1st May: Feast of St Joseph the Worker & Honouring the Month of Mary…

Lyrics

Dear St. Joseph, pure and gentle,
Guardian of the Saviour child,
Treading with the virgin mother,
Egypt’s deserts rough and wild.

Chorus:
Hail, St. Joseph, spouse of Mary,

Blessed above all saints on high,
When the death-shades round us gather,
Teach, oh, teach us how to die.

He who rested on thy bosom
Is by countless saints adored;
Prostrate angels in His presence
Sing hosannas to their Lord.

Now to thee no gift refusing,
Jesus stoops to hear thy prayer;
Then, dear saint, from thy fair dwelling,
Give to us a father’s care.

Dear St. Joseph, kind and loving,
Stretch to us a helping hand;
Guide us through life’s toils and sorrows
Safely to the distant land.

Comment:

Happy Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, to whom we pray for all those seeking employment or who are unhappy or suffering injustice at work. Saint Joseph The Worker, pray for them.

Comment:

We pray, too, for a glorious Month of Mary, and that Our Lady will bring great graces to our Conference, marking her Fatima Feast: Our Lady, Mother & Queen, we love you – please pray for us!

As always, this thread, whilst essentially devotional, may be used to discuss issues of interest and importance, relating, in this case, to St Joseph and/or Our Lady. Post your favourite hymns, prayers and poems; share any special answers to prayers you have received and any stories you have to tell us about the intercession of this great saint and our heavenly mother.  Education and Edification is our aim – enjoy!  

FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other

The usually cautious and reserved Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) has now given its current opinion concerning the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and on its possible formal re-integration into the structures of the Catholic Church. Father Bernhard Gerstle – the head of the German district of the FSSP – just gave a 24 April interview to the German Bishops’ official website Katholisch.de in which he explains many of the positions and opinions of his priestly fraternity. (Father Gerstle is the same priest who, in 2016, made a politely critical statement about the papal document Amoris Laetitia.)

Father Gerstle explains, first of all, that he himself split off from the SSPX because of the “illicit episcopal consecrations” in 1988 which, in his eyes, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger tried to forestall. (Interestingly, and just in the recent past, there have been voices saying that Cardinal Ratzinger, as pope, later removed the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops because he realized that he had contributed to the intensification of that earlier conflict. Worth noting is that, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who has served as an official Vatican liaison to the SSPX, recently called this act of excommunication an “injustice.”) In Gerstle’s eyes, the 1988 breach happened due to a “lack of trust toward Rome.” He also claims that many more priests within the SSPX had disapproved of the episcopal consecrations, “but did not make the final step.” Thus, there were “only a few priests and seminarians who left the Society of St. Pius X at the time [in 1988].” Gerstle explicitly says that the foundation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter happened “essentially due to Cardinal Ratzinger, [who was] then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

Father Gerstle further distances himself from those smaller groups within the SSPX – whom he calls “hardliners” – who “reject the Second Vatican Council to a large extent, for example with regard to religious freedom or as to the decree on ecumenism.” Some of them, he says, also doubt the validity of the new liturgy. Gerstle makes it clear, moreover, where the Fraternity of St. Peter stands with regard to the Second Vatican Council:

The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements. However, some texts are formulated in such a way that they can give way to misinterpretations. But, in the meantime, Rome has already made here concordant clarifications which the Society of St. Pius X should now also recognize. [Emphasis added]

Additionally, Father Gerstle insists that for the FSSP, the new 1983 Code of Canon Law is the standard. In his eyes, the SSPX has here some more reservations. For the FSSP, explains Gerstle “there is not a pre- and a post-conciliar Church.” “There is only the one Church which goes back to Christ,” he adds. Gerstle also insists that the FSSP does not “wish to polarize or even to promote splits,” but that they wish to instill in their own parishes “an ecclesial attitude.” Certain (unnamed, unspecified) abuses in the Church should only be criticized in a “differentiated and moderate way.”

Father Gerstle also distances himself from the concept “traditionalist” when he says: “This notion I do not like at all to hear. We are not traditionalists, but simply Catholic.” As Catholics, he says, “we appreciate tradition,” but without “completely blocking organic adaptations and changes.”

