Saturday, October 25, 2008

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles

It looks like one of the novices I used to know is no longer with the community... I can't remember her name. Sr. Regina? She knew Cantonese... Plans for their future priory.

(link to the website via Fr. Z's blog)

If it is true, then so be it.

We cannot pretend it is not true simply because the truth is unpleasant. Instead, we must work for justice.

Is it usury to charge interest on a loan to buy a house? And if it is, what does it say about our system of allocating housing? (And of dividing and owning land?) Those who wish to obtain housing may be stirred to anger by such a judgment -- but it is the cheerleaders for the status quo who need to stop talking about the "free market" and realize how unfree (and unjust) the political economy is.

From Catholic Social Teaching: The Only Bailout of Finance Capitalism that Will Work

First, the system for allocating housing resources in this country is based on a violation of the divine and natural law against the taking of usury. Now, usury is a complex subject which I do not intend to address in full in this article. I will limit my analysis to aspects of the usury doctrine applicable to the housing market. My comments should not be misconstrued to mean that every transaction referred to as a loan by modern finance parlance implicates usury. The Catholic doctrine looks to the substance of things not their current nomenclature.

In summary, the charging of a profit or gain in consideration for the making of a loan of money (as distinguished from the investment of capital in a business) is a violation of natural justice. Since money in and of itself is barren (it can produce nothing) to merely lend it to someone for a time and to require more than lent plus compensation for expenses is to charge for something one does not own—time.

Even non-Catholic philosophers such as Aristotle and Islamic thinkers can observe this truth in the natural order. At the root of the current financial crisis is the systemic trend developed from WWI onward of having to borrow large sums of money and repay even larger sums in order to procure one of the most basic necessities of life— housing.

AFP: Row simmers in Australia over Lord's Prayer
From De unione ecclesiarum: St. Basil’s Sermon to the Rich

Worthy of being read and meditated upon...

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man:

(source)
You can see some photos of St. Basil's Seminary in Connecticut over at Cardinal Seán’s Blog.
A small number of students in the district do change schools, as their families move from one place to another (apartment complexes)? Just recently Maria moved, twice in two years. I know that a lot of students move from Mexico and back--I don't know how many return to the United States after returning to Mexico, but you can see it on the cum folders their birthplace and other information.

I was thinking of the children again today, especially after I got into an argument with someone about my future. The children are innocent... most of the adults here in the United States are implicated in grave evils--even though we may be excused because we are not formally cooperating with those evils, only materially cooperating, nonetheless we do contribute to them. I have pity for children who are innocent. The adults... not so much, especially if they are greatly enamored with the illusions associated with the current political economy. It's also why I prefer certain parts of the Bay Area more than others, because the poor live there. Apple Country is full of those who seek material comfort and success, and I have an adversion to it. (And we know who has been moving into Apple Country for the sake of "good" schools...) Now perhaps the poor in San Jose also have the same desires and I don't think I would be so naive as to think that all of the poor are virtuous, but maybe this is my way of following the "preferential option for the poor."

Of course, it is easy to have and show affection to the children when they like you.

I was thinking of one of the students from many years ago, Fela... she didn't like her name, Felicitas, although I thought it was a good name, the name of an early saint. I remember her telling me that she didn't want to go to college, and I asked her why, but she just said that she didn't want to. This was 10 years ago... back then I did think that college was not necessary for everyone in order to make a living, and that some schools should be avoided because they were dangerous. But I couldn't really say all of this to her. She was only in 3rd grade, and she probably wouldn't have understood it. I think I did tell her that what was important was that she be good... a generic lesson and perhaps ineffective but one I try to make with children anyways.

Alicia, Adrianna, Khaluan, Anita and her sister Judy, Laura, Maribel, Marylene, Karen, a lot of Christinas... Marisol and her brother David, Lien, Ingrid, and so many other students whose names I have forgotten... are the students in this district more likely to stay in the area than their contemporaries in better-off families and cities? What of the 5th and 6th graders in Mrs. H's and Mr. P's classes who are now 22 and 23? (Cuss girl Athena and Jacqui, Stephanie, the boys who got in trouble often--how many of them already have children?)

Maybe teaching at a public school wouldn't be so bad, until immoral state requirements are implemented. Then I could find another line of work.

Being around children reminds me of the many sayings of Christ pertaining to children. It also calls to mind what he says about being like a mother hen:

Matthew 23:37 "Ierusalem, Ierusalem, quae occidis prophetas et lapidas eos, qui ad te missi sunt, quotiens volui congregare filios tuos, quemadmodum gallina congregat pullos suos sub alas, et noluistis!"

Luke 13: 34 "
Ierusalem, Ierusalem, quae occidis prophetas et lapidas eos, qui missi sunt ad te, quotiens volui congregare filios tuos, quemadmodum avis nidum suum sub pinnis, et noluistis. "

Lord, have mercy on the children!

Odette Yustman

She is starring in The Unborn.


Actress Odette Yustman poses after an interview Friday, Jan. 18, 2008 in New York. Yustman stars in the new film "Cloverfield" which opened nationwide Friday. (AP/Jason DeCrow)




LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Actress Odette Yustman arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Paramount's "Cloverfield" at the Paramount Studios Lot on January 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty)

Odette Yustman poses as she arrives at the premiere of "Cloverfield," Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP/Mark J. Terrill)

Reuters


The Odette Yustman Website
Odette Yustman Tribute
GQ Verge Girl
Odette Yustman Interview - The Unborn at Comic Con 2008
more photos
Popopholic, Beyond Hollywood (2), some forum
Tom Woods interviews Thomas DiLorenzo:

Woods Interviews DiLorenzo on "Hamilton's Curse"

Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo at 03:12 PM

Here's a link to Tom Woods's interview with me about my new book, Hamilton's Curse, for Revolution Broadcasting.

Matthew 20:25-8
Iesus autem vocavit eos ad se et ait: “ Scitis quia principes gentium dominantur eorum et, qui magni sunt, potestatem exercent in eos. Non ita erit inter vos, sed quicumque voluerit inter vos magnus fieri, erit vester minister; et, quicumque voluerit inter vos primus esse, erit vester servus; sicut Filius hominis non venit ministrari sed ministrare et dare animam suam redemptionem pro multis ”.

What about women, in whatever capacity they may have in the hierarchies or professions of the current political economy, lording their 'authority' over men, justifying it with their supposed moral superiority ('ethics of care,' anyone?)? Not 'paternalism,' but 'maternalism' at work. I can't count how many comments I have ready by women in their 40s and 50s, adopting this sort of condescending tone towards traditional conservatives or others who disagree with them--but there have been many. (I am thinking of one woman at Crunchy Con and another at Peter Hitchens in particular.) They may write (and I assume speak) comparatively well, but it is in the service of sin and rebellion, pride and vanity.

Some Stephen Chow cfs

Stephen Chow Commercial San Miguel Beer


Stephen Chow Commercial


Stephen Chow Funny McDonald Commercial
Apple and Google against Proposition 8. Will traditional conservatives give them the Disney treatment? What about those of us using blogger.com? Hm. Should distinctions be made between bloggers who are generating revenue for Google and those who are not? And what about the argument that we are using free resources to counter the influence of Google?

via Stony Creek Digest

If we were in a more agrarian society, and our neighbor was vocal in his support of SSM, would we refrain from trading with him? What if he contributed money and labor as well?

Edit. Some discussion at WWWTW.
CSPAN Junkie: NADER vs BALDWIN Third Party Presidential Debate

Audio for the debate can be heard at Restore the Republic Radio.

Edit. CSPAN archives, via CHT.

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, a former 2008 presidential candidate, left, takes part in a news conference with third-party candidates at the National Press Club in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, calling for greater inclusion of candidates beyond the Republican and Democratic majorities. From left are: Paul, former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, and Ralph Nader. (AP Photo by J. Scott Applewhite)
Michael Pollan Interview, Mark Eisen, The Progressive

via EB
Sandro Magister: "The day will come when our two Churches will fully converge"

The complete text of the address by the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople to the synod of bishops of the Catholic Church, delivered in the Sistine Chapel on Saturday, October 18, 2008

2 views on nuclear power

P. E. Hodgson, Nuclear Power and the Energy Crisis and Jim Bell, Nuclear Power's Big Con

Friday, October 24, 2008

It has been noted that boys will usually associate with one another in groups, while girls pair off. (See, for example, Chesterton in "Two Points of View": "Your co-educative playground for pupils in their teens will not be a place of sexless camaraderie. It will be a place where boys go about in fives sulkily growling at the girls, and where the girls go about in twos turning up their noses at the boys.") Pairing off does seem to be more common among boys when they are younger, but as they get older, especially during adolescence, they associate more and more in groups.

While working in the classroom, quite a few girls (and one boy) have come up to tell me that their friend "doesn't want to be friends with me anymore" or "doesn't want to play with me." It happened again on Thursday. Jealousy is also another common occurrence, when a girl spends more time with another girl, instead of her 'best friend.'

Just recently I heard several people assert the modern dogma that 'gender is a social construction." While the choice of signs may be conventional, the underlying psychology is not, but natural.

What is the ultimate purpose behind the different ways friendships manifest themselves among men and women? I do think that they underscore the different functions of men and women (as the emotional and behavioral development really is a preparation for specific tasks in adulthood.)

G. K. Chesterton's Works on the Web
Kim Anderson Arts -- Romantic greetings and love funpages
Andrew Bacevich, The Petraeus Doctrine
via EB: Date Local: The case against long-distance relationships
Barron Young Smith, Slate

Another reason: Once they 'settle down', both spouses should be relatively close to their families for the sake of piety, but also to receive help and support. (Assuming that all are willing to commit to a place, and not move to Arizona or Florida when they 'retire'.)
CNN's Shannon Cook talks to The Priests & article

Their website.

The Priests singing "Pie Jesu" With The Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, Singers of The Basilica Of St Peters


Related links:
The Priests - Singing Group Signed to Sony/BMG for $2 Million
The Priests To Release Iconic DEBUT Album @ Top40-Charts.com
MEET THE PRIESTS
The Singing Priests of Belfast - TIME

The Catholic Herald article
California Catholic Daily: "Coming Out Day" for 5 year olds?
U.S. special forces training Pakistanis to fight Taliban

Thursday, October 23, 2008

LRC Blog: Ron Paul Becomes Qualified as Write-In Candidate in California

Chuck Baldwin is also a qualified write-in candidate. Dr. Baldwin, or Mr. Baldwin? Hm...

Edit. It's official.
The hows, wheres, & whys of eating locally
Melinda Briana Epler, One Green Generation

The benefits of eating local, seasonal, organic food; where to find local food sources; and what to do if you don't have a local food resource in your area.

original


Also worth a look:

Relocalization - Oct 23

Staff, Energy Bulletin

Thesis on peak oil and potential solutions
Transition Towns: Ecotopia Emerging?
Economic crisis indicates critical need for relocalization

DWTS Cody Linley & Julianne Hough Week 5


alt: Julianne Hough & Cody Linley Dancing with The Stars Jitter Bug

The Insider with DWTS Julianne Hough - 10-23-08
EXTRA with DWTS Julianne Hough - 10-23-08
Julianne Houghs New Interview

Sarge you'd be interested in this:
Julianne Hough and her beautiful sister Mary Beth


Julianne Hough - Feliz Navidad
Julianne Hough & Cody Linley at High School Musical 3 Los An

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who thought Bride Wars would be a good idea for a movie?

At least Burn after Reading is supposed to be a dark comedy. I don't think we're meant to sympathize with the supposed best friends who turn on each other because of competing weddings. Wouldn't a comedy about the stupidity of bridezillas who miss the point about weddings being solemn occasions focused on commitment, rather than a show about themselves, be better? But then what movie studio wants to insult their audience by pointing out how their ideas about wedding and marriage are wrong. After all, everyone knows that marriage is just about getting a piece of paper, and has no moral link to the responsible use of sex. So go ahead and continue to co-habitate and fornicate...

Info about the movie @ Yahoo.
Bride WarsTrailer - FilmoFilia
YouTube - Bride Wars Trailer (HQ)

Bridezillas - WEtv.com
Word Spy - bridezilla
Dominus Est now available from Newman House. For one month only, special 50% discount on orders of 5 or more copies.
What's organic farmland worth? Or is it a pearl without price?
Gene Logsdon, OrganicToBe.org

I and many thousands of small farmers are the village idiots of agriculture. We farm because we like to make little paradises out of our land while growing good food on it. What we make as a return on investment in money doesn’t matter as crucially as it does for the dime-takers. We often choose the nickel because we have learned that taking the dime means servitude to commodity markets and agribusiness giants over which we have no control.

original
THE 20 PREMISES OF DERRICK JENSEN'S "ENDGAME"

Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Premise Two: Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources—gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Premise Three: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

Premise Six: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

Premise Seven: The longer we wait for civilization to crash—or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down—the messier will be the crash, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise Eight: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.

Another way to put premise Eight: Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) requires the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase.

Premise Nine: Although there will clearly some day be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population could occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity with which we choose to approach this transformation). Some of these ways would be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it's not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence required, and caused by, the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich, and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps longterm shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively—if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it—the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise Eleven: From the beginning, this culture—civilization—has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These "rich" claim they own land, and the "poor" are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Premise Fourteen: From birth on—and probably from conception, but I'm not sure how I'd make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.

Premise Fifteen: Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise Sixteen: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God's eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise Seventeen: It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from these will or won't frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise Eighteen: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise Nineteen: The culture's problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

Premise Twenty: Within this culture, economics—not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.

Modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the monetary fortunes of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the power of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are founded primarily (and often exclusively) on the almost entirely unexamined belief that the decision-makers and those they serve are entitled to magnify their power and/or financial fortunes at the expense of those below.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: If you dig to the heart of it—if there were any heart left—you would find that social decisions are determined primarily on the basis of how well these decisions serve the ends of controlling or destroying wild nature.


Jensen's "Culture of Death" is not the same as Pope John Paul II's--he would probably implicate Christianity as being a part of the Culture of Death that he sees as being the source of violence and exploitation in the world. And yet what evidence does he have that hunter-gatherer groups are more egalitarian or just than any other form of human society?

Derrick Jensen
Endgame
Thomas Lane, The Heart of Catholic Spirituality -- Google Books
It is supposed to be from Paulist Press, but I can't find the book on the website.

I don't think the author is the same Thomas Lane as this one, associated with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: Fr. Thomas Lane.

How reliable and trustworthy is this book?

Hmm... Fr Michel de Verteuil's Lectio Divina :: WELCOME and Michel de Verteuil, C.S.Sp. - Lectio Divina.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Youtube: Dave Ramsey rants on credit cards


Dave Ramsey--Debt Free Revolution

Crusade Against Credit: Lesley Stahl Talks To A Debt-Fighting Crusader

Whatever he may say about other aspects of the economy, his recommendations that Americans refrain from purchasing on credit, get out of debt, and live within their means are sound.

Rebecca Solnit, The Most Radical Thing You Can Do

The Most Radical Thing You Can Do
Staying home as a necessity and a right
by Rebecca Solnit

(from the November/December 2008 issue of Orion magazine)
"The Harmonium in My Memory" Wins 6 Korea Musical Awards

Having seen the original movie, I can't imagine how they would turn it into a musical without lessening the quality... the movie was restrained even if the story was sentimental. But how can a musical be restrained?
Agriculture: Unsustainable Resource Depletion Began 10,000 Years Ago
Peter Salonius, The Oil Drum

via EB

More that would give support to the anarcho-primitivists.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Push trailer @ Apple

Dakota Fanning is growing up. (She's also in The Secret Life of Bees.) This is what Icon Productions is producing? It reminds me of the overwrought silliness of movies like Jumper.

Icon Entertainment International
Nathancontramundi: The Ron Paul Interview
Michael Hudson, The ABCs of Paulson's Bailout

See also: Pam Martens, How the Banksters are Making a Killing Off the Bailout and Mike Whitney, The End of Friedmanite Economics: an Interview with Robert Pollin

Throw the incumbents out.

Those who contributed to the finance debacle and voted for the bailout bill, at the very least.

The Crunchy Con: The economy: worse than you think

Related links:
No More Incumbents

James Kalb, The Tyrannical Logic of Liberalism

The Tyrannical Logic of Liberalism
James Kalb - 10/17/08
Is diversity really tolerated in today’s liberal society, or have an older set of prejudices been replaced by new standards of discrimination? Categorization according to gender, ethnicity, and religion has given way to ranking by education, wealth, and ability. But has real freedom advanced?...

A post on the book.
The Guardian: Samantha Weinberg on her one year without shopping

via EB

The Bill McKibben Reader
Pieces from an Active Life
Bill McKibben


WorldChanging: Worldchanging Interview: Paul Hawken, Bill McKibben

A Green Parent Interview with Bill McKibben | The Green Parent

Excerpts from The Big Necessity

Why I Wrote a Book About Human Waste
By Rose George

From Toilet to Tap
Latrine Rights in India
In One End and Out the Burner


The Big Necessity
The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters

Rose George

What is this all about?


Cuba's President Raul Castro, right, receives a decoration on behalf of his brother and former President Fidel Castro from Metropolitan Kirill, left, the top foreign relations official in the Russian church, during an event part of the opening ceremony of the Cuba's first Russian Orthodox cathedral in Havana, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008. (AP Photo by Ismael Francisco)

Metropolitan Kirill, Russia's Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, left, decorates Cuba's President Raul Castro, at the Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, Sunday Oct. 19, 2008. Kirill attended the official inauguration of Cuba's first Russian Orthodox cathedral in Havana.(AP Photo by Jose Goitia)

What sort of award could Fidel Castro be receiving from the Patriarch of Moscow?

Cuba's President Raul Castro (2nd R), Caridad Diego (R), head of religious affairs department for Cuba's Communist Party, Esteban Lazo (3rd R), top Communist Party Leader, and Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly, attend a the inauguration of a newly built Russian Orthodox cathedral in Havana October 18, 2008. (Reuters)

A vintage car drives near a Russian Orthodox church in Old Havana Octuber 15, 2008. The work is nearing completion on a new Russian Orthodox church that is set to open on Sunday in Old Havana in the latest sign of improving relations between old Cold War allies Cuba and Russia. (Reuters)

Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

On World Mission Sunday

On World Mission Sunday

"Prayer Is the First Missionary Duty of Each One of Us"

POMPEII, Italy, OCT. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today before praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered at the shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. The Pope's one-day visit to the Marian shrine takes place on World Mission Sunday, and in the middle of the world Synod of Bishops, which is under way in the Vatican through Oct. 26.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

After the solemn Eucharistic celebration and the traditional Supplication of the Madonna of Pompeii, following our customary Sunday practice, we once again turn our gaze to Mary with recitation of the Angelus, and we entrust to her the great petitions of the Church and of humanity.

