Monday, June 22, 2015

Amazing New Film on #Marriage "God's Design for Life and Love"

From the dawn of human history, mankind has understood the value of a lifelong, faithful, procreative union of one man and one woman in marriage. This natural bond, which was raised to a Sacrament by Our Lord Jesus Christ, has been the foundation of Christian civilisation for over two thousand years. This powerful film presents the enduring Catholic vision and understanding of marriage and the natural law, the beauty and meaning of human sexuality, of family, of the gift of children, and addresses the challenges we face in our world today. With presentations by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Bishop Mark Davies, Fr Marcus Holden, Fr Andrew Pinsent, Louise Kirk, Fiona Mansford and Edmund Adamus, this documentary is an essential resource for every Catholic parish, school and home.  Order Today!

For almost 20 years, St Anthony Communications has endeavoured to bring you the very best in Catholic presentations, beginning with our range of audio tapes back in 1995. Since then, year by year, we have expanded our range and now we're proud to offer you the finest selection of DVDs, CDs and Books covering almost every aspect of Catholic faith, life and culture.

Wow Brother David Johnson escapes from Militants in Syria by Singing about Jesus

Born and raised in Colorado, 34 year-old Brother David Johnson lives in Syria, the Middle Eastern country where he serves with the St. James the Persian Carmelite Monastery in Qara. He originally came as a student to study the language, but decided to stay. At a recent prayer breakfast in Denver, Brother Johnson recalled the story of Easter Monday, three years ago. He was up in the monastery tower, and, in typical, friendly Colorado fashion, waved hello to some Syrian Islamic militants he saw in the hills in the distance. “I didn’t even know there were Christians in the Middle East when I moved there – but there’s two million of them.” – Brother David Johnson in an interview to CNA Immediately the militants became suspicious and turned their convoy toward the monastery. When they arrived, they demanded to know who waved at them, and kidnapped Brother Johnson when they found out he was American, thinking him a spy. “They said what is he doing here, he’s probably just playing like he’s a monk,” Brother Johnson told CNA. His brothers immediately started praying. “My community, instead of panicking, they immediately went to the church, began the liturgy, began praying, began Mass,” he said, “and I was in God’s hands, I felt no fear.” Strangely at peace, joyful even, Brother Johnson began to sing songs of Jesus’ resurrection to his captors in their native language. At first they were taken aback, but then Brother Johnson realized their hearts were softening. “They said ‘I’ve never heard that before, why don’t you sing that again,’” Brother Johnson recalled one of the soldiers saying. “So I sang again, ‘Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.’” “They opened the doors (to their camp) and had me sing these songs of the resurrection to a crowd of soldiers, and they all were clapping! I thought I was dreaming! I thought I had entered into an alternate reality!” Brother Johnson said. While Brother Johnson is sure that his ability to speak in the militant’s native language helped in his immediate release, he said he is convinced that the prayers of his Brothers and the name of Jesus in the songs he sang is what saved his life that day. That’s why his advice to all who are concerned about the Islamic terrorists in the Middle East is to pray. “Pray, pray, pray,” he said, “And put all your trust in His wisdom.” Edited from CNA

Pro-Marriage Rally in #Rome with over 300,000 in Protest of #Government

Hundreds of thousands of people travelled from all over Italy and Europe yesterday to protest against the proposed legalisation of gay marriage, and the teaching of ‘gender theories’ in schools. Gathering in the San Giovanni Square in Rome, with estimates of participants running from 300,000 to a million people. The group held banners reading “The family will save the world” and “Let’s defend our children”, as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tries to push a civil union bill through parliament. “In my children’s schools they are talking about families made up of two fathers or two mothers, without asking parents’ permission,” said 41-year old doctor Giuseppe Ripa, adding: “It’s dangerous and wrong.” Rejecting the assertion, Massimo Gandolfini, spokesman for the “Defend our children!” committee said: “We are asking for families based on marriage be respected, and stressing the central role parents play. We forcefully reject the attempt to sneak into the curriculum projects which aim to destroy children’s sexual identities”. Matteo Salvini, rising star on the far right and head of ‘Italy’s UKIP’ Northern League party, sent a Facebook “hug for all the mummies and daddies protesting peacefully in Rome to defend their children’s future.”   Italy’s left-wing government is hoping to enact legislation to legalise same-sex unions by the end of July.
Edited from Breitbart

Latest #News from #Vatican and #PopeFrancis in #HolySee

22-06-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 116 

- The Pope in Turin: meeting with the world of work
- Contemplation before the Shroud and Mass in Piazza Vittorio
- To the Salesians: remember St. John Bosco's “street children”
- Francis visits the Cottolengo: the poor continue to be excluded from necessary care
- Meeting with the young: go against the grain
- To the Waldensian Church: God is not resigned to human sin
- The Pope to the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour: the economy contributes to development when rooted in justice
- To the Catholic Biblical Federation: the Word of God is a sacramental
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
The Pope in Turin: meeting with the world of work
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis today began his visit to Turin on the occasion of the extraordinary exposition of the Turin Shroud and the bicentenary of the birth of St. John Bosco. He was welcomed at the airport of the Piedmontese capital by the local religious and civil authorities following an hour-long flight from Rome, and then went on to meet with representatives from the world of work in the Piazzetta Reale.
“My visit to Turin begins with you”, he said to the thousands of people who had been awaiting him in the square since the early hours of the morning. “First of all, I would like to express my closeness to the young unemployed, to those in receipt of unemployment insurance, and those in precarious working conditions; and also to businesspeople, artisans and all those who work in various sectors, especially those who struggle to keep afloat”.
“Work is not necessary only for the economy, but also for the human person, and for his or her dignity and citizenship, and also for social inclusion”, emphasised the Holy Father, noting that Turin has historically been a pole of attraction for work, but is currently hard-hit by the crisis. “There is a lack of work and economic and social inequalities have increased; many people are poor and have problems with housing, health, education and other basic needs. Immigration increases competition, but migrants must not be blamed, as they are victims of iniquity, of this throwaway economy, and of wars. It makes us weep to see what is happening in these days, in which human beings are treated like commodities”.
The Pontiff reiterated that we must say “no” to a series of problems: to the throwaway economy “that expects us to resign ourselves to the exclusion of those who live in abject poverty. … Children are excluded, with a birthrate of 0%, the elderly are excluded, and now the young are excluded, with more than 40% unemployed. That which is not productive is excluded in a throwaway fashion”. We must say “no” to the idolatry of money, “which drives us to enter at all costs among those who, despite the crisis, become rich without caring about the many who are poor, often to the point of going hungry”. We must then say “no” to corruption, which is “so widespread that it seems to be a normal attitude and form of behaviour. But not merely in words, but also in actions. 'No' to collusion with the mafia, to fraud, to kickbacks, and so on”. Finally, “no” to the “iniquity that generates violence. Don Bosco teaches us that the best method is prevention: even social conflict can be prevented, and this must be done with justice”.
The Pope affirmed that, faced with this situation, “one cannot simply wait for recovery. Work is fundamental – it is declared from the beginning of the Italian Constitution – and it is necessary for society as a whole, in all its components, to collaborate so that there is work for all and that it is work worthy of man and woman. This requires an economic model that is not organised on the basis of capital and production but rather in the service of the common good. And, with regard to women, their rights must be forcefully protected; for women, who bear the greater burden in caring for the home, children and the elderly, are still discriminated against at work too”.
“Today I would like to add my voice to those of many workers and businesspeople in asking for a 'social and generational pact'. … Making data and resources available with a view to working together is a precondition for overcoming the current difficult situation and for building a new identity suitable for the times and the needs of the territory. The time has come to reactivate solidarity between generations, to recover trust between the young and adults. … And these are the main things I wanted to say to you. I add one word, which is not intended rhetorically: courage! This does not mean resignation, but rather, the contrary: be bold, be creative, be artisans of the future! For this I pray and I accompany you with my heart”.
Contemplation before the Shroud and Mass in Piazza Vittorio
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) – After his encounter with representatives from the world of work, the Pope proceeded on foot to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which houses the Holy Shroud, traditionally considered to have been wrapped around the body of Christ after his crucifixion. As Roberto Gottardo, president of the diocesan Commission for the Shroud, writes: “The Shroud is a cloth, but it is above all an image. … This image tells us of Jesus, in an immediate way, before science can offer its version and before faith reveals that it is Jesus. All this does not mean that the Shroud is certainly the sheet brought by Joseph of Arimathea below the cross, but certainly anyone who looks at it will find that it immediately recalls this story”. During the exposition of the Shroud in 1998, St. John Paul II affirmed: “The Shroud is also an image of human suffering, that experience that is to varying extents part of the existence of every person, and allows us to recognise this man as one of us”.
Once inside the Cathedral, the Pope knelt before the Holy Shroud, displayed at the major altar, in order to meditate for a moment in the presence of the elder priests of the Cathedral and cloistered nuns. He then proceeded to the chapel that houses the relics of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925), from Turin. Shortly after 10 a.m. he left the Cathedral and travelled by popemobile to Piazza Vittorio, one of the largest squares in Europe, to celebrate Holy Mass before thousands of people and to pray the Angelus.
“The readings we have heard should us how God's love for us is a faithful love, a love that recreates everything, a stable and secure love”, said Francis in his homily. “It is a love that does not deceive us, that never ends. Jesus incarnates that love: it is his Testament. He never ceases to love us, to support us, to forgive us, and so it leads us down the path of life, according to the promise He made to His disciples: 'I am with you always, to the end of the age'. Jesus remains faithful, even when we make mistakes, and he awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father. He is faithful love”.
“The second aspect: the love of God recreates everything, it makes all things new. … Acknowledging our limits and weaknesses is the door that opens up to Jesus' forgiveness, to His love that can renew us profoundly and can recreate us. Salvation can enter into the heart when we open up to the truth and acknowledge our errors, our sins; it is then that we have that beautiful experience of Him, of He who came not for the healthy, but for the sick; not for the righteous, but for sinners. … The sign that we have become 'new' and have been transformed by God's love is knowing how to cast aside the worn and old robes of rancour and enmities, to re-clothe us in the clean tunic of meekness, benevolence, service to others, and the peace of the heart proper to the sons of God. … God's love is stable and secure … as Jesus shows in the miracle narrated in the Gospel, when He calms the storm, commanding the wind and the sea. The disciples are afraid as they realise they are not able to cope, but He opens their heart to the courage of faith. To the man who cries, 'I can't do it any more', the Lord reaches out, offering him the rock of His love, to which anyone can hold, sure of not falling”.
“We can ask ourselves if today we rest firmly on the rock that is God's love; whether we live God's faithful love for us. There is always the risk of forgetting that great love the Lord has shown to us. We Christians too run the risk of letting ourselves be paralysed by fears of the future and seeking security in transient things, in a model of a closed society that tends to exclude more than it includes”.
“May the Holy Spirit help us always to be conscious of this love that, like a rock makes us stable and strong in sufferings small and great; that makes us able not to close ourselves up when faced with difficulties, to face life with courage and to look to the future with hope. As then, on the lake of Galilee, today too in the sea of our existence Jesus is He Who vanquishes the forces of evil and the threats of despair. The peace He gives us is for all; even for many brothers and sisters who flee from wars and persecutions in search of peace and freedom”.
Following Mass, and before praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled that the Shroud, which attracts millions of pilgrims to Turin every year, was the icon of Jesus' love. “The Shroud attracts us through the face and the broken body of Jesus and, at the same time, drives us towards the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person. It drives us in the same direction of the gift of Jesus' love. 'The love of Christ impels us': these words of St. Paul's were the motto of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo”.
“Recalling the apostolic zeal of many priests, saints of this land, starting from Don Bosco, of whom we recall the bicentenary of his birth, I greet you, priests and men and women religious. You dedicate yourselves fully to pastoral work and you are close to the people and their problems. I encourage you to continue in your ministry with joy, always focusing on what is essential in the announcement of the Gospel. And while I thank you, brother bishops of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, for your presence, I exhort you to stay near to your priests with paternal affection and warm closeness”.
“To the Holy Virgin I commend this city, her territory and all who live here, so that they may live in justice, in peace and in fraternity. In particular, I entrust families, the young, the elderly, the imprisoned and all those who suffer, with a special thought for those who suffer from leukaemia today, on National Day Against Leukaemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma. May Mary the Consoler, the Queen of Turin and Piedmont, keep firm your faith, assure your hopes and make your charity fruitful, so as to be 'salt and light' of this blessed land, of which I am a grandson”.
Following the Marian prayer, the Pope transferred to the archbishop's residence by car, greeting the soldiers of the Training School, where he lunched with the detainees of the “Ferrante-Aporti” prison for minors, some immigrants and various people without fixed abode.
To the Salesians: remember St. John Bosco's “street children”
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's afternoon in Turin began with a private visit to the Shrine of the Consolata, the most popular basilica in the city, dedicated to Mary the Consoler, protector of the city ever since the twelfth century and invoked during the siege by Franco-Spanish troops in 1706 and during the plague in 1835. The Pope prayed at the altar of the Virgin and Child, the work of Felipe Juvarra, in the company of ten priests from the Cathedral.
From there, he proceeded to the basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians to celebrate with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in their motherhouse on the bicentenary of the birth of the “apostle of the young”, St. John Bosco. Thousands of young people from Salesian oratories from all over the world awaited the Pope outside the basilica. Upon arrival Pope Francis, accompanied by the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, left a floral tribute at the main altar, inaugurated in 1868 at the behest of St. John Bosco, and handed the discourse he had prepared to the Major Rector of the Salesians, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, after which he made some unscripted remarks to those present. Extensive extracts of the Pope's written discourse are published below.
“I thank the Lord with you for having given the Church this saint, who along with many other saints from the region, is an honour and a blessing for the Church and for society in Turin and Piedmont, for Italy and all the world, in particular for the attention he showed to the young and marginalised poor. Much may be said of Don Bosco. However, I would like to emphasise just three characteristics: his trust in Divine Providence; the vocation of being a priest for the young, especially the poorest; and his loyal and active service to the Church, especially to Peter's Successor”.
“Don Bosco carried out his priestly mission up to his last breath, supported by an unswerving trust in God and in His love, and for this he was able to do great things. This relationship of trust with the Lord is also the substance of consecrated life, so that service to the Gospel and to our brothers does not remain a prisoner of our viewpoints, of the transient realities of this world, but rather a continual surpassing of ourselves, anchoring us in external realities and submerging ourselves in the Lord, our strength and our hope. And this will also be our fruitfulness”.
“The other important aspect of the life of Don Bosco is service to the young. He achieved this with steadfastness and constancy, notwithstanding obstacles and hardships, with the sensibility of a generous heart. … The charism of Don Bosco leads us to be educators of the young, implementing that pedagogy of the faith that may be summarised thus: 'evangelise by educating and educate by evangelising'. To evangelise the young, to educate the young full-time, starting from the most fragile and abandoned, proposing an educational style made of reason, religion and affection, universally appreciated as a 'preventive system'. I encourage you to continue with generosity and trust your many activities in support of the new generations: oratories, youth centres, professional institutes, schools and colleges. But without forgetting what Don Bosco called the 'street children': they are greatly in need of hope, of being formed in the joy of Christian life”.
“Don Bosco was always obedient and faithful the Church and the Pope, following suggestions and pastoral indications. Today the Church turns to you, spiritual sons and daughters of this great Saint, and in a concrete way invites you to reach out, to go out anew to find the children and young people where they are: in the peripheries of the metropolises, in the areas of physical and moral danger, in social contexts where many material things are missing, but where above all there is a lack of love, understanding, tenderness and hope. Go towards them with the overflowing paternity of Don Bosco. The oratory of Don Bosco was born of the encounter with street children and for a certain time he lived an itinerant life in the quarters of Turin. May you be able to announce Jesus' mercy to all, making every place an 'oratory', especially those that seem most impervious; carrying in your hearts Don Bosco's oratory style and looking to ever-broader apostolic horizons. From the solid root that he laid down two hundred years ago in the terrain of the Church and in society, many branches have grown: thirty religious institutions that live the charism to share the mission of carrying the Gospel to the outer reaches of the peripheries. The Lord has blessed this service, inspiring among you, throughout these two centuries, a great number of people whom the Church has proclaimed saints and blesseds. I encourage you to continue on this path, imitating the faith of your predecessors”.
Francis visits the Cottolengo: the poor continue to be excluded from necessary care
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) - “I could not visit Turin without stopping in this house: the Little House of Divine Providence [Cottolengo], founded almost two centuries ago by St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo. Inspired by the merciful love of God the Father and trusting fully in His Providence, he welcomed the poor, abandoned and sick who could not be received in hospitals at that time”, said the Pope to the patients and differently-abled persons who awaited him at the Cottolengo in Turin following his meeting with the Salesians.
After blessing and personally greeting each person present, the Pope gave a brief address in which he remarked that “the exclusion of the poor and their difficulty in receiving the necessary assistance and treatment is a situation that unfortunately still exists today. Great progress has been made in medicine and in social assistance, but a culture of waste remains widespread as a consequence of an anthropological crisis that instead of placing man at the centre, favours consumption and economic interests”.
He continued, “among the victims of this culture of waste, I would like to mention the elderly in particular … they are the memory and wisdom of the people. Their longevity is not always considered as a gift from God, but at times instead as a difficult burden to bear, especially when their health is compromised. This mentality is not good for society, and our task is to develop 'antibodies' against this way of looking at the elderly or persons with disabilities, as if theirs were lives no longer worth living. It is a sin, a grave social sin! Instead, Cottolengo loved these people with great tenderness. Here we can learn another outlook on life and on the person. … From him we can learn the reality of evangelical love, so that many poor and sick people may find a home, live as if they were in a family, and feel that they belong to a community rather than being excluded and tolerated”.
“Dear patients, brothers and sisters: you are valuable members of the Church!” exclaimed the Pope. “You are the flesh of Christ crucified, whom we have the honour of touching and serving with love. With the grace of Jesus we can be witnesses and apostles of the divine mercy that saves the world. Looking upon the crucified Christ, full of love for me, and also with the help of those who care for you, you will find the strength and the consolation to bear your cross each day”.
“The reason for the existence of this little house is not mere assistance, or philanthropy, but the Gospel: … Jesus' predilection for the frailest and weakest. And therefore work like this cannot be carried out without prayer … as shown by the six monasteries of nuns of contemplative life linked to it”, concluded the Holy Father, who went on to thank the priests and men and women religious of Turin, in the Cottolengo and throughout the world. “Along with many lay workers, volunteers and 'Friends of the Cottolengo', you are called upon to continue, with creative fidelity, the mission of this great saint of charity”.
Meeting with the young: go against the grain
Vatican City, 22 June 2015 (VIS) – The first day of the Pope's apostolic trip to Turin concluded with his encounter with the young in Piazza Vittorio. Francis answered to questions from three of them regarding the meaning of love, trust in life and the importance of sharing ideals, setting aside the discourse he had prepared. The following is a summary of the Holy Father's answers:
“Love, life, friends: … these three words are important for life, and they share a common root: the desire to live. … Love moves on two axes: first of all, love is found in actions more than in words: love is concrete. … God began to talk about love when he was involved with His people … when He made a covenant with His people, He saved His people, He made gestures of love, acts of love. And the second dimension, the second axis on which love turns, is that love always communicates itself, that is, love listens and responds, love is found in dialogue and communion. Love is neither deaf nor mute, it communicates itself. … Love is very respectful to others, it does not use them, and therefore love is chaste. … It considers the life of the other person to be sacred: I respect you, I do not want to use you. … Forgive me if I say something you did not expect, but I ask you: make the effort to live love chastely. And a consequence derives from this: … love sacrifices itself for others. Love is service. When Jesus, after the washing of the feet, explains this gesture to the apostles, He teaches them that we are made to serve one another”.
“Very often we breathe an air of distrust in life. There are situations that make us think, 'But is it worth living like this?'. I think of the wars in this world. At times I have said that we are living a third world war, but in pieces. There is war in Europe, there is war in Africa, there is war in the Middle East, there is war in other countries ... But can I trust in a life like this? Can I trust world leaders? When I go to vote for a candidate, can I trust that he or she will not take my country to war? If you trust only in men, you have lost! Think of the people, leaders, entrepreneurs, who say they are Christians and then produce weapons! They say one thing and do another. Hypocrisy … But we see what happened during the last century: in 1914, or rather in 1915 precisely. There was the great tragedy in Armenia. Many people died. I do not know how many, but certainly more than a million. Where were the great powers of the time? They looked away. Why? Because they were interested in war: their war! And those who died, they were second class people, human beings. Then, in the 1930s and 1940s, the tragedy of the Shoah. The great powers had photographed the railway lines that carried the trains to the concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, to kill Jews, and also Christians, Roma, homosexuals, to kill them there. But tell me, why did they not bomb them? Interests! And soon after, almost at the same time, there were the lagers in Russia: Stalin … how many Christians suffered and were killed. The great powers divided Europe like a cake. Many years had to pass before reaching a certain 'freedom'. There is the hypocrisy of speaking about peace and producing arms, and even selling weapons to this one, who is at war with that one, and to that one who is at war with this!”
“I understand what you say about distrust in life: today, too, we are living a culture of waste. All that is not of economic use is discarded. … And so, with this culture of waste, is it possible to trust in life? … A young person who cannot study, who does not have a job, who suffers the shame of not feeling worthy because he does not have a job, does not earn life. … How often do young people commit suicide? … Or how often do they go to fight with terrorists, at least to do something, for an ideal? … And this is why Jesus told us not to place our security in wealth, in worldly powers. How can I live a life that does n destroy, that is not a life of destruction, a life that does not discard people? How can a live a life that does not disappoint me?”.
“We must go ahead with our plans to build, and this life does not disappoint. If you are involved in a plan for construction, to help … that sense of distrust in life goes away. Be active, and go against the grain. For you, young people, who experience this economic and also cultural, hedonistic, consumerist situation with its soap bubble values, with these values it is not possible to go ahead. Do constructive things, even if they are small, that bring us together again, that unite us together, with our ideals: this is the best antidote to this distrust of life, against this culture that offers you only pleasure. … The secret is clearly understanding where you live. In this land … at the end of the nineteenth century there were the worst possible conditions for the growth of the young: Freemasonry prevailed, even the Church could do nothing; there was anti-clericalism, there was Satanism. … It was one of the worst times and one of the worst places in the history of Italy. But in that period, many saints were born. Why? Because they realised that they had to swim against the tide of that culture, that way of life. Live in reality, and if that reality is glass and not diamond, I find an alternative reality and make it my own, a reality that is of service to others”.
To the Waldensian Church: God is not resigned to human sin
Vatican City, 22 June 2015 (VIS) – At 9 a.m. today the Holy Father visited the Waldensian Temple where he was received by the pastor Eugenio Bernardini, moderator of the Waldensian Mass, the president of the Consistory of the Evangelical Waldensian Church of Turin, Sergio Velluto, and the pastor Paolo Ribet, titular of the Evangelical Waldensian Church of Turin. The moderator of the Evangelical Waldensian Church of Uruguay, pastor Oscar Oudri, was also present. The welcome reminded the Pope “of the meetings with friends in the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Rio de la Plata, where I could appreciate the spirituality and faith and learn many good things”.
“One of the main fruits that the ecumenical movement has enabled us to gather in recent years is the rediscovery of the fraternity that unites all those who believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptised in His name”, remarked Francis. “This bond is not based simply on human criteria, such as the radical sharing of the experience on which Christian life is based: the encounter with God's love that is revealed to us in Jesus Christ and the transforming action of the Holy Spirit that helps us on our path in life. The rediscovery of this fraternity enables us to grasp that deep bond that already unites us, despite our differences”.
“Unity, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, does not mean uniformity”, he emphasised. “Brothers, effectively, are united by a common origin, but they are not identical to each other. This is clear in the New Testament where, despite calling brothers all those who share the same faith in Jesus Christ, it can be intuited that not all Christian communities had the same style or an identical internal organisation … and even in the announcement of the Gospel itself there is diversity and at times clashes. Unfortunately, brothers have not and continue not to accept their differences, and end up fighting against each other. Reflecting on the history of our relationship, we cannot but feel sad faced with the conflicts and violence committed in the name of our faith, and I ask the Lord to grant us the grace of acknowledging ourselves as sinners and of forgiving each other. It is God's initiative, that never resigns to man's sin, that opens up new forms of living this fraternity, and from this we cannot escape. I ask forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church for unchristian, even inhuman gestures and behaviour towards you. In the name of Jesus Christ, forgive us”.
The Pope expressed his profound joy at noting that the relations between Catholics and Waldensians are now increasingly based on mutual respect and fraternal charity, and that there have been and are many opportunities to strengthen them, for example “collaboration for the publication in Italian of an interconfessional translation of the Bible, pastoral agreements for the celebration of marriage and, more recently, the draft of a joint appeal opposing violence towards women”. Likewise, this year at Easter the Waldensian Church in the Italian city of Pinerolo offered the Catholic Church the wine for the celebration of Holy Saturday, and the Catholic Church responded by offering the Waldensians the bread for the Holy Supper on Easter Sunday. “It is a gesture between the two Churches that goes far beyond the pure and simple courtesy”, noted Francis. “It is a gesture that anticipates, in some way, the unity of the Eucharistic Mass that we all hope for”.
“Inspired by these steps, we are called to continue to walk together”, emphasised the Pope at the end of his discourse. “One area that offers ample opportunities for collaboration between Waldensians and Catholics is evangelisation. Aware that the Lord has gone before us and precedes us in love, let us go together towards the men and women of today, who at times seem so distracted and indifferent, to transmit to them the heart of the Gospel, or rather 'the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ Who died and rose from the dead'. Another sector in which we can work increasingly united is that of the service to suffering humanity: to the poor, the sick, migrants. … The differences that continue to exist between Catholics and Waldensians on important anthropological and ethical questions do not prevent us from finding forms of cooperation in these and other fields. If we walk together, the Lord will help us to live this communion that precedes any disagreement”.
The meeting at the Waldensian Temple ended with the Lord's Prayer, recited together. The Pope then returned to the archbishop's residence to meet with a number of his relatives – six direct relatives with their families, a total of thirty people for whom he celebrated Holy Mass and with whom he lunched.
Before his return to Rome at 5.30 p.m., the Pope greeted the members of the Committee for the Exposition of the Shroud and the organisers of his visit to Turin, his home town, which Cardinal Bergoglio used to visit every time he travelled to Italy.
The Pope to the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour: the economy contributes to development when rooted in justice
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall Pope Francis received in audience four hundred members of the National Federation of the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour, which has for a hundred years been awarded to those who have distinguished themselves in the fields of business and economy for their contribution to the creation of work and the promotion of Italian products throughout the world.
“This work is more valuable than ever in an age like ours, in which the economic and financial crisis has been followed by severe stagnation and also a true recession, in a social context already marked by inequalities and unemployment, especially regarding young people. This latter constitutes a true social scourge, inasmuch as it deprives the young of an essential element for their realisation, and deprives the economy of the contribution of their vital strengths. The world of work should be awaiting young people, well-prepared and keen to make efforts and to emerge. Instead, the message that has often been received in these years is that there is no need for them. And this is the symptom of serious dysfunction, that cannot be attributed solely to causes at a global and international level”.
“The common good, which is the ultimate objective of living together, cannot be reached through a mere increase in earnings or production, but has as an indispensable precondition the active involvement of all the members of the social body. The social teaching of the Church continually recalls this fundamental criterion: that the human being is at the centre of development, and while men and women remain passive or at the margins, the common good cannot be considered to have been fully achieved. … Here is the social scope of work: the capacity for involved people and entrusting responsibility, so as to stimulate enterprise, creativity and effort. This has positive effects on the new generations and ensures that society begins to look ahead again, offering prospects and opportunities, and therefore hopes for the future”.
The Holy Father emphasised that this National Foundation has the commendable purpose of ensuring that its members highlight not only the social role of work but also its ethical scope. “Indeed, the economy contributes to the authentic development that does not marginalise peoples and individuals only when it is rooted in justice and respect for the law, when it keeps away from corruption and crime, and when it does not neglect to care for the environment. The practice of justice, as the Biblical texts wisely tell us, is not limited to abstention from iniquity or the observance of the laws (although this is already important!), but instead goes much further. The truly just, as well as respecting the rules, act with conscience and interest in the good of all, and not only for themselves. The just take to heart the fate of the less advantaged and the poorest, never tire of working, and are always ready to take new paths. We hope for the practice of justice in this full sense for every economic worker and all citizens”.
To the Catholic Biblical Federation: the Word of God is a sacramental
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) – The members of the Catholic Biblical Federation were received last Friday by the Holy Father, on the occasion of their tenth plenary session to reflect on the Sacred Scripture as a source of evangelisation, and on the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the dogmatic Constitution on the Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. The Pope handed those present a written discourse, published by the VIS on the same day, and gave a brief improvised address, a summary of which is offered below.
“The surprises of God, that help us to realise that all our plans all our thoughts and many things, before the living Word of God, collapse and crumble. When a Church closes up in herself and forgets that she has been sent to announce the Gospel, that is, the Good News, to move hearts with the kerygma, then she ages and weakens. And, I would add, she sickens and dies”.
“I have heard it said many times that the diocese in northern Africa at the time of St. Augustine were dead Churches. No! There are two ways of dying: dying closed in oneself or dying by giving life as witness. And a Church that has the courage – the parrhesia – to carry forward the Word of God without shame is on the road to martyrdom”.
“In the first reading of today's Mass we have heard that Paul tell of the things he suffered, to 'boast'. 'But whatever anyone else dares to boast of – I am speaking as a fool – I also dare to boast of that'. The outline is this. But if St. Paul had stayed there, in one of the churches, like that of Corinth, and only there, he would not have suffered all that he says. Why? Because he was an outgoing man – when he saw that things were going well, he handed over to another and went on. He is a model”.
“At the end he says this beautiful phrase: after 'boasting' of his many journeys, the many times he was whipped, the time he was stoned, all of that, 'if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness'. In another passage – you Biblical scholars must know it – he says, 'I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses'. Paul's third boast is not vanity: 'But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ'. This is his strength. And this is an outgoing Church, a martyrial Church. She is a Church who takes to the street, who walks. But I prefer a Church wounded in an accident rather than a Church that sickens from being closed up in herself. With this parrhesia and this hypomone; that patience that is shouldering situations, but also the tenderness of carrying the injured faithful on one's shoulders, that have been given to her. A pastoral Church. Only the Word of God and, alongside the Word, the Eucharist. The brothers who gather to praise the Lord with the weakness of bread and wine, the Body of the Lord, the Blood of the Lord”.
“The Word of God is not something that makes life easy. No, no. It always places us in difficulty! If someone bears it with sincerity, it places him in difficulty, it embarrasses him many times. But it is necessary to tell the truth, with tenderness, with that shouldering of situations and of people. It can be understood as a fraternal respect that knows how to 'caress'”.
“One of the things that worry me is the functional proclamation of the Word of God in homilies. Please, do everything to help your brothers – deacons, priests and bishops – to give the Word of God in their homilies, so that it reaches the heart. A thought, an image, a sentiment can also reach... but the Word of God must arrive. There are many who are capable, but they make the mistake of offering a beautiful theological dissertation. … The Word of God is a sacramental! For Luther it is a sacrament, that acts also ex opere operato (effective in and of itself, Ed.). Then the tendency was more towards the Tridentine view, that of ex opere operantis (receiving its efficacy through the mediator, Ed.). Theologians then found the Word of God to be somewhere between; part ex opere operato, part ex opere operantis. It is a sacramental. Discourses are not sacramental, they are discourses done well. But in the homilies may there be the Word of God, as it touches the heart”.
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Joaquin Mbana Nchama, ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, presenting his credential letters;
- Bishop Jorge Pedro Carrion Pavlich of Puno, Peru;
- Dr. Giuseppe Guzzetti, president of the Associazione di Fondazioni e di Casse di Risparmio (ACRI) (Association of Foundations and Savings Banks), and entourage.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 22 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, apostolic nuncio in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde and apostolic delegate to Mauritania, as apostolic nuncio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On Saturday 20 June, the Holy Father:
- appointed Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza, O.F.M., of Huejutla, Mexico, as bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa (area 19,860, population 989,000, Catholics 904,000, priests 147, religious 179), Mexico. He succeeds Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- given his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Patriarchal Church of Fr. Abata Hanna Rahme, O.L.M., as eparchal bishop of Baalbek – Deir El-Ahmar (Catholics 66,050, priests 19, permanent deacons 1, religious 39), Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Aynata, Lebanon in 1960, gave his solemn vows in 1989 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and theology from the Sorbonne University, Paris, where he was also conferred a doctorate in history of religions and religious anthropology. Within the Lebanese Maronite Order he has also served as superior of the St. Charbel Convent in Bekaa-Kafra, director of schools of the Order, member of the secretariat general of the Catholic Schools of Lebanon, and professor at the “St. Esprit” University of Kaslik. He is currently protosyncellus of the eparchy of Baalbek – Deir El-Ahmar.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. June 22, 2015

