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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on May 13, 2016 at 7:49 AM||comments ()|
During Wednesday’s General Audience Pope Francis reminded the gathered that Friday 13 May is the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima, stressing the importance of paying heed to Mary’s words not to offend God any more than we already have and to focus our hearts and minds on abandoning ourselves to God’s love and mercy.
The pope said: “In this apparition, Mary invites us once again to prayer, penitence and conversion. She asks us to offend God no more….She warns all humanity of the need to abandon itself to God, the wellspring of love and mercy. Following the example of St. John Paul II, a great devotee of Our Lady of Fatima, let us listen carefully to the Mother of God, and implore peace for the world.”
|Posted on April 11, 2016 at 9:11 AM||comments ()|
This, brothers and sisters, is our faith.
These images from Fatima show the world what it means to be Catholic. Why not share them with others and show them the deep sense of unity and love that exists in the Church; a Church that is open to all.
And as the month of Mary approaches, why not consider joining in the First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? You can find out more by clicking here.
|Posted on March 22, 2016 at 1:09 PM||comments ()|
From today’s Gospel:
‘Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’’
This small passage from today’s Gospel follows on nicely from our reflection on yesterday’s Gospel when we compared the simple love Mary had for Jesus in needing to be close to him with Martha’s need to be on the go. In being so preoccupied Martha missed out on precious quality time with Jesus, a mistake Mary was not prepared to make.
And today we have Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, claiming that he would lay down his life for Jesus. That, you would think, is a step up from the love shown by Mary. And it is. And Peter would, of course, eventually become a martyr for Christ in Rome. But for now Jesus has an unfortunate surprise for Peter. He tells him that he is going to deny him. Imagine your best friend, or even your spouse, telling you that they know you will betray them in some way. You, like Peter, would be very disappointed to hear such news! But then don’t we betray people every day, denying their true value as fellow human beings and children of God? Don’t we gossip, complain and criticise other people behind their back on a regular basis? These are human weaknesses and no human is exempt from them. Even St Peter fell into this trap! So, in that sense, we are in good company.
But, like St Peter, we are called to greater things. We are called to overcome our human weakness and realise the hurt caused by some of our actions. How can we forget the look on Peter’s face in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ when he heard the cock crow? How can we forget the way he then rushed to the feet of Mary and sobbed uncontrollably as he clung to her garment, realising how foolish and weak he had been?
We are all capable of moments of weakness in our lives, even to the point of mistreating or even denying those most precious to us. The next time you fall into this trap look for the comforting arms of your mother Mary, just as Peter did, and seek reconciliation with Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession. This is how we can overcome our weakness and become saints. If Peter can do it, so can we.
|Posted on January 26, 2016 at 4:10 AM||comments ()|
Scottish MSPs will today discuss a petition calling on the government to make incest legal between consenting adults over the age of 21.
The petition, by Richard Morris, claims that the existing law is “inappropriate, unfair, ineffective and discriminatory” and suggests that public “prejudice and bigotry” about incest was caused by ignorance. He has also apparently likened the issue to historical treatment of homosexuals.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear on the matter of incest and states the following:
‘2388Incest designates intimate relations between relatives or in-laws within a degree that prohibits marriage between them. St. Paul stigmatizes this especially grave offense: "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you . . . for a man is living with his father's wife. . . . In the name of the Lord Jesus . . . you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. . . . " Incest corrupts family relationships and marks a regression toward animality.’
We are left in no doubt by St Paul’s words. Incest is destruction of the flesh and is mortal sin. Indeed all instances of sexual relations outside of marriage are sinful and must be avoided. And look how St Paul uses the name of Jesus to hit home the severity of incest. It is not in St Paul’s name that an individual guilty of incest is to be delivered to the devil, but in the name of Jesus.
It’s interesting that the petitioner Mr Morris cites the treatment of homosexuals to support his case. The Catholic Church’s stance on homosexual acts is clear, and many people in the Church and indeed others who believe such acts to be wrong, have stated their concern that increased liberalism with respect to homosexuality will open wider the floodgates of a deeply disturbing and increasingly sickening new sexual revolution in our society. I believe Mr Morris’s petition is evidence of this.
Our Blessed Mother Mary, when she appeared to the children in Fatima in the early twentieth century, stated that more people go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other sin. That’s the Mother of God speaking. It’s not the view of some radical religious nut, or priest, or bishop. It’s not even a pope speaking. It’s Mary, the Mother of our God and Queen of Heaven.
