Thursday, 12 December 2013

Man of the Year 2013

According to Time Magazine Pope Francis is the Man of the Year 2013. Catholics around the world already knew him to be man of the year, not just for 2013, but as long as he is Pope. God Bless you Pope francis. You Rock.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Cardinal Filoni visits Trinidad

I got a chance to hear the homily from Cardinal Filoni these weekend as he was visiting the church here in Trinidad. I enjoyed what I heard. God Bless you Cardinal for your visit to Trinidad. God Bless you in your ministry.

Cardinal Fernando Filoni is the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples with the Roman Curia

Saint Anthony Pantin of Port of Spain

Trinidad aims for it's first saint. The Newsday Newspaper reports that the Church here is Trinidad has been given the go ahead to begin the process for the beatification of former Archbishop Anthony Pantin.
ere is the article dated Monday, December 2 2013

IN WHAT has been described as ‘unprecedented and historic’ by Archbishop of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris, the local Catholic Church has been given the go-ahead by the Holy See to proceed with opening the Diocesan Inquiry for the cause of Beatification of late Archbishop Anthony Pantin.

According to an article in yesterday’s edition of the Catholic News, Archbishop Harris said the local church has written to the Vatican to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints asking that the Nihil Obstat be granted. The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints is a department responsible for the investigations which lead to the beatification and canonisation of holy men and women.

Catholics have been invited to celebrate a special Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Curepe, on December 9, where members of the Diocesan Tribunal, who will conduct their investigations, will receive their mandates and take oaths of secrecy.

At the Mass, anyone with information on the life and holiness of Archbishop Pantin will be asked to provide such information to the Tribunal.

The Catholic News admitted that the process of beatification was lengthy. Judicial Vicar Fr John Persaud was quoted as saying the first phase, which begins next week, is the gathering of all the relevant evidence.

After all the evidence is collected it will be sent to Rome for the next phase in the beatification process.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

tied to a rock and thrown in the sea

The EuroNews website has an article which states that the Pope is a target of the MAfia in Italy: Here it is:

Nicola Gratteri, a prosecutor in southern Italy, told Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano that members of the famous Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta have targeted the Pontiff after his crusade against corruption and money laundering.

The ‘Ndragheta, Italy’s wealthiest mafia, is thought to play a major role in cocaine trafficking in the country.

“Those who until now have been feeding off wealth and power that comes directly from the Church are nervous” Gratteri stated. “For many years, the mafia has laundered money and made investments with the complicity of the Church. But now the Pope is dismantling the poles of economic power in the Vatican, and that is dangerous.”

According to Gratteri targeting the Pope would be very difficult because the Vatican security services are considered among the best in the world. Although, he added “if mafia bosses could take him down they would not hesitate”.

In the past Pope Francis has called on the Mafia to repent for “exploiting and enslaving people”. On Monday he also gave an impassioned sermon against corruption, quoting a Bible passage that said officials who took bribes should be “tied to a rock and thrown in the sea”.

Medjugorje visionary plans to tour US - Congragation for the Doctrine of the Faith says beware to Bishops

The latest news about Medjugorje has caught my attention. Archbishop Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has asked the US Papal Nuncio to instruct clergy and laity not to participate in any meetings, conferences or public celebrations in which the authenticity of the apparitions are taken for granted. It seems that the proposed visit of one of the “seers”, Ivan Dragicevic, is the impetus behind the intervention of the CDF.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the US Papal Nuncio, has written to all the US bishops: “His Excellency wishes to inform the Bishops that one of the so-called visionaries of Medjugorje, Mr Ivan Dragicevic, is scheduled to appear at certain parishes around the country, during which time he will make presentations regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje. It is anticipated, moreover, that Mr Dragicevic will be receiving “apparitions” during these scheduled appearances.”

The instruction continues: “As you are well aware, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is in the process of investigating certain doctrinal and disciplinary aspects of the phenomenon of Medjugorje. For this reason, the Congregation has affirmed that, with regard to the credibility of the “apparitions” in question, all should accept the declaration, dated 10 April 1991, from the Bishops of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, which asserts, “On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations.”

The Papal Nuncio concludes, “In order, therefore, to avoid scandal and confusion, Archbishop Muller asks that the Bishops be informed of this matter as soon as possible.”

I will only make a few comments about this because there has been an enormous amount written about Medjugorje over the years and I don’t want to add to it.

I think it is a pity that the CDF has waited so long to send this directive, which might have avoided much confusion and scandal had it been issued years ago. I don’t say it is a case of closing the gate after the horse has bolted; just that the CDF has rather dragged its feet in the matter. The careful wording of the Papal Nuncio’s letter is also significant, with the phrase “so-called visionaries” and the inverted commas around the word “apparitions.” Readers will make what they will of the subtext here.

Vatican Insider reports the Holy Father’s homily during Mass at St Martha’s on November 14, which also has relevance to this subject: discussing the reading about the Spirit of Wisdom, Pope Francis commented, “Curiosity …leads us to say “But I know a visionary who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady.” He added in the homely imagery for which he is noted, “But look, Our Lady… is not a postmistress, sending messages every day.” He warned the faithful not to seek “strange things” or “novelties with worldly curiosity.”

The article in Christian Order referred to above cites many examples of recent alleged “apparitions” around the world, most of which I had never heard of. One of them refers to the “Divine Innocence” promulgated by Mrs Patricia Menenez in Surbiton in the 1980s, which was investigated and rejected at the time by the then Archbishop of Southwark, Michael Bowen. I had a brief brush with this cult in the 1990s: I was editing a small Catholic quarterly newspaper and cult members were extremely keen for me to advertise their supernatural “messages”, devotions, processions and so on. I wrote back very politely, saying it was my editorial policy always to wait until Rome had given its approval to such phenomena, as in the case of shrines like Lourdes and Fatima.

To my surprise, I received a very angry letter in reply, criticising my editorial decision in no uncertain terms. It was the anger and arrogance of this reply that convinced me the events at Surbiton were not of supernatural origin.

Taken from The Catholic Herald UK - Friday 15th November 2013 - by Francis Phillips

His Holiness sweeps to the boundry for six......

In october this year (2013), the UK Catholic Herald published an article written by Edward Pentin whcih claims that the Vatican will be starting a cricket team of it's own. Here it is:

Since his election, Pope Francis has been on the front foot, hitting a few sixes, bowling a few googlies and playing the odd reverse sweep.

As an Argentine, the Holy Father probably wouldn’t get the metaphors, but he might do soon as the Vatican is about to form its own cricket club.

Officials at the Pontifical Council for Culture, which has a section dedicated to sport, is setting up the first ever Vatican club and tournament in Rome. The initiative is the idea of Australia’s ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy, an avid cricket fan.

Already one match has been played between two Vatican universities – the Maria Mater Ecclesiae International Pontifical College and the Pontifical Urbaniana University – on a pitch near Rome’s Ciampino airport.

“It was an interesting match,” says Xavarian Father Theodore Mascarenhas, an Indian official at the Pontifical Council for Culture who will chair the new Vatican cricket board. “They played a Twenty-Twenty and Ubaniana won by just one run.”

The plan is to extend other twenty over matches to more Rome colleges and even further afield. “We hope to have at least six teams,” says Father Mascarenhas. The underlying aim of the initiative, he says, is to start “a kind of inter-cultural dialogue”.

Players will be drawn from the many seminaries and pontifical universities in Rome, as well as Vatican officials. Father Mascarenhas believes around 400 cricket fans reside in the Eternal City. They include seminarians from the Venerable English College of course, but also many others, often missionaries, from the Indian sub-continent and Africa, as well as Australia, the West Indies and New Zealand.

The Vatican also has a star player of its own. Father Tony Currer, an official in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, played club cricket for Durham until he moved to Rome last month to oversee dialogue with the Anglican Communion. “I came to Rome thinking I probably wouldn’t play much cricket anymore,” he says, “but it looks like there’s going to be a very good standard.”

Since 2009, Rome colleges have played in a football tournament called the Clericus Cup comprising 16 teams, 15 international seminaries and split into two divisions, A and B. The championship has been a success, attracting widespread media coverage.

But the new “St Peter’s Cricket Club”, run under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture, promises to be even larger. Father Mascarenhas says the plan is to start modestly between Rome colleges. But the Vatican and Ambassador McCarthy are especially keen to organise a Holy See versus Church of England match, possibly at Lord’s.

In a novel attempt to bridge religious divides, a further goal is to organise a tournament between the Vatican club and teams from Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu seminaries in such countries as Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Myanmar.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association and the Australian government are supportive, as is Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker. Senior prelates from India and Australia have also given it their backing, most notably Cardinal George Pell of Sydney. Father Mascarenhas also hopes to establish ties with “Cricket Italy”, a successful cricket federation run by a Sri Lankan which plays against “second level” national sides such as South Korea and Argentina.

“We have a lot of a support,” says Father Mascarenhas. “Things are getting off the block.”

The Pontifical Council will officially launch the initiative at a press conference Oct. 15, along with a Festive Day of Sport to be held on Oct. 20. The day, which aims to underline the educational, cultural and spiritual values of sport, is expected to attract 5000 people who will take part in a 100m run on a track stretching from the end of the Via della Conciliazione to St Peter’s Square.

The Vatican cricket tournament is expected to get underway in the next month or two.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Survey document sent out to Bishops re their thoughts on Marriage fom the Vatican (not the Pope)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vatican City, 5 November 2013 (VIS) – We publish below the full text of the preparatory document for the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “The pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelisation”:

I. Synod: Family and Evangelisation

The mission of preaching the Gospel to all creation, entrusted directly by the Lord to his disciples, has continued in the Church throughout history. The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community. Never before has proclaiming the Gospel on the Family in this context been more urgent and necessary. The importance of the subject is reflected in the fact that the Holy Father has decided to call for a Synod of Bishops, which is to have a two-staged itinerary: firstly, an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2014, intended to define the “status quaestionis” and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner; and secondly, an Ordinary General Assembly in 2015 to seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family.

Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation, which does not lead to marriage, and sometimes even excludes the idea of it, to same-sex unions between persons, who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children. The many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care include: mixed or inter-religious marriages; the single-parent family; polygamy; marriages with the consequent problem of a dowry, sometimes understood as the purchase price of the woman; the caste system; a culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migration and the reformulation of the very concept of the family; relativist pluralism in the conception of marriage; the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life; underlying trends of thought in legislative proposals which devalue the idea of permanence and faithfulness in the marriage covenant; an increase in the practice of surrogate motherhood (wombs for hire); and new interpretations of what is considered a human right. Within the Church, faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the Sacrament of Penance show signs of weakness or total abandonment.

Consequently, we can well understand the urgency with which the worldwide episcopate is called upon to gather cum et sub Petro to address these challenges. For example, by simply calling to mind the fact that, as a result of the current situation, many children and young people will never see their parents receive the sacraments, then we understand just how urgent are the challenges to evangelisation arising from the current situation, which can be seen in almost every part of the “global village”. Corresponding in a particular manner to this reality today is the wide acceptance of the teaching on divine mercy and concern towards people who suffer on the periphery of societies, globally and in existential situations. Consequently, vast expectations exist concerning the decisions which are to be made pastorally regarding the family. A reflection on these issues by the Synod of Bishops, in addition to it being much needed and urgent, is a dutiful expression of charity towards those entrusted to the Bishops’ care and the entire human family.

II. The Church and the Gospel on the Family

The good news of divine love is to be proclaimed to all those personally living this basic human experience of couples and of a communion open to the gift of children, which is the family community. The teachings of the faith on marriage is to be presented in an articulate and efficacious manner, so that it might reach hearts and transform them in accordance with God’s will, made manifest in Jesus Christ.

The citation of biblical sources on marriage and family in this document are essential references only. The same is true for documentation from the Magisterium which is limited to that of a universal character, including some texts from the Pontifical Council for the Family. It will be left to the bishop-participants at the synod to cite documents from their own episcopal assemblies.

In every age, and in the many different cultures, the teaching of the Pastors has been clear nor has there been lacking the concrete testimony of believers — men and women — in very diverse circumstances who have lived the Gospel of the family as an inestimable gift for their life and their children. The commitment for the next Extraordinary Synod is inspired and sustained by the desire to communicate this message with greater incisiveness, in the hope that “the treasure of revelation, entrusted to the Church, more and more fill the hearts of each person” (DV, 26).

The Plan of God, Creator and Redeemer

The beauty of the biblical message on the family has its roots in the creation of man and woman, both made in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:24-31; 2:4-25). Bound together by an indissoluble sacramental bond, those who are married experience the beauty of love, fatherhood, motherhood, and the supreme dignity of participating in this way in the creative work of God.

In the gift of the fruit of their union, they assume the responsibility of raising and educating other persons for the future of humankind. Through procreation, man and woman fulfill in faith the vocation of being God’s collaborators in the protection of creation and the growth of the human family.

Blessed Pope John Paul II commented on this aspect in Familiaris consortio: “God created man in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26, 27): calling him to existence through love, he called him at the same time for love. God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8) and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image and continually keeping it in being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion (Gaudium et spes, 12). Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being”(FC, 11).

The plan of God the creator, which was disrupted by original sin (cf. Gen 3:1-24), has revealed itself throughout history in the events of the chosen people up to the fullness of time, when, with the incarnation of the Son of God, not only was the divine will for salvation confirmed, but also the redemption offering the grace to follow this same will.

The Son of God, the Word made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14) in the womb of the Virgin Mother, lived and grew up in the family of Nazareth and participated at the wedding at Cana, where he added importance to the festivities with the first of his “signs” (cf. Jn 2:1-11). In joy, he welcomed his reception in the families of his disciples (cf. Mk 1:29-31; 2:13-17) and consoled the bereaved family of his friends in Bethany (cf. Lk 10:38- 42; Jn 11:1-44 ).
Jesus Christ restored the beauty of matrimony, proposing once again the one plan of God which was abandoned because of the hardness of the human heart, even within the tradition of the people of Israel (cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mk 10:1-12; Lk 16:18). Returning to the beginning, Jesus taught the unity and faithfulness of the husband and wife, refuting the practice of repudiation and adultery.

Precisely through the extraordinary beauty of human love — already celebrated in a heightened manner inspired by the Song of Songs, and the bond of marriage called for and defended by the prophets like Hosea (cf. Hosea 1:2, 3.3) and Malachi (cf. Mal 2:13-16) — , Jesus affirmed the original dignity of the married love of man and woman.

The Church's Teaching on the Family

Even in the early Christian community the family appeared as the “domestic church” (cf. CCC, 1655): In the so-called “family canons” of the Apostolic letters of the New Testament, the great family of the ancient world is identified as the place of a profound solidarity between husbands and wives, between parents and children, and between the wealthy and the poor (cf. Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1; 1 Tim 2:8-15; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Pt 2:13-3:7; cf. also the Letter to Philemon). In particular, the Letter to the Ephesians recognized the nuptial love between man and woman as “the great mystery”, making present in the world the love of Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32 ).

Over the centuries, especially in modern times to the present, the Church has not failed to continually teach and develop her doctrine on the family and marriage which founded her. One of its highest expressions has been proposed by the Second Vatican Council in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, which, in treating certain pressing problems, dedicated an entire chapter to the promotion of the dignity of marriage and the family, as seen in the description of their value for the constitution of society: “the family, in which the various generations come together and help one another grow wiser and harmonize personal rights with the other requirements of social life, is the very foundation of society” (GS, 52). Particularly striking is its appeal for a Christ-centred spirituality in the spouses’ life of faith: "Let the spouses themselves, made to the image of the living God and enjoying the authentic dignity of persons, be joined to one another in equal affection, harmony of mind and the work of mutual sanctification. Thus, following Christ who is the principle of life, by the sacrifices and joys of their vocation and through their faithful love, married people can become witnesses of the mystery of love which the Lord revealed to the world by his dying and his rising up to life again”(GS, 52 ).

After the Second Vatican Council, the successors of St. Peter enriched this teaching on marriage and the family, especially Pope Paul VI with the Enyclical Humanae vitae, which offers specific principles and guidelines. Subsequently, in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, Pope John Paul II insisted on proposing the divine plan in the basic truths of married love and the family: “The only ‘place’ in which this self-giving in its whole truth is made possible is marriage, the covenant of conjugal love freely and consciously chosen, whereby man and woman accept the intimate community of life and love willed by God himself(cf. Gaudium et spes, 48) which only in this light manifests its true meaning. The institution of marriage is not an undue interference by society or authority, nor the extrinsic imposition of a form. Rather it is an interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly affirmed as unique and exclusive, in order to live in complete fidelity to the plan of God, the Creator. A person's freedom, far from being restricted by this fidelity, is secured against every form of subjectivism or relativism and is made a sharer in creative Wisdom” (FC, 11).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gathers together the fundamental aspects of this teaching: “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament [cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Gaudium et spes, 48; Code of Canon Law, 1055, 1]”(CCC 1660).

The doctrine presented in the Catechism touches on both theological principles and moral behaviours, developed under two separate headings: The Sacrament of Matrimony (nos. 1601-1658) and The Sixth Commandment (nos. 2331-2391). An attentive reading of these sections of the Catechism provides an updated understanding of the doctrine of faith, which supports the Church’s work in the face of modern-day challenges. The Church’s pastoral ministry finds inspiration in the truth of marriage viewed as part of the plan of God, who created man and woman and, in the fullness of time, revealed in Jesus the completeness of spousal love elevated to the level of sacrament. Christian marriage founded on consensus is also endowed with its own effects such as the goods and duties of the spouses. At the same time, marriage is not immune from the effects of sin (cf. Gen 3:1-24), which can cause deep wounds and even abuses to the dignity of the sacrament.

The recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Lumen fidei, speaks of the family in the context of a reflection on how faith reveals “just how firm the bonds between people can be when God is present in their midst” (LF, 50). “The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgement and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love” (LF, 52). “Faith is no refuge for the faint-hearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness” ( LF, 53).

III. Questions

The following series of questions allows the particular Churches to participate actively in the preparation of the Extraordinary Synod, whose purpose is to proclaim the Gospel in the context of the pastoral challenges facing the family today.

1. The Diffusion of the Teachings on the Family in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Magisterium

a) Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s teaching on family life?
b) In those cases where the Church's teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice? If so, what are they?
c) How widespread is the Church's teaching in pastoral programmes at the national, diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?
d) To what extent — and what aspects in particular — is this teaching actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?

2. Marriage according to the Natural Law

a) What place does the idea of the natural law have in the cultural areas of society: in institutions, education, academic circles and among the people at large? What anthropological ideas underlie the discussion on the natural basis of the family?
b) Is the idea of the natural law in the union between a man and a woman commonly accepted as such by the baptized in general?
c) How is the theory and practice of natural law in the union between man and woman challenged in light of the formation of a family? How is it proposed and developed in civil and Church institutions?
d) In cases where non-practising Catholics or declared non-believers request the celebration of marriage, describe how this pastoral challenge is dealt with?

3. The Pastoral Care of the Family in Evangelisation

a) What experiences have emerged in recent decades regarding marriage preparation? What efforts are there to stimulate the task of evangelisation of the couple and of the family? How can an awareness of the family as the "domestic Church" be promoted?
b) How successful have you been in proposing a manner of praying within the family which can withstand life’s complexities and today’s culture?
c) In the current generational crisis, how have Christian families been able to fulfil their vocation of transmitting the faith?
d) In what way have the local Churches and movements on family spirituality been able to create ways of acting which are exemplary?
e) What specific contribution can couples and families make to spreading a credible and holistic idea of the couple and the Christian family today?
f) What pastoral care has the Church provided in supporting couples in formation and couples in crisis situations?

4. Pastoral Care in Certain Difficult Marital Situations

a) Is cohabitation ad experimentum a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage?
b) Do unions which are not recognized either religiously or civilly exist? Are reliable statistics available?
c) Are separated couples and those divorced and remarried a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage? How do you deal with this situation in appropriate pastoral programmes?
d) In all the above cases, how do the baptized live in this irregular situation? Are aware of it? Are they simply indifferent? Do they feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?
e) What questions do divorced and remarried people pose to the Church concerning the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation? Among those persons who find themselves in these situations, how many ask for these sacraments?
f ) Could a simplification of canonical practice in recognizing a declaration of nullity of the marriage bond provide a positive contribution to solving the problems of the persons involved? If yes, what form would it take?
g) Does a ministry exist to attend to these cases? Describe this pastoral ministry? Do such programmes exist on the national and diocesan levels? How is God’s mercy proclaimed to separated couples and those divorced and remarried and how does the Church put into practice her support for them in their journey of faith?

5. On Unions of Persons of the Same Sex

a) Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same-sex and equating it in some way to marriage?
b) What is the attitude of the local and particular Churches towards both the State as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and the people involved in this type of union?
c) What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?
d) In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?

6. The Education of Children in Irregular Marriages

a) What is the estimated proportion of children and adolescents in these cases, as regards children who are born and raised in regularly constituted families?
b) How do parents in these situations approach the Church? What do they ask? Do they request the sacraments only or do they also want catechesis and the general teaching of religion?
c) How do the particular Churches attempt to meet the needs of the parents of these children to provide them with a Christian education?
d) What is the sacramental practice in these cases: preparation, administration of the sacrament and the accompaniment?

7. The Openness of the Married Couple to Life

a) What knowledge do Christians have today of the teachings of Humanae vitae on responsible parenthood? Are they aware of how morally to evaluate the different methods of family planning? Could any insights be suggested in this regard pastorally?
b) Is this moral teaching accepted? What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of couple’s accepting this teaching?
c) What natural methods are promoted by the particular Churches to help spouses put into practice the teachings of Humanae vitae?
d) What is your experience on this subject in the practice of the Sacrament of Penance and participation at the Eucharist?
e) What differences are seen in this regard between the Church’s teaching and civic education?
f) How can a more open attitude towards having children be fostered? How can an increase in births be promoted?

8. The Relationship Between the Family and the Person

a) Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?
b) What critical situations in the family today can obstruct a person’s encounter with Christ?
c) To what extent do the many crisis of faith which people can experience affect family life?

9. Other Challenges and Proposals
What other challenges or proposals related to the topics in the above questions do you consider urgent and useful to treat?

The Catholic church and Birth control.... What came out of Vatican II

I came across this article some time ago. It talks about the First Vatican Council and the thoughts on birth control at the time. I thought of this article when I heard about Pope Francis' "survey".

In 1963, because of the popularity of the “pill”, John established a small commission to study birth control. After John’s death in 1963, his successor Paul VI vastly expanded the commission.

After three years of exhaustive examination and discussion, the commission in 1966 concluded by large majority – 30 of 35 lay members, 15 of 19 theologians, and nine of 15 bishops – that the ban on artificial contraception should be lifted and it should be left to married couples, inspired by Christian values, to determine what method of contraception to use. They argued that it was not each sexual act that had to be open to procreation but marriage in its entirety. They reasoned that the distinction between avoiding pregnancy in ways conforming to natural physiological processes and using an artificial intervention was not meaningful, since humans have always used medical technology to bring nature under their control.

The report was leaked to the Press and raised huge expectations among Catholics worldwide that the Vatican would lift the ban.

But a minority faction advised Paul that to support the commission would be admitting the Vatican had been in error: its authority would be irreparably undermined.

Paul heeded their advice, rejected the report, and in 1968 issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), reaffirming the traditional position.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Did Pope Francis say that divorced Catholics can now receive communion?

Well NO. Not according to an article that highlights a report issued by the Vatican concerning the issue: The following article is from the Catholic News Service dated October 22nd 2013 and written by Francis X. Rocca

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Amid rising expectations that the Catholic Church might make it easier for divorced and remarried members to receive Communion, the Vatican's highest doctrinal official reaffirmed church teaching barring such persons from the sacrament without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriage.

But Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, acknowledged that many Catholics' first marriages might be invalid, and thus eligible for annulment, if spouses had been influenced by prevailing contemporary conceptions of marriage as a temporary arrangement.

The archbishop's words appeared in a 4,600-word article published in the Vatican newspaper Oct. 22.

Speculation about a change in practice has grown since Pope Francis told reporters accompanying him on his plane back from Rio de Janeiro in July that the next Synod of Bishops would explore a "somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage," including the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Pope Francis added at the time that church law governing marriage annulments also "has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this."

Such problems, he said, exemplified a general need for forgiveness in the church today.

"The church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy, and find a form of mercy for all," the pope said.

The Vatican announced Oct. 8 that an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops will meet Oct. 5-19, 2014, to discuss the "pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization."

The announcement of the synod came amid news that the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Germany, had issued new guidelines making it easier for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Archbishop Muller's article was originally published in a German newspaper June 15. Its republication in the Vatican newspaper -- simultaneously in five languages including English -- seemed intended to temper the expectations of change that these events have excited.

The archbishop acknowledged that a "case for the admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments is argued in terms of mercy," but wrote that such an argument "misses the mark" in regard to the sacraments, since the "entire sacramental economy is a work of divine mercy and it cannot simply be swept aside by an appeal to the same.

"An objectively false appeal to mercy also runs the risk of trivializing the image of God, by implying that God cannot do other than forgive," he wrote. "The mystery of God includes not only his mercy but also his holiness and his justice. If one were to suppress these characteristics of God and refuse to take sin seriously, ultimately it would not even be possible to bring God's mercy to man."

The prefect's article also addressed the Eastern Orthodox practice of allowing second or third marriages even when the first is sacramentally valid, a practice Pope Francis mentioned without endorsing it when speaking to reporters in July.

"This practice cannot be reconciled with God's will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus' sayings about the indissolubility of marriage," the archbishop wrote, noting that it thus poses an obstacle to ecumenism.

"The church cannot respond to the growing incomprehension of the sanctity of marriage by pragmatically accommodating the supposedly inevitable," he wrote. "The Gospel of the sanctity of marriage is to be proclaimed with prophetic candor. By adapting to the spirit of the age, a weary prophet seeks his own salvation but not the salvation of the world in Jesus Christ."

Archbishop Muller also ruled out the argument that "remarried divorcees should be allowed to decide for themselves, according to their conscience, whether or not to present themselves for holy Communion."

"If remarried divorcees are subjectively convinced in their conscience that a previous marriage was invalid, this must be proven objectively by the competent marriage tribunals," he wrote. "Marriage is not simply about the relationship of two people to God, it is also a reality of the church, a sacrament, and it is not for the individuals concerned to decide on its validity, but rather for the church, into which the individuals are incorporated by faith and baptism."

Yet the prefect acknowledged that contemporary social and cultural ideas of marriage are relevant to the validity of a sacramental union, to the degree they influence the spirit with which the spouses undertake it.

"Today's mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children," he wrote. "Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialization within an environment of faith.

"Therefore assessment of the validity of marriage is important and can help to solve problems," he wrote.

But where the requirements for an annulment are lacking, he wrote, civilly remarried Catholics may receive communion only if they promise to abstain from sexual relations, living together "as friends, as brother and sister."


Jenny McCarthy - a catholic in need of a return to the faith

The Catholic League issued this statement on October 23rd 2013 -

Jenny McCarthy cracked up on TV today but no one seemed to notice. This is not a good sign.

Jenny went into a tizzy about the Catholic Church because her mom was once denied an annulment. The former porn star then went into detail about her mother's problems.

Jenny said her mom "cries during Communion because she watches all her friends go up there," while she sits and weeps. She did not say if her mom stops crying after Communion, or whether she cries all the way home. No matter, she said, "I hope the pope gets smart and does something about it."

[Jenny, listen to Bill: If you know of any shortcuts on how to "get smart," please test them on yourself before contacting the Holy Father.]

Jenny also shared her delusional story about being in the pope's apartment. "I went to the Vatican [and] I actually went into the apartment, into the pope's apartment and I was literally there and I'm going, oh my God, I could take a chunk of this gold cherub and feed a country." Instead, she settled for a crucifix.

Last year, on "Access Hollywood," Jenny was more explicit. She credited a few "mafia guys" with sneaking her into the pope's apartment in 1995; she said she even tried on some of his clothes. After slamming the Italians, she took a shot at Jews: she said her Jewish friends told her to steal a crucifix as a souvenir for her mother. She did not say whether her mom wept upon receipt, or whether she hocked it to feed to a country, or at least a village.

Look for Jenny to either fully crash, or get booted, real soon. In the meantime, contact the stooge behind "The View," Bill Geddie.

Maybe I am a Weapon of righteousness

Present yourselves to God ... as weapons for righteousness. (Romans 6:13)

With all the violence in the world today, you may not like the image of being a “weapon” for the Lord. But in this case, St. Paul is encouraging you to be a holy and loving weapon used by the Lord to free people from darkness. And that’s a good thing!

So today, put your whole body to work for the Lord. Use your eyes to be on the lookout for anyone who needs encouragement. Use your tongue to speak words of kindness. Use your hands and arms to embrace someone who is feeling alone or overwhelmed. Use your feet to offer quick assistance with any problems you run across. Offer your ears if someone needs to “vent” about a problem.

Most important, offer your mind to understand the best way you can help the people around you. Whether you realize it or not, a spiritual battle is going on around you—a battle for the souls of God’s children. And while God is certainly big enough to fight his own battles, he offers you the privilege, the honor, and the calling to join him. He asks us to offer our lives as weapons of righteousness, fighting for people with God’s love and compassion in our right and left hands (2 Corinthians 6:7). Will you join today in helping to rescue those who have wandered off the path to life and gotten themselves trapped in spiritual darkness?

Do not say, “I am only a mom.” Do not say, “I am only an office worker or a student or a retiree.” You are exactly where God needs you to be today. You are strategically placed on the battlefield, and God will bring you to the people he needs your help in rescuing. So be alert! Have your spiritual eyes, ears, hands, and heart wide open. Let the Lord use you as a weapon of righteousness to win the battle over darkness and evil in this world.

“Lord, I present myself to you as a weapon of righteousness for your kingdom. Use me however you will today to rescue those the enemy has trapped in loneliness, fear, and despair. Let my eyes be your eyes, my hands your hands, and my heart your heart of love for all your children.”

For daily meditations please visit

May God continue to bless our work and to bless us all.

Yours sincerely

CiW Core Team

Thank you "Catholics in the Workplace" Archdiocese of Port of Spain for your inspirational words today.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Call me anything, just don't call me collect..

Did you hear this one... it's not a joke... it's true. Christians and other non muslims in Malaysia have been banned from using the word "Allah". They need to find another name for God. Mind you, it is the same God that the Jews, Christians and Muslims worship... so what is in a name... GOd is God.

Here is the article as it appeared on ABC news:
Malaysia Court Rules Non-Muslims Can't Use 'Allah'
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia October 14, 2013 (AP)
By EILEEN NG Associated Press

A Malaysian appeals court on Monday upheld a government ban against the use of the word "Allah" to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths, overruling claims by Christians in this Muslim-majority nation that the restriction violates their religious rights.

"Allah" is the Arabic word for God and is commonly used in the Malay language to refer to God. But the Malaysian government insists that "Allah" should be exclusively reserved for Muslims because of concerns its use by others would confuse Muslims and could be used to convert them.

Malaysia's Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities have often complained that the government infringes in their constitutional right to practice religion freely, accusations the government denies.

Monday's judgment in the Court of Appeals overturns a decision by a lower court nearly four years ago that ruled against the government ban. Anger over that ruling sparked a string of arson attacks and vandalism at Malaysian churches and other places of worship.

The legal dispute stems from efforts by the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia to use "Allah" in its Malay-language weekly publication.

Roman Catholic representatives deny there are attempts to convert Muslims and say the government ban is unreasonable because Christians who speak the Malay language had long used "Allah" in their Bibles, literature and songs before authorities sought to enforce the curb in recent years.

Judge Mohamed Apandi Ali, who led a three-member appeals court panel, said the use of "Allah" was "not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity."

"It is our judgment that there is no infringement of any constitutional rights" in the ban, he said. "We could find no reason why the (Catholic newspaper) is so adamant to use the word 'Allah' in their weekly. Such usage if allowed will inevitably cause confusion within the community."

The Rev. Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Herald, said they plan to appeal Monday's verdict in Malaysia's Federal Court, the nation's highest.

"We are greatly disappointed and dismayed," he said. "This is unrealistic. It is a retrograde step in the development of law in relation to the fundamental liberty of religious minorities."

Who did Abraham try to Sacrifice?

On Tuesday (October 15th 2013) The muslims celebrate the feast of Eid Ul Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). It is based on the (attempted) Sacrifice by Abraham of his son. The difference is that in Judaism Isaac is the son he is to sacrifice. In the Quoran it is Ishamel. The story goes like this:

According to Islamic tradition, approximately four thousand years ago, the valley of Mecca (in present-day Saudi Arabia) was a dry, rocky and uninhabited place. Allah instructed Abraham ('Ibraheem in Arabic) to bring Hājar (Hāǧar), his Egyptian wife, and Ismā'īl (Ishmael), his only child at the time, to Arabia from the land of Canaan.

