Saturday, March 29, 2014

Noah missed the boat I guess.

"Drunk Again" - Johnny Bellini

Some people liked the film, others didn't.  I wonder if it is as good as "Waterworld"?  That was so post-Apocalyptic.

Rock people.  

Something wicked ...

Listen.  If the Antichrist is here, this is the concern of the Church to inform us.  The Pope and the bishops in union with him, our teachers.  Do not rely on some prophecy from a German mystic whose words were copied down by someone else:  Blessed Anna Katherine Emmerich wasn't beatified for the private revelations she dictated to Brentano.  Private revelations are subject to change and may be symbolic and misunderstood - because we think like men, and not like God.  Christ established his Church and "Thou hast placed men over our heads."

Patient endurance is the way to salvation.  Christ says "be not afraid!"  We must pray.  We must cultivate peace in our hearts, remaining calm, getting rid of all anxiety, and be filled with hope and joy.  Trust.  If we lack these, we need to ask for the grace we need - believing.  Negative attitudes of doom and gloom, the critical spirit and pessimism leads to all sorts of disorder and mistrust - it is a cancer among Christians.

Something wicked is here already - it has been here all along - But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Cor. 15:57

Friday, March 28, 2014

What happened when Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, O.P. addressed a student assembly?

First of all, have you ever met a Nashville Dominican?

I have.  They used to shop a religious goods store I managed.  They are probably the coolest bunch of young women consecrated to Christ I have ever met.  They exude joy and love for Christ - and enthusiasm for the Gospel - they are 'normal' and 'with it' young women.  Nothing phony about them.  They are well educated teachers - did I mention enthusiastic - as well as kind, friendly, loving, caring, and so on?

These women are not at all like the stereotypical mean old nuns who taught me in school.  Not. At. All.

I never met Sister Jane Dominic Laurel*, but I just read that she is under fire from what may be just a 'clique' of students who resented a speech she gave at their school, presenting Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality.  The students and their parents appear to have launched a letter writing campaign, and or petition protesting Sr. Jane Dominic's remarks.  I don't know enough about the story to really comment, but my bets are the audience over-reacted.  I also believe it is a pretty good sign of what I've been saying all along - though chanceries and bishops reject such "ministries" - New Ways Ministry and other organizations such as Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities have influenced progressive Catholic educators and education, and the results are showing up in situations like this one.  Of course, pop-cultural influences play just as serious a role - its influence not lost on teachers as well as students and their parents.

The story:

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a Dominican nun based in Nashville, Tenn., addressed a student assembly on March 21. Days later, some students launched an online petition that called her comments “offensive and unnecessarily derogatory.”
A record of the comments was not available. But students attending told their parents she criticized gays and lesbians and made inflammatory remarks about single and divorced parents.
The Rev. Tim Reid, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, sent an email lauding the nun, saying “she represented well the Catholic positions on marriage, sex, same-sex attraction and proper gender roles … The Church has already lost too many generations of Catholic schools students to … a very muddled and watered-down faith.”
The division over Laurel’s speech is a reflection of the culture wars being waged within Catholicism and in society at large. Conservatives point to the denomination’s traditional teachings against homosexual behavior and divorce. - Charlotte Observer
Obviously the kids are not okay.

*Sister's speaking engagement may be linked to Sisters on the Road, a program sponsored by from Aquinas College, Nashville.

The woman caught in adultery...

I watched Zorba the Greek last night.  The scene where the Widow (Irene Papas) is rescued by Zorba (Anthony Quinn) reminded me of the Gospel narrative of the woman caught in adultery.  I think Kazantzakis intended it that way.  The twist occurs when the Widow is suddenly murdered, her throat slit.  If you are not familiar with the story, here's a convenient synopsis of the scene from Wiki:

