Monday, August 31, 2015


Dear commenters

I have received a few comments, but I have not published them because they are not in the English language.  All comments must be written in English.  If you are unable to write in English, please get someone who can help you.

Thank you,

Friday, August 28, 2015

Guam Marriage Equality Act

Guam Marriage Equality Act: A “Defeat for Our Island and for Humanity.”
Sisters and Brothers: In the face of recent events undertaken by the U.S. District Court of Guam, the U.S. Supreme Court and the 33rd Guam Legislature in redefining marriage, the Church stands firm on her teaching that marriage is between one man, and one woman. While the Church does not agree with the decisions taken by the courts, or those taken by our local legislators, disagreement is not discrimination. These recent laws force the People of Guam, and of the United States, to either agree with a particular political position, or face ridicule and sanction for discrimination. These types of laws not only undermine the precepts of the United States Constitution to Freedom of Speech, but also undermines and attempts to eradicate the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Religion – we are living in dangerous times, under the law of man, where Catholics, and Christians alike, are commanded to forfeit our religious beliefs.

These times compel the Church to expose the intentions of those who have deceivingly disguised same-sex unions, as an issue of equality and anti-discrimination. It is important to understand that the political pressure to push the agenda for same sex “marriage” has never been about gay rights; the true intention behind this agenda has always been about the destruction of the family, and the imposition of a totalitarian system. The approval of same-sex “marriage” has now thrown open the doors of Guam to implement in our community a very clever and systematic theory, which has as its aim the destruction of marriage and family through the annihilation of any sexual differences among persons, this theory is known as the “Theory of Gender.”

At the political level, in order to avoid “discrimination” among the genders, a principle of “equality,” or more specifically, a “radical equality” has been imposed upon society, demanding and forcing society to have a neutral response to gender; any objection is considered not only discriminatory, and intolerant, but bigotry.
The next step will be to implement this theory in the educational system of Guam. This means that our children, your children, will be forced to assimilate to this pattern of non-gender; that there is no-such-thing as “male” or “female”; they will be encouraged to explore their sexuality earlier, and parents will have no voice in the education of their children. The natural family will be seen as a threat for the “new age.” These ideas are already part of an international agenda promoted especially by the United Nations. The laws just passed on our beautiful island, which were disguised to fight against discrimination, will now work to subvert our human sexuality from the most tender age with the goal to abolish the natural family and create new “models” of a family.
I truly believe we are being led astray like lambs to a slaughter. In my view, these recent laws are not a sign of human progress, but are dangerous steps toward annihilation of our fundamental religious beliefs. As Shepherd of the local Church of Guam, I urge every person to be mindful that each of us is answerable to the Supreme Judge for what we do, and do not do. I invite all the Faithful, including those in every branch of our local government, not to deny your faith, but to have the courage to be a witness to the truth: the truth about life, about man, about marriage and about family. Do not be afraid! Christ is the truth, and the truth will set us free.
Servus tuus,

Most Rev. Anthony Sablan Apuron, OFM Cap., D.D.,
Archbishop of Agana
August 19, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Errors Of An Opposing Catholic

Those who oppose the Way often cite us of teaching errors of the Catholic faith.  Yet, these are the kinds of Catholic teachings one opposing Catholic embraced.  According to an anonymous commenter who is not walking in the Way (the bold is mine):

Dear Diana, even St. Paul can be not right some time. Yes, it is possible. The only source of grace is the suffering and death of Jesus. Or, as Joane said, the "blood of the Lamb". Without Jesus dying on the cross, nothing would have been accomplished. But with His suffering and blood soaking death everything has been already accomplished, because of His blood. The voluntary shedding of His blood that He did brought us infinite amount of grace sufficient for saving the wide world!

It is not true that without resurrection there is no salvation. The opposite is the truth: resurrection is only possible because of salvation accomplished on the cross. The cross is everything, the empty tomb is only a bonus for the weak. Whatever St. Paul teaches and became part of the one and true Catholic teaching, would remain valid even if Jesus had never been risen! Why do you think resurrection was necessary if not by the mercy of God for the mankind? 

This same anonymous poster continued to say (the bold is mine): 

And now we get to one of the major problems with the errant teaching of the NCW. It is the death of Christ on the cross that brought us the grace to be saved. The resurrection is thew fruit of that death on the cross, and while it is true as St Paul said that our preaching would be in vain if there was no resurrection, it is not through the resurrection that we are saved. The resurrection is rather the sign of our salvatoin and our hope of eternal life in Christ.

The NCW teaches something different about the economy of salvation and the merits of Christ's death, emphasizing the resurrection to the detriment of the memory of the passion and death of Our Lord. This is why the Mass has become a banquet in the NCW, rather than the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary. All of the NCW errors stem from this misjudgement.

This is my response: 

Dear Anonymous, YOU are the one who is in error.  I do not know where you got the idea that the resurrection of Jesus Christ should be downgraded and de-emphasized to the point where you can even say that His resurrection is not needed for our redemption.  You stated:  Dear Diana, even St. Paul can be not right some time. Yes, it is possible. 

St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians saying that his preaching and their faith would be in vain if there were no resurrection.  Every article of faith taught by St. Paul and the Apostles in the Holy Bible are INFALLIBLE because it came from the infallible Holy Spirit.  Therefore, St. Paul cannot make an error in regards to the teaching of faith because he and the Apostles are infallible.   

Easter is the most important event in Christianity because it signifies His resurrection.  You stated that it is not through the resurrection that we are saved?   It is through His death AND resurrection that we are saved.   The resurrection is just as important to our salvation as His death on the cross. After all, in order for Christ to rise from the dead, He had to die first.  But His resurrection is not to be underscored. This is why Sunday has become the Lord's Day for us, not Saturday the Sabbath.
Anonymous, you stated:  Whatever St. Paul teaches and became part of the one and true Catholic teaching, would remain valid even if Jesus had never been risen!  Without the resurrection, Christianity would not exist.  If Christ only died and did not resurrect from the dead, there would be no salvation for man because it is through His death AND resurrection that we are saved.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (bold is mine): 

CCC 991   Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. "The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live." 

How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
CCC 1167   Sunday is the pre-eminent day for the liturgical assembly, when the faithful gather "to listen to the word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection, and glory of the Lord Jesus, and giving thanks to God who 'has begotten them again, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead' unto a living hope":
When we ponder, O Christ, the marvels accomplished on this day, the Sunday of your holy resurrection, we say: "Blessed is Sunday, for on it began creation . . . the world's salvation . . . the renewal of the human race. . . . On Sunday heaven and earth rejoiced and the whole universe was filled with light. Blessed is Sunday, for on it were opened the gates of paradise so that Adam and all the exiles might enter it without fear.

You said that the NCW emphasized the resurrection to the detriment of the memory of His passion and death, which is why the Mass has become a banquet.  Anonymous, the NCW claims that the Mass is a sacrifice AND a banquet.  It is not one or the other.  It is BOTH, and we recognize it as both a sacrifice and a banquet.  I think the problem here is that you see it ONLY as a sacrifice, which is not what the Church teaches.  The Catholic Church never taught that the Mass is ONLY a sacrifice.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (bold is mine):  

CCC 1382   The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.

Do you see what the Catechism says about the Mass?  It is both a sacrificial memorial and a sacred banquet.  Apparently, you have emphasized the death of our Lord to the point that His resurrection is no longer valid nor needed.   


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jungle Manipulations

An anonymous commenter who goes by the name "grow up in faith" made the following comment, which can be found here.  The bold is mine. 

I agree with gi hagat August 18, 2015 at 12:31 PM who wrote this at Junglewatch to Tim Rohr:

"PEOPLE... Zoltan wrote: ZOLTAN: "Mr. Taitano's simplistic opinion piece..." and Tim Rohr wrote: "ME: There he goes again. Chamorros are "gullible," "simplistic," easily "incited." According to Zoltan, Chamorros are unable to think for themselves, discern for themselves, find the truth for themselves:
As I read this, Rohr insulted me (not speaking for the whole Chamorro) by referring to "Chamorros". Don't you see how he (Rohr) can twists words around to make us look stupid?. Come on people read carefully and see how Rohr tries to manipulate our minds. I don't defend that guy Zoltan, I am defending myself - from Rohr's remarks."

Bravo dear gi hagat, you exactly hit the nail on the head! I checked what Mr. Zoltan exactly wrote to Tim Rohr in the PDN comment section. Here:

"After the meeting I made a personal appeal to you, based on our previous friendship, that you cut back flaming words and inflammatory language in you rhetoric. You flat out rejected my appeal, thus aligning yourself with the most radical voices of your blog that you own, maintain and polish every day in order to feed, nourish and incite the gullible with gossip, hearsay and superstition for your own entertainment."

As I understand. Mr. Zoltan made a friendly gesture to Tim who rejected him in a very unfriendly manner. Mr. Zoltan is calling the readers of Junglewatch gullible and easily manipulated and not the Chamorros! It is Tim Rohr who is talking about Chamorros this way when he says: "CHAMORROS ARE UNABLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES, DISCERN FOR THEMSELVES, FIND THE TRUTH FOR THEMSELVES". These are NOT the words of Mr. Zoltan, based on his comment quoted above. I made a search and could not find any words like these from Mr. Zoltan! It is coming straight from a frustrated Tim Rohr, who is uttering these unjustifiable charges against Chamorros by his own words!

By the way, this is the trouble with Junglewatch and the reason I stopped writing there. There is no speculation or opinion there anymore, only pure and clear slander coming from frustration that is unleashed against unsuspecting victims, in this case against Mr. Zoltan. It is a classic example from the book for radicals that we had discussed in another topic: use vituperation freely as long as it causes measurable damage to anyone! The price you pay, in this case the scourging up of nationalistic fury and violence against those who are considered of different national origin, does not matter. Actually, this is exactly that makes the whole thing even better for Tim Rohr: he revels in nationalistic fury and violent language as long as it brings his much desired rebellion, revolt and revolution closer.

Be it far from me to defend Mr. Zoltan. I had called NCW members repeatedly for gestures of mutual peace and good will. He had never answered me. He seems to be one of those NCW members who think that true Catholic faith exists solely in NCW. I do not like this attitude, but it should not be a reason that I try to manipulate the Chamorro people to commit violence against Mr. Zoltan, who was invited to Guam to live and teach here, as I understand. There are limitations of what a Catholic faithful can and cannot do to a fellow Catholic faithful in good conscience.

Gi hagat was correct.  Zoltan only mentioned Mr. Taitano's opinion as being simplistic.  Tim Rohr twisted it around and misleads his readers into believing that Zoltan was referring to all Chamorros.  It was actually Tim who said "Chamorros."  The majority of people who post in the jungle are hardcore extremists, which is why I do not post any comments there.  I cannot stress enough to Zoltan and other NCW members that trying to reason with hardcore radicals is useless.  Even the U.S. will not negotiate with terrorists so why would anyone want to try and reason with a radical?  They are getting more and more frustrated because Rome remains silent and they have accomplished absolutely nothing. 

In September, the Pope will be visiting the United States.  In October, there will be more good news for the NCW.  :-) 


Friday, August 14, 2015

Eucharistic Celebrations In Small Communities

One of the concerns brought up by those who are not in the NCW is that the NCW does not celebrate the Mass inside the church building.  They believe that by holding the Eucharistic celebrations outside the church building, the NCW has become a parallel church.  Nothing could not be further from the truth.  Our Catholic brothers who do not walk in the Way do not understand that we are all united by one faith, one baptism, and in union with the Holy See as the Body of Christ. To put it in simple terms, a physical place does not unite Christians.   

The following quotes were taken from a paper written by Krzysztof Broszkowski entitled The Unity of the Parish and the Celebration of the Eucharist in Small Parish Communities in the Light of Recent Documents of the Magisterium of the Church.  It is a 20 page document, which can be found here.  Below are excerpts from his article, which I enumerated due to the fact that there are some people who believe that we are celebrating the Eucharist separately from the main parish.  His article shows that the Neocatechumenal Way is not celebrating separately from the parish as a parallel church but whose celebration is one with the parish.  You can read the entire paper in the weblink, but the bold is mine.


1.   Eucharistic celebrations by small communities in a parish, often held outside the main church building, raise concerns, whether the unity of the parish is not disturbed. The reasons for those concerns are more of theological than pastoral nature and mostly relate to the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way. In order to find out if the concerns are justified in the light of the theological criteria, we will analyze selected Church documents of the 20th and the 21st century.

2.   The document Communionis notio stresses that, since unity is a gift of God bestowed on people in sacraments, every Eucharist, even if it takes place in a small community, is a Eucharist of the catholic Church: Paragraph 10 “Moreover, one’s belonging to a particular Church never conflicts with the reality that in the Church no-one is a stranger: each member of the faithful, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, is in his or her Church, in the Church of Christ, regardless of whether or not he or she belongs, according to canon law, to the diocese, parish or other particular community where the celebration takes place.7 In this sense, without impinging on the necessary regulations regarding juridical dependence, whoever belongs to one particular Church belongs to all the Churches; since belonging to the Communion, like belonging to the Church, is never simply particular, but by its very nature is always universal.”8

3.   In the light of these words no Eucharist taking place in a small parish community is separated from other parishioners, since it is the celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the source of the communion. The Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, written by John Paul II 10 years later, specifies in more detail how the paschal unity of the parish should be understood.

4.   Other detailed instructions of the Congregation point to the growing acceptance towards celebrations in smaller groupings. This fact proves that, in theological sense, these celebrations are not contradictory to church unity, but serve as important pastoral tools.

5.   In the Paragraph 52 of the Ecclesia de Eucharistia the Pope indicates that the communion, the unity of the whole community with the universal Church is guaranteed by the priest celebrating the Eucharist. Presiding at the Eucharist, the priest is responsible for doing it in persona Christi and must “provide a witness to and a service of communion not only for the community directly taking part in the celebration, but also for the universal Church, which is a part of every Eucharist.” John Paul II reminds about this truth in order to warn against making the celebration of the Eucharist a private event, and especially against introducing unauthorised changes. However, the rule itself can also serve as proof that through the celebration of the Eucharist separately, the community does not become a parallel church.

