Friday, June 21, 2019

Saint June 22 : St. Thomas More the Patron of Religious Freedom, Politicians, Lawyers , and Widowers -

St. Thomas More

Feast Day:
June 22
1478 at London, England 

6 July 1535, London, England
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.

SOURCE :The Catholic Encyclopedia 

Wow Actor Jim Caviezel gives Talk on how Mary helped his Hollywood Career through the Rosary!

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Pope Francis in Naples speaks on Veritatis Gaudium "...the Church announces the Good News of Jesus and the practice of evangelical love..." Full Text + Video



Square in front of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy (Naples)
Friday, 21 June 2019

Dear students and professors,
Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,

I am pleased to meet you today and take part in this conference. I warmly reciprocated the greeting of the dear brother Patriarch Bartholomew, a great precursor of Laudato si '- for years a forerunner - who wanted to contribute to the reflection with his personal message. Thanks to Bartholomew, beloved brother.

The Mediterranean has always been a place of transit, exchange, and sometimes even conflict. We know so many. This place today raises a number of questions, often dramatic. They can be translated into some questions that we asked ourselves in the Abu Dhabi interreligious meeting: how can we keep each other in the one human family? How to feed a tolerant and peaceful coexistence that translates into authentic fraternity? How to make the acceptance of the other and of those who are different from us prevail in our communities because it belongs to a religious and cultural tradition different from ours? How can religions be ways of brotherhood rather than walls of separation? These and other questions ask to be interpreted on several levels, and ask for a generous commitment to listening, to study and to exchange ideas to promote liberation, peace, brotherhood and justice. We have to convince ourselves: it's about starting processes, not making definitions of spaces, occupying spaces ... Starting processes.

A theology of acceptance and dialogue

During this conference you first analyzed the contradictions and difficulties in the Mediterranean area, and then you asked yourself about the best solutions. In this regard, you ask yourself which theology is appropriate to the context in which you live and work. I would say that theology, particularly in this context, is called to be a theology of acceptance and to develop a sincere dialogue with social and civil institutions, with university and research centers, with religious leaders and with all women and men of good will, for building in the peace of an inclusive and fraternal society and also for the custody of creation.

When the Proemio of Veritatis gaudium mentions the deepening of kerygma and dialogue as criteria for renewing studies, we mean that they are at the service of the journey of a Church that increasingly places evangelization at the center. Not apologetics, not manuals - as we have heard -: evangelize. At the center is evangelization, which does not mean proselytism. In the dialogue with cultures and religions, the Church announces the Good News of Jesus and the practice of evangelical love which he preached as a synthesis of the whole teaching of the Law, of the visions of the Prophets and of the will of the Father. Dialogue is above all a method of discernment and proclamation of the Word of love which is addressed to each person and which in the heart of each person wants to take up residence. Only in listening to this Word and in the experience of the love that it communicates can the actuality of the kerygma be discerned. This dialogue is a form of welcome.

I would like to reiterate that "spiritual discernment does not exclude the contributions of human, existential, psychological, sociological and moral wisdom. But it transcends them. And the wise standards of the Church are not enough either. We always remember that discernment is a grace - a gift -. In short, discernment leads to the very source of life that does not die, that is, "who know, the only true God, and the one who sent Jesus Christ" (Jn 17: 3) "(Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate , 170).

