Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Little Progress Everyday for the Good Press

Along with being the feast day for Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite friar who was martyred at hands of the Nazis at Dachau concentration camp in Germany as part of the Holocaust, July 27th is the feast for Venerable Maggiorino Vigolungo, an Italian boy who died of a serious illness at age 14.

Maggiorino Vigolungo was born into a peasant family in 1904 that was rich in faith. As a young child, Maggiorino entrusted himself to Fr. Aberione, the founder of the Pauline family, as his spiritual director. Maggiorino determined three things which became his ideal 1) sanctify himself quickly 2) become a priest 3) to become an apostle of the good press.

 Maggiorino entered the Society of St. Paul in 1916 at age 12. He was spiritually sustained with the Holy Eucharist. Vigolungo kept to his precis to "make a little progress everyday". When Maggiorino developed a serious illness, his spiritual director asked him if he wanted to recover or go to Paradise and the boy answered: "My desire is to do the will of God." Maggioirino's last words were: "Salute all of my companions for me that they may pray for me and that we might be united in Paradise".

Maggiorino Vigolungo was declared venerable in 1988 by Pope Blessed John Paul II. Vigoluno's life serves as an example that sanctity is possible even for the young. Due to his aspiration to be an apostle of the good press, some have dubbed Maggiorino Vigolungo as the patron for social media.

Titus Brandsma on Faith

130727a Titus Brandsma

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pope on the Copacabana--Bota fé

Crowd on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro for welcome to Pope Francis for World Youth Day

Originally, the official welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis to World Youth Day was supposed to have been held elsewhere.  But due to the heavy rains in Rio, that venue was a mud pit.  So the welcoming ceremony was hastily moved to the famous Copacabana Beach.

Pope Francis' remarks to the World Youth Day crowd--

“It is good for us to be here!”, Peter cries out after seeing the Lord Jesus transfigured in glory. Do we want to repeat these words with him? I think the answer is yes, because here today, it is good for all of us to be gathered together around Jesus! It is he who welcomes us and who is present in our midst here in Rio. In the Gospel we have heard God the Father say: “This is my Son, my chosen one; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35). If it is Jesus who welcomes us, we too ought to welcome him and listen to his words; it is precisely through the welcome we give to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, that the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future, and enables us joyfully to advance along that way with wings of hope (cf. Lumen Fidei, 7).

But what can we do? “Bota fé – put on faith”. The World Youth Day Cross has proclaimed these words throughout its pilgrimage in Brazil. “Put on faith”: what does this mean? When we prepare a plate of food and we see that it needs salt, well, we “put on” salt; when it needs oil, then you “put on” oil. “To put on”, that is, to place on top of, to pour over. And so it is in our life, dear young friends: if we want it to have real meaning and fulfillment, as you want and as you deserve, I say to each one of you, “Put on faith”, and your life will take on a new flavor, it will have a compass to show you the way; “put on hope” and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark, but luminous; “put on love”, and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful, because you will find many friends to journey with you. Put on faith, put on hope, put on love!

But who can give us all this? In the Gospel we have just heard the answer: Christ. “This is my Son, my chosen one. Listen to him!” Jesus is the one who brings God to us and us to God. With him, our life is transformed and renewed, and we can see reality with new eyes, from Jesus’ standpoint, with his own eyes (cf. Lumen Fidei, 18). For this reason, I want to insist with you today: “Put on Christ!” in your life, and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust; “put on Christ” and you will see the wings of hope spreading and letting you journey with joy towards the future; “put on Christ” and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life.

Today, I would like each of us to ask sincerely: in whom do we place our trust? In ourselves, in material things, or in Jesus? We are all tempted to put ourselves at the centre, to think that we alone build our lives or that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or power. But it is not so. Certainly, possessions, money and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied.

“Put on Christ” in your life, place your trust in him and you will never be disappointed! You see how faith accomplishes a revolution in us, one which we can call Copernican, because it removes us from the centre and restores it to God; faith immerses us in his love and gives us security, strength, and hope. To all appearances, nothing has changed; yet, in the depths of our being, everything is different. Peace, consolation, gentleness, courage, serenity and joy, which are all fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), find a home in our heart, and our very being is transformed; our way of thinking and acting is made new, it becomes Jesus’ own, God’s own, way of thinking and acting. During the Year of Faith, this World Youth Day is truly a gift offered to us to draw us closer to the Lord, to be his disciples and his missionaries, to let him renew our lives.

