Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vatican Letter to Priests on Feast of St. John Vianney


by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy,
to priests on the occasion of the Aug. 4 feast of St. John Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars.

Dear brother priests,On the occasion of the August 4 feast of St. John Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars, I greet you cordially with all my heart, and I fraternally send you this brief message.The Church knows today that there is an urgent mission, not only “ad gentes,” but also to those Christians living in areas and regions where the Christian faith has been preached and established for centuries and where ecclesial communities already exist. Within this flock, the mission, or the missionary evangelization (Redemptoris Missio, 2), has as its target those who are baptized but who, for different circumstances, have not been evangelized sufficiently, or those who have lost their initial fervour and fallen away. The postmodern culture of contemporary society -- a relativist, secular, and agnostic culture -- exerts a strong erosive action on the religious faith of many people.The Church is missionary by its very nature. Jesus told us that "the sower went out to sow" (Mt 13:3). The sower does not limit himself to throwing the seed out of the window, but actually leaves the house. The Church knows that it cannot remain inert or limit itself to receiving and evangelizing those who are seeking the Faith in its churches and communities. It is also necessary to rise up and go to where people and families dwell, live and work. We must go to everyone: companies, organizations, institutions and different fields of human society. In this mission, all members of the ecclesial community are called: pastors, religious and laity.Moreover, the Church recognizes that priests are the great driving force behind daily life in local communities. When priests move, the Church moves. If this were not so, it would be very difficult to achieve the Church’s mission.My dear brother priests, you are the great richness, the energy, the pastoral and missionary inspiration in the midst of the Christian faithful, wherever they are found in community. Without your crucial decision to "put out into the deep" for fish ("Duc in altum"), as the Lord himself calls us, little or nothing will happen in the urgent mission, either "ad gentes" or in the territories that have previously been evangelized. But the Church is certain that it can count on you, because it knows and explicitly recognizes that the overwhelming majority of priests -- despite our weaknesses and human limitations -- are worthy priests, giving their life daily to the Kingdom of God and loving Jesus Christ and the people entrusted to them. These are the priests who are sanctifying themselves in their daily ministry and who are persevering until the harvest of the Lord. Only a small minority of priests have gravely deviated from this mission, and the Church seeks to repair the harm that they have done. On the other hand, it rejoices in and is proud of the immense majority of its priests, who are good and exceedingly worthy of praise.During this Pauline Year, and pending the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God to be held in Rome this October, we call those who are receptive to this urgent mission. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us, send us, and sustain us, so that we might go forth and proclaim once again the person of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected, as well as His kingdom.I greet you again, dear brothers, remaining always at your disposal. I pray for you all, especially for those who suffer, for the sick and for the elderly.

Vatican City State, 15 July 2008
Claudio Cardinal Hummes
Emeritus Archbishop of São Paolo
Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

Monday, July 21, 2008

News Bytes


Baltimore, Jul. 21 ( - A militant pro-abortion group has launched a publicity campaign encouraging Catholics to protest the Church's teaching on contraception, while a group of orthodox Catholic priests has urged other clerics to proclaim and defend that teaching.

The pro-abortion group "Catholics" for Choice has urged lay Catholics to lobby their bishops for a change in the perennial moral teaching of the Christian faith. Jon O'Brien, the president of the group, pointed out that most married Catholics ignore the Church teaching and use contraceptives. "It is time for them to speak out and say enough is enough," O'Brien said.

The leader of "Catholics" for Choice argued that in some countries where Catholic institutions exercise great power, people "are dying as a result of the ban" on contraceptives. His statement presumably referred to the argument that AIDS is spread by the lack of access to condoms.

However, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a group of 600 orthodox Catholic priests and deacons, meeting in Baltimore last week, strongly endorsed the Church's teaching. Referring to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, in which Pope Paul VI reinforced the traditional teaching, the Confraternity approved a statement asking "all its brother clergy to teach, explain, and defend this timely encyclical."

"While sometimes a difficult teaching to embrace and maintain, it is nevertheless the only means to uphold the natural law and to safeguard the sanctity of the human person, marriage, and the family as well as civilization itself," the Confraternity proclaimed. The group pointed out that in the 40 years since Pope Paul issued the encyclical, the steadily growing public acceptance of contraception has been associated with epidemics of sexual promiscuity, deviancy, venereal disease, divorce, illegitimacy, and other problems including sharp increases in breast cancer and uterine cancer.

© Copyright 2008 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved. courtesy of Catholic World News (

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Humanae Vitae: two score later

Forty years ago, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy celebrated the anniversary of this prophetic document at its 33rd annual convocation which met in Baltimore, MD, July 14-17. Dr. Janet Smith was the keynote speaker and she gave a concise and erudite synopsis on why this encyclical was written and what it meant. She also gave an illuminating post-mortem on the dissent from Humanae Vitae, from 1968 to 2008. Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, President of HLI (Human Life International), spoke on the diabolical dimensions of abortion and contraception. Just as individual bodies can be possessed or obsessed by demonic forces, so, too, corporate bodies (like society) can also be infected. Abortion and contraception, he maintains, are demonic obsessions plaguing our civilization. Intrinsic evils like these which seek to destroy the divine plan of marriage (i.e., love & life; unity & procreation), also affect the whole of society since innocent unborn human life becomes the direct and unjust victim. Fr. Peter West of Priests for Life spoke on the political response to abortion and the moral culpability of the faithful not voting (which can be a grave sin of omission). Bad enough when so-called Christians vote FOR pro-abortion candidates. Equally bad when pro-life Christians do not vote at all and by their absence in the voting booths, allow pro-abortion candidates to win by default. Fr. West pointed out the difference between candidate-oriented endorsements and issue-oriented endorsements. Clergy cannot endorse any specific candidate or party from the pulpit BUT they can and MUST condemn immoral policies, platforms, laws, and any issue which threatens the lives of innocent human beings.

The following resolutions were approved at this year's meeting:

1. We resolve as priests and deacons of the Catholic Church to reaffirm our unequivocal and complete acceptance and support of the magisterial teachings contained in the papal encyclical 'Humanae Vitae' (by Paul VI) as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of this prophetic document. Furthermore, we pledge to explain and encourage our faithful to fully know, understand and comply with authentic Christian morality contained in this encyclical, especially on the intrinsic evils of abortion and contraception.

2. We resolve as pastors and spiritual leaders to aggressively engage our people to defend and protect the sanctity of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. We strongly urge the faithful to exercise their political power as tax paying voters to elect and influence governors and legislators so they will enact state amendments to prevent the alteration, expansion or redefinition of marriage.

3. We resolve to express our profound gratitude to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for his first pastoral visit to the United States this past April and for his pastoral love and concern for the clergy. We appreciate his paternal words of support for priests and deacons as he spoke to the bishops of our nation. The CCC also thanks the Pontiff for his visit to Australia for World Youth Day since his love and concern for young people is a model for all pastors.

4. We resolve to follow the lead and continue the work begun by the Holy Father in his efforts to reintroduce more of the sacred into divine worship. The Pope teaches us by example in the gestures,materials, and manner in which he celebrates the Holy Mass. By emulating him in reverently and accurately following the rubrics as well as prayerfully saying the correct words (in other words say the black; do the red), we hope to offer fitting worship and to edify the faithful with the sacred mysteries we celebrate

5. We resolve to urge and exhort our bishops to give us an accurate and eloquent translation of the Roman Missal as soon as possible. Reverent worship of God, which edifies and nourishes the faithful, demands sacred language and sacred ritual (words & gestures). Therefore, we ask for a translation that is not patronizing to the intelligence of our people but instead inspires them to aspire to seek and embrace holiness.

6. We resolve to support every bishop who courageously defends the sanctity and integrity of the Holy Eucharist by denying Communion to notorious and unrepentent politicians who are openly supportive of abortion and/or euthanasia. We applaud those shepherds who make every effort to persuade and dialogue with these politicians in hopes of converting their minds and hearts to be completely Pro-Life. We also acknowledge that those whose obstinate hardness of heart prevent them from abandoning their allegiance to the so-called "pro-choice" defense of abortion make themselves ineligible to receive Holy Communion.

unanimously approved 7-17-08

Rev John Trigilio, Jr (president)

My Blog List

Blog Archive