Friday, October 24, 2014

Exhibition!! Catholic Church!!

(Shri Jose Joseph - Delhi, once again strikes at the very pastoral approach we see everywhere - Administrator)

22 different colours and shades and prints to choose from!!. All designer made.

It is mentioned in the joint pastoral letter, that it is meant to give information to the laity about the new developments in the church. We wished that it was a letter of information, but it happened to be a set of illegal orders and commands. We wish to hear from the spiritual shepherds a joint pastoral on matters of faith. Here are some of our doubts which you have created with this JPL (Joint Pastoral letter) regarding the catholic faith.

a.  Are there scores of Jesus Christs who died for the scores of autonomous churches?

b.   Did St. Thomas, St. Francis Xaviour, and hundreds of missionaries come to India to evangelise for the same crucified Christ or for different Christs? Did one come for Syrian Christ and others for Latin Christ?

c.     Catholic faith is based on the Bible. With regard to the Bible, especially with regard to the four Gospels of the New Testament, what is the fundamental difference between Syrian and Latin faiths? Which of the four gospels are Latin and which are Syrian?

d.    With regards to the “Creed” which we consider as the foundation of Christian faith, what is the difference between Syrian and Latin Creeds?

e.    With regard to the Transubstantiation (the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist) what are the differences between Syrian and Latin faith?

f.  What are the fundamental differences in the prayer taught by Jesus “Our Father” in Syrian and Latin Churches.

g.  What are the differences in the Ten Commandments shared by God to Moses? Did he give one set for Syrians and another for Latins? If so give us a copy of each. Could you enlighten our understanding of the catechism that we learned in our childhood, that the sacrament of Baptism may be given even by a lay person when necessary. We believe that marriage is contract between the groom, the bride and Jesus our lord. Is there a problem about the Syrian Lord and Latin Lord to make it Syrian and Latin sacrament of marriage?  What is the difference in these sacraments? Does it mean that the sacrament of marriage is not valid if  it is blessed by a priest of another autonomous church? What is the essential difference between the Syrian and Latin faiths in catholic church?

h.    Are the seven sacraments different for Syrians and Latins?  Which ones are different? What are the differences?

i.     You demand that out of the seven sacraments, Baptism and Marriage have to be only through their own church? What is the specialty of these two sacraments from other sacraments?

j.   Can anybody from the Oriental  congregations explain to the ordinary lay people the differences in faith in the two dozen varieties of faith in the Oriental rites?

Jose Joseph (Delhi)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cardinal Müller rebuffs claims that he deliberately avoided the Pope

'I had spoken to him face to face the day before'.
Posted on October 23, 2014, 1:37 PM 

Vatican City:

Cardinal Ludwig Muller
has denied claims that he intentionally avoided Pope Francis last Sunday.

“It is not true that I deliberately avoided going to greet Pope Francis at the end of last Sunday’s mass because of an argument ... these allegations are false,” Cardinal M
uller said at the end of a round table discussion on the theme “The hope of the family. The Synod and beyond”, which was held at the European University of Rome.
“The Pope only greeted a few people who were sitting in the front row. I was sitting further back and in any case, I had spoken to him face to face the day before, during a Synod break,” the cardinal told Vatican Insider before leaving the conference.

Source: Vatican Insider

The mansion at North Boulevard

                 The mansion at North Boulevard and State Parkway was built in 1885. 

Newly appointed Archbishop Blase J. Cupich is eschewing opulence. Archbishop Blase Cupich has decided not to live in the traditional mansion.

He has decided to live at Holy Name Cathedral rectory, more modest than the North State Parkway mansion where previous Chicago archbishops have resided, the Archdiocese of Chicago revealed Wednesday.

The multi-million dollar Gold Coast mansion, which includes a coach house, 19 chimneys and landscaped grounds overlooking Lake Michigan, has been the home to every archbishop in Chicago since it was built in 1885.

The rectory living quarters are “very modest…not extravagant in any way,” said Monsignor Dan Mayall, pastor of Holy Name Cathedral. “The story here is he’s living more modestly than anybody anticipated. I think he sees living here because it’s close to work, two blocks away from the pastoral center, and it’s a parish church. It think he wanted to live in a parish. He didn’t want to live in an official place.”

Cupich’s quarters will be the same as Mayall’s and include a bedroom, living room and bathroom, Mayall said. He will eat in the common dining area. The living quarters were previously occupied by the late Bishop Timothy Lyne, who died last year.

Cupich plans to use the mansion in the coming year for official Archdiocesan functions and to host guests, the Archdiocese of Chicago said in a statement. He also will establish an Archbishop’s Residence Committee to study “the best use of the facility for the benefit of the mission of the Archdiocese,” the archdiocese said.
Cupich now lives in simple quarters at Bishop White Seminary in Spokane. He made the decision on his new home in consultation with Cardinal Francis George, Mayall and several Chicago priests, the archdiocese said.