Basil had gone to the Widow's house, made love to her and spent the night. The brief encounter comes at great cost. A villager catches sight of them, and word spreads, and the young, local boy who is in love with the Widow is taunted mercilessly about it. The next morning, the villagers find his body by the sea, where he has drowned himself out of shame.
The boy's father holds a funeral which the villagers attend. The widow attempts to come inconspicuously, but is blocked from entering the church. She is eventually trapped in the courtyard, then beaten and stoned by the villagers, who hold her responsible for the boy's suicide. Basil, meek and fearful of intervening, tells Mimithos to quickly fetch Zorba. Zorba arrives just as a villager, a friend of the boy, tries to pull a knife and kill the widow. Zorba overpowers the much younger man and disarms him. Thinking that the situation is under control, Zorba asks the Widow to follow him and turns his back. At that moment, the dead boy's father pulls his knife and cuts the widow's throat. She dies at once, as the villagers shuffle away apathetically, whisking the father away. Only Basil, Zorba and Mimithos show any emotion over her murder. Basil proclaims his inability to intervene whereupon Zorba laments the futility of death.

In the background we hear the chant of the funeral liturgy, the camera providing glances of the priests, while the men assemble outside to condemn the Widow.  Just when you think she is safe, the father of the dead suitor slits her throat.

Zorba lamenting the futility of death is so existential, huh?

I thought instead, the real lament should be the total lack of mercy - especially by religious people.  Zorba wasn't a religious man - yet he intervened to save the condemned woman - he had mercy in his heart...


Snap out of it!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Popes meet with world leaders. Presidents visit Popes. Ho hum."

When the President met the Holy Father...

 I don't think it was ho hum at all.

I watched BBC coverage of the event - the coverage went 12 minutes and the commentary was detailed and very much focused upon the Obamacare policies and the Vatican's objection to the restraints upon religious freedom the health care initiative poses.  BBC stated the Vatican made it clear the Pope is concerned as well, and that the Holy Father brought up the touchy issues related to life and religious freedom issues. Media knows what the issues are and what they mean for American Catholics.  The BBC was not at all dismissive of the papal audience.  Unlike the rancorous comments filtered through segments of the Catholic blogging core.

I may be wrong, but I do not remember the press covering President Bush's visits to the Vatican with MSM anchors in Rome to report on it as extensively.

BBC coverage here.

I tend to view such encounters as having a deeper spiritual effect: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."*

On a lighter note, Deacon Kandra focuses on Pants.

Deacon's post asks what you should wear to meet the Pope ...  If you are a woman of course, since Susan Rice showed up in black with the requisite mantilla - but she wore pants.  Deacon didn't strike me as making a negative comment - but I got the impression he thought it was a strange look.

There are protocols that are dated and maybe not necessarily enforced.  Some women show up without a mantilla - Angela Merkel for instance.  Pantsuit yes - but Merkel did not wear a mantilla - maybe heads of state are not obliged, but Queen Elizabeth wears a veil.  (Although even Hilary Clinton wore a dress with a mantilla as First Lady.)  Anyway, women in Europe wear pants - just like American women do - I bet a black pantsuit is considered acceptable.  The dress mantilla had to make it even more acceptable for Rice.

Susan Rice looked great.  I've seen women at Mass looking much worse - jeans and running shoes, a parka, yet they have a mantilla slapped on.

Mantillas go with everything.


* "Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them." - The Little Prince

I don't think I will ever figure it out.

How did they get that cat to drive?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the Catholic Blogosterium ...

Church of St. Foy

The fissure.

I can't recall where, but I came across a headline which stated the Catholic blogosphere is the most significant contribution to the Church in recent history - or something like that.  I think such self-congratulations are vain and misleading.  Online writers are easily pumped up and imagine their influence to be much greater than it really is.  Despite what their site meter and donation meters tell them, the majority of ordinary Catholics do not subscribe to Catholic blogs or news portals.  Take a poll - a real one - I'm sure the results would be far different than what your blog stats tell you.  Most people do not even read or subscribe to Catholic print media, not to mention diocesan newspapers.

Bloggers love to take credit for all sorts of things - I may be mistaken, but I think not a few congratulate themselves on the resurgence of the Extraordinary Form of Mass, exposing sex scandals in the clergy, and now days interpreting exactly what the Pope should be saying - or something like that.

