. They tend to be very smart and manipulative. They tend to be well liked and charming. They tend to have one aim in life — to satisfy their hunger. Most are highly narcissistic and do not see the harm that they have caused. They view the children they have abused not as people but as objects. They rarely show remorse and moreover, sometimes portray themselves as the victims. They are, in short, dangerous people and should never be trusted again. Most will recommit their crimes if given a chance. 

As for the numerous reports about the case of Father Murphy, the back-story has not been reported as of yet. 

In 1996, I was introduced to the story of Father Murphy, formerly the principal of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. It had been common knowledge for decades that during Father Murphy’s tenure at the school (1950-1974) there had been a scandal at St. John’s involving him and some deaf children. The details, however, were sketchy at best. 

Courageous advocacy on behalf of the victims (and often their wives), led the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to revisit the matter in 1996. In internal discussions of the curia for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, it became obvious that we needed to take strong and swift action with regard to the wrongs of several decades ago. With the consent of then-Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, we began an investigation into the allegations of child sexual abuse as well as the violation of the crime of solicitation within the confessional by Father Murphy. 

We proceeded to start a trial against Father Murphy. I was the presiding judge in this matter and informed Father Murphy that criminal charges were going to be levied against him with regard to child sexual abuse and solicitation in the confessional. 

In my interactions with Father Murphy, I got the impression I was dealing with a man who simply did not get it. He was defensive and threatening. 

Between 1996 and August, 1998, I interviewed, with the help of a qualified interpreter, about a dozen victims of Father Murphy. These were gut-wrenching interviews. In one instance the victim had become a perpetrator himself and had served time in prison for his crimes. I realized that this disease is virulent and was easily transmitted to others. I heard stories of distorted lives, sexualities diminished or expunged. These were the darkest days of my own priesthood, having been ordained less than 10 years at the time. Grace-filled spiritual direction has been a Godsend. 

I also met with a community board of deaf Catholics. They insisted that Father Murphy should be removed from the priesthood and highly important to them was their request that he be buried not as a priest but as a layperson. I indicated that a judge, I could not guarantee the first request and could only make a recommendation to the latter request. 

In the summer of 1998, I ordered Father Murphy to be present at a deposition at the chancery in Milwaukee. I received, soon after, a letter from his doctor that he was in frail health and could travel not more than 20 miles (Boulder Junction to Milwaukee would be about 276 miles). A week later, Father Murphy died of natural causes in a location about 100 miles from his home 

With regard to the inaccurate reporting on behalf of the New York Times, the Associated Press, and those that utilized these resources, first of all, I was never contacted by any of these news agencies but they felt free to quote me. Almost all of my quotes are from a document that can be found online with the correspondence between the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an October 31, 1997 handwritten document, I am quoted as saying ‘odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number wise, and especially because these are physically challenged , vulnerable people. “ Also quoted is this: “Children were approached within the confessional where the question of circumcision began the solicitation.” 

The problem with these statements attributed to me is that they were handwritten. The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting. The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them. As a college freshman at the Marquette University School of Journalism, we were told to check, recheck, and triple check our quotes if necessary. I was never contacted by anyone on this document, written by an unknown source to me. Discerning truth takes time and it is apparent that the New York Times, the Associated Press and others did not take the time to get the facts correct. 

Additionally, in the documentation in a letter from Archbishop Weakland to then-secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone on August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland stated that he had instructed me to abate the proceedings against Father Murphy. Father Murphy, however, died two days later and the fact is that on the day that Father Murphy died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one seems to be aware of this. Had I been asked to abate this trial, I most certainly would have insisted that an appeal be made to the supreme court of the church, or Pope John Paul II if necessary. That process would have taken months if not longer. 

Second, with regard to the role of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), in this matter, I have no reason to believe that he was involved at all. Placing this matter at his doorstep is a huge leap of logic and information. 

Third, the competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001. Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court. When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger. 

Fourth, Pope Benedict has repeatedly apologized for the shame of the sexual abuse of children in various venues and to a worldwide audience. This has never happened before. He has met with victims. He has reigned in entire conferences of bishops on this matter, the Catholic Bishops of Ireland being the most recent. He has been most reactive and proactive of any international church official in history with regard to the scourge of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Instead of blaming him for inaction on these matters, he has truly been a strong and effective leader on these issues. 

Finally, over the last 25 years, vigorous action has taken place within the church to avoid harm to children. Potential seminarians receive extensive sexual-psychological evaluation prior to admission. Virtually all seminaries concentrate their efforts on the safe environment for children. There have been very few cases of recent sexual abuse of children by clergy during the last decade or more. 

Catholic dioceses all across the country have taken extraordinary steps to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. As one example, which is by no means unique, is in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, where I currently work. Here, virtually every public bathroom in parishes has a sign asking if a person has been abuse by anyone in the church. A phone number is given to report the abuse and almost all church workers in the archdiocese are required to take yearly formation sessions in safe environment classes. I am not sure what more the church can do. 

To conclude, the events during the 1960’s and 1970’s of the sexual abuse of minors and solicitation in the confessional by Father Lawrence Murphy are unmitigated and gruesome crimes. On behalf of the church, I am deeply sorry and ashamed for the wrongs that have been done by my brother priests but realize my sorrow is probably of little importance 40 years after the fact. The only thing that we can do at this time is to learn the truth, beg for forgiveness, and do whatever is humanly possible to heal the wounds. The rest, I am grateful, is in God’s hands. 

Father Thomas T. Brundage, JCL 

Editor’s note: Father Brundage can be contacted at brundaget@archmil.org or by phone at (907) 745-3229 X 11.

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