George, who took a vow of poverty as an order priest, had never liked the symbolism the Chicago mansion represents and once considered selling the property at 1555 N. State Parkway to raise money for the Catholic school system.

Representatives from the archdiocese declined to provide details on George’s private living quarters at the three-story, red-brick mansion that occupies roughly the equivalent of eight Chicago city lots. CNN reported in August the property is worth $14.3 million.

The archdiocese web site notes George’s private quarters are on the second floor.

The mansion houses sitting rooms, a small chapel, rooms for resident priests and guests, a kitchen and dining room, according to the website. It describes the mansion as “perhaps the largest and best-preserved building of its type in the Chicago area. It is one of the oldest structures in the Astor Street District, according to the Landmarks Preservation Council.”

The mansion has hosted St. John Paul II and two of his predecessors before they were elected Pope, Cardinals Pacelli (Pius XII) and Montini (Paul VI). President Franklin D. Roosevelt was also an overnight guest.

The residence was built at the direction of Archbishop Patrick Feehan, the first archbishop of Chicago.

“This is the best way for any bishop to say that he wants to do as Pope Francis is doing … what a good Christian should do in terms of giving an example of living a normal life and not being a prince,” said Massimo Faggioli, assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, of Cupich’s decision.
“It’s interesting because for a church historian like me, it’s very easy to remember that until the early 20th century and in some countries the middle 20th century, all bishops or most bishops were coming from the aristocracy. So for them it is completely natural to live in palaces, in lavish residences. Bishops are now seen as examples or models or witnesses of a certain kind of lifestyle, and Pope Francis has set an example.”

Francis opted not to live in the papal palace, but instead to reside at Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican guest residence.

Cupich’s decision “signals that he’s paying attention to the style of Pope Francis, and he understands symboically what these kind of things mean,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter. “I think it’s an attempt to move the church more towards this image that the Pope has of a poor church for the poor.”

Cupich intends to say daily Mass at Holy Name Cathedral when his schedule allows, the archdiocese said.

See the report:

Link given by Jose Kallidukkil (USA)

Receiving Holy Communion

(This article was originally published in Indian Thoughts. Here, Dr Snehanandaji discusses in detail, the meaning and relevance of the Holy Mass or Eucharist - Administrator) 

This article is mainly for Catholic Christians who form the biggest denomination (about 125 million) in the Christian religion. Everyone can benefit, though, as I have no agenda other than the unadulterated teaching of Christ. This article is in the context of controversial discussions about divorced and re-married Catholics receiving Holy Communion at the Eucharistic celebration that is the most important worship in the Catholic Church. Eucharist or Holy Mass is the memorial of the Lord's last supper where Christ in a dramatic gesture shared with his disciples his body and blood in the form of bread and wine just before betrayal by one of his own disciples, passion, death by crucifixion, and resurrection. 

The discussions related to divorced and remarried Catholics and homosexual Catholics in connection with family life and Christian living in today's world are taking place in an important synod (assembly) of bishops and non-Catholic Christian observers in Rome with a view to reformation. These discussions are highly important as the synod tries to discern the will of Christ in dealing with all of humanity, especially the members of the church living in changed circumstances or with different sexual orientations.   

Christ as a universal teacher came for all, and his teachings apply to all. His program was to preach the Kingdom of God, and liberate all, especially the oppressed, from the clutches of all that was ungodly, unloving, hypocrisy. He lived an extremely simple life, and taught through example and parables - short stories of principles with a moral attitude - with compassion as well as authority. His parables, to mention a few, - of the Good Samaritan depicting our obligation to love unconditionally every human in the world, of the Prodigal Son demonstrating the unconditional love and forgiveness of the father (God) toward his wayward son, of the Lost Sheep wherein the shepherd (standing for Christ or the pope or a bishop or, finally, you or I) leaving the ninety-nine sheep to look for that one stray or lost sheep - are unparalleled in the whole of human history. So what further enlightenment are we waiting for?! Is not Christ's teaching plain and simple?! 

The test of the time is very near. Ultimately everything boils down to our readiness to be rejected, nay crucified, by the unpopular decisions that we make and that will not be accepted by our so-called constituencies that comprise our own very near and dear ones ( the world). Ultimately it is a war between the flesh and the spirit, the demands of the world and the demands of the Kingdom of God. Were we not taught by the master that a disciple is not going to be treated any better than the master?!

So where are we? For goodness sake, let us give communion to all who follow the teaching of Christ, and who in their well-formed conscience come with good intention to receive it. Who has put us in the place of God to judge the intentions of persons? If Christ could give communion to Judas, who would betray him soon after the first celebration of the Eucharist, I, as an ordained priest, have no problem in giving communion to the divorced, the re-married, the homosexual as long as they are clear in their conscience. If they are not clear in their conscience, the good Lord will take care of them. Christ never said a follower of him has to get a special training, and get ordained to celebrate the memorial of his last supper (Eucharist). We have given up our own rights to a bunch of administrators (priests, bishops, pope), and then we cry foul if they do not do what we have a right to.

I am reminded of a scene in the beginning of a pre-election campaign that elected Ronald Reagan as the 40th President of the United States in 1980. He was not very popular in the beginning of the campaign. So in the primaries his competitors would not give him microphone on a stage that he shared with other republican candidates. So he went and boldly snatched the mike from one of them right in front of the television cameras broadcasting the news to the nation. The rest is history. The bishops and pope will say this story has no relevance. Why? Because they rule according to the divine right. Well, you know what happened to the theology of the divine right of kings. The kings as well as the theology that supported them are all gone. You may also want to remember that this same theology taught that blacks did not have souls. 

We need to be also aware that Bharatiya Janata Party that governs India now is not India. Similarly, the pope and the magisterium (the governing authority) are not the Catholic Church. We are the church together with them. They are or ought to be elected administrators of the Church. A pope elected by cardinals appointed by a previous pope does not make sense. Democracy is not perfect. Nonetheless, only democracy, not autocracy, can go with an enlightened spirituality. In passing I may also note that Pope Francis and I joined the Jesuits in the same year, that is, i958. Only I left the Jesuits after about 25 years after due discernment. While I have great admiration for the Jesuits, I can say I will not be able to write what I am writing as a Jesuit with a fourth vow to the pope. So kindly read what I write at your own risk! I may also say everyone of us who is baptized, male or female, is a priest. In fact I dare say everyone who follows the teaching of Christ is a priest through the baptism of desire. I am not advocating anarchy. I am only advocating sound theology, awareness, and conscientization so we all can be aware of our own rights as well as our own obligations. Of course, all this has to be done in the true spirit of Christ, in the theology of kenosis (emptiness: empty of ego). We have to fill ourselves with Christ, and empty ourselves of our own ego. Here we may have different views. But then we do not all understand Christ exactly the same way. So, finally, let us surrender ourselves to Christ so we can do his will. Lord, help us see things the way you see.

Swami Snehananda Jyoti 

Bl. Chavara burial place controversy lands in court

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Communion to Divorced, Rite Issue, Knanaya Issue

I would like to present my brief views on the three/four issues raised. 

1. Admitting divorced and re-married people to communion. This is really a non-issue. Divorced and re-married people need to go to communion if they are clear in their conscience, and if they think they are in the right disposition to receive communion. If some priests would not give them communion, they need to go to priests who would. If they cannot find such priests or if it is unduly inconvenient, they may want to think of celebrating the memorial of the Lord (Eucharist) themselves. 

Breaking bread and sharing the cup, and giving them as body and blood, Jesus said: "Do this in memory of me". He did not say: "Get ordained and become priests before you do this in memory of me". 

Every baptized Christian is a priest, for that matter, everyone who follows the teachings of Christ. Of course Eucharist is better done in a recognized community. Nobody can and should refuse communion to a follower of Christ. Christ did not refuse communion to Judas, the so-called "son of perdition". 

2. Divisions on the basis of rites are meaningless. In a pluralistic society let people choose the rites that help them connect with God better. Territorial expansion of Syro-Malabar rite is not necessary. A Catholic (universal) needs to be at home in any Catholic rite. There is no harm in having services in one's own rite occasionally or periodically if that can be done or requested by people. I do not see the need for erecting a separate diocese for that in another diocese. Healthy spirituality and the will of Christ should prevail in all situations. On the other hand, I would not oppose it if it is done for the Greater Glory of God. In any case, there should not be any compromise on the freedom of choice.

3  Knanaya or pure blood issue of Kottayam Diocese in Syomalabar rite is a myth. There is no pure blood anywhere. There is mostly blood of convenience and opportunism. Church leaders who lacked vision, and who did not understand the spirit of Christ created overlapping dioceses and jurisdictions. Pope Pius X, if I am right, unwittingly injected worldly spirit in creating this separation of dioceses in the same rite. And he was misguided, to say the least. And I am personally alright in Knanaya persons having a diocese of their own if it is spiritually helpful for them. What is not right is ostracizing by a Knanaya church a Knanaya catholic if he or she marries a non-Knanaya catholic. Interestingly and absurdly it is also alright for a Knanaya catholic to marry a Knanaya non-Catholic Christian without ostracism. It is good to remember in Christ we are all one: no-Knanaya or Knanaya, Jew or gentile....

Let us state things for what they are without fear or favor. We really do not have anything to lose but everything to gain for Christ and the Kingdom.

Fr. John K. Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) USA

        ഈ ലേഖനത്തിന്റെ തര്‍ജ്ജമയാണ് താഴെ ചേര്‍ത്തിരിക്കുന്നത്.  - എഡിറ്റര്‍

1. അപ്പം മുറിക്കൽ എന്ന ക്രിസ്തീയ കർമത്തിൽ വിവാഹമോചിതർക്കും പുനർവിവാഹിതർക്കും സംബന്ധിക്കാമോ എന്നത് ഒരു തര്ക്കവിഷയമാകേണ്ട കാര്യമേയല്ല. അവരുടെ തന്നെ മനസ്സാക്ഷിയാണ് അത് തീരുമാനിക്കേണ്ടത്. ചില വൈദികർ അവരെ തടയുന്നുണ്ടെങ്കിൽ, അവരെ വിട്ടിട്ട് അനുഭാവമുള്ള വൈദികരുടെ അടുത്ത് പോകുക. അത്തരക്കാരെ കണ്ടെത്താൻ സാദ്ധ്യമല്ലെങ്കിൽ ഇവര്ക്ക് സ്വന്തമായി വിശുദ്ധ കുർബാന ആചരിക്കാം. ഇത് എന്റെ ഓർമ്മക്കായി നിങ്ങളും ഒരുമിച്ചുകൂടി ചെയ്യുവിൻ എന്നാണ് അപ്പവും വീഞ്ഞും പകുത്തു നല്ക്ജിക്കൊണ്ട് യേശു ആഗ്രഹം പ്രകടിപ്പിച്ചത്. അതിനായി പ്രത്യേകമായി അഭിഷിക്തരായവർ വേണമെന്ന് അവിടുന്ന് പറഞ്ഞില്ല. തന്നോടുള്ള അടുപ്പം തന്നെയാണ് അപ്പം മുറിക്കലിനുള്ള അഭിഷേകം. അംഗീകൃതമായ ഒരു കൂട്ടായ്മയിൽ അത് സാധിക്കുന്നില്ലെങ്കിൽ മേല്പറഞ്ഞത് മാത്രമാണ് പോംവഴി. അഭിശപ്തനെന്നു വിളിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന യൂദാസിനു പോലും യേശു അപ്പം വീതിച്ചു കൊടുത്തല്ലോ.

2. റീത്തുകളുടെ പേരിലുള്ള വിഭജനം അർഥശൂന്യമാണ്. ഒരു ബഹുതര സമൂഹത്തിൽ ഓരോരുത്തർക്കും അനുയോജ്യവും സൗകര്യ പ്രദവുമായ റീത്ത് തിരഞ്ഞെടുക്കാൻ സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യം ഉണ്ടായിരിക്കണം. ഒരു റീത്തിലേയ്ക്ക് ഒതുങ്ങിക്കൂടേണ്ട കാര്യവുമില്ല. ആരോഗ്യകരമായ ദൈവാനുഭവത്തിന് വിഘാതമാകേണ്ട സംഗതിയല്ല ഏതെങ്കിലും റീത്തിലുള്ള ഒരാളുടെ അംഗത്വം. ഇക്കാര്യം പറഞ്ഞ് ഒരു രൂപതക്കുള്ളിൽ വേറൊരു റീത്ത് സ്ഥാപിക്കുന്നതിനോട് എനിക്ക് യോജിക്കാനാവില്ല. വ്യക്തിതാത്പര്യങ്ങളല്ല, ക്രിസ്തുവിന്റെ മനസ്സായിരിക്കണം എവിടെയും നമ്മുടെ മാനദണ്ഡം. കത്തോലിക്കൻ എന്ന പേരുകൊണ്ടുതന്നെ ഒരുവന് ഏതു റീത്തിലും സംതൃപ്തി കണ്ടെത്താനുള്ള അവകാശമുണ്ട്‌. അങ്ങനെ വരുമ്പോൾ സീറോമലബാർ സഭയുടെ വിസ്തീർണം കൂട്ടൽ തീര്ത്തും അനാവശ്യമാണ്.

