Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Feast of Our Lady of Kibeho

The feast day of Our Lady of Kibeho is November 28, 
the anniversary of the initial apparition to Alphonsine Mumureke in 1981.

"Although I am the Mother of God, I am simple and humble. I always place myself where you are. I love you as you are. I never reproach my little ones. When a child is without reproach in front of her mother, she will tell her everything that is in her heart. I am grateful when a child of mine is joyful with me. That joy is a most beautiful sign of trust and love. Few understand the mysteries of God's love. Let me as your Mother embrace all my children with love so that you can confide your deepest longings to me. Know that I give all your longings to my Son Jesus, your brother." - Our Lady to Alphonsine

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Medal of the Immaculate Conception.

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

November 27 marks the feast of the Miraculous Medal, otherwise known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception. Though the feast honors the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the memorial commemorates the anniversary of the apparition of the Mother of God to St. Catherine Laboure in Paris in 1830, wherein Our Lady showed the nun the medal she wished to be made for those to wear seeking her aid and protection. The Blessed Virgin spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.” Countless miracles followed, hence the name, the Miraculous Medal. The story here.
"O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
In 12 days the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  On the 10th, the feast of Our Lady of Loreto.  On the 12th, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Monday, November 25, 2019

For the Record - Pope Benedict on Pope Francis

"I must say that, unfortunately, those very bishops who oppose decentralization are those who have been lacking in the kind of initiatives one might have expected of them." - Pope Benedict
I saw this excerpt from Benedict's 'Last Testament' on FB and copied it on my FB page.  It is important enough to share, especially to contradict the anti-papist sentiment against Pope Francis.  Although, some now have turned against Pope Benedict as well, so what can I say?
A conversation broke out on Fr Angel Sotelo's Facebook wall about what Pope Emeritus Benedict thinks of Pope Francis and his papacy. As Fr Angel prudently points out, reports of certain media personalities citing "unnamed sources" should be taken with a grain of salt. Pope Emeritus Benedict simply is not the type to engage in proxy politics through intermediaries.
Moreover, as a prudent son of the Church and the only person alive besides Francis to have held the office of Roman Pontiff, any concerns Pope Benedict did have he likely would express privately to Francis, Fr Angelo suggests.
I agree with Fr Angel. Pope Benedict simply is not the type to speak behind his successor's back. Having always served God and the Church before himself, the pope emeritus would save any thoughts for private conversation between the two pontiffs.
That being said, Pope Emeritus Benedict did break his post-retirement silence with his longtime papal biographer and interviewer Peter Seewald. Their last collaborative interview took place after Pope Benedict's retirement. It is published in English under the title "Last Testament".
In it, Benedict shares his following thoughts on his successor. They give pause to those who would pit the two papacies against each other--whether from the political left or the political right:
Seewald: Many things about Pope Francis are unprecedented. He is the first Jesuit Pope; he is the first to choose the papal name of Francis; and perhaps most importantly, he is the first Pope from the ‘New World’. What does that mean for the global Catholic Church?
Benedict: It means that the Church is flexible, dynamic and open, and that it is developing from within. That it is not frozen in old patterns, but that surprising things happen again and again. That it carries a dynamism which allows for constant renewal. What is so beautiful and encouraging, is that in our times most of all there are things that one would never have expected and that show the Church to be alive and full of new possibilities. On the other hand, it was probably to be expected that South America would play a central role. It is the largest Catholic continent, and at the same time it is suffering the most and facing the most problems. It has bishops who are truly great men, and – in the midst of such trouble and suffering – a profoundly dynamic church. And so in some sense I think South America’s day had come. The new Pope, though, is South American and Italian, so he represents both the intertwining of the new and old worlds and the inner unity of history.
Seewald: With Pope Francis, in any case, the global Catholic Church is losing its Eurocentricity, or at least its Eurocentric tendencies will weaken.
Benedict: It is clear that Europe can no longer take itself for granted as the centre of a global Church, but that the Church now truly appears in its universality with equal stature for all the continents. Europe retains its responsibilities, the specific duties it has. But faith in Europe is weakening so much that, on that basis alone, Europe cannot fully and solely be the driving force behind a global Church and behind the faith within that Church. And we are seeing new elements, such as African, South American or Filipino elements, bringing new dynamism to the Church which can reinvigorate the tired West, wake it from its exhaustion, from its forgetfulness of the faith. Particularly when I think of Germany – of the power of bureaucracy there, of how theoretical and political faith has become and how it lacks a living dynamism – which often seems as though it is nearly crushed by overweight bureaucratic structures, it is encouraging that other actors are asserting themselves in the global Church as well. In the end, they are missionizing Europe anew from the outside.
Seewald: If one says the loving God corrects every Pope in his successor – in what ways are you being corrected through Pope Francis?
Benedict: [Laughs] Yes, I would say, in his direct contact with people. That is, I think, very important. He is definitely a Pope of reflection as well. When I read Evangelii gaudium, or even the interviews, I see that he is a thoughtful person, who grapples intellectually with the questions of our time. But at the same time he is simply someone who is very close to people, who stands with them, who is always among them. That he is living in Santa Marta as opposed to the Palazzo is due to the fact that he wants to be among the people at all times. I would say that that is something one can achieve up there as well [in the Palazzo Apostolico], but it does show the new emphasis. Perhaps I was not truly among the people enough. And then, I would say, there is the courage with which he exposes problems and searches for solutions.
Seewald: Your successor is not perhaps a little too boisterous, too eccentric for you?
Benedict: [Laughs] Every person must have their own temperament. One person might be somewhat reserved, the other a little more forceful than one imagined. But I do think it is good that he approaches people so directly. Of course, I ask myself how long he will be able to maintain that. It takes a great deal of strength, two hundred or more handshakes and interactions every Wednesday, and so forth. But, let us leave that to the loving God.
Seewald: So you do not have any problems with his style?
Benedict: No. On the contrary, I approve, definitely.
Seewald: The old Pope and the new Pope are living on the same patch of earth, only a couple of hundred yards apart from one another. You had said you would always be at your successor’s disposal. Does he seek out your experience, your advice?
Benedict: In general there is no reason to. On certain topics he has asked me questions, such as on the interview he gave in Civiltà Cattolica.i OK, I answer him, of course; I express myself. But all in all I am very glad that normally I am not brought into these matters.
Seewald: So you did not receive Pope Francis’s first apostolic exhortation – Evangelii gaudium – before anyone else?

Benedict: No, but he did write me a beautiful personal letter which I received along with the exhortation, in his tiny handwriting. It is much smaller than mine. In comparison, my handwriting is huge. Which is hard to believe. Yes, very. The letter was very endearing, and so I did get his apostolic exhortation in a way that was special. And it was bound in white, as it normally is only for the Pope. I am currently reading it. It is not a short text, but it is a beautiful one, and grippingly written. Certainly not all of it by himself, but much of it is very personal.
Seewald: Some commentators have interpreted this exhortation as a break, particularly because of its call for the decentralization of the Church. Do you detect a break from your Papacy in this programmatic text?
Benedict: No. I, too, always wanted the local churches to be active in and of themselves, and not so dependent on extra help from Rome. So the strengthening of the local church is something very important. Although it is also always important that we all remain open to one another and to the Petrine Ministry – otherwise the Church becomes politicized, nationalized, culturally constricted. The exchange between the local and global church is extremely important. And I must say that, unfortunately, those very bishops who oppose decentralization are those who have been lacking in the kind of initiatives one might have expected of them. So we had to help them along again and again. Because the more fully and actively a local church itself truly lives from the centre of faith, the more it contributes to the larger whole. It is not as though the whole Church were simply dictating to the local churches: what goes on in the local churches is decisive to the whole. When one member is diseased, says St Paul, all are. When, for example, Europe becomes poor in faith, then that is an illness for the others as well – and vice versa. If superstition or other things that should not occur there were to fall in upon another church, or even faithlessness, that would react upon the whole, inevitably. So an interplay is very important. We need the Petrine Ministry and the service of unity, and we need the responsibility of local churches.
Seewald: So you do not see any kind of break with your pontificate?
Benedict: No. I mean, one can of course misinterpret in places, with the intention of saying that everything has been turned on its head now. If one isolates things, takes them out of context, one can construct opposites, but not if one looks at the whole. There may be a different emphasis, of course, but no opposition.
Seewald: Now, after the present time in office of Pope Francis – are you content?
Benedict: Yes. There is a new freshness in the Church, a new joyfulness, a new charisma which speaks to people, and that is certainly something beautiful.
Benedict XVI, Pope. Last Testament: In His Own Words (Kindle Locations 720-788). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.