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Posts Tagged ‘John Paul II’

The Final Confrontation

In 04 Fr. John McCloskey on 2015/08/21 at 12:00 AM

The Final Confrontation

by Father John McCloskey

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel.
We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it. . . .How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.
– Bicentennial talk given in the United States by the future St. John Paul II, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Kraków, Poland
My eyes almost popped out when I first read this. I could not believe it was authentic, but I have checked it repeatedly and yes, he did say it. And he said it to us Americans, who were at perhaps the apogee of our greatness, short of the fall of the “Evil Empire.”

Well, how seriously should we take this? Very, very seriously. After all, the speaker was about to become one of the greatest popes in the history of the Church. In addition, he was a mystic and, yes, a prophet and truth-teller who suffered under Nazism and communism, as well as in a certain sense also from Islam. (Recall that he was almost killed by a Muslim assassin, only to be saved by the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, according to his own words.)

Let me be clear: my musings on the words of John Paul are not meant to encourage you to sell your property, close the bank account, build a bomb shelter, and await the rapture. That is not the Catholic thing to do. But it’s hard not to “ponder these things in [our] hearts.” What exactly did the pope see or have revealed to him? Perhaps the best place to seek the answer is his writings, although we lack space to comb through them all here.

We can also look around us at the remains of what was once called the Christian West, noting a host of behaviors and beliefs that seem custom-made to initiate and accelerate decline. For example, we find in the West depopulation, legal abortion, open homosexuality and same-sex “marriage,” epidemic levels of pornography use, declining marriage rates, and rising cohabitation rates.

Politically, even supposedly tolerant and democratic states like our own are beginning to deny the religious liberty rights of families, businesses, and churches. In addition, we observe growing centralization of power in the hands of those unfavorable to any faith except the idolatry of health, wealth, and technology. They place their long-term hope in the possibility that science may one day arrest death. They watched too many Star Trek and Star Wars movies as children. Unfortunately, they may well go where many men have gone before – and not simply into outer space.

This, surely, is the Anti-Church that St John Paul foresaw – in any event it is here, it is growing, and to a great extent it has already demolished Europe.

What are we to do? First, of course, do not despair. As Catholics we live this life looking forward to the next. We can’t lose, for as St. Paul put it, for us death is gain, not something to fear.

How then to confront and combat the Anti-Church? Imitate the lives of the first Christians! Consider this justly famous description of Christians in the anonymous “Letter to Diognetus,” written in 79 A.D.:

For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. . . .They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:3) They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. (Philippians 3:20) They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. . .they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; (2 Corinthians 4:12) they are insulted, and repay the insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers.
If we live as the first Christians did, we too can confront and triumph over the Church of the evil Global Empires.

First appeared on The Catholic Thing in June, 2014.

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Threshold of Hope – Host: Fr. Mitch Pacwa

In 15 Audio on 2015/03/13 at 12:00 AM

http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=6694&pgnu=1
Threshold of Hope Back to Series List
Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. Redeemer of Man – Part 22
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh09032002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
2. Redeemer of Man – Part 23
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh09102002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
3. Redeemer of Man – Part 24
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh09172002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
4. Redeemer of Man – Part 25
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh09242002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
5. Redeemer of Man – Part 26
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh10012002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
6. Redeemer of Man – Part 27
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh10082002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
7. Redeemer of Man – Part 28
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh10152002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
8. Redeemer of Man – Part 29
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh10222002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
9. The Rosary – Part 1
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh10292002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
10. The Rosary – Part 2
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh11062002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
11. The Rosary – Part 3
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh11132002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
12. The Rosary – Part 4
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh11192002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
13. The Rosary – Part 5
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh11262002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
14. The Rosary – Part 6
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh12032002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
15. Heaven, Hell & Purgatory – Part 1
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh12102002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
16. Heaven, Hell & Purgatory – Part 2
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh12172002.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
17. Dives in Misericordia Part 1
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh01072003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
18. Dives in Misericordia Part 2
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh01142003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
19. Dives in Misericordia Part 3
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh01212003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
20. Dives in Misericordia Part 4
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh01282003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
21. Dives in Misericordia Part 5
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh02042003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
22. Dives in Misericordia Part 6
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh02112003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
23. Dives in Misericordia Part 7
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh02182003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
24. Dives in Misericordia Part 8
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh02252003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
25. Dives in Misericordia Part 9
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh03042003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
26. Dives in Misericordia Part 10
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh03112003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
27. Dives in Misericordia Part 11
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh03182003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
28. Dives in Misericordia Part 12
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh03252003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
29. Dives in Misericordia Part 13
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh04012003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.
30. Dives in Misericordia Part 14
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. toh04082003.mp3
Fr. Mitch Pacwa hosts this new series in which he teaches the core of the Encyclicals of His Holiness John Paul the Great.

