Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for September 2019: Protecting the Oceans

Oceans contain the bulk of our planet’s water supply, and also most of the immense variety of living creatures, many of which are threatened for various reasons.

Creation is a project of love given by God to humanity. Our solidarity with the ‘common home’ is born from our faith.

Let us pray this month that politicians, scientists and economists work together to protect the world’s seas and oceans.

Pope Francis: Titles and Connections Don’t Count for Salvation, Only the Demanding Path of Love

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via Zenit:

Jesus makes it clear that it is not a question of number, there is no “quota,” in Paradise! But it is a question of crossing the right path, which exists, for everyone , but it is narrow. That is the question. Jesus does not want to deceive us, saying: “Yes, rest assured, it is easy, there is a beautiful highway and at the end, a big door …” No, Jesus tells us things as they are: the passage is narrow. What do you mean? In the sense that to be saved, one must love God and one’s neighbor, and this is not, comfortable! It is a “narrow door” because it is demanding, it requires commitment, indeed, “effort”, that is to say, a determined and persevering will to live according to the Gospel. St. Paul calls it “the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim 6:12).

Here’s the problem! The Lord will not recognize us for the titles we have… But Lord I was part of that association, friends with that monsignor, with that cardinal, that group, that priest. Titles do not count. The Lord will only recognize us for a good humble and good life, a life of faith that is translated into works.

Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for August 2019: For Families

“What kind of world do we want to leave for the future? Let us leave a world with families. Let us care for our families, because they are true schools for the future, spaces of freedom, and centers of humanity. And let us reserve a special place in our families for individual and communal prayer. Let us pray that families, through their life of prayer and love, become ever more clearly “schools of true human development.”

Laudato Si Is a Call to Arms for Those Who Would Rescue Our Bruised Planet From Depletion and Destruction

Bishop Robert W. McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego delivered the opening keynote address at the inaugural “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church” conference, at Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska. Here are some highlights of his speech:

Perceiving in the recesses of our soul the magnificence of the world that God has created for the entire human family, we yet allow selfishness, denial, the thirst for control, radical individualism and the rejection of God to forge a culture that progressively destroys the beauty and sustainability of the world which is our common home. And in that contradiction we are estranged from the created order which God bestowed upon the human family as the setting of our pilgrimage on this earth.

Laudato Si’ both unmasks this estrangement and points to the pathway forward for us to move from alienation toward healing and the renewal of the earth. The encyclical is a call to arms for those who would rescue our bruised planet from the forces that deplete and destroy it. But Laudato Si’ is so much more than this. For in its delineation of an integral human ecology, it emphasizes that the illnesses that plague our world on so many levels are interrelated, and that progress in any one dimension requires attending to the wholeness of the human person and the human family just as it attends to the wholeness of our planet earth….

Laudato Si’ is a call to reforge the bonds of solidarity that have been at the core of every advance that we have made as a people. It is a call to recognize the profound economic inequality that cripples us as a society and powers the engines of consumerism and technological recklessness that separate us from our planet, our brothers and sisters in the human family, and most piercingly of all, from the well-being of the generations who will come after us….

It is the estrangement of so many women and men from the recognition that the world is the gift of the Creator that is the primary and fundamental estrangement that endangers the earth. For this estrangement from God leads in turn to the denial that there is a universal destination for material goods because all such goods flow ultimately from the act of God in creation. The estrangement from God the Creator leads to the refusal to recognize that the whole of the human family is one precisely because we share one Father and one destiny. And most dangerously of all, this estrangement from the Creator sets in motion the acquisitive and dominating spirits of the human heart and soul that claim in their untrammeled grasping the right to own and utilize the created order without reference to the grandeur of creation’s origin and its goal….

We in the United States experience with particular starkness the conflict between the technological paradigm and the affective bonds between nature and our humanity reflected in the spirituality of Francis of Assisi. We all experience at moments of our existence overpowering spiritual and moral bonds with nature and with the creation that blesses our world. But in practice those moments are overwhelmed by the technological substructure that underlays our society and draws us to increasingly treat nature in solely manipulative and instrumental ways.Thus we have become estranged from nature, unable to drink in and comprehend and contemplate the awe of God’s creation….

Laudato Si unmasks the reality that particularly here in the United States, we are estranged from the truth about the environment because we are becoming estranged from the very notion of truth itself. The great fear that Pope Benedict, who was a prophet about the environment and a prophet about the debasement of the truth, was that relativism would so corrode contemporary culture that men and women would surrender the very notion that there is truth that can be attained in this world. At this moment in our history as a nation, our political culture is submerged in a morass of conscious and repeated lies that wears down our collective culture of truth-seeking and substitutes for it a counterfeit culture rooted in the conclusion truth itself is only a vague illusion that cannot be realized in a complex world.

Laudato Si’ repudiates this moral and intellectual surrender and affirms unequivocally that the consensus of human inquiry into the environmental degradation of our planet reveals a powerful tide of man-made decline in our climate, our water, our soil and biodiversity. We must put aside our estrangement from the truth to redeem our natural environment, just as we must put aside our estrangement from political truth to redeem our political culture….

The healing of our nation requires a collective conversion from the individualism and selfishness that generate division to the sense of solidarity that can alone build a truly human society. We must reject the words and the sentiments that build walls of rejection and categorization within our society, and we must reject a nationalism that betrays the finest strands of our nation’s history and legacy by defining our country by what we are not rather than what we aspire to be.

Are Jesuits Catholic?

Are Jesuits Catholic? Are they communists? Are they celibate? What do Jesuits do? In the third episode of Jesuit Autocomplete, Fr. Eric Sundrup, S.J., and Fr. Paddy Gilger, S.J., answer some of the internet’s most searched questions about Jesuits.

Commonweal Publishes Open Letter Against the New Nationalism

via Commonweal:

Each day more signs point to a tremendous shift in American conservatism away from the prior consensus and toward the new nationalism of Donald Trump. This is evident not only in the recent National Conservatism Conference held in July in Washington, D.C., but also in the manifesto signed by a number of Christians who appear eager to embrace nationalism as compatible with Christian faith. Without impugning specific individuals, as fellow Christian intellectuals, theologians, pastors, and educators, we respond to this rapprochement with sadness, but also with a clear and firm No. We are Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant; Republicans, Democrats, and independents. Despite our denominational and political differences, we are united by the conviction that there are certain political solidarities that are anathema to our shared Christian faith.

In the 1930s many serious Christian thinkers in Germany believed they could manage an alliance with emergent illiberal nationalism….

Our situation in 2019 is surely different, but American Christians now face a moment whose deadly violence has brought such analogies to mind. Again we watch as demagogues demonize vulnerable minorities as infesting vermin or invading forces who weaken the nation and must be removed. Again we watch as fellow Christians weigh whether to fuse their faith with nationalist and ethno-nationalist politics in order to strengthen their cultural footing. Again ethnic majorities confuse their political bloc with Christianity itself. In this chaotic time Christian leaders of all stripes must help the church discern the boundaries of legitimate political alliances. This is especially true in the face of a rising racism in America, where non-whites are the targets of abominable acts of violence like the mass shooting in El Paso….

We reject the pretensions of nationalism to usurp our highest loyalties….

We reject nationalism’s tendency to homogenize and narrow the church to a single ethnos….

We reject the xenophobia and racism of many forms of ethno-nationalism, explicit and implicit, as grave sins against God the Creator….

We reject nationalism’s claim that the stranger, refugee, and migrant are enemies of the people….

We reject the nationalist’s inclination to despair when unable to monopolize power and dominate opponents.

You can read the full letter and see all the signatories here.