Saturday, June 19, 2010
Rome, Saint Peter's Square, June 10, 2010
Q: Holy Father, I am Fr. Karol Miklosko and I am from Europe, specifically from Slovakia, and I am a missionary in Russia. When I celebrate the holy Mass, I find myself and I understand that there I encounter my identity and the root and energy of my ministry. The sacrifice of the cross reveals to me the Good Shepherd who gives everything for his flock, for each sheep, and when I say: "This is my body, this is my blood" given and poured in sacrifice for you, then I understand the beauty of celibacy and of obedience, which I freely promised at the moment of ordination. In spite of the natural difficulties, celibacy seems obvious to me, looking at Christ, but I find myself disoriented in reading the many worldly criticisms of this gift. I humbly ask you, Holy Father, to enlighten us about the profundity and the authentic meaning of ecclesiastical celibacy.
Answer from the Holy Father:
Thank you for the two parts of your question. The first, where you show the permanent and vital foundation of our celibacy; the second, which shows all of the difficulties in which we find ourselves in our time.
The first part is important, that is: the center of our life must really be the daily celebration of the holy Eucharist; and here the words of consecration are central: "This is my body, this is my blood"; that is: we are speaking "in persona Christi." Christ permits us to use his "I," we speak in the "I" of Christ, Christ "pulls us into himself" and permits us to unite ourselves, unites us with his "I." And so, through this action, this fact that he "pulls" us into himself, in such a way that our "I" becomes united with his own, he realizes the permanence, the uniqueness of his priesthood; in this way he really is always the one priest, and nonetheless very much present in the world, because he "pulls" us into himself, and so makes present his priestly mission. This means that we are "pulled" into the God of Christ: it is this union with his "I" that is realized in the words of consecration.
Also in the "I absolve you" – because none of us can absolve from sins – it is the "I" of Christ, of God, who alone can absolve. This unification of his "I" with our own implies that we are also "pulled" into his reality as the Risen One, we advance toward the full life of the resurrection, of which Jesus speaks to the Sadducees in Matthew, Chapter 22: it is a "new" life, in which we are already beyond marriage (cf. Mt. 22:23 –32). It is important that we always let ourselves be penetrated again by this identification of the "I" of Christ with us, by this being "pulled out" toward the world of the resurrection.
In this sense, celibacy is an anticipation. We transcend this time and go forward, and so we "pull" ourselves and our time toward the world of the resurrection, toward the newness of Christ, toward the new and true life. So celibacy is an anticipation made possible by the grace of the Lord who "pulls" us to himself, toward the world of the resurrection; he invites us always anew to transcend ourselves, this present, toward the true present of the future, which becomes present today.
And here we are at a very important point. One big problem of Christianity in today's world is that God's future is no longer considered, and the now of this world alone seems sufficient. We want to have only this world, to live only in this world. So we close the doors to the true greatness of our existence. The meaning of celibacy as an anticipation of the future is precisely to open these doors, to make the world bigger, to show the reality of the future that must be lived by us as already present. To live, therefore, in a testimony of faith: we really believe that God exists, that God is part of my life, that I can base my life on Christ, on the future life.
And we know now the worldly criticisms of which you spoke. It is true that for the agnostic world, the world in which God has no place, celibacy is a great scandal, because it shows precisely that God is considered and lived as a reality. With the eschatological life of celibacy, the future world of God enters into the realities of our time. And this is supposed to disappear!
In a certain sense, this permanent criticism of celibacy can be surprising, at a time in which not getting married is becoming increasingly fashionable. But this not getting married is something totally, fundamentally different from celibacy, because not getting married is based on the desire to live only for oneself, not to accept any definitive bond, to have life at every moment in full autonomy, to decide at every moment what to do, what to take from life; and therefore a "no" to commitment, a "no" to definitiveness, a having life only for oneself. While celibacy is precisely the opposite: it is a definitive "yes," it is allowing ourselves to be taken in hand by God, giving ourselves into the hands of the Lord, into his "I," and therefore it is an act of fidelity and trust, an act that the fidelity of marriage also supposes; it is the exact opposite of this "no," of this autonomy that does not want to be obligated, that does not want to enter into a bond; it is precisely the definitive "yes" that supposes, that confirms the definitive "yes" of marriage. And this marriage is the biblical form, the natural form of being man and woman, the foundation of the great Christian culture, of the great cultures of the world. And if this disappears, the root of our culture will be destroyed.
For this reason, celibacy confirms the "yes" of marriage with its "yes" to the future world, and so we want to move forward and make present this scandal of a faith that bases all of existence upon God. We know that next to this great scandal, which the world does not want to see, there are also the secondary scandals of our insufficiencies, of our sins, which obscure the true and great scandal, and make people think: "But they don't really live on the foundation of God." But there is so much faithfulness! Celibacy, as the criticisms themselves show, is a great sign of faith, of the presence of God in the world. Let us pray to the Lord that he help us to free ourselves from the secondary scandals, that he make present the great scandal of our faith: the trust, the power of our lives, founded on God and on Christ Jesus!
He would be able to order popular search engines such a Google and Yahoo to suspend access their websites in times of national emergency.
Other US based Internet service providers as well as broadband providers would also come under his control in times of a 'cybersecurity emergency.' Any company that failed to comply would be subject to huge fines.
Critics of the new law, which has been proposed by former presidential candidate Joe Liebermann, said it would be an abuse of power to let the White House control the internet.
TechAmerica, one of the largest U.S. technology lobby groups, said the new law had the 'potential for absolute power.'.
The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by Lieberman who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.
A sustained terror attack on multiple cities would be considered a national emergency as would a cyber attack by 'hackers' on the US financial system.
The director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair warned earlier this year that the US is 'severely threatened' by malicious cyber attacks.
The number of attacks on Government departments has increased by 400 per cent in the last three years.
Under the proposed bill, which has been dubbed an Internet kill switch', the US Government would effectively seize control of access to the internet.
Lieberman argued the bill was necessary to 'preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people'.
He said: 'For all of its 'user-friendly' allure, the Internet can also be a dangerous place with electronic pipelines that run directly into everything from our personal bank accounts to key infrastructure to government and industrial secrets.
Traders work on the New York Stock Exchange floor. US senators fear a cyber-attack on the US could paralyse the nation
'Our economic security, national security and public safety are now all at risk from new kinds of enemies--cyber-warriors, cyber-spies, cyber-terrorists and cyber-criminals.'
His bill is formally titled the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA.
While the US Government would not be able to control the internet in other countries access to the most popular sites would be cut off.
Google,Yahoo and YouTube, the top three most visited sites, are all based in the US.
Google logs an estimated two billion hits a day from 300 million users.
Under the cyber law any company on a list created by Homeland Security that also 'relies on' the Internet, the telephone system, or any other component of the U.S. 'information infrastructure' would be subject to command by a new National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) that would be created inside Homeland Security.
Google, the world's most popular search engine, refused to comment. A spokesman said the law was not yet Government policy.
The recent story about an Egyptian court essentially ruling that the Coptic Church in Egypt must violate Christian teaching opened up, for me, the fundamental issue of whether or not Christians can live in peace and justice under Moslem rule.
The Copts of Egypt – who are the descendants of the pre-Moslem population of Egypt – have suffered for a very long time, but of late the persecution of the Church in Egypt has gotten worse. Various fanatics incite violence against the Christian community (which makes up officially about 5% of the population, but is probably closer to 10%; anywhere from 4 to 8 million or so Christians…the Moslem government likes to downplay the number of Christians in Egypt), and nothing is ever done to the perpetrators.
And so it goes around the Moslem world – where there are Christians under Moslem rule, persecution, robbery, rape and murder are common and justice is impossible to obtain. In the Assyrian area of Iraq, the Christian communities of Lebanon and Pakistan – anywhere you care to mention, if Moslems rule over Christians, then the Christians are in a bad way. Meanwhile, Moslems under Christian rule can not only be sure of justice, but can actually be sure of kid glove treatment by people of the West determined to show they bear no ethnic or religious hostility to Moslems.
It is time, I believe, to consider that it isn’t possible for Christians to live under Moslem rule. When one thinks about it, the fact that Christians are forbidden to live and worship in Mecca is all that needs be said – we Christians are considered to be the merest filth to Moslems. We are unclean and unfit to come within sight of Islam’s holiest city. This attitude very naturally spills over to other areas of life – very easy for a Moslem to move from “you aren’t as good as me” to “why don’t I just take what I want from you?”.
Unless and until Moslems drop this attitude – unless and until they allow a Christian church to open in Mecca (and there are secret Christians there – we can’t live openly there, but Moslems do lack the willingness to do hard, dirty work on their own…so, they hire foreigners, a large number of whom are Christian, to do it for them, even in Mecca), we simply cannot trust Christians to be under Moslem rule.
Out of the Moslem States, where there is a sufficiently large and compact Christian population, we should assist in the creation of non-Moslem nations. Part of Egypt, part of Iraq, part of Sudan, part of Lebanon – and part of the West Bank – must be freed from Moslem rule, at least to the point of internal autonomy which will prevent some Moslem hate-monger from stirring up violence and persecution for whatever reason.
Such a process would not be easy, but far easier than just allowing things to continue as they are now, with endless bloodshed and persecution. Additionally, by starting to make an issue out of this, we might even start to force some Moslems of good will to rethink the Moslem attiude towards “infidels”. Change some times does not grow organically in a society – every now and again, the pace must be forced. As regards Christians under Moslem rule, the time for forcing things has arrived.
Front Royal, Va., Jun 18, 2010 / 06:52 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an exclusive interview with CNA, author and pro-life leader Fr. Thomas Euteneuer discussed his recent book on the often misunderstood topic of exorcism, asserting that due to an increased exposure of young people to the occult, priests within the next decade are going to be “inundated” with exorcism requests.
Speaking on his new book, “Exorcism and the Church Militant,” which was released on June 14, Fr. Euteneuer, who also serves as director of Human Life International (HLI), elaborated on the need for exorcism to be clarified in modern society.
When asked why the ancient rite is often shrouded in misconception, Fr. Euteneuer explained that, “first of all, it's misunderstood because most people's perception of exorcism come from the movie the Exorcist or the Exorcism of Emily Rose,” or “some of the horror flicks that disguise themselves as exorcism movies.”
“One of the purposes of the book,” he noted, “was to take back the proper understanding of exorcism by placing it squarely in the context of the Church's pastoral ministry.”
In regard to the need for this pastoral ministry, Fr. Euteneuer asserted that “priests are going to be inundated in the next decade or so at least with requests for exorcism because I can already see it happening now where the younger generations especially have been affected by a lot of hard and soft occultism.”
“Soft forms of occultism are like Wicca and New Age,” he explained, adding that “Harry Potter contributes to that with over 400 million books being sold.” The popular book series, he claimed, has helped educate “younger generations in the language and the symbolism of the occult.”
Although many young people have treated the books merely as “entertainment,” he observed, “it actually leads them more deeply into occult practices.”
“All of this is inevitably, with the lack of faith, going to lead to serious spiritual problems for younger people and those problems are going to be laid at the foot of the Church.”
Though “Exorcism and the Church Militant” is intended for a “general audience,” said Fr. Euteneuer, it is meant specifically to make an appeal “to priests to read it, learn it and get more involved in it.”
“Because,” he clarified, “exorcism is a pastoral ministry and the explicit form of exorcism is a liturgical rite which can only be done by priests.”
Addressing what could be seen by many to be a daunting and frightening topic, Fr. Euteneuer said, “I encourage people to take the view of the Church towards this and that is, we have nothing to fear with regard to evil.”
“We just simply must apply the authority of the church to the power of evil in this world and I don't believe we're doing that adequately.”
“Fear is what keeps us from doing it adequately,” he said. “Fear is what keeps the Church from actually taking the spiritual resources that have been given to the Church and applying them to the very serious forms of evil.”
“Remember that in Jesus' ministry,” Fr. Euteneuer underscored, “He healed the sick, He preached the Gospel and He cast out demons. He continues to do those works in and through the Church and that it what he handed on to the Church to do.”
Friday, June 18, 2010
“Faith can never be presupposed, because every generation needs to receive this gift through the proclamation of the Gospel and to know the truth that Christ has revealed to us. The Church, therefore, is always engaged in proposing to all the deposit of the faith; contained in it also is the doctrine on the Eucharist -- central mystery in which "is enclosed all the spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ himself, our Pasch" -- doctrine that today, unfortunately, is not sufficiently understood in its profound value and in its relevance for the existence of believers. Because of this, it is important that a more profound knowledge of the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord be seen as an exigency of the different communities of our diocese of Rome. At the same time, in the missionary spirit that we wish to nourish, it is necessary to spread the commitment to proclaim such Eucharistic faith, so that every man will encounter Jesus Christ who has revealed the "close" God, friend of humanity, and to witness it with an eloquent life of charity.--Pope Benedict XVI
In all his public life, through the preaching of the Gospel and miraculous signs, Jesus proclaimed the goodness and mercy of the Father towards man. This mission reached its culmination on Golgotha, where the crucified Christ revealed the face of God, so that man, contemplating the Cross, be able to recognize the fullness of love. The sacrifice of Calvary is mysteriously anticipated in the Last Supper, when Jesus, sharing with the Twelve the bread and wine, transforms them into his body and his blood, which shortly after he would offer as immolated Lamb. The Eucharist is the memorial of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, of his love to the end for each one of us, memorial that He willed to entrust to the Church so that it would be celebrated throughout the centuries. According to the meaning of the Hebrew word "zakar," the "memorial" is not simply the memory of something that happened in the past, but a celebration which actualizes that event, so as to reproduce its salvific force and efficacy. Thus, "the sacrifice that Christ offered to the Father, once and for all, on the Cross in favor of humanity, is rendered present and actual" (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 280). Dear brothers and sisters, in our time the word sacrifice is not liked, rather it seems to belong to other times and to another way of understanding life. However, properly understood, it is and remains fundamental, because it reveals to us with what love God loves us in Christ....
The Holy Mass, celebrated in the respect of the liturgical norms and with a fitting appreciation of the richness of the signs and gestures, fosters and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith. In the Eucharistic celebration we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. This universal openness, this encounter with all the sons and daughters of God is the grandeur of the Eucharist: we go to meet the reality of God present in the body and blood of the Risen One among us. Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely this reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle "lex orandi - lex credendi." And because of this we can say "the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself well celebrated". It is necessary that in the liturgy the transcendent dimension emerge with clarity, that of the mystery, of the encounter with the Divine, which also illumines and elevates the "horizontal," that is the bond of communion and of solidarity that exists between all those who belong to the Church. In fact, when the latter prevails, the beauty, profundity and importance of the mystery celebrated is fully understood. Dear brothers in the priesthood, to you the bishop has entrusted, on the day of your priestly Ordination, the task to preside over the Eucharist. Always have at heart the exercise of this mission: celebrate the divine mysteries with intense interior participation, so that the men and women of our City can be sanctified, put into contact with God, absolute truth and eternal love....
Communion with Christ is always communion also with his body, which is the Church, as the Apostle Paul reminds, saying: "The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Corinthians:16-17). It is, in fact, the Eucharist that transforms a simple group of persons into ecclesial community: the Eucharist makes the Church....
This City of ours asks of Christ's disciples, with a renewed proclamation of the Gospel, a clearer and more limpid testimony of charity. It is with the language of love, desirous of the integral good of man, that the Church speaks to the inhabitants of Rome. In these years of my ministry as your Bishop, I have been able to visit several places where charity is lived intensely. I am grateful to all those who are engaged in the different charitable structures, for the dedication and generosity with which they serve the poor and the marginalized.
The needs and poverty of so many men and women interpellate us profoundly: it is Christ himself who every day, in the poor, asks us to assuage his hunger and thirst, to visit him in hospitals and prisons, to accept and dress him. A celebrated Eucharist imposes on us and at the same time renders us capable of becoming, in our turn, bread broken for brothers, coming to meet their needs and giving ourselves. Because of this, a Eucharistic celebration that does not lead to meet men where they live, work and suffer, to take to them the love of God, does not manifest the love it encloses. To be faithful to the mystery that is celebrated on the altars we must, as the Apostle Paul exhorts us, offer our bodies, ourselves, in spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God (cf. Romans 12:1) in those circumstances that require dying to our I and constitute our daily "altar." Gestures of sharing create communion, renew the fabric of interpersonal relations, marking them with gratuitousness and gift, and allowing for the construction of the civilization of love. In a time such as the present of economic and social crisis, let us be in solidarity with those who live in hardship to offer all the hope of a better tomorrow worthy of man. If we really live as disciples of God-Charity, we will help the inhabitants of Rome to discover themselves brothers and children of the one Father.”
Address to the Annual Convention of the Diocese of Rome
Basilica of St John Lateran
15 June 2010