The worthy celebration of the traditional liturgy, together with a loyal teaching of the Catholic Faith, is at the center of the work of the FSSP, according to Gerstle. “Salvation of souls” and “eternal life” are their Fraternity’s own concern. Unfortunately, adds the German priest, “the Four Last Things have been widely neglected in the Church, with the effect of a belittling and attenuation of sin and of a loss of the practice of sacramental confession.”

Father Gerstle sees that “one cannot simply introduce everywhere again the old liturgy and, so to speak, impose it upon people.” “Both rites thus [with the help of the “reform of the reform”] should enrich each other,” explains the priest. Certain elements of the new liturgy could be “enriching for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”  To read IP5 extracts click here To read entire interview with Fr Gerstle, click here

Comment:

I’ve only ever conversed with one FSSP priest and it was not pleasant.  He insisted on describing the Society of St Pius X priests as “wolves”.  I insisted that, while they are certainly far from perfect, they are not “wolves”.  The chat went downhill from there. So, I read the above interview with much interest, and have concluded that while they may not be “wolves” the FSSP priests are certainly not going to get back on the fence any time soon – while they talk of the SSPX reconciling with Rome, they, the FSSP have manifestly reconciled themselves to the new Catholicism born at Vatican II.

I do agree with Fr Gerstle – and have said it often on this blog – that we should not need labels such as “traditionalist” because ALL Catholics should be adhering to both Tradition and Scripture. In the current crisis, these labels have sprung up to distinguish those who go along with the revolutionary changes in the Church post-Vatican II, and those who do not. 

The FSSP – according to Fr Gerstle –  appears to go along with the revolution to a large extent – even to describing the traditional Mass as the “extraordinary form” (a dead giveaway, as far as I am concerned), so I suppose that accounts for his dislike of the term “traditionalist” and his attitude towards the SSPX.  Allow me to hastily add, however, that I know that not all FSSP clergy are hostile to the Society of the Saint Pius X; however, Fr Gerstle is the Superior of a district of the Fraternity of St Peter and so, we may assume, may we not, that what he says, reflects the policy or position of the FSSP on the Mass and the SSPX, and indeed, everything else covered in the interview. 

Reading both the IP5 shortened version and the entire interview, is recommended before commenting. Then, loud and clear, let’s hear what YOU think…

Fatima: Canonisations Confirmed!

Source: Neice of Fatima visionaries reflects on her remarkable family

Fatima, Portugal, Apr 20, 2017 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News) …
The niece of Blessed Franciso and  
 Jacinta Marto has voiced excitement for the coming canonization of her relatives [confirmed to take place on 13th May], sharing stories of the time of the Fatima apparitions and personal memories of what it was like growing up in a family that had saints among its members.

Jacinta

“My family, my grandparents, my parents, all of us always accepted it as a gift from God,” Jacinta Pereiro Marto told CNA in an interview.

“God chose my uncle and aunt because this is what he wanted, so much that my grandfather used to say that the Virgin wanted to come to Fatima and she chose his children, but that we didn’t deserve anything,” she said.

Because of this attitude instilled in the family by her grandfather – father to Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto – “we always lived very simply because God chose, and he chooses who he wants. We don’t deserve anything.”

Marto, 74, is the daughter of Joao Marto, the brother of Fatima visionaries Bl. Francisco and Jacinta, and she shares the exact same name as her saintly aunt.

Just two years older than Francisco, Joao was the closest in age to the two out of the many Marto siblings.

Francisco

Bl. Francisco and Jacinta this year will become the youngest non-martyrs in the history of the Church to be canonized after witnessing apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as the Our Lady of Fatima, alongside their elder cousin Lucia dos Santos in 1917.

In her interview with CNA, Marto said that she had “the joy” of being born in the same family home as Francisco and Jacinta, and to grow up there, since her father Joao continued to live in the house with his elderly parents.

“They always instilled in me a great love for God and for the Virgin, a life of simplicity, of belief and of religiosity,” she said, speaking of her grandparents.

Their home remains the property of the family, but is now open for visitors and pilgrims to see where the visionaries grew up. Across the street, Marto runs a souvenir shop and a small museum-of-sorts containing original photos and artifacts belonging to the family, including shawls used by Jacinta, the rosary Francisco prayed with before dying, and the bed he passed away in.

Marto said that it is thanks to her grandmother Olimpia Marto, mother of Franciso and Jacinta, that she received the same name as her aunt. Olimpia had wanted a grandchild that shared the exact same name as her saintly daughter, and was told by Joao’s wife that the next girl they had would get the name.

So when Marto was born, her grandmother, who was also asked to be her godmother, chose to call her Jacinta.

“I feel very happy to be Jacinta,” Marto said, explaining that “I feel a very strong presence and a great protection from my uncle and aunt. I think that Jacinta and my uncle are protecting me.”

“I am no one, I sin like the whole world,” she said, “but I believe they are protecting me, I feel that they and Our Lady protect me.”

Recalling memories shared by her father, Marto said Joao had been present with Francisco and Jacinta at the apparition of Mary in Valinhos, which took place in August, “but he didn’t see anything.”

“It was only Francisco, Jacinta, Lucia and my father, but he said that even though he opened his eyes and looked, he saw nothing,” she said.

Around the time Mary was to appear, Jacinta wasn’t there at first, she said, explaining that when Lucia asked him to go find her, Joao “didn’t want to, because he wanted to see.” He eventually went to find Jacinta, and when she arrived Mary appeared, but even though he waited with them, Joao couldn’t see anything.

Two months later when the “miracle of the sun” took place Oct. 13, 1917, Marto said her father, who was only 11 at the time, stayed behind that day because rumors were spreading, likely from other children, that “if the miracle of the sun didn’t happen the whole family would die.”

In order to help the people believe in the authenticity of the apparitions, Lucia had asked Our Lady during the apparition of July 13, 1917, to perform a miracle so people would see that they were true.

However, on that occasion Mary responded by saying that should the children continue to come each month until October, the miracle would occur. So on Oct. 13, the last apparition of Mary to the children, 30-100,000 people gathered to witness the miracle.

News reports and witnesses from the time said the miracle took place when the formerly cloudy sky parted and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disk in the sky. Multi-coloured lights flashed across the landscape and those present before the sun then spun toward earth and then zig-zagged back to its normal position in the sky. Additionally, clothes and mud previously wet from the rain had dried.

But while many members of their family were present for the miracle, Marto said her father “stayed at home (because) he was afraid to die” if the miracle didn’t happen, as the rumours had stated.

At just 11 years old, Marto said her father didn’t understand everything that was going on, but that after Francisco and Jacinta died, “my father said that he cried a lot, a lot. Because he saw that everything they said was happening.”

Speaking of her grandparents, Marto said her grandfather Manuel, father of Francisco and Jacinta, didn’t initially understand some of what was happening either, but had always believed his children were telling the truth.

Jacinta was the first one to tell her parents about seeing Mary after coming home from the first apparition, Marto said, explaining that when people began to say the children had made everything up, her grandfather would respond saying: “My children are not liars. I taught them, so if they say they saw, I think they saw.”

After the first appearance Manuel accompanied his children to the following apparitions, and although he didn’t see anything, “he said that he heard a sound, like a bee inside a jar.”

He was also present for the miracle of the sun, Marto said, explaining that “if he believed before, he continued to believe” after.

Marto said that for her, this belief was extraordinary, because “my grandparents weren’t at the beatification, none of it. When their children died they were known, but not with the fame of sanctity.”

“So they thought their children were a little different from the others, but they didn’t know how it was going to be. It was a question every day,” she said, but noted that her grandfather in particular “always believed.”

Referring to news of the acceptance of a second miracle allowing for the canonization of her uncle and aunt, Marto said she feels “a big joy” knowing they will be proclaimed saints. The two will be canonized May 13, during Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Portugal.

However, she stressed that the news “is not only for the family, it’s for Portugal and the whole world. Because Our Lady came for the world, and they were a message for the world.”

