The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Jennifer Ferrara former Lutheran minister apologist for the all-male Catholic priesthood

Jennifer Ferrara Was Won Over by the Pope's Theology of the Body

SPRING CITY, Pennsylvania, JUNE 21, 2004 ( When she was younger, Jennifer Ferrara never would have foreseen the day when she became a sort of apologist for the all-male Catholic priesthood.

But that's what the former Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism has become.

Ferrara, who became Catholic in 1998, recently told her conversion story in "The Catholic Mystique: Fourteen Women Find Fulfillment in the Catholic Church" (Our Sunday Visitor), which she co-edited with Patricia Sodano Ireland, another former Lutheran pastor.

Ferrara shared with ZENIT how her search for theological justification of women's ordination in Lutheran seminary eventually changed her mind about the priesthood and opened her heart to the Catholic Church.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Tuesday.

Q: How did you as a former Lutheran pastor come to realize that women should not and cannot be ordained as priests?

Ferrara: When I entered seminary, I was a garden-variety feminist who believed men and women were basically the same. I thought it patently obvious that women should be ordained.

I really gave the issue little thought, but to the extent that I did, it was a matter of equal rights. I also was not particularly orthodox in my beliefs. I had studied religion in college; I did not lose my faith in the process but adopted a mishmash of heretical ideas.

While in the seminary, I gradually became theologically orthodox, which was -- considering the environment of mainline Protestant seminaries -- a minor miracle. Slowly, it began to dawn on me that women's ordination was a new development that needed theological justification. I did not come up with a full-blown defense until years later when I was a parish pastor.

By that time, I thought of myself as an "evangelical catholic." Evangelical catholics view Lutheranism as a reform movement within and for the one Church of Christ. Therefore, Lutherans have a responsibility to work toward reconciliation with Rome.

The fact that I was a Lutheran pastor put me in an awkward position, theologically speaking. I was an impediment to that reconciliation for which I longed. This forced me to take a hard look at the issue of women's ordination.

Q: What did Luther himself think of the idea of women priests?

Ferrara: Though Martin Luther did not believe in women's ordination, I found support for it in his writings.

In his "Lectures on Genesis," he argues that God did not intend for men and women to have different roles. Differentiation between the sexes is a result of the fall of our first parents. As a form of punishment, women have been subjected to men and, therefore, have been deprived of the ability to administer to affairs outside the home, including those of the Church.

Luther believed that male headship was a matter of natural law. As a Lutheran pastor, I disagreed. The acceptance of equality between the sexes throughout the Western world demonstrated otherwise.

According to Luther, societal arrangements should be preserved within the Church, lest we give scandal to the Gospel. I thought restricting ordination to men had become a modern-day scandal. Ordaining women seemed like the best way to serve our Lord in this time and place.

When I started to think about becoming Roman Catholic, I disagreed with the Church's teachings on women's ordination. I actually thought about writing an article outlining what I presumed to be the theological deficiencies with the Catholic position, which in retrospect seems like sheer hubris.

In order to prepare for it, I read John Paul II's theology of the body. There I encountered a vision of creation that challenged all my feminist notions about men and women.

Q: How so?

Ferrara: According to John Paul, men and women were not created essentially the same. Masculinity and femininity are not just attributes; rather, the function of sex is a constituent part of the person. Men and woman both express the human but do so in different and complementary ways. Believe it or not, this was a radically new idea to me.

The differences between men and women lie in the way they express love for one another. Men have the more active role in the relationship: The husband is the one who loves while the wife is the one who is loved and, in return, gives love. True authority is exercised through service. As John Paul II says, "To reign is to serve."

However, men and women serve in particularly masculine and feminine ways. At the heart of this diversity in roles is the difference between motherhood and fatherhood.

No matter what men and women do, they bring paternal or maternal characteristics to their vocation. This is just as true of those who have chosen the religious life as it is of those who become biological parents.

This means the Roman Catholic priest is not simply a father figure: He is a spiritual father. To state what has ceased to be obvious in a society governed by the principle of androgyny: Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. Women are not men and, therefore, cannot be priests any more than they can be fathers in the physical sense. If women can step into the role of priest, then it is no longer one of fatherhood.

To understand all of this required me to give up my functional view of the ministry. In most Protestant denominations, the pastor serves a role within the priesthood of all believers. He or she preaches the Word and administers the sacraments.

In the Catholic Church, the priest acts "in persona Christi." Christ is the bridegroom; the Church is his bride. This nuptial mystery is proclaimed throughout the Old and New Testaments.

