Archive for November, 2013


Reblogged Junjun FAITHBOOK


Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King 2013 Year C


junix28 | November 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm


I was a kid, specifically in my grade school years, the idea of a king
always fascinates me. The type of a king I read in the book or heard
from fairy tale stories always captured my imagination and even made me
aspire to be like one. I pictured a king who has many subjects, who has
many servants, who is living in a Palace, who is sitting in golden
throne holding a golden sceptre, eating the best of food, has plenty of
gold and money, and has everything that he wants including having the
most beautiful woman in his kingdom. I was really fascinated by this.
And to be honest with you, this aspiration had been part of my
motivation to become a priest. Not that I wanted to have the most
beautiful woman there is in the world, but because when I was growing
up, I could see some priests where I come from live like
‘pseudo-kings’ in their own right.  They’ve got their own driver,
full-time secretary, cook all year round, full-time sacristans, even
bell-ringers in some parishes. The priest would only have to say Mass,
or celebrate the sacraments, or visit people or stay in his presbytery
most of the time. It really was an appealing lifestyle for me then. But
for some reasons, or by God’s sense of humour, He called me to be a priest and start living it out in Australia, not in the Philippines.
I don’t have any complains, in fact I love it because no matter where I
am, I’m still a priest. I noticed too that the priest in Australia is
his own presbytery, because he is the only one there all the time
anyway. But what I love being a priest here to start with my priestly
ministry is that it keeps me grounded, it keeps my feet on the ground,
it keeps me on the same level with the people, people generally look at
me as a friend or a potential friend rather than a ‘priest’ up in the
pedestal, it keeps me in touch with my humanity all the time. I had to
do my own laundry at times, iron my clothes, cook my own food, drive my
own car, or sometimes walk, as I go about with my priestly duties  and
visit people. But by doing all these, I come to realize that I can never
become a king, because by being a Christian and priest at that, I am
committing myself to only have one King in my life- not myself, but Christ– the King of the Universe.


This is one
reason why we celebrate today this Solemnity of Christ the King. We
celebrate this because we renew our commitment to Christ as the centre
of our life, as occupying the prominent place in our hearts. Though this
feast is instituted by Pope Pius XI
in 1925 to counteract the growing secularism and atheism, it is still
very relevant in our day and age, in fact, we need this more than ever.
This serves as reminder for us, that in our Christian life,
our hearts must not be solely-focused on ourselves or on our selfish
interests but on Christ, who has come to save us from eternal death. But
the good thing about having Christ as the centre of our lives is that
we get a share of his kingship- the kingship that is characterized by
love, by service and by sacrifice.  In Christ, we all have the potential
to be kings if we do follow him serve the poor and needy, listen to the
cry of the poor, tend the wounds of the vulnerable,  to serve and not
to be served.


So how is Christ as our King?


Christ Mormon

Christ Mormon (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)


The Kingship of Christ is really strange in the eyes of the world. Francis Moloney, A Scripture Scholar, and a Salesian priest, has this to say about our solemnity today: “The Strangeness of Christianity is most obvious in the  liturgical celebration of its King. Instead of a celebration of some glorious enthronement, we read about a man on a cross.” Flor McCarthy another Salesian priest and preached would also add: “Here surely was the strangest of all. He (Jesus Christ) was not out to conquer but to convert. He was not out to rule but to serve. He was not out to hoard possessions but to give them away. He devoted all his love, all his time, all his energy to seeking out the sick, the poor, the lost and the lonely. At the end he even gave his life away for those he loved, and he loved everybody.”


We who call ourselves Christians, i.e. followers of Christ, how can we imitate the ways of our King?


Certainly, we can find many ways to follow Christ our King in the gospels. Yet, we need to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be given unto us.’
It means that we strive to develop in us the seed of the Kingdom that
God has given us- the seed that when grows become the kingdom of truth
and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love
and peace.’ [preface for Christ the King]


It’s quite a
challenge because it is a lifetime task. If we are serious in our
following of Jesus, let us imitate him even in his being a King- a shepherd king who searches out the lost (First Reading), a saviour king who is willing to take on death for his subjects to live (Second Reading), and  a servant king
who is willing to take on everything including mockery and jeers from
the people who are opposed to us, just to obey and do the will of the
Father (Gospel) not as a one-off task but a daily commitment and must permeate in all that we do and in all that we are.


