Tag Archives: Pope John Paul II

Sunday Devotional: Conduct your affairs with humility

Luke 14:1, 7, 12-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table….

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

In his brief three years of public ministry, our Lord Jesus the Christ again and again warned against the sin of pride and grandiosity, aka narcissism, and exhorted us to be humble.

The Old Testament, too, sounded the same warning and exhortation in the Book of Sirach, commonly called the Wisdom of Sirach — a work of ethical teachings, from approximately 200 to 175 B.C., written by Ben Sira of Jerusalem, and the largest wisdom book from antiquity to have survived.

Sirach 3:17-18

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
 and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
 Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
 and you will find favor with God. 

The opposite of humility is narcissism or grandiosity — the exaltation and excessive love of self, making ourselves “as gods”. As such, narcissism is an offense against God because it violates the first of the Ten Commandments:

“I am the Lord your God:
you shall not have strange gods before me.”

As American culture becomes increasingly corrupt, it’s no accident that studies testify to a corresponding increase in narcissism “across the board,” in the words of San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, the author of Generation Me (Free Press, 2006).

Twenge wrote that narcissism and one of its behavioral manifestations — entitlement — among college students had increased steadily and dramatically since 1979:

What we really have is a culture that has increasingly emphasized feeling good about yourself and favoring the individual over the group. And that has happened across the board, culturally, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. I have a 14-month-old daughter, and the clothing available to her has ‘little princess,’ or ‘I’m the boss,’ or ‘spoiled rotten’ written on it. This is what we’re dressing our babies in. Schools have programs designed to boost self-esteem. Parents say things like, ‘You shouldn’t care what other people think of you.’ We’re inundated with the notions of ‘feeling special,’ ‘believing in yourself’ and ‘be anything you want to be.’

For that reason, Twenge coined the term “iGeneration” (“i” as in both iPod and “me, me, me”) for the Millennials — those born in the general range of 1981 to 1999.

It is also no accident that the cultural rot and increase in narcissism “across the board” are accompanied by a dramatic increase in overt and coarsened sexuality, which permeats everything.

In a 1992 encyclical, Pastores Dabo Vobis, St. John Paul II explained the cause-and-effect connection between narcissism (the adulation of the self) and an unrestrained and degraded sexuality “reduced to nothing more than a consumer good”:

In this case, many young people undergo an affective experience which, instead of contributing to a harmonious and joyous growth in personality which opens them outward in an act of self-giving, becomes a serious psychological and ethical process of turning inward toward self, a situation which cannot fail to have grave consequences on them in the future. In the case of some young people a distorted sense of freedom lies at the root of these tendencies. Instead of being understood as obedience to objective and universal truth, freedom is lived out as a blind acquiescence to instinctive forces and to an individual’s will to power.… On the religious level, such a situation, if it does not always lead to an explicit refusal of God, causes widespread indifference and results in a life which, even in its more significant moments and more decisive choices, is lived as if God did not exist.

It is also no accident that all of these “Do As Thou Wilt” — a Satanic motto — cultural indicators are accompanied not just by the tolerance, but the celebration of homosexuality and so-called transgenderism.

Psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, with more than 35 years of clinical experience treating homosexuals, including homosexual priests, said in a 2011 interview that “Narcissism — a personality disorder in which an insatiable need for admiration often leads to attention-seeking behavior — is prevalent among men who struggle with homosexuality.”

And what’s the antidote to narcissism?

Not love of self, but the right kind of love — loving the God who humbled Himself by dying on the cross for our sins, with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

Luke 14:11

For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

May the peace and love and humility of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Decide today whom you will serve

Joshua 24:1-2

When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

“Decide today whom you will serve”.

What Joshua, the leader of the Israelite tribes after the death of Moses, referred to is the Fundamental Option.

In his chapter on “The Theory of the Fundamental Option and Moral Action” in Bernard Hoose, ed., Christian Ethics: An Introduction (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998), Dr. Thomas R. Kopfensteiner defines fundamental option as a person’s orientation toward the moral good which penetrates our entire life project. It is the nucleus of our moral identity—every subsequent moral choice that we make is sustained by it and every decision substantiates it.

