Cardinal Arinze wrote a book entitled Letter to a Young Priest. In his book, he offers his own advice to new priests on how they are to live out their vows of obedience, chastity, and even poverty. Not all priests, by the way, has taken a vow of poverty, but all have taken a vow of obedience and chastity. According to the weblink below:
In extracts from the book published by L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Arinze says, “The obedience that the priest gives to the Holy Father, the bishop and his representatives is based on faith. Through this obedience, the priest gives God the possibility of making complete use of him in carrying out the mission of the Church. The purpose of obedience is not to diminish the role of the priest, or to treat him as inferior or keep him from adequate personal growth.”
Cardinal Arinze warned that priests “should not try to introduce a sort of secular democracy that is not in accord with the divine nature of the hierarchical institution of the Church. The virtue of humility is one thing, it’s another thing to seek to clericalize the laity or laicize the clergy. The Church has nothing to gain by this, and everything to lose with similar initiatives.”
The cardinal went on to note that priests should always obey their bishops, “even when in the worst of scenarios the bishop assigns a task that surpasses the capacity of the priest or could make him suffer or harm him. God will not cease to protect the priest who is obedient. The judgment of God with regard to the bishop is a different question!”
Even when this obedience implies adversities for the priest, “in the end God protects the priest who respects and obeys the Bishop with firm fidelity and nobility of character. The intervention of God can appear after months or even years, but it does finally come. Some saints were only done justice after death,” he added.
Cardinal Arinze's book
Monday, June 30, 2014
Anyone who is serious about obtaining eternal life in God's kingdom will do all he/she can to increase in the virtue of obedience. Without it, one will never please God. The eminent Jesuit theologian Father John Anthony Hardon, offered the following definition of obedience: "The moral virtue that inclines the will to comply with the will of another who has the right to command. According to Father Hardon, obedience is pleasing to God because it means the sacrifice of one's will out of love for God.
The Holy Bible stressed obedience throughout its pages. Obedience is extremely pleasing to God. It is so pleasing and important that the Holy Bible instructed children to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20), wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22), and slaves to submit to their masters (1 Peter 2:18). When Christ came down incarnated as a man, He also placed Himself under submission to His mother Mary, to His stepfather Joseph, and to God His Father. Christ was obedient, and He is our role model to follow.
When pride was found in Lucifer's heart and disobeyed God, he was kicked out of Heaven. When pride was found in Adam and Eve and they disobeyed God, they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Disobedience is the result of pride. When a priest or a nun takes a vow of obedience, it is to conquer his/her desire to be first or to be at the top. God puts everyone under authority. Through obedience, we learn humility and to sacrifice our own will and follow God's will. Our role as Catholics is also to be obedient. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
CCC 1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.
The office of Bishop is a sanctified office even if the bishop himself is a sinner. After all, Christ chose sinful men to continue His ministry. Because the Archbishop sits in a sanctified office, He is not separated nor excommunicated from the Catholic Church. It is only those who oppose the Archbishop who put themselves outside the Catholic Church.
Obedience is linked to faith. Abraham obeyed because he had faith that God will provide a way for his son Isaac to live despite that he was told to sacrifice his son. Abraham obeyed when God told him to leave all the securities behind in the land of Ur even when he did not know where he was going. He had faith that God will lead him to the right place. This is why Abraham is called the "Father of faith." Despite the fact that he did not know where to go, he obeyed nonetheless because he had faith that God will show him the way. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Perfection of faith when she answered "Let thy will be done."
CCC 144 To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.
The Catholic Church is perfectly clear that Church leaders are to be obeyed and respected. Of course, Protestants usually remind Catholics of the sexual abuse committed by a few priests. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI has instructed the faithful to contact the civil authorities when priests try to sexually molest them. And so we follow what our Pope says.
I said this in my one of my comments under my recent post. If the Archbishop of Guam tells a priest to open his parish for the Neocatechumenal Way, the priest must comply. The Neocatechumenal Way has received the blessings and support of five Popes; therefore, the Archbishop of Guam is not going against the Catholic Church or her teaching in commanding a priest to open his parish for the Way. Why? Because the Archbishop is telling the Parish priest to open his parish to something that five popes had always accepted. The NCW was never rejected by the Catholic Church. Therefore, it is the Parish priest who must comply with the faith that God will give him the grace to see what all five popes see in the Way. If the parish priest refuses to obey, then it is the parish priest who goes against the Catholic Church. It is the parish priest who broke his vow of obedience, and it is the Parish priest who disobeyed God.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Revenge can masquerade as justice, but it often ends up perverting it. The differences between revenge and justice enumerated below generally holds true; yet, they are generalizations, so the possibility exists that some of you may be able to think of some exceptions. Nevertheless, here are two quotes that distinguishes between the two:
"Do not seek revenge and call it justice." - Cassandra Clare
"It is essential that justice be done; it is equally vital that justice not be confused with revenge, for the two are wholly different." - Oscar Arias
These 5 differences was taken from an article I read in "Psychology Today."
1. Revenge is predominantly emotional; justice primarily rational. Revenge is mostly about "acting out" negative emotions. As its worse, it expresses an overwhelming desire for bloodshed. As perverse as it may seem, there is actual pleasure experienced in causing others to suffer for the hurt they have caused.
Justice, on the other hand, is not about "getting even" or experiencing a spiteful joy in retaliation. Instead, it is about righting a wrong that most members of society would agree is morally culpable. And the unbiased unemotional moral rightness of such justice is based on cultural or community standards of fairness and equity. Whereas revenge has a certain selfish quality to it. As St. Paul John Paul II stated: "Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create." In other words, a person who uses violence, theft, or anything illegal to obtain justice is really seeking revenge.
2. Revenge is personal; justice is impersonal, impartial, and both a social and legal phenomenon. The driving impetus behind revenge is to get even, to carry out a private vendetta, or to achieve what is described as personal justice. If successful, the person experiences personal gratification that their retaliatory goal has been accomplished....the other side vanquished or brought to his knees. Just or not, the avenger feels justified.
Social justice, on the other hand, is impersonal. It revolves around moral correction in situations where certain ethical principles have been violated. When justice is successfully meted out, the particular retribution benefits or protects both the individual and society, which can operate effectively when certain acceptable behavioral guidelines are followed.
"Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both." - Eleanor Roosevelt.
3. Revenge is an act of vindictiveness; justice, of vindication. The effort to avenge oneself or others can become corrupting, morally reducing the avenger's status to that of the perpetrator. Two wrongs do not make a right and never can. Degrading another only ends up further degrading oneself. There is nothing admirable in retaliating against a wrong by committing a wrong that is the same. In other words, degrading and belittling the other because the other also degraded and belittle you does not make you a better man.
Justice, on the other hand, is grounded in honor, fairness, and virtue. It's purpose is not vindictive in which blood thirstiness has no part. It is based on established law, and its proceedings are designed to dispense to individuals precisely what the individual deserved.....nothing more and nothing less. As James Mace (a famous historian) once stated: "Only remember this: to seek justice is a good and noble thing, to seek revenge out of hatred is something that will devour your very soul."
4 Revenge is about cycles; justice about closure. Revenge has a way of relentlessly repeating itself. Revenge begets more revenge. The cycle is continuous, and it gets no satisfaction. There is no resolution and no compromise. It is like Israel and Palestine with its own agenda amd its own sense of right and wrong. Tit-for-Tat, and the cycle goes on. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians who have been fighting for over 50 years.,one has to wonder if those fighting in the war even remember the real reason for the conflict that started it in the first place.
Justice, by contrast, is designed to offer a resolution, which eventually leads to closure. When justice is done, so is the conflict that led up to it.
5. Revenge is about retaliation; justice is about restoring balance. The motive of revenge has mostly to do with expressing rage, anger, hatred, or spite. It's a protest or payback, and its intent is to harm.
Justice, on the other hand, is concerned with dispassionately restoring balance through bringing about equality or equity. It centers on proportion as it equates to fairness and is not driven by emotion, but seeks to be as objective and evenhanded as possible.
“Someone wrongs us, we rarely (if ever) want to do the same thing back. Why? Because we want to do something more harmful. Likewise, when someone insults us, our instinct is to search for words that will be more insulting. Revenge always escalates.” - Rob Bell
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Archbishop Anthony Apuron was called and appointed by God. He is God's chosen one because he is the Archbishop of Guam. The Catholic Church is very clear in her teachings of which I cannot emphasize enough:CCC 1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.
Canon Law 212 S1 Christ's faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show Christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church.
However, Satan goes against the Catholic Church. One thing is for certain.... obedience to God, His Church, and those whom God appointed as His representatives has always been the teachings of the Catholic Church. Anyone who goes against the Pope and everything the Pope endorses goes against the Church. Anyone who shows disobedience and disrespect to our Archbishop of Guam goes against the Church.
There is no higher moral good than following Christ who was obedient even unto death. Obedience and authority appear to be unpopular concepts these days especially in regards to the Church. In our secular lives, obedience to authority is not taken seriously especially in regards to the Archbishop of Guam. This is probably a bitter pill to swallow for some Catholics who perhaps envision a more democratic Church.
Interestingly, people who have trouble with obedience to the Archbishop will still obey their boss, the weatherman, or a police officer and not even notice the inconsistency. Yet, following Christ in His Church ranks highest in the hierarchy of goods.
Obedience should be popular because we grow when something reaches us from outside of ourselves. It can be as simple as food or as vital as the imperative to love and follow the truth. We are tied to many larger realities: as children to our parents; as students to universities, as employees to employers, as workers to our factories, as Catholics to the Church, and so on. The list is endless.
We cannot do without the myriad of things that reach us each day. The love, the food, the information, the exercise of our political and economic rights all open life to something larger. In other words, "None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself (Romans 14:7). Although St. Paul wrote about people in the act of faith in that biblical passage, obedience - the handing over of ourselves - is part of the structure of faith. It is self-abandonment to Christ as He comes to us in the Church through His appointed bishops.
This lack of understanding of the obedience and respect we owe to our bishops suggests that, while many of us are quick to assert that our faith is important, we do not fully grasp what "faith" means in the context of the Church. The Catechism pairs the words "faith" and "obedience" repeatedly:
CCC 143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, "the obedience of faith".
Jesus may love all sinners, but there are consequences for not obeying His commandments, including His command to obey and respect those whom He appointed as His representatives on Earth. The Gospel parable of the narrow gate illustrates this readily (See Matthew 7:13-22 and Luke 13:22-30). We were warned that the "wide" road leads to destruction, and that few will take, or even find, the narrow gate. Furthermore, Jesus' comments, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Although the mercy of Jesus is eternal for repentant sinners, those who do not recognize His authority in their lives will, in turn, not be recognized by Him: "Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you..." (Matthew 7:23).
So, brothers and sisters recognize that Archbishop Anthony Apuron was appointed by God as His chosen one to lead us to Christ. Obey and respect him whom God has chosen and sent as His representative and shepherd on Earth. Therefore, I urge my brothers not to engage in anything that is hostile to our Archbishop and contradictory to our Catholic faith.
The next World Youth Day will be in Poland. About 50,000 youths in the Neocatechumenal Way from all over the world have attended this event. Below is a video of a Benefit Concert by Neocatechumens helping youths to attend the World Youth Day event in Brazil, which is already past. The video put together by the NCW youths of Manila, Philippines was well done. The youths is the future Church.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I found an interesting article on the Internet. Pope Francis says that half-hearted Catholics are not really Catholics at all because they only have one foot inside the Catholic Church. Pope Francis described three kinds of half-hearted Catholics: 1) uniformists, 2) alternativists, and 3) businessists. According to the article (weblink is provided below):
The first group, he said, believe that everyone in the church should be just like them. "They are rigid! They do not have that freedom the Holy Spirit gives," and they confuse what Jesus preached with their "own doctrine of uniformity."
"Jesus never wanted the church to be so rigid," Pope Francis said. Such people "call themselves Catholics, but their rigid attitude distances them from the church."
The second group, those with alternative teachings and doctrines, "has a partial belonging to the church. These, too, have one foot outside the church," he said. "They rent the church," not recognizing that its teaching is based on the preaching of Jesus and the apostolic tradition.
Members of the third group "call themselves Christians but don't enter into the heart of the church," they use the church "for personal profit," the pope said. "We have all seen them in parish or diocesan communities and religious congregations; they are some of the benefactors of the church."
"They strut around proud of being benefactors, but in the end, under the table, make their deals," he said.
Pope Francis said the church is made up of people with a variety of differences and gifts, and if one wants to belong to it, he or she must be motivated by love and enter with "your whole heart."
Being open to the Spirit, who fosters harmony in diversity, he said, brings "docility," which is "the virtue that saves us" from entering the church half-heartedly.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
The following are information about the Neocatechumenal Way taken from their facebook website and in the weblink I provided below. It is interesting to note that Msgr. Juan Arrieta, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts summarized how we receive the Body of Christ. He said that we are to receive the Body of Christ standing up, and then take a seat until all have received the Body of Christ. This was the change that took place in 2008, which I kept saying. This was the change that was approved by the Holy See.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has observed the Way's liturgical practices from the beginning. Pope John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist at the meeting with the communities in Porto San Giorgio in 1989, exactly as the communities do it, including the communion rite in a sitting position.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, however, the Prefect of the Congregation from 2002 until 2008, was unwilling to accept the differences in the liturgy of the neocatechumenal Eucharist. In December 2005, he wrote a private letter to Arguello, Hernández and Pezzi on behalf of Pope Benedict. He warned that "[i]n the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Neocatechumenal Way shall accept and follow the liturgical books approved by the Church, without omitting or adding anything." The letter directed members of the Way to adopt the prescribed method of receiving Holy Communion, to participate in parish life, and to celebrate Mass with the rest of the parish community on at least one Sunday each month.
The Way argues that Arinze's letter has been superseded by the Final Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way insofar as it says that “the celebrations of the Eucharist of the neocatechumenal communities on Saturday evening are part of the Sunday liturgical pastoral work of the parish and are open also to other faithful.”The Way argues that this means that by participating in the Saturday evening Eucharistic celebration with their communities, members of the Neocatechumenal Way are already partaking in the Holy Mass of the parish community. In his Canonical Observations on the Definitive Approval of the Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way, Msgr. Juan Arrieta, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, summarizes the liturgical concessions of the Neocatechumenal Way as follows:
- “First, that the neocatechumens celebrate the Eucharist in the small community, after the First Vespers of Sunday. Second, that this celebration, after First Vespers takes place according to the disposition of the diocesan bishop. Third, that these celebrations [...] are part of the pastoral work and consequently are open to all the faithful. Fourth, that in these celebrations the liturgical books approved by the Roman Rite are followed, 'with the exception of the explicit concessions from the Holy See' (always with unleavened bread), moving the rite of peace before the consecration, communion under both species, brief admonitions and echoes and, finally, a new way for the distribution of Communion: 'Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under the two species, the neocatechumens receive standing, remaining at their place.' The faithful receive the precious body while standing, take seat and wait until all have received. Then the celebrant says 'Body of Christ, bring us everlasting life!' and the whole congregation consumes immediately after the priest consumes the host. The ecce Agnus Dei along with the Domine non sum dignus are typically recited but is sometimes omitted due to error on the part of the celebrant. Sharing the cup takes place afterward, individually, while the faithful are standing at their seats and a priest or Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion carries the chalice around.
- "There are no liturgical anomalies [in the Eucharist]; everything is in full compliance of the guidelines of the ‘Ordo Missae.’ What I have really seen there are Eucharists celebrated without any hurry, with a great faith, and where you can perceive the joy and the thanksgiving for the gift which is being bestowed in the Eucharist.”
- The highest number of communities found in Europe (and the World) are found in Italy (10,000 communities) and Spain (7,000 communities).
- The highest number of communities in the world in a country per capita is found in Malta, which has 100 communities in an island of 400,000 persons, which is the equivalent of twice the number of communities both in Italy and in Spain.
- The Way is present in all continents, in over 900 dioceses, with a total of about 40,000 communities in 6,000 parishes. Each community may consist of 20~50 members (Brothers and sisters). In 2014 there are 100 Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer) seminaries in total.
- In Africa there are 800 communities, as well as in the Middle East with Lebanon having the highest number of communities.
Friday, June 20, 2014
St. Peter was chosen as the leader of the Apostles. His role as leader is well documented not only in Sacred Scripture but also in the writings of the Church Fathers. In the Holy Bible, where the list of Apostles are found, Peter is always named first even when the list are not in the same order (See Matthew 10:2-4, Luke 6:13-16, and Acts 1:3). It was Peter and only Peter who received the key of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:19). Christ gave Peter the key, which symbolized "authority." It was also Peter and only Peter whom Christ entrusted to take care of his entire flock (John 21:14-17).
Personally, if it were up to me, I would have chosen St. John because he was the only Apostle there at the foot of the cross. I certainly would not have chosen Peter who denied Christ three times. Yet, it was Christ who chose the denier to be His representative. This was God's choice. My choice is not the choice of God. And sometimes, even our will is not God's will.
God chooses the weak, the most humblest, the poor, the handicap, and even the worst sinner to be His disciples. Of all the nations of the earth, God chose Israel as His chosen people. The people of Israel were slaves, and slaves were the poorest of the poor. But from this group of slaves, God turned them into the great nation of Israel. Only God is capable of such a feat.....to turn a group of slaves into the nation of Israel.
God chose Moses who had a speech impediment (Exodus 4:10) and made him a spokesperson for Israel and to lead His people out from slavery in Egypt. Only God can take a person who is very slow in speech and turn him into a spokesperson. If it were up to me, I would have chosen someone who was eloquent in speech. But my choice is not God's choice.
God chose David, a young shepherd boy with no military skills, to defeat Goliath who was a giant soldier with military skills. Again, only God can take a shepherd boy and turn him into a warrior and a king, which is what He did.
God chose Abraham and his barren wife Sarah. Abraham was very old and had no children. Yet, God made Abraham the father of many nations, and transformed Sarah's dead womb into vitalness so that she was able to bear Isaac.
God chose a woman to conquer Israel's enemy (Judith 13:12-16:20) and even chose a pagan, Cyrus a Persian King, to lead Israel (Isaiah 45:1). God's plan for His people is not subject to the vagaries of man's choices. In fact, often the opposite is true. God leads people to obedience to Him and works through people to accomplish His purposes.
Christ had many disciples or followers. However, out of those many disciples, He only chose 12 Apostles. Most likely, those 12 were the worst among the entire group.
Then there was the Apostle Paul, who was a Pharisee and persecutor of Christians. He became one of God's chosen ones. God converted Paul's heart that he no longer became a persecutor of Christ and His Church. Only God has the power to turn a sinner into a saint.
God chooses the weak, the poor, the most humblest, the handicap, and the worst sinner so that He could manifest His power through their weakness. If a strong person were chosen, people can easily say that it was the strength of that strong person who defeated Goliath rather than the strength of God. If an eloquent speaker was chosen as a spokesperson instead of a stutterer, people could easily dismiss the power of God and say that it was because the person was so articulate that he is able to be an excellent spokesperson.
Our choices are not the same as God's choice. And our will may also not be the same as God's will for us. Some of us may believe that we are following God's will when in fact we are simply following our own will. Therefore, it is always important to pray and discern God's will for us.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
An anonymous poster stated the following here.
Proverbs 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished
MY, my Diana. Stop talking about punishment. God's JUSTICE is His MERCY. Maybe you didn't get to that step yet. Please Post this comment. Your posting of people's comments are few and far between..First of all, there aren't that many comments. Second of all, you make your own comments and respond to YOURSELF, Diana. That's just weird.
I had already responded to this post, but I will elaborate more. As I said, I do not make up my own comments as "anonymous" posters. All the comments I posted in my blogsite came from real people albeit they prefer to remain anonymous.
Finally, Hell and Purgatory exists. Hell was created for the fallen angels, but the Church also teaches that Hell is a place for those who died in a state of mortal sin (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1035). In his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II (who is now a saint) asserts that the God of Love is also the God of Justice, who holds us responsible for our sins and punished them accordingly.
In addition, there is a big difference between "forgiveness of sins" and the "punishment of sins." A good example between the two is found in the story of King David. David murdered Bathsheba's husband and took Bathsheba for himself. As a consequence of this sin, God told David that his child with Bathsheba will be taken from him. David then repented and God forgave David's sin. However, the child STILL died. Purgatory is not only for the purging of sins, but also for the "punishment of sins" that are already forgiven (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1472, 1479, and 1498). For more information on the "punishment of sins" that are already forgiven, I provided a couple of Catholic weblinks for you below:
Temporal Punishment and Indulgences
Temporal Punishment in Purgatory
Therefore, the biblical verse in the Book of Proverbs I cited still stands. Why? Because it comes from the Holy Bible, which is the inspired word of God:
Proverbs 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished
If your comment is not shown, it is deleted for a reason. I do not want my blogsite to turn into another jungle. The first jungle is already full of chaos and disorder. Those comments with derogatory and insulting words were not published. To the brothers walking in the Way, I cannot stop you from going into the jungle. However, you already know, that going there can bring out terrible emotions in you (such as anger), so why continue to go there?
For those of you who find some of the Catholic brothers offensive, that should come as no surprise. The Church, after all, was built for sinners, not for righteous people. However, as Catholics we need to follow and imitate Christ. This is what the Church teaches us.
In my blogsite, I just recently published an inspiring story I found on the Internet about the Japanese Christians who survived persecution and without a priest for almost 250 years. Even without a priest, the Catholic Church survived in Japan. You see....how strong the faith of these Japanese Catholics? If you leave the Catholic Church, your faith is built on sand and can easily debilitate.
One purpose of the Neocatechumenal Way is to strengthen our faith by living out our baptism. We received a grace during our baptism. The Holy Spirit planted the seed of faith in us as we were baptized, but this seed of faith needs to grow in us.....to mature into an adult faith that is unshakeable. Read the story of the Japanese Christians. Despite a lack of priest and persecution, the faith of these Japanese Catholics remained unshakeable. It was only through the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism that they survived on. As Pope Francis said of these Japanese Catholics: "When, after about two and a half centuries - 250 years later - the missionaries returned to Japan, thousands of Christians came out of hiding and the church could flourish. It had survived by the grace of their Baptism: but this is great! God's people transmit the faith, baptizing children and moving on."
Pope Francis went to Japan and spoke with some of the Japanese Catholics in the country. Compared to the other religions, Christianity is very small in Japan. Nevertheless, Christianity survived in Japan even when there were no priests. I found an interesting story on the Internet about these Japanese Christians who were in hiding for almost 250 years until missionaries once again arrived in their country. According to Catholic Online:
Francis highlighted the extreme way these early pioneers kept their faith alive. "Not a single priest was left in Japan: they were all expelled. Then community then went underground, keeping the faith and prayer in hiding. And when a child was born, the father or the mother baptized him, because we can all baptize.
"When, after about two and a half centuries - 250 years later - the missionaries returned to Japan, thousands of Christians came out of hiding and the church could flourish. It had survived by the grace of their Baptism: but this is great! God's people transmit the faith, baptizing children and moving on."
Francis cited this as a fine example of ironclad loyalty and faith. "And they had maintained, even in secret, a strong community spirit, because baptism had made them become one body in Christ, they were isolated and hidden, but they were always members of the People of God, members of the Church. We can learn much from this story," Francis said.
Pope Francis shared this heroic tale at his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square. The pope highlighted the importance of Baptism, the sacrament which "makes us enter into this people of God . a people of God who walks and transmits the faith . the People of God that marches throughout history."
Francis called upon the Christians in Jordan and the Holy Land to learn from the Japanese Church. "Japan is a country that is very dear to Jesuits and Bergoglio had also hoped to go there as a young missionary: Learn from the Japanese Church that because of the persecutions of the seventeenth century retired in obscurity for about two and a half centuries, passing on from one generation to another the flame of faith, keeping it alive. Difficulties and persecutions, when experienced with expectation, trust and hope, purify and strengthen the faith," Francis said.
The survival of Japanese Christians
Imagine that!!!!! Not a single priest was there in the Catholic community of Japan, but Catholicism survived!!! You can read the rest of the story in the weblink I provided. God is truly the Head of His Church that even when there is no priest, He continues to guide His Church.
Of course, this does not mean that we do not need priests. Those who are against the Way often accuse Kiko Arguello and the NCW of preaching that we do not need priests. If that were true, then why did the NCW set up RMS seminaries around the world? So much for that accusation.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
During the Eucharist Congress last year and the World Youth Day, I have seen many young people lining up for confessions. In fact, one news report says that many people are returning to confession because of Pope Francis and his support of the New Evanglization. In Latin America, many people who have not been to confession in a very long time are returning to the sacrament because of what they heard Pope Francis say. According to Catholic News Service:
Officials of the new evangelization council spoke during a press briefing about Year of Faith activities with Pope Francis May 18-19 for members of lay movements and associations.
Movements and groups including Focolare, Communion and Liberation, the charismatic renewal, the Neocatechumenal Way, Shalom and the U.S.-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students are often on the front lines of new evangelization, Archbishop Fisichella said.
“Many young people, men and women in these church groups have not only rediscovered the faith they lost along the way or a faith that had become sterile and indifferent, but they have undergone a real conversion of their lives,” he said.
The archbishop said the groups’ strong identity, their consistency over time and their strong missionary bent often give them an advantage over parishes where the pastor changes every eight or nine years and the parish’s pastoral outreach changes with him.
People returning to confessions