3. സീറോ മലബാർ റീത്തിനുള്ളിൽ ക്നാനായ എന്ന ശുദ്ധരക്തറീത്ത് എന്നയാശയം അങ്ങേയറ്റം അസംബന്ധമാണ്. എവിടെയാണ് ശുദ്ധരക്തമുള്ളത്? ഉള്ളതെല്ലാം സൗകാര്യാർഥമുള്ള മിശ്രിതമാണ്. ക്രിസ്ത്വാവബോധം നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ട ചിലരുടെ സ്വാർഥതത്പരതയും ഹൃസ്വദൃഷ്ടിയുമാണ് റീത്തിനുള്ളിൽ റീത്ത് എന്ന പ്രലോഭനങ്ങൾക്ക് നിദാനം. എന്റെയോർമ ശരിയെങ്കിൽ, പോപ്‌ പയസ് പത്താമൻ ആണ്, മനസ്സില്ലാതെയാണെങ്കിലും, ഇത്തരം ലൗകിക ചിന്താഗതികൾക്ക് അയഞ്ഞുകൊടുത്തത്. അക്കാര്യത്തിൽ അദ്ദേഹം തെറ്റിധരിപ്പിക്കപ്പെടുകയായിരുന്നു. എതായാലും, അവരുടെ ആദ്ധ്യാത്മിക വളർച്ചക്ക് ഉതകുന്നുണ്ടെങ്കിൽ കോട്ടയത്തെ ക്നാനായ രൂപതക്കെതിരെ എനിക്കൊന്നും പറയാനില്ല.

എന്നാൽ, മറ്റൊരു റീത്തിൽനിന്നുള്ള വിവാഹത്തിന്റെ പേരിൽ ഒരാളെ തങ്ങളുടെ കൂട്ടത്തിൽനിന്ന് ബഹിഷ്ക്കരിക്കുന്നതിനോട് എനിക്ക് യോജിപ്പില്ല. അതേസമയം കൌതുകകരവും അപഹാസ്യവുമായ ഒരു കാര്യം, ഒരു ക്നാനായ ക്രിസ്ത്യാനിക്ക് ഊരുവിലക്കില്ലാതെ ക്നാനായ അകത്തോലിക്കരെ വിവാഹം കഴിക്കാന്‍ കഴിയുമെന്നതാണ്. ക്നാനായ ആണെങ്കിലും അല്ലെങ്കിലും, യഹൂദനായാലും അല്ലെങ്കിലും നമ്മളെല്ലാം ക്രിസ്തുവിൽ ഒന്നാണെന്നത് മറക്കാതിരിക്കുക. അതുകൊണ്ട്, സത്യം തുറന്നുപറയുന്നത് നമ്മെ ഒരിക്കലും ഭയപ്പെടുത്താതിരിക്കട്ടെ. കാരണം, ക്രിസ്തുവിന്റെ പക്ഷത്താണെങ്കിൽ നമുക്ക് നേടാനേ ഉള്ളൂ, നഷ്ടപ്പെടാൻ ഒന്നുമില്ല.
 സ്വവര്‍ഗവിവാഹം: സ്വാഗതം ചെയ്യില്ലെന്നു സഭ;ഫ്രാന്‍സിസ് മാര്‍പാപ്പ മുന്നോട്ടുവെച്ച ചരിത്രപരമായ പുരോഗമനനിര്‍ദ്ദേശങ്ങള്‍സിനഡ് തള്ളി-ദുഃഖമുണ്ടെന്ന് പാപ്പ

Vatican News!

Interreligious marriage: a look at the synod from India's perspective

Vatican City, Oct 19, 2014 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-

While some countries face family issues such as divorce and polygamy, the synod’s Indian participants have voiced concern for inter religious marriages, which pose pastoral concerns across Asia.

“We have got this whole thing of mixed marriages, there are many marriages in India which are between (a) Catholic and somebody who is not baptized, a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Buddhist, and that is what specifically came out of India,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay told CNA Oct. 10.

While marriage between a Catholic and an unbaptized person would normally be invalid, the local ordinary can dispense from this impediment, and thus allow such a marriage to be validly contracted (canon 1086).

Cardinal Gracias, who is part of Pope Francis' 'council of cardinals', explained that when faced with the difficult situations interreligious marriages can present, it’s always necessary to have a “positive pastoral approach” to the couples and families involved.

The cardinal was accompanied to the synod by Fr. Cajetan Menezes, who is director of the Bombay archdiocese's Snehalaya Family Service Center.

Fr. Menezes has served as an auditor for the synod, and spoke to CNA Oct. 15 saying the topic of interreligious marriages was one of the three points he brought up when he addressed the synod fathers.

With the number of interreligious marriages on the rise across Asia, the priest said that it is an important issue, and one with which the Church needs to have a “very specific pastoral care.”

“We need to reach out to them rather than look at them as problems. (They are) an opportunity to evangelize, and we need to take them on board,” he said, explaining that interfaith couples are often “ostracized by their own families because they are going against family tradition.”

“That creates more problems for them in their marriage, and that is not conducive for their marriage to grow and do well,” he observed.

Although other countries might not share the pastoral difficulties caused by interreligious marriages, Fr. Menezes observed that “this is a big issue in Asia because we are a minority,” and cited India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Japan as being countries with a high percentage of interreligious couples.

Thus there is a need to specifically address the issue and to give interreligious families more help and support, particularly in light of the challenges the couples face due to the differing traditions of their families, the priest explained.

Fr. Menezes said that the synod’s emphasis on welcoming and inviting those who are far from the Church or who find themselves in situations that could be problematic is also a way of embracing those who have been ostracized because of interreligious challenges.

“I think it’s the first time I noticed (them) speaking a different (kind of) language, and I think that’s a very positive influence of Pope Francis, (who) is reaching out, welcoming, and also looking at not only those who are at the center, but at the periphery,” the priest continued.

By reaching out to the marginalized, the synod fathers are making great progress in their attempt to “get everybody on board,” including members of the gay community and those who are divorced and remarried.

Cardinal Gracias, who has taken part in numerous synods before this, praised the free spirit in which discussion has taken place.

Even though each synod is free in its own way, the cardinal explained that when talking about the family “there is nothing which is taboo, nothing that you can't speak about, no one is frightened to say ‘ok, this is a problem, we have got to face it.’”

To have differing opinions is important and essential, he said, and helps participants to reach more concrete, effective solutions.

“We have another synod next year which will be bigger (and) with more participation, and probably we will come to clearer conclusions at that particular moment of time,” the cardinal noted, but for now he is happy that “it is working well.”

Returning to the situation in India, Cardinal Gracias said that while Indians have traditionally maintained strong family ties, this is being influenced negatively by outside sources, including the film industry.

“I think that people are beginning to feel that this is not the best thing and we have got to try to reinforce the family,” he said, noting that although a zero percent breakdown rate is impossible, “it should not be 50 percent.”

However, he explained that much of a lasting family dynamic will depend on the preparation of the couple before marriage, as well as the process of accompanying them after the sacrament is contracted.

Forwarded by Aleyamma Lukose thru Jos Joseph Kallidikkil (USA)

None should be excluded from the path of spiritual renewal

Synod urges emulating Christ
not casting stones at sinners

Faithful gather during a papal mass for the beatification of Paul VI, who died in 1978, and the end of the Vatican's Synod on the Family, at St Peter's square on Sunday (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

By Archbishop Socrates Villegas,
Manila, Philippines, Oct.20/14

(Note: Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan is president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. He attended the Synod of Bishops in Rome last week.In the following article(Published in UCANEWS, Asia’s trusted Catholic News from Hong kong and reproduced below) he lucidly exposed and  outsmarts many of his contemporaries I have read in analyzing and  paraphrasing the substance of the Rome Synod for the benefit mainly of his flock, the Philippinos. Three cardinals representing the three different Rites of India also have reportedly attended the Synod and come back. They ought to have different takes on the Synod they attended. It is therefore  only just and legitimate, that we in India hear their analysis and what they have to say to  people in India as a whole, or to their various Rites, as the case may be. On behalf of millions of readers around the Glob of Almayasabdam, may I humbly request them, to speak up graciously for the benefit of this flock.  Dr James Kottoor - 919446219203)

I have just finished attending the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, convened by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. It was my privilege not only to listen to the debates and interventions, but I also had the privilege of addressing the assembly on the role of the clergy in family renewal. 

Much has been written and reported on in respect to this event, truly momentous in the life of the Church. It is my duty, as president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, and as a Synodal father, to share with you these thoughts at the conclusion of the synod. It is, as has repeatedly been underscored, only the prelude of more complete discussions in the future that we all eagerly await.

Two Concerns—Hospitality to all
There are two concerns of the Church: first, the Church must be able to extend to all that hospitality, that care, that mercy that Jesus ordained would be the mark of his community, his Body, the Church. None should be systematically excluded because of circumstances personal to the individual. All should be aided in the path of constant conversion and renewal. All should be offered the hope of the Gospel. All should be comforted by the love of brothers and sisters in the One Body of Christ.

In this regard, Pope Francis warned us of the temptation to be simply “do-gooders”, that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots.In the name of misplaced mercy Pope Francis said we face the temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfill the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

The other concern is as legitimate as the first: that the Church must preach a message that is not just a concession to popular demand, but is truly Christ's, and that the Church must remain constantly docile to the prompting of the Spirit. This is the reason that the Church must be unceasingly devoted to that discernment by which we all seek out the will of God and read from the Gospels, as interpreted by the Tradition of the Church in a living faith, a response to the questions of our time.

