October 21, 2014

Positivity: Pope beatifies Paul VI, ‘great helmsman’ of Vatican II

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 19, 2014 / 11:57 am

Addressing those gathered in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday for the beatification of Paul VI, Pope Francis reminded Christians who live out the Gospel message that they are “God’s newness” both “in the Church and in the world.”

In his Oct. 19 homily, the Pope said God is “continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.” In so doing, “he renews us: he constantly makes us ‘new’.

“A Christian who lives the Gospel is ‘God’s newness’ in the Church and in the world. How much God loves this ‘newness’!”

An estimated 70,000 people, including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, were present at the Mass to celebrate not only the closing of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, but also the life of Bl. Paul VI, who first established the Synod of Bishops as an institution of the Church designed to help the Pope with his magisterial office.

“When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle,” the Holy Father said, in reference to the new Blessed, “we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks!… “Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!”

Referring to him has “the great helmsman of the Council,” Pope Francis cited Bl. Paul VI’s words at the closing of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour.”

“In this humility,” Pope Francis continued, “the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 20, 2014

Positivity: Vindicated — Why a maligned Pope will be beatified

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 17, 2014 / 05:15 pm

He had the unenviable task of being Pope during a most “tumultuous” era for the Church, but Paul VI stood “deeply rooted in Christ” through it all, a theology professor has said.

“Pope Paul VI suffered greatly from the growing apostasy of the world from Christian values and from the distortions of the teaching of Vatican II,” said theology professor Dr. Alan Schreck of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. “Through it all, he remained deeply rooted in Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

Giovanni Battista Montini – soon to be Blessed Paul VI — will be beatified Oct. 19, at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family.

His cause for beatification moved forward after a miracle was attributed to his intercession by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved by Pope Francis in May.

Benedict XVI had affirmed his “heroic virtue” in 2012, officially recognizing him as “Venerable.”

As Pope, Paul VI lived “heroic virtue” because though he “suffered” much turmoil and dissent in the Church, he directed major church reforms and supported renewal of faith amongst the laity and religious, was a prophet about the errors of the age, and was even a well-traveled “pilgrim pope.”

The reforms of Paul VI included reforms of the Roman curia and the College of Cardinals, as well as support for renewal movements within the Church.

“He was an able administrator who reformed the Roman Curia, as Vatican II had directed,” Schreck said. Paul VI also “internationalized the College of Cardinals” by “markedly increasing the membership in the college from the global South and East.”

Amid the cultural wreckage of the age, he saw “the need for a deep and profound prayer life for every member of the Church,” Schreck said, and supported “spiritual renewal movements.”

Paul VI also was a forerunner of St. John Paul II’s stand against Communism.

“He sought religious freedom concessions from Iron Curtain countries, paving the way for the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe,” Schreck said.

Perhaps Paul VI is most well known for his encyclical Humanae vitae in which he upheld the Church’s discipline of priestly celibacy and its teaching against the use of artificial contraception. The stand was widely “controversial” then and now, yet Paul VI has been vindicated by time as a prophet of the destructive effects of contraception. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 19, 2014

Positivity: Pope Francis’ closing synod speech received with standing ovation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 18, 2014 / 04:15 pm

Pope Francis’ address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, delivered Saturday, was responded to with a four-minute standing ovation on the part of the bishops attending the Vatican meeting.

In the Oct. 18 speech, the Pope thanked the bishops for their efforts, and noted the various temptations that can arise in such a synod setting. He encouraged the bishops to live in the tension, saying that “personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace.”

“Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parrhesia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the ‘supreme law,’ the ‘good of souls; (cf. Can. 1752).”

In conclusion, looking forward to the 2015 synod, which will also be on the family, Pope Francis said, “now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.”

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ address, according to the provisional translation provided by Vatican Radio:
(more…)

October 18, 2014

Positivity: Pope Francis — Our names are in the heart of God

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 16, 2014 / 04:07 am

In his mass on Thursday Pope Francis encouraged attendees to pray to God by praising him, saying that remembering the good he has done, particularly how he created us in love, helps us to know how.

“Prayers of praise bring us this joy, (the joy of) being happy before the Lord. Let’s make a real effort to rediscover this!” the Pope said in his Oct. 16 homily.

A starting point for this can be to remember how “God chose me before the creation of the world,” he said, adding that our names are in “God’s heart (and) in God’s bowels, just as the baby is inside its mother.”

Pope Francis began his reflections by returning to the day’s first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the apostle praises God for the gifts he has given, and recalls how “he chose us in him from before the foundation of the world.”

When it comes to prayer, most of us know how to ask for things that we want and even thank the Lord for what he has done, but “a prayer of praise” is a bit harder, the Roman Pontiff observed, because we are not used to praying like that.

One thing that can help learn how to do this is to remember “all of the things that the Lord has done for us in our lives,” he said.

“In Him – In Christ – He chose us before the creation of the world,” the Bishop of Rome continued, saying that when we pray, we can say something like: “’Blessed are you, Lord, because You chose me!’ (This) is the joy of a paternal and tender closeness.”

Although at first it might be difficult to conceive that God knew us before the creation of the world and that our names were written on his heart, “This is the truth! This is the revelation!” the Pope explained. “If we do not believe this then we are not Christian!”

“We may be steeped in a theist religiosity, but not Christian! The Christian is a chosen one, the Christian is someone who has been chosen in God’s heart before the creation of the world,” he went on, noting that knowledge of this should give us both confidence and joy.

Because this creation is a mystery, we can only understand it by entering into the Mystery of Jesus Christ himself, who “poured out his blood for us in abundance, with all wisdom and intelligence,” the pontiff said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 17, 2014

Positivity: Latvia turns heads in synod with strong witness of marriage

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 17, 2014 / 12:03 am

In synod discussions last week, the Baltic nation of Latvia caught the attention many synod fathers, who were keen to hear why the number of divorces among their Catholic population is so low.

“In Latvia, it is a pity, but we have the highest number of divorces: 86 percent of marriages are divorced civil marriages. But when our civil mass media started to check how it is in the Church, they discovered that we just have 16 percent, and they asked why,” Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics of Riga told CNA Oct. 9.

Archbishop Stankevics explained that such a low number of divorces inside the Church is due in part to a “serious preparation for marriage, because we have an obligatory course for persons who want to get married in the Church.”

On the other hand, the archbishop explained that although there is naturally a greater sense of responsibility among people who seek sacramental marriage, “people who have faith don‘t resign when they meet the first difficulties during their married life.”
(more…)

October 16, 2014

Positivity: Christian hope is no mere optimism – it’s a light for the world

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 15, 2014 / 05:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his Wednesday general audience address Pope Francis spoke on the meaning of Christian hope, saying that it consists in our joyful expectation of the return of its source, Jesus Christ.

“Christian hope encompasses the whole person, so it is not a mere desire or an optimism, but the full realization of the mystery of divine love, in which we have been born and in which we already live,” the Pope told those gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Oct. 15.

The Roman Pontiff continued his catechesis on the Church, turning this week to the theme of Christian hope as the fulfillment of God’s promises in Christ at the end of time.

In the book of Revelation we read about this encounter with the Lord in St. John’s image of the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven, he noted, and is prepared like a bride adorned to meet her husband.

This image of a wife waiting for her bridegroom speaks to us about God’s plan of communion with “the person of Jesus that God has traced throughout history,” he said, and this New Jerusalem evokes for us an idea of “the place where all peoples will gather together with God.”

By using this imagery John, the Evangelist who wrote the apocalyptic book of Revelation, reveals to us a profound truth, he observed.

Namely, the truth revealed to us is that “by taking on our flesh, Jesus united humanity to himself, and at his coming we will see the consummation of this mystic marriage in the wedding feast of heaven.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 15, 2014

Positivity: Father, son lead Army unit 4 decades apart

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Ft. Campbell, KY, a few months old but noteworthy nonetheless:

Jun. 14, 2014 11:45 AM EDT

Like many soldiers, Lt. Col. Patrick Harkins has a veteran father who knows firsthand the stress of wartime deployments. One big difference is that Harkins’ dad led the very same unit of paratroopers known as the Iron Rakkasans into combat decades earlier.

