I Love Being a Catholic: Stacy Trasancos Testimony From Baptist to Catholic Faith

I Love Being a Catholic: Stacy Trasancos Testimony From Baptist to Catholic Faith

Stacy is a Catholic convert from the Baptist tradition. A former chemist, Stacy is now a stay at home mom pursuing a MA in Theology at Holy Apostle’s College and Seminary.

I am Catholic, simply, because I am alive. I began conversion in 2004 and entered into Communion with the Catholic Church in 2006. That I know of, I have a full decade of children to remember when I pray the Rosary, seven whom I am raising and three whom I never held in my arms. My life these 42 years has been full of self-induced pain. Today I know deep joy and peace because I am accepting the abundances of Truth and Love. I’m telling my story because as shameful as it is, it is real and needs to be told so others will know the dangers of life without a moral compass.

I grew up as the oldest of three in Texas with a loving family and wonderful parents. Some people say that babies are born atheists because they can’t believe in God, but my first memories were naturally of God, of being awed by the world and my ability to do new things, and of loving my family with all my heart. I spent a lot of time outdoors and on my paternal grandparents’ farm with their young daughter who was like a big sister to me. There was never any doubt that I was loved and that I could make people happy. Those are my first memories.

I was a naturally shy child. The first time I remember fear is not from a dangerous or physically painful situation, but at my second birthday party surrounded by so many people. I didn’t know what they expected of me, and I remember hiding in my room with my maternal grandmother. She is the one who later taught me to read my Bible daily and write down my prayers. I still have them because my mother saved them for me.

My shyness made me anxious in grade school, and I was medically treated for it in Kindergarten. I didn’t understand people. I liked being alone but I wanted to please others too, and to do the right thing. I often felt misunderstood. When my overzealous hand came down from my heart after the Pledge of Allegiance in Kindergarten and broke a leaf on a nearby plant, I was shamed in front of others. When I accidentally fell on a slide I was spanked for bad behavior. When I was told not to talk on the bus, I was ridiculed by other kids for very literally obeying.

There was an undercurrent of racism where I grew up in the 1970’s, and I do not ever remember hearing of the Catholic Church as a young child. There is so much I did not understand. I remember a single mother who brought her mixed-race child to our Baptist church one Sunday. She sat in the back and during the invitation when the preacher called for anyone to come forward who wanted to be “saved,” she held her daughter’s hand and walked down the aisle in humility before the small congregation.

She requested membership in the church and, as was customary, the congregation voted with a verbal “Aye” or “Nay.” People were of course always voted in with lots of affirmative votes, and I never heard that last word used even once, until that day. The same people who taught me to follow the Bible and to “Love thy neighbor as thyself” rejected and humiliated a woman who was broken.

I remember watching the mother leave with her daughter, in tears, and wanting to run after them, to leave that church and never go back, to scream that it was all so wrong. My parents, kind and loving people, hated it too but no one knew what to do. I was a child and I didn’t know what to do. Thus began my doubting of religion. That is not the God I read about in the Bible. It seemed that everywhere there was hypocrisy and contradiction.

The Baptists taught me to follow the Bible, but they condemned drinking alcohol and dancing –however gymnastics were applauded and being asked to prom was a high honor. Alcohol was so forbidden that we wondered if cooking with it was sinful. I was told that sex outside of marriage was wrong, but beautiful people on TV disobeyed that rule religiously. People gossiped and I was constantly worried about what others were saying. Sunday seemed to be more about wearing the right dress and worrying about who was going to perform what song. It seemed all a performance.

Over the years I learned to perform well, as that seemed to be when people were most loved. I, like all children, wanted to be loved. I was in beauty pageants, and I was so loved. I won talent shows, dancing and doing gymnastics, and I was so loved. I was a cheerleader, and I was loved. I became a feature twirler, and I was loved. I learned to play the piano and the violin and the clarinet and every time I was on stage, I was so loved. I was addicted to that feeling and I excelled at whatever I did that would put me on a stage – so I could feel loved.

I know now that God gives us the desire to be loved so we will seek Him. If we seek love without seeking God we will be desperate because that desire will never be satisfied. Performing was stressful because I was shy, but the love I felt when I was on stage was wonderful so I kept performing. I learned to tell people what they wanted to hear and to behave as people wanted me to behave. God gives us the desire to learn so we will know Him and know ourselves, but without seeking Him that love of learning turns to sinful pride.

In this confusion, anxiety, and stress I formed private compulsive behaviors in my early teens, my secret physical pains. I pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows and bit my nails until they bled. The compulsion caused me to feel ugly and ashamed, and that made me more stressed and anxious. To perform well I had to be pretty and without eyelashes, eyebrows or fingernails I thought I was very ugly and doomed to be unloved. I grew angry and more confused.

In my first year of college I began drinking and partying sorority-style because I got attention when I did. I remained alcohol-free and chaste until college but when I was surrounded by popular people living promiscuously I conformed, and performed, so I could feel loved. I knew it was wrong, but I wanted to feel loved.

By the summer of that first year I found out I was pregnant before my worried mother could take me to the doctor for birth control. “Don’t have sex, but let’s get birth control just in case you do.” I don’t fault her for that; it was the message of our culture. Birth control was the responsible thing to use if you weren’t going to be responsible in the first place. Like I said, contradictions abounded.

I loved my parents and I knew I disappointed them, and I loved my baby so I vowed to be a good mother and to finish college in spite of “screwing up.” The leather wedding dress I insisted on might have been a clue to someone that I was indeed harboring some serious anger.

In 1991 when I found myself divorced and rejected by an unfaithful man, I took the popular advice of the rock group R.E.M. and “lost my religion.” Finally something made sense. After trying so hard to please people and failing, it felt like freedom to let it go. So what if I was a divorced single mother at the age of 22? Wasn’t I living just like the soap opera, sit-com and movie stars? All around me the sophisticated and pretty people were the ones free of religion and the complication of “marriage.” Just me and my baby out to conquer the world.

“Oh, life is bigger. It’s bigger than you, and you are not me. The lengths that I will go to…”

I finished school in record time and taught high school for two years. It was during those days that I discovered Ayn Rand and wanted to be like her, to climb higher and excel as an academic. Eventually I decided to go back to school for a Ph.D. in Chemistry. What success! I appeared to be a pretty and modern single mother who hadn’t let the world stop her, who had survived in a man’s world. Alone I was terrified because I couldn’t control the hair pulling and self-injury and I felt worthless. The pain felt good.

I was a horrible mother and I knew it. I didn’t have any time to raise my little daughter, but I couldn’t even entertain the idea of giving up my career. Rand-style-rugged-individualism meant I had to show the world, and my daughter, that I could make it. “That’s what women should do, and they should do it without men.” The weird thing is, I obsessively had to have a boyfriend, one right after the other, because I had to perform to feel loved. The relationships never lasted and I still remember the look of sadness on my daughter’s face as I ignored her day after day after day. I was too busy chasing an appearance so I could feel loved when real love was staring at me every day through two big hazel eyes.

“The distance in your eyes…”

I grew angrier but suppressed it, more dependent on the approval of others and addicted to the appearance of success. I met people in Dallas and became involved in the dark world of cocktails and “sexual freedom,” ecstasy and cocaine, image and “everybody’s somebody” attitude – the extreme and fabulous Dallas night life. I thought this was how to be really free. In a few months’ time a man proposed and agreed to move to Pennsylvania with me as I began graduate school in 1994. I became pregnant the week he arrived and gave birth in my first year. He stayed home with the baby and he tried to do the right thing, but I belittled him as if I were the only one in the new family that mattered. Nothing mattered more than my career, my craving for attention.

From time to time I wanted to revisit religion again. I tried a Unitarian church, but why bother? You may as well stay in bed and just say a quick prayer. I was “married” by an Indian medicine man on a cliff, ironically a legendary place of suicide for failing college students. As the medicine man chanted and I finished my vows (which I made up at the last minute) two black crows flew up in a gust of wind, like a dark warning. The whole thing was ominous. I wondered what commitment I really had just made.

“Oh no, I’ve said too much. I set it up…”

While I was pregnant he took me to lunch one day and I remember thinking maybe we would be happy. Then, two college girls walked by and the skirt of one of them blew up. Rather than pretend not to see it, he was giddy about her red underwear. Maybe that should be harmless enough – even on television men do that and wives laugh along good-naturedly – but on that day, in that moment, it cut so deeply and severed a thread of sanity. If someone out-performed me, I feared I would not be loved. In jealous revenge, that was when I set out to make him never look at another woman again, to be his superstar, and then to ruin him…oddly, for love.

I did not leave this newly found party life behind even as a graduate student and mother. I did, however, leave my two children behind often with babysitters, anyone I could find to watch them, so I could go out at night. I managed to do well by day in classes and in the laboratory; I managed to do my part to get my children to school and keep them fed and clothed, but I was becoming dangerously detached. My ego thrived on attention, and I became brilliant at getting it, at being noticed, at being the life of any party, but the nights ended in the wee hours of the morning, often in a dark closet or a bathroom crying in the corner like a deranged child afraid of her own shadow. I did love my baby boy and I loved my little girl, but there were so many contradictions, so much confusion.

“That’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spotlight. I’m losing my religion, trying to keep up with you. And I don’t know if I can do it…”

I discovered strip clubs, and was instantly jealous. Few would believe that a mother of two, a supposedly intelligent woman who had it all, used a stage name and took money for dancing while attending graduate school. The stage was where I was loved, and at least a bare body with fake eyelashes and fake fingernails could perform in the dark and pretend to be loved while a terrified spirit retreated further from reality. It wasn’t enough. I began to experiment sexually outside the relationship, I spiraled further, every day losing more of myself and living a lie, every day raping myself. The anger was uncontrollable and the hair-pulling and self-injury turned to self-hatred, self-battery and self-destruction. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but no one seemed to care. My hateful façade was impenetrable and everyone thought I was so free. Even the unreligious professors who found out about my double life hailed me as the “new paradigm.”

