Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Light of the Word

Address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
to the Pontifical Seminary Communities of Las Marcas, Puglia and Abruzzo-Molise
29 November 2008

. . . I would now like to address you in particular, dear seminarians, who are preparing to be laborers in the Lord's vineyard. As the recent assembly of the Synod of Bishops also recalled, among the priority tasks of the priest is that of spreading with full hands the Word of God in the world, which, like the seed in the Gospel parable, seems too small a reality, but once it has germinated, it becomes a great bush and bears abundant fruit (cf. Matthew 13:31-32). The Word of God that you will be called upon to spread with full hands and which brings with it eternal life, is Christ himself, the only one who can change the human heart and renew the world.

However, we might ask ourselves: Does modern man still feel a need for Christ and his message of salvation?

In the present social context, a certain culture seems to show us the face of a self-sufficient humanity, anxious to carry out its projects on its own, which chooses to be the sole architect of its destiny and which, consequently, believes that the presence of God does not count and so excludes it from its choices and decisions.

In a climate marked by a rationalism shut-in on itself, which considers the practical sciences as the only model of knowledge while the rest is subjective, non-essential and determinant for life. For these and other reasons, today, without a doubt, it is increasingly more difficult to believe, more difficult to accept the truth that is Christ, more difficult to spend one's life for the cause of the Gospel. However, as we see every day in the news, modern man often seems to be disoriented and worried about his future, seeking certainties and sure points of reference. As in all ages, man of the third millennium needs God and seeks him perhaps without realizing it. The duty of Christians, especially of priests, is to respond to this profound yearning of the human heart and to offer all, with the means and ways that best respond to the demands of the times, the immutable and always living Word of eternal life that is Christ, Hope of the world.

In face of this important mission, which you will be called to carry out in the Church, the years spent in the seminary take on great value, a time allocated to formation and discernment; years in which, in the first place, must be the constant search for a personal relationship with Jesus, a profound experience of his love, which is acquired above all through prayer and contact with the Sacred Scriptures, interpreted and meditated in the faith of the ecclesial community.

In this Pauline Year, why not propose the Apostle Paul to yourselves as model in which to be inspired for your preparation to the apostolic ministry? The extraordinary experience on the road to Damascus transformed him, from persecutor of Christians to witness of the resurrection of the Lord, willing to give his life for the Gospel. He was a faithful observer of all the prescriptions of the Torah and of the Hebrew traditions; however, after having found Jesus "whatever gain I had -- he writes in the Letter to the Philippians -- I counted as loss for the sake of Christ" (cf. 3:7-9). Conversion did not eliminate all that was good and true in his life, but enabled him to interpret in a new way the wisdom and truth of the Law and the prophets and thus be able to dialogue with all, following the example of the Divine Teacher. . . .

Dear friends, while thanking you for your visit I invoke over each one of you the maternal protection of the Virgin Mother of Christ, which the Advent liturgy presents to us as model of those who watch while awaiting the glorious return of her divine Son. Entrust yourselves to her with confidence, take recourse often to her intercession, so that she will help you to stay awake and vigilant. For my part I assure you of my affection and daily prayer, while I bless you all from my heart.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Dignity of the Child

Address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
The 23rd International Conference on Pastoral Care in the Treatment of Sick Children

15 November 2008

. . . Medicine has certainly made considerable progress in the past 50 years: this has led to a substantial reduction of infant mortality, although much still remains to be done with this in view. It suffices to remember, as you pointed out, that each year four million newborn babies die within 26 days of birth.

In this context, the treatment of the sick child is a topic that cannot fail to raise attentive interest of all those who are dedicated to health pastoral care. A detailed analysis of the current state of affairs is indispensable in order to undertake, or continue, a decisive action aimed at preventing illnesses as far as possible and, when they are present, at curing the small patients by means of the most modern discoveries of medical science as well as by promoting better standards of hygiene and sanitation, especially in the less fortunate countries.

The challenge today is to ward off the onset of many pathologies once characteristic of childhood and, overall, to encourage the growth, development and maintenance of good health for all children. All are involved in this vast action: families, doctors and social and healthcare workers.

Medical research is sometimes confronted by difficult decisions when it is a question, for example, of reaching a proper balance between the continuation or abandonment of therapy to ensure adequate treatment for the real needs of the small patients without succumbing to the temptation of experimentation. It is not superfluous to remember that the focus of every medical intervention must always be to achieve the true good of the child, considered in his dignity as a human being with full rights. Thus, it is always necessary to care for him lovingly, to help him to face suffering and sickness, even before birth, as his situation requires.

Then, taking into account the emotional impact of the illness and treatment to which the child is subjected, which are quite often particularly invasive, it is important to ensure constant communication with his relatives. If healthcare workers, doctors and nurses feel the burden of the suffering of the little patients they are assisting, one can easily imagine how much more acutely their parents must feel it!

The medical and human aspects must never be separated and it is the duty of every nursing and healthcare structure, especially if it is motivated by a genuine Christian spirit, to offer the best of both expertise and humanity. The sick person, especially the child, understands in particular the language of tenderness and love, expressed through caring, patient and generous service which in believers is inspired by the desire to express the same special love that Jesus reserved for children.

"Maxima debetur puero reverentia" (Juvenal, Satire xiv, v. 479): the ancients already acknowledged the importance of respecting the child who is a gift and a precious good for society and whose human dignity, which he fully possesses even unborn in his mother's womb, must be recognized. Every human being has a value in himself because he is created in the image of God in whose eyes he is all the more precious the weaker he appears to the human gaze. Thus, with what great love should we also welcome a unborn child who is already affected with medical pathologies!

"Sinite parvulos venire ad me," Jesus says in the Gospel (cf. Mk 10: 14), showing us the attitude of respect and acceptance with which we must look after every child, especially when he is weak and in difficulty, suffering and defenceless. I am thinking above all of little orphans or children abandoned because of the poverty and the disintegration of their family; I am thinking of children who are the innocent victims of AIDS or of war and of the many armed conflicts that are being fought in various parts of the world; I am thinking of children who died because of poverty, drought and hunger. The Church does not forget her smallest children and if, on the one hand she applauds the initiatives of the richer nations to improve the conditions of their development, on the other, she is strongly aware of the need to invite them to pay greater attention to these brothers and sisters of ours, so that thanks to our unanimous solidarity they are able to look at life with trust and hope.

Dear brothers and sisters, while I express the wish that the many conditions of imbalance that still exist may be set right as soon as possible with decisive interventions on behalf of these small brothers and sisters, I also express my deep appreciation of those who dedicate their energy and material resources to serving them. I am thinking with special gratitude of our Bambino Gesù Hospital and of the numerous Catholic social and health-care associations and institutions which, following the example of Jesus Christ the Good Samaritan, and inspired by his charity, offer human, moral and spiritual support and relief to so many suffering children, loved by God with special predilection.

May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of every human being, watch over sick children and protect all those who do their utmost to nurse them with humane consideration and a Gospel spirit. With these sentiments, as I express my sincere appreciation of the work of sensitization achieved at this International Congress, I assure you of my constant remembrance in prayer and impart the Apostolic Blessing to all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mary and the Fullness of the Holy Spirit
CCD Class Nine

In contemplating the reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, there is no better model for us than she who is "full of grace."

Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the University Students of Rome
December 13, 2007

. . . Dear university youth, allow me to offer you at this familial encounter two brief reflections. The first addressed the course of your spiritual formation. . . . To these candidates for Confirmation, and to all of you, dear young friends, I wish to say: turn your attention to the Virgin Mary and from her Yes, learn to say your own Yes to the divine calling. The Holy Spirit enters our life to the degree that we open our heart with our Yes: the fuller this Yes is, the fuller will be the gift of his presence.

To better understand this, we can refer to a very simple fact: light. If the windows are hermetically sealed, the sun, no matter how bright, will never enter the house. If there is a small fissure, then a ray of light enters; if the shutter is opened a little bit more, the room begins to light up; but only when the shutters are completely thrown open will the sun illuminate and warm the room.

Dear friends, Mary was greeted by the angel with the words 'full of grace' which means this: her heart and her life were totally open to God and therefore completely pervaded by his grace. May she help you to give your full and free Yes to God, so that you may be renewed, or better yet, transformed by the light and joy of the Holy Spirit.

Angelus Message of Pope Benedict XVI
World Youth Day - July 20, 2008

In the beautiful prayer that we are about to recite, we reflect on Mary as a young woman, receiving the Lord's summons to dedicate her life to him in a very particular way, a way that would involve the generous gift of herself, her womanhood, her motherhood. Imagine how she must have felt. She was filled with apprehension, utterly overwhelmed at the prospect that lay before her.