Dear young people:

“Put on Christ” in your lives. In these days, Christ awaits you in his word; listen carefully to him and your heart will be warmed by his presence; “Put on Christ”: he awaits you in the sacrament of Penance, to heal by his mercy the wounds caused by sin. Do not be afraid to ask God’s forgiveness! He never tires of forgiving us, like a father who loves us. God is pure mercy! “Put on Christ”: he is waiting for you in his flesh in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his presence and his sacrifice of love, and in the humanity of the many young people who will enrich you with their friendship, encourage you by their witness to the faith, and teach you the language of charity, goodness and service.

You too, dear young people, can be joyful witnesses of his love, courageous witnesses of his Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of his light.

“It is good for us to be here”, putting on Christ in our lives, putting on the faith, hope and love which he gives us. Dear friends, in this celebration we have welcomed the image of Our Lady of Aparecida. With Mary, may we be disciples and missionaries. Like her, may we say “Yes” to God. Let us ask that her maternal heart intercede for us, so that our hearts may be open to loving Jesus and making others love him. He is waiting for us, and he is counting on us.


Our Lady of Aperecida

       Vatican Radio

Roger Waters Taps Into Anti-Semitic Imagery

Inflatable Wild Pig prop for Roger Waters The Wall Live (2013) a.k.a. "Pig Drone"

Considerable controversy has been sparked by "Pig Drone" which Roger Waters used as an inflatable prop during a concert in Belgium. Olon Anifus Asif, an Israeli living in Belgium, attended the Roger Waters European concert and noted: 

“I had a lot of fun, until I noticed the Star of David, on the inflatable pig. That was the only religious-national symbol which appeared among other symbols for fascism, dictatorships and oppression of people. Waters crossed the line and gave expression to an anti-Semitic message, beyond all his messages of anti-militancy"

The Elder of Ziyon blog posted a video of this spectacle on You Tube labeled "Pig Drone"

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, labeled the Waters blow up  wild pig as a "grotesque display of Jew-hatred."  Cooper inveighed: “With this disgusting display Roger Waters has made it crystal clear. Forget Israel, never mind ‘limited boycotts promoting Middle East Peace.’ Waters is an open hater of Jews.”

Roger Waters fans would rightly point out that Pink Floyd's album "Animals" (1977) featured an inflated pig.  Moreover, the prop was used during the "Run Like Hell" song from "The Wall" (1979), which was written from the point of view of an anti-hero who  imagines himself turning into a Nazi dictator. 

Todd Gutnick, the director of media relations at the British Anti-Defamation League, seemed unconcerned that the Star of David on Water's inflatable pig had an anti-Semitic intent.  Gutnick noted that Waters has been doing the same thing for years.  Gutnick  observed: "For this most recent tour, the pig appears to have numerous symbols, including a hammer, dollar signs, and sickle and a small Star of David."  Moreover Gutnick noted that in the filmed version of The Wall (1982), mobs raid and destroy the homes of blacks and Jews, so the imagery is consistent with the intent of the song.

Roger Waters in fascist costume during  a live concert of "The Wall"

Delving into the intent of the imagery, the symbols are supposed to represent fascism, dictatorship and oppression of people.  Of course, the Star of David was the only religious-national symbol.  These images displayed on dirgibles have not been static.  One former fan complained when "Bush" was scrawled on the porcine balloon during a prior US tour.  So to keep current and live on the artistic edge, Waters might have included a crescent to depict the authoritarian impulses of Islamists who seek to impose a sharia compliant Caliphate on the world. But that would be at varience with Waters' stated political opinions.

Roger Waters  has released "A Song For Palestine", which shows where he stands on politics in the Holy Land. Waters has been a vocal proponent of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions effort against Israel.  During an interview with Electronic Intifada in March, Roger Waters claimed that:  "[T]he Israeli government runs an apartheid regime in Israel, the occupied territories and everywhere else it decides.”  He has encouraged other artists like Beyonce to boycott Israeli appearances. But if Roger Water's animus is only against Israel as one of the powers that be , this distinction seems to be lost on the general public.

