Saturday, February 23, 2013

Good Priests-Faithful Priests

Whenever I hear news reports in the secular press filled with accusations and salacious reports from unnamed sources, relating to our Church and the clergy,  I cringe and think of all the good priests in the world and what they must be going through when they hear of these things. The Italian press, from what I've read is printing information without checking sources and the Church is being slandered once again. I have no idea what is factual and what isn't, all I know is that in my life, I have only met kind, intelligent, faithful priests who have listened to me when I was in mourning and prayed for me when I suffered losses that were unimaginable (having lost my parents and then my dear brother, within a few years time). I have been at meetings with leaders in the Church, leaders who work hard and strive to give their best for the good of the Church.
So I have been greatly blessed to meet and to have parish priests who were very good men, very giving and kind. Those are the only priests I have ever met, which is one reason I am so devoted to the Church. The main reason, of course, is my relationship with and love of God. The Church has enabled me to grow spiritually and religiously through the sacraments and liturgies. Most importantly, to grow closer to God.
During this difficult Lent, where there is so much written which can defame and hurt our Church, so much scandal being discussed, I hope we will all pray for the good priests we have known and who minister to us. It must be so difficult for them to read scandalous news stories, perhaps they don't read them. I probably shouldn't be reading them either as they upset me.
May God Bless our Church, especially Pope Benedict and all the clergy, religious and laypeople who care and try to bring forth the Reign of God.  And may the new Pope, when he is elected be the right Pope for this historic and perilous time in history, that we are living through.

Good article on this topic:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rocco Palmo-"Church Whisperer"

Rocco Palmo, the well known Catholic blogger who blogs at "Whispers in the Loggia" at blogspot has come a long way since he first started posting on his blog in 2004 from his parents' house in Philadelphia. He became famous in the Catholic world and now everywhere else, by writing informative entries and at times, coming through with "inside information." He has good connections, I'm not sure how he managed that but he does.
Yesterday I was reading a front-page article in the New York Times titled "Pope Electors Are Sizing Up A Field of Peers," by Laurie Goodstein and Rocco was quoted in the Times article. Quite an accomplishment. Even though Rocco gets plenty of "inside information" on the worldwide Church and the Vatican, even he doesn't know who the next Pope will be (obviously!) There is a list of possible contenders, but out of the 117 Cardinal electors, there is that elite group who are serious contenders. Our own New York Cardinal, Timothy Dolan is in the running though I saw a couple of lines from a New York Post article about it and Cardinal Dolan doesn't take it seriously (being elected as Pope that is). Though his mother would be so proud and he has a great way with the media.  The Italians love him and his affable manner. Then there was that extraordinary address he gave on evangelization to the College of Cardinals before he received the red hat.  But we'll have to see what happens at the conclave, Come Holy Spirit Come! I pray that the choice of the next Pope is the will of God and God's will is so clear that the Cardinals can't miss it.
My son was studying in Rome, for a semester, at the time of the last conclave. It was a very exciting time to be in Rome, as it will be this time. Without the sadness of the death of a Pope, this will be different but no less intriguing. We all hold our breath, waiting and hoping, for an energized, renewed Church, one that can truly evangelize the modern world.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Strange Lent-Vatican Surprises And Russia's Meteor