Pope Paul VI had no way of knowing how prophetic his words were.  Many have pondered what exactly he meant by his words, "from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the Church ..."  I'm not seriously suggesting I know exactly what he meant, and to be sure, I'm not suggesting he meant the Internet would be the fissure, the portal which emits the smoke of Satan - I'm just saying it seems to me, not a few Catholic bloggers are emitting a foul odor, if not the smoke of Satan into their nearly schismatic version of the Church.

Just sayin'.

As I mentioned to a friend,  I try to give people a long leash on my blog, but I can't tolerate abuse against the Holy Father.  (Just like I never allow comments against Our Lady, the Blessed Sacrament, and so on.)  It seems obvious to me, many people online today expose themselves to bad teaching coming from bad websites. Anyone who reads and believes what sites such as Novus Ordo Watch publishes is exposing himself to genuinely anti-Catholic writing. In a way Michael Voris is right to refer to some of these sites as Catholic porn because they sow misinformation and doubt, which embeds in the memory and taints one's perception.  Hence, they are unstable, tossed about, doubting everything and extinguishing all hope for the future.  Worse, they see the death of their enemies as the biological solution to their discontent and objection to such persons and organization they perceive limit their religious freedom and rights.

In the throes of His sacred Passion, Christ said, "Put away your sword!"

It is obvious that many people online are unstable in the faith they proclaim.  Not a few are recent converts, recent 'recovering dissidents' and their initial fervor and convictions can be easily shaken.  I know of a few bloggers who have fallen away, left the Church.  A couple returned to pagan cult - Wicca - some have gone to other sects, others back to a disordered life.  Not a few of these folks were flaming evangelists, ritual thumping traditional Catholics, even holy contemplatives.  Remember Christ told the disciples who wanted to call down fire from heaven that they knew not what spirit they were - he also reminded them that he saw Satan fall from the highest point of the angelic host, falling from the sky like lightening.

Today's first reading at Mass is a precaution to all of us:  
Moses spoke to the people and said:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. ...take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.” - DT 4: 1-9
Those who mistrust Moses and the prophets, as well as those who mistrust Christ's Vicar on earth, need to remember what Christ, in today's Gospel assures us - that not one iota of the law will be dispensed with:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” - Mt 5: 17-19

All of us should keep in mind how Aaron and Miriam were punished for murmuring against Moses. [Numbers:12:1-16]  Miriam was struck with leprosy - signifying the contagion spread by gossip and murmuring.  If you teach others to murmur, watch out.

Just sayin'

BTW: Comment moderation is on.

Just don't inhale.

Speaking of nuns...

Look at these old habits.  The sisters had no peripheral vision and you could hardly see their faces.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Go and learn the meaning of mercy" ... Because some people online don't get it.

Our Lord tells us, "It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice."

Lately many people online seem to have a problem understanding the concept of mercy.  I'm always surprised by that.  Even some priests.  One in particular, when he was newly ordained, understood mercy very well.  Like many others online, he now seems to think mercy is misunderstood, abused or taken for granted, even a sort of 'cheap grace'.  That's sad.

The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man ... Bl. John Paul II

I think it would be good to go back and read what Blessed John Paul II wrote about mercy, and to study the Devotion to the Divine Mercy more closely - and even more importantly, to 'practice' mercy in our lives, and to pray the chaplet - as a means to learn the meaning of mercy, as well as obtain mercy for ourselves and others.

I've always understood Christian mercy as "divine love moved by (human) misery" which is the meaning of the word, misericordia.  God, who is rich in mercy, rushes to meet his prodigal son even before the son is able to confess and express his sorrow for his sin.  God's mercy seeks us and meets us even when we are caught in the brambles of sin.  The shepherd stoops down to grasp the lost sheep.  The Gospel is alive with mercy.  That is the "Good News"!

Today examples of mercy are needed - in real life.

For priests, perhaps the confessor St. Leopold Mandić is one such example.

