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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CISTERCIANS / Austria: A hot spot for spirituality

A hot spot for spirituality
by John Gottfried
posted Thursday, 24 Mar 2016

Hundreds of young people attend the regular 
Youth Vigils at the monastery

A Viennese monastery famous for its chart-topping chant album is also breaking records for vocations. What is the secret of its success?

Deep in the woods outside Vienna there is a monastery, Stift Heiligenkreuz, which draws more than 100,000 tourists a year. They come on day trips to visit one of the most beautiful medieval monasteries in the world. They see the Romanesque abbey church and the 13th-century cloister, enjoy lunch at the restaurant and perhaps buy some monastery wine in the small shop.

But Heiligenkreuz is more than a popular attraction. It is living and growing. This one monastery ordains more priests than some archdioceses, although it is perhaps only known in Britain for the million-selling record Chant, which topped the charts in 2008. The oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monastery in the world, founded in 1133, is now thriving. There are currently more than 90 monks – 30 years ago it was half that – with an average age of under
50. Vocations are booming.

Last year Heiligenkreuz clothed another eight novices, and candidates come from all over the world, including recently from England.

Fourteen monks currently teach at the faculty of theological studies, sited in the monastery’s new campus. With some 300 students, this is now the largest Catholic study centre in the German-speaking world. It is part theological academy, part seminary, teaching not only members of its community but also laity (both men and women), and 160 future diocesan priests and Religious from throughout Europe and the developing world.

Heiligenkreuz is part of the original Cistercian order, rather than the later reformed Trappist tradition, and so perhaps closest in feel to English Benedictine houses such as Ampleforth, Downside and Worth. The monastery has active responsibilities not only in teaching but also parochial life. It administers more than a dozen parishes, two large priories (one, founded in 1988, in the Ruhr) as well as a fledging house in Sri Lanka.

During the regular Youth Vigil at the monastery, hundreds of young people attend an evening of prayer, with talks, Confession and then Adoration. They come from all over the country – some frequent visitors, some new to the community and attracted by word of mouth or the many fans on Facebook – and stay in sleeping bags or hitch a lift home.

What are the roots of this success? Recent history shows that Heiligenkreuz has been doing well for some time – “not because of our CD”, says Fr Karl Wallner, rector of the college and spokesman for the monastery. “Rather, we did the CD because we were already a strong and youthful community, encouraged by the visit from the Pope.” (Benedict XVI came to Heiligenkreuz as part of an official visit to Austria in September 2007.)

“We do God’s work in normal ways everyone can relate to, without being biased to one temporary tendency or another,”

Fr Karl Wallner says. “Our former abbot [Gerhard Hradil, at 87 now the oldest member of the community] says keeping the Rule of St Benedict and the Ten Commandments is enough for anyone. So we are pretty normal, not ‘traditionalist’ or any other ‘ist’. We are just Catholic, living for God, though we wear funny clothes.”

Sebastian Cody, a British media consultant who has been visiting Heiligenkreuz for decades, says the reforms of the 1960s were a turning point. “I was privileged, as a very young man, to meet the late Abbot Karl Braunsdorfer. He was a Council Father who, when he returned to the monastery in the mid-1960s, had the responsibility to institute reform. And what he set – after no doubt deep soul-searching, faced with the many temptations of that era – sowed the seeds for the later flourishing, although at the time of his death in 1978 he might not have seen all the fruits.”

Braunsdorfer, whose Cause was opened by Cardinal Schönborn in 2008, worked for a revival of the monastic spirit. The liturgy was reformed along the lines laid out by the Second Vatican Council. A new Latin edition of the monastic breviary was made especially for Heiligenkreuz, and Gregorian chant was again given pride of place. The habit was retained. Any visitor will be struck by the dignified liturgy that is at the heart of life in Heiligenkreuz. Monks pray in Latin and the vernacular, three-and-a-half hours together every day, beginning at 5.15am.

At the same time the community gives off a powerful sense of being a vast complex of dynamic enterprise. “Everyone is living the Rule at an intense level, busy yet with a contemplative centre,” says Annabel Cole, a writer from London who first visited in the late 1990s. “When you pray in the abbey it can seem as if time has stood still. Yet the monks going about their day are modern, industrious men.”

One of the monks, Fr Johannes Paul Chavanne, says: “Prayer is the most important part of our daily life. We are, so to speak, professional pray-ers. We are also people of the 21st century. We use computers, mobile phones. We take part in what happens in the world. After all, we have to know what to pray for.”

The community is of a size to accommodate many forms of vocation, from helping tackle the migrant crisis in central Europe to venerating the True Cross (Leopold V donated a large relic to Heiligenkreuz, which means “Holy Cross”, in 1188). Academic research at all levels is a tradition, as is bookbinding and fine art. The Venetian sculptor Giovanni Giuliani was deeply connected to the monastery in the 18th century. The community recently welcomed a late vocation from a leading sculptor from the former East Germany, whose works in stained glass and bronze adorn the new campus.

Two American monks produce English-language blogs, sancrucensis. and, and the community has a popular YouTube channel, The Monastic Channel, with many short videos in English. There is even a documentary about the Chant project – Top Ten Monks, made by HBO, the American television network famous for The Sopranos and Game of Thrones.

The monks are still in the recording business, last year issuing an inter-denominational album with Deutsche Grammophon, Chant For Peace, which brings together Jewish and Christian settings of the psalms.

The Benedictine tradition of hospitality is important at Heligenkreuz. For those just seeking silence and an encounter with God there are simple rooms in the guest house, whereas men with a serious interest in the monastic life can stay for some days of “monastic experience”.

For the most energetic, Fr Wallner organises regular “sport weeks”: extensive workouts in the impressive gym which are simultaneously cloistered retreats.

“They find us interesting, cool, exotic,” Fr Wallner says of the monastery’s visitors. “When they see us praying in long robes, singing in Latin – the modern world as they know it, it’s boring for them by comparison.

“People should see that the Church is not dying, but that Christian faith is living. We are a hot spot for spirituality. For many people outside we really are a sign of hope. I think we have to accept that in the deserts of our civilisation Heiligenkreuz is seen as an oasis of strength.”

From 1938 to 1945 the abbey’s existence was threatened and many of the monks were imprisoned. Now Heiligenkreuz is the largest Cistercian monastery in Europe. That’s reason enough to be joyful and hopeful for both monasticism and the new evangelisation in the modern world.

This article first appeared in the March 25 2016 issue of The Catholic Herald. To download the entire issue for free with our new app, go here

VOCATION: The much-loved Sister who showed me that being a nun is a wonderful vocation

The much-loved Sister who showed me that being a nun is a wonderful vocation
by Francis Phillips
posted Thursday, 24 Mar 2016

Visiting nuns venerate the relics of 
St Thérèse of Lisieux at Westminster Cathedral (PA)

She never had any children, but as a dormitory mistress she lavished her maternal gifts on us

In Europe and the UK the vocation to become a nun is very uncommon today, especially among the teaching orders. My old school, once a convent boarding school, is typical of many others: although it is still a Catholic girls’ school it is now completely under lay management and staff and the boarding element has long gone, along with the nuns. The beautiful chapel, designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott, where Mass was once celebrated every morning at 7.30 sharp, is now only used on special feast days.

I mention this as I returned there on Tuesday for the funeral and burial of a much-loved former dormitory mistress and Sister. Listening to her life story as it was described by a fellow nun at the start of Mass and also in the homily, I was reminded what a wonderful vocation it is to be a nun – the very opposite of the unnatural and suppressed life of the emotions that a modern secular society might consider it.

In my thoughts I contrasted this dearly loved Sister, born in County Galway in 1919 from a family of ten children and who made her first profession in 1940 during the War, with the life of Anita Brookner whom I blogged about last week. Dr Brookner, who was unmarried, mourned the fact that she never had children; it was a source of grief in her life that no amount of success in novel-writing could mitigate.

The Sister whose memory we celebrated on Tuesday also never had children of her own, for obvious reasons. But she was still a wonderful “mother”. Once asked by one of the girls if she regretted not having children, she smiled and answered with her characteristic robustness, “But you girls are my children!” And we were. All her great maternal gifts were lavished on the generations of girls who passed through the school during her 70 years there. She could be strict and she could be firm; she wouldn’t tolerate nonsense or unkind behaviour; but we all knew she loved us. That was why the chapel was full on Tuesday and why so many former pupils were in tears. We were mourning a true spiritual mother.

The homilist, the abbot from the local monastery, reminded us that true holiness is about being fully human: “The glory of God is a human being fully alive”. His own memories of Sister, he said, were bound up with “manure” – as she had often begged the abbey for manure for her rose garden. She had also “always liked a tipple”. As well as being a skilled gardener, seamstress and cook, Sister’s life as I have said, was bound up with her girls. In extreme old age and living in a care home run by fellow nuns, her most frequent question was, “How are the children?”

The Rosary was her favourite prayer and her beads were broken through much use. Love for the Sacred Heart – she had a small statue by her bed – was her favourite devotion. Changes in the Church after Vatican II brought their own sorrows; Sister was sad at the dearth of vocations and the closure of the boarding school, when there were no members of the Community left to supervise the girls at night and at weekends. She was also the only nun to keep on wearing the old black habit with its starched white wimple, when the rest of the community chose to wear a modernised form of religious dress.

She was aware of the waning of the Faith. But it didn’t affect her own fidelity to her vows in the slightest. As a young Irish girl from the country she had given her life to God and she never looked back once she had put her shoulder to the plough. As we laid her in the nuns’ graveyard in the grounds of the school which she had loved and served so well, I thought what a full and happy life she had led, albeit hidden, humble and hard-working. May she rest in peace.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Brazil's 'Surfer Angel': Guido Schaffer Beatification :)

Beatification cause for Brazil's 'Surfer Angel'

Guido Schaffer, a Brazilian seminarian who drowned while 
surfing in 2009 and whose cause for beatification 
has been opened. Photo courtesty of

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nov 12, 2014 / 01:24 pm (CNA).- 
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the cause of beatification of Guido Schaffer, who was a Brazilian seminarian known as the “Anjo Surfista,” or “Surfer Angel.”

The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro will now establish a tribunal to handle the cause. The archdiocese requested approval of the cause in May by sending the Vatican numerous documents on the life of Schaffer “to show that he lived in accord with the teachings of the Church.”

Schaffer died of drowning in May of 2009, at the age of 34, while surfing at Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro. His untimely death came just weeks before he was to be ordained to the priesthood.

Formation directors and seminarians at St. Joseph Seminary in Rio, where he studied theology, remember Schaffer with great fondness.

“He was very sensitive toward others and was a man of great faith and was passionate for the word of God," said Father Roberto Lopes, episcopal vicar for the causes of saints in the archdicoese, last May.

"On the day of his burial, the Church of Our Lady of Copacabana was filled with bishops, priests and many believers who saw him a young man who was different and deeply loved God," he added.

Schaffer left a major impact on the poor due to his work with the native tribes of Brazil alongside the Missionaries of Charity.

The late seminarian was the son of physicians, and had expressed interest in serving in the medical field after his ordination to the priesthood.

“He was the son of physicians, he was well-off economically but he was not attached to material things,” Father Lopes said.

“He worked at the Holy Home of Mercy and wanted to live there once he was ordained a priest.”

Father Lopes said Schaffer’s life “inspires more and more young people to follow the way of holiness while continuing to do everything that young people do.”

He recalled that during World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, many young people visited an expo on Schaffer’s life.

"The number of people who visited the expo was amazing and still today there are many who seeking information and attribute graces received to his intercession.” Fr. Lopes concluded.

Tags: Sports, Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, Guido Schaffer, Surfing

Friday, March 11, 2016

St Theodore Tyro (the Recruit) - Martyr / 17 February memorial :)


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Catholic Monk created APPLE's FONTS :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Secular Totalitarianism in Canada - Part III

Totalitarianism in Alberta - Part III
Written by Bishop Frederick Henry on Tuesday, 01 March 2016

A sure sign that spring is near, according to Parks Canada, is the sight of the first grizzly bear of the season coming out of winter hibernation.

As this natural process unfolds, it is an apt time to review the recommended bear safety tips for people visiting mountain parks: ensure pets are on a leash while out walking; travel in groups and make noise; and have bear spray within reach and know how to use it. The number one safety tip is "Knowing how to reduce an encounter before it happens as that is good for people and good for bears."

This latter safety tip would also make good sense in politics. Probably, the worst thing you could do would be to poke and prod a hibernating bear, or the majority of the population, especially parents and educators, with a stick.

Alas, the Guidelines for Best Practice re Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions from the Ministry of Education do precisely that.

The stick or underlying principle is "Self-identification is the sole measure of an individual's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."

This is simply not congruent with Catholic teaching on human sexuality. Gender identity is determined at conception, genetically, anatomically and chromosomally.

The Ministry's underlying principle leads to a subset of so-called "best practices," for example:

"No student or family should be referred to programs which purport to 'fix,'change' or 'repair' a student's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression." p5

"Some individuals may not feel included in the use of the pronouns "he" or "she" and may prefer alternate pronouns, such as "ze," "zir," "hir," "they" or "them," or might wish to express themselves or self-identify in other ways (e.g., MX. instead or Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss, or no prefix at all)." p5

"School forms, websites, letters, and other communications use non-gendered and inclusive language (e.g., parents/guardians, caregivers, families, partners, "student" or "their" instead of Mr., Ms., Mrs., mother, father, him, her, etc.)." p4

"If a human sexuality class is organized by gender, students are able to choose which class they participate in." p8

"Students with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions have a right to accommodation when it comes to the use of washroom and change room facilities that are congruent with their gender identity. This applies during school time and school-related activities on and off school property (such as field trips and athletic events)." p9

If your premise is incorrect, in all likelihood, your conclusions will also be invalid.

It doesn't help when the Ministry double-downs with comments such as "But that protection (religious) has never allowed faith-based edicts to compromise the letter of the law."

The Guidelines do not have the force of law. They are suggestions, and not very good ones either.

A much more interesting and relevant question is what should be done if a law is seriously and fundamentally flawed? For example, Bill 10, in effect, empowers a 12 year old (theoretically), whom society doesn't consider mature enough to get a driver's licence or to vote, to establish education policy without parental involvement, the elected trustees approval and even contrary to the experienced direction of a master teacher or principal. That's simply absurd and it would be immoral to follow such legislation.

Furthermore, all Canadians, including the Ministry of Education, must also be in compliance with the law which goes well beyond Bill 1 0. The doctrine that Catholic schools are entitled to permeate Catholicity, Catholic teaching and Catholic dogma in all aspects of its curriculum has been specifically recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in Hirsch (1926), Greater Hull (1984), Greater Montreal (1989), Mahe (1990), and Loyola (2015).

However, this is not just a Catholic issue but a parental issue. The government is engaged in social re-engineering, imposing an ideology and indoctrinating children without parental consultation, input and support.

In conclusion, I would offer this advice to the Minister of Education:

If you encounter a bear on the trail, or in your campsite, stop what you are doing and evaluate the situation. Identify yourself by speaking in a calm, appeasing tone. Back away slowly, preferably in the direction you came. Walk, don't run, and keep your eye on the bear so you can see how it will react. In most cases, the bear will flee - unless it perceives that its cubs are at risk. In that case, .... pray!

- See more at:

Secular Totalitarianism in Canada - Part II

Totalitarianism in Alberta - Part II
In my recent Pastoral Letter, I wrote that the Alberta Government Gender Guidelines issued on January 13 show no evidence of consultation with, or sensitivity to, the Catholic community. They breathe pure secularism. This approach and directive smack of the madness of relativism and the forceful imposition of a particular narrow-minded anti-Catholic ideology.

If you are reading this piece in the hopes of discovering an apology and/or a retraction, you might as well stop reading right now. That's simply not going to happen.

I have received considerable support for what I said and the way in which I said it. Nevertheless, there were a few "nay-sayers" ­ some have called for my resignation, others have resorted to unpublishable name calling, and of course, there were several references to the famous catch-all these days, "Who are you to judge?" The later suggesting that I was espousing a teaching contrary to the openness of Pope Francis.

In point of fact, Pope Francis has said quite a bit about gender. "The acceptance of our bodies as God's gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the ­Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one's own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it" [Laudato Si 155].

Furthermore, in Sacred Scripture there are different but interrelated sets of texts about judgment. Without attempting to be exhaustive, there are at least three that are especially noteworthy:

1) Warnings about judgment: "Stop judging that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged...." This is not an injunction against judgment, but a warning that the judgment should be rendered with a good heart free from hypocrisy, arrogance, meanness of spirit, or hate. Consequently, "remove the beam from your own eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." The principal purpose of a judgment is to help a brother or sister avoid debilitating actions and improve. The awesome burden of judging is the realization that we will be "judged as we have judged." Some cite the incident of the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus by those who would stone her as evidence that we should not judge others. Nothing could be further from the truth. The incident manifests God's mercy and loathing of hypocrisy, but he did judge her behavior as evidenced by his admonition: "Go and sin no more."

2) Instances of judgment abound: ­Peter to Simon the magician "...for your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness of yours... for I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the chain of wickedness" [Acts 8: 20-23]. Paul to Elymas, "you son of the devil, you enemy of all that is right, full of every sort of deceit and fraud. Will you not stop twisting the straight paths of the Lord?" [Acts 13:9-10]; and Paul to Peter, "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he clearly was wrong" [Gal 2:11].

3) Cautions particularly to overseers or leaders about judgments: "Thus says the Lord: you, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me if I tell the wicked, 'oh, wicked one, you shall surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked one from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself" [Ezekiel 33: 7-9].
Paul's advice to Timothy is difficult for some of us: "Avoid foolish and ignorant debates, for you know that they breed quarrels. A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil's snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will" [2 Tim 2: 23-26].

Only God can judge the state of the human soul but it is pure nonsense to suggest we cannot and should not judge human behaviour. Reluctance to judge moral behaviour is the inevitable consequence of moral relativism and moral subjectivism that has eroded confidence in the ability to determine objective moral truth on which sound judgment is based.

The last word on this subject belongs to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: "How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves ­ thrown from one extreme to the other.... Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error [cf Ephesians 4, 14].

Having a clear Faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labelled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching,' looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires. However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an 'Adult' means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties.

A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth" [Way of the Cross in 2005 for Good Friday].

✠ F. B. Henry
Bishop of Calgary

- See more at:

Secular Totalitarianism in Canada - Part I

Totalitarianism in Alberta

Written by Bishop Henry on Wednesday, 13 January 2016

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

It saddens me to say but totalitarianism is alive and well in Alberta

Prior to becoming Pope, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio on May 25, 2012 gave a "Te Deum" homily commemorating the establishment of Argentina's first national government following the revolution of 1810. The major thrust of his homily was that only the commandment of love, in all of its simplicity - steady, unassuming, but firm in conviction and in commitment to others - can save us. We need to re-root ourselves in a sovereign love that is simple and deep, to love God above all else and our neighbour as ourselves.

Two forms of deception impede the realization of any plan as a nation, i.e., the madness of relativism and the madness of power as a monolithic ideology.

"Relativism, under the guise of respect for differences, is homogenized into transgression and demagoguery; it allows anything, because it wishes to avoid being burdened by all the inconveniences required of a mature courage to uphold values and principles. Relativism, is curiously, absolutist and totalitarian. Relativism does not allow for any differing opinion. In no way does it differ from an attitude of "shut up" or "don't get involved."'

Power as a monolithic ideology is another lie which accentuates narrow-mindedness and seeks dominance over others. Consequently, social trust, the root and fruit of love is eroded.

On November 5, 2015, David Eggen, the Minister of Education issued an edict to Boards Chairs of Public, Separate, Francophone and Charter School Boards re learning environments that respect diversity and foster a sense of belonging. Board policies are to be shared with him, together with the required regulations or procedures by March 31, 2016.

"It is important to specifically address the board's responsibility as it relates to the LBTQ community.... As part of my review, I will also be looking for evidence of policy and regulations or procedures related specifically to Section 16.1 of the School Act and the support for the establishment of gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and queer-straight alliances (QSAs)..."

The Alberta Government "Guidelines" issued on January 13th show no evidence of consultation with or sensitivity to the Catholic community. They breathe pure secularism.

This approach and directive smack of the madness of relativism and the forceful imposition of a particular narrow-minded anti-Catholic ideology. Such a totalitarian approach is not in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada opinion (Loyola) delivered on March19, 2015 and must be rejected.

Catholic schools share a foundational belief that all children are loved by God, are individually unique and that the school has a mission to help each student to fulfill their God-given potential in all aspects of their persons: physically, academically, socially, morally and spiritually.

Our Catholic schools are committed to supporting inclusive communities that teach care and compassion for every person, regardless of age, race, sex, gender or sexual orientation, and require that every person be treated with dignity and respect.

Our teaching is rather simple and direct. God created beings as male and female. In doing so, he gave equal dignity to both man and woman. In his plan, men and women should respect and accept their sexual identity. God created both the body and sex as good. Hence, we do not approach sexuality with fear or with hostility to the flesh. It is a gift of God by which men and women participate in his saving plan and respond to his call to grow in holiness.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that sexuality involves the whole person. "Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude of forming bonds of communion with others" (CCC, no.2332).

All persons - married, single, religious and ordained - need to acquire the virtue of chastity. "Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus, the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being."(CCC, no.2337).

Chastity unites our sexuality with our entire human nature. It approaches sexuality as related to our spiritual natures so that sex is seen as more than a physical act. Sexuality affects the whole person because of the unity of body and soul. Jesus is the model of chastity.

"Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom"(CCC, no.2339). The acquisition of chastity depends on self-discipline and leads to internal freedom, which enables human beings to temper sexual desires according to God's plan for the appropriate expression of love in the marital relationship of a man and a woman..

GSAs and QSAs are highly politicized ideological clubs which seek to cure society of "homophobia" and "heterosexism," and which accept the idea that all forms of consensual sexual expression are legitimate. The view of sexuality that they espouse is not Catholic.

The Supreme Court held that "to tell a Catholic school how to explain its faith undermines the liberty of the members of its community who have chosen to give effect to the collective dimension of their religious beliefs by participating in a denominational school"(para.62), "ìt amounts to requiring a Catholic institution to speak about Catholicism in terms defined by the state rather than by its own understanding of Catholicism" (par.63), and "ìt also interferes with the rights of parents to transmit the Catholic faith to their children" and the "rights of parents to guide their children's religious upbringing"(para. 64 & 65).

✠ F. B. Henry

Bishop of Calgary

- See more at:

Pope Francis pays homage to fidelity of Ukrainian Catholics

Pope Francis pays homage to fidelity of Ukrainian Catholics
by Catholic News Service
posted Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016

Ukrainian women hold peace placards near a military base 
in Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 (CNS)

The Vatican released a message from the Pontiff to the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church paying homage to the suffering and martyrdom of Ukrainian Catholics who refused to give up their fidelity to the Pope despite harsh Soviet repression, Pope Francis also paid tribute to the Eastern Catholics’ efforts today to alleviate the suffering of those impacted by the war in Eastern Ukraine.

“We bow our heads in profound gratitude before those who, even at the price of tribulation and martyrdom, over the course of time testified to their faith, which was lived with dedication to their Church and in unfailing union with the successor of Peter,” the Pope said in a message to Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kiev-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Pope Francis’s message, released at the Vatican on Sunday, commemorated the 70th anniversary of the “pseudo-Synod of Lviv,” a meeting organised by the Soviet government on March 8-10, 1946, to dissolve the Ukrainian Catholic Church and proclaim its unity with the Russian Orthodox Church.

All of the Ukrainian Catholic bishops and many of the Church’s priests were arrested before the gathering, which resulted in the church being forced to operate underground for almost 45 years.

The Pope released the message a day after he’d spent close to an hour meeting with members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s permanent synod.

To mark the anniversary of the Lviv meeting, the synod members went to Rome “to reaffirm our communion with the Holy Father and to ask for his help for the suffering people of Ukraine during the Jubilee Year of Mercy,” Archbishop Shevchuk said in a statement on March 5.

In his message, Pope Francis said, “I renew my solidarity with the pastors and the faithful for all they are doing in this difficult time, marked by the tribulation of war, to alleviate the suffering of the population and to seek paths of peace for the beloved land of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian Bishop Borys Gudziak of Paris told Catholic News Service that he and the bishops on the permanent synod outlined for the Pope the huge impact the Russian annexation of Crimea and the continued fighting in Eastern Ukraine have had on the country and its people.

Some 10,000 people have been killed and an estimated two million displaced, forcing them to rely on relatives, religious organisations or government assistance. The war also has led to a sharp devaluation of the Ukrainian currency, Bishop Gudziak said, which has reduced the buying power of people’s income by 65 per cent.

The permanent synod’s meeting with Pope Francis came three weeks after Pope Francis met Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba and signed a joint statement with him that included several passages criticised by Archbishop Shevchuk.

The Ukrainian Catholic leader and many of his faithful said they were concerned about references that seemed to downplay the status of their Church as well as a passage that seemed to imply the war in Eastern Ukraine was a civil conflict, without reference to Russian interference.

Although the archbishop’s criticisms of the document were not the focus of the meeting, they were mentioned, according to a statement from the permanent synod.

“The Holy Father emphasised that one cannot solve ecumenical problems at the expense of an entire Eastern Catholic Church,” the archbishop said after the meeting.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mother Teresa nuns massacred by militants in Yemen

Mother Teresa nuns massacred by militants in Yemen
by Staff Reporter
posted Friday, 4 Mar 2016

Men stand next to a crater made by a car bomb 
attack near the presidential palace in the southern 
port city of Aden, Yemen (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

Four nuns were shot dead along with elderly residents of a care home in Aden

Four Missionaries of Charity have been shot dead in Yemen during an attack by gunmen on a Church-run retirement home.

The women religious, members of the congregation founded by Mother Teresa, were among 16 killed in an attack on a home for the elderly in the capital city Aden.

According to reports, two of the nuns were Rwandan and the others were Kenyan and Indian.

It is not yet clear who is behind the attack but the country is currently in the midst of civil war.

Islamist State and al-Qaida supporters have recently conducted a number of attacks in the south of Yemen.

One nun who survived the attack and was rescued by locals told the Associated Press that she hid inside a refrigerator in a store room after hearing a Yemeni guard shouting “run, run”.

Another survivor said among the 16 slaughtered there were also six Ethiopians, one Yemeni cook, and several Yemeni guards.

L'Église gréco-catholique d'Ukraine réaffirme sa communion avec Rome

L'Église gréco-catholique d'Ukraine réaffirme sa communion avec Rome
2016-03-05 Radio Vatican

(RV) Le chef de l’Église gréco-catholique ukrainienne, l’archevêque majeur de Kiev Sviastoslav Shevchuk, et plusieurs évêques de cette Église qui compte environ cinq millions de fidèles, ont rencontré ce samedi 5 mars 2016 le Pape François, présentant cette rencontre comme un signe de«pleine et visible communion avec le successeur de Pierre».

Les membres du Synode permanent de l’Église gréco-catholique ukrainienne sont rassemblés à Rome du 29 février au 6 mars et ont rencontré le Pape ce samedi. L’archevêque Schevchuk s’était exprimé cette semaine, suite à une rencontre avec des responsables de la diplomatie du Saint-Siège, durant laquelle il a souligné la force de la foi du peuple ukrainien, mais il a aussi averti des défis ausquels le pays fait face actuellement.

L’archevêque a dit aux diplomates que ce rassemblement des responsables de l’Église gréco-catholique à Rome avait été planifié pour marquer le 70e anniversaire du "pseudo-Synode" de Lviv, qui avait mené à la liquidation de l’Église catholique ukrainienne au temps de l’URSS. Pendant les quatre décennies qui suivirent, l’Église était persécutée et n’a survécu que clandestinement jusqu’à la chute du régime communiste au début des années 1990.

Les catholiques d’Ukraine représentent aujourd’hui environ 10% de la population, de rite oriental pour la plupart mais avec aussi une petite communauté de rite latin, alors les orthodoxes sont divisés entre trois patriarcats.

La récente rencontre entre le Pape François et le Patriarche orthodoxe de Moscou Cyrille 1er à Cuba et la signature d’une déclaration conjointe ont suscité une vive préoccupation parmi les fidèles catholiques ukrainiens. Mais l’archevêque Shevchuk a précisé que ces inquiétudes ne portaient pas atteinte à l’unité visible et entière de son Église avec le Pape et avec l’Église de Rome.

En parlant avec les diplomates, d’autres évêques ont mis en avant le dynamisme de l’Église gréco-catholique, qui a connu un développement spectaculaire en Ukraine, moins de 30 ans après sa libération de l’oppression soviétique. Mais l’évêque Boris Gudziak, chef de l’Église pour la diaspora ukrainienne en France, dans le Benelux et en Suisse, a aussi averti des difficultés croissantes auxquels les Ukrainiens font face dans le contexte de l’invasion russe de la Crimée et du conflit dans l’est du pays.

Au moins deux millions de personnes ont été déplacées en interne par la guerre, et deux millions et demi d’autres ont fui le pays. Les leaders de l’Église ukrainienne appellent le Pape François et toute la communauté catholique à faire tout ce qui est possible pour mettre fin à ce conflit, et à fournir une aide humanitaire urgente pour la population en souffrance.

Ce samedi midi, le Pape François a donc manifesté son attention au peuple ukrainien. «Nous sommes venus réaffirmer notre communion avec le Saint-Père, et pour lui demander son aide pour le peuple d’Ukraine en souffrance, et le Saint-Père nous a écoutés» a déclaré suite à cette rencontre l’archevêque majeur de Kiev, Sviatoslav Shevchuk.