Tag Archives: blogging priest

Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Pope Francis on Friday

In a press release today, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity states that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be in Rome to visit Pope Francis on Friday, 14 June.

“This brief visit”, reads the release, “is of particular interest since it is the first meeting of the Archbishop and the Pope since their inaugurations, which took place at about the same time, just over two months ago.”

“This visit is an opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion. In particular, the interest shown by Archbishop Welby in global justice and the ethical regulation of financial markets so that they do not oppress men and women, is echoed in the constant teaching of the Holy Father. Ever since his experience as an executive in an oil company, Archbishop Welby has placed great emphasis on reconciliation, and has continued to press for the resolution of conflicts within the Church and society. This also evokes Pope Francis’ own call to build bridges between people of every nation, so that they may be seen not as rivals and threats, but as brothers and sisters.”

“Anglicans and Catholics also must work together to provide clear moral guidance to society and Archbishop Justin has collaborated closely with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to safeguard marriage and other Christian values in society. It is a sign of their close relations that Archbishop Nichols will accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on this visit.”

“Following the audience, and brief speeches, there will be a short service of mid-day prayer presided over by the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Earlier in the day, at the Archbishop’s own request, he will visit the Excavations beneath St Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tomb of St Peter, as his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams did on his first visit to Rome. He has also asked particularly for a time of prayer before the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. Following this, Archbishop Welby will call upon Cardinal Koch at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to renew the acquaintance made at the time of the Archbishop’s inauguration at Canterbury, and to learn about the workings of the Pontifical Council.”

From Vatican Information Service

The Concho Padre

Pope Francis: Christian consolation and the law of the truly free

(Vatican Radio) The Beatitudes are ‘new commandments’, but they are not just a simple do gooders list. They cannot be understood with the mind, only with the heart, so if our hearts are closed to God we will never know true freedom. Christian consolation is the presence of God in our hearts which teaches us to understand the Beatitudes as the law of the truly free. This was the main focus of Pope Francis’ homily Monday morning at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta residence. Click here for the full report from Vatican Radio.

The Concho Padre

Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Almighty Father,
you have brought us to the light of a new day:
keep us safe the whole day through
from every sinful inclination.
May all our thoughts, words and actions
aim at doing what is pleasing in your sight.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God

Pope Francis: the science of tenderness

Vatican Radio) It’s harder to open our hearts and let God love us than to love God in return. But the only way to really love Him is to love others, especially the poor. God is an expert in the science of tenderness and we should allow ourselves to be loved by Him. This was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass Friday on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Read more on the Pope’s homily.

The Concho Padre

12 promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary

The 12 Promises of Our Lord for Souls Devoted to His Sacred Heart
as told to St. Margaret Mary

1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their houses.
3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death.
5. I will bestow a large blessing upon all of their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened of hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their sole refuge in this last moment.

The Concho Padre

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Grant, we pray,
almighty God, that we,
who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son
and recall the wonders of his love for us,
may be made worthy to receive
an overflowing measure of grace
from that fount of heavenly gifts.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen.

News Briefs, June 6

Catholic News Service in Washington is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Click here for today’s briefs.

The Concho Padre

Opinion: The Unborn Baby – a precious opportunity for Communion

by Kerry Pound, M.D.

When I was a third-year medical student beginning my rotation on obstetrics and gynecology, one of the physicians began her lecture with the following statement: “We are the only specialty that deals with two patients at once.”

“Two patients”…. a simple-yet-profound statement recognizing that the baby, like the mother, is truly a patient to be respected and cared for throughout a pregnancy. For a brief moment, with a small glimmer of hope, I wondered whether the training I would receive in obstetrics at McGill University in Montreal would be, like me, pro-life.

Rather quickly I realized that, as at most teaching hospitals, abortions or “terminations” went on routinely. During the next couple of days of my OB rotation, I would learn that “products of conception” is the euphemism used for the fetus and placenta when discussing the completion of a miscarriage or abortion. For medical purposes, women are often referenced by their age and name followed by three figures known as their GPA — a kind of shorthand for their obstetric history referring to the number of gestations, births beyond 20 weeks’ gestations, and abortions. The final qualifier essentially treats a miscarriage and a “termination” the same.

And yet, for all these euphemisms, there was the clear recognition by all caring for expectant mothers that there are, in fact, two patients … two persons.

The baby’s heart rate is assessed at each visit. The woman’s “fundal height” (how big her uterus is getting) is checked to assess the baby’s growth. Vital signs of both baby and mother are essential as both patients are carefully and lovingly cared for by obstetricians. Typically the goal of obstetric care is simply to have a healthy baby and a healthy mother after the nine-month gestation period is completed. To accomplish this certainly necessitates the consideration of two patients.

When I became pregnant for the first time during my pediatric residency at Massachusetts General in Boston, I was fascinated with the reactions elicited by my condition from colleagues and hospital staff, both familiar and unfamiliar. Everyone, from members of the cleaning crew to the most pompous surgeons, would glance at my “baby bump,” and a twinkle would appear in their eyes. There often would follow the obvious three questions: “When are you due?” “Boy or girl?” “Is this your first?” And then, with just the slightest encouragement from my response, the sharing would begin to flow freely: “When my wife was pregnant with our first….” “I carried so low, I was always in pain…” “My sister loved every minute of being pregnant…” “I was sick for 9 months, but it was worth it.” This would happen every single day of my pregnancy. I would encounter random people — renowned Dr. Steadyhands, Michael from the cleaning staff, a patient’s family member, and me — randomly sharing a ride on the elevator at Mass General, and on a short trip up to Ellison 17 we would let go of our various hospital titles and roles and instead speak about something intimate and profound because of that baby in my belly. We would connect in a personal, private, perhaps even vulnerable way regarding the most beautiful event of life — the beginning of a new human life.

Of course, that wouldn’t just happen at work. As any pregnant woman can tell you, everyone loves to talk to a pregnant woman about pregnancy, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and raising babies. The hairdresser, the librarian, the gentleman behind me in the grocery store check-out — they all want to connect, to share, to be in communion with that experience. That bump — which, without hesitation, they all recognize as a baby — is just the excuse to spend a moment in common wonder and joy contemplating life’s new beginnings. It is a precious means toward communion with one another.

Being in communion changes us. It sustains us. These short interactions provide an immediate knowledge of one another because we had come together briefly to wonder about the miracle of new life. We shared in a transcendent moment, and it had made us better. The next time I would see Dr. Steadyhands, I would be comfortable chatting about our mutual patients rather than intimidated as I might have previously experienced. The next time I would see Michael the cleaning guy, not only would we smile and greet each other as we always had on the floor, but now we might also ask each other about our families. We had, in essence, begun to love each other and build a closer community. It truly matters that the context in which this happened was so essential to happiness — wonderment, joy, and appreciation of the miracle of new life.

The reality is that everyone — even Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist recently convicted in the murder of three infants who had survived his abortions – in some way recognizes that there are two patients in every pregnancy. Gosnell had simply accepted that it was OK to kill, mutilate, and disregard the younger one while barely treating the older one with common decency. How did he come to be this way? How did he transform into this “monster” who saw his young patient as a nasty nuisance that could be so brutally disposed of? He was certainly not experiencing that sustaining communion with either his patients or staff.

When did our society begin to equate the disregard of these youngest patients with the greatest freedom for women? Doctors in much cleaner clinics than Gosnell’s, with more advanced tools, make similar choices in the way they “treat” the younger patient. How can we as a society declare that the “fertilized content” of a woman’s uterus is somehow her enemy? Why instead don’t we stand up and declare, “Babies are beautiful; babies are good. Babies remind us of our humanness, our connectedness, our ability to share with one another”?

Babies are not the problem. We are called as individuals and a culture to protect human life, to value human life from the earliest stage to natural death. When we allow family disintegration without a fight, when we seem to not simply tolerate but expect men to desert women and the babies they helped bring into being, when we let poor and disadvantaged women believe death is better than birth for their children, when we insist to women and girls that the feminist battle is to be fought in their own bodies, we lose hold of a culture of life. We no longer see life as inherently precious. It’s a culture where Kermit Gosnell can flourish. It’s a culture that’s lost sight of our innate human need for communion.

Gosnell must have lost an authentic sense of community, of sharing and experiencing the joy of being human with others. Over time, he had to become blind to the beauty of life and, therefore, to the beauty of his two patients, the baby and the mother. Although he tacitly recognized that the babies were patients — products of conception don’t “walk to the bus stop,” as he reportedly joked about the size of one 30-week-old fetus whose spinal cord he snipped after the child had been born alive — he chose death, as has our culture.

If we don’t begin to recognize as a society that these most vulnerable humans are precious — as any stranger in an elevator is able to do on a personal meeting — then we are losing sight of that which constitutes our human beauty: Our ability to live together in community.

Kerry Pound, M.D., practices pediatric medicine in Massachusetts and is a volunteer with Catholic Voices USA.

Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All-powerful and ever-living God,
at morning, noon, and evening we pray:
cast out from our hearts the darkness of sin
and bring us to the light of your truth,
Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen

Gospel – Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

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