Friday, May 13, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At noon today the Pope received participants in a meeting sponsored by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

At the beginning of the address the Holy Father recalled that 30 years ago the newly Blessed John Paul II founded that Institute and the Pontifical Council for the Family and that it was precisely on 13 May thirty years ago that he "suffered the terrible assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square".

Benedict XVI noted a few points of reflection to the members of the institute for "uniting the theology of the body with the theology of love in order to find the unity of the path of humankind".

While emphasizing that "the body is the place where the spirit can dwell", the pontiff noted that "in light of this we can understand that our bodies are not inert, heavy material but, if we know how to listen, they speak the language of true love".

"The body", he explained, "speaks to us of an origin that we haven't granted ourselves. ... It is only when recognizing the original love that has given them life that human beings can accept themselves, only then can they be reconciled with nature and with the world".

Referring to the creation of our first forebears, the Pope asserted that " before the Fall, Adam and Eve's bodies appear in perfect harmony. They have a language that they didn't create, an eros rooted in nature that invites them to receive one another mutually from the Creator so that they might thus be able to give themselves. ... The union in one flesh thus becomes a union of all of life, so that man and woman might become one spirit. ... In this sense", he continued, "the virtue of chastity takes on a new meaning. It is not a "no" to life's pleasures and joys but a great "yes" to love as the profound communication between persons, which requires time and respect, as a path together toward fullness and as love that becomes capable of generating life and generously welcoming the new life that is born".

The Holy Father said that "the body also contains a negative language. It speaks to us of the oppression of the other, of the desire to possess and exploit. Nevertheless, we know that this language does not pertain to God's original plan, but is the fruit of sin. When separated from its filial meaning, from its connection with the Creator, the body rebels against humans, and loses its capacity to show communion, becoming a place where the other is appropriated. Isn't this", he asked, " the drama of sexuality that today remains locked in the vicious circle of one's own body and emotion, but which in reality can only be fulfilled in the call to something greater?".

"God offers humans a path of redemption to the body, whose language is preserved in the family ... where the theology of the body and the theology of love are intertwined. Here the gift of self in one single flesh is lived in the conjugal love that unites spouses. Here the fruitfulness of love is experienced and life is joined with that of other generations. In the family, humans discover their relationality, not as autonomous individuals who are self-made but as child, spouse, and parent whose identity is based on being called to love, to receiving another's self and to giving oneself to others".

Benedict XVI concluded, recalling that "God takes on the body and revealed himself in it. ... As the Son, he received the filial body in gratitude, listening to the Father, and he offered his body for us, so that the new body of the Church might be generated".

AC/ VIS 20110513 (620)


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, in the Pope's name, sent the following telegram of condolence to Bishop Jose Manuel Lorca Planes of Cartagena, Spain for the victims of this past Wednesday's earthquake in Lorca.

"On receiving news of the earthquake in Lorca, which has caused deaths and left a great number of persons afflicted, the Holy Father expresses his particular closeness to those affected, offering prayers for the eternal rest of the deceased and asking the Almighty to grant consolation and Christian hope to all those suffering through this adversity.

At the same time, he encourages institutions and persons of good will to show solidarity and fraternal charity to persons and families in difficulty.

I also ask your Excellency to extend the Supreme Pontiff's heartfelt condolences to the family members of the dead, expressing his paternal care to the wounded and dispersed, to whom he wholeheartedly imparts the consolation of apostolic blessing as a sign of affection for this beloved Murcian region".

TGR/ VIS 20110513 (160)


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" published the Instruction on the application of Benedict XVI's Apostolic LetterMotu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum".

The document, approved by the Pope, bears the date of 30 April in liturgical remembrance of Pope St. Pius V. It is signed by Cardinal William Levada and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

I. Introduction

1. The Apostolic Letter "Summorum Pontificum" of the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio on 7 July 2007, which came into effect on 14 September 2007, has made the richness of the Roman Liturgy more accessible to the Universal Church.

2. With this Motu Proprio, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a universal law for the Church, intended to establish new regulations for the use of the Roman Liturgy in effect in 1962.

3. The Holy Father, having recalled the concern of the Sovereign Pontiffs in caring for the Sacred Liturgy and in their recognition of liturgical books, reaffirms the traditional principle, recognised from time immemorial and necessary to be maintained into the future, that "each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally handed down by apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be maintained not only so that errors may be avoided, but also so that the faith may be passed on in its integrity, since the Church's rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of belief (lex credendi)."1

4. The Holy Father recalls also those Roman Pontiffs who, in a particular way, were notable in this task, specifically Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Pius V. The Holy Father stresses moreover that, among the sacred liturgical books, the Missale Romanum has enjoyed a particular prominence in history, and was kept up to date throughout the centuries until the time of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently in 1970, following the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI approved for the Church of the Latin rite a new Missal, which was then translated into various languages. In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II promulgated the third edition of this Missal.

5. Many of the faithful, formed in the spirit of the liturgical forms prior to the Second Vatican Council, expressed a lively desire to maintain the ancient tradition. For this reason, Pope John Paul II with a special Indult Quattuor abhinc annos issued in 1984 by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted the faculty under certain conditions to restore the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II, with the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei of 1988, exhorted the Bishops to be generous in granting such a faculty for all the faithful who requested it. Pope Benedict continues this policy with the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" regarding certain essential criteria for the Usus Antiquior of the Roman Rite, which are recalled here.

6. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively asordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor.

7. The Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" was accompanied by a letter from the Holy Father to Bishops, with the same date as the Motu Proprio (7 July 2007). This letter gave further explanations regarding the appropriateness and the need for the Motu Proprio; it was a matter of overcoming a lacuna by providing new norms for the use of the Roman Liturgy of 1962. Such norms were needed particularly on account of the fact that, when the new Missal had been introduced under Pope Paul VI, it had not seemed necessary to issue guidelines regulating the use of the 1962 Liturgy. By reason of the increase in the number of those asking to be able to use the forma extraordinaria, it has become necessary to provide certain norms in this area.

Among the statements of the Holy Father was the following: "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the Liturgy growth and progress are found, but not a rupture. What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful."2

8. The Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" constitutes an important expression of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and of his munus of regulating and ordering the Church's Sacred Liturgy.3 TheMotu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church,4and has the aim of:

a) offering to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved;

b) effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees;

c) promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church.

II. The Responsibilities of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"

9. The Sovereign Pontiff has conferred upon the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" ordinary vicarious power for the matters within its competence, in a particular way for monitoring the observance and application of the provisions of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" (cf. art. 12).

10. § 1. The Pontifical Commission exercises this power, beyond the faculties previously granted by Pope John Paul II and confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI (cf.Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", artt. 11-12), also by means of the power to decide upon recourses legitimately sent to it, as hierarchical Superior, against any possible singular administrative provision of an Ordinary which appears to be contrary to the Motu Proprio.

§ 2. The decrees by which the Pontifical Commission decides recourses may be challenged ad normam iuris before the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

11. After having received the approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" will have the task of looking after future editions of liturgical texts pertaining to theforma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

III. Specific Norms

12. Following upon the inquiry made among the Bishops of the world, and with the desire to guarantee the proper interpretation and the correct application of theMotu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", this Pontifical Commission, by virtue of the authority granted to it and the faculties which it enjoys, issues this Instruction according to can. 34 of the Code of Canon Law.

The Competence of Diocesan Bishops

13. Diocesan Bishops, according to Canon Law, are to monitor liturgical matters in order to guarantee the common good and to ensure that everything is proceeding in peace and serenity in their Dioceses5, always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum".6 In cases of controversy or well-founded doubt about the celebration in theforma extraordinaria, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will adjudicate.

14. It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for theforma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to theMotu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum".

The coetus fidelium (cf. Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", art. 5 § 1)

15. A coetus fidelium ("group of the faithful") can be said to be stabiliter existens ("existing in a stable manner"), according to the sense of art. 5 § 1 of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", when it is constituted by some people of an individual parish who, even after the publication of theMotu Proprio, come together by reason of their veneration for the Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, and who ask that it might be celebrated in the parish church or in an oratory or chapel; such a coetus("group") can also be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses, who gather together in a specific parish church or in an oratory or chapel for this purpose.

