April 2010

In this day of minute-to-minute news, a story from April 2008 is ancient.

But I think we’d all benefit from reading it again. 

Victims of Abuse Recall Meeting with Pope

Pope Benedict also met with victims this past weekend in Malta, and the reports are similar– emotional & full of healing.

The meetings with victims is private, so the Holy Father’s messages aren’t publicly released by the Vatican.  But all you need to read is the victim’s impressions of the Holy Father to realize that he cares.  He loves these victims, and he, perhaps more than any other person in the Church, is ready to facilitate healing and stop the abuse.

“The pope looked very sad, he looked me eye to eye, looked down at the floor, looked at me and held my hand, didn’t let it go,” McDaid said. “I saw his body language, his eyes, heard the sadness in his German (accented) English. I didn’t have to say, did you get it?”


Five years ago today…

The wait seemed interminable…

But then-

Deo gratias!

Pray for the Holy Father — today and everyday!

On this Sunday morning, I’d like to share the words of Pope Benedict as he traveled to Malta yesterday.  I think many of the misconceptions about Pope Benedict would be cleared up if people knew what he said and taught, so perhaps I’ll be sharing quotes from him more often.

On his way to Malta:

Dear friends, good evening! Let us hope we have a good journey, without this dark cloud that is hanging over part of Europe.

So why this trip to Malta? The reasons are manifold.

The first is St. Paul. The Pauline Year of the universal Church is over, but Malta is celebrating 1950 years sincethe shipwreck and this is my opportunity to once again bring to light the great figure of the Apostle to the Gentiles, with his important message even [for] today. I think we can summarize the essence of his journey with the words with which he himself summarised it at the end of the letter to the Galatians: Faith working through love.

These are the important things today: faith, the relationship with God, which then turns into love. But I also think that the reason for the shipwreck speaks for us. Malta’s fortune to have faith was born from the wreck; so we can think the same, that life’s shipwrecks can be part of God’s plan for us and they may also be useful for new beginnings in our lives.

The second reason: I am glad to live in the midst of lively church, which the Church in Malta is. Even today it is fruitful in vocations, full of faith in the midst of our time, responding to the challenges of our time. I know that Malta loves Christ and loves his Church which is his body and knows that, even if this body is wounded by our sins, God loves this church and its gospel is the true force that purifies and heals.

Third point: Malta is the point where the currents of refugees from Africa arrive and knock at Europe’s door. This is a great problem of our time, and, of course, can not be resolved by the island of Malta. We must all respond to this challenge, work so that everyone can, live a dignified life in their homeland and on the other hand do everything possible so that these refugees find here, where they arrive, that they find a decent living space. A response to a great challenge of our time: Malta reminds us of these problems and also reminds us that their faith is the force that gives charity, and thus also the imagination to respond well to these challenges. Thank you.

I know I’ve posted this before, at least on my Rome blog, but I love it for so many reasons.

Below is the official press bulletin from the Holy See Press Office on April 16, 2005.

Today, Saturday, April 16 the twelfth General Congregation took place in the presence of 143 cardinals.

After the prayer “Adsumus,” Cardinal Edward Cassidy, who had just arrived, took the oath.

The Cardinal Camerlengo Eduardo Martínez Somalo presented, in everyone’s name, best wishes to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, on the occasion of his birthday.

Indications were given concerning entrance into the Domus Sanctae Marthaeon Sunday the 17th in the afternoon, for the Mass “for the election of the Supreme Pontiff ” on Monday April 18 at 10 a.m. and for entrance into conclave, the same day, at 4:30 p.m.

The cardinal dean read messages from several cardinals who were not able to come to Rome. They thanked everyone for the words of closeness and affection sent to them by the cardinal dean in the name of everyone in the College of Cardinals.

The cardinal camerlengo proceeded to the destruction of the Fisherman’s Ring and the lead seal as foreseen by the Apostolic Constitution ‘Universi Dominici gregis’ in art 13g.

After having commented on several points of the very same Apostolic Constitution, there was an exchange of ideas on the problems of the Church and the world.

The Regina Coeli prayer closed the last General Congregation.

First, I think there’s a lot of humor packed in that seemingly-impersonal, unemotional press release.  I picture Cardinal Cassidy getting off his plane from Australia after getting lost over Asia somewhere, all flustered because he’s arriving after everyone else.  [I’m not saying that happened.  But it’s humorous to think about.] And I smile when I think of all the Cardinals sitting around, waiting to elect the next Holy Father.  What a way to celebrate your 78th birthday, huh?  Unless you realize that you just might be the one elected.  Eek.

I like the fact that they recognized Cardinal Ratzinger’s birthday.  I guess I tend to think men don’t think about stuff like that.

I like the little peek into what goes on before a conclave commences — the destroying of the ring, the greetings from the Cardinals not present, etc.

And it makes me chuckle the way they say so matter-of-factly that after they commented a bit on John Paul’s apostolic constitution about the election of his predecessor, they then exchanged ideas over the “problems in the Church and the world.”  Sure, let’s just throw some things out there.  You know, make some conversation, some light discussion.  And then well, it’s noon. Time for the Regina Coeli. Signing off.

It would be fun to be a fly on the wall at a meeting like that.

Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict!

“Children deserve to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. They should be spared the degrading manifestations and the crude manipulation of sexuality so prevalent today. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person.

This brings us back to our consideration of the centrality of the family and the need to promote the Gospel of life. What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today? We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike.

All have a part to play in this task – not only parents, religious leaders, teachers and catechists, but the media and entertainment industries as well. Indeed, every member of society can contribute to this moral renewal and benefit from it.  Truly caring about young people and the future of our civilization means recognizing our responsibility to promote and live by the authentic moral values which alone enable the human person to flourish.  It falls to you, as pastors modelled upon Christ, the Good Shepherd, to proclaim this message loud and clear, and thus to address the sin of abuse within the wider context of sexual mores.  Moreover, by acknowledging and confronting the problem when it occurs in an ecclesial setting, you can give a lead to others, since this scourge is found not only within your Dioceses, but in every sector of society.  It calls for a determined, collective response.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the United States Bishops

16 April 2008

Start baking those cakes, folks. Pope Benedict’s birthday is Friday, and I think we all should celebrate. Folllowed by another celebration on Monday, the anniversary of his election.

The best way we can celebrate, of course, is to pray for him. He needs your prayers so much right now.

What is going on right now is too large for one blog post, or even one blog, for that matter. I’d like to share some thoughts from this morning, but they’re just going to have to wait. There’s nothing worse than trying to do justice to a huge topic and failing miserably by not saying enough or not saying something the correct way.

However, I’ve heard from many, many people that they want to know more about what is happening. I think that any Catholic should aim to educate themselves as much as possible on the current situation so that charity and truth can prevail.

That being said, I pass along this excellent website. My blog is a soapbox, and this topic far surpasses any soapbox — it is far too serious and complex to be treated with a rant.

I urge you to read as much as you can, from reputable sources, and prayerfully educate yourself.


St. Peter, pray for us!

Yesterday I had a domestic urge to make cookies.  Fortunately — or maybe unfortunately?–  I generally have all the ingredients on hand.  What girl’s kitchen doesn’t have flour, sugar, and chocolate chips?

This particular recipe is extra wonderful due to large quantities of vanilla extract, so it was ironic that of all the ingredients to forget, it was precisely that one I forgot.  When I tasted the batter, I thought it tasted a little flat — it didn’t have the usual depth of flavor (do I sound like I’m on the Food Network?), and it wasn’t until I was putting something away in the cabinet that I saw the vanilla and realized my omission.  With two dozen cookies already on the sheets, I shrugged and dumped a bunch of extract in the bowl, stirring it up and hoping for the best.

The cookies without the vanilla aren’t horrible, by any means.  But those with the vanilla (with a nice, hearty amount of vanilla…) are richer.

It reminded me of my dinner a few nights ago.  Again, feeling domestic, I made chicken and dumplings.  (We won’t mention my semi-nervous breakdown when it all boiled over and scalded my stove drip pans because I don’t own a 3-quart saucepan.)  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great either.  I realized later that I hadn’t salted anything.  I added salt to the leftovers, and boom!  Heightened taste.

(Let’s all pray that those crazies out there don’t outlaw salt.)

Isn’t it interesting how two little ingredients — vanilla extract and salt — can do so much?  Just a pinch of NaCl, and you have a completely transformed dish.  A splash of vanilla extract, and you have a deeper flavor of already scrumptious ingredients.

Perhaps that’s what Jesus was thinking of when he told us we are to be the salt of the earth.  Maybe he was thinking of a meal that Peter’s mother-in-law made them all where she neglected to properly salt the fish.  It was edible, but there was something missing. There was a greatness to the dish that was lacking.

As Christians, we have the secret of living life abundantly.  Far from restrictive, new life in Christ gives us a joyful freedom that our pagan brothers and sisters can’t even imagine. It’s the map in the mine field, the instructions to the complicated machinery.  CHRIST IS RISEN!  And what are our brothers and sisters in this world doing?  They’re living miserable existences, looking for love.  Looking for truth.

We may not do anything dramatic for our coworkers or our neighbors. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. It can be small, barely visible. In fact, can you imagine many things smaller than a grain of salt?

Life can be monotonous.  Days can drag on.  They can be edible, but boring and lacking pizazz.

Christ doesn’t want us to go through life like that.  He doesn’t just want us to live a chocolate-chip cookie life– He wants to add some vanilla extract.

We’re salt.  And it’s time to give this world some high-blood pressure.