Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fr Shay Cullen to personally accept Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Award next month

It has been confirmed this week that Fr Shay Cullen SSC will make it to Killarney next month to personally accept the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award.

Fr Shay Cullen is a Dublin-born member of the Missionary Society of St Columban and is based in the Philippines. 

He was confirmed as the 2016 recipient of the award last July, ahead of ten other nominees.

Fr Cullen, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three separate occasions, was ordained in 1969 and has served in a number of parishes in the Philippines.

In 1974 he co-founded the Philippines-based Preda Foundation, which now has more than 60 professional staff. The group rescues sexually abused children from prisons, brothels and traffickers, and also provides them with care. 

The Preda Foundation and Fr Shay Cullen had previously been awarded the prestigious Human Rights Award from the City of Weimar, Germany.

Speaking this week, the Chairperson of the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Committee, Jerry O’Grady, said “Fr Shay has given his life to protecting the human rights of oppressed and exploited children, and has fearlessly challenged those who were not prepared to shoulder their responsibilities, including vested interests, local and national government in the Philippines, and the US Government.”

He added that “This is an opportunity for young and old to greet and welcome one of Ireland’s great living heroes and to be inspired by his message, and he is looking forward to visiting our town. We are very excited to have him over to Killarney as are colleagues of his from the Columban Order who reside in the town.”

Named in memory of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, who spent much of his youth in Killarney, the award bids to raise awareness of his remarkable deeds during the Second World War, when he and his colleagues in the Rome Escape Line saved over 6,500 people in Nazi-occupied Rome. 

The prize in conferred upon those who support the same humanitarian ideals and principles as did the Monsignor. The award will be presented to Fr Cullen on Saturday 5 November at 8 pm in the Killarney Avenue Hotel.

Parents angry and dismayed at NI abortion bill

Tracy Harkin with her daughter Kathleen Rose.Parents whose babies were diagnosed with life-limiting conditions have said that the language and concepts underpinning a recent Private Member’s Bill in Northern Ireland seeking abortion in the case of ‘fatal abnormality’ was “fatally flawed” and had been rejected by both parents and the medical profession in Northern Ireland.

“Our babies’ lives were tragically shortened by conditions such as anencephaly and Trisomy 13, but they were our babies and not a ‘fatal abnormality’,” said Every Life Counts spokeswoman, Tracy Harkin. “They have a severe disability but they are alive and kicking at the time the diagnosis is made, and they have the same right to love and care as any other child.”

Ms Harkin was speaking after Northern Ireland’s former Alliance leader, David Ford, submitted a Private Member’s Bill to allow a woman carrying a foetus with what he described as “a fatal abnormality” to legally access abortion in Northern Ireland. 

He said his proposals for legalised abortion were “not about disability” but solely targeted towards unborn babies with “no prospect of life”.

“What David Ford really means when he says ‘no prospect of life’ is that babies with disabilities are unworthy of life; unworthy of love and care. He may think that way, but the people of Northern Ireland don’t think that way,” said Bernadette Smyth from Precious Life.

Every Life Counts pointed out that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has already told Mr Ford that they were unhappy with the phrase ‘fatal foetal abnormality’.

“We recently saw leading obstetrician Prof. Jim Dornan telling David Ford live on The View on BBC Northern Ireland that the RCOG was unhappy with the use of this term, which is absolutely medically meaningless and used to dehumanise babies,” said Ms Harkin.

Prof. Dornan said that the term was “in no medical textbook” and “no doctor knows exactly when a foetus is going to die.”

In the Republic of Ireland, the Health Service Executive has issued new guidelines using the term ‘life-limiting conditions’ because, said Ms Harkin, “the medical literature and the lived experience of doctors and parents point to the fact that this label is utterly misleading and dangerous.”

Ms Harkin’s own baby, Kathleen Rose, has defied medical expectations. Kathleen Rose was born with a life-limiting condition – Trisomy 13. As more than 90% of babies with the condition die within a year, it is often cited as one of the conditions for which abortion should be available. 

Kathleen Rose is almost ten and “bringing us so much joy,” says Ms Harkin. But she says that where a baby’s life is very short after birth, “we know that every minute counts and, for parents, abortion is not a pathway to healing.”