According to the Catholic understanding of the priesthood, the priest represents Christ himself, the author of the covenant, the bridegroom and head of the Church. This is especially true in the case of the Eucharist, when Christ is exercising his ministry of salvation.

One must utterly disregard the importance of the nuptial mystery for the economy of salvation in order to make an argument for women's ordination.

If the Church were to ordain women, the entire understanding of the importance of the feminine and masculine in the working out of our salvation would be lost. Much is at stake here. Once I really saw that, it was relatively easy for me to give up my ordination and embrace the Church's position.

[Tuesday: The role of women in the Church]
Part II

Jennifer Ferrara on Proper Roles in the Church

SPRING CITY, Pennsylvania, JUNE 22, 2004 ( Women can find innumerable opportunities for service in the Church if only they embrace their proper role, says a former Lutheran minister who now extols the all-male Catholic priesthood.

Jennifer Ferrara, who became Catholic in 1998, recently told her conversion story in "The Catholic Mystique: Fourteen Women Find Fulfillment in the Catholic Church" (Our Sunday Visitor). She co-edited it with Patricia Sodano Ireland, another former Lutheran pastor.

Ferrara shared with ZENIT how women will find fulfillment in the Church if they understand that only Catholicism recognizes the importance of the feminine in society and in salvation. Part 1 of this interview appeared Monday.

Q: What role is left for women in the Church if they cannot be priests?

Ferrara: It is not a matter of a role "being left for women" but of women embracing their proper role. There has always been plenty for women to do in the Catholic Church.

Remember, the ordination of women in Protestant communities is a recent development. Before then, women had almost no role to play in those denominations. Protestant churches are starkly masculine.

As a Lutheran, I had no female models of holiness to turn to for comfort and guidance. Though many Protestant denominations ordain women, they do not recognize the importance of the feminine -- mother Church embodied in Mary -- in God's plan for salvation.

I do not see why many Catholics discount the importance of the women religious in the life of the Church as if they were second-class citizens. They are our spiritual mothers.

Protestants have never recognized such a role for women. Moreover, there are also all sorts of lay apostolates, orders and associations women can join.

Q: Your conversion from a Lutheran minister to being a Catholic also meant giving up your former ministerial role, yet some women in the Church argue they feel excluded because they cannot become priests. What would you say to them?

Ferrara: I would begin by saying I understand their anger and frustration.

At first, I was bitter about the prospect of giving up my ordination in order to join the Church. However, I would also tell them my life as a Roman Catholic laywoman, wife and mother has taken on a new sense of definition.

For the first time, I am trying to listen to what the Church has to say about who I am rather than expecting the Church to conform to what I think she should be.

In general, modern people chafe against revealed authority because they expect the outer life of institutions to be rendered serviceable to the psychological inner life of individuals. Therefore, if women want to be priests and claim to feel pain because they are not priests, it automatically follows that they should be priests.

Yet women who insist they have a call to the priesthood and use their pain as evidence of an authentic interior call from God are, in fact, using the protean politics of pain and not Catholic theology to explain their experiences.

If they truly wish to empty themselves and renounce their own will for the sake of God and Church, they will find innumerable opportunities for service.

Q: How do you explain John Paul II's claim that men and women were not created as identical beings to those who think men and women are the same, interchangeable?

Ferrara: I have found that those who are determined to embrace the principle of androgyny are not open to hearing about the Pope's teachings.

However, the average person knows instinctively that men and women are not the same. This is especially true of those who have children. They see mothers and fathers, boys and girls, are inherently different.

John Paul II's teachings explain reality. That is where I begin. If you can get people to acknowledge the simple premise that men and women -- though equal in dignity and importance -- are different, you can begin to talk about what this means for the roles they play.

Q: What can be done to combat the movement for women's ordination?

Ferrara: Those of us who oppose women's ordination cannot allow ourselves to be put on the defensive. We do not have to apologize for our stance. The best way to combat the movement for women's ordination is to present the Church's teachings in a positive light.

We do not raise the status of women by convincing them that they need to be men. Though women can and should be allowed to do most of the jobs traditionally filled by men -- bringing to them a feminine sensibility -- they cannot and never will be biological and spiritual fathers.

Those who insist otherwise effectively deny that which is noble and holy about being wives and mothers -- biological and spiritual -- in the plan by which God intends to redeem his creation.

The Catholic Church is one the few institutions, maybe the only one, left in the world that recognizes the importance of the feminine not only for the proper working of society but for our salvation. We need to be willing to say just that.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Terrorism of the minorities

Cardinal Roberto Tucci noted that "in present-day Western democracy a certain tendency is being verified of the dictatorship of minorities."

"It is thought that, in order to respect this minority, the majority must be offended, and I don't think this is democracy," he added.

"We must explain what we believe in, that we have a religious conception which is different from theirs in many aspects, and that we have the right to be respected, just as we respect their religious conceptions," Cardinal Tucci concluded.


Friday, June 18, 2004

"L'Eglise catholique dans la France d'aujourd'hui",
par le prof. Rémond

CITE DU VATICAN, Mercredi 5 novembre 2003 ( - L'Eglise catholique dans la France d'aujourd'hui a fait l'objet de cet exposé du Professeur René Rémond ce matin, devant l'assemblée des év?ques de France, sous le titre: "D'un si?cle ? l'autre : relations avec l'Etat, présence dans la société". Le texte est diffusé par le portail de la conférence des év?ques (

La connaissance des origines pour comprendre
"Toute analyse des rapports entre le fait religieux et la société comme toute réflexion sur le concept de la la?cité rel?ve, ? cause de la multiplicité de ses implications, d'une pluralité d'approches, juridique, sociologique et politique, mais aussi philosophique, théologique et historique, cette derni?re n'étant pas la moins éclairante. Seule en effet la connaissance des origines et des antécédents permet de comprendre la pérennité de certaines attitudes d'esprit, la persistance de tels jugements, voire l'archa?sme de certaines positions. La démarche historienne présente aussi l'avantage de dévoiler l'ampleur des changements qui ont affecté tant l'idée de la la?cité que sa pratique et elle en propose des explications.

Changements d'appréciation
"Sans ce regard sur la longue durée comment comprendrait-on par exemple que l'Église de France puisse aujourd'hui dire qu'elle s'accommode d'une loi, celle de séparation des Églises et de l'État, dans laquelle elle voyait lors de son adoption une initiative visant ? sa destruction et qui a fait alors l'objet de deux encycliques pontificales qui en condamnaient absolument et l'inspiration et les dispositions ? Autre exemple de ces changements d'appréciation : la permutation des positions entre catholiques et protestants. Si les premiers ne demandent plus l'abrogation de ladite loi, les Réformés, qui avaient alors applaudi ? une initiative qui achevait de les émanciper de l'hégémonie de l'Église dominante, se plaignent aujourd'hui de certaines limitations qu'elle impose ? leurs activités et souhaitent qu'y soient apportées des modifications.

En un si?cle tout ou presque a changé
"C'est qu'en un si?cle tout ou presque a changé ; la composition du paysage religieux, le syst?me de concepts et de valeurs dans lequel s'enracine l'idée de la?cité, la pratique administrative, sans parler de l'évolution des esprits y compris chez les catholiques. De ces changements, le jugement sur la la?cité doit tenir compte. En conséquence, si l'on conçoit bien que pour éviter de rouvrir des controverses heureusement apaisées on puisse souhaiter ne pas remettre en question le texte de 1905, on ne doit pas pour autant en faire une lecture fondamentaliste et s'attacher religieusement ? son interprétation premi?re : on doit témoigner du m?me attachement ? l'ensemble des dispositions qui en un si?cle sont venues progressivement orienter l'application, parfois infléchir l'orientation et proposer des solutions inédites aux questions nouvelles.

La loi de Séparation, aujourd'hui texte de conciliation
"C'est cette évolution qui explique que la loi de Séparation puisse aujourd'hui ?tre tenue pour un texte de conciliation et interprétée comme ayant contribué ? la concorde. Ce n'était pas tout ? fait la lecture qu'en ont faite sur le moment les contemporains, d'un côté comme de l'autre. Par quel processus singulier a-t-on pu passer d'une interprétation ? l'autre ? C'est toute l'histoire de l'évolution de la la?cité comme idée et comme pratique et que, en 1905, les catholiques ne pouvaient évidemment pressentir. Sur le moment ils trouvaient dans le texte comme dans le contexte plus d'une raison d'y voir le point d'orgue du conflit qui opposait la République ? l'Église. Au reste dans la majorité qui vota la séparation, plus d'un, convaincu que l'Église ne maintenait son influence sur la société que grâce au soutien de la puissance publique, escomptait de la rupture définitive des liens qui les unissaient son dépérissement et ? terme sa disparition.

"Interprétant le texte ? la lumi?re du contexte, les contemporains y voient naturellement le dernier maillon de la longue chaîne de textes qui traduisaient dans la législation la volonté persévérante de soustraire ? la tutelle de l'Église l'État et l'enseignement, la société civile et ses institutions, les comportements collectifs et les conduites individuelles. Cette derni?re initiative paraissait bien donner le coup de grâce ? tout espoir de fonder des relations apaisées entre le catholicisme et la société moderne.

Une agression de plus?
"Les catholiques trouvent aussi dans les circonstances des raisons de voir dans ce texte une agression de plus. La loi met unilatéralement fin ? un régime qui avait nagu?re été instauré par une négociation bilatérale entre la République française et le Saint-Si?ge. La nouvelle loi n'a pas fait l'objet de pourparlers avec le Vatican, la France ayant m?me rompu les relations diplomatiques. Comment les catholiques n'y auraient-ils pas vu une résurgence du gallicanisme ? Circonstance aggravante aux yeux d'un peuple de fid?les pour qui la foi chrétienne et l'attachement ? l'Église s'identifient depuis pr?s d'un si?cle ? une obéissance inconditionnelle au Souverain Pontife.

La référence ? une autre rupture
"On déchiffre toujours le présent ? la lumi?re du passé. Cette nouvelle rupture est lue en France comme ? Rome par référence ? une autre rupture : la malheureuse expérience de la Constitution civile du clergé de 1790 qui a provoqué la fracture de la conscience nationale et dissocié le catholicisme de la société moderne. Ce précédent a projeté son ombre sur les débats de 1905. Rome a craint un nouveau schisme. La formule des associations cultuelles telle qu'elle était définie par le texte de loi rappelait par trop le précédent de l'Église constitutionnelle.

La procédure des inventaires
"Ajoutons que la procédure des inventaires, qui se justifiait par la nécessité de procéder ? une évaluation des biens avant leur transfert des fabriques d'hier aux cultuelles de demain, décrétée sans consultation, exécutée avec brutalité, a frappé les imaginations et associé au principe de la séparation une connotation de violence de l'appareil d'État. De surcroît Pie X ayant fait défense de se pr?ter ? l'application d'une loi réputée mauvaise et injuste, et la transmission des biens n'ayant pu de ce fait s'opérer conformément ? la loi, la séparation s'est trouvée associée ? une spoliation qui n'était pas dans l'esprit des législateurs mais dans laquelle les fid?les virent une conséquence logique. Dans ces conditions il n'y a pas lieu de s'étonner que les autorités religieuses et les fid?les aient porté sur la loi et sur le régime de séparation, ainsi que sur l'idée de la?cité ? laquelle ils attribuaient avec raison l'inspiration, un jugement enti?rement négatif".



Thursday, June 17, 2004

Priests must be "convincing and representative, at the human and believing level," and they must show that they have "emotional balance, a critical sense, inner unity, the capacity for relations and dialogue, a constructive spirit, and willingness to work in a team,"

Archbishop Addresses Meeting on Clergy and Catechesis

ROME, MAY 7, 2003.- A priest won't be able to provide good service if he remains outside the social and cultural life of his own society, says a Church leader.

Archbishop Josip Bozanic of Zagreb, Croatia, made that point when addressing the 80 participants in the meeting on "Priests and Catechesis in Europe."

"A priest does not render good service -- even if he is very generous, very devout, and genuinely dedicated to the Church -- if he remains outside of the social and cultural life of the society in which he lives," he said.

Organized by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE in collaboration with the National Catechetical Office of the Italian episcopal conference, the event has gathered bishops and national directors of catechesis of 30 European countries, SIR agency reported. The event ends Thursday.

In his address, Archbishop Bozanic, who is also vice president of CCEE, stressed that today a priest "must also be a man of his time, fully knowledgeable in history and in his community, open to the real problems of the times, and with a genuine cultural, social and political sensibility."

Priests must be "convincing and representative, at the human and believing level," and they must show that they have "emotional balance, a critical sense, inner unity, the capacity for relations and dialogue, a constructive spirit, and willingness to work in a team," the archbishop emphasized.

In fact, it is an "art" to be a priest at the service of the Church and of the community, where the priest must know how to "promote profound relations, develop a leading role for the parish, and allow each person to feel appreciated," he said.

From this derives the need to "overcome two opposite risks," which threaten the figure of the priest: "that of authoritarian conduct -- and even more often -- excessive permissiveness -- perhaps more current today," the Croatian prelate said.

CCEE includes the presidents of the 34 European episcopal conferences. Its president is Bishop Amédée Grab of Chur, Switzerland.

Source : =35164

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

the world becomes crazy

U.S. pet owners spent $32.4 billion last year on their pets, and companies are eager to share in this market, the Monitor noted. The pet population in the country has reached 353 million, with around 62% of households owning at least one pet.

Another booming market for pets is presents. In time for Christmas last year, the film studio Warner Brothers came out with a luxury range of clothes, the British newspaper Telegraph reported Nov. 11. The collection, launched in London, includes a 900-pound ($1,650) satin dog coat studded with Swarovski crystals and lined in pink silk, and a diamond-encrusted platinum dog-collar pendant costing 12,000 pounds ($22,100). There are also crystal-studded collars and leads (629 pounds, or $1,150, a set), dog bowls (379 pounds), travel cases, and "unisex" pillows and beds.


Owners Lavishing Luxury Items, From Unisex Pillows to Hip Replacements

LONDON, JUNE 5, 2004 ( Spending on pets seems to have no limits these days. Last year, British pet owners spent a staggering 11.23 billion pounds ($20 billion) on cats and dogs alone, the newspaper Independent reported Wednesday. While food accounted for majority of this, 1.75 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) went on treats and presents. These figures are on the rise, despite a decline in the number of pet owners.

Not only are people spending more money on their pets, but services previously reserved for people are now springing up for pets. The Independent reported that British canines will soon be able to enjoy the United Kingdom's first yoga workshops for dogs.

"As both men and women spend more on their own clothes, hair care and cosmetics, so they want to spend more on their pets," said Dan Thomas, head of grooming at Pet Pavilion, the company that is introducing "doga." "It's like sending your child to a better school -- it's simply another way of upgrading your lifestyle."

Catriona Marshall, the marketing director of Pets at Home, said: "For many people, owning a pet has become like having a new baby, and that's how pet companies are now treating it, too."

In the United States, an increasing number of options are available for people who want to treat their pets to a special holiday, the Christian Science Monitor reported Tuesday. In California, the Loews Beverly Hills Hotel will arrange for a chef to prepare pet meals. And in Wisconsin and Colorado, camping sites organize special days for activities dedicated to pets. Other activities available include an aquarium in Florida where pets are given guided tours.

"The travel industry has begun to tap into that deeper sense of companionship between pet lovers and their pets," commented Tierra Griffiths, spokeswoman for the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.

U.S. pet owners spent $32.4 billion last year on their pets, and companies are eager to share in this market, the Monitor noted. The pet population in the country has reached 353 million, with around 62% of households owning at least one pet.

Another booming market for pets is presents. In time for Christmas last year, the film studio Warner Brothers came out with a luxury range of clothes, the British newspaper Telegraph reported Nov. 11. The collection, launched in London, includes a 900-pound ($1,650) satin dog coat studded with Swarovski crystals and lined in pink silk, and a diamond-encrusted platinum dog-collar pendant costing 12,000 pounds ($22,100). There are also crystal-studded collars and leads (629 pounds, or $1,150, a set), dog bowls (379 pounds), travel cases, and "unisex" pillows and beds.

"Sales of pet accessories are phenomenal," said a spokesman for Warner Brothers. "A lot of people are delaying having children, and spending money on their dogs and cats instead." The studio, noted the Telegraph, is not alone. Gucci sells a gold-plate diamante-studded cat collar for 605 pounds ($1,111), and Louis Vuitton a pet carrier for 790 pounds. Collection designer Eric Way employs a full-time nanny to look after his two Shih Tzus and one bichon frisé.

Health costs spiral

And increasingly hefty sums are being spent on health care costs for pets. In Australia, the Animal Referral Hospital in Sydney is flourishing, the Age newspaper of Melbourne reported March 26. It started five years ago with 10 staff members and now has 90, said a founding partner, Dr. Sarah Goldsmid.

"We do a vast number of high-end cases, really critical cases," Goldsmid said. "We do total hip replacements, we do spinal surgery, we do difficult fractures, cancer surgery, chest surgery, that sort of thing. Now we're at a level where we can do MRIs and CAT scans on animals. We also provide radiation therapy."

And when all else fails, San Francisco-based Genetic Savings & Clone is offering to duplicate animals, for the modest price of about $50,000 a copy, Agence France-Presse reported March 28. The company that announced the world's first cat clone in February 2002, plans to clone nine cats this year.

The firm has already received four firm orders for the copy cats and is also working hard to duplicate the genetic makeup of dogs. And the company already has a few hundred clients who are storing their pets' genes in the hope of reviving their beloved furry companions' genes at a later date.

Health care can even extend to psychological treatment, the British paper Independent noted Jan. 4. After attacking a maid and killing one of the Queen's corgis, Princess Anne's "troublesome" English bull terrier, Florence, was sent to see an animal psychologist. The psychologist had already treated another of Princess Anne's dogs after an attack on two children in 2002. Psychologist Roger Mugford normally charges 293 pounds ($540) for two visits.

Bark mitzvahs

Spiritual needs are also being taken care of. At St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford, Connecticut, pets can now even receive Holy Communion as well as a special benediction, the Wall Street Journal reported March 10.

The Journal noted that with pews being increasingly hard to fill, some clergy are creating "pet-friendly worship services." In some cases this even extends to making house calls for sick animals or accompanying pet owners to the vet when they euthanize a pet, not to mention officiating at pet funerals and group "bark mitzvahs."

According to the Journal, after pet gravestones became one Petco's most-requested products the company started selling memorial stones in 2002. The greeting card company Hallmark has introduced cards with spiritual imagery to its lines of pet sympathy cards. The sympathy cards are sent to pet owners when their animals die; annual sales are now half a million. Meanwhile, Skylight Paths has just published a book called "What Animals Can Teach Us About Spirituality."

Sometimes animals can even be given precedence over human worshippers, BBC reported April 24. St. Hilda's in Ellerburn, North Yorkshire, may be forced to close after an invasion by Natterer's bats.

The church dates back more than a thousand years, but under European law it is an offense to damage, destroy or obstruct an access used by bats. The church vicar, Reverend Dave Clark, says the bats are driving his parishioners away and without a congregation the church would close. The church stands on a site thought to have been occupied by a monastery founded by St. Aidan in A.D. 647.

Double standard?

Nobody wants to deny people the enjoyment of having pets. But some observers think things have gone a bit far, as a Jan. 15 report in the London-based Times indicated. Members of a family in Spain were found guilty of abandoning their grandmother. They were fined 240 euros -- only about a tenth the punishment for illegally disposing of a pet.

In June 2002 the 86-year-old grandmother had been dumped by one of her daughters at the side of a road. Subsequently a court in Barcelona found that the four family members were capable of looking the woman, who suffers from senility. Shortly before the judgment, the regional Catalan government introduced a law making the abandonment of animals punishable by a fine of up to 20,000 euros ($24,500).

And while animals can look forward to organ transplants in Britain, attempts to bring legal action after a 28-week-old fetus was aborted because it suffered from a cleft lip have so far been unsuccessful. According to the Telegraph on May 9, Joanna Jepson, the Church of England curate who initiated a legal challenge to the abortion, has agreed to a police request to postpone her High Court action. Shades of Animal Farm indeed.

Original article: visualizza.phtml?sid=54828

Monday, June 07, 2004

Sister Ruth de Jesús Tells of Her Vocation

At John Paul II's meeting Saturday night with almost 1 million youths at the Cuatro Vientos air base, a young nun's testimony wrung applause and tears from the audience.

Here is the testimony of Sister Ruth de Jesús, of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross. The congregation's founder, Ángela de la Cruz, was canonized Sunday.

* * *

Dear Holy Father:

I am Sister Ruth de Jesús. I am 28 years old. I belong to the Sisters of the Company of the Cross, founded by Blessed Ángela de la Cruz, whom Your Holiness will canonize tomorrow. I entered when I was 20.

Although I am a junior with temporary vows, I am committed to Jesus forever with an undivided love, in a life of prayer and service to the poorest, the sick and the abandoned in their own homes. I wash their clothes, clean their homes, cook their food, dress their sores, and watch over them at night. Most important of all, I give them all the love they need, because Jesus gives it to me in prayer. God is love, and I return his love by loving the poor, giving them my youth and my whole life.

Before entering the institute, I led a normal life. I liked music, beautiful things, art, friendship, adventure. I often dreamed about my future, but one day I saw two Sisters on the street who caught my attention because of their recollection, quick step and peaceful look. They were young like me. I felt empty and in my inner self I heard a voice that said to me: "What are you doing with your life?" I wanted to justify myself: "I study, get good grades, I have many friends." I stared at the Sisters until they disappeared from view and wondered: Who are they? Where are they going?

Like Nicodemus, I invited Jesus into the night of my anxious heart and in prayer, I began to talk with him. With him, I felt the call of so many brothers who were asking me for my time, my youth, the love I had received from the Lord. And I searched, and found the woman who, together with Mary, was closest to the cross of Jesus -- Sister Ángela de la Cruz. She had so configured herself to Jesus' cross that she became love for the suffering poor. She captivated me and I wanted to be one of hers. And here I am, Holiness, conscious of what I have left behind.

