Friday, 28 August 2009

Scientist: Pope Was Right About AIDS
Says Abstinence, Fidelity More Effective than Condoms

RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 27, 2009 ( The director of Harvard's AIDS Prevention Research Project is affirming that Benedict XVI's position was right in the debate on AIDS and condoms.

Edward Green stated this in an address at the 30th annual Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples in Rimini, sponsored by the lay movement, Communion and Liberation.

Green, an expert on AIDS prevention, said that "as a scientist he was amazed to see the closeness between what the Pope said last March in Cameroon and the results of the most recent scientific discoveries."

He affirmed: "The condom does not prevent AIDS. Only responsible sexual behavior can address the pandemic."

Green continued, "When Benedict XVI said that different sexual behavior should be adopted in Africa, because to put trust in condoms does not serve to fight against AIDS, the international press was scandalized."

The Pope made this statement in a meeting with journalists en route to Africa last March.

The scientist affirmed that the Holy Father spoke the truth. He noted, "The condom can work for particular individuals, but it will not serve to address the situation of a continent."

Change habits

Green added: "To propose the regular use of the condom as prevention in Africa could have the opposite effect."

He explained the phenomenon of human behavior called "risk compensation," whereby a person "feels protected and thus exposes himself more."

The researcher and medical anthropologist asked: "Why has an attempt not been made to change people's customs?"

"The world industry has taken many years to understand that measures of a technical and medical character are of no use to solve the problem," he added.

Green highlighted the successful policies that have been implemented in Uganda to battle AIDS, programs based in the "ABC" strategy: "Abstain, Be faithful, and, as a last resource, use a Condom."

He reported: "In the case of Uganda, an impressive result has been obtained in the fight against AIDS.

"The president was able to tell the truth to his people, to young people, that on occasions some sacrifice, abstinence and fidelity are necessary.

"The result has been formidable."
Today's Inspirational Quote:

"I think that at some point in your life you realize you don't
have to worry if you do everything you're supposed to do
right. Or if not right, if you do it the best you can... what
can worry do for you? You are already doing the best you can."

Friday, 21 August 2009

Be Faithful As God Is Faithful

Posted: 19 Aug 2009 09:00 PM PDT

Judges 11:29-39 / Mt 22:1-14

How chilling are those last words of today’s Old Testament reading: "… She returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed." In a word, he killed her and burned her body on the altar of sacrifice, because God has kept his word and given him victory.

Why are we still reading this terrible passage? Certainly not for its ruthless disregard for innocent life. It has something else that’s very important, a recognition that God is absolutely faithful and always keeps his promises. And what GOD asks in return is that we be faithful as well, both to him and to one another.

That isn’t easy in an era when commitments often have a half-life of days rather than years. But it’s the only way of living that works, keeping faith with the Lord and one another. It’s the only way of ever bringing to reality what our hearts most deeply desire, and that is communion, life which can be shared with confidence, and joy because we know we can trust.

So be faithful as your Father is faithful. The communion you long for will follow.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Pope: Priests Should Be Witnesses of Love

Reflects on St. John Eudes' Devotion to Christ and Mary

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 19, 2009 ( A priest must be a witness and apostle of the love that is in the hearts of Christ and Mary, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today during the general audience in Castel Gandolfo in which he reflected on St. John Eudes and the priesthood, in the context of the Year for Priests. The feast of the 17th-century French saint is celebrated today.

Noting the difficulties in 17th-century France, the Holy Father said that "the Holy Spirit inspired a fervent spiritual renewal, with prominent personalities. […] This great 'French school' of holiness also had St. John Mary Vianney among its fruits. By a mysterious design of Providence, my venerated predecessor, Pius XI, proclaimed John Eudes and the CurĂ© d'Ars saints at the same time, on May 31, 1925, offering the Church and the whole world two extraordinary examples of priestly holiness."

Speaking about the formation of diocesan priests, the Pontiff recalled how in the 16th century, "the Council of Trent issued norms for the establishment of diocesan seminaries and for the formation of priests, as the council was aware that the whole crisis of the Reformation was also conditioned by the insufficient formation of priests, who were not adequately prepared intellectually and spiritually, in their heart and soul, for the priesthood."

"This occurred in 1563," he said, "but, given that the application and implementation of the norms took time, both in Germany as well as in France, St. John Eudes saw the consequences of this problem."

The saint, Benedict XVI went on to explain, was moved "by the lucid awareness of the great need of spiritual help that souls were feeling" and as a parish priest, he "instituted a congregation dedicated specifically to the formation of priests."

Path of holiness

The Pope noted that St. John Eudes' proposal for holiness was founded on "a solid confidence in the love that God revealed to humanity in the priestly Heart of Christ and the maternal Heart of Mary."

"He wanted to remind people, men and above all future priests, of the heart, showing the priestly Heart of Christ and the maternal Heart of Mary. A priest must be a witness and apostle of this love of the Heart of Christ and of Mary," the Holy Father affirmed.

He contended that today as well, there is the "need for priests to witness the infinite mercy of God with a life totally 'conquered' by Christ, and for them to learn this in the years of their formation in the seminaries."

Benedict XVI said that like Pope John Paul II, who in 1990 "actualized the norms of the Council of Trent," he emphasizes the "need for continuity between the initial and permanent moments of formation."

"The time in the seminary should be seen," he proposed, as the "actualization of the moment in which the Lord Jesus, after having called the Apostles and before sending them out to preach, asks that they stay with him."

"In this Year for Priests," the Holy Father concluded, "I invite you to pray […] for priests and for those preparing to receive the extraordinary gift of the priestly ministry. I conclude by addressing to all the exhortation of St. John Eudes, who said thus to priests: 'Give yourselves to Jesus to enter into the immensity of his great Heart, which contains the Heart of his Holy Mother and of all the saints, and to lose yourselves in this abyss of love, of charity, of mercy, of humility, of purity, of patience, of submission and of holiness.'"

Monday, 17 August 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Smooth seas do not make a skillful sailor."

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Hard Hearts Can’t Receive Forgiveness

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 09:00 PM PDT

Josh 3:7-10, 11, 13-17 / Mt 18:21-19:1

Forgiveness is debt we owe to God — as well as to each other — because we have all needed to BE forgiven so often. Every mass begins with a rite of reconciliation, because the church knows and we know in advance that we’re going to need it. No matter how hard we try, we’ll need to ask forgiveness, and we’ll need to give it.

Especially when we’re hurt or angry, we may not feel like forgiving. And the person who hurt us may well be a thoroughly rotten person, but withholding our forgiveness is a dangerous choice. For as we do so, we shrink and harden and close our own hearts. And in doing that, we shrink our capacity to RECEIVE forgiveness — whether from God or from our neighbors.

God’s capacity and desire to forgive us is immediate and infinite. Our ability to receive his forgiveness is limited by the size of our hearts.

May your heart continue to grow larger and larger as you welcome God’s people into your life. And may God’s peace which is beyond all understanding fill your mind and your heart. Amen.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"You can buy a person's hands but you can't buy his heart. His
heart is where his enthusiasm, his loyalty is."

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Can You See Past the Giants?

Posted: 04 Aug 2009 09:00 PM PDT

Nm 13:1-2, 25-14:1, 26-29, 34-35 / Mt 15:21-28

"Their men are giants, and compared to them we look like grasshoppers!" That’s the way life can feel at times: just too much. The Israelites’ scouts had reconnoitered the Promised Land and it was wonderful, and they wanted it … badly. But their fears got in the way, and they couldn’t see past the giants. They still couldn’t bring themselves to trust that God, who had rescued them from the all-powerful pharaoh, could be enough for them as they faced a new challenge. Their hearts weren’t ready, so the journey from Egypt, which should have taken only a matter of weeks, took 40 years.

Is a fearful heart freezing you in place and stealing away your joy? That doesn’t have to happen because the Lord himself is walking with you. And he is enough for you. He IS enough.

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Priest Slain in India

Region Plagued Last Year by Anti-Christian Attacks

MANGALORE, India, JULY 31, 2009 ( Father James Mukalel, 39, was found dead on the side of the road Thursday in a region that suffered a wave of anti-Christian attacks last year.

The Syro-Malabar Diocese of Belthangady in southern India is mourning the death of the priest. His bishop has discarded the possibility that the slaying was a robbery gone awry.

Bishop Lawrence Mukkuzhy told AsiaNews that "Father James was very much loved by the parishioners and people in this area. He was a good person, and did not have enemies; a zealous missionary, selflessly serving all people; he was inclusive in his mission, serving people of all faiths and creeds."

The priest was probably killed sometime late Wednesday. He was returning to his parish after celebrating a funeral and making pastoral visits to a few families and a convent in Thottathady.

The Global Council of Indian Christians requested an investigation into this crime and other anti-Christian attacks that have taken place in the state of Karnataka.

Ongoing Hindu-Christian tensions flared into a wave of violence almost a year ago after Hindu extremists in the state of Orissa blamed the slaying of a Hindu leader on Christians. Dozens of Christians, including a priest, were killed, and more than 54,000 fled their homes. Thousands of them are still living in displacement camps.

The violence spread to more than 392 towns, where some 5,000 houses, 149 churches, and 40 schools were destroyed or burned to the ground. In Karnataka, some 20 churches and chapels were destroyed.

In an address to India's new ambassador to the Holy See last May, Benedict XVI said that "as Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Church, I join religious and governmental leaders throughout the world who share a common desire that all members of the human family enjoy the freedom to practice religion and engage in civil life without fear of adverse repercussions on account of their beliefs."

He added: "I therefore cannot help but express my deep concern for Christians who have suffered from outbreaks of violence in some areas within your borders."

Don’t Be Blind to What God Has Given You

Posted: 03 Aug 2009 09:00 PM PDT

Nm 12:1-13 / Mt 14:22-36

Where did Miriam’s leprosy come from? Was it God with a lightening bolt who made her flesh corrupt and her skin rot? No, God had no need to do anything. The rot and the sickness came from inside her. Jealousy and envy were rotting her soul, as they can rot ours. And what a waste. God has made us each different and blessed each of us with what we need. If we but have the eyes to see what God has put within our reach, our hearts will be merry, our days will be full, and our souls will be content.