“Consider this, the hint of the century. Consider this, the slip that brought me to my knees failed. What if all these fantasies come flailing around…”

Not once did I ever stop believing in God. I stopped believing in religion. If that single woman with a mixed-race child was rejected, why should I even try? It was later in Virginia, where I got my first job, that the “marriage” ended after six years of unmentionable tragedy, after I found myself alone and hated, after a cloud of close calls and substance overdose, after missing the childhood of my children, after realizing my career was only that, after getting the shame I deserved in my community, after alienating my parents, after hurting so many people, after realizing I had nothing to offer the world…that I just one time called out to God. “Please God let me remember what it’s like to be a baby again.”

Like an infant learning to walk I tried to take new steps but fell often with nothing to guide me. Sometimes I clawed my way back up, but I had nothing to hang onto. As the random story goes, I found myself one day in North Carolina on a business trip. A man from Missouri passed me in the hallway and in the morning sunshine he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Good morning.” That moment stands out, and even though the demons in me raged for years to come, I look back and know without a doubt that that was the answer to my prayer. I felt hope in that moment for the first time in my adult life and God was mercifully leading me home.

“Every whisper. Of every waking hour I’m choosing my confessions.”

He said he was a Catholic man, but I refused a Catholic wedding because they wanted me to wait a year. We were married quickly in a chapel. We both loved numbers so we married on 01/02/03, the only three consecutive prime numbers whose sum and product equal the same thing. I learned two weeks later that I was ten weeks pregnant.

This was my third (civil) marriage and my third time as a pregnant bride. I didn’t understand marriage, love or commitment, and all I knew was that I couldn’t survive this man rejecting me too so I panicked. My fits of rage and self-battery became torment. Fear became a prison and I just wanted it to end. When my aunt, my “big sister” of my childhood on my grandparents’ farm, committed suicide that year because she found herself facing divorce and living alone, I knew exactly why she did it. Yet, I was spared.

With my husband’s help and love, I took on those demons. I have been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and spent years in therapy. I have heard the internal screams, the wailing and gnashing of teeth that is hell. I have beaten and burned my body in gross and ugly ways to shut them out, and they have only laughed. They are real, and physical pain is at least a pain with limits. The harder I tried to do good, the more fearful I became because I knew I did not deserve anything good. Instead of loving my committed husband back, I only tried to hurt him before he could hurt me. One day, amidst all that confusion, my husband asked me in a moment of clarity to answer one single, critical question. “Stacy, how do you define success?”

“I thought that I heard you laughing. I thought that I heard you sing. I think I thought I saw you try….”

That was the light that reached my cowered soul. For the first time since childhood I thought about what I wanted, not what I thought others wanted me to want. I kept thinking about dolls. How I once loved dolls! I once wanted to be my mother so badly. I left my job when our daughter was born and began homeschooling my older two children who had never really had a mother present. I taught them all I could. They were already hurt and I had a lot to make up to them, but I had the day and I had the chance and so I took it. I learned that each day is a gift. When I wanted to know more about my husband’s Roman Catholic faith, he suggested I enroll in an RCIA program and he went to every class with me. I thought I would struggle mightily with the idea of Transubstantiation but I did not. It was an instinctive grasp of the simplest and deepest reality. I learned to believe. I learned about living with purpose and being open to life. By grace our family grew and we had four daughters in the first four years, even as I was still confronting my demons. We made it through because we clung to the Sacraments. These children have always had a mother present no matter what.

It has not been easy and the past still haunts me, but it also drives me. My penance is my daily prayer that my life will shine light where there is darkness. I don’t want any little girl to ever suffer from confusion and anxiety the way I did. I know what Marriage is now and I have found the One True Religion. I said in the beginning that I have at least a decade of children. I used birth control for many years and there may be children I never knew existed. We sadly lost two in miscarriage in 2010 and then were blessed with a baby boy.

And there’s one who briefly lived in a time and place on a college campus in Texas where single mothers who have lost their religion could make a terrible but legal choice to try to forget all about life and head to graduate school. I killed my own child by paying for an abortion – a suicide unto itself – just before I met a man in Dallas and begged him to show me freedom. Children are created to love their mother and mothers are created to love their children. I do love that child and I don’t forget. I never will. Not a day passes that I don’t mourn that loss and although I can’t undo that terrible action, I can live to stop the lies that led to it. That’s what a redeemed mother does.

I’m blessed eternally with children, and I live for them all now by living for God who created, knows and loves us all. Across the world, and right in front of me, there are lost and broken people, broken families and broken communities. Children need to be taught the Truth, without compromise, so that as they grow up they will know right from wrong, and that they are loved unconditionally by their Creator.

For the two years it took to finally finish RCIA, I went to daily Mass without receiving Communion just to be in the presence of the Truth and Love I so desperately sought all my life. The Church does not ask me to perform. She asks me to serve, to love, to be loved, to know and to be known for the Kingdom of Heaven. I am not worthy, but I know that the Lord only has to say the Word and I am healed.

When I finally stepped forward and uncrossed my arms from my heart to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, a broken and lost woman became a healed and whole daughter welcomed into the community of faith. Somewhere there is a dark-skinned woman about my age whose single mother was rejected from religion while I watched and I pray that they both found their way home too.

We celebrated the Sacrament of Marriage the same day as my First Communion and we were instructed to select scripture. Inspired by it during a Mass, we chose Isaiah 61:10, “I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul; For he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, Like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels.” When the demons of my past try to cower or taunt me now, to stop me from telling the truth, to tell me to be afraid, I make one gigantic sign of the cross over my body and raise my hands Heavenward, and then I let that robe and that mantle clothe me in protection. There’s work to be done for the Kingdom of Heaven.

After our Sacrament of Marriage, a friend of my husband’s randomly gave him a daily devotional book as a gift. It seemed remarkable because my husband had also just purchased a copy of the same book a few days earlier to give to me as a gift. For no apparent reason we both had a copy of the same book, seemingly random gifts of kindness. Weeks later he called me at home on the date of our original wedding anniversary – January 2nd, the day we had selected to begin our life together four years earlier 01/02/03 – and told me in tears to look at the scripture for that day.

It was Isaiah 61:10. God was telling us, “I am here, I was then and I always am.” I know this family will survive. I know I will survive. By grace and because I am loved, I am a child of God, a wife to my husband and a mother to my children. All of them. And that is the truth of my life, and why I’m Catholic.

Read the source & comments: https://www.facebook.com/TheCatholicChurch/photos/a.10152726941421942.1073741829.99194191941/10152879229961942/?type=3&theater

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Ten Keys How to Teach Chastity

“The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the three “sources” of the morality of human acts. The object chosen morally specifies the act of willing accordingly as reason recognizes and judges it good or evil. “An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention”(St. Thomas Aquinas). The end does not justify the means. A morally good act requires the goodness of its object, of its end, and of its circumstances together. There are concrete acts that it is always wrong to choose, because their choice entails a disorder of the will, i.e. a moral evil. One may not do evil so that good may result from it” (CCC: 1757-1761).

What are the principal sins against chastity?

Grave sins against chastity differ according to their object: adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, and homosexual acts. These sins are expressions of the vice of lust. These kinds of acts committed against the physical and moral integrity of minors become even more grave (CCC: 2351-2359, 2396).

What are the principal sins against chastity?

Grave sins against chastity differ according to their object: adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, and homosexual acts. These sins are expressions of the vice of lust. These kinds of acts committed against the physical and moral integrity of minors become even more grave (CCC: 2351-2359, 2396).

Readings & Reflections: Saturday after Ash Wednesday & St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph, February 13,2016

Readings & Reflections: Saturday after Ash Wednesday & St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph, February 13,2016

Matthew’s “gloom became like midday” when Jesus uttered the words “Follow me.” Christ has come to call sinners. Only his Presence gives us the courage to stop following our own ways and seeking our own interests. Anyone who pleads to the Lord for his goodness and forgiveness will know the renewal of strength. Those who acknowledge that they are “afflicted and poor” will “ride on the heights.”

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, look upon our weaknesses, our attachments to the lures of this world, more so, our sinfulness, and reach out to help us with your loving power. We need your grace to keep our bodies pure, as temples of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, we earnestly offer ourselves to the service of others and we hope and pray to do your will in all things throughout the day. Teach us to seek the bread of everlasting life, everyday of our lives, and may the Mother of our Lord Jesus be our constant refuge and through her intercessions may we gain your loving forgiveness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Reading 1
Is 58:9b-14
Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. (11ab) Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

Gospel
Lk 5:27-32
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – The spiritually blind and self-righteous

Have you noticed that nowadays it is quite difficult to find people who steal as they simply take what they want…No one lies as people just decide to misrepresent facts… No one commits adultery as people just simply play around or maintain bigamous relationships and call them “platonic love”…No one kills an unborn child as people just decide to terminate pregnancies… No one is disobedient in community as people just follow their hearts… No one is guilty of a wrong doing as that was how people were led to achieve what is best for our Lord… No one is SINFUL because people have begun to sugar coat the very TRUTH behind every SIN…people become jaded and believe in their own lies. People have become spiritually blind and self-righteous.

In today’s gospel scenario, the Pharisees and their scribes were so quick to judge the sins of others… yet they could not see the sinfulness deeply imbedded in their hearts. If we close our eyes to SIN in our lives, we will NEVER see ourselves as sinners and as such we will never realize our need for Jesus. In reply to the Pharisees and their scribes, Jesus said: “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Today let us ask ourselves if we have been honest about our sinfulness. “If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John1:10

A lot of times, we listen to reflections, commentaries, exhortations or read the gospels and apply the message to others. Often we think of many people who need to repent. However we must be careful not to apply the gospel only to others. God’s call to repentance applies first of all to you and me. Recall that Jesus often preached in the synagogues and at the temple. He was preaching to the church goers and church workers. His call to repentance was not just to those sinners out there but also to the church leaders who openly attacked Him. Today, God is similarly reminding us that the call for repentance is for all of us… you and me… church leaders and workers!

“If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech… Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.” Isaiah 58

Direction

To live for Christ, we should be able to see, acknowledge and confess our sins.

Prayer

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for to you I call all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
Reflection 2 – Come As You Are

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. –Luke 5:32

There’s a story about an artist who wanted to paint a picture of the prodigal son (described by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32). He saw an unkempt beggar on the street and asked him to come to his studio and pose.

The man showed up the next day, but he was neatly shaven and clean. When the artist saw him, he exclaimed, “Oh no, I can’t use you as you are now!”

God asks us to come to Him just as we are, admitting that we are sinners who deserve nothing but judgment. This is humbling, but it is the only way we can receive the forgiveness Christ paid for on the cross and be accepted and used by God.

The scribes and Pharisees were scrupulous law keepers. They thought God was pleased with them because they were all “cleaned up.” So when they saw Jesus eating with people who had bad reputations, they complained. But Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Lk. 5:32). This was a rebuke to their self-righteous attitude. They needed to admit their sin. Then Jesus could receive them too.

If you need to be saved or to be restored to fellowship, repent and come to Jesus just as you are! He will forgive your sin and make you righteous.  — Dennis J. De Haan

Jesus will save you just as you are,
Jesus will welcome you from afar,
Jesus will heal sin’s pitiful scar;
Just as you are, come home. –Runyan (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 3 – Repentance Is For Everyone

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. –Luke 5:32

A local newspaper carried an article about my work of helping drug addicts.  Later, the paper published this letter: “I commend Mrs. Yoder for trying to help drug addicts, but sadly, she is dealing with a problem that shouldn’t be there in the first place.”  That’s true, but it’s no use saying it shouldn’t be there—it already is!

Sin shouldn’t be here at all. Yet God anticipated our sin and prepared a perfect sacrifice—”the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). In Romans 5:8, Paul emphasized that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

No matter what circumstances drive us to God, He won’t deride us for honestly seeking His deliverance from our most regrettable sins. Jesus insisted that He came into the world for this very reason, not to “call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32). When we repent, we not only admit our wrongs, but we willingly turn from them and open ourselves to God’s transforming power.

Repentance is necessary to enter into a relationship with Christ. Daily repentance is necessary to stay in close fellowship with Him and to grow spiritually. Both lead us to the fountain of God’s forgiveness and His life-changing power.

Which repentance do you need today?  — Joanie Yoder

When we confess our sins to God,
We’re washed as white as snow;
And He keeps on forgiving us
Each time to Him we go. —Sper

If you are truly sorry for your sins, you will want to give them up (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 4 – Hearing for ourselves, not someone else

Sitting in church listening to the homily, we can easily assume that the words of instruction and correction are meant for everyone but ourselves. We are the first ones to fall right in line with the Pharisees we hear about today. We don’t see ourselves as needing a change of heart; it is always the other guy.

We can be as self-righteous as any Pharisee. Being self-righteous allows us to keep the status quo. We don’t need fixing. In fact, if everyone else changed their ways we would be just fine. Yet, Jesus comes to bring truth and the truth is we are supposed to point a finger at our own hearts before we ever think about pointing it at another. We have the mistaken impression that we are without blame, perfect in every way. The self-righteous cannot see their own sins, but they have x-ray vision when it comes to the rest of the world.

Jesus is asking us simply and honestly to recognize our own sinfulness. When we can see our sins we can accept Jesus’ hand of mercy. He reaches out to us with overwhelming love. But it takes clear vision and humility to know that we are not so saintly. Taking his hand with our own and allowing Jesus to heal our “sin-sick souls” is quite a deal. We will find that if we even just make the gesture, forgiveness, compassion and grace come like the first warm winds of spring. Standing in our self-righteousness is a lonely cold place to be.

Today’s gospel is not meant for the “other guy.” It is meant for each of us and Jesus is extending his hand with a personal invitation to a change of heart. (Source: Jeanne Hunt, Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, February 28, 2009).

Reflection 5 – St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph (1729-1812 A.D.)

In the same year that a power-hungry Napoleon Bonaparte led his army into Russia, Giles Mary of St. Joseph ended a life of humble service to his Franciscan community and to the citizens of Naples.

Francesco was born in Taranto to very poor parents. His father’s death left the 18-year-old Francesco to care for the family. Having secured their future, he entered the Friars Minor at Galatone in 1754. For 53 years he served at St. Paschal’s Hospice in Naples in various roles, such as cook, porter or most often as official beggar for that community.

“Love God, love God” was his characteristic phrase as he gathered food for the friars and shared some of his bounty with the poor—all the while consoling the troubled and urging everyone to repent. The charity which he reflected on the streets of Naples was born in prayer and nurtured in the common life of the friars. The people whom Giles met on his begging rounds nicknamed him the “Consoler of Naples.” He was canonized in 1996.

Comment:

People often become arrogant and power hungry when they try to live a lie, for example, when they forget their own sinfulness and ignore the gifts God has given to other people. Giles had a healthy sense of his own sinfulness—not paralyzing but not superficial either. He invited men and women to recognize their own gifts and to live out their dignity as people made in God’s divine image. Knowing someone like Giles can help us on our own spiritual journey.

Quote:

In his homily at the canonization of Giles, Pope John Paul II said that the spiritual journey of Giles reflected “the humility of the Incarnation and the gratuitousness of the Eucharist” (L’Osservatore Romano 1996, volume 23, number 1).

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1290

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egidio_Maria_of_Saint_Joseph  

Egidio Maria of Saint Joseph (1729–1812), born Francis Anthony Postillo, was an Italian Descalced Franciscan lay brother canonised by Pope John Paul II.[1]

Biography[edit]

Francis Postillo was born in Taranto, Apulia, on 16 November 1729. Owing to a lack of education, he was unable to become a Catholic priest and served instead as a lay brother in the city of Naples, Campania.

At the local convent, he aided the sick and socially excluded.[1]

Postillo died in Naples on 7 February 1812.

Canonisation[edit]

Postillo was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1888, and canonised by Pope John Paul II in 1996 as Egidio Maria (Giles Mary) of Saint Joseph Francis Anthony Postillo.[2]

References[edit]

Pope Francis leaves for Mexico and Cuba to meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

Pope Francis leaves for Mexico and Cuba to meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

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February 12, 2016. He will be in Cuba for three hours to meet the Patriarch of Moscow.

Inside the papal plane: a Mexican hat for the Pope and dream fulfilled for Noel Diaz

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February 12, 2016. Inside the papal plane: a Mexican hat for the Pope and dream fulfilled for Noel Diaz

Noel Diaz cleans the Pope’s shoes on the plane

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The young boy that once shined shoes in Tijuana to help his mother, cleans the Pope’s shoes, today.

Pope Francis arrives in Cuba

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Cuban President Raul Castro greeted him at the tarmac.

The historic embrace between Pope Francis and the Patriarch of Moscow!

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For the first time since 1054, an encounter between a Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow.

Historic encounter with Pope and Patriarch of Moscow:We are not competitors but brothers

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February 12, 2016. Historic encounter with Pope and Patriarch of Moscow:We are not competitors but brothers

Francis and Kirill, Together at Last

After a millennium of divisions, the Pope and Patriarch are together in Cuba

francesco e kirill foto esteri cuba

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church are spending some two hours together in a meeting today at Havana’s airport.

The Pope is on the way to Mexico and the Patriarch is visiting Orthodox Churches in Latin America.

The meeting of these two leaders has been in negotiations since the Second Vatican Council, and particularly under the leadership of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and now Francis.

Pope Francis had stated that he was willing to meet the Patriarch anytime and anywhere.

The Patriarch’s official for external Church relations has said that the meeting is taking place now because of the genocide of Christians in Africa and the Middle East, a tragedy that overshadows ongoing tensions between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

At 4:30 local time in Cuba, they are set to jointly release a common declaration.

The Pope has asked all Christian faithful to have the meeting in prayer.

Joint Declaration From Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.29.29 PM

Joint Declaration
of Pope Francis
and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2Jn12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.

2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.

3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf.1Pet3:15).

4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.

5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn17:21).

6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!

7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.

8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.

9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.

10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.
We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.

11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.
We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1Pet4:12–13).

13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1Cor14:33).

14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.

15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom. It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.

16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.

18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1Cor1:27–29).

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf.Gen4:10).
The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.

We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.

23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt5:14,16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1Cor6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.

24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation” (Rm15:20).

25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.

27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.

28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.

29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk12:32)!
Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1Pet2:10).

30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Francis
Bishop of Rome
Pope of the Catholic Church
Kirill
Patriarch of Moscow
and all Russia

12 February 2016, Havana (Cuba)

[Original text: Italian – Russian]

Quick Summary of Common Declaration Signed by Pope and Patriarch

30 Paragraphs that cover a variety of themes

francesco e kirill foto esteri cuba

Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Pope Francis joyously signed a common declaration today in Havana, following a 2.5 hour meeting between the two.

The 30-paragraph statement covers a variety of themes.

