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Viewpoint: Parenthood — did I sign up for this?

June 29th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

Stripping soaked sheets off a child’s bed for the third night in a row. Scrubbing vomit out of a carseat. Listening to a bedroom door slam with an angry “I hate you!” Read more »

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Viewpoint: A resurrected vision for our suffering world

April 20th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Although it is Easter season, for much of the world it still feels like Good Friday.

Countless people throughout the world continue to carry painfully heavy crosses – crosses overwhelming due to man’s inhumanity to man.

Sin, which starts in each individual human heart, if not repented of, joins with the sins of many, forming a collective critical mass of sin which leads to the building of what St. John Paul called the “structures of sin.” Read more »

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Stephen Colbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Henry Newman, and the providence of God

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Recently, Stephen Colbert gave an interview in which the depth of his Catholic faith was on pretty clear display. Discussing the trauma that he experienced as a young man – the deaths of his father and two of his brothers in a plane crash – he told the interviewer how, through the ministrations of his mother, he had learned not only to accept what had happened but actually to rejoice in it: “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was ten; that was quite an explosion…It’s that I love the thing that I wish most had not happened.” Flummoxed, his interlocutor asked him to elaborate on the paradox. Without missing a beat, Colbert cited J.R.R. Tolkien: “What punishments of God are not gifts?” What a wonderful sermon on the salvific quality of suffering! And it was delivered, not by a priest or bishop or evangelist, but by a comedian about to take over one of the most popular television programs on late night. Read more »

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Speaking of the devil — Pope Francis 
isn’t shy about referring to the evil ‘prince of this world’

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Holy See Press Office

Many of us have been very surprised that in the preaching of Pope Francis, one subject returns so frequently: the devil. For Francis, the devil is not a myth, but a real person. In one of his morning homilies in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, he said that not only is there a hatred of the world for Jesus and the church, but that behind this spirit of the world is “the prince of this world”:

Public opinion, both Catholic and secular, has met the pope’s insistence on the devil with a dismissive, cultural affectation, indifference, or at the most indulgent curiosity.

Yet Francis refers to the devil continually. He does not believe him to be a myth, but a real person, the most insidious enemy of the church. We may be tempted to ask, why in the devil is Pope Francis so involved with the prince of demons? Read more »

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isn’t shy about referring to the evil ‘prince of this world’

Responding to those whose words mark them as racists

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Catholic News Service

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy have been in the news recently because their racist remarks have ignited public condemnation.

In a phone conversation recorded by a female companion, Sterling said to the woman: “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in; you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”

He continued: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”

Rancher Bundy made his offensive remarks during a standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over more than $1 million that the agency says he owes for years of grazing his cattle on federal land. He attracted states’ rights supporters but lost many of them when he said that some blacks might be “better off as slaves.”

“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail because they never learned how to pick cotton,” said Bundy during an April press conference. “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?”

Interestingly, Sterling and Bundy differ significantly in their sense of culpability for their heinous remarks.

Sterling’s remarks were made in a private conversation taped without his knowledge. He was humiliated when they were revealed, and he has lawyered up to prevent from being banned for life by the NBA, from attending its games and practices, and having any decision-making privileges pertaining to the team. Sterling also was fined $2.5 million.

Bundy, in contrast, adamantly denied being a racist and faulted The New York Times for “making it a racist-type thing.”

What do we do with these guys?

They are not alone in their mindset. Others in the private and public sectors are likewise hateful and ignorant in their thinking about human beings who are different from themselves.

I favor taking away their privileges to serve in capacities where their racial outlook could potentially be detrimental. The NBA was right to punish Sterling as severely as it did. He had submitted himself to its authority and it acted accordingly.

There is no leadership position that Bundy can be stripped of, but the loss of supporters of his cattle grazing cause can still hit him where it hurts: in his pocketbook. Punishment for those infected with racism, however, is not enough. Christians have a duty to pray for their healing and to work to halt the spread of such a toxic mindset.

One of the best blueprints for dealing with racists is outlined in the U.S. bishops’ 1979 pastoral letter on racism, “Brothers and Sisters to Us.”

After teaching that racism is “evil” and “a sin,” the bishops offer concrete steps for combating racism.

They say others should reject racial stereotypes, racial slurs and racial jokes and influence family, especially children, to be sensitive to cultural contributions of other ethnic groups.

The bishops also ask that we educate ourselves and others on “how social structures inhibit the economic, educational and social advancement of the poor.”

It is time to dust off this 35-year-old pastoral, read it again, implement it, and perhaps even send a courtesy copy to the likes of Sterling and Bundy.

 Greene was an associate editor at Catholic News Service for nearly 22 years prior to her retirement in December 2011.

 

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This Lent, consider a proverb each day from Scripture

February 27th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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As you may be noticing, many of my writings focus on Sacred Scripture. There are several reasons for this; one being this is where the focus of my study was directed and even more important the Bible is God’s Word to us. It reveals his story and directs our lives as his disciples.

For many years I have kept a quotation journal writing down thoughts and statements that guide me in my daily life and on my spiritual journey. I also discovered that God, in his infinite wisdom, provided me with a complete book that not only enhanced my journal but challenged me with thoughts and sayings that touched every area of my life.

This is the Book of Proverbs, one of the several biblical books known as Wisdom literature. I pray for the gift of wisdom on a daily basis, a much needed gift when you are the matriarch of a large family, and I believe that I am blessed to a limited degree with this gift, of course my age and white hair enhance this perception.

The second verse from Proverbs, “that men may appreciate wisdom and discipline,” stands out as I reflect on all the reading and praying I have done with this book over the years. I believe we can learn a greater appreciation for the discipline needed to attain wisdom. Proverbs offers a collection of thought- provoking statements that we can use as a guidebook into the hidden truths within the heart. I believe the first step in attempting to conform my life to being a disciple of Christ is to look within myself and identify and name those attitudes and sins that are a block to my relationship with God and others.

This is a very difficult thing to do since my natural inclination is to deny the negative within me and so it is easy to avoid situations and thoughts that will bring these to my attention. The Book of Proverbs provides an invaluable resource to aid in searching out these inner sins and allowing God to enter my consciousness and heal those parts within that are blocking His grace.

Although I prayed with sacred Scripture for many years, it was not until I began a comprehensive study of Scripture that I even noticed the wealth and beauty that is contained in the Book of Proverbs. Our professor told us to select one verse from Proverbs and carry this line around with us for an entire week. The verse I selected was Proverb 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely. “

Wow, of all the verses available to choose, this one hit closest to home. Every day that week, I prayed this verse and listened as God guided me to new depths of understanding about how to trust in Him.  I felt as though I discovered a treasure hidden deep within a box containing many other gifts. Over the years I continue to choose a proverb a week and I continue to look forward to discovering many layers of truth that I know are waiting for me.

How familiar are you with the book of Proverbs or any of the other books of wisdom literature contained in the Hebrew Scriptures? Many people shy away from this part of the Bible preferring the Gospels and letters. This Lent, and any day of the year, I encourage you to discover the beauty of these ancient words of God.

Ebner, a spiritual director, is a member of St. Jude the Apostle Parish, in Lewes.

 

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Reach out to the poor and needy at Christmas

December 19th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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As the Christmas song goes: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

While Easter is the most important time of the year, Christmas ranks very close. And when we consider in the broader sense that Christmas and Easter are theologically linked, it’s true to say that in many ways Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.

A typhoon survivor decorates a Christmas tree amid the rubble of destroyed houses in Tacloban, Philippines, Dec. 17. Typhoon Haiyan reduced almost everything in its path to rubble when it swept ashore in the central Philippines Nov. 8, killing more than 6,000 people, and displacing more than 4 million. (CNS photo/Erik De Castro, Reuters)

But first comes Advent – that time upon us of preparation for Christmas.

One of the very best ways of preparing for Christmas is to start giving gifts early; not so much the kind of gifts we usually give to relatives and friends on Christmas, but the life saving and life enhancing gifts of money and service to those most in need, especially those who are living on the edge of survival.

For countless poor human beings who dwell in the shadows of our nation and world, unseen and uncared for, such gifts are priceless.

So, allow me to suggest several ways you can make an Advent/Christmas difference in the lives of some of our suffering brothers and sisters.

Since there was no room at the inn for Joseph, Mary and Jesus, consider volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

As you know, this time of the year is the saddest time for lonely people, especially those who have recently lost a loved one, or have no one to love them. Think about contacting a lonely soul and befriending him or her. If you don’t know of anyone, ask a friend or your parish.

Perhaps you might be able to put together a Christmas basket for a poor family. Again your parish or local social services agency should be able to help. Think about stopping by a nursing home. Many nursing home residents never get a visitor.

Making a donation to your diocesan Catholic Charities agency is also a fine idea. Having worked for Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Wilmington diocese, I can personally attest to the good they do. From food distribution, to low cost counseling, to public policy advocacy, Catholic Charities will put your gift to good work.

The vast majority of the poorest and most vulnerable human beings live in the economically undeveloped nations of the world.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official overseas emergency relief and development arm of the Catholic Church in the United States, is tirelessly aiding the poorest of the poor in approximately 100 countries.

For instance, CRS is distributing emergency food rations and food vouchers to desperate people in the Central African Republic, where thousands have been forced from their homes – and many have died – since a rebel takeover in March.

Also, CRS is on the scene providing emergency aid to many of the countless victims of the recent devastating Philippine typhoon, where Archbishop John Du of Palo said it is “like a valley of death.” He added that he went in search of help responding to his parishioners’ plea: “Please go and find us food.”

Kindly consider making an An Advent/Christmas donation can be made to Catholic Relief Services, Box 17090, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0303, or online at www.crs.org.

We still have time this Advent to reach out to the poor and vulnerable, near and far. By doing so, our hearts will be evermore ready to sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

 

Tony Magliano is a syndicated columnist who lives in the Diocese of Wilmington.

 

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