As Abraham was preparing for his return journey back to Canaan, Hajar asked him, "Did Allah order you to leave us here? Or are you leaving us here to die." Abraham turned around to face his wife. He was so sad that he could not say anything. He pointed to the sky showing that Allah commanded him to do so. Hajar said, "Then Allah will not waste us; you can go". Though Abraham had left a large quantity of food and water with Hajar and Ishmael, the supplies quickly ran out, and within a few days the two began to feel the pangs of hunger and dehydration.

Hajar ran up and down between two hills called Al-Safa and Al-Marwah seven times, in her desperate quest for water. Exhausted, she finally collapsed beside her baby Ishmael and prayed to Allah for deliverance. Miraculously, a spring of water gushed forth from the earth at the feet of baby Ishmael. Other accounts have the angel Gabriel (Jibrail) striking the earth and causing the spring to flow in abundance. With this secure water supply, known as the Zamzam Well, they were not only able to provide for their own needs, but were also able to trade water with passing nomads for food and supplies.

Years later, Abraham was instructed by Allah to return from Canaan to build a place of worship adjacent to Hagar's well (the Zamzam Well). Abraham and Ishmael constructed a stone and mortar structure —known as the Kaaba— which was to be the gathering place for all who wished to strengthen their faith in Allah. As the years passed, Ishmael was blessed with Prophethood (Nubuwwah) and gave the nomads of the desert his message of submission to Allah. After many centuries, Mecca became a thriving desert city and a major center for trade, thanks to its reliable water source, the well of Zamzam.

One of the main trials of Abraham's life was to face the command of Allah to devote his dearest possession, his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah's will. During this preparation, Satan (Shaitan) tempted Abraham and his family by trying to dissuade them from carrying out Allah's commandment, and Ibrahim drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him. In commemoration of their rejection of Satan, stones are thrown at symbolic pillars signifying Satan during the Hajj rites.

When Ismā'īl was about 13 (Abraham being 99), Allah decided to test their faith in public. Abraham had a recurring dream, in which Allah was commanding him to offer up for sacrifice – an unimaginable act – his son, whom Allah had granted him after many years of deep prayer. Abraham knew that the dreams of the prophets were divinely inspired, and one of the ways in which Allah communicated with his prophets. When the intent of the dreams became clear to him, Abraham decided to fulfill Allah's command and offer Ishmael for sacrifice.

Although Abraham was ready to sacrifice his dearest for Allah's sake, he could not just bring his son to the place of sacrifice without his consent. Ishmael had to be consulted as to whether he was willing to give up his life in fulfillment of Allah's command. This consultation would be a major test of Ishmael's maturity in faith; love and commitment for Allah; willingness to obey his father; and readiness to sacrifice his own life for the sake of Allah.

Abraham presented the matter to his son and asked for his opinion about the dreams of slaughtering him. Ishmael did not show any hesitation or reservation even for a moment. He said, "Father, do what you have been commanded. You will find me, Insha'Allah (Allah willing), to be very patient." His mature response, his deep insight into the nature of his father’s dreams, his commitment to Allah, and ultimately his willingness to sacrifice his own life for the sake of Allah were all unprecedented.

When Abraham attempted to cut Ishmael's throat, he was astonished to see that Ishmael was unharmed and instead, he found a dead ram which was slaughtered. Abraham had passed the test by his willingness to carry out Allah's command.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Get married... have children.

Pope Francis uttered these words recently... but not at me. He aimed it at the youth of today. Marriage, he says, is a Vocation. Don't be afraid. Walk with God.

I did my part, for God and country. My wife and I have four children... and many bills.

Praise Gof for what HE has given to me.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Age difference and relationships

So my friend has a daughter who is seeing an older man. She's eighteen and he's about twice her age. At first I had no opinion on the issue. I asked my friend what he thought about the matter and he wasn't quite sure himself. He let his wife take the lead in the matter (mostly) and trusted his daughter.

My niece got married to an older guy. He was twelve years her senior. I never saw that as a problem. Still, she did not pass the ole European rule of marriage. Now the rule is for men, and it goes like this: "Never marry anyone who is under half your age plus seven. He was thirty six and she was twenty four.... and in case you were wondering half his age plus seven would be twenty five. But it is a stupid rule because if they waited two years she would be compliant. It's just playing with numbers.

Deuteronomy 22:10 says  "You must not plough with ox and donkey together" ... another translation says that you must not yolk them together. The apostle Paul refers to this scripture when discussing a faithful person marrying a non-believer. I was speaking once to a Seventh day Adventist who referred to this scripture being about people with any major differences in their lives. She was saying that  people from different:cultures, religions, beliefs, races, financial or social backgrounds, or people with large age differences, should not marry. That was almost twenty years ago, and I still don't agree with her. In the West Indies it is quite common to find couples with all of those differences who have lived happily married lives. Sure they would have had problems, but all marriages have problems. The test of a mans mettle and a woman's strength is riding through the storm while still showing love. Perhaps these couples do well just so that they could spite their detractors... no that's silly. They do well because their love conquers the barriers that life throws in front of them.

I don't know if I would or would not approve of an older guy dating my daughter. In discussing the issue with my friend I asked him a simple question, which I think should be the overriding factor: Is the guy a good and practicing Catholic? It turns out that he is indeed a good and practicing Catholic. Praise God for that!


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Thank you for your assistance Guardian Angel

Angel of God, my guardian dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day/night be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
Wednesday October 2nd is the feast of the Guardian Angels. Have you been speaking to your Guardian Angel. Have you been sending him before you to ensure that situations can have a good and favourable outcome by the grace of God.

Thank you for your assistance Guardian Angel.

Make me resemble you Jesus

Tuesday October 1st is the feast of the Little Flower... Saint Therese of Lisieux.The photo on the right shows the nun with her sisters in faith happily working.

Saint Therese says: "Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps. Ah, You know, Your sweet Face is for me Heaven on earth. My love discovers the charms of Your Face adorned with tears. I smile through my own tears when I contemplate Your sorrows."

She composed a prayer for the poor: "Eternal Father, since Thou hast given me for my inheritance the adorable Face of Thy Divine Son, I offer that face to Thee and I beg Thee, in exchange for this coin of infinite value, to forget the ingratitude of souls dedicated to Thee and to pardon all poor sinners."

In order to attain holiness and to express her love for God. She wrote: Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Our Lady of Sorrows.... the Seven sorrows of Mary

Today, Sunday 15th September is the feast of our lady of Sorrows. There is a devotion that is linked to our lady of Sorrows. It is the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

In this devotion the faithful say daily one Our Father and seven Hail Marys for each of her sorrows which are listed below:
  1. The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35) or the Circumcision of Christ
  2. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
  3. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43-45)
  4. Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary.
  5. Jesus dies on the cross. (John 19:25)
  6. The piercing of the side of Jesus, and Mary's receiving the body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57-59)
  7. The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb. (John 19:40-42)
These Seven Sorrows should not be confused with the five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

Congratuletions Your Lordship - Bishop Robert LLanos

As of Saturday, September 14, Archbishop Joseph Harris would have ordained two bishops – but is yet to preside at a priestly ordination.
Archbishop Harris was due to be the principal consecrator at Saturday’s Episcopal ordination of Msgr Robert Llanos as Auxiliary Bishop of Port of Spain. It would have been his second time in that role in the two years he has been a bishop – the first coming just one week after his own Episcopal ordination, when he had to step in for Archbishop Edward Gilbert at the ordination of Msgr Jason Gordon as Bishop of Bridgetown and Kingstown.

The date – September 14 – also marked the second anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of Fr Joseph Harris as Coadjutor Archbishop of Port of Spain, and so he and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Llanos will now share an anniversary.

However, the new Auxiliary Bishop is to be addressed as “Your Lordship”, as distinct from “Your Grace”, which is used for the Archbishop. And, since “Monsignor” is an honorary title, he retains it as Bishop.
Also, the words “Auxiliary Bishop Robert” were to be added to the Eucharistic Prayer from this weekend’s Masses.

24 hour Catholic cable station in Trinidad

Taken from the Catholic News dated September 15th 2013.

It’s early days yet but Archbishop Joseph Harris wants ‘Trinity TV 24/7’, Trinidad and Tobago’s first Catholic television station, to do as its name suggests and gradually build unity in the nation.