Some comments on the You-Tube "Pig Drone" video felt into typical anti-semitic smears.  This sort of reaction is unsurprising.  Rabbi Cooper opined that: “Waters deployed a classic disgusting medieval anti-Semitic caricature widely used by both Nazi and Soviet propaganda to incite hatred against Jews.”  The imagery may be old in basis and nothing new for Waters' theatrical concert experiences.  But at a time when the world is in turmoil with war on several fronts in the Middle East and a shaky financial system, many may look for scapegoats and Jews are easy targets.

h/t: The Blaze
        International Business Times-UK

Pope Francis on Mercy

Pope Francis

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ignatian Discernment Found in Homeboys Industries

One of the important charisms that St. Igantius of Loyola brought through his spiritual insights is the notion of finding God in all  things.  In anticipation of the founder of the Society of Jesus' feast day, the website Find Your Inner Iggy is running a series of stories about finding God in unlikely places.

The text was written by Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. who discerned his spiritual mission working with the poor and outcast in Los Angeles.  The language may be earthy but by keeping it real, it demonstrates the miracle of finding God in unlikely places.

Louie finished his 18-month training program with us at Homeboy Industries. A gang member and drug dealer, he was tattooed and had a long prison record.

"I was disguised as that guy," he told me once.

He was now thriving in the new job we found him. He texted me one day: “My little fridge just died. Can you help me get a new one?” I text back: “Sears at 4:00.” He responds: “Got it. Beers at 4:00.” When I arrive at the Sears Appliance section, Louie spots me, gallops over, and gives me a bear hug. “Have they called security on your ass yet?’ “Nope,” he says, “but it’s just a matter of time.” We buy a small refrigerator on lay-away, and I drive him to his small, humble apartment.

Before he gets out, he says, “Can I tell you something, G?” He pauses. “Lately... I’ve been havin’ a lot a’ one-on-ones … you know… with God. And ... the Dude shows up.”

I chuckle a little, but he is quite serious. He turns to me, “Now why would he do that?” His tears make a get-away, and he can barely speak. “I mean ... after all the shit I’ve done ... why would He do that?

While it is good that Louie is getting some one-on-ones with the Divine Dude, he missed out on a key insight which those who take the 30 day Ignatian silent retreat should learn.  Much like a spiritual drill sergeant, the Ignatian retreat breaks you down by reminding you of your own sin but in the end build you up by emphasizing that God loves our imperfect selves. But appreciating this unconditional love can tattoo the heart  and can draw us to build the kingdom of God. 

Fr. Boyle began Homeboy Industries in 1992 to help parolees and former gang members lead a better life by finding honest work.  Homeboy Industries does mental health counseling, education  tattoo removal,  and employment services. 

In 2011, Fr. Boyle wrote a book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (2011) in which the ghetto Jesuit distilled twenty years of his experience into faith filled parables centering on how we could live full lives if we could find the joy of loving others and in being loved unconditionally. 

It is amazing where we can find the divine if we only look lovingly.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Drawn to Eternal Truths–“The Truth Is Out There” Comic

A cloistered Eastern Rite  Catholic monk drew upon his lifelong love of comics to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Amadeus, the nom de plum of the author who is part of the Maronite Monks of The Most Holy Trinity  in Petersham, Massachusetts, penned the short graphic novel “The Truth Is Out There” (2013) to explain the truths of the faith in an understandable manner.

The germ for the graphic novel was based on a conversation that the author had prior to entering the monastery with several cradle Catholics who were born and raised in the faith.  As they conversed, Amadeus realized how little any of them knew the faith.  He concluded that the ignorance of this splendor of truth was a stumbling block for his generation of Catholics.

“The Truth Is Out There” depicts two space aged mail carriers discussing life, the universe and everything at a coffee bar.  As the protagonists Brendon and Eric  contemplate the right path to truth and true happiness , one finds his answers ensconced in the Catholic Church.