16. In the case of a priest who presents himself occasionally in a parish church or an oratory with some faithful, and wishes to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, as foreseen by articles 2 and 4 of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", the pastor or rector of the church, or the priest responsible, is to permit such a celebration, while respecting the schedule of liturgical celebrations in that same church.

17. § 1. In deciding individual cases, the pastor or the rector, or the priest responsible for a church, is to be guided by his own prudence, motivated by pastoral zeal and a spirit of generous welcome.

§ 2. In cases of groups which are quite small, they may approach the Ordinary of the place to identify a church in which these faithful may be able to come together for such celebrations, in order to ensure easier participation and a more worthy celebration of the Holy Mass.

18. Even in sanctuaries and places of pilgrimage the possibility to celebrate in theforma extraordinariais to be offered to groups of pilgrims who request it (cf. Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", art. 5 § 3), if there is a qualified priest.

19. The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.

Sacerdos idoneus ("Qualified Priest") (cf. Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", art 5 § 4)

20. With respect to the question of the necessary requirements for a priest to be held idoneus("qualified") to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, the following is hereby stated:

a) Every Catholic priest who is not impeded by Canon Law7 is to be consideredidoneus ("qualified") for the celebration of the Holy Mass in the forma extraordinaria.

b) Regarding the use of the Latin language, a basic knowledge is necessary, allowing the priest to pronounce the words correctly and understand their meaning.

c) Regarding knowledge of the execution of the Rite, priests are presumed to be qualified who present themselves spontaneously to celebrate the forma extraordinaria, and have celebrated it previously.

21. Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin8 and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

22. In Dioceses without qualified priests, Diocesan Bishops can request assistance from priests of the Institutes erected by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", either to the celebrate theforma extraordinaria or to teach others how to celebrate it.

23. The faculty to celebrate sine populo (or with the participation of only one minister) in the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite is given by the Motu Proprio to all priests, whether secular or religious (cf. Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", art. 2). For such celebrations therefore, priests, by provision of theMotu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", do not require any special permission from their Ordinaries or superiors.

Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Discipline

24. The liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria are to be used as they are. All those who wish to celebrate according to the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite must know the pertinent rubrics and are obliged to follow them correctly.

25. New saints and certain of the new prefaces can and ought to be inserted into the 1962 Missal9, according to provisions which will be indicated subsequently.

26. As foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular.

27. With regard to the disciplinary norms connected to celebration, the ecclesiastical discipline contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 applies.

28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, theMotu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.

Confirmation and Holy Orders

29. Permission to use the older formula for the rite of Confirmation was confirmed by the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" (cf. art. 9 § 2). Therefore, in theforma extraordinaria, it is not necessary to use the newer formula of Pope Paul VI as found in the Ordo Confirmationis.

30. As regards tonsure, minor orders and the subdiaconate, the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum"does not introduce any change in the discipline of the Code of Canon Law of 1983; consequently, in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", one who has made solemn profession or who has been definitively incorporated into a clerical institute of apostolic life, becomes incardinated as a cleric in the institute or society upon ordination to the diaconate, in accordance with canon 266 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

31. Only in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and in those which use the liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria, is the use of the Pontificale Romanum of 1962 for the conferral of minor and major orders permitted.

Breviarium Romanum

32. Art. 9 § 3 of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" gives clerics the faculty to use theBreviarium Romanum in effect in 1962, which is to be prayed entirely and in the Latin language.

The Sacred Triduum

33. If there is a qualified priest, a coetus fidelium ("group of faithful"), which follows the older liturgical tradition, can also celebrate the Sacred Triduum in the forma extraordinaria. When there is no church or oratory designated exclusively for such celebrations, the parish priest or Ordinary, in agreement with the qualified priest, should find some arrangement favourable to the good of souls, not excluding the possibility of a repetition of the celebration of the Sacred Triduum in the same church.

The Rites of Religious Orders

34. The use of the liturgical books proper to the Religious Orders which were in effect in 1962 is permitted.

Pontificale Romanum and the Rituale Romanum

35. The use of the Pontificale Romanum, the Rituale Romanum, as well as theCaeremoniale Episcoporum in effect in 1962, is permitted, in keeping with n. 28 of this Instruction, and always respecting n. 31 of the same Instruction.


1. BENEDICTUS XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Summorum Pontificum motu proprio datae, I, AAS 99 (2007) 777; cf. Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, third edition 2002, n. 397.

2. BENEDICTUS XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 798.

3. Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 838 §1 and §2.

4. Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 331.

5. Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 223 § 2 or 838 §1 and §4.

6. BENEDICTUS XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 799.

7. Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 900 § 2.

8. Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 249; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36; Declaration Optatum totius, 13.

9. BENEDICTUS XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 797.

COM-ED/ VIS 20110513 (2680)


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Following is the notice, in full, summarizing the new Instruction Universae Ecclesia regarding the application of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" issued by Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office.

"Instruction on the application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (of 7 July 2007, entered into effect 14 September 2007) was approved by Pope Benedict XVI last 8 April and carries the date of 30 April in liturgical remembrance of Pope St. Pius V.

The Instruction, called Universae Ecclesiae on the basis of the first words of the text in Latin, comes from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, to which the Pope also entrusted the task of monitoring the observance and application of the Motu Proprio. It therefore bears the signatures of its president, Cardinal William Levada, and secretary, Msgr. Guido Pozzo.

The document was sent to all the Bishops in the past weeks. Remember that "Instructions clarify the prescripts of laws, elaborating on and determining the methods to be observed in fulfilling them" (CIC, can. 34). As is said in n.12, the Instruction was issued "with the desire to guarantee the proper interpretation and the correct application of the Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum'".

It is natural that, in its application, the Instruction follow the law contained in the Motu Proprio. The fact that this occurs now, three years later, is easily explained by recalling that in the Pope's Letter accompanying the Motu Proprio, he explicitly said to the Bishops: "I invite you to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought." The letter accompanying the Instruction thus bears with it the fruit of a three year trial of the application of the law, which was foreseen from the beginning.

The document is presented in plain wording and is easily read. Its Introduction (nos. 1-8) briefly recalls the history of the Roman Missal up to the last edition of John XXIII in 1962 and the new Missal approved by Paul VI in 1970 following the liturgical reform of Vatican Council II. It repeats the fundamental principle that there are "two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively asextraordinaria andordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor" (n. 6).

The purpose of the Motu Proprio, expressed in the following three points, bears repeating: a) to offer to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in its most ancient usage, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved; b) to effectively guarantee and ensure, for all who ask for it, the use of the forma extraordinaria; and c) to promote reconciliation at the heart of the Church (cf. n. 8).

A brief section of the document (nos. 9-11) recalls the tasks and powers of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, to which the Pope "has conferred ordinary vicarious power" on the subject. Among others, this has two very important consequences. First of all, this Commission can decide on recourses legitimately sent to it against eventual measures taken by bishops or other Ordinaries that seem to be in conflict with the dispositions of the Motu Proprio (while retaining the possibility of further challenging the decisions of the Commission itself before the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura). Moreover, it falls to the Commission, with the approval of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to take care of eventual editions of liturgical texts for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite (for example, it is to be hoped that, following the document, new saints and new prefaces will be added).

The properly normative part of the document (nos. 12-35) contains 23 brief points on different topics.

The competence of diocesan bishops to implement the Motu Proprio is reasserted, with the reminder that in cases of controversy regarding the celebration in the forma extraordinaria, the CommissionEcclesia Dei will adjudicate.

It clarifies the concept of coetus fidelium stabiliter existens ("where there exists a stable group of faithful"), whose desire to attend the celebration in the forma extraordinaria is to be willingly accepted by pastors. While leaving an evaluation of the number of persons necessary to constitute such a group to the prudent assessment of the pastors, it specifies that it not be necessarily constituted by persons belonging to a single parish, but can be composed of persons coming from different parishes or even different dioceses. Always keeping in mind respect for the widest pastoral needs, the Instruction proposes a spirit of "generous welcome" toward the groups of faithful who request the forma extraordinaria and the priests who occasionally ask to celebrate that form with some faithful.

Also very important is the clarification (n. 19) according to which the faithful who request the celebration of the forma extraordinaria "must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in theforma ordinaria" or against the Pope's authority as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church. Such would, in fact, be in obvious contradiction of the purpose of the Motu's "reconciliation".

Important indications regarding the "qualified priest" to celebrate the forma extraordinaria are also given. Naturally, he should not have impediments from a canonical aspect. He should know Latin sufficiently well and know the rite to be celebrated. Bishops should, therefore, make adequate formation possible in the seminaries to such ends and the possibility is noted, if other qualified priests are unavailable, of the assistance of priests from the Institutes established by the Commission Ecclesia Dei(which normally use the forma extraordinaria).

The Instruction repeats that every priest, whether diocesan or religious, has the right to celebrate the Mass sine popolo (without a congregation) in the forma extraordinaria if they so desire. Therefore, if it is a celebration with the participation of only one minister, the individual religious do not need the permission of their superiors.

Always in reference to the forma extraordinaria, there follow norms regarding the liturgical rubrics and use of liturgical books (such as the Ritual, the Pontifical, and the Ceremonial of Bishops), the possibility of using the vernacular for the readings (proclaimed either after the Latin language readings or even in alternative to them in "Low Masses"), the possibility for clerics to use the pre-reform Breviary, and the possibility of celebrating the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week for groups of faithful who request the ancient rite. As regards holy ordination, the use of ancient liturgical books is only permitted in the Institutes that are under the Commission Ecclesia Dei.

On finishing the letter, one is left with the impression of a well-balanced text that intends to promote - as intended by the Pope - a serene usage of the pre-reform liturgy by priests and faithful who feel its sincere desire for their spiritual well-being: even more, a text that intends to guarantee the legitimacy and efficacy of such usage in keeping with what is reasonably possible. At the same time, the text is animated with trust in the bishops' pastoral wisdom and insists very strongly on a spirit of ecclesial communion that should be present in all - faithful, priests, and bishops - so that the purpose of reconciliation, so evident in the Holy Father's decision, not be hindered or frustrated but fostered and attained".

OP/ VIS 20110513 (1260)


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Six prelates from the Bishops' Conference of India on their ad limina visit:

- Bishop Joseph Aind, S.D.B., of Dibrugarh,

- Bishop John Moolachira of Diphu

- Bishop John Thomas Kattrukudiyil of Itanagar

- Bishop George Palliparambil, S.D.B., of Miao

- Bishop Michael Akasius Toppo of Tezpur

- Bishop Cyprian Monis of Asansol.

This afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

AL/ VIS 20110513 (90)


VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Jose Lampra Ca of the clergy of Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, as auxiliary of that same diocese. Bissau (area 11,490, population 1,049,000, Catholics 165,000, priests 64, religious 196), Guinea-Bissau. The bishop-elect was born in 1964 in Blom, Biombo, Giunea-Bissau and was ordained a priest in 1997. He was formerly rector of the St. Kizito Minor Seminary and professor of philosophy in the Major Seminary of Bissau.

- Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, emeritus of Villavicencio and formerly vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. His Holiness also appointed Msgr. Graham Bell, formerly secretary coordinator of the Pontifical Academy for Life, as undersecretary of the same Pontifical Council.


- The Archdiocese of Lima announced that 5,000 children will make an act of consecration to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13.

The director of the archdiocesan press office, Daniel Jacobo, told CNA that the consecration will begin with a Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Monserrat in city’s historic district.

This is the second year the event is being held.

Jacobo said the idea is “to promote devotion to the Virgin among the students of schools in central Lima. It’s beautiful because the children enter in procession carrying a small statue” of the Virgin Mary.

Participating schools will be given rosaries, holy cards and certificates of attendance during the ceremony.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Pakistani paramilitary guards barracks in the north-west of the country targeted. Over 100 wounded, dozens of civilians also affected. The massacre claimed by the fundamentalist Islamic group Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. The Taliban spokesman announces new and more powerful attacks.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The toll from a twin bombing this morning in the district of Charsadda in northwest Pakistan is at least 90 dead and 100 wounded. The attack targeted a Pakistani paramilitary force and was claimed by a local fundamentalist cell, close to the al Qaeda terror network. There are also several civilians victims. The massacre is a first response to Osama Bin Laden’s killing May 2 last, during a blitz by U.S. special forces in Abbotabad.

Two suicide bombers targeted a group of recruits in the barracks of Shabqadar in Charsadda district, as they left the barracks on leave. The soldiers were on board 15 buses, invested by the explosion. Other sources speak instead of a suicide bomber aboard a motorcycle and a bomb planted in the ground. The fundamentalist group, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, stressing that this was the "first revenge attack for the death of the sheikh of terror”. Bin Laden had taken refuge in Pakistani territory, in a villa a few miles from the capital Islamabad.

"I was sitting on a bus waiting for fellow soldiers," Ahmad Ali, an injured soldier, toldAFP news agency. "We were in civilian clothes - he adds - and happy because we were going to see our families." Suddenly, he says, he heard the cry "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great, ed), followed by a "devastating explosion. Something hit me back. "

Pakistani extremists are ready and speak of "a first revenge attack for the martyrdom of Osama [Bin Laden], who was killed May 2 in a raid by U.S. special forces on Pakistani territory, which has raised controversy in the country and criticism of the executive . The Taliban spokesman Ehsan Ehsanullah announces: "Expect more and more powerful attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Charsadda is about 30 km away from Peshawar and is included in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), considered a stronghold of Pakistani and Afghan Taliban. In the past, in a kind of tacit agreement between the government, military and Islamic fundamentalists prevailed, who actually commanded area. The war on terror waged in the recent past by Islamabad - under pressure from the United States - has pushed the Pakistani extremists to strike military barracks, police offices and institutional settings with greater frequency.


Scotland: Archbishop Conti addresses new Parliamentarians | Mario Conti, Scottish Parliament

Archbishop Conti
Scotland’s newly elected parliamentarians met together for the first time for the traditional 'kirking' of the new Parliament at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh today.

Archbishop Mario Conti delivered the keynote address and urged the new parliamentarians to replace the 'rights agenda' with a 'virtue agenda' and see in the Church a willing co-operator in serving the common good. He also called for a united front against bigotry.

The Archbishop said: “The common good will never be fully served unless those who govern are ambitious for the fostering of virtue in the community, and it is here that the state does well to recognise the support it receives from allied institutions and in return encourage their work. In the last census almost 70 per cent of Scots considered themselves to be Christian. Churches which have over recent decades learned the lesson of ecumenism are well placed to welcome into the community those of other faiths and cultures, and, on account of the huge commonalities already shared, are natural agents of social cohesion.”

The Archbishop asked MSPs to recognise that Christians have a voice in future policy discussions. “In a pluralistic society, Christians will want to argue for what is right, but not to impose our understanding of it. Furthermore Christian freedom ... includes, at least implicitly, the freedom to dissent from the mandates of society if there is a conflict between being God’s slave and being a slave of the state. Figures like St Thomas More and St John Ogilvie ... and a host of the less famous stand as constant reminders that sometimes the demands of conscience require obedience to a higher ethic.”

He also delivered a vote of thanks to the Parliament for its support of the Papal visit last year, and urged a new effort to sideline perpetrators of sectarian attitudes.

“The Pope was greatly moved by the reception he received last year in Scotland. The warmth of that Scottish welcome and the success of the visit have been noted in many places and we must make sure that the reputation of the Scots for hospitality and good government is not marred by the few whose attitudes and antics are all too readily and sadly, widely

The full text of the Archbishop's address follows:

Dear Friends

I am hugely conscious of the privilege I have of addressing you this evening, not only on account of those whom I am addressing, but also on account of those I represent, the Church’s constituency. Even if my words are drawn from a particular experience and reflect my own ecclesial community, they are intended to deliver a message on behalf of all and to express universal congratulations to you who have won the confidence of the electorate, and are, in a sense, dedicating yourselves this evening, in this historic place, to the service of the nation.

The First Minister, in accepting the endorsement of the people, spoke graciously of “fairly and wisely” governing with the “trust of the people – all the people ... with an eye to the future but a heart to forgive.” In politics differences in policy can sometimes translate into personal animosities. The avoidance of all such resentments calls for “hearts of flesh” as the prophet foretold.

We can be grateful that we have had the freedom to debate policies in respectful manner, vote without fear of intimidation, and accept readily the outcome of the vote. These are indications of a mature democracy. The apostle Peter in the first letter ascribed to him in the Christian canon of scripture enjoins on us a deep respect for civil authority. He writes: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution”. Obedience to Christ clearly carries with it, albeit at a different level, obedience to those who, in the providence of God have been given the role, as Scripture puts it, of “governors to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right”. This calls for discernment and the consequent duty of protecting what is good and eradicating what is evil. “Live as free men,” says St Peter, “yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as servants of God.”

I hear in these words echoes of Jesus’ words when he famously answered a trick question about paying tribute by saying: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”.

We have duties to the state, but never without a sense of the most fundamental of all duties, namely of fidelity to the truth and the pursuit of virtue.

Allow me to recall a particular memory. At Easter during my first year at the Scots College in Rome, I went with fellow students to Siena, now part of Tuscany but once an independent city state. In the Palazzo Pubblico, (the city chambers) I saw frescoes by such Renaissance masters as Simone Martini in 1315 and Ambrogio Lorenzetti in 1338. Governments chosen by the citizens came and went in those turbulent times but the ideal of good government remained irrespective of party. In the Sala della Pace – the room of peace – Lorenzetti painted three huge compositions, contrasting good and bad government. The councillors of the Republic pass in a long procession. The scene behind them – illustrate the prosperous effects of good government, showing loaded pack animals coming from outside carrying merchandise, and within the city itself craftsmen in their shops, the professor in his chair, and in the Piazza, young women dancing in a ring, as horsemen pass slowly by. In the countryside people are hunting and fishing. As Saint Bernardino remarked 100 years later: “All things seem joyful in time of peace”.

A set of solid figures surrounding the prince or leader personify the virtues of Magnanimity, Temperance, Justice, Prudence, Strength and Peace. Above them those virtues which we call theological, since they depend upon an acceptance of God, are named and depicted as Faith, Hope and Charity.

The symbol of our parliamentary authority in Scotland, is not a frescoed chamber, but the beautifully executed mace. It too has the names of four virtues inscribed on it, 'Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity' variants of the four cardinal virtues - those on which all the rest hinge.

St Gregory the Great, the Pope who sent St Augustine to bring the Angles to faith, found himself, at a time of civil upheaval, the virtual governor of the city of Rome. He bemoaned the distraction from his priestly duties which such a civil role required, but he had the wisdom to pray that he might “see life whole” and that in responding to the demands of the powerful he might not deprive of their rights those who had expectations of their own needs being met.

In his teaching Jesus focused on those who delivered what they recognised as the needs of others and blessed them: “Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy; Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice for they shall be satisfied; Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God.”

This provides not a “rights agenda” but a “virtue agenda” – and it is a “virtue agenda” that I would like to propose to you as newly elected members of the Scottish Parliament.

The common good will never be fully served unless those who govern are ambitious for the fostering of virtue in the community, and it is here that the state does well to recognise the support it receives from allied institutions and in return encourages their work.

In the last census almost 70 per cent of Scots considered themselves to be Christian. Churches which have over recent decades learned the lesson of ecumenism are well placed to welcome into the community those of other faiths and cultures, and, on account of the huge commonalities already shared, are natural agents of social cohesion. Throughout the whole of Scotland there are parishes served by priests and ministers who provide, in practice, a whole range of services from the physical to the social, the cultural to the spiritual.

David Bartlett, a commentator on the passage of scripture which has been our inspiration in these reflections, pointed out that the circumstances of Christians today are very different from those addressed in the letter of St Peter. “How does one move,” he wrote, “from an ethic to which a small minority in an empire adhered, to an ethic for at least a nominal [Christian] majority in the society we are now addressing?”

“In a pluralistic society, Christians will want to argue for what is right, but not to impose our understanding of it. Furthermore the Christian freedom to which [St Peter] points includes, at least implicitly, the freedom to dissent from the mandates of society.” i.e. if there is a conflict between being God’s slave and being a slave of the state “Figures like [Thomas More and St John Ogilvie], Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King [and Nelson Mandela] and a host of the less famous stand as constant reminders that sometimes the demands of conscience require obedience to a higher ethic.”

The citizens of Siena were acutely conscious of religious freedom as a guarantor of good governance, and placed high on the facade of their Palazzo Pubblico, well above the coats of arms of their temporal rulers, the monogram of Christ.

I have one more reference to make to Siena, because until recent times the only person historians can identify as having visited Scotland prior to becoming Pope, was a man called Aeneas Piccolomini, sometime secretary to the Emperor and subsequently to the Popes, and of a Sienese family.

He came as an envoy of the Pope to the Court of King James I of Scotland, thereby assuring recognition on the part of the Papacy of the nationhood of the Scots and its independent regality. There are two memorials of his visit. The first is the beautiful fresco by Pinturicchio in the library of Siena Cathedral which shows Piccolomini (later Pius II) at the court of the Scottish king, in a landscape which, if truth be told, is more redolent of Umbria than of Scotland; and the second is the record he kept in his diaries which in recent years have been published under the title of “The Secret Diaries of a Renaissance Pope”.

Having experienced the reality of our climate he does not share Pinturicchio’s imaginative vision of it! He writes: “It is a cold country where few things will grow. For the most part there are no trees.” (He clearly never made it to the glorious countryside of Perthshire!). He could never forget how cold it was, when, having promised to make a pilgrimage barefoot to the nearest shrine of Our Lady if he were spared from death in the shipwreck by which he arrived in Scotland, he had to make a rather longer journey than he had anticipated. Unlike in his native Italy where shrines are rather more common, his longer trek was to Whitekirk in East Lothian – a visit still recorded there.

However he wrote well of the citizens of Scotland, “The men are short and brave; the women fair, charming and easily won.” He made some comparisons with the English which perhaps are best, for diplomatic reasons, not given in full, other than to quote his observation that in Scotland “The oysters are larger than those in England and many pearls are found in them.”

I don’t know whether Pope Benedict XVI keeps a diary, but what I do know is that from all accounts he was greatly moved by the reception he received last year in Scotland. The warmth of that Scottish welcome and the success of the visit have been noted in many places and we must make sure that the reputation of the Scots for hospitality and good government is not marred by the few whose attitudes and antics are all too readily and sadly, widely broadcast.

Allow me to register to you who represent our people, the deepest appreciation of the Catholic community and its friends in the other churches and throughout Scottish society, for the welcome given to Pope Benedict XVI to our precious land on a beautiful and unforgettable September day.

And may the Lord’s blessing be upon you in all the days to come.


Australia (CNS REPORT) -- Toowoomba Bishop William Morris was asked to resign six times by three Vatican congregations and Pope Benedict XVI before the pontiff finally insisted that he leave office May 2, said documents obtained by The Record, Perth archdiocesan newspaper.

The documents also showed that Bishop Morris asked Vatican congregations for more time to resign because he was dealing with a protracted case involving sexual abuse.

Pope Benedict appointed Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Brian Finnigan as apostolic administrator of the diocese of Toowoomba in northern Queensland to replace Bishop Morris, who was ordained bishop of Toowoomba in 1993.

In a letter to Bishop Finnigan dated May 12, Australia's bishops expressed their support and said they had spent much time at their recent meeting discussing the events surrounding Bishop Morris' removal, a process they called "difficult and distressing." They reaffirmed their commitment to the pope's decision and said they would continue discussions about the process when they visited the Vatican later this year for their every-five-years "ad limina" visits.

Pope Benedict's removal of Bishop Morris, 67, came after more than a decade of conflict between the prelate and the Vatican, according to documents obtained by The Record.

A document prepared by Father Peter Schultz, Toowoomba's judicial vicar, and Father Peter Dorfield, former vicar general of the diocese, is an addendum to a seven-page defense of the prelate sent April 29 to priests, leaders and the heads of Christian denominations in the Toowoomba region.

It reveals that the conflict originally stemmed from Bishop Morris establishing guidelines for the use of general absolution within the celebration of Communal Rites of Reconciliation, which were in conflict with Pope John Paul II's 2002 apostolic letter "Misericordia Dei" ("Mercy of God"). It also said the bishop's "relaxed and open style" was generally welcomed in the diocese, but a "small but vocal minority ... found fault with nearly every action he took and decision he made."

"Misericordia Dei" said there were "some places" where there has been "a tendency to abandon individual confession and wrongly resort to 'general' or 'communal' absolution."

Sources in Toowoomba told The Record that general absolution had been provided in the diocese several years prior to "Misericordia Dei," commencing shortly after Bishop Morris was ordained as bishop.

The issue of general absolution led to a dispute between the prelate and Cardinal Francis Arinze, then-prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Bishop Morris' "position on this sacramental matter was seen as defiant and ongoing opposition to the position of the congregation," said a document from the Toowoomba College of Consultors.

In his 2006 Advent pastoral Letter, Bishop Morris stated that he would be prepared to ordain married priests and women priests if the Vatican allowed it.

He also said that due to an aging clergy, the church should be open to recognizing the validity of Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting church orders.

This, and a failed attempt to get Bishop Morris to Rome to meet Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, then-prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led to Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's apostolic visitation in April 2007. This visit included an interview with Bishop Morris.

A memorandum dated June 28, 2007, from the Congregation for Bishops requested Bishop Morris' resignation. He received the unsigned memorandum in September and replied Sept. 17, saying he would "reflect" on the request and reply after his October holidays.

An Oct. 3, 2007, letter from the Congregation for Bishops informed Bishop Morris the request for his resignation was being made "in the name of the Holy Father."

After more exchanged letters, Bishop Morris traveled to Rome and on Jan. 19, 2008, met with Cardinals Re, Levada and Arinze. He was accompanied by Archbishop Philip Wilson, president of the Australian bishops' conference.

Bishop Morris told Cardinal Re in a letter Jan. 24, 2008, that "he felt unable to resign," which was followed by another letter from the cardinal Feb. 13, 2008, again calling on the prelate to resign.

More letters and documents were exchanged, and in October Cardinal Re again demanded Bishop Morris resign by the end of November 2008. The letter also stated that if the resignation was not forthcoming the bishop would be removed.

Bishop Morris replied Dec. 19, 2008, saying that "in conscience he could not resign." He then wrote to the pope Dec. 24, 2008, and met with him June 4, 2009, at which time the pontiff "reiterated the demands of the three cardinals."

Cardinal Re again asked for Bishop Morris' resignation in a July 9, 2009, letter, prompting him to write to the pope clarifying his position that "in conscience he could not resign from office."

Pope Benedict replied Dec. 22, 2009, requesting that Bishop Morris resign from office, reminding him there is no appeal from papal decisions.

In their May letter, the Australian bishops said they appreciated that "Bishop Morris' human qualities were never in question; nor is there any doubt about the contribution he has made to the life of the church in Toowoomba and beyond. The pope's decision was not a denial of the personal and pastoral gifts that Bishop Morris has brought to the episcopal ministry. Rather, it was judged that there were problems of doctrine and discipline, and we regret that these could not be resolved.

"We are hopeful that Bishop Morris will continue to serve the church in other ways in the years ahead," they added.`


ALL AFRICA REPORT: The Catholic Church of Rwanda yesterday distanced itself from the divisive remarks by the two catholic priests, Thomas Nahimana and Fortunatus Rudakemwa.

The remarks that were characterised by ethnic divisive language were published recently on the priests' website, Leprophete, and according to church officials, they are unholy.

Bishop Jean Damascene Bimenyimana of Cyangugu Diocese said that he made the proclamation to Christians in his diocese not to listen to the two priests' "negative ideologies on Rwanda."

Bimenyimana was speaking during a press conference organised by the Ministry of Local Government and the Catholic Church to discuss a partnership between them.

The meeting was held at the Episcopal Church headquarters in Kigali.

He dismissed claims by Nahimana and Rudakemwa that they left the country to further their studies.

"Rudakemwa said that he was going to visit relatives and come back. On reaching there, he called me saying that would not come because he was not safe in Rwanda," said Bimenyimana.

Nahimana, Bimenyimana said, fled the country without the notice of the church.

"By the time we learnt of his plans to flee Nahimana was already on the plane," Bimenyimana said.

Nahimana, a former priest at Muyange Parish in Nyamasheke District, fled the country in 2005 and he is currently said to be based in France.

He is alleged to have fled the country after embezzling large sums of money from ASOFI Sangwa Muyange Microfinance.

The funds were meant to cover medical insurance for girls in Muyange Parish.

Bimenyimana also said that a decision to excommunicate both Nahimana and Rudakemwa "will be decided by higher authorities of the church."

The two controversial priests have been instigating divisionism and promoting the Genocide ideology on their website.

Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege, the president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Rwanda, said that the two priests should be pursued to face justice like other Rwandans.

"They should be prosecuted like any other Rwandans who violate the law but not as Catholic priests," Mbonyinege noted.The Episcopal Conference is the supreme body of the Catholic Church in Rwanda.

James Musoni, the Local Government Minister, said that the law regards everyone "and should be obeyed", explaining that religions, particularly the Catholic Church, are part of its development partners.

He commended them for their support in several sectors like education and health, and called for further partnership to realise the country's targets.

Meanwhile, Mbonyintege requested that some Catholic Church facilities in Kigali City, such as St. Famille be integrated into the city Master Plan because of their historical importance.


Our Lady of Fatima

Feast: May 13


Feast Day:May 13

Throughout the Old Testament God, in His great mercy, chose prophets to call His people back to Him. In recent times God is sending His Mother. One of the apparitions of the Mother of God in this century took place in 1917 at Fatima, a little village in Portugal. Our Lady came there to warn us of the harm we would inflict upon ourselves as a result of our sins: wars, famines, plagues, persecution of the Church and the loss of many souls in Hell. God, in His great mercy, wished to save us from these miseries through the Immaculate Heart of His Mother. Our Heavenly Mother revealed at Fatima a plan of hope for this world which continues to plunge headlong toward its own destruction.

In 1915 an Angel appeared to four little girls, among them Lucia de Jesus dos Santos. While saying the Rosary they saw what looked like a cloud that was whiter than snow, slightly transparent, with a human outline. This same apparition took place on two more occasions, leaving the girls in a state of amazement.

One year later Lucia was tending sheep with her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. This time the Angel came with very distinguishable features. He said to them: "Don't be afraid. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me." He then knelt and, bowing with his forehead to the ground, prayed three times: "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee! I beg pardon of Thee for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee!" Then He said to the children: "Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications." With these words the Angel left them. The children felt so enveloped by God's Presence that they remained bowed to the ground for a long time repeating this prayer. This special atmosphere which they felt then gradually left them. Soon the three children were back to spending their days playing games together.

Lucia, the oldest of the children, was born on March 22, 1907 and was the youngest of seven. Francisco was born on June 11, 1908 and Jacinta on March 11, 1910. One day, while the three were playing, the Angel visited them again and said, "What are you doing? Pray! Pray a great deal! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs for you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High." Lucia asked how they were to sacrifice. The Angel responded, "With all your power offer a sacrifice as an act of reparation for the sinners by whom He [the Lord] is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners. Thus draw peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and endure with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you."

Only Lucia and Jacinta heard the Angel. Francisco had to learn what he said from them. By the light of grace the children understood the value of sacrifice. They spent many hours repeating the prayer he had taught them. In Autumn of that year the Angel appeared to them again. He was holding a chalice in his hand with a Host suspended over it from which drops of Blood were falling into the chalice. Leaving the Host and chalice suspended in mid-air the Angel prostrated himself on the ground praying three times, "Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly and offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners." Then the Angel arose and gave the Sacred Host to Lucia. The contents of the chalice were given to Francisco and Jacinta while he said, "Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly insulted by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God." Then the Angel again prostrated himself, praying three times, "Most Holy Trinity. . .."

On May 13th, 1917 the children were again playing their games, this time building castles out of rock in the field. Suddenly they saw a flash of light. Believing it to be lightning, even though the sky was clear, the children gathered the sheep and started for home. They took refuge under a tree about a hundred yards away. They saw a flash of light again. They began running, going about a hundred yards further when suddenly they saw, standing over a small holmoak tree, a Lady dressed in white more brilliant than the sun. She said, "Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you! I am from Heaven. I come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the thirteenth day at this same hour. Then I will tell you who I am, and what I want. And afterwards I will return here a seventh time." (Our Lady appeared at the holmoak a total of six times. To this day there are only conjectures about when the seventh apparition took or will take place.) Lucia asked if the three of them would go to Heaven. The Lady said they would except that Francisco would have to say many Rosaries first. Lucia asked about two of her friends who had died. The Lady responded that one was in Heaven but the other would be in Purgatory until the end of the world. The Lady went on to say, "Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and to ask for the conversion of sinners?" Lucia responded, "Yes" for all three of them. Then the Lady said, "Then you will have much to suffer. But the grace of God will be your comfort." With this the Lady opened Her Hands and enveloped the children in light. Moved by an inward impulse, they fell to their knees praying, "O most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament." Again the Lady spoke saying, "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war" [World War I].

Up to this point the visions of the children remained secret. This time Jacinta told her mother about her experience. News spread quickly around the village exposing the children to ridicule and disbelief. On June 13th Our Lady appeared again at the same spot, known as the Cova da Iria, and said to the children, "I want you to come here on the thirteenth day of the coming month and to recite five decades of the Rosary every day." Lucia asked if the Lady would take them to Heaven. The Lady responded that Jacinta and Francisco would be taken soon. But Lucia would have to remain to help establish in the world devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. Lucia began to cry thinking she would be left all alone. Our Lady comforted her by saying She would not forsake her. Then the children saw a Heart in Our Lady's right hand with thorns encircling It. They understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, for which reparation had to be made.

On July 13th crowds began to gather for the apparition. This time Our Lady said, "I want you to come here on the thirteenth day of the coming month, and to continue to say five decades of the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war. For She alone will be able to help." Lucia asked for a miracle to prove Her appearances to people who doubted. The Lady responded, "Continue to come here every month. In October I will tell you who I am and what I wish, and will perform a miracle that everyone will have to believe. . . Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: `O Jesus, it is for Thy love, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'"

With these words light streamed from the Lady penetrating the earth. The children saw demons and people immersed in a sea of fire. From them came shrieks and groans of despair. Our Lady then said, "You see Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that is the great sign God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this I come to ask the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not she will scatter her errors through the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer [Jacinta later had more visions concerning a future Pope's suffering], various nations will be annihilated. In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and it will be converted and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be kept. Do not tell this to anyone. Francisco, yes, you may tell. [This became known as the secret, only part of which is disclosed here] When you say the Rosary, say after each Mystery, `O my Jesus, pardon us and deliver us from the fire of Hell. Draw all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need.'"

The governor of the area was a former Catholic turned Mason who was very set against the Church. On August 13th he offered to take the children to the apparition site in his carriage. Once they got inside he kidnapped them. He locked them in a room of his house. The next day he took them to the Town Hall. The children were questioned. He was especially interested in the "secret" which the Lady told them. The children would not tell him. Finding that he was getting nowhere he threw them in jail. After they spent a short time in the jail he questioned them again. At one point the governor threatened to throw them in boiling oil. Even this failed. He kept them locked up overnight at his house. The next day he questioned them again. Finally, seeing that his efforts were useless, he released them.

On August 19th the Lady appeared to the children in a different place. She said, "I want you to continue to go to Cova da Iria on the thirteenth day and to continue to recite the Rosary every day. In the last month [October] I will perform the miracle so that all shall believe. . . Pray, pray a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to sacrifice and pray for them." Lucia asked the Lady what to do with the money that the crowd had left at the Cova da Iria. She said some should be used for a procession on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the rest should go for the support of the chapel which the people would build.

On September 13th the crowd had grown so much that the children could barely make their way to the apparition site. That day Our Lady said, "Continue to say the Rosary to bring about the end of the War. In October Our Lord will come also, and Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus, to bless the world. . ."

October 13th was a very rainy day. Yet this did not keep believers and non-believers from coming to witness the miracle the Lady had promised. Some estimated the crowd at around 70,000. The Lady came at noon and Lucia asked Her, "What do You want of me?" She responded, "I want to tell you to have them build a Chapel here in My honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Let them continue to say the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes." Lucia asked Our Lady if She would grant some requests given to her by the people. Our Lady said, "Some yes, others no. It is necessary that they amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. Let them offend Our Lord God no more, for He is already much offended." As Our Lady ascended from their sight She opened Her Hands and pointed toward the sun. The children then saw in the sky three tableau of the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Then the Holy Family appeared. St. Joseph and the Infant Jesus blessed the crowd three times. Next only Lucia saw Our Lady of Sorrows beside Her Suffering Son Who also blessed the crowd. Finally the children saw Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the Infant Jesus upon Her knee.

The crowd, on the other hand, saw something very different. The people stared at the sun which started dancing in the sky. Then it whirled rapidly, emitting flames of fire which reflected many different colors upon the earth. Finally it appeared to be plummeting from the sky toward the crowd which frightened the people very much. Some thought it was the end of the world. Then the sun reversed its direction and returned to its normal position in the sky. As the people regained their senses they noticed still another miracle. Although it had been a very rainy day now the ground and even their clothes were dry.

The public apparitions ceased but the children, from time to time, would still see Our Lady. Toward the end of October, 1918, Francisco and Jacinta became ill with influenza. On April 4th, 1919 Francisco died of this disease. He had spent the remainder of his short life in prayer and penance. He was often seen praying before the Most Blessed Sacrament. Francisco, with great insight for his young age, talked about "the hidden Jesus" in the tabernacle. Jacinta's agony would last longer. She offered up heroic sacrifices during her illness. She developed pneumonia and then pleurisy. She was taken to a hospital at Ourem. After two months she returned home with an incision in her chest. A doctor on pilgrimage visited Jacinta and said she should go to the children's hospital in Lisbon. So mother and child set out on the journey. In Lisbon they stayed for a few days at an orphanage run by a Franciscan nun, Mother Godinho.

Mother Godinho had an opportunity to converse with Jacinta. Jacinta told her that war is the punishment for the sins of mankind. If people would repent Jesus would save the world but if they did not He would punish it. She talked about the importance of Confession, that it was a Sacrament of mercy and that it was necessary for salvation. Jacinta mentioned the great charity we must have, even for the wicked, and that we should never speak ill words about anyone. She emphasized the value of patience and that it would bring us to Heaven. Jacinta said that many people were in Hell due to the sins of the flesh. She prophesied that certain women's fashions would be introduced which would be very offensive to Our Lady.

When Jacinta was at the hospital in Lisbon the doctors talked about performing an operation. She said that it would all be in vain because she was going to die. She even had someone write to Lucia informing her of the day and hour of her death. Mother Godinho continued to converse with her. Jacinta prophesied other incidents about certain people and these later came true. Because of her weakened state only a local anaesthesia could be given for the operation. They removed two ribs and left an open wound in her chest the size of a fist. She suffered very much but never complained. Four days before her death Our Lady came and took all her pains away. On February 20th, 1920, she died. Fifteen years later her body was moved to a cemetery at Fatima and was found still whole and incorrupt.

A small chapel was built by the people to Our Lady. In 1922 a bomb destroyed this chapel. Another bomb placed at the holmoak above which Our Lady stood during the apparitions did not explode. Many years later a great shrine to Our Lady of Fatima was built which included a hospital, convent and retreat house.

In 1921 the Bishop, due to the numerous pilgrims who came to see Lucia and her family, told Lucia to attend the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy near Oporto where she would be unknown. At the school the Mother Superior changed her name to Maria of the Sorrows. Lucia was told not to speak about the apparitions. In 1925 Lucia joined the Sisters of St. Dorothy.

On December 10, 1925, Our Lady, with the Child Jesus beside Her, appeared to Sister Lucia in her room. She was holding out Her Heart surrounded by sharp thorns. Both asked for reparation to be made to the Immaculate Heart. Our Lady promised to assist with all the necessary graces for salvation at death those who would make the Five First Saturdays. That is, those who, for five consecutive first Saturdays of the month, would go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and spend fifteen minutes meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary, all with the intention of making reparation to Her. (Later Our Lord said that Confession could be on another day as long as one receives Holy Communion in the state of grace.)

On May 29, 1930 Our Lord explained to Sr. Lucy that the five Saturdays were in reparation for: 1. Those who deny the Immaculate Conception. 2. Those who deny Our Lady's virginity. 3. Those who deny Our Lady's Divine maternity and that She is the Mother of all mankind. 4. Those who cause children to have indifference, contempt or hatred toward Our Lady. 5. Those who commit outrages against Holy Images of Our Lady.

In 1927, at the Convent in Spain to which she was transferred, Lucia, in a vision, received permission to reveal two parts of a three-part secret which she received from Our Lady at the Cova da Iria during the July 13th apparitions: the vision of Hell and the urgent need for devotion to the Immaculate Heart. The third part of this secret was given to the Bishop and later was given to the Pope. Sr. Lucia asked that it not be made public before 1960. This part of the secret has never been made public.

In 1929, during Lucia's weekly Thursday Holy Hour between 11 P.M. and midnight, she saw a cross of light appear above the altar. On the cross was Jesus Crucified. From Our Lord's wounded side and His face drops of Blood fell onto a Host, then into a chalice below, which were suspended in the air. From the left arm of the cross large letters reading "Grace and Mercy" made of what appeared to be water ran down upon the altar. On the top of the cross was the image of the Eternal Father. Before Him was a dove of light representing the Holy Spirit. Beneath the right arm of the cross was Our Lady of Fatima with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand. In the midst of this vision Our Lady made a request for the Pope to consecrate the world to Her Immaculate Heart in union with all the Bishops of the world, making a special mention of Russia.

This request was brought to the attention of the Pope. Our Lord told Sr. Lucy He wanted this consecration so that, by Our Lady's triumph, devotion to the Immaculate Heart would spread throughout the whole Church placing it beside the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Our Lord said that the Holy Father would make the consecration but it would be late. He added that the Immaculate Heart would save Russia.

World War II began just as predicted by Our Lady of Fatima. In 1938 unusual lights appeared in the sky which, according to Lucia, was the sign promised by Our Lady before God's punishment of the world. Shortly thereafter the war began with the annexation of Austria by Hitler during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart. He did not, however, do this in union with all the Bishops. Our Lord told Lucia that He was pleased with this act although incomplete according to His desire. Because of it He promised to end World War II. But the conversion of Russia would not take place.

Some people thought, based on the example of the Fatima children, that the sacrifices requested by Our Lady were too great for them to perform. In 1943 Our Lord told Sr. Lucy that the penance He now desired was the fulfillment of one's duties in life and the sacrifices required in the observance of His Law. This type of penance was possible for everyone.

In 1944 the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was put on the Church Calendar to be celebrated on August 22nd. After Vatican II the Church Calendar was revised changing the celebration of August 22nd to the Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which is always the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi.

In 1946 John M. Haffert, a great promoter of the Brown Scapular, asked Sr. Lucy to help him formulate a Fatima message pledge which people could make. In 1947 Msgr. Colgan, inspired by the Fatima messages, began the Blue Army. A little later he met John Haffert who told him about the Fatima Pledge. Fr. Colgan appointed him to spread the Blue Army in the U.S. The Blue Army became the greatest apostolate for promoting the messages of Fatima.

In 1948 Sr. Lucia entered the Carmelite convent in Coimbra, Portugal. Later she took for her religious name Sr. Maria of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In an interview with John Haffert that same year Sister said the most important request of Fatima is the fulfillment of one's daily duty. Praying the Rosary aids one in doing this. The First Saturdays help one to free oneself from sin and renews the commitment to fulfill one's daily duties. Two years later in another interview with John Haffert Sister explained that wearing the Brown Scapular is also part of the Fatima message. It is a sign of one's consecration to the Immaculate Heart.

Russia continued to spread her errors all around the world, fulfilling Our Lady's prophecies. An attempt was even made on the life of Pope John Paul II on May 13th, 1981. The Holy Father believed that Our Lady of Fatima saved his life. This led him to see that the only way to save the world from atheism was the consecration requested by Our Lady of Fatima. On March 25, 1984, the Holy Father consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. According to Sr. Lucia this consecration was accepted by Our Lady. The result was the peaceful fall of Communism a few years later.

Certainly we see the mercy of God in the Fatima apparitions. God really wishes to have mercy on the whole world. He forewarns us of evils which will befall us, by our own fault, if we do not return to Him. He gives us His Mother to help us and guide us. Had we responded to His grace World War II would never have happened, Russia would have been converted sooner and the world would have peace. It is evident that we have not lived the Fatima messages as we should. How patient God has been with humanity! God wishes all people to save their souls. Because we are all part of God's family His mercy allows us to make reparation for the sins of others. This not only consoles God for their offenses but can bring about the conversion of the offenders. If wars and punishments come upon the earth it is still God's mercy. By allowing these events He wishes sinners to turn to Him with a purpose of amendment and say, "My Jesus, mercy." And those in the state of God's grace, some lukewarm in their love of God and neighbor, are brought to greater fervor and more detachment from the passing things of this world. God is our Father. He doesn't want us to suffer. But sometimes it is necessary for the salvation of many souls.

Let us respond to Our Lady's messages by living God-centered lives and by fulfilling the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, the fulfillment of our daily duty and the keeping of God's Commandments, making the Five First Saturdays, wearing the Brown Scapular as a sign of our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and praying the Holy Rosary every day!



St. John the Silent


Feast: May 13

John had his surname given him from his love of silence and recollection. He was born at Nicopolis in Armenia, in the year 454. His descent by both parents was from the most illustrious generals and governors of that part of the empire; but he derived from their virtue a much more illustrious nobility than that of their pedigree. They were solicitous above all things to give their son the most holy education. After their death, he, with part of his estate, built at Nicopolis a church in honor of the Blessed Virgin, as also a monastery, in which, with ten fervent companions, he shut himself up when only eighteen years of age, with a view of making the salvation and most perfect sanctification of his soul his only and earnest pursuit, directing to this end all his thoughts and endeavors. As humility is the foundation and guardian of all virtue, this he labored in the first place to obtain.

Accordingly he made it his earnest petition to God; and, by assiduous meditation on his own nothingness, his absolute insufficiency, numberless miseries, and baseness, and on the infinite majesty and adorable perfections of God, he studied to know God and himself. He learned sincerely to look upon all manner of humiliations as his due, and to receive them with joy from whatever quarter they were sent; and cheerfully to exercise himself in those which appeared most repugnant to flesh and blood, and most proper to beat down all secret sentiments of pride. To kill the seeds of all other vices, he practiced the most constant and severe denial of his own will, and he added corporal austerities to subdue his flesh, and to fit his soul for the spiritual functions of contemplation and prayer. Not only to shun the danger of sin by the tongue, but also out of a sense of sincere humility and contempt of himself, and the love of interior recollection and prayer, he very seldom spoke; and if necessity obliged him to open his mouth, it was always in very few words, and with great discretion. He banished sloth out of his little community as a fruitful source of vice, and the poison of all virtue. Some humbling, painful, and useful labor, filled up in his house all the intervals of time which public prayer and other necessary duties left vacant. His mildness, prudence, and piety, won him the esteem and affection of all. his brethren, who strove in every virtue to be the copies of their holy abbot. But, to his extreme affliction, when he was only twenty-eight years old, the archbishop of Sebaste obliged him to quit his retreat, and ordained him bishop of Colonian in Armenia in 482.

In this dignity John preserved always the same spirit, and, as much as was compatible with the duties of his charge, continued his monastic austerities and exercises. His brother and nephew, who enjoyed honorable places in the emperor's palace, were moved by his example to contemn the world in the very midst of its honors, and the same grace which sanctifies anchorets in their deserts, made them saints in the court. But he found not the same comfort in a brother-in-law, who was governor of Armenia, against whose oppressions of his church the saint was obliged to have recourse to the emperor Zeno, and readily obtained his protection.

St. John had fulfilled all the duties of a holy bishop nine years, practicing all the austerities of his former life, and refusing to allow himself even the necessary conveniences of life, that he might bestow all he possessed on the poor. He instructed his flock by preaching, and, by his example, invited them to practice what he taught. He was the comforter of all that were in affliction, and bore their burdens with them; and he never ceased to instil sentiments of humility, moderation, and compunction, into the hearts of those who lived in the more dangerous flattering state of worldly prosperity. He was the father of all, and carried them all in his heart, that he might plant in them the spirit, and transfer them into the heart of Christ. Certain evils which he found it impossible for him to remedy, joined with his strong inclination to a retired life, gave him an earnest desire to resign his charge. By the rule of the church and his sacred engagement, he was bound not to abandon the spouse to which he was tied, or to leave exposed to wolves a flock which the supreme Pastor had intrusted to his care. But the divine grace sometimes makes exceptions in order to raise a soul to an extraordinary sanctity. John had reason at first to look upon the thought of such a project as suspected, to examine it impartially, and to consult God for a considerable time by earnest prayer. The author of his life assures us, that while he was watching one night in prayer, he saw before him a bright cross formed in the air, and heard a voice, which said to him, "If thou desires" to be saved, follow this light." He then seemed to see it move before him, and at length point out to the Laura of St. Sabas.

Being satisfied what the sacrifice was which God required at his hands, he found means to abdicate the episcopal charge, and embarked in a vessel bound for Palestine. He went first to Jerusalem, and having there performed his devotions, retired to the neighboring Laura of St. Sabas, which at that time contained one hundred and fifty fervent monks, all animated with the spirit of their holy founder and superior. St. John was then thirty-eight years old. St. Sabas first placed him under the steward of the Laura, to fetch water, carry stones, and serve the workmen in building a new hospital. John went and came like a beast of burden, continuing always recollected in God, always cheerful and silent. After this trial, the experienced superior appointed him to receive and entertain strangers. The blessed man served every one as if he had served Christ himself, whom he considered in his members; and all persons were exceedingly edified with his humility and devotion. Saint Sabas observed every step, and admired to see the behavior of this young monk in an employment which is often dangerous to the monastic spirit, even in those that are most advanced. For the dissipation of such an attendance seemed no way to interrupt his attention to God, or abate his spirit of recollection. St. Sabas by this time clearly perceived that his novice was already a masterly proficient in the monastic profession, and eminently endowed with the spirit of his vocation. Therefore, to afford him opportunities of the greatest spiritual progress by uninterrupted contemplation, he allowed him a separate hermitage, which was his method only with regard to the more perfect. During five days in the week, which he passed without taking any nourishment, John never left his cell; but on Saturdays and Sundays he attended the public worship of God in the church.

After passing three years in this eremitical life, he was made steward of the Laura. His virtue drew a blessing on the community; neither was this employment any distraction to his mind. Such, indeed, was his love to God, that his soul stood in need of no effort to think continually of him. Such a habit is not to be attempted at once. Too strained an attention might hurt the head, as experience has sometimes shown. This practice, and a constant attention to the divine presence, is to be acquired at first by frequent ejaculations to God during exterior actions, repeated at intervals; either such as naturally occur to the devout mind, or select ones of divine praise, compunction, love, &c., such as are contained in the petitions of the Lord's Prayer, the Psalms, or other parts of the inspired writings. By this method, such a practice in John grew habitual, and by daily use became more perfect and familiar.

Our saint had discharged this last office four years, when St. Sabas, judging him worthy to be promoted to the priesthood, presented him to the Patriarch Elias. When they came to the church of Mount Calvary, where the ordination was to be performed, St. John said to the patriarch, "Holy father, I have something to impart to you in private; after which, if you judge me worthy, I will receive holy orders." The patriarch tool. him aside, and John, having obtained from him a promise of secrecy, said, "Father, I have been ordained bishop; but on account of the multitude of my sins have fled, and am come into this desert to wait the visit of the Lord."

The patriarch was startled, and calling in St. Sabas, said to him, "I desire to be excused from ordaining this man, on account of some particulars he has discovered to me." St. Sabas went back much afflicted, fearing lest John had been formerly guilty of some grievous crime. Under this uncertainty, God revealed to him, at his request, the state of the affair. Whereupon calling for John, he complained to him of his unkindness in concealing the matter from him. Finding himself discovered, John was for quitting the Laura, nor could St. Sabas prevail on him to stay, but on a promise never to divulge the secret. John lived after this four years in his cell, without speaking to any one except to the person who brought him necessaries. In the year 503, the factious spirit of certain turbulent disciples obliged St. Sabas to quit his Laura. St. John, that he might have no part in such an unhappy disturbance, withdrew into a neighboring wilderness, where he spent six years in silence, conversing only with God, and subsisting on the wild roots and herbs which the desert afforded. When St. Sabas was called home again, he went to seek St. John in his desert, and brought him back, in 510.

But a long and happy experience had taught him, that a soul which has been accustomed to converse only with God, finds nothing but emptiness and bitterness in any thing besides. His love of obscurity and humility made him desire more and more to live unknown to men; but such was the lustre of his sanctity as rendered it impossible for him to succeed herein to the full extent of his desire. He went back with his old master, and confined himself for forty years to his cell, after his return to the Laura; but did not refuse instructions to those who resorted to him. Among whom was the judicious and learned monk Cyril, who wrote his life when the saint had lived forty years in his hermitage, after his return, and was one hundred and four years old. He at that age retained the vigor of his mind, and that sweetness which rendered him always amiable and venerable. This Cyril of Scythopolis, who is one of the ablest writers of antiquity, relates, that in his youth, when he was about sixteen years of age, he addressed himself to St. John, who was then ninety years old, and begged his advice concerning the choice of a state of life. The holy old man advised him to dedicate himself to God in the monastery of St. Euthymius. Cyril, however, preferred one of the little monasteries on the banks of the Jordan. But he was no sooner arrived at the place than he fell sick of a fever.

His distemper every day augmented, and he began grievously to afflict and condemn himself for having neglected the advice of the servant of God. But in the night St. John appearing to him in his sleep, after a gentle reprimand for not having followed his counsel, told him, that if he repaired to the monastery of St. Euthymius, he should be restored to his health, and should find his salvation. The next morning he arose, and, notwithstanding the entreaties of the brethren, broke from them, and having taken no other refreshment but that of the blessed eucharist, which he had received that morning, he set out, walked to the aforesaid monastery of St. Euthymius, and found himself perfectly recovered. The same author tells us, that while he was conversing one day with St. John on matters of piety, he saw a man named George bring his son, who was a child possessed by the devil, and lay him on the ground before the saint without speaking a word. St. John understood the miserable condition of the child, and made the sign of the cross on his forehead with blessed oil, and the same instant the child was delivered from the evil spirit. A nobleman of Constantinople, who was infected with Eutychianism, was introduced by one Theodorus to the saint. The holy man gave his blessing to Theodorus, but refused it to the nobleman, with a mild reproach for his schism and heresy; who, seeing that he could only have been apprized or these circumstances by revelation, became upon the spot a most devout Catholic. St. John, by his example and counsels, conducted many fervent souls to God, and continued in his hermitage to emulate, as much as this mortal state will allow, the glorious employment of the heavenly spirits in an uninterrupted exercise of love and praise, till he passed to their blessed company, soon after the year 558; having lived seventy-six years in the desert, which had only been interrupted by the nine years of his episcopal dignity.

His astonishing austerity, love of silence, and sublime contemplation condemn the unmortified spirit and dissipation of the world. Interior recollection is, as it were, the soul of Christian virtue. Without it, the most active zeal and devotion will only be superficial. A dissipated heart can never be truly devout. One that is united with God, and relishes the sweetness of his divine converse, finds the tumult of creatures and the noise of the world an insupportable burden, and he truly understands from experience what pure joy holy solitude is able to afford. A love of Christian silence, or a silence of virtue and choice, not of stupidity or sullenness, is a proof that a soul makes it her chiefest delight to be occupied on God, and finds no comfort like that of conversing with him. This is the paradise of all devout souls.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY. 13: JOHN 6: 52- 59

John 6: 52 - 59
52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
54he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
58This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
59This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper'na-um.

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