February 13, 2016

Positivity: High-ranking American in Vatican ‘humbled’ by appointment as nuncio

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Feb 9, 2016 / 02:07 am

On Tuesday it was announced that Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, the highest ranking American in the Vatican Secretariat of State, as his new ambassador to South Africa and Botswana.

“I am extremely humbled and honored by the faith which has been placed in me by the Church and our Holy Father, especially in this Year of Mercy,” Msgr. Wells said about his nomination.

He asked for prayers as he prepares to embark on his new mission “to the extraordinary people of southern Africa.”

The Vatican announced Wells’ appointment as nuncio in a Feb. 9 communique, which noted that the Pope has also elevated him to the rank of archbishop.

Since July 16, 2009, Msgr. Wells, 52, has served as the Assessor for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, which handles the majority of Church affairs aside from relations with other states.

His role as assessor made Msgr. Wells the fifth ranking official in the Vatican’s Secretary of State, which he carried out first under Archbishop Fernando Filoni – now a cardinal – and Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the current ‘Substitute’ to the Secretariat of State.

Born in Tulsa, Okla., May 12, 1963, Msgr. Wells studied at St. Meinrad Seminary College in Indiana obtaining a degree in Letters, before being sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome to study theology.

While in Rome, he obtained a baccalaureate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1990, and later, in 1992, a licentiate from the John Paul II Institute for studies on Marriage and the Family at the Pontifical Lateran University.

After his ordination to the priesthood July 12, 1991, Msgr. Wells served in various roles in his home diocese of Tulsa, including parochial vicar at Holy Family cathedral, private secretary to the bishop and vicar for Religious Education in the diocese.

He began his diplomatic work with the Holy See July 1, 1999, after obtaining a licentiate and doctoral degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, in 1998 and 1999, respectively. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 12, 2016

Positivity: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:55 am

This post became a BizzyBlog tradition on Lincoln’s birthday in 2012. Bolds and several additional paragraph breaks are mine.

March 4, 1865:

Fellow Countrymen:

AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.

The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

February 11, 2016

Positivity: Carly Fiorina’s Facebook Post on Withdrawing From the 2016 Presidential Race

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Especially in light of how others want to define it in lockstep, lemming-life terms, Fiorina’s positive definition of feminism is important, and needs wide adoption:


February 10, 2016

Positivity: Lady Gaga’s Rendition of the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am


February 9, 2016

Positivity: Pope Francis announces second soccer ‘Match for Peace’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Feb 5, 2016 / 06:02 am

Sitting alongside soccer stars such as Ronaldinho and Bryan Ruiz on Wednesday, Pope Francis announced that a second edition of his 2014 interreligious match for peace will take place in May.

“I invite you all to the Match for Peace. It will be here in Rome May 29,” the Pope said Feb. 3 at an event organized by the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes.

The soccer match is aimed at demonstrating “that we are capable of making peace with a game, with art,” he said, adding that he’s doing it “as a service.”

“One of the definitions of the Pope is to be the servant of the servants of God. That is why I am here, that is why I agreed to come,” Francis said, explaining that the intent of the game isn’t proselytization, but the good of the human person.

“I want to be very clear: what matters here is the human person. Man and woman have to be the center,” he said.

The first match for peace took place Sept. 1, 2014, at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, and was organized by retired Catholic soccer star Javier “Pupi” Zanetti, who was captain of the Argentine national team and of Inter Milan in Italy. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 8, 2016

Positivity: Crippling disease brought this priest to the confessional – and then sainthood

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rome:

February 6, 2016

Rome is abuzz this week with the arrival of Padre Pio’s body for the Jubilee of Mercy. But many are likely scratching their heads at the arrival of a second, lesser-known saint: Leopold Mandic.

Although St. Leopold is less recognizable than his Capuchin brother St. Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Leopold’s life is a moving testament to perseverance and faith despite lifelong physical ailments.

St. Leopold was born Bogdan in 1866 in Dalmatia, Croatia and he was the youngest of 12 children. From an early age, Bogdan suffered from a severe stutter and strong adnominal pains. Chronic arthritis gave him a stooped frame and gnarled hands. But, what the future saint lacked in physical health, he made up for with spiritual strength.