The schools of theology are renewed with the practice of discernment and with a dialogical way of proceeding capable of creating a corresponding spiritual and intellectual practice climate. It is a dialogue both in the position of the problems and in the search for solutions together. A dialogue capable of integrating the living criterion of Jesus' Easter with the movement of analogy, which reads in reality, in creation and in history, links, signs and theological references. This involves the hermeneutical assumption of the mystery of the journey of Jesus that leads him to the cross and to the resurrection and to the gift of the Spirit. Assuming this Jesuit and Easter logic is indispensable for understanding how historical and created reality is questioned by the revelation of the mystery of God's love. Of that God who in the history of Jesus manifests himself - every time and within every contradiction - greater in the love and the ability to recover evil.
Both movements are necessary, complementary: a movement from below upwards that can dialogue, with a sense of listening and discernment, with every human and historical instance, taking into account the whole thickness of the human; and a movement from above to below - where "the high" is that of Jesus raised on the cross - which allows, at the same time, to discern the signs of the Kingdom of God in history and to understand prophetically the signs of the anti-kingdom that disfigure the soul and human history. It is a method that allows - in a constant dynamic - to confront each human instance and to understand which Christian light illuminates the folds of reality and which energies the Spirit of the Risen Crucifix is ​​arousing, from time to time, here and now.

The dialogical way of proceeding is the way to reach where paradigms, ways of feeling, symbols, representations of people and peoples are formed. Come there - as "spiritual ethnographers" of the soul of peoples, we say - in order to be able to dialogue in depth and, if possible, contribute to their development by announcing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, whose fruit is the maturation of a fraternity increasingly dilated and inclusive. Dialogue and proclamation of the Gospel that can take place in the ways outlined by Francis of Assisi in the non-stamped Rule, just the day after his journey in the Mediterranean East. For Francis there is a first way in which one simply lives as Christians: "One way is that they do not make quarrels or disputes, but are subject to every human creature for the love of God and confess to being Christians" (XVI: FF 43). Then there is a second way in which, always docile to the signs and action of the Risen Lord and to his Spirit of peace, the Christian faith is announced as a manifestation in Jesus of God's love for all men. I am struck by that advice of Francis to the friars: “Preach the Gospel; if it were necessary also with words ”. It is the testimony!

This docility to the Spirit implies a style of life and proclamation without a spirit of conquest, without the will to proselytize - this is the plague! - and without an aggressive refutation. A modality that enters into dialogue "from within" with men and their cultures, their stories, their different religious traditions; a modality that, consistent with the Gospel, also includes the testimony up to the sacrifice of life, as shown by the luminous examples of Charles de Foucauld, the monks of Tibhirine, the bishop of Oran Pierre Claverie and of so many brothers and sisters who, with the grace of Christ, they were faithful with meekness and humility and died with the name of Jesus on their lips and mercy in their hearts. And here I am thinking of non-violence as a horizon and knowledge of the world, to which theology must look as its constitutive element. The writings and practices of Martin Luther King and Lanza del Vasto and other peace "artisans" help us here. He helps us and encourages the memory of Blessed Giustino Russolillo, who was a student of this Faculty, and of Don Peppino Diana, the young parish priest killed by the Camorra, who also studied here. And here I would like to mention a dangerous syndrome, which is the "Babel syndrome". We think that the "Babel syndrome" is the confusion that originates in not understanding what the other says. This is the first step. But the real "Babel syndrome" is that of not listening to what the other says and believing that I know what the other person thinks and that the other person will say. This is the plague!

Examples of dialogue for a theology of hospitality
"Dialogue" is not a magic formula, but certainly theology is helped in its renewal when it takes it seriously, when it is encouraged and favored between teachers and students, as well as with other forms of knowledge and with other religions, especially 'Judaism and Islam. Theology students should be educated in dialogue with Judaism and Islam to understand the common roots and differences of our religious identities, and thus contribute more effectively to building a society that values ​​diversity and fosters respect , brotherhood and peaceful coexistence.

Educate students in this. I have studied in the time of decadent theology, of decadent scholasticism, at the time of manuals. Between us it was a joke, all the theological theses were tried with this scheme, a syllogism: 1. Things seem to be like this. 2nd Catholicism is always right. 3rd Ergo ... That is a theology of a defensive, apologetic type, enclosed in a manual. We joked like that, but they were the things that presented us at that time of decadent scholasticism.

Seeking a dialogic peaceful coexistence. With Muslims we are called to dialogue to build the future of our societies and our cities; we are called to consider them partners to build a peaceful coexistence, even when there are shocking episodes by fanatical groups enemy of dialogue, such as the tragedy of last Easter in Sri Lanka. Yesterday the Cardinal of Colombo told me this: "After I did what I had to do, I realized that a group of people, Christians, wanted to go to the Muslim neighborhood to kill them. I invited the Imam with me, by car, and together we went there to convince the Christians that we are friends, that those are extremists, that they are not ours. " This is an attitude of closeness and dialogue. Forming students to dialogue with Jews implies educating them in the knowledge of their culture, their way of thinking, their language, in order to better understand and live our relationship on a religious level. In theological faculties and ecclesiastical universities courses in Arabic and Hebrew language and culture are to be encouraged, as well as mutual understanding between Christian, Jewish and Muslim students.

I would like to give two concrete examples of how the dialogue that characterizes a theology of hospitality can be applied to ecclesiastical studies. First of all, dialogue can be a method of study, as well as teaching. When we read a text, we dialogue with it and with the "world" of which it is an expression; and this also applies to sacred texts, such as the Bible, the Talmud and the Koran. Often, then, we interpret a particular text in dialogue with others of the same epoch or of different eras. The texts of the great monotheistic traditions in some cases are the result of a dialogue. You can give cases of texts that are written to answer questions on important life issues posed by texts that preceded them. This is also a form of dialogue.

The second example is that dialogue can be accomplished as a theological hermeneutics at a specific time and place. In our case: the Mediterranean at the beginning of the third millennium. It is not possible to read this space realistically if not in dialogue and as a bridge - historical, geographical, human - between Europe, Africa and Asia. It is a space in which the absence of peace has produced multiple regional and global imbalances, and whose pacification, through the practice of dialogue, could instead greatly contribute to initiating processes of reconciliation and peace. Giorgio La Pira would tell us that it is a question, for theology, of helping to build a "great tent of peace" over the entire Mediterranean basin, where the different children of the common father Abraham can live together in mutual respect. Don't forget the common father.

A theology of hospitality is a theology of listening

Dialogue as theological hermeneutics presupposes and involves conscious listening. This also means listening to the history and experiences of the peoples that face the Mediterranean space in order to be able to decipher the events that connect the past to today and to be able to capture their wounds together with their potential. In particular, it is a matter of grasping the way in which Christian communities and individual prophetic existences have known - even recently - incarnating the Christian faith in contexts sometimes of conflict, minority and plural coexistence with other religious traditions.
This listening must be deeply internal to cultures and peoples also for another reason. The Mediterranean is precisely the sea of ​​hybridisation - if we do not understand miscegenation, we will never understand the Mediterranean - a geographically closed sea with respect to the oceans, but culturally always open to encounter, dialogue and mutual inculturation. Nevertheless, there is a need for renewed and shared narratives that - starting from listening to the roots and the present - speak to people's hearts, narratives in which it is possible to recognize oneself in a constructive, peaceful and hope-generating way.

The multicultural and multi-religious reality of the new Mediterranean is formed with these narratives, in the dialogue that comes from listening to the people and texts of the great monotheistic religions, and especially in listening to young people. I am thinking of the students of our faculties of theology, of those of the "lay" universities or of other religious inspirations. "When the Church - and, we can add, theology - abandons rigid schemes and opens up to an attentive and available listening to young people, this empathy enriches it, because" it allows young people to give their contribution to the community, helping them to grasp new sensibilities and asking unpublished questions "" (Exh. ap. postsin. Christus vivit, 65). To grasp new sensitivities: this is the challenge.

The deepening of the kerygma is done with the experience of dialogue that comes from listening and that generates communion. Jesus himself announced the kingdom of God in dialogue with every type and category of people of Judaism of his time: with the scribes, the Pharisees, the doctors of the law, the publicans, the learned, the simple, the sinners. To a Samaritan woman, he revealed, in listening and in dialogue, the gift of God and his own identity: he opened to her the mystery of his communion with the Father and of the overabundant fullness that flows from this communion. His divine listening to the human heart opens this heart to welcome the fullness of Love and the joy of life. Nothing is lost with dialogue. You always earn. We all lose in the monologue.

An interdisciplinary theology
A theology of acceptance which, as an interpretative method of reality, adopts discernment and sincere dialogue needs theologians who know how to work together and in an interdisciplinary form, overcoming individualism in intellectual work. We need theologians - men and women, presbyters, lay people and religious - who, in a historical and ecclesial rooting and, at the same time, open to the inexhaustible novelties of the Spirit, know how to escape the self-referential, competitive and, in fact, blinding logic that often also exist in our academic institutions and hidden, many times, among theological schools.

In this continuous journey of going out of oneself and meeting with the other, it is important that theologians are men and women of compassion - I underline this: that they are men and women of compassion -, touched by the oppressed life of many, by the slavery of today, from the social wounds, the violence, the wars and the enormous injustices suffered by so many poor people who live on the shores of this "common sea". Without communion and without compassion, constantly nourished by prayer - this is important: theology can only be done "on its knees" -, theology not only loses the soul, but loses its intelligence and ability to interpret reality in a Christian way. Without compassion, drawn from the Heart of Christ, theologians risk being swallowed up in the condition of the privilege of those who place themselves prudently out of the world and share nothing risky with the majority of humanity. Laboratory theology, pure and "distilled" theology, distilled like water, distilled water, which knows nothing.

I would like to give an example of how the interdisciplinarity that interprets history can be a deepening of the kerygma and, if animated by mercy, it can be open to trans-disciplinarity. I refer in particular to all the aggressive and warlike attitudes that have marked the way of inhabiting the Mediterranean space of peoples who called themselves Christians. Here both the colonial attitudes and practices that have shaped the imagination and policies of these peoples, and the justifications for all kinds of wars, and all the persecutions committed in the name of a religion or an alleged racial purity or doctrinal. We have also made these persecutions. I remember, in the Chanson de Roland, after winning the battle, the Muslims were lined up, all, in front of the baptism pool, on the baptismal pile. There was one with a sword there. And they made them choose: either baptize you or bye! You go the other way. Or baptism or death. We have done this. Compared to this complex and painful history, the method of dialogue and listening, guided by the evangelical criterion of mercy, can greatly enrich the interdisciplinary knowledge and interpretation, also bringing out, by contrast, the prophecies of peace that the Spirit does not have never failed to arouse.

Interdisciplinarity as a criterion for the renewal of theology and ecclesiastical studies involves a commitment to continually revisit and re-examine tradition. Revisit the tradition! And re-question. In fact, listening as Christian theologians does not take place starting from nothing, but from a theological heritage that - right inside the Mediterranean space - has its roots in the communities of the New Testament, in the rich reflection of the Fathers and in multiple generations of thinkers and witnesses . It is that living tradition that has come down to us that can help illuminate and decipher many contemporary issues. Provided however that it is re-read with a sincere desire to purify the memory, that is, knowing how to discern how much was the vehicle of God's original intention, revealed in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and how much instead was unfaithful to this merciful and saving intention. Let us not forget that tradition is a root that gives us life: it transmits life because we can grow and flourish, bear fruit. We often think of tradition as a museum. No! Last week, or the other, I read a quote by Gustav Mahler that said: "Tradition is the guarantee of the future, not the keeper of the ashes". It's nice! We live tradition like a living tree, it grows. Already in the fifth century, Vincenzo di Lérins had understood it well: the growth of faith, of tradition, with these three criteria: annis consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate. It's tradition! But without tradition you can't grow! Tradition to grow, like the root for the tree.

A theology on the net
Theology after Veritatis gaudium is a theology on the net and, in the context of the Mediterranean, in solidarity with all the "castaways" of history. In the theological task that awaits us, we remember Saint Paul and the path of early Christianity that links the East with the West. Here, very close to where Paolo landed, it cannot be forgotten that the Apostle's journeys were marked by obvious criticalities, as in the shipwreck at the center of the Mediterranean (Acts 27: 9ff). Shipwreck that makes one think of that of Jonah. But Paul does not flee, and may even think that Rome is his Nineveh. He may think of correcting Jonah's defeatist attitude by redeeming his escape. Now that Western Christianity has learned from many mistakes and critical issues of the past, it can return to its sources hoping to be able to witness to the Good News to the peoples of the East and of the West, of the North and of the South. Theology - keeping the mind and heart fixed on the "merciful and compassionate God" (cf. Gn 4,2) - can help the Church and civil society to resume the road in the company of many castaways, encouraging the peoples of the Mediterranean to refuse any temptation to reconquer and close the identity. Both are born, feed and grow from fear. Theology cannot be done in an environment of fear.

The work of the theological faculties and ecclesiastical universities contributes to the building of a just and fraternal society, in which the care of creation and the construction of peace are the result of collaboration between civil, ecclesial and interreligious institutions. It is first of all a work in the "evangelical network", that is in communion with the Spirit of Jesus which is the Spirit of peace, the Spirit of love at work in creation and in the hearts of men and women of good will of every race , culture and religion. Like the language used by Jesus to talk about the Kingdom of God, so, similarly, interdisciplinarity and networking make it possible to favor the discernment of the presence of the Spirit of the Risen One in reality. Starting from the understanding of the Word of God in its original Mediterranean context, it is possible to discern the signs of the times in new contexts.

Theology after "Veritatis gaudium" in the context of the Mediterranean
I emphasized Veritatis gaudium so much. I would like to publicly thank here, because it is present, Msgr. Zani, who was one of the authors of this document. Thank you! What then is the task of theology after Veritatis gaudium in the context of the Mediterranean? So what is the task? It must be in harmony with the Spirit of the Risen Jesus, with his freedom to go around the world and to reach the peripheries, even those of thought. Theologians have the task of always encouraging the meeting of cultures with the sources of Revelation and Tradition. The ancient architectures of thought, the great theological syntheses of the past are mines of theological wisdom, but they cannot be applied mechanically to current questions. It is a matter of treasuring it to find new ways. Thanks to God, the first sources of theology, that is, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, are inexhaustible and always fruitful; therefore one can and must work in the direction of a "theological Pentecost", which allows women and men of our time to listen "in their own language" to a Christian reflection that responds to their search for meaning and full life. For this to happen some assumptions are indispensable.

First of all, we need to start from the Gospel of mercy, that is, from the announcement made by Jesus himself and from the original contexts of evangelization. Theology is born in the midst of concrete human beings, met with the gaze and the heart of God, who goes in search of them with merciful love. Even doing theology is an act of mercy. I would like to repeat here, from this city where there are not only episodes of violence, but which preserves many traditions and many examples of sanctity - as well as a masterpiece by Caravaggio on the works of mercy and the testimony of the saint doctor Giuseppe Moscati - I would like to repeat what I have written to the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Argentina: «Even the good theologians, like the good shepherds, smell of the people and of the street and, with their reflection, pour oil and wine on the wounds of men. Theology is the expression of a Church that is a "field hospital", which lives its mission of salvation and healing in the world! Mercy is not only a pastoral attitude, but it is the very substance of the Gospel of Jesus. I encourage you to study how, in the various disciplines - dogmatics, morals, spirituality, law and so on - the centrality of mercy can be reflected . Without mercy, our theology, our right, our pastoral care, run the risk of collapsing into bureaucratic pettiness or ideology, which by its nature wants to domesticate the mystery ". [1] Theology, by the way of mercy, defends itself from the taming of the mystery.

Secondly, a serious assumption of history within theology is needed, as an open space for the encounter with the Lord. "The ability to glimpse the presence of Christ and the journey of the Church in history make us humble, and take us away from the temptation to take refuge in the past to avoid the present. And this was the experience of many scholars, who started, I do not say atheists, but rather agnostics, and they found Christ. Because history could not be understood without this force ". [2]

Theological freedom is necessary. Without the possibility of experiencing new paths, nothing new is created, and no room is left for the newness of the Spirit of the Risen One: "To those who dream of a monolithic doctrine defended by all without nuances, this may seem an imperfect dispersion. But the reality is that this variety helps to manifest and better develop the different aspects of the inexhaustible richness of the Gospel "(Exhortation ap. Evangelii gaudium, 40). This also means an adequate revision of the ratio studiorum. On the theological freedom of reflection I would make a distinction. Among scholars, we must move forward with freedom; then, ultimately, it will be the magisterium that says something, but a theology cannot be done without this freedom. But in preaching to the People of God, please do not hurt the faith of the People of God with disputed questions! The disputed questions remain only among theologians. It's your job. But to the People of God it is necessary to give the substance that nourishes the faith and that does not relativize it.
Finally, it is essential to have light and flexible structures, which show the priority given to reception and dialogue, to inter- and trans-disciplinary work and on the net. The statutes, the internal organization, the teaching method, the organization of studies should reflect the appearance of the "outgoing" Church. Everything must be oriented in the times and in the ways to favor as much as possible the participation of those who wish to study theology: in addition to seminarians and religious, also lay and religious women and men. In particular, the contribution that women are giving and can give to theology is indispensable and their participation must therefore be supported, as you do in this Faculty, where there is a good participation of women as teachers and as students.

This beautiful place, home of the Theological Faculty dedicated to Saint Louis, whose feast is celebrated today, is a symbol of a beauty to be shared, open to all. Dream Theological Faculty where the conviviality of the differences is lived, where a theology of dialogue and acceptance is practiced; where the model of the polyhedron of theological knowledge is experimented instead of a static and disembodied sphere. Where theological research is able to promote a challenging but compelling inculturation process.


The criteria of the Proemio of the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium are evangelical criteria. The kerygma, the dialogue, the discernment, the collaboration, the network - I would also add the parresia, which has been cited as a criterion, which is the ability to be at the limit, together with the hypothé, to tolerate, to be in the limit to go forward - they are elements and criteria that translate the way in which the Gospel was lived and announced by Jesus and with which it can also be transmitted today by his disciples.

Theology after Veritatis gaudium is a kerygmatic theology, a theology of discernment, mercy and acceptance, which is placed in dialogue with society, cultures and religions for the construction of peaceful coexistence of people and peoples. The Mediterranean is the historical, geographical and cultural matrix of kerygmatic acceptance practiced with dialogue and mercy. Naples is an example and a special laboratory of this theological research. Good job!

FULL TEXT + Image  shared from - Unofficial Translation

Corpus Christi a National Holiday in Poland with Hundreds of Thousands in Processions on the Streets

 Catholics in Poland celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi on June 20, 2019 as a National Holiday. Hundreds of thousands of faithful processed on the streets of towns and villages across Poland on Thursday as Catholics marked the feast of Corpus Christi. A Corpus Christi procession in the village of Witów in Poland's southern Małopolskie province on Thursday.
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 Some were dressed in traditional folk costumes, with many colours in the traditional processions. This day has been held as a public holiday in Poland. Cardinal Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz (centre) led ceremonies in the capital Warsaw.  The feast of Corpus Christi is one of the oldest in the Catholic Church and has been marked since the 13th century. During Poland’s often-turbulent history, especially when the nation was under foreign rule for 123 years until 1918, Corpus Christi processions were strongly patriotic as well as religious. Girls strew the way with flower petals in a long-standing tradition during a Corpus Christi procession in Poland. Edited from

10,000 people at Prayer in "Awakening Europe" - with former Chancellor of Austria and Cardinal Shoenborn

Prayer can change things! Prayer can change things that we may not be able to see immediately. This was a theme at the ecumenical Christian prayer event in Austria, held on June 13-16, 2019.

Former Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz paid a visit to "Awaking Europe" in Vienna.
"Awakening Europe" is the name of an event in Vienna that gathered for four days with over 10,000 Christians in the Wiener Stadthalle. Speakers included Catholic Cardinal Schoenborn and Dr. Gudrun Kugler.
 Sebastian Kurz, former Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, visited the event. Only a few knew about it in advance, it became known only on Sunday just before the arrival of the ex-chancellor.

Sebastian Kurz spoke only a few brief but friendly greetings. He was already leaving the scene when Ben Fitzgerald, evangelical pastor from Australia and leader of Awakening Europe, had the impulse to pray for Kurz. . Ben Fitzgerald also invited the 10,000 participants of the event to pray for the young politician.

 Kurz had already been present three years ago at a similar event, the march for Jesus in Vienna - incidentally, as well as the "Awakening".

A prayer by Ben Fitzgerald, who has undergone a radical conversion to Christ and is a full-time worker who preaches the gospel around the world, has a special gift.

Pope Francis sends Video Message to Stop Cyber Bullying "Each one of us has something good to give to the other.." Full Text


Dear young people of Scholas:
It is a pleasure to talk to you. I know all about what you are doing, that is a big job, a great effort that each of you put in to organize these meetings.
An issue that concerns me a lot is that each one of you should find your own identity, and without the need to diminish or obscure the identity of others. Finding your own identity is a path, it is a path of dialogue, it is a path of reflection, it is an inner path.
And a very easy way not to do it in the right way is to attack or diminish the identity of others. Here bullying is born. Bullying is a phenomenon of self-compensation, self-assessment, not of finding myself, but of decreasing the other to feel better. It means learning to look from top to bottom, and badly. Do not forget that it is only legitimate for one person to look at another downwards, from above, do you know when? When helping them to get up. Any other way of looking from above downwards is not legitimate. And when it occurs in youth groups, in schools, in neighbourhoods, wherever, in these expressions of aggression, bullying, you see the poverty of the identity of the person who attacks, who needs to attack in order to feel that he or she is a person. In the pharmacy do not sell remedies against bullying, laboratories have not yet achieved the formula. Meanwhile, what to do? The only way is to share, to live together, to dialogue, to listen to the other, to take time to walk together, to take time because it is time that makes the relationship. Do not be afraid to dialogue: each of us has something to give to the other. Each one of us has something good to give to the other, each one of us needs to receive something good from the other. Dialogue, the dialogue that makes us equal, not in identity – we all have different identities – makes us equal along the way. We are journeyers, all equal; we all walk, all different, but all in harmony. Declare war on bullying, because it diminishes dignity, and stand up for dialogue; walking together, with patience of listening to the other. The peace will then be strong, and that same strong peace will let you discover your own dignity, your own dignity. May God bless you, and go ahead, do not be afraid of dialogue, it is worthwhile.

Tdoay's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, June 21, 2019 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
Lectionary: 369

Reading 12 COR 11:18, 21-30

Brothers and sisters:
Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.
To my shame I say that we were too weak!

But what anyone dares to boast of
(I am speaking in foolishness)
I also dare.
Are they Hebrews?  So am I.
Are they children of Israel?  So am I.
Are they descendants of Abraham?  So am I.
Are they ministers of Christ?
(I am talking like an insane person).
I am still more, with far greater labors,
far more imprisonments, far worse beatings,
and numerous brushes with death.
Five times at the hands of the Jews
I received forty lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned,
three times I was shipwrecked,
I passed a night and a day on the deep;
on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race,
dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city,
dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea,
dangers among false brothers;
in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights,
through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings,
through cold and exposure.
And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me
of my anxiety for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak?
Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (see 18b) From all their distress God rescues the just.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

AlleluiaMT 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

"The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be."