While the military has long had family legacies — and featured them prominently in Father’s Day celebrations — the Harkins’ achievements stand out. Capt. Charles Emmons, a spokesman for the brigade, said it appears to be the first time a father and son have commanded the same unit decades apart.

Patrick Harkins, 41, has led the 3rd Battalion of the 187th Infantry Regiment into combat in Iraq and Afghanistan four times since Sept. 11, 2001. His father, retired Col. Bob Harkins, led the same regiment four decades ago in Vietnam during Operation Apache Snow, more commonly known as the Battle of Hamburger Hill.

“It’s a really unique situation,” Emmons said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 14, 2014

Positivity: Teen Malala’s Nobel prize sparks pride in Pakistani bishop

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 10, 2014 / 05:04 pm

Malala Yousafzai has received the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17 – making her the youngest ever recipient of the prestigious award and prompting local Archbishop Joseph Coutts to laud the “great honor” she’s bestowed on the country.

The Pakistani teenager gained global attention when she was shot in the head by Taliban activists in 2012, at the age of 14, as a punishment for her public campaign for the rights of girls to be educated.

She received treatment for her injuries in the United Kingdom, where she continues to reside with her family. Yousafzai has continued to campaign for global access to education.

“This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard,” Yousafzai told the press on Oct. 10 following her reception of the reward. “They have the right to receive quality education. They have the right not to suffer from child labor, not to suffer from child trafficking. They have the right to live a happy life.”

“Through my story, I want to tell other children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights, that they should not wait for someone else, and their voices are more powerful.”

She also said she was “honored” to share the reward with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian activist known know for his work in promoting children’s rights.

The announcement of Yousafzai’s reception of the award also came as “wonderful surprise” to Archbishop Coutts, who serves as shepherd of Karachi, Pakistan.

“The fact that a young girl like this,” he told CNA, “a teenager, has won the prize, such a prestigious international award, is a source of great pride for us, and for the country as a whole. A great honor.”

Because the international community often associates Pakistan with terrorism, he said, this award “just shows that there’s the other side to a country as well, that there are people like this little girl Malala who stand up to a lot of negative things that are happening.”

“It is really something wonderful that has happened,” he said.

Speaking about the significance of Yousafzai sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with Satyarthi, he said: “I think the connection there is: here is this child in Pakistan . . . who stands up so bravely for the education of women which was being threatened by a certain extremist group called the Taliban. Then the other side of the country is a senior person, a man who has been also working to save children.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 12, 2014

Positivity: Be on your guard – the devil never rests, Pope Francis warns

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 10, 2014 / 06:57 am

In his homily on Friday Pope Francis encouraged faithful to guard their hearts by doing a daily examination of conscience, saying that we if we don’t, we risk letting the devil in rather than the Lord.

“Guard the heart, as a house is guarded, with a key. And then watch the heart, like a sentinel: How often do wicked thoughts, wicked intentions, jealousy, envy enter in?” the Pope asked his Oct. 10 Mass attendees.

The devil, he cautioned, “never leaves that which he wants for himself,” which are our souls.

Pope Francis began his reflections by turning to the day’s Gospel reading from Luke, Chapter 11, in which Jesus is accused of casting out demons by the power of demons, and in which he describes how when an evil spirit leaves a person, it comes back with more and makes the person worse off than before.

Satan never leaves us alone, he said, explaining that after Jesus was tempted in the desert, “the devil left Him for a time, but during the life of Jesus he returned again and again: when they put Him to the test, when they tried to trap Him, in the Passion, finally on the Cross.”

“Can you do it? Let me see!” are phrases that hit home for all of us, the Bishop of Rome noted, observing how the devil not only tempts Jesus in this way, but also each of us.