Like an early desert father - he took upon himself the penances others thought he should be giving his penitents.  Isn't that kind?  Isn't that generous?  Isn't that love?  Isn't that mercy?  Carrying one an others burdens.  Being moved with pity by the weakness of our brothers.  St. Leopold made himself available for confession - like a watchman, he waited at the gates to reconcile those who passed by.

A couple of quotes from St. Leopold...

"Some say that I am too good. But if you come and kneel before me, isn't this a sufficient proof that you want to have God's pardon? God's mercy is beyond all expectation."
"Be at peace; place everything on my shoulders. I will take care of it." He once explained, "I give my penitents only small penances because I do the rest myself."
"A priest must die from apostolic hard work; there is no other death worthy of a priest."

Leopold suffered from esophagus cancer, which would ultimately lead to his death at age 76. On July 30, 1942, while preparing for the liturgy, he collapsed on the floor. He was then brought to his cell, where he was given the last rites. Friars that had gathered at his bed began singing the Salve Regina and saw that Leopold died as they sang "O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary." - Source

Padre Leopoldo wrote on a picture of the Blessed Virgin in 1927: "I. Fr. Leopoldo Mandie Zarevic. believe that the Blessed Virgin as Co-Redemptress of the human race is the moral cause of all grace - everything we receive comes from her fullness. "On one occasion he solemnly wrote: "The August Mother of God is in truth Co-Redemptress of the human race and source of all Grace. In fact, on the one hand we have in her the most perfect obedience to God's laws and, after her Son, the most perfect innocence: He, impeccable by His nature, she, impeccable by Grace. On the other hand we see her as Our Lady of Sorrows, as He was the Man of Sorrows. If, therefore, by eternal decree of God, the Immaculate Virgin was the moral victim of sorrow as her Son was the physical victim, and if God's avenging Justice found no shadow of fault in them, it follows: inevitably that they were paying the price of the sins of others, that is of mankind."

Showing mercy is a kindness.  Sometimes we can suffer something for other sinners unrepentant, unconverted, unconfessed - those far away.   We can pray and make sacrifices for sinners who have no one to pray for them.

It seems to me it is not enough to define mercy - we need to have mercy, to show mercy, to practice mercy.  Without counting, without measure, giving our shirt and our coat as well, going not one mile, but two, three, seven times seventy out of our way.

Before His own townspeople, in Nazareth, Christ refers to the words of the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." - Dives in Misericordia

The Singing Nun

I bet some people were wondering if I was going to write about Sr. Cristina, huh?

Everyone else seems to have posted on her debut on the Italian version of The Voice.  (I don't watch the American version either.)

She was good.  She sang Alicia Keys really, really well.  When Sr. Cristina was highlighted on CBS News I think they commented on her shoes.  Nun shoes.  Sensible shoes.  Kind of like running shoes.  She wore her habit.  You always hear complaints about nuns not wearing habits - she wore her habit.

I do not have one word of criticism.  She covered it well.  She was sweet and her sisters in the wings were full of joy over her making a splash on television in the recognition of her God given talent, as well as her witness to the Gospel - taking a romantic song and singing it to Christ, her Spouse.  What a novel witness.  The judges and the audience were deeply moved.

Singing nuns aren't new, however.  Monastic communities make albums.  The Daughters of St. Paul sing the Beatles.  Then when I was little, there was the Singing Nun - the Dominican who became famous for "Dominique" - later played by Debbie Reynolds in the film.  Who can forget Sr. Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act - that could be true.

Not a nun, but a friar, Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR makes music - he's famous for Catholic hip hop.  Then there is the Rapping Padre.

Whatever works.

Unfortunately some people didn't like it.  I agree with Deacon Kandra who wrote:

Many of us have hearts tightly sewn shut—almost incapable of moving, let alone mustering anything resembling a beat. - On that singing nun and the “acid bath of ingratitude”

Song for this post here.

Ave Maria

I wonder if the Angel Gabriel wasn't more afraid - or in awe - than the Blessed Virgin was at the Annunciation?

Happy feast day!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thirty four years ago today ...

