Saturday, June 12, 2010

Catholics believe that Saint John Vianney, the holy Curè of Ars, is "the model of priestly ministry in our world"

Dear Brothers in the Priestly Ministry,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Year for Priests which we have celebrated on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the holy Curè of Ars, the model of priestly ministry in our world, is now coming to an end. We have let the Curé of Ars guide us to a renewed appreciation of the grandeur and beauty of the priestly ministry.

The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation – words which make Christ himself present, the Risen One, his Body and Blood – words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him.

The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”. That God thinks that we are capable of this; that in this way he calls men to his service and thus from within binds himself to them: this is what we wanted to reflect upon and appreciate anew over the course of the past year.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Catholics believe that "the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church"

"... there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice. In a word, we need to relearn precisely this essential: conversion, prayer, penance and the theological virtues. This is our response, we are realists in expecting that evil always attacks, attacks from within and without, yet that the forces of good are also ever present and that, in the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the visible, motherly guarantee of God’s goodness, which is always the last word in history."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Catholics believe that "penance is a grace"

"Christ, the Savior, has given Israel conversion and forgiveness of sins (v. 31) - in the Greek text the term is metanoia - he has given penance and forgiveness of sins.

"This for me is a very important observation: penance is a grace. There is a tendency in exegesis that says: Jesus in Galilee had announced a grace without condition, absolutely unconditional, therefore also without penance, grace as such, without human preconditions. But this is a false interpretation of grace.

"Penance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin, it is a grace that we know we need renewal, change, a transformation of our being. Penance, being able to do penance, is the gift of grace. And I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word penance, it has seemed too harsh to us. Now, under the attacks of the world that speak to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is grace. And we see that it is necessary to do penance, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our life, open ourselves to forgiveness, prepare ourselves for forgiveness, allow ourselves to be transformed.

"The suffering of penance, of purification, of transformation, this suffering is grace, because it is renewal, it is the work of divine mercy. And so these two things that Saint Peter says - penance and forgiveness - correspond to the beginning of the preaching of Jesus: metanoeite, which means be converted (cf. Mk. 1:15). So this is the fundamental point: metanoia is not a private thing, which would seem to be replaced by grace, but metanoia is the arrival of the grace that transforms us."

Full text at "For This Pope, All Is Grace, Even 'The World's Attacks on Our Sins' "

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Catholics believe that Church canonical norms on sexual abuse "did not seek, and have not favoured, any kind of cover-up of such crimes"

"Furthermore, an important and wide-ranging interview given by Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gives a detailed explanation of the significance of the specific canonical norms established by the Church over the years to judge the heinous crimes of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. It is absolutely clear that these norms did not seek, and have not favoured, any kind of cover-up of such crimes; quite the contrary, they initiated intense activities to confront, judge and adequately punish the crimes in the context of ecclesiastical legislation. And it must be remembered that all this was planned and set in motion when Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation. The line he followed was always one of rigour and coherence in dealing with even the most difficult situations.

From Vatican Information Service: an important and wide-ranging interview given by Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gives a detailed explanation of the significance of the specific canonical norms established by the Church over the years to judge the heinous crimes of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy.

Photo: Pope Benedict with Cardinal Brady. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Catholics believe that "the main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; to form students in Catholic faith, Catholic morality"

"Catholic schools began in this country in the early 19th century. Catholics started them as an alternative to the public schools of the day, which taught a curriculum often hostile to Catholic belief. In many ways times have changed, but the mission of Catholic schools has not. The main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; in other words, to form students in Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic social values. We take great pride in the academic excellence of our schools as well. The reason is simple. A strong, well-rounded academic education helps to create mature citizens who contribute to the wider community. It’s also true that some of our schools exist as a service outreach in largely non-Catholic communities. Many of our schools also accept students of other faiths and no faith, and from single parent and divorced parent families. These students are always welcome so long as their parents support the Catholic mission of the school and do not offer a serious counter-witness to that mission in their actions." -- Archbishop Chaput in his recent column.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Catholics believe that "in normal conditions to ignore the liturgical directives can be interpreted as a lack of respect towards the Eucharist"

Every priest who offers the holy Sacrifice should recall that during this Sacrifice it is not only he with his community that is praying but the whole Church, which is thus expressing in this sacrament her spiritual unity, among other ways by the use of the approved liturgical text. To call this position "mere insistence on uniformity" would only show ignorance of the objective requirements of authentic unity, and would be a symptom of harmful individualism.

This subordination of the minister, of the celebrant, to the mysterium which has been entrusted to him by the Church for the good of the whole People of God, should also find expression in the observance of the liturgical requirements concerning the celebration of the holy Sacrifice. These refer, for example, to dress, in particular to the vestments worn by the celebrant. Circumstances have of course existed and continue to exist in which the prescriptions do not oblige. We have been greatly moved when reading books written by priests who had been prisoners in extermination camps, with descriptions of Eucharistic Celebrations without the above- mentioned rules, that is to say, without an altar and without vestments. But although in those conditions this was a proof of heroism and deserved profound admiration, nevertheless in normal conditions to ignore the liturgical directives can be interpreted as a lack of respect towards the Eucharist, dictated perhaps by individualism or by an absence of a critical sense concerning current opinions, or by a certain lack of a spirit of faith.

Upon all of us who, through the grace of God, are ministers of the Eucharist, there weighs a particular responsibility for the ideas and attitudes of our brothers and sisters who have been entrusted to our pastoral care. It is our vocation to nurture, above all by personal example, every healthy manifestation of worship towards Christ present and operative in that sacrament of love. May God preserve us from acting otherwise and weakening that worship by "becoming unaccustomed" to various manifestations and forms of eucharistic worship which express a perhaps "traditional" but healthy piety
, and which express above all that "sense of the faith" possessed by the whole People of God, as the Second Vatican Council recalled.

As I bring these considerations to an end, I would like to ask forgiveness-in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear brothers in the episcopate-for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience or negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due to this great sacrament. And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people.

John Paul II

Dominicae Cenae

February 24, 1980

-- With grateful thanks to Rorate Caeli

Friday, February 19, 2010

Catholics believe that sacred Liturgy should use every means to reflect and proclaim the holiness of God

The Benedictine arrangement which allows the priest and people to face and worship the Lord together in particular during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Photo depicts the new Abbot's Installation at Clear Creek Abbey, February 11, 2010. For more about the monks and their way of life visit their web site by clicking here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Catholics believe that 'New Ways Ministry' is not Catholic

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I, archbishop of Chicago and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the status of the organization "New Ways Ministry":

New Ways Ministry is an organization based in Mount Rainier, Maryland, that describes itself as "a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities." From the time of the organization's founding in 1977, serious questions have been raised about the group’s adherence to Church teaching on homosexuality. In 1984, the archbishop of Washington denied New Ways Ministry any official authorization or approval of its activities. At that time, he forbade the two co-founders of New Ways Ministry, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Fr. Robert Nugent, to continue their activities in the Archdiocese of Washington. In the same year, Sr. Gramick and Fr. Nugent were ordered by their superiors to separate themselves from New Ways Ministry. Although they resigned from leadership posts, they continued their involvement in New Ways Ministry activities until 1999, when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that because of errors and ambiguities in the approach of Sr. Gramick and Fr. Nugent they are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons.

In reference to his decision not to grant any approval or authorization to New Ways Ministry in the 1980s, Archbishop James Hickey of Washington cited the organization's lack of adherence to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts. This was the central issue in the subsequent investigation and censure of the founders of New Ways Ministry, Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent. This continues to be the crucial defect in the approach of New Ways Ministry, which has not changed its position after the departure of the cofounders.

New Ways Ministry has recently criticized efforts by the Church to defend the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and has urged Catholics to support electoral initiatives to establish same-sex "marriage." No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Catholics believe continuity is "the only authoritative criterion" for interpreting the life of the Church and the liturgy

"Continuity, a word very dear to our present Holy Father. He has made it the only authoritative criterion whereby one can correctly interpret the life of the Church, and more specifically, the conciliar documents, including all the proposed reforms contained in them.

How could it be any different? Can one truly speak of a Church of the past and a Church of the future as if some historical break in the body of the Church had occurred?

Could anyone say that the Bride of Christ had lived without the assistance of the Holy Spirit in a particular period of the past, so that its memory should be erased, purposefully forgotten?"

-- Msgr. Guido Marini,
Vatican City, January 6, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Catholics believe that "the message of Jesus is intended for all"

"10Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him this man standeth here before you whole.

" 11This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner.

"12Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."

-- Acts, Chapter 4

Quote in blog post title by Archbishop Timothy Dolan in recent comments on Catholic Radio.

In photo: New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan kneels in prayer during a visit to Ground Zero in lower Manhattan April 24, 2009 in New York City. Dolan, recently installed by the Vatican as archbishop for the New York metropolitan area, says he felt "overwhelming sadness" at the site of the worst terrorist attack in the nation's history. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010


WASHINGTON—The Senate health reform bill should not move forward in its current form, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City said December 19, as senators proceeded closer to a vote. Cardinal DiNardo chairs the bishops' Committee on Pro-life Activities. Bishop Murphy chairs the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Wester chairs the bishops' Committee on Migration.

For more, visit A Priest Life.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Catholics believe that "what tradition hands down frequently has a practical origin beyond merely the visually impressive"

"... what tradition hands down frequently has a practical origin beyond merely the visually impressive spectacle that to sceptical modern eyes it had appeared to have become."

-- Dominic Scarborough, a regular commentator in the press and internet on Catholic affairs, on the use of the sedia gestatoria. His company, Proteus Risk, advises companies on security issues. For more on this, visit A Priest Life.

CNS file photo: John Paul I was the last pope to be carried aloft by the sediari, or chairbearers.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Catholics believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary is "Mother of God"

Mary is truly "Mother of God" since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.
-- CCC 509