We especially pray for the ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops that is taking place in Rome and that has “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” as its theme, that it might bear the fruit of authentic renewal in every Christian community.

Another special prayer intention is offered to us by World Mission Day, which in this Pauline Year proposes for our meditation these celebrated words of the Apostle of the Gentiles: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

In this month of October, the month of missions and of the rosary, how many faithful and how many communities offer the holy rosary for missionaries and for evangelization! For this reason I am very glad to find myself today here in Pompeii, in the most important shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. This gives me the opportunity to emphasize with greater insistence that prayer is the first missionary duty of each one of us. It is first of all through prayer that the way for the Gospel is prepared; it is through prayer that hearts are opened to the mystery of God and that souls are disposed to receive his Word of salvation.

On this day there is yet another happy coincidence to mention. Today in Lisieux, France, Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin are being beatified, the parents of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, whom Pius XI declared patroness of the missions. Through their prayer and their evangelical witness St. Thérèse’s parents accompanied and shared the journey of their daughter, who was called by the Lord to unconditionally consecrate herself to him within the walls of Carmel. It was there, in the obscurity of the cloister, that St. Thérèse realized her vocation “to be love in the heart of the Church” ("Manuscrits autobiographiques," Lisieux 1957, 229).

With the beatification of the Martins in mind, I would like to recall another intention that is close to my heart: the family, whose role is fundamental in nurturing in their children a universal spirit, open and responsive to the world and its problems, and in forming vocations to missionary life. And so, following in our heart the pilgrimage that so many families made a month ago to this shrine, we call upon the maternal protection of the Madonna of Pompeii for all the families of the world, already looking forward to the 4th World Family Meeting that is being planned for Mexico City in January 2009.

[The Pope continued in French]

On this World Mission Day, we especially join with the pilgrims gathered in Lisieux for the beatification of Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, patroness of the missions.

They proclaimed the Gospel of Christ through their exemplary married life. They lived their faith ardently and transmitted it to their family and all around them. May their prayers be a source of joy and hope for all parents and all families.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More of Sarah Palin on SNL

on Weekend Update:


her campaign page
Talked to one of KK's former profs today after Mass--he thinks Proposition 8 will pass. We will see. Jerry Brown has much to answer for. Kyrie, eleison.

Protect Marriage -- Yes on 8

California Catholic Daily: “Getting desperate”
Yes on 8 campaign reports intimidation from opponents across state, Catholic parishes among targets
Zenit: Same-Sex Marriage and the Church--Conflicts Looming on the Horizon
By Father John Flynn, LC

Californians Hoping to Define Marriage in November [2008-08-29]
Bishops Speak Up in Favor of "Proposition 8"

Zenit: Patriarch's Words at Vespers

Patriarch's Words at Vespers

"Unity of the Church Is Unbreakably Related With Her Mission"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I delivered Saturday afternoon at the celebration of early vespers in the Sistine Chapel, presided over by Benedict XVI.

The event took place within the context of the world Synod of Bishops, which is under way in the Vatican through Oct. 26. The theme of the assembly is on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church."

* * *

Your Holiness,
Synodal Fathers,

It is at once humbling and inspiring to be graciously invited by Your Holiness to address the XII Ordinary General Assembly of this auspicious Synod of Bishops, an historical meeting of Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church from throughout the world, gathered in one place to meditate on “the Word of God” and deliberate on the experience and expression of this Word “in the Life and Mission of the Church.”

This gracious invitation of Your Holiness to our Modesty is a gesture full of meaning and significance -- we dare say an historic event in itself. For it is the first time in history that an Ecumenical Patriarch is offered the opportunity to address a Synod of the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus be part of the life of this sister Church at such a high level. We regard this as a manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit leading our Churches to a closer and deeper relationship with each other, an important step towards the restoration of our full communion.

It is well known that the Orthodox Church attaches to the Synodical system fundamental ecclesiogical importance. Together with primacy synodality constitutes the backbone of the Church’s government and organisation. As our Joint International Commission on the Theological Dialogue between our Churches expressed it in the Ravenna document, this interdependence between synodality and primacy runs through all the levels of the Church’s life: local, regional and universal. Therefore, in having today the privilege to address Your Synod our hopes are raised that the day will come when our two Churches will fully converge on the role of primacy and synodality in the Church’s life, to which our common Theological Commission is devoting its study at the present time.

The theme to which this episcopal synod devotes its work is of crucial significance not only for the Roman Catholic Church but also for all those who are called to witness to Christ in our time. Mission and evangelization remain a permanent duty of the Church at all times and places; indeed they form part of the Church’s nature, since she is called “Apostolic” both in the sense of her faithfulness to the original teaching of the Apostles and in that of proclaiming the Word of God in every cultural context every time. The Church needs, therefore, to rediscover the Word of God in every generation and make it head with a renewed vigour and persuation also in our contemporary world, which deep in its heart thirsts for God’s message of peace, hope and charity.

This duty of evangelization would have been, of course, greatly enhanced and strengthened, if all Christians were in a position to perform it with one voice and as a fully united Church. In his prayer to the Father little before His passion our Lord has made it clear that the unity of the Church is unbreakably related with her mission “so that the world may believe” (John 17, 21). It is, therefore, most appropriate that this Synod has opened its doors to ecumenical fraternal delegates so that we may all become aware of our common duty of evangelization as well as of the difficulties and problems of its realization in today’s world.

This Synod has undoubtedly been studying the subject of the Word of God in depth and in all its aspects, theological as well as practical and pastoral. In our modest address to you we shall limit ourselves to sharing with you some thoughts on the theme of your meeting, drawing from the way the Orthodox tradition has approached it throughout the centuries and in the Greek patristic teaching, in particular. More concretely we should like to concentrate on three aspects of the subject, namely: on hearing and speaking the Word of God through the Holy Scriptures; on seeing God’s Word in nature and above all in the beauty of the icons; and finally on touching and sharing God’s Word in the communion of saints and the sacramental life of the Church. For all these are, we think, crucial in the life and mission of the Church.

In so doing, we seek to draw on a rich Patristic tradition, dating to the early third century and expounding a doctrine of five spiritual senses. For listening to God’s Word, beholding God’s Word, and touching God’s Word are all spiritual ways of perceiving the unique divine mystery. Based on Proverbs 2.5 about “the divine faculty of perception (αἴσθησις),” Origen of Alexandria claims:

This sense unfolds as sight for contemplation of immaterial forms, hearing for discernment of voices, taste for savoring the living bread, smell for sweet spiritual fragrance, and touch for handling the Word of God, which is grasped by every faculty of the soul.
The spiritual senses are variously described as “five senses of the soul,” as “divine” or “inner faculties,” and even as “faculties of the heart” or “mind.” This doctrine inspired the theology of the Cappadocians (especially Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa) as much as it did the theology of the Desert Fathers (especially Evagrius of Pontus and Macarius the Great).

1. Hearing and Speaking the Word through Scripture

At each celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the presiding celebrant at the Eucharist entreats “that we may be made worthy to hear the Holy Gospel.” For “hearing, beholding and handling the Word of life” (1 Jn 1.1) are not first and foremost our entitlement or birthright as human beings; they are our privilege and gift as children of the living God. The Christian Church is, above all, a scriptural Church. Although methods of interpretation may have varied from Church Father to Church Father, from “school” to “school,” and from East to West, nevertheless, Scripture was always received as a living reality and not a dead book.

In the context of a living faith, then, Scripture is the living testimony of a lived history about the relationship of a living God with a living people. The Word, “who spoke through the prophets” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed), spoke in order to be heard and take effect. It is primarily an oral and direct communication intended for human beneficiaries. The scriptural text is, therefore, derivative and secondary; the scriptural text always serves the spoken word. It is not conveyed mechanically, but communicated from generation to generation as a living word. Through the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord vows:

As rain and snow descend from heaven, watering the earth … so shall my word go from mouth to mouth, accomplishing that which I purpose. (55.10-11)

Moreover, as St. John Chrysostom explains, the divine Word demonstrates profound considerateness (συγκατάβασις) for the personal diversity and cultural contexts of those hearing and receiving. Adaptation of the divine Word to the specific personal readiness and the particular cultural context defines the missionary dimension of the Church, which is called to transform the world through the Word. In silence as in declaration, in prayer as in action, the divine Word addresses the whole world, “preaching to all nations” (Mt 28.19) without either privilege or prejudice to race, culture, gender and class. When we carry out that divine commission, we are assured: “Behold, I am with you always.” (Mt 28.20) We are called to speak the divine Word in all languages, “becoming all things to all people, that [we] might by all means save some.” (1 Cor. 9.22)

As disciples of God’s Word, then, it is today more imperative than ever that we provide a unique perspective -- beyond the social, political, or economic -- on the need to eradicate poverty, to provide balance in a global world, to combat fundamentalism or racism, and to develop religious tolerance in a world of conflict. In responding to the needs of the world’s poor, vulnerable and marginalized, the Church can prove a defining marker of the space and character of the global community. While the theological language of religion and spirituality differs from the technical vocabulary of economics and politics, the barriers that at first glance appear to separate religious concerns (such as sin, salvation, and spirituality) from pragmatic interests (such as commerce, trade, and politics) are not impenetrable, crumbling before the manifold challenges of social justice and globalization.

Whether dealing with environment or peace, poverty or hunger, education or healthcare, there is today a heightened sense of common concern and common responsibility, which is felt with particular acuteness by people of faith as well as by those whose outlook is expressly secular. Our engagement with such issues does not of course in any way undermine or abolish differences between various disciplines or disagreements with those who look at the world in different ways. Yet the growing signs of a common commitment for the well-being of humanity and the life of the world are encouraging. It is an encounter of individuals and institutions that bodes well for our world. And it is an involvement that highlights the supreme vocation and mission of the disciples and adherents of God’s Word to transcend political or religious differences in order to transform the entire visible world for the glory of the invisible God.

2. Seeing the Word of God -- The Beauty of Icons and Nature

Nowhere is the invisible rendered more visible than in the beauty of iconography and the wonder of creation. In the words of the champion of sacred images, St. John of Damascus: “As maker of heaven and earth, God the Word was Himself the first to paint and portray icons.” Every stroke of an iconographer’s paintbrush – like every word of a theological definition, every musical note chanted in psalmody, and every carved stone of a tiny chapel or magnificent cathedral – articulates the divine Word in creation, which praises God in every living being and every living thing. (cf. Ps. 150.6)

In affirming sacred images, the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicaea was not concerned with religious art; it was the continuation and confirmation of earlier definitions about the fullness of the humanity of God’s Word. Icons are a visible reminder of our heavenly vocation; they are invitations to rise beyond our trivial concerns and menial reductions of the world. They encourage us to seek the extraordinary in the very ordinary, to be filled with the same wonder that characterized the divine marvel in Genesis: “God saw everything that He made; and, indeed, it was very good.” (Gn. 1.30-31) The Greek (Septuagint) word for “goodness” is κάλλος, which implies -- etymologically and symbolically -- a sense of “calling.” Icons underline the Church’s fundamental mission to recognize that all people and all things are created and called to be “good” and “beautiful."

Indeed, icons remind us of another way of seeing things, another way of experiencing realities, another way of resolving conflicts. We are asked to assume what the hymnology of Easter Sunday calls “another way of living.” For we have behaved arrogantly and dismissively toward the natural creation. We have refused to behold God’s Word in the oceans of our planet, in the trees of our continents, and in the animals of our earth. We have denied our very own nature, which calls us to stoop low enough to hear God’s Word in creation if we wish to “become participants of divine nature.” (2 Pet 1.4) How could we ignore the wider implications of the divine Word assuming flesh? Why do we fail to perceive created nature as the extended Body of Christ?

Eastern Christian theologians always emphasized the cosmic proportions of divine incarnation. The incarnate Word is intrinsic to creation, which came to be through divine utterance. St. Maximus the Confessor insists on the presence of God’s Word in all things (cf. Col. 3.11); the divine Logos stands at the center of the world, mysteriously revealing its original principle and ultimate purpose (cf. 1 Pet 1.20). This mystery is described by St. Athanasius of Alexandria:

As the Logos [he writes], he is not contained by anything and yet contains everything; He is in everything and yet outside of everything … the first-born of the whole world in its every aspect.

The entire world is a prologue to the Gospel of John. And when the Church fails to recognize the broader, cosmic dimensions of God’s Word, narrowing its concerns to purely spiritual matters, then it neglects its mission to implore God for the transformation -- always and everywhere, “in all places of His dominion” -- of the whole polluted cosmos. It is no wonder that on Easter Sunday, as the Paschal celebration reaches its climax, Orthodox Christians sing:

Now everything is filled with divine light: heaven and earth, and all things beneath the earth. So let all creation rejoice.

All genuine “deep ecology” is, therefore, inextricably linked with deep theology:

“Even a stone,” writes Basil the Great, “bears the mark of God’s Word. This is true of an ant, a bee and a mosquito, the smallest of creatures. For He spread the wide heavens and laid the immense seas; and He created the tiny hollow shaft of the bee’s sting.”

Recalling our minuteness in God’s wide and wonderful creation only underlines our central role in God’s plan for the salvation of the whole world.

3. Touching and Sharing the Word of God -- The Communion of Saints and the Sacraments of Life

The Word of God persistently “moves outside of Himself in ecstasy” (Dionysius the Areopagite), passionately seeking to “dwell in us” (Jn 1.14), that the world may have life in abundance. (Jn 10.10) God’s compassionate mercy is poured and shared “so as to multiply the objects of His beneficence.” (Gregory the Theologian) God assumes all that is ours, “in every respect being tested as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4.15), in order to offer us all that is God’s and render us gods by grace. “Though rich, He becomes poor that we might become rich,” writes the great Apostle Paul (2 Cor. 8.9), to whom this year is so aptly dedicated. This is the Word of God; gratitude and glory are due to Him.

The word of God receives His full embodiment in creation, above all in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It is there that the Word becomes flesh and allows us not simply to hear or see Him but to touch Him with our own hands, as St. John declares (I John 1,1) and make Him part of our own body and blood (σύσσωμοι καί σύναιμοι) in the words of St. John Chrysostom.

In the Holy Eucharist the Word heard is at the same time seen and shared (κοινωνία). It is not accidental that in the early eucharistic documents, such as the book of Revelation and the Didache, the Eucharist was associated with prophesy, and the presiding bishops were regarded as successors of the prophets (e.g. Martyrion Polycarpi). The Eucharist was already by St. Paul (I Cor. 11) described us “proclamation” of Christ’s death and Second Coming. As the purpose of Scripture is essentially the proclamation of the Kingdom and the announcement of eschatological realities, the Eucharist is a foretaste of the Kindom, and in this sense the proclamation of the Word par excellence. In the Eucharist Word and Sacrament become one reality. The word ceases to be “words” and becomes a Person, embodying in Himself all human beings and all creation.

Within the life of the Church, the unfathomable self-emptying (κένωσις) and generous sharing (κοινωνία) of the divine Logos is reflected in the lives of the saints as the tangible experience and human expression of God’s Word in our community. In this way, the Word of God becomes the Body of Christ, crucified and glorified at the same time. As a result, the saint has an organic relationship with heaven and earth, with God and all of creation. In ascetic struggle, the saint reconciles the Word and the world. Through repentance and purification, the saint is filled -- as Abba Isaac the Syrian insists -- with compassion for all creatures, which is the ultimate humility and perfection.

This is why the saint loves with warmth and spaciousness that are both unconditional and irresistible. In the saints, we know God’s very Word, since -- as St. Gregory Palamas claims -- God and His saints share the same glory and splendor.” In the gentle presence of a saint, we learn how theology and action coincide. In the compassionate love of the saint, we experience God as “our father” and God’s mercy as “steadfastly enduring.” (Ps. 135, LXX) The saint is consumed with the fire of God’s love. This is why the saint imparts grace and cannot tolerate the slightest manipulation or exploitation in society or in nature. The saint simply does what is “proper and right” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), always dignifying humanity and honoring creation. “His words have the force of actions and his silence the power of speech” (St. Ignatius of Antioch).

And within the communion of saints, each of us is called to “become like fire” (Sayings of the Desert Fathers), to touch the world with the mystical force of God’s Word, so that -- as the extended Body of Christ -- the world, too, might say: “Someone touched me!” (cf. Mt 9.20) Evil is only eradicated by holiness, not by harshness. And holiness introduces into society a seed that heals and transforms. Imbued with the life of the sacraments and the purity of prayer, we are able to enter the innermost mystery of God’s Word. It is like the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust: the deepest layers need only shift a few millimeters to shatter the world’s surface. Yet for this spiritual revolution to occur, we must experience radical metanoia -- a conversion of attitudes, habits and practices -- for ways that we have misused or abused God’s Word, God’s gifts and God’s creation.

Such a conversion is, of course, impossible without divine grace; it is not achieved simply through greater effort or human willpower. “For mortals, it is impossible; but for God all things are possible.” (Mt 19.26) Spiritual change occurs when our bodies and souls are grafted onto the living Word of God, when our cells contain the life-giving blood-flow of the sacraments, when we are open to sharing all things with all people. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us, the sacrament of “our neighbor” cannot be isolated from the sacrament of “the altar.” Sadly, we have ignored the vocation and obligation to share. Social injustice and inequality, global poverty and war, ecological pollution and degradation result from our inability or unwillingness to share. If we claim to retain the sacrament of the altar, we cannot forgo or forget the sacrament of the neighbor -- a fundamental condition for realizing God’s Word in the world within the life and mission of the Church.

Beloved Brothers in Christ,

We have explored the patristic teaching of the spiritual senses, discerning the power of hearing and speaking God’s Word in Scripture, of seeing God’s Word in icons and nature, as well as of touching and sharing God’s Word in the saints and sacraments. Yet, in order to remain true to the life and mission of the Church, we must personally be changed by this Word. The Church must resemble the mother, who is both sustained by and nourishes through the food she eats. Anything that does not feed and nourish everyone cannot sustain us either. When the world does not share the joy of Christ’s Resurrection, this is an indictment of our own integrity and commitment to the living Word of God. Prior to the celebration of each Divine Liturgy, Orthodox Christians pray that this Word will be “broken and consumed, distributed and shared” in communion. And “we know that we have passed from death to life when we love our brothers” and sisters (1 Jn 3.14).

The challenge before us is the discernment of God’s Word in the face of evil, the transfiguration of every last detail and speck of this world in the light of Resurrection. The victory is already present in the depths of the Church, whenever we experience the grace of reconciliation and communion. As we struggle -- in ourselves and in our world -- to recognize the power of the Cross, we begin to appreciate how every act of justice, every spark of beauty, every word of truth can gradually wear away the crust of evil. However, beyond our own frail efforts, we have the assurance of the Spirit, who “helps us in our weakness” (Rom. 8.26) and stands beside us as advocate and “comforter” (Jn 14-6), penetrating all things and “transforming us -- as St. Symeon the New Theologian says -- into everything that the Word of God says about the heavenly kingdom: pearl, grain of mustard seed, leaven, water, fire, bread, life and mystical wedding chamber.” Such is the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, whom we invoke as we conclude our address, extending to Your Holiness our gratitude and to each of you our blessings:

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth
Present everywhere and filling all things;
Treasury of goodness and giver of life:
Come, and abide in us.

And cleanse us from every impurity;
And save our souls.

For you are good and love humankind.

Amen!


This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Benedict XVI (L) and the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew I (R) during a celebration at the Sistine Chapel during a synod of Catholic bishops on October 18, 2008 at the Vatican. Patriarch Bartholomew I, who was the first ever Orthodox to deliver a speech at the Sistine Chapel, called all Christians to fight against poverty and racism. (Getty)

In this picture made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, patriarch Bartholomew, left, and Pope Benedict XVI seen, after prayers, in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, Saturday Oct. 18, 2008. During the historic first, Bartholomew urged Catholics and Orthodox to work together to combat fundamentalism and promote religious tolerance. Benedict praised his guest on the occasion of an Orthodox leader's first time at a service in the chapel, frescoed by Michelangelo, where pontiffs are elected. Bartholomew's participation in the Vespers service and speech is a "joyous experience of unity, perhaps not perfect, but true and deep," Benedict said.

Pope Benedict XVI (L) walks with Orthodox Christian Patriarch Bartholomew after a prayer at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican October 18, 2008. (Reuters)

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Benedict XVI (L) greeting the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew I prior a celebration at the Sistine Chapel during a synod of Catholic bishops on October 18, 2008 at the Vatican. Patriarch Bartholomew I, who was the first ever Orthodox to adress a speech at the Sistine Chapel, called all Christians to fight against poverty and racism. (Getty)

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Benedict XVI (L) greeting the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew I prior a celebration at the Sistine Chapel during a synod of Catholic bishops on October 18, 2008 at the Vatican. Patriarch Bartholomew I, who was the first ever Orthodox to adress a speech at the Sistine Chapel, called all Christians to fight against poverty and racism. (Getty)

Sarah Palin on SNL



I don't think her appearance will help her regain credibility or change people's opinions of her. And who is really going to think, "She's so cool, she appeared on SNL even though the show makes fun of her."
I had to refill the gas tank twice in two days, as I drove down to SLO today for niece #1's birthday party. I made it there and back on a full tank with a little to spare. Some stats: fuel economy for the last week or so--an average of 27.13 mpg. Today's trip: 28.47 mpg.

Zenit: Papal Message for World Mission Sunday

Papal Message for World Mission Sunday

"Servants and Apostles of Christ Jesus"

VATICAN CITY, JULY 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is Benedict XVI's message for the 82nd World Mission Sunday, to be celebrated Oct. 19.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the occasion of the World Mission Day, I would like to invite you to reflect on the continuing urgency to proclaim the Gospel also in our times. The missionary mandate continues to be an absolute priority for all baptized persons who are called to be "servants and apostles of Christ Jesus" at the beginning of this millennium. My venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, already stated in the Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi": "Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity" (n. 14). As a model of this apostolic commitment, I would like to point to St Paul in particular, the Apostle of the nations, because this year we are celebrating a special Jubilee dedicated to him. It is the Pauline Year which offers us the opportunity to become familiar with this famous Apostle who received the vocation to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles, according to what the Lord had announced to him: "Go, I shall send you far away to the Gentiles" (Acts 22: 21). How can we not take the opportunity that this special Jubilee offers to the local Churches, the Christian communities and the individual faithful to propagate the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the world, the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Cf. Rm 1: 16)?

Humanity is in need of liberation

Humanity needs to be liberated and redeemed. Creation itself - as St Paul says - suffers and nurtures the hope that it will share in the freedom of the children of God (cf. Rm 8: 19-22). These words are true in today's world too. Creation is suffering. Creation is suffering and waiting for real freedom; it is waiting for a different, better world; it is waiting for "redemption". And deep down it knows that this new world that is awaited supposes a new man; it supposes "children of God".
Let us take a closer look at the situation of today's world. While, on the one hand, the international panorama presents prospects for promising economic and social development, on the other it brings some great concerns to our attention about the very future of man. Violence, in many cases, marks the relations between persons and peoples. Poverty oppresses millions of inhabitants. Discrimination and sometimes even persecution for racial, cultural and religious reasons drive many people to flee from their own countries in order to seek refuge and protection elsewhere. Technological progress, when it is not aimed at the dignity and good of man or directed towards solidarity-based development, loses its potentiality as a factor of hope and runs the risk, on the contrary, of increasing already existing imbalances and injustices. There is, moreover, a constant threat regarding the man-environment relation due to the indiscriminate use of resources, with repercussions on the physical and mental health of human beings. Humanity's future is also put at risk by the attempts on his life, which take on various forms and means.

