Archive for the ‘11 The Constant Church’ Category

Heart-to-Heart Preaching

In 11 The Constant Church on 2017/01/06 at 12:00 AM


(Presented in Spring 2013 at the Seminar for Priests in Pembroke, MA.)

Dear Priest Friends and Brothers, …

For a minute let’s imagine what Bl. John Henry would have thought if he were moved in a H.G. Wells time machine from the church of the Brompton Oratory to a typical Catholic parish in the U.S. in the year 1975. There he would encounter 10-minute amplified homilies (what is that?), talking in Church, applause, and guitar masses with their childish tunes and saccharine lyrics. He would see the priest assuming the role of emcee, facing the people, adding his own words to the Canon of the Mass, and venturing out from the altar into the congregation, possibly dressed as a clown, to shake hands. And the list goes on.

It is all too painful to contemplate, and at this juncture almost difficult to believe that most of us lived through it. Happily John Henry did not witness this, or perhaps he would have apostatized back to the Anglican Community he had left in 1846.

Newman was quite possibly the greatest Catholic preacher in English in the history of the Church up to this day. In my opinion he achieves this ranking not only because of the effect his preaching had on congregations (and readers of his sermons) in his own time, but also because of his enormous influence on the other great preachers we are examining in this seminar, i.e., Msgr. Ronald Knox and Venerable Fulton Sheen. These men were great preachers, but with all their talents and all their particular gifts, there is in their own preaching perhaps something somewhat derivative of Newman’s writing and his sermons, which they had undoubtedly read and, consciously or not, allowed to play at least a role in their own writing’s content and style.

As you may know, when Blessed John Henry at long last became a Cardinal, he chose as his motto or seal “Cor ad cor loquitur” (“Heart speaks to heart”), appropriated from St. Francis de Sales, who easily could have been included in our seminar as a great preacher if we had had the time.



Credo: We Believe – Host: Fr. Pablo Staub (audio)

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/12/30 at 12:00 AM

Credo: We Believe

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
An explanation of what we mean when we say the Creed

Please copy and paste this URL to access this series:   http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=6122&pgnu=1

Credo: We Believe Back to Series List
Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. We Believe
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo1.mp3
2. We Believe in One God, Part 1
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo2.mp3
3. We Believe in One God, Part 2
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo3.mp3
4. God the Father
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo4.mp3
5. The Father Almighty
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo5.mp3
6. Maker of Heaven and Earth
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo6.mp3
7. The Only Son of God
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo7.mp3
8. Eternally Begotten of the Father
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo8.mp3
9. Born of the Virgin Mary
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo9.mp3
10. He Suffered Under Pontius Pilate
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo10.mp3
11. He Descended to the Dead
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo11.mp3
12. On the Third Day He Rose
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo12.mp3
13. He Ascended into Heaven
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo13.mp3
14. He Will Come Again to Judge
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo14.mp3
15. We Believe in the Holy Spirit
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo15.mp3
16. The Holy Catholic Church
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo16.mp3
17. The Communion of Saints
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo17.mp3
18. The Forgiveness of Sins
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo18.mp3
19. The Resurrection of the Body
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo19.mp3
20. Life Everlasting
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub credo20.mp3

The Catholic Church through the Ages Host – Fr. Charles Connor (audio)

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/11/17 at 12:00 AM

The Catholic Church through the Ages
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
Fr. Charles P. Connor, Ph.D., offers an historical overview of the significant events and personages contained within the first 15 centuries of the Catholic Church’s existence. Events include the Church’s founding by Christ in the first century through the Reformation and Counter Reformation in the 16th century.

Please copy and paste this URL to access this series:


The Catholic Church through the Ages Back to Series List

Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. The World in Which the Church Was Born
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_01.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the influence of the Roman Empire on the civilization of first century Europe and the Mediterranean Basin at the time of Christ and Early Church.
2. The Spread of Christianity
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_02.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the spread of Christianity from the Holy Land to Rome, Greece and parts of Asia Minor largely due to the missionary journeys of St. Paul. Rome becomes the center of the Christian religion not because it was the center of the Roman Empire, but because Ss. Peter and Paul died there.
3. The Church in Rome and Beyond
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_03.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the teaching and Christian witness of the lives of the Fathers of the Church, Ss. Justin Martyr and Ignatius of Antioch. The role of the Roman Catacombs in the life of the Early Church is explored.
4. The Growth of Apostolic Authority, Part One
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_04.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the selection of the 12 Apostles by Our Lord and informs as to the contributions of the Fathers of the Church, Ss. Clement of Rome, Cyprian of Carthage, and Irenaeus of Lyons. The role of Deacons in the life and ministry of the Church is explored.
5. The Growth of Apostolic Authority, Part Two
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_05.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the role of Synods or gatherings of bishops in Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch. He examines the place given to significant churches, such as St. Peter’s, and the Cathedral of Rome, St. John Lateran. The contributions of Emperor Constantine are noted as well as his capital of Constantinople. Finally, the works of Ss. Leo the Great, Cyprian, Irenaeus and Gregory the Great are mentioned.
6. Heresies and Councils
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_06.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the contributions of the Fathers of the Church, Ss. Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, and Cyril of Alexandria. The theological terms homoousious, hypostatic union and Theotokos explain the relation of the divine and human natures of Christ, as well as the related doctrine of Mary as truly the Mother of God.
7. Augustine and Monasticism
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_07.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the influence of the monastic life on the spirituality of the Church in general, led by Ss. Augustine, Anthony of Egypt, Basil, Martin of Tours, Benedict and Columba.
8. Introduction to the Middle Ages and English Monasticism
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_08.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the life of the Church in the Middle Ages, with particular attention given to the influences of Frankish ruler Charles Martel and King Oswald of Northumbria, as well as the contributions of Ss. Gregory the Great, Augustine of Canterbury, Ethelbert, Bede, Cuthbert, Aidan, Columba and Hilda of Whitby.
9. The Political Middle Ages, East-West Split, Gregorian Reforms
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_09.mp3
Beginning with the capture of Rome by Visigoth King Alaric I in 410 AD, Fr. Connor discusses the significant events during the reign of Clovis I, King of the Franks (481–511) who unified Gaul as a single kingdom and established his capital at Paris. His name, Gallicized as “Louis,” was given to 18 later French monarchs. In 910, the monastery of Cluny was founded and began to initiate reforms. In 1054, Pope Leo IX and Eastern Patriarch Michael Cerularius excommunicated each other, and Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church have been formally divided since. In modern times, Pope Paul VI and John Paul II have reached out to the Orthodox, bringing about closer ties.
10. The Later Middle Ages
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_10.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the Crusades as eight expeditions undertaken, in fulfillment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Islamic control: the first, 1095-1101; the second, headed by Louis VII, 1145-47; the third, conducted by Philip Augustus and Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 1188-92; the fourth, during which Constantinople was taken, 1204; the fifth, which included the conquest of Damietta, 1217; the sixth, in which Frederick II took part (1228-29); also Thibaud de Champagne and Richard of Cornwall (1239); the seventh, led by St. Louis, 1249-52; the eighth, also under St. Louis, 1270. Next Connor describes the significant monastic influence, teaching and preaching of Ss. Norbert, Bruno, Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Dominic Guzman, and Albert the Great.
11. The Thirteenth Century Continues
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_11.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the theological influence of St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as the spirituality of Juliana of Norwich. The Avignon Papacy, 1309-1378 was the period during which the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, lived in Avignon, now a part of France. The removal of the Papacy to Avignon was justified at the time as owing to the factious tumults at Rome, where the dissensions of the Roman aristocrats and their armed gangs reached a nadir, and the Basilica of St. John Lateran was destroyed in a fire. The ‘Babylonian captivity’, in Petrarch’s phrase, marks the point from which the decay of the strictly Catholic conception of the Pope as universal bishop is to be dated, because the Avignon popes seemed largely concerned with France only. Seven popes, all French, resided in Avignon during this period: Pope Clement V, John XXII, Benedict XII,Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V and Gregory XI. In 1378, with the encouragement of St. Catherine of Siena, Gregory XI moved the papal residence back to Rome and died there.
12. The Renaissance
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_12.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the period of the Renaissance, occurring within in the 15th and 16th centuries. The “rebirth” of art in Italy was connected with the rediscovery of ancient philosophy, literature, and science and the evolution of empirical methods of study in these fields. Increased awareness of classical knowledge created a new resolve to learn by direct observation and study of the natural world. Consequently, secular themes became increasingly important to artists, and with the revived interest in antiquity came a new repertoire of subjects drawn from Greek and Roman history and mythology. The models provided by ancient buildings and works of art also inspired the development of new artistic techniques and the desire to re-create the forms and styles of classical art. Of special interest are the Vatican Library, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
13. The Reformation
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_13.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the Reformation, the usual term for the religious movement which made its appearance in Western Europe in the sixteenth century, and which, while ostensibly aiming at an internal renewal of the Church, really led to a great revolt against it, and an abandonment of the principal Christian beliefs. The Reformation was inaugurated in Germany when Luther affixed his celebrated theses to the doors of the church at Wittenberg, 31 October, 1517.
14. The English Reformation
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_14.mp3
15. Following the Counter-Reformation
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_01.mp3
In the period following the Counter-Reformation, Fr. Connor studies the documents of the Council of Trent, as well as the heroic example of the lives of the saints: Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Philip Neri, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis de sales, Jane de Chantal, Therese of Lisieux, Vincent de Paul, and Blaise Pascal.
16. The Internal Life of the 17th Century Church
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_02.mp3
Here Fr. Connor describes the Sacred Heart devotion, including the 12 promises given by Jesus in a vision to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Contributions to this devotion are also noted by her spiritual director Claude de la Colombiere and a connection is made to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, as mentioned by Pope John Paul II.
17. 17th Century Catholic Spirituality
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_03.mp3
Fr Connor contrasts the life and thought of Voltaire, with that of John Carroll, Benedict Joseph Labre, Paul of the Cross, and Alphonsus Liguori, whose order promoted the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
18. Church and State in Europe: 17th-18th Century
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_04.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the lives of King James I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, James II, William of Orange, William and Mary, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Louis XVI and Pope Pius VII.
19. The Napoleonic Era
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_05.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the lives of Napoleon, Pius VII and Fr. Felicite de Lamennais, and also notes for Europe the consequences of the Congress of Vienna.
20. The Church in the 1830s
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_06.mp3
Here Fr Connor contrasts the life works of John Vianney, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Anne Catherine Emmerich, Catherine Laboure, King George IV, Daniel O’Connell, Cardinal Newman, Cardinal Manning, and Fr. Faber.
21. The Era of Political Revolution
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_07.mp3
Fr Connor describes the historical actions of William I of Belgium, Felicite de Lamennais, Lacordaire, Gregory XIV, Mazzini, Rossi, Cardinal Antonelli, Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel.
22. The First Vatican Council
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_08.mp3
Fr Connor discusses the historical contributions of Felicite De Lamennais, Veuillot, Mantalembert, and Pius IX.
23. The Church in the Late 19th Century
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_09.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the historical figures of Bismarck, Leo XIII, Leon Gambetta, Gueranger, Bernadette Soubirous, Dr. Alexis Carrel, Franz Werfel, and Margaret Mary Alacoque.
24. The Church Faces Industrialization
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_10.mp3
Fr Connor describes the historical phenomena of industrialization, World War I, the October Revolution and World War II, as well as distinguishing between the personalities of Hegel, Pius XI, Hitler, Pius XII, Leo XIII and Cardinal Gibbons.
25. The Church Enters the 20th Century
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_11.mp3
Fr. Connor relates the contributions of Gueranger, Marmion, Romano Guardini, Pius X, Pius XII, Emperor Franz Joseph, Thomas Aquinas, Leo XIII, Cardinal Mercier, as well as the philosphical thought of Descartes, Kant, and John Locke.
26. The Second Vatican Council and its Aftermath
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_12.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the contributions of John XXIII, as well as that of the Vatican II documents, Lumen Gentium, Dei Verbum, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Gravissimum Educationis, Unitatis Redintegratio, Gaudium et Spes, Ad Gentes, and Inter Mirifica.
27. The Legacy of John Paul II
Host – Fr. Charles Connor cathchurchages_ptii_13.mp3
Fr. Connor discusses the personalities of Karl Barth and Pope John Paul II, as well as the influence attributed to the documents, Gaudium et Spes, Redemptor Hominis, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Evangelium Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, Dominus Iesus, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, and Presbyterorum Ordinis.