She said it would be inspiring to see David Ford and others “give even a fraction of this time and energy to pushing for perinatal hospice care and really helping families who are told their babies may not live for long after birth.”

See www.everylifecounts.ie

Archbishop Chaput: Be like Mary. Punch the devil in the nose

13th century image of Mary punching devil in the face. Credit: ChurchPop, Public Domain via the British Library.Catholics should look to Mary to be part of a religion that fights for truth, rather than assimilating to the popular culture, said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.  
“If we want to reclaim who we are as a Church, if we want to renew the Catholic imagination, we need to begin, in ourselves and in our local parishes, by unplugging our hearts from the assumptions of a culture that still seems familiar but is no longer really ‘ours,’” Archbishop Chaput said.

“This is why Mary – the young Jewish virgin, the loving mother, and the woman who punches the devil in the nose – was, is, and always will be the great defender of the Church,” he added.

Archbishop Chaput addressed the 2016 Bishops’ Symposium at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday. He spoke on “Remembering Who We Are and the Story We Belong To.”

He began his talk referencing an illustration, reportedly from the Middle Ages, of the Blessed Virgin Mary punching the devil in the nose. “She doesn’t rebuke him. She doesn’t enter into a dialogue with him. She punches the devil in the nose,” he said. 

The illustration is apt, he explained, because, according to the Christian author C.S. Lewis, “Christianity is a ‘fighting religion’ – not in the sense of hatred or violence directed at other persons, but rather in the spiritual struggle against the evil in ourselves and in the world around us, where our weapons are love, justice, courage and self-giving.”

The problem is that many U.S. Catholics have abandoned this “spiritual struggle” and have assimilated too much into the popular culture “that bleaches out strong religious convictions in the name of liberal tolerance and dulls our longings for the supernatural with a river of practical atheism in the form of consumer goods,” he said.

Catholic Politicians have done this by following their own “ambitions and appetites” rather than being loyal to the Church, he noted. Laypersons and members of the clergy have done this through a “silent apostasy” of not standing up for the truth when they need to do so.

“For [Pope] Benedict, laypeople and priests don’t need to publicly renounce their baptism to be apostates.  They simply need to be silent when their Catholic faith demands that they speak out,” he said, “to be cowards when Jesus asks them to have courage; to ‘stand away’ from the truth when they need to work for it and fight for it.”

He also warned against a technocratic worldview that sees all solutions to problems as practical and technical solutions.

A Catholic can easily be swayed to believe that prayer should be set aside for practical solutions to problems, he noted. “Technology gets results. Prayer, not so much – or at least not so immediately and obviously,” he explained. “So our imaginations gradually bend toward the horizontal, and away from the vertical.”

Thus, what develops is a culture where “talking about heaven and hell starts to sound a lot like irrelevant voodoo,” he said.

“The Church of our baptism is salvific. The Church where many Americans really worship, the Church we call our popular culture, is therapeutic,” he said.

Archbishop Chaput exhorted his fellow bishops to challenge the faithful to heroic virtue and not to settle for mediocrity – as Pope Francis so challenged Catholics at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. 

“To reclaim the Church for the Catholic imagination, we should start by renewing in our people a sense that eternity is real, that together we have a mission the world depends on, and that our lives have consequences that transcend time,” he insisted. While engaging the culture, Catholics must keep a healthy distance from it lest they assimilate into it, he added.

Challenging the faithful may drive some away from the Church, he admitted, but leaders must not be afraid to preach the truth in charity, no matter the consequences.

“Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the Church,” he said. “But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter Church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness.”

And, he added, if preaching the truth is distasteful to Catholics who are not living out their faith, that “may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay.”

It is this honesty that is required to preach the truth with love, he insisted, saying “there can be no real charity without honesty.” Examples of a lack of honesty today include when words are misinterpreted or abused – like the term “accompaniment,” he said.

Regarding “accompaniment,” Pope Francis “rightly teaches us the need to meet people where they are, to walk with them patiently, and to befriend them on the road of life,” he said. However, he maintained, others interpret this “accompaniment” wrongly.

“Where the road of life leads does make a difference – especially if it involves accompanying someone over a cliff,” he said.

The present times may be difficult for Christians, the archbishop admitted. “It’s a moment for courage and candor,” he said, “but it’s hardly the first moment of its kind.”

That time a priest was reprimanded by a saint

St. John Paul II, circa 1992. Credit: L'Osservatore Romano.When white smoke poured out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on October 16, 1978, Fr. Eamon Kelly, a seminarian studying in Rome at the time, couldn’t have known that he was witnessing the election of a future saint.
Nor did he know that more than a dozen years after that election, he would be reprimanded by that same future saint, John Paul II, during one of his Wednesday general audiences.

It was Holy Week of 1992, and Fr. Kelly, a priest with the Congregation of the Legion of Christ, was on his annual pilgrimage to Rome.

But this year was different.

His youth group had brought along eight Russian young people, the tension of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War just barely in the rearview mirror of history.

Fr. Kelly had done some strategizing to make sure the Russian youth got a good seat.

“We had our tickets and we went in early, and we did get positions up against the barrier of the corridor,” Fr. Kelly said. “So that was fantastic, we were going to see Pope John Paul II.” 

His German students gave up all of the seats closest to the aisle, so that the Russian young people would get to shake the Pope’s hand as he walked through the Paul VI audience hall.

“I had the kids observe how he did it – he’d shake hands but by that he’d already moved on to talking to the next person, greeting them,” Fr. Kelly recalled.

“So I told them this pope knows Russian, and you need to greet him politely when he’s two or three people away; say some nice greeting in Russian.”

They did, and it worked: sure enough, the Pope’s ears perked up when he heard the Russian greetings. 

As soon as he got to the group, he stopped walking.

“He started talking to them in Russian, and there was a tremendous chemistry going on, and everybody was super excited. Our six rows of kids had assimilated into about two,” Fr. Kelly said.

Eventually the Pope asked, in Russian, how the group was able to make it to Rome. 

All the Russian students turned and pointed at Fr. Kelly.

He was a head taller than most of the students, so Fr. Kelly suddenly found himself in straight eye contact with John Paul II.

“There was so much joy and appreciation and gratitude in his eyes that these kids were there,” Fr. Kelly said.

“But then, his look turned like a storm with a critical question – ‘Why didn’t you tell me before they came?’” the Pope demanded of the priest.

“You know, like I could call up the Pope and tell him we’re coming,” Fr. Kelly recalled with a laugh.

“I tried to give an excuse, I said it was hanging by a thread that it was going to happen, I just fumbled my way through it. What are you going to do when the Pope is asking you for accountability?” Fr. Kelly said. 

In hindsight, Fr. Kelly said he maybe could have called an office in the Vatican to alert them of the Russian students, but he didn’t realize that this visit would be so important for the Pope.

But Russia was dear to St. John Paul II’s heart, as he had played a critical role in the peaceful fall of communism and the Soviet Union. 

 Just a few years prior, he had met for over an hour with President Mikhail Gorbachev, who later said the peaceful dissolution of the USSR would have been impossible without the Roman Pontiff.

Perhaps their meeting in 1989 had also softened Gorbachev’s heart prior to World Youth Day 1991, when the leader allowed some 20,000 Russian youth to attend the event in Poland for the first time ever.

The conciliatory move was the whole reason the Russian students were now meeting John Paul II in Rome.

“He said to me, 'This is the first group of Russians I’ve ever greeted in the audience hall',” Fr. Kelly said.

It’s possible that it may have been the first youth group from Moscow to visit Rome ever, Fr. Kelly said.

“I don’t want to claim that title, because there may have been others, but it’s unlikely that anyone would have been able to come before the start of communism,” he said.

He said the Pope was visibly moved by the Russian students.

“He was happy, he was happy. He said if he would have known that they were there, he would have greeted them formally from the stage.”

And the Russian students?

“They were elated.”

Author disappointed that mainstream media ignored his book contributing to same-sex marriage debate

Dr David van GendTHE Toowoomba-based president of the Australian Marriage Forum, Dr David van Gend, admits he stepped on a roller-coaster promoting his new book on the same-sex marriage debate.

In the last few weeks, a commercial printer refused to print his book, and when an alternative printer was found, his book launch tour to all state capitals was ignored by mainstream media outlets.

