A Pretzel and The Absolute Right to Abortion.


The blog at First Things gets it right.  In modern America, abortion matters.  Often, it surpasses other rights.  After all, the act of an abortion grants an ugly spiritual power to certain groups in our society and  in the end, it “matters more than anything else.”     Our society is disordered and the logic is twisted into nonsense, when it permits the killing of kids in the womb and justifies it through politics.  In fact, lesser crimes like lying and cheating, and denying the rights of a parent become easy. 

For instance, as First Things reports in its blog about a 15 year-old pregnant girl that attends a public school and goes to the local school medical clinic.  In the case reported, the local school district cooperated with the minor’s abortion without a parent’s consent.  

Ironically, what if the pregnant youth, while being transported to the abortion office, had a headache and requests the school nurse for a pain reliever?    Imagine it for a moment, during transport, while attending the pregnant child, the school nurse calls the mother and asks permission to administer aspirin to the minor child?   That is required by law.  Yet, with great irony, the school nurse is not obligated to inform the mother or obtain the mother’s permission for the girl to commit an abortion.

This is absolute objective nonsense.   Yet, that is the state of the law in some states in America!   When human law abandons the concept that each and every human person has human dignity with the right to make choices and live in dignity, this is the kind of twisted mess that results. 

With further irony, what happens if the provider botches the abortion that requires immediate hospital treatment? The girl will be transported to the local hospital via ambulance and, guess what, absent an emergency the hospital would have to call a parent for permission to medically treat the child!  Also, regardless of what happens at the hospital, who is responsible for the hospital bills and ambulance?  The parents.

Only a pretzel could do better.

Dear Congressperson: Vote ‘No’ on Health Care Bill


+ St. Joseph, Husband of Mary
March 19, 2010

Dear Chapter promoters, presidents, priors, councilors, Dominicans and Friends:

The national struggle for peace and justice starts with us—personally—today. 

In this Lenten Season, it requires to individually convert and seek God and to live in holiness.  A good example converts many hearts and minds that can in time convert the Nation.   It is a great source of hope.  It is preaching without words.

As a Nation, it is time to choose rightly and do rightly.   If God’s people have hope in justice and we act on that hope, we can live in His peace.  With current national debate, the message must resonate,  “It is time to stop killing the innocent; whether in the public and private institutions, in the nursing homes, on the streets, in the home, or in the womb. 

The principle is that the just treatment of all persons is grounded on the human dignity of each individual person.  To have peace and justice and a well-ordered society in this Nation requires this principle to be known and lived in the hearts and minds of God’s people that journey and live in America. 

This begins with the protection of the most innocent people among us.  These persons inhabit the womb and have a soul, a body, a mind, a will, and emotions.  These persons have made no choices, have not seen a sunset, have not walked along the sea, have not enjoyed a choice to love, and have not prayed and listened to the voice of God.

With the knowledge of these persons in mind, I urge you to contact your Congressperson and encourage him or her to vote against the health care bill as presently constructed.  It remains fatally flawed on the issues of abortion funding and conscience protections.  It would expand usage of the practice of, and the political right to commit an abortion.  It cannot withstand serious moral scrutiny. 

If you do not know the name and contact information of your congressperson, use this link and with your zip code to find your congressperson:  http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html 

            As Francis Cardinal George said recently:

“The struggle we face today in defending human dignity is becoming more complex.  I’ve believed for many years that abortion is the foundational human rights issue of our lifetime.  We can’t simultaneously serve the poor and accept the legal killing of unborn children.  We can’t build a just society, and at the same time legally sanctify the destruction of generations of unborn human life.  The rights of the poor and the rights of the unborn child flow from exactly the same human dignity guaranteed by the God who created us.”

[Francis Cardinal George, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.]

            Thank you.  God bless your efforts.   With good will,

Sincerely in St. Dominic,

John

John Keenan, J.D., O.P.L.; Lay Promoter; Western Dominican Province.

