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Christian, remember your dignity

Christ our Saviour is born.

Christ The Saviour is born.

Herewith and excerpt from a wonderful Christmas homily of Pope St. Leo the Great: (Catholic Online)

Christian, remember your dignity 
Dearly beloved, today our Saviour is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life. In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind. 
And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: 

Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men? 

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh. 

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom. 

Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ. 

Cathy Pease Designs

It’s Official!

(I found this  photo at Catholicseeking)

Dear friends, we show you the official photo of Pope Francis, with his signature. In the crucifix is the image of Jesus the “good shepherd”, carrying the sheep on his shoulders, with the flock following him.

The word ‘pastor’ ‘ comes from the Latin word for shepherd. This is one of the earliest Christian portrayals of the Good Shepherd: a statue found in the Catacombs of Domitilla, in Rome, from the third century.

A personal photo of this statue to be found at th

A personal photo of this statue at the Catacombs of Domitilla, in Rome.

Christ calls all out to all his sheep, especially those who are lost in any way, or those who feel lost. May we all be good shepherds, in helping to make all those on the outside feel, and know, that they belong inside the fold.

‘…Then, in a rare gesture and sign of respect, the bishops removed their mitres.’

Pope Benedict – still teaching!

At his last public Mass as Pope, Benedict XVI showed both his generous humanity and his commitment to liturgical integrity. From theAssociated Press:

Smiling and clearly moved, Benedict responded, “Grazie. Now let us return to prayer” — his words bringing to an end several minutes of thundering applause. Then, in a rare gesture and sign of respect, the bishops removed their mitres.

The Pope is no fan of applause at Mass, because it reveals a focus on man rather than the God who is to be worshipped at Mass. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the need of the faithful assembled to make a gesture of gratitude and affection, given the short notice leading up to what has become his last public Mass. Still, when he judged the time ripe, he called them all back to God.

Thus the bishops’ gesture is all the more striking: a profound sign of respect that did not disturb the theocentric ambience of worship. Clever bishops.

And then, his teaching…

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Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the liturgical time of Lent, forty days that prepare us for the celebration of Holy Easter, it is a time of particular commitment in our spiritual journey. The number forty occurs several times in the Bible. In particular, it recalls the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness: a long period of formation to become the people of God, but also a long period in which the temptation to be unfaithful to the covenant with the Lord was always present. Forty were also the days of the Prophet Elijah’s journey to reach the Mount of God, Horeb; as well as the time that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public life and where he was tempted by the devil. In this Catechesis I would like to dwell on this moment of earthly life of the Son of God, which we will read of in the Gospel this Sunday.

First of all, the desert, where Jesus withdrew to, is the place of silence, of poverty, where man is deprived of material support and is placed in front of the fundamental questions of life, where he is pushed to towards the essentials in life and for this very reason it becomes easier for him to find God. But the desert is also a place of death, because where there is no water there is no life, and it is a place of solitude where man feels temptation more intensely. Jesus goes into the desert, and there is tempted to leave the path indicated by God the Father to follow other easier and worldly paths (cf. Lk 4:1-13). So he takes on our temptations and carries our misery, to conquer evil and open up the path to God, the path of conversion.

In reflecting on the temptations Jesus is subjected to in the desert we are invited, each one of us, to respond to one fundamental question: what is truly important in our lives? In the first temptation the devil offers to change a stone into bread to sate Jesus’ hunger. Jesus replies that the man also lives by bread but not by bread alone: ​​without a response to the hunger for truth, hunger for God, man can not be saved (cf. vv. 3-4). In the second, the devil offers Jesus the path of power: he leads him up on high and gives him dominion over the world, but this is not the path of God: Jesus clearly understands that it is not earthly power that saves the world, but the power of the Cross, humility, love (cf. vv. 5-8). In the third, the devil suggests Jesus throw himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple of Jerusalem and be saved by God through his angels, that is, to do something sensational to test God, but the answer is that God is not an object on which to impose our conditions: He is the Lord of all (cf. vv. 9-12). What is the core of the three temptations that Jesus is subjected to? It is the proposal to exploit God, to use Him for his own interests, for his own glory and success. So, in essence, to put himself in the place of God, removing Him from his own existence and making him seem superfluous. Everyone should then ask: what is the role God in my life? Is He the Lord or am I?

Overcoming the temptation to place God in submission to oneself and one’s own interests or to put Him in a corner and converting oneself to the proper order of priorities, giving God the first place, is a journey that every Christian must undergo. “Conversion”, an invitation that we will hear many times in Lent, means following Jesus in so that his Gospel is a real life guide, it means allowing God transform us, no longer thinking that we are the only protagonists of our existence, recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, His love, and that only by “losing” our life in Him can we truly have it. This means making our choices in the light of the Word of God. Today we can no longer be Christians as a simple consequence of the fact that we live in a society that has Christian roots: even those born to a Christian family and formed in the faith must, each and every day, renew the choice to be a Christian, to give God first place, before the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, before the criticism of many of our contemporaries.

The tests which modern society subjects Christians to, in fact, are many, and affect the personal and social life. It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary diseases. The temptation to set aside one’s faith is always present and conversion becomes a response to God which must be confirmed several times throughout one’s life.

The major conversions like that of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, or St. Augustine, are an example and stimulus, but also in our time when the sense of the sacred is eclipsed, God’s grace is at work and works wonders in life of many people. The Lord never gets tired of knocking at the door of man in social and cultural contexts that seem engulfed by secularization, as was the case for the Russian Orthodox Pavel Florensky. After acompletely agnostic education, to the point he felt an outright hostility towards religious teachings taught in school, the scientist Florensky came to exclaim: “No, you can not live without God”, and to change his life completely, so much so he became a monk.

I also think the figure of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch woman of Jewish origin who died in Auschwitz. Initially far from God, she found Him looking deep inside herself and wrote: “There is a well very deep inside of me. And God is in that well. Sometimes I can reach Him, more often He is covered by stone and sand: then God is buried. We must dig Him up again “(Diary, 97). In her scattered and restless life, she finds God in the middle of the great tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah. This young fragile and dissatisfied woman, transfigured by faith, becomes a woman full of love and inner peace, able to say: “I live in constant intimacy with God.”

The ability to oppose the ideological blandishments of her time to choose the search for truth and open herself up to the discovery of faith is evidenced by another woman of our time, the American Dorothy Day. In her autobiography, she confesses openly to having given in to the temptation that everything could be solved with politics, adhering to the Marxist proposal: “I wanted to be with the protesters, go to jail, write, influence others and leave my dreams to the world. How much ambition and how much searching for myself in all this!”. The journey towards faith in such a secularized environment was particularly difficult, but Grace acts nonetheless, as she points out: “It is certain that I felt the need to go to church more often, to kneel, to bow my head in prayer. A blind instinct, one might say, because I was not conscious of praying. But I went, I slipped into the atmosphere of prayer … “. God guided her to a conscious adherence to the Church, in a lifetime spent dedicated to the underprivileged.

In our time there are no few conversions understood as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, moved away from the faith for years and then rediscovered Christ and his Gospel. In the Book of Revelation we read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”(3, 20). Our inner person must prepare to be visited by God, and for this reason we should allow ourselves be invaded by illusions, by appearances, by material things.

In this time of Lent, in the Year of the faith, we renew our commitment to the process of conversion, to overcoming the tendency to close in on ourselves and instead, to making room for God, looking at our daily reality with His eyes. The alternative between being wrapped up in our egoism and being open to the love of God and others, we could say corresponds to the alternatives to the temptations of Jesus: the alternative, that is, between human power and love of the Cross, between a redemption seen only in material well-being and redemption as the work of God, to whom we give primacy in our lives. Conversion means not closing in on ourselves in the pursuit of success, prestige, position, but making sure that each and every day, in the small things, truth, faith in God and love become most important.

Text via Vatican Radio translation.

 

The Pope’s prayer intentions for 2013.

 

 

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The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions for the year 2013.

Highlights from the 2013 intentions include prayers for participants in World Youth Day, which is slated to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during July of this year. Other intentions emphasize global respect for human life and the environment as well as specific prayers for the protection of families.

The Pope’s entire list of prayer intentions for 2013 is as follows:

January

General: That during this “Year of Faith” Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and joyfully bear witness to the gift of faith in Him.

Missionary: That the Christian communities of the Middle East, which frequently suffer discrimination, may receive the strength of fidelity and perseverance of the Holy Spirit.

February

General: That migrant families, in particular mothers, may be sustained and accompanied in their difficulties.

Missionary: That peoples experiencing war and conflicts may be the protagonists in the building of a future of peace.

March

General: That respect for nature will grow, with the awareness that all creation is the work of God entrusted to human responsibility.

Missionary: That bishops, priests and deacons may be tireless proclaimers of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

April

General: That the prayerful and public celebration of the faith may be a source of life for the faithful.

Missionary: That the particular Churches in mission territories may be a sign and instrument of hope and resurrection.

May

General: That those who administer justice will always act with integrity and upright conscience.

Missionary: That seminarians, especially from mission Churches, may always be pastors according to the heart of Christ, fully devoted to the proclamation of the Gospel.

June

General: That a culture of dialogue, listening and reciprocal respect may prevail among the nations.

Missionary:  That in the areas where the influx of secularization is strongest, Christian communities may learn to effectively promote a new evangelization.

July

General: That the World Youth Day taking place in Brazil may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the Gospel.

Missionary: That throughout the Asian continent, doors may be opened to the messengers of the Gospel.

August

General: That parents and teachers may help the new generations to grow up with a upright conscience and a consistent life.

Missionary: That the particular Churches of the African continent, faithful to the Gospel proclamation, may promote the building of peace and justice.

September

General: That the men and women of our time, often immersed in noise, may resdiscover the value of silence and learn to listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.

Missionary: That Christians who suffer persecution in numerous regions of the world may be prophets of the love of Christ by their testimony.

October

General: That those who feel weary from the heaviness of life, and even long for its end, may sense the closeness of God’s love.

Missionary: That the celebration of World Missions Day may make all Christians aware that they are not only recipients but also proclaimers of the Word of God.

November

General: That priests experiencing difficulties may be comforted in their sufferings, sustained in the doubts and confirmed in their fidelity.

Missionary:  That the Churches of Latin America may send missionaries to other Churches as a result of the continental mission.

December

General: That children who are victims of abandonment and of every form of violence may find the love and protection they need.

Missionary: That Christians, enlightened by the light of the incarnate Word, may prepare humanity for the coming of the Savior.

No Law, No Freedom.

Image@ignatiouspress

Image@ignatiouspress

This past Sunday’s homily included a quote from Pope Benedicte’s book called , ‘Spirit of the Liturgy’, and today I find a quote on a poster from Ignatius Press! This book is a must have. Reading through tweets this afternoon, I came across a post here,  taken from  the L’Osservatore Romano (the Vatican’s newspaper) which relates perfectly to the slogan on the  above poster:

and I quote:-

If relativism is taken as a norm  

2013-01-16 L’Osservatore Romano

Your Excellency, on 15 January the European Court of Human Rights published its judgments on four cases relating to the freedom of conscience and religion of employees in the United Kingdom. Two of these cases concern employees’ freedom to wear a small cross around their neck in the workplace, while the other two concern the freedom to object in conscience to the celebration of a civil union between persons of the same sex and to conjugal counselling for couples of the same sex. Only in one case the Court held in favor of the applicant.

These cases show that questions relating to freedom of conscience and religion are complex, in particular in European society marked by the increase of religious diversity and the corresponding hardening of secularism. There is a real risk that moral relativism ,

which imposes itself as a new social norm, will come to undermine the foundations of individual freedom of conscience and religion. The Church seeks to defend individual freedoms of conscience and religion in all circumstances, even in the face of the “dictatorship of relativism”.  To this end, the rationality of the human conscience in general and of the moral action of Christians in particular requires explanation. Regarding morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality, freedom of consciences must be respected. Rather than being an obstacle to the establishment of a tolerant society in its pluralism, respect for freedom of conscience and religion is a condition for it. Addressing the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See last week Pope Benedict XVI stressed that: “In order effectively to safeguard the exercise of religious liberty it is essential to respect the right of conscientious objection. This “frontier” of liberty touches upon principles of great importance of an ethical and religious character, rooted in the very dignity of the human person. They are, as it were, the “bearing walls” of any society that wishes to be truly free and democratic. Thus, outlawing individual and institutional conscientious objection in the name of liberty and pluralism paradoxically opens by contrast the door to intolerance and forced uniformity.”

The erosion of freedom of conscience also witnesses to a form of pessimism with regard to the capacity of the human conscience to recognize the good and the true, to the advantage of positive law alone, which tends to monopolize the determination of morality. It is also the Church’s role to remind people that every person, no matter what his beliefs, has, by means of his conscience, the natural capacity to distinguish good from evil and that he should act accordingly. Therein lies the source of his true freedom.

Some time ago the Holy See’s Mission to the Council of Europe published a Note on the Church’s freedom and institutional autonomy. Could you explain the context of the Note?

The issue of the Church’s freedom in her relations with civil authorities is at present being examined by the European Court of Human Rights in two cases involving the Orthodox Church of Romania and the Catholic Church. These are the Sindacatul “Pastorul cel Bun” versus Romania and Fernandez Martinez versus Spain cases. On this occasion the Permanent Representation of the Holy See to the Council of Europe drew up a synthetic note explaining the magisterium (official Church teaching) on the freedom and institutional autonomy of the Catholic Church.

What is at stake in these cases?

In these cases, the European Court must decide whether the civil power respected the European Convention on Human Rights in refusing to recognize a trade union of priests (in the Romanian case) and in refusing to appoint a teacher of religion who publicly professes positions contrary to the teaching of the Church (in the Spanish case). In both cases, the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression were invoked in order to constrain religious communities to act in a manner contrary to their canonical status and the Magisterium. Thus, these cases call into question the Church’s freedom to function according to her own rules and not to be subject to civil rules other than those necessary to ensure that the common good and just public order are respected. The Church has always had to defend herself in order to preserve her autonomy with regard to the civil power and ideologies. Today, an important issue in Western countries is to determine how the dominant culture, strongly marked by materialist individualism and relativism, can understand and respect the nature of the Church, which is a community founded on faith and reason.

How does the Church understand this situation?

The Church is aware of the difficulty of determining the relations between the civil authorities and the different religious communities in a pluralist society with regard to the requirements of social cohesion and the common good. In this context, the Holy See draws attention to the necessity of maintaining religious freedom in its collective and social dimension.

This dimension corresponds to the essentially social nature both of the person and of the religious fact in general. The Church does not ask that religious communities be lawless zonesbut that they be recognized as spaces for freedom, by virtue of the right to religious freedom, while respecting just public order. This teaching is not reserved to the Catholic Church; the criteria derived from it are founded in justice and are therefore of general application.

Furthermore, the juridical principle of the institutional autonomy of religious communities is widely recognized by States which respect religious freedom, as well as by international law.

The European Court of Human Rights itself has regularly stated this principle in several important judgments. Other institutions have also affirmed this principle. This is notably the case with the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and also with the United Nations Committee for Human Rights in, respectively, the Final Document of the Vienna Conference of 19 January 1989 and General Observation No. 22 on the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion of 30 July 1993. It is nevertheless useful to recall and defend this principle of the autonomy of the Church and the civil power.

How is this Note set out?

The Church’s freedom will be better respected if it is, first of all, well understood, without prejudice, by the civil authorities. It is therefore necessary to explain how the Church’s freedom is envisaged. To this end, the Permanent Representation of the Holy See to the Council of Europe drew up a synthetic Note (which is here attached) explaining the Church’s position on the basis of four principles: (1) the distinction between the Church and the political community; (2) freedom in relation to the State; (3) freedom within the Church; (4) respect for just public order.

Following the explanation of these principles, the Note also presents the more pertinent extracts from the Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae and the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council.

Freedom and the institutional autonomy of the Church

Below we are publishing the English text of the Note on the Catholic Church’s freedom and institutional autonomy presented by Holy See’s Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe concerning the cases: Sindicatul “Pastorul cel Bun” versus Romania n° (2330/09) and Fernández-Martínez versus Spain (n° 56030/07) being examined by the European Court of Human Rights.

The teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the aspects of religious freedom touched on by the two above-mentioned cases may be presented synthetically as based on the following four principles: 1) the distinction between the Church and the political community; 2) freedom in relation to the State; 3) freedom within the Church; 3) respect for just public order.

(1). The distinction between the Church and the political community

The Church recognizes the distinction between the Church and the political community, each of which has distinct ends; the Church is in no way confused with the political community and is not bound to any political system. The political community must see to the common good and ensure that citizens can lead a “calm and peaceful life” in this world. The Church recognizes that it is in the political community that the most complete realization of the common good is to be found (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1910); this is to be understood as “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily” (ibid., n. 1906). It is the State’s task to defend it and ensure the cohesion, unity and organization of society in order that the common good may be realized with the contribution of all citizens and that the material, cultural, moral and spiritual goods necessary for a truly human existence may be made accessible to everyone. The Church, for her part, was founded in order to lead the faithful to their eternal end by means of her teaching, sacraments, prayer and laws.

This distinction is based on the words of the Lord Jesus (Christ): “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21). In their own areas, the political community and the Church are independent of each other and autonomous. When it is a question of areas which have both temporal and spiritual ends, such as marriage or the education of children, the Church is of the view that the civil power should exercise its authority while making sure not to damage the spiritual good of the faithful. The Church and the political community, however, cannot ignore one another; from different points of view they are at the service of the same people. They exercise this service all the more effectively for the good of all the more they strive for healthy mutual cooperation, as the Second Vatican Council expressed it (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 76).

The distinction between the Church and the political community is ensured by respecting their reciprocal autonomy, which conditions their mutual freedom. The limits of this freedom are, for the State, to refrain from adopting measures which could do harm to the eternal salvation of the faithful, and, for the Church, to respect the public order of the State.

(2). Freedom with respect to the State

The Church claims no privilege but asks that her freedom to carry out her mission in a pluralist society be fully respected and protected. The Church received this mission and this freedom from Jesus Christ, not from the State. The civil power should thus respect and protect the freedom and autonomy of the Church and in no way prevent her from fully carrying out her mission, which consists in leading the faithful, by her teaching, sacraments, prayers and laws, to their eternal end.

The Church’s freedom should be recognized by the civil power with regard to all that concerns her mission, whether it is a matter of the institutional organization of the Church (choice and formation of her co-workers and of the clergy, choice of bishops, internal communication between the Holy See, the bishops and faithful, the founding and governing of institutes of religious life, the publication and distribution of written texts, the possession and administration of temporal goods …), or the fulfilment of her mission towards the faithful (especially by the exercise of her Magisterium, the celebration of public worship, the administration of the sacraments and pastoral care).

The Catholic religion exists in and through the Church, which is the mystical body of Christ. When considering the Church’s freedom, primary attention should therefore be given to her collective dimension: the Church is autonomous in her institutional functioning, juridical order and internal administration. With due respect for the imperatives of a just public order, this autonomy should be respected by the civil authorities; this is a condition of religious freedom and the distinction between Church and State. The civil authorities cannot, without committing an abuse of power, interfere in the purely religious domain, for example, by seeking to change the bishop’s decision regarding appointment to a function.

(3). Freedom within the Church

The Church is not unaware that certain religions and ideologies can oppress the freedom of their adherents; however, for her part, the Church recognizes the fundamental value of human freedom. The Church sees in every human person a creature endowed with intelligence and free will. The Church sees herself as a space for freedom and prescribes norms intended to guarantee that this freedom is respected. Thus, all religious acts, for validity, require the freedom of the one carrying them out, that is, the engagement of their will. Taken together and apart from their individual significance, these freely accomplished acts aim at giving access to the “freedom of the children of God”. Mutual relations within the Church (such as marriage and religious vows made before God) are governed by this freedom.

This freedom has a relation of dependence on the truth (“the truth will make you free”, Jn 8:32): consequently it cannot be invoked to justify an attack on the truth. Thus, a member of the lay faithful or a religious cannot, with regard to the Church, invoke freedom to contest the faith (for example, by adopting public positions against the Magisterium) or to damage the Church (for example, by creating a civil trade union of priests against the will of the Church). It is true that every person is free to contest the Magisterium or the prescriptions and norms of the Church.

In case of disagreement, everyone may exercise the recourses provided by canon law and even break off his relations with the Church. Since relations within the Church are, however, essentially spiritual in nature, it is not the State’s role to enter into this area to settle disputes.

(4). Respect for just public order

The Church does not ask that religious communities be “lawless” areas, where the laws of the State would cease to apply. The Church recognizes the legitimate competence of civil authorities and jurisdictions to assure the maintenance of public order. This public order should conform to justice. Thus, the State should ensure that religious communities respect morality and just public order. In particular, it should see to it that persons are not subject to inhuman or degrading treatment, that their physical and moral integrity is respected, including the possibility of freely leaving their religious community. This is where the autonomy of the different religious communities is limited, allowing both individual and collective and institutional religious freedom to be guaranteed, while respecting the common good and the cohesion of pluralist societies. Apart from these cases, civil authorities should respect the autonomy of religious communities, by virtue of which these should be free to function and organize themselves according to their own rules.

In this regard, it should be borne in mind that the Catholic faith completely respects reason. Christians recognize the distinction between reason and religion, between the natural and supernatural orders, and believe that “grace does not destroy nature”, that is to say, that faith and the other gifts of God never render human nature and the use of human reason useless, not ignore them, but rather promote and encourage them. Christianity, unlike other religions, does not involve formal religious prescriptions (regarding food, vesture, mutilation, etc.) which, were the case to arise, could offend against natural morality and enter into conflict with the law of a religiously neutral State. In any case, Christ taught us to go beyond such purely formal religious prescriptions and replaced them by the living law of charity, a law which, in the natural order, recognizes that conscience has the task of distinguishing between good and evil. Thus, the Catholic Church could not impose any prescription contrary to the just requirements of public order.

Significant 7

This one’s for 8kidsandabusiness, as I received a super award from her 10 days ago. So, today I am fulfilling the rules on acceptance of this accolade! The great tenet of this award is the fact that I have had to consider which 7 Bible passages are my favourite. This has left me the opportunity  to reconsider the Word of God and left me with much  food for thought myself. Thanks for this opportunity 8kidsandabusiness!

Citizen Tom created the Food For Thought Award.  Here is his explanation:“What’s The Food for Thought Award? How can we combine The Super Sweet Blogger Award with The Thought Provoking Blog Award? Well, when a Christian blog offers visitors wisdom from the Word of God, isn’t that blog providing its visitors food for thought? Ah ha! Thus was born a new award.”  

Here are the rules:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the one who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Share seven of your favourite Bible passages. For extra points (Perhaps our Father in heaven will award them.), explain why each of these seven passages is a favourite.
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers you admire and enjoy! Why seven? In the Bible, seven symbolizes completeness.
  5. Inform each person that you have nominated them.

My seven favourite Bible passages: I have used the website Biblia to find the passages. I love this site as you have numerous translations to choose from . I am using the Revised Standard Edition. 

  1. Psalm 139:  This was the first passage I read that revealed God the Father to me. HE knew me before anyone else. Anyone else! It makes me feel cherished. This Psalm made me tingle from head to toe. A message just for me, at the right time of my life.

13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

 

2. Proverbs 3: v5-6: That God is the One , True and Only Way to fulfilment in life frees me from many stresses. It has helped me to come to terms with my human frailty.

5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

 

3. Psalm 51:10,11,12:  For meperfect prayer before Confession

10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

 

4. John 6:35: My hunger to be close to the Lord is satisfied in this, The Bread of Life. I receive Him in the form of bread as often as possible and every time I do I feel His peace and I think about when next I will be so close to Him.

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst”.

5. Psalm 34:8  I love this quote because of the truth in it. Related to the quote above.

8  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

 

6. Matthew 5:44: In Confession, my parish priest told me to pray for the person who was making my life a misery. I  looked up the bible quote and it’s one that I keep close to my heart. It took many attempts to pray for someone who made me so unhappy, I simply couldn’t get passed my feelings of anger and frustration, but I pray easily now because this prayer has changed my view of the persecutor.

44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

6.  1Peter 5:8,9  My discernment of temptation  is heightened in these two verses and through my experiences in life. My parish priest says, ‘If the devil leaves you alone, you know you’re in trouble!!’.

8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil  prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 

7. Matthew 6:9 One of my favourite, most complete prayers ever:

9  Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

10  Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11  Give us this day our daily bread,

12  and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

 

 

 

I like this Bishop! PC multiculturalism and secularism are destroying Christians’ freedom of religion – Bishop Egan

This article is all about what concerns 1catholicsalmon, to a t! Read on…

Bishop Philip Egan, the new Bishop of Portsmouth, has given a frank, outspoken interview to Vatican Radio in which he discusses the threat multiculturalism and secularism pose to our freedom of religion:

‘Our Christian Faith is essentially public and it does seek to influence and build a culture based on the revelation of Christ and natural law that is written into the human heart. And the role of religion in culture, and I thinks its one of its key roles really is to support natural law, things that are naturally true and good for the human person.

Of course living in a very pluralist and multi-ethnic culture there is a danger in our Western societies and the secularist agendas there to drive religion out of the public domain, to take it out of all public discourse and in the process of that they obliterate the Christian traditions on which our British cultures are actually based. These deprive us of our ability to express our religion in the public domain.

My concern is that the people who are making very important decisions about they way we live are doing that without the support of the faith traditions which can give us a clear view on what is true and good and loving for human beings to flourish, as a result they restrict our freedoms and begin to control us, ultimately leading to this relativistic – or what some term ‘politically-correct’ – world, which is actually destructive of human freedom in the long run, rather than liberating people. This is going to be for all Catholics and all Christians in Western societies an ongoing issue over the next decades”.

Bishop Egan also discussed the importance of the Year of Faith:

‘“I think the Year of Faith is a brilliant initiative from the Holy Father and it coincides of course for me with the beginning of my Episcopal ministry. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us all to deepen our faith because faith is really the most precious gift. Faith is very much today’s issue, particularly in Western countries. The question of faith, the meaning of life, the existence of God, the relationship between science and religion. I would really like to gently, in my first pastoral, ask people to do a number things: I’d like them to think about the Creed over the next twelve months and especially I want to encourage people to witness”.

Witness, according to Bishop Egan begins with the small things: “I’ve made a few suggestions, for example; why not wear a crucifix or a religious symbol? Or perhaps when you are out for a meal, make the sign of the Cross before you begin; or even simple things like saying, ‘Thank God’, when someone tells you good news. These can be very gentle forms of publically witnessing to our Christian faith”.

“I think the Year of Faith is a brilliant initiative from the Holy Father and it coincides of course for me with the beginning of my Episcopal ministry. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us all to deepen our faith because faith is really the most precious gift. Faith is very much today’s issue, particularly in Western countries. The question of faith, the meaning of life, the existence of God, the relationship between science and religion. I would really like to gently, in my first pastoral, ask people to do a number things: I’d like them to think about the Creed over the next twelve months and especially I want to encourage people to witness”.

Witness, according to Bishop Egan begins with the small things: “I’ve made a few suggestions, for example; why not wear a crucifix or a religious symbol? Or perhaps when you are out for a meal, make the sign of the Cross before you begin; or even simple things like saying, ‘Thank God’, when someone tells you good news. These can be very gentle forms of publically witnessing to our Christian faith”.

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2012/10/01/from_mary’s_dowry_a_gentle_new_evangelization/en1-625949

Little Way Week

Image@http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk

I received an email from the Schools Commission this week with details of resources for primary and secondary schools during the course of a special week called ‘Little Way Week’. It’s to be celebrated in the week before the beginning of the Year of Faith, which begins on the 11th of October.

 

Thérèse of Lisieux
“In my little way there are only very
ordinary things… Miss no single
opportunity of making some small
sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there
by a kindly word; always doing the
smallest right and doing it all for love.”

Little Way Week is inspired by the spiritual teaching and example of St Thérèse of Lisieux and runs from the 6 to the 12 October 2012.  All resources are ready to be picked up and easy to use. You will find them here.

The initiative takes its inspiration from St Thérèse of Lisieux, the universal Patroness of Mission, who gave to the Church a teaching called the ‘Little Way’ –  the saint lived by this pathway which is a commitment to do small tasks every day with love. It is a simple way of witnessing to the love of God and neighbour.

The initiative is being offered in support of the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK who said to those gathered in Oscott in 2010: “I know that you will take a lead in calling for solidarity with those in need. The prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, who can so easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources. In their teaching document Choosing the Common Good, the Bishops of England and Wales underlined the importance of the practice of virtue in public life. Today’s circumstances provide a good opportunity to reinforce that message.”

Bishop Kieran Conry (Arundel and Brighton), Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference and Patron of the initiative said: “In our communities many people are in need and it is the task of every Christian to reach out to them in love and service. You are invited to be especially attentive to those who might need help, ready to share as appropriate the reason for your actions – that you are following the command of Jesus Christ to love your neighbour as yourself.”

