Thursday, July 25, 2013

Q&A on Vatican II Liturgy with Cardinal Burke

Bringing the Liturgy Back to the Real Vatican II

Cardinal Burke Comments on Sacra Liturgia Conference

By Edward Pentin

ROME, July 25, 2013 ( - The abuses of the sacred liturgy that followed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council are “strictly correlated” with a great deal of moral corruption that exists in the world today, says Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke.

In an exclusive interview with ZENIT on the sidelines of Sacra Liturgia 2013, a major international conference on the liturgy held in Rome at the end of June, the Vatican’s most senior American says poor liturgies have also led to “a levity in catechesis” that has been “shocking” and left generations of Catholics ill prepared to deal with today’s challenges.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Cardinal Burke, who serves as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, also explains the importance of liturgical law, Pope Francis’ approach to the liturgy, and why the sacred liturgy is vital to the New Evangelization.

ZENIT: Your Eminence, what were your hopes for this conference?

Cardinal Burke: My hope for the conference was a return to the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on the sacred liturgy. Indeed, [I was hoping for] a deepening and appreciation of the continuity of the teaching practised with regard to the sacred liturgy throughout the Church’s history, and which is also reflected in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council – something that was obscured after the Council. I believe in large part that has been achieved.

ZENIT: Are we coming out of that period now?

Cardinal Burke: Yes, already Pope Paul VI after the Council in a very intense way, and then John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, laboured diligently to restore the true nature of the sacred liturgy as the gift of worship given to us by God and which we owe to God in the very way He teaches us how to worship. So it’s not man’s invention, it’s God’s gift to us.

ZENIT: How important is a sound understanding of the liturgy in today’s Church. How can it help evangelization?

Cardinal Burke: To me, it’s fundamental. It’s the most important area of catechesis: to understand the worship accorded to God. The first three commandments of the Ten Commandments are to do with this right relationship to God, especially with regards to worship. It’s only when we understand our relationship with God in offering worship that we also understand the right order of all the other relationships we have. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his wonderful magisterium on the sacred liturgy, and which he expressed so often, [it consists of] this connection between worship and right conduct, worship and law, worship and discipline.

ZENIT: Some argue the liturgy is mostly about aesthetics, and not as important as, say, good works done in faith. What is your view of this argument that one often hears?

Cardinal Burke: It’s a common misconception. First of all, the liturgy is about Christ. It’s Christ alive in his Church, the glorious Christ coming into our midst and acting on our behalf through sacramental signs to give us the gift of eternal life to save us. It is the source of any truly charitable works we do, any good works we do. So the person whose heart is filled with charity wants to do good works will, like Mother Teresa, give his first intention to the worship of God so that when he goes to offer charity to a poor person or someone in need, it would be at the level of God Himself, and not some human level.

ZENIT: Some also say that to be concerned with liturgical law is being unduly legalistic, that it’s a stifling of the spirit. How should one respond to that? Why should we be concerned about liturgical law?

Cardinal Burke: Liturgical law disciplines us so that we have the freedom to worship God, otherwise we’re captured – we’re the victims or slaves either of our own individual ideas, relative ideas of this or that, or of the community or whatever else. But the liturgical law safeguards the objectivity of sacred worship and opens up that space within us, that freedom to offer worship to God as He desires, so we can be sure we’re not worshipping ourselves or, at the same time, as Aquinas says, some kind of falsification of divine worship.

ZENIT: It offers a kind of template?

Cardinal Burke: Exactly, it’s what discipline does in every aspect of our lives. Unless we’re disciplined, then we’re not free.

ZENIT: As a diocesan bishop in the United States, how did you find the state of the liturgy in the parishes you’ve been in charge of? What, in your view, are the priorities for liturgical renewal in diocesan life today?

Cardinal Burke: I found, of course, many wonderful aspects - in both dioceses in which I’ve served - a strong sense of participation on the part of the faithful. What I also found were some of the shadows as Pope John Paul II called them, a loss of Eucharistic faith, a loss of Eucharistic devotion and certain liturgical abuses. And as a diocesan bishop I needed to address them and I tried as best I could. But in addressing them you always try to help both the priest and the faithful to understand the deep reasons for the Church’s discipline, the reasons why a certain abuse is not only unhelpful for sacred worship but is in fact blocking it or corrupting it.

ZENIT: It’s said love for the sacred liturgy and being pro-life go together, that those who worship correctly are more likely to want to bring children into the world. Could you explain why this is so?