We need to guard our hearts, he said, otherwise “So many things enter in. But who has opened that door? Where do they enter from?” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 11, 2014

Positivity: Backing ‘Humanae vitae’ a prime goal for bishops’ synod

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 11:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 9, 2014 / 12:03 pm

With Paul VI due to be beatified at the end of the Synod on the Family, his teaching on the regulation of birth in Humanae vitae has been re-launched by the synod fathers, presenting the teachings in a positive way.
(more…)

October 10, 2014

Positivity: Holy Family the model for all families, Thai couples learn

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Bangkok:

Oct 8, 2014 / 07:04 pm

Married couples in Thailand recently met at a workshop reflecting on pastoral challenges confronting their vocation, which emphazised the role of the Holy Family as their guide.

“The seminar engaged the couples in exploring the sanctity of marriage, the art of communication, and enhancing their relationship, keeping the Holy Family of Nazareth as the center of their love,” Fr. Ignazio Adisak Somsangsuang, parish priest St. Peter Church in Sam Phran, told CNA Oct. 8.

“Families are the fundamental cells of union, and of hope of a future,” Fr. Somsangsuang continued. “Keeping the Holy Family of Nazareth in mind, they can be fruitful and will contribute to their personal development, and the social development of our society and country.”

St. Peter’s hosted the seminar aimed at making saints of these couples – a fitting location, as the parish, located in a suburb of Bangkok, was the home of Blessed Nicholas Boonkerd Kitbamrung.

The parish holds the relics of the priest who was martyred in 1944, and baptized more than 60 fellow prisoners when he was held by the government, accused of assisting foreign powers.

The seminar was held for young Catholic couples to help them identify the roles and responsibilities given them through their participation in the sacrament of marriage. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 9, 2014

Positivity: Six miles from ISIS — A shockingly brave priest returns to Iraq

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 9, 2014 / 04:02 am

Father Ghazwan Yousif Baho had the option to stay in Italy when he recently accompanied an elderly Iraqi couple to an audience with Pope Francis.

But he has decided to go back because he can’t leave his people.

“One of them told me, ‘Father, I saw you always from afar, but this week I found out who you are, and it has given me so much strength (to know) that you are a priest in the middle of your people,’” he told CNA Oct. 4.

“Sometimes I thought about leaving Iraq, but now I say, ‘I don’t leave my village anymore.’”

Fr. Baho is the parish priest in Alqosh, Iraq as well as a guest professor at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome, where he teaches two months out of the year. While in Rome, he also serves as pastor in the city’s Joachim and Ann parish.

He was present in Rome to accompany an elderly Iraqi couple, Mubarack and Agnese Hano, to an audience Pope Francis held with elderly and grandparents on Sept. 28. He will return to Alqosh, which sits only 10 kilometers – around six miles – from the ISIS-controlled city of Qaraqosh, this weekend.

The militant Sunni Islamist organization was among the rebels fighting in the Syrian civil war. In June it spread its operations to Iraq, taking control of Mosul and swaths of territory in the country’s north and west, as well as in northern Syria.

It has now declared a caliphate, which is defined as an Islamic state controlled by a religious and political leader known as a caliph or “successor” to Muhammad. In Syria on Aug. 13, ISIS seized a string of towns located northeast of Aleppo and near the Turkish border, including Akhtarin. On Aug. 11 it had seized the Iraqi town of Jalawla, located 90 miles northeast of Baghdad in Diyala province.

All non-Sunni persons have been persecuted by the Islamic State – tens of thousands of Christians, Yazidis, and Shia Muslims have fled the territory.

Since the night of Aug. 6 when ISIS forces entered the city of Qaraqosh, formerly referred to as the Christian capital of Iraq, many have fled and are living in tents as refugees in camps, the priest noted.

Despite having lived in these circumstances for two months, many have maintained a strong faith, he explained.

“I’ve met very few people who had lost faith and hope. So many suffered, so the sorrowful mysteries for us a daily act. But despite all this suffering, I’ve seen very few people who’ve lost the faith.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 8, 2014

Positivity: Family needed today as much as ever, synod official emphasizes

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 6, 2014 / 05:34 pm

The family is not an outdated model, and Catholics should defend it from the sins that call into question and often destroy the traditional family, the general rapporteur of the Synod of Bishops said Monday.

Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest presented the 14-page “relatio ante disceptationem” at an Oct. 6 press conference.

The relatio took into consideration the responses given a preliminary questionnaire which was delivered to bishops’ conferences earlier this year, as well as the relations of the synodal fathers; it is in four parts: the Gospel of the Family in the Context of New Evangelization; the Gospel of the Family and Family Ministry; difficult Pastoral Situations; and the Family and the Gospel of Life.

Cardinal Erdo said that “the renewal of the methodology of the synod lies also in the fact that we are already drafting the post-discussion relation, on the basis of the written interventions of the synodal fathers, though we still have to consider what comes out from the debate.”

He also announced that for the first time, deliberations at the synod will be held in Italian rather than in Latin.

Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, who is general secretary of the synod, added that “the synod of bishops had matured in the course of years.”

“The synod had become too set, and Benedict XVI wanted to introduce free discussion, beyond the prepared interventions,” Archbishop Forte said.

He added that “as the most important issues of the Second Vatican Council were discussed in the inter-session, the the non-formal ones, I expect that the most important outcomes of the synod of the bishops will come from the free discussions, that Pope Francis wanted to be frank.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 7, 2014

Positivity: Knights of Columbus’ ‘heroic’ pro-life work wins Notre Dame prize

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From South Bend, Indiana:

Oct 6, 2014 / 11:56 am

The Knights of Columbus and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson have been named the recipients of a University of Notre Dame institute’s 2015 Evangelium Vitae medal in recognition of their pro-life efforts.

“Since its inception, the Knights of Columbus has protected and supported the most vulnerable among us,” Carter Snead, director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, said Oct. 5.

“Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus richly deserve to be recognized as heroic contributors to the pro-life cause; they embody the spirit of the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal,” Snead said in an announcement from the ethics center.

“They have tirelessly volunteered, educated, advocated, donated, and prayed on behalf of every human life from conception to natural death.”

Since 2011, the Evangelium Vitae Medal has been awarded annually by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture to those who have worked to help build a culture of life and respect for the sanctity of life from its earliest stages. The medal was inspired by St. John Paul II’s 1995 papal encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.”

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order, was founded in New Haven, Conn., in 1882 by Venerable Michael J. McGivney, a parish priest. It has 1.8 million members worldwide who perform volunteer service and advance the order’s key principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 6, 2014

Positivity: John Mellencamp meets doctor who saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Indianapolis (video at link):

October 3, 2014, 7:47 AM

In the early 1950s, most babies born with spina bifida did not live long.

But singer John Mellencamp survived after a pioneering operation.

Last month, after more than 60 years, he finally met the doctor who saved him, reports CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason.

“I didn’t even know I had the operation until some kid, I was about nine or 10, said ‘what’s that big scar on the back of your neck?’ and I went home and asked my parents,” said Mellencamp. “They said, ‘oh, don’t worry about it. You had an operation.”

Troubled Man” is the lead single of Mellencamp’s new album. His troubles started right at birth.
Last month, at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Mellencamp finally met Dr. Robert Heimburger, now 97, the neurosurgeon who performed the life-saving operation in 1951.

“He remembered it ’cause it was the first one they’d ever done,” Mellencamp said.

Spina bifida is a birth defect that causes an opening of the spinal column that can sometimes allow the spinal cord to grow or extend outside of the body.

For most of his life, the singer knew little about the surgery he had as a newborn.

The hospital still has the records of Mellencamp’s procedure, including an image of nine-day-old John Mellencamp.

“This is the crown of my head right hear,” said Mellencamp pointing at the photo. “That’s my ear. That’s my neck. So this thing was the size of a man’s fist.”

This was the first time he saw the growth in the back of his neck.

“And it was just like, why didn’t you guys show this to me earlier?” Mellencamp asked. “‘Cause I woulda’ seen how lucky I am to even be here.”

At 62 years old, he said seeing it for the first time was like “finding out your parents weren’t your parents.”

“I mean it was really an epiphany moment for me,” Mellencamp said. “I couldn’t thank the guy enough.”

Because by rights, he should be dead. …

Go here for the rest of the story.