Although Amadeus seeks to educate readers, since the characters start at the very beginning readers do not have to possess any faith to appreciate the thoughful ideas which they will encounter.  “The Truth Is Out There” seems to avoid shallow and syrupy characterizations typical of Christian media. And the plot allows the space aged couriers to put their coffee house principles to the test in the real “world”.

The author Amadeus had a lifelong love of comics and was inspired by the “Adventures of Tintin”.  His love of drafting prompted him to become an aerospace engineer.  Yet  in 2003, he answered the call to become a contemplative monk, so Amadeus  tried to put those illustration influences aside for his vocation of Eucharistic Adoration as well as praying the Divine Office and the Divine Liturgy.

Maronite Monks in worship

Amadeus found that: “[T]he moment I entered the silence of the cloister, it was like my head was flooded with cartoons. It was nonstop: I just had all these great ideas.”  With much mortification, Amadeus put the project off for a couple of years.  But Amadeus wanted to share the riches of Truth in philosophy and theology which he had discerned in his life as a contemplative monk.

Initially, Amadeus thought of sharing these insights in an illustrated letter, copying the traditions of illuminated manuscripts.  But he found that too boring and decided to do a series of comic strips because that is what he does best. Amadeus opined that: “The harder an idea is, the more helpful it is to draw it out.”

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI proclaimed this liturgical year to be the Year of Faith.  While it celebrated the Golden Anniversary of the start of the Vatican II Council, it also embraced Pope Blessed John Paul II’s call for the New Evangelization.  The New Evangelization is meant to repropose the Gospel to those who have heard and forgotten the Good News as well as to those never exposed to the Christian message.

Even though a cloistered Maronite Monk seems like an unlikely messenger for a contemporary call to faith via pop art, the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.  Bishop Gregory Mansour, of the Maronite Eparchy of Brooklyn, wrote that :

[S]omehow the words 'comic book' and 'intellectually challenging' don’t usually go together, but they do in 'The Truth is Out There' by Amadeus…Thank you, Amadeus, for presenting the journey from the prison walls of our mind to the exhilarating freedom of the truth in such an exciting way.

While comics are not my favored medium of entertainment or education, if a graphic novel can inspire other readers to see that “The Truth Is Out There” and contemplate eternal truths, that’s wonderful.

h/t: Catholic News Agency

Henry David Thoreau on Success


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tardy Jesuitical Discernment

Bert Thelen,  (ex) S.J.

Bert Thelen, S.J., an eighty year old Jesuit who had spent the last 14 years at  Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska has petitioned to become laicized.  Thelen announced his intention to abandon his vows in an open letter to friends and colleagues that was also published in The National Catholic Reporter. In his apologia, Thelen professed to renounce his ordination as well as leaving the Society of Jesus is to protest what he describes as a patriarchal church which refuses to allow for priestesses and permitting homosexual so called marriage.

Although it is lamentable that it took  Thelen 45 years of service to the Church to discern his objections to the Magisterium about the vocation of Holy Orders and Marriage, but the manner which he chose to “self-defrock” was troubling.  Rather than  showing some  semblance of personal integrity by conducting his change in spiritual status in private, Thelen chose to publically score some  partisan political points. Hence it is only fair to scrutinize Thelen’s conduct and consequences of the spiritual change of status which he seeks.

Jesuits take twenty years to take their final vows.   Part of Thelen’s indictment of the Church is that its patriarchal clericalism prompted him to abandon ordained ministry.  There have been male priests for over 1600 years.  So why could not Thelen discern his objection to an “all boys club”.  Pope Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacramentalis (1994)  which reaffirmed the teaching that since there is no scriptural basis for the ordination of women, the Catholic Church does not have this power.  This was several years before Thelen claimed that his lovers quarrel with the Church began.

Those who accept the calling and take the sacrament of Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church typically take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  Jesuits take an additional vow of obedience to the Pope (regarding their mission).  Upon Thelen’s taking leave of his priestly faculties, he was still listed as “faculty ally” of Creighton’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance.  It is dubious whether Thelen carried out this mission in an orthodox manner.

Thelen chose to trumpet his belief in same-sex marriages as precipitating his new call to be part of liberally inspired laity. Obviously, Natural Law and thousands of years of tradition mean nothing to an ideologically incensed ordained priest.  Of course, the logic of Pope Venerable Paul VI’s Humanite Vitae (1968) reaffirming the primacy of procreation in marital sexual relations is passe. More recently, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI used his Christmas message in 2012 to denounce same-sex “marriage” and adoption as an attack on the traditional family made up of a father, mother and child.   Perhaps Thelen’s prophetic protest of renouncing his vows was precipitated by Pope Francis and Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI’s encyclical Lumen Fidei (2013), which asserted that:  

[Marriage should be the] stable union of man and woman...This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation.

So since even the liberal new Pontiff does not follow the progressive trend of blessing same-sex unions so Thelen decided to abandon his ordinational obligations.

Although ordaining women and gay marriage were the polemic flash points for Thelen’s new calling, he also had condemnation of his order of the last 45 years which he connected to his aspiration of religion without pedestals.  He condemns the general practices of Jesuits:

Make no mistake about it: the Society of Jesus shares in and benefits from this patriarchal and clerical way of proceeding. We still regard ourselves as the shepherds and those to whom and with whom we minister as sheep. I discovered this painfully when the Society of Jesus decided against having Associate members. We are not prepared for co-membership or even, it seems at times, for collaboration, though we pay lip service to it. "Father knows best" remains the hallmark of our way of proceeding. I can no longer, in conscience, do that. But I still honor and love my fellow Jesuits who work from that model of power over. It is still where we all are as a company, a Society, a community of vowed religious in the Roman Catholic church.

So after bad mouthing his brothers,  octogenarian Bert Thelen will set off on his new calling.  While I know of an 80 year old Jesuit who recently celebrated his 50th year of being a Jesuit and is active being a spiritual director and Christian Life Community facilitator, these wonderful ministries would not pay the bills.   It is dubious that the prophetic protestor will earn his keep so he will live off of the largess of the Society of Jesus as provisions need to be made for a laicized priest. That’s rich in irony.

Catholics have the appreciation that our spiritual vocations, namely Marriage and Holy Orders, not only reflect states of living but that sacramentally mark us.  This is why Catholics seek to ensure that one is sacramentally understand their vows (and annulments take so long to adjudicate).  Similarly, the Church believes that once a priest, always a priest like the order of Melchizedek.  But because of political pique, Thelen wants to walk away from his vows and be a useful idiot for those who rail against the Church’s teachings.

Reading the rhetoric in Thelen’s open letter, one wonders if there is much of a loss.  With phrases like: “Biocide is even more devastating than genocide” and the “survival and well being of ALL earthlings” Thelen’s views may be more welcomed amongst secular humanists and activist atheists rather than in an ecclesiastical environment.  But I am scandalized by Thelen’s assertion that through his new calling, he as lived and died as a Jesuit but now is free from being shackled by a  judicial, institutional, clerical, hierarchical system.   Thelen’s fickle commitment and sui generis understanding of death to me shows the shallowness of his sacred professions.  Moreover, the emphasis of Earthlings (sic) preventing biocide, egalitarianism which obliterates authority and championing secular humanist trends intimates what Thelen holds in deep esteem.

Rather than respecting his polemic philippic, I find this apologia to be a tardy Jesuitical discernment.  It is a pity that years of serving the People of God is marred by a cheap political stunt.

Assessing Atheist Archetypes

The Guardian recently publicized a study out of the University of Tennessee which characterized six types of atheists.

Amongst the 1,153 atheists living in southeastern states, 37% of those surveyed were said to be “intellectual atheists”.  These “intellectual atheists” are characterized as well educated people who are interested in religion but who are non-believers.  

Jacques Derrida caricature
Such intellectual atheists are comfortable in secular societies which reflects Jacques Derrida’s deconstructionist conceit which rejects an exclusive hermeneutic of truth.  This is distinct from “non-theists” who live life without regard to considering transcendental truths. 

The "anti-theists" comprised 14% of the study.  These anti-theists colloquially can be characterized as the “angry, argumentative, dogmatic type”.  This group aggressively argues for their belief or non-belief system.  

Some sympathizing with secular humanism think that the 14% was too high a figure.  But as in individual who is inclined to engage in metaphysical musings with others, it seems like a low figure.  It may be that dogmatic and narcissistic anti-theists are more vocal in evangelizing their anti-theist opinions.  

Another subcategory of atheists are “ritual atheists” who may not themselves believe but believe that society can be enhanced by ritual and tradition.  These ritual non-theists  can rationalize their assent to religious rituals  for others as a means to live life and achieve happiness rather than a route to transcendental liberation.  

A similar class of atheists are “seeker agnostics” who can best be described as “spiritual but not religious”.  Theists may jibe that “seeker agnostics” are atheists who have lost their faith.  Much of American Jewry seems to align itself as ritual atheists or seeker agnostics, but it would seem more cultural affinity rather than spiritual contemplation.

A final portion of the atheist population can be labeled “activists”, as atheists who hold strong ethical and environmental opinions which activists do not perceive are not rooted in religion.  Of course, a deeper contemplation of these mainly western values begs the question from where these ethos are derived. 

These six atheistic archetypes does not include every opinion, Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion (2008), argues that religious education should be a part of a literary education in state schools.  Dawkins contends that the King James Version translation of the Bible (1611) has inspired 129 biblical phrases that are instantly recognizable to any cultured English speaker. 

 But before one is lead to believe that Dawkins might be a “ritual atheist”, Dawkins  endorses the effort to put  King James Bibles in state schools to show that scripture is not a good guide to morality. 

h/t: The Guardian

Thursday, July 4, 2013

God Bless America

"Father of all nations and ages, we recall the day when our country claimed its place among the family of nations; for what has been achieved we give you thanks, for the work that still remains we ask your help, and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation, grant that, under your providence, our country may share your blessings with all the peoples of the earth. 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." 

{from the July 4th Collect of the Roman Missal}

Monday, July 1, 2013

A God Forsaken Patriotic Beer Commercial

A new advertisement campaign by Samuel Adams Brewing from Boston, Massachusetts has an "Independent" take on our founding fathers' declaration:


The namesake of this brewery would certainly have qualms about this God-forsaken omission. Samuel Adams opined: 

But the brewery was not the first to lop off "endowed by their Creator".  President Obama was infamous for not reading those lines about our Creator  off the teleprompter when reciting patriotic phrases.

Capitol Visitors' Center,Washington, DC
This advertising omission is just another instance of secular humanists trying to re-write history and claim that our Founding Fathers were atheists and to deny  the importance of a God centered revolution to bestow liberty upon America. The $621 million Capitol Visitors Center initially tried to pass off "E Pluribus Unum" as the national motto instead of "In God We Trust".   This was corrected only after 108 lawmakers backed Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA 4th) protested to the Architect of the Capitol for this historical inaccuracy.  

Washington Monument Capstone Replica, Washington, DC 
There was considerable controversy in 2007 when the "Laus Deo"  inscription on the replica capstone of the Washington Monument was   obscured.  The National Park Service promised to correct what it characterized as a stupid mistake. Praise God that that they felt the heat and then saw the light. 

Perhaps the Samuel Adams Brewing  ad was just another isolated incident of forsaking the faith of our founding fathers.  But as Independence Day approaches, we ought to toast the unalienable rights granted by our Creator for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. 

Pope Francis on Problems

We must not be afraid of problems- Jesus himself said to His disciples: 'It is I. Do not be afraid.' In life's difficulties, with problems, with new things that we must face: the Lord is always with us.  We may make mistakes, certainly, but He is always with us and says: You made a mistake, now get back on the right path...
Masquerading Life, disguising life, is not a very good way to behave.  No, no.  Life is what it is, that's the reality.  It's exactly as God wants it to be, or as God allows it to be, it is what it is, and we have to accept it as it is.  And the Spirit of the Lord will give us the solution to our problems.
                                                                                    ~ Pope Francis 

These remarks come from an off the cuff homily which Pope Francis gave on April 13th.  Two hallmarks of Pope Francis' pontifcate seems to be offering homespun homilies and concentrating on being the Bishop of Rome.  These are qualities which emulate Pope Pius X, who often composed his own Sunday homilies.

James Madison on Conscience

James Madison