The angel understood her anxiety and immediately sought to reassure her. "Do not be afraid, Mary .... The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (Lk 1:30, 35). It was the Spirit who gave her the strength and courage to respond to the Lord's call. It was the Spirit who helped her to understand the great mystery that was to be accomplished through her. It was the Spirit who enfolded her with his love and enabled her to conceive the Son of God in her womb.

This scene is perhaps the pivotal moment in the history of God's relationship with his people. During the Old Testament, God revealed himself partially, gradually, as we all do in our personal relationships. It took time for the chosen people to develop their relationship with God. The Covenant with Israel was like a period of courtship, a long engagement. Then came the definitive moment, the moment of marriage, the establishment of a new and everlasting covenant. As Mary stood before the Lord, she represented the whole of humanity. In the angel's message, it was as if God made a marriage proposal to the human race. And in our name, Mary said Yes.

In fairy tales, the story ends there, and all "live happily ever after." In real life it is not so simple. For Mary there were many struggles ahead, as she lived out the consequences of the "yes" that she had given to the Lord. Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. When Jesus was twelve years old, she experienced every parent's worst nightmare when, for three days, the child went missing. And after his public ministry, she suffered the agony of witnessing his crucifixion and death. Throughout her trials she remained faithful to her promise, sustained by the Spirit of fortitude. And she was gloriously rewarded.

Dear young people, we too must remain faithful to the "yes" that we have given to the Lord's offer of friendship. We know that he will never abandon us. We know that he will always sustain us through the gifts of the Spirit. Mary accepted the Lord's "proposal" in our name. So let us turn to her and ask her to guide us as we struggle to remain faithful to the life-giving relationship that God has established with each one of us. She is our example and our inspiration, she intercedes for us with her Son, and with a mother's love she shields us from harm.

CCD Class Nine - Prayer and Readings

Opening Prayer – Holy Mary, Mother of all men and women, and of all peoples, you who know all their sufferings and their hopes, you who have a mother's awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world:

Accept the plea which we make in the Holy Spirit directly to your heart, and embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord those who most await this embrace, and also those whose act of entrustment you too await in a particular way.

Take under your motherly protection the whole human family, which with affectionate love we entrust to you, O Mother. May there dawn for everyone the time of peace and freedom, the time of truth, of justice and of hope. Amen.

First Reading -- Luke 1:26-55. The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to thy word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

Second Reading -- John 2:1-5.There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."
And Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come."
His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."

Third Reading -- John 19:25:27. Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother."
And from that hour, the disciple took her into his home.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Biography of Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., S.T.B., B.A.

We are honored that His Excellency Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, U.S.A., will be presiding and celebrating at the Mass for the Sacrament of Confirmation in a few short weeks. As can been seen from his biography, Archbishop Broglio, like St. Paul, has travelled and worked in many diverse places in service to the Faith. His ordination as Archbishop was featured in the National Geographic documentary, "Inside the Vatican."

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio was born in 1951 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He attended St. Ann Elementary School, Cleveland Heights and St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classics at Boston College, an S.T.B. in Theology and a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.

Archbishop Broglio was ordained to the priesthood (for the diocese of Cleveland) on 19 May 1977 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception of the North American College, Rome.

From 1977 to 1979 he served as associate pastor, St. Margaret Mary Parish, South Euclid, and lectured in Theology at Notre Dame College, South Euclid. From 1979 to 1983 Archbishop Broglio attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

From 1983 to 1987 the Archbishop served as Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. From 1987 to 1990 he served as Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Asuncion, Paraguay. From 1990 to 2001 Archbishop Broglio served as Chief of Cabinet for Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Secretary of State to His Holiness Pope John Paul II and desk officer for Central America.

In February 2001 the Archbishop was named Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic and Apostolic Delegate to Puerto Rico. The Archbishop was ordained as an Archbishop by His Holiness Pope John Paul II on 19 March 2001.

On 19 November 2007 Archbishop Broglio was named the fourth Archbishop of the Military Services USA, and installed on 25 January 2008, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

The Archbishop’s honors include Commander of the National Order of Côte d’Ivoire; Commander of the Order of the Polar Star, Sweden; Gran Cross with Silver Badge of the Order of Sánchez, Duarte and Mella, Dominican Republic; Grand Officer of the Order of Bernardo O ’ Higgins of Chile; Commander of the Order of Antonio Jose de Irisarri of Guatemala; Grand Cross of the Order of the Libertador San Martin of Argentina; Officer of the Orden de Mayo, Argentina; Commander of the Italian Republic; Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre; Honorary Conventual Chaplain of the Order of Malta.

