Friday, December 30, 2016

Epidemia di Meningite in Toscana

FIRENZE 30 dicembre 2016 (ORCNS) - Mgr. Rutherford Johnson, Cardinale Conte di Sainte Animie e Principe di Firenze e Mma. Hanna, Principessa di Firenze hanno espresso costante preoccupazione sopra l'epidemia di meningite continua in Toscana. Un numero elevato di casi è stato confermato dalle autorità sanitarie della Repubblica italiana nel 2016 ed è creduto per essere portato da clandestini. "Si tratta di una minaccia preoccupante per la gente Toscana ed ai visitatori. Preghiamo che questa epidemia sarà portato sotto controllo," ha detto il Conte di Sainte Animie.

Meningitis Epidemic in Tuscany

FLORENCE 30 December 2016 (ORCNS) - Mgr. Rutherford Johnson, Cardinal Count of Sainte Animie, Prince of Florence, and Mme. Hanna, Princess of Florence have expressed continuing concern over the continuing meningitis epidemic in Tuscany. A high number of cases have been confirmed by health authorities of the Italian Republic in 2016 and are believed to be brought by illegal immigrants. "This is a troubling threat to the people of Tuscany and to visitors. We pray that this will be brought under control," the Counte of Sainte Animie said.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Address of H.Em. the Card. Patriarch of St. Stephen

ENGLISH TRANSCRIPTION:

Dear members of the Court of St. Mary of Walsingham and all the faithful in Christ around the world whom we serve, grace and peace, and our Apostolic Blessing on this Feast of the Nativity, in the year of our Lord 2016. This day is a joyous day, the culmination of a long period of waiting. Truly the world walked in darkness, and our Lord Jesus Christ came to bring everyone into the light. Christ is truly the light of the world, the only light, and without Him, we are always in darkness. But, it was not a single and historic event, after which humanity would walk in the light. Yes, the birth of Jesus Christ happened approximately 2000 years ago. But, dear sons and daughters, think for a moment. Yes, the light of Christ has arrived, but the love of Christ has not entered into the hearts of the people. The hearts of mankind remain hardened against love. Brother against brother. Country against country. Children against parents. Christian against Christian. Officials of the Holy Church against Christ. For me, it is difficult to understand this. It is difficult to understand, in this era of our Lord, that hate exists where love could exist. This is truly the result of the diabolical work of the devil. The great enemy likes hate, war, suffering, poverty, and famine. We, dear sons and daughters, the clergy and laity, we must fight against the forces of darkness, the forces of the devil. We must show forth the love of Christ and maintain the Holy Church.

There is in the world a problem of Christians with a weak faith, like a slight wind with no power. That sort of faith is not the true faith. To have the true faith, it is necessary to be on fire for Christ. It is necessary to be a fanatic for Christ and for His Holy Church since to love Christ is, by that very fact, to be a fanatic for Christ. The lukewarm Christians have caused a degradation to the Holy Church, and this is like a knife in the back of Christ. We must pray for the conversion of the lukewarm Christian as well as of the modernists, but we can no longer tolerate their destruction of the Holy Church.

Therefore, dearest sons and daughter, let us march as an army of Christ and carry the standard of Our Lord to all people in every country and in every community. Let us set on fire the hearts of everyone for Christ in every place. Only when the people open their hearts to Christ will the world become better. Without Christ, neither goodness nor virtue exists. All for Christ, the light of the world.

And now, prepare yourselves to receive the blessing of Our Lord.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen. 
___________
ORIGINAL TEXT: 

Carissimi membri della Corte di S. Maria di Walsingham, e tutti i Cristifideli nel mondo chi serviamo, grazia e pace a tutti, e la mia benedizione Apostolica nel festo del Santo Natale, Anno Domini 2016. Questo giorno è un giorno gioioso, il culmine d’un lungo tempo di speranza. In verità il mondo camminava nelle tenebre, e nostro Signore Jesu Christo venne per illuminare tutto il mondo. Christo è veramente la luce del mondo, l’unica luce, e senza di lui, noi siamo sempre nelle tenebre. Ma, non fu un evento solo e storico, dopo di cui l’umanità camminarebbe nella luce. Sì, la nascita di Jesu Christo, avvenuta quasi 2000 anni fa. Ma, carissimi, per un momento pensate. Sì, la luce di Cristo ha già arrivato, ma l’amore di Christo non è già entrato ai cuori della gente. I nostri cuori rimangono duri contra l’amore. Fratello contra fratello. Paese contra paese. Figli contra genitori. Cristiano contra Cristiano. Ufficiali della Santa Chiesa contra Cristo. Per me, è dificile capire questa cosa. È dificile capire, nell’epoca del Nostro Signore, che esiste l’odio dove solo esisterebbe l’amore. Questo è veramente il risulto del lavoro diabolico del diavolo. Al nemico grande si piaciono l’odio, la guerra, la sofferenza, la povertà, e la fame. Noi, carissimi, il clero e la laicà, noi dobbiamo combattare le forze delle tenebre, le forze del diavolo. Dobbiamo mostrare l’amore di Cristo e sostenere la Santa Chiesa. 

C’è nel mondo un problema di cristiani con una fede senza forza, come un piccolo vento molto meno mosso. Questa fede non è la vera fede. Per avere la vera fede, è necessario essere in fiamme per Cristo. È necessario essere fanatico per Cristo e per la sua Santa Chiesa poichè qui ama Cristo è di conseguenza un fanatico per Cristo. I cristiani tiepidi hanno causato una degredazione della Santa Chiesa, e questo è come un coltello nel dorso di Cristo. Dobbiamo pregare per la conversione dei cristiani tiepidi, inoltre dei mondernisti, ma non possiamo più lasciarli rovinare il cuore della Santa Chiesa.

Quindi, carissimi, marciamo come un esercito di Cristo e portiamo lo stendardo di Nostro Signore ad ogni popolo in ogni paese ed in ogni communità. Infiammiamo i cuori di tutti per Cristo in ogni luogo. Solo quando la gente apre il cuore a Cristo sarà migliore il mondo. Senza Cristo non esistono la bonta’ e la virtù. Tutto per Cristo, la luce del mondo.

Adesso, preparatevi per ricevere la benedizione di Nostro Signore.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Franciscan Abbot Deployed to Charleston, Helps Hurricane Victims

CHARLESTON 28 Nov 2016 (ORCNS) - Hurricane Matthew, a Category 1 storm, stuck Charleston in early October. It left destruction in its wake, with several dead. Mgr. Abbot Anthony Giunta, TOR Mar., deployed from Lexington, South Carolina, to Charleston to help as a chaplain. Abbot Anthony is Minister General of the Franciscan Third Order Regular of Penance of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Commandant of the Chaplain Regiment of the Walsingham Guard. 