So let us pray that Mary’s voice will be heard and that our MSPs decide to reject this petition and retain existing laws on incest in our country.
|Posted on July 3, 2015 at 11:07 AM||comments ()|
Catholic Answers' director of apologetics Tim Staples considers the question of women priests in the Catholic Church and reveals seven reasons why this is not possible.
The seven reasons are:
1. The Church has definitively declared it
2. The Church's constant Tradition for 2,000 years cannot err
3. The attitude of Christ
4. The practice of the Apostles
5. The permanent value of the attitude of Jesus Christ and the Apostles
6. The ministerial priesthood in the light of the mystery of Christ
7. The ministerial priesthood as illustrated by the mystery of the Church
Click this link to read the full article: http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/call-no-woman-father
Join in the First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Receive the Graces Necessary for Salvation
|Posted on June 5, 2015 at 7:32 AM||comments ()|
The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an incredibly rich, and ultimately rewarding, devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary.
Please try to participate in this most incredible act of devotion and allow Jesus to pour his abundant graces upon you.
|Posted on December 9, 2014 at 7:02 AM||comments ()|
Catholic Answers Director of Apologetics and Evangelisation Tim Staples takes a fascinating look at the beautiful teaching that Mary was conceived without sin and considers the various links between the Old and New Testament with respect to our Blessed Mother.
Click this link to read Tim’s article: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/hail-mary-conceived-without-sin
|Posted on October 27, 2014 at 9:41 AM||comments ()|
Pope Francis said the institution of Christian marriage has never been attacked so much as nowadays where a temporary or throw-away culture has become widespread. He said marriage should not be seen just a social rite and urged priests to stay close to couples and especially children experiencing the trauma of a family break-up. The Pope was replying to questions put to him on a range of topics during an audience with more than 7000 pilgrims belonging to the Schoenstatt movement, an international Marian and apostolic organization that is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in Germany. The movement now embraces members, both lay and clerics, from dozens of nations around the world.
Mistaken views about marriage and its true meaning, our temporary or throw-away culture, the need to be courageous and daring, Mary’s missionary role, the disunity of the Devil and why the concept of solidarity is under attack. These were just some of the wide-ranging issues which Pope Francis spoke about in his off-the-cuff remarks during the question and answer session with the Schoenstatt pilgrims held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall on Saturday.
Asked about marriage and what advice he can offer to those who don’t feel welcome in the Church, Pope Francis stressed the need for priests to stay close to each one of their flock without becoming scandalized over what takes place within the family. He said a bishop during the recent Synod on the family asked whether priests are aware of what children feel and the psychological damage caused when their parents separate. The Pope noted how sometimes in these cases the parent who is separating ends up living at home only part-time with the children which he described as a “new and totally destructive” form of co-habitation.
He said the Christian family and marriage have never been so attacked as they are nowadays because of growing relativism over the concept of the sacrament of marriage. When it comes to preparing for marriage, Pope Francis said all too often there is a misunderstanding over the difference between the sacrament of marriage and the social rite. Marriage is for ever, he said, but in our present society there is a temporary or throw-away culture that has become widespread.
Turning to the missionary role of Mary, the Pope reminded people that nobody can search for faith without the help of Mary, the Mother of God, saying a Church without Mary is like an orphanage. When questioned as to how he maintains a sense of joy and hope despite the many problems and wars in our world, Pope Francis replied that he uses prayer, trust, courage and daring. To dare is a grace, he said, and a prayer without courage or daring is a prayer that doesn’t work.
Asked about reform of the Church, the Pope said people describe him as a revolutionary but went on to point out that the Church has always been that way and is constantly reforming itself. He stressed that the first revolution or way of renewing the Church is through inner holiness and that counts far more than more external ways such as reforming the Curia and the Vatican bank. Pope Francis also spoke about the importance of having a freedom of spirit and warned against closing ourselves up in a mass of rules and regulations, thus becoming a caricature of the doctors of law.
The theme of our throw-away society was also touched on again by the Pope in another reply when he said our present-day culture is one that destroys the human bonds that bind us together. And in this context, he continued, one word that is at risk of dying in our society is 'solidarity' and this is also a symptom of our inability to forge alliances. Pope Francis also warned about the Devil, stressing that he exists and that his first weapon is disunity.
(Article from news.va)
Synod emphasises the need to 'drop the stone' when it comes to sinners (Dwelling on the Word of God, Friday 17th October 2014)
|Posted on October 17, 2014 at 7:53 AM||comments ()|
Consider this Gospel passage (John 8:1-11):
And Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the middle they said to Jesus, 'Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and in the Law Moses has ordered us to stone women of this kind. What have you got to say?' They asked him this as a test, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he straightened up and said, 'Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.' Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until the last one had gone and Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained in the middle. Jesus again straightened up and said, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you,' said Jesus. 'Go away, and from this moment sin no more.'
Nobody knows what Jesus wrote in the sand in this Gospel passage. Some suggest it was the sins of the scribes and the Pharisees. Others suggest Jesus was making the point that the sins of the scribes and the Pharisees were as many as the grains of sand on the ground. But whatever it was, it made them walk away from their intended execution of the adulterous woman.
This passage is perhaps relevant when we consider the recent furore around the Church’s Synod on Family Life. The Synod has been established as a forum for Church fathers to consider important issues around family life such as marriage, divorce, cohabitation, contraception and homosexuality. The furore, as I have so delicately put it, centres around the publication of the Synod’s mid-term report, the language of which has made some Catholic people quiver at the prospect of changes to Church teaching.
While any change in Church doctrine is, thankfully, very unlikely, the document contains a clear undertone which suggests a certain sympathy or understanding with people in sinful situations. There were positives drawn from people living in same-sex relationships and cohabiting couples. There was talk of further consideration of the issue of participation in the sacraments for divorced and remarried people. It appears the Church is not going to shirk from discussing the big issues.
For me, the report, rather than setting out a threat to Church teaching, has brought about an opportunity to consider how we treat sinners. It is more about what we do with sinners rather than drilling down to what is actually a sin. And this is where the Gospel is so relevant.
The Synod report is a working document which will be subject to change as the first gathering of the Synod comes to a close this week. Further, even when this work is done the report will not be an authoritative document. No significant decisions will be made until October 2015 when the Synod gathers again to finalise its views.
In the meantime, we are all asked to consider the content of the Synod’s discussions. Content which for me suggests the Church is encouraging careful consideration of how we treat people in sinful situations. It’s all well and good saying that there is a simple answer to sin in the form of the sacrament of reconciliation. However, it is a whole different ball game getting people there. Indeed, many people who consider themselves to be practising Catholics probably don’t go to confession as often as they should. Consider Pope Francis and his fortnightly visit to the sacrament. If he needs it twice per month, how often do I need it??
So, how do we get people to confession? How do we get people to engage more with the Church? That is, after all, where we want sinners to be; in the Church! I know I am a sinner; that’s why I am Catholic, that’s why I go to Mass every week. I need the grace of God to sustain me and to help me. I am, in truth, no different to the adulterous woman in the Gospel and I need the same grace of God as she did.
I feel that the Synod has thus far been an extremely useful exercise for the Church. I think it is an opportunity for the Catholic Church to seriously consider how we reach out to people. I think it is an opportunity to reaffirm the beautiful teaching of the Church but to perhaps take a slightly different tact in how we share it with people. It’s not about watering down Church teaching; it’s about how we wrap our arms around people who need God’s forgiveness. It’s about how we lead them and their families to the Church and to participation in the sacraments.
Who do you want to be….the loving Jesus coming to the aid of someone in need, or the self-righteous Pharisees, ever willing to condemn at the first hint of sin? Jesus forgave the adulterous woman. But before he did this, he chastised those who tried to claim the moral high ground and who condemned her. He told them: 'Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.' Nobody threw a stone. Why? Because nobody is guiltless. The only two people to walk the earth without guilt and sin were Jesus and our Blessed Mother, Mary. Everyone else carries guilt and carries sin. Everyone else needs the forgiveness of God.
If we took fellow sinners in our loving, compassionate arms as Jesus did, couldn’t we bring many more people to the Church and to God?
The next time you stand before a sinner, think of this Gospel and drop the stone in your hand. Be more like Jesus and come to their aid. Wrap your arms around them and show them the love and compassion that awaits them in Christ’s Church.
|Posted on October 2, 2014 at 8:54 AM||comments ()|
While we should always strive to say the Rosary as often as we can (daily if possible) it is not always so easy to do. Thankfully the Church gives us the month of October to get our act together!
The month of October is the month of the Holy Rosary and must be seen as an opportunity to develop our knowledge of this most precious devotion and to develop our relationship with Jesus, our Saviour, and Mary, our mother. Personally, I cannot overstate the graces received as a result of saying the Rosary. It genuinely works miracles.
If you don't know what the Rosary is or are unsure how to say it, then look no further than our own brief introduction to walk you through the devotion. You can find it by clicking this link.
Please consider picking up your Rosary beads today and enjoy taking the hand of your mother and journey with her as you contemplate the mysteries of her Son's life. The graces will soon begin to flow....