Avoid Hostile Inflexibility
There is also a temptation, according to Pope Francis, of hostile inflexibility — that is, wanting to close oneself within the written letter and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises; within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous.
To Filipinos
Filipinos who presently find themselves in irregular relationships — live-in unions, de facto separation from spouses and partnerships with other persons — must be helped by pastors particularly by the Sacrament of Penance, to follow the demands of true and unselfish love in the Spirit of the Gospel.We cannot presume to judge and condemn. Rather, the presumption should be that there is a genuine effort on their part to live according to the demands of our faith. 

The danger of scandal should never stand in the way of genuine charity, and the Catholic faithful must be reminded that much of what Jesus did was scandalous to the 'righteous' of his time.

Where, however, in the pastoral assessment of bishops and priests, the full and unqualified admission of persons in irregular unions to the life of the Church causes charitable and sincere Catholics to doubt and misunderstand the teaching of the Church, then some prudent arrangement must be worked out that will be beneficial to all.

Persons with homosexual orientation are sons and daughters of God; no less than any of us is. Discrimination against them is contrary to the Gospel spirit. Verbal and physical violence against them is an offense against the good Lord Himself. 

Through honest dialogue and pastoral accompaniment, it should be our goal to assist them to respond to the demands of chastity and that purity of body and heart that Jesus, in the Gospels, calls 'blessed'.  When they wish to make an offering to the life of the Church according to their talents, abilities and gifts, the Church as mother provides for them.

To the legislators who consider giving legal recognition to same sex unions, the Church declares there is no equivalence or even any remote analogy whatsoever between marriage between a man and woman as planned by God and the so-called same sex unions.

We can be tempted to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing, said Pope Francis.

In facing our Catholic brethren in painful broken marriage situations or our brothers and sisters with homosexual attraction quietly struggling to be chaste, Pope Francis said we must avoid two temptations: the temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy and painful fast; and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak and the sick, adding to their already unbearable burdens.

Our Filipino Catholic laity must be fully engaged in the apostolate of the family, for the family is precisely the competence of laypersons. Active Catholic couples are asked to lead in initiatives that assist couples in living the reality of the sacrament of matrimony, and in the rearing of their families according to the spirit of the Gospel. Our bishops and pastors encourage and support these lay initiatives.

