Friday, October 17, 2014

Mary TV Daily Reflection 10/17/2014

(c)Mary TV 2014 

October 17, 2014
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

Dear Family of Mary!

As the Extraordinary Synod on the Family nears its end, there has been great confusion in the media, especially about the 11 page report issued by a small committee. This report is a preliminary report, not a finished document. And apparently there are problems with some of the translations, all hurriedly done. But yesterday, Fr. Devine gave a very measured and pastoral homily on the Synod and this report, to help us get some perspective. I found his homily very helpful, and so I have transcribed it.

Our Lady has been very seriously directing us to pray for our shepherds, and not to judge them over the past several years. Here is one example:

On June 2, 2013 Mirjana said that "with great concern" Our Lady concluded her message: " For the sake of Jesus, for the sake of my Son, love those whom He has called and long for the blessing only from the hands which He has consecrated. Do not permit evil to come to reign. Anew I repeat - only along side your shepherds will my heart triumph. Do not permit evil to separate you from your shepherds. Thank you."  

Our Lady has seen the turbulent waters that the ship of the Church is entering upon, and she has wanted us to be firmly connected to the Church, supporting her with our prayers and good will. Our Lady's desire is that her children will be a strength and spiritual support to the pastors of the Church in these days. I am grateful to her for this constant direction she has given us. If we listen to her voice, we will help her in these days to protect the Church and bring in her triumph.

Here is Fr. Devine's homily for October 16, 2014 at English Mass at St. James Church, Medjugorje:

Hopefully you are all well aware that the leaders of our Roman Catholic Church have been gathered in Rome and wrapping up now two weeks of constant review and communications with one another on the whole issue of the family and the Church of God.

The background - Pope Francis, whose whole approach is one of total pastoral involvement, being a shepherd of all the people of God...Pope Francis, over a year ago, sent out a questionnaire to the whole world. He said, "I have listened to everybody else, but now to the most important ones, the people of God yourselves! I want you to tell me what is on your mind."

Over a long period of time the questions were discussed at the local level. And finally the results were examined together in Rome. And one of his most trusted Cardinals was asked to study them carefully with a committee and then write a report. When Cardinal Kasper completed his report, it was so confidential in certain areas, that he felt it should be shared only with the leading Cardinals. But after he presented it and there was a lot of disagreement with what he was saying i.e. looking at, the Holy Father intervened and in effect said to Cardinal Kasper, "You may not want to publish it but you have worked on it on your knees in prayer, and it is filled with valuable input." So it is suspected that the Holy Father insisted that it be published. I say that because the small pamphlet that was finally published had only one introduction by Pope Francis himself.

At any rate, that report was given to the Cardinals as a preparation for the Synod that has been underway for the last two weeks and will be wrapped up in a few more days. And only the other day a report of 11 pages was issued by the Synod, and that too is incredibly controversial.

However in preparation for the Synod, the Holy Father in his opening remarks made a few elements clear. 1. I want you to speak of what you are convinced of, and to speak forth bravely and honestly. But after you have made your presentation to be just as open in listening to the other presentations. And even though there will be disagreement, let's also try to focus on the positive as we speak out to the families of the world. Let's have a positive presentation.

The Holy Father then picked a committee to meet together as the Synod progressed and to draw up a report which was released a couple of days ago. And that too is supposed to be and indeed in many ways is a very positive presentation, a pastoral one, reaching out not merely to those who are living peacefully and with great harmony, but to those who are in turmoil or far from perfect.

And in their report, I have parts of it here, is the most controversial part of all, unfortunately it is in a very blurred copy, but I will try to pick out just a few of the elements. So you get a flavor of what is going on.

It is a report presenting the ideal, but also indicating constructive elements for those situations that do not yet correspond to that ideal. And as he wants to speak out to those who are not living up to the ideal, he first addresses the Christian community and points out that the Church is called on to be the House of the Father, with doors always wide open, where there is a place for everyone with all their problems. So he is saying let's not only speak to those who are already living a Christian, full happy marriage, but to those who have great problems for one reason or another.