(continued below...)
Relief Efforts in Charleston

While in Charleston on an extended deployment, the Abbot served with police chaplains and others. He ministered to the homeless and persons displaced by the hurricane. He was a beacon of hope to countless people looking to him as a shepherd and minister of the Holy Gospel. When asked about his experiences, Abbot Anthony said that it was not an easy mission. It took significant effort to keep going and "...bring forth the energy to carry the message and keep fighting for all in need," the Abbot said.

(continued below...)


Abbot Anthony has a long history working with First Responders.
In the Charleston relief efforts, he worked with police and
fire departments to help those in need. 

Abbot Anthony has many years of experience as a chaplain in hospitals and with police and fire departments. As a priest and Abbot, he serves in the Religious and Military Patriarchate of St. Stephen (Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church), a non-parochial, mission-based Old Roman Catholic personal patriarchate. The Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen said, "Abbot Anthony is an inspiration to us all. We are a mission-based See, and the good Abbot's work exemplifies our sacred mandate." 


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Walsingham Guard Qualification Brevets Awarded

20 November 2016 (ORCNS) - General Command of the Walsingham Guard is pleased to announce that several officers of the Guard were awarded the following qualification brevets in recognition of skills and qualifications obtained through professional-level specialty training.

Airbourne Brevet
Flight Surgeon Brevet
Air Crew Brevet
Health Support Officer Brevet
Patrol Boat Commander Brevet
Patrol Boat Officer Brevet

Airbourne Brevet insignia
Air Crew Brevet insignia
Flight Surgeon Brevet insignia
Health Support Officer Brevet insignia
Patrol Boat Officer Brevet insignia
Patrol Boat Commander Brevet insignia

All images Copyright (C) 2016 Walsingham Guard. All Rights Reserved.




John Refieuna receives Silver St. George Medal for Christ and the Nation


15 November 2016 (ORCNS) - Chev. John V. Refieuna, a retired government contractor and long-time leader in Boy Scouts of America and other church and civic organizations, was recently awarded the Silver St. George Medal for Christ and the Nation for his exceptional service to both the Church and Scouting. The medal, whose proper name in Latin is the Insegne Argenteum Sancti Georgii pro Christo et Patria, is presented by the Patriarchal Council for International Scouts and Guides (Consiglio Patriarcale per Scoutismo Internazionale) for service to the Church and positive character development of youth. Typically recipients are active in a program within the World Brotherhood of Scouting, though sometimes awards are given to those outside the program for service to Scouting or youth in general. 


An Eagle Scout, John Refieuna has been an active adult leader in Scouting through Boy Scouts of America for many years, with over 60 years in the Scouting program. In addition to being highly involved in the Catholic Committee on Scouting for his local diocese, he has also served the Patriarchate of St. Stephen's Scouting outreach ministry and had significant impact on the development of its programs. Refieuna's other Scouting awards include the Silver Beaver award (from Boy Scouts of America) and the Imperial Distinguished Scout of the Holy Roman Empire religious award given by the Patriarchate of St. Stephen. Outside of Scouting, Refieuna is a Knight Commander with Star of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He also holds the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol (U.S. Air Force Auxiliary) and Colonel in the Walsingham Guard, the uniformed humanitarian wing of the Patriachate of St. Stephen.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Security Concerns arise during Patriarchal Visit amid unrelated anti-Trump protests

MINNEAPOLIS 11 November 2016 (ORCNS) - Security concerns arose today when protesters opposed to the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the U.S. disrupted traffic in front of the hotel where the Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen was staying in Minneapolis today. This marks the third day of such protests in the city, which have stopped traffic on on a major interstate and other roads. The Cardinal was in Minneapolis for diplomatic meetings and was staying somewhere near the government district. Although his visit to the city was entirely unrelated to the Presidential election, the Cardinal's security unit advised precautions, and he was unaffected by the protest.

Protesters opposing the election of Donald Trump
impede traffic in downtown Minneapolis

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Statement of H.Em. the Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen on the Election of Donald Trump as President of the United States

To those who are concerned about the direction of the United States, or of any other country in the world, or of the world in general, get off your ass and do something positive to help other people. Facebook posts might spread messages, but they aren't action, and they don't give you the right to complain as if you have actually done something. It's no different than hobby priests who play on Facebook and do nothing more than share ready-made memes and articles as if that by itself is real engagement in ministry. What kind of cleric would I be if I sat around all proud of myself for being a successor to the Apostles or waxed poetic in romantic nostalgia about the church in Rome tied to my red hat instead of getting out in the world at least to try to make a difference in other people's lives each and every day? What kind of human being would each of us be if we don't try to make a difference in other people's lives each and every day? If you think there are problems in the world, you're right. There are always problems in the world. Stop complaining and do what YOU can to make things better. You'll lose some friends in the process. You'll gain enemies. Some friends will give you blank stares as you try to encourage them to do what they ought to do. Laziness and lethargy are curses of humanity, but don't let that stop YOU, even if you have to go it alone.

It's time to realize that PEOPLE are what matters - and that's the message of the Holy Church. Countries come and go, so why focus on something transient? If you're an American and claim you serve the Constitution, but forget that the only valid purpose of the Constitution is to serve and protect the real human beings that live in America, then the focus of your service is misguided. The laws of God that uphold human dignity of mankind are eternal. The law of the land - any land - is not. Focus on the permanent. Focus on the eternal. That gives you a solid rock of stability when there is chaos around you.

So, you don't like that Mr. Trump is going to be the next American President? Do something positive to make your country better. Start with your family and community. Make it the place you want to live in. And if you do like that Trump is going to be President, don't act like Trump is the solution to the problems in America or anywhere else in the world. I'll give the same advice as I gave to those who are upset by the result: Get up, get going, and make the place you live the place you want to live in. Turn off the television; turn off the internet; turn off the radio. Engage with people in person on a personal level. Like I said, the internet has its merits, but simply sharing memes and articles of others or venting your frustrations isn't real action.

It's time to realize that WE are responsible for the world we live in. The United States hasn't made it 250 years as a separate country. There were Europeans and indigenous people in America long before that. So stop acting as if the choice of President is the one factor or even the primary factor upon which all good or evil depends. YOU - each and every one of you - have the power to make a difference at least to the people around you. Don't sit back while those who are trying to lead by example end up doing all the work. Get off your asses, roll up your sleeves, pitch in, and get the job done. You want a better country? Build one. You want a better world? Build one. Things are tough? Hang in there and keep going. Even Christ on the Cross didn't give up. Things aren't working as well as you had hoped? Make what progress you can. Don't have enough people with you and you're feeling alone? Keep going and don't be one of the lazy people who have abandoned you. Others are telling you not to do what you're doing to make things better? Ignore them as the irrelevant jerks that they are. Pray for them that their hearts may be turned, but don't give in and turn to hate yourself.

So once again, you want a better society? It's up to YOU. YOU. YOU. Don't try to lay it at the doorstep of the President, a King, or any other leader. That's the weak way out, and if you take that path, don't even think you have the slightest right to complain. To make a better world, love your neighbor. If you love your neighbor, you'll put that love into action. So God bless and get moving.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Statement of H.Em. the Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen to the people of the United States of America on the upcoming Presidential Election.