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 371

Reading 1GN 12:1-9

The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him, and Lot went with him.
Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
Abram took his wife, Sarai, his brother’s son Lot,
all the possessions that they had accumulated,
and the persons they had acquired in Haran,
and they set out for the land of Canaan.
When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land
as far as the sacred place at Shechem,
by the terebinth of Moreh.
(The Canaanites were then in the land.)

The LORD appeared to Abram and said,
“To your descendants I will give this land.”
So Abram built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel,
pitching his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east.
He built an altar there to the LORD and invoked the LORD by name.
Then Abram journeyed on by stages to the Negeb.

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:12-13, 18-19, 20 AND 22

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

AlleluiaHEB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

Saint June 22 : St. Thomas More : Patron of #Politicians , #Lawyers , and Widowers

St. Thomas More
Feast: June 22

Feast Day:June 22
1478 at London, England 
Died:6 July 1535, London, England
Canonized:1935, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Patron of:Adopted children,civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, politicians and statesmen, stepparents, widowers
Saint, knight, Lord Chancellor of England, author and martyr, born in London, 7 February, 1477-78; executed at Tower Hill, 6 July, 1535. He was the sole surviving son of Sir John More, barrister and later judge, by his first wife Agnes, daughter of Thomas Graunger. While still a child Thomas was sent to St. Anthony's School in Threadneedle Street, kept by Nicholas Holt, and when thirteen years old was placed in the household of Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor. Here his merry character and brilliant intellect attracted the notice of the archbishop, who sent him to Oxford, where he entered at Canterbury Hall (subsequently absorbed by Christ Church) about 1492. His father made him an allowance barely sufficient to supply the necessaries of life and, in consequence, he had no opportunity to indulge in "vain or hurtful amusements" to the detriment of his studies. At Oxford he made  friends with William Grocyn and Thomas Linacre, the latter becoming his first instructor in Greek. Without ever becoming an exact scholar he mastered Greek "by an instinct of genius" as witnessed by Pace (De fructu qui ex doctrina percipitur, 1517), who adds "his eloquence is incomparable and twofold, for he speaks with the same facility in Latin as in his own language". Besides the classics he studied French, history, and mathematics, and also learned to play the flute and the viol. After two years' residence at Oxford, More was recalled to London and entered as a law student at New Inn about 1494. In February, 1496, he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn as a student, and in due course was called to the outer bar and subsequently made a bencher. His great abilities now began to attract attention and the governors of Lincoln's Inn appointed him "reader" or lecturer on law at Furnival's Inn, his lectures being esteemed so highly that the appointment was renewed for three successive years.

It is clear however that law did not absorb all More's energies, for much of his time was given to letters. He wrote poetry, both Latin and English, a considerable amount of which has been preserved and is of good quality, though not particularly striking, and he was especially devoted to the works of Pico della Mirandola, of whose life he published an English translation some years later. He cultivated the acquaintance of scholars and learned men and, through his former tutors, Grocyn and Linacre, who were now living in London, he made friends with Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, and William Lilly, both renowned scholars. Colet became More's confessor and Lilly vied with him in translating epigrams from the Greek Anthology into Latin, then joint productions being published in 1518 (Progymnasnata T. More et Gul. Liliisodalium). In 1497 More was introduced to Erasmus, probably at the house of Lord Mountjoy, the great scholar's pupil and patron. The friendship at once became intimate, and later on Erasmus paid several long visits at More's Chelsea house, and the two friends corresponded regularly until death separated them. Besides law and the Classics More read the Fathers with care, and he delivered, in the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry, a series of lectures on St. Augustine's "De civitate Dei", which were attended by many learned men, among whom Grocyn, the rector of the church, is expressly mentioned. For such an audience the lectures must have been prepared with great care, but unhappily not a fragment of them has survived. These lectures were given somewhere between 1499 and 1503, a period during which More's mind was occupied almost wholly with religion and the question of his own vocation for the priesthood.

This portion of his life has caused much misunderstanding among his various biographers. It is certain that he went to live near the London Charterhouse and often joined in the spiritual exercises of the monks there. He wore "a sharp shirt of hair next his skin, which he never left off wholly" (Cresacre More), and gave himself up to a life of prayer and penance. His mind wavered for some time between joining the Carthusians or the Observant Franciscans, both of which orders observed the religious life with extreme strictness and fervour. In the end, apparently with the approval of Colet, he abandoned the hope of becoming a priest or religious, his decision being due to a mistrust of his powers of perseverance. Erasmus, his intimate friend and confidant, writes on this matter as follows (Epp.447): "Meanwhile he applied his whole mind to exercises of piety, looking to and pondering on the priesthood in vigils, fasts and prayers and similar austerities. In which matter he proved himself far more prudent than most candidates who thrust themselves rashly into that arduous profession without any previous trial of their powers. The one thing that prevented him from giving himself to that kind of life was that he could not shake off the desire of the married state. He chose, therefore, to be a chaste husband rather than an impure priest." The last sentence of this passage has led certain writers, notably Mr. Seebohm and Lord Campbell, to expatiate at great length on the supposed corruption of the religious orders at this date, which, they declare, disgusted More so much that he abandoned his wish to enter religion on that account. Father Bridgett deals with this question at considerable length (Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More, pp. 23-36), but it is enough to say that this view has now been abandoned even by non-Catholic writers, as witness Mr. W. H. Hutton: "It is absurd to assert that More was disgusted with monastic corruption, that he 'loathed monks as a disgrace to the Church'. He was throughout his life a warm friend of the religious orders, and a devoted admirer of the monastic ideal. He condemned the vices of individuals; he said, as his great-grandson says, 'that at that time religious men in England had somewhat degenerated from their ancient strictness and fervour of spirit'; but there is not the slightest sign that his decision to decline the monastic life was due in the smallest degree to a distrust of the system or a distaste for the theology of the Church."

The question of religious vocation being disposed of, More threw himself into his work at the Bar and scored immediate success. In 1501 he was elected a member of Parliament, but as the returns are missing his constituency is unknown. Here he immediately began to oppose the large and unjust exactions of money which King Henry VII was making from his subjects through the agency of Empson and Dudley, the latter being Speaker of the House of Commons. In this Parliament Henry demanded a grant of three-fifteenths, about 113,000 pounds, but thanks to More's protests the Commons reduced the sum to 30,000. Some years later Dudley told More that his boldness would have cost him his head but for the fact that he had not attacked the king in person. Even as it was Henry was so enraged with More that he "devised a causeless quarrel against his father, keeping him in the Tower till he had made him pay a hundred pounds fine" (Roper). Meanwhile More had made friends with one "Maister John Colte, a gentleman" of Newhall, Essex, whose oldest daughter, Jane, he married in 1505. Roper writes of his choice: "albeit his mind most served him to the second daughter, for that he thought her the fairest and best favoured, yet when he considered that it would be great grief and some shame also to the eldest to see her younger sister preferred before her in marriage, he then, of a certain pity, framed his fancy towards" the eldest of the three sisters. The union proved a supremely happy one; of it were born three daughters, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Cecilia, and a son, John; and then, in 1511, Jane More died, still almost a child. In the epitaph which More himself composed twenty years later he calls her "uxorcula Mori", and a few lines in one of Erasmus' letters are almost all we know of her gentle, winning personality.

Of More himself Erasmus has left us a wonderful portrait in his famous letter to Ulrich von Hutten dated 23 July, 1519 (Epp. 447). The description is too long to give in full, but some extracts must be made. "To begin then with what is least known to you, in stature he is not tall, though not remarkably short. His limbs are formed with such perfect symmetry as to leave nothing to be desired. His complexion is white, his face rather than pale and though by no means ruddy, a faint flush of pink appears beneath the whiteness of his skin. His hair is dark brown or brownish black. The eyes are grayish blue, with some spots, a kind which betokens singular talent, and among the English is considered attractive, whereas Germans generally prefer black. It is said that none are so free of vice. His countenance is in harmony with his character, being always expressive of an amiable joyousness, and even an incipient laughter and, to speak candidly, it is better framed for gladness than for gravity or dignity, though without any approach to folly or buffoonery. The right shoulder is a little higher than the left, especially when he walks. This is not a defect of birth, but the result of habit such as we often contract. In the rest of his person there is nothing to offend...He seems born and framed for friendship, and is a most faithful and enduring friend...When he finds any sincere and according to his heart, he so delights in their society and conversation as to place in it the principal charm of life...In a word, if you want a perfect model of friendship, you will find it in no one better than in More...In human affairs there is nothing from which he does not extract enjoyment, even from things that are most serious. If he converses with the learned and judicious, he delights in their talent, if with the ignorant and foolish, he enjoys their stupidity. He is not even offended by professional jesters. With a wonderful dexterity ha accommodates himself to every disposition. As a rule, in talking with women, even with his own wife, he is full of jokes and banter. No one is less led by the opinions of the crowd, yet no one departs less from common sense..." (see Father Bridgett's Life, p. 56-60, for the entire letter). More married again very soon after his first wife's death, his choice being a widow, Alice Middleton. She was older than he by seven years, a good, somewhat commonplace soul without beauty or education; but she was a capital housewife and was devoted to the care of More's young children. On the whole the marriage seems to have been quite satisfactory, although Mistress More usually failed to see the point of her husband's jokes.
More's fame as a lawyer was now very great. In 1510 he was made Under-Sheriff of London, and four years later was chosen by Cardinal Wolsey as one of an embassy to Flanders to protect the interests of English merchants. He was thus absent from England for more than six months in 1515, during which period he made the first sketch of the "Utopia", his most famous work, which was published the following year. Both Wolsey and the king were anxious to secure More's services at Court. In 1516 he was granted a pension of 100 pounds for life, was made a member of the embassy to Calais in the next year, and became a privy councilor about the same time. In 1519 he resigned his post as Under-Sheriff and became completely attached to the Court. In June, 1520, he was in Henry's suite at the "Field of the Cloth of Gold", in 1521 was knighted and made sub-treasurer to the king. When the Emperor Charles V visited London in the following year, More was chosen to deliver the Latin address of welcome; and grants of land in Oxford and Kent, made then and three years later, gave further proof of Henry's favour. In 1523 he was elected Speaker of the House of Commons on Wolsey's recommendation; became High Steward of Cambridge University in 1525; and in the same year was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to be held in addition to his other offices. In 1523 More had purchased a piece of and in Chelsea, where he built himself a mansion about a hundred yards from the north bank of the Thames, with a large garden stretching along the river. Here at times the king would come as an unbidden guest at dinner time, or would walk in the garden with his arm round More's neck enjoying his brilliant conversation. But More had no illusions about the royal favour he enjoyed. "If my head should win him a  castle in France," he said to Roper, his son-in-law, in 1525, "it should not fail to go". The Lutheran controversy had now spread throughout Europe and, with some reluctance, More was drawn into it. His controversial writings are mentioned below in the list of his works, and it is sufficient here to say that, while far more refined than most polemical writers of the period, there is still a certain amount that tastes unpleasant to the modern reader. At first he wrote in Latin but, when the books of Tindal and other English Reformers began to be read by people of all classes, he adopted English as more fitted to his purpose and, by doing so, gave no little aid to the development of English  prose.

In October, 1529, More succeeded Wolsey as Chancellor of England, a post never before held by a layman. In matters political, however, he is nowise succeeded to Wolsey's position, and his tenure of the chancellorship is chiefly memorable for his unparalleled success as a judge. His despatch was so great that the supply of causes was actually exhausted, an incident commemorated in the well-known rhyme,

When More some time had Chancellor been
No more suits did remain.
The like will never more be seen,
Till More be there again.

As chancellor it was his duty to enforce the laws against heretics and, by doing so, he provoked the attacks of Protestant writers both in his own time and since. The subject need not be discussed here, but More's attitude is patent. He agreed with the principle of the anti-heresy laws and had no hesitation in enforcing them. As he himself wrote in his "Apologia" (cap.49) it was the vices of heretics that he hated, not their persons; and he never proceeded to extremities until he had made every effort to get those brought before him to recant. How successful he was in this is clear from the fact that only four persons suffered the supreme penalty for heresy during his whole term of office. More's first public appearance as chancellor was at the opening of the new Parliament in November, 1529. The accounts of his speech on this occasion vary considerably, but it is quite certain that he had no knowledge of the long series of encroachments on the Church which this very Parliament was to accomplish. A few months later came the royal proclamation ordering the clergy to acknowledge Henry as "Supreme Head" of the Church "as far as the law of God will permit", and we have Chapuy's testimony that More at once proffered his resignation of the chancelorship, which however was not accepted. His firm opposition to Henry's designs in regard to the divorce, the papal supremacy, and the laws against heretics, speedily lost him the royal favour, and in May, 1532, he resigned his post of Lord Chancellor after holding it less than three years. This meant the loss of all his income except about 100 pounds a year, the rent of some property he had purchased; and, with cheerful indifference, he at once reduced his style of living to match his strained means. The epitaph he wrote at this time for the tomb in Chelsea church states that he intended to devote his last years to preparing himself for the life to come.

For the next eighteen months More lived in seclusion and gave much time to controversial writing. Anxious to avoid a public rupture with Henry he stayed away from Anne Boleyn's coronation, and when, in 1533, his nephew William Rastell wrote a pamphlet supporting the pope, which was attributed to More, he wrote a letter to Cromwell disclaiming any share therein and declaring that he knew his duty to his prince too well to criticize his policy. Neutrality, however, did not suit Henry, and More's name was included in the Bill of Attainder introduced into the Lords against the Holy Maid of Kent and her friends. Brought before four members of the Council, More was asked why he did not approve Henry's anti-papal action. He answered that he had several times explained his position to the king in person and without incurring his displeasure. Eventually, in view of his extraordinary popularity, Henry thought it expedient to remove his name from the Bill of Attainder. The incident showed that he might expect, however, and the Duke of Norfolk personally warned him of his grave danger, adding "indignatio principis mors est". "Is that all, my Lord," answered More, "then, in good faith, between your grace and me is but this, that I shall die today, and you tomorrow." In March, 1534, the Act of Succession was passed which required all who should be called upon to take an oath acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, and to this was added a clause repudiating "any foreign authority, prince or potentate". On 14 April, More was summoned to Lambeth to take the oath and, on his refusal, was committed to the custody of the Abbot of Westminster. Four days later he was removed to the Tower, and in the following November was attainted of misprision of treason, the grants of land made to him in 1523 and 1525 being resumed by the Crown. In prison, though suffering greatly from "his old disease of the chest...gravel, stone, and the cramp", his habitual gaiety remained and he joked with his family and friends whenever they were permitted to see him as merrily as in the old days at Chelsea. When alone his time was given up to prayer and penitential exercises; and he wrote a "Dialogue of comfort against tribulation", treatise (unfinished) on the Passion of Christ,  and many letters to his family and others. In April and May, 1535, Cromwell visited him in person to demand his opinion of the new statutes conferring on Henry the title of Supreme Head of the Church. More refused to give any answer beyond declaring himself a faithful subject of the king. In June, Rich, the solicitor-general, held a conversation with More and, in reporting it, declared that More had denied Parliament's power to confer ecclesiastical supremacy on Henry. It was now discovered that More and Fisher, The Bishop of Rochester, had  exchanged letters in prison, and a fresh inquiry was held which resulted in his being deprived of all books and writing materials, but he contrived to write to his wife and favourite daughter, Margaret, on stray scraps of paper with a charred stick or piece of coal.