Cardinal Burke: It’s in the sacred liturgy above all, and particularly in the Holy Eucharist, that we look upon the love which God has for every human life without exception, without boundary, beginning from the very first moment of conception, because Christ poured out his life as he said for all men. And remember he teaches us that whatever we do for the least of our brethren, we do directly for Him. In other words, he identifies himself in the Eucharistic sacrifice with every human life. So on the one hand, the Eucharist inspires a great reverence for human life, respect and care for human life, and at the same time it inspires a joy among those who are married to procreate, to cooperate with God in bringing new human life into this world.

ZENIT: Sacra Liturgia has been about liturgical celebration but also formation. What basis of liturgical formation do we need in our parishes, dioceses and particularly in our seminaries?

Cardinal Burke: The first important lesson that has to be taught is that the sacred liturgy is an expression of God’s right to receive from us the worship that is due to Him, and that flows from who we are. We are God’s creatures and so divine worship, in a very particular way, expresses at the same time the infinite majesty of God and also our dignity as the only earthly creature that can offer him worship, in other words that we can lift up our hearts and minds to him in praise and worship. So that would be the first lesson. Then to study carefully how the liturgical rites have developed down the centuries and not to see the history of the Church as somehow a corruption of those liturgical rites. In the true sense, the Church over time has come to an ever deeper understanding of the sacred liturgy and has expressed that in several ways, whether it be through sacred vestments, sacred vessels, through sacred architecture – even the care for sacred linens which are used in the Holy Mass. All of these are expressions of the liturgical reality and so those things have to be carefully studied, and of course then to study the relationship of liturgy with the other aspects of our lives.

ZENIT: You’re known for celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Why did Pope Benedict make this freely available and what role does it have to play in the Church of the 21st century?

Cardinal Burke: What Pope Benedict XVI saw and experienced, also through those who came to him, who were very attached what we now call the Extraordinary Form - the Traditional Mass - was that in the reforms as they were introduced after the Council, a fundamental misunderstanding took place. Namely, this was that the reforms were undertaken with the idea there had been a rupture, that the way in which the Mass had been celebrated up until the time of the Council was somehow radically defective and there had to be what was really violent change, a reduction of the liturgical rites and even the language used, in every respect. So in order to restore the continuity, the Holy Father gave wide possibility for the celebration of the sacred rites as they were celebrated up until 1962, and then expressed the hope that through these two forms of the same rite – it’s all the same Roman rite, it can’t be different, it’s the same Mass, same Sacrament of Penance and so forth –there would be a mutual enrichment. And that continuity would be more perfectly expressed in what some have called the “reform of the reform”.

ZENIT: Pope Francis is a different person to Benedict XVI in many ways, but it’s hard to believe there are substantial differences between them on the importance of the sacred liturgy. Are there any differences?

Cardinal Burke: I don’t see it at all. The Holy Father clearly hasn’t had the opportunity to teach in a kind of authoritative way about the sacred liturgy, but in the things he has said about the sacred liturgy I see a perfect continuity with Pope Benedict XVI. I see in the Holy Father, too, a great concern for respecting the magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI and his discipline, and that is what Pope Francis is doing.

ZENIT: This conference is reflecting on the 50 years since the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and 50 years ago this December its constitution on the sacred liturgy was promulgated. You’ve already mentioned how liturgical renewal was not as the Council desired, but how do you see things progressing in the future? What do you envision, especially among young people?

Cardinal Burke: Young people are going back now and studying both the texts of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council with its serious texts on liturgical theology which remain valid also today. They’re studying the rites as they were celebrated, striving to understand the meaning and various elements of the rite and there’s a great enthusiasm for that and a great interest in it. All of it, I believe, is directed to a more intense experience of God’s presence with us through the sacred liturgy. That transcendent element was most sadly lost when the reform after the Council was, so to speak, side-tracked and manipulated for other purposes – that sense of transcendence of Christ’s action through the sacraments.

ZENIT: Does this mirror the loss of the sacred in society as a whole?

Cardinal Burke: It does indeed. There’s no question in my mind that the abuses in the sacred liturgy, reduction of the sacred liturgy to some kind of human activity, is strictly correlated with a lot of moral corruption and with a levity in catechesis that has been shocking and has left generations of Catholics ill prepared to deal with the challenges of our time by addressing the Catholic faith to those challenges. You can see it in the whole gamut of Church life.

ZENIT: Pope Benedict said once that the crises we see in society today can be linked to problems of the liturgy.

Cardinal Burke: Yes he was convinced of that and I would say, so am I. It was, of course, more important that he was convinced of it, but I believe that he was absolutely correct.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

'Mountain Fire' in Southern California


Compassionate and loving God, at this time, when fires are burning in the San Jacinto Mountains around Idyllwild, Palm Springs, and surrounding areas, we pray for those who are victims of tragic fire loss, and for those who fear for their homes and businesses. Keep them safe. Fortify them with hope and faith. May the love shared among neighbors help them. We pray also for the brave men and women fighting fires throughout our diocese, may they be safe, and graced with hope, perseverance and faith in you, as they serve to protect communities from these destructive, raging fires. 