Carissimi,

The election for President of the United States that will take place on Tuesday has been preceded by one of the most contentious campaigns; perhaps the most contentious in history. It has come in a time of great division in America and around the world. The election has created even more polarization, as it has brought to the surface many of the underlying issues.

The issues that voters face in this Presidential election are extremely serious. Many have not decided for whom to vote as they weigh the two leading candidates.

For a Christian, it cannot be a matter of finding the perfect candidate. Who among us is perfect? God has used flawed people to do His will many, many times. The notion of of a perfect candidate must be permanently banished. Rather, we must look for the candidate that is the better of the two, even if only by a small margin. To do so, we must look at the issues at hand and compare the candidates, starting with the most important issue. Voting based on attactiveness, race, sex, or any other factor is foolish and irresponsible, both to yourself and to mankind.

The most important issue is always right to life. All other rights and considerations assume that a person is alive, and therefore life must be considered before any other factor may be considered. If both candidates do not support the right to life, then the candidate that is proportionately more supportive must be chosen. Such decisions are often difficult and require a lot of discernment. On the other hand, if one candidate does not support right to life, then that candidate must be disqualified in the minds of the voters.

When a candidate for office openly supports abortion, that candidate must be disqualified in the minds of the voters, for such a candidate is not fit for office. Christian people cannot vote for a candidate that supports abortion when there is a pro-life candidate available. Such is the case with the present election. Those who vote for a pro-abortion candidate in this election commit grave sin. No other issue can be considered if the issue of right to life is not considered first, and the choice indeed makes itself based on the consideration of right to life. A healthy economy, an effective foreign policy, and many other things being discussed during this election are all irrelevant if the nation that possesses them continues to murder over a million and a half unborn children each year.

People of faith, you will be held accountable to almighty God for the way that you vote. It is not a personal choice independent of others. Your vote is your voice, and it impacts millions of people in the United States and around the world. Do not forget that the United States does not exist in a vacuum. Its actions impact others, and the people of other nations cannot simply be disregarded as irrelevant. We cannot claim to respect life if that respect stops at a national border.

Our duty to God is always first. Any national duty must be merely an extension of our duty to God. Therefore, pray for guidance that you may make the right choice according to the laws of God.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Walsingham Guard Officer & Medical Doctor Receives Medal of Humanitarian Service

Mgr. Archprc. Keith Steinhurst, MD, was awarded the Walsingham Guard Medal of Humanitarian Service for service in Africa in 2014 to stop the spread of the Ebola virus. Mgr. Steinhurst participated in a multinational humanitarian operation during a critical time for world health. The operation involved military and health personnel from several nations.
Mgr. Steinhurst in Uganda
Mgr. Steinhurst is a senior official of the Patriarchal Curia and First Marshal of the Guards. His efforts in Africa were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Walsingham Guard in service to humanity.
Medal of
Humanitarian
Service

Sunday, August 28, 2016

ARRCC Priest Gets Young Couples Started in a Life with Christ

HARDIN, Ill. 28 August 2016 (ORCNS) - Monsignor Douglas is a priest with a mission - help young couples get started right in marriage. "I don't like young couples going to judges and getting married," he says, "The Church is the best option." The Very Rev. Mgr. Douglas Deffenbaugh v. Aschaffenburg, who is also Chancellor of the Court of St. Mary of Walsingham, has been helping couples for years start their life together with a sacramental Christian marriage. In fact, he has even married two generations of the same family - the parents and one of the children. 

Mgr. Douglas Deffenbaugh (left), helped by an altar server,
officiates at a wedding.
Some of the couples he finds are military (Deffenbaugh is a U.S. Army veteran and served in Afghanistan - he continues to serve in the Church's Walsingham Guard). With looming deployments, some military couples plan to handle their marriage at the courthouse. When Mgr. Douglas hears that, he offers them an alternative. Usually they take it. 

What drives Mgr. Douglas? After all, it isn't unusual for a priest to perform weddings. Deffenbaugh cited a decline in morality that goes with declining religious participation in the United States. "I am just doing my part to fix that in God's name," he said. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Talk at Harvard by Cardinal Patriarch on Poverty and Wealth


Mgr. Rutherford, Cardinal
Patriarch of St. Stephen
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. 1 August 2016 (ORCNS) - Mgr. Rutherford Johnson, Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen, gave a presentation on poverty, wealth, and moral issues in the Global Financial Crisis to a multinational, multicultural, and interfaith audience during a conference held at Harvard University today. His presentation began with a background of ethical problems during the financial crisis and continuing to the present. The Cardinal then discussed the problem of greed leading to such unethical behavior and the possibility that wealth itself could actually stimulate that greed. "When such outcomes result in the leaders of government and commerce," Mgr. Rutherford said, "it places the poor at even greater risk. Furthermore, those who were otherwise financially stable may end up experiencing a decline in their financial well-being due to unethical actions of others."

The presentation continued with methods to include ethics and influence in economics models of consumer decision strategies. Individuals in the economy may be influenced by others. Groups within the economy of individuals that think along the same lines may form, which then may exert influence on others. That may interact with existing individual belief, the Cardinal posited, and change the way individuals behave in the economy. The poor, he said, are particularly vulnerable when either government and industry leaders or large numbers of individuals overall undergo a shift in decision strategy away from that which leads to ethical outcomes.

Mgr. Rutherford also holds a Bachelor's degree in Applied Physics and a Master's degree in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and also a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

People of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen Honored by Alabama Governor

Governor Bentley
MONTGOMERY 27 July 2016 (ORCNS) - Hon. Robert Bentley, Governor of Alabama, has issued a proclamation declaring 3 August 2016 as Patriarchate of St. Stephen and Humanitarian Day in the State of Alabama. In the proclamation, the Governor recognized the Old Roman Catholic Patriarchate of St. Stephen's long history of providing humanitarian and charitable service through its mandate of mission, service, and charity, following the example of Saint Stephen the Deacon and Protomartyr. The Patriarchate's promotion of selfless service through its own and other organizations and its valuable contributions to the preservation of ecclesiastical and secular history were also acknowledged. The Governor further remarked that the Patriarchate remains an important historical remnant of ancient Christian ecclesiastical history and has served in diverse ways within the State of Alabama.

The third of August, also known as "Ferretruria," is considered the principal Feast Day of the Patriarchate. It is of particular significance to the people of the Stephenian Patriarchate that they received this high honor from the Governor of Alabama on that particular day. Mgr. Rutherford, Card. Patriarch of St. Stephen, said, "We are humbled at this tremendously kind gesture by the Governor of Alabama. Our people service quietly and without fanfare in diverse and significant ways. The Governor's recognition heralds their achievements."

Built on the traditions of Christian chivalry, the See of St. Stephen is an Old Roman Catholic Patriarchate with Anglican Patrimony descends from the Roman Catholic See of Utrecht and is the successor to the legacy of Pope Leo X in Florence, Italy, the spiritual and temporal home of the Patriarchate. The See of Utrecht, Netherlands, has remained independent since 1145, when the Holy See in Rome granted autonomy. Today the Patriarchate, which continues that autonomy of government, serves around the globe in fulfillment of its mandate of mission, service, and charity.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mgr. Boniface Grosvold passes away, Stephenian Patriarchate joins in mourning

by Rev. G. Smith

LONDON, Ontario 21 July 2016 (ORCNS) - His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor Boniface Grosvold, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Old Roman Catholic Church - Latin Rite, passed away on 21 July 2016 in the ICU of University Hospital, London, Ontario. The Patriarchate of St. Stephen joins in mourning the loss to traditional Catholicism. The Archbishop had been a friend and supporter of the unique traditions and historic role of the Patriarchate, especially the cardinalate. He also maintained positive relations with the local jurisdictions of the Roman Communion.

In a special statement, Cardinal Archprince Rutherford, Patriarch of St. Stephen, said, "The Archbishop's passing is indeed sad. We have lost a noteworthy colleague. I will always remember our conversations and His Excellency's unique pastoral style. My condolences to the Old Roman Catholic Church - Latin Rite in Europe, Britain, the United States, and specially Mgr. Grosvold's home country of Canada."

Mgr. Grosvold was born on 4 June 1942 in Chester, Nova Scotia. On 28 October 1969, he received the First Tonsure and was admitted as a cleric by H.E. Mgr. Nelson Dudley Hillyer. He was ordained to the priesthood on 31 August 1970 by H.E. Mgr. Earl Anglin Lawrence James. Mgr. Grosvold was consecrated to the episcopate and named Auxiliary Bishop for the Old Roman Catholic Diocese of Ontario on 20 July 1974. Later that same year, His Excellency was enthroned as the second Bishop of the Old Roman Catholic Diocese of Niagara Falls, New York, and Ontario. Then, in September 1976, he was elected Metropolitan-Archbishop and Primate of the Old Roman Catholic Church - Latin Rite.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sacres Ordines Ecclesiae - On Holy Orders and the Role of Women


"The Holy Orders of the Church have been the object of much misunderstanding and the target of attack, certainly throughout history, but even and perhaps especially in this time of social change. As the role of women in modern society changes, often rightly removing illogical or even immoral barriers that prevent women from receiving the dignity which is their due, it is an unfortunate byproduct that there is and has long been an effort, based on the principles of social change, to permit the ordination of women to the Holy Orders of the Church. This, however, is not possible and has been a consistent point of doctrine since the founding of the Church by Our Lord. To modify the doctrine of the Church Militant on earth, which knows neither time nor space and indeed exists in and for all time and everywhere, would be to apply the modernist heresy so often justly condemned by the Holy Fathers and the Saints. That is, it would be to apply the notions of the every-changing and fickle world to the unchanging and unchangeable Church, which possesses the ultimate truth, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Unto the Holy Orders of the Church on earth was imparted a masculine character. We may not fully know why, for it is not given to humans to know the totality of the mind of God. Yet it remains fact. Those who reject the theology regarding the masculine nature of the sacramental Priesthood of Christ and the other Holy Orders in favor of the modernist philosophies on the matter reject the Church, the Bride of Christ, in favor of the world – and all that which is of the world is opposed to God.

It would also be wise to recapitulate some of the most fundamental aspects of theology concerning to this matter. Over the course of the history of the Church, many of her most faithful leaders and scholars have provided diverse commentary, all rooted in the constant and immutable theology of the Faith, as they deemed best to the time in which they lived. The message itself, though, was not contemporaneous, but rather was eternal, possessing a common core of meaning.

Now, to continue, one matter ought to be clarified. It is of the sacramental Holy Orders that we speak. There is, first and foremost, the High Priesthood of Christ Himself. The sacramental Priests of the Church share in that priesthood, the Bishops sharing most fully. There is also, then, a universal priesthood, or a priesthood of all believers, as it is sometimes termed. Far from being a Protestant doctrine (for Martin Luther used the concept of the priesthood of all believers to challenge the sacramental priesthood as part of his invented doctrine), there are indeed priestly duties of all the faithful, both men and women, as the Blessed Apostle Peter makes clear by saying: “But you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (I Peter 2.9) In that regard, all the faithful, both men and women, are called by virtue of their Baptism, by which they are made members of the Corporate Body of Christ, to spread the Gospel and to assist at the Holy Mass and other sacraments. Indeed, attending and appropriately participating at the mass is rightly called assisting at mass, for the faithful join themselves to the priest in the Sacrifice upon the altar, joining their own prayers to his in one collective act of worship. In that wonderful work done upon the altar, the lay faithful must “…offer [their] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” (Romans 12.2) In continuation thereof, that is in daily life, the lay faithful are called to be as Christ-like as possible. This can be understood as an extension of the role of the sacramental priest as an alter Christus. The two specific roles are separate, of course, but there is a direct parallel, for the concept of one extends from the other. The lay faithful ought to glorify God in all that they do, in their volunteer work, in their homes and family life, and in their employment. No aspect of life ought to be untouched.

Taken from the universal priesthood of the faithful there are those who have vocations to Holy Orders. Those with such a vocation may, as has always been held by the Church, be only male, for the sacramental priesthood, the highest form of which is the episcopate, has a necessarily masculine character that was imparted by Our Lord.

Our Lord chose only men as Apostles. It is from those twelve Apostles that the Bishops throughout the ages, even unto the present time, descend in unbroken succession by the laying on of hands. The Bishops, as Apostles themselves, possess the fullness of Christ’s Holy Priesthood. It is they who are the principle Ministers of the Holy Gospel on earth. Those who are ordained to the Holy Order of Priests, also known as the Presbyterate, share in the ministry of the Bishop and are an extension of the Bishop’s ministry. That is a chief reason for which a priest must be tied to and serve under the pastoral leadership and governance of a Bishop.

It has also been asserted that the selection of men as Apostles was merely a product of the social norms of the times. It may be tempting for one to accept such an argument, especially in the present time. Yet shall we call Christ discriminatory? Shall we call Him bound by the norms of the world or of any particular time? Rather, Christ came to this world as wholly God and wholly man to fulfill the law. What He did often broke with the social norms of the time. He did not hesitate to lecture the elders. He did not hesitate to rebuke those who were abusing the Temple, even turning over the tables of the vendors. He admitted to His company even those who were outcasts in society, often assigning them roles completely inconsistent with and above their role in larger society. That very same applied to the women in our Lord’s company. How, then, is it even remotely logical that one can believe that our Lord, doing all that He did in breaking social norms, would not have selected female Apostles simply to follow social norms? It is entirely illogical that such would be the case. Indeed, our Lord had women in His company who loved Him, and would he not appoint them if that was to have been their role? Yet He did not appoint even one of the women whom he loved and who has such special access to His heart. Dare we to question the mind of God? No. Our Lord came to this world with a masculine character. That was by design, for the Archangel declared it to Mary. Likewise, our Lord imparted a masculine character to the sacramental priestly ministry, for priests were to stand at the altar to carry out the Sacrifice as an alter Christus.

