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Understanding the Scriptures: A Reflection on the Third Sunday of Easter…

Readings:Acts 3:13–15, 17–19Psalm 4:2, 4, 7–91 John 2:1–5Luke 24:35–48 Jesus in today’s Gospel teaches His apostles how to interpret the Scriptures. He tells them that all the Scriptures of what we now call the Old Testament refer to Him. He says that all the promises found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in His Passion, death, and Resurrection. And He tells them that these Scriptures foretell the mission of the Church—to preach forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. In today’s First Reading and Epistle, we see the beginnings of that mission. And we see the apostles interpreting the Scriptures as Jesus taught them to. God has brought to fulfillment what He announced beforehand in all the prophets, Peter preaches. His sermon is shot through with Old Testame...

Pope Francis Revives Traditional Papal Title ‘Patriarch of the West’ in 2024 Annuario Pontificio…

Why is Pope Francis embracing the patriarchy (of the West)? Skip to content Pope Francis has revived the papal title Patriarch of the West, bringing back the style which has fallen in and out of usage over the centuries and was most recently dropped by Benedict XVI in 2006. Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Servant of the Servants of God, presides at a prayer vigil at the Vatican on Oct. 4, 2014. © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk. In the 2024 edition of the Annuario Pontificio, the Vatican’s annual statistical yearbook, Patriarch of the West once again appears in the litany of formal papal dignities listed at the opening.  It’s an historical title, though sometimes controversial, which was in continuous use for more than...

Totality or Nothing: What the Solar Eclipse Revealed About God…

God simply never tires of ways of delighting us. Awesome is an overused word. On Monday, I was lucky enough to experience a total solar eclipse.  It was … awesome.  Although I think I could easily give a dozen reasons why I found it so moving, I will offer just two. First, consider that a total solar eclipse is almost universally acknowledged to be one of the most incredibly beautiful sights in all of nature. But we must stop for a moment to consider the fact that, for this beauty to even be possible, the sun and the moon need to be precisely the same relative size in the sky. We might simply take for granted that a planet’s sun and moon are precisely proportionate to each other. However, there is no scientific explanation or necessity why this should be the case. Indeed, astrono...

Reconsider Your Lawn Today…

I was shocked to learn that my cousins in a suburban community were fined by their homeowners association (HOA) for having clover in their lawn. Doing a little research I discovered this is not unusual; in fact many HOA’s have rules that forbid a wide array of beneficial species including native grasses and wildflowers. Allow me to be direct: I think the contemporary approach to lawns as instantiated in the dominant practices of our ‘lawncare’ constitutes a crisis. Why? At issue here is much more than lawns—as important as they are. What we call ‘lawns’ can and should be an important part of most homes, and how we treat them is a key expression of how we understand our home and our relation to the natural world. Home is the place to relate meaningfully to the natural world. Home is where l...

Never-Before-Seen Images of Padre Pio Released to the Public…

“One is nice because [it shows everybody] hey, Padre Pio is smiling. Yes, he was smiling because he was a man. So we always think that Padre Pio was a serious man. We know that faith is also about laughing … sometimes,” Lamonarca said. The professional opera singer grew up in Italy aware of the giant figure that Padre Pio was in the Catholic Church but didn’t have a particular devotion to the saint until he and his wife faced the great suffering of having a stillborn baby and receiving the news that they would probably not be able to have more children.  It was then that the couple turned to St. Pio’s intercession and, in the process, began to learn more about his life.  Lamonarca said he learned about St. Pio’s “simplicity and humility.”  “He was the grandfather I never had...

READ HERE: Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith ‘Dignitas Infinita’ on Human Dignity…

Declaration “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity Presentation During the Congresso of 15 March 2019, the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided to commence “the drafting of a text highlighting the indispensable nature of the dignity of the human person in Christian anthropology and illustrating the significance and beneficial implications of the concept in the social, political, and economic realms—while also taking into account the latest developments on the subject in academia and the ambivalent ways in which the concept is understood today.” An initial draft of the text was prepared with the help of some experts in 2019 but a Consulta Ristretta of the Congregation, convened on 8 October of the same year, found it to be unsatisfactory. The Doctri...

New Vatican Document ‘Dignitas Infinita’ Condemns Gender Transition, Surrogacy, Abortion as Violations of Human Dignity…

As many Western nations continue to promote gender ideology and debate whether minors should be able to access transgender drugs and surgeries, the Vatican states that the ideology “intends to deny the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference.”  The declaration emphasizes that “all attempts to obscure reference to the ineliminable sexual difference between man and woman are to be rejected” and that “only by acknowledging and accepting this difference in reciprocity can each person fully discover themselves, their dignity, and their identity.” A human body, the Vatican notes, also shares in the dignity of the image of God, and people are called to accept and respect the body as it was created: “The body participates in that dignity as it is endo...

For Popes, meeting the press has always been risky business…

ROME – Pop(e) Quiz: Which of the following modern pontiffs gave a high-profile interview to a journalist on extremely sensitive subjects, the result of which was controversy inside and outside the Catholic Church, compelling Vatican officials and spokespersons to issue ‘clarifications’ which did relatively little to calm the waters? A) Pope Leo XIII B) Pope Paul VI C) Pope John Paul II D) Pope Benedict XVI E) Pope Francis F) All of the Above The correct answer, as discerning readers no doubt already have surmised, is “F.” While recent events may invite the impression that contretemps over papal interviews are a defining feature of the Francis papacy, in fact they have a much deeper pedigree. What’s sparked the latest round of controversy is the new interview book El Sucesor with Spanish jo...

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord: ‘The Angel of the Lord Declared Unto Mary’…

“This is the beginning. This is the day. You are watching the unfolding of one of history’s great adventures.” Those dramatic words began the 1965 sci-fi series, “Lost in Space.” They are even more fitting for the Annunciation, history’s greatest adventure. Using our liturgical calendar, let’s put ourselves at the end of March in northern Israel more than 2,000 years ago. Living in Nazareth is a young man named Mary. She was an observant Jewish girl raised by her parents, Joachim and Anne. She was perhaps in her teens (remember the lifespan of the times) and probably very poor. As regards the latter, so was Joseph, the man to whom she was engaged, even though — somewhere long ago — his family was part of the line of the great King David.  On that day — a day that likely began like man...

Great American Eclipse: ‘The Heavens Declare the Glory of God; The Sky Proclaims Its Builder’s Craft’…

Total eclipse and the Church Skip to content Eclipses – both solar and lunar – have long been a source of fascination. In ancient times, solar eclipses were seen as omens of doom. Credit: Unsplash The Scriptures describe the sun as ceasing to shine for three hours during Jesus’ crucifixion, which some scholars have attributed to some type of unusual mega-eclipse. Today, while astronomers can both predict and explain eclipses, the phenomena attract no less interest. Millions of Americans are expected to travel to view the April 8 solar eclipse, which will be the last total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States for the next 20 years. Leave a comment Catholics, like their secular counterparts, are also enthralled by eclipses. So here are some fun Catholic eclipse...

Encounter Christ’s Divine Mercy…

Divine Mercy SundayBy Fr. Victor Feltes On Easter Sunday evening, all of the apostles (besides Judas and Thomas) were gathered behind locked doors in the Upper Room. Yet the Risen Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” St. Luke records that they “were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.” So to reassure them, Jesus asked, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And Jesus showed them the enduring wounds in his hands and feet and side. Jesus’ first order of business on Easter Sunday was to demonstrate to his disciples the fact of his bodily resurrection, and “the apostles bore w...

Pope Francis Transfers Vicar of Rome Cardinal De Donatis to Vatican Post…

With his papal appointment as vicar of Rome in 2017, De Donatis became the first man in centuries to be named vicar general of Rome while not a cardinal. Pope Francis made him a cardinal the following year in the June 2018 consistory. During the COVID-19 pandemic, De Donatis closed all of Rome’s churches to the public on March 12, 2020, before reversing the decision and opening the churches one day later at the request of Pope Francis. One year later, Pope Francis ordered an audit of the Diocese of Rome in June 2021 in which the auditor general of the Holy See sifted through the accounting books, registers, and cooperative societies. De Donatis and the leadership of the Diocese of Rome also faced widespread backlash after issuing a letter in September 2023 pra...