Then in the next section it is even addressed caring for wounded families, the separated and divorced who have not remarried, the divorced who have remarried." And somewhere in the beginning of this presentation the issue of spiritual communion is brought up. In other words, those who are in invalid marriages and are Catholic, are encouraged always to make a spiritual communion at the time the Eucharist is distributed at Mass. And the phrase used here, "If spiritual communion is recognized and encouraged in all circumstances, a few of the fathers at the Synod have said that if that is possible why not bring them into the fullness of the Sacrament of Communion? There are many problems with that, but it is worth further consideration." That is what is in this document.

Along with that there is one of the most positive statements for me...Because two years ago the American State Department sent its principle representative around the world, around Christmas time, and had one message, especially as she traveled to the underdeveloped parts of the world, that any aid that will be provided to you as a nation will be very much dependent upon you as a nation recognizing gay marriage. And the Fathers in one sentence addressed that. "It is not acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or international bodies, making financial aid dependent upon the introduction of regulations inspired by the gender ideology." That for me personally meant so much, as a tax payer in America, being taxed very heavily. But the point is that I always thought foreign aid was to be dependent upon the need of the nation for special help to rebuild. And to have it hooked up very clearly in the press and in announcements in America saying that unless the nation recognizes the gender ideology, they may not get very much foreign aid.

At any rate the whole approach, and I just pulled out a few passages, was meant to be a pastoral one, complementing those who are living completely by the teachings of the Church, but also insisting that we are a Church that is open to all.

The committee as I said, was chosen by the Pope, issued its findings in that eleven page statement. It led to tremendous controversy. Someone like the American Cardinal Burke saying that the whole report was confused and erroneous. But rather than go into his reasons which are well worth listening to, I will instead try to follow through with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. And what he insists on is, what everyone insists on, that the report of a few days ago is a preliminary report that needs major over working. It was a rushed report because of the constraints of time, trying to get something out in the middle of the conference. And now that it is out there, it is time to sit down and really rework it. And Cardinal Timothy Dolan with his great sense of humor was interviewed yesterday, and he is in the center of the square there, and the sun is beating down on him, and he is being interviewed by reporters who are sitting in their studio in New York, and he said, "All that we have in the report so far is the antipasto. He made a remark that he was on the way to lunch. So he was saying, all we have in this report is the antipasto, and let's pay as much attention to the main course which will be coming out in a few more days.

What he immediately picks up on in all of the headlines that say that the Church is welcoming all of human family, even the person with same sex attraction. And Cardinal Dolan says that is not news. The Church has always welcomed every member of the human family. And I know in New York we have some churches that make it clear that they welcome all, especially those with same sex attraction. And as I say, Pope Francis affirms and wants a positive embrace and a calling to be made even more dynamic to every member of the human family. And what he is looking for as Cardinal Dolan says, is the common ground. There is a remarkable unity in their attempt to reach out and incorporate all the ideas in the Synod, to hash them out in the next year, so that by this time next year they can truly issue a statement that is a thoroughly hashed out and reliable statement.

And the Cardinal emphasizes that there is a remarkable unity in the attempt to reach out to the whole human family. There will be reworking, and perhaps Cardinal Dolan's idea, the main idea behind a lot of the document is that the Catholic Church has been stereotyped for years as only saying "no, no, no..." But the Catholic Church led by the very pastoral Holy Father is trying to get across that our greatest work is reaffirming the dignity of every single human being. And so as we reach out in this Synod to those who are not quite achieving the ideal, we are trying to get across that you are welcome. The image that is so powerful is the image of Emmaus, of how Christ walked the whole of Easter Sunday with two disciples who were wandering and confused and had no idea what was happening, that the Church is reaching out today to those who are wandering and confused. And the phrase that the Holy Father used was that the role we have is accompanying the modern disciples as Christ accompanied the disciples of Emmaus.

I have felt the gentle love and support of many priests, who have accompanied me along the road. I am grateful for their consistent love and protective care. This is truly the great grace of the Church. May that accompaniment be extended to all! May the Church grow strong in love and may we be only a help to her in this mission!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2014

"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
Be connected!