Archive for the ‘Great Catholic Articles’ Category

Key Principle Of Catholic Social Teaching

Posted: February 26, 2012 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Memory Book

Human Dignity

In a world warped by materialism and declining respect for human life, the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.  Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching.

Community and the Common Good

In a global culture driven by excessive individualism, our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social.  How we organize our society — in economics and politics, in law and policy — directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community.  Our Church teaches that the role of the government and other institutions is to protect human life and promote the common good.

Rights and Responsibilities

Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met.  Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency.  Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities — to one another, to our families and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor And Vulnerable

Catholic teaching proclaims that a basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring.  In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgement (Mt.25) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.

Participation

All people have a right to participate in the economic, political and cultural life of society.  It is a fundamental demand of justice and a requirement for human dignity that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community.  Conversely, it is wrong for a person or a group to be excluded unfairly or to be unable to participate in society.  In the words of the U.S. bishops, “The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were non-members of the human race.  To treat people this way is effectively to say they simply do not count as human beings.”

Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers

In a marketplace where too often the quarterly bottom line takes precedence over the rights of workers, we believe that the economy must serve people, not the other way around.  If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected — the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property and to economic initiative.

Stewardship of Creation

Catholic tradition insists that we show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation.  We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.  This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions which cannot be ignored.

Solidarity

Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live.  We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences.  Solidarity means that “loving our neighbour” has global dimensions in an interdependent world.

Role of Government

Because we are social beings, the state is natural to the person.  Therefore, the state has a positive moral function.  It is an instrument to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good.  It’s purpose is to assist citizens in fulfilling their responsibility to others in society.  Since, in a large and complex society these responsibilities cannot adequately be carried out on a one-to-one basis, citizens need the help of government in fulfilling these responsibilities and promoting the common good.  According to the principle of subsidiarity, the functions of government should be performed at the lowest level possible, as long as they can be performed adequately.  If they cannot, then a higher level of government should intervene to provide help.

Promotion of Peace

Catholic teaching promotes peace as a positive, action-oriented concept.  In the words of Pope John Paul II, “Peace is not just the absence of war.  It involves collaboration and binding agreements.”  There is a close relationship in Catholic teaching between peace and justice.  Peace is the fruit of justice and is dependent upon right order among human beings.


(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=24067)

VATICAN CITY, January 11 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of reflections on prayer at his Jan. 11 general audience by explaining why the Eucharist stands at “the apex” of all Christian prayers.

“By participating in the Eucharist we have an extraordinary experience of the prayer which Jesus made, and continues to make for us all,” he said to the 7,000 pilgrims gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Jesus offers us this prayer, he taught, so that “the evil we encounter in our lives may not triumph, and that the transforming power of Christ’s death and resurrection may act within each of us.”

The Pope’s reflections today were part of his ongoing set of discourses on prayer. He devoted his Jan. 11 words to explaining the deep significance of the Last Supper in salvation history, with “its overtones of the Passover and the commemoration of Israel’s liberation.”

This connection is why the prayer of Jesus “echoes the Hebrew berakah, which includes both thanksgiving and the gift of a blessing.” Christ’s act of “breaking the bread and offering the cup on the night before he died” thereby becomes “the sign of his redemptive self-oblation in obedience to the Father’s will,” the Pope said.

In doing so, Pope Benedict taught, Jesus revealed himself as “the true paschal lamb” which brings the ancient worship of the Jewish people to fulfillment.

It was also Christ’s wish that the supper be “something special, different from other gatherings,” and so he “gave something completely new: Himself,” in anticipation of his cross and resurrection.

“He offered in advance the life that would shortly be taken from him, thus transforming his violent death into a free act of the giving of self, for others and to others. The violence he suffered became an active, free and redemptive sacrifice.”

The Pope said that in contemplating the words and gestures of Jesus “we can clearly see that it was in his intimate and constant relationship with the Father that he accomplished the gesture of leaving to his followers, and to all of us, the sacrament of love.”

He also gave support to his disciples, knowing the difficulty they had “in understanding that the way of God had to pass through the Paschal mystery of death and resurrection, which was anticipated in the offer of bread and wine.”

Pope Benedict noted that even today the Eucharist is “the food of pilgrims” as well as “a source of strength” for those who are “tired, weary and disoriented.”

He concluded his reflection by praying that the Eucharist “always remain the apex of all our prayers,” especially through proper preparation for it, including receiving the Sacrament of Penance.

 

Communion of Divorced and Remarried

Posted: December 26, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

Divorce. By itself civil divorce is not an obstacle to Communion. As a civil action all it does is settle the civil legal effects of marriage (distribution of property, custody of children etc.). However, understood as a moral action, the willful breakup of a marriage or abandonment of one’s spouse is indeed seriously wrong. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear, following on Scripture, that God hates such divorce.

2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”

2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.

2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

Thus, those who are actually responsible for the breakup of the marriage and the failure to be reconciled when possible are indeed guilty of sin and have an obligation to repent and confess their sin before receiving Communion, as would any grave sinner.

On the other hand, of the innocent party in a divorce the Catechism says,

2386  It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.

Thus, the innocent spouse in a marital break-up has the same possibility to receive Communion as other Catholics, with the usual conditions (being free from mortal sin in other areas of life, going to Confession if not, Eucharistic fast and so on).


Remarriage
. As noted above in the citation from the Catechism 2382, a ratified and consummated Christian marriage is indissoluble. This is a marriage where the vows are exchanged by two baptized persons, with the proper intention, and consummated by sexual intercourse. No power on earth can declare such a marriage null and the parties free to remarry. However, a marriage tribunal of the Catholic Church is empowered to judge whether a marriage actually did occur and to issue a Decree of Nullity (popularly, but wrongly, called an annulment) when it judges it did not. (See: Annulment/Decree of Nullity) A person who receives a Decree of Nullity is free to marry in the Church since the first marriage was defective from its beginning (i.e. no marriage). A person who remarries in the Church after an annulment is free to receive the sacraments under the usual conditions (as noted above).

However, often times individuals or couples who have remarried but without a Decree of Nullity want to come into the Church, or if already Catholic approach the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist. Sometimes they are even told they can judge these matters in their own conscience without going to a Marriage Tribunal (sometimes called “the internal forum solution”).

In “Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced-and-Remarried Members of the Faithful” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a letter to the world’s bishops on October 14, 1994 said,

7. The mistaken conviction of a divorced-and-remarried person that he may receive holy communion normally presupposes that personal conscience is considered in the final analysis to be able, on the basis of one’s own convictions, to come to a decision about the existence or absence of a previous marriage and the value of the new union. However, such a position is inadmissible. Marriage, in fact, both because it is the image of the spousal relationship between Christ and his church as well as the fundamental core and an important factor in the life of civil society, is  essentially a public reality. [/library/curia/cdfdivor.txt]

By this document the Holy See affirmed the continuous theology and discipline of the Catholic Church that those who are divorced and remarried without a Decree of Nullity for the first marriage (whether that marriage was made within or outside the Catholic Church) are in an objectively adulterous union that prevents them from honestly repenting, receiving absolution for their their sins, and receiving Holy Communion. Until the marital irregularity is resolved by a Marriage Tribunal, or other procedures which apply to marriages of the non-baptized, they may not approach Penance or Holy Communion. As Pope John Paul II pointed out in Reconciliation and Penance, the Church desires such couples to participate in the Church’s life to the extent possible (and this participation in Mass, Eucharistic adoration, devotions and so on is a great spiritual help to them), as they work toward full sacramental participation.

A Unique Case. One final situation is that of those who have repented of their illicit union, but remain together for a serious reason, such as for the sake of their children. Catholic pastoral practice allows that IF their pastor judges that scandal can be avoided (meaning most people are unaware of their remarriage and consider them a married couple), then they may live together as “brother and sister” (without any sexual relations), and be admitted to the sacraments. If scandal can not be avoided, then they must either  separate or refrain from the sacraments.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

The Litany Of Welcome

Posted: November 29, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Memory Book

Who are you? Are you divorced? Are you married with kids, worrying for them and committed to their welfare? Are you married for the second, or even the third time? Are you a single parent struggling to make ends meet? Are you gay or lesbian? Well, whoever you are, you belong to us because you belong to Christ. Christ is the host here today. Christ sets this table of Word and Bread. And Christ welcomes all.

Are you lonely? Are you a widow? Are you a single man or woman who would prefer to have a spouse? Are you disabled or disfigured? Have you run out of luck? Are you living with shame? Have you been a prisoner? Well, whoever you are, you belong to us because you belong to Christ. Christ is the host here today. Christ sets this table of Word and Bread. And Christ welcomes all.

Are you a newcomer in this parish?  An immigrant maybe? Are you from another Christian tradition? Are you full of doubt today, like Thomas? Has it been a while since you darkened the doorway of this church? Or are you a regular here, full of faith and enthusiasm for the parish? Well, whoever you are, you belong to us because you belong to Christ. Christ is the host here today. Christ sets this table of Word and Bread. And Christ welcomes all.

All people of good will are welcome here: that’s the really good news!

If you’ve been away, you can come back; if you’ve been living in darkness, you can come to the light; if you haven’t been able to believe without seeing him, look around you: the Body of Christ has come to Mass today. Sinners are welcome. Saints, too. Everyone is welcome to come to Christ: My Lord and my God, indeed.

For How to Welcome Everyone Resource download this..

WHWS105 How to Welcome Everyone


(As told by a priest to his congregation in Canada )

Remember you have entered into the house of God for the purpose of prayer, adoration, reflection, or to celebrate a sacrament.
Now is not the time to talk to your friends, but to talk to God.  Please do not bring in any cups of coffee!

In order to help you enter into a sacred space we ask you to remember.

1. Turn off cell phones.  Do not text messages or check your Face book account from the pews or the back of the church.  Leave your social media devices in the car or at home.  It’s time to focus on God.  It’s distracting for others who are trying to pray.  If you are waiting for an important phone call, consider going to Mass at another time.  Cameras likewise should be left in the car, unless you are coming for a tour of the church and you have checked with the tour guide.

2. Do not chew gum during Mass or put it in your side cheek, to chew on it later.  Spit it out before entering into a church.  Did you know that you are supposed to be prayerfully fasting for an hour before Mass?  There is a possibility that if you keep the gum in your mouth and resume chewing after receiving the Eucharist, you may unintentionally spit out a bit of the body of Jesus.  That would be sacrilegious.
 
3. Dress with dignity for Mass.  It seems that many women, many girls in this day and age have a need to always have a ‘sexy’ look.  Mass is not a cocktail party.  Mass is not a hockey arena.  Come dressed with decorum, an aura of dignity.  Consider teaching your children the different types of dress are important for different occasions.  For everything there is a time.  Please remember to dress modestly and ensure sure your daughters do, too.  Bare shoulders and visible bra straps are not a good idea.  They are highly distracting.

4. Do not bring children’s activity bags, granola bars, cheerio’s, juice boxes, water bottles, toys including a child’s DS, play station, game boy, iPod touch or similar types of amusements to church.  Mass is only one hour long.  Children would grow in virtue if their parents expected them to detach from these things for at least an hour a week.  For little toddlers there are beautiful series of little Catholic books put out by Father Lovasik.  There are plastic rosaries or books about saints.  Immerse your children in spiritual treasures during Mass.

5. Parents have a duty give their children ongoing, on the job training, all the time.  That includes the obligation to train their children in the appropriate times to kneel, sit, stand and face the altar.  If children are engaged in playing with toys, eating, and drinking, they are surely not being taught about the fact that Jesus is really up there on the altar, significance of prayer, self control, and the importance of participating in the Mass.  Parents themselves get distracted with managing the dispensing of food and toys.  On top of that it is a distraction to others in the pews who could be hungry themselves, or who are trying to fully participate in Mass.

6. Do not drink bottled water in a house of worship. If an adult, for some reason needs to drink water to take some medication, please leave the church premises or at least the Mass and drink the water, if you must outside the celebration of the Eucharist.

7.  If you are late for Mass, please do not walk down the aisles looking for a seat until it’s appropriate.  You are disrupting others.  The Toronto Symphony does not allow late comers to waltz in at ‘whatever’ time.  Church ushers should be trained to enforce this.  Please do not leave Mass before it ends.  You will be missing the supernatural graces of the final blessing.  Besides it’s a bad example for your kids

8. Do not be an observer of the Mass, but a participator.  Don’t ask yourself, ‘What is this Mass doing for me?”  Instead, ask yourself, ‘What can I do to participate in the Mass more fully?”  Make an effort to listen, follow the readings, the homily, read scripture passages before Mass, learn the prayers of the Mass, follow along in the misslette and sing!  You will become an outstanding role model for your kids.
 
9. Do not have conversations during the Mass.  You would never have a conversation, during a performance of the symphony. If you did, you would be asked to correct your behavior or leave.  Quite simply it’s rude.

10. It might be useful to ask ourselves,Who am I?  Why am I here? 
The answers: To know God, to love him and serve Him especially at Mass!

 ENJOY in the LORD’S presence during the Eucharist Celebration.

As you enter the House God, take some holy water provided at the entrance and sign yourself with the following words:
May the holy waters of baptism, bless me, wash me clean and make me whole, In the Name of the Father and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
 
Before entering your pew, genuflect before The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, saying:
I bow down before you and adore you most Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

At the end of the Mass, after a brief period of thanksgiving prayer, before exiting the pew say: 
 
Thank you Abba Father, thank you Lord Jesus and thank you Holy Spirit for permitting me to be so long in your holy presence and for all the blessings you have showered upon me and this congregation.

Witches are Real by Fr Dwight Longenecker

Posted: October 31, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

They don’t fly on broomsticks or have green skin, ( although come to think of it one witch I knew did have a sick green-ness about the gills, but I think that’s because he was a drunk) but they do cast spells and put curses on people and they do worship Satan, and don’t be deceived by the ‘white magic’ lark. There’s no such thing. All magic is black magic because of the philosophy behind it: those involved in witchcraft seek power, and anybody who seeks power for it’s own sake is bad.

Think of all the wicked people who justify their quest for power by saying it is for a good cause. Almost all evil in the world is caused by people who think they’re doing it for a good cause. Not just Darth Vader. Think of the Nazis who really believed the concentration camps were necessary in order to bring about a master race…see what I mean?

So witches, wicca, witchcraft–all that stuff. Yes, it’s real.

Furthermore, if you invite diabolical powers into your life. Don’t be surprised if they show up, and don’t be surprised if, once you’ve opened Pandora’s box you can’t get the lid back on. Remember in all the fun that the purpose of Hallowe’en is to scare the spooks away–not invite them in. Dressing up as monsters has the same purpose as putting gargoyles on cathedrals–you’re supposed to be scarier than the devil in order to give him the creeps and send him running. So when you carve a jack o’lantern make him scary as you can, but say a prayer as you put him out that he might keep away the real monsters of the night, and if you dress as a ghoul or a ghost or a witch or a warlock remember that you are doing so to creep them out and say a prayer of deliverance from all the dark forces of the world.

And if you come across anyone who takes witchcraft seriously tell them politely that if they summon the devil he will probably come, and that messing with the occult is the spiritual equivalent of an eight year old kid taking a five gallon can of gas into a fireworks warehouse then playing with matches.

(Fr Dwight Longenecker)

Vice and Violence

Posted: October 22, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

by Fr Dwight Longenecker (Fr Dwight Longenecker)

All vice ends in violence. Think about it in terms of the seven deadly sins. In one way or another, if the vice is continued it ends in violence, and if in violence then in death.

Take lust, for example. Oh, it seems so harmless–a little fun in the bedroom. A bit of slap and tickle, a bit of a giggle and gasp. Where would the violence be in lust? Look into the Marquis de Sade and see where unbridled lust takes you. Into the whipping chamber, the torture and rape and the sick scenes of sado masochism. Ordinary sex grows dull so the need for excitement and thrill and physical sensation demands…violence.

Pride is only pride because one is better than another. Pride does not just make us want to win. It makes us want to beat the other guy. Pride puts us not just up, but over–over others who are inferior to us. There is not pride unless there is someone to show off to, and the only ones to show off to are those we deem our inferiors, and it only takes a small push for the pride to turn into violence. Just allow the person on top to have his superior position threatened and he will turn and snarl like a cornered animal–even if he does so with a sweet superior smile and a stab in the back.

Envy leads to violence. Easy to see. When I am envious of another I will murder their reputation, tear them down so they cannot be greater than me, destroy them for being superior, and does it end in real, physical violence? Hell hath no fury like a woman–or man–scorned. Let someone get what was ours or what we think is ours and we may plot to destroy them.

Wrath is violence suppressed. Take off the lid and the wrathful will murder.

Greed is economic violence and a kind of theft. The greedy take from the poor and think nothing of it, and it only takes a small step for the greedy to turn violent. Allow the greedy to think that their wealth and status is threatened and they will kill to defend it.

Is the glutton violent? What, a fat and jovial over eater violent? He is violent towards himself. His god is his stomach and should he be deprived of his addiction he will become violent.

Even the slothful is violent, for he is violent against life itself. The slothful kills joy; kills creativity; sloth is a kind of despair which kills the fullness of life. Kills life. Kills.