Sunday, March 31, 2013

Peace in Palestine

In today's Urbi et Orbi message the Holy Father Pope Francis prayed for peace in the Holy Land.  Here is an Email message I received today from a Latin Rite Catholic Pastor, (a Bethlehem native), regarding the united Christian celebration of Easter in the Holy Land (5th May this year).

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!

From the heart of the City of Hope, Resurrection I take great pleasure in extending my thanks for your thoughtfulness and our warmest best wishes to you, and those of the entire Christian community of Birzeit, on the occasion of the Great Feast of Easter. I ask you to pray for me, to the peoples of this land in your prayers, particularly the Christian presence that keeps dwindling and faces existential challenges and for those who live with the lack of security, and those who are displaced and refugees, especially here in our Land.

Catholic communities in the Palestinian State adopted the Easter date according to the Julian calendar (which in 2013 falls on May 5), followed by the Orthodox communities. We celebrate on the same days the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as eloquent step at an ecumenical level and in order to also give a witness of unity with our non-Christian neighbors.

May the light of the risen Lord shine upon the whole world and in our region, and may we all be raised with Christ into life victorious. We hope to see you in Birzeit.

Yours in Christ

Fr. Louis Hazboun & Staff & Parishioners

Fr. Dr. Louis Hazboun
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Jaffa Gate, P.O.Box 14152
Jerusalem 91141

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pope Francis' Chrism Mass Homily: Be Shepherds Who Smell Like Sheep

Vatican City, March 28, 2013 (
Here is the translation of the homily given today by Pope Francis during the Chrism Mass held in St. Peter’s Basilica.

* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination.

The readings of our Mass speak of God's anointed ones: the suffering Servant of Isaiah, King David and Jesus our Lord. All three have this in common: the anointing that they receive is meant in turn to anoint God's faithful people, whose servants they are; they are anointed for the poor, for prisoners, for the oppressed A fine image of this being for others can be found in the Psalm: It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe (Ps 133:2). The image of spreading oil, flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.

The sacred robes of the High Priest are rich in symbolism. One such symbol is that the names of the children of Israel were engraved on the onyx stones mounted on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, the ancestor of our present-day chasuble: six on the stone of the right shoulder-piece and six on that of the left (cf. Ex 28:6-14). The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were also engraved on the breastplate (cf. Es 28:21). This means that the priest celebrates by carrying on his shoulders the people entrusted to his care and bearing their names written in his heart. When we put on our simple chasuble, it might well make us feel, upon our shoulders and in our hearts, the burdens and the faces of our faithful people, our saints and martyrs of whom there are many in these times

From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people, alive and strengthened, we turn to a consideration of activity, action. The precious oil which anoints the head of Aaron does more than simply lend fragrance to his person; it overflows down to the edges. The Lord will say this clearly: his anointing is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone. The ointment is not intended just to make us fragrant, much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid and the heart bitter.

A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with unction, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the outskirts where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem, Bless me, Pray for me these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into prayer.

The prayers of the people of God. When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men. What I want to emphasize is that we need constantly to stir up God's grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal but only apparently so the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it. To perceive and to sense, even as the Lord sensed the hope-filled anguish of the woman suffering from hemorrhages when she touched the hem of his garment. At that moment, Jesus, surrounded by people on every side, embodies all the beauty of Aaron vested in priestly raiment, with the oil running down upon his robes. It is a hidden beauty, one which shines forth only for those faith-filled eyes of the woman troubled with an issue of blood. But not even the disciples future priests see or understand: on the existential outskirts, they see only what is on the surface: the crowd pressing in on Jesus from all sides (cf. Lk 8:42). The Lord, on the other hand, feels the power of the divine anointing which runs down to the edge of his cloak.

We need to go out, then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.

A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little I won't say not at all because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, has already received his reward, and since he doesn't put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties instead of being shepherds living with the smell of the sheep, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men. True enough, the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets. It is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to put out into the deep, where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is unction not function and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus.

Dear lay faithful, be close to your priests with affection and with your prayers, that they may always be shepherds according to God's heart.

Dear priests, may God the Father renew in us the Spirit of holiness with whom we have been anointed. May he renew his Spirit in our hearts, that this anointing may spread to everyone, even to those outskirts where our faithful people most look for it and most appreciate it. May our people sense that we are the Lord's disciples; may they feel that their names are written upon our priestly vestments and that we seek no other identity; and may they receive through our words and deeds the oil of gladness which Jesus, the Anointed One, came to bring us. Amen.
(March 28, 2013) © Innovative Media Inc.

Continued Liturgical Confusion, Poor Pope Style

Viri selecti...  (Select [adult and masculine] men)!  are called for for the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual.

Pope Francis is the Supreme Pontiff and he can make mistakes.  Washing women and children's feet as a sign of the Holy Thursday institution of the Ministerial Priesthood Sacrament is a Papal error!  In this the Holy Father is feeding the liturgical and doctrinal confusion which his two predecessors did so much to correct.  His exaggerated emphasis on the title of "Bishop of Rome" is also feeding the anti-papal bias of many heretics within and outside the Church.

The Eponymous Flower observes that Pope Francis, who does not genuflect at Mass, painstakingly gets on his knees to break the liturgical norms.  Here one is reminded of the scriptural injunction: "It is obedience I want and not sacrifice."  The Pope can determine the Liturgical disciplines of the Church, but for him to break the standing disciplines for personal or ideological preference is the dismantling of the entire disciplinary system.  He is continuing the liturgical abuse he practiced as cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires for the entire episcopal college and worldwide presbyterate to witness with the whole world.

The message is clear!  Personality and political correctness over liturgical discipline.  Welcome to the pre-Woytila/Ratzinger church of ministerial dictatorship opposed to obedience.

On a positive note, Psalm 145 (Vulgate) seems to express Pope Francis' priestly emphasis.
Trust in God Alone
Alleluia.  Praise the Lord, O my soul; I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live.  Put not your trust in princes, in man, in whom there is no salvation.  When his spirit departs he returns to his earth; on that day his plans perish.  Happy he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord, his God, Whom made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, fives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets captives free; the Lord gives sight to the blind.  The Lord raises up those that were bowed down; the Lord loves the just.  The Lord protects strangers; the fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts.  The Lord shall reign forever; your God, O Sion, through all generations.  Alleluia.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tantum ut pauperes memores essemus!

His Holiness Pope Francis continues to choose the lowest place, always mindful of the poor (Galatians 2:10) and taking his place with the humble.

No Apostolic Palace for our Pauper Pope. His choice.

Examination of conscience on your own use of things.

Cardinal Bergoglio's Pre-Conclave Intervention: Complete Text

HAVANA, 26 Mar. 13 / 06:05 pm ( CNA / EWTN News ). - The Archbishop of Havana (Cuba), Cardinal Jaime Ortega, announced a speech that then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio offered during the general congregations before the Conclave and while not foreseeing that he would be the next pope asked for a pope leading the Church out of herself and to evangelize what he called "the existential peripheries" of pain, ignorance and sin. Hours before being elected Pope, Cardinal Bergoglio gave Cardinal Ortega of Cuba the manuscript of his speech at the general congregations.
The text was read by the Cuban Cardinal last Saturday during Mass at the local cathedral and was published Tuesday in the journal of the Archdiocese of Havana, Palabra Nueva, all with the permission of the Pope. The speech is entitled "The sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing " and is as follows: 
"Reference was made ​​to evangelization. It is the reason for the Church's being. - 'The sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing' (Paul VI). - It is the same Jesus Christ who, from within, drives us.
1. - Evangelizing supposes apostolic zeal. Evangelizing the Church is leaving parrhesia itself. The Church is called to the parresia of getting out of herself and going to the peripheries, not only geographical but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and religious indifference, of thought, of all misery.
2. - When the Church does not get out of itself to evangelize it becomes self-referential and then gets sick (cf. The woman hunched over herself in the gospel). The evils that are found, over time, in the church institutions are self-referential, a kind of theological narcissism. In the book of Revelation Jesus says he is at the door and knocks. Obviously the text refers to hitting from outside the door to go in... But I think about the times when Jesus knocks from within to let him out. The self-referential Church presumes to have Jesus inside and does not let him out.
3. - When the Church is self-referential it unwittingly thinks it has its own light, no longer the mysterium lunae and it gives way to that most grave evil which is spiritual worldliness (According to De Lubac, the worst evil that can befall the Church). This living to glorify one another. Put simply, there are two images of Church: the Church evangelizing getting out of herself, the Verbum Dei et fidenter proclamans religiose Audiens, and the worldly Church which lives in itself, of itself, for itself. This should shed light on the possible changes and reforms that must be undertake for the salvation of souls.
4. - Thinking about the next pope: a man who, from the contemplation of Jesus Christ and the adoration of Jesus Christ shall help the Church to get out of herself to the existential periphery, who will help her to be the fruitful mother who lives of 'the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing.' "
LA HABANA, 26 Mar. 13 / 06:05 pm (ACI/EWTN Noticias).- El Arzobispo de La Habana (Cuba), Cardenal Jaime Ortega, dio a conocer un discurso que el entonces Cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio ofreció durante las congregaciones generales antes del Cónclave y en el que sin presagiar que resultaría electo, pidió un Papa que lleve a la Iglesia a salir de sí misma y a evangelizar lo que denominó “las periferias existenciales” del dolor, la ignorancia y el pecado.

Horas antes de ser elegido Papa, el Cardenal Bergoglio regaló al Cardenal Ortega el manuscrito del discurso que pronunció en las congregaciones generales.

El texto fue leído por el Purpurado cubano el sábado pasado durante la Misaen la catedral local y fue publicado este martes en la revista del Arzobispado de La Habana, Palabra Nueva, todo con la autorización del Pontífice.

El discurso lleva por título “La dulce y confortadora alegría de evangelizar” y es el siguiente:

“Se hizo referencia a la evangelización. Es la razón de ser de la Iglesia. – ‘La dulce y confortadora alegría de evangelizar’ (Pablo VI). - Es el mismo Jesucristo quien, desde dentro, nos impulsa.

1.- Evangelizar supone celo apostólico. Evangelizar supone en la Iglesia la parresía de salir de sí misma. La Iglesia está llamada a salir de sí misma e ir hacia las periferias, no solo las geográficas, sino también las periferias existenciales: las del misterio del pecado, las del dolor, las de la injusticia, las de la ignorancia y prescindencia religiosa, las del pensamiento, las de toda miseria.

2.- Cuando la Iglesia no sale de sí misma para evangelizar deviene autorreferencial y entonces se enferma (cfr. La mujer encorvada sobre sí misma del Evangelio). Los males que, a lo largo del tiempo, se dan en las instituciones eclesiales tienen raíz de autorreferencialidad, una suerte de narcisismo teológico. En el Apocalipsis Jesús dice que está a la puerta y llama. Evidentemente el texto se refiere a que golpea desde fuera la puerta para entrar… Pero pienso en las veces en que Jesús golpea desde dentro para que le dejemos salir. La Iglesia autorreferencial pretende a Jesucristo dentro de sí y no lo deja salir.

3.- La Iglesia, cuando es autorreferencial, sin darse cuenta, cree que tiene luz propia; deja de ser el mysterium lunae y da lugar a ese mal tan grave que es la mundanidad espiritual (Según De Lubac, el peor mal que puede sobrevenir a la Iglesia). Ese vivir para darse gloria los unos a otros. Simplificando; hay dos imágenes de Iglesia: la Iglesia evangelizadora que sale de sí; la Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidenter proclamans, o la Iglesia mundana que vive en sí, de sí, para sí. Esto debe dar luz a los posibles cambios y reformas que haya que hacer para la salvación de las almas.

4.- Pensando en el próximo Papa: un hombre que, desde la contemplación de Jesucristo y desde la adoración a Jesucristo ayude a la Iglesia a salir de sí hacia las periferias existenciales, que la ayude a ser la madre fecunda que vive de ‘la dulce y confortadora alegría de la evangelizar’”.

Orthodox/Catholic Total Reconciliation Seems Near

Pope: Bartholomew I, hope to unite Eastern churches and Rome
Even if not immediately. Francis can reform Vatican

25 MARCH, 15:20

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, MARCH 25 - The Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I who attended last week the mass inaugurating the pontificate of Pope Francis, believes the reunification of the Orthodox and Rome Churches 1,000 years after the Great Schism of 1054 is possible, the Turkish press reports.

Speaking at a meeting at the university of Kadir Has in Istanbul, Hurriyet reports, Bartholomew I said he believed 'there is a possibility for the next generations to see the churches of the East and West reunited'. 'This will probably not happen during my life', he added. Bartholomew I, 73, has been since 1991 the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox church, and last week became the first patriarch of Constantinople to be present at the inauguration of a new pontificate since 1054.

Speaking about the new pontiff, Hurriyet reported Bartholomew I as saying that he 'seems very different' from his predecessors and that he 'has the ability' to reform the Vatican.

The patriarch, according to Hurriyet, said he was 'surprised' to be invited by the pope on the night of his arrival in Rome to a dinner with the cardinals which Francis asked him to bless. After the meal, which lasted two hours and a half, the talk was not only on bringing the Eastern and Western Churches closer but also the environment, an issue dear to the patriarch, and poverty, one of Francis' priorities.

The patriarch confirmed that he invited the new pope to visit Fener, the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, in Istanbul.

Francis and Bartholomew, according to Hurriyet, will meet in Jerusalem on January 4-6, 2014, during the Orthodox Christam, 50 years after the historic meeting between Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras. (ANSAmed)

Esto Vir!: The Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) Interviews

El canal de YouTube  Religión Católica tiene varios videos de entrevistas con el Cardenal Bergoglio (Papa Francisco).

Simplicity for Sermons

In the book On the Preacher and Preaching (a letter to Andre Fremyor, archbishop of Bourges), Saint Francis de Sales begins with The Preacher.  In addition to living a holy and sacramental life, the preacher must avoid every form of extravagance so as to stand beyond reproach.

Nugae saecularium sunt blasphemiae clericorum. Things that are mere trifles among laymen are blasphemous acts among the clergy.  --Saint Bernard

Oportet episcopum esse irreprehensibilem. 1Tim. 3:2  The overseer (bishop) must be beyond reproach.

Pope Francis is exemplary in impressing the need for our preachers and christian teachers to be lovers of poverty! Clerics must lead simple and even austere lives. This is a gospel that the world readily embraces.  Men of God should guard themselves against the thirst for wealth by rejecting everything superfluous.

One way to do this, ironically, is by requiring clerics to dress always in clerical garb.  Bishops in the United States and throughout Europe should impose fines on clerics and religious who go out in public as if they were lay people!  That alone would reverse the God-less tide of our present world and of our clergy, beginning with our bishops!

Thanks be to God that in this Catholic moment it is once again the Supreme Pontiff who is pointing the way!
Priests should manifestly live priestly lives 24/7, the habit helps you acquire the habit.

N.B. In the same book cited above Saint Francis lists authors to be read for sermon content.  Some of the authors are more available than others but the list is especially interesting for those who have the leisure to browse through Spanish, French or Italian theological libraries.  I'm sure both Popes would have easy access to all of those works in the Vatican Libraries and Archives.

Saint Thomas Aquinas
Saint Antoninus, O.P. (1389-1459) Archbiship of Florence. Summa theologiae moralisSumma confessorumIuris pontificii et caesarei summa.
Bishop William of Lyons (Gulielmus Peraldus, Lugdunensis, etc.), O.P. (1190-1255) Summa de virtutibus et vitiis.
Father Bernardino Rossignolo, S.J. (1563-1613) De actionibus virtutis, ex s. scrituris et patribus libri duo (Venice, 1603).
Philip Diez, (sixteenth century Spanish Franciscan [+1601]), Summa praedicantium, and also his sermons. Canciones quaruplices in Evangelia.
Hieronymus Orosius (1506-1580), O.P. Portuguese, bishop of Sylves.  Paraphrases et commentarii in s. scripturam.
Louis de Granada's, O.P. (1555-1588) spiritual works.
Maurice Hylaret's, Franciscan (1539-1591), sermons.
Diego Stella's, Spanish Franciscan (1524-1595) commentary on Luke.
Alfonso Salmeron, S.J. on the Gospels.
Sebastian Barradas, S.J. on the Gospels.
"Saint Gregory excels among the ancients."
Saint Chrysostom
Saint Bernard

It is Not Proper That the Spouse of the Word Should be Stupid

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux thus wittily indicates the demand for Christian orators and writers of the highest intellectual dedication and caliber.

God, being the fount of all wisdom, knowledge and understanding--Christ is the Truth, the eternal Word--the Church, the Spouse of Christ, should apply her entire mind to the service of Christ.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Still No Red Mozzetta For Pope Francis

Despite all of the speculation it appears that Pope Francis has not yet put on the rejected mozzetta, which he might again have worn in the Sala Regia to meet the world's gallant diplomats yesterday, but did not.

It might be the red shoes.  You see, it's color coordination.  If he wears the red mozzetta or any of the other various Papal festive garb (which are largely red) he will be stuck with having to wear the red shoes.  It's a matter of elegance. I, for my part, do not know why black shoes should be considered poorer than red.  My experience is that black shoes generally cost more than red!

While I am on the matter of elegance, with all due respect to the Holy Father, he should change his eyeglasses to a pair that better accents his handsome face rather than barricading it!  I'm sure this also is not a matter of money, for prescription glasses are always expensive anyway, then the frames are largely just a matter of taste.  Perhaps contacts even?

By the way, he certainly wore his cardinal red for the conclave!  Why be so biased against the papal red?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pope Francis Speaks Today of the "Dictatorship of Relativism"

In his Address to the Vatican Diplomatic Corps in the Sala Regia His Holiness Francis Quoted Pope Benedict XVI term.  Pope Francis is scheduled to have lunch at Castel Gandolfo tomorrow with the Pope Emeritus.

His Holiness was speaking to the diplomats regarding further reasons for his choosing the name Francis: to get close to and love and help the poor, to forge peace with the truth, and to build bridges among peoples and religions with particular mention of Islam and atheism.  At the end of the discourse he also spoke of the need to care for the entire Earth (sic).

Here is the relevant text (my translation with help from Google Chrome).
As you know, there are various reasons why I chose my name thinking of Francis of Assisi, a personality that is well-known beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, and even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons is the love that Francis had for the poor. There are still many poor people in the world! And how much suffering these people encounter! With the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church has always tried to take care of, to guard, in every corner of the Earth, those who suffer from poverty; and I think that in many of your countries, you can see the generous work of those Christians who try to help the sick, the orphans, the homeless and those who are marginalized, and are working so to build a more humane and more just society.

But there is another poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our days, which severely affects countries also considered the richest. This is what my Predecessor, our beloved Pope Benedict XVI calls the "dictatorship of relativism", which places each person as a measure of himself and endangers societal life. And so I come to the second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us to work to build peace! But there is no true peace without truth! There can be no true peace if each is the measure of himself, if each one can claim always and only their own right, not caring at the same time for the benefit of others, of all, based on the nature common to every human being on this earth.
One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is the person who builds bridges, with God and among men. I desire that the dialogue between us help build bridges among all people, so that everyone can find in the other not an enemy, not a competitor, but a brother to accept and embrace! Furthermore, my own origins compel me to work to build bridges. In fact, as you know, my family is of Italian origin, and so in me this dialogue between cultures and places far distant from one another is always alive, including one world leader with another other. today ever closer, interdependent and needing to meet and to create real spaces of authentic fraternity.
In this work the role of religion is crucial. You can not, in fact, build bridges between people, forgetting God But the opposite is also true: you can not live real ties with God, ignoring the others. For this reason it is important to intensify the dialogue between the various religions, I think first of all of that with Islam, and I very much appreciated the presence, during the Mass of the beginning of my ministry, many civil and religious authorities of the Islamic world. And it is also important to strengthen the encounters with non-believers, the differences that separate and hurt should not prevail, but, within the diversity, the desire to build real bonds of friendship between all peoples should prevail.

Year of Faith Preachers: Louis Bourdaloue, S.J.

I just discovered the name of this renowned French Jesuit preacher of the Grand Siècle, perhaps the greatest rhetorician France has ever produced: Father Louis Bourdaloue.

There is a book on him in English. Herald of Christ Louis Bourdaloue, S.J.: King of Preachers and Preacher of Kings by Reville, John C., 1922.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Archbishop of Canterbury is Pro-Catholic, Benedictine and Ignatian!

Justin Welby, new Archishop of Canterbuy, enthroned on Thursday 2013-03-21  Vatican Radio

The 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of England, was enthroned today in his Cathedral. Archbishop Justin Welby succeeds Rowan Williams, who led the Church of England from 2002-2012. The Holy See delegation to the event was led by the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch.