CCD Class Eight

Opening Prayer –
**Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
**Let us pray: O God, Who did instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

First Reading -- Dt. 5:1, 6-21. Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them.

[1] I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
[2] You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
[3] Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.
[4] Honor your father and your mother.
[5] You shall not kill.
[6] You shall not commit adultery.
[7] You shall not steal.
[8] You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
[9] You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
[10] You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Second Reading -- 1 Peter 3:8-9, 14-18, 4:8-11. All of you, live in harmony with one another, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble. Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but, on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called, that you might inherit a blessing.

Even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the Spirit.

Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Third Reading -- Mt. 5:1-14. When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Concluding Prayers --
**St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
**Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
**For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. (three times)
**St. Paul, pray for us; St. Augustine, pray for us; St. Bernadette, pray for us;
**St. Anthony, pray for us; St. Bridget, pray for us; St. John, pray for us


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day 2008

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

An Election Day Prayer

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Holy Mary, Pray for Us as We Go into Tomorrow's Elections

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. Grant us the graces of wisdom and charity and truth as we cast our votes in tomorrow's elections.

Through the intercession of Our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the tempted, sinners - on all who are in need.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give ourselves to you. Protect us from every harm. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen.

Elections and Living the Faith

Doctrinal Note
On Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
November 24, 2002

I. A constant teaching

1. * * * Christians, as one Early Church writer stated, “play their full role as citizens.”[1] Among the saints, the Church venerates many men and women who served God through their generous commitment to politics and government. Among these, Saint Thomas More, who was proclaimed Patron of Statesmen and Politicians, gave witness by his martyrdom to “the inalienable dignity of the human conscience.”[2] Though subjected to various forms of psychological pressure, Saint Thomas More refused to compromise, never forsaking the “constant fidelity to legitimate authority and institutions” which distinguished him; he taught by his life and his death that “man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality.”[3] * * *

By fulfilling their civic duties, “guided by a Christian conscience,”[7] in conformity with its values, the lay faithful exercise their proper task of infusing the temporal order with Christian values, all the while respecting the nature and rightful autonomy of that order,[8] and cooperating with other citizens according to their particular competence and responsibility.[9] * * *

II. Central points in the current cultural and political debate

2. * * * A kind of cultural relativism exists today, evident in the conceptualization and defence of an ethical pluralism, which sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law. Furthermore, it is not unusual to hear the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy.[12] As a result, citizens claim complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices, and lawmakers maintain that they are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends,[13] as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value. * * * The history of the twentieth century demonstrates that those citizens were right who recognized the falsehood of relativism, and with it, the notion that there is no moral law rooted in the nature of the human person, which must govern our understanding of man, the common good and the state.

3. Such relativism, of course, has nothing to do with the legitimate freedom of Catholic citizens to choose among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law, and to select, according to their own criteria, what best corresponds to the needs of the common good. Political freedom is not – and cannot be – based upon the relativistic idea that all conceptions of the human person’s good have the same value and truth, but rather, on the fact that politics are concerned with very concrete realizations of the true human and social good in given historical, geographic, economic, technological and cultural contexts.

From the specificity of the task at hand and the variety of circumstances, a plurality of morally acceptable policies and solutions arises. It is not the Church’s task to set forth specific political solutions – and even less to propose a single solution as the acceptable one – to temporal questions that God has left to the free and responsible judgment of each person. It is, however, the Church’s right and duty to provide a moral judgment on temporal matters when this is required by faith or the moral law.[14] If Christians must “recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairs,”[15] they are also called to reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism. Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society.

4. * * * it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. Nor can a Catholic think of delegating his Christian responsibility to others; rather, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives him this task, so that the truth about man and the world might be proclaimed and put into action.

When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person.