Speaking at last Sunday’s official launch and blessing at the Living Water Community (LWC) chapel in Port of Spain, the archbishop said the word ‘Trinity’ meant unity in diversity, so any network called Trinity had the task of building unity. He continued that he would like to see, through the station’s local programming, communities “coming together, helping each other”, thereby building a more united Church.

Sharing what he dubbed his “wish-list”, Archbishop Harris said he hoped the station’s programming would also help viewers “apply God’s word to the burning issues of today” and “help people to understand what God’s word is calling us to do”. He wished too that Trinity TV 24/7 would become “the channel of choice of most people of Trinidad and Tobago”. He had started his address by thanking Trinity TV for the tremendous work it was doing in the Archdiocese in the field of communications. And earlier, he blessed the station’s offices and studios above the chapel.

LWC co-foundress and station director Rhonda Maingot recalled the beginnings of the Community’s Trinity Communications Network (TCN) 20 years ago. She said TCN began with one camera and a team of untrained volunteers. At one time they operated out of a refurbished trailer before re-locating to the top floor of the Community’s Frederick Street centre. Maingot said it has been “one step at a time” and thanked those organisations, communities and individuals “that have walked with us on this journey…So we ready now”. She described the launch of Trinity TV 24/7 as “an extremely bold step of faith” but an “amazing opportunity
to bring the word of God” not only to the wider T&T community but the Caribbean.

TCN marketing/branding consultant David Gomez, whose voice is heard on the promotional video, introduced Trinity TV’s overseas partners: Centro Televisivo Vaticano or CTV, the Vatican Television Centre; Rome Reports TV News Agency, Italy; Signis, the World Catholic Association for Communication; Catholic Radio and Television Network (Europe); Daybreak Television Productions, Diocese of Buffalo, New York; Salt and Light Television, Toronto, Canada; Family Theater Productions, Hollywood, Los Angeles; and Telecare TV, New York.

Bishop Jason Gordon of Bridgetown and Kingstown, Signis vice president Gustavo Andujar from Cuba, and Sr Angela Ann Zukowski of the University of Dayton, Ohio, were among those sending congratulatory greetings.

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli read a message endorsing Trinity TV sent by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications and CTV director.
The Living Water Music Ministry, Spoken Word artiste Racine Grant and singer Stecia Marie Fletcher provided light interludes during the evening’s programme, which was emceed by Wendell Constantine.
Station Manager Lisa Bhajan gave the vote of thanks before the rite of blessing, which comprised a scripture reading done by Catholic News Editor Kathleen Maharaj, a LWC consecrated member; a short homily by Msgr Michael de Verteuil; and prayers of intercession by representatives of various Archdiocesan groups which produce programmes for Trinity TV.

The audience included Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith, present in a private capacity; Communications Minister Gerald Hadeed; then Auxiliary Bishop-elect Msgr Robert Llanos; Vicar for Communications Msgr Cuthbert Alexander; other members of the clergy; Rose Jackman – who co-founded LWC with Maingot; other LWC members; and Trinity TV staff, presenters and contributors.

The launch was aired live on television and simultaneously streamed over the internet via
Maingot disclosed that a Trinity TV mobile app was being developed, while its Facebook page was already accepting ‘Likes’.

Trinity TV can be viewed on Flow Ch 10, Blink Ch 111 and ICNTT Ch 73, and via

text to rebuild the Cathedral

Taken from the Archdiocese weekly newspaper for Saturday, 14 September 2013

It’s even easier now to make a donation towards the Cathedral restoration project: just grab your cell phone! As of this weekend, pre- and post-paid bmobile customers can donate via text. The text code to donate $500 is 2SAVE (27283); for $100, it’s 2GIVE (24483); and for $50, it’s 2HOPE (24673).

The Archbishop’s Appeal “Text to Rebuild Campaign” was launched last Wednesday at Archbishop’s House. In attendance were Archbishop Joseph Harris; Chair of the Archbishop’s Appeal Committee, Joanne Miller; acting Vice President of bmobile, Nicole Kerry Lum Kin; and Anthony Joseph of Titan Support Solutions Ltd, which is assisting the Archbishop’s Appeal in this campaign. Also present was Jenny Lee, project coordinator, Cathedral Restoration Project.

Archbishop Harris said the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a minor basilica, was “part of the patrimony of the nation” and called on citizens to lend a hand in its restoration.

Miller said “brick by brick, dollar by dollar”, the cathedral was built “by the people of Trinidad and Tobago for the people of Trinidad and Tobago”. In providing some historical information to the media, she said the stones used to build the cathedral came from the Laventille Quarry and the workers came from that area as well. “It is the people’s cathedral,” she commented, noting that it has served the city and country for more than 150 years.

Of the $70M needed to fully restore the cathedral, $20M has been raised through donations from Government, corporate bodies, and individuals both here and abroad – of various cultures and religions, and also through fundraising activities.

Lum Kin said corporate social responsibility was important and bmobile was pleased to partner with the Church. She anticipated “great success” for the campaign and encouraged bmobile customers to text “as many times as they wish”.

Joseph pointed out that this was the first time a text-to-give campaign was being launched to raise funds for a national heritage site.

Donors will receive an automated ‘thank you’ text message after making their contribution; there is no charge for texting a donation.

A letter has already been sent out to parishes about the campaign, which is expected to culminate on the Feast of Christ the King (Nov 24), the annual date for the Archbishop’s Appeal collection.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Hi There Your Holiness Wazzup?

An article published in the National Catholic Reporter on 23rd August 2013. written by John L. Allen Jr. tells about the Pope Francis calling the faithful in Italy. Praise God for this man Oui! He is truly a good man.

Francis has already garnered a slew of informal titles, such as "the pope of surprises," "the pope of the poor," and "the people's pope." Given his growing penchant for phoning total strangers out of the blue, however, he may earn yet another one: "the cold-call pope."

Two such calls during August make the point.

On Aug. 18, Francis phoned Stefano Cabizza, a 19-year-old engineering student who lives in the Italian town of Padova whose family attended the pope's Mass for the Aug. 15 feast of the Assumption in Castel Gandolfo. Cabizza had brought a personal letter for the pope to the Mass and approached a cardinal during the service to hand it to him, thinking that was the end of things.

Three days later, however, the phone rang at mid-morning at the Cabizza home, and was answered by Cabizza's sister. The voice on the other end asked for Stefano, and when told he wasn't home, asked when he might return. Without knowing who was on the line, the sister replied, "Around 5 p.m.," and hung up.

Promptly at 5 p.m., the home phone rang again, this time answered directly by Stefano. To his astonishment, it was Francis calling. The pope thanked him for the letter and chatted for roughly eight minutes. (For the record, Francis made the call himself. No one came on beforehand to say, "Please hold for the pope.")

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..That exchange followed another impromptu phone call made by Francis 10 days earlier to Michele Ferri, the 14-year-old brother of a gas station operator in Pesaro, Italy, who had been killed during a robbery.

Ferri had also written to Francis, and the pope called the teenager to tell him the letter had made him cry and to promise prayers for his brother and his family.

In both cases, Francis reportedly insisted on using the informal Italian tu rather than the formal Lei in speaking to the youngsters. Reportedly, he jokingly asked Cabizza, "Do you think the apostles called Jesus Lei, or 'Your Excellency'?"

The idea of a pope calling up random people for informal chats has become a minor cultural sensation in Italy, so much so that famed columnist Beppe Severgnini published a set of tips for how to handle an unexpected call from the Supreme Pontiff in the country's leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, on Friday. Herewith, Severgnini's nine bits of advice concerning phone etiquette with His Holiness:

1."Papa Bergoglio is maybe the last guy on earth who actually calls land lines. If you hear your home phone ringing, therefore, get ready."
2."Even if the pope tells you to use tu, thank him but stick with the classic Lei or the Spanish-ized Voi. Try not to go overboard, in one direction or the other. Calling him 'Frankie,' for instance, would be inappropriate. Exclaiming 'Your Holiness!' is predictable, but getting carried away with appellations such as 'Your Magnificence' or 'Your Megagalacticness' would be a little grotesque."
3."Listen before speaking, and don't bring topics up yourself. If the conversation turns to his native Argentina, ask the pope how his countrymen behaved when he received the national soccer team. (Chaotically, the delegation was three times larger than anticipated.) While you're at it, ask what he thought about Ezequiel Lavezzi sitting on the papal throne." [Note: Lavezzi is an Argentine soccer star.]
4."Don't be afraid to be normal, because a light touch is a gift. If Pope Francis wanted to be bored, he would have called a government minister."
5. "Don't talk about recent problems in the Vatican, which aren't his fault, and anyway are already very much on his mind. If the conversation turns to animals, it's prohibited to use the word 'crows'." [Note: 'Crows,' in Italian i corvi, is a popular euphemism in the Italian press for the presumed architects of the Vatican leaks affair.]
6."Pope Francis has a good sense of humor. Tell him that's a beautiful thing, because irony is the sister of mercy; allowing yourself to smile and to forgive the imperfections of the world."
7."Ask about Benedict's health, which will make him happy."
8."Don't ask for anything practical – the pope is an important man, but he's not a bureaucrat. If you start requesting recommendations, permission slips, concessions and favors from him, the pontiff will be sorry he ever called anybody in Italy and will disable the '+39' country code on his phone."
9."Don't end the conversation yourself, but let the pontiff decide when to say goodbye. If your mom, your wife or your husband starts yelling from the kitchen, 'Come on, move it, the food's ready, get off the phone!', ignore them. Then, while you're pouring the wine, say: 'The Successor of Peter says hello. So, what's for dinner?'"

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Governor Brown Uber Alles

On September 6, the California Senate passed SB 131, the bill that makes it easier for alleged victims of sexual abuse to sue if the molestation happened when they were a minor. But it does not apply to the public sector, just to institutions such as the Catholic Church.

Now Governor Brown has to rule on if the law should be passed. This guy has a very interesting political career. He even helped mother Teresa with the poor when he was in India. It is so interesting that  the defunct punk rock group "The Dead Kennedy's" wrote a song about him in 1979 when he was also governor of California.

 Just a note about the Video. I got it off of Youtube. The song lyrics are on the video. The person who put the swastikas got them wrong... or did they. The swastikas shown are not Nazi design, but Hindu design. The swastika represents the sun rotating across the sky east to west in a clockwise rotation. The Nazi swastika was whirling anticlockwise and was like an X with tails not a + with tails.

Jerry Brown is not a Nazi.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

College of the Immaculate Conception opens time capsule from 1934

This article was taken from the Catholic news of the archdiocese of Port of Spain dated 24 August 2013:

A look at the September 29, 1934 edition of the Catholic News showed the front page comprised mainly of advertisements; the back page was filled with photos of ‘Bonny Baby Film Stars’, a continuation from the previous Saturday’s issue – yes, the paper was dated Saturdays back then. There was no lead story. It was a broadsheet (not the current tabloid size) and it was only eight pages. The annual subscription was $1.
Past student Christopher Ramdhanie uses a hammer to break the time capsule. After initially using a glasscutter, he eventually had to wrap the bottle in a towel and gently hit it with a bigger hammer to crack it without damaging the contents. Looking on are CIC Past Students’ Union President John Allum (left), acting College principal Nigel Joseph, and Communications Officer of the Union, Nestor Lambert.
Past student Christopher Ramdhanie
uses a hammer to break the time
After initially using a glasscutter,
he eventually had to wrap the bottle
in a towel and gently hit it with a
bigger hammer to crack it without
damaging the contents. Looking
on are CIC Past Students’ Union
President John Allum (left),
acting College principal Nigel Joseph,
and Communications Officer
of the Union, Nestor Lambert.
NALIS library conservator Danielle Fraser displays the copy of the Catholic News found in the time capsule. At right is Afesha Blackwill, assistant library conservator.
NALIS library conservator Danielle
Fraser displays the copy of the
Catholic News found in the time
capsule. At right is Afesha
assistant library conservator.
NALIS library conservator Danielle Fraser examines one of the copper coins found in the time capsule. Looking on are CIC Past Students Union management committee members Nestor Lambert and John Allum.     Photos: Raymond Syms
NALIS library conservator Danielle
Fraser examines one of the
copper coins found in the time
capsule. Looking on are
CIC Past Students Union
management committee
members Nestor Lambert
and John Allum.
Photos: Raymond Syms

A copy of that September 29 edition was folded and squeezed into a glass bottle with a copy of the September 30, 1934 edition of the Sunday Guardian and The Port of Spain Gazette, along with three copper coins and a scroll – to form a time capsule. The capsule was sealed in behind the foundation stone for a new wing of St Mary’s College, which was laid on September 30, 1934. That wing is today the Form Four block of the Port of Spain college.

After 79 years, the contents of the capsule, its presence forgotten over time, were carefully extracted last Tuesday by Danielle Fraser, NALIS library conservator. Among those on hand to witness the ‘breaking of the bottle’ by former student Christopher Ramdhanie, were Nigel Joseph, Acting Principal; John Allum, President, CIC Past Students’ Union; and the Union’s Communications Officer, Nestor Lambert.

The handwritten scroll was removed on August 1; the rest of the contents were being removed that day in the presence of the media – it made for a good news story as it presented a glimpse into life nearly eight decades ago.

The scroll was in the language of the time. “On the thirtieth day of the ninth month of the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty-four, the twelfth year of the Pontificate of His Holiness, Pope Pius XI, in the twenty-fifth year of the Episcopate of the Most Reverend John Pius Dowling, OP, DD, Archbishop of Port of Spain, in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of George V, in the two hundredth year of the birth of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the seventy-first year of the coming of the said Congregation to Trinidad, in the eighth year of the Generalship of Mgr Le Hunsec of the said Congregation and the eleventh year of the Superiorship of the Very Rev Fr J. J. English, this foundation stone was blessed by His Grace the Most Reverend John Pius Dowling, Archbishop of Port of Spain, and laid by His Excellency, Sir Alfred Claud Hollis, GCMG, CBE, in presence of a vast concourse of the Elite of Trinidad including the undersigned witnesses.”

The signatories were then Governor Sir Claud Hollis; Archbishop John Pius Dowling OP; Mayor Capt Arthur A Cipriani; the President of the College Union, C. de Verteuil; Principal Fr J.J English, CSSp; the Architect Bro Gabriel Mockveldt, OSB; the Builder, Maurice Acanne; representative of Senior Pupils, Wilfred A Dos Santos; and representative of Junior Pupils, Victor Quesnel Jnr.

Interestingly however, the college archives stated that a G.C. Pantin was the President of the CIC Past Students’ Union and not C. de Verteuil.

Louis Ramdhanie explained to the Catholic News that a new time capsule would be laid on December 6 to signal the end of the year-long sesquicentennial anniversary celebration of the arrival of the Holy Ghost Fathers to Trinidad and Tobago and the establishment of the college. While looking for a suitable location for the time capsule, they were advised by a retired priest that a time capsule had already been laid. Searching their school archives, they found its exact location.

Looking at the scroll, Lambert said the Spiritan seal had evidently disintegrated. NALIS’ Fraser said the historical document would first be “stabilised” and tested before it could go on display in the college’s historical exhibition, carded for October 15-25. Of the other items in the capsule, Fraser said they would undergo several sessions of treatment and tests at NALIS’ laboratory.

Apart from the exhibition, Lambert said a documentary film chronicling the history of the Congregation and college should be ready in early October, while a 200-page coffee table book was being printed for December’s closing activities.

The new time capsule, which will likely include today’s dailies and other items, will be laid in a more conspicuous location – the front lawn of the college’s Frederick Street entrance.

– Raymond Syms

Maria Spes crumbles

For close to 200 years, the statue given the title Maria Spes (literally Mary, our hope) has watched over the southern part of Independence Square, formerly Marine Square, from its alcove in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Sadly, in August 2013 the icon gave up its perch when workmen attempted to relocate it to attend to a structural crack on the wall behind. Seconds after the process began, the statue crumbled – a casualty of time, the elements and the extensive restoration work taking place on the church. The Raymond Syms photo, taken on the morning of the event, gives us the last glimpse of what has been part of our precious heritage.

Parish and Church Celebrities ... do you fit this description

I once met a lady at my brothers house who is part of a Catholic Charismatic group. The group has been having annual tent-like meetings... and what was a small gathering grew into a huge weekend event with speakers coming in from abroad. I was introduced to the lady as the group leader, and when I asked her "what does that mean, to be the group leader" her response expressed arrogance rather than humility of service. She had probably not given it full thought at the time - what it meant for her to be the leader. While I understand that leaders have to overcome allot of negativity, even from within their ranks, and that leaders need a certain amount of arrogance, I can't help but  think of Jesus telling the apostles this:

... so Jesus called them to him and said to them, 'You know that among the gentiles those they call their rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. Among you this is not to happen. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'(Mark 10: 42-45)

 My brother loves this lady "in Christ" and prays for her. Praise God for my brother.

I saw an article recently that made me think of this lady again. She does not act like a Diva, and so to use the article below as a comparison would be inaccurate. It just made me think of her is all.
From the Catholic News Agency - August 23, 2013
From Servants to Celebrities: A growing phenomenon in the Church
By Joe Tremblay 

Fred A. Allen, a radio comedian who was popular in the 1940s, once said, “A celebrity is a person who works hard all of their life to become well known, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”  In other words, fame is not all what it seems to be. There is a price to pay for being well known.

 Nevertheless, it is coveted by many. The night of the Oscars, for instance, with the red carpet and adoring fans, can make the life of a celebrity look rather attractive. And why not? Being adulated and accommodated by admirers has its perks.

Unfortunately, Catholics are not immune from coveting the kind of accommodations Hollywood stars enjoy. We have many gifted speakers, writers and musicians within the Church who set out to be servants of Christ but who, nevertheless, behave like celebrities. Instead of setting out to wash people’s feet like our Lord demonstrated, too often, some of these gifted Catholics come to parishes wanting their feet to be washed. Oh yes. They have a list of demands to be met. They, like the Hollywood celebrity, want to be accommodated.

If you are a diocesan or parish event-organizer you may know what I am referring to. Increasingly, I am hearing more stories from people who work for the Church. They tell me that high profile Catholic speakers and musicians go beyond requiring the essentials; that is, the means necessary to carry out their ministry. The funny thing is that these Catholics- many of them well known –profess to follow Christ and hold up the Saints as models to imitate.

For some reason, however, when their God-given gifts and talents are sought after by Catholic communities, something happens. Something gets lost. And that something is the instructions our Lord gave to his disciples. For instance, he said, “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you…” (Lk 10:8) Elsewhere, he had this to say: “Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick.” As you can see, Jesus requires of his followers a simplicity and detachment from material things. Why? So we can avail ourselves to more effectively serve souls.

Now, many Catholics who are gifted speakers, writers and musicians start off with the intention of being servants. But when they become well known, some turn into celebrities. Instead of wearing sun glasses so as not to be noticed, the Catholic celebrity develops a long list of demands; not of essentials but of luxuries.
One musician came to a parish to share her musical talents. Before the event, she sent word to the parish leaders that she was “hyper-carbohydrate intolerant.”

No, she wasn’t allergic to any foods. She just wanted a Jenny Craig-like entrée because she wanted to watch her weight.

Another high profile Catholic author and speaker demands a specific kind of purified water in addition to other non-essentials. And yet, another one insists on having a certain kind of granola bar. As for one musician I recently heard about, he will not play for any event unless the host has the newest top-notch keyboard.

Probably what is of high symbolic value of why Church is struggling the way it is with Mass attendance decline etc., has a lot to do with the hotel accommodations our leaders enjoy when they travel on their missions; hotel accommodations that the average person would be hard-pressed to afford. This suggests that many of our leaders – both clergy and laity – have either lost their way or are missing the point. I could be overstating this, but what has happened to many of them is that they turned a vocation of service into a position of privilege.

This, it should be emphasized, is a radical departure from what Christ and the Saints have taught us. The great spiritual classic by Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, tells us that they endured hardships and persecutions. And yet it was through these trials that souls were saved. In it, Kempis wrote the following:
Saints and friends of Christ, they served our Lord in hunger and in thirst, in cold, in nakedness, in labor and in weariness, in watching, in fasting, prayers and holy meditations, and in frequent persecutions and reproaches. Oh, how many grievous tribulations did the Apostles suffer and the Martyrs and Confessors and Virgins, and all the rest who resolved to follow the steps of Christ!”

Several centuries later, our Lord confirmed the spiritual value of sacrifice and suffering to St. Faustina by saying, “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.”  Yet, how is this truth being observed when our Catholic celebrities practically demand a manicure from the parishes and dioceses they are supposed to serve?

If suffering is an instrument through which conversion is brought about, then they better learn how to start washing feet again.

The Benedictines of Mary... chanting nuns with albums on the music charts

Monday, 12 August 2013

Use new communication tools to "make a mess"

I have seen many local Catholic bloggers sign in, last a few months and then sign out. Life is so busy. We get caught up in so many different things and we put God and the propogation of the faith as secondary. Dear Brothers and sisters don't do that. Follow through. Sometimes it is so hard to come up with a post. Sometimes we do not feel inspired. Sometimes we wonder what is the point anyway. Well, The caribbean catholic Blog has been posting for only a few short years and we have over ten thousand hits per month. Not great, but not bad. Praise be to God.

So every year the Caribbean School for Catholic Communications has a "summer" school. I have never been fortunate to attend. Maybe one year I will. I have to say that I like what I have heard about this years class. "USE NEW COMMUNICATION TOOLS TO MAKE A MESS" Bold, controvercial and expressive. Well Done!

Wake them up. Shake them up.

Here is an article on the course as printed in the Port of Spain Catholic news 11th August 2013:

Using a radically different approach, the annual Caribbean School for Catholic Communications (CSCC) last week began preparing participants to spread the Gospel in these technologically new times.

Under the banner theme Missionary Disciples in a Digital Age, 34 CSCC students used video conferencing software for the first time to connect with US-based presenters, learnt how to create a (web) blog, and sharpened their use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Even their spiritual reflections were submitted using digital media as they were required to post them on CSCC’s Facebook page.

The main message of last week’s 19th CSCC at Emmaus Centre, Arima, was that Caribbean Catholic communicators must be able to use the tools of the Digital Age for the New Evangelisation, an evangelisation directed towards the baptised who have lost “a living sense of their faith” and who may not even consider themselves members of the Church.

“CSCC is a community of the New Evangelisation,” remarked CSCC principal Bishop Jason Gordon, of the dioceses of Bridgetown (Barbados) and Kingstown (St Vincent). He explained that participants must know the Catholic faith more deeply, live the faith more fully and share the faith more effectively.

The School attracted persons from Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, and the sub-theme focused on The Scriptures and Religious Imagination in a Digital Civilisation.

Friday, 2 August 2013

What Pope Francis said about gays

There has been a lot written in the media recently about Pope Francis and his thoughts on gay people. These thoughts came about due to an interview the Pope had with a reporter on a plane as he was leaving world youth day in Brazil.  Many of the international news reports (as usual) don’t deal with the real issue of the interview. Instead, one line is taken out and promoted.  Below is a working transcript of the question about Monsignor Ricca  and the supposed gay lobby in the Vatican which the reporter asked:

The following is taken from the blog Salt and Light

 Question: I would like to ask permission to pose a rather delicate question.  Another image that went around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his personal life.  I would like to know, your Holiness, what will be done about this question.  How should one deal with this question and how does your Holiness wish to deal with the whole question of the gay lobby?

Answer: Regarding the matter of Monsignor Ricca, I did what Canon Law required and did the required investigation.  And from the investigation, we did not find anything corresponding to the accusations against him.  We found none of that.  That is the answer.  But I would like to add one more thing to this: I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this case and also in this case, one  looks for the “sins of youth,” for example, is it not thus?, And then these things are published.  These things are not crimes.  The crimes are something else: child abuse is a crime.  But sins, if a person, or secular priest or a nun, has committed a sin and then that person experienced conversion, the Lord forgives and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives.  When we go to confession and we truly say “I have sinned in this matter,” the Lord forgets and we do not have the right to not forget because we run the risk that the Lord will not forget our sins, eh?  This is a danger.  This is what is important: a theology of sin.  So many times I think of St. Peter: he committed one of the worst sins denying Christ.  And with this sin they made him Pope.  We must think about fact often.

But returning to your question more concretely: in this case [Ricca] I did the required investigation and we found nothing.  That is the first question.  Then you spoke of the gay lobby.  Agh… so much is written about the gay lobby.  I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word gay.  They say there are some gay people here.  I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good.  They are bad.  If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but says, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and “they must be integrated into society.”

The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter.  There is another problem, another one: the problem is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency, a lobby of the greedy people, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies.  This is the most serious problem for me. And thank you so much for doing this question. Thank you very much!