Pope Francis Signs Up for World Youth Day Using iPad

World | Agence France-Presse | Updated: July 26, 2015 19:02 IST
Vatican City:  Pope Francis today became the first person registered for next year’s World Youth Day festivities, using an iPad to sign up while addressing thousands of pilgrims and tourists in Saint Peter’s Square.”Thanks to this electronic device, I signed up as a simple pilgrim,” Francis said, declaring himself the first person registered for next edition of the Youth Day celebration while flanked by two Polish youths.

The next edition of the global meeting of Catholic youths will be held next July in Krakow, Poland. It was most recently organised in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, shortly after Francis’ election as pope.

Before digitally signing up for the event followed, the Pope appealed for the release of Italian Jesuit priest Paola Dall’Oglio, who was kidnapped in Syria two years ago.

In addition to calling for Dall’Oglio’s liberation, Francis called for “renewed engagement by local and international authorities” to secure the release of all hostages being held.

Next year’s event will be the 31st edition of World Youth day which was instigated in Rome in 1986 by Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pontiff who also served as Archbishop of Krakow.

It has since been held in countries on four continents.

Story First Published: July 26, 2015 19:02 IST

Russia: From Error to Conversion


Losing the Battle – but Winning the War

We lost this battle: ‘To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace …’.

Hence we reaped this bitter harvest: ‘if not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church …’.

The fault was our own.

With this in mind, we would have to agree with George Weigel, who, when writing this month that “US court decision to give same-sex marriage equality with traditional marriage puts it at odds with the Constitution, reason and biblical religion”, proceeds to make this intriguing comment – {that we would expand to include the Catholic Church in Australia} (“Ruling says it all: the law is an ass”):

The Catholic Church in the US bears its share of responsibility for this incoherence. It was clear 60 years ago that the old mainline Protestant cultural hegemony was fading, that an alternative cultural foundation for American democracy was necessary, and that a new cadre of citizen-leaders, capable of articulating the moral truths on which the American democratic experiment rests, had to be raised up – and the prime candidate for doing all that was the Catholic Church. It might have happened. But too much of the Church’s clerical and lay leadership lost its nerve after Humanae Vitae; the window of opportunity closed amidst the maelstrom of the 60s and the decadence of the 70s; and the forces of incoherence won the day.

[End of quote]

Saint Augustine warned us that the Devil is like an angry, furious dog on a chain.  If we keep him at bay and remain distant we are safe, but never provoke this furious beast. If we foolishly stray into his ambit, then we can expect to suffer a dire mauling.

Weigel continues: “…. The New Normal will not leave the Catholic Church alone”.

The upside to struggle, though, is that it builds character, even fosters genius:

So the Church must learn, fast, how to play good defence, defending the right of our people and our institutions to be themselves; it will do a service to America in the process. (A good primer for thinking through these issues is the recent pastoral letter by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge.)

[End of quote]

We need to become as persistently annoying to the proponents of what Weigel has labelled the “New Normal” as they have become to us. But, owing to that former loss of nerve, the battle to win the war has now become much harder. Weigel again: “Like everyone else who contests the New Normal’s ideology of Anything Goes, the Catholic Church will be aggressively attacked for daring to oppose that ideology”. That furious Dog is biting savagely.


The Enigma that is Russia


Not only could Russia potentially spread her errors (Our Lady at Fatima, 1917), but she actually began to do so, according to Sister Lucia, after World War II (1945). Pandora’s Box, containing all the evils of the world, was now opened.

It was only in 1984, with the collegial Consecration finally done – but some six agonising decades late – that a ‘mechanism’ was set in place to stem the flow. Soon the Soviet Union began to collapse.

Sadly, ‘Russia’s errors’ had by now become ‘the world’s errors’, so that it was no longer sufficient simply to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And so Pope John Paul II, in the afternoon of March 25, 1984, inside the Vatican Basilica and before the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, consecrated (or entrusted) the fate of the entire World to Her:

So today we have wanted to entrust the fate of the world, of individuals, of peoples, to your Immaculate Heart in order to arrive at the very center of the mystery of Redemption, the mystery that is stronger than all the sins of man and of the world, the mystery in which one can conquer sin in its various forms, in which one can begin, can inaugurate, a new world.


Whilst error must ever be refuted, the tone of the Church at present – with error now so rampant – seems to be more emphatically to promote the Truth.


Today, unpredictable Russia, once the cause of so much human misery, appears to be slowly but surely shifting in the right direction. Gabrielle Kuby writes of this dramatic new outlook (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/from-russia-the-a):


Twenty-five years ago, when the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was still holding its conventions in the Kremlin under the iconic hammer and sickle, no one would have dreamed what would happen there on September 10 and 11, 2014: Inside the Kremlin, the heart of Russia, a two-day international conference was held with the title “Large Families and the Future of Humanity” — pro-life, pro-family, aiming to protect the moral foundation of family and society. ….

The people in the hall certainly don’t agree on Putin’s behavior in the Ukraine conflict. They do agree, however, that we are in a global anthropological crisis that is attacking the nature and identity of the human person, and they share the same determination to rise against it.

The topic here was not simply the family, but large families, because they can reverse the demographic crisis that threatens the future of Russia, not to mention that of most countries in the West. However, here the problem and its causes were put out in the open: U. S. journalist Donald Feder, advisor to the World Congress of Families and a wise, practicing Jew, said, a false perception of sexuality is the cause of the demographic crisis, specifically the idea that sexuality is for enjoyment only and must have no consequences.

On the contrary, sexuality’s foremost purpose is the creation of human life in the bond of love between man and woman. Because pills and condoms cannot always obstruct this creative force, we kill 50 million unborn children around the world every year. And we continue to do so despite the obviously menacing consequences, because we have a false concept not only of sexuality, but also of freedom. This false freedom knows nothing but the autonomous, commitment-free, self-defined individual, fed by gender ideology that denies God and nature.

[End of quote]

A consequence of the intensification of their efforts by the purveyors of world error will be that those who reject this New Normal ‘civilisation’ of queerdom must begin to put aside what divides them and more earnestly seek to unite. This must eventually lead to a reunion of East and West, enabling the Catholic Church again to “breathe with two lungs” — East and West alike — rather than with only one Western, or Latin, lung (John Paul II). Interesting, then, to read (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/historic-meeting-between-):

An historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is “getting closer every day,” a senior Orthodox prelate has said.

The unprecedented meeting would be a significant step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054.

“Now such a meeting is getting closer every day but it must be well prepared,” Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s foreign relations department, said in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

[End of quote]

Satan with a crushed head versus a Church breathing with its two lungs?

No contest.

Another step in the right direction towards unification would be to correct what Pope Francis has called the ‘scandal of the disunity’ of the date for Easter, thus signalling his openness to changing the date so that all Christians around the world could celebrate the feast of Easter on the same day. The Pope on June 12 said “we have to come to an agreement” for a common date on Easter.

Whilst all these developments might take time to accomplish, Our Lady of Cana, who hastened the Lord’s “hour”, can speed up grindingly slow human processes.

‘Our Lady of Fatima’ Song: 1950

Performer Richard Hayes and Kitty Kallen

Title Our Lady of Fatima

Lyric text

Our Lady of Fatima

Ave Maria

Ave Maria

Dear lady of Fatima

We come on bended knees

To beg your


For peace and unity

Dear Mary won’t you show us

The right and shining way

We pledge our love and offer you

A rosary each day

You promised at Fatima

Each time that you appeared

To help us if we pray to you

To banish war and fear

Dear lady on first Saturday

We ask your guiding hand

For grace and guidance

Here on earth

And protection for

Our land

You promised at Fatima

Each time that you appeared

To help us if we pray to you

To banish war and fear

Dear lady on first Saturday

We ask your guiding hand

For grace and guidance

Here on earth

And protection for

Our land

Ave Maria

Read more: http://www.lyricsvault.net/php/artist.php?s=19038#ixzz3f3vkMf5J

First Friday Devotion

Image result for first friday devotions to the sacred heart of jesus

“The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus . . . which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins.”2

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is of great antiquity in the Church. It was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, however, who made this devotion widespread. In 1675, within the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi, our Lord appeared to her and said: “Behold this heart which, not withstanding the burning love for men with which it is consumed and exhausted, meets with no other return from most Christians than sacrilege, contempt, indifference and ingratitude, even in the sacrament of my love [the Eucharist]. But what pierces my heart most deeply is that I am subjected to these insults by persons especially consecrated to my service.”3
To those who show him love and who make reparation for sins, however, our Lord made a great pledge: “I promise you in the unfath­omable mercy of my heart that my omnipotent love will procure the grace of final penitence for all those who receive communion on nine successive first Fridays of the month; they will not die in my disfavor, or without having received the sacraments, since my divine heart will be their sure refuge in the last moments of their life.”4

The great promise of the Sacred Heart is most consoling: the grace of final perseverance and the joy of having Jesus’ heart as our sure refuge and infinite ocean of mercy in our last hour.

 To gain this grace, we must:
  • Receive holy Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays.
  • Have the intention of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of reaching final perseverance.
  • Offer each holy Communion as an act of atonement for offenses against the Blessed Sacrament.
Introductory Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the heart of your well-beloved Son and upon the praise and satisfaction which he offers to you in the name of all sinners; and grant them pardon when they seek your mercy. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.

R.  Amen.
Reading: Jn 19:31-37
Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
He who saw it has borne witness-his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth-that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”

1. Love is revealed to us in the Incarnation, the redemptive journey which Jesus Christ made on our earth, culminating in the supreme sacrifice of the cross. And on the cross it showed itself through a new sign: “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” This water and blood of Jesus speak to us of a self-sacrifice brought to the last extreme: “It is fin­ished”-everything is achieved, for the sake of love. . . .

The fullness of God is revealed and given to us in Christ, in the love of Christ, in Christ’s heart. For it is the heart of him in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Were one to lose sight of this great plan of God-the overflow of love in the world through the Incarnation, the Redemption and Pentecost-he could not understand the refinement with which our Lord deals with us.

2. Let us realize all the richness hidden in the words “the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” When we speak of a person’s heart, we refer not just to his sentiments, but to the whole person in his loving dealings with others. In order to help us understand divine things, Scripture uses the expression “heart” in its full human meaning, as the summary and source, expression and ultimate basis, of one’s thoughts, words and actions. One is worth what one’s heart is worth. . . .

So, when we talk about the heart of Jesus, we stress the certainty of God’s love and the truth of his commitment to us. When we recommend devotion to the Sacred Heart, we are recommending that we should give our whole selves to Jesus, to the whole Jesus-our souls, our feelings and thoughts, our words and actions, our joys.
That is what true devotion to the heart of Jesus means. It is knowing God and ourselves. It is looking at Jesus and turning to him, letting him encourage and teach and guide us. The only difficulty that could beset this devotion would be our own failure to understand the reality of an incarnate God.

3. Jesus on the cross, with his heart overflowing with love for us, is such an eloquent commentary on the value of people and things that words only get in the way. Men, their happiness and their lives, are so important that the very Son of God gave himself to redeem and cleanse and raise them up. “Who will not love this heart so wounded?” a contemplative asks in this connection. “Who will not return love for love? Who will not embrace a heart so pure? We, who are made of flesh, will repay love with love. We will embrace our wounded One, whose hands and feet ungodly men have nailed; we will cling to his side and to his heart. Let us pray that we be worthy of linking our heart with his love and of wounding it with a lance, for it is still hard and impenitent. . . .”

But note that God does not say: “In exchange for your own heart, I will give you a will of pure spirit.” No, he gives us a heart, a human heart, like Christ’s. I don’t have one heart for loving God and another for loving people. I love Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and our Lady with the same heart with which I love my parents and my friends. I shall never tire of repeating this. We must be very human, for otherwise we cannot be divine. . . .
If we don’t learn from Jesus, we will never love. If, like some people, we were to think that to keep a clean heart, a heart worthy of God, means “not mixing it up, not contaminating it” with human affection, we would become insensitive to other people’s pain and sorrow. We would be capable of only an “official charity,” something dry and soulless. But ours would not be the true charity of Jesus Christ, which involves affection and human warmth. In saying this, I am not supporting the mistaken theories-pitiful excuses-that misdirect hearts away from God and lead them into occasions of sin and perdition. . . .
4. But I have still a further consideration to put before you. We have to fight vigorously to do good, precisely because it is difficult for us to resolve seriously to be just, and there is a long way to go before human relations are inspired by love and not hatred or indifference. We should also be aware that, even if we achieve a reasonable distribution of wealth and a harmonious organization of society, there will still be the suffering of illness, of misunderstanding, of loneliness, of the death of loved ones, of the experience of our own limitations.
Faced with the weight of all this, a Christian can find only one genuine answer, a definitive answer: Christ on the cross, a God who suffers and dies, a God who gives us his heart opened by a lance for the love of us all. Our Lord abominates injustice and condemns those who commit it. But he respects the freedom of each individual. He permits injustice to happen because, as a result of original sin, it is part and parcel of the human condition. Yet his heart is full of love for men. Our suffering, our sadness, our anguish, our hunger and thirst for justice . . . he took all these tortures on himself by means of the cross. . . .
Suffering is part of God’s plans. This is the truth, however difficult it may be for us to understand it. It was difficult for Jesus Christ the man to undergo his passion: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” In this tension of pleading and acceptance of the Father’s will, Jesus goes calmly to his death, pardoning those who crucify him.
This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests. By dying on the cross, Jesus overcame death. God brings life from death. The attitude of a child of God is not one of resignation to a possibly tragic fate; it is the sense of achievement of someone who has a foretaste of victory. In the name of this victorious love of Christ, we Christians should go out into the world to be sowers of peace and joy through everything we say and do. We have to fight-a fight of peace-against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus do we serve notice that the present condition of mankind is not definitive. Only the love of God, shown in the heart of Christ, will attain our glorious spiritual triumph.

1.   Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (=CCC), 667, 2664, 2665.
2.   Cf. CCC, 2669.
3.   St. Margaret M. Alacoque, Autobiography (=MMAA).
4.   Ibid.
5.   Saint Josemaría Escrivá, “Finding Peace in the Heart of Christ,” 162-170, Princeton, N.J.: Scepter Publishers,1974. Footnotes used by the author in the original homily are omitted.


Taken from: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/prayers/devotions/to-our-lord-jesus-christ/first-friday-devotion/

The God in the Cave


G. K. Chesterton

“The place that the shepherds found was not an academy or an abstract republic; it was not a place of myths… explained or explained away. It was a place of dreams come true.” Chesterton dwells upon the theme of Bethlehem in this excerpt from the book which many consider to be his masterpiece.
Traditions in art and literature and popular fable have quite sufficiently attested, as has been said, this particular paradox of the divine being in the cradle. Perhaps they have not so clearly emphasised the significance of the divine being in the cave. Curiously enough, indeed, tradition has not very clearly emphasised the cave. It is a familiar fact that the Bethlehem scene has been represented in every possible setting of time and country of landscape and architecture; and it is a wholly happy and admirable fact that men have conceived it as quite different according to their different individual traditions and tastes. But while all have realised that it was a stable, not so many have realised that it was a cave. Some critics have even been so silly as to suppose that there was some contradiction between the stable and the cave; in which case they cannot know much about caves or stables in Palestine. As they see differences that are not there it is needless to add that they do not see differences that are there. When a well-known critic says, for instance, that Christ being born in a rocky cavern is like Mithras having sprung alive out of a rock, it sounds like a parody upon comparative religion. There is such a thing as the point of a story, even if it is a story in the sense of a lie. And the notion of a hero appearing, like Pallas from the brain of Zeus, mature and without a mother, is obviously the very opposite of the idea of a god being born like an ordinary baby and entirely dependent on a mother. Whichever ideal we might prefer, we should surely see that they are contrary ideals. It is as stupid to connect them because they both contain a substance called stone as to identify the punishment of the Deluge with the baptism in the Jordan because they both contain a substance called water. Whether as a myth or a mystery, Christ was obviously conceived as born in a hole in the rocks primarily because it marked the position of one outcast and homeless….
It would be vain to attempt to say anything adequate, or anything new, about the change which this conception of a deity born like an outcast or even an outlaw had upon the whole conception of law and its duties to the poor and outcast. It is profoundly true to say that after that moment there could be no slaves. There could be and were people bearing that legal title, until the Church was strong enough to weed them out, but there could be no more of the pagan repose in the mere advantage to the state of keeping it a servile state. Individuals became important, in a sense in which no instruments can be important. A man could not be a means to an end, at any rate to any other man’s end. All this popular and fraternal element in the story has been rightly attached by tradition to the episode of the Shepherds; the hinds who found themselves talking face to face with the princes of heaven. But there is another aspect of the popular element as represented by the shepherds which has not perhaps been so fully developed; and which is more directly relevant here.
Men of the people, like the shepherds, men of the popular tradition, had everywhere been the makers of the mythologies. It was they who had felt most directly, with least check or chill from philosophy or the corrupt cults of civilisation, the need we have already considered; the images that were adventures of the imagination; the mythology that was a sort of search; the tempting and tantalising hints of something half-human in nature; the dumb significance of seasons and special places. They had best understood that the soul of a landscape is a story, and the soul of a story is a personality. But rationalism had already begun to rot away these really irrational though imaginative treasures of the peasant; even as a systematic slavery had eaten the peasant out of house and home. Upon all such peasantries everywhere there was descending a dusk and twilight of disappointment, in the hour when these few men discovered what they sought. Everywhere else Arcadia was fading from the forest. Pan was dead and the shepherds were scattered like sheep. And though no man knew it, the hour was near which was to end and to fulfil all things; and, though no man heard it, there was one far-off cry in an unknown tongue upon the heaving wilderness of the mountains. The shepherds had found their Shepherd.
