Steve Bannon and Cardinal Burke Teaming Up at Alt-Catholic Institute

via Reuters:

Former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon is helping to craft the curriculum for a leadership course at a right-wing Roman Catholic institute in Italy, stepping up his efforts to influence conservative thinking in the church.

Benjamin Harnwell, director of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute based in a mountaintop monastery not far from Rome, told Reuters Bannon had been helping to build up the institute for about half of its eight-year life.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading Vatican conservative who is president of the Institute’s board of advisers, said Bannon would be playing a leading role there.

Burke told Reuters he looked forward to working with Harnwell and Bannon “to promote a number of projects that should make a decisive contribution to the defense of what used to be called Christendom”…

Harnwell, a former European Parliament staffer, also is advising Bannon on his campaign to build a populist Movement across Europe that will support far-right parties in next year’s European Parliament elections, he and Bannon said…

Burke is president of the Institute’s “advisory board”, Harnwell said. The cardinal has condemned Islam as a threat to the West, a position that strongly parallels one of the principal political campaign themes of both Bannon and Trump…

Bannon is in “communication” regularly with Burke, although Harnwell acknowledges that the three-times divorced Bannon “doesn’t pretend to be a model Catholic”. Harnwell said the institute itself “takes no view on the pope” or his policies.

Burke has met several times with Matteo Salvini, Italy’s far-right deputy prime minister, Harnwell said. Earlier this summer, Salvini ordered Italian ports to stop allowing landings of ships carrying refugees fleeing Middle East strife.



Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for September 2018: For Young People in Africa


“Africa is a wealthy continent, and its greatest, most valuable resource is its young people. They should be able to choose between letting themselves be overcome by difficulty or transforming the difficulty into an opportunity. The most effective way to help them in this choice is to invest in their education. If young people don’t have the possibility of education, what future can they have? If young people don’t have a job, what future awaits them? Let us pray that young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.”


Touching Video of Dad and Son Embracing After Rare Time Apart

via People:

A man with Down Syndrome wasted no time covering his father with sweet kisses after returning from a week-long trip, and the moment was captured in a video that has now gone viral.

Matt Cobrink, 53, was recently treated to a flight across the country to see his favorite baseball player, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. But the trip from his home in Los Angeles meant Matt would be away from his father for almost a week, a rare occurrence in the 25 years since his mother passed away.

When Matt flew back home on August 12, his sister, Marcy Cobrink Mayer, knew her brother was bound to have a priceless reaction upon seeing his 88-year-old father. Just as Matt made his way down the escalators of LAX, she took out her smartphone and recorded him as he searched for his dad, Malcolm Cobrink….

“People all over the world were sending me pictures of their children with Down Syndrome, telling me that it made them cry, that they’re so happy to see such a long, loving relationship between my father and my brother,” Marcy, from Fullerton, California, explains. “It gives them hope for their children or they have a cousin who has Down Syndrome. And that it’s so nice to see something that’s happy instead of things that are negative.”


Being a Priest is the Greatest Gift of My Life, But I Feel Shame over the Betrayal of the Vulnerable

Fr. Patrick Gilger, SJ writes:

I am ashamed at the crimes recorded in the Pennsylvania grand jury report and ashamed by the apparently well-known abuses of power by former Cardinal McCarrick. I am ashamed not because there is anything new in these reports, but because it means that in yet another place, the hierarchy of the church has chosen to protect the institution over the vulnerable. And I am ashamed because, though I have not committed these acts myself, I am by my own choice a part of this system. It is because others who have this ministry have caused such pain that I feel compelled to say how sorry I am.

But even saying that feels uncomfortably like a power grab, a use of the very authority of the priesthood — the expectation that people will listen as I narrate the experience of faith — to make an inadequate apology for the way that same authority has been so grievously misused. But it will take a few more words to explain why I became a Catholic, why I am a priest, and why all of this matters.

I became a Catholic in April 2001 during my junior year of college. I was 20 years old, and deeply convinced in the way only a 20-year-old can be that I was becoming part of something much bigger, much holier, much truer than I could be alone.

Extremist that I am, 18 months later I became a Jesuit, and 11 years after that a priest. What I wanted — and what I have found — was a way to give my whole life away in service. I wanted to think toward such a God, help women and men experience such a God, and serve such a God among the poor. I wanted to speak about what such a life was like and, in speaking about it, make it a little more imaginable for others. Being a priest has been the greatest gift of my life.

Which explains something of why it is so heart-wrenching, in light of these continuing scandals, to feel this greatest of gifts become a source of pain….

It is practices that sustain communities: throwing a baseball, sitting down for dinner, bowing before the Eucharist. But it is people that sustain practices. Without people who freely give their lives to sustain the practices that make up the Catholic community, there is no church. This is part of what I heard in my conversations with these lay ministers.

In order for the clergy to continue our work, in order for them to be credible to a world that has been so well-trained in reasons not to believe anything said by anyone in ministry, both ministry itself and the culture of the church need to change. For too long, clergy have claimed, and the church has granted, authority simply for being ordained. We must sever the connection — the clericalism — that mistakes a ministry of service for a grant of privilege.


Pope Francis: Silence is Christ’s Response to Lies, Divisiveness

via CNS:

Jesus himself showed that the best way to respond to scandal and divisiveness is to stay silent and pray, Pope Francis said Sept. 3 as he resumed his early morning Masses with invited guests.

“With people lacking goodwill, with people who seek only scandal, with those who look only for division, who want only destruction,” he said, the best response is “silence. And prayer.”

The pope’s Mass and homily came just over a week after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former papal nuncio to the United States, called on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly ignoring sanctions Pope Benedict XVI had placed on then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for sexual misconduct.


Marcus Mescher and Susan Reynolds on Liturgy and Solidarity


Via the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry Continuing Education:

Pope Francis has been calling for the Church to go to the frontiers to accompany those on the margins with mercy, solidarity, and hope. This joint presentation explores the chief obstacles to overcome and opportunities to embrace in order for liturgy to share in this vision of the Church to be more of a “field hospital” than a laboratory in loving God and neighbor. Mescher traces the historical roots of liturgy as a radically inclusive experience of table-fellowship to serve as an imaginative framework to heal the divisions that mark the Body of Christ today. Reynolds explores how liturgy can help to form community in parishes characterized by cultural and racial diversity.