It has also been asserted that the ways of the Church were established by men to control women. How offensive such an accusation is! Shall we think that our Lord, who was and is God and came to earth to establish His Bride, the Holy Church, for the salvation of all mankind appointed twelve men as Apostles, giving them the role to lead the Church and ensure the proper continuation of church leadership into future generations, if said twelve men were of such low character that they would exploit the power given to them for the end of controlling women? What utter nonsense that is. Rather, our Lord, in His holy and infinite wisdom, unto whom all hearts are open, chose specifically and with purpose, just as the Blessed Virgin was chosen. It is true that some in church leadership have not been faithful stewards over the years. Yet, on this issue it has been so consistent that even such accusations against later generations of church leaders fall quite short and are not even worth entertaining as having the slightest validity whatsoever. It is flawed men who serve as priests, even the Apostles themselves. The errors of some men in church leadership do not provide even the remotest justification for the changing of something inherently of spiritual character. All humans, both men and women, are fallible.

Recall also that it was at the Last Supper that our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist and thereby instituted the sacramental priesthood. Our Lord said “this do in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22.19) Dare we think it was by accident that our Lord chose the twelve for the Last Supper? It was no accident. It was part of the fulfillment of the divine plan. The Apostles were ordained as priests on that night, just as they were consecrated bishops by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost. Thus our Lord expressed through His own actions the fact that, for reasons that we cannot fully understand as humans, there was to be a sacramental priesthood set apart from the universal priesthood of all the faithful, and that sacramental priesthood, called Holy Orders, was to have a masculine character as Christ Himself had a masculine character in human form. We dare not question the purpose or intent of our Lord. We who have been called to the sacramental ministry of the altar of God must fall to our knees in gratitude for the immeasurable gift and in humility at the eternal vastness of the task that we have been asked to do. The sacramental priests, the ministers of the altar, serve as earthly, human reminders of our Lord, for our Lord is no longer with us in human form, but rather with us spiritually through the ministry of the Church. Our Lord’s priests serve as active reminders of the human form of Christ, who came to world, deigning to take the form of a man, out of love for all humanity.

Indeed, it is not at all a matter of human capability. A woman, or even a layman, is physically capable of donning the priestly vestments, making all the actions, and saying all the words of the Holy Mass. Yet it would not be a mass in either case under any circumstances. It would be a simulated sacrament – something that carries grave canonical penalties, and something that is utterly without effect. The nature of the sacramental priesthood is spiritual. The movements, actions, and words are merely outwards symbols of inward grace. The priesthood is an indelible mark on the soul, and though that soul is placed in a masculine body, the nature of the priesthood is inherently spiritual. Truly, priests often experience an inner conflict between their spiritual and human nature, as even did Blessed Peter the Apostle.

Also, it is worthwhile to note the great and important similarities between the sacramental priesthood and the sacrament of marriage. The priest is married to the Holy Church, the Bride of Christ. The husband is married to his wife. The priest is to love, protect, and care for the Church, and likewise it is the Christian duty of the husband to love, protect, and care for his wife.

Women, however, are not second-class citizens in the Holy Church of Christ. There is neither male nor female in Heaven, though there is on earth. If we say that there exist male and female on earth simply for the purpose of the propagation of the human race, then that is to suggest that humans are no different than animals. Yet humans possess a soul. Humans are, more precisely, a soul occupying an earthly body for a short time. Men and women each have distinct traits beyond that of simple individual personality differences. There is a definite masculine character, and there is a definite feminine character. God in His wisdom created both for a purpose. One such purpose we know is that they may better help each other to attain salvation. The Church on earth has but one purpose, and that is the cure of souls. It is, therefore, essential that the design of the Church be in accord with the will of God and the purpose of God, and undeniably the true, authentic, traditional Church is in accord, for she alone was established by Christ Himself.

Women, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, have an important role in the Church. Two important women stood at the foot of Christ, even when most men had abandoned our Lord. It was women to whom the Resurrection was first announced. It was the obedience of one woman, the Blessed Virgin, that allowed the salvation of mankind – and thus Our Lady ranks first among any human that has ever lived. It may even be said that women have an easier time approaching our Lord because of the very fact that He came to the earth in a masculine form. The feminine faith is special and of a unique character. Recall that Blessed Peter the Apostle, the first Pope, the Rock upon which the Church was built, denied Christ thrice! Remember the fear of the Apostles in those early years. Saint Thomas did not believe in the Resurrection until he placed his hands in the wounds of Christ. Paul was a notorious persecutor of Christians until his conversion on the road to Damascus. Peter, when told to walk on water, eventually sank because of fear and weakness of faith. The women of Scripture approached our Lord in an entirely different way. Mary was constant throughout the pregnancy, though the infancy, through our Lord’s entire life and then even unto her own assumption into Heaven. The women of Scripture overall had a special relationship with the heart of Jesus that was seen in the way in which they approached and interacted with Him. Women in that same way can be better able to have a spousal relationship with Christ. In that way there is so much that they can do, taking on a maternal caring for their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Another modern objection to address is that it is claimed that, because of the male priesthood, leadership in the Church is denied to women. First, it is not true that women have never held and do not hold positions of great responsibility in the Church. In female religious orders, for example, the role of Abbess is quite obviously held by a woman. Abbesses have a similar role and similar privileges to Bishops, even though the role is nevertheless different. In general, women may hold and do hold various high offices. It is only those offices that are required to be held by one in Holy Orders than are exclusively male. Yes, that does include the senior governing offices, but that is how it must be. As Patriarch, for example, We do not rule and lead and teach Our flock in Our human capacity, but in a spiritual. It is Our priestly nature inside of Us that rules, leads, and teaches. That priestly nature is in a masculine body, but that body by itself cannot lead the Church, for the Church is necessarily spiritual. Without the spirit, it is nothing. It merely exists here on earth for the salvation of the people of God on earth. So, it is not a discriminatory act against women that only men may hold offices that require Holy Orders, for it is above the distinction of male and female. It is the soul that leads, not the body.

Now, dearest sons and daughters in Christ, love one another as our Lord command us to do, following His example. Follow the immutable and ever-constant teachings of our Lord, for they are the guiding light of the world. Follow the shepherds placed over the Holy Church, which Our Lord Himself left, filled with the Spirit, that all who believe in Christ would not be alone. Do not give in to modernism, but hold fast to the traditions that have helped sustain our faith in this world since the time of the Apostles. Do not foster or promote vain conflict, but rather always follow the path of Christ. And accept Our Apostolic Blessing that you may each be filled with the grace of our Lord."

Rutherfordus c.p.p. I S. Stefani
Sacres Ordines Ecclesiae - On Holy Orders and the Role of Women
Given on the Octave Day of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
6 July A.D. 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Companion of the Eagle, Distinguished Professor Passes Away

LEXINGTON 24 June 2016 (ORCNS) - Prof. the Chev. Angelos Pagoulatos, Companion of the Most Honorable Legion of the Eagle, passed away at age 70 on 14 June 2016. He was born in Athens, Greece. His father was Greek and owned a shipping company. His mother was from northern Italy and was a friend of John XXIII. Prof. Pagoulatos attended La Sapienza (the University of Rome), earning the Laurea di Dottore (Bachelor's degree) and then earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University.

Prof. Pagoulatos served on faculty in the Agricultural Economics department of the University of Kentucky, from where he was retired at the time of his death. He was devoted to his students and well-respected by them. His graduate students spoke fondly of his backyard barbecues, long philosophical conversations, his unique sense of humor, and genuine interest in their success, both professionally and in life. He was known for helping students achieve their potential even beyond what others thought those students could do. His work involved collaboration with the U.S. government and local organizations and efforts in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.

When not engaged in academic service, Prof. Pagoulatos was found raising his champion boxers. He also enjoyed sailing.

Over the years he attained many professional honors and was recognized for his service to humanity with the honor of Companion ad vitam of the Most Honorable Legion of the Eagle.

Prof. Pagoulatos is preceded in death by his parents, Christopher and Maria (Prati) Pagoulatos. He is survived by his son, Timothy Shannon, his sister Elena Pagoulatos, his brother Prof. Emilio Pagoualtos, and niece and nephew Liliana Dikis and Victor Dikis. A Requiem Mass was celebrated by H.Em. Mgr. Rutherford Card. Johnson.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Global Ecclesial Charities

Global Ecclesial Charities is an international ecumenical Christian charitable umbrella organization. It is the official operational office of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen for charitable, humanitarian, and relief efforts in furtherance of the Patriarchate's mandate of mission, service, and charity. As part of that role, it also coordinates such efforts of the various offices and organizations of the Church and other religious and secular associations, institutions, and agencies. Rather than re-invent the wheel, GEC operates on the principle that it is better to identify and support the best organization or individual for each task in order to maximize effectiveness and timeliness for the benefit of those in need.
 
Global Ecclesial Charities works directly and
collaborates with others who serve those in need.

 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Patriarch of St. Stephen Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

13 June 2016 (ORCNS) - Statement by Mgr. Rutherford, Card. Patriarch of St. Stephen, on the Mass Shooting Incident in Orlando, Florida, USA.
 
"Sunday the United States saw a major shooting incident in Orlando at the hands of an Islamic militant bent on the destruction of human life. It is not the worst shooting incident in U.S. history, for the incidents at Waco and Wounded Knee, slaughter at the hands of the government, had a higher death toll. However, it is nevertheless a tragic event. It is one that the Holy Land knows on a regular basis as a routine event, though it has thankfully thus far been very rare in the United States. What we are dealing with is not a gun control issue or any other political issue. What we are dealing with is a fundamental lack of respect for the sanctity of life. That is a problem that plagues the United States, Europe, and indeed the world of today as a whole. We cannot point the finger at the Orlando shooter without acknowledging the sickness that plagues modern society as a whole. If we clamor for action over the pointless death of fifty people in Orlando, but stand silently by while crimes against human rights are committed and over 1,000,000 children are murdered legally every year, we as a society have as much blood on our hands as does the Orlando shooter. Nothing will heal what ails the nation until we turn to the love as exemplified by Our Lord Jesus Christ."

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Humanitarian Grand Master's Service Recognized with Boy Scout National Award

SAN DIEGO 27 May 2016 (ORCNS) - Daniel L. Coberly, Prince v. Reichenberg, Grand Master Emeritus of the Noble Company of Saint Mary of Walsingham, was presented the Silver Buffalo Award at the National Annual Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America in San Diego on May 27th. The award was presented by former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert Gates, President of the Boy Scouts of America.

Created in 1925, the Silver Buffalo Award is the highest national-level distinguished service commendation of the Boy Scouts of America. It is presented for noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth on a national basis, either as part of, or independent of the Scouting program.

Daniel Coberly (center) with other recipients of the Silver Buffalo.
 
Coberly’s exceptional national and international level adult service of more than 45 years brought critical acclaim. A Distinguished Eagle Scout and International Scouting Ambassador, he was cited for his “visionary leadership” on national committees and his work supporting minorities, editing national publications, providing extensive publicity, and for his role in shaping a public law authorizing military support at four national Scout Jamborees.

Prc. Daniel has lived and worked on multiple continents as a youth and adult. His youth involvement in Scouting began in the Panama Canal Zone and Europe, then continued as an adult in Europe, the Far East, Atlanta, Oklahoma, Alabama, and North Carolina. He currently serves as National Representative of the Transatlantic Council, Europe and as editing lead for the National Merit Badge Task Force. He is a James West and Baden Powell Fellow.

In 2014, Coberly was one of two retired soldiers inducted in the U.S. Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame. In 2015 he received the President’s Gold Award for Volunteer Service; in 2016 he was recently presented the President’s Life Time Achievement Award from the Corporation for National and Community service.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College, a Master of Arts from Norwich University, graduate certificates from Alabama A&M and Oklahoma University and honorary doctorates. He is an elected member of the Excelsior College Alumni Council in Albany, New York.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Transcript of the Patriarchal Address on the Feast of Corpus Christ 2016

Transcript of the Patriarchal Address on the Feast of Corpus Christ 2016
Rutherford, Card. Patriach of St. Stephen
To the Members of the Court of St. Mary of Walsingham, to all the clergy and faithful under Our pastoral care, and indeed to all the clergy and faithful in Christ around the world, that all may be one, the grace and peace of our Lord, and Apostolic Blessings on this Feast of Corpus Christi in the year of our Lord 2016. As the Trinity season begun on Sunday, a mere four days ago, we will remark again that we consider the Trinity Season a great gift as a period of reflection on all that has recently been experienced. From the beginning of the liturgical year in Advent, we prepare for and experience the coming of our Lord to earth as man, the chief occasion being the Nativity. Then comes the period of the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in which we welcome Christ likewise into our homes and our hearts. Next comes Lent, during which time we focus on the earthly ministry of our Lord, culminating in the going up to Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Crucifixion. Then comes the moment for which the world long waited and for which we wait in anticipation each year, the most important day of the liturgical calendar, the Easter Vigil and the Sunday of Resurrection, when the victory over the grave is complete. Yet Christ did not merely rise from the grave and disappear. He had more to do. He had to make plain His great victory, that all might believe and be saved. Thus begins the forty days from Easter to the Ascension - a marvelous time in which there is much to absorb. And, of course, the Feast of Christ's glorious Ascension itself does not even mark the end of Paschaltide, for our Lord promised to send the Holy Spirit. That we celebrate on Whitsunday and throughout Whitsunweek, inviting the Holy Spirit again into our hearts and renewing our openness to the work of the Spirit in Christ's Holy Church Militant. And so it is that Paschaltide ends immediately prior to the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. God the Father was made known first to the Hebrew people. Then God the Son was made manifest on earth. Once our Lord's ministry on earth had been fulfilled, indeed in very fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures, He send the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. It is truly right and even logical that the end of the Easter season ends with the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

So great and so deep is the mystery that we cannot hope to comprehend it all. There is much to learn each year. There is much personal growth that can take place if we only open our hearts to the truth of Christ. Thus we are given the marvelous gift of the Trinity season each year, following Paschaltide and continuing until the beginning of the next liturgical year with Advent. As the liturgy shows us the Persons of the Holy Trinity in Christmas and Epiphany, Lent and Easter, and Pentecost, the Trinity season lets us relax and reflect, taking in all that we have experienced, and marvel at the mystery and power of the combined Trinity.

Less than a week into Trinity season, though, comes the Feast of Corpus Christi. We celebrate and worship the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of Mankind, the founder of the Holy Catholic Church, and the Supreme and Eternal King and Priest. We celebrate the fact that our Lord remains with us here on earth through His presence in the Most Holy Sacrament. Christ lives on the altar, which remains a true and living Sacrifice to which we may all join ourselves. As we begin Trinitytide, we receive the bold reminder of Christ's presence on earth so that we do not wander through Trintytide aimlessly, merely waiting for it all to begin again next year at Advent, but instead walk through like pilgrims with purpose. May we in our Patriarchate be pilgrims with purpose, letting our lives be as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Let us all seek Christ in all that we do and thereby lead a life filled with divinely-inspired purpose.

We are blessed in the Patriarchate of St. Stephen, the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, to continue the legacy of Walsingham, of Rome, of Florence, and of Jerusalem. Our legacy is ancient and deep, and we drive forward in humility. To the members of Our Curia and Houeshold without whose assistance We could not so effectively serve, We thank you sincerely and give Our special blessing. And now, all may prepare to receive the blessing of our Lord.

Et Benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, + et Filii, + et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos and maneat semper. R. Amen.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Priest-Professor Honored by U.S. President, Inspires Selfless Service in Others

WASHINGTON 30 May 2016 (ORCNS) - Monsignor Rutherford Cardinal Johnson was recently honored by United States President Barack Obama with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor was given in recognition of over 4000 hours of volunteer service in organizational support, humanitarian efforts, and education on local, national, and global levels. 

Mgr. Rutherford Card. Johnson
Mgr. Rutherford is an economics lecturer at the University of Minnesota, an Adjunct Professor of Geography at the University of South Alabama, and a traditional Old Roman Catholic priest. He was previously was awarded the Gold Medal in the President's Volunteer Service Award program, the premier volunteer service recognition given by the President as part of an initiative to inspire people to take positive action to change the world. 

When asked about the honor, Mgr. Rutherford said, "Helping others is part of my clerical vocation and an integral part of my work as an educator. I commend the President for promoting volunteering service. Serving others and inspiring service in others is one of my greatest joys in life."


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Franciscan Brother and Seminarian Ordained as Porter

LEXINGTON, KY 13 May 2016 (ORCNS) - Rev. Br. Dom Elliott Francis, TOR Mar. received the First Tonsure as a cleric and was ordained to the Order of Porter in the Old Roman Catholic Patriarchate of St. Stephen at Christ Church Cathedral today. Br. Elliott is a member of the Franciscan Third Order Regular of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of the Blessed Virgin Mary (TOR Mar) and a seminarian. The officiant was Mgr. Rutherford Cardinal Johnson, Patriarch of St. Stephen. The First Tonsure, now a snipping of the hair in five locations in the form of a cross, is symbolic of the full round shave area of the head typically worn by clerics and religious in the past and still some today. 

Mgr. Rutherford, Card. Patriarch of St. Stephen,
administers the First Tonsure to Dom Elliott Francis

It is traditionally through the First Tonsure that a candidate enters the clerical state. The Order of Porter is the first of the Minor Holy Orders and is also typically a stepping stone on the way to the priesthood. During the ordination of a Porter, the candidate receives the keys to the church, opens the church doors, and rings the church bells, all symbolic of the traditional and historic duties of that office. 

An audience was held by theCardinal Patriarch prior to the
ordination during which time Dom Elliott (right)
took the oaths of ordination

The Patriarchal See of St. Stephen is an ancient, autonomous, semi-autocephalous Old Roman Catholic Patriarchate with Anglican patrimony descended from the Roman Catholic See of Utrecht. The See of Utrecht has remained independent since 1145, when the Holy See in Rome granted autonomy. Modernly also known as the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church (ARRCC), the Patriarchate continues administrative independence while embracing as brethren other Catholic and Anglican bodies, such as the current Roman Communion (commonly referred to as the Roman Catholic Church), the Anglican Ordinariate, and the Anglican Communion.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Legion of the Eagle

14 April 2016 (ORCNS) - The Most Honorable Legion of the Eagle. This nobiliary society is the Christian successor of the ancient Roman Legion of the Eagle and is one of the three religious-dynastic orders within the Patriarchate of St. Stephen. Its recipients, who must show noble proofs, include Cardinals, Bishops, Princes, Governors, and distinguished officials, professionals, and leaders. Companions, as recipients are called, are expected to defend the Christian faith and lead a life of Christian service to the Church and humanity. Learn more at the Legion's website: www.regno.org/eagle.html


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Angelus of the Pope 28 February 2016

Vatican City, 28 February 2016 (VIS) – "Every day, unfortunately, bad news is reported: murders, accidents, disasters, … In today's Gospel passage Jesus refers to two tragic events, which at the time caused quite a stir: the bloody crackdown by Roman soldiers inside the temple and the collapse of the tower of Siloam in Jerusalem, which claimed eighteen victims." These are the words that Pope Francis started with this afternoon before the Angelus, relating our current lived experience to the Gospel of the day. "Jesus knows the superstitious mentality of his listeners," he continued, "and knows that they interpret those kinds of events wrongly. In fact, they think that, if those persons died so cruelly, it's a sign that God has punished them for some grave offence they had committed, as if to say 'They deserved it.' And the fact that they had been spared from the disaster was equivalent to being 'okay'. They 'deserved it' but I 'am good'.

The Pope explained that "Jesus clearly rejects this view because God does not allow tragedies in order to punish sins. He affirms that those poor victims were not worse than others. Rather, he invites us to draw a warning from such painful events, a warning for all because we are all sinners. He said to those who are asking him: 'If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!' Even today, in the face of certain misfortunes and tragic events, we might feel the temptation to 'dump' the responsibility onto the victims or even onto God himself. But the Gospel invites us to reflect: what is our idea of God? Are we convinced that God is this way or is it not just our own projection, a god made 'in our image and likeness'? In contrast, Jesus calls us to a change of heart, to make a radical change in our life's path, abandoning the pacts with evil – and we all do this, make pacts with evil, hypocrisy, I believe that we all have at least one piece of hypocrisy – to decisively take the Gospel path".

"But here again is the temptation to justify ourselves: 'What should we convert from? Aren't we all basically good people?' How many times have we thought that: 'All in all, I'm a pretty good person?' – haven't we? – 'Aren't we believers, who even practice enough?' And we think, therefore, that we are justified". The Pope stressed that we justify ourselves as believers and even practising ones. Unfortunately, each of us looks a lot like a tree that, for years, has given much evidence of sterility. But luckily for us, Jesus is like the peasant farmer who, with limitless patience, still gives another deferment to the barren fig tree. 'Leave it for this year,' he says to the master. 'It may bear fruit in the future'".

"A 'year' of grace", he continued, "the time of Christ's ministry, the time of the Church before his glorious return, the time of our life punctuated by a number of Lents, which are offered to us as opportunities for repentance and salvation, the time of a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Jesus' invincible patience. Have you thought on God's patience? Have you thought about his unyielding concern for sinners as they should provoke impatience in how we see ourselves! It is never to late for us to convert, never! God's patience waits for us up till the last minute. Remember the the story of St. Therese of the Child Jesus when she prayed for the man condemned to death, a criminal, who did not want to receive the comfort of the Church. He declined a priest's visit, didn't want it. He wanted to die that way. And she prayed, in the convent. And exactly at the moment of his execution he turned to the priest, took the crucifix and kissed it. God's patience! He does the same with us, with all of us! How many times – we don't know. We will know in Heaven – how many times we are there [about to fall] and the Lord saves us. He saves us because he has great patience with us. And this is his mercy. It is never too late to repent but it is urgent, the time is now. Let us begin today".

Before finishing, Pope Francis called upon the Virgin Mary "to sustain us so that we may open our hearts to God's grace, to his mercy. And help us to never judge others but to let daily misfortunes be the opportunity to make a serious examination of conscience and repent".


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Pope appreciates work of Rome-St. Peter's Carabinieri squad

Vatican City, 29 February 2016 (VIS) – One hundred and fifty members of the Rome-St. Peter's Carabinieri Squad who work with the competent bodies of the Holy See to regulate events in and around St. Peter's Square throughout the year were received by Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican this morning. The pontiff thanked them for their work in service of pilgrims and tourists, noting that it is work that "requires professionalism and a sense of responsibility as well as attention to people---many of whom are elderly---continuous patience and availability to all. These are not easy qualities, which is why it is important to rely on God's help."

"The Holy Year of Mercy," he continued, "opens the possibility of renewal to all of us, beginning with inner purification, which is reflected in how we act and in how we carry out our daily activities. This spiritual dimension of the Jubilee compels each of us to question our actual commitment in responding to the demands of faithfulness to the Gospel to which the Lord calls us from our state in life. The Jubilee thus becomes a propitious occasion for personal and community verification. The 'paradigm' to test ourselves against are works of mercy, both corporal and spiritual. The Lord reminds us: 'Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

"May this teaching of Jesus also guide you, who are responsible for the protection of public order, and help you to foster solidarity in every circumstance, especially towards the weak and defenceless. To be guardians of the right to life through the commitment to safety and the safety of persons. In carrying out this mission, may we always be aware that every person is loved by God and is his creature deserving of welcome and respect. May the grace of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy," the Pope concluded his brief address, "renew the spirit which you dedicate to your profession, bringing you to live it with extra attention, devotion, and generosity.




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Friday, January 29, 2016

World Leprosy Day: combating disease and reintegrating survivors in society

Vatican City, 29 January 2016 (VIS) – Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, has written a message for the 63rd World Leprosy Day, the theme of which this year is "To live is to help to live".

"This Day … constitutes for everyone an opportunity to continue with the fight against this terrible infection, as well as to weaken the ostracism that often burdens the people who carry its unmistakable signs", writes the prelate. "This is a marginalisation that can be traced back to a natural sense of self-defence in relation to a disease which at one time was incurable, and to an almost ‘ancestral’ fear which, however, today no longer has any reason to exist given that leprosy can be defeated and those who have been cured of it can go back to living".

"Making its own the commitment of the Church to caring for people with leprosy and supporting those who have been cured of it, and in order to increase the sensitivity of men and women of good will, our Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, cooperating, respectively, with the Sasakawa Foundation and the Raoul Follereau Foundation, has organised two study days which will be held on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 June 2016 in the Vatican. At that event, those taking part will be able to be present at the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday 12 June, on the occasion of the Jubilee for the Sick and Disabled".

"We must feel ourselves committed to finding a new impetus against this disease, broadening activities involving information and prevention, but above all fostering, as a gesture of true ‘com-passion’, the social and occupational reintegration of those who have been cured of it and who – despite the fact that they carry the marks of this disease on their bodies – have maintained intact their dignity as persons", concludes Msgr. Zimowski.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Star is the Gospel; In Following It We Follow Jesus

Vatican City, 6 January 2015 (VIS) – At noon, after the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

“In today's Gospel,” he began, “the story of the Magi who came to Bethlehem from the East to adore the Messiah confers upon the feast of Epiphany an air of universality. This air is the breath of the Church, who desires all the peoples of the earth to encounter Jesus and to experience his merciful love. This is the Church's wish: that all may find Jesus' mercy, his love. The new-born Christ does not yet know how to speak and yet people of all the nations—represented by the Magi—can already meet him, recognize him, worship him. The Magi say: 'We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage'.”

“...The Magi were prestigious men, from distant lands and different cultures, and they had journeyed toward Israel to worship the king who had been born. The Church has always seen in them an image of all of humanity and, with today's celebration of the Feast of Epiphany, it wants to respectfully show every man and woman of this world the Child who was born for the salvation of all. On Christmas Eve, Jesus revealed himself to shepherds, humble and unappreciated men—some say robbers. They were the first to bring a little warmth into that cold grotto in Bethlehem. Now the Magi come from distant lands, also mysteriously attracted by that Child. The shepherds and the Magi are very different from one another but one thing unites them: the sky.”

“...The shepherds and the Magi teach us that, to encounter Jesus, it is necessary to know how to raise our gaze to the heavens, and not be turned in on ourselves, on our own selfishness, but to have our hearts and minds open to the horizon of God, which always surprises us, and to know how to welcome its message and respond promptly and generously. The Magi, the Gospel says, 'were overjoyed at seeing the star'. Even for us there is great consolation in seeing the star, namely in feeling guided and not abandoned to our fate. The star is the Gospel, the Word of the Lord that, as the psalm says, 'is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path'. This light guides us towards Christ. Without listening to the Gospel it is not possible to encounter him.”

“The Magi,” he added, “following the star, came to the place where Jesus was. And there 'they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage'. The experience of the Magi urges us not to be content with mediocrity, not to 'just get along' but to seek out the meaning of things, passionately scrutinizing the great mystery of life. It teaches us not to be scandalized by smallness and poverty, but to recognize the majesty of humility and to know how to kneel before it. May the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Magi to Bethlehem, help us to lift our gaze from ourself and to be guided by the star of the Gospel so that we might meet Jesus and know how to humble ourselves in order to worship him. In that way we can bring a ray of its light to others and share the joy of the journey with them.”


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