Bishop del Riego on wildfire in the San Jacinto Mountains
Bishop Rutilio del Riego
Auxiliary Bishop of San Bernardino 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the name of Bishop Gerald Barnes, I ask that you join in prayer for the community of Idyllwild as it faces the threat of a very large wildfire in the San Jacinto Mountains. We ask God to spare the people of Idyllwild and the many who are bravely fighting this fire from harm. We pray for the protection of homes and businesses in the community and, in a special way, we ask God to watch over Queen of Angels parish which is very near this fire. Let us pray for the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary in this time of great peril and threat to human safety and property.

May God bless you,

+Bishop Rutilio del Riego+

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Oh most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. Oh Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. Oh Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in necessity (make request). 

There are none that can withstand your power. 
Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (repeat three times). 

Holy Mary, I place this prayer in your hands (repeat three times). Amen.

From Fr. Ed Broom, OMV'S blog: 

From the cross Jesus gave His Mother Mary to John and also to us as our spiritual mother with the words: “Woman behold thy son; son behold thy mother. From that moment the beloved disciple took Mary into his home.” In the person of John are present all of humanity and you and me as her spiritual sons and daughters.

After preparing 33 days to consecrate our whole self to Jesus through Mary, we desire to make a concrete gesture of our consecration to Mary. This is done by receiving and wearing faithfully the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

As soldiers wear uniforms, as athletes wear their specific garb, as priests wear habit or clergyman—all as an exterior sign of their identification to what they do and who they are--- so we who are consecrated to Jesus through Mary willingly accept the Scapular, wear it faithfully until the end and desire even to die with the Scapular close to our hearts.

Our Lady gives the Scapular to St. Simon Stock

ST. SIMON STOCK. It was to St. Simon Stock that Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared (1251) when the Carmelites were going through very difficult times. Our Lady appeared surrounded by angels and in her hands presented to Simon the brown Scapular with the intention that he wear it over his shoulders as well as all of the Carmelites. Humbly obeying the Mother of God, graces and blessings descended upon St. Simon as well as the whole of the Carmelite Order.

OTHER CARMELITES. Following St. Simon Stock is an army of Carmelite saints who faithfully wore the Brown Scapular. Here are a few: St. Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, St Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of the Andes, Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Benedicta of the Cross (Formerly Edith Stein).

OUR LADY OF FATIMA. In the last and most famous Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on October 13, 1917, the Mother of God appeared dressed as Our Lady of Mount Carmel inviting the whole world to pray the most Holy Rosary and at the same time to wear the Brown Scapular of Carmel!

MEANING. To wear the Scapular is not a superstition, talisman, or a good-luck charm! Quite the contrary is true! By wearing the Scapular as an exterior sign we are making a clear statement: we want to belong to Jesus through the intercession of Mary. Families have logos—or emblem ; this is true. Well, we would like to manifest our belonging to the “Family of Mary” by wearing faithfully the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

The Brown Scapular and promise

LOVE AND PROTECTION. By wearing the Scapular we are expressing our great love for Mary. The word Scapular coming from Latin “Scapula” means shoulder, because it is placed over our shoulders. But even more important, in front, the Scapular rests over our heart. Meaning? Mary is placing her arms around us and clasping us close to her Immaculate Heart. Indeed devotion to the Scapular will lead us to seeking secure refuge in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

WHO CAN WEAR IT? Traditionally children receiving their First Communion would be blessed and enrolled in the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel the same day that they received Jesus the first time in Holy Communion. However, any Catholic at any time in the course of his/her life can be enrolled and receive the Scapular. Also, once one is enrolled he is enrolled for life and need not renew his enrollment!

The army of Carmelite saints that loved Our Lady

PRIVILEGES: BELONGING TO A NEW FAMILY--- THE CARMELITES!!! Once enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel we receive the blessings and prayers of the Carmelite Orders throughout the world. Also the Carmelite saints in heaven become part of your family in a very special way. Imagine St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St Therese and their joy of having you in their family and the power of their prayers from heaven! The Beatles used to sing “Get a little help from my friends”. These are the friends we really want to receive to help us from heaven!

SAINTS AND POPES. Many saints and Popes have highly recommended the wearing of the Scapular. Among many of these are the following: St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Pope John XXII, Pope Pius XI, Pope Paul VI and Blessed Pope John Paul II.