A man who sought and achieved Justice: “Pope Pius XII: Hero in the Unmaking”


[The following is a renewed look at the subject of Pope Pius XII, who reigned during WW II and died in 1958 and who has been defamed by people regardless of religious background–even Catholics.  The following was forwarded from a Jewish friend of mine here in Idaho.   We work together in Idaho on Peace and Justice matters involving Israeli, Palestinian, and other Middle East issues.    Regardless of the status or background of an individual, men and women of good will can work together to improve the well-being of people.   This joint effort, however, first requires a desire and longing for truth–not ideology– that the author of the following piece, Selwyn Duke, worked for in his research and work.   This love of truth is essential to achieving true peace and justice.   God bless this dear Jewish fellow for his good will, his love of truth, and for his work that finally is bringing the truth out about Pope Pius XII.]:

The word “hero” so often conjures up images of the brash and the bold. We may think of Audie Murphy’s WWII exploits, the Spartans at Thermopylae, or the doomed holdouts at the Alamo. But then there are the quiet heroes, people such as Oskar Schindler. Ever since Schindler’s List hit the silver screen in 1993, his clandestine efforts resulting in the rescue of almost 1,200 Jews from Nazi death camps have been well known.

Yet that dark time birthed another quiet hero, one who saved as many as 860,000 Jewish lives. Today, however, few know of his accomplishments, few sing his praises. And Steven Spielberg will undoubtedly never make a movie lauding him. On the contrary, this man is roundly maligned as a WWII villain who was at best indifferent to the plight of the people in the Nazis’ crosshairs. This man is Eugenio Pacelli. But he is better known as Pope Pius XII.

By the lights of the popular culture and the increasingly unpopular media, it is a “fact” that Pius was practically a Nazi collaborator. British journalist John Cornwell’s book Hitler’s Pope got a lot of press after its 1999 publication, and self-professed “anti-theist” Christopher Hitchens never misses a chance to highlight the papacy’s supposed WWII sins and silence. It has become atheist boilerplate, the barbarous vehicle through which barbarian historians sack modern-day Rome.

Beliefs Not Borne Out But the embrace of this impious Pius narrative extends far beyond activists and atheists, to people of good will. And one of them was a man named Gary L. Krupp. As a Jewish fellow raised in Queens, New York City, he had learned much about the Holocaust and knew who its main players were. He also knew who its monsters were — or, at least, he thought he did. He thus grew up “hating the name Pius XII,” as he put it. Yet he also had a certain passion: building bridges among people of faith by eliminating non-theological differences among religions. To this end he and his wife, Meredith, founded the Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF) in 2003. And, to this end — and despite his prejudices — the couple decided to investigate the story of Pope Pius XII.

After poring over literally thousands of documents during an exhaustive investigation, what the Krupps found was, to use Mr. Krupp’s characterization, nothing less than shocking. Far from being the callous Nazi sympathizer of many people’s nightmares (and some people’s fantasies), Pius was a hero who worked behind the scenes, quietly and diligently, saving lives and risking his own. Treating this matter just this past December in a New York Post piece entitled “Friend to the Jews: Pius XII’s real wartime record,” Krupp revealed some of what shocked him so, writing:

It is unquestionable that Pius XII intervened to save countless Jews at a time most nations — even FDR’s America — refused to accept these refugees…. He smuggled Jews into the Americas and Asia. He ordered the lifting of cloister for men and women to enter monasteries, convents and churches to hide 7,000 Jews of Rome in a single day.

Krupp provided a few more details in a Daily News piece entitled “Stop persecuting Pius — WWII pontiff is branded ‘Hitler’s Pope,’ but he did much to save the Jews,” revealing:

More evidence shows Pius secretly moved Jews out of Europe. We [at the PTWF] conducted dozens of video interviews, among them a witness account of a priest who revealed a secret “underground railroad,” directly ordered by the Pope, sending more than 10,000 Jews to the U.S. via the Dominican Republic. Many countries would not accept “Jews,” so they were given false baptismal papers to travel as Catholics. Pius successfully stopped the deportation of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews when he appealed to the Regent of Hungary. Similarly, he desperately tried to impact the deportation policies of many other countries to, in his words, “save this vibrant community.”