I have left everything that the young people have who are with us this evening: freedom, money, perhaps a brilliant future, human love, perhaps some children. I have left it all for Jesus Christ, who captured by heart to make the love of God present to the weakest, in my poor nature of clay.

I must confess, Holiness, that I am very happy and that I wouldn't change my life for anything or anyone. I live in the confidence of the one who called me to be a witness and who supports me with his grace.

Thank you, Holy Father, for your dedicated life, without reservations, as a faithful witness of the Gospel, for strengthening our faith, for quickening our hope, and for opening our heart to the ardent love of the one who knows how to lose his life so that others may gain it.

Thank you, Holy Father, for your life, which has marked many of us.

Thank you for coming to tell us, the young people of Spain, that the world needs living witnesses of the Gospel; that each one of us can be one of those courageous persons who dare to construct the new civilization of love, because what we do not do for the poor, contemplating in them the face of Christ, will remain undone.

Thank you again, Holy Father.

MADRID, Spain, MAY 6, 2003

Original source see:

Evangelingelisation sur Inetrnet

Card. Darío Castrillón : Evangéliser sur Internet Congr?s sur l'Eglise et l'informatique ? Monterrey, Mexique

ROME, lundi 7 avril 2003 ( - Dans une intervention au Congr?s sur l'Eglise et l'informatique, qui a eu lieu du 2 au 5 avril ? Monterrey au Mexique, le cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, préfet de la Congrégation pour le clergé, a analysé le phénom?ne religieux sur Internet et proposé des pistes de réflexion pour évangéliser ? travers la web.

Le cardinal colombien a tout d'abord fait remarquer que les pages religieuses sur Internet sont extr?mement nombreuses. ? Mais s'agit-il de vrais sites religieux ou de créations de la société de consommation, ? la mesure de l'homme d'aujourd'hui ? ? s'est-il interrogé.

Le cardinal Castrillón Hoyos a décrit le phénom?ne religieux sur Internet, relevant quatre caractéristiques.

? Il existe un sécularisme virtuel, a-t-il précisé. Dans de nombreux sites d'aspect apparemment religieux nous ne trouvons en fait que de la 'pseudosacralité'. Le sécularisme ne se présente plus comme une absence d'éléments sacrés mais comme l'offre, presque commerciale, de religions sans élément sacré ou qui ont un concept irréel du sacré, ? la mesure de l'?tre humain?.

Le cardinal a ensuite parlé du ? relativisme on line ?. Sur Internet, a-t-il expliqué ? rien n'est absolu, ni m?me vrai. Lorsqu'il entre dans le réseau, le navigateur découvre de multiples propositions de bonheur qui lui sont offertes avec des arguments tr?s attrayants, avec de nombreuses promesses de vie meilleure, de dépassement personnel, mais sans référence ? la vérité de leurs contenus. En fait, pour un homme d'aujourd'hui, parler de vérité est presque de mauvais go?t ?.

La troisi?me caractéristique de la religiosité sur Internet est ? le syncrétisme digital ?, a affirmé le cardinal Castrillón Hoyos. ? Du point de vue religieux, Internet est comme un institut de beauté intérieure, comme un gymnase psycho-physique dans lequel on reçoit d'extraordinaires leçons de sagesse comprimée ?.

Pour terminer, le cardinal a analysé la relation entre ? web et liberté ? comme un autre aspect particulier du phénom?ne religieux sur Internet.

? Internet est comme un autel sur lequel on rend un culte au concept de la liberté ?, a-t-il déclaré.

Le préfet de la congrégation pour le clergé a ensuite proposé quelques clés pour évangéliser l'?re digitale.

Il a tout d'abord insisté sur la nécessité ? d'évangéliser ? partir d'Internet ? en rappelant que ? la rencontre personnelle avec le Christ est la clé de toute évangélisation authentique ?. Il faut ? ouvrir la porte de la foi pour que le Christ, le Rédempteur, entre dans nos vies ?, a-t-il déclaré.

Le cardinal a précisé que beaucoup voient aujourd'hui l'Eglise comme ? une institution légaliste, faite d'impositions ?. Les gens ne comprennent pas que ces ? lois ? sont ? chemin de liberté, d'une liberté qui doit ?tre guidée par l'amour ?.

? Et l'Eglise, c'est-?-dire nous, que fait-elle ? s'est-il interrogé. L'Eglise doit leur ouvrir ses portes et leur montrer l'amour du P?re qui vit en elle. Et ceci, elle peut le faire, elle doit le faire, également ? travers Internet ?.

Pour terminer, le cardinal Castrillón Hoyos a encouragé ? une nouvelle forme d'inculturation ?. ? L'Eglise a le devoir d'apprendre les nouveaux protocoles de la communication et les nouveaux langages télématiques pour pouvoir continuer son dialogue avec l'humanité, a-t-il déclaré. C'est le seul moyen d'établir un vrai dialogue avec l'homme d'aujourd'hui dans un moyen de communication comme Internet, qui est essentiellement interactif ?.


Mexique/Informatique: Une "mission catholique sur Internet" "Vers un réseau humain de réponses et d'aides"

CITE DU VATICAN, Mardi 8 avril 2003 ( - Une "mission catholique sur Internet": cette question a fait l'objet d'un congr?s continental américain, indique l'agence Fides.

Ce congr?s sur "Eglise et Informatique" intitulé " Vers un réseau humain de réponses et d'aides " s'est tenu au Mexique, ? Monterrey, du 2 au 5 avril, ? l'initiative du conseil pontifical pour les Communications sociales, et du Conseil épiscopal latino-américain (CELAM) avec la collaboration de la conférence épiscopale du Mexique et du dioc?se de Monterrey. Le congr?s s'est achevé le 5 avril par la messe présidée par Mgr Foley, président du conseil pontifical pour les Communications sociales.

Le document final analyse la naissance de la nouvelle culture informatique dans notre société, et comment l'Eglise doit répondre ? ce nouveau défi, indique Fides qui propose cette traduction de différents extraits du document.

"Nous vivons un processus accéléré d'échange culturel. La naissance de cette nouvelle culture, que certains auteurs ont appelée culture digitale ou culture Internet requiert une réponse. Notre vocation et notre mission sont d'intégrer l'homme, et tout l'homme, dans cette culture digitale. Notre préoccupation principale est la dignité de la personne humaine dans une culture digitale qui, pour ?tre authentiquement culture, doit ?tre au service de l'?tre humain. Notre préoccupation pour la société de la connaissance est notre préoccupation pour la vérité de l'homme ".

Le Document présente ensuite une analyse de cette nouvelle culture ? partir de deux perspectives : la perspective personnelle et la perspective collective. Il se évoque en particulier le probl?me de "l'analphabétisme technologique", suggérant que la réponse peut passer ? travers "l'éducation solidaire et l'utilisation des nouvelles technologies, avec la création opportune de centre de formes de formation et d'entraînement ".

Le Document déclare pour terminer : "Evangéliser l'homme signifie évangéliser la culture. L'Evangile est et doit continuer ? ?tre au cour de la communication et de ses moyens. L'Eglise a le devoir de se présenter face ? cette nouvelle culture digitale comme la grande alternative pour l'avenir de l'homme et comme le point de référence d'un renouvellement de la société ? partir de la fidélité ? l'Evangile et ? partir de la foi transmise et gardée par l'Eglise ".

" La présence de l'Eglise et de l'Evangile sur Internet ne doit jamais ?tre considérée comme une substitution de l'Eglise m?me, mais comme un moyen intelligent et attirant pour parvenir ? de nombreux baptisés ainsi qu'aux non croyants ".

Cette " mission catholique sur Internet ne peut oublier la dimension prophétique qui veut annoncer avec z?le, talent et conviction les valeurs de l'Evangile, et dénoncer tout ce qui signifie mépris et exploitation de la personne et de la société.


Sunday, June 06, 2004

It would be easy if life was one major battle .... fight to the end ... good or evil. That's not the way it is .... it's a million little daily situations .... where you can help someone ... or you can ignore them. What are we charged to do? Love your neighbour as yourself.

Maggie it's very wise ... THANKS

Byłoby łatwo i wygodnie gdyby życie było klarownie jedną wielką walką aż do końca pomiędzy dobrem i złem. Wtedy każdy mógłby się opowiedzieć raz na zawsze i jednoznacznie. Ale tak nie jest, bo życie to miliony codziennych, drobnych sytuacji wyboru, gdzie :

Albo mogę komuś pomóc, albo go zignorować.

Coś nam zostało zadane i to zadanie trzeba odrabiać codziennie i wiele razy dziennie: ?Miłuj bliźniego swego, jak siebie samego?.

A kto to zrozumiał i tą drogą idzie ... jest szczęśliwy czyli błogosławiony ?