The miraculous Scapular that St. Alphonsus wore

ST. ALPHONSUS. On one occasion St. Alphonsus was shot. The bullet went through his outer garments and was embedded in his Brown Scapular and never even touched his body! There could not be a clearer sign than this of the hand of Our Lady of Mount Carmel holding back the bullet from killing this devoted lover of Our Lady. St Alphonsus asserted: “Just as men take pride in having others wear their livery, so the most Holy Mary is pleased when her servants wear Her Scapular as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to Her service, and as members of the family of the Mother of God.”

The shooting of Pope John Paul II

BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL II. Is it also a surprise that the attack and shooting of Pope John Paul II took place May 13, 1981--- the first Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the children. The Blessed Pontiff attributed the saving of his life to the mysterious but powerful intercession of the Mother of God. The following year on the same day, May 13, 1982, Pope John Paul II was in Fatima kneeling before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, thanking her for saving his life. Then a surprising gesture of profound significance occurred. The Pope rose and deposited in the crown of Our Lady of Fatima the large-sized bullet that was extracted from his intestines! Our Lady saved him! He went on to live until April 2, 2005--- almost 24 more years as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, due in large part to the intercession of the all-powerful Mother of God.
Our Lady alleviates the sufferings of Purgatory

SABBATINE PRIVILEGE. Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock and revealed this wonderful privilege, called the Sabbatine Privilege. The conditions are three:

1. SCAPULAR. To wear faithfully the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a sign of one’s love and trust in her motherly protection.

2. CHASTITY. A promise to live chastity according to one’s state in life.

3. PRAYER. One must pray the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary”--- basically consists of Psalms. This can be replaced by the daily recitation of the Most Holy Rosary. If these three conditions are met then Our Lady promises that through her powerful intercession a quick liberation will be effected from the fires of Purgatory. Let us listen to the words that Our Lady addressed to Saint Simon Stock: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”

Important note! Recently the "Sabbatine Privilege has been abrogated. Therefore, we invite you to read the Church's official teaching on this matter. (Click here)

                               MEANING OF THE WEARING OF THE SCAPULAR:
Love and Trust in Mary! 

1. Love for Mary as Mother and I desire to love her in return. Love demands a generous response of love!

2. TRUST. A limitless trust in her power of intercession in my life. I trust that she will save me from physical dangers but especially the moral dangers that could imperil my soul.

3. FAMILY. An immense joy in knowing that I belong to the family of Mary. This of course means that I belong to the Family of God, the Blessed Trinity. Mary is the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. So Mary will bring me into the Heart of the Blessed Trinity!

4. IMITATION. Knowledge leads to love and love following, and following, to imitation. We will desire ardently to imitate Mary in her most sublime virtues. St. Louis de Montfort enumerates ten: her deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom. (True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort, #108)

5. BELONGING/ENTRUSTMENT. We belong totally to Jesus through Mary. We want to entrust our whole life, its destiny and end into the hands and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

St. Simon Stock and the giving of the Scapular

1. SCAPULAR. Sew your own Scapular. You can even sew within the two brown squares the Miraculous Medal and the medal of St. Benedict that God through Mary would miracles in your life and protect you all the more from the evil one.

2. WEAR CONSTANTLY. The Scapular is to be worn always; otherwise we are half children and half-orphans of Mary.

3. KISS THE SCAPULAR. As soon as one awakes in the morning, kiss the Scapular! The kiss is a universal symbol of love. This kiss is saying to Mary that we love her. Actually the Church offers a partial Indulgence for those who kiss reverently the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. (In the past it was 500 days Indulgence).

4. MORNING OFFERING. Start off your day by consecrating your whole being to Jesus through Mary. The following is a concise but very good Act of Consecration: “ O Mary, my Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, in other words, my whole being without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I am your own, keep me and guard me as your property and possession. Amen.”

5. BLESSING. Then after the prayer of consecration, take the Scapular and bless your forehead, the blessing of the mind—for pure and holy thoughts, the eyes, so as to view only noble images and things, the mouth, so as to praise God in words, and the heart, so as to love God totally in imitation of Mary!
Let us conclude by quoting some of the Popes on the power of the Scapular: 

Pope John Paul and Sister Lucia-- a Carmelite contemplative nun

“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the words of the Gospel, the armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel… which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.” -Pope Benedict XV

“Let us now make a novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and I shall be ready to die.” 
-Pope Leo XIII

“The Carmelite Scapular, because of its nobility of origin, its extraordinary spread among Christian peoples for many centuries, the spiritualizing effects produced by it and the outstanding miracles worked in virtue of it, render the Scapular of Carmel commendable to a wondrous degree -Pope Leo XIII

“The Scapular is, in a true sense a “habit”. Those who receive it are, by their clothing, associated in a more or less intimate way with the Carmelite Order. Those who wear it profess to belong to Our Lady in the same way as the Knight of the Thirteenth Century, the century of the Scapular vision, felt that he was ever under the watchful eye of his Lady. He was valiant and sure in battle, and when wearing his “Colours”, would rather die a thousand times than allow them to be tarnished.” -Pope Pius XII

“It becomes clearer every day that the way for men to return to God is assured by Mary, that Mary is the basis of our confidence, the guarantee of our security, the foundation of our hope.” -Pope John XXIII

Below is an excellent writing of Blessed Pope John Paul II on the importance of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Read it!

