Oct 22 – Homily: St. John Paul II and Marian Consecration

This is a syndicated post from Uploads by franciscanfriars. [Read the original article...]

Fr. Elias for the feast day for St. John Paul II, gives an account of the influence of his life especially regarding Marian devotion which was inspired by his fellow country man and contemporary…
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The USSR’s Catholic martyrs suffered, but they suffered for God

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

Denver, Colo., Oct 22, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic victims of the Soviet Union’s cruel anti-Christian persecutions faced execution, exile and arbitrary imprisonment for their faith – and now a new website tells their stories.

“The persecution of the Church was immediate. It started within a couple weeks of the October Revolution,” Geraldine Kelley told CNA Oct. 10.

“It was brutal. It focused first of all on the confiscation of church property and the arrest of the hierarchy, (then) the decrees that prohibited teaching religion to anybody under the age of 18.”

Kelley helped translate the entries for the “Book of Remembrance: A Martyrology of the Catholic Church in the U.S.S.R.” The book documents 1,900 biographies of Roman and Eastern Catholic clergy and laity persecuted under Soviet communism from 1918 to 1953, when Joseph Stalin died.

The book, now available at the website of the University of Notre Dame's library, records the fate of victims who were shot and “simply liquidated,” as well as those sent to the prison camps who did not survive. The fate of some victims is unknown.

Some survived, including the “small class of priests” who were able to exit the Soviet Union for other countries and continents.

Like other religious believers in the Soviet Union, Catholics who did not suffer outright persecution could still face severe social penalties. Being known as a believing Catholic could result in career penalties, the loss of one’s job, or similar threats to family members, Kelley said.

The “Book of Remembrance” biographies were collected by Father Bronislaw Czaplicki and Irina Osipova for a martyrology commission of the Apostolic Administration for Catholics of North European Russia.

The Polish-language first edition was published in 2000, drawing on archives from Soviet state security organs. Kelley voiced hope that the publication of the book on the internet would help bring renewed attention to the martyrs.

Kelley, who holds a doctorate in Slavic Languages and Literature, said “there were many, many more martyrs in the 20th century than in all the years of Christian history totaled up together.”

Although the Soviet Union’s Christians were primarily members of the Orthodox Church, the Soviet Union was also home for many Catholics due to the Russian Empire’s political control of Poland and other areas. Some citizens were Catholics descended from German colonists invited into Russia for political reasons.

Kelley said that historians of the Soviet gulag often approach the topic “in terms of the large numbers involved.” She preferred to examine the stories of individual persons, such as the housekeepers of rectories and choir directors.

“Who were these people? What kind of lives were they leading when this happened to them?”

Kelley became interested in the archives of persecuted Catholics after she heard of a community of Eastern Rite Dominican sisters founded in the 1910s in Moscow.

“I came across references to these sisters and wanted to know more about them. Who were they?”

One of the Dominican sisters was Mother Catherine of Sienna. She was born into a noble family in Moscow on Dec. 23, 1882 and given the name Anna Ivanovna. She married in 1903, and was received into the Catholic Church in Paris in 1908.

She later entered the novitiate for the Third Order Dominicans, in 1913, while her husband was ordained an Eastern Catholic priest in 1917.

On the night of November 12, 1923, she and nine other sisters were arrested on charges of leading a “counter-revolutionary” organization.

After being sentenced to several years in prison, she told her sisters: “Most likely each of you, having fallen in love with God and now following Him, has asked more than once in your heart that the Lord give you the opportunity to share in His sufferings. That moment has arrived. Your wish to suffer for His sake has now been fulfilled.”

Mother Catherine was released from prison in the early 1930s, only to be arrested again and sentenced to eight years in a labor camp. She died July 23, 1936 in a prison hospital.

The cause for her canonization was opened in May 2003. She is now recognized as a Servant of God, along with fifteen other Catholics who died for their faith under Soviet persecution.

Kelley said many of the Dominican sisters would have been in their early 20s when first arrested.

“They were sent to prison camps for three year to five year terms, and then after they would serve their term, they would find out that their term was extended. They would get released, and then get re-arrested. Some of these women were still serving in the camps when Stalin died in 1953. We’re talking 30 years.”

Although the sisters were scattered throughout the Soviet Union, Kelley found it “amazing” that they would still encounter each other over the years.

“When you think of how large the country is, and how many hundreds of thousands of people were sentenced, and how many prison camps there were, the fact that you would meet anyone you knew seems astounding to me,” she said.

Kelley has translated a book focusing on these Dominicans, Irina Osipova’s “Brides of Christ: Martyrs for Russia.”

Kelley voiced concern that the canonization cause for Servant of God Anna Ivanovna Abrikosova is losing momentum, given that it depends on the interest of the Catholic faithful, “and so few Catholics know of her.”

She said that Catholicism in the Soviet Union had difficulty surviving three generations of atheistic repression.

“Although we know with what enthusiasm the Church was able to rebound in Poland and in parts of Ukraine, that third generation of oppression made a big difference. The Church in Russia was much more thoroughly eradicated, liquidated, repressed, annihilated.”

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Religious freedom deteriorating, but don’t despair, official says

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News - US. [Read the original article...]

Washington D.C., Oct 22, 2014 / 12:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Although religious freedom conditions around the globe are worsening, Americans should see this fact as a cause for motivation rather than despair, said a leading scholar on the issue.

“I wish that I could say there has been some improvement in the conditions of religious freedom in the world, but I’m afraid the opposite is true: it’s deteriorated,” said Robert P. George, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“The worst offending states seem to be getting even worse,” he told CNA. “The reality has altered not at all.”

He charged foreign policy experts to take action in promoting religious freedom in the face of such discouraging developments, affirming that religious freedom is “not a second or third or fourth class concern that can be bargained away.”

In addition to his role at the commission, George is also the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and has authored books on the defense of marriage, unborn human life and political philosophy.

Reflecting on the current state of international religious freedom, he noted that nearly 75 percent of the world’s population lives under regimes that violate the religious freedom of worship and expression for religious minorities “or standby while mobs and thugs and terrorists persecute and harm people with impunity.”

He pointed to the persecution of minority Muslim communities, Yazidi and Christians in Iraq and Syria as examples of worsening social and political instability driving persecution, as well as continued oppression in countries such as Iran, China, Pakistan, Nigeria and Cuba.

Zeroing in on Iran, George said that President Hassan Rouhani has not made any significant progress in expanding religious freedom in the country, maintaining the captivity of American pastor Saeed Abedini and failing to lift the death sentence of Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, who had called for a separation of religion and politics.

The imprisonment of the ayatollah is an example of the persecution of Muslims whose views differ from a region’s norm or who do not espouse extremist interpretations of Islam, George said.

“We shouldn’t assume that just because people are Muslim doesn’t mean they’re the oppressors and never the oppressed.”

“Many of the victims of Islamist oppression are Muslims,” he explained, adding that often Muslims are the “ones standing up for human rights” in areas facing persecution of religious minorities.

“I want the American public to understand this,” George said, pointing to the example of Muslims in Egypt who have protected Coptic Christians, forming “rings around Christian churches not to persecute them, but to protect them against being attacked by the radicals.”

George added that he is very concerned about the situation in Europe as well, given a rise of “radical secularism” in the region “that does not bode well,” particularly for Muslim and Jewish communities.

Countries across Europe, he noted, have seen a rise in secular extremist activity and have also begun to restrict religious expression and dress. Some of these countries have also enacted “more extreme” laws that forbid ritual practices such as Kosher or Halaal slaughter or bans on infant circumcision that are integral to community life and religious identity.

The case of circumcision, he explained, is especially important for the maintenance of Jewish communities because of its place as “an essential, non-negotiable practice that goes back to the Jewish covenant with God made by Abraham.”

“Devout Jews simply cannot live in a polity that forbids them from practicing male infant circumcision,” George continued. “If this were carried out and enforced, this would mean that there would be areas where Jews, for all intents and purposes, are forbidden to live. To imagine that happening, is a nightmare.”

However, George said, the worsening state of religious freedom should encourage rather than discourage action to promote religious freedom around the globe.

“Far from demoralizing us, these facts should motivate us to rededicate ourselves to the cause of religious freedom, and fight even harder in the international domain,” he pressed.  

“It’s got to be given a higher priority in our foreign and diplomatic policy,” George urged, saying that while there are other important issues such as trade or political diplomacy, religious freedom “is a first-class issue.”

George also spoke of the need to “put pressure on our own government to use the resources available to it” and to “to put pressure on the offending regimes” to improve religious freedom in offending countries.

“We can do that. We have seen that work in the past,” he stated.

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Top 10 Reasons It Makes Sense That St. John Paul II Loved ‘Princess Bride’

This is a syndicated post from The Daily Register. [Read the original article...]

By Tom Hoopes | The news is terrible, the future worrisome. What better time to relax with Princess Bride?

In his new book about the making of the movie Princess Bride, Cary Elwes reveals some surprising fans the 1980s comedy-adventure movie has… (8)

The New Viagra Commercial Is Disturbing, Rediscovering Pleasures of Penance Patron Comics and More!

This is a syndicated post from The Daily Register. [Read the original article...]

By TITO EDWARDS | The New Viagra Commercial Is Disturbing by Shaun McAfee – BigPulpit.com

Rediscovering the Pleasures of Penance – Regis Martin, Crisis Magazine

Patron Comics – Cristina Montes, Ignitum Today

The Top Catholic Colleges in America… (7)

Minnesota dioceses sign abuse settlements, pledge to protect children

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

St. Paul, Minn., Oct 21, 2014 / 07:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two dioceses in Minnesota have reached undisclosed financial settlements with a victim of clergy abuse, promising to implement and abide by policies intended to protect children, and to report perpetrators.

“I am deeply saddened and profoundly sorry for the pain suffered by victims, survivors and their families,” Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said Oct. 13. He added that the agreement is a “significant step closer” to help survivors heal and “to restore trust with our clergy and faithful.”

He said that the archdiocese’s agreement with an abuse victim is “a historic moment in our efforts to assure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.”

Bishop John Quinn of Winona said his diocese is “ashamed of the horrific crimes” that former priest Thomas Adamson perpetuated against children.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety of the children entrusted to our care in our schools and in our parishes,” he said Oct. 13.

Bishop Quinn said that the diocese has committed to child protection protocols as part of the settlement which will “further help to ensure the safety of all of God’s children.”

Both the settlements, from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and from the Diocese of Winona, concerned a lawsuit from a victim of Adamson. Adamson admitted to the sexual molestation of at least ten teens while working as a priest in both dioceses. He said he attempted to abuse even more, the NBC affiliate KARE11 reports.

Although the abuse of the plaintiff took place in the 1970s, the lawsuit could proceed because of a change to state law in 2013. The change expanded a three-year window in the state’s statute of limitations for sex abuse lawsuits, the Associated Press says.

The lawsuits alleged that Catholic leaders created a public nuisance by failing to warn parishioners about Adamson’s sexual abuse.

The legal agreement with the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney Jeff Anderson means the dioceses will abide by a set of child protection protocols developed by diocesan officials and by Anderson’s law firm, Jeff Anderson and Associates.

Archbishop Nienstedt said the agreement will strengthen collaboration to address sex abuse.

“I pray that this local Church will continue to be inspired by the Word of God to respond to the needs of those who have been harmed and seek healing as we move forward toward a new day for this archdiocese as well as for our local community.”

Some of the archdiocese’s existing policies are already more extensive than the settlement’s protocols; these will remain in place.

The agreement requires “ongoing” public disclosure of substantiated allegations of sex abuse. It bars the dioceses from conducting their own internal investigations of abuse and them from interfering with law enforcement investigations.

The agreement also requires the two dioceses to work to secure a signed statement from every member of the clergy in each diocese affirming that they have not committed sexual abuse of a minor. The clergy must also affirm that they have no knowledge of abuse of a minor by another priest of the archdiocese or employee of the archdiocese that has not been reported to law enforcement and to the archdiocese. The protocol exempts knowledge of abuse learned in the confessional.

Bishop Quinn said most of the protocols were previously adopted and implemented by the Winona diocese. He said the agreement “demonstrates our resolve and conviction to take every possible step to ensure the safety of all God’s children.”

The bishop said the Diocese of Winona is committed to providing support and healing for “those who have been tragically abused by clergy.”

“We encourage anyone that has been abused recently or in the past to report the abuse to civil authorities.”

Representatives of both dioceses said that they could declare bankruptcy due to future abuse-related litigation or legal settlements.

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Marvin: An App Review

This is a syndicated post from The Curt Jester. [Read the original article...]

I love to read and mostly I have transitioned over almost totally to ebooks. That transition started four years ago with the introduction of the original iPad in April of 2010. At the start the apps for reading ebooks was rather limited with only basic features. The original version of iBooks was pretty good and the notes and highlighting features worked from the start. The introduction of the Kindle app opened up reading books from the Amazon store. Still as time went on I wished for more powerful features.

One of the positive features of eBook readers is being able to quickly highlight text for later along with attaching notes. In both iBooks and the Kindle apps there were some mechanisms for seeing these notes/highlights outside of the app.

The feature I wanted most was to be able to copy my notes/highlights to a text file for easy access and search outside of an app.

  • With the iBooks app you could see all notes/highlights for a specific book but couldn’t easily share the whole set. Now that OSX also has an iBooks app, it is a bit easier to access/copy these notes. If you import a book into your library this all works the same way.
  • Amazon allows you to view all your notes via a web page. This works fairly well and you can even navigate to location in the book referenced. Unfortunately if you import a book into your Kindle library not purchased from Amazon, no notes/highlights will show up.

So I started looking around for an eBook reader that would better fulfill my requirements. Specifically I wanted to be able to export all notes/highlights in plain text for reference. I did not want to be tied down to any proprietary system where I could loose access to these notes.

My search for these features along with a wealth of others was fully satisfied when I found an app called Marvin which is iOS only (I will give an Android suggestion at the end of this post). With Marvin you can annotate away and then via email:

  • Send highlights and notes. A HTML and a comma-separated values (CSV) version are attached to the email that is sent. The body of the email also includes title information.
  • Send vocabulary (any words you wanted defined while reading). You can choose to send any vocabulary words for the selected book or any vocabulary words from any book you read via this app. Format is also HTML along with CSV.
  • Export annotations (all highlights/notes/bookmarks/vocabulary). This sends an .mrv file which can be imported back into Marvin at a later date or shared with somebody who has the same book and the Marvin app.

These features alone sold my on the app. The fact that this app is constantly updated and well maintained adds to the joy of using it. The interface is aesthetically pleasing without getting in the way.

As with most third-part eReaders the books you read must not have Digital Rights Management (DRM) which is copy protection added to many books. There is little movement towards publishers releasing books without DRM, but some publisher do. For books on Amazon it will note whether the book has DRM or not. Ignatius Press does release there books without DRM. Sites such as Project Gutenberg have books in the public domain that can be used along with other sites. For the more adventurous it is relatively easy to remove DRM from books you have bought.

Since I have a number of ebooks I use the open source and multi-platform application called Calibre to manage my library. Besides providing a central location to manage ebooks it will also convert from one format to another along with a wealth of other features. I keep my Calibre library stored on Dropbox since this provides both backup and can be accessed from iOS/Android apps.

Calibre

To read my books from my library in Marvin I can import them directly from Dropbox or I could use the Calibre connector. What I found unique about Marvin is that when I select from Dropbox it lists recently added files first. This makes it very easy to find recently added books regardless of where they are stored in Dropbox.

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It is very easy to manage the local library on your device to both add content and to just swipe to delete. You also have access to themes to change out the UI. As for the main reading environment you have all the features of other eReaders such as font size and foreground/background color. But a wealth of other elements to tweak are also available such as margin width, line spacing, paragraph indent etc. Along with setting your preferred gestures to navigate from page to page. The wealth of features can be a bit overwhelming.

A rather unique feature is called Deepview which searches the book for characters and often used terms and then lists them by number of uses. From this view you can also quickly connect to an authors Wikipedia page or other articles about them. You can even create your own summary quickly including what is found in Deepview.

Book syncing is provided via Dropbox. So it is quite easy to continue reading the same book going from an iPad to an iPhone and I found this worked well in practice. Marvin is now a universal app for both the iPad/iPhone. In the past they were separate apps. Searching for text in a book works well and I only mention this because I have not found this true for all eReader apps.

The app even includes a timer so you can be reminded to stop, although not a feature I use. More importantly it does tell me how many pages are left in the chapter so I know if I can squeak in some more reading before finally quitting for the night. I really love this app and it just keeps getting better.

Now for those who are on Android there are two apps I have used that I could recommend. They are not as good as Marvin, but have their own strengths.

  • Moon+ Reader Pro – You can import books from Dropbox or Google Drive in multiple formats including PDF. You can also use Text-To-Speech (TTS) and switch between reading and using any voices available on your device. This worked, but I found it buggy, which is why I found a different app to use.
  • Montano Reader – Fairly advanced with many features. For Android this was my preferred reader. Sync though is a paid feature requiring a subscription. TTS worked very well here and I could easily switch between reading and listening.

Marvin is geared towards EPUB formatted books and that is my format of choice. I use Calibre]calibre to convert Kindle books to EPUB. What Marvin can not handle is PDF documents. For PDF I use an app called Goodreader which is also only for iOS. Goodreader is also very powerful also allowing you to note/highlight and export this information out. It also works with multiple cloud services such as Dropbox and make reading PDF’s almost a delight. You can visually crop a document to get rid of excessive margin whitespace making it more readable. Marvin and Goodreader together pretty address all my reading needs.

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On the Body of Christ

This is a syndicated post from ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome. [Read the original article...]

Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address during his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter’s Square: Dear brothers and sisters, Good Morning.
The image of the body is used when one wants to show how the elements that make up a reality are closely united with one another and form together one thing….

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Pope Francis: A Grateful Heart is a Happy Heart

This is a syndicated post from ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome. [Read the original article...]

While speaking on the beauty of the unity of the Church at his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis also used the occasion to remind the faithful to not give into those actions which divide it, such as jealousy and feeling superior. Posing a question to the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said…

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The Passing of a Woman of God

This is a syndicated post from The Chant Café. [Read the original article...]

I was very sad to hear of the passing of Helen Hull Hitchcock, the indefatigable foundress of Women for Faith and Family and one of the founders of Adoremus, which has done so much great work for the Liturgy, particularly the implementation of Liturgiam Authenticam.

Helen was very kind to me personally, and to a number of my friends as well. She was one of those wonderful people who look for opportunities to mentor and foster others’ work. One time, when I was doing coursework in Rome and my mail kept being misdirected, she sent along extra mailings, twice, after her first two packages went astray, cheerfully and with a good-humored sense of the unpredictability of the Eternal City.

Regarding this Forum, every once in a while I would receive an email from her, adding her insights to the discussions on these pages.

Her work and goodness will be missed, and I am sorry to know she is not among us any more in the same way.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.

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