Sunday 31 May 2009
Friday 29 May 2009
Tuesday 26 May 2009
Saturday 23 May 2009
Thursday 21 May 2009
Tuesday 19 May 2009
However, much more important is the question of the Church. This is a point which George Weigel has drawn attention to. Why are members of the Church surrounding this leader with their applause; what do they take they membership of the Church to mean? The Pastors of the Church in America are the hinge of the Church's communion - that bond of unity which has been created by God and which is the essential relationship within the Church. The reception of Obama into Notre Dame, into a community of the Church, is like an event which is taking place at the heart of the Church. But it is not. The applause which you see on this video is a sign of unreality. Those who here applaud, are called to surround Christ their Lord and to demonstrate this through witnessing to the reality of communion - which is the Catholic Church. What we see in this video is a total abberation in the life of the Church. President Obama, given his public policies, is not being received with open arms by the Catholic Church. What then are these people in Notre Dame doing? Why are they applauding? What group or church do they represent? Why are they not with their Pastors?
Sunday 17 May 2009
Friday 15 May 2009
Thursday 14 May 2009
Tuesday 12 May 2009
you who loves us with great tenderness,
and watches over us with motherly care;
we turn to you for protection and help,
and ask you to overcome the epidemic
which is upon our nation.
Cover us with your mantel,
free us from this evil.
Pray for all those in authority
that they might be given the wisdom to act in favour
of all our people, especially the most vulnerable.
Grant to us the prudence and serenity in order to be
responsible in the face of this disease.
Be with all medical personnel,
watch over those who are sick,
be the consolation of those who suffer most.
Mother of the true God,
you who have rescued us from many dangers,
commend us to the mercy of Him in whose wounds we have been healed,
and whose Resurrection has freed us from death.
Teach us to unite our pain to His that we might encounter him, our Redeemer,
and through this adversity, be strengthened in faith, hope and love.
While a 'post-Christian' society may seem similar to the world St. Paul confronted, it is in fact much worse because the old pagan world was ignorant of Christ, but today's paganism involves a specific choice against Jesus Christ.
When Jesus commissioned the apostles to make disciples of all nations and baptize them, he was talking to you and me.
The lesson of St. Paul, now and for every generation, is that we need to engage the world with intelligence, a creative spirit and, most importantly, charity, which 'bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.' Real charity depends on truth, not 'shallow courtesies' and 'false compromises.' St Paul reminds us that charity 'does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth' (I Cor 13:6). In fact, no greater gift of love exists than sharing the truth with others. Only God's truth sets us free.
Jesus himself did not claim to 'preach' the truth but to be the truth. That's why a Christianity based only on technique or useful ideas or a system of good social principles will always fail. Christianity can only be anchored in a love for Jesus Christ.
Sunday 10 May 2009
Historically, human wisdom has recognised the weakness of human beings and has sought to guard and support married love. Thus, we speak of marriage as an institution. The great declarations of human rights have always supported marriage and the family; humanity has never found better solutions to men, women and children’s need for communal life.
The social norms which traditionally surrounded the institution of marriage were an attempt to guarantee the authenticity of human love. Civil marriage is true marriage for it contains the necessary elements of marriage: a man and a woman publicly expressing their intention to establish life together.
Catholic men and women are obliged to marry in the Catholic Church, and not in any other Christian church. Christian marriage represents an act of faith in God, and an act of reverence for the greatness of marital union in its openness to God’s plan, in its openness to children and in its power to meet the needs of the human heart. Moreover, Christian marriage is a sacrament. Sacramental marriage in the Church expresses the fullness of what God intends for marriage. Christ has made marriage, by his death and resurrection, a unique way of participating in the new life of Grace. This Sacrament happens automatically with spouses who are baptised. In the United Kingdom Christian marriage is recognised by the State.
The sacrament of marriage not only expresses the human elements of marriage; that it is exclusive and indissoluble, open to procreation and seeks to good of both spouses, but also, that it is a means to holiness. The Church considers that a civil marriage between Catholics is an irregular and imperfect union because of the disassociation of civil marriage from its sacramental meaning. A civil marriage entered into by a Catholic is absolutely invalid.
Depending on circumstances, such irregular situations may be corrected by celebrating the canonical form of marriage in the Church. Catholics who remain in a civil marriage are unable to receive the Sacraments of the Church, nor can they hold any positions of responsibility or public witness in the Church, but they are not separated from the Church.
Christian marriage in the Church is entered into as an intimate community of life and love. It represents a mutual self-giving marked by fidelity and perpetuity. The two spouses become ‘one flesh’, living a life of self-gift to the other. Moreover, such a union is a source of grace and is a constant symbol of the union of Christ with His Church. In sacramental marriage Christ sanctifies married love, converting it into an act of worship. Thus Christian spouses are inserted into the saving work of Christ and are called to give themselves as much to Jesus Christ as to one another. Spouses also give themselves to the Church since their very marriage reveals the mystery of the Church. In fact, a Christian marriage is called a ‘domestic Church’.
What is necessary for a person to enter into Christian marriage?
1. The person must be baptised and should be living his or her Baptism and Confirmation in a spirit of faith.
The person must be capable of marriage. First, he or she must have reached the age recognised by Civil and Canon Law for marriage. Secondly, there must be no impediment to the marriage such as an already existing marriage bond, Holy Orders, impotence or consanguinity in the direct line and to the fourth degree in the collateral line.
The person must be capable of giving his or her personal consent in marriage. That is, the consent must be free, sincere and must accept all the essential elements of marriage.
Furthermore, without a dispensation from his or her Bishop a Catholic cannot marry a non-baptised person. A dispensation is also required for marriage with a non-Catholic baptised person. In preparing for a marriage, the Church asks couples to participate in pre-marriage counselling and to complete the ecclesiastical pre-nuptial documents.
The form of Christian marriage consists in expressing marital consent before a priest or deacon and before two witnesses. Such a marriage is considered as the culmination of a spiritual journey and as an expression of love that is blessed by God.
Friday 8 May 2009
Tuesday 5 May 2009
Where do we find such people?
In Christian families and the relationships which comprise them; these yield good fruit and this is the source of the man or woman of our dreams. However, we need to transform our parish communities and their ministries so that single people are drawn into the life of the Church. Our parishes are not working if they are not bringing us together to be mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers to one another.
(Thanks to David Sloan for this idea.)
Monday 4 May 2009
Sunday 3 May 2009
The location of the Camp - a Retreat Centre set on the edge of an ancient volcanic crater near the Gold Coast - was idyllic, and the schedule of the week enabled individuals of all ages, families and the Church to be seen for who they truly are. We had Morning Prayer, activities, talks for the different age groups, Holy Mass, games, canoing, bush-walks, Adoration, films, and three excellent meals every day. Thanks especially go to the experienced organisers of this Camp, and thanks too for inviting me to take part in this grace-filled week.