Archbishop Oscar Romero assassinated, March 24, 1980.

He was martyred during the holy sacrifice of the Mass, at the elevation of the Precious Blood.

Cardinal against Cardinal

Some Catholics appear to be worried, up in arms about reports on the discussions between Cardinals over the question of admitting divorced and remarried persons to Holy Communion. In an interview recently, Cardinal Burke said that he hopes Cardinal Kasper will correct his 'error' on the matter.

There is still time.

These are discussions - not decrees. The Synod hasn't even started yet.  The official discussions and debates haven't even taken place yet.  Lay people are paying way too much attention to the media reports, the interviews, the 'leaks' - and they are creating a furor over rumor and gossip.

Journalists are paid to write about this stuff, as John Allen does here:

It’s cardinal vs. cardinal, round two, on the issue of allowing Catholics who divorce and remarry without an annulment -- a declaration from a church court that their first marriage was invalid -- to receive the sacraments.
Round one came in January, when Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of Pope Francis’s “G8” council of cardinal advisers, took on German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the pope’s doctrinal czar.
Müller had published a piece in the Vatican newspaper seeming to close the door to any change, prompting Rodriguez Maradiaga to take him to task in an interview with a German newspaper.
“I say, my brother, the world isn’t like this, and you should be a little flexible when you hear other voices,” the Honduran prelate said.
Now, we have more crossfire between two princes of the church, though in this case the testy public rebuke is coming from someone who upholds the traditional discipline: Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, widely seen as a strong conservative and one of the late John Paul II’s key advisers on bioethics and marriage and family issues.
Caffarra gave a lengthy interview this week to the Italian newspaper Il Foglio, in which he was asked to respond to a speech given by German Cardinal Walter Kasper during a recent two-day session for all the world’s cardinals with Pope Francis. In that speech, which he called an “overture,” Kasper floated the idea of readmitting the divorced and remarried to communion after a period of penance.
Asked about that idea, Caffarra bluntly said it fails to answer a “very simple” question: What about their first marriage? - Boston Globe

Read it.  Think about it.  But wait for the Synod to start, and then wait for it to be completed.  Wait for the decree which results to be promulgated, rather than speculate on what could happen.  Quit scaring people and causing trouble.

In the meantime pray.

And pay attention to what the Pope actually says:

In extemporaneous remarks to members of Carollo, an Italian association of broadcasters, Pope Francis said that the “sins of the media” are misinformation, calumny, and defamation. The last two, he said, “are grave, but not as dangerous as the first.”
The Pope said that calumny (which involves falsehoods) “is a mortal sin” and defamation (which involves truths that unjustly damage a person’s reputation) “is a mortal sin." - CWN

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Here's one.

Seinfeld's Fr. Curtis.

If you don't go to church because you don't like religious people, be careful!

Hell's full of them.

I just made that up!

Here's a topic for doh-nutz and coffee after Mass: Is Fred Phelps a saint?

All are welcome. - Gather us in.


I know Mr. Phelps died, but I don't know where he is.  May he RIP.  The Catholic Church wouldn't, couldn't proclaim him a saint because he placed himself outside the Catholic Church.  In fact he despised Catholics.  As a 'hyper-Calvinist' I suspect he believed he was predestined and therefore among the elect already.  I don't know about stuff like that.

I mention Phelps because of his position on the evils of homosexuality.  Phelps was an extremist, no doubt about that - wrathful, perhaps in his own valuation, he had the spirit of an Old Testament prophet.  I rather think he was more or less fanatical in the sense of the New Testament, born-again, start-your-own-church-Bible-banger sort of way.  Yet his 'teaching' bore some similarities to medieval sermons and writings of some of the great saints in the Church.  Which is why I asked, facetiously mind you, is Fred Phelps a saint?

No sin in the world grips the soul as the accursed sodomy; this sin has always been detested by all those who live according to God...Deviant passion is close to madness; this vice disturbs the intellect, destroys elevation and generosity of soul, brings the mind down from great thoughts to the lowliest...They become blind and, when their thoughts should soar to high and great things, they are broken down and reduced to vile and useless and putrid things, which could never make them happy...Just as people participate in the glory of God in different degrees, so also in hell some suffer more than others...for this is the greatest sin. -St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444) - Fighting Irish Thomas
Priest and prophet forage in a land they know not.

Tom O'Toole wrote a post reminding Catholics of what the saints had to say about homosexuality - the quote above is from his post.  It is good to remind ourselves of that.  I've done posts on a couple of saints Tom highlights myself, to great accolade, I might add.  I'm kidding of course.  I remember writing about Peter Damian's treatise, Hot Night in Gommorah, or something - the exact title eludes me at the moment.  And Pope St. Pius V and how burning homosexuals at the stake was seen as a perfect penance in his time.  Such posts are always a big hit.  NOT.  Even laced with humor some readers find that stuff offensive in the extreme.

All kidding aside, Tom's post is an excellent reminder that homosexual behavior really is a serious, grave sin, a mortal sin.  Some saints have said it is the worst sin.  Obviously, Churchmen rarely talk that way any longer.  (The reactions to Pope Francis' and Cardinal Dolan's interviews demonstrate that, much to the chagrin of some.)  As we have been told repeatedly, todays emphasis is on conversion.  The Biblical, 'T'raditional teaching hasn't changed - "the tone has changed."  Some people would probably favor a Fred Phelps approach, others would like bishops and priests to preach like St. Bernadine of Siena and other 'hardliners'.  I can understand that.
In this Culture of Death era, when Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson nearly lost his job by quoting St. Paul's teaching on homosexuality, it's unlikely Pope Francis or many—if any—bishops will publicly proclaim the Catholic Church Fathers on the same subject. Due to a combination of concentration on compassion owed the homosexual person, trying to stay politically correct, or perhaps even fearing jail time for a homophobic hate crime, the clergy have largely begged off talking about the not-so-pleasant consequences of the sexual act. Still for the sake of seeing the incredible continuity of Church teachings through the ages, it's now necessary to revisit these directives that both agree with Paul's warnings to the Romans and Corinthians and at the same time would make his skin crawl. - Tom O'Toole
However, today the Catechism still teaches the truth about homosexuality and all forms of sexual immorality.  The documents from the CDF, especially from Cardinal Ratzinger in the Pontificate of John Paul II reiterate Church teaching, while affirming Sacred Tradition and Biblical authority on the sin of homosexuality and its consequences.  The teaching is there.  Pope Benedict was confident of that fact in his Pontificate - since he never issued any other document aside from what was already there.  It's just not always clearly taught.  People like Tom O'Toole remind us of that fact - that it is there - on the books - but it's not always taught.

Outsiders - people outside the Church, as well as some inside the Church - prefer to reject the notion of sin and punishment. Likewise, the culture has lost the sense of sin.  We all know that.  Religious and non-religious people alike know that - "All have gone astray - there is not a good man left."
Priest, prophet, forage in a land they know not.
I said in my alarm;
'no man can be trusted'
all have gone astray,
there is not a good man left -
there is no one who does good,
no, not even one. 

We love you!

The time of mercy can't eclipse the truth.

Calling people to repentance doesn't mean banging them over the head with how horrible they are, or yelling, "You're going to hell if you don't repent."  Mercy is not exacted in hostility and contempt and scare tactics.  The sinner is easily repelled, often because deep down the sinner understands his alienation, his anxiety.  By contrast, the encounter with mercy - with Christ - consoles, embraces, and sees.  It is the light of Christ that enlightens the soul.  Every sinner who has experienced conversion can most likely tell you the moment he first believed, the exact moment he met Jesus... much like the Samaritan woman in today's Gospel when our Lord revealed himself to her - "I am he, the one speaking to you."  (She was still a sinner!  Think of that.  " while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.")   I'm convinced that is how the conversion of sinners comes about.  As Pope Francis indicates in today's Angelus address:

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ In this way – the Pope explained – he cut across the barriers of hostility that existed between Jews and Samaritans, crushing the prejudice that existed in relating to women.  (Ed. note: Imagine she was another type of sinner.)
The Pope said that Jesus’ simple request signals the beginning of an open dialogue, through which, with great delicacy, He entered the interior world of a person to whom, according to social convention, He should not even have spoken to.  (Ed. note: Imagine she was another type of sinner.)
“But this is exactly what Jesus does! Jesus is not afraid. When Jesus sees a person he goes towards that person because he is filled with love. He loves all of us. He does not stop before anyone because of prejudice” he said.
And Francis explained that Jesus does not judge, but acknowledges each person making him or her feel considered and recognized, and stimulating in that person the wish to go beyond their daily ‘routine’.
He explained that the thirst Jesus speaks of is not so much a thirst for water, but the with to quench the thirst of an arid soul. Jesus – Francis said – needs to meet the Samaritan woman to open up her heart: he asks her for a drink to highlight her own thirst. The woman – he pointed out - was touched by this meeting and asks Jesus some deep questions that each of us harbor, but often ignore.
The result of that meeting at the well – Pope Francis continued – “was that the woman was transformed: leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and told the people of her meeting with a man ‘who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’ She was so happy. She had gone to the well to draw water and she found the living water, the spring of living water welling up to eternal life. She ran to the village which had always judged condemned and rejected her and announced that she had encountered the Messiah who had changed her life” he said.
And, Pope Francis said: “each encounter with Jesus changes our life, forever”. - Pope Francis

 Sin and its consequences, judgement and damnation are important to teach - and remember - the teaching is always there.  Likewise, there will always be someone, something to remind us of it.  As I said, sinners intuit that dread within themselves as an alienation - only love and mercy can conquer such barriers.  Love alone cuts across the barriers of hostility that exist between us.  Crushing a bruised reed, quenching a smoldering wick is not the way of salvation.

I may be wrong, but I have confidence in the merciful love of God, who can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.  As the psalm says, in Christ crucified, "mercy and love have met, justice and peace have kissed."  Love makes the truth known to the soul.  Notice how our Lord evangelized, how he called the Samaritan woman to repentance - from the preface for today's Mass:

For when he asked the Samaritan woman for water to drink,
he had already created the gift of faith within her
and so ardently did he thirst for her faith,
that he kindled in her the fire of divine love. 

Without condemning her, he gently elicited from her the confession, "I do not have a husband" - and thus he kindled in her the fire of divine love...
Jesus, I trust in you.

Blood and water flowing
forth from the side of Christ,
as a font of mercy for us,
I trust in you!

Pope Francis was fortunate enough to meet Jean Vanier.

I'm sure Vanier felt the honor was his - but I suspect the Holy Father felt just as privileged.

Jean Vanier, is the founder of l'Arche, the organization where people without disabilities share the lives of those who are disabled.  They live together in community, they work together and serve one another - they share their lives together.

Before meeting with the Holy Father, Vanier was interviewed by Vatican Radio.  he had this to say:

He acknowledged a general malaise in the Church when ministering to people with disabilities. “Many people feel embarrassed before people with disability,” he said, adding that there are still priests who refuse to give Communion to people with disabilities.

“There is still work to do,” he said.

Many people also believe that one has to be a specialist to relate to people with disability. But the only need, he said, is to be human and to relate with the other with simplicity of heart.

He described Pope Francis as “super” in reference to his words and gestures regarding people with disability.

“He is the Pope of encounter in the profound sense of seeing the other as a human being, without judging,” said Vanier. “And I think he is teaching us that encounter is not about converting people or telling them something… but about looking at the other the way Jesus looks at them, with tenderness, kindness and love.” - Vatican Radio

There are one or two people with disabilities at the Mass I attend.  Sometimes they are loud and get excited.  I'm so happy they are there.  I love the variety of persons at the Masses I attend - even the noise they make.  Nothing is a distraction any longer, because we are together in prayer and worship and Holy Communion.  We are together.  Father gives Holy Communion to all who approach - the disabled - and me too.