Read more: 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Remembering Cardinal Van Thuan

The Ten Rules of Life of Cardinal Van Thuan
Beatification Process Underway

  1. I will live the present moment to the fullest.
  2. I will discern between God and God's works.
  3. I will hold firmly to one secret: prayer.
  4. I will see in the Holy Eucharist my only power.
  5. I will have only one wisdom: the science of the Cross.
  6. I will remain faithful to my mission in the Church and for the Church as a witness of Jesus Christ.
  7. I will seek the peace the world cannot give.
  8. I will carry out a revolution by renewal in the Holy Spirit.
  9. I will speak one language and wear one uniform: Charity.
  10. I will have one very special love: The Blessed Virgin Mary

Friday, July 5, 2013

News from the Vatican

"Friends, it is a beautiful day for our universal Catholic Church! Pope Francis has written a new encyclical, “The Light of Faith,” and prepared the way for our beloved Popes, Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be canonized. He also approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Ven. Alvaro del Portillo y Diez of Opus Dei and recognized the martyrdoms and heroic virtues of many others. Let’s thank God today for the lives of the saints!"

-Archbishop Jose Gomez

Today, three major events have taken place in the Vatican :  

1.) The offical release of Pope Francis' first Encyclical, "Lumen Fidei", The Light of Faith. 

2.) The approval of Pope Francis on the Canonizations of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII 

3.) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI joins Pope Francis in a dedication ceremony of a statue of St. Michael the Archangel in the Vatican Gardens.  

I.)  Encyclical "Lumen Fidei" 

View in Ebook:

View online:


II) Approval of Canonizations of 
Blesseds John Paul II &

"Today’s announcement that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has approved the cause for canonization of two of his beloved predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, is an occasion of great joy for the entire Church!

These two great Popes each had a profound impact on the Church and the world. In beginning the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII helped present the timeless teaching of Jesus and His Church in the modern age. And, Pope John Paul II helped to bring that teaching to every corner of the globe, as a tireless missionary for the faith.

I know that today’s news has gladdened the hearts of the faithful throughout the world, just as it did for me. I look forward to being with Pope Francis when he raises to the altars of sainthood these two tremendous apostles of Jesus."

-Cardinal Timothy Dolan

III.) Benedict XVI joins Pope Francis in dedication ceremony

(Vatican Radio) To the joy of Vatican City State workers, Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael Archangel, at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel’s protection.
Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy par excellence, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger:
"In the Vatican Gardens there are several works of art. But this, which has now been added, takes on particular importance, in its location as well as the meaning it expresses. In fact it is not just celebratory work but an invitation to reflection and prayer, that fits well into the Year of Faith. Michael - which means "Who is like God" - is the champion of the primacy of God, of His transcendence and power. Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from his enemies, above all by the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is He God who acts. This sculpture reminds us then that evil is overcome, the accuser is unmasked, his head crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the blood of Christ. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger, it is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him. "
"We also consecrate Vatican City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day. "

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day Message-Abp. Gomez

"Friends, something else to pray about on this Independence Day. Last week’s Supreme Court rulings reflect a deep confusion in our society — about the meaning of marriage and family, but also about the role of law and government in our democracy. Let’s pray today for a renewal of our commitment to religious liberty and the truth and dignity of the human person."

Cardinal Raymond Burke's Speech at Human Dignity Conference

God Bless America!!!  

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke's Speech at Second Annual International Conference on Human Dignity

VATICAN CITY, July 04, 2013 ( - Here is the speech delivered by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, at the Second Annual International Conference on Human Dignity at the Dignitatis Humane Institute in Vatican City.

* * *

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Good evening to you all.

It is a pleasure to participate in tonight’s special dinner in the magnificent environs of the Casina Pio IV, in order to celebrate of the work of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, an organization which exists to witness to the unique and immeasurable good of human life, of the human person. Why is this so important? Precisely for the reason articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Dignity: “[I]t is the recognition of the dignity of Man that is most lacking in our society, not rights, and that this imbalance must be redressed.” It is precisely to support the redressing of the imbalance that we have gathered this evening.