In the encyclical Veritatis Splendor, St. John Paul the Great wrote:

Christian moral teaching, even in its Biblical roots, acknowledges the specific importance of a fundamental choice which qualifies the moral life and engages freedom on a radical level before God. It is a question of the decision of faith…by which man makes a total and free self-commitment to God, offering ‘the full submission of intellect and will to God as he reveals’…. This faith…comes from the core of man, from his “heart” (cf. Rom 10:10), whence it is called to bear fruit in works (cf. Mt 12:33-35; Lk 6:43-45; Rom 8:5-10; Gal 5:22).

As such, the fundamental option is the most important choice we make because it governs nothing less than our last end—be it beatitude or eternal damnation.

John 6:61, 63-64

Jesus…said to them,
“…It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”

So what is your Fundamental Option?

Decide today whom you will serve.

Is it God or is it your own self, which, of course, is really that first temptation in that first garden to be “like gods” (Genesis 3:5).

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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The Illegitimate Pope: Election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis was contaminated by lobbying in violation of papal laws

Prophecy of St. Francis of Assisi concerning a false shepherd.

“At the time of this tribulation, a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavor to draw many into error…Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true pastor, but a destroyer.” (1226)

(Taken from Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, R. Washbourne Publishing House, 1882, pp. 248-250, with imprimatur by His Excellency William Bernard, Bishop of Birmingham)

In 1996, then Pope John Paul II (now St. John Paul II) promulgated papal constitution Universi Dominici Gregis forbidding the canvassing or lobbying for votes by the cardinal electors in the selection of pope. Violators would be automatically excommunicated, i.e. immediately imposed, without necessity of declaration. (The Latin expression for “automatic” is latae sententiae, which means “incurred as soon as the offence is committed”.) The result of the election would be “null and void.”

Universi Dominici Gregis, which means “the Lord’s whole flock” in English, is an Apostolic Constitution of the Catholic Church issued by Pope John Paul II on February 22, 1996. It supersedes all previous apostolic constitutions and orders on the subject of the election of the Roman Pontiff.
Universi Dominici Gregis begins:

The Shepherd of the Lord’s whole flock is the Bishop of the Church of Rome, where the Blessed Apostle Peter, by sovereign disposition of divine Providence, offered to Christ the supreme witness of martyrdom by the shedding of his blood. It is therefore understandable that the lawful apostolic succession in this See . . . has always been the object of particular attention.

Precisely for this reason, down the centuries the Supreme Pontiffs have deemed it their special duty, as well as their specific right, to establish fitting norms to regulate the orderly election of their Successor . . . .

While it is indeed a doctrine of faith that the power of the Supreme Pontiff derives directly from Christ, whose earthly Vicar he is,8 it is also certain that this supreme power in the Church is granted to him “by means of lawful election accepted by him, together with episcopal consecration”.9 A most serious duty is thus incumbent upon the body responsible for this election. Consequently the norms which regulate its activity need to be very precise and clear, so that the election itself will take place in a most worthy manner . . . .

[T]he College of electors of the Supreme Pontiff is composed solely of the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church . . . whose members come from every continent.

Universi Dominici Gregis then specifies, among other laws, that:

  • The cardinal electors are to vote by secret ballot (Universi Dominici Gregis II:10).
  • Anyone who commits the crime of simony — the buying and selling of church offices and votes — will be automatically excommunicated (Universi Dominici Gregis VI:78).
  • Cardinal electors who attempt to influence (lobby) or are influenced (lobbied) in the election of the pope will be automatically excommunicated (Universi Dominici Gregis VI:80-83).

Here are Universi Dominici Gregis laws 80-83:

80. In the same way, I wish to confirm the provisions made by my Predecessors for the purpose of excluding any external interference in the election of the Supreme Pontiff. Therefore, in virtue of holy obedience and under pain of excommunication latae sententiae, I again forbid each and every Cardinal elector, present and future, as also the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and all other persons taking part in the preparation and carrying out of everything necessary for the election, to accept under any pretext whatsoever, from any civil authority whatsoever, the task of proposing the veto or the so-called exclusiva, even under the guise of a simple desire, or to reveal such either to the entire electoral body assembled together or to individual electors, in writing or by word of mouth, either directly and personally or indirectly and through others, both before the election begins and for its duration. I intend this prohibition to include all possible forms of interference, opposition and suggestion whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree, or any individual or group, might attempt to exercise influence on the election of the Pope.
81. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.
82. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.
83. With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.

Bro. Alexis Bugnolo of the blog, From Rome, writes:

Note that since the Papal law is wide in what it forbids, not only is it a crime to promise a vote, it is a crime to join in a conspiracy to canvass for such votes, since this is tantamount to promising to vote for one candidate and not vote for other candidates. However, note that the papal law only penalizes voting Cardinals.  Cardinals too old to vote, are not thus penalized, though they are collaborating in the solicitation of votes.

The Papal election of 2005 that selected Pope Benedict XVI was the first papal election to be held under John Paul II’s Universi Dominici Gregis. Benedict XVI made three changes to Universi Dominici Gregis:

  1. Reinstating the traditional two-thirds vote required to elect a new Pope regardless of the number of ballots it takes;
  2. Allowing the College of Cardinals the possibility to bring forward the start of the conclave once all cardinals are present, or push the beginning of the election back by a few days should there be serious reasons;
  3. Automatic excommunication of any non-cardinal who broke the absolute oath of secrecy of the College of Cardinals during the proceedings to select the new leader of the Catholic Church.

In other words, Pope Benedict XVI kept intact Universi Dominici Gregis‘s papal laws 80-83, including law 81 that explicitly forbids the cardinal electors from lobbying each other on behalf of a candidate.
But the cardinal electors who voted Argentinian cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as pope did exactly that — they lobbied fellow cardinals and were influenced by the lobbying, in violation of Papal Law 81.

What follows are three pieces of evidence in support of this assertion.

To begin, in an article for The Wall Street Journal, titled “Fifteen Days in Rome: How the Pope was Picked,” Aug. 6, 2013, Stacy Meichtry and Alessandra Galloni wrote that although Bergoglio had some support in 2005, he was “definitely a dark-horse candidate” in 2013:

Veteran cardinals who had cast ballots for Cardinal Bergoglio in 2005 saw a chance to float his candidacy again. His earliest supporters—a coalition of cardinals from Latin America, as well as Africa and Europe—viewed him as a consummate outsider. […] The challenge was getting Cardinal Bergoglio the 77 votes he needed, representing two-thirds of the conclave, to become pope.

Exhibit #1: Testimony of Cardinal Elector Theordore McCarrick

Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., was one of the cardinals in the Papal Conclave that elected Bergoglio. On October 11, 2013, during a speech given at Villanova University, McCarrick said that he was lobbied to support Bergoglio whom he (McCarrick) and other cardinals had not even considered before.

Beginning at the 18:20 mark in the video below, Cardinal McCarrick said that before the cardinal electors “went into the general conversations, he was approached by “a very interesting and influential Italian gentleman.” The man then came to the seminary where McCarrick was staying in Rome. Then, this “very brilliant man, very influential man in Rome” said, “What about Bergoglio? Does he have a chance?” McCarrick said he was surprised at the question, and replied, “I don’t think so because no one’s mentioned his name.” The man said, referring to Bergoglio, “He could do it, you know, reform the church,” and spoke about how Bergoglio had reformed the church in Argentina in just five years. McCarrick confessed, “That was the first time I’d heard there were people who thought Bergoglio was a possibility in this election.”

At the general congregation of the cardinal electors, McCarrick spoke for five minutes, in which he told his fellow electors that he hoped that whoever was elected pope would be someone who, if not himself a Latin American, would “have a very strong interest in Latin America because half the Church is there . . . that’s where the people are.”

Exhibit #2: Testimony of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

As reported by the Catholic Herald on Sept. 12, 2013, former Cardinal of Westminster Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who was not an elector but is rumored to be the leader of “Team Bergoglio,” admitted that Bergoglio knew that he was being put forth as a candidate prior to the initiation of the Papal Conclave, and that Murphy-O’Connor was his lobbyist:

Murphy-O’Connor said: “All the cardinals had a meeting with him [Pope Francis] in the Hall of Benedictions, two days after his election. We all went up one by one. He greeted me very warmly. He said something like: ‘It’s your fault. What have you done to me?’ […]

The cardinal also disclosed that he had spoken to the future Pope as they left the Missa pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice, the final Mass before the conclave began on March 12.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “We talked a little bit. I told him he had my prayers and said, in Italian: ‘Be careful.’ I was hinting, and he realised and said: ‘Si – capisco’ – yes, I understand. He was calm. He was aware that he was probably going to be a candidate going in. Did I know he was going to be Pope? No. There were other good candidates. But I knew he would be one of the leading ones.”

Exhibit #3: What The Great Reformer book says

In the recently-published book The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, author Dr. Austen Ivereigh writes (the following quotes from Chapter 9, pp. 349-367, of The Great Reformer are from Bro. Bugnolo’s blog post):

Page 355: “They had learned their lesson from 2005” – referring to Team Bergoglio learning from their failed attempt to get Bergoglio elected pope in 2005.

P. 355: “They first secured his [Bergoglio’s] assent. Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked.” Bro. Bugnolo maintains that “such a statement is morally equivalent to a sign of will giving consent, and in the context of a proposal to launch a campaign, it is also morally equivalent to a pact. This is an excommunicatable offense given the context of the offer of a campaign. A conscientious man, observant of the law of the conclave, would have added a sign that he repudiated an organized campaign, if only out of charity for the campaigners, who would thereby fall foul of the papal law.”

P. 355: “Then they got to work touring the cardinals’ dinners to promote their man…” 

P. 355: “… Their objective was to secure at least twenty-five votes for Bergoglio on the first ballot.  An ancient Italian cardinal kept the tally of how many votes they could rely on before the conclave started.” Bro. Bugnolo writes that this is a violation of Universi Domenici Gregis law #81 “without any wiggle-room, because you cannot tally votes, unless votes have been promised, and if they are promised, then the ones asking have sought them, and both parties have entered into some kind of obligation or pact or agreement to vote for a particular candidate in the first ballot, while not voting for all other candidates.”

P. 355: “The Spanish cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of St. Mary Major in Rome and a former nuncio in Latin America, was vigorous in canvassing on Bergoglio’s behalf among the Iberian Iberian bloc.” 

Ivereigh then names other cardinal collaborators in the conspiracy:  Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, and U.S. Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

Pp. 356-357: “For this reason, and because the organizers of his campaign stayed carefully below the radar, the Bergoglio bandwagon that began to roll during the week of the congregations went undetected by the media, and to this day most vaticanisti believe there was no organized pre-conclave effort to get Bergoglio elected.”

In footnote 10, Dr. Ivereigh delivers the final confirmation of a conspiracy to elect Jorge Bergoglio to be Pope Francis:

In his Francis: Pope of a New Word (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2013), ch. 3, the leading Vatican commentator Andrea Tornielli says that there were no “campaigns organized in advance” of the conclave for Bergoglio.  There was one.

Assuming that the above three accounts (Exhibits 1-3) are true, then Pope Francis is an illegitimate pope, which means he and his co-conspirators should be automatically excommunicated and all his acts as pope “null and void.”
To sign an international petition asking the Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals to investigate whether the election of Jorge Bergoglio as pope was in violation of Papal Law No. 81, click here.

Update (July 13, 2018):

Bishop Gracida, bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, TX, also believes that the canvassing during the papal conclave that elected Bergoglio as Pope is canonically illegal, which renders the validity of the papal election in doubt. (PCM)

See also:

~Éowyn

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St. John Paul II on the Final Confrontation

St. John Paul II

On April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, the late Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), born Karol Józef Wojtyla, was canonized a saint.

To be eligible for canonization by the Catholic Church, two miracles must be attributed to a candidate. If the alleged miracle is a healing, a Vatican commission of doctors must conclude that the healing had no natural (medical) explanation.

Two miracles have been attributed to John Paul’s intercession with God, paving the way for his sainthood.

As reported by Josephine McKenna for Religion News Service, April 24, 2014, the first miracle attributed to John Paul was the apparent healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who recovered from Parkinson’s disease with no medical explanation after praying to the late pontiff soon after his death in 2005.

The second miracle attributed to John Paul was the healing of Floribeth Mora Diaz‘s inoperable brain aneurysm three years ago.

In 2011, Diaz was suffering from persistent headaches and was told by doctors that she had only one month to live. Confined to bed, she lay holding a magazine with a cover photograph of the Polish pope in her home in Tres Rios de Cartago, 12 miles from the capital of San José, Costa Rica. She claimed her prayers were answered when John Paul II appeared to her in a vision on the day he was beatified, May 1, 2011 — the first step on the road to sainthood — after he was credited with his first miracle.

“When I woke up in the morning, I looked at the magazine cover which showed Pope Wojtyla with his arms outstretched. I felt a deep sense of healing. I heard his voice say to me, ‘Get up and don’t be afraid,’” she said, recalling one of John Paul’s signature lines.

In October 2013, Diaz was flown to Policlinico Gemelli, a church-run hospital in Rome, where doctors conducted rigorous tests for two weeks. Her own neurosurgeon was also convinced. “If I cannot explain it from a medical standpoint, something nonmedical happened,” said Dr. Alejandro Vargas Roman. “I can believe it was a miracle.”

Given John Paul’s sainthood, it is of no small significance that in August 1976, the Bicentennial of the founding of the United States of America, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla gave a talk to Polish Americans at St Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, where he made the following apocalyptic remarks:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realized this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church … must take up.

It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but in a sense a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.”

Source: here; and Frank Renkiewicz, For God, Country and Polonia: One Hundred Years of Orchard Lake Schools, p. 146.

~Eowyn

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Our Lady of Lourdes

Our-Lady-of-Lourdes

Today, February 11th, the universal Church honors Our Lady of Lourdes, the  most beautiful Blessed Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in a particular and special appearance she made in 19th century France.

On February 11, 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, born January 7, 1844, the oldest of a family of six, went with her sisters, Toinette and Jeanne to obtain firewood.  They took off their shoes and socks so that they could wade through the water which was near the Grotto of Massabielle.  But the sisters wanted Bernadette to stay behind, because she suffered from asthma and/or other respiratory problems, and they did not want her to catch a cold.  Nevertheless, Bernadette desired to go with them and began to take off her shoes and socks.  Whilst she performed this little activity, she heard gusts of wind, but she also noticed that the trees and plants were not moving.  She noticed, however, a little wild rose move.  She went to look at it and observed the niche it was in; from that niche she saw “a dazzling light, and a white figure.”  This figure was dressed in white, with the exception of a blue sash around her waist and two golden yellow roses, one on each of her feet, which was also the color of her rosary.  Bernadette told her sisters about this vision and asked them to keep it a secret.  But Toinette could not; hence, she told her mother.

Three days later, Bernadette went back to the Grotto, bringing holy water to make sure that the person she saw was a holy person, and not any other kind of entity.  The lady appeared and Bernadette caste the holy water at her, wherein the lady inclined her head gratefully when the water was cast.  Bernadette told the figure that if she was from God, that she must stay, and that if she was evil, she must leave.  The lady stayed.

On February 18th, Bernadette saw the lady and she was told by her to return to the Grotto over a period of two weeks.  The lady said to her, “I promise to make you happy, not in this world, but in the next.”

Word spread of Bernadette’s vision.  But Bernadette’s parents ordered her not to go to the Grotto again.  She disobeyed and went anyway, and on February 24th, the lady asked Bernadette for people to pray and do penance for the conversion of sinners.  The next day, the lady asked Bernadette to dig in the ground and drink from the spring that would develop there.  The people who watched Bernadette noticed that she became dirty and disheveled, which disappointed them.  But from that spot, came a stream that soon became a focal point for pilgrimages.  The muddy stream became clean, and the water from that stream was given to medical patients with varying health issues, and numerous reports of miraculous cures followed.

