Wednesday, 17 July 2019

17 July, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations for Every Day

The Voice of God
1. God speaks to us in many ways by means of created things. We see His glory in the stars of the firmament, (Cf. Ps. 13:2) in the seas, mountains and valleys, and in the trees and flowers. St. Therese was once examining the petals of a flower when she exclaimed: “How good thou art, O God!”
God also speaks within us. Sometimes He sees how absorbed we are in worldly affairs and He stirs up in us a restlessness and a longing for Heaven. When we fall into sin, He pricks us with remorse and appeals to us to rise again, making us realise that everything else is empty and futile if we have lost Him. He speaks to us still more clearly by means of Revelation, which is contained in Sacred Scripture as officially interpreted by the Church.
The revealed Word of God has always been with us to answer the searchings of the human heart and to allay its anxieties. The Gospel is as new and as illuminating today as yesterday. It is a book which we should study reverently and diligently in order to solve our personal problems and the problems of mankind.
Let us listen to God when He speaks to us in these diverse ways. Let us respond to His appeals and carry out whatever He requires of us in our daily lives.
2. God also speaks to us through His Saints.
The Saints are men in whom God dwells in such a special way that their entire personalities reflect Him. They live the Gospel perfectly. They have renounced themselves in order to belong completely to God. Not only have they overcome their evil inclinations, but they have conquered themselves in the process of that Christian annihilation which sublimates human nature rather than destroys it. They have enthroned God in the place of their own will and of their own ego, so that like St. Paul they can claim: “It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me.”
God still speaks to us through His Saints, for even in this troubled and mechanical age there are pure and humble souls dedicated to God and the service of their fellow-men. Whenever we encounter one of these privileged beings, whether in the pages of a book or in our actual surroundings, let us pay attention to him and do our best to imitate his virtues.
3. It will go hard with the man who refuses to listen to God. He has reason to be afraid when he lets God's inspirations and graces pass him by. Anyone who is deaf to God's appeals cannot be saved.
God spoke many times in the heart of His apostle Judas, but he did not listen. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss, Jesus spoke to him and called him His friend, giving him the kiss of peace and forgiveness. But the traitor spurned this last appeal and went his way. May this never be our fate. “Be not silent,” let us plead. “Lord, be not far from me!” (Ps. 34:22) Above all, let us listen obediently to His voice from whatever source it comes, and let us do what He advises us.

IN LUMINE FIDEI: 17 JULY – SAINT ALEXIUS (Confessor)

IN LUMINE FIDEI: 17 JULY – SAINT ALEXIUS (Confessor): Alexius was born in Rome in about 350 AD, to the senator Euphemius. Leaving his spouse a virgin on the night of his marriage, he withdrew...

17 July, A Chesterton Calendar

JULY 17th

You may come to think a blow bad because it humiliates. You may come to think murder wrong because it is violent, and not because it is unjust.

‘The Ball and the Cross.’

Chesterton, G. K.. The G. K. Chesterton Collection [50 Books] (Kindle Locations 44597-44599). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.

18 July, The Roman Martyrology

Quintodécimo Kaléndas Augústi Luna sexta decima Anno Domini 2019

On the morrow we keep the feast of the holy Confessor Camillus de' Lellis, founder of the Congregation of Regular Clerks for ministering to the sick, whose birthday, [in the year 1614,] to the better life: was recorded upon the 14th of this present month of July, and whom the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII proclaimed the patron in heaven of the sick and of those that tend them. 
July 18th 2019, the 16th day of the Moon, were born into the better life: 

At Tivoli, the holy Symphorosa, wife of the holy martyr Getulius, along with her seven sons Crescens, Julian, Nemesius, Primitivus, Justin, Stacteus, and Eugene. Under the Emperor Hadrian the Mother, on account of her invincible constancy, was first long beaten with palm branches, then hung up by the hair, and lastly tied to a stone and thrown into the river her sons stretched upon posts by pullies, finished their testimony by divers ways of death, [about the year 120.] Their bodies were afterwards brought to Rome, and in the time of the Supreme Pontiff Pius IV, they were found in the Diaconal church of the Holy Angel at the Fish-pond. 
At Carthage, the holy Virgin and martyr Gondines. Because of her Confession of Christ the Pro-consul Rufinus caused her to be four different times racked she was horribly tormented with tearing by hooks, she suffered long a foul imprisonment, and in the end she was slain with the sword, [in the year 203.] 
At Dorostorum, in Mysia, the holy Martyr Aemilian, who was cast into a furnace under the President Capitolinus, in the time of the Emperor Julian the Apostate, and so received the palm of martyrdom. 
At Utrecht, the holy martyr Frederick, Bishop [of that see, in the year 838.] 
In Gallicia, in Spain, the holy Virgin and martyr Marina. 
At Milan, holy Maternus, Bishop [of that see,] who for the sake of Christ and of the church unto him committed was cast into prison, under the Emperor Maximian, and oftentimes beaten, and at length fell asleep in the Lord, glorious for much testifying. 
At Brescia, holy Philastrius, Bishop of that city, who fought much both by word and writing against the heretics, and especially the Arians, of whom he suffered many things, and at length fell asleep in peace, as a Confessor famous for miracles, [in the year 386.] 
At Metz, in Gaul, holy Arnulph, Bishop [of that see,] famous for holiness and the gift of working wonders, who chose to live as an hermit and fell asleep in blessedness, [in the year 641.] 
At Segni, the holy Confessor Bruno, Bishop [of that see, in the year 1125.] 
At Forlimpopoli, on the Emilian Way, holy Ruffillus, Bishop of that city, [in the year 385.] 
V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God.

Memes of the Day



Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Church Militant Headlines— July 16, 2019

UK sentences another child to 'death by doctor', Canadians will hold a Rosary Rally on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.


A Carmelite Prayer to the Virgin

A bit of Carmelitana for the Feast Day.

From New Liturgical Movement 

By Gregory DiPippo

In the Breviary of the Carmelite Order, which keeps its patronal feast today, the following antiphon is appointed to be said every day after Vespers or Compline. (The English translation is taken partly from this post on Vultus Christi, the blog of Silverstream Priory, with several alterations of my own.)
Ave, Stella matutina,
Peccatorum medicina,
Mundi princeps et Regina.

Virgo sola digna dici,
Contra tela inimici
Clypeum pone salutis
Tuae titulum virtutis.

Tu es enim virga Jesse,
In qua Deus fecit esse
Aaron amygdalum,
Mundi tollens scandalum.

Tu es area compluta,
Caelesti rore imbuta,
Sicco tamen vellere.

Tu nos in hoc carcere
Solare propitia,
Dei plena gratia.

O Sponsa Dei electa,
Esto nobis via recta
Ad aeterna gaudia,

Ubi pax est et gloria.
Tu nos semper aure pia,
Dulcis, exaudi, Maria
Hail, morning star,
Medicine of sinners,
Ruler and Queen of the world,

Alone worthy to be called a virgin,
Against the spears of the enemy
Set the shield of salvation,
The sign of Thy virtue.

For you are the rod of Jesse,
In whom God made to be
Aaron’s almond, taking away
the scandal of the world.

Thou are the ground rained upon,
Imbued by heaven’s dew,
Though the fleece stayed dry.

In this prison do thou console us ,
Mercifully console us,
Who art full of God’s grace

O chosen spouse of God
Be for us the straight road
To eternal joys

Where peace and glory are.
Do Thou ever hear us
With devoted ear, sweet Mary.

In the following recording of it, note that the cantor has taken the common medieval habit of pronouncing Latin more or less like the vernacular to extremes, exaggerating the U of modern French. (The ensemble who recorded this, Diabolus in Musica, takes its name from a common term for the tritone, a dissonance which was generally disliked and avoided in medieval music theory, hence the name “the devil in the music.”)


According to Archdale King in his book The Liturgies of the Religious Orders, the great scholar of the Carmelite liturgy, Fr Benedict Zimmerman, claimed that this antiphon was “without any doubt” composed by St Simon Stock himself, the English Carmelite and general of the Order to whom the Virgin revealed the brown scapular. However, Guido Dreves, the author of the 48th volume of the Analecta hymnica, attributed it to Peter the Venerable, an abbot of Cluny who died a century before St Simon’s time. The words “Aaron’s almond” refer to the episode of the flourishing of Aaron’s staff in Numbers 17, generally understood in the Middle Ages as a prophetic symbol of the Mother of God’s virginity, as was the episode of Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6, 36-40.

The antiphon is then followed by a versicle and prayer.
V. Pray for us, Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. Defend, we ask o Lord, by the intercession of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, this Thy family, from every adversity, and in Thy great mercy protect it, that boweth before Thee with all its heart, from the snares of all enemies. Through Christ, our Lord. (Defende, quaesumus, Domine, beata Maria semper Virgine intercedente, istam ab omni adversitate familiam tuam, et toto corde tibi prostratam, ab hostium proitius tuere clementer insidiis. Per.)

Then the following invocation is said.
V. In omni tribulatione et angustia, sucurrat nobis pia Virgo Maria. R. Amen.
(In every tribulation and anguish, may the Holy Virgin Mary come to our aid.

And a final prayer, which mentioned several of the more Carmelite Saints.
Oremus. Omnipotens, et clementissime Deus, qui Montis Carmeli Ordinem gloriosissimae Virginis Mariae Genitricis Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi, sacrato titulo insignitum, Sanctorum tuorum Patris nostri Eliae, et Elisaei Prophetarum, Angeli et Anastasii Martyrum, Cyrilli et Alberti Confessorum, Euphrasiae, Teresiae et Mariae Magdalenae Virginum, et aliorum plurimorum meritis decorasti: tribue nobis quaesumus, ut per eorum suffragia ab instantibus malis animae et corporis liberati, ad te verum Carmeli verticem gaudentes pervenire valeamus. Per. (Almighty and most merciful God, who has adorned the order or Mount Carmel, that is distinguished by the sacred title of the most glorious Virgin Mary, the Mother of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with the merits of Thy Saints, the prophets Elijah, our father, and Elisha, the martyrs Angelus and Anastasius, the confessors Cyril and Albert, the virgins Euphrasia, Theresa and Mary Magdalene, and very many others; grant us, we ask, that being delivered by their prayers from present evils of soul and body, we may be able to come rejoicing to Thee, the true height of Carmel. Through the same...)

The Virgin Mary and Carmelite Saints, by Pietro Novelli, 1641; from the Carmelite church of Palermo, Siciliy.

Vatican’s Former Doctrine Head Criticizes Amazon Synod Working Doc for ‘False Teaching’

Stop the Shamazon Sin-od! It's an attempt by Francis and his lickspittle toadies to destroy the Church!

From LifeSiteNews

By Maike Hickson

July 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The cardinal who was tasked by Pope Benedict with defending the doctrine of the Catholic Church has criticized the Pan-Amazon Synod's working document (Instrumentum Laboris) for its "radical u-turn in the hermeneutics of Catholic theology" and for its "false teaching."
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), said the "main problem" with the working document is that "key terms are not being clarified." His statement was released on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (read full statement below). 
"What is a synodal path, what is integral development, what does a Samaritan, missionary, synodal, and open Church mean, or a Church reaching out, the Church of the Poor, the Church of the Amazon, and more? Is this Church something different from the People of God or is she to be understood merely as the hierarchy of Pope and Bishops, or is she a part of it, or does she stand on the opposite side of the people?" Müller states. 
The Cardinal, who held his post at the CDF from 2012-2017, especially takes issue with the working document's claim that there are new sources of "Revelation" related to geographical locations such as the Amazon region. 
"If here a certain territory is being declared to be a 'particular source of God's Revelation,' then one has to state that this is a false teaching, inasmuch as for 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has infallibly taught that Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition are the only sources of Revelation and that no further Revelation can be added in the course of history," he stated. 
"As Dei Verbum states, 'we now await no further new public revelation' (4). Holy Scripture and Tradition are the only sources of Revelation, as Dei Verbum (7) explains: 'This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face.' 'Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church' (Dei Verbum 10)," the Cardinal added. 
Most importantly, in Cardinal Müller's view, the relationship of Holy Scripture and Tradition on the one side and the Magisterium on the other has been put “upside down” in the Vatican document. He asks: “Has the Church of Christ been placed by her Founder as a sort of raw material into the hands of bishops and popes, which they now – illuminated by the Holy Spirit – can rebuild into an updated instrument also with secular goals?”
The approach of the working document, he says, is that “the whole line of thought turns in self-referential and circular ways around the newest documents of Pope Francis' Magisterium,” and that there are a few “references to John Paul II and Benedict XVI,” with Holy Scripture and the Church Fathers being quoted rarely. In this way, the Magisterium – which is meant to "interpret" and "regulate" the Revelation that is “fully” contained in Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition – becomes the tail that wags the dog, thus turning the hermeneutics of Catholic theology "upside down."
Cardinal Müller goes on to show how the authors of the working document show a “special loyalty to the Pope” by quoting him intensely, even referring to Pope Francis' “mantra,” a word which the cardinal himself calls “sloppy.” Müller even shows that some quotations and references in the text are simply incorrect, thus indicating a lack of academic carefulness.
The German prelate also rejects the idea of a “cosmovision” that is to be found in the Vatican working document.
“A cosmovision with its myths and the ritual magic of Mother 'Nature,' or its sacrifices to 'gods' and spirits,” he states, “which scare the wits out of us, or lure us on with false promises, cannot be an adequate approach for the coming of the Triune God in His Word and His Holy Spirit.”
Müller states that “the cosmos, however, is not to be adored like God, but only the Creator Himself.”
Müller shows where the synodal text goes wrong in its understanding of “inculturation,” since inculturation has only a limited place within the Church's missionary activity. The Incarnation is the starting point of the Church's missionary activity; “this self-communication of God as a Grace and life of each man is being spread in the world by way of the Church's proclamation of her life and her cult – that is to say, by way of the world mission according to the universal mandate of Christ.”
What is missing in the working document, the Cardinal and former dogmatics professor explains, is a "clear witness to the self-communication of God in the verbum incarnatum, to the sacramentality of the Church, to the Sacraments as objective means of Grace.”
The Sacraments, he adds, cannot be inculturated, but merely some “secondary external” elements. The Church witnesses to the Incarnation and to the Sacraments “so that eternal life is the reward for the conversion to God, the reconciliation with Him, and not only with the environment and our shared world.”
He concludes: "Instead of presenting an ambiguous approach with a vague religiosity and the futile attempt to turn Christianity into a science of salvation by sacralizing the cosmos and the biodiverse nature and ecology, it is important to look to the center and origin of our Faith: 'In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature' (Dei Verbum 2)."
Cardinal Müller is not the first high-ranking prelate to criticize the document. Last month, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the two remaining dubia cardinals, issued a critique of the document, calling it “heretical” and an “apostasy” from Divine Revelation. He called upon Church leaders to “reject” it with “all decisiveness.” 
Cardinal Raymond Burke has also commented on remarks made by Amazon Synod organizers, saying that relaxing priestly celibacy for the Amazon region would affect the universal Church. “It is not honest” to suggest that the October meeting is “treating the question of clerical celibacy for that region alone,” he said last month. 
Bishop Marian Eleganti, the auxiliary bishop of Chur, Switzerland has also statedthat if ideas in the working document are adopted, they "will contaminate the whole Mystical Body of the Church – and gravely damage it."
Cardinal Müller's statement is being published simultaneously in four languages: in Italian by Corrispondenza Romana; in German by Die Tagespost, Kath.net, and CNA Deutsch; and in Spanish by Infovaticana.
***
Full statement by Cardinal Müller on the Pan-Amazon Synod working document
“For any other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus.” (1 Cor 3:11)
On the Concept of Revelation as found in the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod
By Cardinal Gerhard Müller 
1. On the method of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL)
Nobody would question the goodwill of those who are involved in the preparation and implementation of the synod for the Church in the Amazon and with their intention to do everything possible in order to promote the Catholic Faith among the inhabitants of this large region and its fascinating landscape. 
The Amazon region is to serve for the Church and for the world “as a pars pro toto, as a paradigm, as a hope for the whole world.” (IL 37) Already this very task assignment itself shows forth the idea of an “integral” development of all men in the one house of the earth, for which the Church declares herself to be responsible. This idea is again and again to be found in the Instrumentum Laboris (IL). The text itself is divided into three parts: 1) The Voice of the Amazon; 2) Integral Ecology: The Cry of the Earth and of the Poor; 3) A Prophetic Church in the Amazon: Challenges and Hope. These three parts are built according to the scheme which also Liberation Theology uses: Seeing the situation – judging in light of the Gospels – acting for the establishment of better life conditions.
2. Ambivalence in the Definition of Terms and Goals
As it often happens when such workshop-texts are being written, there are always teams of people with a similar mindset who work on individual parts with the result that there arise some tiresome redundancies. If one were strictly to take out all the repetitions, the text easily could be reduced to half of its length, and even less.
But the main problem is not the quantitatively excessive length, but the fact that the key terms are not being clarified and they are overused: what is a synodal path, what is integral development, what does a Samaritan, missionary, synodal, and open Church mean, or a Church reaching out, the Church of the Poor, the Church of the Amazon, and more? Is this Church something different from the People of God or is she to be understood merely as the hierarchy of Pope and Bishops, or is she a part of it, or does she stand on the opposite side of the people? Is People of God a sociological or theological term? Or is it not, rather, the community of faithful, who, together with their shepherds, are on the pilgrimage unto eternal life? Is it the bishops who should hear the cry of the people, or is it God Who, just as He once did it with Moses during Israel's slavery in Egypt, now tells the successors of the Apostles to lead the faithful out of the sin and apart from the godlessness of secularist naturalism and immanentism unto his salvation in God's Word and in the Sacraments of the Church?
3. Hermeneutics Put Upside Down
Has the Church of Christ been placed by her Founder as a sort of raw material into the hands of bishops and popes, which they now – illuminated by the Holy Spirit – can rebuild into an updated instrument also with secular goals? 
The structure of the text presents a radical u-turn in the hermeneutics of Catholic theology. The relationship between Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition on the one side, and the Church's Magisterium on the other, has been classically determined in such a way that Revelation is fully contained in Holy Scripture and Tradition, while it is the task of the Magisterium – united with the sense of the Faith of the whole People of God – to make authentic and infallible interpretations. Thus, Holy Scripture and Tradition are constitutive principles of knowledge for the Catholic Profession of Faith and its theological-academic reflection. The Magisterium, on the other hand, is merely active in an interpretative and regulative manner (Dei Verbum 8-10; 24)
In the case of the IL, however, it is exactly the opposite. The whole line of thought turns in self-referential and circular ways around the newest documents of Pope Francis' Magisterium, furnished with a few references to John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Holy Scripture is being quoted little, and the Church Fathers barely at all, but then only in an illustrative manner, and for the sake of supporting convictions that are already preexisting for other reasons. Perhaps one wishes thereby to show a special loyalty to the Pope, or one thus believes oneself to be able to avoid the challenges of theological work when one constantly refers back to his well-known and often repeated keywords, which the authors call – in a pretty sloppy manner – “his mantra” (IL 25). This flattery is then being carried to its extreme when the authors also add – after their statement that “the active subjects of inculturation are the indigenous peoples themselves” (IL 122) – the odd formulation, namely: “As Pope Francis has affirmed, 'Grace supposes culture.'” As if he himself had discovered this axiom – which is of course a fundamental axiom of the Catholic Church herself.  In the original, it is Grace which presupposes Nature, just as Faith presupposes Reason (see Thomas Aquinas, S. th. I q.1 a.8). 
Next to the confusing of the roles of Magisterium on the one side and of Holy Scripture on the other, the IL even goes so far as to claim that there are new sources of Revelation. IL 19 states: “Furthermore, we can say that the Amazon – or another indigenous or communal territory – is not only an ubi or a where (a geographical space), but also a quid or a what, a place of meaning for faith or the experience of God in history. Thus territory is a theological place where faith is lived, and also a particular source of God’s revelation: epiphanic places where the reserve of life and wisdom for the planet is manifest, a life and wisdom that speaks of God.” If here a certain territory is being declared to be a “particular source of God's Revelation,” then one has to state that this is a false teaching, inasmuch as for 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has infallibly taught that Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition are the only sources of Revelation and that no further Revelation can be added in the course of history. As Dei Verbum states, “we now await no further new public revelation” (4). Holy Scripture and Tradition are the only sources of Revelation, as Dei Verbum (7) explains: “This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face.” “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church” (Dei Verbum 10).
Besides these striking statements and references, the organization Rete Ecclesiale Panamazzonica (=REPAM) – which has been tasked with the preparation of the IL and which was founded for that very reason in 2014 – as well as their authors, of the so-called Theologia india [Indian Theology], mostly quote themselves.
It is a closed society of people with absolutely the same worldview, as can easily be seen on the list of names of pre-synod meetings in Washington and Rome, which contains a disproportionately large number of mostly German-speaking Europeans. 
One is immune to serious objections, because these can only be based on monolithic doctrinalism and dogmatism, or ritualism (IL 38; 110; 138), as well as on clericalism that is incapable of dialogue (IL 110), and on the rigid way of thinking of the pharisees and on the pride of reason on the side of the scribes. To argue with such people would just be a loss of time and a wasted effort. 
Not all of them have experience with South America and are only present because they think it to be in accordance with the official line and because they control the themes at the synodal path of the German Bishops' Conference and of the Central Committee of German Catholics (abolishment of celibacy, women in the priesthood and in key power positions against clericalism and fundamentalism, adapting the revealed sexual morality to the gender ideology and to the appreciation for homosexual practices) that is concurrently taking place. 
I myself have been active in the pastoral and theological field in Peru and other countries for 15 consecutive years, each for 2-3 months. It was mainly in southern-American parishes and seminaries, and thus I do not now judge with a purely eurocentric perspective, as some would like to tell me in a reproachful manner.
Every Catholic will agree with one important intention of the IL, namely that the peoples of the Amazon may not remain the object of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the object of forces who only think about profits and power, at the cost of happiness and the dignity of other people. It is clear in the Church, society, and state that the people who are living there – especially our Catholic brothers and sisters – are equal and free agents in their lives and work, their Faith and their morality – in our common responsibility before God. But how can this be achieved?
4. The Point of Departure is God's Revelation in Jesus Christ
Without doubt, the proclamation of the Gospel is a dialogue, which corresponds to the Word (=Logos) of God addressed to us and to our response in the free gift of obedience to the Faith (Dei Verbum 5). Because the mission comes from Christ the God-Man and because He passed His Mission on from the Father onto His Apostles, the alternatives of a dogmatic approach “from above” versus a pedagogical-pastoral approach “from below” make no sense, only if one would reject the “divine-human principle of pastoral case” (Franz Xaver Arnold). 
But man is the addressee of the universal missionary mandate of Jesus (Matthew 28:19), “the universal and sole mediator of salvation between God and all mankind” (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:4 seq.). And man can reflect, with the help of his reason, upon the sense of life between birth and death, and his life is shaken by existential crises of human existence, and he sets in life and death his hope in God, the origin and goal of all being. 
A cosmovision with its myths and the ritual magic of Mother “Nature,” or its sacrifices to “gods” and spirits which scare the wits out of us, or lure us on with false promises, cannot be an adequate approach for the coming of the Triune God in His Word and His Holy Spirit. Much less can the approach be a scientific-positivistic world view of a liberal bourgeoisie which accepts of Christianity only a comfortable remnant of moral values and civil-religious rituals.
In all seriousness, in the formation of future pastors and theologians, shall the knowledge of classical and modern philosophy, of the Church Fathers, of modern theology, of the Councils, now be replaced with the Amazonian cosmovision and the wisdom of the ancestors with their myths and rituals?
Should the expression “cosmovision” merely mean that all created things are interdependent, it would be a mere commonplace. Due to the substantial unity of body and soul, man stands at the intersection of the fabric of spirit and matter. But the contemplation of the cosmos is only the occasion for the glorification of God and His wonderful work in nature and history. The cosmos, however, is not to be adored like God, but only the Creator Himself. We do not fall on our knees before the enormous power of nature and before “all kingdoms of the world and their splendor” (Matthew 4:8), but only before God, “for it is written, the Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10). It is thus that Jesus rejected the diabolical seducer in the desert. 
5. The Difference between Incarnation of the Word and Inculturation itself as a Way of Evangelization
The “Theologia indigena and the eco-theology” (IL 98) is a brainchild of social romantics. Theology is the understanding (intellectus fidei) of God's Revelation in His Word in the Faith-Profession of the Church, and not the continuously new mixture of world feelings and world views or religious-moral constellations of the cosmic feeling of all-in-one, the mixing of the feeling of one's own self with the world (hen kai pan). Our natural world is the creation of a Personal God. Faith in the Christian sense is thus recognition of God in His Eternal Word which became Flesh; it is illumination in the Holy Spirit, so that we recognize God in Christ.  With the Faith, the supernatural virtues of hope and charity are communicated to us.  That is how we understand ourselves as children of God, who, through Christ, say to God in the Holy Spirit, “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15). We put our whole trust in Him, and He makes us His sons, who are free of the fear of the elementary forces of the world and of the demonic appearances, gods and spirits, which maliciously await us in the unpredictability of the material forces of the world. 
The Incarnation is a unique event in history which God has freely determined in His universal will of salvation. It is not an inculturation, and the inculturation of the Church is not an incarnation (IL 7;19;29;108). It was not Irenaeus of Lyon, in his 5thbook of Adversus haereses (IL 113), but Gregory of Nazianzus who formulated the principle: “quod non est assumptum non est sanatum – that, which has not been assumed, is not redeemed either.” (Ep. 101, 32) What is meant here was the completeness of human nature against Apollinaris of Laodicea (315-390) who thought that the Logos in the Incarnation only assumed a nature, without a human soul. That is why the following sentence is completely abstruse: “Cultural diversity calls for a more robust incarnation in order to embrace different ways of life and cultures.” (IL 113)
The Incarnation is not the principle of secondary cultural adaptation, but concretely and primarily also the principle of salvation in the “Church as Sacrament of salvation of the world in Christ” (Lumen Gentium 1:48), in the Church's Profession of Faith, in her Seven Sacraments, and in the episcopacy with the Pope at the head, in Apostolic succession. 
Secondary rites from the traditions of the peoples can help to ingrain into the culture the Sacraments, which are the means of salvation instituted by Christ. They may, however, not become independent, so that, for example suddenly marriage customs become more important than the Yes-Word [“Ja-Wort”] which is constitutive for the Sacrament of Matrimony itself. The sacramental signs, as they have been instituted by Christ and the Apostles (word and material symbol), cannot be changed at any price. Baptism cannot be validly administered in any other way than in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and with natural water; and in the Eucharist, one may not replace with local food the bread made of wheat and the wine from the vine. That would not be inculturation, but an inadmissible interference into Jesus' Will as founder [“Stiftungswillen”] and also would be a destruction of the unity of the Church at her sacramental center.
When inculturation here is referring to the secondary external celebration of divine worship and not to the Sacraments – which is ex opere operato, through the living Presence of Christ, the founder and true giver of Grace in these sacramental signs – then the following sentence is scandalous, or it is at least thoughtless: “Without this inculturation the liturgy can be reduced to a 'museum piece' or 'property of a select few.'” (IL 124)
God is not simply everywhere and equally present in all religions, as if the Incarnation would be merely a typically mediterranean phenomenon. In point of fact, God as Creator of the world is present as a whole and in each individual human heart (Acts 17:27seq) – even if the eyes of man are often blinded by sin, and his ears are deaf to God's Love. But He comes by way of His Self-Revelation in the history of His chosen people Israel, and He comes very close to us ourselves in His Incarnate Word and in the Spirit which has been poured into our hearts. This self-communication of God as a Grace and life of each man is being spread in the world by way of the Church's proclamation of her life and her cult – that is to say, by way of the world mission according to the universal mandate of Christ.
But He already works with His helping and prevenient Grace also in the hearts of those men who do not yet know Him expressly and by name, so that, when they hear about Him in the Apostolic proclamation, they can identify Him as the Lord Jesus, in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3).
6. The Criterion of Discernment: the Historical Self-Communication of God in Jesus Christ
What is missing in the IL is a clear witness to the self-communication of God in the verbum incarnatum, to the sacramentality of the Church, to the Sacraments as objective means of Grace instead of mere self-referential symbols, to the supernatural character of Grace, so that the integrity of man does not only consist of the unity with a bio-nature, but in the Divine Sonship and in the grace-filled communion with the Holy Trinity and so that eternal life is the reward for the conversion to God, the reconciliation with Him, and not only with the environment and our shared world. 
One cannot reduce the integral development merely to the provision of material resources. Because man receives his new integrity only by way of perfection in Grace, here now in Baptism, whereby we become a new creature and children of God, and then one day in the Beatific Vision in the community of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and in communion with His saints. (1 John 1:3; 3:1 seq).
Instead of presenting an ambiguous approach with a vague religiosity and the futile attempt to turn Christianity into a science of salvation by sacralizing the cosmos and the biodiverse nature and ecology, it is important to look to the center and origin of our Faith: “In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature” (Dei Verbum 2).
Translation Maike Hickson

The Catechism of the Summa - XX. OF GOD'S ACTION IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSE; AND OF MIRACLES (C)

(C)

Can there be any change in things made by God?

Yes, and changes more or less radical according to the difference of natures, and according to the difference of states of the same nature.

Do these changes which sometimes come about in the things made by God, enter into the plan of His divine government?

Yes, since all such can and should advance the end of His government which is the glory of God and the well-being of His work.

Are there any changes in creatures that are due to the special action of God?

Yes (CV. 1-8); and they are those changes which affect directly the ultimate basis of material things, or the affective part of spiritual beings, and also that which is fundamental in every action of the creature (CV. 1, 4, 5).

Is this action which is proper to God and to which we must attribute the changes that come about in material things "outside" the action of secondary causes which in the ordinary course of nature is proportionate to these changes?

Yes, and such changes are called miracles (CV. 6, 7).

Next - The Catechism of the Summa - XX. OF GOD'S ACTION IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSE; AND OF MIRACLES (D)

Pegues OP, R P Thomas. Catechism of the "Summa Theologica" of Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Use of the Faithful (pp. 86-87). Veritatis Splendor Publications. Kindle Edition.

Facebook Bans Saint Augustine Quote as ‘Hate Speech’

Remember what Tucker Carlson said in the last post I shared? Exempli gratia!

From LifeSiteNews

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

CALIFORNIA, July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A decision by Facebook to ban a peace-loving quote by St. Augustine of Hippo, a Catholic theologian and philosopher from the 5th century, has one Catholic writer scratching his head. 
Noticing that two priest-friends had been censored by the social media giant for posting the saint’s pastoral advice, Massachusetts pro-lifer Dominic Bettinelli published the same words to his Facebook wall on Friday. Then he, too, got a warning that the post went against Facebook’s “Community Standards on hate speech.” 
The quote Facebook deemed so offensive is as follows: 
Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others.
The quote, Bettinelli explained in a spirited post on the “hate speech” accusation, is from a homily of the saint included in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office.   
“Hate speech?” Bettinelli asked. “It’s the opposite of hate speech. It’s calling for people to stop focusing on others’ sins and concentrate on their own. Augustine is just re-formulating Jesus’ own words from the Gospel: 'Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?' (Matthew 7:3).”
The author believed that the posting had been rejected by a computer algorithm. However, when he was offered the option of a human review, Bettinelli took it and discovered that even a human supervisor at Facebook deemed that the quote violated “Community Standards.” 
Facebook invited Bettinelli to respond to its rejection of his appeal. He wrote the following:
I still don’t understand why this is hate speech. It’s a quote from a Catholic saint who expresses the opposite of hate speech. He is essentially restating the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels to stop worrying about what the other guy is or isn’t doing and worry about your own flaws. Is Facebook saying that the Gospel is hate speech? But what’s worse is that I have no more understanding now of what is a violation of your community standards than I did before. I cannot for the life of me figure out why you label this hate speech.
Bettinelli is now concerned that Facebook users will end up in “Facebook jail”, i.e. not be able to post on Facebook, just for quoting the Bible or sharing a “word of encouragement from a saint.” 
Bettinelli told LifeSiteNews that he may have found the crux of the problem. 
“A friend posted just ‘men are hopeless creatures’ and that got banned, so that seems to be the relevant part that is hate speech,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bettinelli is not willing to let Facebook get away with libeling St. Augustine. 
“If FB doesn't want me to post it, then I'm going to blog about it and then I'm going to podcast about it and I'm going to make a stink about it until someone with some power gets FB to admit that quotations from early Church fathers is [sic] not hate speech,” he wrote―on Facebook.
Facebook has been implicated in censoring conservative and Christian opinions. Recently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that Facebook had intentionally blocked pro-life advertisements in the run-up to Ireland’s referendum to remove the right-to-life of the unborn child from its constitution. Facebook has also been found guilty of privacy violations and is facing a five billion dollar fine. 

Tucker Carlson: Big Business Is Now at War Against Your Family

'The main threat to people living their lives the way they see fit is no longer the federal government, but the private sector.' Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, anyone?

From LifeSiteNews

By Jonathon Van Maren

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday by rejecting Rusty Reno’s laudatory introduction of him and noting that as someone—he couldn’t remember who—once said, “in the end, all graves go unvisited.” He then cleared his throat and announced that he’d just come back from Maine, where he’d decided to go off nicotine for the first time in 36 years (his consumption of nicotine gum is legendary) and thus had probably forgotten most of his speech, which was advertised in the program as a lecture titled “Big Business Hates Your Family.” 
The second thing is that his speeches are a stream-of-consciousness collection of observations that kept those in the press gallery frantically typing to keep track of his train of thought, wondering if perhaps the manic media commentator has ADHD. When Carlson isn’t in front of a camera, his speaking style is relentlessly self-deprecatory, frequently disorganized, and interrupted by explosions of laughter followed by a question posed with a knowing grin: “Know what I mean?” Usually, the audience knew precisely what he meant. He began by noting that he could see quite a few people in the audience—presumably members of the conservative establishment—who didn’t like him, and welcoming them to heckle whenever they saw fit.
Tucker Carlson started his speech by stating something he says frequently: That he is not an intellectual, but merely an observer of what is happening in America of late (he makes this quite clear in his 2018 book Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution.) Carlson had three key observations to present to the audience, all three of them rather unpopular in conservative circles. Over the past couple of years, Tucker has used his FOX News show to attack both the Left and the Right, and admitted to the crowd that he no longer had a defined ideology and could not identify with any label—rather than politics, he said, he now simply has “reactions” to things.
His first observation was perhaps his most contentious: The main threat to people living their lives the way they see fit is no longer the federal government, but the private sector. “I can’t believe I’m saying that,” he added.
But to Carlson, this now seems obvious. Even cookie companies like Oreo, he noted, are now pushing advertising that asks kids to “name their pronoun”—aiming transgender propaganda at children. This is a corporation, pushing the idea that biology is obsolete and that the gender binary is no longer operative. The libertarian response to this—and the speakers at this conference are constantly taking aim at libertarianism as a bankrupt ideology utterly unsuited to the challenges of today—would be “Start your own Oreo company!” Everyone laughed.
The libertarians are not popular at the National Conservatism conference, in stark contrast to other right-wing gatherings like CPAC (when I went last — years ago — Ron Paul was thronged like a rock star.)
Right now, Carlson pointed out, Google controls virtually all human information, forming a chokepoint that nobody but them can control. This constitutes the largest amount of power concentrated in the smallest group of people in all of American history.
This, Carlson noted, should terrify us.
Google could make “whole ideas disappear, and there’s some evidence that they’re planning to do this.” And of course, there is no pushback from our elected officials “because they’re corrupt.” The anti-trust think tank in DC, Carlson noted to laughter, “literally takes money from Google.” 
This doesn’t bother the Left because it essentially means that people who primarily hold their politics own the digital public square.
The Right, said Carlson, is utterly unequipped and unwilling to deal with this situation because they have chained themselves to an antiquated way of viewing the free market and the public square that does not possess the tools to respond to a new era in which old assumptions no longer make sense. Conservatives cannot make their own Google and compete, and that means that they run the risk of seeing their ideas censored or eventually banned by powerful corporatists who can potentially change the course of history. 
There are many downsides to Trump, Carlson noted, but the upside is that his election was so shocking that we should all sit back and ask ourselves what else could happen. If the Loch Ness monster is real, he said to roars of laughter, what about the Yeti? When Donald J. Trump became president of the United States, Carlson says, he forced himself to cut through the lies and the propaganda and simply observe what is happening around him. One of the things he discovered constitutes his second key observation: That much of progressivism is “a Freudian projection. Whatever they say you’re doing, they’re doing.” One key example? Antifa: “Guys in black masks with steel bars calling others fascists.” This isn’t Orwellian, Carlson insisted, this is a Freudian transfer.
That led to Carlson’s third observation: The progressive Left is not interested in peaceful co-existence. Carlson’s example again triggered gales of laughter (I even saw journalists who intensely dislike him doubled over): If you went to Alabama and asked someone what they thought of the sexual practices of people in Brooklyn, Carlson noted, they’d look at you as if you were insane. The reality is that they don’t think about it. If you asked them if they’d support banning such practices, they’d laugh in your face. But if you told an elitist in Brooklyn that a huge percentage of people in Alabama opposed gay "marriage," you’d get an enraged outburst in response. The Brooklyn elitists would say of the Alabamians: “I was just thinking about that this morning! We should kill them!”
Progressives, Carlson noted, lay awake seething that “someone, somewhere, is not on board with the program.” Even if someone simply disagrees in their heart of hearts, they must be confronted and they must be re-educated. That is because progressivism is an evangelical faith—because although you can remove religion, you cannot remove the religious impulse.
“If you think the Resurrection is implausible, just wait ‘til you hear about woke politics,” he joked.
Carlson concluded by again confessing that he had many observations, but no immediately obvious solutions: I sure hope this conference explains what it means to be nationalist and conservative, because I’m not even sure anymore. 
In closing, Carlson took a few questions. In response to a question asking what he thought the most important thought that we haven’t yet given ourselves permission to think or say out loud, Carlson articulated what many of us have been thinking: The natural state of man is not progress. There’s no reason to believe that our society is impervious to collapse, and our leaders are “bovine stupid” not to lie awake at night struggling to come up with ways to hold America together, to find something we have in common to rally the citizenry around. He mocked the idea that “diversity is our strength.” Is that true in your marriage? Carlson asked. If I married someone who couldn’t speak English and hated all my views, how would that work out?
Finally, Carlson warned, we should realize that victory is not assured. We do not know if we can prevail in the progressive war against America. In fact, he noted, we could lose—and “that literally gets me up in the morning.” Much has been destroyed over the past several decades, not the least of which is the American family, that ultimate canary in the coalmine for national health. On this, the audience was in full agreement with him, and it is precisely to chart a new response to these problems that so many scholars, writers, and ordinary men and women have gathered in America’s capital this week. Together, they seek to discover what might be done.


Franklin Graham: ‘Equality Act’ Will Lead to Christian Persecution ‘as Never Before’

This bill  must not become law! It is a blank cheque for the anti-Christian left to persecute those they disagree with.

From LifeSiteNews

By Calvin Freiburger

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham is speaking out against one of the LGBT lobby’s top congressional priorities, warning that the so-called Equality Act would have “catastrophic consequences” for both religious freedom and women’s rights if it became law.
The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” among expressly recognized “non-discrimination” categories in “public accommodations” (the definition of which would be dramatically expanded); and force employers of 15 or more people to recognize their claimed “gender identity,” forbid them from “discriminating” based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” and mandate transgender “access” to sex-specific facilities.
In May, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to pass the bill, which Graham warns could become law depending on the outcome of next year’s elections, WND reports.
“If the Senate majority changes or if enough Republican senators change their position, it would be up to the president to veto the bill. And if that office were to change hands in 2020, I have little doubt this would become the law of the land,” Graham wrote in the July-August issue of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association magazine Decision.
If that happens, he continued, Christian employers “would lose all protections to hire people who adhere to their biblical statements of faith. Christians will be persecuted for their sincerely held beliefs as never before. The clear teachings of the Bible on the sins of homosexuality and abortion will no doubt be considered ‘hate speech.’ It will be a nightmare from which this nation may never recover.”
Conservatives have long warned that the legislation’s true purpose is not to protect homosexual or gender-confused Americans from tangible harm, but to force other Americans such as photographersflorists, and bakers to participate in same-sex “weddings”; to force employers and businesses to accommodate cross-dressingsame-sex cohabitation, and sex-change treatments regardless of their own values or policies; and to force women and girls to sleepshower, and use the bathroomalongside gender-confused males.
WND adds that in the same issue, the Graham association’s Jerry Pierce warned that the Equality Act “would make no exemptions for religious institutions and explicitly invalidates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” leading to the closure of adoption agencies that insist children be placed in homes with a mother and a father along with stripping "parents of their right to raise and educate their own children if their beliefs contradict government mandates."
“Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights,” five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared in May.
“The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate,” the bishops added.
The Daily Caller reported last month that every 2020 Democrat presidential candidate averaging above 1% in the polls has endorsed the Equality Act, including former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren.

Making a New Year's Resolution to do the Five First Saturdays

Fr. Joseph Michael speaks on Our Lady during the “Day With Mary” held at St. Lawrence and Mary Immaculate Church in Balcatta, Western Australia on 3 January 2015.


Catechism of St Pius X - The Sacraments - The Blessed Eucharist - The Institution and Effects of the Sacrament of the Eucharist

The Institution and Effects of the Sacrament of the Eucharist 

27 Q. When did Jesus Christ institute the sacrament of the Eucharist?

A. Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist at the last supper, which He took with His disciples, the evening before His passion.

28 Q. Why did Jesus Christ institute the Most Holy Eucharist?

A. Jesus Christ instituted the Most Holy Eucharist for three principal reasons: (1) To be the Sacrifice of the New Law; (2) To be the food of our souls; (3) To be a perpetual memorial of His passion and death and a precious pledge both of His love for us and of eternal life.

29 Q. Why did Jesus Christ institute this sacrament under the appearances of bread and wine?

A. Jesus Christ instituted this sacrament under the appearances of bread and wine, because, the Eucharist being intended to be our spiritual nourishment, it was therefore fitting that it should be given to us under the form of food and drink.

30 Q. What are the effects which the Most Holy Eucharist produces in us?

A. The principal effects which the Most Holy Eucharist produces in those who worthily receive it are these: (1) It preserves and increases the life of the soul, which is grace, just as natural food sustains and increases the life of the body; (2) It remits venial sins and preserves us from mortal sin; (3) It produces spiritual consolation.

31 Q. Does not the Most Holy Eucharist produce other effects in us?

A. Yes; the Most Holy Eucharist produces three other effects in (1) It weakens our passions, and in particular it allays in us the fires of concupiscence; (2) It increases in us the fervour of charity towards God and our neighbour, and aids us to act in conformity with the will of Jesus Christ; (3) It gives us a pledge of future glory and of the resurrection of our body.

Next - Catechism of St Pius X - The Sacraments - The Blessed Eucharist - The Dispositions necessary to Receive Holy Communion worthily

Pius X, Pope St.. Catholic Catechism of Saint Pius X (1908) (pp. 66-67). Kindle Edition.

Word of the Day: Venerable

VENERABLE. Title given to the Servants of God after the state of their heroic virtue or martyrdom has been proved and a solemn decree to that effect has been signed by the Pope. (Etym. Latin venerabilis, from venerari, to regard with religious awe.)

Are you a member of the Carmelite Family?

You may be without even realising it. For instance, if you wear the Brown Scapular, you are a member. And if you don't wear it, hie thee to a Priest instanter and get enrolled!

Here is some information regarding the Family from various Carmelite sources.


A short description from the O.Carm. website:

The many and various embodiments of the Carmelite charism are for us a source of joy; they confirm the rich and creative fruitfulness of our charism,  lived under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - a fruitfulness to be welcomed with gratitude and discernment.
All individuals and groups, whether institutional or not, which draw their inspiration from the Rule of St. Albert, from its tradition and from the values expressed in Carmelite spirituality, constitute the Carmelite Family within the Church today. 

This Family includes ourselves and our brothers of the Teresian Reform; the women religious of both branches;  affiliated religious congregations; the Third Orders Secular; secular institutes; individuals affiliated with the Order through the sacred scapular; and those who by whatever title or bond are affiliated with the Order; those movements which, though juridically not part of the Order, seek inspiration and support from its spirituality; and any man or woman who is drawn to the values of Carmel. (Constitutions O.Carm. no.28)

And three longer articles from the website of the British Province of the Order of Carmel.

Lay Carmel (Third Orders)

Lay Carmel and the Wider Carmelite Family

The Carmelite Family


And finally, 

Message to the Carmelite Family, from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, 25 March 2001,

Scapular of Carmel, a treasure for the ChurchThis year the entire Carmelite Family is celebrating the 750th anniversary of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For the occasion the Holy Father sent a Message to Fr Joseph Chalmers, Prior General of the Carmelites, and to Fr Camilo Maccise, Superior General of Discalced Carmelites, in which he spoke of the important role devotion to Mary in Carmelite spirituality and expressed the hope that "this Marian year will help all the men and women religious of Carmel and the devout faithful who venerate her with filial affection to grow in her love and to radiate to the world the presence of this Woman of silence and prayer, invoked as Mother of Mercy, Mother of Hope and Grace". Here is a translation of the Holy Father's Message, which was written in Italian and dated 25 March.

To the Most Reverend Fathers
Joseph Chalmers
Prior General of the Order
of Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary
of Mount Carmel (O.Carm.)
and
Camilo Maccise
Superior General of the Order
of Discalced Brothers of the Blessed
Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (O.C.D.)

1. The providential event of grace, which the Jubilee Year has been for the Church, prompts her to look with trust and hope to the journey we have just begun in the new millennium. At the beginning of this new century", I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, "our steps must quicken.... On this journey we are accompanied by the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom ... I entrusted the third millennium" (n. 58).

I therefore learned with deep joy that the two branches of the Order of Carmel, the ancient and the reformed, intend to express their filial love for their Patroness by dedicating the year 2001 to her, invoked as the Flower of Carmel, Mother and Guide on the way of holiness. In this regard, I cannot fail to stress a happy coincidence: the celebration of this Marian year for the whole of Carmel is taking place, according to a venerable tradition of the Order itself, on the 750th anniversary of the bestowal of the Scapular. This celebration is therefore a marvellous occasion for the entire Carmelite Family to deepen not only its Marian spirituality, but to live it more and more in the light of the place which the Virgin Mother of God and of mankind holds in the mystery of Christ and the Church, and therefore to follow her who is the "Star of Evangelization" (cf. Novo millennio ineunte, n. 58).

2. In their journey towards the "mountain of God, Christ the Lord" (Roman Missal, Opening Prayer of the Mass in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 16 July), the various generations of Carmel, from the beginning until today, have sought to model their lives on Mry’s example.

In Carmel therefore and in every soul moved by tender affection for the Blessed Virgin and Mother, there has thrived a contemplation of her, who from the beginning knew how to open herself to hearing God's Word and to obeying his will (Lk 2:19, 51). For Mary, taught and formed by the Spirit (cf. Lk 2:44-50), was able by faith to understand her own history (cf. Lk 1:46-55) and, docile to the divine promptings, "advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan (cf. Jn 19:25), enduring with her Only-begotten Son the intensity of his suffering and associating herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart" (Lumen gentium, n. 58).

3. Contemplation of the Virgin presents her to us as a loving Mother who sees her Son growing up in Nazareth (cf. Lk 2:40, 52), follows him on the roads of Palestine, helps him at the wedding at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5) and, at the foot of the Cross,becomes the Mother associated with his offering and given to all people when Jesus himself entrusts her to his beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26). As Mother of the Church, the Blessed Virgin is one with the disciples in "constant prayer" (Acts 1:14); as the new Woman who anticipates in herself what will one day come to pass for us all in the full enjoyment of Trinitarian life, she is taken up into heaven from where she spreads the protective mantle of her mercy over her children on their pilgrimage to the holy mountain of glory.
Such a contemplative attitude of mind and heart prompts admiration for the Virgin's experience of faith and love; she already lives in herself all that every believer desires and hopes to attain in the mystery of Christ and the Church (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 103; Lumen gentium, n. 53). Therefore, Carmelites have chosen Mary as their Patroness and spiritual Mother and always keep before the eyes of their heart the Most Pure Virgin who guides everyone to the perfect knowledge and imitation of Christ.

Thus an intimacy of spiritual relations has blossomed, leading to an ever increasing communion with Christ and Mary. For the members of the Carmelite Family, Mary, the Virgin Mother of God and mankind, is not only a model to imitate but also the sweet presence of a Mother and Sister in whom to confide, St Teresa of Jesus rightly urged her sisters: "Imitate Our Lady and consider how great she must be and what a good thing it is that we have her for our Patroness" (Interior Castle, III, 1, 3).

4. This intense Marian life, which is expressed in trusting prayer, enthusiastic praise and diligent imitation, enables us to understand how the most genuine form of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, expressed by the humble sign, of the Scapular, is consecration to her Immaculate Heart (cf. Pius XII, Letter Neminem profecto latet [11 February 1950]; AAS 42, 1950, pp. 390-391]; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, n, 67). In this way, the heart grows in communion and familiarity with the Blessed Virgin, as a new way of living for God and of continuing here on earth the love of Jesus the Son for his Mother Mary" (cf. Angelus Address, in Insegnamenti XI/3, 1988, p. 173). Thus, as the blessed Carmelite martyr Titus Brandsma expressed it, we are put in profound harmony with Mary the Theotokos and become, like her, transmitters of divine life: 'The Lord also sends his angel to us ... we too must accept God in our hearts carry him in our hearts, nourish him and make him grow in us so that he is born of us and lives with us as the God-with-us, Emmanuel" (From the report of Bl. Titus Brandsma to the Mariological Congress of Tongerloo, August 1936).

Over time this rich Marian heritage of Carmel has become, through the spread of the Holy Scapular devotion, a treasure for the whole Church. By its simplicity, its anthropological value and its relationship to Mary's role in regard to the Church and humanity, this devotion was so deeply and widely accepted by the People of God that it came to be expressed in the memorial of 16 July on the liturgical calendar of the universal Church.

5. The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives. The Scapular is essentially a "habit". Those who receive it are associated more or less closely with the Order of Carmel and dedicate themselves to the service of Our Lady for the good of the whole Church (cf. "Formula of Enrolment in the Scapular", in the Rite of Blessing of and Enrolment in the Scapular, approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 5January 1996). Those who wear the Scapular are thus brought into the land of Carmel, so that they may "eat its fruits and its good things" (cf. Jer 2:7), and experience the loving and motherly presence of Mary in their daily commitment to be clothed in Jesus Christ and to manifest him in their life for the good of the Church and the whole of humanity (cf. "Formula of Enrolment in the Scapular", cit.).

Therefore two truths are evoked by the sign of the Scapular: on the one hand, the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only on life's journey, but also at the moment of passing into the fullness of eternal glory; on the other, the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honour on certain occasions, but must become a "habit", that is, a permanent orientation of one's own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In this way the Scapular becomes a sign of the "covenant" and reciprocal communion between Mary and the faithful: indeed, it concretely translates the gift of his Mother, which Jesus gave on the Cross to John and, through him, to all of us, and the entrustment of the beloved Apostle and of us to her, who became our spiritual Mother.

6. A splendid example of this Marian spirituality, which inwardly moulds individuals and conforms them to Christ, the firstborn of many brethren, is the witness to holiness and wisdom given by so many Carmelite saints, all of whom grew up in the shadow and under the protection of their Mother.

I too have worn the Scapular of Carmel over my heart for a long time! Out of my love for our common heavenly Mother, whose protection I constantly experience, I hope that this Marian year will help all the men and women religious of Carmel and the devout faithful who venerate her with filial affection to grow in her love and to radiate to the world the presence of this Woman of silence and prayer, invoked as Mother of Mercy, Mother of Hope and Grace.

With these wishes, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to all the friars, nuns, sisters and lay people of the Carmelite Family, who work so hard to spread among the people of God true devotion to Mary, Star of the Sea and Flower of Carmel!
From the Vatican, 25 March 2001.