Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body

These words will be said to each new Cardinal: "To the praise of God, and the honor of the Apostolic See receive the red biretta, the sign of the cardinal's dignity; and know that you must be willing to conduct yourselves with fortitude even to the shedding of your blood: for the growth of the Christian faith, the peace and tranquility of the People of God, and the freedom and spread of the Holy Roman Church".The sobering words of the Successor of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, that he spoke to the future priests and the new Cardinals, echo for all of us to hear and reflect upon.The culture we are called to engage is not friendly turf.

The new ring of the Cardinals features the Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Peter and Paul

The new ring of the Cardinals features the Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Peter and Paul

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Apostasy, Religious liberty, Cardinals, Pope Benedict XI, Christian Non-Conformism, Seminarians, Cardinal Dolan, Deacon Keith Fournier


ROME, Italy (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, February 15, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Pontifical Major Seminary in Rome. He made comments called "off the cuff" by some in the Press. However, observers of this Pope know that these remarks were deliberate. They reflected his deeply held convictions concerning the challenge which the Church faces in a Western culture which has attempted to evict God.

The Holy Father read the first two verses of the twelfth chapter St. Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome, "I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."

Referring to the Church of the seminarians as "the Church of the future, the Church which lives forever" Benedict the Teacher gave a twenty minute exposition of St. Paul's instruction, calling the young men to "Christian non-conformism." He explained that "this does not mean that Christians flee from the world but on the contrary, that they let themselves be transformed by their faith in order thereby to transform the world."

He reminded those studying for the priesthood of two different ways in which the term translated "the world" is used in Sacred Scripture. He noted that the word "world" has two different meanings: creation, loved by God to the point that He gave Himself for its salvation; but also the world represented by the powers of evil that reflect original sin. This "world" is a system which has all too often ejected God. He warned the future priests of two aspects often captive to this world, the world of finance and the world of the media.

Though both in themselves are "useful and good" they are, in the Pope's words "so easy to abuse that they often become the contrary of their true intentions." He challenged the future priests to not conform themselves to this age or this world, in the sense of submission to falsehood, "We do not want always to be praised, we do not want appearances - but the truth." Because, he concluded, "this alone gives us true freedom from the need to please or to speak as the mass thinks."

On February 18, 2012, the consistory - wherein twenty-two Churchmen will be made Cardinals - will begin. They will also be called to a "Christian non-conformism" even to the point of shedding their blood for the ancient yet ever new faith.

These words will be said to each new Cardinal, "To the praise of God, and the honor of the Apostolic See receive the red biretta, the sign of the cardinal's dignity; and know that you must be willing to conduct yourselves with fortitude even to the shedding of your blood: for the growth of the Christian faith, the peace and tranquility of the People of God, and the freedom and spread of the Holy Roman Church."

It is interesting to note that the rings given to those who will join the Senate of advisors to the Pope, the ones who will gather when the need arises to vote for his successor, is different this year.  It has been cast with the images of the martyrs of Rome, Saints Peter and Paul. This call to martyrdom reflects the sober tone in which the consistory is set.

In reflecting upon his own selection, Cardinal -designate Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, in an article for the Catholic New York wrote these words, "When the Holy Father presents the "red hat" to the new cardinals, he will ask us to accept it as a sign of our readiness to shed our blood for the strengthening of the faith, the peace and tranquility of the people of God, and the liberty and growth of the Church. Get it? Blood! Red!"

"Would you pray for me that I might do as I am asked? That I will be a courageous preacher of the
Gospel, and defender of human dignity, the Church and our cherished religious freedom? I need more than your prayers though. I need your joyful witness, your solidarity. Just as the whole community shares in this honor, so too do we all share in the responsibility. If all this only means that I now dress up in a red cassock and red hat, we will have missed the whole point."

"Are you ready to shed your blood? Every Christian disciple should aspire to be brave enough to do so. Please God, the day of shedding one's blood for the faith will not come to New York, but the cardinalatial red should invite everyone to ask some questions and examine our consciences. As Blessed John Paul II observed, "If something is not worth dying for, it's not worth living for." God, family, faith, freedom, one's country, friends, honor, virtue, life itself, the Church -- all worth dying for . . . all worth living for!"

"For my part, I have to ask myself: Where do I show steadfastness now? If I can't be courageous now in small things, how might I be ready to answer the summons to shed my blood in grave matters? Do I speak of the Gospel full and entire, with joy and conviction, even to those who appear to be indifferent or hostile? Do I defend the Church when she is maligned or attacked, or when her proper liberties are threatened?"

"Do I stand fast with those around the world persecuted and even martyred for their faith, raising my voice in solidarity with them? Do I do my utmost, with the help of God's grace, to live the virtues, especially those of humility and charity? Do I fight the daily battle to make room for God, in time set aside for prayer, the sacraments and works of service to others, especially those in need? Might I invite you to ask those same questions?"

The media in the United States falsely portrays the US Administrations' effort to compel the Catholic Church to apostatize as a battle over "contraception" rather than what it truly is -- a denial of the fundamental right to Religious Freedom. The sobering words of the Successor of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, that he spoke to the future priests and the new Cardinals, echo for all of us to hear and reflect upon as well. The culture we are called to engage is not friendly turf.