In Stealing From A Child – the injustice of marriage equality, Dr van Gend claims “to lay bare the subversive ‘genderless agenda’ that comes with genderless marriage.”

“We were very disappointed by the lack of any intelligent interest by the major media,” Dr van Gend said. 

“They control the cultural high ground and are almost uniformly of a ‘progressive’ mindset and they will give no oxygen to any reasonable person on our side of the debate.”

Ahead of his first book launch in Brisbane, Dr van Gend received email threats that the launch would be disrupted by violence. 

This didn’t happen, and the rest of his book tour ran smoothly, attracting solid attendances, but with little media attention.

His final book launch, in Canberra, coincided with Labor politicians blocking the government’s proposal to hold a people’s vote on the same-sex marriage issue.

“We were prepared for the plebiscite. Now the finishing line has been moved away,” Dr van Gend said.

This would allow advocates for traditional marriage more time, he said, “to win hearts and minds”.

“We have been given precious time to help more Australians understand the subversive nature of this proposal and the disturbing package deal of genderless consequences that comes with genderless marriage,” he said.

Stealing From A Child sets out the deeper consequences if same-sex marriage became law. 
He describes it as “a package deal of harms”.

“In particular genderless education like ‘Safe Schools’, genderless bathroom laws to let cross-dressing males  use girls bathrooms,  genderless birth certificates – so there is no mother or father there is just parent one and parent two – and even changing husband and wife into partner A and B so as not to cause trouble for genderless couples,” Dr van Gend said.

“Those are some examples of the radical redefining of marriage, parenting and family for every single one of us.”

Dr van Gend said he was impressed by the calibre of people attending his book launches, many of whom, bought bulk copies to distribute in their churches. 

“Their attentiveness their determination to understand this great question and share this understanding with friends was very heartening,” he said.

Dr van Gend will continue promoting his book and hopes to visit regional cities. 

He said he is not concerned by the lack of mainstream media attention.

“They’re playing politics,” he said. “I know that a book like this comes under the parable of the sower. I have gathered the best seed in this book. We are now broadcasting it, we are sowing it as far as we can. And I know there is a lot of good soil out there and that the seed will bear good fruit  – but just how much fruit is not up to me it is between God and the soil.”

Stealing From A Child is available from Connor Court Publishing.

Irish community to remember dead members next month

Irish Remembrance MassesTWO Irish citizens who died tragically in Queensland this year will be among the holy souls remembered by Irish Catholics in the state next month.

The Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland lends a helping hand to Irish expats in distress.

Oftentimes the Brisbane-based charity steps forward to assist families who hear the tragic news that their loved ones have died in Queensland.

IASAQ secretary Joe Thompson said the charity has often assisted in organising funerals on the family’s behalf and taking the deceased body back to Ireland.

“Sometimes it’s too often,” Mr Thompson said.

This year alone the association has supported the grieving family of two Irish citizens, including a young man who died in an accident travelling back home to Brisbane from New South Wales.

During November, the month dedicated to the Holy Souls in the Church, the charity looks to the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist for extra support.

Three Irish Remembrance Masses will be held across Brisbane and the Gold Coast to pray for the “peaceful report of deceased relatives and friends”. 

“Everywhere I suppose in the Church it’s an important month but it was very much so in Ireland as well,” Mr Thompson said.

“It was an important month for people to remember their deceased relatives and friends. 
“We have been organising this remembrance Mass now for Irish Australian people to come along and pray for their deceased relatives and friends.”

Mr Thompson said the Masses, which will be held at St James’ Church, Coorparoo on November 6, and Guardian Angels Church, Southport, on November 13, were open to all people.

In 2018 the Irish charity will celebrate 10 years of service to Irish and Irish-Australians.

“Our purpose is to be there for any Irish people, Irish Australian people in any time of need or distress and that could be young irish people, recently arrived backpackers, or people who are going to home residence, elderly people,” Mr Thompson said.

Earlier this year the charity was enlisted by the Irish Embassy to find the grave of an Irishman who fought in the famous Easter Rising in 1916.

Their mission led them to an unmarked grave at Nudgee cemetery.

The charity is now “a few dollars short” of purchasing a headstone and a monument to honour Mr William Ryan for risking his life for his country.

Evangelization in Modern Ireland - Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan

Editor's note: This paper was delivered at the Maynooth Evangelium Conference on July 10, 2016 and is reprinted here by kind permission of His Excellency, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan.

The purpose of the Evangelium Conference is “To spread the richness of the Catholic faith in the modern world.” 

I hope that this talk will be in keeping with that purpose. Just to mention at the outset that the Lord has been very good to us all in the past few days. 

This weekend there are several wonderful faith events taking place: the Focolare Mariapolis in Dungarvan with around 250 participants, the Youth 2000 summer retreat in Roscrea with something around 800, the Knockadoon Faith Camp in Co. Cork run by the Dominicans, eight men were ordained for the Dominican Order yesterday, and now here in Maynooth the Evangelium Conference. 

These are all examples of the green shoots of faith which the Spirit is making grow. They are all examples of the New Evangelization called for many years ago by Pope St. John Paul. 

What is the New Evangelization?
Primary evangelization is the proclaiming of the Gospel to those who have never heard it. Now in countries which have lost their fervour for the faith a New Evangelization is needed. Pope St. John Paul used the expression “New Evangelization” for the first time in June 1979 during his first visit as Pope to his native land. He was speaking in Nova Huta – a district of Krakow which had been built by the Communists who deliberately excluded any religious element to this new development. No church was allowed to be built. There was no need of God. 

In 1983 in Port au Prince in Haiti JP II called for a New Evangelization of the Americas. He called for this to begin in 1992. Why 1992? Because the first evangelization of the Americas took place after the discovery of America in 1492. Five centuries earlier the great Catholic countries were Spain, France and Italy.  

Now the great Catholic countries are Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and one can even say the United States. In terms of the faith Europe has become tired in many places. What is needed is a New Evangelization. We need a New Evangelization here in Ireland. Irish society in many ways is falling apart. I am not going to go through the list of woes, I think we are well acquainted with them. 

This is one example of our ailing culture: I heard from the father of a seventeen year old secondary school girl studying in Ireland that she had to choose her friends carefully because of all the girls in her year only five were not either: “sleeping around, drinking, doing drugs or cutting themselves”. 

The number of people in Ireland who have undergone divorce or separation has shown massive growth since 1986. It has increased six fold in that time. It has increased by 47,332 since Census 2006 alone. 

The rate of suicide in Ireland hit its peak in 2001 at 13.5 suicides per 100,000 people and by 2004 – a “Celtic Tiger” year in which economic growth was running at 4.6 per cent – the rate still remained at 12.2. That 2004 rate of 12.2 per 100,000 has never been exceeded since. The rates began to drop in 2005 and even though some of those gains were lost during the recession, making a clear cut link between the state of the economy and suicide is nowhere near as simple as people sometimes think. There is an equally compelling argument to be made that the problem of suicide in Ireland was at its worst in the period between 2000 and 2004, during the height of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger (see RTE News website). 

We are all painfully aware of the scourge of illicit drugs. Just a short while ago we had the tragedy of the death of a young man who died after consuming drugs at a party where several people were out of their minds, with one man trying to eat the pavement … the list goes on. 

What do we do?
One of the best things that you could do to help your faith and the faith of those around you is to read up on Church history. I am reading at the moment a book on the life of St. Alphonsus Liguori. It is a fairly typical story of the founding of any new initiative in the Church. And the only conclusion one can arrive at on reading it is: if the Holy Spirit were not behind it, it would never have survived. 

St. Alphonsus had to battle against the opposition of good people, intrigue, calumnies, the desertion of close friends and members, misunderstandings, the efforts by some to control the beginnings of the order,  jealousies,  lack of funds, the enormity of the workload, etc. If it were not of God the new Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer more commonly known as the Redemptorists would have crumbled after a year or two. 

If the Church were not of God it would have ended at 3pm on the day we call Good Friday over 2000 years ago. We are involved in a Church which is God’s. We must never forget that. We also must accept that in Ireland at the moment faithful Catholics are in the minority. We can point to recent referenda to prove our case. I think we all know this anyway. What do we do? One very helpful approach to this question is the approach of Pope Benedict XVI and his idea of the “creative minority”. 

Creative minority
The term “creative minority” came into the public square via Pope Benedict XVI in an interview he gave on a flight from Rome to Prague in 2009. A journalist on board asked: “The Catholic Church is a minority. In this situation, how can the Church effectively contribute to the common good of the country?” To which Pope Benedict replied: “I would say that normally it is the creative minorities that determine the future, and in this sense the Catholic Church must understand itself as a creative minority that has a heritage of values that are not things of the past, but a very living and relevant reality. The Church must actualize, be present in the public debate, in our struggle for a true concept of liberty and peace.”
The phrase, which Benedict has used for several years, comes from English historian Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975). Toynbee’s thesis was that civilizations primarily collapsed because of internal decline rather than external assault. “Civilizations,” Toynbee wrote, “die from suicide, not by murder.” The “creative minorities,” Toynbee held, are those who proactively respond to a civilizational crisis, and whose response allows that civilization to grow.  

For the Church this has always been the case. The group around the cross was a very tiny minority.  The twelve apostles sent out by the Lord and the seventy-two disciples chosen by him were again, minorities who made all the difference. 

Another example was the Catholic Church’s reaction to the Roman Empire’s collapse in the West in the 5th Century A.D. The Church responded by preserving the wisdom and law of Athens, Rome and Jerusalem, while integrating the invading German tribes into a universal religious community. Western civilization was in that way saved and enriched. Irish monks played a significant role in this. 

In the lives of so many of the saints we see how they battled against the majority, sometimes from within their own orders or dioceses to bring about renewal: Sts. Bernard, Benedict, Francis of Assisi, Simon Stock, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, the Cure of Ars, Francis de Sales, Josemaria Escriva, etc. 

This is Benedict’s vision of the Catholic Church’s role in contemporary Europe. In fact, it’s probably the only viable strategy. One false alternative would be for the Church to ghettoize itself. This is not the kind of attitude Pope Benedict was talking about when he used the term “creative minority”. He is not talking about “circling the wagons”, about cutting oneself off from the world and surrounding oneself with like-minded people. It means instead engaging with the world. 

Benedict’s creative minority strategy recognizes, first, that to be an active Catholic in Europe is now a choice rather than a matter of social conformity. This means practicing European Catholics in the future will be active believers because they have chosen and want to live the Church’s teaching. 

Secondly, the creative minority approach isn’t just for Catholics. It attracts non-Catholics equally convinced that modern society has fundamental problems that cannot be solved by government spending. Creative minorities will play the essential role in restoring a Christian soul to Europe, and in defending Christian values against secularism and relativism. 

Lastly, creative minorities have the power to resonate across time. It’s no coincidence that during his English journey Benedict delivered a major address in Westminster Hall, the site of Sir Thomas More’s show-trial in 1535. When Thomas More stood almost alone against Henry VIII’s brutal demolition of the Church’s liberty in England, many dismissed his resistance as a forlorn gesture. 

More, however, turned out to be a one-man creative minority. Five hundred years later, More is regarded by many Catholics and non-Catholics alike as a model for politicians. By contrast, no-one remembers those English bishops who, with the heroic exception of Bishop John Fisher, bowed down before the tyrant-king (see Rev. Pat Gorevan, ‘Creative minorities’ Position Papers, Dec. 2015). 

So what does the creative minority have to offer to people?
What we have to offer is to tell the world that there is only “One Thing Necessary”: God. God the Son tells the world its true story: that we are created by God, to live as children of the Father, but that we sin because we suffer from that original fault of Adam and Eve, that wound in our human nature which is prone to selfishness and sin, but that Jesus has taken our faults on himself and that through his death and Resurrection we have the promise of redemption and the grace to live a new kind of life and gain eternal life, back to the paradise from which we were exiled. This is what we have to tell the world – that life has meaning, ultimate meaning.  

We can tell the world that the way to happiness is self-forgetful love and the way to unhappiness is self-regard, self-worry, and the self-centred search for personal happiness. Our happiness comes to us only when we do not seek for it. It comes to us when we seek the happiness of others instead. 

We offer the world sanctity instead of spirituality.  

The creative minority’s task is the rebuilding of Christian culture. This is what the saints did time and again during history. As Alasdair MacIntyre explains in his concluding reflections in After Virtue: 

What they (the reformer saints) set themselves to achieve – often not recognizing fully what they were doing – was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. And now, MacIntyre concludes: “We are waiting not for a God, but for another – doubtless very different – St. Benedict.” 

What is the Church for?
In the words of Evangelii Nuntiandi, the favourite encyclical of Pope Francis: “The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 15). And in the words of the same document:
As the kernel and centre of His Good News, Christ proclaims salvation, this great gift of God which is liberation from everything that oppresses man but which is above all liberation from sin and the Evil One, in the joy of knowing God and being known by Him, of seeing Him, and of being given over to Him. All of this is begun during the life of Christ and definitively accomplished by His death and resurrection. But it must be patiently carried on during the course of history, in order to be realized fully on the day of the final coming of Christ, whose date is known to no one except the Father (Evangelii Nuntiandi 9).
We need saints who know they are sinners, not sinners who think they are saints. Oftentimes we are tempted to offer grace on the cheap. Dietrich Bonhoffer speaks eloquently about costly grace and contrasts it with cheap grace: 
“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheap jacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! ….
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the Gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life….”
We have to give God everything. T S Eliot described Christianity as “a condition of complete simplicity costing nothing less not everything”. The creative minority is the way in which God has throughout history brought about reform. He depends on the few. That has always been the way change occurred in the Church. 

Blessed John Henry Newman in ‘Witnesses to the Resurrection’ asked himself why did God use a few souls to begin and continue the work of the Church, and he answered in this way: 
“I have already suggested, what is too obvious almost to insist upon, that in making a select few the ministers of His mercy to mankind at large, our Lord was but acting according to the general course of His providence. It is plain every great change is effected by the few, not by the many; by the resolute, undaunted, zealous few.” 

What are the weapons Christ has given us? The same for Francis and Ignatius, and Columbanus, and Teresa: prayer, the Gospel the sacraments, the scriptures, and fasting and twenty-four hours each day to love God and our neighbour with all our minds and all our hearts and all our souls. 

We have to be saints. And we have to know that there will be challenge and fierce challenge at times. As Pope Francis famously said the Church is like a field hospital.  That is a military term. We are involved in a war. Christ’s followers will get bruised and battered. There will be opposition even hatred, we will meet the cross; Calvary was a messy place. And we remind ourselves that God is in charge. He is the One who gives us strength and hope. And we must realize this fully. With Christ we can stand undaunted. After all Christ has overcome the world. Therefore the creative minority can stand unintimidated.  

St. Paul writes in Romans 8: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And that is the most key thing of all: our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

We are called to bring Christ to others – to be apostles. If we are not apostolic we do not know Christ. Apostolate is the overflow of the interior life. One naturally follows the other.  And I do not have to save the whole world. I start where God has put me, with God’s grace changing hearts, one by one.  

In an interview once Pope Francis was asked what the Pope does all day to which he answered that he discerns. The answer of a Jesuit! But a revealing one from which we can learn so much. May we discern what God wants of us today and may God give us the courage to follow it.

South Korea: Ultra-Right Catholic Group Accused At Church Tribunal

Image result for Daegu ArchdioceseA controversial ultra-right Catholic group in South Korea was accused of “anti-church” activities at a church tribunal on Oct.14.

Father Park Joo-hwan accused Vincent Seo Suk-koo, representative of the so-called Catholic Association to Protect Korea, at the Daegu Archdiocesan tribunal of harming the church.

Seo is “damaging the church” by aiding and abetting the non-faithful activities of members of the group, said Father Park.

“At first I thought it was a sound group with constructive opinions but it is shaking the foundations of the church,” he said.

Father Park argued that members of the group wrote stories leading people to believe that Korean bishops are followers of North Korea’s Kim regime and aid its spies.

Recently, members of the group held a rally in front of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea building in Seoul, accusing bishops of being North Korean sympathizers.

According to Canon Law, a person who publicly incites animosity or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.

It also rules against those who impede the freedom of the ministry or intimidate church officials.

The tribunal has yet to hand down its findings on the matter.