The other
thing we can do is to make it our goal in life to live in the kingdom of
God, to make this our desire to be part of the ‘establishment committee’ of the kingdom of God, so to speak. This is a big call, and it is a quite difficult challenge to take because according to Pat O’Sullivan, the Spiritual director in Corpus Christi Seminary Melbourne, “most
people in our world do not want to live in the Kingdom. Most people
don’t want God to reign in their hearts and in their world…most people
don’t want a Kingdom where there is no distinction between rich and
poor, where status symbols are a non-event, where power and authority
are opportunities to serve.


One other
way is to learn from the faith of the ‘good thief’ in our gospel today.
He expressed his faith in Jesus in three ways: First, he humbled himself before Jesus; second, he acknowledges his sinfulness; third, he stood up for Jesus despite the mockery, of those near the cross including the other thief crucified with them [‘Have
you no fear of God at all? You got the same sentence as he did, but in
our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has
done nothing wrong.
’ And because of this amazing gesture and
expressions of faith even in the brink of death, the ‘good thief’
received the greatest vindication he could receive. Because of his faith
in Jesus, he has encountered him and this encounter is so real for him,
so intimate and so personal that he (and none other in the gospel had done or said before) could address Jesus by name: ‘Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.’ And we heard the most beautiful word of Jesus that we in the  end of our life should hear too: ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’


So as we continue our celebration of the mass today, let us ask ourselves:


How are we as a people of faith?


Are we willing to stand up for it no matter what it takes, or what it cost us?


Are we willing to follow Christ our King, even if it leads us to the foot of the Cross?


Christus regnat, Christus Vincit, Christus Imperat!


May Christ the King reign in our hearts!







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2013-11-11 16:05:05


The Pope
highlighted the difference between being a
sinner and being corrupt

YoutubeNovember 11, 2013. (Romereports.com) During his daily morning Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis talked about Christians who lead a double life. While sinners must be forgiven, the Pope highlighted the difference between being a sinner and being corrupt. Those who don’t truly repent are damaging the Church.

Pope Francis met with media

         Pope Francis met with media        (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))


should all call ourselves sinners. Yes, here all of us here are
sinners. But we are not corrupt. The corrupt remain in a state of
self-sufficiency and don’t understand humility. Jesus, called them out.
He said: they appear beautiful, from the outside, but just like
whitewashed tombs, inside they are full of dead bones and putrefaction.”
He then added that while the sinner repents and asks for forgiveness, the corrupt person does not. It’s these type of people said the Pope, that cause the most harm to the Church.
Source: Vatican Radio 
who don’t truly repent and only pretend to be Christian are damaging
the Church. These were the words of Pope Francis at Mass on Monday
morning in the Vatican’s Santa Marta.
Pope Francis focused his
homily on the Lord’s exhortation to forgive our brothers and sisters who
have sinned. Jesus, he said, never tired of forgiving, and neither
should we. As the Gospel says, if our brother wrongs us seven times in
one day, and repents every time, we should forgive him.
However, Pope Francis
warned, there is difference between being a sinner and being corrupt.
Those who sin and repent, who ask for forgiveness, are humble before the
Lord. But those who continue to sin, while pretending to be Christian,
lead a double life, they are corrupt. 
Christian who is a benefactor, Pope Francis said, who gives to the
Church with one hand, but steals with the other hand from the country,
from the poor, is unjust. And Jesus says: “It would be better for him if
a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea”.
This is because, the Pope explained, that person is deceitful, and
“where there is deceit, the Spirit of God cannot be”.
“We should all call
ourselves sinners”, Pope Francis said, but those who are corrupt do not
understand humility.
Jesus called them whitewashed tombs: they appear
beautiful, from the outside, but inside they are full of dead bones and
putrefaction. And a Christian who boasts about being Christian, but does
not lead a Christian life, is corrupt.
We all know such people,
Pope Francis said, and they damage the Church because they don’t live in
the spirit of the Gospel, but in the spirit of worldliness. St Paul in
his letter to the Romans clearly urges them not to enter into the
framework, into the mentality of worldliness, because it leads to this
double life.
The corrupt life is a
“varnished putrefaction”, Pope Francis said. Jesus did not say that
those who are corrupt are sinners, but he said they’re hypocrites.
us ask the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis concluded, for the grace to admit
that we are sinners, but not corrupt.

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An image of a handshake superimposed upon a Gr...

A handshake superimposed upon a Greek cross.  Wikipedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Courtesy :  CatholicCulture.org

Publisher & Date:Vatican, November 5, 2013

I.Synod: Family and Evangelization


The mission of preaching the Gospel to all creation, entrusted directly
by the Lord to his disciples, has continued in the Church throughout
history. The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world,
is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission
concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the
ecclesial community. Never before has proclaiming the Gospel on the
Family in this context been more urgent and necessary. The importance of
the subject is reflected in the fact that the Holy Father has decided
to call for a Synod of Bishops, which is to have a two-staged itinerary:
firstly, an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2014, intended to define
the “status quaestionis” and to collect the bishops’
experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the
Family in a credible manner; and secondly, an Ordinary General Assembly
in 2015 to seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person
and the family.


Concerns which were unheard of until a few years
ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the
widespread practice of cohabitation, which does not lead to marriage,
and sometimes even excludes the idea of it, to same-sex unions between
persons, who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children. The
many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care
include: mixed or inter-religious marriages; the single-parent family;
polygamy; marriages with the consequent problem of a dowry, sometimes
understood as the purchase price of the woman; the caste system; a
culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can
be temporary; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migration and the
reformulation of the very concept of the family; relativist pluralism
in the conception of marriage; the influence of the media on popular
culture in its understanding of marriage and family life; underlying
trends of thought in legislative proposals which devalue the idea of
permanence and faithfulness in the marriage covenant; an increase in the
practice of surrogate motherhood (wombs for hire); and new
interpretations of what is considered a human right. Within the Church,
faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the
Sacrament of Penance show signs of weakness or total abandonment.


Consequently, we can well understand the urgency with which the worldwide episcopate is called upon to gather cum et sub Petro
to address these challenges. For example, by simply calling to mind the
fact that, as a result of the current situation, many children and
young people will never see their parents receive the sacraments, then
we understand just how urgent are the challenges to evangelization
arising from the current situation, which can be seen in almost every
part of the “global village”. Corresponding in a particular manner to
this reality today is the wide acceptance of the teaching on divine
mercy and concern towards people who suffer on the periphery of
societies, globally and in existential situations. Consequently, vast
expectations exist concerning the decisions which are to be made
pastorally regarding the family. A reflection on these issues by the
Synod of Bishops, in addition to it being much needed and urgent, is a
dutiful expression of charity towards those entrusted to the Bishops’
care and the entire human family.


II. The Church and the Gospel on the Family


The good news of divine love is to be proclaimed to all those
personally living this basic human experience of couples and of a
communion open to the gift of children, which is the family community.
The teachings of the faith on marriage is to be presented in an
articulate and efficacious manner, so that it might reach hearts and
transform them in accordance with God’s will, made manifest in Jesus


The citation of biblical sources on marriage and family
in this document are essential references only. The same is true for
documentation from the Magisterium which is limited to that of a
universal character, including some texts from the Pontifical Council
for the Family
. It will be left to the bishop-participants at the synod
to cite documents from their own episcopal assemblies.


In every
age, and in the many different cultures, the teaching of the Pastors has
been clear nor has there been lacking the concrete testimony of
believers – men and women – in very diverse circumstances who have lived
the Gospel of the family as an inestimable gift for their life and
their children. The commitment for the next Extraordinary Synod is
inspired and sustained by the desire to communicate this message with
greater incisiveness, in the hope that “the treasure of revelation,
entrusted to the Church, more and more fill the hearts of each person” (DV, 26).


The Plan of God, Creator and Redeemer


beauty of the biblical message on the family has its roots in the
creation of man and woman, both made in the image and likeness of God
(cf. Gen 1:24-31; 2:4-25). Bound together by an indissoluble
sacramental bond, those who are married experience the beauty of love,
fatherhood, motherhood, and the supreme dignity of participating in this
way in the creative work of God.


In the gift of the fruit of
their union, they assume the responsibility of raising and educating
other persons for the future of humankind. Through procreation, man and
woman fulfill in faith the vocation of being God’s collaborators in the
protection of creation and the growth of the human family.


Blessed Pope John Paul II commented on this aspect in Familiaris consortio: “God created man in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26, 27): calling him to existence through love, he called him at the same time for love. God is love (cf. 1 Jn
4:8) and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion.
Creating the human race in his own image and continually keeping it in
being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and
thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion (Gaudium et spes, 12). Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (FC, 11).


The plan of God the creator, which was disrupted by original sin (cf. Gen
3:1-24), has revealed itself throughout history in the events of the
chosen people up to the fullness of time, when, with the incarnation of
the Son of God, not only was the divine will for salvation confirmed,
but also the redemption offering the grace to follow this same will.


The Son of God, the Word made flesh (cf. Jn
1:14) in the womb of the Virgin Mother, lived and grew up in the family
of Nazareth and participated at the wedding at Cana, where he added
importance to the festivities with the first of his “signs” (cf. Jn 2:1-11). In joy, he welcomed his reception in the families of his disciples (cf. Mk 1:29-31; 2:13-17) and consoled the bereaved family of his friends in Bethany (cf. Lk 10:38- 42; Jn 11:1-44 ).


Jesus Christ restored the beauty of matrimony, proposing once again the
one plan of God which was abandoned because of the hardness of the
human heart, even within the tradition of the people of Israel (cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mk 10:1-12; Lk
16:18). Returning to the beginning, Jesus taught the unity and
faithfulness of the husband and wife, refuting the practice of
repudiation and adultery.


Precisely through the extraordinary beauty of human love – already celebrated in a heightened manner inspired by the Song of Songs, and the bond of marriage called for and defended by the prophets like Hosea (cf. Hosea 1:2, 3.3) and Malachi (cf. Mal 2:13-16) – , Jesus affirmed the original dignity of the married love of man and woman.


The Church’s Teaching on the Family


Even in the early Christian community the family appeared as the “domestic church” (cf. CCC,
1655): In the so-called “family canons” of the Apostolic letters of the
New Testament, the great family of the ancient world is identified as
the place of a profound solidarity between husbands and wives, between
parents and children, and between the wealthy and the poor (cf. Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1; 1 Tim 2:8-15; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Pt 2:13-3:7; cf. also the Letter to Philemon).
In particular, the Letter to the Ephesians recognized the nuptial love
between man and woman as “the great mystery”, making present in the
world the love of Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32 ).


Over the centuries, especially in modern times to the present, the
Church has not failed to continually teach and develop her doctrine on
the family and marriage which founded her. One of its highest
expressions has been proposed by the Second Vatican Council in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes,
which, in treating certain pressing problems, dedicated an entire
chapter to the promotion of the dignity of marriage and the family, as
seen in the description of their value for the constitution of society:
“the family, in which the various generations come together and help one
another grow wiser and harmonize personal rights with the other
requirements of social life, is the very foundation of society” (GS,
52). Particularly striking is its appeal for a Christ-centered
spirituality in the spouses’ life of faith: “Let the spouses themselves,
made to the image of the living God and enjoying the authentic dignity
of persons, be joined to one another in equal affection, harmony of mind
and the work of mutual sanctification. Thus, following Christ who is
the principle of life, by the sacrifices and joys of their vocation and
through their faithful love, married people can become witnesses of the
mystery of love which the Lord revealed to the world by his dying and
his rising up to life again”(GS, 52 ).


After the Second Vatican Council, the successors of St. Peter enriched this teaching on marriage and the family, especially Pope Paul VI with the Enyclical Humanae vitae, which offers specific principles and guidelines. Subsequently, in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, Pope John Paul II
insisted on proposing the divine plan in the basic truths of married
love and the family: “The only ‘place’ in which this self-giving in its
whole truth is made possible is marriage, the covenant of conjugal love
freely and consciously chosen, whereby man and woman accept the intimate
community of life and love willed by God himself (cf. Gaudium et spes,
48) which only in this light manifests its true meaning. The
institution of marriage is not an undue interference by society or
authority, nor the extrinsic imposition of a form. Rather it is an
interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly
affirmed as unique and exclusive, in order to live in complete fidelity
to the plan of God, the Creator. A person’s freedom, far from being
restricted by this fidelity, is secured against every form of
subjectivism or relativism and is made a sharer in creative Wisdom” (FC, 11).


The Catechism of the Catholic Church
gathers together the fundamental aspects of this teaching: “The
marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an
intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with
its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to
the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of
children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the
dignity of a sacrament [cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Gaudium et spes, 48; Code of Canon Law, 1055, 1]”(CCC 1660).


The doctrine presented in the Catechism touches on both theological principles and moral behaviours, developed under two separate headings: The Sacrament of Matrimony (nos. 1601-1658) and The Sixth Commandment
(nos. 2331-2391). An attentive reading of these sections of the
Catechism provides an updated understanding of the doctrine of faith,
which supports the Church’s work in the face of modern-day challenges.
The Church’s pastoral ministry finds inspiration in the truth of
marriage viewed as part of the plan of God, who created man and woman
and, in the fullness of time, revealed in Jesus the completeness of
spousal love elevated to the level of sacrament. Christian marriage
founded on consensus is also endowed with its own effects such as the
goods and duties of the spouses. At the same time, marriage is not
immune from the effects of sin (cf. Gen 3:1-24), which can cause deep
wounds and even abuses to the dignity of the sacrament.


The recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Lumen fidei,
speaks of the family in the context of a reflection on how faith
reveals “just how firm the bonds between people can be when God is
present in their midst” (LF,
50). “The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the
family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman
in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence
of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the
goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh
(cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a
manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan.
Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual
love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many
features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a
plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains
us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love” (LF,
52). “Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which
enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the
vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth
embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than
our every weakness” ( LF, 53).


III. Questions


The following series of questions allows the particular Churches to
participate actively in the preparation of the Extraordinary Synod,
whose purpose is to proclaim the Gospel in the context of the pastoral
challenges facing the family today.


1. The Diffusion of the Teachings on the Family in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Magisterium


a) Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio
and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by
people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s
teaching on family life?


b) In those cases where the Church’s
teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in
putting it into practice? If so, what are they?


c) How widespread
is the Church’s teaching in pastoral programmes at the national,
diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?


) To what extent – and what aspects in particular – is this teaching
actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside
the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full
reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?


2. Marriage according to the Natural Law


What place does the idea of the natural law have in the cultural areas
of society: in institutions, education, academic circles and among the
people at large? What anthropological ideas underlie the discussion on
the natural basis of the family?


b) Is the idea of the natural law in the union between a man and a woman commonly accepted as such by the baptized in general?


How is the theory and practice of natural law in the union between man
and woman challenged in light of the formation of a family? How is it
proposed and developed in civil and Church institutions?


d) In
cases where non-practicing Catholics or declared non-believers request
the celebration of marriage, describe how this pastoral challenge is
dealt with?


3. The Pastoral Care of the Family in Evangelization


What experiences have emerged in recent decades regarding marriage
preparation? What efforts are there to stimulate the task of
evangelization of the couple and of the family? How can an awareness of
the family as the “domestic Church” be promoted?


b) How
successful have you been in proposing a manner of praying within the
family which can withstand life’s complexities and today’s culture?


In the current generational crisis, how have Christian families been
able to fulfill their vocation of transmitting the faith?


d) In
what way have the local Churches and movements on family spirituality
been able to create ways of acting which are exemplary?


e) What
specific contribution can couples and families make to spreading a
credible and holistic idea of the couple and the Christian family today?


f) What pastoral care has the Church provided in supporting couples in formation and couples in crisis situations?


4. Pastoral Care in Certain Difficult Marital Situations


a) Is cohabitation ad experimentum a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage?


b) Do unions which are not recognized either religiously or civilly exist? Are reliable statistics available?


Are separated couples and those divorced and remarried a pastoral
reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage? How
do you deal with this situation in appropriate pastoral programmes?


In all the above cases, how do the baptized live in this irregular
situation? Are they aware of it? Are they simply indifferent? Do they
feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the


e) What questions do divorced and remarried people
pose to the Church concerning the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of
Reconciliation? Among those persons who find themselves in these
situations, how many ask for these sacraments?


f ) Could a
simplification of canonical practice in recognizing a declaration of
nullity of the marriage bond provide a positive contribution to solving
the problems of the persons involved? If yes, what form would it take?


Does a ministry exist to attend to these cases? Describe this pastoral
ministry? Do such programmes exist on the national and diocesan levels?
How is God’s mercy proclaimed to separated couples and those divorced
and remarried and how does the Church put into practice her support for
them in their journey of faith?


5. On Unions of Persons of the Same Sex


a) Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same-sex and equating it in some way to marriage?


What is the attitude of the local and particular Churches towards both
the State as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same
sex and the people involved in this type of union?


c) What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?


In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted
children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the


6. The Education of Children in Irregular Marriages


What is the estimated proportion of children and adolescents in these
cases, as regards children who are born and raised in regularly
constituted families?


b) How do parents in these situations
approach the Church? What do they ask? Do they request the sacraments
only or do they also want catechesis and the general teaching of


c) How do the particular Churches attempt to meet the
needs of the parents of these children to provide them with a Christian


d) What is the sacramental practice in these cases: preparation, administration of the sacrament and the accompaniment?


7. The Openness of the Married Couple to Life


a) What knowledge do Christians have today of the teachings of Humanae vitae
on responsible parenthood? Are they aware of how morally to evaluate
the different methods of family planning? Could any insights be
suggested in this regard pastorally?


b) Is this moral teaching
accepted? What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of
couple’s accepting this teaching?


c) What natural methods are promoted by the particular Churches to help spouses put into practice the teachings of Humanae vitae?


d) What is your experience on this subject in the practice of the Sacrament of Penance and participation at the Eucharist?


e) What differences are seen in this regard between the Church’s teaching and civic education?


f) How can a more open attitude towards having children be fostered? How can an increase in births be promoted?


8. The Relationship Between the Family and the Person


Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How
can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?


b) What critical situations in the family today can obstruct a person’s encounter with Christ?


c) To what extent do the many crises of faith which people can experience affect family life?


9. Other Challenges and Proposals


What other challenges or proposals related to the topics in the above questions do you consider urgent and useful to treat?


© Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013

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Reblog : Jericho Tree

Filed in Catholic  by November 4, 2013




Image of Christ, origin unknown, photo by swang




Millions of Catholics do it every Sunday. In the middle of Mass, we
profess our faith in the Creed. Now, maybe it’s just Brentwood
, but when I look out at my congregation reciting the Creed, I
sense it is being done in a spirit of dutiful resignation and without
much thought being given to the remarkable things we are saying. Maybe
the words have not caught fire in the majority of our lives?




Instead, when we say the Creed we need to realise that we are doing
something extraordinary and counter cultural. In a world where so many
people live atomised existences, we are actually doing something as a
community. In an age that shies away from commitment, those people in
front of me are committing themselves to a set of convictions and to
each other. The Creed is our symbol, the way we recognise each other as
brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a sign of our common membership. It
is our Catholic identity.




Where novelty is the order of the day, we hold fast to words written
by others centuries ago. In a society where social fads and intellectual
fashions shift daily, we claim to have found universal truths that
reveal the meaning and destiny of every man and woman. We stand
together, week after week, and recite them in public. We live together
under these truths, in the hope that our individual “I believe” is taken
up and strengthened by the Church’s “we believe”. In an environment
where so much is disposable, we prefer to live within an ecology of




In the third week of Lent, as part of the RCIA, the catechumens are given a copy of the Creed, with the words:




My dear friends, listen carefully to the words of that
faith by which you will be justified. The words are few, but the
mysteries they contain are great. Receive them with a sincere heart and
be faithful to them.


Powerful words. Maybe we should start to use a form of them as an
introduction to the recitation of the Creed at Mass? Maybe they would
help wake us from the inertia of familiarity? Maybe they would provide
us with a reminder that the origins of the creed are to be found in the
profound, life-changing experience of baptism?