6.   The charism of Neocatechumenate in the context of parish life was highly spoken about by a Spanish Cardinal, who is the current Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Antonio Cañizares Llovera. The cardinal wrote about it in a short article for the Spanish weekly “La Razón:” “The Word of God, the Eucharist, baptism, received or to be received, and the Christian community, are the core of the itinerary of the growth of faith, which is accompanied by not strictly liturgical celebrations on its every stage. The Sunday Eucharist, usually anticipated on a Saturday night in neocatechumenal communities, is «the soul and strength» of the whole Way. The celebration of the Eucharist, performed within the proper itinerary of these communities, celebrated with the highest dignity, with the sense of «mystery and sacrum», in the spirit of the Church and liturgy. The Word of God and the Eucharist indicate God’s priority and form the basis that gives life, strength, capacity and enthusiasm to communities to enable them to give testimony of their faith.”14

7.   According to Cañizares the relation between the liturgy and catechesis in the Neocatechumenal Way may serves as a model.15

In his encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, St. John Paul II stated: 

I remember the parish church of Niegowić, where I had my first pastoral assignment, the collegiate church of Saint Florian in Krakow, Wawel Cathedral, Saint Peter's Basilica and so many basilicas and churches in Rome and throughout the world. I have been able to celebrate Holy Mass in chapels built along mountain paths, on lakeshores and seacoasts; I have celebrated it on altars built in stadiums and in city squares... This varied scenario of celebrations of the Eucharist has given me a powerful experience of its universal and, so to speak, cosmic character. Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. It unites heaven and earth.

Ecclesia de Eucharistia


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Use Of The Word Presbyter

An anonymous person wrote the following under my last entry post:  

This is off topic, but what about the neos use of the word presbyter instead of priest during your Eucharistic celebration? The neos use this word instead of priest. Isn't that a violation? According to Junglewatch:

"Copied below is the relevant excerpt of a letter from the Archbishop Pro-Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship to Bishop Pilla, then President of the National Council of Catholic Bishops, FORBIDDING the use of the term "presbyter", and a thorough explanation for the prohibition:

Prominent among the problems is the decision of the translators to break with common Catholic usage and translate the Latin "presbyteri" into English not with "priests" but with "presbyters". This cannot meet with the Holy See's consent since it risks being misunderstood by the people and represents an unacceptable theological tendency. In particular it constitutes a retreat from a term that carries a sense of sacrality, that carries with it the history of the development of the faith in favor of a term which does not."

Many of our Christian brothers say that we should not call our priests "father" because Jesus instructed us not to call any man on earth "father" (Matthew 23:7-10).  Our Christian brothers took Jesus' words literally and out of context. You can view my explanation here.
In the same way, the jungle also took the words of the Vatican literally and out of context.  The full letter can be found here.  As anyone can see, it is a letter written to the President to the NCCB regarding the rites of ordination. Just as Christ was referring to the arrogance of the Pharisees in the use of the title "father," the Congregation for Divine Worship was referring to the ordination rite in the use of the word "presbyter."  

The word "presbyter" is found in the adopted Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church; therefore, it stands to reason that the Vatican was never speaking literally regarding the use of the word "presbyter" just as Christ was never speaking literally regarding the use of the word "father" or "teacher."  Christ is not a hypocrite.  In other words, He is not going to forbid His disciples from using the word "father" and then turn around and use it Himself when referring to Abraham as "father" (John 8:55).  By the same token, the Vatican is also not a hypocrite.  They are not going to forbid the use of the word "presbyter" and then turn around and use it themselves when they approved the Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way as well as other books and documents.  

§ 1. The pastor/parish priest and the presbyters carry out the pastoral care (see c. 519 CIC) of those who go through the Neocatechumenal Way – also in the light of what is indicated in art. 5 §2 and 6 §2 – and exercise “in persona Christi capitis” their priestly ministry by announcing the Word of God, administering the sacraments and, as far as possible, presiding over the celebrations of the first or of other neocatechumenal communities in the parish. 

(Taken from the approved Statues of the Neocatechumenal Way)

1530 Only priests (presbyters and bishops) can give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, using oil blessed by the Bishop, or if necessary by the celebrating presbyter himself.  

(Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

NCW Sent Out In 2 By 2

Laywomen led to Little Rock to evangelize for week Missionaries part of Neocatechumenal Way retreat that sent out 800 to evangelize 

Maruxa Atienza and Stephanie Rivera had only Bibles and the clothes on their backs when their plane touched down in Little Rock July 12.
They had no phone, no food or water and only a little bit of cash to buy a map and a bus ride to downtown Little Rock. Their mission — evangelize by spreading the message of Jesus wherever they were led for a week. They are modern-day disciples, following Jesus’ call to live off the kindness of strangers, leaving all possessions behind.
“In all reality, we’re denying everything we’re taught as a child — know where you’re going, don’t talk to strangers — but we’re doing it in the name of God this week,” Rivera said.
They were brought together by Neocatechumenal Way, a movement within the Church dedicated to adult faith formation. Its activities are lived through small parish-based communities.
Atienza and Rivera, along with about 800 other missionaries met at St. Benedict Preparatory School, guided by the monks of Newark Abbey in New Jersey, and were sent out to states across the country, two by two, to spread the love of God. Names were drawn out of baskets to see which missionaries would be traveling together by plane, bus or train. Money was pulled together by every missionary to pay for travel expenses.
St. Benedict headmaster Father Edwin Leahy said the Way movement, started by Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández in Madrid in 1964 and approved by the Vatican in 2008, hearkens back to early Christianity “because Jesus said, ‘I am the way.’” The Way often does mission trips, but this one in particular is in preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September.
“The purpose of this one to announce the Gospel and God’s love, especially to the priests,” Father Leahy said.
Father Ivan Sciberras, pastor at St. Peter Church in Belleville, N.J., said the missionaries “experience the power of providence,” through this mission.
“You don’t know where you are going to sleep … you don’t know if you’ll be accepted or rejected. You live in poverty for a few days,” Father Sciberras said, adding he went on similar evangelization trips in Italy and Northern California in the 1990s. “It’s a beautiful experience. You get to see providence at work.”
Rivera said the point is to make sure priests also receive evangelization.
“We do want to find the priests and announce to them the love of God, the same thing they do for everybody else; we want to serve them as well in the name of Christ. It’s two crazy lay people, we don’t have a collar or a habit … but we see the importance in these servants of Christ, well we’re here to serve them,” she said.
While in Little Rock for seven days, the women talked with people at the homeless day center Jericho Way, Abba House shelter for women in crisis, reached out to priests at local churches and got their permission to knock on doors in the neighborhoods around the churches to share how God changed their lives.
Although the women are different — Atienza, 40, has nine children and lives with her husband in Guam, and Rivera, 26, is single living in Brooklyn — God called both of them to missionary work through crises.
Atienza said she and her husband had a comfortable life in Madrid, with their two children and one on the way. He has a doctorate in anthropology and she worked as a mental health occupational therapist. But their marriage was in crisis, chasing a living rather than making Christ the center of their lives and choosing only to have three kids instead of leaving it up to God.
“This is happening around the world so I really understand why the family is broken,” Atienza said. “God responded to our matrimony crisis. ‘Go, leave everything and follow me.’”
The couple moved to Guam and became missionaries nine years ago at the Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Catholic Theological Institute for Oceania, where her husband teaches theology to missionary seminarians. They have nine children, ages 1 to 13, who are staying with family in Spain while she and her husband take part in this weeklong evangelization trip, though separated.
“Pope Benedict XVI, he sent families in mission to the whole world to announce this love. We carry our crisis. We carry our difficulties to be open to life, we carry our doubts,” Atienza said. “God called us to leave everything and go literally to announce the life of God with our lives.”
For Rivera, her life was broken by an absent father who, unwed to her mother, left a month before she was born. She lived with her mother, grandparents and other relatives and her teenage years became about trying to fill the void of affection with popularity, appearance and sex.
Around 15 years old, her older brother found their father suffering from cancer. They cared for him until he died.
“I don’t forgive and forget, it’s a horrible violence on myself,” Rivera said. “He was able to have a Christian death” and she found forgiveness. “It’s impossible if there’s no grace there … because if God’s not there, it doesn’t make sense. For us I think and all humans forgiving is not an easy thing. But to truly care for someone who in a sense you hated, it’s impossible (without God). I made sure I was one with God.”
Rivera now lives a chaste life, working as a missionary primarily in Brooklyn for three years, in addition to two years in the Dominican Republic.
“If I ask you today what was the vow you made in your baptism? What was promised to you that day? What did you say yes to? Most people say ‘I don’t know, I was a baby.’ That was me too. You grow out of your baptism dress and that’s it,” Rivera said.
Armed with an unhelpful map, Atienza and Rivera left the airport and went to downtown Little Rock to the Cathedral of St. Andrew, trying to meet with Bishop Anthony B. Taylor. Rector Father Jack Vu explained the bishop lives next to the House of Formation on the grounds of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Little Rock.
A young man they met on the street outside the cathedral drove them to Good Counsel,
A highlight of the trip for the women was meeting with Bishop Taylor and receiving his blessing. He arranged for them to stay with Sisters of Mercy at Mount St. Mary Convent. Daughters of Charity drove them to various places during the week.
“First off we wanted to get the blessing from the bishop because it’s rude to come to someone’s house and take food out of their refrigerator. We wanted to let him know we were here,” Rivera said. “He was super welcoming, super happy … He made us dinner.”
Since then, God has provided through the kindness of others, they said. They have never had to ask for water or food, others have offered it. While there are countless stories that have touched their heart during the week, from speaking to the homeless to prisoners just released from jail, Rivera pointed to a woman they met while walking through a neighborhood near Good Counsel. She was leaving her cousin’s home but perked up once she realized the missionaries were Catholics.
“She said, ‘Well maybe I need to hear this then,’ and I said, ‘Yes, yes you do,’” Rivera said. “I was able to more than anything to speak of my sin, my downfalls. To me I don’t have shame of my sin because that’s the victory of God.”
While they did not take money the woman offered, they did each accept a T-shirt from the woman.
“She said, ‘Did you eat today? I’m going to feed you I’m going to give you a good lunch,’” Rivera said, adding that they talked about God’s love and the promise of an eternal kingdom.
“She was crying. She said, ‘I was looking for this, this is the miracle,’” Atienza said.
The women left Little Rock July 19 and returned to New Jersey to discuss their evangelization experiences. It was an exercise of total trust in God and one that Atienza and Rivera will carry with them, they said.
“I could give you Bible verses and say read this and that one and Moses; but that has nothing to do with us, in reality, unless I tell you how I know God,” Rivera said. “God is our father, whether we realize it or not.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Voice Of The Good Shepherd