What an unusual Lent this is turning out to be. Just before Ash Wednesday Pope Benedict announced his resignation at the end of the month, due to health problems and Catholics everywhere were stunned and in disbelief as the realization hit. Catholics realize (along with everyone else) that they are witnessing an historic time in Church history and the papacy. The Chinese have a saying, "May you live in interesting times." Well, it doesn't get more interesting than this for Catholics. A consistory will take place during Lent. High drama and intrigue at the Vatican as the Cardinals gather and have the monumental responsibility of choosing the next Pope, guided by the Holy Spirit. It hardly seems like a penitential time, with all the excitement and the coming news coverage and endless commentary. With so much to read and watch, Catholics are going to have to be very disciplined, in regards to prayer. Talk about a distraction during Lent. The election for the new Pope is extremely important, given the challenges the Church is facing in the modern world. We need a Pope/Saint, nothing less will do. And in my humble opinion, we need a Pope with a lot of common sense.
And if that news wasn't strange and unexpected enough, out of the blue, a huge meteor exploded over Russia on Friday morning causing property damage and injury to many. It caused a shocking shock wave as it hit the earth's atmosphere.
For centuries, human beings on this beautiful planet have been fighting over ideologies and instead we should have been using that energy and money to help the poor and also (in modern times) to build early warning capabilities to ward off and protect against meteor strikes. We take for granted that our planet is located in a relatively "quiet" part of the Milky Way Galaxy (Thank God for that!) and we often forget we are just a speck in an immense Universe but on Friday morning that stark reality became apparent and clear.
Prayer is very important and I couldn't live without it, but we also need common sense solutions to the problems facing the Church, the world and the world's population.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Shock of Pope Benedict's Resignation

I, along with other Catholics are shocked to hear the news this morning that Pope Benedict has decided to resign. This is an historic move for the Pope and I'm sure it is one that was preceded by much prayer and reflection. I give him a lot of credit for having the courage and humility to say, "it's time."
I'm sure it's a decision that has weighed on him for a long time. He has given much to the Church and sometimes it takes a great man (or woman) to know when the time is right. Timing is everything in life.
The Pope made the stunning announcement during a meeting of Cardinals on Monday. He said, "After having repeatedly examining my conscience, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry......."
The words that struck me are "the certainty." He's sure about this decision. The Cardinals present in the room, who had no advance notice, I'm sure, probably almost fell off their chairs, or they thought they must of misunderstood. After all, they were in an historic meeting and it's certainly not what they were expecting.
The 85- year- old Pope deserves a must needed rest. He's written great books about Jesus and will probably keep writing in retirement. I can't even imagine the stress he was under as Pope. There is a lot of politics in the Church, which can be very psychologically draining.  It's a beautiful institution, as I've experienced it. It's a Divine institution, as Jesus is the invisible, Divine head of the Church but on a human level, the Pope is the human head of the Church on earth. In the earthly realm, there is so much politics, hard work, meetings, liturgies and events (and unfortunately, scandal) besides everything else and the demands of the office must be very burdensome. The fact that he was betrayed by a member of his staff, his butler, must have been very disturbing to the Pope as well.
Good decision, Pope Benedict! Enjoy your retirement and let someone younger, with more energy and robust health take over. May the Holy Spirit guide the Church at this crucial and historic time. Come Holy Spirit, Come. Veni Sanctus Spiritus!
Just a thought, imagine if Cardinal Timothy Dolan becomes that next Pope, it could happen, now that would be a real shocker!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo The Snowstorm and Love Quotes

Since we are in the midst of digging out of a major snowstorm in the Northeast and I've just spent time shoveling snow and cleaning off my car, I started thinking of thoughts which could lift my spirits. Since it is close to Valentine's Day and also the beginning of Lent, I thought I would share some quotes about the importance of love. After all, the entire New Testament can be summed up in one word and that word is love. Jesus's life was filled with love, love for God the Father, love for his disciples and apostles and love for the most forgotten and marginalized in society. Jesus spoke of love and acted with love and sadly the world still doesn't get his important message (for the most part). NJA

Love one another as I have loved you.  (John 15:12)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength...
(Dt. 6:5)

I am united forever to God whom I have loved with all the strength of my heart. 
(St. Therese of Lisieux)

The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved.  (Victor Hugo)

Earth laughs in flowers.  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
(Blessed Mother Teresa)

Where there is love, there is life.  (Mahatma Gandhi)

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.
(1 Th 3:12)

Let us always meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love.
(Blessed Mother Teresa)