Before this scenario, "buffeted between hope and anxiety... and burdened down with uneasiness" ("Gaudium et Spes", n. 4), with concern we ask ourselves: What will become of humanity and creation? Is there hope for the future, or rather, is there a future for humanity? And what will this future be like? The answer to these questions comes to those of us who believe from the Gospel. Christ is our future, and as I wrote in the Encyclical Letter "Spe Salvi", his Gospel is a "life-changing" communication that gives hope, throws open the dark door of time and illuminates the future of humanity and the university (cf. n. 2).

St Paul had understood well that only in Christ can humanity find redemption and hope. Therefore, he perceived that the mission was pressing and urgent to proclaim "the promise of life in Christ Jesus" (2 Tm 1: 1), "our hope" (1 Tm 1: 1), so that all peoples could be co-heirs and co-partners in the promise through the Gospel (cf. Eph 3: 6). He was aware that without Christ humanity is "without hope and without God in the world" (Eph 2: 12) - "without hope because they were without God" ("Spe Salvi," n. 3). In fact, "anyone who does not know God, even though he may entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately without hope, without the great hope that sustains the whole of life (cf. Eph 2: 12)" (ibid., n. 27).

The Mission is a question of love

It is therefore an urgent duty for everyone to proclaim Christ and his saving message. St Paul said, "Woe to me if I do not preach it [the Gospel]!" (1 Cor 9: 16). On the way to Damascus he had experienced and understood that the redemption and the mission are the work of God and his love. Love of Christ led him to travel over the roads of the Roman Empire as a herald, an apostle, a preacher and a teacher of the Gospel of which he declared himself to be an "ambassador in chains" (Eph 6: 20). Divine charity made him "all things to all, to save at least some" (1 Cor 9: 22). By looking at St Paul's experience, we understand that missionary activity is a response to the love with which God loves us. His love redeems us and prods us to the missio ad gentes. It is the spiritual energy that can make the harmony, justice and communion grow among persons, races and peoples to which everyone aspires (cf. "Deus Caritas Est", n. 12). So it is God, who is Love, who leads the Church towards the frontiers of humanity and calls the evangelizers to drink "from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God" ("Deus Caritas Est", n. 7). Only from this source can care, tenderness, compassion, hospitality, availability and interest in people's problems be drawn, as well as the other virtues necessary for the messengers of the Gospel to leave everything and dedicate themselves completely and unconditionally to spreading the perfume of Christ's charity around the world.

Evangelize always

While the first evangelization continues to be necessary and urgent in many regions of the world, today a shortage of clergy and a lack of vocations afflict various Dioceses and Institutes of consecrated life. It is important to reaffirm that even in the presence of growing difficulties, Christ's command to evangelize all peoples continues to be a priority. No reason can justify its slackening or stagnation because "the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church" (Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi", n. 14). It is a mission that "is still only beginning and we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service" (John Paul II, Encyclical "Redemptoris Missio", n. 1). How can we not think here of the Macedonian who appeared to Paul in a dream and cried, "Will you come by to Macedonia to help us?". Today there are countless people who are waiting for the proclamation of the Gospel, those who are thirsting for hope and love. There are so many who let themselves be questioned deeply by this request for aid that rises up from humanity, who leave everything for Christ and transmit faith and love for Him to people! (cf. "Spe Salvi", n. 8).

Woe to me if I do not preach it! (1 Cor 9: 16)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, "duc in altum"! Let us set sail in the vast sea of the world and, following Jesus' invitation, let us cast our nets without fear, confident in his constant aid. St Paul reminds us that to preach the Gospel is no reason to boast (cf. 1 Cor 9: 16), but rather a duty and a joy. Dear brother Bishops, following Paul's example, many each one feel like "a prisoner of Christ for the Gentiles" (Eph 3: 1), knowing that you can count on the strength that comes to us from him in difficulties and trials. A Bishop is consecrated not only for his diocese, but for the salvation of the whole world (cf. Encyclical "Redemptoris Missio", n. 63). Like the Apostle Paul, a Bishop is called to reach out to those who are far away and do not know Christ yet or have still not experienced his liberating love. A Bishop's commitment is to make the whole diocesan community missionary by contributing willingly, according to the possibilities, to sending priests and laypersons to other Churches for the evangelization service. In this way, the missio ad gentes becomes the unifying and converging principle of its entire pastoral and charitable activity.

You, dear priests, the Bishops' first collaborators, be generous pastors and enthusiastic evangelizers! Many of you in these past decades have gone to the mission territories following the Encyclical "Fidei Donum" whose 50th anniversary we celebrated recently, and with which my venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Pius XII, gave an impulse to cooperation between the Churches. I am confident that this missionary tension in the local Churches will not be lacking, despite the lack of clergy that afflicts many of them.

And you, dear men and women religious, whose vocation is marked by a strong missionary connotation, bring the proclamation of the Gospel to everyone, especially those who are far away, through consistent witness to Christ and radical following of his Gospel. Dear faithful laity, you who act in the different areas of society are all called to take part in an increasingly important way in spreading the Gospel. A complex and multiform areopagus thus opens up before you to be evangelized: the world. Give witness with your lives that Christians "belong to a new society which is the goal of their common pilgrimage and which is anticipated in the course of that pilgrimage" ("Spe Salvi", n. 4).

Conclusion

Dear Brothers and Sisters, may the celebration of World Mission Day encourage everyone to take renewed awareness of the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel. I cannot fail to point out with sincere appreciation the contribution of the Pontifical Mission Societies to the Church's evangelizing activity. I thank them for the support they offer to all the Communities, especially the young ones. They are a valid instrument for animating and forming the People of God from a missionary viewpoint, and they nurture the communion of persons and goods between the different parts of the Mystical Body of Christ. May the collection that is taken in all the parishes on World Mission Day be a sign of communion and mutual concern among the Churches. Lastly, may prayer be intensified ever more in the Christian people, the essential spiritual means for spreading among all peoples the light of Christ, the "light par excellence" that illuminates "the darkness of history" ("Spe Salvi", n. 49). As I entrust to the Lord the apostolic work of the missionaries, the Churches all over the world and the faithful involved in various missionary activities and invoke the intercession of the Apostle Paul and Holy Mary, "the living Ark of the Covenant", the Star of evangelization and hope, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to everyone.

From the Vatican, 11 May 2008

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana


published July 24, 2008