ധ്യാനഗുരുവും പിശാചും

ധ്യാനഗുരു സായാഹ്ന സവാരിയില്‍ ആയിരുന്നു ,ലോകം മുഴുവന്‍ പറന്നു നടന്നു ബ്രാഞ്ചുകള്‍ സ്ഥാപിച്ചു അഭിഷേകം വര്‍ഷിക്കുന്നചൂട് വെള്ളത്തില്‍ കുളിക്കുന്ന അനേകം പേര്‍ക്ക് തണുത്ത വെള്ളത്തില്‍ കുളിക്കാന്‍ രോഗശാന്തി നല്‍കിയ അത്ഭുത പ്രവര്‍ത്തകന്‍ ആയിരുന്നു അദ്ദേഹം 
പാത വക്കിലെ ചാലില്‍ നിന്ന് എന്നെ രക്ഷിക്കൂ സുഹൃത്തേ എന്നൊരു ശബ്ദം ഗുരു കേട്ടു.
ഗുരു- സുഹൃത്തോ? ഞാന്‍ ഒരു പുരോഹിതന്നാണ് നിന്നെ എനിക്ക് അറിയില്ലല്ലോ 
മുറിവേറ്റയാള്‍ പറഞ്ഞു എന്നെ മരിക്കാന്‍ അനുവദിക്കരുതേനിങ്ങള്‍ എല്ലാ ദിവസവും പള്ളിയില്‍ എന്നെക്കുറിച്ച് പറയാറുണ്ട്‌ 
ഫാദര്‍ പരുഷമായി പ്രതികരിച്ചു - ഞാന്‍ നിങ്ങള്‍ ആരെന്നു അറിയുന്നില്ലനീ പറയുന്നത് നുണയാണ് 
എന്റെ മുഖത്തേക്ക് നോക്കൂ - മുറിവേറ്റയാള്‍ പറഞ്ഞു - ഞാന്‍ സാത്താനാണ്‌ 
ധ്യാനഗുരു പറഞ്ഞു -ദൈവത്തിനു ബലി അര്‍പ്പിക്കുന്ന ഈ കൈകള്‍ കൊണ്ട് നരക സന്തതി ആയ നിന്നെ ഞാന്‍ തൊടില്ല. നീ എന്റെയും സഭയുടെയും മനുഷ്യരാശി മുഴുവന്റെയും ശത്രു ആണ്. നീ വേദനിച്ചു മരിക്കുക തന്നെ വേണം 
മറുപടിയായി സാത്താന്‍ പറഞ്ഞു .... നിങ്ങളുടെ വൈദിക ജീവിതത്തിനു ഒഴിവുകഴിവ് ആയി നിങ്ങള്‍ എന്റെ പേര് ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നു. എന്റെ പേരാണോ ദൈവത്തിന്റെ പേരാണോ നിങ്ങള്‍ ധ്യാനത്തില്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ പറയുന്നത് - ഓര്‍ത്തു നോക്കൂ ദൈവം എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞാല്‍ ആരും പേടിക്കയില്ല സ്തോസ്ത്രക്കാഴ്ചയും ഇടുകില്ല.
ഞാന്‍ മരിച്ചാല്‍എന്റെ നാമം ലോകത്തില്‍ ഇല്ലാതായാല്‍ നിങ്ങള്‍ എങ്ങനെ ജീവിക്കും ഫാദര്‍ഭയത്തിന്റെ അടിത്തറയില്‍ ആശ്രമങ്ങളും കന്യ സ്ത്രീ മഠങ്ങളും നിര്‍മ്മിക്കുന്നത് ഞാന്‍ ആണ്. പാപം ലോകത്തില്‍ നിന്നും ഇല്ലാതായാല്‍ പാപത്തിനെതിരെ പൊരുതുന്നവരും അതോടൊപ്പം മറയും. നിങ്ങള്‍ക്കും എനിക്കും ഇടയിലുള്ള ബന്ധം വേര്‍പെടുത്താന്‍ നിങ്ങള്‍ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നുവോ പ്രിയ വൈദികനെ ? നിങ്ങള്‍ എന്നെ കൂട്ടി കൊണ്ടുപോയി ചികിത്സിക്കുമോ? അതോ ഇവിടെ മരിക്കാന്‍ വിടുമോ?
ഫാദര്‍ ക്ഷമാപണത്തോടെ പറഞ്ഞു - എന്റെ അജ്ഞതയ്ക്ക് മാപ്പ് തരിക. ഈ ലോകത്തില്‍ നിങ്ങള്‍ മനുഷ്യനില്‍ പ്രലോഭനം സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്നുആ പ്രലോഭനങ്ങള്‍ മാനദണ്ഡമാക്കിയാണ് ദൈവം മനുഷ്യാത്മാക്കളുടെ മൂല്യം നിര്‍ണ്ണയിക്കുന്നത്. നിങ്ങള്‍ മരണമടഞ്ഞാല്‍ പ്രലോഭനം മരിക്കും .നിങ്ങള്‍ ജീവിക്കണം കാരണം - നിങ്ങള്‍ മരിച്ചാല്‍ പാപം ഇല്ലാതാകും - നരകം ഇല്ലാതാകും -ആളുകള്‍ ധ്യാനത്തിന് വരതാകും - സ്തോസ്ത്രക്കാഴ്ച കിട്ടാതാവും - നിങ്ങള്‍ ജീവിക്കണം കാരണം നിങ്ങളുടെ ജീവിതത്തിലാണ് കുടിലതയില്‍ നിന്ന് സ്വര്‍ഗത്തിലേക്കുള്ള മനുഷ്യരാശി യുടെ താക്കോല്‍ ഒളിഞ്ഞിരിക്കുന്നത്.
സാത്താന്‍ പുഞ്ചിരിച്ചു - ധ്യാന ഗുരുവേ നീ എത്ര ബുദ്ധിമാന്‍നിന്റെ അറിവിന്റെ ശക്തിയാല്‍ നമ്മുടെ നിലനില്‍പ്പിന്റെ - സഹവര്‍ത്തിത്തത്തിന്റെ 
മഹാരഹസ്യം നീ മനസ്സിലാക്കി. പരസ്പരം ഉള്ള ആവശ്യകതയെ പറ്റി ഇപ്പോള്‍ ഞാനും നീയും അറിയുന്നു. പ്രിയ സോദരാ മതകച്ചവടത്തിലെ കൂട്ടു പങ്കാളി എന്നെ രക്ഷിക്കൂ 
ധ്യാനഗുരു തന്റെ ളോഹയുടെ കൈ ചുരുട്ടി ഉയര്‍ത്തി സാത്താനെ തന്റെ തോളിലേറ്റി ധ്യാനകേന്ദ്രത്തിലേക്ക് നടന്നുഗുരുവിന്റെ കുപ്പായം സാത്താന്റെ ചോരയാല്‍ നനഞ്ഞു അയാള്‍ അത് വകവെയ്ക്കാതെ "സാത്താന്റെ ജീവന്‍ രക്ഷിക്കണമേ" എന്ന് മനമുരുകി പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിച്ചു. 
അവലംബം -സാത്താന്‍ -ഖലീല്‍ ജിബ്രാന്‍ )