Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Saturday, 25 October 2008
A little gem
'Prayer is the first missionary duty of each one of us. It is first of all through prayer that the way for the Gospel is prepared; it is through prayer that hearts are opened to the mystery of God and that souls are disposed to receive his Word of salvation.' B16
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Putting faith in scientists rather than in God
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Convinced and convincing
Friday, 17 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
The building up process
Saturday, 11 October 2008
The end of an era
"Can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?The fact is that Capitalist culture has had its heart set on materialism and has made peripheral things - designer clothes, infantilised lifestyles and megabytes - become the focus of the Common Good, whilst pushing unwanted human beings into the background and even denying life to a countless multitude through contraception, abortion, embryo research and euthanasia. The reverse of this situation is the truth: the human person, not material goods, is the source of the Common Good. Indeed, it is the human person redeemed by grace who is the Common Good of humanity, whilst the goods we buy in the shops and want in our homes are peripheral realities. It is human beings we need more of, and redeemed human beings at that; a Capitalist culture which empties us of our humanity and leads us to respond to our inadequacies has got to have a limit imposed on it. Thank goodness God is stepping into the market place in order to make some changes.
The answer is obviously complex. If by "capitalism" is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a "business economy", "market economy" or simply "free economy". But if by "capitalism" is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative." (Centesimus Annus, 42)
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Foundation of peace: the Family
During this last week I helped to lead a Family Camp and Retreat on the outskirts of Sydney in the very beautiful landscape near the Hawksbury River. This was the first event of the newly established National Association of Catholic Families in Australia (founded some years ago in the UK). I was delighted to have been asked to involve myself with this fledgling Association in Sydney and to be Chaplain to the Camp. My experience of being involved with Catholic family events in the UK has been extremely rewarding - when Catholic families are "switched on" to their mission and the graces that are theirs - loads of human and Christian culture flows out of them.
We had 7.30am Mass each of the three days, talks on "The Eucharist and the Family", "Asceticism in the Family" and "The Family and the New Evangelisation". We prepared our meals and eat together, we experienced the "Flying Fox" and organised a magnificent Family Concert evening. The Camp ended with a Rosary procession through the woods at the Retreat Centre.
In 1981 John Paul II called upon Catholic families to associate - some families have heard his call and family events like these are taking place, albeit with small numbers, throughout the world. I have always encouraged families in the parishes in which I have worked in Leeds to come together, but I have usually found that their attention is on the secular world and have almost totally lost touch with Christ, and my encouragement has led to nothing. I am so grateful to these families of Sydney for the openness which they showed to God, to one another and to me.
There is a Family Conference/Retreat taking place in St Alban's in the Uk at the end of this month - this is your opportunity - become leaders in the new Culture which the Holy Spirirt wants to form!
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Rooting Pelagianism out of marriage
This Encyclical, writes Pope Benedict, 'deals with one of the essential aspects of the vocation of marriage, and of the specific path to sanctity deriving therefrom. In fact, the married couple, having received the gift of love, are called in their turn to give themselves to one another unreservedly'.
'The possibility of procreating a new human life is inherent to the complete giving of the spouses', observes the Holy Father. 'To exclude this communicative dimension by acts that seek to impede procreation means to deny the intimate truth of married love'. Forty years after the publication of the Encyclical we are better able to understand 'how decisive it was to our understanding of the great 'yes' implicit in conjugal love', he writes.
In the light of the Encyclical 'children are not seen as the aim of a human project but are recognised as an authentic gift, to be welcomed with an attitude of responsible generosity towards God, Who is the primary source of human life'.
Benedict XVI recalls how 'during a couple's life serious situations may arise that make it prudent to separate the births of children or even suspend them altogether. It is here that a knowledge of the natural rhythms of a woman's fertility become important'.
'Methods of observation that enable a couple to determine periods of fertility', he continues, 'allow them to administer what the Creator wisely inscribed in human nature without disturbing the integral meaning of sexual relations. In this way the spouses, while respecting the full truth of their love, can modulate the expression thereof in accordance with these rhythms. ... Clearly this requires a maturity in love, ... and mutual respect and dialogue'.
Thursday, 2 October 2008
The Faith, the Family, the future
Of paella and science
This great man has developed a technique for creating totally viable and usable stem cells from skin tissue, which makes the culture of death procedures of cloning and harvesting stem cells from embryos wholly irrelevant. His work invites the world to look at the embryo in wonder at how a whole human person can exist in such a small thing and expand and develop in the same way in which the Universe did.