Vatican City, May 30, 2017 / 04:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Tuesday urged priests and bishops not to be afraid to “step down completely” from their assignment when they are called to a new duty.
“All shepherds have to step down. There comes a moment where the Lord says ‘go to another place, come here, go there, come to me.’ And it’s one of the steps that a shepherd must take,” he said during his homily May 30 at the chapel of the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence.
The shepherd must “be prepared to step down in the correct way, not still hanging on to his position,” he said.
In the first reading of the Mass, St. Paul addresses the Church leaders in Ephesus. The Pope said Paul left the Ephesus to go to Jerusalem, following the Holy Spirit’s call.
The Pope highlighted what he called the three “apostolic attitudes” demonstrated by St. Paul during a council with the priests of Ephesus, and he urged the faithful to pray that priests, bishops, and the Pope would live their lives accordingly.
The first attitude involves never turning back, and guiding the Church without compromise.
The second is obedience to the Spirit and the recognition that the life of a shepherd is a “journey,” always open to the voice of God.
St. Paul left Ephesus “because he had nothing of his own, he had not wrongly taken control of his sheep. He had served them … this is a shepherd without compromises who is now a shepherd on a journey.”
The third attitude involves the acknowledgement that “I am not the center of history. Whether it’s large history or small history, I am not the center, I am a servant.”
“With this most beautiful example, let us pray for our shepherds, for our parish priests, our bishops,” Pope Francis exhorted. “Let us pray for our shepherds.”
Damien F. Mackey
“He who holds the entire world under his sway, instead dominates through lies. Jesus says of Satan: ‘He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies’ [John 8, 44]”.
Cardinal Carlo Caffarra gave this talk at the Rome Life Forum on May 19, 2017.
It is a perfect illustration of Satan as the ‘ape of God’.
ROME, May 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” [John 12, 32]. “The whole world is under the power of the Evil One” [1 John, 5, 19].
Reading these divine words gives us perfect awareness of what is really happening in the world, within the human story, considered in its depths. The human story is a confrontation between two forces: the force of attraction, whose source is in the wounded Heart of the Crucified-Risen One, and the power of Satan, who does not want to be ousted from his kingdom.
The area in which the confrontation takes place is the human heart, it is human liberty. And the confrontation has two dimensions: an interior dimension and an exterior dimension. We will briefly consider the one and the other.
- At the trial before Pilate, the Governor asks Jesus whether he is a king; whether – which is the meaning of Pilate’s question – he has true and sovereign political power over a given territory.
Jesus responds: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” [John 18, 37].
“Jesus wants us to understand that his kingship is not that of the kings of this world, but consists of the obedience of his subjects to his word, to his truth. Although He reigns over his subjects, it is not through force or power, but through the truth of which he is witness, which “all who are from the truth” receive with faith” [I. De La Potterie].
Thomas Aquinas puts the following words into the mouth of the Saviour: “As I myself manifest truth, so I am preparing a kingdom for myself”. Jesus on the Cross attracts everyone to Himself, because it is on the Cross that the Truth of which he is witness is resplendent.
Yet this force of attraction can only take effect on those who “are from the truth”. That is, on those who are profoundly available to the Truth, who love truth, who live in familiarity with it. Pascal writes: “You would not seek me if you had not already found me”.
He who holds the entire world under his sway, instead dominates through lies. Jesus says of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies [John 8, 44].
The wording is dramatic. The first proposition – “He was a murderer from the beginning” – is explained by the second: “and he does not stand in the truth”. The murder which the devil performs consists in his not standing in the truth, not dwelling in the truth.
It is murder, because he is seeking to extinguish, to kill in the heart of man truth, the desire for truth. By inducing man to unbelief, he wants man to close himself to the light of the Divine Revelation, which is the Word incarnate. Therefore, these words of Jesus on Satan – as today the majority of exegetes believe – do not speak of the fall of the angels. They speak of something far more profound, something frightful: Satan constantly refuses the truth, and his action within human society consists in opposition to the truth. Satan is this refusal; he is this opposition.
The text continues: “because there is no truth in him”.
The words of Jesus go to the deepest root of Satan’s work. He is in himself a lie. From his person truth is completely absent, and hence he is by definition the one who opposes truth. Jesus adds immediately afterwards: “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. When the Lord says “speaks according to his own nature”, he introduces us to the interiority of Satan, to his heart. A heart which lives in darkness, in shadows: a house without doors and without windows.
To summarise, this therefore is what is happening in the heart of man: Jesus, the Revelation of the Father, exerts a strong attraction to Himself. Satan works against this, to neutralise the attractive force of the Crucified-Risen One. The force of truth which makes us free acts on the heart of man. It is the Satanic force of the lie which makes slaves of us.
Yet, not being pure spirit, the human person is not solely interiority. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in construction of the society in which he or she lives. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in culture, as an essential dimension of human life as such. Culture is the mode of living which is specifically human.
Given that man is positioned between two opposing forces, the condition in which he finds himself must necessarily give rise to two cultures: the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.
There is a book in Holy Scripture, the last, the Apocalypse, which describes the final confrontation between the two kingdoms. In this book, the attraction of Christ takes the form of triumph over enemy powers commanded by Satan. It is a triumph which comes after lengthy combat. The first fruits of the victory are the martyrs. “The great Dragon, serpent of the primal age, he whom we call the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was flung down to earth… But they [= the martyrs] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony of their martyrdom” [cfr. Ap. 12, 9.11].
- In this second section, I would like to respond to the following question: in our Western culture, are there developments which reveal with particular clarity the confrontation between the attraction exerted over man by the Crucified-Risen One, and the culture of the lie constructed by Satan? My response is affirmative, and there are two developments in particular.
The first development is the transformation of a crime [termed by Vatican Council II nefandum crimen], abortion, into a right. Note well: I am not speaking of abortion as an act perpetrated by one person. I am speaking of the broader legitimation which can be perpetrated by a judicial system in a single act: to subsume it into the category of the subjective right, which is an ethical category. This signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation”.
What in fact is the logic which presides over the ennoblement of abortion?
Firstly, it is the profoundest negation of the truth of man. As soon as Noah left the floodwaters, God said: “Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by a man shall that person’s blood be shed, for in his own image God made man” [Gen. 9, 6].
The reason why man should not shed the blood of man is that man is the image of God. Through man, God dwells in His creation. This creation is the temple of the Lord, because man inhabits it. To violate the intangibility of the human person is a sacrilegious act against the Sanctity of God. It is the Satanic attempt to generate an “anti-creation”.
By ennobling the killing of humans, Satan has laid the foundations for his “creation”: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure his presence therein.
St Ambrose writes: “The creation of the world was completed with formation of the masterpiece which is man, which… is in fact the culmination of creation, the supreme beauty of every created being” [Exam., Sixth day, Disc 9, 10.75; BA I, page 417]. At the moment at which the right of man to order the life and the death of another man is affirmed, God is expelled from his creation, because his original presence is denied, and his original dwelling-place within creation – the human person – is desecrated.
The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. This in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.
The Divine Revelation has told us how God thinks of marriage: the lawful union of a man and woman, the source of life. In the mind of God, marriage has a permanent structure, based on the duality of the human mode of being: femininity and masculinity. Not two opposite poles, but the one with and for the other. Only thus does man escape his original solitude.
One of the fundamental laws through which God governs the universe is that He does not act alone. This is the law of human cooperation with the divine governance. The union between a man and woman, who become one flesh, is human cooperation in the creative act of God: every human person is created by God and begotten by its parents. God celebrates the liturgy of his creative act in the holy temple of conjugal love.
In summary. There are two pillars of creation: the human person in its irreducibility to the material universe, and the conjugal union between a man and woman, the place in which God creates new human persons “in His image and likeness”. The axiological elevation of abortion to a subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the destruction of the second pillar.
At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation. This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. “I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation”.
This is the frightful strategy of the lie, constructed around a profound contempt for man. Man is not capable of elevating himself to the splendour of the Truth. He is not capable of living within the paradox of an infinite desire for happiness. He is not able to find himself in the sincere gift of himself. And therefore – continues the Satanic discourse – we tell him banalities about man. We convince him that the Truth does not exist and that his search is therefore a sad and futile passion. We persuade him to shorten the measure of his desire in line with the measure of the transient moment. We place in his heart the suspicion that love is merely a mask of pleasure.
The Grand Inquisitor of Dostoevsky speaks thus to Jesus: “You judge of men too highly, for though rebels they be, they are born slaves …. I swear to you that man is weaker and lower than You have ever imagined him to be! Man is weak and cowardly.”
How should we dwell in this situation? In the third and final section of my reflection, I will seek to answer this question.
The reply is simple: within the confrontation between creation and anti-creation, we are called upon to TESTIFY. This testimony is our mode of being in the world.
The New Testament has an abundantly rich doctrine on this matter. I must confine myself to an indication of the three fundamental meanings which constitute testimony.
Testimony means to say, to speak, to announce openly and publicly. Someone who does not testify in this way is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly. The March for Life is therefore a great testimony.
Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the divine Revelation, which involves the original evidence, discoverable only by reason, rightfully used. And to speak in particular of the Gospel of Life and Marriage.
Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the Gospel of Life and Marriage as if in a trial [cfr. John 16, 8-11]. I will explain myself. I have spoken frequently of a confrontation. This confrontation is increasingly assuming the appearance of a trial, of a legal proceeding, in which the defendant is Jesus and his Gospel. As in every legal proceeding, there are also witnesses in favour: in favour of Jesus and his Gospel.
Announcement of the Gospel of Marriage and of Life today takes place in a context of hostility, of challenge, of unbelief. The alternative is one of two options: either one remains silent on the Gospel, or one says something else. Obviously, what I have said should not be interpreted as meaning that Christians should render themselves… antipathetic to everyone.
St Thomas writes: “It is the same thing, when faced with two contraries, to pursue the one and reject the other. Medicine, for example, proposes the cure while excluding the illness. Hence, it belongs to the wise man to meditate on the truth, in particular with regard to the First Principle …and to refute the opposing falsehood.” [CG Book I, Chapter I, no. 6].
In the context of testimony to the Gospel, irenics and concordism must be excluded. On this Jesus has been explicit. It would be a terrible doctor who adopted an irenical attitude towards the disease.
Augustine writes: “Love the sinner, but persecute the sin”. Note this well. The Latin word per-sequor is an intensifying verb. The meaning therefore is: “Hunt down the sin. Track it down in the hidden places of its lies, and condemn it, bringing to light its insubstantiality”.
I CONCLUDE with a quotation from a great confessor of the faith, the Russian Pavel A. Florenskij. “Christ is witness, in the extreme sense of the word, THE WITNESS.
At His crucifixion, the Jews and Romans believed they were only witnessing a historical event, but the event revealed itself as the Truth”. [The philosophy of religion, San Paolo ed., Milan 2017, page 512].
Years ago, from her convent, Sr. Lucia wrote a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, saying:
“Do not be afraid … Our Lady has already crushed his head.”
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
12 May 2017
The Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP has written a prayer of consecration to Our Lady on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.
Archbishop Fisher has invited all to join in prayer for this important milestone as the Church worldwide marks 100 years since Our Lady’s miraculous appearances at Fatima to three Portuguese children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.
Archbishop Fisher noted the alignment of Mothers’ Day on the same weekend which fittingly allows us to be grateful to God for the gift of motherhood.
“It’s a very happy coincidence that this weekend, we have the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and Mothers’ Day together,” said Archbishop Fisher.
“If our Fatima Day draws attention to our heavenly Mother, who comes to us with her lessons of childlike humility, our Mothers’ Day holiday draws our attention to the loving mothers who brought each of us into the world and nurtured us in faith and life.
“New Age spiritualities might tell us to hug trees and worship Mother earth, but between our heavenly mother and our earthly ones we have more than enough genuine motherhood to inspire and support us”.
On 13 May, Archbishop Anthony Fisher will celebrate a special mass in St Mary’s Cathedral to commemorate this occasion. There will be a procession at 11.30am and Mass will be celebrated at 12.10pm.
Across the Archdiocese many parishes will be celebrating the Fatima anniversary with Masses, prayer vigils and processions.
by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of heaven and earth, and tender Mother of humanity,
in accordance with your ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to you myself,
my brothers and sisters of the Archdiocese of Sydney, and the whole human race.
We commit to you all the members of this local Church, beginning with the weakest ones,
from the unborn to the sick, the disabled and the elderly.
We commit to you our families, our children, our young people, the single, the widowed and the lonely.
We entrust to your Immaculate Heart especially hurt and broken families,
for those who seek the meaning of life but who are getting lost in a world of confusion, immoral influences, and distorted ideas.
Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph
in us and around us, as it has reigned and triumphed in you!
Reign over us, dearest Mother, that we may be your children in prosperity and in adversity,
in joy and in sorrow, in health and sickness, in life and in death!
O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts,
and preserve them from the deluge of impurity which you lamented so sorrowfully at Fatima.
We want to be pure like you. We want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and you.
We want to call down upon our city, our country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity!
Help us as we resolve to live according to the Gospel, to fulfil the Commandments of God and those of the Church,
to receive the sacraments worthily, especially the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist,
and to contribute to the building up of the Kingdom of your divine Son, in union with his most Sacred Heart.
The Holy Father’s reflections were based on a passage from the Gospel of St John, which relates how St Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus after His Resurrection. Her visit to Jesus’s tomb, the Pope said, mirrored “the fidelity of so many women” who visit cemeteries to keep alive the memory of those who have passed away. “The most authentic bonds,” he said, “are not broken even by death.”
Pope Francis noted that Mary Magdalene’s first visit to the tomb was a disappointment: Seeing the empty tomb, she went to the place the disciples were hiding and told them that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.
But although she was sorrowful, she returned to the sepulchre. The Pope continued, “It was while she was standing near the tomb, with eyes filled with tears, that God surprised her in a most unexpected way.” She hardly noticed the two angels who spoke to her, and at first she did not even recognise Jesus, whom she took to be a gardener. Instead, Pope Francis said, “she discovers the most shocking event in human history” only when Jesus “calls her by name.”
“How beautiful it is to think that the first apparition of the Risen One – according to the Gospels – should occur in such a personal way!” the Pope said. How beautiful it is “that there is someone who recognizes us, who sees our suffering and disappointment, and is moved for our sake, and calls us by name.” Although many people seek God, he said, the “wonderful reality” is that God has sought us first, and sought each of us personally. “Each one of us,” Pope Francis said, “is a story of the love of God. God calls each of us by name.”
When Jesus said Mary’s name, her life was changed. “The Gospels describe Mary’s happiness for us,” the Holy Father said. “The Resurrection of Jesus is not a joy given with an eyedropper, but a cascade, a waterfall that fills our whole life.” Pope Francis called for everyone to reflect on that fact that, even with all the “disappointments and defeats” in our life, “there is a God who is close to us and who calls us by name, who says to us, ‘Arise, don’t cry, because I have come to set you free.’”
God, he continued, “is a dreamer: He dreams of the transformation of the world, and has realised it in the mystery of the Resurrection.”
Saint Mary Magdalene, who, before she met Jesus, was at the mercy of the evil one, became “the apostle of the new and greatest hope.” Her life was changed because she had “seen the Lord.” Mary’s experience is an example for us, too, whose lives are changed because we have seen the Lord. This, Pope Francis said, “is our strength, and our hope.”
Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/05/17/pope_francis_reflects_on_mary_magdalene_at_general_audience/1312802
Pope Francis has arrived in the Portuguese town of Fátima to honour two children whose visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago marked one of the most important events of the 20th-century Catholic church.
Tens of thousands of devotees lined the pontiff’s route and tossed petals as his motorcade drove past.
There was no official crowd estimate, but authorities were expecting 1 million people.
Francis is in the town to celebrate the centenary of the apparitions and to canonise illiterate shepherd children who saw them. He hopes the message of peace they reported 100 years ago, when Europe was in the throes of the first world war, will continue to resonate with Catholics.
Church groups, families and individuals have made their way to Fátima, about 90 miles north of Lisbon. Carrying candles, rosaries and roses, many have visited the statue dedicated to Our Lady of Fátima or tossed wax body parts – ears, hearts and limbs – into a fire to pray for healing.
“It is the second time I am here with a pope; first with John Paul II and now with Papa Francisco,” said pilgrim Elisabete Fradique Conceicao.
On 13 May 1917, while they were grazing their sheep, the children saw the first of a half-dozen visions of the Virgin Mary. They said she revealed to them three secrets – apocalyptic messages foreshadowing the second world war, hell, the rise and fall of communism and the death of a pope – and urged them to pray for peace and turn away from sin.
At first doubted by their parents and the local Catholic church, the children’s story slowly gained believers and was eventually accepted as authentic by the Vatican in 1930.
The children being canonised, brother and sister Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who were nine and seven at the time of the apparitions, died of influenza two years later. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, who became the main raconteur of their tale, is on track for beatification, the first step toward becoming a saint. Her case could not begin until after her death in 2005.
The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the importance of Fátima lay in the fact that poor, illiterate children – not the wealthy or learned – were able to convey a powerful message of love and forgiveness at a time of war, when “the talk was of hatred, vendetta, hostilities”.
Fátima has long been associated with St John Paul II. The Polish-born pope credited the Virgin Mary with having saved his life in 1981 when a would-be assassin shot him on Fátima’s feast day – 13 May – in St Peter’s Square.
He made the first of three pilgrimages to Fátima the following May, and one of the bullets fired at him now adorns the crown of the Madonna at the shrine.
Like John Paul, Argentinian-born Francis is devoted to the Madonna, thanks in large part to the strong role Marian devotions play in the popular piety of Latin American Catholics.
In a video message on the eve of his trip to Portugal, Francis urged all faithful to join him, physically or spiritually, in Fátima. He said: “With all of us forming one heart and soul, I will then entrust you to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God.’”
Taken from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/12/pope-francis-pilgrims-flock-to-shrine-town-fatima-children
“I need to feel your closeness, whether physical or spiritual; the important thing is that it come from the heart. In this way, I can arrange my bouquet of flowers, my ‘golden rose,’” Pope Francis said to the people of Portugal in a video message ahead of his Fatima visit.
ROME – Wednesday evening, just two days ahead of his trip to Fatima, Pope Francis sent a video message to the people of Portugal asking them to be with him during his pilgrimage, whether physically or spiritually, as he presents flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“I need to feel your closeness, whether physical or spiritual; the important thing is that it come from the heart. In this way, I can arrange my bouquet of flowers, my ‘golden rose,’” he said in the May 10 video message.
“I want to meet everyone at the feet of the Virgin Mother.”
In the message, Francis said he had received many messages asking him to come to people’s homes, communities and towns during his visit, but that he was not able to accept, as much as he would like to.
He also thanked the various Portuguese authorities for being understanding about his decision to restrict his trip to only the usual events associated with a pilgrimage to Fatima, such as praying the rosary at the prayer vigil and visiting the Chapel of the Apparitions.
“Only a few days remain before our pilgrimage, mine and yours, to the feet of Our Lady of Fatima,” he said. “These are days of joy in expectation of our encounter in the home of Mary our Mother.
“It is as the universal pastor of the Church that I would like to come before the Madonna and to offer her a bouquet of the most beautiful ‘blossoms’ that Jesus has entrusted to my care (cf. Jn 21:15-17),” he continued.
And this means everyone around the world, “none excluded,” he explained. “That is why I need to have all of you join me there.
“With all of us forming ‘one heart and soul’ (cf. Acts 4:32), I will then entrust you to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God’ (Apparition of June, 1917).”
In the video, Francis called the meeting “our pilgrimage,” the motto for which is ‘With Mary, a pilgrim in hope and in peace.’ The program for the visit contains many opportunities for prayer and conversion of heart, he said.
“I am happy to know that in anticipation of that blessed moment, the culmination of a century of blessed moments, you have been preparing yourselves by intense prayer,” he noted. “Prayer enlarges our hearts and makes them ready to receive God’s gifts. I thank you for all the prayers and sacrifices that you offer daily for me. I need them, because I am a sinner among sinners.”
Through prayer, he said, he receives light to his eyes, which “enables me to see others as God sees them, and to love others as he loves them.”
The pope makes the two-day pilgrimage to Fatima May 12-13 to celebrate the centenary of Mary’s appearance to three shepherd children in 1917.
During the trip, the pope will also celebrate Mass, presiding over the canonization of two of the child visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marta.
“In his name, I will come among you and have the joy of sharing with everyone the Gospel of hope and peace,” he concluded his message. “May the Lord bless you, and the Virgin Mother protect you!”
Taken from: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/05/11/join-feet-mary-francis-asks-ahead-fatima-trip/
A pilgrim carries a candle at Fatima Sanctuary, central Portugal, on May 11, 2017 – AFP