Indeed and in fact, in 1860, Professor Verges confirmed  that seven of these cures lacked any medical explanation.  Nevertheless, the local government there took issue with this Grotto, and issued stiff fines for anyone who tried to get near it.  Soon, Lourdes was known all throughout France.  Napoleon III, emperor of France, intervened and on October 4, 1858, issued an order to reopen the Grotto.

Bernadette being a brave and persistent person, visited the Grotto even while it was barricaded at night.   On that night, March 25th, she asked the lady who she was; the lady told her, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

On July 16th, Bernadette went to the Grotto for the last time.  Because of the notoriety of the Grotto, on November 17, 1858, the Catholic Church investigated the matter through a commission.  On January 18, 1862, Bishop Laurence, the Bishop of Tarbes, issued a declaration:

“We are inspired by the Commission comprising wise, holy, learned and experienced priests who questioned the child, studied the facts, examined everything and weighed all the evidence.  We have also called on science, and we remain convinced that the Apparitions are supernatural and divine, and that by consequence, what Bernadette saw was the Most Blessed Virgin.  Our convictions are based on the testimony of Bernadette, but above all on the things that have happened, things which can be nothing other than divine intervention.”

In 1863, a sculptor, Joseph-Hugues Fabisch, was commissioned to make a statue of the Virgin according to Bernadette’s description.  His work was placed in the Grotto and solemnly dedicated on April 4, 1864, with approximately 20,000 pilgrims present.

Lourdes, France

Because Bernadette’s apparitions were her private ones, not public revelations, Catholics are not required to believe in Our Lady of Lourdes.  The apparitions do not add any additional truths to the truths of Catholicism; the Church states that God chooses whom he wants cured, and whom he does not, and by what means.  Bernadette said that, “One must have faith and pray; the water will have no virtue without faith.”

Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage, a place of healing, a place of spiritual growth.  Church authorities recognize 60 miraculous cures, which have undergone scrupulous investigation by scientists, including physicians and specialists who examined the pertinent patients.  But most probably there have been many more healings, including physical and spiritual healings.  Lourdes is a continuation of Jesus’ healing miracles performed at Lourdes through the intercession of His mother.  There are people, of course, who do not believe in Lourdes and doubt its authenticity.  What can be said to them comes from the wonderful movie, The Song of Bernadette:  “For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary.  For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”

Bernadette died on April 16, 1879, as she was 35 years of age.  In 1933, she was canonized a saint.

The following prayer is said as an act of consecration to Our Lady of Lourdes:

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, Virgin Immaculate, you appeared 18 times to Bernadette at the grotto in Lourdes to remind Christians of what the truths in the Gospel require of them.  You call them to prayer, penance, the Eucharist and the life of the church.  To answer your call more fully, I dedicate myself, through you, to your Son Jesus.  Make me willing to accept what He said.  By the fervor of my faith, by the conduct of my life in all its aspects, by my devotion to the sick, let me work with you in the comforting of those who suffer and in the reconciliation of people that the church may be one and there be peace in the world.  All this I ask, confident that you, Our Lady, will fully answer my prayer.  Blessed be the Holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.”

Finally, I will conclude with a prayer said by Pope John Paul II:

“. . .Under your protection we seek refuge, Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes, who present yourself to us as the perfect model of creation according to God’s original plan.  To you we entrust the sick, the elderly, the lonely:  soothe their pain, dry their tears and obtain for each one the strength they need to do God’s will.  May you support those who toil every day to alleviate the sufferings of their brethren!  And help us all to grow in the knowledge of Christ, who by his death and Resurrection defeated the powers of evil and death.”

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.  St. Bernadette, pray for us!

With love and respect,

Joan

SourcesVatican website; Saint of the Day, edited by Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; Lives of the Saints, edited by Michael Walsh

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St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
Today we celebrate St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, a very special Canadian saint.
She was born in 1620, the sixth of twelve children in Troyes, France.  That alone is an incredible challenge, growing up in such a large family.  At the age of 20, Marguerite believed she was called to the religious life and desired to be a member of the Carmelite and/or Poor Clares Orders.  Yet, she was not accepted into either Order, wherein she was most disappointed.  But a priest counseled Marguerite advising her that perhaps God had other plans for her which would be revealed to her in His timing.
In 1654, the Governor of the French settlement in Canada visited his sister, who happened to be an Augustinian canoness in Troyes, and coincidentally, Marguerite belonged to the Sodality connected with this particular convent. (A Sodality is an organization under the patronage of Our Blessed Mother.)  This Governor invited Marguerite to come to Canada and start a school there, wherein clearly, Marguerite could then see God’s plans for her, remembering what the priest had previously told her.  Consequently, she went to Ville-Marie (which eventually became Montreal), where there was a colony of approximately 200 people, containing a hospital and a chapel served by Jesuit priests.
Marguerite determined she needed more help and therefore, went back to Troyes, recruiting some of her friends and associates to come back with her to her new school.
In 1667, Marguerite developed classes for Indian children, which of course then required more help.  She went back to France, wherein three years had gone by, and she then brought back with her six more women and a letter from King Louis XIV authorizing the school.  This important development lead to her starting the Congregation of Notre Dame in 1676, with its members actually making their formal religious profession in 1698, upon approval of their constitution and Rule.
The bishop requested that Marguerite establish a community of her Sisters in Montreal; consequently, at the age of 69, she actually walked from Montreal to Quebec to begin to effect that request.  At the time of her death in 1700, Marguerite received the honor of being known as the “Mother of the Colony.”
Marguerite was canonized in 1982, and during her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II said, “. . .in particular, Marguerite contributed to building up that new country of Canada, realizing the determining role of women, and she diligently strove toward their formation in a deeply Christian spirit.”  Pope John Paul then stressed that she was loving towards her students, believing in them and being confident in their talents, “in order to prepare them to become wives and worthy mothers, Christians, cultured, hardworking, radiant mothers.”
When I learned about this gutsy lady, I was absolutely amazed at her determination, her strength of will and love of God as reflected in her good works and spirit.  She did what needed to be done, when she was supposed to do it, and in the manner it was supposed to be done.  May we remember her example when we have goals that seem to be unattainable, situations that are daunting and difficult tasks that are laborious and unending.  May God be praised for giving us this remarkable saint!
Respectfully,
Joan
Source:  Saint of the Day, edited by Leonard Foley, O.F.M., Franciscan Media, 2009.

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Pope Benedict XVI to resign

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Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation in a surprise statement

UPDATE!!!    Pope Benedict XVI will resign on Feb. 28, The Vatican announced Monday, according to the Associated Press.
For more information… https://www.politico.com

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides.
The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope in 2005 after John Paul II’s death.
The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says the move has come as a shock, but in theory, there has never been anything stopping Pope Benedict or any of his predecessors from stepping aside.
Under Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said that even the Pope’s closest aides did not know what he was planning to do and were left “incredulous”. He added that the decision showed “great courage” and “determination”.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is quoted as saying he was “greatly shaken by this unexpected news”.
The brother of the German-born Pope said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.
Talking from his home in Regensburg in Germany, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a “natural process”.
He added: “His age is weighing on him. At this age my brother wants more rest.”
‘Incapacity’At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.
He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking.e took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking.

n a statement, the pontiff said: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the boat of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.
“For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”
A German government spokesman said he was “moved and touched” by the surprise resignation of the pontiff.
“The German government has the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church.
“He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd.”

POPE BENEDICT XVI

  • At 78, one of the oldest new popes in history when elected in 2005
  • Born in Germany in 1927, joined Hitler Youth during WWII and was conscripted as an anti-aircraft gunner but deserted
  • As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent 24 years in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition
  • A theological conservative, with uncompromising views on homosexuality and women priests
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