Little Way Week is a wonderful initiative that the whole school community can participate in
to witness to God’s love through service. Let us imitate St Thérèse as someone who found
deep and lasting joy and happiness in doing little things for Jesus and those around her.
Rt Rev Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis

Sacred art on our doorstep Londoners!

I received a newsletter from Radiant Light this evening. In it they request that Elizabeth Wang’s exhibition be advertised far and wide. Do follow the link above to be inspired and moved by such beautiful Sacred art. (I am, at present, awaiting a a response from Radiant Light in order to use the photographs of the paintings on 1catholicsalmon. I would just love to share some of my favourite paintings on this platform.)

On the above website, you will find notes that accompany the art work. These can be used to teach about Christ. Well worth a look.

So please read here:

An exhibition of both new and well-known pictures by Catholic artist Elizabeth Wang takes place in central London this summer. Entitled “In the Light of His Glory”, the exhibition takes place at:

The French Church, 5 Leicester Place, WC2H7BX (just off Leicester Square, near the main Häagen-Dazs Cafe),

from 18th June to 16th September 2012.

Notre Dame, 5 Leicester Place London

The church is open every day from 9am to 9pm. everyone’s welcome, and entrance is free. The pictures illustrate Christian themes in striking contemporary imagery, and touch on subjects such as prayer, holiness, suffering,the love of Christ, the Eucharist, and the Glory of God. They should inspire and encourage those searching for a deeper faith. Visit the Radiant Light website for further details.

Saturday 28th September – A Radiant Light Afternoon

On Saturday 28th Sept, beginning at 2pm, there is an afternoon event in the French Church. This includes a time of prayer and reflection, a guided meditation on each of the images, the celebration of Holy Mass, and some social time afterwards. All are welcome; no tickets are required. This is a wonderful opportunity for people who have been interested in Radiant Light to come together in prayer, and it should be a helpful and inspiring time for anyone seeking to deepen their faith.

(NB: Allow extra time to travel because of the Paralympics!)

The Catholic Connection: Part 3

The earliest Christian symbol: @1catholicsalmon

All my life have I been steeped in Catholic Tradition but I ‘ve taken it for granted, merrily assimilating them as part of the Catholic me.  I have always known the shepherd is symbolic of Christ. I can’t even remember when I acquired this knowledge. I never questioned why or where it originated. Well, on my trip to Rome I realised just how much Tradition is part of the Catholic Faith. It rests on it firmly and unequivocally, as far back as the times the time of our ancestors in the Old Testament!

I attended part of a course on Catechises (that of passing on of the Faith) at Maryvale College, in which the above symbol was presented as a matter of course during discussion.  It was pointed out as being the symbol present on the cover of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This changed my perception of the symbol: a simple picture of a shepherd with his sheep, used to grace the cover of the document outlining the Tradition of the Church? It must be of much significance then!

Well, it is.

On the inside cover of the CCC is this explanation for the use of the symbol:

‘The design of the logo on the cover is taken from a Christian tombstone in the catacombs of Domitilla, in Rome, which dates from the end of the third century A.D. This pastoral image, of pagan origin, was used by Christians to symbolize the rest and the happiness of that the soul of the departed finds in eternal life

This image also suggests certain characteristics aspects of the Catechism: Christ, the Good Shepherd who leads and protects his faithful (the lamb) by his authority (the Staff), draws them by the melodious symphony of the truth (the panpipes and makes them lie down in the shade of the ‘tree of life’, his redeeming Cross which opens paradise.’

Image@http://www.vatican.va

On this trip to Rome, I didn’t get to the catacombs of Domitilla, but did visit the catacombs of St Calistus. The photograph above,  is of this wonderful symbol used by the Christians of ancient Rome to communicate their affinity with Christ and with one another. As it was used as pagan symbol the adoption of it by the Christian communities in Rome ensured that they would meet safely to participate in the Eucharist without fear of reprisal or capture.

The objective of this post? To point out that the links to Catholic Connection Tradition runs deep and wide. It is far reaching and extensive. I experienced it in the garden and catacombs of fellow Christians who have gone before me.

Take a little time to unearth them  and see for yourself.

I give thanks and pray about this as written by St Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:3:

‘We are indebted to give thanks to God for you always, my brethren, as it is necessary, because your faith grows all the more and the love of each and every one of you increases toward his neighbour.’

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