On 1 July, More was indicted for high treason at Westminster Hall before a special commission of twenty. More denied the chief charges of the indictment, which was enormously long, and denounced Rich, the solicitor-general and chief witness against him as a perjuror. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to be hanged at Tyburn, but some days later this was changed by Henry to beheading on Tower Hill. The story of his last days on earth, as given by Roper and Cresacre More, is of the tenderest beauty and should be read in full; certainly no martyr ever surpassed him in fortitude. As Addison wrote in the Spectator (No. 349) "that innocent mirth which had been so conspicuous in his life, did not forsake him to the last...his death was of a piece with his life. There was nothing in it new, forced or affected. He did not look upon the severing of his head from his body as a circumstance that ought to produce any change in the disposition of his mind". The execution took place on Tower Hill "before nine of the clock" on 6 July, the body being buried in thee Church of St. Peter ad vincula. The head, after being parboiled, was exposed on London Bridge for a month when Margaret Roper bribed the man, whose business it was to throw it into the river, to give it to her instead. The final fate of the relic is somewhat uncertain, but in 1824 a leaden box was found in the Roper vault at St. Dunstan's, Canterbury, which on being opened was found to contain a head presumed to be More's. The Jesuit Fathers at Stonyhurst possess a remarkable collection of secondary relics, most of which came to them from Father Thomas More, S.J. (d. 1795), the last male heir of the martyr. These include his hat, cap, crucifix of gold, a silver seal, "George", and other articles. The hair shirt, worn by him for many years and sent to Margaret Roper the day before his martyrdom, is preserved by the Augustinian canonesses of Abbots Leigh, Devonshire, to whom it was brought by Margaret Clements, the adopted child of Sir Thomas. A number of autograph letters are in the British Museum. Several portraits exist, the best being that by Holbein in the possession of E. Huth, Esq. Holbein also painted a large group of More's household which has disappeared, but the original sketch for it is in the Basle Museum, and a sixteenth-century copy is the property of Lord St. Oswald. Thomas More was formally beatified by Pope Leo XIII, in the Decree of 29 December, 1886. In 1935, he was canonized by Pope Pius XI.

More was a ready writer and not a few of his works remained in manuscript until some years after his death, while several have been lost altogether. Of all his writings the most famous is unquestionably the "Utopia", first published at Louvain in 1516. The volume recounts the fictitious travels of one Raphael Hythlodaye, a mythical character, who, in the course of a voyage to America, was left behind near Cape Frio and thence wandered on till he chanced upon the Island of Utopia ("nowhere") in which he found an ideal constitution in operation. The whole work is really an exercise of the imagination with much brilliant satire upon the world of More's own day. Real persons, such as Peter Giles, Cardinal Morton, and More himself, take part in the dialogue with Hythlodaye, so that an air of reality pervades the whole which leaves the reader sadly puzzled to detect where truth ends and fiction begins, and has led not a few to take the book seriously. But this is precisely what More intended, and there can be no doubt that he would have been delighted at entrapping William Morris, who discovered in it a complete gospel of Socialism; or Cardinal Zigliara, who denounced it as "no less foolish than impious"; as he must have been with his own contemporaries who proposed to hire a ship and send out missionaries to his non-existent island. The book ran through a number of editions in the original Latin version and, within a few years, was translated into German, Italian, French, Dutch, Spanish, and English.

A collected edition of More's English works was published by William Rastell, his nephew, at London in 1557; it has never been reprinted and is now rare and costly. The first collected edition of the Latin Works appeared at Basle in 1563; a more complete collection was published at Louvain in 1565 and again in 1566. In 1689 the most complete edition of all appeared at Frankfort-on-Main, and Leipzig. After the "Utopia" the following are the most important works: "Luciani Dialogi...compluria opuscula... ab Erasmo Roterodamo et Thoma Moro interpretibus optimis in Latinorum lingua traducta..." (Paris, 1506); "Here is conteigned the lyfe of John Picus, Earle of Mirandula..." (London, 1510); "Historie of the pitiful life and unfortunate death of Edward the fifth and the then Duke of York his brother...", printed incomplete in the "English Works" (1557) and reissued with a completion from Hall's Chronicle by Wm. Sheares (London, 1641); "Thomae Mori v.c. Dissertatio Epistolica de aliquot sui temporis theologastrorum ineptiis..." (Leyden, 1625);

Epigrammata...Thomae Mori Britanni, pleraque e Graecis versa. (Basle, 1518); Eruditissimi viri Gul. Rossi Opus elegans quo pulcherrime retegit ac refellit insanas Lutheri calumnias (London, 1523), written at the request of Henry VIII in answer to Luther's reply to the royal "Defensio Septem Sacramentorum"; "A dyaloge of Syr Thomas More Knyght...of divers maters, as of the veneration and worshyp of ymages and relyques, praying to sayntys and goyng on pylgrymage..." (London,1529); "The Supplycacyon of Soulys" (London, 1529[?]), written in answer to Fish's "Supplication of the Beggars"; "Syr Thomas More's answer to the fyrste parte of the poysoned booke... named 'The Souper of the Lorde' " (London, 1532); "The Second parte of the Confutacion of Tyndal's Answere..." (London, 1533); these two works together form the most lengthy of all More's writings; besides Tindal, Robert Barnes is dealt with in the last book of the whole; "A Letter impugnynge the erronyouse wrytyng of John Fryth against the Blessed Sacrament of the Aultare" (London, 1533); "The Apologye of Syr Thomas More, Hnyght, made by him anno 1533, after he had given over the office of Lord Chancellour of Englande" (London, 1533); "The Debellacyon of Salem and Bizance" (London, 1533), an answer to the anonymous work entitled "Salem and Bizance", and vindicating the severe punishment of heresy; "A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation..." (London, 1553).
Among the other writings in the collected volume of "English Works" are the following which had not been previously published: An unfinished treatise "uppon those words of Holy Scripture, 'Memorare novissima et in eternum non peccabis' ", dated 1522; "Treatise to receive the blessed Body of our Lorde, sacramentally and virtually both"; "Treatise upon the Passion" unfinished; "Certein devout and vertuouse Instruccions, Meditacions and Prayers"; some letters written in the Tower, including his touching correspondence with his daughter Margaret.


Saint June 22 : St. John Fisher : #Martyr of #England

St. John Fisher
Feast: June 22

Feast Day:June 22
1469, Beverley, Yorkshire, England
Died:22 June 1535, Tower Hill, London, England
Canonized:19 May 1935, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Cardinal, Bishop of Rochester, and martyr; born at Beverley, Yorkshire, England, 1459 (?1469); died 22 June, 1535. John was the eldest son of Robert Fisher, merchant of Beverley, and Agnes his wife. His early education was probably received in the school attached to the collegiate church in his native town, whence in 1484 he removed to Michaelhouse, Cambridge. He took the degree of B.A. in 1487, proceeded M.A. in 1491, in which year he was elected a fellow of his college, and was made Vicar of Northallerton, Yorkshire. In 1494 he resigned his benefice to become proctor of his university, and three years later was appointed Master of Michaelhouse, about which date he became chaplain and confessor to Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of King Henry VII. In 1501 he received the degree of D.D., and was elected Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. Under Fisher's guidance, the Lady Margaret founded St. John's and Christ's Colleges at Cambridge, and also the two "Lady Margaret" professorships of divinity at Oxford and Cambridge respectively, Fisher himself being the first occupant of the Cambridge chair.

By Bull dated 14 October, 1504, Fisher was advanced to the Bishopric of Rochester, and in the same year was elected Chancellor of Cambridge University, to which post he was re-elected annually for ten years and then appointed for life. At this date also he is said to have acted as tutor to Prince Henry, afterwards Henry VIII. As a preacher his reputation was so great that in 1509, when King Henry VII and the Lady Margaret died, Fisher was appointed to preach the funeral oration on both occasions; these sermons are still extant. In 1542 Fisher was nominated as one of the English representatives at the Fifth Council of Lateran, then sitting, but his journey to Rome was postponed, and finally abandoned. Besides his share in the Lady Margaret's foundations, Fisher gave further proof of his genuine zeal for learning by inducing Erasmus to visit Cambridge. The latter indeed (Epist., 6:2) attributes it to Fisher's protection that the study of Greek was allowed to proceed at Cambridge without the active molestation that it encountered at Oxford. He has also been named, though without any real proof, as the true author of the royal treatise against Luther entitled "Assertio septem sacramentorum", published in 1521, which won the title < Fidei Defensor> for Henry VIII. Before this date Fisher had denounced various abuses in the Church, urging the need of disciplinary reforms, and in this year he preached at St. Paul's Cross on the occasion when Luther's books were publicly burned.

When the question of Henry's divorce from Queen Catherine arose, Fisher became the Queen's chief supporter and most trusted counsellor. In this capacity he appeared on the Queen's behalf in the legates' court, where he startled his hearers by the directness of his language and most of all by declaring that, like St. John the Baptist, he was ready to die on behalf of the indissolubility of marriage. This statement was reported to Henry VIII, who was so enraged by it that he himself composed a long Latin address to the legates in answer to the bishop's speech. Fisher's copy of this still exists, with his manuscript annotations in the margin which show how little he feared the royal anger. The removal of the cause to Rome brought Fisher's personal share therein to an end, but the king never forgave him for what he had done. In November, 1529, the "Long Parliament" of Henry's reign began its series of encroachments on the Church. Fisher, as a member of the upper house, at once warned Parliament that such acts could only end in the utter destruction of the Church in England. On this the Commons, through their speaker, complained to the king that the bishop had disparaged Parliament. Dr. Gairdner (Lollardy and the Reformation, I, 442)  says of this incident "it can hardly be a matter of doubt that this strange remonstrance was prompted by the king himself, and partly for personal uses of his own".

The opportunity was not lost. Henry summoned Fisher before him, demanding an explanation. This being given, Henry declared himself satisfied, leaving it to the Commons to declare that the explanation was inadequate, so that he appeared as a magnanimous sovereign, instead of Fisher's enemy. A year later (1530) the continued encroachments on the Church moved the Bishops of Rochester, Bath, and Ely to appeal to the Apostolic see. This gave the king his opportunity. An edict forbidding such appeals was immediately issued, and the three bishops were arrested. Their imprisonment, however, can have lasted a few months only, for in February, 1531, Convocation met, and Fisher was present. This was the occasion when the clergy were forced, at a cost of 1000,000 pounds, to purchase the king's pardon for having recognized Cardinal Wolsey's authority as legate of the pope; and at the same time to acknowledge Henry as Supreme Head of the Church in England, to which phrase, however, the addition "so far as God's law permits" was made, through Fisher's efforts.

A few days later, several of the bishop's servants were taken ill after eating some porridge served to the household, and two actually died. Popular opinion at the time regarded this as an attempt on the bishop's life, although he himself chanced not to have taken any of the poisoned food. To disarm suspicion, the king not only expressed strong indignation at the crime, but caused a special Act of Parliament to be passed, whereby poisoning was to be accounted high treason, and the person guilty of it boiled to death. This sentence was actually carried out on the culprit, but it did not prevent what seems to have been a second attempt on Fisher's life soon afterwards.

Matters now moved rapidly. In May, 1532, Sir Thomas More resigned the chancellorship, and in June, Fisher preached publicly against the divorce. In August, Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, died, and Cranmer was at once nominated to the pope as his successor. In January, 1533, Henry secretly went through the form of marriage with Anne Boleyn; Cranmer's consecration took place in March of the same year, and, a week later, Fisher was arrested. It seems fairly clear that the purpose of this arrest was to prevent his opposing the sentence of divorce which Cranmer pronounced in May, or the coronation of Anne Boleyn which followed on 1 June; for Fisher was set at liberty again within a fortnight of the latter event, no charge being made against him. In the autumn of this year (1533), various arrests were made in connection with the so-called revelations of the Holy Maid of Kent (see BARTON, ELIZABETH), but as Fisher was taken seriously ill in December, proceedings against him were postponed for a time. In March, 1534, however, a special bill of attainder against the Bishop of Rochester and others for complicity in the matter of the Nun of Kent was introduced and passed. By this Fisher was condemned to forfeiture of all his personal estate and to be imprisoned during the king's pleasure. Subsequently a pardon was granted him on payment of a fine of 300 pounds.

In the same session of Parliament was passed the Act of Succession, by which all who should be called upon to do so were compelled to take an oath of succession, acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, under pain of being guilty of misprision of treason. Fisher refused the oath and was sent to the Tower of London, 26 April, 1534. Several efforts were made to induce him to submit, but without effect, and in November he was a second time attained of misprision of treason, his goods being forfeited as from 1 March preceding, and the See of Rochester being declared vacant as from 2 June following. A long letter exists, written from the Tower by the bishop to Thomas Cromwell, which records the severity of his confinement and the sufferings he endured.

In may, 1535, the new pope, Paul III, created Fisher Cardinal Priest of St. Vitalis, his motive being apparently to induce Henry by this mark of esteem to treat the bishop less severely. The effect was precisely the reverse. Henry forbade the cardinal's hat to be brought into England, declaring that he would send the head to Rome instead. In June a special commission for Fisher's trial was issued, and on 17 June he was arraigned in Westminster Hall on a charge of treason, in that he denied the king to be supreme head of the Church. Since he had been deprived of his bishopric by the Act of Attainder, he was treated as a commoner, and tried by jury. He was declared guilty, and condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, but the mode of execution was changed, and instead he was beheaded on Tower Hill. The martyr's last moments were thoroughly in keeping with his previous life.

He met death with a calm dignified courage which profoundly impressed all present. His headless body was stripped and left on the scaffold till evening, when it was thrown naked into a grave in the churchyard of Allhallows, Barking. Thence it was removed a fortnight later and laid beside that of Sir Thomas More in the church of St. Peter ad Vincula by the Tower. His head was stuck upon a pole on London Bridge, but its ruddy and lifelike appearance excited so much attention that, after a fortnight, it was thrown into the Thames, its place being taken by that of Sir Thomas More, whose martyrdom occurred on 6 July next following.

Several portraits of Fisher exist, the best being by Holbein in the royal collection; and a few secondary relics are extant. In the Decree of 29 December, 1886, when fifty-four of the English martyrs were beatified by Leo XIII, the best place of all is given to John Fisher. In 1935, Pope Pius XI canonized him. A list of Fisher's writings will be found in Gillow, "Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics" (London, s.d.), II, 262-270. There are twenty-six works in all, printed and manuscript, mostly ascetical or controversial treatises, several of which have been reprinted many times. The original editions are very rare and valuable. The principal are: "Treatise concernynge...the seven penytencyall Psalms" (London, 1508); "Sermon...agayn ye pernicyous doctrin of Martin Luther" (London, 1521); "Defensio Henrici VIII" (Cologne, 1525); "De Veritate Corporis et Sanguinis Christi in Eucharistia, adversus Johannem Oecolampadium" (Cologne, 1527); "De Causa Matrimonii...Henrici VIII cum Catharina Aragonensi" (Alcal & aacute; de Henares, 1530); "The Wayes to Perfect Religion" (London, 1535); "A Spirituall Consolation his sister Elizabeth" (London, 1735