Promoting human dignity necessarily means respecting all human beings without exception, men and women equally, from conception to natural death. It is learned in the home, founded on the model of the strong, traditionally-understood family, whose members mutually support and love one other. The Dignitatis Humanae Institute, our host tonight, exists to promote human dignity based on the recognition that each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God.

At the heart of the commitment to safeguard and promote the fundamental good of human life is our faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel which guides us all on the pilgrimage of our daily living. It is the faith which believes the words of Our Lord in the Beatitudes. It is the faith of the Virgin Mary who trusted that God’s promises to her would be fulfilled.

But the truth regarding the inviolable dignity of every human life is under constant attack in an ever-more secularized world. One only has to read the daily newspaper or turn on the television for the evening news to know that the Christian’s holding to the truth of the moral law is no longer tolerated by many, and that the secularist agenda never ceases in its efforts to overshadow, drown out, and intimidate the witness of faithful Christians. The goal is to silence the Christian witness. But we cannot succumb to such tactics. I urge all who are here this evening to stand firm in your witness, knowing that it is indeed the Lord’s work and that He will never fail to accompany you. Tonight, the Vigil of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, two of the greatest saints who are venerated by all Christians, gives us particular inspiration in our steadfast witness to the inviolable dignity of innocent human life. Tomorrow, we will celebrate their martyrdom in Rome for love of Christ and in faithful witness to His Gospel. We trust in the intercession of the Prince of the Apostles and of the Apostle of the Gentiles, even as we recognize that the persecution which they suffered is not only a reality recorded in books of history but continues in our own time.

Even as we gather to celebrate the work of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, we are conscious that Christian persecution is sadly at a high point throughout the world. We read every day of such persecution, for example, in Syria, Egypt, Eritrea, Nigeria and Indonesia, but we also see examples in our own nations, which have a rich Christian heritage and yet have turned their back on the very foundational truths taught by the Christian faith.

Political leaders in my home country, the United States, are relentlessly advocating further liberalization of any restriction upon procured abortion. They are backed by powerful lobby groups with vested interests, such as Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, we have witnessed a Gay Marriage Act, forced through Parliament in spite of considerable opposition with little consideration of its legal impact upon the Catholic Church and society, in general. The secular form of coercion can also be seen in the United Nations which makes its support for third-world countries dependent upon the provision of contraception and abortion. A thinly-disguised population control agenda is steadfastly at work in the sheep’s clothing called “maternal health.” The agenda, in fact, has nothing to do with maternity and nothing to do with health. We cannot be deceived. There is no greater issue facing human dignity today than the relentless attack on human life, the integrity of the human body. It is the plight of those who are born into a twofold poverty, the poverty of their personal circumstances and the poverty of the developing world.

As these examples teach us, laws and policies are being employed to further the secular agenda, yet with little reflection upon the sort of “brave new world” which is thereby developed. Without a careful articulation of the inviolable dignity of innocent human life, society’s only measure of the good of an individual human life is what the person possesses or produces. It is the way of moral relativism which indeed, in the words of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is a tyranny based on the supremacy of the strong and the neglect of the weak and vulnerable.

The rapid moral decline of society has resulted in what Blessed Pope John Paul II correctly called the “culture of death.” We must recognize that the culture of death advances in good part because of a lack of attention and information among the public. It is all too easy, with the intensity of the modern world and the preoccupation with our own lives and their struggles, to overlook a pervasive and negative trend of our society. Ignorance and lack of attention of the public is what allows the culture of death to continue and become ever more pervasive. We cannot allow this culture of death to increase and to snuff out our Christian way of life.

How can we ensure that the culture of death will not dominate our lives and our society? First of all, those of us who are Christians must all be attentive to laws that safeguard the dignity of the human person. We must support just laws which respect the inviolable dignity of human life. And we must support the political leaders who work for such legislation. Similarly, it is essential that we become aware of the laws and policies which are attacking human dignity and the goods of our Christian faith, some of which I have mentioned earlier.

In addition to the enhanced awareness of public policy, we must work toward a new evangelization regarding human life. We have the magna charta for such a new evangelization in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae of Blessed Pope John Paul II. The transformation of hearts by which one truly believes in the dignity of all men, without boundary, is the most fundamental means of a new evangelization.

The new evangelization flourishes when we as Christians proclaim the Gospel of life, a message that God calls us to promote everyday in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. At the core of this Gospel of life is the sacredness and dignity of human life. Acknowledging, safeguarding and promoting the sacredness and dignity of human life is fundamental and irreplaceable to the seeking of the common good. If people do not acknowledge the dignity of all human beings without exception, the common good, authentically understood, can never thrive.

An essential way in which we can proclaim the Gospel of Life is through strong, supportive, and traditional families with a mother and father who love their children unconditionally. Children witness the Gospel of Life in the relationship of their parents with one another and in the relationship that their parents have with them. The solid relationships between parents, and between the parents and their children, based on respect for human life, leads to a transformation of hearts in which the gospel of life is learned and lived.

Additionally, healthy families depend on a new proclamation of the truth regarding women and motherhood that upholds the virtues of purity, chastity and modesty, and respect for the integrity of marriage and the family. These goods are also under attack. We cannot permit such attacks to continue. The family shapes society, and by advocating for and promoting strong, traditional family life, we will continue to replace the culture of death with the culture of life and love for which God calls us to work, even as He gives us the strength to accomplish the work.

Despite the virulent strains of secularism, there are millions of Christians across the world who have risen up in response to the culture of death with their own manifestations of support of the culture of life, in their work place, and in the public square. What we have recently witnessed in France is an eloquent example. Just two weeks ago, 40,000 people gathered in Dublin to march against a government bill to legalize abortion. This rally was the largest in the history of the country and showed the public’s desire to safeguard the life of both the mother and the child. In Brazil, talk show host and pastor Silas Malafia recently led another march of at least 40,000 people against proposed laws to legalize abortion and so-called “gay marriage.” And in the United States a new pro-life coalition called Stop the Gosnells was recently formed to prevent from occurring in the future crimes like those committed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

I cannot fail to mention that we have in our presence tonight one of the great world leaders of such popular movements, Luca Volontè, the Chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute. Luca finished his term of office today as President of the European People’s Party in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg. He has been a guiding force behind the Manif pour tous in France. I recall his words to the thousands who rallied in Paris in defence of the traditional marriage. He declared that their witness was “the most beautiful surprise of Europe this year” in the battle for a civilization of life.

Seeing hundreds of thousands unified in witnessing to the Gospel of life gives hope that a new evangelization regarding human life and the dignity of human life will continue and develop, leading our culture along the right path, the path that leads to true freedom and, therefore, lasting peace. These manifestations of faith truly give me hope and inspiration. So, too, does your presence here tonight. A most significant event has taken place here today because leaders from across Europe and beyond Europe have gathered to discuss the fundamental importance of human life and dignity.

All of you here tonight are working toward the goal of a new engagement and a new energy in safeguarding and promoting the inviolable dignity of innocent human life. In the name of the Church, I thank you. It is because of leaders like yourselves that the new evangelization continues and grows. It will continue to spread so long as we work together and let our Christian faith guide us.

Finally, I want to say on a personal level how happy I am to be with you tonight, in order to show my support of this initiative which my brother, His Eminence Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, has been promoting for the last few years with the good results which all can see. Most people in the secular world nurture the ambition to retire at the age of 55. Cardinal Martino, who reached the age of 80 last year, is going as strongly as ever. In many ways, Your Eminence, your work as Honorary President of this Institute ties together the main themes of all your major accomplishments, from your work at the United Nations for which you were the Papal Nuncio for 16 years (during which you led the successful resistance at Cairo in 1994 to stop the UN from promoting abortion as a method of family planning) to your overseeing of the publication of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, in which you most rightly take great pride. I pay tribute to you tonight, Your Eminence. I am proud as a member of the Sacred College of Cardinals to see one of my brothers so ably demonstrating the very highest dedication to one of the most fundamental of our important responsibilities. May God grant you many more years of fruitful service as Honorary President of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, energetically endorsing what the British Parliamentarian Lord Alton of Liverpool said about the Institute: It is indeed the most important organization promoting human dignity in the world today.

Thinking specifically about the Universal Declaration of Human Dignity which the Dignitatis Humanae Institute exists to promote, I compliment the Institute for its excellent service in bringing the Church face to face with the secular ambient, so that this important document will be more fully understood and appreciated. There are few other institutions with the call to promote human dignity, which fulfill that mission as authentically and comprehensively as does this Institute. I wholeheartedly encourage you, and I commend your work to the protection of Mary Immaculate, to whom this Institute was consecrated at its foundation. As the Founding Patron of the Institute, Rocco Buttiglione, likes to say: we can always pray to the Madonna for her intercession; but we must always pray to her for her protection.

Thank you for your attention to these words. I wish for you every good success in your important mission. May God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – bless you and all your labors.

-Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
Archbishop-Emeritus of St. Louis 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Statement on Supreme Court Act- Abp. Gomez

"Friends, this week we became more aware of the dramatic changes that are taking place in our society, especially in the fact that our society is trying to change God’s plan for marriage and the family. So these are times that call us to live out the truths of our religion with greater love, with greater joy and with new enthusiasm."