St. Ireneaus and the Knowledge of God by Rev. Robert A. Connor

In 07 Observations on 2013/06/14 at 12:00 AM

St. Irenaeus (130 -200 a.d.) is important for his works defending the Catholic faith against the errors of the Gnostics. He is also epistemologically important for our consideration today because he introduces us into an experiential knowledge of God. In the reading of today’s breviary, he says, “The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason God, who cannot be grasped, comprehended or seen allows himself to be seen, comprehended and grasped by men, that he may give life to those who see and receive him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy his goodness.

“Men will therefore see God if they are to live; through the vision of God they become immortal and attain to God himself. As I have said, this was shown in symbols by the prophets: God will be seen by men who bear his Spirit and are always waiting for him coming….

 

“The Word… revealed God to men and presented men to God. He safeguarded the invisibility of the Father to prevent man from treating God with contempt and to set before him a constant goal toward which to make progress. On the other hand, he revealed God to men and made him visible in many ways to prevent man from being totally separated from God and so cease to be. Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God.” 

 

With the “dictatorship of relativism” that obtains today because of the hegemony of only one level of experience – sensation – , God cannot be known intellectually because he cannot be sensed. Or, if we can know Him, the knowledge is trivial and irrelevant as in “abstract.” John Paul II had affirmed that God can be known on another level of experience – i.e. on the level of the being of the “I” in the moral moment of self-determination. This moral act is the act of faith or any act in which the self is given to another in love. Importantly, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger commented:“God in Karol Wojtyla is not only thought but also experienced. The pope expressly opposes the limitation of the concept of experience which occurred in Empiricism; he points out that the form of experience elaborated in the natural sciences are no less real and important: moral experience, human experience, religious experience (34). But this experience is, of course, also reflected upon and verified in its rational content…. The central core of Wojtyla’s philosophy lies in the fact that he does not accept the separation of thought and existence which typifies the modern era. Descartes, says the pope, severed thinking from existing and identified this isolated thought with reason itself: I think, therefore I am. But is not thought which determines existence, but existence which determines thought (38).”

To experience being on this level of the subject is to experience being as imaging God as a triple self-transcendence, i.e., being like God. Hence, the remarks of Irenaeus connecting life and knowledge. Self-transcendence is to live, and self-transcendence is to know.

 

Posted by Rev. Robert A. Connor

 

 

Benedict and the Young By Colleen Carroll Campbell

In 10 Colleen Carroll Campbell on 2011/09/21 at 6:00 PM

The seeds Pope John Paul II  planted  have produced a crop of dedicated, holy and scholarly young priests, particularly in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Blog administrators comment on this article.

It happens every time the pope encounters a young crowd, and it is happening again at the papal youth rally in Yonkers: Young Catholics will turn out in droves to give Pope Benedict a warm, rock-star welcome. And many of their elders will watch and wonder: What do they see in him?

He’s the pope, of course, which still counts for something among even the most poorly catechized young Catholics. And a certain contagious enthusiasm always permeates youth gatherings. Then there is the cult-of-personality explanation favored by journalists who puzzled over Pope John Paul II’s rapport with young people for decades. But that rationale lost steam after 1 million effusive young pilgrims showed up to cheer the shy and retiring Benedict at his first World Youth Day gathering in 2005, which pundits had expected to be a flop without the charismatic John Paul.

Read more: http://www.colleen-campbell.com/Misc_Columns/080419PapalBlogFive.htm

Colleen Carroll Campbell is a St. Louis-based author, former presidential speechwriter and television and radio host of “Faith & Culture” on EWTN. Her website is www.colleen-campbell.com.

Blessed John Paul II by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/05/12 at 8:40 AM

• As you may already know, the Vatican recently announced that the Venerable Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, is now “Blessed John Paul II.” His beatification on May 1st was the speediest in history, edging out Mother Teresa’s by one day.

• This means he will be just one step away from becoming “St. John Paul II.”

• Personally, I was thrilled to receive this news. John Paul was elected to the Chair of Peter when I was 8 years old, and although I wasn’t a Catholic as a child, he has always seemed like a lifelong friend.

• For many Catholics of my generation, Pope John Paul II is the reason why we love and embrace our Catholic faith with such fervor, particularly we Catholics of the John Paul era who have become priests.

• Pope John Paul II was the voice of reason, clarity, compassion, and enthusiasm for those of us trained in a post‐conciliar Church that has often been marked and marred by theological confusion, liturgical inanity, and scandal.