Yet, while Krupp is currently the most visible of the pope’s defenders, he is far from the first. Another is Rabbi David G. Dalin, Ph.D., a widely published scholar of American Judaism and author of the 2005 book The Myth of Hitler’s Pope. He provided a trove of information about Pius’ efforts in his piece “A Righteous Gentile: Pope Pius XII and the Jews.” And here is a small sampling:

Throughout World War II, he [Pius] spoke out on behalf of Europe’s Jews. When Pius learned of the Nazi atrocities in Poland, he urged the bishops of Europe to do all they could to save the Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution. On January 19, 1940, at the Pope’s instruction, Vatican radio and L’Osservatore Romano revealed to the world “the dreadful cruelties of uncivilized tyranny” that the Nazis were inflicting on Jewish and Catholic Poles.

… In June 1942, Pius spoke out against the mass deportation of Jews from Nazi-occupied France, further instructing his Papal Nuncio in Paris to protest to Marshal Henri Petain, Vichy France’s Chief of State, against “the inhuman arrests and deportations of Jews from the French occupied zone to Silesia and parts of Russia.”

The London Times of October 1, 1942, explicitly praises him for his condemnation of Nazism and his public support for the Jewish victims of Nazi terror. “A study of the words which Pope Pius XII has addressed since his accession,” noted the Times, “leaves no room for doubt. He condemns the worship of force and its concrete manifestations in the suppression of national liberties and in the persecution of the Jewish race.”

Pius XII’s Christmas addresses of 1941 and 1942, broadcast over Vatican radio to millions throughout the world, also help to refute the fallacious claim that Pope Pius was “silent.” Indeed, as The New York Times described Pius’ 1941 Christmas address in its editorial the following day, it specifically applauded the Pope, as a “lonely” voice of public protest against Hitler…. The Pope’s Christmas message of 1941, as reported by The New York Times and other newspapers, was understood at the time to be a clear condemnation of Nazi attacks on Europe’s Jews.

Hitler’s Nemesis In fact, not only was Pius not silent, he was passionately opposed to Hitler at a time when many other notables — such as former U.K. Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Joseph Kennedy, J. Paul Getty, future Nobel Prize winner Andre Gide, and writer Gertrude Stein — supported the German leader. For example, a close collaborator of Pius’ named Sister Pascalina and other witnesses reported that, while still Cardinal Pacelli, he said of Hitler, “Everything he says and writes has the mark of his egocentrism; this man is capable of trampling on corpses.” Even more significant is a confidential letter sent to Washington by U.S. consul general A.W. Klieforth. Recording a 1937 conversation with Pacelli, he wrote (as rendered by World Over Live host Raymond Arroyo during a January 10, 2010 interview with Krupp), “His [Pius’] views, while they are well known, surprised me by their extremeness. He said that he opposed, unalterably, every compromise with National Socialism. He regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel but as a fundamentally wicked person. He did not believe that Hitler was capable of moderation, and in spite of appearances would end up in the camp of left-wing Nazi extremists.” The pope had also said, according to Krupp in the same interview, that it was better to lose young Catholics than to submit to Nazism.

Yet Pius’ charitable behavior toward Jews (which merely reflected his charity for all) greatly predated, and outlived, the Nazi menace. Pius’ closest friend growing up was a Jewish boy named Guido Mendes, and when Mendes’ life was later imperiled during WWII, Pius would intercede and rescue him (Mendes’ affection for his great friend was evident in an article he wrote the year of the pope’s death). Additionally, to cite just a few more examples: As Nuncio Pacelli in 1917, he intervened with the Germans to prevent the Ottoman Turks from exterminating the Palestinian Jews; in 1930, he supported orders excommunicating anyone who joined Hitler’s party; he threw his weight behind the defeat of a Polish anti-koshering law in 1938; and at the United Nations in 1947, Pius encouraged Catholic nations to support the creation of the state of Israel.

Then, returning to the fruits of the pope’s wartime actions, I can add a somewhat personal note to this story. I had a Jewish relative who was a little girl in France during the Nazi occupation, and I had the opportunity to get to know her because she survived those harrowing days. And she only survived them because she was hidden and protected by Catholic priests.

Revisionist History Now, all this runs so contrary to the modern Pius narrative that some may wonder where it’s coming from. Is this a matter of revisionist history? It is — only, the revisionism occurred long ago.

If Pius was Hitler’s pope, he sure fooled Hitler. As to this, The Tablet of London reported that Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels distributed pamphlets referring to Pius as the “pro-Jewish Pope.” Then, after Pius’ 1942 Christmas message, Germany’s Reich Central Security Office issued a report stating, “The Pope has repudiated the National Socialist New European Order … and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.” And, writes Sister Margherita Marchione, Ph.D. in her piece “Three Jews and a Pope,” “The Nazi plan, reported in the July 5, 1998 issue of the Milan newspaper Il Giornale … described Hilter’s [sic] plan to ‘massacre Pius XII with the entire Vatican,’ because of the ‘Papal protest in favor of the Jews.’”

And Pius must have fooled all the newspapers as well. Krupp points out that during the course of the PTWF’s research, they examined hundreds of WWII-era articles on Pius and found not one negative piece. Thus, ironically, while the New York Times has given much ink and credence to recent anti-Pius books, it is contradicting the findings of its own WWII-generation reporters.

Most significant, though, are the pronouncements and behavior of a veritable who’s who of WWII-era Jewish figures. For example, Golda Meir praised Pius, saying, “When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the dec-ade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims.” Albert Einstein was quoted in Time magazine in 1940 as stating, “Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth.” Chief Rabbi Alexander Safran of Bucharest, Rumania, wrote in an April 7, 1944 statement, “In the most difficult hours which we Jews of Rumania have passed through, the generous assistance of the Holy See was decisive and salutary. It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experience because of the concern of the Supreme Pontiff.”

These voices were joined by contemporaries such as Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first President Chaim Weizmann, Israeli Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, and Jewish historian Pinchas Lapide, just to name a handful. In fact, some prominent Jews actually suggested that a forest of 860,000 trees be planted on the hills of Judea in Pius’ honor. The pièce de résistance, however, would have to be Israel Zoller, Chief Rabbi of Rome from 1939 to 1945. After the war, he actually converted to Catholicism and adopted the name Eugenio Zolli — in honor of none other than Pope Pius XII.

Given this, what do you call it when many today stubbornly insist they know better than every prominent Jewish voice of Pius’s time? Well, Jewish folks have a word for it: chutzpah. To use another Yiddish term, though, how did all this narishkeit, or foolishness, surrounding Pius get started? Believe it or not, it began with one man, one day, and one play.

Pius’ reputation remained intact until about five years after his death. But then on February 20, 1963, The Deputy opened in Berlin. Written by leftist playwright Rolf Hochhuth, it depicted Pius as a self-serving man who failed to act or protest during the Holocaust, a man who subordinated the inklings of the Holy Spirit to the spirit of expediency. The play would ultimately be translated into more than 20 languages, and its narrative would metastasize even more aggressively. It illustrates the influence one man can have.

Persecuting a Pope Then again, if a story that broke in 2007 is to be believed, maybe it doesn’t. That year, the highest-ranking communist intelligence officer to ever defect to the West, Ion Mihai Pacepa, claimed that the attack on Pius was no accident — it was Soviet agitprop. He revealed, wrote John Follain in the Sunday Times of London, “that he was involved in the operation code-named Seat12, a Kremlin scheme launched in 1960 to portray Pius XII ‘as a cold-hearted Nazi sympathiser.’ The result, according to Pacepa, was the 1963 play The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth.” Oh, I should add that the motto of this Cold War plot was “Dead men cannot defend themselves.” No, they can’t — but men with dead souls can attack very well.

While the hard-left Hochhuth certainly needed no encouragement to write such propaganda (except, perhaps, for some convenient misinformation “finding” him), should Pacepa’s story surprise anyone? After all, Pius and the church at the time were staunchly and explicitly anti-communist, and Catholic teaching specifically condemns communism. In fact, so effective was the church’s opposition that Mikhail Gorbachev credited it as being instrumental in the fall of the Iron Curtain, saying in 1992, “What has happened in Eastern Europe in recent years would not have been possible without the presence of this Pope [John Paul II].”

The point is that the communists viewed the Catholic Church as a major (if not the main) impediment to their aims. Also remember that, as Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov pointed out years ago, 85 percent of the KGB’s resources were devoted not to intrigue but to subversion, efforts at, as he put it, “demoralization.” That is, efforts such as the attack on Pius.

But as Bezmenov would also point out, most cultural havoc wreaked upon the West is done by Westerners to Westerners. Thus, however great (or minor) the communist influence over the character assassination of Pius, there is no doubt that it is covered with Western fingerprints. And why did so many glom on to The Deputy’s malicious lies? Simple: The time was right. Secularist forces were on the march in the 1960s, hungry for any hammer suitable for bludgeoning traditionalist institutions. As University of Mississippi law professor and author of Righteous Gentiles: How Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews From the Nazis Richard Rychlak explained in a January 2006 Zenit interview:

Many of the critics [of Pius] share a view of the world that runs counter to the Catholic Church, and they have tried to advance their view and discredit the Church by denigrating Pope Pius XII.

Read through to the end of most of these [anti-Pius] books and you will find that the authors are critical not only of Pope Pius XII, but also the late Pope John Paul II, the positions expressed by Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, traditional Catholic doctrines of papal supremacy, the all-male priesthood and especially Catholic sexual teachings.

In fact, as Rychlak points out, the Catholic Church is being attacked for the same reason Christianity is always targeted: It advances the concept of Absolute Truth. For this reason, he writes, “it is their main target — not Pius or any other -individual.”

It’s Nothing Personal In reality, many of Pius’ critics couldn’t care less about the pope any more than they do about the truth concerning him. Rather, he is a vehicle. If they can discredit the church by impugning Pius, they will do that; and if they could discredit the church by lauding Pius, they would do that. Moreover, there is no question in my mind that the agenda-driven, secularist critics care not a whit about the Holocaust, either. It is also a vehicle. And as an example, we need look no further than the impious playwright Rolf Hochhuth. To this day he is great friends with David Irving — the man who recently completed a prison sentence in Austria for Holocaust denial. In fact, Hochhuth was accused of anti-Semitism himself in 2005 when he defended Irving’s statement, “More women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz,” by dismissing it as black humor.

Then there is an irony here: If you’re the church, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Moderns lament those medieval days when popes and prelates melded with princes and politics, but then turn about and say that the church didn’t do “enough” to stop the owners of arguably the most powerful military on Earth. But while nothing is ever enough to one bent on criticism, the days of a pope summoning Crusader armies to vanquish the barbarians du jour are long gone.

This brings us back to quiet heroism and Oskar Schindler. Krupp has pointed out that in Judaism “the highest form of charity is anonymous charity,” and he says that this is what Pius is “guilty” of. Yet anonymous help is sometimes driven by necessity as much as nobility. Sure, we often like our heroes spitting in the eye of 1,000 devils while dodging 1,000 bullets, but bravery that kills innocents is no virtue. Many have observed that whenever the church spoke out, reprisals against Christians and Jews alike intensified. And this could only be observed because the church did speak out. This — and the fact that a dead savior saves no one — is the reason why, like Schindler, Pius had to work his miracles in secret. Unlike Schindler, though, who is admired for using a pretense of friendship with Nazis to save 1,200 lives, Pius is condemned for using an occasional pretense of neutrality to save the better part of one million.

Yet, in trying to correct the record here, one encounters a very difficult stumbling block. It’s called the Big Lie technique. It was articulated by Adolf Hitler himself in Mein Kampf when he wrote, “It would never come into their [average people’s] heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Now, what does it say about Pius’ Machiavellian critics when, in order to paint him as a Nazi collaborator, they were willing to infamously distort the truth?

You can answer that yourself. As for the Big Lie that Pope Pius XII didn’t do enough, we should ask the big question: Who did more? One of Pius’ former enemies, Gary Krupp, knows. He put it this way, “Through our research of documented proof, we have discovered that secretly, he saved more Jews than all of the world’s religious and political leaders combined.” That is a big truth. It’s big, it’s beautiful, and maybe it will even be, one day, known.

See this post here:  http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2464697/posts

Socialism and the Catholic Church


 [From Deacon Bill Booth, Diocese of Boise:]

Lord John E.E.D. Acton (1834-1902) was quoted saying” … power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. “I Another of his sayings is “Socialism means slavery.” Lord Acton was unusual person in Victorian England. For one, he was a Roman Catholic in Anglican country. He spoke up often about issues of his day.  Recently, I learned of a discussion between two people concerning socialism. One claimed to be an avid socialist and the other contended that socialism was opposed to the teachings of the Church. My curiosity was aroused to determine the truth of the matter.  First, what is the definition of Socialism? 

 1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods[;]

 2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state 3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

 Pope Leo XIII published an Encyclical Letter on May 15, 1891, Rerum Novarum stating:

23. From all these conversations, it is perceived that the fundamental principle of Socialism which would make all possessions public property is to be utterly rejected because it injures the very ones whom it seeks to help, contravenes the natural rights of individual persons, and throws the functions of the State and public peace into confusion. Let it be regarded, therefore, as established that in seeking help for the masses this principle before all is to be considered as basic, namely, that private ownership must be preserved inviolate. With this understood, we shall explain whence the desired remedy is to be sought.

 Therefore the Catholic Church does not support Socialism. This issue is way too involved to cover in a short article. The United States has been a bastion of free enterprise for the rest of the world. Like every country in world history that has fallen, it is from within, not from with out. We are assailed within by those who would, as Lord Acton says, enslave us with socialism. The important to us as caring Catholic Christians, to be wary of outlawing of religion which is often the end result of socialism.

 Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase “to speak out”, against socialism when referring to Pope Leo’s Rerum Novarum. Can we do less?  If you are interested in this issue, the following reading list is a good place to start:

1. Rerum Novarum (On the condition of the working classes), Pope Leo XIII, May 15,1891.  The first statement of a Pope against socialism.

2. Quadragesimo Anno (On social Reconstruction), Pope Pius XI, May 15, 1931. Forty years after Rerum Novrum, a reaffirmation of Pope Leo’s statements and expansion covering Communism.

3. Centesimus Annus (On the Hundredth Anniversary), Pope John Pau II, May 1,1991.  Expansion on Rerum Novarum including the responsibility of the capitalistic system and profits to the good of all.

4. Economic Justice for All, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 18, 1986. Pastoral letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U. S. economy.

 Deacon Bill Booth, Spiritual Director, Southern Idaho Cursillo

  1.  Letter to Anglican Bishop Mandell Creighton.

A new Shell Game?


According to Rep. Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.), when our President stated in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress that “under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions,” he did not mean the plans proposed in Congress, but his own plan—which doesn’t exist.  When Rep. Stupak pointed that fact out to our President, he responded by encouraging Mr. Stupak to work with the House leadership to keep mandated abortion out of the bill.   Does that make you feel like you just slipped on a banana peel?

The "Obama 'peel"

The "Obama 'peal"

 

See the full story here:

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/56109

“To ‘Do’ Works of Peace We Need to ‘Be’ Men of Peace”


From Zenit, Monday September 21, 2009, the Holy Father’s words on seeking Wisdom:

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the public address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered at Castel Gandolfo.

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today, for the customary Sunday reflection, I will take as my point of departure the passage from the Letter of James that is proposed to us by today’s liturgy (3:16-4:3), and I will pause, in particular, on an expression that is striking for its beauty and contemporary relevance. It has to do with the description of true wisdom that the Apostle contrasts with false wisdom. While the latter is “worldly, material and diabolical, and is recognized by the fact that it provokes jealousies, arguments, disorder and every kind of evil deed” (cf. 3:16), on the contrary “[true] wisdom, which comes from above is first of all pure, then peaceful, meek, docile, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (3:17). A list of seven qualities, according to the biblical custom, from which perfection of authentic wisdom comes along with the positive effects that it produces. As first and principal quality, almost the premise for the others, St. James sets down “purity,” that is, sanctity, the transparent reflection — so to say — of God in the human soul. And, like God, from whom it comes, wisdom does not need to impose itself by force, because it has the invincible vigor of truth and love, that affirms itself. That is why it is peaceful, meek and docile; it does not need to be partial, nor does it need to lie; it is indulgent and generous, it is recognized by the good fruits that it bears in abundance.

Why not stop every once in a while to contemplate the beauty of this wisdom? Why not draw from this unpolluted source of God’s love the wisdom of the heart, which cleanses us from the filth of lies and egoism? This holds true for everyone, but, in the first place, for those who are called to be promoters and “weavers” of peace in religious and civil communities, in social and political relations and in international relations. In our day — perhaps also because of certain dynamics proper to mass society — one often sees a lack of respect for truth and the word together with a widespread tendency to aggressiveness, hatred and vendettas. “The fruit of justice is sown in peace by those who make peace,” St. James writes (3:18). But to “do” works of peace we need to “be” men of peace, entering the school of “the wisdom that comes from above,” to assimilate its qualities and produce its effects. If everyone, in his own circle, succeeds in rejecting the lie and violence in intentions, in words and in actions, carefully cultivating sentiments of respect, understanding and esteem for others, perhaps it would not resolve every daily problem, but we could face them more serenely and effectively.

Dear friends, once more Sacred Scripture leads us to reflect on moral aspects of human existence, but starting from a reality that precedes the same morality, that is, from true wisdom. Let us ask God with confidence for wisdom of heart, through the intercession of her who welcomed Wisdom Incarnate, Jesus Christ, into her womb and gave him birth. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!

Pope2You: the Vatican in the social network


A Note from Fr. Paolo Padrini:

Benedict XVI Speaks to the Net Generation through the World of Social Networks.

The new media of Facebook, the iPhone, YouTube and Wikipedia are increasingly becoming the new forum where the Catholic Church dialogues with the world. As Pope Benedict XVI noted in his message for the 43rd annual World Communications Day, the Internet is a place where young people need to develop true friendships which spring from an encounter with the Risen Christ. With this awareness and the courage to enter into the world of social networks, the project Pope2You was started with the idea of helping these networks become authentic places of friendship and true dialogue.

Pope2You ( HYPERLINK “http://www.pope2you.net/) was created in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications as an experiment in providing a new forum and channel of communication using the latest platforms. The Pope2You website provides a new way for Pope Benedict XVI to reach out to young people around the world. The site can be viewed in five languages and allows young people to learn more about the Church and Benedict XVI through his own writings, starting with the message for the 43rd World Communications Day. While the site aims to generate the interest of young people, it is also meant for people of all ages. It features news on the Catholic Church and details on the pastoral activities of Benedict XVI incorporating content from the Vatican’s YouTube channel. At the same time, a new application for the iPhone and iPod Touch has been created by the Catholic news agency H2Onews, with plans to add other mobile platforms later.

Pope2You also provides a gateway to a parallel world in Facebook with an application where you can create and send to your friends virtual postcards with the Pope’s own words, greetings and excerpts of his writings staring with this year’s World Communications Day message. Also, with the help of the Media Office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, a special area has been created along the lines of a WIKI with suggestions on how to put into pastoral practice the Pope’s 2009 Message.

These new applications highlight the latest example of the Church reaching out in new ways in the world of social networks – a forum where the Church can meet new people, make new friends, dialogue and offer solidarity.

http://www.pope2you.net/