However, we need to remember it has never been. One of the oldest post New Testament writings we have is called the Letter to Diognetus. It was written to an early inquirer to the Christian faith at the beginning of the Second Century. The challenges then were not all that different. Here are but a few excerpts for our reflection:

"Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign."

"And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. "

"They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again.To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Europe

Spiritual Ecumenism: Pope Francis Visits Evangelical/Pentecostal Church in Caserta Italy Watch

Image of Pope Francis took a trip to Caserta, Italy on Monday, June 28, 2014. He visited with a friend named Giovanni Traettino who pastors an evangelical, charismatic/Pentecostal protestant Church.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis took a trip to Caserta, Italy on Monday, June 28, 2014. He visited with a friend named Giovanni Traettino who pastors an evangelical, charismatic/Pentecostal protestant Church. This friend of Francis oversees the growing evangelical Church of the ... continue reading


He Went to Find Brothers: Message of Pope Francis to Evangelical/Pentecostal Brother John and the Church at Caserta Watch

Image of The welcome given to the Pope by the members of this evangelical/pentecostal protestant community of Christians was beautiful, respectful and loving. The way in which the entire encounter proceeded is a sign of where we are being challenged to live our own Christian lives. The message of Pope Francis at Caserta is clear and convincing. He went to find brothers, and sisters. So should we!  Authentic ecumenical efforts are a part of being a Catholic Christian.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Pope addressed several hundred members of the Church of the Reconciliation who had gathered for this historic visit. He and his friend, a protestant pentecostal/evangelical pastor named John, stood together under an overhang which bore the words "Jesus is ... continue reading


Spanish priest packs them into church - by dancing the flamenco Watch

Image of Father Pepe danced in front of the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1997. He says w he will retire this coming September.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jose Planas Moreno, known as "Father Pepe," has revived interest in his church in Malaga, Spain. The priest has brought parishioners flocking back to the Nuestra SeƱora Del Carmen church in Campanilla, a district of Malaga, with his unusual style of worship. ... continue reading


LUNCH SURPRISE: Pope Francis eats with Vatican employees in surprise visit Watch

Image of The Pope spent about an hour dining at a table with around 10 other people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A "lunch surprise" usually means an item that's not on the menu offered at a lower price. At the Vatican, employees got quite a "lunch surprise" on Friday when their "boss" and bishop, Pope Francis, turned up at their cafeteria. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop! - Pope Urges End to Wars in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza

Image of Brothers and sisters: never war.My thoughts go especially to the children, from whom we take away the hope for a decent life: dead children, injured children, maimed children, orphaned children, children who have war relics for toys, children who do not know how to smile.- Pope Francis

By Asia News

He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak ... continue reading


Meriam Ibraham is Free! The Living God Has Heard the Cry of His People! Jesus Christ is Lord! Watch

Image of Meriam receives the blessing and the gratitude of the successor of Peter, Francis.- What should be front and center in every Christian news report on this remarkable story is that God intervened on behalf of Meriam and her family. The God whom we profess is real and His power is greater than any regime or any form of opposition. Yes, He used men and women, and even government leaders, to accomplish His deliverance. He often does. But it was His Love and Mercy which broke the shackles of evil. He deserves all the praise.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The photo of Pope Francis blessing Meriam Ibrahim and her little daughter Maya in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, July 24, 2014, reciving a blessing from a smiling Pope Francis, made millions of hearts leap for joy. The God of love answers the prayers of His ... continue reading


'A negative act necessarily must be condemned:' Vatican revising law on abuse penalties Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In regards to canonical law regarding acts of sexual misconduct, according to law ended up being too vague, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta says, church sanctions were being applied so haphazardly that the church appeared to be divided. In response, the Vatican is ... continue reading


VILE: Somali girl smuggled into United Kingdom for organ harvesting Watch

Image of In perhaps the most horrific recent case, law enforcement learned that a Somali girl had been brought to England for the express purpose of harvesting her organs for transplant.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There has been a noticeable uptick of cases of human trafficking in the United Kingdom. In perhaps the most horrific recent case, law enforcement learned that a Somali girl had been brought to England for the express purpose of harvesting her organs for ... continue reading


HORRIFIC ABUSE: 18-year-old girl coerced into group sex while being recorded on cell phone Watch

Image of The incident is being called an example of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An 18-year-old girl performed explicit sex acts on 24 men on a dance floor with the promise of a holiday - which never arrived. Presented with a mixed drink for her acts of indecency, the sordid episode was recorded on a cell phone camera - for the world to ... continue reading


Female genital mutilation threatens young females in England, Wales Watch

Image of The Department of Health has ordered hospitals to report signs of genital mutilation. The first statistics aren't due until September.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Far away from Africa and parts of Asia, girls and young women are still at risk for female genital mutilation, or FGM within the United Kingdom. The barbaric practice, FGM, is still carried out among various immigrant females in both Great Britain and Wales. ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter