Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A new pastoral style, near and inclusive: Opus Dei Vicar's take on Francis' ministry

For those who can read Spanish here is the take of a good friend of Pope Francis, Msgr. Mariano Fazio, Opus Dei's Vicar in Argentina.

Here is the very rough English translation as per Google Translate, with some help from me:

Direct, honest, provocative, open, witty. Francis has found his own style to make a mess in the global village: "I am a born undisciplined," he said. A proposal, at the same time believing and credible, based on the essential: charity.

But not an abstract charity, but a love incarnate the Gospel presented in the Good Samaritan, who washes, heals and comforts the needy. A new ministry for a new era, nearer, inclusive and exciting.

Charity comes from understanding and openness to others, to break the self-referentiality.

"The missionary proclamation focuses on the essentials, on the necessary; on the other hand, it's what attracts and is fascinating and what makes the heart burn".

Pope leads the way to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world today.

His easy manner to clearly address the problems and challenges of the Church emerges as a model of creativity in continuity.

Francis himself has stated on several occasions that some of the words that have drawn attention have been nothing more than "what the Catechism says".

So why cause so much impact? Why is so much attention generated? Perhaps the new tones and modes of communication precisely makes the message more credible.

The Pope understands the language of the people and the media. And he speaks it. For just over six months he builds a bridge with the current culture, connecting with the heart of each person.

The cornerstone of this bridge is listening: "The preacher must recognize the heart of his community."

Listen to God, listen to the culture, listen to the people, especially the poor: "My decisions [...] are linked to spiritual discernment that responds to requirements born of things, of people, of reading the signs of the times. Discernment in the Lord guides me in my way to govern. "

This open attitude leads directly to a vision of the Church as the "house of all", which is able to "heal wounds and bring warmth to the hearts", to take care of people with mercy, as a good mother who loves and wants the best for her children, because she is also a pastor.

Therefore, in the center should be the most important: "Jesus Christ has saved you!"

First is the proposal of a full life in Christ. As said by the Pope's favorite saint, Therese of Lisieux, our vocation is love.

Falling in love with Christ to come out of ourselves and serve others, also with the announcement of the moral consequences of following the Lord.

But first love: only in this context can one understand the moral demands of the Gospel.

Mariano Fazio, Vicar of Opus Dei in Argentina, was President of the Council of Rectors of the Pontifical Universities of Rome and an expert in the Conference of Aparecida. His latest book is "Francis: Keys to his thought".

The book can be bought here at Scepter. A comment on the book can be found here.


Spanish original:

Una nueva pastoral, cercana e inclusiva

Por Mariano Fazio

Directo, sincero, provocador, abierto, ocurrente. Francisco ha encontrado su propio estilo para hacer lío en la aldea global: "Soy un indisciplinado nato", ha dicho. Una propuesta, a la vez, creyente y creíble, sustentada en lo esencial: la caridad.

Pero no una caridad abstracta, sino un amor encarnado que el Evangelio presenta en el buen samaritano, que lava, cura y consuela al necesitado. Una nueva pastoral para una nueva era, más cercana, inclusiva y entusiasmante.

La caridad parte de la comprensión y la apertura al otro, de quebrar la autorreferencialidad.

"El anuncio misionero se concentra en lo esencial, en lo necesario, que, por otra parte, es lo que más apasiona y atrae, es lo que hace arder el corazón".

El Papa marca el camino para anunciar a Jesucristo al mundo actual.

Su desparpajo para tratar con claridad los problemas y desafíos de la Iglesia, surge como un modelo de creatividad en la continuidad.

El mismo Francisco ha señalado en distintas oportunidades que algunas de sus palabras que más han llamado la atención, no han sido más que expresar "lo que dice el Catecismo".

Entonces, ¿por qué causan tanto impacto? ¿Por qué se genera tanta atención? Quizá los nuevos tonos y modos de su comunicación hacen, justamente, al mensaje más creíble.

El Papa entiende el idioma de la gente y de los medios. Y lo habla. Desde hace poco más de seis meses construye un puente con la cultura actual, que conecta con el corazón de cada persona.

La piedra angular de este puente es la escucha: "El que predica tiene que reconocer el corazón de su comunidad".

Escuchar a Dios, escuchar a la cultura, escuchar a la gente, especialmente a los más pobres: "Mis decisiones [...] van ligadas a un discernimiento espiritual que responde a exigencias que nacen de las cosas, de la gente, de la lectura de los signos de los tiempos. El discernimiento en el Señor me guía en mi modo de gobernar".

Esta actitud abierta lleva directamente a una visión de la Iglesia como la "casa de todos", que sea capaz de "curar heridas y dar calor a los corazones", que se haga cargo de las personas, con misericordia, como una madre buena que ama y quiere lo mejor para sus hijas e hijos, porque es también pastora.

Por eso, en el centro debe estar lo más importante: "¡Jesucristo te ha salvado!"

Primero está la propuesta de una vida plena en Cristo. Como decía la santa preferida del Papa, Teresita de Lisieux, nuestra vocación es el amor.

Enamorarnos de Cristo para salir de nosotros mismos y servir a los demás, también con el anuncio de las consecuencias morales de ese seguimiento del Señor. Pero lo primero es el amor: sólo en ese contexto se entienden las exigencias morales del Evangelio

Vicario del Opus Dei en Argentina, fue presidente del Consejo de Rectores de las Universidades Pontificias de Roma y perito en la Conferencia de Aparecida. Su último libro es "Francisco: Claves de su pensamiento".

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CDF Memo on distribution of communion and voting regarding pro-abortion politicians

This 2004 Ratzinger CDF memo is not so well-known, but is very important.

It says these :

>The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected.

>When "these precautionary measures [Pastor meeting with public sinner and giving warning] have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it."

>A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia.

>When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

[Note: The following memorandum was sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick and was made public in the first week of July 2004.]

1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: "Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?" The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," nos. 81, 83).

2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it'" (no. 73). Christians have a "grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it" (no. 74).

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

4. Apart from an individual's judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]


Catechism of the Catholic Church

1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."218 Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.


On EWTN Cardinal Arinze was asked if pro-abortion politicians should be denied communion. He replied: “The answer is clear. If a person says I am in favour of killing unborn babies whether they be four thousand or five thousand, I have been in favour of killing them. I will be in favour of killing them tomorrow and next week and next year. So, unborn babies, too bad for you. I am in favour that you should be killed, then the person turn around and say I want to receive Holy Communion. Do you need any Cardinal from the Vatican to answer that? . . . “Simple, ask the children for First Communion, they’ll give you the answer.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

American College of Pediatricians: Final answer is fertilization, beginning of human life

Letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer that did not see print.

Dear Editor,

The importance of the issue of the beginning of human life was clearly put forward by Professor Emeritus of Human Embryology of the University of Arizona School of Medicine, Dr. C. Ward Kischer: “Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade was adjudicated, there have been many socio-legal issues involving the human embryo. Abortion, partial-birth abortion, in vitro fertilization, fetal tissue research, human embryo research, [embryonic] stem cell research, cloning and genetic engineering are core issues of human embryology. Every one of these issues has been reduced to a question of when human life begins. And that question is as prominent in the public media today as it was when first posed in 1973.”

There are many opinions given to answer this question, including some published in your newspaper. But what is important is not opinion, purely subjective views, but scientific discoveries that present the objective truth. What does science say about this issue? We at the American College of Pediatricians concur with the statement of the Philippine Medical Association, when it said that "a human person or human being already does exist at the moment of fertilization." (

As we state in our website, "Scientific and medical discoveries over the past three decades have only verified and solidified this age-old truth. At the completion of the process of fertilization, the human creature emerges as a whole, genetically distinct, individuated zygotic living human organism, a member of the species homo sapiens, needing only the proper environment in order to grow and develop. The difference between the individual in its adult stage and in its zygotic stage is not one of personhood but of development." (

This is the final answer to this issue, as Professor Kischer puts it. In an article published at the Linacre Quarterly entitled "When Does Human Life Begin? The Final Answer", he categorically states: "“Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of human embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being.”


Den Trumbull


American College of Pediatricians


Sent through:

Lisa Hawkins

Administrative Assistant

American College of Pediatricians


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Faith implies a greater intellectual effort to know the One we believe

Through reason alone, as demonstrated by Peter Kreeft in his Extremely Brief Summary of 24 Arguments, one can arrive at the following ways of considering God:

• Most perfect conceivable Being

• First Mover

• Uncaused Cause

• Intelligent Designer

• Highest degree of perfection

• Necessary basis of contingent beings

• Big Banger: Cause of beginning of time

• Cause of the idea of perfect being

• Authoritative Voice of conscience

• Eternal, objective and absolute Truth

• Meaning of life

• Beauty revealed by beauty

• Cause of mystical experience

• Perfect moral Ideal

• Object of innate desire

• Provident Guide

• Dialogue Partner in prayer

• Object of belief of wise people

• Miracle-worker

• Joy and power of saints

• Only chance of winning eternal happiness

It's good to review Kreeft's Extremely Brief Summary of 24 Arguments of God's Existence, because they offer us a deeper glimpse of the object of our love. And as we know from our Catechism: "Faith seeks understanding": it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love.

For me, it is quite moving to be able to name God in all these ways, given Kreeft's attempt at comprehensiveness and at a cumulative probative effect. Of course, nothing beats deeper knowledge based on the data of Revelation through the perfect Communication of God himself, Jesus Christ.

But for those who love God, any additional information about him, even at the level of reason alone -- and in this case one of the most comprehensive attempts to summarize what we can know of God through sheer human intelligence -- can help us fall in love with him with more passion.

And for those who don't, these can help convince them to start on the road of loving him until they reach the goal of loving him as he asked us to: with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.

God is the Logos. Our efforts to use the spark of reason within us to reach Him who is Reason Himself will surely please Him.