Care for the earth has become a major political issue. But care for creation is not a new issue for Catholics. Franciscan Sr. Joan Brown takes a look at how the church has understood creation through the centuries. In an online essay posted at Catholic Update, she shows how the gift of the earth is very much tied in with how Catholics celebrate the sacraments.
Calling obedience "that movement which the heart makes when it leaps in joy having once discovered the truth," Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Okla. in a homily this Saturday called on Catholics dealing with the sex abuse crisis to accept their suffering as a sign of obedience to Christ.
"Suffering...is at the heart of personal holiness," said Slattery. "Because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory."
Slattery's homily came during a traditionalist, Latin language Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. As NCR reported, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was to be the main celebrant for the Mass but agreed to step aside following objections from sex abuse survivors and others. Slattery stepped in at the last minute to take his place.
Without mentioning the sex abuse crisis by name, Slattery's homily focused almost exclusively on one way to respond to the recent uproar: through the acceptance of all suffering in the name of obedience to Jesus and the church.
Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister gave the closing keynote address at The International Gender Justice Dialogue held in Puerto Vallarto, Mexico, April 19-22. The dialouge was a joint project of the Gender Justice Initiative of the International World Court and the Nobel Women's Peace Initiative.
This Sunday, my 16-year old daughter Daniella celebrated her Confirmation. It was a beautiful ceremony; the local bishop was there, gave a funny and warm homily about growing up and becoming mature in faith.
It was supposed to be a key rite-of-passage for my family, steeped in tradition and ritual, tracing its roots -- I'd always imagined -- to bar and bat-mitzvahs in the Jewish tradition, marking the transition to adulthood. But, actually, it all kind of slipped by me.
Today is the feast of St. Rafael Arnáiz Barón, a Spanish Trappist who died of diabetes in 1938. (The web site, that of his monastery, San Isidro de Dueñas at Palencia, is in Spanish, but easily read. Note the photograph of Rafael holding a cigarette in the "Madrid y Toledo" section.)
According to a report from a well-connected Italian Vatican writer, Pope Benedict XVI will shortly announce the creation of a “Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization,” to be presided over by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella. The office will be dedicated to rekindling the faith in the developed West, above all Europe and North America.
Assuming that report is correct, it’s striking for at least three reasons:
My colleagues Demetria Martinez and Mario Garcia have done a fine job calling attention to the racist and immoral anti-immigrant legislation currently awaiting the signature of the state of Arizona. I second all that they have written about this horrid act.
But, that is not the only egregious and racist act of the Arizona legislature in recent days. The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a law requiring future candidates for President to present a copy of their birth certificates to the Secretary of State before they have their names put on the ballot. The law is the outgrowth of the “birther” movement, those people who question whether or not President Barack Obama was born in the United States and, therefore, eligible for election as President.
A few days ago, Cardinal Roger Mahony denounced in the strongest terms the retrograde and dangerous anti-immigration bill passed by the Arizona state legislature. The bill if signed into law by the governor would allow local police in that state to stop anyone they suspect of being undocumented.
Cardinal Mahony joined with the Catholic bishops of Arizona and other state religious leaders in a letter urging the governor to veto the legislation.
As they noted, the proposed law could lead to widespread discrimination against Mexican Americans and other Latinos who can be stopped and asked to prove their citizenship or legal residence.
But when you think of it, what can anyone show that they are citizens or that they are legal? Few of us walk around with our passports and a driver’s license is not proof of citizenship or legal status. This clearly is an issue that can be abused by the police.
Cardinal Mahony also criticized other aspects of the bill such as outlawing day workers from congregating to look for work. The right to work should not be forbidden especially since these workers have so little.
Just got this note from our friends at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC.
Today is the anniversary of the death of Cesar Chavez, the great nonviolent prophet of the United Farmworkers Movement. We beckon his intercession as we strive to exemplify his fidelity to Jesus and his untiring commitment for social justice. I read the below prayer by Chavez as we concluded our White House peace vigil today.
With love and gratitude,
Prayer of the Farm Workers' Struggle
--Cesar E. Chavez
Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people's plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.