III. Principles of Catholic doctrine on the autonomy of the temporal order and on pluralism.

6. * * * By its interventions in this area, the Church’s Magisterium does not wish to exercise political power or eliminate the freedom of opinion of Catholics regarding contingent questions. Instead, it intends – as is its proper function – to instruct and illuminate the consciences of the faithful, particularly those involved in political life, so that their actions may always serve the integral promotion of the human person and the common good. The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. It is a question of the lay Catholic’s duty to be morally coherent, found within one’s conscience, which is one and indivisible. “There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called ‘spiritual life’, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called ‘secular’ life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture.”[25] * * *

IV. Considerations regarding particular aspects

7. * * * Faith in Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), calls Christians to exert a greater effort in building a culture which, inspired by the Gospel, will reclaim the values and contents of the Catholic Tradition. The presentation of the fruits of the spiritual, intellectual and moral heritage of Catholicism in terms understandable to modern culture is a task of great urgency today, in order to avoid also a kind of Catholic cultural diaspora. * * *

Christian faith has never presumed to impose a rigid framework on social and political questions, conscious that the historical dimension requires men and women to live in imperfect situations, which are also susceptible to rapid change. For this reason, Christians must reject political positions and activities inspired by a utopian perspective which, turning the tradition of Biblical faith into a kind of prophetic vision without God, makes ill use of religion by directing consciences towards a hope which is merely earthly and which empties or reinterprets the Christian striving towards eternal life.

At the same time, the Church teaches that authentic freedom does not exist without the truth. “Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery.”[27] In a society in which truth is neither mentioned nor sought, every form of authentic exercise of freedom will be weakened, opening the way to libertine and individualistic distortions and undermining the protection of the good of the human person and of the entire society. * * *

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of November 21, 2002, approved the present Note, adopted in the Plenary Session of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 24, 2002, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect

+ Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli


[1] Letter to Diognetus, 5,5; Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2240.
[2] John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Proclaiming Saint Thomas More Patron of Statesmen and Politicians, 1: AAS 93 (2001), 76.
[3] Ibid., 4.
[7] Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 76.
[8] Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 36.
[9] Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Apostolicam actuositatem, 7; Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 36; Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 31 and 43.
[12] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus, 46: AAS 83 (1991); Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, 101: AAS 85 (1993), 1212–1213; Discourse to the Italian Parliament, 5: L’Osservatore Romano (November 15, 2002).
[13] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, 22: AAS 87 (1995), 425–426.
[14] Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 76.
[15] Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 75.
[25] John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, 59.
[27] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 90: AAS 91 (1999), 75.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Word of God and 40 Days for Life

Deut. 28:1-2, 15, 25, 52-55
If you continue to heed the voice of the LORD, your God, and are careful to observe all his commandments which I enjoin on you today, the LORD, your God, will raise you high above all the nations of the earth. When you hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, all these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you.

But if you do not hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, and are not careful to observe all his commandments which I enjoin on you today, the LORD will let you be beaten down before your enemies; though you advance against them from one direction, you will flee before them in seven, so that you will become a terrifying example to all the kingdoms of the earth.

An enemy from afar will besiege you in each of your communities, until the great, unscalable walls in which you trust come tumbling down all over your land. They will so besiege you in every community throughout the land which the LORD, your God, has given you, that in the distress of the siege to which the enemy subjects you, you will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your own sons and daughters whom the LORD, your God, has given you.

The most refined and fastidious man among you will begrudge his brother and his beloved wife and his surviving children, any share in the flesh of his children that he himself is using for food when nothing else is left him in the straits of the siege to which your enemy will subject you in all your communities.

Psalm 139:11-16
*** I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

O LORD, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.
*** I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

If I say, "Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light" -- Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one.
*** I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Truly, you formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!
*** I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth.
*** I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Rev. 21:1-5
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away." The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."

Matthew 2:13; 2:16-18
When [the Magi] had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the Magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two-years-old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the Magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more."

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Saints Day
Litany of the Saints for Life - 40 Days for Life

In his Son, risen from the dead, God has opened for us the way to everlasting life. Let us ask the Father, through the victory of Christ, to save those who are victimized by the scourge of abortion.

Lord, have mercy on us. ** Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. ** Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. ** Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. ** Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven, ** have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, ** have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, ** have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, ** have mercy on us.

