Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - In Your Virtual Church

Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 475
Reading 1
EPH 3:2-12
Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier. When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power. To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.
Responsorial Psalm
IS 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6
R. (see 3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation. God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation. Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation. Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth. Shout with exultation, O city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel! R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Alleluia MT 24:42A, 44
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
LK 12:39-48 Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint October 21 : St. Ursula and Companions - who with 11,000 Virgins were Martyred by the Huns for their Faith

The experiences of Ursula and her eleven thousand companions became the subject of a pious romance which acquired considerable celebrity.  This legendary account is well known: Ursula, the daughter of a Christian king of Great Britain, was asked in marriage by the son of a great pagan king. Desiring to remain a virgin, she obtained a delay of three years. At her request she was given as companions ten young women of noble birth, and she and each of the ten were accompanied by a thousand virgins, and the whole company, embarking in eleven ships sailed for three years. When the appointed time was come, and Ursula's betrothed was about to claim her, a gale of wind carried the eleven thousand virgins far from the shores of England, and they went first by water to Cologne and thence to Basle, then by land from Basle to Rome. They finally returned to Cologne, where they were slain by the Huns in hatred of the Faith. The literary origin of this romance is not easy to determine. Apart from the inscription of Clematius, transcribed in the Passion "Fuit tempore" and paraphrased in the "Regnante Domino" Passion and the "Sermo in natali", the writers seem to have been aware of a Gallic legend of which a late version is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth: the usurper Maximus (as Geoffrey calls the Emperor Maximian), having conquered British Armorica, sent there from Great Britain 100,000 colonists and 30,000 soldiers, and committed the government of Armorica to his former enemy, now his friend, the Breton prince, Conanus Meriadocus. The latter decided to bring women from Great Britain to marry them to his subjects, to which end he appealed to Dionotus, King of Cornwall, who sent him his daughter Ursula, accompanied by 11,000 noble virgins and 60,000 other young women. As the fleet which carried them sailed towards Armorica, a violent storm destroyed some of the ships and drove the rest of them to barbarian islands in Germany, where the virgins were slain by the Huns and the Picts. However, this account has been regarded by several writers since Baronius as containing a summary of the true history of the holy martyrs. Like the Passions of Cologne, it has been subjected to the anti-scientific method, which consists in setting aside as false the improbabilities, impossibilities, and manifest fables, and regarding the rest as authentic history. As a consequence two essential traits remain: the English origin of the saints and their massacre by the Huns; and then, according as adherence is given to the "Sermo in natali", Geoffrey of Monmouth, or the Passion "Regnante Domino", the martyrdom of St. Ursula is placed in the third, fourth, or fifth century. In order to account for all the details, two massacres of virgins at Cologne have been accepted, one in the third century, the other in the fifth. The different solutions with their variations suggested by scholars, sometimes with levity, sometimes with considerable learning, all share the important defect of being based on relatively late documents, unauthoritative and disfigured by manifest fables.As they are now unhesitatingly rejected by everyone, it suffices to treat them briefly. In the twelfth century there were discovered in the Ager Ursulanus at Cologne, some distance from the Church of St. Ursula, skeletons not only of women, but of little children, and even of men, and with them inscriptions which it is impossible not to recognize as gross forgeries.  Although the history of these saints of Cologne is obscure and very short, their cult was very widespread, and it would require a volume to relate in detail its many and remarkable manifestations. To mention only two characteristics, since the twelfth century a large number of relics have been sent from Cologne, not only to neighbouring countries but throughout Western Christendom, and even India and China. The legend of the Eleven Thousand Virgins has inspired a host of works of art, several of them of the highest merit, the most famous being the paintings of the old masters of Cologne, those of Memling at Bruges, and of Carpaccio at Venice. The Order of Ursulines, founded in 1535 by St. Angela de Merici, and especially devoted to the education of young girls, has also helped to spread throughout the world the name and the cult of St. Ursula. Catholic Encyclopedia

RIP Fr. Robert Pelton - Beloved Madonna House Priest Dies after over 55 Years in the Priesthood


MH Release: Christ is risen! We wish to inform you that our beloved Father Robert Pelton, the first priest ordained for Madonna House Apostolate in 1963, went home to the Lord on Friday, Oct. 16 at 9:20 AM at St. Francis Hospital in Barry's Bay, ON. 

Here is a brief Biography (Restoration Magazine) from 2013 when he celebrated his 50th anniversary:

Father Robert Pelton recently celebrated his 50th Anniversary as a priest, the first to be ordained for Madonna House. This is an intimate interview with Fr. Pelton by Emily McPhee.

Can you describe your conversion and what attracted you to the Catholic Faith?


When I was a senior in high school, I had a powerful encounter with God. For many years I had attended a Methodist Sunday school and joined the Methodist Church when I was 12.


When I was 15 or 16, I stopped going to church on Sunday, not in rebellion but probably out of boredom. But I continued to believe in God and in the power of prayer. In my senior year during the most crucial football game of the fall season our team was losing. I left the grandstand to get a cup of coffee, and halfway to the coffee-stand, I stopped and began to pray. "God," I said, "Please let them win. If you let them win, I will go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life."


Suddenly I was in the presence of God. I didn’t have a vision or hear any words. I was simply in the presence of God, the all-holy One. And I said, "I can’t bargain with you. I’ll go to church every Sunday either way, but please let them win." Our team lost, but I had made a sacred promise, and I kept it throughout the rest of my senior year and throughout my first year in university…


By the time my second year in university began, I was a typical sophomore skeptic. I wasn’t an atheist, but I had no ground for belief, and I was very critical of anyone who thought he did. At the same time I was convinced that it was possible to know the truth. But how?


I got the beginning of an answer in my Shakespeare class. The professor, a very Catholic Anglican, was lecturing on "Othello." He pointed out that as Othello was pondering whether to murder Desdemona, who, he believed, had betrayed him, he compared the act of murder to extinguishing the candle burning at her bedside: "Put out the light, and then put out the light…." But the professor took the metaphor a further step. Love is grounded in trust; if trust is extinguished, then love also dies.


I immediately saw the connection to my own skepticism. How could I find the truth if I didn’t trust the possibility of finding it? And under my breath in that crowded lecture hall I said, "God could exist."


"Well, if God exists, what about religion?" I thought, "There must be thousands of religions in the world, but there is only one that I know anything about, so I have to start with Christianity, and that means I have to start with Jesus." So I started with Jesus. I was reading the Gospels, and drawing conclusions, but what was really happening was that the living Lord was revealing himself to me, to my heart…


What happened next was the most improbable—not the most profound or the most beautiful or the most transforming—but the most improbable grace of my life. I was sitting at my roommate’s desk. To distract myself I reached for one of his books, the one closest to my hand. It was Jacques Maritain’s "Art and the Creative Intuition," not the Bible, not a book of theology. I opened the book not to find an answer but to do what I had been doing from the age of six: plunge myself into the nearest book to transcend the uncomfortable here and now.


This is what I read: "…as Christ said to Blaise Pascal of another grace, ‘You would not be seeking me if you had not already found me.’"


I didn’t hesitate for a minute. I got out of the chair, put on my coat, and walked out of my room and down the steps and out to the sidewalk and up three blocks to the St. Thomas More Catholic Center where I asked Fr. O’Brien to sign me up for instructions.


What led you to Madonna House (MH) and the priesthood?


A high-school classmate and friend had discovered MH through her father, a newspaperman, who had come to Combermere from Ohio to fish, and had visited MH to borrow a typewriter. He was not a Catholic, but his daughter, my friend, was, and he told her that she ought to visit because MH was like nothing Catholic that he had ever seen. She did, and her life was radically changed, as was the life of her college roommate (Marilyn) who visited later and decided that MH was her vocation. So when I was on my way into the Church, it seemed to me that a very good way to spend my Easter holiday would be to go to Combermere myself to experience this unusual community…


On Holy Saturday I made my profession of faith and was conditionally baptized in the small upstairs chapel at MH… I could feel the radiance on my face as we celebrated back at MH after Mass…In the morning after brunch some of us walked up Perrier Road. Almost at the top of the hill I turned to the others and said, "I think the Lord wants me to join Madonna House and become a priest."


Do you have a highlight that stands out over these past 50 years as a priest?


Without doubt—being called to intimate friendship with Jesus and dedicated to sharing his life and his word with everyone, but especially the MH family. The joy and the asceticism of this I have experienced especially in offering the Mass daily. As some priest said, "Every day I do one perfect thing."


Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20131001113103/www.madonnahouse.org/restoration/2013/09/one_perfect_thing.html

Pope Francis at International Meeting of Prayer for Peace Says "It is a gift to pray together." FULL TEXT from Vatican

 INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF PRAYER FOR PEACE:

"NO ONE IS SAVED ALONE. PEACE AND FRATERNITY"

Church of Saint Maria in Aracoeli - Piazza del Campidoglio
Tuesday, 20 October 2020

 MOMENT OF CHRISTIAN PRAYER FOR PEACE

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Church of Saint Maria in Aracoeli

 It is a gift to pray together. I greet all of you cordially and with gratitude, especially my brother, His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and dear Bishop Heinrich, President of the Council of the Evangelical Church of Germany. Sadly, Justin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was unable to be here because of the pandemic.

The passage from the account of the Lord's Passion that we have just heard comes shortly before Jesus’ death. It speaks of the temptation he experienced amid the agony of the cross. At the supreme moment of his sufferings and love, many of those present cruelly taunted him with the words: “Save yourself!” (Mk 15:30). This is a great temptation. It spares no one, including us Christians. The temptation to think only of saving ourselves and our own circle. To focus only on our own problems and interests, as if nothing else mattered. It is a very human instinct, but wrong. It was the final temptation of the crucified God.

Save yourself. These words were spoken first “by those who passed by” (v. 29). They were ordinary people, those who had heard Jesus teach and who witnessed his miracles. Now they are telling him, “Save yourself, come down from the cross”. They had no pity, they only wanted miracles; they wanted to see Jesus descend from the cross. Sometimes we too prefer a wonder-working god to one who is compassionate, a god powerful in the eyes of the world, who shows his might and scatters those who wish us ill. But this is not God, but our own creation. How often do we want a god in our own image, rather than to become conformed to his own image. We want a god like ourselves, rather than becoming ourselves like God. In this way, we prefer the worship of ourselves to the worship of God. Such worship is nurtured and grows through indifference toward others. Those passersby were only interested in Jesus for the satisfaction of their own desires. Jesus, reduced to an outcast hanging on the cross, was no longer of interest to them. He was before their eyes, yet far from their hearts. Indifference kept them far from the true face of God.

Save yourself. The next people to speak those words were the chief priests and the scribes. They were the ones who had condemned Jesus, for they considered him dangerous. All of us, though, are specialists in crucifying others to save ourselves. Yet Jesus allowed himself to be crucified, in order to teach us not to shift evil to others. The chief priests accused him precisely because of what he had done for others: “He saved others and cannot save himself!"(v. 31). They knew Jesus; they remembered the healings and liberating miracles he performed, but they drew a malicious conclusion. For them, saving others, coming to their aid, is useless; Jesus, who gave himself unreservedly for others was himself lost! The mocking tone of the accusation is garbed in religious language, twice using the verb to save. But the “gospel” of save yourself is not the Gospel of salvation. It is the falsest of the apocryphal gospels, making others carry the cross. Whereas the true Gospel bids us take up the cross of others.

Save yourself. Finally, those who were crucified alongside Jesus also joined in taunting him. How easy it is to criticize, to speak against others, to point to the evil in others but not in ourselves, even to blaming the weak and the outcast! But why were they upset with Jesus? Because he did not take them down from the cross they said to him: “Save yourself and us!” (Lk 23:39). They looked to Jesus only to resolve their problems. Yet God does not come only to free us from our ever-present daily problems, but rather to liberate us from the real problem, which is the lack of love. This is the primary cause of our personal, social, international and environmental ills. Thinking only of ourselves: this is the father of all evils. Yet one of the thieves then looks at Jesus and sees in him a humble love. He entered heaven by doing one thing alone: turning his concern from himself to Jesus, from himself to the person next to him (cf. v. 42).

Dear brothers and sisters, Calvary was the site of a great “duel” between God, who came to save us, and man, who wants to save only himself; between faith in God and worship of self; between man who accuses and God who excuses. In the end, God's victory was revealed; his mercy came down upon the earth. From the cross forgiveness poured forth and fraternal love was reborn: “the Cross makes us brothers and sisters” (BENEDICT XVI, Address at the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum, 21 March 2008). Jesus’ arms, outstretched on the cross, mark the turning point, for God points a finger at no one, but instead embraces all. For love alone extinguishes hatred, love alone can ultimately triumph over injustice. Love alone makes room for others. Love alone is the path towards full communion among us.

Let us look upon the crucified God and ask him to grant us the grace to be more united and more fraternal. When we are tempted to follow the way of this world, may we be reminded of Jesus's words: “Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it” (Mk 8:35). What is counted loss in the eyes of the world is, for us, salvation. May we learn from the Lord, who saved us by emptying himself (cf. Phil 2:7) and becoming other: from being God, he became man; from spirit, he became flesh; from a king, he became a slave. He asks us to do the same, to humble ourselves, to “become other” in order to reach out to others. The closer we become to the Lord Jesus, the more we will be open and “universal”, since we will feel responsible for others. And others will become the means of our own salvation: all others, every human person, whatever his or her history and beliefs. Beginning with the poor, who are those most like Christ. The great Archbishop of Constantinople, Saint John Chrysostom, once wrote: “If there were no poor, the greater part of our salvation would be overthrown” (On the Second Letter to the Corinthians, XVII, 2). May the Lord help us to journey together on the path of fraternity, and thus to become credible witnesses of the living God.

 

It is a gift to pray together. I thank and greet all of you with affection, especially His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, my brother Bartholomew and dear Bishop Heinrich, President of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. 

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Piazza del Campidoglio

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I rejoice and give thanks to God that here on the Capitoline Hill, in the heart of Rome, I can meet with you, distinguished religious leaders, public authorities and so many friends of peace.  At each other’s side, we have prayed for peace. I greet the President of the Italian Republic, the Honourable Sergio Mattarella. I am happy to encounter once more my brother, the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew. I am most grateful that, despite the difficulties of travel these days, he and other leaders wished to take part in this prayer meeting. In the spirit of the Assisi Meeting called by Saint John Paul II in 1986, the Community of Sant’Egidio celebrates annually, in different cities, this moment of prayer and dialogue for peace among believers of various religions.

The Assisi meeting and its vision of peace contained a prophetic seed that by God’s grace has gradually matured through unprecedented encounters, acts of peacemaking and fresh initiatives of fraternity. Although the intervening years have witnessed painful events, including conflicts, terrorism and radicalism, at times in the name of religion, we must also acknowledge the fruitful steps undertaken in the dialogue between the religions. This is a sign of hope that encourages us to continue cooperating as brothers and sisters. In this way, we arrived at the important Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, which I signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, in 2019.

Indeed, “the commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of the religious traditions” (Fratelli Tutti, 284). Believers have understood that religious differences do not justify indifference or enmity. Rather, on the basis of our religious faith we are enabled to become peacemakers, rather than standing passively before the evil of war and hatred. Religions stand at the service of peace and fraternity. For this reason, our present gathering also represents an incentive to religious leaders and to all believers to pray fervently for peace, never resigned to war, but working with the gentle strength of faith to end conflicts.

We need peace! More peace! “We cannot remain indifferent. Today the world has a profound thirst for peace. In many countries, people are suffering due to wars which, though often forgotten, are always the cause of suffering and poverty” (Address to Participants in the World Day of Prayer for Peace, Assisi, 20 January 2016). The world, political life and public opinion all run the risk of growing inured to the evil of war, as if it were simply a part of human history. “Let us not remain mired in theoretical discussions, but touch the wounded flesh of the victims… Let us think of the refugees and displaced, those who suffered the effects of atomic radiation and chemical attacks, the mothers who lost their children, and the boys and girls maimed or deprived of their childhood” (Fratelli Tutti, 261). Today the sufferings of war are aggravated by the suffering caused by the coronavirus and the impossibility, in many countries, of access to necessary care.

In the meantime, conflicts continue, bringing in their wake suffering and death. To put an end to war is a solemn duty before God incumbent on all those holding political responsibilities. Peace is the priority of all politics. God will ask an accounting of those who failed to seek peace, or who fomented tensions and conflicts. He will call them to account for all the days, months and years of war that have passed and been endured by the world’s peoples!

The words Jesus spoke to Peter are incisive and full of wisdom: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mt 26:52). Those who wield the sword, possibly in the belief that it will resolve difficult situations quickly, will know in their own lives, the lives of their loved ones and the lives of their countries, the death brought by the sword. “Enough!” says Jesus (Lk 22:38), when his disciples produce two swords before the Passion. “Enough!” That is his unambiguous response to any form of violence. That single word of Jesus echoes through the centuries and reaches us forcefully in our own time: enough of swords, weapons, violence and war!

Saint Paul VI echoed that word in his appeal to the United Nations in 1965: “No more war!” This is our plea, and that of all men and women of goodwill. It is the dream of all who strive work for peace in the realization that “every war leaves our world worse than it was before” (Fratelli Tutti, 261).

How do we find a way out of intransigent and festering conflicts? How do we untangle the knots so many armed struggles? How do we prevent conflicts? How do we inspire thoughts of peace in warlords and those who rely on the strength of arms? No people, no social group, can single-handedly achieve peace, prosperity, security and happiness. None. The lesson learned from the recent pandemic, if we wish to be honest, is “the awareness that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together” (Fratelli Tutti, 32).

Fraternity, born of the realization that we are a single human family, must penetrate the life of peoples, communities, government leaders and international assemblies. This will help everyone to understand that we can only be saved together through encounter and negotiation, setting aside our conflicts and pursuing reconciliation, moderating the language of politics and propaganda, and developing true paths of peace (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 231).

We have gathered this evening, as persons of different religious traditions, in order to send a message of peace. To show clearly that the religions do not want war and, indeed, disown those who would enshrine violence. That they ask everyone to pray for reconciliation and to strive to enable fraternity to pave new paths of hope. For indeed, with God's help, it will be possible to build a world of peace, and thus, brothers and sisters, to be saved together. Thank you.


APPEAL FOR PEACE

Piazza del Campidoglio

Gathered in Rome, in “the spirit of Assisi”, and spiritually united to believers worldwide and to all men and women of good will, we have prayed alongside one another to invoke upon our world the gift of peace. We have called to mind the wounds of humanity, we are united with the silent prayers of so many of our suffering brothers and sisters, all too often nameless and unheard. We now solemnly commit ourselves to make our own and to propose to the leaders of nations and the citizens of the world this Appeal for Peace.

On this Capitoline Hill, in the wake of the greatest conflict in history, the nations that had been at war made a pact based on a dream of unity that later came true: the dream of a united Europe. Today, in these uncertain times, as we feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that threatens peace by aggravating inequalities and fear, we firmly state that no one can be saved alone: no people, no single individual!

Wars and peace, pandemics and health care, hunger and access to food, global warming and sustainable development, the displacement of populations, the elimination of nuclear threats and the reduction of inequalities: these are not matters that concern individual nations alone. We understand this better nowadays, in a world that is amply connected, yet often lacks a sense of fraternity. All of us are brothers and sisters! Let us pray to the Most High that, after this time of trial, there may no longer be “others”, but rather, a great “we”, rich in diversity. The time has come to boldly dream anew that peace is possible, that it is necessary, that a world without war is not utopian. This is why we want to say once more: “No more war”!

Tragically, for many, war once again seems to be one possible means of resolving international disputes. It is not. Before it is too late, we would remind everyone that war always leaves the world worse than it was. War is a failure of politics and of humanity.

We appeal to government leaders to reject the language of division, often based on fear and mistrust, and to avoid embarking on paths of no return. Together let us look at the victims. All too many conflicts are presently in course.

To leaders of nations we say: let us work together to create a new architecture of peace. Let us join forces to promote life, health, education and peace. The time has come to divert the resources employed in producing ever more destructive and deadly weapons to choosing life and to caring for humanity and our common home. Let us waste no time! Let us start with achievable goals: may we immediately unite our efforts to contain the spread of the virus until there is a vaccine that is suitable and available to all. The pandemic is reminding us that we are blood brothers and sisters.

To all believers, and to men and women of good will, we say: let us become creative artisans of peace, let us build social friendship, let us make our own the culture of dialogue. Honest, persistent and courageous dialogue is the antidote to distrust, division and violence. Dialogue dismantles at the outset the arguments for wars that destroy the fraternity to which our human family is called.

No one can feel exempted from this. All of us have a shared responsibility. All of us need to forgive and to be forgiven. The injustices of the world and of history are not healed by hatred and revenge, but by dialogue and forgiveness.

May God inspire in us a commitment to these ideals and to the journey that we are making together. May he touch every heart and make us heralds of peace.

Rome, Capitoline Hill, 20 October 2020

 FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Original replaced by official Translation from Italian - Image Source: Screenshot Vatican.va

Catholic Bishops in Nigeria Support the #EndSARS Protests which Call for an End to Police Brutality in the Country



The Catholic Bishops of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), have supported the #EndSARS explaining that is was morally justified.

The statement was signed by its President, Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akubeze, regarding the Police brutality and the injustices of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).

“EndSARS goes beyond the SARS and it is morally justified. We support the youths who have taken this step and we caution that they are allowed without any intimidation to exercise their right to peaceful demonstration and should not be provoked or incited to violence,” CBCN said.

The statement explains: “We the members of the CBCN have followed the protests with keen interest and call on the Federal Government of Nigeria once again to listen to the cry for justice so that peace can reign in our country.

“The protest seems to have a life of its own and it is spreading all over the country; this shows that most Nigerians are facing the same oppression and brutality inflicted by the SARS.

“We urge the Federal Government to fulfil its primary constitutional responsibility of securing life and property of every Nigerian and provide opportunities for our children to realise their God-given potentials.

“The audacity and impunity with which the SARS officials have been operating all the while is a manifestation of the failing State of Nigeria. Various bodies and patriotic Nigerians have expressed the opinion that just ending the SARS will not solve the enormous problems of Nigeria, because it is futile treating symptoms of a disease when the root cause is known”.

“We reiterate that restructuring this country is a desirable path to be towed given the various developments in this nation. The knee jerk reaction of the administration by abolishing the SARS and setting up the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team portrays either the absence of an understanding of the entire problem or a lack of sincerity to address the problem.

“The Nigerian Government must realise that what the youths, on behalf of Nigerians, clamour for under the code name #EndSARS is a total reform of the entire Police Force and not a change of name; they call for a reform of all our government institutions and a reform of the entire nation.

“They are asking for a system that will be hard on crimes and criminals in the society within the ambience of the law, while at the same time treating every human being, citizens and visitors alike, with respect and dignity.”

Source: https://www.naijanews.com/2020/10/18/catholic-bishops-back-endsars-protests-call-nigeria-a-failing-state/ and Newsden.com

Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia Questions Government COVID Restrictions on Places of Worship "For us, prayer with others is essential." - FULL TEXT



People of faith deserve hope, not exile: Archbishop Comensoli
Tuesday 20 October 2020
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
 
The following text originally appeared in the Herald Sun (19 October 2020): 
— 
 
Sunday was not a great day for people of faith in Victoria, but it should have been.
In announcing the next step of Victoria’s COVID-19 road map, the government eased some restrictions. People were ready for glimmers of hope, but there was not much hope offered to people of faith.
We weren’t expecting a great opening up of every sector. However, it was noticeable that additions to step two restrictions allowed for a return to pet groomers, swimming pools and locations 25km from your home, but no return to your place of worship in any meaningful sense.
Presently, in step two of the COVID-19 road map, Melbourne’s doors of faith are closed. Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are shut, pending a government announcement that they can open again.
These are not places of mere formality, but of lively and attentive care to vulnerable people, and of support to those facing sickness, loneliness, grief and death. They are places of hope and wellbeing, and of spiritual friendship.
Sadly, what is worse is that when we look ahead to step three there is very little for faith communities. Parity with other sectors seems denied even when we reach COVID-normal. The spectre of our places of worship remaining closed except for “private prayer” leaves our people feeling exiled and pushed outside.
And frankly, given our weather sometimes, Victorian people of faith aren’t too pleased at being forced to stand outside the doors of their sacred places to celebrate the most important dimensions of their fundamental beliefs and commitments.
If they are gathering outside in the wind and rain, looking over at their locked doors, it’s pretty hard to explain why the doors of the cafe across the road are invitingly open.
People of faith have joined in the common work of co-operation with COVID restrictions at every stage this year. We’ve proven ourselves to be fair-minded and civil, patient and prepared.
We’ve worked closely with the health department, local police, government authorities and other faith leaders to be safe and responsible. We have been publicly recognised for these efforts.
Churches may not be licensed premises, but they are highly regulated spaces, especially during times of worship.
It is now seven months since people of faith have been able to gather together in prayer. Like every other sector of life, this has had a major impact on the wellbeing of a very large sector of our community. For many of those who are affected, this is one of their principal opportunities for social interaction and personal activity.
Why would pool water shared by 30 swimmers at a time be considered safer than baptism water poured over one infant child?
Why would sitting down without a mask and socialising informally with up to 40 strangers inside an eatery be considered less risky than the formalised, masked and appropriately spaced gathering of a faith community?
Why would public health advisers tell the government that religious worship is an inherently higher risk than other sectors?
It is a relief for all of us that our places of sporting, hospitality and community gathering are being allowed to open. It is just that none of this passes the pub test (literally!) when it comes to places of worship remaining closed.
I have been inundated with calls for accountability on the COVID road map and of answers to obvious questions. Profoundly, some of the loudest voices in my own archdiocese have been from our young people.
While our elderly and more isolated parishioners have suffered from being closed out of their churches, young people have been speaking on their behalf, concerned for their wellbeing, requesting that the government show us a measure of fairness and equality in each step of restrictions.
Our young people and young priests are looking to the future, and they can see that closing off churches is cutting off a source of spiritual care that cannot be overlooked, and of social and mental health supports that nobody else can provide.
For us, prayer with others is essential. It is a powerful help in our troubles that has nothing comparable in the secular and medical parallels of a visit to the doctor, however important that is.
If there really is health advice suggesting places of worship are inherently riskier, I respectfully request to see it.
If there is data that backs up the suspicion being thrown on communities of faith in this pandemic, I am only too pleased to sit down and talk it through with experts. We can manage all the steps required to be COVID-safe.
The quiet and patient prayers and hopes of people of faith have been constant this year.
But now they deserve the opportunity to step forward hopefully.
 
 
This piece originally appeared in the Herald Sun (19 October 2020).

The Netherlands Considers New Law Allowing Euthanasia for Children Aged 1-12



Holland considers allowing euthanasia for children aged 1 to 12
The Dutch health minister and deputy prime minister of the Netherlands, Hugo de Jonge, raised the prospect of euthanasia for terminally ill children aged 1 to 12-years-old. The health minister said he would work with health professionals and the law to realise the proposed measure. The proposal follows a recent report by hospitals at Groningen, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, where a majority of doctors supported euthanasia for young minors at the request of the parents. The report recommended the creation of a new law to allow euthanasia for children aged under 12. In the Netherlands, children aged between 12 and 15 can request euthanasia if parental consent is granted. SPUC comment SPUC said:
“This appalling proposal is not altogether surprising, since the Netherlands, which legalised so-called mercy killings in 2002, has for years cultivated a culture of death rather than care. “Even if a child has the right to consent – which seems impossible for any child under the age of 12 – the thought of an ailing child having to contend with the deliberate ending of his or her own life is reprehensible, whatever the circumstance. 
Mr De Jonge’s new act, if made law, would place a horrific and burdensome weight on a minor’s shoulders, as well as its parents. “No child should have to contemplate the ending of their own life. On the contrary, they and their parents should be allowed to enjoy what time is left, to enjoy life, each other and the time that is given to them.” Similar stories SPUC applauds The Salvation Army’s leadership in opposing assisted suicide legislation in New Zealand Physically healthy Belgian woman - granted euthanasia for depression - claims assisted suicide saves lives “Chilling”: Dutch euthanasia death toll expected to soar due to “increase in older people”
Edited from Source: 

#BreakingNews 2 Catholic Priests Kidnapped in Nigeria - Please Pray for the Release of Fr. Otori Francis and Fr. Avajara Simeon



CATHOLIC PRIESTS KIDNAPPED Again! Please join us in prayers for two Nigerian Catholic Priests who were kidnapped in Edo State on their way to Delta State for the funeral of their parishioner. 
The Priests, Rev Frs. Otori Francis and Avajara Simeon are of the Catholic Diocese of Lokoja. 
Too many Catholic priests have been Kidnapped in Edo State in the past couple of years. Too many persons of good will have been kidnapped in Nigeria these past years... 
According to the report it is asked that, Gov. Obaseki work to make Edo State much more secure. The Federal Government of Nigeria is called to do more to protect the lives of her citizens. Please take a moment and pray for the SPEEDY and SAFE RELEASE of these men of God.
Edited from https://neptuneprime.com.ng/2020/10/gunmen-kidnap-2-priests-along-benin-auchi-road-amidst-endsars-protest/