“I sometimes ask myself how two children that were seven and nine years old managed to capture and respond to the message of God. They had a message and assumed this message,” she said, noting that Francisco was all about “praising God, adoring God, worshipping God.”

Jacinta, however, was primarily concerned with conversion, and wanted that “everyone return to God, that everyone convert, that everyone went to heaven.”

“She lived this in anguish,” Marto said, explaining that she often asked herself: “we who have all these means of communication, we know what is happening in the world, all the suffering in the world, we see it on television…and what do we do?”

At just 7-years-old Jacinta had visions of wars, famines and persecutions, and as a result she “assumed the responsibility” of offering and making sacrifices so that everyone could be saved.

“And us? What are we doing?” she said, stressing that with television and social media it’s not necessary to have a vision of the suffering and tragedy in the world, but “we are part of this humanity and we are a bit responsible for everyone. Sometimes we don’t think well about this.”

Marto said that for her, she believes the core of the Our Lady of Fatima’s message is that she came “that we might return to God. That we don’t forget that God loves us, but that we have to praise him and must give thanks to him.”

In addition to this, “we must pray for each other,” she said, explaining that in her instructions to the children, Mary “didn’t ask many things that we can’t do.”

Pointing to the rosary, she said that according to Lucia, Mary asked that people pray it because “it’s an easy prayer,” and can be recited at church, in the car or while walking.

If someone isn’t able to pray the rosary, Marto suggested at least trying to pray one Hail Mary and Our Father a day, to honor Mary and give thanks to God “for being our friend.”

“God loves us very much and at times sends us his mother to refresh us a bit in order continue,” she said, explaining that “God wants us to be a bit better every day. Because we are always sinners, we are not perfect, but try to be a bit better every day.”

Marto said that she hopes to be present for Pope Francis’ visit to Fatima for the centenary of the apparitions in May. Having attended the beatification of her uncle and aunt in 2000, she said she also hopes to be present for the May 13 canonization of the visionaries.

She received communion from Bl. Pope Paul VI when he became the first Pope to visit Fatima in 1967, and was also present for the visit of [Pope] John Paul II in 1982, but was farther away.

Although she wasn’t able to attend Mass when Benedict XVI came in 2010, she hopes to have a good seat at Mass with Francis, and “to be close to him.” 

To read our previous discussion on reports of possible canonisations click here

Comments invited… 

Pope: God Not Able To Do Everything…

Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’  

Click on image to read that evolution is a fairy tale for adults…

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”.

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said. “The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.

 “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being anti-science – most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his “heretic” theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

But Pope Francis’s comments were more in keeping with the progressive work of Pope Pius XII, who opened the door to the idea of evolution and actively welcomed the Big Bang theory. In 1996, John Paul II went further and suggested evolution was “more than a hypothesis” and “effectively proven fact”.

Yet more recently, Benedict XVI and his close advisors have apparently endorsed the idea that intelligent design underpins evolution – the idea that natural selection on its own is insufficient to explain the complexity of the world. In 2005, his close associate Cardinal Schoenborn wrote an article saying “evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense – an unguided, unplanned process – is not”.

Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, told the Italian news agency Adnkronos: “The pope’s statement is significant. We are the direct descendents from the Big Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation.”

Giulio Giorello, professor of the philosophy of science at Milan’s University degli Studi, told reporters that he believed Francis was “trying to reduce the emotion of dispute or presumed disputes” with science.

Despite the huge gulf in theological stance between his tenure and that of his predecessor, Francis praised Benedict XVI as he unveiled a bronze bust of him at the academy’s headquarters in the Vatican Gardens.

“No one could ever say of him that study and science made him and his love for God and his neighbour wither,” Francis said, according to a translation by the Catholic News Service.

“On the contrary, knowledge, wisdom and prayer enlarged his heart and his spirit. Let us thank God for the gift that he gave the church and the world with the existence and the pontificate of Pope Benedict.”  Source – Independent    

Comment:

You know, despite everything, I’m still inclined to allow Pope Francis the benefit of any doubt – maybe what he actually said was lost in translation, and he really didn’t mean to say that that “God [the Creator]…was not able to do everything…”  Maybe he meant to highlight the Catholic position on evolution – which you can check out here – and just got tongue-tied… Or maybe he’s changed his mind since he first said that way back in 2014?

Yet, I can’t help wondering if the blogger over at the Independent site was onto something when he opined that Francis is “a closet atheist.”  Surely not?  

USA: Bishop Calls For Restoration of Communion on Tongue/Kneeling…

From One Peter Five

Father Richard Heilman

For I have learnt for a fact that nothing so effectively obtains, retains and regains grace, as that we should always be found not high-minded before God, but filled with holy fear. –St. Bernard of Clairveux

On April 11, 2017, the Diocese of Madison joined with Bishop Morlino at the Chrism Mass. It was a glorious evening, with many of our priests in attendance.  

Bishop Morlino

During Bishop Morlino’s homily, he alluded to a recent March 31 address by Cardinal Sarah, the “Vatican Liturgy Chief” (Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments). In his address, Cardinal Sarah was forthright in calling for a recognition of “the serious and profound crisis” which, since the Council, has affected the liturgy by placing man and not God at the center of worship:

“The serious crisis of faith, not only at the level of the Christian faithful but also and especially among many priests and bishops, has made us incapable of understanding the Eucharistic liturgy as a sacrifice, as identical to the act performed once and for all by Jesus Christ, making present the Sacrifice of the Cross in a non-bloody manner, throughout the Church, through different ages, places, peoples and nations,” he said.

“There is often a sacrilegious tendency to reduce the Holy Mass to a simple convivial meal, the celebration of a profane feast, the community’s celebration of itself, or even worse, a terrible diversion from the anguish of a life that no longer has meaning or from the fear of meeting God face to face, because His glance unveils and obliges us to look truly and unflinchingly at the ugliness of our interior life. But the Holy Mass is not a diversion. It is the living sacrifice of Christ who died on the cross to free us from sin and death, for the purpose of revealing the love and the glory of God the Father,” he added.

The notion that the Church is in crisis is not new. Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”

In his Chrism Mass homily, Bishop Morlino highlighted the fact that the Catholic Church is very good at social issues at every level – Catholic organizations, dioceses, parishes and individuals – but, ours is a crisis of faith, revealed by less than 25% of Catholics attending Mass any longer (less than 5% in many parts of Europe). Where we are failing is in a lack of fervor in our faith, Bishop stated. This is most evident in how we, as priests, are offering the Mass, and how the faithful are praying the Mass.

Bishop Morlino went on to speak about “actuosa participatio” as being more about “actual participation” than “active participation.” Bishop lamented that we seem to feel everyone needs to be busy “doing something” at the Mass, when it is more important that we are deeply contemplating what is being done at the Mass … that God is made Present – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This should stir our soul and fill us with awe and wonder. But, are we too busy to take notice?

A year ago, Bishop called for all tabernacles to be in church and in the center of the sanctuary. Last Fall, as part of the Bishop’s overall plan to add sacred beauty and reverence to all Masses in his diocese, Bishop Morlino encouraged all of his priests to strongly consider Cardinal Sarah’s call to offer the Mass ad orientem. Bishop Morlino then announced he would, from now on, be offering all of his Masses ad orientem.

Now, during last evening’s Chrism Mass, Bishop Morlino concluded his homily by appealing to all of his priests in his diocese to strongly encourage their parishioners to begin receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling, beginning this September.

Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

Comment:

A challenge for UK and Irish  bloggers:  name the bishop YOU think most likely to follow the example of Bishop Morlino…
clue: are there ANY in Scotland? England? Wales? Ireland? 

A Very Happy Easter To One & All!

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.    
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
For he whom you did merit to bear, alleluia,

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Has risen as he said, alleluia.

R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Trusting that everyone has enjoyed a peaceful Lent and Holy Week – welcome back!  

Feel free to share favourite prayers, hymns, stories etc on the Easter theme, on this thread.

We may also use this thread to “catch up” on news and views. Whatever! 

A very happy Easter to one and all!