Monthly Archives: October 2013

Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s writings

In his latest blog article, Cardinal Dolan writes on “The Good Old Days,” when we have had a string of good popes. It’s an excellent piece, and you can read it here!

Scripture commentary for Friday

Read today’s Scriptures

Saint Paul’s epistle to the Romans is considered the most profound of all his epistles. The breadth of themes and the depth to which he explores them is profound. Today’s First Reading from the seventh chapter of Romans explores how the human person experiences division within himself. St. Paul describes this as “the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.”

Perhaps the most intriguing phrase in today’s First Reading is St. Paul’s admission that “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” His words call out the division in fallen man between what the “I” wants, and what it wills. This is not a mere putting of one’s wants and desires to the side, and acting in spite of them. St. Paul speaks of what modern thought might term a “compulsion” that drives the ego. However, he ascribes this acting out of evil the work of “sin that dwells in me.”

St. Paul is not seeking to cast blame away from himself. He’s not trying to say, “The devil made me do it.” He does indeed admit that this struggle is within his very self: “I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin”. Regardless of how fierce this struggle is, or how deep the division it causes, the remedy is clear and at hand. St. Paul’s entire epistle to the Romans is full of thanksgiving to God for the grace of Christ our Savior.

Diocese of Wichita

News Briefs, October 24

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here are their News Briefs for Thursday, October 24.

Pope Francis: We are made new in Christ

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Thursday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. In his remarks following the readings, the Holy Father focused on the universal call to holiness. Read more.

News Briefs

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Click here for the News Briefs for October 22.

Church ban on Communion for divorced and remarried upheld by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In a lengthy statement published in L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has strongly affirmed the Church’s teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried may not receive Communion.

Following the announcement that an extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops will be held in 2014 to discuss pastoral care for families, there has been widespread speculation that the Synod might make a change in the Church’s rule withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and remarried. But in a statement made public on October 22, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller observed that the Church’s teaching is not subject to change.

L’Osservatore Romano published the “extensive contribution” by Archbishop Müller in its entirety, giving unusual prominence to the statement. The Vatican newspaper explained that public question on “this pressing subject” called for explanation of the Church’s stand.

Archbishop Müller, too, acknowledged the keen interest in the topic. He said at the start of his statement that the “increasing number of persons affected in countries of ancient Christian tradition” had made the pastoral care for Catholics who are divorced and remarried a matter of urgent pastoral priority.

The CDF leader observed that both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have called for new efforts to provide spiritual support for Catholics who are divorced and remarried. However, he said, “the care of remarried divorcees must not be reduced to the question of receiving the Eucharist.”

Archbishop Müller insisted that the care for divorced/remarried Catholics “must be explored in a manner that is consistent with Catholic doctrine on marriage.” He noted that the Church has clearly and consistently taught that the bond of Christian marriage is indissoluble. “It designates a reality that comes from God and is therefore no longer at man’s disposal,” the CDF prefect wrote.

Examining the issue in light of Scripture and Tradition, the archbishop explains that unless a marriage has been found to be null by an ecclesiastical tribunal, divorced and remarried Catholics are obliged to refrain from receiving Communion. The single exception allowed by pastoral practice, he said, comes when a 2nd marital union cannot be ended (perhaps for the sake of children), and the partners make a commitment to live as brother and sister.

Archbishop Müller explicitly rejected the suggestion that divorced/remarried Catholics should make their own decision on whether they should receive Communion. That argument, he noted, “based on a problematical concept of ‘conscience,’ was rejected by a document of the CDF in 1994.” Similarly he rejected the policies of Orthodox churches allowing for divorce in some cases. “This practice cannot be reconciled with God’s will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus’ sayings about the indissolubility of marriage,” he wrote. Throughout his statement Archbishop Müller strongly emphasized the Christian understanding of marriage as a sacrament. “If marriage is secularized or regarded as a purely natural reality, its sacrament character is obscured,” he remarked.

The archbishop did offer one argument that might be pursued by the 2014 Synod, suggesting that many Christians are not entering into valid sacramental marriages. He explained:

Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children. Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialization within an environment of faith. Therefore assessment of the validity of marriage is important and can help to solve problems.

Catholic World News

Scripture commentary for Oct. 23

Click here for today’s readings

St. Luke the Evangelist presents many “stewardship parables”. Today’s Gospel passage offers two, one much longer than the other. The upshot of both is an explicit moral that lets no Christian off easily: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” How do these words apply to an ordinary Christian?

No Christian is ordinary. At the moment of a person’s baptism, God infuses grace into that adopted child’s soul. The graces given include the divine virtues of faith, hope and charity. God entrusts this grace to his adopted child. Consider this fact in light of Jesus’ words at the end of today’s Gospel passage. God entrusts His own divine life to His adopted children. And of course, the graces received at Baptism are but the “first installment” of our inheritance. As we continue to grow as His children, God continues to bestow grace upon us through the sacraments and prayer.

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much”. What will be required of us, then, as sharers in the divine life? Are you a “faithful and prudent steward”? Both of these virtues—fidelity and prudence—are required to be stewards of the graces that God gives us. Both help keep our attention on our Master: the beginning and end of all the graces of our lives.

Diocese of Wichita

God meddles with our minds and heals our wounds.

Read about Pope Francis’ Mass for Tuesday, October 22.

Scripture Commentary for October 22

Read today’s Scriptures

Next year the Church throughout the world will likely celebrate the feast day of “Saint John Paul II”. Nonetheless, as we anticipate his canonization next year on Divine Mercy Sunday, we who have vivid memories of this saint rejoice not only for his holiness, but also for his “talent” of helping us realize that we could possibly be called to the same holiness that so radiated through his life and ministry.

Blessed John Paul II never tired of proclaiming Christ and His divine mercy. He proclaimed this not only in word, but also in deeds such as the forgiveness that he offered in the cell of his would-be assassin. From his own attempted murder, he brought forth the Good News. This attempt on his life was part of a wider drama in bringing the peace of Christ to the Soviet bloc in a non-violent manner. Less immediately successful was his confrontation up against the materialism and consumerism of the West. Nonetheless, if the roots of such Western selfishness run deeper than those of Communism—since so many in the West actually believe in the secular creed that surrounds them, unlike in Communist lands—so do the seeds planted by this holy pastor of the Universal Church. Perhaps the most famous example in this regard is the collection of Wednesday catechesis popularly called his “Theology of the Body”, which his preeminent biographer called a “time-bomb set to go off in the 21st century”.

We give thanks for the life and ministry of Pope John Paul the Great. We ask his continued prayers, that in the face of weakness we will remember his call to “be not afraid”, since the love of Jesus’ divine mercy is infinitely more powerful than sin and death.

Diocese of Wichita

News Briefs

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their news briefs for October 21.

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