The following is a video of Father Rick Nagle's homily.  You can go to minute 6.  He tells his story of how he met two people from the Neocatechumenal Way who went on a 2 by 2 mission.  You will have to copy and paste the weblink onto your browser to view the video.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Catholic Revival In Spain

Spain is the birthplace of the Neocatechumenal Way.  It started in the slums of Madrid.  Like other places in Northern Europe, Spain is also experiencing a Catholic revival.  The number of Church attendance has increased.  The number of seminaries has increased as vocations also increased.  According to the article dated June 11, 2014 (bold is mine): 

Like Quebec, Ireland, or Boston, Spain has epitomized the fading of Catholic faith. In the twentieth century, religious practice in Spain fell sharply, especially as the country transitioned to democracy and resentment of the Church’s support for Franco’s dictatorship surfaced.

Recently, however, the downward trend has stopped and is recovering. According to Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS), the proportion of Spaniards attending Mass has increased from 12.1 to 15 percent between 2011 and 2012. In absolute terms, the number of Spanish Catholics attending Mass weekly grew by an astonishing further 23 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to CIS. Meanwhile, between 2007 and 2013 the number of Spaniards contributing part of their taxes to the Church rose from eight to nine million.

Not only are Spaniards attending Mass more frequently, but also youths are rediscovering the priesthood and religious life. In 2013–2014, the number of Spanish diocesan seminarians increased for a third consecutive year to 1321, a steady growth from 1227 in 2010–2011. Active female religious orders are also vibrant—each year, about 400 Spanish girls become non-cloistered sisters, a slowly increasing number. The number of women at the Poor Clares Convent of the Ascension in Lerma has surged from 28 in 1994 to 134 in 2009. One of the Lerma nuns, Sister Verónica, created her own community, Jesu Communio. The Vatican approved the rapidly growing order, known as the “sisters in jeans” because they wear denim habits, in 2010.

Immigration cannot explain this growth in monastic and priestly vocations. Today, young Spaniards are leaving the country for the more prosperous parts of Latin America (especially Chile) and for Germany and Britain. Considering Spain’s massive youth emigration and the fact that the country has one of Europe’s lowest birth rates, Spain’s youth population is shrinking, so this vocations rebound is more impressive.

Perhaps no one puts a more attractive face on Spain’s return to Catholicism than Olalla Oliveros. Last month, the 36-year-old Spanish model stunned Spanish society by becoming a nun of the semi-cloistered Order of Saint Michael. Perhaps Oliveros did this out of frustration? On the contrary, she was at the height of her career and was recently offered a lead role in a big-budget film. Oliveros experienced a conversion several years back and made her decision after much thought.

Some would dismiss these recent developments as resulting from the economic crisis. Currently, unemployment in Spain is almost 27 percent; in the European Union, only Greece suffers from a worse jobless rate. Spain plunged into recession in 2008, with anemic GDP growth in recent quarters. Perhaps Spaniards are rediscovering the pews and seminaries because economic hardship is leading them to look for a last resort in religion?

There are several reasons why this is not the case. First, economic hardship is nothing new to Spain. In the early 1990s, Spain also suffered from severe recession and unemployment reached 23 percent in 1993, nearly the current rate. Yet throughout the 1990s rates of religious observance and vocations to the priesthood and religious life declined.

A more dramatic example is the Great Depression, the worst recession in Europe in a century. The 1930s did not revive Spanish religiosity. On the contrary, anticlericalism then arguably reached its climax in Spain’s history. In 1931, Prime Minister Manuel Azaña declared that “Spain has ceased to be Catholic” and purged Spanish public life of anything Christian. Meanwhile, during the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War anticlerical, communist-sympathizing Republicans murdered 7,000 priests, nuns, and seminarians with extreme brutality. In his 1938 Homage to Catalonia George Orwell was astonished by how quickly Catalonian society was discarding its Catholic identity.

Furthermore, Spain is not only experiencing a religious revival of its society, but its public sphere is also turning away from the moral relativism of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government (2004–2011). In 2005, Zapatero legalized same-sex “marriage” and the adoption of children by homosexual couples. In 2010 Zapatero’s government legalized abortion on demand. Also, Zapatero made “express divorce” legal, ended mandatory religious education in schools and removed crucifixes from public buildings.

However, today’s government of Mariano Rajoy is challenging Zapatero’s revolution. Currently, it is pushing a bill banning abortion except when the pregnancy results from rape or threatens the mother’s health or life. The bill would make Spanish legislation as pro-life as it has been since 1985. Spanish elites feel that Zapatero went too far in de-Christianization.

Ireland, too, has also suffered economically. However, Irish Catholicism remains in the doldrums since the economic collapse; no trends similar to the Spanish ones can be observed there. The number of Irish youths entering seminary remains depressingly low; many Irish parishes are closing; popular and political pressure to embrace same-sex “marriage” and abortion are mounting; Mass attendance in Dublin is fast approaching the single digits with no end in sight. Ireland demonstrates that economic depression does not necessarily cause religious revival.

What, then, accounts for this surprising turnaround in the state of Spanish Catholicism? Perhaps it can be partially attributed to Pope Benedict XVI, sometimes criticized by some for excessively focusing on the re-evangelization of Western societies, being a Don Quixote trying to resurrect Christendom where it is obviously dead. Yet Spain mattered to Benedict. He visited the country three times, attracting some of the largest crowds of his pontificate.

Spain’s slight retreat from secularization can’t simply be chalked up to economic difficulties. Something else is at play, whether a response to Benedict’s summoning of Europe to return to its roots, a rediscovery of the beauty of religious life, weariness with Zapatero’s secularist aggression, or something else entirely.

For some time, many had predicted that Spanish Catholicism would share the fate of the woolly mammoth and that Gothic churches in would be turned into pizzerias and discotheques. However, Spanish Catholicism is regaining a vibrancy it has not seen in decades. When Pope Francis visits Spain next year, he will find a struggling local Church, but one where Catholic culture is being visibly reborn.

Filip Mazurczak has an MA in international relations from The George Washington University. He is a regular contributor to Katolicki Miesi?cznik LIST and has published in a variety of magazines, including The European ConservativeVisegrad Insight, and Tygodnik Powszechny. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Catholic Revival In Northern Europe

Statistics have shown that Catholicism has increased in Asia and Africa: continents which are predominantly pagan.  Statistics have also shown that Northern Europe is becoming more and more secular as Catholicism decreased.  However, there has been a Catholic revival in northern Europe as the Pope sent itinerants and mission families there.  Because of this revival in northern Europe, the Devil is angry and is trying his best to destroy this revival.  The devil wants Northern Europe to be more and more secularized. The article below is dated November 29, 2014 (the bold is mine): 


Northern Europe has become one of the world’s least religious regions. British Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, has legalized same-sex “marriage” and said that he opposes abortion. . .after twenty weeks of pregnancy. A decade ago, Scandinavian Christian Democrats, whose national flags contain crosses, opposed including references to Christianity’s role in European culture in the European Constitution’s preamble. In today’s Britain and Scandinavia, laissez-faire morality is the reigning political dogma and religious apathy is the dominant worldview.

At the same time, the state churches of the region have retained some social importance. In Britain, the queen remains head of the Church of England, while Anglican bishops are peers in the House of Lords. Meanwhile, polls consistently show that levels of trust in the Lutheran Church are high in Scandinavia. Most Scandinavians are baptized, married (if they marry – over  half of births are to non-married couples), and buried by state churches. In Sweden, most families light Advent candles and St. Lucy’s Day processions remain popular.

André Malraux predicted that the 21st century would be religious, or it would not be at all. Sociologists note that, even in secularized societies, people thirst for things spiritual. Despite the aforementioned social and cultural visibility of Protestantism in Northern Europe, however, the Lutheran and Anglican Churches there are dying. British sociologists predict that practicing Anglicans will soon meet the fate of the Dodo and woolly mammoth, falling from 800,000 to just 50,000 by mid-century (Episcopalians face similar disastrous prospects in North America). In Sweden, 4 percent of Lutherans attend services regularly, while the corresponding figures in Norway and Finland are below 2 percent.

By contrast, the Catholic Church is experiencing a mini-renaissance in Northern Europe. There are currently more practicing Catholics than Anglicans in Britain. In Scandinavia, there are about 600,000 Catholics, roughly 3 percent of the region’s population (a proportion similar to that of Catholics in Asia). Certainly, part of this has to do with immigration. Since the European Union expanded to include less prosperous former East Bloc states in 2004, Scandinavia and the British Isles have been deluged by immigrants from the Catholic nations of Poland (2.2 million Poles have left their country in the past decade), Slovakia, Croatia, and Lithuania.

While Mass is celebrated in Polish or Serbo-Croatian across Northern Europe, the region’s indigenous population is also being drawn to the Catholic Church. In the past decade, the number of British seminarians has grown fourfold. This cannot be explained by immigration (young Polish immigrants who enter seminary usually go home) or by short bursts of enthusiasm, such as that after Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in 2010, as this upward tendency has been ongoing for ten years.

Currently, Scandinavia is one of the most vocations-rich regions in the Northern Hemisphere. The Church has 103,000 members in Sweden and 17 seminarians. By contrast, the Archdiocese of Vienna has thirteen times as many faithful but fewer than twice as many men studying to be priests.

In 2009, the relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux traveled across Britain, attracting the largest English pilgrimages since the Middle Ages. Young British Catholics are creating new initiatives such as the annual St. John Paul II Walk pilgrimage. The sacrament of reconciliation is making a comeback in the Isles: the number of British Catholics attending confession has mushroomed by two-thirds since 2010.

In Scandinavia, the Neocatechumenal Way – a mission-focused community founded by Spanish painter Kiko Argüello – is playing a key role in evangelization. Denmark, a country with just 40,000 Catholics, has 18 Neocatechumenal seminarians, while Finland, with just 10,500 Catholics, has 15. Meanwhile, a growing number of Scandinavians are becoming nuns; their number has inched up to 680. Cloistered orders are particularly successful in attracting new members. There is one nun for 880 Catholics in the region; in the United States, the corresponding number is one per 1,400. However, the number of American nuns is rapidly declining, while female religious are growing in Scandinavia.

Northern Europe is proving to be fertile ground for converts. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI created the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, allowing Anglican priests to cross the Tiber. Since then, many Anglican clerics, frustrated with Canterbury’s eschewing of tradition, have done so. Scandinavian converts are hoping that the Vatican will create a similar ordinariate for Lutherans. Meanwhile, one of Scandinavia’s best-known Christian leaders – charismatic pastor Ulf Ekman – recently converted to Catholicism along with his wife. He said that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the best book he has ever read.

Northern Europe is clearly one of the world’s most Godless regions. Yet, at the same time, the Catholic Church, while a minority denomination, is experiencing a revival that only Counterreformation popes could have dreamed of. There is an important lesson to be drawn from this.

As Christ said, His followers are to be the salt of the earth. The Lutheran and Anglican Churches have long lost their taste. Other than some fading rituals, they have become largely indistinguishable from the broader secular culture. The fact that the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm is a practicing lesbian perhaps best epitomizes what has happen to Northern European Protestantism. Catholicism has always been countercultural, and while political climates and intellectual currents have changed, it has retained its belief in one moral truth. Despite the pressures by some Catholics, the Church has remained steadfast in its proclamation of truth even while that truth has been unpopular.

Many have jokingly said that the Church of England is the Tory Party at prayer. Today, the Church of England and Lutheran churches are secularism at prayer. From teachings on life and marriage to women’s ordination, Northern European Protestant churches have made it seem that morality is something changeable. This makes such churches seem less credible. Yet spiritually hungry hearts like Ulf Ekman and the ex-Anglicans Catholic priests want something more. They want a Church more interested being coherent in its teaching than in receiving praise in the New York Times.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Rules Of Radicals

An anonymous commenter who goes by the name "Grow up in faith" pointed out the rules of Saul Alinsky (also known as the Rules of Radicals), which can be found here.  There is a lot of frustration in the jungle because their numbers (although vocal) are small.  They have accomplished nothing in the past two years, and they are aware of it.  They consistently try to get Rome's attention in the hopes of ousting the Archbishop and to destroy the NCW to no avail.  They were unable to reinstate Father Paul and Monsignor James. They demonize Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez (people they have never met).  So, it is not surprising to see their frustrations grow.   

We need to pray for the Archbishop and for our enemies.  The tactic of our enemies are spelled out in the weblink below which Grow up in faith pointed out.  The only thing that defeats this tactic is humility.  It was humility that won redemption for mankind.  It was humility that uprooted segregation in many of the southern states.  It was humility that took down the regime of Ferdinand Marcos and ousted the British troops from India.  Remember that this is Christ's Church, and He is in control.  No one can take His Church from Him.  Pray for our enemies who wish to destroy us.     

* RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
(These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

 * RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

 * RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

 * RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

 * RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

 * RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

 * RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

 * RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

 * RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

 * RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

 * RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

 * RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.