Archbishop Welby has a deep interest in Catholic social teaching, and sees it as a means for the Catholic Church and Anglican Communion to work together. He told Vatican Radio one of the first tasks is to make it better known.“You [Vatican Radio] have kept Catholic Social Teaching far too well hidden,” Archbishop Welby said. “It is one of the greatest treasures that the Churches globally have to offer, and even many Catholics don’t know much about it. Starting with Rerum Novarum in the late 19th Century and going through to the remarkable development under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, with a lot in between, particularly around Vatican II. I think in those you see a comprehensively thought through structure of approach to the way we order society in a way that reflects Christian teaching, Christian values: the love, the integrity of Jesus Christ. I think it is a huge treasure for the whole Church to learn from, and I think it will lead us into much closer cooperation.”

Welby also has a deep appreciation for Catholic spiritual traditions. He has been an Oblate of the Benedictine Order (Anglican branch) for several years. “I read a bit of the rule each day. I try and follow the patterns that I’m meant to follow,” he said. “I just find Benedict so remorselessly full of common sense and insight and challenge.”

He and and his wife are also involved with Chemin Neuf, a French Catholic community rooted in the Charismatic movement and espousing an Ignatian spirituality. “I have been doing some work with them around theories of reconciliation,” Welby said. “I have been greatly influenced by their Ignatian spirituality, as has my wife.”

When asked by Vatican Radio if this would give him a lot to talk about with the Jesuit Pope Francis, the new leader of the Anglican Communion went further. “A lot to learn from Francis as the first Jesuit Pope,” he emphasized. “Yes. Absolutely.”

About a comparison of ecumenical approach between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI he said "Pope Benedict was a man I respected.  Pope Francis is a man I respect enormously and I look forward to meeting with him and discovering a bit more.  But I am not going to second guess what they're thinking."

Listen to the full interview by Philippa Hitchen with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby: clicking the mp3 icon at the end of the article.

El Papa Gaucho Francisco!

Pope Francis Tweets in Latin!

The Pontifical Latin Twitter Account is up and running again.  Here are the first three Latin tweets of Pope Francis' Pontificate.

19 March
Famulatus verus est Dominatus. Dominus Pontifex famuletur universis oportet pauperrimis nominatim atque infirmissimis immo minimis.

19 March
Christum nostra protegamus in vita mutuo curam omnium inter nos gerentes totamque protegamus amanter creaturam.

17 March
Plurimas dilectissimi gratias imo ex corde vobis agentes enixe vos rogamus ut preces pro Nobis Miserenti Domino fundatis. Papa Franciscus

Holy Papal Titles Usher in the Third Millenium

Following up on our post regarding the holiness of the popes for the past two centuries, here we look briefly at the names of the saints chosen by the past several pontiffs.  There is a trend here.  The emphasis is Evangelical, contemplative and apostolic, and above all emphasis on holiness, personal holiness!  Believe. Witness. Contemplate God's face in Christ. And bring the Gospel to the whole world!

Pius--from Pope Saint Pius I and later Pope Saint Pius X: the emphasis here is piety, sincere adoration of Christ and defense against His enemies (gnostics and modernists: those who change the truth according to man made myths).

John--The evangelist, clarity in the proclamation of Christ, Who He is: God, the one true God.  The Baptist, to point out Christ and His truth unto martyrdom (counting not the cost).

Paul--Apostolic zeal to spread the Gospel to all men, Jews and Greeks alike.  Mission ad gentes, especially the Greeks (to end our millenial schism).

Benedict--Study and synthesis of the faith and the promotion of all noble human endeavors (science, the arts, etc.) while reconciling them with God and faith in Him.  Proclamation as a fruit of contemplation of Christ and Christian meditation.

Francis--Emphasis on giving everything away, going out and closeness to others for God's sake in Christ.

Pope Francis is on Facebook

A group of young people have begun an excellent Facebook page on Pope Francis (Papa Francisco), en español.  Very exciting.  Check it out regularly. Pass it on. Put it in your bulletin for Spanish speaking parishioners!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mary the Disentagler (Undoer of Knots): Pope Francis

Our Lady disentangles us in our complications, she enables us to undo our knots, e.g. makes easy what is difficult for us alone.

During a Conclave interview on EWTN Msgr. Anthony J. Figueiredo showed the world a medal (very much like the one on the rosary here) which Cardinal Bergoglio had given him a few years previous of Our Lady the Undoer of Knots, a devotion the Cardinal had acquired during his studies in Bavaria, Germany (Pope Emeritus Benedict's homeland), which devotion he has help to spread also in his native Buenos Aires.  Bergoglio gave Pope Benedict a chalice bearing the same image.

Here is an explanation of the devotion.  It is actually quite simple.  Mary, Our Mother, like any mother, can do things for us that we cannot do on our own; things as simple as tying and untying our shoes!  Without Mary we are practically helpless and with her all is easy.

To show us the mission granted to the Virgin Mary by Her Son, an unknown artist painted Mary Undoer of Knots (Maria Knotenlöserin) with great grace. Since 1700, his painting has been venerated in the Church of St. Peter in Perlack, Germany. It was originally inspired by a meditation of Saint Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyon and martyred in 202) based on the parallel made by Saint Paul between Adam and Christ. Saint Irenaeus, in turn, made a comparison between Eve and Mary, saying:

"Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it".

But what are these knots?

They are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution.
Knots of discord in your family, lack of understanding between parents and children, disrespect, violence, the knots of deep hurts between husband and wife, the absence of peace and joy at home. They are also the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, the dissolution of the family, the knots of a drug addict son or daughter, sick or separated from home or God, knots of alcoholism, the practice of abortion, depression, unemployment, fear, solitude…Ah, the knots of our life! How they suffocate the soul, beat us down and betray the heart’s joy and separate us from God.

The devotion to Mary Undoer of Knots is not new. The devotion is more than 300 years old. However, it is not based on an apparition of the Virgin Mary to a person, or persons, as in Lourdes or Fatima, but rather it is a revered devotion as many others in the Catholic Church, despite Virgin Mary is only one.
The devotion to Mary Undoer of Knots is becoming more and more known in many different countries, and the Novena has been printed in 19 languages, as well as in Braille. In the last 4 years, the Sanctuary of Mary Undoer of Knots has welcomed more than 600,000 pilgrims from all over the world.

At Mass, there is a multitude of people: the young, the elderly, rich and poor, all asking for help from Our Lady to simplify their lives.

Sanctuary where Mary Undoer of Knots is venerated
Devotes on field Mass in honorto Mary Undoer of Knots

Day after day, more and more Christians kneel to pray to Her as soon as they meet the Mother of the Fair Love.
Many families have become reconciled! Many diseases have been healed! Many spouses have returned to the Church! Many jobs have been given! Many conversions have taken place! Many Catholics have been on their knees praying and giving thanks for graces received from our sweet Mother.

We are living in difficult times where the problems, the knots, the temptations, the lack of peace and the evils are all around us. Like a roaring lion your adversary, the devil, prowls around, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5,8)

For that reason, Mary Who undoes the knots, Who was chosen by God to crush the evil with Her feet, comes to us to reveal Herself. She comes to provide jobs, good health, to reconcile families, because She wants to undo the knots of our sins which dominate our lives, so that - as sons of the King - we can receive the promises reserved for us from eternity. She comes with promises of victory, peace, blessings and reconciliation.

Then, free from our knots – filled with happiness, we can be a testimony of the Divine Power in this world, like pieces of God’s heart or small bottles of perfume exhaling mercy and love to our neighbor. Like ambassador of Jesus Christ and the Virgin of the fair love, we can rescue those who cry without any consolation, those who are lonely, tied with knots, who have no God, no Father nor Mother.

Mother of the Rising Sun, Immaculate, our Advocate, Helper in moments of affliction, Mother of God and made by Him our Mother, this is how Mary, Undoer of Knots is presented. Above all, She comes as the Queen of Mercy, the one who knows all about us, who has compassion for us and hurries to rescue us, praying for each one of us to Her beloved Jesus.

May Mary Undoer of Knots bless you today and forever. Amen!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Pauper Pope: Pontiff Prediction Precision by Progressives

Here is an article from the March 9th Wall Street Journal just days before the March 13th Papal Election.  You would think that Bergoglio himself had written it! or that at least some of the Cardinals read it or things like it.  Most exact!

The Liberals got it right this time!  May they too come to the fullness of the Catholic faith of our beloved Pauper Pope Francis who has succeeded our equally beloved Professor Pope Emeritus Benedict.

Among the Poor 
by Michael Sean Winters

The next pope will find himself living in one of the planet's most lavish palaces, in the trappings of a 17th-century royal court.  He will be a modern celebrity too, with all the expectations conferred by that status.
Still, there are steps he could take to identify himself more closely with the world's poor.  Pope Benedict XVI had a penchant for elaborate, baroque dress.  He did this, as I understand it, because of his commitment to the ideal of beauty in the Church's liturgy.  But a simpler attire can be beautiful too, and it wouldn't make a parent struggling to feed her children wonder why so much money is spent on luxuries.
The new pope will be the Bishop of Rome.  Like many bishops throughout the world, he can make time to go to soup kitchens and serve the poor, visit the infirm in hospitals and go to local prisons, spending time with those whom the rest of the world tends to shun.  Such visits can become a regular part of the new pope's foreign travel schedule.  A pope must visit with the powerful, with civil and ecclesial leaders, to be sure, but there is no reason he cannot regularly visit the world's poor as well.
Identifying with the poor would allow the new pope to give visible evidence of Catholicism's deep-seated suspicions of modern consumer capitalism.  Capitalism values thrift and aggressiveness, its heroes are the protean, self-made men of industry.  It thrives on competition.
But Christians follow Jesus Christ, whose grace is gratuitous, not thrifty, whose life was characterized by contemplation, not aggression.  Jesus was not a self-made man but radically dependent on the Father's will.
Jesus, and the Church that Catholics believe he founded, valued solidarity more than competition.  He characterized his ministry as bringing good news to the poor.  Benedict XVI was non shy about criticizing capitalism in his writings.  We need a pope who will critique it by his actions.
Mr Winters is a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter and writes the blog Distinctly Catholic.

Cardinal Bergoglio's Year of Faith Letter to Priests, etc.

Dear brethren:
Among the hardest realities of recent decades is to find closed doors. The growing insecurity gradually led to lock doors, to put in alarm systems, security cameras, to distrust the stranger who knocks at our door. However, in some communities there are still open doors. The closed door is symbolic of our age. It's more than just a sociological fact, it is an  existential reality which marks a lifestyle, a way to face reality, regarding the other, regarding the future. The closed door of my house, which is the place of my privacy, my dreams, my hopes and my sufferings and joys, is closed to the other. And it's not just my material house, is also the site of my life, my heart.   Always fewer and fewer can cross that threshold. The security of armed doors watches over the insecurity of a life which is ever becoming more fragile and less permeable to the riches of life and love of others.
The image of an open door has always been the symbol of light, friendship, joy, freedom, confidence. How we need them back! The closed door hurts us, paralyzes us, separates us.
We begin the Year of Faith the image the Pope proposes is paradoxically, the door, a door that must be crossed in order to find what we need so much. The Church, through the voice and heart of her Pastor Benedict invites us to cross the threshold, to make an internal and free decisive step: to encourage us to enter a new life.
The door of faith leads us to the Acts of the Apostles: "Upon arrival they gathered the church, they told them what God had done through them and how he had opened to the Gentiles the door of faith" (Acts 14 , 27). God always takes the initiative and does not want anyone left out. God knocks at the door of our hearts: Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me (Rev. 3: 20). Faith is a grace, a gift of God. "Faith grows and is fortified  only by believing; it is a continual abandonment into the hands of a love that is always experienced as bigger because it has its origin in God "
To pass through that door implies undertaking a path that lasts a lifetime as we move forward before so many doors that open to us nowadays, many of them false doors, doors that invite very attractively but deceitfully to begin the way, that promise an empty happiness , narcissistic, with an expiration date; doors that lead to crossroads where, whatever the option we follow, cause short-or long-term distress and embarrassment, self-referential doors which exhaust themselves and with no guarantee for the future. While the doors of the homes are closed, the malls doors are always open. One passes through the door of faith, that threshold is crossed, when the Word of God is proclaimed and the heart let's itself be formed by transforming grace. A grace that has a specific name, and that name is Jesus. Jesus is the door.  (John 10:9)   "He, and He alone, is, and always will be, the door. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6) " If there is no Christ, there is no way to God. As door He opens the way to God, and as Good Shepherd He is the One who cares for us at the cost of his own life.
Jesus is the door and knocks on our door to let him cross the threshold of our lives. ... Do not be afraid to open wide the doors to Christ Blessed John Paul II told us at the beginning of his pontificate . Open the doors of the heart the disciples of Emmaus did, asking him to stay with us so we can pass through the doors of faith and the Lord himself might lead us to understand the reasons why we believe, in order to then head out to announce itFaith implies deciding to be with the Lord to live with Him and share Him with the brothers.
We thank God for this opportunity to evaluate our lives as children of God, by this faith journey that began in our life with the waters of baptism, the inexhaustible and fruitful dew that makes us children of God and brother members of the Church. The goal, destination or end it the encounter with God with Whom we have already entered into communion and Who wants to restore us, purify us, elevate us, sanctify us, and give us the happiness for which our heart longs.
We want to thank God because He has planted in the heart of our Archdiocesan Church the desire to spread and give open-handed this gift of Baptism. This is the fruit of a long journey that began with the question: How to be the Church in Buenos Aires? which passed through the State of Assembly to take root in the State of Mission as a permanent pastoral an option.
To begin this Year of Faith is a new  call to deepen in our life the faith received. To profess the faith with the mouth requires the living it in the heart and showing it with works: a testimony and a public commitment. The disciple of Christ, son of the Church, can not never that to believe is a private matter. It is an important and strong challenge for every day, convinced that he who began the good work in you will perfect it until the day of  Jesus Christ. (Phi.1: 6) Looking at our reality, as missionary disciples, we wonder: to what does crossing threshold of faith challenge us?
Crossing the threshold of faith challenges us to discover that although today it seems that death reigns in its various forms and that history is governed by the law of the strongest or cunning; and that if hatred and ambition function as engines of many human struggles, we are absolutely convinced that this sad reality can change and must change, definitely because " if God is with us who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31,37)
Crossing the threshold of faith means to being ashamed to have a child's heart, because it still believes in the impossible, can live in hope: the only thing that can give meaning and transform history. It is to constantly ask, to pray and not lose heart and adore to change our looks.
Crossing the threshold of faith leads us to beg for each one "the mind of Christ Jesus" (Phil 2: 5) and thus experiencing a new way of thinking, communicating, of looking, of showing respect, of being in family, of approaching the future, to live love and the vocation.
Crossing the threshold of faith is to act, to rely on the strength of the Holy Spirit present in the Church and that is Who also manifests Himself in the signs of the times; it is to accompany the constant movement of life and history without falling into that paralyzing defeatism that the past was better; it is the urgency to think anew, to bring anew, create anew, amassing life with "the new leaven of righteousness and holiness. " (1 Cor 5:8)
Crossing the threshold of faith means having wondering eyes and a heart not lazily accustomed, able to recognize that every time a woman gives birth one is still waging for life and for future, that when we take care of the innocence of children we guarantee truth of a tomorrow and when we nurse the rendered life of an elderly person we do an act of justice and caress our roots.
Crossing the threshold of faith is work lived with dignity and the vocation of service, with the self-denial of returning again and again to life, to begin, without slackening, as if everything that has been done and were only one step on the road to the kingdom,   fullness of life. It is the silent wait after the daily planting, to contemplate the gathered fruit thanking the Lord for He is good and asking Him not to abandon the work of His hands. (Psalm 137)
Crossing the threshold of faith demands the fight for freedom and coexistence even if the surrounding environment fails, in the certainty that the Lord asks us to practice right, to love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (  Micah 6:8)
Crossing the threshold of faith involves the permanent conversion of our attitudes, styles and manner with which we live; to redo the thing and not just patch it up or polish it up, to give the new form which Jesus gives to that which is touched by his hand and his gospel of life, encouraging us to do something unprecedented for society and for the Church, for "Whoever is in Christ is a new creation." ( 2 Cor 5.17 to 21)
Crossing the threshold of faith leads us to forgive and know how to pull out a smile, to get close to all who live on the boarders of existence and call it by its name, it is to take care of the frailties of the weak and support their wavering knees with the certainty that what we do for the least of our brothers we are doing to Jesus Himself. ( Mt 25: 40)
Crossing the threshold of faith is to celebrate life, to let us be transformed because we have become one with Jesus at the table of the Eucharist celebrated in community, and to be there with our hands and heart busy working on the big project of the Kingdom: all things shall be added unto you besides. (Mt 6.33)
Crossing the threshold of faith is to live in the spirit of the Council and of Aparecida, Church of open doors not only to but mainly to go out and fill the street and the men of our time with the gospel and life.
Crossing the threshold of faith for our Archdiocesan Church, means to feel confirmed in the Mission of being a Church, living, praying and working in the missionary mode.
Crossing the threshold of faith is ultimately to accept the novelty of the life of the Risen Lord in our poor flesh to make it the sign of new life.
Pondering all these things let us look at Mary, that She, the Virgin Mother, accompany us on this crossing the threshold of faith and bring the Holy Spirit upon our Church in Buenos Aires, as in Nazareth, so that like her we adore the Lord and go out to proclaim the wonders he has done for us.

October 1, 2012
Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio sj

New Papal Coat of Arms From The Pope's Teenage Years

At the next Angelus, the papal tapestry hung from Pope Francis' window will not be white anymore, it will have at the center his new coat of arms, which differs little from that which he had chosen at the time of his episcopal consecration.

The blue shield is surmounted by symbols of papal dignity, the same as those taken by his predecessor Benedict XVI (miter placed between crossed keys of gold and silver, bound by a red cord). At the top stands the emblem of the order of origin of our new pope, the Society of Jesus, a radiant sun and flamboyant containing the letters in red IHS monogram of Christ. The letter H is surmounted by a cross, at the tip, the three nails in black.

Below, are the star and the flower of nard. The star, according to the ancient heraldic tradition, symbolizes the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and of the Church, while the flower of nard shows St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church. In the iconographic Hispanic tradition, in fact, St. Joseph is depicted holding a branch of spikenard. By placing these images in his shield, the pope intended to express his particular devotion to Mary and Joseph.

But even more interesting is the explanation that has been given to the words "miserable atque eligendo", taken from a sermon the Venerable Bede on the call of Matthew, where a previous post has already reported.

"This homily is a tribute to God's mercy and is reproduced in the Liturgy of the Hours of the feast of St. Matthew. It has a special meaning in the spiritual life and the pope. In fact, on the feast of St. Matthew in the year 1953, the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 years old, experienced the loving presence of God in his life, in a very special way. Following a confession, he felt his heart being touched and felt the descent of God's mercy, that 'with a look of tender love calling him' - 'miserable atque eligendo' - to the religious life, following the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola .

"Once elected bishop, Archbishop Bergoglio, in memory of the event which marked the beginning of his total consecration to God in his church, decided to choose, as a motto and way of life, the expression of St. Bede 'miserable atque eligendo ', which he now has wished to replicate in his papal coat of arms. "

Monday, March 18, 2013

Looks Like the Mozzetta is Back!

A red mozzetta was just delivered to the Vatican today, ordered in a hurry just this morning at the famous Gammarelli's Church Tailor of Rome.

Tomorrow is expected the Mass for the "beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome" and in all likelihood (the only way to explain the rush order), ushering in the use of the mozzetta presumably in the ceremony that will receive the vows of obedience of the cardinals.

Some might think that we are making a big deal out of nothing, but at a more substantial level, we are reassured by the fact that Monsignor Guido Marini has been confirmed in his functions for this "opening" ceremony, coordinating the Franciscan friars of La Verna called to serve at the altar.

The Mass was preceded by  the Laudes Regiae, will be in Latin, except the homily (in Italian), readings, responsorial psalm and prayers of the faithful, will be alternately in assorted languages, while the Gospel will be sung exclusively in Greek instead of in two sacred languages, as is normal in the most solemn papal ceremonies, it seems out of a desire to shorten the time of the ceremony and avoid redundancy. For the same purpose of brevity and simplicity, the offertory procession will be abolished (and this is good, considering the masquerades to which that ritual has given rise in the past).

The Offertory will have a four-voice motet by Palestrina, written for the coronation of the Popes: Tu es ovium pastor.

The singing of the Te Deum finally will close the liturgy.
(my translation from, with a little Google help!)


"Progress, seen accurately, is progress from the sling to the atom bomb."
--Benedict XVI (Spe Salvi, 22)

Technology, reason alone, does not save; but, rather, destroys, us!

Man without God lives according to the law of the jungle.  That is what the evolution ideology gives us.  The survival of the fittest.  Then might is right.  The strongest one wins.

But, Christ rose victorious from the dead.  Violence does not have the last word, mercy does in Christ.  Redemption.

Pope Francis chose the name Francis because he is the poor man, the man of peace, the man who loves creation!  God's creation!  All of it, including man!  Human nature must be respected too!  Man needs repentance and mercy (cf. Homily Santa Ana 17 March 2013).  Bravo Papa Francesco.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pope Francis With the Journalists (Unedited Italian)

Papa Francesco ai giornalisti: "Come vorrei una Chiesa povera e per i poveri."  15:07min

"How I would like a poor Church and for the poor."

"The Church does not have a political nature.  It is spiritual!"

Corruptio Optimi Pessima

This is the city standard of Buenos Aires.  May God save that corrupt city which has given the world its first American (and an honest Jesuit!) Pope, Holy Father Francis, the Vicar of Christ.

May the Holy Spirit hover again over that city of the Our Holy Father Francis, to light, to purify, to guard, to rule, to guide her.

I visited Buenos Aires a few years ago and found it to be the most corrupt city I have ever visited.  The Argentines think themselves so enlightened and are so backward in their enthusiasm for every type of doctrinal, moral and political confusion.  They are at least fifty years behind the rest of the world in their zealous communism, freudianism and rejection of religion, embracing every manner of perversion of the truth and of basic decency.  At the end of this page you will find an e-mail I sent to a friend just after the Feb. 2011 trip, my impressions of the country.

Here is an explanation of the seal.

An ellipse with a 5/6 ratio between its major and minor axis. Since 1649 it has a white dove at the top (shield), with its wings open, radiant with sunshine, symbolizing the Holy Spirit under whose patronage the city is entrusted. An anchor sable (black) half submerged An ellipse ratio 5/6 between its major and minor axis. Take a dove from 1649 white, with their wings open, radiant sunshine, head (upper shield) which means the holy spirit was placed under whose patronage the city. In the tip (lower sector of the shield) an anchor sable (black) half submerged, with the part of the cane and a nail out of the surface. From classical antiquity, the anchor represents the port city, the natural harbor, the anchorage and even the happy return
navigation. The shield has the double meaning of anchorage and port. A little farther below the minor axis of the oval, two ships, a caravel and a sixteenth-century brig, both with Spanish flags and seen on the port side (left). The former means the first foundation by Don Pedro de Mendoza and, the second, the foundation of Juan de Garay, but on this particular point, I clarify that there is not complete agreement in the various studies that have been conducted by historians. The caravel have two castles, four uprights and bowsprit. the rigged brig round or cross on the ratchet and Latin mizzen mast, both ships will bulwark with flag caps and streamers in penalties. The river in a state of gentle and curly waves represents the waters of the Rio de la Plata.  (Google translate with a few corrections from me)

Una elipse de proporción 5/6 entre su eje mayor y menor. Lleva desde 1649 una paloma
blanca, con sus alas abiertas, radiante de rayos solares, en jefe (parte superior del
escudo) que significa el espíritu santo bajo cuya advocación fue colocada la ciudad. En
punta ( sector inferior del escudo) un ancla de sable (negro) medio sumergida, con la
parte de la caña y una uña fuera de la superficie. Desde la antigüedad clásica, el ancla
representa a la ciudad puerto, al puerto natural, al fondeadero e incluso al feliz retorno de
una navegación. En el escudo tiene el doble significado de fondeadero y puerto. Un poco
más debajo de la línea del eje menor del óvalo, hay dos naves- una carabela y un bergantín del siglo XVI- ambos con banderas españolas y vistos por el costado de babor (
izquierda). El primero significa la primera fundación por Don Pedro de Mendoza y el
segundo la fundación de Juan de Garay, aunque sobre este punto en particular, debo
aclarar que no existe total coincidencia en los estudios que han efectuado diversos
historiadores. La carabela tendrá dos castillos, cuatro palos verticales y bauprés. El
bergantín con aparejo redondo o de cruz en el trinquete y latino en el mástil de mesana,
ambas naves irán empavesadas con bandera en los topes y flámulas en las penas. Las
aguas del río en estado de suave oleaje o rizadas representan las aguas del Río de la

My impressions of Argentina

My trip to Argentina was instructive though not edifying.  I learned that the Argentines are quite disoriented ideologically, and therefore, to my mind, socially anything can happen because of this lack of intellectual stability.  It's a recipe for disaster.  Buenos Aires beats any other city I know (including New York!) in being the present day "Whore of Babylon."  E.g. Mardi Gras was total chaos with countless debauched riotings, rapes, murders, etc.  Very scary even for me, a priest who has worked in urban American ghettos for decades and am quite familiar with inner city muggings and shootings.
On a positive note, their beef is the best and the cheapest in the world, and everyone seems to be able to afford to eat it...all the time!  The wildlife in Chaco (a north central region I visited) is wonderful, particularly the divers bird species--I even saw ostriches in the country fields by the highway.  And one of the most delightful birds was a bird which hangs out on and jumps up and down on the back of the grazing horse to eat it's insects!
Uruguay (a day trip crossing the Rio de Plata) was remarkable.  We went to Colonia which is a colonial city (17th century foundation) equivalent to anything you might see in the US and Europe in its sophistication, but with a most quaint historic town and some very impressive historic monuments (built by the Portuguese and Spanish kings).  I would recommend Uruguay over Argentina for its friendliness, cleanliness and good order, and religious bearings.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pope Francis' Homilies in Buenos Aires (Las Homilias y Mensajes del Arzobispo de Buenos Aires)

The Archdiocese of Buenos Aires Website has a treasure of some 100 homilies and messages of Archbishop Bergoglio (which Google chrome can easily help you translate).  What a treasure of episcopal heart and perception!  Here is one example, a message to his priests from his first year as archbishop.

The message to the priests is simple: shed the bureaucratic strictures that keep you closed to others and thereby to God!...His joy and peace!  Open up!  Do not be afraid to open up!

Buenos Aires, 1 October 1999
Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Dear Brothers
Within a few weeks the Advent season will begin: this year it will mark the liturgical beginning toward the Jubilee. The desire to let us be visited by the Lord at His coming acquires a singular force in the light of this event. At Christmas the Holy Door will be opened and, foreseeing this gesture the oft-repeated invitation of the Pope resonates in my heart: "Open the doors to the Redeemer" (Aperite portas, No. 1), "Open the door to Christ" (Redemptoris Missio , nn. 3, 39). Thus the Nativity of the Lord needs to find us, "like men waiting for their Master to come ... to open instantly to Him" (Lc.13: 36). This letter that I write to you is born of the desire to exhort you, as a pastor and brother, to open the doors to the Lord: the door of the heart, the doors of the mind, the doors of our Churches ... all doors. Opening doors is a Christian task, a priestly task.
So Jesus did, we read it in the Gospel. At the beginning of his mission, he presents himself "opening the book of the prophet Isaiah ..." (Luke 4: 17), and so also the book of Revelation ends as the Lamb slain, as the Lion of Judah, "the only one worthy to open the book and break its seals "(Apoc.5: 2.9).  The risen Jesus is the one who "opens the intelligence" of the disciples of Emmaus "to understand the Scriptures" (Lc.24: 45) and makes them remember: "Did not our heart burn when he opened the Scriptures to us?" (Lc.24: 32).  For this opening of the Word there are many miracles: "Jesus touched the eyes of the two blind men and their eyes were opened" (Mt.9: 30); "He said to the deaf mute 'Ephphatha', meaning open yourself, and his ears opened"(Mc.7: 34). When Jesus opens his mouth it is the Kingdom of Heaven opening in parables: "And opening his mouth, Jesus taught them" (Mt 5: 2), "I will open my mouth in parables" (Mt.13 : 35). When Jesus humbles himself and is baptized, and puts himself in prayer (LC.3: 21) the sky opens and the voice of the loving Father is heard: "This is my beloved Son" (Matt.3: 16). And it is the same Lord who exhorts us: "Call and it will be opened" (Lc.11: 9), and the Church prays "that God may open a door to his word" (Col.4: 3), because " if he opens no one can close"(Rev. 3: 7). The clear and definitive invitation that brings together in an entirely personal way all of the gestures of opening of the Lord is that of the letter to Laodicea: "If anyone opens the door to me, I will come into his house and supp with him and he with me" (Rev. 3 : 20).
These days openness is considered a value, although it is not always understood properly. "He's an open priest" people say, opposing it to "a closed priest". As with any assessment, it depends on who makes it. Sometimes, on a superficial assessment, openness can mean "one that allows anything to happen" or "that he is open range", not "starched", "rigid". But behind some rather superficial positions there is something latent in the background that people perceive. Being open means a priest "who is able to listen while standing firm in his convictions." Once a man of a village described a priest with a simple sentence: "He is a priest who talks to everyone." He meant that he does not make distinctions of persons. He was struck by the fact that he could speak "well" with each person, clearly distinguishing him both from those who only speak well with some, and those who speak with everyone saying yes to everything.
This needs to be so because openness goes together with fidelity.  And it is proper to fidelity that one and the same movement, on the one hand, opens the door of the heart entirely to the beloved; and, one the other hand, closes the door to anything that threatens that love. Hence, opening the door to the Lord implies opening it to those whom He loves: to the poor, to the young, the wayward, the sinners ... Anyone, really. And close it to the "idols": to the easy compliment, to worldly glory, to lusts,  to power, to wealth, to defamation and to those people--to the degree that they embody these disvalues--who want to enter into our heart or onto our communities to impose them.
Besides being faithful, the attitude of opening or closing the door has to be testimonial. To testify that, on the last day, there will be a door that opens to some: the blessed of the Father, who gave food and drink to the little ones, those who maintained their lamp oil, which practiced the Word ... and closes to others: those who did not open the door of their heart to the needy, those who remained without oil, those who only said "Lord, Lord" with words and did not love with works.
Thus, the opening is not a matter of talk but of gestures. People express it speaking of the priest who "always is around" and of the one who "is never around" (putting it charitably they say "I know you're busy Father because you have so many things ..."). Evangelical openness is played out in the places of entrance: at the door of the churches which, in a world where the shoppings never close, they cannot remain closed for many hours, even if you have to pay for security and go down more often to the confessional; at that door which is the phone, tiresome and inopportune in our hyper-communicated world, but which cannot remain long hours at the mercy of the voice mail box. But these are rather external doors and "intermediary". They are an expression of that other door that is our face, that are our eyes, our smile, a swifter step and zeal to go greet someone whom we know is waiting ... In the confessional one knows that half the battle is won or lost in the greeting, in the manner to receive the penitent, especially when giving a peek with an expression as if to say "can I?". A frank, cordial, warm welcome finishes opening a soul which the Lord already made look through the peephole. In contrast, a cold reception, rushed or bureaucratic, closes the ajar (door). We know that we confess differently according to the priest ... and the people do too.
A nice picture to examine our openness is our home. There are houses that are open because "they are at peace", they are hospitable because they have the warmth of a home; not so ordered that one is afraid even to sit (not to mention to smoke or eat something) nor so disordered that they make others cringe. The same happens with the heart: the heart that has room for the Lord has also space for others. If there is no time or place for the Lord then the place for others is reduced to the extent of ones nerves, of one's own enthusiasm or one's own weariness. And the Lord is like the poor: he comes without us calling him, insisting a bit, but not for long, if we do not keep him. It's easy to get rid of him. It's enough just to rush the step a bit, as with beggars, or to look the other way as when the kids leave our holy cards on the subway.
Yes, openness to others goes hand in hand with our openness to the Lord. He is the one with the open heart, the only one who can open a space of  peace in our hearts, the peace that makes us hospitable to others. That is the job of the risen Jesus: to enter the closed Upper Room, which, as a house, is an image of the heart, and opening it by removing all fear and filling the disciples with peace. At Pentecost the Spirit seals the house and the hearts of the Apostles with this peace and converts them into an open House for others: Church. The Church is like the open house of the merciful Father. Therefore, our attitude should be that of the Father and not that of the sons of the parable: neither of the younger who takes advantage of the opening to make his getaway, nor of the elder who thinks that with his closedness he protects the inheritance better than their own father.
Open the doors to the Lord! This is the request I would like to make today to all the priests of the Archdiocese. Open your doors! Those of your heart and of your Churches. Do not be afraid! Open them in the morning in your prayer, to receive the Spirit who will fill you with peace and joy and to then shepherd the faithful people of God. Open them during the day so that the prodigal sons feel awaited. Open them at nightfall, so that the Lord not pass you by and leave you in your solitude but rather enter in and eat with you and keep you company.
And always remember her who is the Door of Heaven [Ianua Coeli]: the one with the heart opened by the sword, who understands all sorrows; the little slave of the Father who knows how to open herself entirely to praise; the one who "promptly" gets out of herself to visit and comfort; the one who knows how to transform any den into a house of "God with us" with some poor nappies and a mountain of tenderness; who is always attentive that the wine shall not be lacking in our lives; the one who waits outside to make way for the Lord to instruct his people; the one who is always in the open wherever men raise a cross and crucify her children. Our Lady is Mother, and-as mother-knows how to open the hearts of her children: every hidden sin can be forgiven by God through her good eyes; every whim and closedness disappears at a word from her; all fear for the mission dissipates if she joins us on the way.
I ask her to bless us all, priests of this Archdiocese, and that , with motherly tenderness, she teach us every day to open the doors to the Redeemer.

With fraternal affection.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ
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