At 16, Bogdan left Croatia for Italy, where he studied at the Capuchin Seraphic School at Udine. He entered the Capuchin order as a novice in 1884 at Bassano del Grappa and took the religious name Brother Leopold. He made his Profession of Vows one year later and was ordained a priest in Venice in 1890.

After his ordination, St. Leopold yearned to become a missionary in Eastern Europe. At the time, Eastern Europe was ravaged by religious conflict. But, St. Leopold’s superiors denied his request to become a missionary because of his poor health.

Instead, he was stationed at various friaries in the Venetian province and eventually taught about the early Church Fathers at a school in Padua, where he became well known for his devotion to his students and his hours spent in prayer each night.

After a brief exile to southern Italy during World War I, St. Leopold returned to Padua and would remain in the city for the rest of his life.

Bent and increasingly weak with age, St. Leopold spent much of the next three decades hearing confessions and providing spiritual direction from inside his small cell in Padua. The friar would spend up to 15 hours a day hearing confessions from people from every walk of life. He also adopted special sacrifices, prayers and fasts.

Word of the friar’s mercy spread quickly and soon St. Leopold faced accusations of ignorance or excessive leniency in the confessional. To which the holy friar responded, “Should the Crucified blame me for being lenient, I would answer Him: Lord, you gave me this bad example. I have not yet reached the folly of your having died for souls.”

In 1942, St. Leopold fainted while preparing for Mass. He was reportedly weak from spending the previous day hearing nonstop confessions and the entire night in prayer. He died while singing the final words of the Salve Regina. The saint had suffered from esophagus cancer, which is believed to be the cause of his death. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 7, 2016

Positivity: The astonishing secret history of the Pope who fought Hitler

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Feb 5, 2016 / 03:06 am

Pope Pius XII’s secret support for the attempted overthrow of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler is the subject of a new book that draws on wartime documents and interviews with the American intelligence agent who wrote them.

“This book is the truth – as best I could establish it in a number of years of research – about the Pope’s secret operations in World War II,” historian Mark Riebling told CNA Feb. 2.

“Its main premise is that Pius opted to resist Hitler with covert action instead of overt protest. As a result, he became involved in three separate plots by German dissidents to remove Hitler.”

“I thought this idea – that the Church engaged in secret operations during the bloodiest years in history, in the most controversial part of its recent history – was not just a footnote; it was something worth pursuing,” he said.

Riebling tells this story in his book “Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler,” published by Basic Books in September 2015. A Spanish-language version will be published by publisher Stella Maris in February 2016.

In the late 1990s, debate over whether Pius XII did enough to counter the Nazis reached a high point with the publication of the deeply controversial book, “Hitler’s Pope,” by British journalist John Cornwell. The book was highly critical of Pius XII, charging that he was culpably silent – if not an accomplice – in the rise of Nazism.

“If you read the fiercest critics of the Nazi-era Church, the major ones all concede that Pius XII hated Hitler and worked secretly to overthrow him,” Riebling said. “Yet they say this in their books in just a clause, a sentence, or a paragraph. To me, this episode merited more curiosity.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 6, 2016

Positivity: Padre Pio was a true ‘servant of mercy,’ Pope Francis says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:50 pm

From Vatican City:

Feb 6, 2016 / 04:57 am

On Saturday Pope Francis said St. Padre Pio is a key example of someone who has given their entire life in the service of God’s mercy, but cautioned that there is only one reason he was able to do so: prayer.

“We can say that Padre Pio was a servant of mercy. He did so full-time, practicing, at times in exhaustion, the apostolate of listening,” the Pope said Feb. 6.

Through his ministry in the confessional, where he would at times spend 10-15 hours a day, the saint was able to become “a caress of the living Father, who heals the wounds of sin and refreshes the heart with peace.”

Francis said Padre Pio never tired of welcoming and listening to the people who came to him. He said the saint spent his time and strength spreading “the perfume of the forgiveness of the Lord.”

The only reason Padre Pio was able to do this, he said, is because “he was always attached to the source: he was continuously quenched by Jesus Crucified, and so became a channel of mercy.”

“In this way his small drop became a great river of mercy, which irrigated many dry hearts and created an oasis of life in many parts of the world.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 5, 2016

Positivity: This LGBT advocate changed his mind about Christian bakers

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From London, England:

London, England, Feb 3, 2016 / 03:47 pm

Peter Tatchell is a passionate human rights campaigner who outwardly voices his support of same-sex marriage and LGBT issues.

In 2014, he proclaimed his condemnation against Ashers Bakery in Belfast, Ireland, which was found guilty of “discrimination” because a pair of Christian bakers refused to ice a cake that would read “Support Gay Marriage.”

But now, two years later, Tatchell has halted his previous claims against Ashers Bakery, saying his change of heart has been motivated by the defense of freedom.

“Much as I wish to defend the gay community, I also want to defend freedom of conscience, expression and religion,” Tatchell wrote in The Guardian Feb. 1, saying “the court was wrong to penalize Ashers and I was wrong to endorse its decision.”

The court found Ashers Bakery guilty of discrimination in 2014 when the bakers denied Gareth Lee’s order for a pro-gay marriage cake. This verdict was backed in light of the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland, which sets laws against discrimination.

Although Tatchell continues to endorse same-sex marriage and believes the lawsuit against Ashers to be a well-intentioned blow against homophobia, he ultimately found that the legal action against the bakery went “a step too far.”

After further consideration, Tatchell believes Ashers was simply acting in light of its right to religious freedom – not out of political bigotry, as the court’s ruling suggested.

The “cake request was refused not because he was gay, but because of the message he asked for. There is no evidence that his sexuality was the reason Ashers declined his order,” Tatchell said.

“This finding of political discrimination against Lee sets a worrying precedent,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 4, 2016

Positivity: Do mercy and justice contradict each other? Pope Francis says no

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Feb 3, 2016 / 04:02 am

When God is described in the Bible as being both merciful and just it can seem like an identity crisis, however Pope Francis said it’s the opposite: rather than contradicting each other, the two actually go hand in hand.

“Sacred Scripture presents us with God as infinite mercy, but also as perfect justice. How are these two things reconciled? How can the reality of mercy be articulated with the need for justice?” the Pope said Feb. 3.

While these two characteristics can seem like opposites, “in reality it’s not like this, because it’s precisely the mercy of God that brings the fulfillment of true justice,” Francis affirmed.

The Pope made his comments to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience. He recently began a new series of catechesis on the topic of mercy as it is understood in scripture, in honor of the Jubilee of Mercy.

He said that when we think of justice, what might come to mind is an administration office where victims of an injustice appeal to a judge in court asking that justice be done.

This, Francis noted, “is retributive justice, imposing a punishment to the guilty, according to the principle that each must be given what is due him.” While certain wrongs can be made right in this way, he said that it “still doesn’t bring true justice.”

Instead, “it is only in responding with good that evil can be truly defeated,” the Pope said, explaining that what we find in the bible is path that teaches, allowing the offended person to approach the guilty party and invite them to conversion. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 3, 2016

Positivity: Mass in sign language? Over 20 Spanish priests celebrate it every week

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Madrid, Spain:

Jan 31, 2016 / 06:13 am

In the Catholic Church, the spoken language is central to the liturgy: we recite the Nicene Creed as one, we praise the Lord with the Gloria that we sing, and we bow our heads to hear the blessing we receive at the end of Mass.

But there’s a different reality for hearing impaired and deaf Catholics around the world.

Father Sergio Buiza, the national director of the Spanish Conference of Catholic Bishops Deaf Ministry, said their goal is to “bring the Gospel to the maximum number of people,” including, of course, the deaf and hearing impaired, Europa news reported.

Fr. Buiza is just one of several priests who celebrates Mass in sign language at one of many Catholic churches in Spain. He celebrates a sign language Mass at the Santiago Cathedral in Bilboa, Spain each week.

There are around a million people in Spain affected by different levels of hearing loss. Some 1,250 of them attend Mass in sign language every week at one of the 24 churches where they are held.

In the parishes where this pastoral care is provided, all types of services are offered: from Mass to catechesis, Bible study groups, wedding celebrations, and confessions.

However, Fr. Buiza explained, the biggest issue is that there is just one parish for the deaf per diocese, forcing those with hearing impairments to travel long distances each week.

“There are elderly people that come from a long way. In my diocese we celebrate the Eucharist in the cathedral every Saturday afternoon and they come from different towns by train and bus,” the priest from Bilbao said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 1, 2016

Positivity: One family’s unimaginable suffering paves the way for a teen’s sainthood

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Mexico City:

Jan 29, 2016 / 12:04 am

The miraculous cure of a baby with brain damage through the intercession of Mexican martyr Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río has been approved by the Vatican, completing the final step for the teen’s path to sainthood.

Pope Francis signed the decree Jan. 21, verifying the inexplicable recovery of a baby who doctors said had “no hope of survival” due to a myriad of health problems including brain damage caused by a stroke as a miracle attributed to Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, a teenager who was martyred for his faith during the Cristero wars of the 1920s.

Ximena Guadalupe Magallón Gálvez was just a few weeks old in September 2008 when her parents took her to Sahuayo in the Mexican state of Michoacán where Bl. José was born. During the visit, Ximena began running a fever that her regular doctor was unable to treat, her mother Paulina Gálvez Ávila said in a post on the Facebook page dedicated to Bl. José.

Concerned that the fever was a sign of something more serious like pneumonia, the doctor sent her to have X-rays at Santa María Hospital in Sahuayo where doctors ruled out that disease, but were still unable to treat the fever. Her parents took Ximena to get a second opinion from Dr. Rosendo Sánchez in Aguascalientes State who had the child readmitted to the hospital, saying that she might be suffering from atypical pneumonia.

“We spent two months living that nightmare and (the doctors) didn’t know what was going on since she wasn’t responding to any treatments,” Mrs. Gálvez said.

They sought another opinion from Dr. Adán Macías who diagnosed her with pneumococcus, a bacterial infection that can cause several different life-threatening illnesses including meningitis, severe pneumonia, and bloodstream infections. Ximena was transferred back to to Aguascalientes where Dr. Rosendo discovered that Ximena’s right lung was filled with fluid. She would need to immediately undergo an operation which could be very risky on such a young child.

“Dr. Rosendo spoke with us and informed us that she would have to undergo a very delicate operation since she could bleed and die. We gave our consent and we told him to do whatever it takes to save little Ximena and that we were putting her in God’s hands,” Mrs. Gálvez said.

Concerned about their young child’s worsening health, the couple decided to have her baptized before the operation rather than waiting until she was older.

January 31, 2016

Positivity: Hundreds of thousands attend ‘Family Day’ as Italy debates same-sex unions

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rome:

Jan 30, 2016 / 12:24 pm

Rome’s Circus Maximus was the site of a massive rally against a proposed law which would allow same-sex unions across the country of Italy.

Hundreds of thousands are estimated to have gathered for ‘Family Day’ at the historic site in the capital city a week ahead of a vote which could allow same-sex couples to legally enter into civil unions.

If passed, the legislation would grant same-sex couples – as well as non-married couples of the opposite sex – the same legal rights as married couples of the opposite sex.

Among the legal allowances would be the adoption of a child by the same-sex partner of his or her parent.

To date, Italy offers no legal rights to same-sex couples.

“Italy is one of the few western countries that is still resisting this deviation,” said Family Day organizer Massimo Gandolfini in an interview with Sky Tg24. Most European countries allow for legalized same-sex unions in some form.

At a speech during the Family Day rally, Gandolfini told the crowds: “Without limits, our society will go mad!” the AP reports.

Speakers addressed the throngs of crowds peacefully demonstrating with banners and signs, many of which called for the protection of a child’s right to a mother and a father.

The proposed bill to give legal rights to same-sex partnerships was submitted to parliament Oct. 7, 2015. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 30, 2016

Positivity: From slavery to model of mercy – the powerful story of Julia Greeley

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Denver:

Jan 28, 2016 / 03:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Julia Greeley was a familiar sight on the streets of Denver in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Wearing a floppy hat, oversized shoes, and dabbing her bad eye with a handkerchief, Greeley was often seen pulling her red wagon of goods to deliver to the poor and homeless of the city. She had a particularly special devotion to the Sacred Heart, and would deliver images and information about the icon to firefighters throughout Denver every month.

Her charitable work earned her the title of a “one-person St. Vincent de Paul Society” from one writer, and has made her the local model of mercy for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Born a slave in Hannibal, Missouri sometime between 1833 and 1848, Greeley endured some horrific treatment – once, a whip caught her right eye and destroyed it as a slave master beat Greeley’s mother.

One of many slaves freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Greeley’s work with the family of William Gilpin, Colorado’s first territorial governor, brought her to Denver in 1878.

After leaving the Gilpins’ service, Greeley found odd jobs around the city, and came upon the Sacred Heart Parish of Denver, where she would convert to Catholicism in 1880. She was an enthusiastic parishioner, a daily communicant, and became an active member of the Secular Franciscan Order starting in 1901. The Jesuit priests at her parish recognized her as the most fervent promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Despite her own poverty, Greeley spent much of her time collecting food, clothing and other goods for the poor. She would often do her work at night, so as to avoid embarrassing the people she was assisting.

“She stood out because of how extraordinary she was,” David Uebbing, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Denver, told the Denver Catholic.

“Even though she was only earning $10 to $12 a month cleaning and cooking, she was using it to help other people who were poor,” he said.

“That spoke volumes about the charitable heart she had. In addition, she had great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was known for walking (monthly) to 20 different firehouses to give (felt) badges of the Sacred Heart and tracts to firemen. That brings to life the corporal and spiritual works of mercy this holy year is dedicated to.”

Julia Greeley died on June 7, 1918 – the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Although her death came unexpectedly, she was able to receive last rites. It is estimated that she was around 80 years old, though because she was born into slavery, her exact age was never known.

After her death, her body lay in state in a Catholic parish for five hours, during which a constant stream of people came to pay their last respects to the well-known, well-loved woman. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 29, 2016

Positivity: See What Happened When a Man Who Appeared Homeless Walked Into a Chick-fil-A

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Murfreesboro, Tennessee, via the Daily Signal:

January 26, 2016

A Tennessee father is crediting Chick-fil-A with helping teach his daughter “life lessons” in his viral Facebook post about a store manager’s kindness toward a man in need.

“I love teaching my daughter life lessons, and I also love being there to watch other Christians teach her life lessons. Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for taking care of the latter today,” wrote Joey Mustain in a post that has been shared over 43,000 times as of Jan. 26.

Mustain said in the post that he was eating at a Chick-fil-A with his daughter Stella when a “homeless traveler” walked in to see if the store could spare “any extra food.” Though “people near him kept their distance,” Mustain said the man was kind and conversational as he waited to speak with the store manager.

Mustain said he and his daughter then witnessed what he described as a “beautiful scene” between the two men, who have yet to be identified.

“All I could pick up on of the conversation was the manager saying that he’d love to give him a full, warm meal—not just scraps or extras—, and the only thing he required was that the man let him pray with him,” wrote Mustain in the Facebook post.

After agreeing to this request, Mustain said “the manager stopped then and there, laid his hand on the man, and proceeded to pray.”

Mustain includes a picture in the post, in which the two men appear to bow their heads together.

“I heard love in that prayer. The homeless man wasn’t some untouchable stain on business. He was the reason that store opened its doors this morning (or any morning),” wrote Mustain.

After explaining to his daughter what was happening, Mustain said “she bowed her head, too.”

“I realized then and there that Chick-fil-A doesn’t simply do business for profits, they truly use business to minister. In a time when companies are trying to win in the market by neutralizing any possibility of offense, CFA is thriving because they unwaveringly cling to their principles and purpose,” said Mustain.

Mustain told The Daily Signal he hopes the attention from the Facebook post will help “bless” Chick-fil-A’s business. …

Go here for the rest of the story.