ON ELECTIONS AND PATRON SAINTS – PAPAL NOVEMBER PRAYER INTENTION: IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE – 2019 WORLD DAY OF PEACE MESSAGE: POLITICS MUST SERVE PEACE

ON ELECTIONS AND PATRON SAINTS

Today is, of course, Election Day in the United States. I voted by absentee ballot several weeks ago and friends from San Diego who were visiting Rome took my ballot and mailed it in San Diego! It is such an honor and privilege to vote and I’d not miss this for anything. I have been praying for weeks, and more than ever today, that certain moral issues dominate voters’ thinking processes and, as a result, their choice, in particular prolife and freedom of religion.

The material I got from California for the election – all the choices I could make for candidates for various offices and all the referendum on the ballot – required quite some time to study. I always want to vote intelligently and that does require time – a lot of it – before Election Day. Hopefully voting is a cerebral, not a visceral, process!

My hope and prayer is that when individuals walk into the voting booth, they have calmly studied the people and issues and then cast a thoughtful and intelligent vote for their future and that of the nation.

There is no patron saint of elections, although the story has circulated that St. Chad – yes, there is a real St. Chad of Lichfield, England – was the patron of the disputed 2000 U.S. elections (remember the “hanging chad” on ballots!). He died March 2, 672.

Chad:

There is, however a beloved patron saint for civil servants and politicians – St. Thomas More. The movie about his life, “A Man for All Seasons,” should be shown every election cycle.

I also read a sermon by an Anglican pastor who proposed that the patron saints for electors should be Barsabbas and Matthias. When Judas, one of the Twelve Apostles, betrayed Our Lord and killed himself, the Apostles gathered to choose a new 12th Apostle: Acts 1:23, 26: They proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, and Matthias. Then they prayed, and they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to the eleven apostles.”

Matthias:

PAPAL NOVEMBER PRAYER INTENTION: IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE

Pope Francis on Tuesday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for November 2018, “In the Service of Peace.”

In that intention, Pope Francis says: We all want peace. It is desired above all by those who suffer its absence. We can speak with splendid words, but if there is no peace in our heart, there will be no peace in the world. With zero violence and 100 percent tenderness, let us build the evangelical peace that excludes no one. Let us pray together that the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed “The Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.

It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-11/pope-prayer-intention-november-2018.html#play

2019 WORLD DAY OF PEACE MESSAGE: POLITICS MUST SERVE PEACE

The theme of Pope Francis’ Message for the 52nd World Day of Peace, to be celebrated on January 1, 2019, was published today by the Holy See Press Office, “Politics must be at the service of peace.”

The press office statement said, “Political responsibility belongs to every citizen, and in particular to those who have been given the mandate to protect and govern.”

The note also pointed out that, “this mission consists in safeguarding the law and encouraging dialogue between all actors of society, between generations, and between cultures.” The first condition for trust is respect for the given word. It noted that, “political commitment – which is one of the highest expressions of charity – implies concern for the future of life and of the planet, of the youngest and of the smallest, in their thirst for fulfilment.”

 

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VATICAN WANTS TO COOPERATE WITH TRUMP ON PEACE, RELIGIOUS ISSUES AND THE VULNERABLE

VATICAN WANTS TO COOPERATE WITH TRUMP ON PEACE, RELIGIOUS ISSUES AND THE VULNERABLE

A video published today by Rome Reports noted that the Vatican is once again reaching out to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, after remarks made yesterday by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of State. He was speaking this morning at a book presentation, and said he thinks it’s time to give the new president the benefit of the doubt before making rash judgments against him.

parolin-trum

CARD. PIETRO PAROLIN: “I think we should give the president time to make whatever decisions he deems appropriate. Personally, I already like the fact that he presented himself the president of everyone, so he left behind, at least in his intentions, all the negative words he said while campaigning. Now we will see what he will do and then we will comment.”

The cardinal thinks that today’s world has many conflicts, and the U.S. should continue to use its voice to facilitate international dialogue. In addition, he made a list of the first issues in which they are willing to collaborate on with Donald Trump.

CARD. PIETRO PAROLIN: “I think that the question of peace is one of the fundamental issues. Next, onto the internal issues of the Church, such as religious freedom, actions taken by Catholics, and paying attention to the most vulnerable in society.”

The cardinal was speaking at the presentation of “In your Eyes is my Word,” a book that compiles Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s unpublished speeches and homilies as archbishop of Buenos Aires and before he was elected to the papacy.

This volume was also presented by Chicago’s Cardinal-elect, Archbishop Blase Cupich, who asked not to speak about the new U.S. president.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, following the news of the upset win in the U.S. presidential elections by Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, the Vatican had its first message for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in the person of Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. He made his remarks to journalists at a conference at Rome’s Lateran University, noting that Trump can be “assured of our prayers that the Lord may enlighten and support him in the service of his country, but also in the service of peace and well-being in the world.” (photo: America)

trump-america

“We send our congratulations to the new president,” said the secretary of State, “in the hope that “his government may bear real fruit.” Cardinal Parolin said it would be premature to comment on specific issues such as immigration, noting that the views of presidential candidates often differ from their policies once they become president. However, he did state that Trump had already spoken “in leadership style,” adding that people must work togather to change today’s world with its “grave wounds and serious conflicts.”   (sources: Rome Reports, Vatican Radio)

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 – ELECTION DAY USA

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 – ELECTION DAY USA

states-flag

We are defined not by abilities but by choices.

When having a debate with yourself, let your conscience win.

“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.” ― George Washington, Rules of Civility And Other Writings & Speeches

On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question, “Is it right?”… The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge, moments of great crisis and controversy.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

CONSIDER THIS WHEN YOU VOTE…. – YOU ASKED THE BISHOPS TO SPEAK ON VOTING: HERE THEY ARE….

Tomorrow’s election is SO important, SO vital to a promising, positive future for our country, SO vital in protecting the values we have cherished for 240 years, SO vital in saving our Constitution, that I am re-posting two columns I posted previously – the first on October 14 and the second on October 25 (just in case you have questions about the moral aspect of your vote).

Share this a 1000 times a 1000!

CONSIDER THIS WHEN YOU VOTE….

Consider the possibility of eventually losing our constitutional right to freedom of religion… or having it greatly diminished. When you vote this year, consider that one party is NOT defending life, is NOT defending religious freedom, is NOT protecting what marriage has been since the birth of time, that is, the lasting bond between one man and one woman.

It might be very difficult to ignore an abrasive personality but it is impossible to ignore the threat that our rights, our beliefs, may be trampled upon or denied by another personality.

We believe that Saints lived heroic virtues. Maybe this is our time to live heroically!

YOU ASKED THE BISHOPS TO SPEAK ON VOTING: HERE THEY ARE….

It is a civic duty and a privilege to vote. It is a moral obligation to vote correctly.

These bishops are unequivocally clear as to how we can and must vote on November 8. (The italics are mine)

“The right to life is the most important and fundamental right, since life is necessary for any of the other rights to matter. There are some issues that can legitimately be debated by Christians, such as which policies are the most effective in caring for the poor, but the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching. The health of our nation depends on a deep respect for human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and the future of our society depends on how we protect that right. If we don’t, eventually we will go the way of Rome and Greece and other great civilizations that have risen and fallen. Some, both in politics and in the Church, have stated that it is the Church that needs to change her teaching to include abortion, same-sex unions and even euthanasia. Yet, in faithfulness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel and to Sacred Tradition, the Church cannot change her teaching on these issues without denying Christ. … So my advice to Catholics in voting in this presidential election is to first look at who forms you and your conscience. Is it your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church, the voice of God which cannot contradict the truth or revelation, or is it the ideology of some political party? Secondly, look at how you have been a leaven in society. How have you sought the common good and the values of the Gospel, especially by serving the poor, the needy, the unborn and the dying? If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay. Thirdly, look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family and the poor. Finally, do vote, as every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process.”Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver

 “In our country, over one million unborn children are killed by abortion every single year. All Catholics have a moral obligation to keep this human-rights catastrophe at the forefront of their minds when voting.”Bishop John Brungardt of Dodge City, Kansas

“The Gospel of John reminds us that the truth, and only the truth, makes us free. We’re fully human and free only when we live under the authority of the truth. And in that light, no issue has made us more dishonest and less free as believers and as a nation than abortion. People uncomfortable with the abortion issue argue, quite properly, that Catholic teaching is bigger than just one issue. Other urgent issues also need our attention. Being pro-birth is not the same as being pro-life. And being truly ‘pro-life’ doesn’t end with defending the unborn child. But it does, and it must, begin there. … In every abortion, an innocent life always dies. This is why no equivalence can ever exist between the intentional killing involved in abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, on the one hand, and issues like homelessness, the death penalty and anti-poverty policy on the other. Again, all of these issues are important. But trying to reason or imply them into having the same moral weight is a debasement of Christian thought.” — Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

“[O]n some issues the moral obligations of Catholics, and the demands of the common good, are abundantly clear. For example, no Catholic can vote in good conscience to expand legal protection for abortion, or to support the killing of unborn children. … Abortion is a grave, unconscionable and intolerable evil, and we cannot support it in the voting booth. … [W]hen we vote, we need to carefully consider the specifics of each race. Blind partisanship can be dangerous, and we have to look past political rhetoric and media alarmism to make prudent discernments. In each race, we need to discern whether there is a candidate who can advance human dignity, the right to life and the common good. … As a matter of conscience, faithful Catholics have to weigh all those pertinent issues and make the choice that seems most in accord with the common good of our nation: with respect for human dignity, social well-being and peace. … We need a broader vision of public life, which values and proclaims the dignity of every human life and which aims for the flourishing of individuals, families and communities. … The most important part of being good citizens is living as faithful and active missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. … Christ is the only real source of our nation’s hope.” — Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska

“From the very beginning, Catholic teaching informs us that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death. The right to life is a fundamental, human right for the unborn, and any law denying the unborn the right to life is unequivocally unjust.” Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia

“Catholics should also consider the critical role that judges increasingly play in deciding issues like abortion, marriage and religious freedom.”Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita, Kansas

 

 

“COME UNTO ME, ALL YOU THAT LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST”

Every so often my friend Trip McKinney in Hawaii sends me homilies or letters or other missives written by Fr. George W. Rutler, pastor of St. Michael’s Church in New York City, and a prolific author. Trip usually sends a small group of people beautiful weekly reflections on the upcoming Gospel, along with carefully selected art work that further explains or amplifies the Gospel message and, on occasion, Fr. Rutler’s words..

I was especially struck by Fr. Rutler’s message for today, November 6, as it focuses on both the restoration of an important, beautiful and historic crucifix in St. Peter’s Basilica and our election, and you will see how he links the two. In his email, Trip also included a link to the CNS story on the restoration and unveiling of this work of art and I offer that as well for your reflection.

If you do not know the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica, this is a must on your next visit. It is not on the “tourist” agenda for the basilica as it is a place reserved for quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament that is exposed all day long, starting immediately after the 8:30 daily Mass. Heavy drapes are drawn across the doors to the chapel and only people intending to pray are allowed inside. Basilica staff sees to it that this carefully adhered to.

I might add here a piece of advice I give to visitors to Rome, advice that you can read in my book, “A Holy Year in Rome.” St. Peter’s opens in the morning at 7 am and is reserved for the next two hours for Masses in any and all of its chapels. If you want to see St. Peter’s Basilica before it is filled with throngs of tourists, go to the 8:30 Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and when you come out, you will see only the faithful who attended Mass, some priests as they exit the sacristy and altar servers as they end their morning and return to the Pius X School in the Vatican. The basilica is quiet and almost empty and very special – at least for a short while before the doors are opened to visitors at 9 am.

“COME UNTO ME, ALL YOU THAT LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST”

Today a long-forgotten crucifix will be placed once again in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. It will hang in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel near Bernini’s great tabernacle. Bernini himself would have admired the work of the anonymous artist, for its mediaeval style anticipated the spirit of the more exuberant baroque.

The crucifix was carved seven hundred years ago and was the object of devotion in the original Constantinian basilica built in the fourth century. The torso and legs are seven feet long and are in one piece made from the trunk of a walnut tree. It was placed in the new basilica in 1626 and survived many vicissitudes, including the Sack of Rome when the invaders used the old basilica as a horse stable and mockingly vested the corpus in one of their uniforms.

Gradually, it was forgotten after it was removed to make room for Michelangelo’s Pietà and ended up in a remote and virtually unreachable chapel. High technology has restored it, as it suffered discoloration and termite damage. The sort of stereo microscopes used in microsurgery identified the many layers of paint and varnish before they were meticulously removed.

The outstretched arms are six-and-a-half-feet wide. Even if the Lord had not been nailed to the cross, his arms would be open to all who approach him, as they were when he ascended into glory. “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Our nation is weary, and the ennui is especially taxing and belabored by a long election campaign. Events have forced us to examine the condition of our culture, and how much we have ignored Christ’s call to come to him. The degradation of our institutions, reflected tellingly even in the way people dress and speak, is palpable and has taken its toll on our schools and governments and even our churches. This is a time, rarely matched in our national annals, for choosing between conversion and tragedy. To choose the tragic path is to mock our Lord, and our demoralized culture is already well on its way to masquerading Christ Crucified in comic vestments.

Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, to this very week, Bishop John Carroll penned a prayer for the new nation. As the first bishop in the United States, cousin of a signer of the Declaration of Independence and an esteemed friend of many Founding Fathers, he stood on a terrain high enough to survey the looming dangers and salutary prospects of the day, as he prayed for a government “encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.” Our perspective is the same today, only with more souls both at risk and offered benevolent promise.

Here is the CNS story with photos on this restored crucifix:

http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/medieval-crucifix-st-peters-basilica-resurrected-from-obscurity.cfm

 

ELECTION NOVENA STARTS TODAY

ELECTION NOVENA STARTS TODAY

The novena is designed to help Catholic Americans choose for whom to vote according to their conscience

The Knights of Columbus is urging its members and other US Catholics to pray a novena from October 30 to November 7, the eve of election day.

“The Church teaches that Catholics are called to form their consciences based on Church teaching and vote in accordance with that well-formed conscience,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who is CEO of the international fraternal organisation based in New Haven.

“Pope Francis has said in reference to the US election that we should ‘study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience,’ and this novena is designed to help Catholic Americans do that,” Anderson said in a statement.

The Knights’ novena — nine consecutive days of prayer — asks for the intercession of Mary, the mother of Jesus, under her title of the Immaculate Conception. Individuals, families, councils and parishes are all invited to participate, the Knights said.

Mary Immaculate is the patroness of the United States. In 1791, Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States, dedicated his diocese to her. The first US diocese, it covered the entire country. In 1846, the US bishops reaffirmed that dedication and Pope Pius IX ratified it in 1847.

The text of the novena is as follows: “Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your spouse; God the son, who chose Mary as your mother, in union with Mary we adore your majesty and acknowledge your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.

“Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom which has been its heritage.

“Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy, born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our mother, have mercy on the sick, the tempted, sinners — on all who are in need.”

According to the Knights, the prayer was written for the 1959 dedication of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, which includes a bell tower known as the Knights Tower. The Knights of Columbus donated money for the tower’s construction.

YOU ASKED THE BISHOPS TO SPEAK ON VOTING: HERE THEY ARE….

YOU ASKED THE BISHOPS TO SPEAK ON VOTING: HERE THEY ARE….

These bishops are unequivocally clear as to how we can and must vote. It is a civic duty and a privilege to vote. It is a moral obligation to vote correctly. (The italics are mine)

“The right to life is the most important and fundamental right, since life is necessary for any of the other rights to matter. There are some issues that can legitimately be debated by Christians, such as which policies are the most effective in caring for the poor, but the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching. The health of our nation depends on a deep respect for human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and the future of our society depends on how we protect that right. If we don’t, eventually we will go the way of Rome and Greece and other great civilizations that have risen and fallen. Some, both in politics and in the Church, have stated that it is the Church that needs to change her teaching to include abortion, same-sex unions and even euthanasia. Yet, in faithfulness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel and to Sacred Tradition, the Church cannot change her teaching on these issues without denying Christ. … So my advice to Catholics in voting in this presidential election is to first look at who forms you and your conscience. Is it your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church, the voice of God which cannot contradict the truth or revelation, or is it the ideology of some political party? Secondly, look at how you have been a leaven in society. How have you sought the common good and the values of the Gospel, especially by serving the poor, the needy, the unborn and the dying? If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay. Thirdly, look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family and the poor. Finally, do vote, as every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process.”Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver

 “In our country, over one million unborn children are killed by abortion every single year. All Catholics have a moral obligation to keep this human-rights catastrophe at the forefront of their minds when voting.”Bishop John Brungardt of Dodge City, Kansas

“The Gospel of John reminds us that the truth, and only the truth, makes us free. We’re fully human and free only when we live under the authority of the truth. And in that light, no issue has made us more dishonest and less free as believers and as a nation than abortion. People uncomfortable with the abortion issue argue, quite properly, that Catholic teaching is bigger than just one issue. Other urgent issues also need our attention. Being pro-birth is not the same as being pro-life. And being truly ‘pro-life’ doesn’t end with defending the unborn child. But it does, and it must, begin there. … In every abortion, an innocent life always dies. This is why no equivalence can ever exist between the intentional killing involved in abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, on the one hand, and issues like homelessness, the death penalty and anti-poverty policy on the other. Again, all of these issues are important. But trying to reason or imply them into having the same moral weight is a debasement of Christian thought.” — Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

“[O]n some issues the moral obligations of Catholics, and the demands of the common good, are abundantly clear. For example, no Catholic can vote in good conscience to expand legal protection for abortion, or to support the killing of unborn children. … Abortion is a grave, unconscionable and intolerable evil, and we cannot support it in the voting booth. … [W]hen we vote, we need to carefully consider the specifics of each race. Blind partisanship can be dangerous, and we have to look past political rhetoric and media alarmism to make prudent discernments. In each race, we need to discern whether there is a candidate who can advance human dignity, the right to life and the common good. … As a matter of conscience, faithful Catholics have to weigh all those pertinent issues and make the choice that seems most in accord with the common good of our nation: with respect for human dignity, social well-being and peace. … We need a broader vision of public life, which values and proclaims the dignity of every human life and which aims for the flourishing of individuals, families and communities. … The most important part of being good citizens is living as faithful and active missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. … Christ is the only real source of our nation’s hope.” — Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska

“From the very beginning, Catholic teaching informs us that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death. The right to life is a fundamental, human right for the unborn, and any law denying the unborn the right to life is unequivocally unjust.” Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia

“Catholics should also consider the critical role that judges increasingly play in deciding issues like abortion, marriage and religious freedom.”Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita, Kansas