Here is a quick summary:

Paragraphs 1-3: Notes on their meeting, for which they give thanks and point out that meeting in Cuba, in the New World has had special significance

Paragraphs 4-7: A consideration of Orthodox and Catholic history — a millennium united and a millennium in division, a division that is due to “human weakness and of sin” and despite Christ’s prayer “that they may be one.” A pledge to unite efforts to overcome the divergences

Paragraphs 8-12: Reflections on the sufferings being endured by Christians and others in the Middle East and Africa, and affirmation that the martyrs of our day are “a pledge of the unity of Christians”

Paragraphs 13: Affirmation of the importance of interreligious dialogue and declaration that no crime can be committed in God’s name

Paragraphs 14-16: Notes on increasing threats to religious freedom, and a call to Europe to remember its Christian roots

Paragraphs 17-18: A word about those who suffer injustice: the poor, migrants and refugees

Paragraphs 19-21: A defense of family and marriage, and the inalienable right to life

Paragraphs 22-23: An appeal to youth

Paragraphs 24-27: A note on various tensions between Orthodox and Catholics, including the ideas of proselytism and evangelization, and mention of the problem of “uniatism,” and the conflict in Ukraine

Paragraph 28: Acknowledgment that the world needs a united witness: “Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.”

Paragraphs 29-30: Affirmation of hope in Christ and a prayer that Our Lady will “inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/joint-declaration-from-pope-francis-and-patriarch-kirill/

Pope’s Brief Words After Signing Common Declaration With Kirill

“I confess to you that I have felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue”

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.36.39 PM

After meeting for about two and a half hours this afternoon in Havana, Cuba, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis signed a common declaration.

Once both had signed the documents in Russian and Italian, the Pope and Patriarch again exchanged a kiss of peace.

The two then briefly addressed members of their delegations and members of the press.

Here is a ZENIT transcription and translation of the Pope’s words, which were given in Spanish:

__

Your Holiness, Eminences,

We have spoken as brothers. We have the same baptism. We are bishops. We have spoken of our Churches. We agree that unity is made in the process of walking forward. We have spoken clearly, without mincing words. I confess to you that I have felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue.

I am grateful for the humility of Your Holiness, fraternal humility, and your good desires for unity.

We have come up with a series of initiatives which I believe are viable and that can be carried out. Because of this, I want to thank Your Holiness again, for your benevolent welcome, as well as the collaborators [<indiscernible words>], His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Eminence Cardinal Koch with all of the members of their teams that have worked for this.

I don’t want to go without giving a heartfelt thank you to Cuba, to the great Cuban people, and to their president here present, Raul Castro. I thank you for your active availability. If it continues like this, Cuba will be the capital of unity.

And may all of this be for the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and for the good of the holy People faithful to God under the mantle of the holy Mother of God.

Historic encounter with Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow:We are not competitors but brothers

Historic encounter with Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow:We are not competitors but brothers

Published on Feb 12, 2016

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February 12, 2016. Historic encounter with Pope and Patriarch of Moscow:We are not competitors but brothers

The historic embrace between Pope Francis and the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow!

Published on Feb 12, 2016

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For the first time since 1054, an encounter between a Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow.

Francis and Kirill, Together at Last

After a millennium of divisions, the Pope and Patriarch are together in Cuba

francesco e kirill foto esteri cuba

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church are spending some two hours together in a meeting today at Havana’s airport.

The Pope is on the way to Mexico and the Patriarch is visiting Orthodox Churches in Latin America.

The meeting of these two leaders has been in negotiations since the Second Vatican Council, and particularly under the leadership of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and now Francis.

Pope Francis had stated that he was willing to meet the Patriarch anytime and anywhere.

The Patriarch’s official for external Church relations has said that the meeting is taking place now because of the genocide of Christians in Africa and the Middle East, a tragedy that overshadows ongoing tensions between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

At 4:30 local time in Cuba, they are set to jointly release a common declaration.

The Pope has asked all Christian faithful to have the meeting in prayer.

Joint Declaration From Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.29.29 PM

Joint Declaration
of Pope Francis
and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2Jn12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.

2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.

3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf.1Pet3:15).

4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.

5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn17:21).

6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!

7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.

8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.

9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.

10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.
We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.

11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.
We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1Pet4:12–13).

13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1Cor14:33).

14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.

15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom. It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.

16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.

18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1Cor1:27–29).

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf.Gen4:10).
The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.

We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.

23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt5:14,16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1Cor6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.

24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation” (Rm15:20).

25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.

27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.

28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.

29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk12:32)!
Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1Pet2:10).

30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Francis
Bishop of Rome
Pope of the Catholic Church
Kirill
Patriarch of Moscow
and all Russia

12 February 2016, Havana (Cuba)

[Original text: Italian – Russian]

Quick Summary of Common Declaration Signed by Pope and Patriarch

30 Paragraphs that cover a variety of themes

francesco e kirill foto esteri cuba

Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Pope Francis joyously signed a common declaration today in Havana, following a 2.5 hour meeting between the two.

The 30-paragraph statement covers a variety of themes.

Here is a quick summary:

Paragraphs 1-3: Notes on their meeting, for which they give thanks and point out that meeting in Cuba, in the New World has had special significance

Paragraphs 4-7: A consideration of Orthodox and Catholic history — a millennium united and a millennium in division, a division that is due to “human weakness and of sin” and despite Christ’s prayer “that they may be one.” A pledge to unite efforts to overcome the divergences

Paragraphs 8-12: Reflections on the sufferings being endured by Christians and others in the Middle East and Africa, and affirmation that the martyrs of our day are “a pledge of the unity of Christians”

Paragraphs 13: Affirmation of the importance of interreligious dialogue and declaration that no crime can be committed in God’s name

Paragraphs 14-16: Notes on increasing threats to religious freedom, and a call to Europe to remember its Christian roots

Paragraphs 17-18: A word about those who suffer injustice: the poor, migrants and refugees

Paragraphs 19-21: A defense of family and marriage, and the inalienable right to life

Paragraphs 22-23: An appeal to youth

Paragraphs 24-27: A note on various tensions between Orthodox and Catholics, including the ideas of proselytism and evangelization, and mention of the problem of “uniatism,” and the conflict in Ukraine

Paragraph 28: Acknowledgment that the world needs a united witness: “Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.”

Paragraphs 29-30: Affirmation of hope in Christ and a prayer that Our Lady will “inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/joint-declaration-from-pope-francis-and-patriarch-kirill/

Pope’s Brief Words After Signing Common Declaration With Kirill

“I confess to you that I have felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue”

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.36.39 PM

After meeting for about two and a half hours this afternoon in Havana, Cuba, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis signed a common declaration.

Once both had signed the documents in Russian and Italian, the Pope and Patriarch again exchanged a kiss of peace.

The two then briefly addressed members of their delegations and members of the press.

Here is a ZENIT transcription and translation of the Pope’s words, which were given in Spanish:

__

Your Holiness, Eminences,

We have spoken as brothers. We have the same baptism. We are bishops. We have spoken of our Churches. We agree that unity is made in the process of walking forward. We have spoken clearly, without mincing words. I confess to you that I have felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue.

I am grateful for the humility of Your Holiness, fraternal humility, and your good desires for unity.

We have come up with a series of initiatives which I believe are viable and that can be carried out. Because of this, I want to thank Your Holiness again, for your benevolent welcome, as well as the collaborators [<indiscernible words>], His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Eminence Cardinal Koch with all of the members of their teams that have worked for this.

I don’t want to go without giving a heartfelt thank you to Cuba, to the great Cuban people, and to their president here present, Raul Castro. I thank you for your active availability. If it continues like this, Cuba will be the capital of unity.

And may all of this be for the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and for the good of the holy People faithful to God under the mantle of the holy Mother of God.

NEW YORK BISHOPS WON’T OPPOSE BAN ON GAY CONVERSION THERAPY

NEW YORK BISHOPS WON’T OPPOSE BAN ON GAY CONVERSION THERAPY

by Christine Niles  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2016

NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) – The bishops of New York have no plans to oppose state measures against gay conversion therapy.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a February 6 press release he would ban counseling for minors to help get rid of unwanted same-sex desires, which he called “a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice.”

“New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community for decades,” Cuomo said, “and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example.”

“We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are,” he insisted.

In addition to banning gay reparative therapy for those under 18, the new regulations will bar healthcare coverage for any form of gay conversion therapy.

The president of the American Psychiatric Association is praising the measures. “Governor Cuomo and the State of New York are commended for taking a principled and scientific stand,” said President Renee Binder.

The New York state bishops have no intention to oppose the regulations. In response to a query by CNSNews, Dennis Poust — who represents Cdl. Timothy Dolan and the 23 other bishops in New York as communications director for the NY State Catholic Conference of Bishops — said in an email:

In the past, bills have been introduced in the state legislature that would have banned insurance coverage for these therapies for minors. The Catholic Conference has not taken a position on these bills, and we do not foresee taking a position on the Governor’s executive action in this regard either.

Instead, Poust directed the media outfit to the group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a coalition of Evangelical churches that have taken a strong public stand opposing the regulations. “You can contact Stephen Hayford, their communications director … to see if they wish to comment on the Governor’s announcement,” Poust recommended.

Free clip from CHURCH MILITANT premium

 

The New York bishops have been criticized for their silence on past laws, e.g., the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in New York. Aside from a single, little-known radio interview where Cdl. Dolan criticized the bill, he and the other bishops put up no official public opposition to the law, which passed by a narrow margin — thanks to two critical votes by Catholic state senators, both members of the Knights of Columbus.

The day after passage of the law legalizing gay “marriage” in the state, Cdl. Dolan said nothing about it from the pulpit at St. Patrick’s Cathedral — although he did take time to speak with the New York press to apologize to homosexuals for the Church’s treatment of them in the past.

Dolan was similarly silent after the U.S. Supreme Court declared gay “marriage” a constitutional right in June. In spite of multiple public condemnations of the ruling issued by his brother bishops across the country, Cdl.  Dolan himself, according to communications director Joe Zwilling, told ChurchMilitant.com any statement from the archdiocese at that point would be “unlikely.”

Cuomo’s press release makes clear his conversion therapy ban does not include therapy to help transgendered individuals transition from one gender to another.

Read the source & comments: http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/ny-bishops-wont-oppose-ban-on-gay-conversion-therapy

Christine Niles is a staff writer, producer and anchor for ChurchMilitant.com

Follow Christine on Twitter: @ChristineNiles1

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  10. Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986
  11. Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980
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THE VORTEX: HIDING GAY PRIESTS http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/14/the-vortex-hiding-gay-priests/

THE VORTEX: DAMAGE CONTROL TIME – This could be the end for Cardinal Dolan http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/15/the-vortex-damage-control-time-this-could-be-the-end-for-cardinal-dolan/

THE VORTEX: HALF OF PRIESTS AND BISHOPS ARE GAY http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/11/the-vortex-half-of-priests-and-bishops-are-gay/

THE VORTEX: SIFT THEM LIKE WHEAT- Satan has attacked the priesthood and episcopacy with homosexuality http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/12/the-vortex-sift-them-like-wheat-satan-has-attacked-the-priesthood-and-episcopacy-with-homosexuality/

MIC’D UP: SHOULD HOMOSEXUALS BE PRIESTS? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/19/micd-up-should-homosexuals-be-priests/

HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST TO SPEAK AT SAN FRANCISCO PARISH http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/02/homosexual-activist-to-speak-at-san-francisco-parish/

ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART MUZZLES PRO-GAY SPEAKER: Melbourne archbishop disallows pro-LGBT politician from speaking at Catholic event http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/archbishop-denis-hart-muzzles-pro-gay-speaker-melbourne-archbishop-disallows-pro-lgbt-politician-from-speaking-at-catholic-event/

Homosexuality, the Grave Evil Presented as Good with Q & A, Part 1 & 2

Homosexuality, the Grave Evil Presented as Good

FBI: Homosexuality with Question & Answer

Homosexuals and Freemasons inside the Church

Homosexual and Freemasons Inside the Church

“The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

“The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

Mic’d Up: Homosexuality is intrinsically disordered

Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia” 

Please click this link to watch the video on Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia”

Michael Voris gives a series of short talks, answering questions coming in response to his talk on homosexuality in Nigeria.

In this talk from Nigeria, Michael Voris speaks about the grave evil presented as good – homosexuality. Catechism of Catholic Church teaches that, “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (CDF, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC: 2357).

The Cost of Abortion & Contraception Deception click below:

The Cost of Abortion and Contraception Deception

Pope Francis Defends Life From Conception to Natural Death During Angelus – February 7,2016 http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/07/pope-francis-defends-life-from-conception-to-natural-death-during-angelus-february-72016/

Do Men Have a Duty to Have More than 2.1 Children? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/26/do-men-have-a-duty-to-have-more-than-2-1-children/

Fighting Poverty by Eliminating Children http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/10/fighting-poverty-by-eliminating-children/

Catholic Bishops: Voting for Candidate who supports abortion is formal cooperation with evil

Eclipse of Reason – Live Abortion Documentary/Pro-Life Anti-Abortion Video

Stojan Adasevic: A communist abortionist turned pro-life after a saint visited him

12-year-old speaks out on the issue of abortion

Who is behind the murderers in abortion?

Abortion and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Is there a link between abortion, contraception and breast cancer?

Abortion and Eucharist by Michelle Yax

Please click this link to watch on Abortion with Movie: From Old Testament, New Testament & Fathers of the Church Teaching to Present Day

Bible’s Teachings Against Abortion

US Representative Nancy Pelosi vs. The Catholic Church on Abortion Issue

8 Unbelievably heartbreaking quotes from women who aborted their babies

Is there Ethics of Abortion?

Abortion Warns of Something Worse?

‘We’re killing babies all over the place!’ – Dr. Ben Carson

Ben Carson: They say abortion is about women’s rights but what about the baby?

Help to abolish abortion: Turn the tide 2012 Pro-life video

Discovering Natural Family Planning

Pro-life Song and Video: Stand Up For Life

Planned Parenthood Videos Put a Spotlight on Another Issues: Procurement Companies

Video: Laughing abortionists ‘pull out baby hearts after abortion, just for fun’. It’s cute.

Undercover pro-life investigator: I saw evil in the face of late-term abortionist

Forensic report finds Planned Parenthood video are authentic and unaltered

US Bishop issues major call for men to join the battle for life & family: ‘We need to get off the sidelines’

Pope Francis: Life must be defended in all its stages

Into the breach: An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, My Spiritual Sons in the Diocese of Phoenix

Does God want Christians to stand up against the injustice of abortion? Here’s what the Bible says…

‘I made a huge mistake’ – Why one radical feminist changed her mind on abortion http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/06/i-made-a-huge-mistake-why-one-radical-feminist-changed-her-mind-on-abortion/

THE VORTEX: TIME BOMBS IN THE MARCH FOR LIFE – The March for Life has been hijacked by the Church of Nice http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/21/the-vortex-time-bombs-in-the-march-for-life-the-march-for-life-has-been-hijacked-by-the-church-of-nice/

MIC’D UP—PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S STRATEGY http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/micd-up-planned-parenthoods-strategy/

Related Articles/ Videos on Euthanasia click below:

Pope Francis denounces “false compassion” behind abortion and Euthanasia

Rejecting Euthanasia, Respecting the Human Spirit

Euthanasia is always wrong; You do not kill innocent people

Michael Voris talks an in-depth discussion of the true, financial cost of abortion and its effects to the United States. Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death” (CDF, Donum vitae III; CCC: 2273).

Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1-4: Where we are & How we got here by Dr. Martin Brenner click below:

Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1-4: Where we are & How we got here?

CIA: The Rockefeller Foundation – Actively Undermining the Catholic Church click below:

CIA: Rockefeller Foundation – Actively Undermining the Catholic Church

We are used to thinking of the Rockefellers as simply a byword for wealth, power and financial success. Perhaps we might think of them as determined businessmen or see them as great philanthropists. But the truth is far different; the Rockefeller Foundation is actively undermining the Catholic Church, and in the process, attempting to erase man’s natural orientation to the eternal.

Global Warming Unmasked click below:

Global Warming Unmasked

Are the environmental movements and groups simply devoted to laudable, correct stewardship of God’s creation, or do they have a more sinister, hidden agenda? Is “global warming” being used as an excuse for something far darker? Is the final goal of the liberal elites behind the push of junk science population control, eugenics and Gaia worship?

Mic’d Up “Is Contraception Killing the Church?” click below:

Mic’d Up: Is Contraception Killing the Church?

This week on Mic’d Up we’ll be tackling the terrible scourge of Contraception on the Church. Michael Hichborn and Rey Flores from American Life League will join us to expose Catholic Relief Services complicity with Organizations who support contraception and to Discuss The Pill Kills Day of Action 2014. Also joining us will be Lynn Mills who will be discussing the continued prayer rally at Providence Park Hospital in the Archdiocese of Detroit because of their complicity in abortion, contraception and sterilization. Following that same thread we’ll break down the announcement from Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron concerning the crisis of parish closings facing Detroit. Also dropping by will be author James Kalb, to discuss the plague of pluralism on the Church’s Hierarchy.

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT SIMON NEWMAN DISPARAGES SCHOOL’S CATHOLIC IDENTITY

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT SIMON NEWMAN DISPARAGES SCHOOL’S CATHOLIC IDENTITY

by Joseph Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2016

Mount St. Mary’s University head seeks to soften Catholic image, says “Catholic doesn’t sell”

EMMITSBURG, Md. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The head of a Catholic university in Maryland is facing criticism for belittling the school’s Catholic identity.

Simon Newman, president of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, is coming under fire for allegedly working to undermine the Catholicity of the liberal arts college by openly criticizing faithful students, employees and school tradition.

Multiple students, faculty and alumni have reported Newman referring to more traditional students as “Catholic jihadis” and saying Mount St. Mary’s would not “get customers to come” if the school continued marketing itself as a Catholic university, as “Catholic doesn’t sell.”

Image

President Simon Newman

According to David McGinley, a member of the school’s College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board and university alumnus, Newman would repeatedly make “derogatory comments towards Mount students,” including statements insinuating students who had been homeschooled were “judgmental” and may cause “trouble” for fellow freshmen who party.

McGinley claims Newman shows “a lack of appreciation for or desire to continue or further Catholic identity in any regards to what one would call traditional.” The president seems to believe, McGinley continues, that “Catholicism has lost its relevance.”

A current administrative employee who preferred to remain anonymous asserts that Newman commented there were “too many bleeding crucifixes” in the employee’s office. “I have a broken crucifix, and I have a crucifix that is done in limestone sculpture,” the employee explained.

Reports from other members of the faculty assert Newman has repeatedly denigrated the crucifix and has a bad habit of using profanity.

Professor Thane Naberhaus, who was recently fired from his tenured position at the university, notes the school website’s main page does not mention anywhere that Mount St. Mary’s is a Catholic university. “That is Simon Newman’s vision for Mount Saint Mary’s right there, encapsulated in that one webpage,” Naberhaus asserts.

The former professor also admits to having heard Newman call students “Catholic jihadis.”

“He was kind of dividing up our student body and seeing a certain fraction of them,” Naberhaus said. “He seemed to think that there was a sizeable fraction of our campus that fell into that camp, Catholic jihadis, and I never was sure exactly what he meant by that, but he was definitely using that phrase.”

Naberhaus’ removal from the Mount St. Mary’s faculty is part of anongoing scandal involving Newman that began in late January. In an article concerning the president’s plan to dismiss around 25 freshman based on survey results that predicted they would not be successful at the school, the student-run school newspaper Mountain Echo quoted Newman’s response to faculty who didn’t believe survey results justified removal from the school. According to the newspaper, Newman answered, “There will be some collateral damage.”

Further into the meeting, the Mountain Echo reports that Newman remarked, “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t.  You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.”

Following outrage among the faculty and student body over the remarks, Professor Ed Egan, acting as the newspaper’s adviser, was fired. Professor Naberhaus was also let go, charged in his letter of dismissal with disloyalty to the university.

In a message sent to students following the removal of the two teachers, the school failed to offer an explanation for the firings, but instead asserted the school leadership has “a plan in place to be certain that the classes for which they were responsible will be taught by other qualified faculty and the students will be advised by well-qualified people.”

A few days earlier the provost of the university was removed from his position after raising concerns about Newman’s plan to eliminate students based on the survey.

Around 75 alumni have written a public letter to the university decrying their recent behavior and calling the current condition an “atmosphere of hostile takeover.”

The university has not publicly spoken concerning the claims that Newman is attacking the Catholic identity of the school.

Joseph Pelletier is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com

Related Articles/ Videos:

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US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy replaces the “Laws of Nature” with his own on Gay Marriage

US CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: COURT NOT THE PLACE FOR POLITICS http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/08/us-chief-justice-john-roberts-court-not-the-place-for-politics/

Courts Becoming Very Hostile to Christianity

Efforts to Silence Clergy Continue Apace

Losing Tax Exemption Will Destroy The Church

Archbishop Gomez: Creation and the Future of Marriage

Bishop Strickland’s Statement on US Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

Cardinal John Njue to Kenyan Americans: On Morality be Kenyans not Americans

What does the legalization of gay marriage mean for the Catholic Church?

Catholic Activist: Justice Kennedy betrayed Christ in Gay Marriage Decision

Redefining Marriage, Part 1-10: Who’s to blame? The root of the problem.

Catholic Respond to Brave New Roe: One Nation, Divided Over Marriage

11 Most Devastating Quotes from John Robert’s Gay Marriage Dissent

12 Quotes: “Marriage Equality” spells the death of marriage

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The US Supreme Court: A Despotic Agent of Change

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Slowly but surely making gay okay

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Pope Francis: List of tips to make a marriage work

Why the Episcopalians Voted for Gay Marriage?

40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags

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Is Catholic Response to Obergefell (Homosexual Marriage) to Obey the State or Disobey it?

How to discuss “gay marriage” (Part 1-3)?

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Sermon: “Transgenderism according to the Bible”

Jason Evert Interview: What is transgenderism?

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘mental disorder’; sex change ‘biologically impossible’

The Vortex: Gay Priests

Nazism and Gay Rights: Key Parallels

Archbishop Gadecki: Gender Ideology is worst than Marxism

Same-sex “marriage” and the crisis of leadership

15 Quotes from Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger) Letter to the Bishops on Homosexuality

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

The Vortex: It’s unnatural! Amid the push for transgenderism and same-sex “marriage”

FBI (Faith Based Investigation): Homosexuality

FBI: Homosexuality with Question & Answer

Homosexuality, the Grave Evil Presented as Good

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“The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

Mic’d Up: “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia”

Mic’d Up: Homosexuality is intrinsically disordered

Homosexuality is not sexuality

Sexual Dysfunction: The Latest Progressive Imposition

Where we are and things to come – Message from Jonathan Cahn (August 2015)

The Covenant Theology of the Rainbow & Why the Homosexual Community Uses It

The Coming Plague of Gender Confusion

When a man calls himself a chicken

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An Impossible Right: Why ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ is Wrong Headed

Same Sex Marriage: What the Church Teaches and Why with Bishop Ronald Gainer

Nigerian Bishops: No Shaking on Sodomy

Same Sex Marriage: Why Not? – Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Marriage Equality and Marriage Reality at the Supreme Court – Dr. Ryan Anderson

Gay agenda ‘has never been about gay rights…

A Pastoral Response to the Acceptance of Homosexual Lifestyle and the Legalization of Homosexual Unions

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Here-under are some articles about family and marriage for you to read or watch: 

  1. Getting to know you, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=284
  2. Be Positive, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=288
  3. Love and Marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=292
  4. Endless Love – Marriage after all, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=294
  5. Say it with love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=298
  6. Quality family moments, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=300
  7. Secret of successful marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=302
  8. The vocation of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1968
  9. Marriage as Covenant, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1974
  10. Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986
  11. Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980
  12. True Meaning of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1972
  13. Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112
  14. Love is a garden, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2116
  15. Three kinds of love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2095

Saint Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in Video Presentation

Sophia Sketchpad – Marriage

Sacraments 101: Matrimony (Why make it Catholic?)

A love that is life long: The marriage God wants for you

What’s destroying some Catholic marriages?

Divorce’s many victims

What Catholics need to know about marriage and sex, Part 2

Can a Catholic sign a pre-nuptial agreement?

We want Church truth on marriage, young Catholics say

Wives, Be Subordinate to Your Husbands? – John Paul II on Ephesians 5:21-33 http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/wives-be-subordinate-to-your-husbands-john-paul-ii-on-ephesians-521-33/

An Open Letter to the Adulterers Outed by the Ashley Madison Hackers

Pro-life, Married & Contracepting: Is there a problem?

Pope Francis’ General Audience: The Family is an irreplaceable source of stability for children

The 4 most important parts of marriage

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Reflections on the Indissolubility of Marriage and the Trinity http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/reflections-on-the-indissolubility-of-marriage-and-the-trinity/

44 Sins against the sacrament of marriage

Live-in: Research facts and analysis on cohabitation

Bishop Olmsted Calls Men Into the Breach http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/05/bishop-olmsted-calls-men-into-the-breach/

Pope Francis: When families teach forgiveness, they strengthen society

THIS EUROPEAN NATION JUST FOUGHT THE GAY AGENDA AND WON – Pope Francis lent a hand http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/23/this-european-nation-just-fought-the-gay-agenda-and-won-pope-francis-lent-a-hand/

“God himself is the author of marriage” (GS 48:1). The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes (CCC:1603)

FBI Homosexuality click below:

FBI (Faith Based Investigation): Homosexuality

Many believe the Freemasons are simply a centuries-old charitable fraternity. However, the Catholic Church has consistently condemned Freemasonry more than any other error in its history because it promotes indifferentism, naturalism, communism, and other dangerous philosophies.

PRIEST SEX ABUSE IS ALL ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/14/priest-sex-abuse-is-all-about-homosexuality/

THE VORTEX: BLACKMAIL? COVER-UP? Did the New York archdiocese buy Fr. Miqueli’s silence? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/16/the-vortex-blackmail-cover-up-the-vortex-blackmail-cover-up-did-the-new-york-archdiocese-buy-fr-miquelis-silence/

THE VORTEX: HIDING GAY PRIESTS http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/14/the-vortex-hiding-gay-priests/

THE VORTEX: DAMAGE CONTROL TIME – This could be the end for Cardinal Dolan http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/15/the-vortex-damage-control-time-this-could-be-the-end-for-cardinal-dolan/

THE VORTEX: HALF OF PRIESTS AND BISHOPS ARE GAY http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/11/the-vortex-half-of-priests-and-bishops-are-gay/

THE VORTEX: SIFT THEM LIKE WHEAT- Satan has attacked the priesthood and episcopacy with homosexuality http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/12/the-vortex-sift-them-like-wheat-satan-has-attacked-the-priesthood-and-episcopacy-with-homosexuality/

MIC’D UP: SHOULD HOMOSEXUALS BE PRIESTS? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/19/micd-up-should-homosexuals-be-priests/

HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST TO SPEAK AT SAN FRANCISCO PARISH http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/02/homosexual-activist-to-speak-at-san-francisco-parish/

ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART MUZZLES PRO-GAY SPEAKER: Melbourne archbishop disallows pro-LGBT politician from speaking at Catholic event http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/archbishop-denis-hart-muzzles-pro-gay-speaker-melbourne-archbishop-disallows-pro-lgbt-politician-from-speaking-at-catholic-event/

Homosexuality, the Grave Evil Presented as Good with Q & A, Part 1 & 2

Homosexuality, the Grave Evil Presented as Good

FBI: Homosexuality with Question & Answer

Homosexuals and Freemasons inside the Church

Homosexual and Freemasons Inside the Church

“The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

“The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

Mic’d Up: Homosexuality is intrinsically disordered

Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia” 

Please click this link to watch the video on Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia”

Michael Voris gives a series of short talks, answering questions coming in response to his talk on homosexuality in Nigeria.

In this talk from Nigeria, Michael Voris speaks about the grave evil presented as good – homosexuality. Catechism of Catholic Church teaches that, “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (CDF, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC: 2357).

The Cost of Abortion & Contraception Deception click below:

The Cost of Abortion and Contraception Deception

Pope Francis Defends Life From Conception to Natural Death During Angelus – February 7,2016 http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/07/pope-francis-defends-life-from-conception-to-natural-death-during-angelus-february-72016/

Do Men Have a Duty to Have More than 2.1 Children? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/26/do-men-have-a-duty-to-have-more-than-2-1-children/

Fighting Poverty by Eliminating Children http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/10/fighting-poverty-by-eliminating-children/

Catholic Bishops: Voting for Candidate who supports abortion is formal cooperation with evil

Eclipse of Reason – Live Abortion Documentary/Pro-Life Anti-Abortion Video

Stojan Adasevic: A communist abortionist turned pro-life after a saint visited him

12-year-old speaks out on the issue of abortion

Who is behind the murderers in abortion?

Abortion and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Is there a link between abortion, contraception and breast cancer?

Abortion and Eucharist by Michelle Yax

Please click this link to watch on Abortion with Movie: From Old Testament, New Testament & Fathers of the Church Teaching to Present Day

Bible’s Teachings Against Abortion

US Representative Nancy Pelosi vs. The Catholic Church on Abortion Issue

8 Unbelievably heartbreaking quotes from women who aborted their babies

Is there Ethics of Abortion?

Abortion Warns of Something Worse?

‘We’re killing babies all over the place!’ – Dr. Ben Carson

Ben Carson: They say abortion is about women’s rights but what about the baby?

Help to abolish abortion: Turn the tide 2012 Pro-life video

Discovering Natural Family Planning

Pro-life Song and Video: Stand Up For Life

Planned Parenthood Videos Put a Spotlight on Another Issues: Procurement Companies

Video: Laughing abortionists ‘pull out baby hearts after abortion, just for fun’. It’s cute.

Undercover pro-life investigator: I saw evil in the face of late-term abortionist

Forensic report finds Planned Parenthood video are authentic and unaltered

US Bishop issues major call for men to join the battle for life & family: ‘We need to get off the sidelines’

Pope Francis: Life must be defended in all its stages

Into the breach: An Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, My Spiritual Sons in the Diocese of Phoenix

Does God want Christians to stand up against the injustice of abortion? Here’s what the Bible says…

‘I made a huge mistake’ – Why one radical feminist changed her mind on abortion http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/06/i-made-a-huge-mistake-why-one-radical-feminist-changed-her-mind-on-abortion/

THE VORTEX: TIME BOMBS IN THE MARCH FOR LIFE – The March for Life has been hijacked by the Church of Nice http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/21/the-vortex-time-bombs-in-the-march-for-life-the-march-for-life-has-been-hijacked-by-the-church-of-nice/

MIC’D UP—PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S STRATEGY http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/micd-up-planned-parenthoods-strategy/

Related Articles/ Videos on Euthanasia click below:

Pope Francis denounces “false compassion” behind abortion and Euthanasia

Rejecting Euthanasia, Respecting the Human Spirit

Euthanasia is always wrong; You do not kill innocent people

Michael Voris talks an in-depth discussion of the true, financial cost of abortion and its effects to the United States. Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death” (CDF, Donum vitae III; CCC: 2273).

Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1-4: Where we are & How we got here by Dr. Martin Brenner click below:

Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1-4: Where we are & How we got here?

CIA: The Rockefeller Foundation – Actively Undermining the Catholic Church click below:

CIA: Rockefeller Foundation – Actively Undermining the Catholic Church

We are used to thinking of the Rockefellers as simply a byword for wealth, power and financial success. Perhaps we might think of them as determined businessmen or see them as great philanthropists. But the truth is far different; the Rockefeller Foundation is actively undermining the Catholic Church, and in the process, attempting to erase man’s natural orientation to the eternal.

Global Warming Unmasked click below:

Global Warming Unmasked

Are the environmental movements and groups simply devoted to laudable, correct stewardship of God’s creation, or do they have a more sinister, hidden agenda? Is “global warming” being used as an excuse for something far darker? Is the final goal of the liberal elites behind the push of junk science population control, eugenics and Gaia worship?

Mic’d Up “Is Contraception Killing the Church?” click below:

Mic’d Up: Is Contraception Killing the Church?

This week on Mic’d Up we’ll be tackling the terrible scourge of Contraception on the Church. Michael Hichborn and Rey Flores from American Life League will join us to expose Catholic Relief Services complicity with Organizations who support contraception and to Discuss The Pill Kills Day of Action 2014. Also joining us will be Lynn Mills who will be discussing the continued prayer rally at Providence Park Hospital in the Archdiocese of Detroit because of their complicity in abortion, contraception and sterilization. Following that same thread we’ll break down the announcement from Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron concerning the crisis of parish closings facing Detroit. Also dropping by will be author James Kalb, to discuss the plague of pluralism on the Church’s Hierarchy.

ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART MUZZLES PRO-GAY SPEAKER: Melbourne archbishop disallows pro-LGBT politician from speaking at Catholic event

ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART MUZZLES PRO-GAY SPEAKER: Melbourne archbishop disallows pro-LGBT politician from speaking at Catholic event

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2016    

Melbourne archbishop disallows pro-LGBT politician from speaking at Catholic event

MELBOURNE (ChurchMilitant.com) – Melbourne archbishop Denis Hart canceled a keynote address scheduled to be given by a known advocate of so-called same-sex marriage.

The speaker, Cathy McGowan, who considers herself to be a practicing Catholic, was a co-sponsor of a pro-gay marriage bill introduced into Parliament last year.

Ms. McGowan, member of Parliament for Indi in Victoria’s northeast, was scheduled to deliver theMary MacKillop Oration at a Catholic Social Services Victoria conference later this month.

Because of McGowan’s anti-Catholic views, Abp. Hart replaced her this week with barrister Julian McMahon, who is the 2016 Victorian of the year.

Ms. McGowan described the decision as “very sad” and emoted: “I’m really disappointed the bishop intervened.”

But archdiocesan spokesman Shane Healy related that the archbishop’s position on same-sex “marriage” has been clear.

There was no malice or want to in any way embarrass Cathy, but he would see with a conference such as this that the keynote speaker should be in line with Catholic teaching on that very important topic. The Catholic Church respects every human being, but in terms of marriage it is our view that is for a man and a woman, while in not any way disrespecting relationships that are part of everyday life.

Last fall Abp. Hart resisted the Labour government’s push to allow same-sex couples access to adoption services, calling it a “fundamental attack on religious freedom” and a violation of human rights.

When asked why the archdiocese had scratched McGowan from the program so close to the event, Denis Fitzgerald, executive director of Catholic Social Services Victoria, responded that Abp. Hart “probably hadn’t turned his attention to it” until recently.

Fitzgerald remarked, “It would have been better had Catholic Social Services factored in all relevant issues before we invited Cathy.”

To learn more about the homosexual agenda, watch “Mic’d Up—Homofascism: Taking No Prisoners!

Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com  Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli

Read the source & comments: http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/abp.-hart-muzzles-pro-gay-speaker

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Here-under are some articles about family and marriage for you to read or watch: 

  1. Getting to know you, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=284
  2. Be Positive, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=288
  3. Love and Marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=292
  4. Endless Love – Marriage after all, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=294
  5. Say it with love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=298
  6. Quality family moments, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=300
  7. Secret of successful marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=302
  8. The vocation of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1968
  9. Marriage as Covenant, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1974
  10. Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986
  11. Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980
  12. True Meaning of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1972
  13. Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112
  14. Love is a garden, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2116
  15. Three kinds of love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2095

Saint Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in Video Presentation

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Wives, Be Subordinate to Your Husbands? – John Paul II on Ephesians 5:21-33 http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/wives-be-subordinate-to-your-husbands-john-paul-ii-on-ephesians-521-33/

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FBI Homosexuality click below:

FBI (Faith Based Investigation): Homosexuality

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Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia” 

Please click this link to watch the video on Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia”

Michael Voris gives a series of short talks, answering questions coming in response to his talk on homosexuality in Nigeria.

In this talk from Nigeria, Michael Voris speaks about the grave evil presented as good – homosexuality. Catechism of Catholic Church teaches that, “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (CDF, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC: 2357).

The Cost of Abortion & Contraception Deception click below:

The Cost of Abortion and Contraception Deception

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Do Men Have a Duty to Have More than 2.1 Children? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/26/do-men-have-a-duty-to-have-more-than-2-1-children/

Fighting Poverty by Eliminating Children http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/10/fighting-poverty-by-eliminating-children/

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Related Articles/ Videos on Euthanasia click below:

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Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1-4: Where we are & How we got here by Dr. Martin Brenner click below:

Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1-4: Where we are & How we got here?

CIA: The Rockefeller Foundation – Actively Undermining the Catholic Church click below:

CIA: Rockefeller Foundation – Actively Undermining the Catholic Church

We are used to thinking of the Rockefellers as simply a byword for wealth, power and financial success. Perhaps we might think of them as determined businessmen or see them as great philanthropists. But the truth is far different; the Rockefeller Foundation is actively undermining the Catholic Church, and in the process, attempting to erase man’s natural orientation to the eternal.

Global Warming Unmasked click below:

Global Warming Unmasked

Are the environmental movements and groups simply devoted to laudable, correct stewardship of God’s creation, or do they have a more sinister, hidden agenda? Is “global warming” being used as an excuse for something far darker? Is the final goal of the liberal elites behind the push of junk science population control, eugenics and Gaia worship?

Mic’d Up “Is Contraception Killing the Church?” click below:

Mic’d Up: Is Contraception Killing the Church?

This week on Mic’d Up we’ll be tackling the terrible scourge of Contraception on the Church. Michael Hichborn and Rey Flores from American Life League will join us to expose Catholic Relief Services complicity with Organizations who support contraception and to Discuss The Pill Kills Day of Action 2014. Also joining us will be Lynn Mills who will be discussing the continued prayer rally at Providence Park Hospital in the Archdiocese of Detroit because of their complicity in abortion, contraception and sterilization. Following that same thread we’ll break down the announcement from Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron concerning the crisis of parish closings facing Detroit. Also dropping by will be author James Kalb, to discuss the plague of pluralism on the Church’s Hierarchy.

THE DOWNLOAD—‘DECLARATION ON THE WAY,’ A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT: Bad ecumenism gets much worse, thanks to the USCCB

THE DOWNLOAD—‘DECLARATION ON THE WAY,’ A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT: Bad ecumenism gets much worse, thanks to the USCCB

The Download—‘Declaration on the Way,’ a National Embarrassment

by Peter O’Dwyer  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2016

Bad ecumenism gets much worse, thanks to the USCCB

There have been many blunders on the part of the ecumenical movement, but the new document issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops titled “The Declaration on the Way” sets a new standard in heterodoxy, vagueness, and false ecumenism. It was created by a task force led in part by Bp. Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore, Maryland. The document is exceptional in that while most bad texts are simply ambiguous, “Declaration on the Way” contains multiple statements that are outright wrong. One wonders whether the authors deliberately intend for Lutherans to be able to receive Catholic Holy Communion in time for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt.

Ostensibly a summary of the “progress” made over the last 50 years with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Declaration nevertheless sloppily picks and chooses statements from other Lutheran communities, some from countries as remote as Finland. Like other protestant communities, there is no unity among Lutherans, so the frequent citations of documents released by different Lutheran churches undermines its credibility even as an accurate report of what Lutherans believe.

Like most bad ecumenical documents, the “Declaration on the Way” treats the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Lutherans as if they are equal, and the Catholic Church’s rightful claim as the One true Faith as an obstacle to be overcome. In fact, it refers to both the Lutherans and the Catholics as “ecclesial communities,” even though the Catholic Church is the only Church established by Our Lord, outside of which there is no salvation. All other religions are “ecclesial communities.” She alone is the Church.

The meat of the document is its points of “unity.” Most of these points require massive equivocation, or the misuse of the Church’s language. The Declaration discusses Catholic and Lutheran views on the Church and the Eucharist, even though both have a distinct and mutually exclusive understanding of what the Church or the Eucharist is. While the Catholic Church correctly understands the Eucharist and has the power to convert the bread and wine into the Flesh and Blood of Christ, the Lutherans are wrong, and despite what they may believe, receive merely bread and wine during their communion.

The points of disunity are shoved to the back, where they are hastily summarized into a mere paragraph each, followed by pages and pages of apologies for each point.

The “Declaration on the Way” is a giant step backwards for ecumenism. By pretending divisions essentially don’t exist and diluting the teachings of the Church for false unity, it inhibits the ability of the Church to point out Protestant errors and invite Lutherans to come to the fullness of the Faith, and thereby find salvation and eternal happiness. The U.S. bishops do souls no favors by their latest statement.

Read the source & comments: http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/the-download-declaration-on-the-way-a-national-embarrassment

Peter O’Dwyer is a staff writer and associate producer for ChurchMilitant.com

A ONCE-IN-A-THOUSAND-YEARS MEETING: Pope Francis meets head of Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill today in Cuba

A ONCE-IN-A-THOUSAND-YEARS MEETING: Pope Francis meets head of Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill today in Cuba

A Once-in-a-Thousand-Years Meeting

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2016

HAVANA (ChurchMilitant.com) – Pope Francis made history today in Cuba as the first pope in a thousand years to meet with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in the person of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

Their two-hour encounter began with the traditional triple kiss on the cheek and was capped with the signing of a joint declaration urging Europe to “maintain its faithfulness to its Christian roots” and calling for peace in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine.

Their discussion focused on the Ukraine crisis, birth rates, euthanasia and so-called same-sex marriage.

The Russian Orthodox Church boasts of 150 million believers and was severed from the Catholic Church in 1054 as a result of what’s called the “Eastern Schism,” involving the separation from Rome of Eastern Catholics centered in Constantinople over mostly political issues.

Vatican’s Nuncio to Russia and Uzbekistan, Abp. Ivan Jurkovič, believes the meeting has great “symbolic consequences,” calling the visit “a good start” and a “symbol” of a new beginning.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com  Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli

Francis and Kirill, Together at Last

After a millennium of divisions, the Pope and Patriarch are together in Cuba

francesco e kirill foto esteri cuba

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church are spending some two hours together in a meeting today at Havana’s airport.

The Pope is on the way to Mexico and the Patriarch is visiting Orthodox Churches in Latin America.

The meeting of these two leaders has been in negotiations since the Second Vatican Council, and particularly under the leadership of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and now Francis.

Pope Francis had stated that he was willing to meet the Patriarch anytime and anywhere.

The Patriarch’s official for external Church relations has said that the meeting is taking place now because of the genocide of Christians in Africa and the Middle East, a tragedy that overshadows ongoing tensions between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

At 4:30 local time in Cuba, they are set to jointly release a common declaration.

The Pope has asked all Christian faithful to have the meeting in prayer.

Joint Declaration From Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.29.29 PM

Joint Declaration
of Pope Francis
and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2Jn12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.

2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.

3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf.1Pet3:15).

4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.

5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn17:21).

6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!

7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.

8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.

9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.

10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.
We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.

11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.
We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1Pet4:12–13).

13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1Cor14:33).

14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.

15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom. It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.

16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.

18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1Cor1:27–29).

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf.Gen4:10).
The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.

We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.

23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt5:14,16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1Cor6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.

24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation” (Rm15:20).

25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.

27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.

28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.

29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk12:32)!
Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1Pet2:10).

30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Francis
Bishop of Rome
Pope of the Catholic Church
Kirill
Patriarch of Moscow
and all Russia

12 February 2016, Havana (Cuba)

[Original text: Italian – Russian]

Quick Summary of Common Declaration Signed by Pope and Patriarch

30 Paragraphs that cover a variety of themes

francesco e kirill foto esteri cuba

Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Pope Francis joyously signed a common declaration today in Havana, following a 2.5 hour meeting between the two.

The 30-paragraph statement covers a variety of themes.

Here is a quick summary:

Paragraphs 1-3: Notes on their meeting, for which they give thanks and point out that meeting in Cuba, in the New World has had special significance

Paragraphs 4-7: A consideration of Orthodox and Catholic history — a millennium united and a millennium in division, a division that is due to “human weakness and of sin” and despite Christ’s prayer “that they may be one.” A pledge to unite efforts to overcome the divergences

Paragraphs 8-12: Reflections on the sufferings being endured by Christians and others in the Middle East and Africa, and affirmation that the martyrs of our day are “a pledge of the unity of Christians”

Paragraphs 13: Affirmation of the importance of interreligious dialogue and declaration that no crime can be committed in God’s name

Paragraphs 14-16: Notes on increasing threats to religious freedom, and a call to Europe to remember its Christian roots

Paragraphs 17-18: A word about those who suffer injustice: the poor, migrants and refugees

Paragraphs 19-21: A defense of family and marriage, and the inalienable right to life

Paragraphs 22-23: An appeal to youth

Paragraphs 24-27: A note on various tensions between Orthodox and Catholics, including the ideas of proselytism and evangelization, and mention of the problem of “uniatism,” and the conflict in Ukraine

Paragraph 28: Acknowledgment that the world needs a united witness: “Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.”

Paragraphs 29-30: Affirmation of hope in Christ and a prayer that Our Lady will “inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/joint-declaration-from-pope-francis-and-patriarch-kirill/

Pope’s Brief Words After Signing Common Declaration With Kirill

“I confess to you that I have felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue”

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After meeting for about two and a half hours this afternoon in Havana, Cuba, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis signed a common declaration.

Once both had signed the documents in Russian and Italian, the Pope and Patriarch again exchanged a kiss of peace.

The two then briefly addressed members of their delegations and members of the press.

Here is a ZENIT transcription and translation of the Pope’s words, which were given in Spanish:

__

Your Holiness, Eminences,

We have spoken as brothers. We have the same baptism. We are bishops. We have spoken of our Churches. We agree that unity is made in the process of walking forward. We have spoken clearly, without mincing words. I confess to you that I have felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue.

I am grateful for the humility of Your Holiness, fraternal humility, and your good desires for unity.

We have come up with a series of initiatives which I believe are viable and that can be carried out. Because of this, I want to thank Your Holiness again, for your benevolent welcome, as well as the collaborators [<indiscernible words>], His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Eminence Cardinal Koch with all of the members of their teams that have worked for this.

I don’t want to go without giving a heartfelt thank you to Cuba, to the great Cuban people, and to their president here present, Raul Castro. I thank you for your active availability. If it continues like this, Cuba will be the capital of unity.

And may all of this be for the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and for the good of the holy People faithful to God under the mantle of the holy Mother of God.

MIC’D UP—THE DECIMATION OF RELIGIOUS LIFE – In another 50 years, nothing may be left

MIC’D UP—THE DECIMATION OF RELIGIOUS LIFE – In another 50 years, nothing may be left

Mic’d Up—The Decimation of Religious Life

by Peter O’Dwyer  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2016

In another 50 years, nothing may be left

The loss of priestly and religious vocations in the United States over the past 50 years has been catastrophic. The seminaries have been decimated, and the monasteries and convents are now largely empty. In some categories, the drop-off has been as high 90 percent — virtual annihilation.

In 1965, there were almost 60,000 priests total. Now there are fewer than 40,000, despite the U.S. population growing by more than a third. Parishes have been hit hard by the priest shortage, those without a resident pastor skyrocketing to 3,500 in 2014 — in sharp contrast to 1965, when there were barely 600 parishes without a pastor. In 2014, there were a further 388 parishes where pastoral care was provided by a layperson or deacon, but in 1965 this was unheard of. The number of priests per parish has dropped by half.

 

The percentage of priests in active ministry has also dropped from almost 100 percent to roughly 70 percent.

The years have not been kind to religious orders, either. From almost 200,000 sisters in 1965, this number has imploded to fewer than 50,000. The number of male religious suffered an almost equally proportionate fall: from 12,000 in 1965 to just over 4,000 in 2014 — all of this occurring as the United States population grew from roughly 200 million to well over 300 million.

There have been concrete consequences connected to the drop in priests and religious. Diocesan schools have suffered losses, with Catholic primary schools dropping by almost 50 percent. From 10,667 in 1965, there are now only 5,368. There were 4.4 million students in Catholic elementary schools in 1965, but in 2014 there were fewer than 1.4 million.

Why the heavy losses? There are many reasons. Lack of Catechesis and preaching has eliminated a sense of urgency for vocations. Those screening candidates for seminary arbitrarily booted orthodox aspirants. And with religious orders abandoning their timeless charisms to pursue novelties, they quickly became dated and unappealing to the young.

Until the religious orders discover their original charisms and proper catechesis is restored, in another 50 years there may be no Catholic Church in the United States to speak of.

For more information, visit the website for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Read the source & comments: http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/micd-up-the-decimation-of-religious-life

Peter O’Dwyer is a staff writer and associate producer for ChurchMilitant.com