St. Otto

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/11/04 at 12:00 AM

The Church celebrates the life and work of St. Otto. He was born in 1060 in Swabia, and died on June 30, 1139. He was the Bishop of Bamberg, an indefatigable evengelizer, and the apostle of the Pomeranians.

He was born of noble rank and ordained a priest sometime before the age of 30. He joined the service of Emperor Henry IV in 1090 and became his chancellor in 1101. He served Henry IV and his successor, Henry V, loyally, but he disaproved of the latter’s disgraceful treatment of Pope Paschal.

Otto was consecrated a bishop on May 13, 1106, and set to work founding new monasteries, reforming existing ones, building schools and churches, and completing the construction of the cathedral. He lived a poor and simple life, and was called the “Father of the monks” for the concern he showed toward religious orders.

In 1122 Otto was commissioned by the Polish Duke Boleslaw III to convert Pomerania to Christianity, and he set about this mission in 1124. He traveled across Pomerania twice, and won over the people with his holiness, quiet generosity, and gentle, inspiring sermons.

The conversion of Pomerania was his greatest apostolic work. He baptized over 22,000 people and established 11 churches. Many miracles were attributed to him throughout his two journeys, and many more after his death.


Catholic News Agency

The Great Heresies – Host:Fr. Charles Connor (audio)

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/09/16 at 12:00 AM

The Great Heresies
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
In the series, The Great Heresies, Fr. Charles Connor of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania examines how the Catholic Church has handled issues of heresy throughout its history, thereby providing a clarified understanding of the deposit of faith.

Please copy and paste this URL to access this series:     http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7109&pgnu=1

The Great Heresies Back to Series List
Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. What Is Heresy? Part One
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_01.mp3
Fr. Connor cites St. Thomas Aquinas on the definition and nature of heresy as deviation from the whole and entire, universal Catholic Faith. He distinguishes between formal and material heresy, apostasy and schism.
2. What Is Heresy? Part Two
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_02.mp3
Here Fr. Connor explores what the Bible says about heresy and those who espouse heretical tenets. The inspired writers seek to protect the full revelation made by Christ to His Church.
3. The Early Heresies
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_03.mp3
Fr Connor explains the early heresies known as Gnosticism, Marcionism and Manichaeism.
4. The Church Fathers and Heresy
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_04.mp3
In the effort to declare the true Faith over and above the errors of heresies such as Docetism, Fr. Connor focuses on the works of St. Augustine, Tertullian, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome and St. John Chrysostom.
5. Heresies of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries, Part One
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_05.mp3
Fr. Connor gives a treatment of Arianism, a heresy which stated that Jesus was the perfect creature, but not God. St. Athanasius defends the divinity of Christ.
6. Heresies of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries, Part Two
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_06.mp3
Here Fr Connor discusses the heresies known as Monothelitism, Donatism and Pelagianism. St. Augustine worked to champion the true Faith.
7. Iconoclasm
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_07.mp3
Fr Connor examines the period of the Iconoclastic Controversy, from 725-843 A.D., in which there were alternating periods of icon desecration and recovery, succeeded by the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicea and the eventual triumph of the Iconophiles, resulting in the Feast of Orthodoxy. The works of Andrei Rublev and Theophanes the Greek are noted for their splendor in depicting divine realities.
8. The Great Schism of the Eleventh Century
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_08.mp3
Fr Kilian introduces us to the theological and political reasons for the 1054 split between Eastern and Western Christianity. The Church today seeks to actively promote the cause of Christian unity.
9. The Military Response to Heresy: The Crusades
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_09.mp3
Fr. Connor explains that the Crusades were intended for the defense of Western Europe as well as a means to secure safety and access to revered Christian sites in the Holy Land. The diplomacy of St. Francis of Assisi gains the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, which lasts to this day.
10. The Papacy Returns to Rome: Rise of Schism and Heresy
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_10.mp3
Fr Kilian introduces us the history involved in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, including Pope Gregory XI returning the papacy from Avignon to Rome in 1377 after a meeting with St. Catherine of Siena. The Great Western Schism then took place from 1378-1417, as rival claimants to the papacy plunged the Church into turmoil. In this period the Church deals with the works of William of Ockham, John Wycliffe and Jan Hus.
11. The Inquisition
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_11.mp3
In addition to giving a treatment on Albigensianism in early 13th century France, Fr. Connor discusses the reasons the Church through Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition. The roles of Church and state are discussed in the handling of heresy.
12. The Reformation, Part One
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_12.mp3
Fr. Connor introduces the major figures involved in the period of the Reformation: Martin Luther, Pope Leo X, Frederick of Saxony, Ulrich Zwinglii, John Calvin, Henry VIII, St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher and Elizabeth I.
13. The Reformation, PartTwo
Host – Fr. Charles Connor grthr_13.mp3
Fr. Connor continues his introduction to the major figures involved in the period of the Reformation: Martin Luther, Franz Kolb, King Christian II of Denmark, Gustavus Vasa, Olaf Petersson, King Francis I of France, Cardinal Richelieu, Vittoria Colonna in Italy, Emperor Charles V, Edward VI and Queen Mary Tudor.

Doctors of the Church Host – Fr. Charles Connor (audio)

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/08/19 at 12:00 AM

Doctors of the Church
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
Fr. Charles Connor examines the lives and writings of all 33 Doctors of the Church, men and women who not only contributed to the era in which they lived, but who also helped the Church to understand Herself, Her mysteries, and everything the Lord entrusted to Her. Understand these writers whose teachings transcend the differences between the generations.


Please copy and paste this URL to access this series:     http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=6224&pgnu=1

Doctors of the Church Back to Series List
Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. Ambrose and Augustine
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch01.mp3
2. Jerome and Gregory the Great
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch02.mp3
3. The Eastern Doctors
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch03.mp3
4. Angelic and Seriphic Doctors
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch04.mp3
5. The Early 18th Century
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch05.mp3
6. The Late 18th & 19th Centuries
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch06.mp3
7. The Doctors of Pius XI
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch07.mp3
8. The Doctors of Leo XII
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch08.mp3
9. Doctors of the 1920s
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch09.mp3
10. Doctors of the 1930s
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch10.mp3
11. Doctors of the Modern Papacy
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch11.mp3
12. The First Two Women Doctors
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch12.mp3
13. The Greatest Saint of Modern Times
Host – Fr. Charles Connor docofch13.mp3

Address of Pope Benedict International Convention on Woman and Man

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/08/12 at 12:00 AM

“The theme upon which you have been reflecting is highly topical: from the second half of the 20th century up to today the movement for the improvement of women in the various aspects of social life has given rise to countless reflections and debates, and has seen many initiatives multiply which the Catholic Church has often watched with close attention. The man-woman relationship in its respective specificity, reciprocity and complementarity certainly constitutes a central point of the ‘anthropological question’, so decisive in contemporary culture and ultimately for every culture. Numerous events and Pontifical Documents have touched upon the emerging reality of the feminine question. I limit myself to recalling those of my beloved Predecessor John Paul II, who, in June of 1995, wished to write a Letter to Women, while on 15 August 1988, 20 years ago this year, published the Apostolic Letter Mulieris dignitatem. . . .

In Mulieris Dignitatem, John Paul II wished to deepen the fundamental anthropological truths of man and woman, the equality of their dignity and the unity of both, the well-rooted and profound diversity between the masculine and the feminine and their vocation to reciprocity and complementarity, to collaboration and to communion.

This ‘uni-duality’ of man and woman is based on the foundation of the dignity of every person created in the image and likeness of God, who ‘male and female he created them’ (Gn 1: 27), avoiding an indistinct uniformity and a dull and impoverishing equality as much as an irreconcilable and conflictual difference. This dual unity brings with it, inscribed in body and soul, the relationship with the other, love for the other, interpersonal communion that implies ‘that the creation of man is also marked by a certain likeness to the divine communion’ (Mulieris dignitatem). Therefore, when men and women demand to be autonomous and totally self-sufficient, they run the risk of being closed in a self-reliance that considers ignoring every natural, social or religious bond as an expression of freedom, but which, in fact, reduces them to an oppressive solitude. To promote and sustain the real advancement of women and men one cannot fail to take this reality into account.

A renewed anthropological study is certainly necessary based on the great Christian tradition, which incorporates new scientific advances and, given today’s cultural sensitivity, in this way contributes to deepening not only the feminine identity but also the masculine, which is often the object of partial and ideological reflections. Faced with cultural and political trends that seek to eliminate, or at least cloud and confuse, the sexual differences inscribed in human nature, considering them a cultural construct, it is necessary to recall God’s design that created the human being masculine and feminine, with a unity and at the same time an original difference and complimentary. Human nature and the cultural dimension are integrated in an ample and complex process that constitutes the formation on one’s own identity, where both dimensions, that of the feminine and that of the masculine, correspond to and complete each other.

. . . A masculine mentality still persists that ignores the novelty of Christianity, which recognizes and proclaims that men and women share equal dignity and responsibility. There are places and cultures where women are discriminated against or undervalued for the sole fact of being women, where recourse is made even to religious arguments and family, social and cultural pressure in order to maintain the inequality of the sexes, where acts of violence are consummated in regard to women, making them the object of mistreatment and of exploitation in advertising and in the consumer and entertainment industry. Faced with such grave and persistent phenomena the Christian commitment appears all the more urgent so that everywhere it may promote a culture that recognizes the dignity that belongs to women, in law and in concrete reality.

God entrusts to women and men, according to their respective capacities, a specific vocation and mission in the Church and in the world. Here I am thinking of the family, a community of love open to life, the fundamental cell of society. In it the woman and the man, thanks to the gift of maternity and paternity, together carry out an irreplaceable role in regard to life. Children from their conception have the right to be able to count on their father and mother to take care of them and to accompany their growth. The State, for its part, must uphold with appropriate social policies everything that promotes the stability and unity of matrimony, the dignity and responsibility of couples, their rights and irreplaceable duty as educators of their children. Besides, it is necessary to enable the woman to collaborate in the building of society, appreciating her typical ‘feminine genius’.”


Reforming Saints

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/07/15 at 12:00 AM

During the years immediately following the Council of Trent, several religious orders were systematically reformed: Franciscans, Cistercians, Carthusians and Carmelites. King Philip II of Spain supported the reforms.

The leading lights of these movements for the Carmelites were St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, both of whom have been pronounced Doctors of the Church. St. Teresa’s personality was a unusual combination of merry charm, steel spine but above all transcendent, goodness and holiness. Teresa soon restored many to proper obedience.

During these days, Pope St. Pius V’s great concern for the peoples of the New World led him to ask the youthful king of Portugal to protect the converted Indians from the scandalous abuses of the Portuguese soldiers. In order to improve the status of the converts within the Christian community, he recommended that natives be prepared for the priesthood, which unfortunately was not done despite Brazil being the country with the highest population of Catholics at all times.

Aquinas and Bonaventure: Twin Guiding Lights

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/07/08 at 12:00 AM

While comparisons are usually considered odious, there are some which are to the advantage of readers. Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas possessed different gifts of the mind. Each possessed qualities he excelled in. They complemented each other, for what one lacked the other supplied.

Thomas was analytical; Bonaventure, preferred synthesis.

Thomas was the Christian version of Aristotle; Bonaventure, a faithful Augustinian.

Thomas was the academic; Bonaventure, a guide for daily life.

Thomas fed the mind; Bonaventure enkindled a fire in hearts.

Thomas extended the knowledge of God with his love of theology; Bonaventure enlarged it by his theology of love.

Bonaventure lived in the presence of God and his writings demonstrate this. While imparting knowledge, he aroused devotion. He treated learning with devotion and devotion with learning. Bonaventure was unique among the luminaries of his time mainly by his great warmth combined with practicality.

Private Charity Versus Government Welfare

In 11 The Constant Church on 2016/06/24 at 12:00 AM

by Rev. C. J. McCloskey III

Less than three years has passed since the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical, Charity in Truth. As some readers may remember, the encyclical caused quite a stir both in secular and religious circles — as have many of the past papal encyclicals dealing with economic questions, going back to Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking 1891 exposition of social justice, Rerum Novarum.It appears that the redaction and publication of the current encyclical was speeded up to address the ongoing global economic crisis — and that it does. This article, however, will instead take a brief look at the proper roles of private charity and government welfare in pursuing the integral development of persons, families, and countries.

