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5 Takeaways From Pope Francis’ Latest Interview…

In an extended interview with the Jesuit magazine, America, Pope Francis addressed a wide array of topics, from polarization to the war against Ukraine.  Five takeaways: Polarization in the Church “Polarization is not Catholic,” the Holy Father said in response to a question about divisive politics. “A Catholic cannot think either-or (aut-aut) and reduce everything to polarization. The essence of what is Catholic is both-and (et-et). The Catholic unites the good and the not-so-good. There is only one people of God. When there is polarization, a divisive mentality arises, which privileges some and leaves others behind. The Catholic always harmonizes differences.” The question was put in the context of the United States, but Pope Francis chose to answer it on the level of general princi...

Your new life in Christ means divinization, and your final goal is to love as God loves…..

“And so we are going to establish a schoolfor the service of the Lord” (Rule of St. Benedict). “We have been placed on earth to learn to love in the school of Jesus,” writes Fr. Jacques Philippe in Interior Freedom. “Learning to love is extremely simple: it means learning to give freely and receive freely. But this simple lesson also is very hard for us to learn, because of sin.” In that short paragraph, Philippe sums up my entire Catholic testimony. I’d grown up in faith, but I lost my way in college. I wanted Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels, but I couldn’t find him. An abstract Jesus of the written Word and interior experience wasn’t enough. I wanted to see him, touch him, know him. Then I encountered Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker. I found the ethos of the Catholic Worker movement ...

Recognize the advantages you may have (and the compassion that should follow)…

I heard the same thing from my own father as Nick Carraway did from his, and John Quincy Adams heard from his mother. Not that I listened very well when I was young. Nick Carraway is the narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby.” At the beginning of the book, he remembers his father telling him, “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” This will apply to some people more than others. The need to remember that you have advantages means you have advantages, sometimes very great ones, that other people don’t have. John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States, and son of the second. His mother, Abigail, gave him the same advice, but added instruction on the “to wh...

Both Advent and the Holy Eucharist are about not just your desire for God, but God’s much greater desire for you…

The First Sunday of Advent is ecclesiastical New Year’s Day. It is a fitting occasion to make resolutions to grow in the spiritual life, as each time we have the privilege to retrace Christ’s life in the liturgical cycle ought to be, thanks to another year’s experience, a time to align ourselves more faithfully to him whom we follow through time into eternity. This Advent, the U.S. bishops have done us all a favor by placing before us a collective resolution: to grow in Eucharistic knowledge, faith, amazement, love, life, charity and apostolate. The three-year Eucharistic Revival the bishops have inaugurated is an opportunity to look at each of the liturgical seasons with fresh eyes and Eucharistic lenses. Traditionally, Advent has been about preparing for the second coming of Christ throu...

Thai Buddhist temple emptied after all the monks test positive for meth…

It’s a bad abbot. Four Buddhist monks in Thailand have been shipped off to rehab after they all tested positive for meth. The holy men — including the temple’s abbot, or head monk — failed the drug tests in the Phetchabun province’s Bung Sam Phan district on Monday, an official told Agence France-Presse. “The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making,” said the official, Boonlert Thintapthai. Police forced the monks to undergo urine tests after they raided the temple as part of the province’s crackdown on drugs. The monks, who haven’t been named, have since been sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation. Four Buddhist monks failed the drug tests in the Phetchabun province’s Bung Sam Phan district on Monday.ViralPress They w...

The Vatican, China, and the ‘spirit of dialogue’…

By Phil Lawler ( bio – articles – email ) | Nov 28, 2022 Well that didn’t take long, did it? In October the Vatican renewed an accord with Beijing governing the appointment of new Chinese Catholic bishops. Barely over one month later, China violated the accord. But wait. Was it actually a violation? Although a formal statement from the Holy See was strongly worded, it only expresses “surprise and regret” at the Chinese move, saying that it was not “in conformity with the spirit of dialogue” between Rome and Beijing. So that “spirit of dialogue” had been violated. But had the terms of the agreement? We don’t know, because the terms of the Vatican-Beijing accord have never been disclosed. The common understanding is that the agreement governs the appointment of new bishops, suppo...

The Mass is the cosmic and eschatological sacrifice of Christ the high priest — the ‘ad orientem’ tradition makes this clear…

The liturgy has little meaning for people who cannot comprehend its symbolism. Pope Francis laments the modern person, who has “lost the capacity to engage with symbolic action, which is an essential trait of the liturgical act” (Desiderio desideravi, 27). The materialistic view of secular culture runs contrary to any sort of symbolic understanding of reality or nature. As a result of the eclipse of God, St. John Paul II contends in Evangelium Vitae that the world which was once viewed as mater has become merely matter (22).   In light of the fact that modern culture has lost its sense of symbolism and sacramentality, it seems incomprehensible that Fr. Raymond J. de Souza would argue for a return to the ancient practice of celebrating the liturgy toward the east (ad orientem). Ye...

Greg Baylor: How the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ targets the religious liberty of Catholics…

The Respect for Marriage Act “poses a pretty significant risk to religious Americans, both individuals and organizations. Like the Equality Act, it hopes to cement into federal law the idea that marriage is not the institution, defined by God, consisting of the union of one man and one woman. It goes, obviously, far beyond that…The first thing it does is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that was passed by huge bipartisan majorities and signed by Pres. Clinton in the 1990s. It also imposes an obligation on many — including, potentially, religious organizations — to recognize same-sex marriage. And that’s the piece that creates a lot of the religious liberty problems. And then the last thing it does is to define marriage for federal government purpose,” said Greg...

Exclusive America Magazine interview: Pope Francis denounces polarization, talks women’s ordination, the U.S. bishops and more…

Editor’s Note: On Nov. 22, 2022, five representatives of America Media interviewed Pope Francis at his residence at Santa Marta at the Vatican. Matt Malone, S.J., the departing editor in chief of America, was joined by Sam Sawyer, S.J., the incoming editor in chief; executive editor Kerry Weber; Gerard O’Connell, America’s Vatican correspondent; and Gloria Purvis, host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.” They discussed a wide range of topics with the pope, including polarization in the U.S. church, racism, the war in Ukraine, the Vatican’s relations with China and church teaching on the ordination of women. The interview was conducted in Spanish with the assistance of a translator, Elisabetta Piqué. A transcript of the Spanish text can be found here. Pope Francis: Thank you for coming! Matt Ma...

A Recipe for Readiness — A Homily for the First Sunday of Advent…

The first weeks of Advent focus more on the Lord’s second coming in glory than on His first coming at Bethlehem. The gospel clearly states that we must always be prepared, for at an hour we do not expect, the Son of Man will come. “Ready” is the key word, but how should we be ready?  The second reading from today’s Mass (Romans 13:11-14) gives us a basic recipe for readiness. We can distinguish five fundamental instructions in Paul’s recipe. Wake up – The text says, … you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, … Although St. Paul has mor...

What I learned when I suffered a heart attack in the middle of Holy Mass…

The fact that I had a heart attack is nothing extraordinary. People have heart attacks all the time – over 800,000 in the U.S. every year. What makes my 2021 heart attack remarkable is the circumstances surrounding it. On Ash Wednesday that year, I went away on a 3-day silent retreat with a friend. I fast during Lent and find it helpful to get started at a place with Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and no food temptations. While praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I often pray using symbolic images of my heart. Sometimes I sit silently and ask our Lord to make my heart beat in sync with His. Sometimes, I ask Him to heal it. Oftentimes, I imagine Him reaching into my chest with both of His warm hands. Together, they completely cover my heart. I then imagine Him lifting it out of my b...

Ready for Christ’s coming? Then and now…..

1st Sunday of AdventBy Fr. Victor Feltes Our season of Advent has now begun — a season of Christian preparation. Throughout Advent, we the Church are getting ready in two different respects: we are preparing to celebrate and commemorate the historical birth of Christ at Christmas and, at the same time, we are preparing for the day Jesus will return to this world in unveiled glory. In today’s Gospel, Jesus recalls the story of the days of Noah’s Ark, in which a few were prepared for the flood and saved while most were unprepared and swept away. “So too, you also must be prepared,” Jesus tells us, “for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Will we be prepared for the day of Jesus’ return? How well prepared and open were people for Christ’s first arrival and what can their ...