And the thing they found was of a kind with the things they sought. The populace had been wrong in many things; but they had not been wrong in believing that holy things could have a habitation and that divinity need not disdain the limits of time and space. And the barbarian who conceived the crudest fancy about the sun being stolen and hidden in a box, or the wildest myth about the god being rescued and his enemy deceived with a stone, was nearer to the secret of the cave and knew more about the crisis of the world, than all those in the circle of cities round the Mediterranean who had become content with cold abstractions or cosmopolitan generalisations; than all those who were spinning thinner and thinner threads of thought out of the transcendentalism of Plato or the orientalism of Pythagoras. The place that the shepherds found was not an academy or an abstract republic; it was not a place of myths allegorised or dissected or explained or explained away. It was a place of dreams come true. Since that hour no mythologies have been made in the world. Mythology is a search….
The philosophers had also heard. It is still a strange story, though an old one, how they came out of orient lands, crowned with the majesty of kings and clothed with something of the mystery of magicians. That truth that is tradition has wisely remembered them almost as unknown quantities, as mysterious as their mysterious and melodious names; Melchior, Caspar, Balthazar. But there came with them all that world of wisdom that had watched the stars in Chaldea and the sun in Persia; and we shall not be wrong if we see in them the same curiosity that moves all the sages. They would stand for the same human ideal if their names had really been Confucius or Pythagoras or Plato. They were those who sought not tales but the truth of things; and since their thirst for truth was itself a thirst for God, they also have had their reward. But even in order to understand that reward, we must understand that for philosophy as much as mythology, that reward was the completion of the incomplete….
The Magi, who stand for mysticism and philosophy, are truly conceived as seeking something new and even as finding something unexpected. That sense of crisis which still tingles in the Christmas story and even in every Christmas celebration, accentuates the idea of a search and a discovery. For the other mystical figures in the miracle play, for the angel and the mother, the shepherds and the soldiers of Herod, there may be aspects both simpler and more supernatural, more elemental or more emotional. But the Wise Men must be seeking wisdom; and for them there must be a light also in the intellect. And this is the light; that the Catholic creed is catholic and that nothing else is catholic. The philosophy of the Church is universal. The philosophy of the philosophers was not universal. Had Plato and Pythagoras and Aristotle stood for an instant in the light that came out of that little cave, they would have known that their own light was not universal. It is far from certain, indeed, that they did not know it already. Philosophy also, like mythology, had very much the air of a search. It is the realisation of this truth that gives its traditional majesty and mystery to the figures of the Three Kings; the discovery that religion is broader than philosophy and that this is the broadest of religions, contained within this narrow space….
We might well be content to say that mythology had come with the shepherds and philosophy with the philosophers; and that it only remained for them to combine in the recognisation of religion. But there was a third element that must not be ignored and one which that religion for ever refuses to ignore, in any revel or reconciliation. There was present in the primary scenes of the drama that Enemy that had rotted the legends with lust and frozen the theories into atheism, but which answered the direct challenge with something of that more direct method which we have seen in the conscious cult of the demons. In the description of that demon-worship, of the devouring detestation of innocence shown in the works of its witchcraft and the most inhuman of its human sacrifice, I have said less of its indirect and secret penetration of the saner paganism; the soaking of mythological imagination with sex; the rise of imperial pride into insanity. But both the indirect and the direct influence make themselves felt in the drama of Bethlehem. A ruler under the Roman suzerainty, probably equipped and surrounded with the Roman ornament and order though himself of eastern blood, seems in that hour to have felt stirring within him the spirit of strange things. We all know the story of how Herod, alarmed at some rumour of a mysterious rival, remembered the wild gesture of the capricious despots of Asia and ordered a massacre of suspects of the new generation of the populace. Everyone knows the story; but not everyone has perhaps noted its place in the story of the strange religions of men. Not everybody has seen the significance even of its very contrast with the Corinthian columns and Roman pavement of that conquered and superficially civilised world. Only, as the purpose in this dark spirit began to show and shine in the eyes of the Idumean, a seer might perhaps have seen something like a great grey ghost that looked over his shoulder; have seen behind him filling the dome of night and hovering for the last time over history, that vast and fearful fact that was Moloch of the Carthaginians; awaiting his last tribute from a ruler of the races of Shem. The demons in that first festival of Christmas, feasted also in their own fashion.
Taken from: http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/God_in_the_Cave.html