Encyclicals are magisterial. That is, they are meant to be studied, prayed over, and applied to the subject at hand. However, in questions of social justice, while the Holy Father and the bishops in communion with him may teach with authority, ultimately it is the laity’s role to apply the teaching to the concrete circumstances of particular countries, economies, and societies. It is at this level that there can be legitimate and perhaps diverging opinions on the ways to apply the teachings in particular cases. Rarely will there be any perfect solution.

In Charity in Truth, Pope Benedict cites Pope Paul VI, who

had an articulated vision of development. He understood the term to indicate the goal of rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases, and illiteracy. It meant their evolution into educated societies marked by solidarity; from a political point of view, it meant the consolidation of democratic regimes capable of ensuring freedom and peace.

However, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict both emphasize the principle of solidarity, which can be defined as “a sense of or responsibility on the part of every one with regard to everyone.” Benedict is clear that this cannot be delegated to the state alone. It seems, given his insistence on the virtue of caritas – love — that one cannot see the State as the principal caretaker of welfare or so-called “social justice.” Benedict insists again and again on what he terms “gratuitousness,” which is a reference to the long-time heart of Joseph Ratzinger’s theology: the emphasis on the sincere gift of self. We could also translate this as the “self-gift,” and find in this formulation a second meaning, since through it a person finds his true self in charity. Private charity is preferable because it is a means of growing in grace for the donor. Clearly this cannot be the case of the Leviathan government, which has no moral subject.

Pope Benedict maintains that Market plus State is simply not enough; such a reduction of social relationships is corrosive of society. We must remember that both John Paul and Benedict lived under totalitarian states that persecuted religion and were responsible for tens of millions of deaths and many martyrs. They knew that perhaps the most important factor in the slow but sure growth of early Christianity was the self-gift of early Christians and their families to those around them, which contrasted so strongly with the brutality and coarseness of the gradually decaying Roman State. Speaking of the early Church, Pope Benedict says in his first encyclical, God is Love, that,

As the years went by, and the Church spread further afield, the exercise of charity became established as one of her essential activities: love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word.

Today, the Church continues to be the world’s largest private agency of charity to the indigent, as it has been through the centuries, spearheaded by figures as well known as St. Vincent de Paul, Frederic Ozanam, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Along with solidarity, Benedict — and indeed all of his predecessors who taught on human development and the justice of economic systems — insists on the principle of subsidiarity. He writes:

A particular manifestation of charity and a guiding criterion for fraternal cooperation between believers and non-believers is undoubtedly the principle of subsidiarity, an expression of inalienable human freedom. Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. Such assistance is offered when individuals or groups are unable to accomplish something on their own, and it is always designed to achieve their emancipation, because it fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility.

The beauty of this principle is that it provides for charity only as needed while encouraging self-reliance as possible. Whether this assistance comes from the government at the local or federal level, from private charities, from the Church, or simply from relatives, it should normally be limited to getting people or families back on their feet, rather than fostering prolonged dependency — the compelling counterexample being the tens of millions of Americans on food stamps.

Benedict notes: “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism while the latter without the former gives way to paternalistic social assistance that is demeaning to those in need.”

The pope then applies these principles to foreign aid. “Such aid, whatever the donors’ intentions, can sometimes lock people into a state of dependence and even foster situations of localized oppression and exploitation in the receiving country.” He goes on to stipulate that “Economic aid, in order to be true to its purpose, must not support secondary objectives.”

It is clear from Benedict’s tour de force survey of the current state of human development that private charity is preferable to public welfare, in that it satisfies the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity, and gratuitousness, or self-giving, which ennoble those who provide it and enable those who receive it as needed.

On the other hand, government assistance generally should serve as temporary help when private charity is not available or effective — the proverbial safety net — but not as a form of bribery for political purposes or as a means of gaining power over people, as if oppressive taxation and inflationary monetary policy were not means enough. After all, as the saying goes, what the government can do for you, it can also do toyou.

I will let Pope Benedict have the last word:

The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God. Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a Spirit of Solidarity.

Tagged as: Benedict XVI, Catholic Social Teaching, development, economics, Love, Rerum Novarum, Subsidiarity, Truth

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Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.
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