• I consider it a great blessing that I was among the last class of priests ordained in his pontificate, for he died during my first year of priesthood.

• Indeed, the title Blessed Pope John Paul II is appropriate, for he was certainly a great blessing to our Church and to our world, and now he is blessed with the beatific vision.

•In the Beatitudes from Jesus used the word beatitude which means “blessed.”  The Sermon on the Mount from St. Matthew’s Gospel is a roadmap for all who wish to be blessed in the afterlife, for all who wish to enjoy the Beatific Vision. For the Beatitudes encourage us to be like God, and it is in being like Him that we become one with Him.

• They encourage us to be humble and lowly. We are reminded by St. Paul that God chooses the foolish, the weak, and the lowly to accomplish His will so that no one might boast before God.

• In doing so St. Paul challenges us to consider the type of person we want to be, and the type of person our American society often encourages us to be. As Americans today we are the wealthiest, most powerful, and best‐educated society the world has ever known.

• Since our founding nearly 235 ago, we have risen from a wayward and revolutionary band of 13 cantankerous colonies situated on the eastern edge of an unknown continent to a superpower spanning the breadth of this great continent and possessing more money, more education, and more power than any other country in existence.

• And while we are certainly not without our weaknesses and flaws, and while we are certainly not completely invulnerable – as 9/11 proved so dramatically – we are still the undisputed power in the world today – at least for the moment.

• And we’ve risen to this apex through a tough‐nosed, independent, can‐do attitude that embodies what it means to be an American today.

• Popularly‐speaking, to be an American is to be strong, to be independent, to be determined, to be a people who can truly accomplish anything that we set our minds to.

• Our culture very naturally imbues this national mindset within each and every one of us. We are a competitive people, and we seek to get ahead. We are encouraged to work hard, to go to the best schools, to get the best job and make the most money.

• This of course has led to a deep sense of societal pride. And while trying to do our best in life is not wrong, there is always a danger in the pride engendered by our mindset.

• Furthermore, as Catholics we must remember that this sense of pride, this sense of accomplishment, this sense of independence that imbues our American culture and psyche is not authentically Christian.

• The truth is that despite our national or personal accomplishments, we are nothing without Christ. The truth is that we are sinners in need of a savior.

• The truth is that God is constantly extending His love and mercy toward us, but we often and quite stubbornly turn away from him through our sinfulness. The truth is that, left to our own devices, we cannot save ourselves.

• But if we humble and lowly, my friends, we can see the truth of things. Humility helps us to see the dangers of our societal mindset as well as our personal shortcomings.

• Humility helps us to put our relationship with God into its proper context, making us recognize our utter and total reliance upon Him for everything.

• But more than that, humility opens up our hearts to the saving grace of Christ Jesus. It makes us thankful for all of our many blessings, and it makes us aware of how truly merciful and loving our Lord is, and why we should constantly seek virtue and holiness.

• The Gospel speaks of the Beatitudes, which are really invitations to a life of virtue.

• Virtue is moral excellence and righteousness; it is goodness. It is the habitual, wellestablished, readiness or disposition of man’s powers directing them to some goodness or act. Virtue, in whatever form it takes, directly opposes sin.

• At first blush it may seem that the Beatitudes are an invitation to the virtue of humility, and indeed they are. But on a deeper level, the Beatitudes also invite us to practice the theological virtue of hope!

• Saints have referred to humility as the root of all virtue because without humility, none of the other virtues can flourish, and one the greatest and most important virtues that humility engenders is hope!

• What we must understand about humility is that humility is not a matter of thinking less of ourselves. Humility is a matter of thinking less about ourselves.

• Humility enables us to see the truth about ourselves. It helps us to turn away from the selfishness that pride always engenders within us.

• But whereas humility turns our consciousness outward so that we no longer think of ourselves, the virtue of hope helps us to direct our consciousness solely toward God, Who is both our Creator and our final end.

• Through humility we recognize that we are beggars before God. And as beggars we come before Him with empty hands. Through hope we know that if we come to God with empty hands, He will fill us with His salvation.

• Humility gives us the detachment we need to be empty‐handed before God. Hope gives us the confidence that our Lord will raise us up in our lowliness to be like Him.

• As we face our world with all of its sufferings and challenges, we must do it with hope, knowing that all that happens – whether good or evil – is within God’s loving providence, and that ultimately, Jesus Christ will prevail.

• Having the humility to realize this, having the humility to live a life of Beatitude that engenders hope for heaven, will ensure final blessedness for us.

• May our gracious Savior fill us all with the virtues of humility and hope, and may Blessed John Paul II always pray for us!

Copyright 2011 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC