All Saints Day Nov 1

All Saints Feastday was begun for all the martyrs of Rome and the dedication of the “all gods temple”, the Pantheon to the true God.  All saints include those whom will not even be known until we die and hopefully go to heaven.  May we all strive to be saints.  Mother Teresa said; “It is no luxury to be a saint.  Only saints go to heaven.”

Siemiradski_FackelnBurning Catholic Christians Alive As Human Torches While Nero Watches

“It was my desire to be silent, and not to make a public display of the rustic rudeness of my tongue. For silence is a matter of great consequence when one’s speech is mean. And to refrain from utterance is indeed an admirable thing, where there is lack of training; and verily he is the highest philosopher who knows how to cover his ignorance by abstinence from public address. Knowing, therefore, the feebleness of tongue proper to me, I should have preferred such a course.

Nevertheless the spectacle of the onlookers impels me to speak. Since, then, this solemnity is a glorious one among our festivals, and the spectators form a crowded gathering, and our assembly is one of elevated fervour in the faith, I shall face the task of commencing an address with confidence. And this I may attempt all the more boldly, since the Father requests me, and the Church is with me, and the sainted martyrs with this object strengthen what is weak in me. For these have inspired aged men to accomplish with much love a long course, and constrained them to support their failing steps by the staff of the word; and they have stimulated women to finish their course like the young men, and have brought to this, too, those of tender years, yea, even creeping children. In this wise have the martyrs shown their power, leaping with joy in the presence of death, laughing at the sword, making sport of the wrath of princes, grasping at death as the producer of deathlessness, making victory their own by their fall, through the body taking their leap to heaven, suffering their members to be scattered abroad in order that they might hold their souls, and, bursting the bars of life, that they might open the. gates of heaven.

allsaintspaintingAnd if any one believes not that death is abolished, that Hades is trodden under foot, that the chains thereof are broken, that the tyrant is bound, let him look on the martyrs disporting themselves in the presence of death, and taking up the jubilant strain of the victory of Christ. O the marvel! Since the hour when Christ despoiled Hades, men have danced in triumph over death. “O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory?” Hades and the devil have been despoiled, and stripped of their ancient armour, and cast out of their peculiar power. And even as Goliath had his head cut off with his own sword, so also is the devil, who has been the father of death, put to rout through death; and he finds that the selfsame thing which he was wont to use as the ready weapon of his deceit, has become the mighty instrument of his own destruction.

Crucifixion_Nagasaki_1597Yea, if we may so speak, casting his hook at the Godhead, and seizing the wonted enjoyment of the baited pleasure, he is himself manifestly caught while he deems himself the captor, and discovers that in place of the man he has touched the God. By reason thereof do the martyrs leap upon the head of the dragon, and despise every species of torment. For since the second Adam has brought up the first Adam out of the deeps of Hades, as Jonah was delivered out of the whale, and has set forth him who was deceived as a citizen of heaven to the shame of the deceiver, the gates of Hades have been shut, and the gates of heaven have been opened, so as to offer an unimpeded entrance to those who rise thither in faith.

403px-Rey_Fernando_IIIIn olden time Jacob beheld a ladder erected reaching to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. But now, having been made man for man’s sake, He who is the Friend of man has crushed with the foot of His divinity him who is the enemy of man, and has borne up the man with the hand of His Christhood, and has made the trackless ether to be trodden by the feet of man. Then the angels were ascending and descending; but now the Angel of the great counsel neither ascendeth nor descendeth: for whence or where shall He change His position, who is present everywhere, and filleth all things, and holds in His hand the ends. of the world? Once, indeed, He descended, and once He ascended,–not, however, through any change of nature, but only in the condescension of His philanthropic Christhood; and He is seated as the Word with the Father, and as the Word He dwells in the womb, and as the Word He is found everywhere, and is never separated from the God of the universe.

15Aforetime did the devil deride the nature of man with great laughter, and he has had his joy over the times of our calamity as his festal-days. But the laughter is only a three days’ pleasure, while the wailing is eternal; and his great laughter has prepared for him a greater wailing and ceaseless tears, and inconsolable weeping, and a sword in his heart. This sword did our Leader forge against the enemy with fire in the virgin furnace, in such wise and after such fashion as He willed, and gave it its point by the energy of His invincible divinity, and dipped it in the water of an undefiled baptism, and sharpened it by sufferings without passion in them, and made it bright by the mystical resurrection; and herewith by Himself He put to death the vengeful adversary, together with his whole host.

all_saintsWhat manner of word, therefore, will express our joy or his misery? For he who was once an archangel is now a devil; he who once lived in heaven is now seen crawling like a serpent upon earth; he who once was jubilant with the cherubim, is now shut up in pain in the guard-house of swine; and him, too, in fine, shall we put to rout if we mind those things which are contrary to his choice, by the grace and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power unto the ages of the ages. Amen.”  St. Gregory the Great.

After Jesus, Every Child Is The Greatest Gift Anyone Can Receive From God

God loves us so much, that he sent His only Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to come and be in the womb of Mary. This is the Greatest Gift God could give to us, a tiny child, God’s only begotten Son, born in Bethlehem.

Nativity_GHIRLANDAIO, DomenicoJesus grew up, preached, did miracles and cast out demons. But then, this beautiful gift from God, His only Son, was crucified on the cross by us.

Hours of Ulrich von Montfort_ca.1515-20_Vienna_Oesterreichische Nationalbitliothek_Cod. 2748, folAfter this great gift, God gives us children. Children are the greatest gift, after Jesus Christ, that anyone can receive from God. But many people, after one or two, absolutely do not want any more of God’s tiny gifts.  If only people could realize what they are turning down when they refuse to have more children; a precious gift from God.

LIFE-GENDEROur society teaches us that things, material things, like houses, cars, boats, clothing, jewelry, computers, televisions, are what make us happy. But none of those things can hug us, talk to us, love us and help us, and be there for us for the rest of our lives.

SONY DSCWhen we die, we will be asked by God why would be not receive all these wonderful gifts of children that He wanted so badly to give us. He will then show us all the children that he planned to give us.  We will see how they would have look, what they would have done and all the great love, help and joy they would’ve brought into our family. But then it will be too late.  And we will be covered in shame for refusing these gifts.

IMG_7451Many Catholics use birth control or natural family planning, or will actually kill their unborn babies, because they do not want any more children.  This spells out to mean; I do not want any more gifts from God. Many couples who are using natural family planning have told me how sad they are when the wife gets pregnant or thinks she might be pregnant. Instead of being opened to life and joyful, they became very sad.

van veilEach one of us is one of those very special precious gift from God. We are happy that we were given life by our parents. We do not want to die. So that shows that we are glad we were born. But when it comes to letting other children be born, we are too selfish to let them.

IMG_0005Here at St. Catherine’s Parish, we had Catechism last night.  The parents also are obliged to attend 1 1/2 hour classes too.  With great joy I blessed quite a few pregnant women.  One told me, you are responsible for me and my husband having this child.

IMG_3266After saving children from being aborted, my next greatest joy is allowing children to come into this world.  I am also fighting immorality, that causes this world to be messed up for these children.  They deserve parents who are married till death, happiness, good Catholic teaching, brothers and sisters and a safe place to live.

SONY DSCBy Preaching Against Abortion I Saved Anastasia’s, (Greek For Resurrection), Life

Traditional Catholics are having many more children than others.  We will out live progressives, modernist, feminist, atheist and so called Catholics who use birth control. IT is a blessing to be traditional Catholic and in the long run to have many many gifts from God called children.

IMG_3264Many people do not have more children because of fear.  Fear comes from the devil and faith and trust comes from God.  God provides.  There is a Mexican saying; “Every child comes with a sandwich under his arm”, meaning God will always provide food for them.

St. Wolfgang Oct. 31

595px-Hl_Wolfgang_von_Regensburg_-_Gemälde_von_Matthäus_Schiestl“St. Wolfgang, Bishop of Ratisbon (972-994), b. about 834; died at the village of Pupping in Upper Austria, October 31, 994. The name Wolfgang is of early German origin. St. Wolfgang was one of the three brilliant stars of the tenth century, St. Ulrich, St. Conrad, and St. Wolfgang, which illuminated the early medieval period of Germany with the undying splendor of their acts and services. St. Wolfgang sprang from a family of Swabian counts of Pfullingen (Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script., X, 53). When seven years old he had an ecclesiastic as tutor at home; later he attended the celebrated monastic school on the Reichenau. Here he formed a strong friendship with Henry, brother of Bishop Poppo of Wurzburg, whom he followed to Wurzburg in order to attend at the cathedral school there the lectures of the noted Italian grammarian Stephen of Novara. After Henry was made Archbishop of Trier in 956, he called his friend to Trier, where Wolfgang became a teacher in the cathedral school, and also labored for the reform of the archdiocese, notwithstanding the enmity with which his efforts were met. Wolfgang’s residence at Trier greatly influenced his monastic and ascetic tendencies, as here he came into connection with the great reformatory monastery of the tenth century, St. Maximin of Trier, where he made the acquaintance of Ramwold, the teacher of St. Adalbert of Prague. After the death (964) of Archbishop Henry of Trier, Wolfgang entered the Order of St. Benedict in the Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln, Switzerland, and was ordained priest by St. Ulrich in 968.

800px-Sankt_Wolfgang_Kirche_-_Wolfgangskapelle_-_DeckenfrescoSt. Wolfgang Forces The Devil To Build A Church

After their defeat in the battle of the Lechfeld (955), a victory gained with the aid of St. Ulrich, the heathen Magyars settled in ancient Pannonia. As long as they were not converted to Christianity they remained a constant menace to the empire. At the request of St. Ulrich, who clearly saw the danger, and at the desire of the Emperor Otto the Great, St. Wolfgang, according to the abbey annals, was “sent to the Magyars” as the most suitable man to evangelize them. He was followed by other missionaries sent by Bishop Piligrim of Nassau, under whose jurisdiction the new missionary region came. After the death of Bishop Michael of Ratisbon (September 23, 972) Bishop Piligrim obtained from the emperor the appointment of Wolfgang as Bishop of Ratisbon (Christmas, 972). Wolfgang’s services in this new position were of the highest importance, not only for the diocese, but also for the cause of civilization. As Bishop of Ratisbon, Wolfgang became the tutor of Emperor St. Henry II, who learned from him the principles which governed his saintly and energetic life. Poppe, son of Margrave Luitpold, Archbishop of Trier (1016), and Tagino, Archbishop of Magdeburg (1004-1012), also had him as their teacher.

St. Wolfgang deserves credit for his disciplinary labors in his diocese. His main work in this respect was connected with the ancient and celebrated Abbey of St. Emmeram which he reformed by granting it once more abbots of its own, thus withdrawing it from the control of the bishops of Ratisbon, who for many years had been abbots in commendam, a condition of affairs that had been far from beneficial to the abbey and monastic life. In the Benedictine monk Ramwold, whom St. Wolfgang called from St. Maximin at Trier, St. Emmeram received a capable abbot (975). The saint also reformed the convents of Obermunster and Niedermunster at Ratisbon, chiefly by giving them as an example the convent of St. Paul, Mittelmunster, at Ratisbon, which he had founded in 983. He also cooperated in the reform of the ancient and celebrated Benedictine Abbey of Altach (Niederaltach), which had been founded by the Agilolf dynasty, and which from that time took on new life. He showed genuine episcopal generosity in the liberal manner with which he met the views of the Emperor Otto II regarding the intended reduction in size of his diocese for the benefit of the new Diocese of Prague (975), to which St. Adalbert was appointed as first bishop. As prince of the empire he performed his duties towards the emperor and the empire with the utmost scrupulousness and, like St. Ulrich, was one of the mainstays of the Ottonian policies. He took part in the various imperial Diets, and, in the autumn of 978, accompanied the Emperor Otto II on his campaign to Paris, and took part iii the great Diet of Verona in June, 983.

2049St. Wolfgang withdrew as a hermit to a solitary spot, now the Lake of St. Wolfgang, apparently on account of a political dispute, but probably in the course of a journey of inspection to the monastery of Mendsee which was under the direction of the bishops of Ratisbon. He was discovered by a hunter and brought back to Ratisbon. While travelling on the Danube to Pochlarn in Lower Austria, he fell ill at the village of Pupping, which is between Efferding and the market town of Aschach near Linz, and at his request was carried into the chapel of St. Othmar at Pupping, where he died. His body was taken up the Danube by his friends Count Aribo of Andechs and Archbishop Hartwich of Salzburg to Ratisbon, and was solemnly buried in the crypt of St. Emmeram. Many miracles were performed at his grave; in 1052 he was canonized. Soon after his death many churches chose him as their patron saint, and various towns were named after him. In Christian art he has been especially honored by the great medieval Tyrolese painter, Michael Pacher (1430-1498), who created an imperishable memorial of him, the high altar of St. Wolfgang. In the panel pictures which are now exhibited in the Old Pinakothek at Munich are depicted in an artistic manner the chief events in the saint’s life. The oldest portrait of St. Wolfgang is a miniature, painted about the year 1100 in the celebrated Evangeliary of St. Emmeram, now in the library of the castle cathedral at Krakow. A fine modern picture by Schwind is in the Schak Gallery at Munich. This painting represents the legend of Wolfgang forcing the devil to help him to build a church. In other paintings he is generally depicted in episcopal dress, an axe in the right hand and the crozier in the left, or as a hermit in the wilderness being discovered by a hunter. The axe refers to an event in the life of the saint. After having selected a solitary spot in the wilderness, he prayed and then threw his axe into the thicket; the spot on which the axe fell he regarded as the place where God intended he should build his cell. This axe is still shown in the little market town of St. Wolfgang which sprang up on the spot of the old cell. At the request of the Abbey of St. Emmeram, the life of St. Wolfgang was written by Othlo, a Benedictine monk of St. Emmeram about 1050. This life is especially important for the early medieval history both of the Church and of civilization in Bavaria and Austria, and it forms the basis of all later accounts of the saint.”  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

“Jack O’ Lantern” Not Too Far From Traditional Catholic Belief

I put this story in the blog last year about the Irish Catholic roots of “Jack O’ Lantern”.

“As the story goes, several centuries ago amongst the myriad of towns and villages in Ireland , there lived a drunkard known as “Jack the Smith”. Jack was known throughout the land as a deceiver, manipulator and otherwise dreg of society. On a fateful night, the devil overheard the tale of Jack’s evil deeds and silver tongue. Unconvinced (and envious) of the rumors, the devil went to find out for himself whether or not Jack lived up to his vile reputation.

Typical of Jack, he was drunk and wandering through the countryside at night when he came upon a body on his cobblestone path. The body with an eerie grimace on its face turned out to be the Devil. Jack realized somberly this was his end; the devil had finally come to collect his malevolent soul. Jack made a last request: he asked the devil to let him drink ale before he departed to hell. Finding no reason not to acquiesce the request, the devil took Jack to the local pub and supplied him with many alcoholic beverages. Upon quenching his thirst, Jack asked the devil to pay the tab on the ale, to the devil’s surprise. Jack convinced the devil to metamorphose into a silver coin with which to pay the bartender (impressed upon by Jack’s unyielding nefarious tactics). Shrewdly, Jack stuck the now transmogrified devil (coin) into his pocket, which also contained a crucifix. The crucifix’s presence prevented the devil from escaping his form. This coerced the devil to agree to Jack’s demand: in exchange for the devil’s freedom, the devil had to spare Jack’s soul for 10 years.

Ten years later to the date when Jack originally struck his deal, he found himself once again in the devil’s presence. Same as the setting before, Jack happened upon the devil and seemingly accepted it was his time to go to hell for good. As the devil prepared to take him to the underworld, Jack asked if he could have one apple to feed his starving belly. Foolishly the devil once again agreed to this request. As the devil climbed up the branches of a nearby apple tree, Jack surrounded its base with crucifixes. The devil, frustrated at the fact that he been entrapped again, demanded his release. As Jack did before, he demanded that his soul never be taken by the devil into hell. The devil agreed and was set free.

Eventually the drinking and unstable lifestyle took its toll on Jack; he died the way he lived. As Jack’s soul prepared to enter heaven through the gates of St. Peter he was stopped. Jack was told that because of his sinful lifestyle of deceitfulness and drinking, he was not allowed into heaven. The dreary Jack went before the Gates of Hell and begged for commission into underworld. The devil, fulfilling his obligation to Jack, could not take his soul. To warn others, he gave Jack an ember, marking him a denizen of the netherworld. From that day on until eternity’s end, Jack is doomed to roam the world between the planes of good and evil, with only an ember inside a hollowed turnip (“turnip” actually referring to a large swede) to light his way.”

jack-o-lantern_jpgThis story has great Catholic teachings contained in it and easily understood.  Drunkard:  It goes along with the Bible that drunkards will have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God.  Devil: It has the devil playing a great deal with bad people.  Deceit: It has deceit as a moral evil.  Reality of Death: It explains that we are all going to die.  Consequences for Actions: when we do we will have to pay for our actions here during this life.  Crucifix: Twice the devil is trapped by the crucifix that only Catholics use, (other christian groups just have the cross).  Saints: St. Peter is a Catholic saint in which protestants and non-denominational christians do not believe in.

sacred_heart_pumpkin_by_aodhagain-d396opyThe only problem with this tale is that there are only three places we are sent to after death; Purgatory, Heaven or Hell.  Hell is forever.  Purgatory is only temporary where you pay for the temporal punishment for sins confessed but not duly made up for by sufficient penance.  Once in purgatory you are forever saved from hell.

In this story, Jack is not allowed into heaven or hell but sent to roam around between life and death in the darkness to warn people of their pending doom.  But in reality no matter what the devil promised him, one mortal sin not confessed with true contrition, damns a person to hell forever.  As you live so shall you die.

Traditional Catholics Say NO To Halloween

All the children at school are talking about getting into costumes and going trick or treating.  Children remember all the candy they received and the fun they had going from house to house all dressed up in their superhero costume.  People are spending a lot of money and time on decorating their houses with orange lights, tombstones, witches, devils, ghosts, zombies and spiderwebs.  It is very very attractive.

HalloweenBlogMost people who do prepare to go trick or treating and give out candy on halloween are good people.  But, just for a moment, sit back and observe what is happening.  We are all attracted to the dark side.  It comes from our fallen nature.  We all want candy, sweets.  We all want to escape who we really are and get dressed up as someone fun or exciting.

From this attraction to dressing up, getting a lot of free candy and getting scared does open the door to evil.  It plants a seed of satanism and witchcraft in the tiny children who go to these homes that have devils, zombies, blood, witches, scary noises and black widows webs.  Evil things becomes alright and fun.

AP_satan_illustration_kab_140107_4x3_992The satanist are asking the City of Oklahoma to put up the above statue of the devil.  Who do they have looking up to devil; children.  A young man told me about him watching with his friends dark movies.  I asked him if any of these friends had sold their soul to the devil and the illuminati.  He said yes and that most of them were African American.  Friends affect friends.  Relatives affect Relatives.  For good or bad.

What allows normal children to change and enjoy horror movies and the “Twilight” series?  Could have it started with halloween?

I say give all the candy the children want that day, maybe by hitting a piñata.  But do not help them go to the dark side by going trick or treating.

But prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves.  And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 5:21-23

 

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

I spent halloween in Mexico 5 years ago.  I watched all the mothers walk their children to school in devil costumes.  It is no wonder that they act like “little devils” that these same parents complain about.  That night people from Mexico City came and rented cabins across the creek from my families property.  All night long satanist, men and women, screamed satanic cantations all night long.  They finally stopped as the light of dawn began to appear and the church bells tolled at 6 am.   That was the worst night in my life to have to hear this screaming all night long.

Flemish-Painter-Dieric-Bouts-the-Elder-Hell-Renaissance-Oil-PaintingAlso I personally heard a wiccan witch tell a group of people, “halloween is the night when fire burns everything away and all begins new”.

Last halloween, a teacher here at St. Catherine School had to let a complete stranger, a woman, into their house because someone was actually trying to murder her.

No, we traditional Catholics and all christians should steer far from anything evil.  So what, no candy, and no cavities, no teeth drilling and no dentist bills.  It is so good to be a traditional Catholic.

Bishop’s Extraordinary Synod On The Family Final Document From Vatican

Here is the final Document on the Extraordinary Bishop’s Synod on The Family.  Take some time to read it and share it with others.  I copied the Vatican’s text from the Catholic Herald

POPE MEETS WITH WORLD'S CARDINALS IN SYNOD HALL AT VATICAN

Introduction

1. The Synod of Bishops, gathered around the Holy Father, turned its thoughts to all the families of the world, each with its joys, difficulties and hopes. In a special way, the Assembly felt a duty to give thanks to the Lord for the generosity and faithfulness of so many Christian families in responding to their vocation and mission, which they fulfill with joy and faith, even when living as a family requires facing obstacles, misunderstandings and suffering. The entire Church and this Synod express to these families our appreciation, gratitude and encouragement. During the prayer vigil held in St Peter’s Square on 4 October 2014 in preparation for the Synod on the family, Pope Francis evoked, in a simple yet concrete way, the centrality [of the experience] of the family in everyone’s lives: “Evening falls on our assembly. It is the hour at which one willingly returns home to meet at the same table, in the depth of affection, of the good that has been done and received, of the encounters which warm the heart and make it grow, good wine which hastens the unending feast in the days of man. It is also the weightiest hour for one who finds himself face to face with his own loneliness, in the bitter twilight of shattered dreams and broken plans; how many people trudge through the day in the blind alley of resignation, of abandonment, even resentment: in how many homes the wine of joy has been less plentiful, and therefore, also the zest — the very wisdom — for life […]. Let us make our prayer heard for one another this evening, a prayer for all.”

2. Within the family are joys and trials, deep love and relationships which, at times, can be wounded. The family is truly the “school of humanity” (Gaudium et Spes, 52), which is much needed today. Despite the many signs of crisis in the family institution in various areas of the “global village”, the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people, and serves as the basis of the Church’s need to proclaim untiringly and with profound conviction the “Gospel of the Family”, entrusted to her together with the revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ and ceaselessly taught by the Fathers, the masters of spirituality and the Church’s Magisterium. The family is uniquely important to the Church and in these times, when all believers are invited to think of others rather than themselves, the family needs to be rediscovered as the essential agent in the work of evangelization.

3. At the Extraordinary General Assembly of October, 2014, the Bishop of Rome called upon the Synod of Bishops to reflect upon the critical and invaluable reality of the family, a reflection which will then be pursued in greater depth at its Ordinary General Assembly scheduled to take place in October, 2015, as well as during the full year between the two synodal events. “The convenire in unum around the Bishop of Rome is already an event of grace, in which episcopal collegiality is made manifest in a path of spiritual and pastoral discernment.” These were the words used by Pope Francis in describing the synodal experience and indicating the task at hand: to read both the signs of God and human history, in a twofold yet unique faithfulness which this reading involves.

4. With these words in mind, we have gathered together the results of our reflections and our discussions in the following three parts: listening, looking at the situation of the family today in all its complexities, both lights and shadows; looking, our gaze is fixed on Christ to re-evaluate, with renewed freshness and enthusiasm, what revelation, transmitted in the Church’s faith, tells us about the beauty and dignity of the family; and facing the situation, with an eye on the Lord Jesus, to discern how the Church and society can renew their commitment to the family.

PART I

Listening: the context and challenges of the family

The Socio-Cultural Context

5. Faithful to Christ’s teaching, we look to the reality of the family today in all its complexity, with both its lights and shadows. We turn our thoughts to parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, close and distant relatives and the bonds between two families forged by marriage. Anthropological and cultural changes in our times influence all aspects of life and require an analytic and diversified approach. The positive aspects are first to be highlighted, namely, a greater freedom of expression and a better recognition of the rights of women and children, at least in some parts of the world. On the other hand, equal consideration needs to be given to the growing danger represented by a troubling individualism which deforms family bonds and ends up considering each component of the family as an isolated unit, leading, in some cases, to the idea that a person is formed according to one’s own desires, which are considered absolute. Added to this is the crisis of faith, witnessed among a great many Catholics, which oftentimes underlies the crisis in marriage and the family.

6. One of the poorest aspects of contemporary culture is loneliness, arising from the absence of God in a person’s life and the fragility of relationships. There is also a general feeling of powerlessness in the face of socio-cultural realities which oftentimes end in crushing families. Such is the case in increasing instances of poverty and unemployment in the workplace, which at times is a real nightmare or in overwhelming financial difficulties, which discourage the young from marrying. Families often feel abandoned by the disinterest and lack of attention by institutions. The negative impact on the organization of society is clear, as seen in the demographic crisis, in the difficulty of raising children, in a hesitancy to welcome new life and in considering the presence of older persons as a burden. All these can affect a person’s emotional balance, which can sometimes lead to violence. The State has the responsibility to pass laws and create work to ensure the future of young people and help them realize their plan of forming a family.

7. Some cultural and religious contexts pose particular challenges. In some places, polygamy is still being practiced and in places with long traditions, the custom of “marriage in stages”. In other places, “arranged marriages” is an enduring practice. In countries where Catholicism is the minority, many mixed and interreligious marriages take place, all with their inherent difficulties in terms of jurisprudence, Baptism, the upbringing of children and the mutual respect for each other’s religious freedom, not to mention the danger of relativism or indifference. At the same time, such marriages can exhibit great potential in favouring the spirit of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue in a harmonious living of diverse religions in the same place. Even outside Western societies, many places are witnessing an overall increase in the practice of cohabitation before marriage or simply cohabitating with no intention of a legally binding relationship.

8. Many children are born outside marriage, in great numbers in some countries, many of whom subsequently grow up with just one of their parents or in a blended or reconstituted family. Divorces are increasing, many times taking place solely because of economic reasons. Oftentimes, children are a source of contention between parents and become the real victims of family break-ups. Fathers who are often absent from their families, not simply for economic reasons, need to assume more clearly their responsibility for children and the family. The dignity of women still needs to be defended and promoted. In fact, in many places today, simply being a woman is a source of discrimination and the gift of motherhood is often penalized, rather than esteemed. Not to be overlooked is the increasing violence against women, where they become victims, unfortunately, often within families and as a result of the serious and widespread practice genital mutilation in some cultures. The sexual exploitation of children is still another scandalous and perverse reality in present-day society. Societies characterized by violence due to war, terrorism or the presence of organized crime are witnessing the deterioration of the family, above all in big cities, where, in their peripheral areas, the so-called phenomenon of “street-children” is on the rise. Furthermore, migration is another sign of the times to be faced and understood in terms of its onerous consequences to family life.

The Importance of Affectivity in Life

9. Faced with the afore-mentioned social situation, people in many parts of the world are feeling a great need to take care of themselves, to know themselves better, to live in greater harmony with their feelings and sentiments and to seek to live their affectivity in the best manner possible. These proper aspirations can lead to a desire to put greater effort into building relationships of self-giving and creative reciprocity, which are empowering and supportive like those within a family. In this case, however, individualism and living only for one’s self is a real danger. The challenge for the Church is to assist couples in the maturation and development of their affectivity through fostering dialogue, virtue and trust in the merciful love of God. The full commitment required in marriage can be a strong antidote to the temptation of a selfish individualism.

10. Cultural tendencies in today’s world seem to set no limits on a person’s affectivity in which every aspect needs to be explored, even those which are highly complex. Indeed, nowadays a person’s affectivity is very fragile; a narcissistic, unstable or changeable affectivity does not always allow a person to grow to maturity. Particularly worrisome is the spread of pornography and the commercialization of the body, fostered also by a misuse of the internet and reprehensible situations where people are forced into prostitution. In this context, couples are often uncertain, hesitant and struggling to find ways to grow. Many tend to remain in the early stages of their affective and sexual life. A crisis in a couple’s relationship destabilizes the family and may lead, through separation and divorce, to serious consequences for adults, children and society as a whole, weakening its individual and social bonds. The decline in population, due to a mentality against having children and promoted by the world politics of reproductive health, creates not only a situation in which the relationship between generations is no longer ensured but also the danger that, over time, this decline will lead to economic impoverishment and a loss of hope in the future.

Pastoral Challenges

11. In this regard, the Church is conscious of the need to offer a particularly meaningful word of hope, which must be done based on the conviction that the human person comes from God, and that, consequently, any reconsideration of the great question on the meaning of human existence can be responsive to humanity’s most profound expectations. The great values of marriage and the Christian family correspond to the search that characterizes human existence, even in these times of individualism and hedonism. People need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life. We need to know how to support them in their searching and to encourage them in their hunger for God and their wish to feel fully part of the Church, also including those who have experienced failure or find themselves in a variety of situations. The Christian message always contains in itself the reality and the dynamic of mercy and truth which meet in Christ.

PART II

Looking at Christ: the Gospel of the Family

Looking at Jesus and the Divine Pedagogy in the History of Salvation

12. In order to “walk among contemporary challenges, the decisive condition is to maintain a fixed gaze on Jesus Christ, to pause in contemplation and in adoration of his Face. … Indeed, every time we return to the source of the Christian experience, new paths and undreamed of possibilities open up” (Pope Francis, Discourse, 4 October 2014). Jesus looked upon the women and the men he met with love and tenderness, accompanying their steps with patience and mercy, in proclaiming the demands of the Kingdom of God.

13. Since the order of creation is determined by its orientation towards Christ, a distinction needs to be made without separating the various levels through which God communicates to humanity the grace of the covenant. By reason of the divine pedagogy, according to which the order of creation develops through successive stages to the moment of redemption, we need to understand the newness of the Sacrament of Marriage in continuity with natural marriage in its origin, that is, the manner of God’s saving action in both creation and the Christian life. In creation, because all things were made through Christ and for him (cf. Col 1:16), Christians “gladly and reverently lay bare the seeds of the Word which lie hidden among their fellows; they ought to follow attentively the profound changes which are taking place among peoples” (Ad Gentes, 11). In the Christian life, the reception of Baptism brings the believer into the Church through the domestic church, namely, the family; thus beginning “a dynamic process [which] develops, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 9), in an ongoing conversion to a love which saves us from sin and gives us fullness of life.

14. Jesus himself, referring to the original plan of the human couple, reaffirms the indissoluble union between a man and a woman and says to the Pharisees that “for your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”(Mt 19: 8). The indissolubility of marriage (“what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” Mt 19:6), is not to be understood as a “yoke” imposed on persons but as a “gift” to a husband and wife united in marriage. In this way, Jesus shows how God’s humbling act of coming to earth might always accompany the human journey and might heal and transform a hardened heart with his grace, orientating it towards its benefit, by way of the cross. The Gospels make clear that Jesus’ example is paradigmatic for the Church. In fact, Jesus was born in a family; he began to work his signs at the wedding of Cana; and announced the meaning of marriage as the fullness of revelation which restores the original divine plan (Mt 19:3). At the same time, however, he put what he taught into practice and manifested the true meaning of mercy, clearly illustrated in his meeting with the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:1-30) and with the adulteress (Jn 8:1-11). By looking at the sinner with love, Jesus leads the person to repentance and conversion (“Go and sin no more”), which is the basis for forgiveness.

The Family in God’s Salvific Plan

15. The words of eternal life, which Jesus gave to his disciples, included the teaching on marriage and the family. Jesus’ teaching allows us to distinguish three basic stages in God’s plan for marriage and the family. In the beginning, there is the original family, when God the Creator instituted the first marriage between Adam and Eve as the solid foundation of the family. God not only created human beings male and female (Gen 1:27), but he also blessed them so they might be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28). For this reason, “a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and the two become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This union was corrupted by sin and became the historical form of marriage among the People of God, for which Moses granted the possibility of issuing a bill of divorce (cf. Dt 24: 1ff.). This was the principal practice in the time of Jesus. With Christ’s coming and his reconciling a fallen world through his redemption, the period begun by Moses ended.

16. Jesus, who reconciled all things in himself, restored marriage and the family to their original form (Mk 10:1-12). Marriage and the family have been redeemed by Christ (Eph 5:21-32), restored in the image of the Holy Trinity, the mystery from which every true love flows. The spousal covenant, originating in creation and revealed in the history of salvation, receives its full meaning in Christ and his Church. Through his Church, Christ bestows on marriage and the family the grace necessary to witness to the love of God and to live the life of communion. The Gospel of the Family spans the history of the world from the creation of man in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1: 26-27) until it reaches, at the end of time, its fulfilment in the mystery of the Christ’s Covenant with the wedding of Lamb (cf. Rev 19: 9) (cf. John Paul II, Catechesis on Human Love).

The Family in the Church’s Documents

17. “Throughout the centuries, the Church has maintained her constant teaching on marriage and family. One of the highest expressions of this teaching was proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to promoting the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 47-52). This document defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48), placing love at the center of the family and manifesting, at the same time, the truth of this love in counter distinction to the various forms of reductionism present in contemporary culture. The ‘true love between husband and wife’ (Gaudium et Spes, 49) implies a mutual gift of self and includes and integrates the sexual and affective aspects, according to the divine plan (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48-49). Furthermore, Gaudium et Spes, 48 emphasizes the grounding of the spouses in Christ. Christ the Lord ‘comes into the lives of married Christians through the Sacrament of Matrimony,’ and remains with them. In the Incarnation, he assumes human love, purifies it and brings it to fulfillment. Through his Spirit, he enables the bride and groom to live their love and makes that love permeate every part of their lives of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the bride and groom are, so to speak, consecrated and, through his grace, they build up the Body of Christ and are a domestic church (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11), so that the Church, in order fully to understand her mystery, looks to the Christian family, which manifests her in a real way” (Instrumentum Laboris, 4).

18. “In the wake of Vatican II, the papal Magisterium has further refined the doctrine on marriage and the family. In a special way, Blessed Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae, displayed the intimate bond between conjugal love and the generation of life. Pope St. John Paul II devoted special attention to the family in his catechesis on human love, his Letter to Families (Gratissimam Sane) and, especially, his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. In these documents, the Pope called the family the ‘way of the Church,’ gave an overview on the vocation of man and woman to love and proposed the basic guidelines for the pastoral care of the family and the presence of the family in society. In specifically treating ‘conjugal love’ (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 13), he described how the spouses, through their mutual love, receive the gift of the Spirit of Christ and live their call to holiness” (Instrumentum Laboris, 5)

19. “Pope Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, again took up the topic of the truth of the love between man and woman, which is fully understood only in light of the love of Christ Crucified (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 2). The Pope emphasized that ‘marriage based on an exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love’ (Deus Caritas Est, 11). Moreover, in his Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he emphasizes the importance of love as the principle of life in society (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 44), the place where a person learns to experience the common good” (Instrumentum Laboris, 6).

20. “Pope Francis, in his Encyclical Lumen Fidei, treating the connection between the family and faith, writes: ‘Encountering Christ, letting themselves (young people) be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint. Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness’ (Lumen Fidei, 53)” (Instrumentum Laboris, 7).

The Indissolubility of Marriage and the Joy of Sharing Life Together

21. Mutual self-giving in the Sacrament of Marriage is grounded in the grace of Baptism, which establishes in all its recipients a foundational covenant with Christ in the Church. In accepting each other and with Christ’s grace, the engaged couple promises a total self-giving, faithfulness and openness to new life. The married couple recognizes these elements as constitutive in marriage, gifts offered to them by God, which they take seriously in their mutual commitment, in God’s name and in the presence of the Church. Faith facilitates the possibility of assuming the benefits of marriage as commitments which are sustainable through the help of the grace of the Sacrament. God consecrates the love of husband and wife and confirms the indissoluble character of their love, offering them assistance to live their faithfulness, mutual complementarity and openness to new life. Therefore, the Church looks to married couples as the heart of the entire family, which, in turn, looks to Jesus.

22. From the same perspective, in keeping with the teaching of the Apostle who said that the whole of creation was planned in Christ and for him (cf. Col 1:16), the Second Vatican Council wished to express appreciation for natural marriage and the valid elements present in other religions (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2) and cultures, despite their limitations and shortcomings (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 55). The presence of the seeds of the Word in these cultures (cf. Ad Gentes, 11) could even be applied, in some ways, to marriage and the family in so many societies and non-Christian peoples. Valid elements, therefore, exist in some forms outside of Christian marriage — based on a stable and true relationship of a man and a woman — which, in any case, might be oriented towards Christian marriage. With an eye to the popular wisdom of different peoples and cultures, the Church also recognizes this type of family as the basic, necessary and fruitful unit for humanity’s life together.

The Truth and Beauty of the Family and Mercy Towards Broken and Fragile Families

23. With inner joy and deep comfort, the Church looks to families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, encouraging them and thanking them for the testimony they offer. In fact, they witness, in a credible way, to the beauty of an indissoluble marriage, while always remaining faithful to each other. Within the family, “which could be called a domestic church” (Lumen Gentium, 11), a person begins a Church experience of communion among persons, which reflects, through grace, the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. “In a family, a person learns endurance, the joy of work, fraternal love, and generosity in forgiving others — repeatedly at times — and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1657). The Holy Family of Nazareth is a wondrous model in whose school we “understand why we have to maintain spiritual discipline, if we wish to follow the teachings of the Gospel and become Christ’s disciples” (Blessed Pope Paul VI, Address at Nazareth, 5 January 1964). The Gospel of the Family also nourishes the seeds which are still waiting to grow; and serves as the basis for caring for those trees which might have withered and need treatment.

24. The Church, a sure teacher and caring mother, recognizes that the only marriage bond for those who are baptized is sacramental and any breach of it is against the will of God. At the same time, the Church is conscious of the weakness of many of her children who are struggling in their journey of faith. “Consequently, without detracting from the evangelical ideal, they need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these progressively occur. [...] A small step in the midst of great human limitations can be more pleasing to God than a life which outwardly appears in order and passes the day without confronting great difficulties. Everyone needs to be touched by the comfort and attraction of God’s saving love, which is mysteriously at work in each person, above and beyond their faults and failings”(Gaudium Evangelii, 44).

25. In considering a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried or simply living together, the Church has the responsibility of helping them understand the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and offering them assistance so they can reach the fullness of the God’s plan for them. Looking to Christ, whose light illumines every person (cf. Jn 1: 9; Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns with love to those who participate in her life in an incomplete manner, recognizing that the grace of God works also in their lives by giving them the courage to do good, to care for one another in love and to be of service to the community in which they live and work.

26. The Church looks with concern at the distrust of many young people in relation to a commitment in marriage and suffers at the haste with which many of the faithful decide to put an end to the obligation they assumed and to take on another. These lay people, who are members of the Church, need pastoral attention which is merciful and encouraging, so they might adequately determine their situation. Young people, who are baptized, should be encouraged to understand that the Sacrament of Marriage can enrich their prospects of love and they can be sustained by the grace of Christ in the Sacrament and by the possibility of participating fully in the life of the Church.

27. In this regard, a new aspect of family ministry is requiring attention today — the reality of civil marriages between a man and woman, traditional marriages and, taking into consideration the differences involved, even cohabitation. When a union reaches a particular stability, legally recognized, characterized by deep affection and responsibility for children and showing an ability to overcome trials, these unions can offer occasions for guidance with an eye towards the eventual celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. Oftentimes, a couple lives together without the possibility of a future marriage and without any intention of a legally binding relationship.

28. .In accordance with Christ’s mercy, the Church must accompany with attention and care the weakest of her children, who show signs of a wounded and lost love, by restoring in them hope and confidence, like the beacon of a lighthouse in a port or a torch carried among the people to enlighten those who have lost their way or who are in the midst of a storm. Conscious that the most merciful thing is to tell the truth in love, we go beyond compassion. Merciful love, as it attracts and unites, transforms and elevates. It is an invitation to conversion. We understand the Lord’s attitude in the same way; he does not condemn the adulterous woman, but asks her to sin no more (Jn 8: 1-11).

Part III

Facing the Situation: Pastoral Perspectives

Proclaiming the Gospel of the Family Today in Various Contexts

29. Discussion at the synod has allowed for agreement on some of the more urgent pastoral needs to be addressed in the particular Churches, in communion cum Petro et sub Petro. Proclaiming the Gospel of the Family is urgently needed in the work of evangelization. The Church has to carry this out with the tenderness of a mother and the clarity of a teacher (cf. Eph 4: 15), in faithfulness to the mercy displayed in Christ’s kenosis. Truth became flesh in human weakness, not to condemn it but to save it (cf. Gn 3: 16, 17).

30. Evangelizing is the shared responsibility of all God’s people, each according to one’s ministry and charism. Without the joyous testimony of married people and families, proclamation, even if done in its proper way, risks being misunderstood or lost in a flurry of words which is characteristic of society today (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 50). On various occasions, the synod fathers emphasized that Catholic families, by reason of the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage, are called upon to be the active agents in every pastoral activity on behalf of the family.

31. The primacy of grace needs to be highlighted and, consequently, the possibilities which the Spirit provides in the Sacrament. It is a question of allowing people to experience that the Gospel of the Family is a joy which “fills hearts and lives”, because in Christ we are “set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness” (Evangelii Gaudium, 1). Bearing in mind the Parable of the Sower (cf. Mt 13; 3), our task is to cooperate in the sowing; the rest is God’s work; nor must we forget that, in preaching about the family, the Church is a sign of contradiction.

32. Consequently, this work calls for missionary conversion by everyone in the Church, that is, not stopping at proclaiming a message which is perceived to be merely theoretical, with no connection to people’s real problems. We must continually bear in mind that the crisis of faith has led to a crisis in marriage and the family and, consequently, the transmission of faith itself from parents to children has often been interrupted. If we confront the situation with a strong faith, the imposition of certain cultural perspectives which weaken the family is of no importance.

33. Conversion also needs to be seen in the language we use, so that it might prove to be effectively meaningful. Proclamation needs to create an experience where the Gospel of the Family responds to the deepest expectations of a person: a response to each’s dignity and complete fulfillment in reciprocity, communion and fruitfulness. This does not consist in merely presenting a set of rules but in espousing values, which respond to the needs of those who find themselves today, even in the most secularized of countries.

34. The Word of God is the source of life and spirituality for the family. All pastoral work on behalf of the family must allow people to be interiorly fashioned and formed as members of the domestic church through the Church’s prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture. The Word of God is not only good news in a person’s private life, but also a criterion of judgment and a light in discerning the various challenges which married couples and families encounter.

35. At the same time, many synod fathers insisted on a more positive approach to the richness of various religious experiences, without overlooking the inherent difficulties. In these different religious realities and in the great cultural diversity which characterizes countries, the positive possibilities should be appreciated first and then on this basis evaluate their limitations and deficiencies.

36. Christian marriage is a vocation which is undertaken with due preparation in a journey of faith with a proper process of discernment and is not to be considered only a cultural tradition or social or legal requirement. Therefore, formation is needed to accompany the person and couple in such a way that the real-life experience of the entire ecclesial community can be added to the teaching of the contents of the faith.

37. The synod fathers repeatedly called for a thorough renewal of the Church’s pastoral practice in light of the Gospel of the Family and replacing its current emphasis on individuals. For this reason, the synod fathers repeatedly insisted on renewal in the training of priests and other pastoral workers with a greater involvement of families.

38. They equally highlighted the fact that evangelization needs to clearly denounce cultural, social, political and economic factors, such as the excessive importance given to market logic which prevents authentic family life and leads to discrimination, poverty, exclusion, and violence. Consequently, dialogue and cooperation need to be developed with the social entities and encouragement given to Christian lay people who are involved in the cultural and socio-political fields.

Guiding Engaged Couples in Their Preparation for Marriage

39. The complex social reality and the changes affecting the family today require a greater effort on the part of the whole Christian community in preparing those who are about to be married. The importance of the virtues needs to be included, among these chastity which is invaluable in the genuine growth of love between persons. In this regard, the synod fathers jointly insisted on the need to involve more extensively the entire community by favouring the witness of families themselves and including preparation for marriage in the course of Christian Initiation as well as emphasizing the connection between marriage and the other sacraments. Likewise, they felt that specific programmes were needed in preparing couples for marriage, programmes which create a true experience of participation in ecclesial life and thoroughly treat the various aspects of family life.

Accompanying the Married Couple in the Initial Years of Marriage

40. The initial years of marriage are a vital and sensitive period during which couples become more aware of the challenges and meaning of married life. Consequently, pastoral accompaniment needs to go beyond the actual celebration of the Sacrament (Familiaris Consortio, Part III). In this regard, experienced couples are of great importance in any pastoral activity. The parish is the ideal place for these experienced couples to be of service to younger couples. Married couples need encouragement in a basic openness to the great gift of children. The importance of a family spirituality and prayer needs emphasis so couples might be encouraged to meet regularly to promote growth in their spiritual life and solidarity in the concrete demands of life. Meaningful liturgies, devotional practices and the Eucharist celebrated for entire families were mentioned as vital factors in fostering evangelization through the family.

Pastoral Care for Couples Civilly Married or Living Together

41. While continuing to proclaim and foster Christian marriage, the Synod also encourages pastoral discernment of the situations of a great many who no longer live this reality. Entering into pastoral dialogue with these persons is needed to distinguish elements in their lives which can lead to a greater openness to the Gospel of Marriage in its fullness. Pastors ought to identify elements which can foster evangelization and human and spiritual growth. A new element in today’s pastoral activity is a sensitivity to the positive aspects of civilly celebrated marriages and, with obvious differences, cohabitation. While clearly presenting the Christian message, the Church also needs to indicate the constructive elements in these situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to it.

42. The synod fathers also noted in many countries an “an increasing number of people live together ad experimentum, in unions which have not been religiously or civilly recognized” (Instrumentum Laboris, 81). In some countries, this occurs especially in traditional marriages which are arranged between families and often celebrated in different stages. Other countries are witnessing a continual increase in the number of those who, after having lived together for a long period, request the celebration of marriage in Church. Simply to live together is often a choice based on a general attitude opposed to anything institutional or definitive; it can also be done while awaiting more security in life (a steady job and income). Finally, in some countries de facto marriages are very numerous, not because of a rejection of Christian values concerning the family and matrimony but primarily because celebrating a marriage is too expensive. As a result, material poverty leads people into de facto unions.

43. All these situations require a constructive response, seeking to transform them into opportunities which can lead to an actual marriage and a family in conformity with the Gospel. These couples need to be provided for and guided patiently and discreetly. With this in mind, the witness of authentic Christian families is particularly appealing and important as agents in the evangelization of the family.

Caring for Broken families (Persons who are Separated, Divorced, Divorced and Remarried and Single-Parent Families)

44. Married couples with problems in their relationship should be able to count on the assistance and guidance of the Church. The pastoral work of charity and mercy seeks to help persons recover and restore relationships. Experience shows that with proper assistance and acts of reconciliation, though grace, a great percentage of troubled marriages find a solution in a satisfying manner. To know how to forgive and to feel forgiven is a basic experience in family life. Forgiveness between husband and wife permits a couple to experience a never-ending love which does not pass away (cf. 1 Cor 13:8). At times, this is difficult, but those who have received God’s forgiveness are given the strength to offer a genuine forgiveness which regenerates persons.

45. The necessity for courageous pastoral choices was particularly evident at the Synod. Strongly reconfirming their faithfulness to the Gospel of the Family and acknowledging that separation and divorce are always wounds which causes deep suffering to the married couple and to their children, the synod fathers felt the urgent need to embark on a new pastoral course based on the present reality of weaknesses within the family, knowing oftentimes that couples are more “enduring” situations of suffering than freely choosing them. These situations vary because of personal, cultural and socio-economic factors. Therefore, solutions need to be considered in a variety of ways, as suggested by Pope St. John Paul II (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 84).

46. All families should, above all, be treated with respect and love and accompanied on their journey as Christ accompanied the disciples on the road to Emmaus. In a particular way, the words of Pope Francis apply in these situations: “The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this ‘art of accompaniment’, which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3: 5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting a closeness and compassion which, at the same time, heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life” (Evangelii Gaudium, 169).

47. A special discernment is indispensable for pastorally guiding persons who are separated, divorced or abandoned. Respect needs to be primarily given to the suffering of those who have unjustly endured separation, divorce or abandonment, or those who have been subjected to the maltreatment of a husband or a wife, which interrupts their life together. To forgive such an injustice is not easy, but grace makes this journey possible. Pastoral activity, then, needs to be geared towards reconciliation or mediation of differences, which might even take place in specialized “listening centres” established in dioceses. At the same time, the synod fathers emphasized the necessity of addressing, in a faithful and constructive fashion, the consequences of separation or divorce on children, in every case the innocent victims of the situation. Children must not become an “object” of contention. Instead, every suitable means ought to be sought to ensure that they can overcome the trauma of a family break-up and grow as serenely as possible. In each case, the Church is always to point out the injustice which very often is associated with divorce. Special attention is to be given in the guidance of single-parent families. Women in this situation ought to receive special assistance so they can bear the responsibility of providing a home and raising their children.

48. A great number of synod fathers emphasized the need to make the procedure in cases of nullity more accessible and less time-consuming. They proposed, among others, the dispensation of the requirement of second instance for confirming sentences; the possibility of establishing an administrative means under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop; and a simple process to be used in cases where nullity is clearly evident. Some synod fathers, however, were opposed to this proposal, because they felt that it would not guarantee a reliable judgment. In all these cases, the synod fathers emphasized the primary character of ascertaining the truth about the validity of the marriage bond. Among other proposals, the role which faith plays in persons who marry could possibly be examined in ascertaining the validity of the Sacrament of Marriage, all the while maintaining that the marriage of two baptized Christians is always a sacrament.

49. In streamlining the procedure of marriage cases, many synod fathers requested the preparation of a sufficient number of persons — clerics and lay people — entirely dedicated to this work, which will require the increased responsibility of the diocesan bishop, who could designate in his diocese specially trained counselors who would be able to offer free advice to the concerned parties on the validity of their marriage. This work could be done in an office or by qualified persons (cf. Dignitas Connubii, art. 113, 1).

50. Divorced people who have not remarried, who oftentimes bear witness to their promise of faithfulness in marriage, ought to be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to sustain them in their present state of life. The local community and pastors ought to accompany these people with solicitude, particularly when children are involved or when in serious financial difficulty.

51. Likewise, those who are divorced and remarried require careful discernment and an accompaniment of great respect. Language or behavior which might make them feel an object of discrimination should be avoided, all the while encouraging them to participate in the life of the community. The Christian community’s care of such persons is not to be considered a weakening of its faith and testimony to the indissolubility of marriage, but, precisely in this way, the community is seen to express its charity.

52. The synod father also considered the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Some synod fathers insisted on maintaining the present regulations, because of the constitutive relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church as well as the teaching on the indissoluble character of marriage. Others expressed a more individualized approach, permitting access in certain situations and with certain well-defined conditions, primarily in irreversible situations and those involving moral obligations towards children who would have to endure unjust suffering. Access to the sacraments might take place if preceded by a penitential practice, determined by the diocesan bishop. The subject needs to be thoroughly examined, bearing in mind the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735).

53. Some synod fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons or those living together can have fruitful recourse to a spiritual communion. Others raised the question as to why, then, they cannot have access “sacramentally”. As a result, the synod fathers requested that further theological study in the matter might point out the specifics of the two forms and their association with the theology of marriage.

54. The problems relative to mixed marriages were frequently raised in the interventions of the synod fathers. The differences in the matrimonial regulations of the Orthodox Churches creates serious problems in some cases, which require due consideration in the work of ecumenism. Analogously, the contribution of the dialogue with other religions would be important for interreligious marriages.

Pastoral Attention towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies

55. Some families have members who have a homosexual tendency. In this regard, the synod fathers asked themselves what pastoral attention might be appropriate for them in accordance with the Church’s teaching: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” )Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4(.

56. Exerting pressure in this regard on the Pastors of the Church is totally unacceptable: this is equally so for international organizations who link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of laws which establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

The Transmission of Life and the Challenges of a Declining Birthrate

57. Today, the diffusion of a mentality which reduces the generation of human life to accommodate an individual’s or couple’s plans is easily observable. Sometimes, economic factors are burdensome, contributing to a sharp drop in the birthrate which weakens the social fabric, thus compromising relations between generations and rendering a future outlook uncertain. Openness to life is an intrinsic requirement of married love. In this regard, the Church supports families who accept, raise and affectionately embrace children with various disabilities.

58. Pastoral work in this area needs to start with listening to people and acknowledging the beauty and truth of an unconditional openness to life, which is needed, if human life is to be lived fully. This serves as the basis for an appropriate teaching regarding the natural methods for responsible procreation, which allow a couple to live, in a harmonious and conscious manner, the loving communication between husband and wife in all its aspects, along with their responsibility at procreating life. In this regard, we should return to the message of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI, which highlights the need to respect the dignity of the person in morally assessing methods in regulating births. The adoption of children, orphans and the abandoned and accepting them as one’s own is a specific form of the family apostolate (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, III, 11), and oftentimes called for and encouraged by the Magisterium (cf. Familiaris Consortio, III, II; Evangelium Vitae, IV, 93). The choice of adoption or foster parenting expresses a particular fruitfulness of married life, not simply in the case of sterility. Such a choice is a powerful sign of family love, an occasion to witness to one’s faith and to restore the dignity of a son or daughter to a person who has been deprived of this dignity.

59. Affectivity needs assistance, also in marriage, as a path to maturity in the ever-deepening acceptance of the other and an ever-fuller gift of self. This necessitates offering programmes of formation which nourish married life and the importance of the laity providing an accompaniment, which consists in a life of witness. Undoubtedly, the example of a faithful and deep love is of great assistance; a love shown in tenderness and respect; a love which is capable of growing over time; and a love which, in the very act of opening itself to the generation of life, creates a transcendent mystical experience.

Upbringing and the Role of the Family in Evangelization

60. One of the fundamental challenges facing families today is undoubtedly that of raising children, made all the more difficult and complex by today’s cultural reality and the great influence of the media. Consideration, then, needs to be given to the needs and expectations of families, who are able to bear witness, in their daily lives, to the family as a place of growth in the concrete and essential transmission of the virtues which give form to our existence. Parents, then, are able freely to choose the type of education for their children, according to their convictions.

61. In this regard, the Church can assume a valuable role in supporting families, starting with Christian Initiation, by being welcoming communities. More than ever, these communities today are to offer support to parents, in complex situations and everyday life, in their work of raising their children, accompanying children, adolescents and young people in their development through personalized pastoral programmes, capable of introducing them to the full meaning of life and encouraging them in their choices and responsibilities, lived in the light of the Gospel. Mary, in her tenderness, mercy and maternal sensitivity can nourish the hunger of humanity and life itself. Therefore, families and the Christian people should seek her intercession. Pastoral work and Marian devotion are an appropriate starting point for proclaiming the Gospel of the Family.

Conclusion

62. These proposed reflections, the fruit of the synodal work which took place in great freedom and with a spirit of reciprocal listening, are intended to raise questions and indicate points of view which will later be developed and clarified through reflection in the local Churches in the intervening year leading to the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled for October, 2015, to treat The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World. These are not decisions taken nor are they easy subjects. Nevertheless, in the collegial journey of the bishops and with the involvement of all God’s people, the Holy Spirit will guide us in finding the road to truth and mercy for all. This has been the wish of Pope Francis from the beginning of our work, when he invited us to be courageous in faith and to humbly and honestly embrace the truth in charity.

[03044-02.01] [Original text: Italian]

An Estimated 40,000 Hispanics Embrace Islam In USA, Mostly Ex-Catholics

In 1997, a handful of Hispanics in New York, who had converted to Islam, started a group called “Latino American Dawah Organization to reach out to other Hispanics.  Their slogan is “Puro Latino, Puro Islam, A Su LADO.  If you go to their web site, they explain that they are there to help Hispanics rediscover the legacy of Islam in Spain and Latin America.  They also say; “Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God) that many Latinos are embracing Islam”.

510371-Dome_BST.jpg.540xThe Arizona Republic has a very interesting article with interviews with Hispanic muslims in the Phoenix Arizona area.  In it is also the story of Jose Padilla, an ex-Catholic who became muslim and who attempted to explode a dirty radioactive bomb here in the United States for al-Quida.

Many of the converts to Islam are women who meet and sometimes marry muslim men.  They forget that muslim men can have multiple wives.  Along comes a young romantic handsome muslim man, and off they go to become muslims.

It is not only Hispanics who are becoming muslims.  Right now young Europeans are joining ISIS.

muslimsAnd while this goes on, the pope suppresses the Franciscans of the Immaculate and bishops oppress Catholics who love traditional Catholicism.  They harass traditional Catholics while Catholics are leaving the Church in droves to become muslims, mormons, jehovah witnesses, evangelicals, athiest, and illuminati, (by selling their souls to the devil).   There is something terribly wrong with this picture.

Padre-Pio-MatrimonioThere Is Nothing Wrong With This Picture

We are so blessed to be able to be traditional Catholics and see the true picture with God’s eyes.

St. Alphonsus Or Alonso Rodriguez Oct. 30

1285“St. Alphonsus Rodriguez was born at Segovia in Spain, 25 July, 1532; died at Majorca, 31 October, 1617. On account of the similarity of names he is often confounded with Father Rodriguez the author of “Christian Perfection”, who though eminent in his holiness was never canonized. The Saint was a Jesuit lay-brother who entered the Society at the age of forty. He was the son of a wool merchant who had been reduced to poverty when Alfonso was still young. At the age of twenty-six he married Mary Suarez, a woman of his own station, and at thirty-one found himself a widower with one surviving child, the other two having died previously. From that time he began a life of prayer and mortification, although separated from the world around him. On the death of his third child his thoughts turned to a life in some religious order. Previous associations had brought him into contact with the first Jesuits who had come to Spain, Bl. Peter Faber among others, but it was apparently impossible to carry out his purpose of entering the Society, as he was without education, having only had an incomplete year at a new college begun at Alcala by Francis Villanueva. At the age of thirty-nine he attempted to make up this deficiency by following the course at the College of Barcelona, but without success. His austerities had also undermined his health. After considerable delay he was finally admitted into the Society of Jesus as a lay-brother, 31 January, 1571. Distinct novitiates had not as yet been established in Spain, and Alfonso began his term of probation at Valencia or Gandia — this point is a subject of dispute — and after six months was sent to the recently-founded college at Majorca, where he remained in the humble position of porter for forty-six years, exercising a marvelous influence on the sanctification not only of the members of the household, but upon a great number of people who came to the porter’s lodge for advice and direction. Among the distinguished Jesuits who came under his influence was St. Peter Clavier, who lived with him for some time at Majorca, and who followed his advice in asking for the missions of South America. The bodily mortifications which he imposed on himself were extreme, the scruples and mental agitation to which he was subject were of frequent occurrence, his obedience absolute, and his absorption in spiritual things even when engaged on most distracting employments, continual. It has often been said that he was the author of the well known “Little Office of the Immaculate Conception”, and the claim is made by Alegambe, Southwell, and even by the Fathers de Backer in their Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus. Apart from the fact that the brother did not have the requisite education for such a task, Father Costurer says positively that the office he used was taken from an old copy printed out of Spain, and Father Colin asserts that it existed before the Saint’s time. It may be admitted, however, that through him it was popularized. He left a considerable number of manuscripts after him, some of which have been published as “Obras Espirituales del B. Alonso Rodriguez” (Barcelona, 1885, 3 vols., octavo, complete edition, 8 vols. in quarto). They have no pretense to style; they are sometimes only reminiscences of domestic exhortations; the texts are often repeated; the illustrations are from every-day life; the treatment of one virtue occasionally trenches on another; but they are remarkable for the correctness and soundness of their doctrine and the profound spiritual knowledge which they reveal. They were not written with a view to publication, but put down by the Saint himself, or dictated to others, in obedience to a positive command of his superiors. He was declared Venerable in 1626. In 1633 he was chosen by the Council General of Majorca as one of the special patrons of the city and island. In 1760 Clement XIII decreed that “the virtues of the Venerable Alonso were proved to be of a heroic degree”; but the expulsion of the Society from Spain in 1773, and its suppression, delayed his beatification until 1825. His canonization took place 6 September, 1887. His remains are enshrined at Majorca.”  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Narcissus Oct. 29

791St Narcissus was born towards the close of the first century, and was almost fourscore years old when he was placed at the head of the church of Jerusalem, being the thirtieth bishop of that see. Eusebius assures us that the Christians of Jerusalem preserved in his time the remembrance of several miracles which God had wrought by this holy bishop, one of which he relates as follows. One year, on Easter-eve, the deacons were unprovided with oil for the lamps in the church, necessary at the solemn divine office that day. Narcissus ordered those who had care of the lamps to bring him some water from the neighbouring wells. This being done, he pronounced a devout prayer over the water; then bade them pour it into the lamps, which they did, and it was immediately converted into oil, to the great surprise of the faithful. Some of this miraculous oil was kept there as a memorial at the time when Eusebius wrote his history. The veneration of all good men for this holy bishop could not shelter him from the malice of the wicked. Three incorrigible sinners, fearing his inflexible severity in the observance of ecclesiastical discipline, laid to his charge a detestable crime, which Eusebius does not specify. They confirmed their atrocious calumny by dreadful oaths and imprecations; one wishing he might perish by fire, another that he might be struck with a leprosy, and the third that he might lose his sight, if what they alleged was not the truth. Notwithstanding these protestations, their accusation did not find credit; and some time after the divine vengeance pursued the calumniators. The first was burnt in his house, with his whole family, by an accidental fire in the night; the second was struck with a universal leprosy; and the third, terrified by these examples, confessed the conspiracy and slander, and by the abundance of tears which he continually shed for his sins, lost his sight before his death.

Narcissus, notwithstanding the slander had made no impression on the people to his disadvantage, could not stand the shock of the bold calumny, or rather made it an excuse for leaving Jerusalem and spending some time in solitude, which had long been his wish. He spent several years undiscovered in his retreat, where he enjoyed all the happiness and advantage which a close conversation with God can bestow. That his church might not remain destitute of a pastor, the neighbouring bishops of the province after some time placed in it Pius, and after him Germanion, who dying in a short time was succeeded by Gordius. Whilst this last held the see, Narcissus appeared again, like one from the dead. The whole body of the faithful, transported at the recovery of their holy pastor, whose innocence had been most authentically vindicated, conjured him to reassume the administration of the diocese. He acquiesced; but afterwards, bending under the weight of extreme old age, made St. Alexander his coadjutor. St. Narcissus continued to serve his flock, and even other churches, by his assiduous prayers and his earnest exhortations to unity and concord, as St. Alexander testifies in his letter to the Arsinoites in Egypt, where he says that Narcissus was at that time, about one hundred and sixteen years old. The Roman Martyrology honours his memory on the 29th of October.

If we truly respect the church as the immaculate spouse of our Lord, we will incessantly pray for its exaltation and increase, and beseech the Almighty to give it pastors according to his own heart, like those who appeared in the infancy of Christianity. And, that no obstacle on our part may prevent the happy effects of their zeal, we should study to regulate our conduct by the holy maxims which they inculcate; we should regard them as the ministers of Christ; we should listen to them with docility and attention; we should make their faith the rule of ours, and shut our ears against the language of profane novelty.


(Taken from Vol. III of “The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints” by the Rev. Alban Butler.)