The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It is this that brings us together on a Sunday, that we have been
baptized into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When I look
out at my congregation on a Sunday, the feature that binds us together
is that we – in baptism – have taken on the name of Jesus Christ as our
own, and we are now living in the person of Christ, in persona Christi.
There has been a rupture with one’s old life and our solitariness is
transformed into communion – as we live in genuine relationship with the
community of the faithful. Now, we live by a new name. We call
ourselves Christians and proclaim that fact with pride when we recite
the Creed. The Catechism (Para. 197) puts it like this:




As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was
entrusted to the “standard of teaching” (Romans 6:17), let us embrace
the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to
enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also
with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst
we believe:

The Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart’s meditation and an
ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul.
(St Ambrose)


Is the creed the treasure of our souls? We may be willing to profess
our faith on a Sunday in a safe environment, surrounded by like-minded
people, but would we stand up in our workplaces, before friends and
colleagues, in the roads we live in, in our conversations with
non-believers, and say with confidence, “I believe in one God…Father,
Son and Holy Spirit”? Or would we be afraid that we might be ridiculed,
shunned or even killed as those many Christians who proclaim the Creed
in Syria and Pakistan are today?




The Creed is the story of our redemption and, unlike any other story,
it has a power that bears constant repetition. It’s a story that we
speak together as a community in the face of a society that is either
indifferent or hostile to Christ.




And the more Christians can truly claim and live by the Creed’s
counter cultural perceptions, the more powerfully can our profession of
faith be prophetic in our world – proclaiming God, the Almighty One’s
presence and power within creation, and thereby calling into question
those cultural and intellectual forces that deny God’s presence and




It’s too early to characterise the pontificate of Pope Francis, but
I’d tentatively suggest that there’s a back to basics feel about many of
this Pope’s statements. Creedal Catholics, Pope Francis seems to be
suggesting, are able to offer – to a world desperate for significance
and direction – a unique vision of the world’s origin, meaning and
destiny. In the Creed, we are not just offering the world an alternative
view. We are offering what we believe to be the truth about the world.




So, no more muttering the words of the Creed. No more complacency
when living it. We need to say the words of the Creed with pride and
live it as a public profession of a living community – not for our own
sake, but for our world.




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The Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls)


Collect: Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord,
and, as our faith in your Son, raised from the dead, is deepened, so may
our hope of resurrection for your departed servants also find new
strength. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


 Calendar: Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed

“On this day is observed the commemoration of the faithful departed,
in which our common and pious Mother the Church, immediately after
having endeavored to celebrate by worthy praise all her children who
already rejoice in heaven, strives to aid by her powerful intercession
with Christ, her Lord and Spouse, all those who still groan in
purgatory, so that they may join as soon as possible the inhabitants of
the heavenly city.” — Roman Martyrology

Every priest is
permitted to say three Masses on this day and it would be a good
practice for the laity to attend three Masses and offer them for the
Poor Souls.

A Roman Catholic indulgence from the year 1521

A Roman Catholic indulgence from the year 1521 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All Souls Indulgences
indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the
faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only
mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the
first to the eighth of November; on other days of the year it is

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in
purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the
Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed [November 2 {as well as on
the Sunday preceding or following, and on All Saints’ Day}] piously
visit a church. In visiting the church it is required that one Our
Father and the Creed be recited.

To acquire a plenary indulgence
it is necessary also to fulfill the following three conditions:
sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the
intention of the Holy Father. The three conditions may be fulfilled
several days before or after the performance of the visit; it is,
however, fitting that communion be received and the prayer for the
intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day as the visit.

condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is fully
satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary. A plenary
indulgence can be acquired only once in the course of the day.

All Souls Day
Church, after rejoicing yesterday with those of her children who have
entered the glory of heaven, today prays for all those who, in the
purifying suffering of purgatory await the day when they will be joined
to the company of saints. At no place in the liturgy is stated in more
striking fashion the mysterious union between the Church triumphant, the
Church militant and the Church suffering; at no time is there
accomplished in clearer fashion the twofold duty of charity and justice
deriving for every Christian from the fact of his incorporation in the
mystical Body of Christ. By virtue of the consoling doctrine of the
communion of saints the merits and prayers of each one are able to help
all; and the Church is able to join her prayer with that of the saints
in heaven and supply what is wanting to the souls in purgatory by means
of the Mass, indulgences and the alms and sacrifices of her children.

celebration of Mass, the sacrifice of Calvary continued on our altars,
has ever been for the Church the principal means of fulfilling towards
the dead the great commandment of charity. Masses for the dead are found
in the fifth century. But it was St. Odilo, fourth abbot of Cluny, who
was responsible for the institution of the general commemoration of all
the faithful departed; he instituted it and fixed its celebration on
November 2, the day after All Saints. The practice spread to the rest of

Daily in a special Memento in the Canon of the Mass,
at which the priest remembers all those who have fallen asleep in the
Lord, the priest implores God to grant them a place of happiness, light
and peace. Thus there is no Mass in which the Church does not pray for
the faithful departed; but today her thoughts are directed towards them
in a particular fashion, with the maternal preoccupation of leaving no
soul in purgatory without spiritual aid and of grouping them all
together in her intercession. By a privilege that Benedict XV’s decree
has extended to the whole world every priest can today celebrate three
Masses; for the liberation of the souls in purgatory the Church
multiplies the offering of the sacrifice of Christ, from which she draws
forever on behalf of all her children, infinite fruits of redemption.

Things to Do:

  • Do
    pious practices to help the Poor Souls: attend three Masses for the
    Poor Souls on this day; remember your family and friends who are
    deceased and make an extra sacrifice for them; pray the rosary for the
    most forgotten soul in purgatory.
  • The faithful who visit a
    cemetery to pray for the faithful departed, saying the Lord’s Prayer
    and the Creed (even if only mentally), may gain a plenary indulgence
    once only under the usual conditions: sacramental confession (eight days
    before or after the act), Eucharistic Communion on that day, and prayer
    for the Pope’s intentions (usually one Our Father and Hail Mary as
    minimum). Each day between November 1 and November 8, this gains a
    plenary indulgence that can only be applied to the poor souls in
    purgatory. Any other time of year this gains a partial indulgence. See Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November for more information about indulgences for the Poor Souls.
  • There is also solemn commemoration to be used on All Souls. See Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, or on the Anniversary of Death or Burial.
  • Make
    a nice poster listing all the family and friends departed. Put this on
    display where the members of the family can be reminded to pray for the
    loved ones throughout November. Remind family members to offer extra
    prayers and sacrifices for the poor souls in purgatory. Of course this
    shouldn’t be the only motivation, but do include the fact that after
    these souls reach heaven, they will intercede on your behalf.
  • Read the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy and the section entitled “The Memorial of the Dead in Popular Piety.” Of particular note:

    Christian, who must be conscious of and familiar with the idea of
    death, cannot interiorly accept the phenomenon of the “intolerance of
    the dead,” which deprives the dead of all acceptance in the city of the
    living. Neither can he refuse to acknowledge the signs of death,
    especially when intolerance and rejection encourage a flight from
    reality, or a materialist cosmology, devoid of hope and alien to belief
    in the death and resurrection of Christ. 

    Some suggested devotions from the Directory (in accordance with time, place and tradition, popular devotions to the dead take on a multitude of forms):

    • the
      novena for the dead in preparation for 2 November, and the octave
      prolonging it, should be celebrated in accordance with liturgical norms;
    • visits
      to the cemetery; in some places this is done in a community manner on 2
      November, at the end of the parochial mission, when the parish priest
      takes possession of the parish; visiting the cemetery can also be done
      privately, when the faithful go to the graves of their own families to
      maintain them or decorate them with flowers and lamps. Such visits
      should be seen as deriving from the bonds existing between the living
      and the dead and not from any form of obligation, non-fulfilment of
      which involves a superstitious fear;
    • membership in a
      confraternity or other pious association whose objects include “burial
      of the dead” in the light of the Christian vision of death, praying for
      the dead, and providing support for the relatives of the dead;
    • suffrage for the dead through alms deeds, works of mercy, fasting, applying indulgences, and especially prayers, such as the De profundis, and the formula Requiem aeternam [Eternal Rest], which often accompanies the recitation of the Angelus, the rosary, and at prayers before and after meals.
    • Have
      family discussions about death, preparing for death, funerals, and the
      Sacrament of the Sick. Visit the cemetery with children. Visits to the
      cemetery should be uplifting, calm and peaceful, not a scary event.
  • From the Catholic Culture library:

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