-Archbishop Jose H. Gomez 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Feast of Blessed Junipero Serra

"The Saint of California"

“(Bl. Serra) Sowed the seeds of Christian faith amid the mountainous changes wrought by the arrival of European settlers in the New World . . . In fulfilling this ministry, Father Serra showed himself to be a true son of St. Francis. Today his example inspires in a particular was the many Serra Clubs around the world, the members of which do so much praiseworthy work in fostering vocations.”

-Blessed Pope John Paul II
At Fr. Serra's Beatification Mass in 1988

"I have a great devotion to Blessed Junípero Serra. I believe his legacy is important for understanding — and for renewing — the soul of America....Especially now, we need to remember that America was born from the Christian mission of Padre Serra and many others. Our national character and identity are deeply marked by the Gospel values they brought to this land."

-Archbishop Jose H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles

"Young or old, we need to live our faith as Junipero Serra did - all in, 100 percent, holding nothing back, with charity, endurance, passion and hope, that kind of faith changes lives and remakes the world."

-Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM. Caps 
Archbishop of Philadelphia 

"...As Blessed Junipero Serra said, 'Always Forward, Never Backwards. Love God.' "

-Bishop Kevin W. Vann
Bishop of Orange 

Archbishop Chaput: Catholics Should Live Their Faith 'All In'


MALLORCA, SPAIN, June 24 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia has called on Catholics to be "active witnesses" of their faith, taking inspiration from the 17th century missionary Blessed Junipero Serra.

Rejecting the idea that the Christian faith is "a useful moral code" or "an exercise in nostalgia," he stressed that the Christian faith is "a restlessness, a consuming fire in the heart to experience the love of Jesus Christ and then share it with others - or it's nothing at all."

"Young or old, we need to live our faith as Junipero Serra did - all in, 100 percent, holding nothing back, with charity, endurance, passion and hope," Archbishop Chaput said. "That kind of faith changes lives and remakes the world."

The words "new evangelization" are "overused and underthought," he said, warning against speaking of the "new evangelization" in an empty way, "as if saying the slogan, or talking about it, actually makes mission work happen."

"Unless we reconfigure our lives to understanding and acting on it, the 'new evangelization' is just another pious intention - well meaning, but ultimately infertile," he warned.

The archbishop spoke June 22 at the Serra International Convention on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean. The convention marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of Bl. Junipero Serra, an influential Franciscan priest who founded many Christian missions in what is now California.

Serra International is a global lay apostolate that promotes and supports vocations to the Catholic priesthood and religious life.

Archbishop Chaput said Bl. Junipero Serra was "an extraordinary man" who lived at a "pivotal moment" in the history of the Catholic Church, when Catholic and Protestant powers competed for territory around the world as the threat of Muslim invasion of Europe waned.

Fr. Serra left his life as a university professor in Mallorca at the age of 36 to serve in the New World. The priest had a "supple, inquisitive, brilliant mind," "tremendous personal energy" and "remarkable organizational skills," the archbishop said.

Working to bring the Christian faith to the indigenous population of Mexico, Fr. Serra walked thousands of miles during his lifetime despite a wounded leg that never healed. He built a network of missions and confronted military and political leaders who wanted to exploit American Indians.

"He could be a demanding father to his native converts, but he was fierce in defending their dignity from the colonial authorities," Archbishop Chaput observed.

The archbishop praised Fr. Serra's foresight, endurance, political skill and leadership in a situation with "a very limited mix of people and resources under brutally difficult conditions."

He stressed the need for all Catholics to spread the faith, saying that "Jesus commands it. We can't call ourselves Christians and not be missionaries. We need to be active witnesses of our faith."

Evangelization must begin with "our own repentance and conversion," Archbishop Chaput said.

"As individuals, we control very little in life; but we do control what we do with our hearts. We can at least make ourselves available to God as his agents. Personal conversion is the essential first step. It immediately affects the people around us," he explained.

Evangelization must also take into account the nature of contemporary society, he added.

Modern American society produces "a kind of radical self-focus and practical atheism" because it renders God "irrelevant to people's needs and urgencies of the moment," he said. Real individuality, self-mastery and the communities that shape individuals "can't compete with the noise and flash of consumer society."

Any new evangelization must begin with the "sober knowledge" that many once-Christian lands and many self-described Christians are "in fact pagan," the archbishop stressed.

In addition, true evangelization is self-renewing, he said, explaining that at the core of "every fresh work of evangelization is this kind of ardor; a passionate faith that can only come from seeking out and giving ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ, no matter what the cost."

"The irony, the glory and the joy of faith in Jesus Christ is that the more we give it away to others, the stronger it grows, and the more we have for ourselves to feed our own hearts," Archbishop Chaput said.

"Junipero Serra heard the Gospel, and believed, and acted on it. Today, here, beginning now, God calls us to the privilege of doing the same."

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