For children in the womb, mothers and fathers, those children who have or will die from abortion, and all others affected and impacted by abortion and all attacks on the dignity of human life –
Holy Mary, ** pray for them
Holy Mother of God, ** pray for them
Holy Virgin of virgins, ** pray for them
St. Michael, ** pray for them
St. Gabriel, ** pray for them
St. Raphael, ** pray for them
All you Holy Angels and Archangels, ** pray for them
St. John the Baptist, ** pray for them
St. Joseph, ** pray for them
All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets, ** pray for them
St. Peter, ** pray for them
St. Paul, ** pray for them
St. Andrew, ** pray for them
St. James, ** pray for them
St. John, ** pray for them
St. Thomas, ** pray for them
St. James, ** pray for them
St. Philip, ** pray for them
St. Bartholomew, ** pray for them
St. Matthew, ** pray for them
St. Simon, ** pray for them
St. Jude, ** pray for them
St. Matthias, ** pray for them
St. Barnabas, ** pray for them
St. Luke, ** pray for them
St. Mark, ** pray for them
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists, ** pray for them
All you holy Disciples of the Lord, ** pray for them
Sts. Anne and Joachim, ** pray for them
Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah, ** pray for them
All you Holy Innocents, ** pray for them
St. Stephen, ** pray for them
St. Lawrence, ** pray for them
St. Polycarp, ** pray for them
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, ** pray for them
St. Vincent, ** pray for them
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, ** pray for them
Sts. Cosmos and Damian, ** pray for them
St. Thomas More, ** pray for them
St. Agatha, ** pray for them
St. Lucy, ** pray for them
St. Agnes, ** pray for them
St. Cecilia, ** pray for them
All you holy Martyrs, ** pray for them
St. Sylvester, ** pray for them
St. Gregory, ** pray for them
St. Ambrose, ** pray for them
St. Augustine, ** pray for them
St. Jerome, ** pray for them
St. Martin, ** pray for them
St. Nicholas, ** pray for them
St. Anthony, ** pray for them
St. Benedict, ** pray for them
St. Bernard, ** pray for them
St. Dominic, ** pray for them
St. Francis, ** pray for them
St. Juan Diego, ** pray for them
St. Mary Magdalene, ** pray for them
St. Monica, ** pray for them
St. Anastasia, ** pray for them
St. Catherine of Sienna, ** pray for them
St. Clare, ** pray for them
St. Rita, ** pray for them
St. Bernadette, ** pray for them
St. Therese, ** pray for them
St. Gianna, ** pray for them
All you holy Virgins and Widows, ** pray for them
All you holy Saints of God, ** pray for them
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, ** pray for them
Servant of God John Paul II, ** pray for them

Lord, be merciful, **Lord, save your children
From all evil, **Lord, save your children
From all sin, **Lord, save your children
From the scourge of abortion, **Lord, save your children
From a sudden and unprovided death, **Lord, save your children
From the snares of the devil, **Lord, save your children
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will, **Lord, save your children
From the spirit of uncleanness, **Lord, save your children
From lightning and tempest, **Lord, save your children
From the scourge of earthquake, **Lord, save your children
From plague, famine, and war, **Lord, save your children
From everlasting death, **Lord, save your children
By the mystery of your holy Incarnation,**Lord, save your children
By your Coming, **Lord, save your children
By your Birth, **Lord, save your children
By your Baptism and holy fasting, **Lord, save your children
By your Cross and Passion, **Lord, save your children
By your Death and Burial, **Lord, save your children
By your holy Resurrection, **Lord, save your children
By your wonderful Ascension, **Lord, save your children
By the coming of the Holy Spirit, **Lord, save your children
On the day of judgment, **Lord, save your children

Be merciful to us sinners, **Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will spare us, **Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will pardon us, **Lord, hear our prayer.
That it may please you to bring us to true penance, **Lord, hear our prayer.
Strengthen and preserve us in your holy service,**Lord, hear our prayer.
Raise our minds to desire the things of heaven, **Lord, hear our prayer.
Reward all our benefactors with eternal blessings, **Lord, hear our prayer.
Deliver our souls from eternal damnation, and the souls of our brethren, relatives, and benefactors, **Lord, hear our prayer.
Give and preserve the fruits of the earth, **Lord, hear our prayer.
Grant eternal rest to aborted children and all the faithful departed, **Lord, hear our prayer.
That it may please You to hear and heed us, Jesus, Son of the Living God, **Lord, hear our prayer.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ** Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ** Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ** Grant us peace.

Let us pray:
God our loving Father, grant wisdom to those who govern us, compassion and courage to those who work to defend human life, and safety and care to every human being. For you alone who formed us in our mother's wombs, and who call us home to heaven, are God, forever and ever. Amen.