Monthly Archives: April 2013

Doing School of Community

“How does School of Community become a point of comparison? First of all, it must be read by clarifying the meaning of the words together –not an interpretation of the words, but the literal sequence […] Secondly, space must be given to the exemplification of a comparison between what one lives and what one has read. One must ask himself how what he read and tried to understand literally judges life.”

Fr Giussani (published in Traces, 1992) and quoted in Fr Julián Carrón’s notes for his March 20, 2013 School of Community

Pope Francis begins reforming the US religious orders of women

Many, nor all, but many, women religious in the USA have been feeling under pressure to address their lack of unity with Scripture and Tradition (read: Magisterium) over the last few decades. Of course, let me emphasize, not all women religious, but there are enough that have been living lives that are inconsistent with the charism of their orders, and who have taught their own theology especially on moral matters. Some have set up their own teaching authority over and against that of the Holy See. But this is not a matter of who has the right to make decisions, but it is about how all members of the baptized live in communio with the Jesus Christ and His sacrament, the Church. Their justification may very well be explained that women religious believed they are doing what the Council decreed. Will the US sisters now offer spin on what said and done in Rome today? How will they support the shepherding of Pope Francis? Will the US sisters now reassess their place as members of the Mystical Body of Christ? 

Here is the press release of the Holy See:


Today the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States of America. Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting.

As this was his first opportunity to meet with the Presidency of the LCWR, the Prefect of the Congregation, Most Rev. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, expressed his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.

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Francis: live an intense relationship with Jesus

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The homily of Pope Francis at St Paul outside the Walls.

It is a joy for me to celebrate Mass with you in this Basilica. I greet the Archpriest, Cardinal James Harvey, and I thank him for the words that he has addressed to me. Along with him, I greet and thank the various institutions that form part of this Basilica, and all of you. We are at the tomb of Saint Paul, a great yet humble Apostle of the Lord, who proclaimed him by word, bore witness to him by martyrdom and worshipped him with all his heart. These are the three key ideas on which I would like to reflect in the light of the word of God that we have heard: proclamation, witness, worship.

In the First Reading, what strikes us is the strength of Peter and the other Apostles. In response to the order to be silent, no longer to teach in the name of Jesus, no longer to proclaim his message, they respond clearly: “We must obey God, rather than men”. And they remain undeterred even when flogged, ill-treated and imprisoned. Peter and the Apostles proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what he represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives? Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.

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Francis outside the Walls: called to proclaim, witness, worship God

Apse mosaic of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outs...

At the Mass offered by Pope Francis at the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls today reminded us that “we must obey God”!  Francis asked, do we know how to speak of Christ today? 

Faith is born from listening and strengthened by proclamation.
The teaching gained from today’s papal homily as the Pope took possession of the this basilica that is close the Petrine ministry, he gave yet another way of looking at being in relationship with the Lord Jesus in concrete ways. He was not abstract, he did give us a direction. In typical Benedictine terms, that God be glorified in all things (the Jesuits say, adapting the phrase just quoted: “to the greater glory of God). We need to be carried by God’s will under all circumstances, even if it costs our lives. Every detail matters in speaking of the grace given by God. We all, no matter to rank, experience, education, socio-economic class, are in relationship with Jesus Christ. The tangible witness of our lives is crucial. Inconsistencies by pastors and ministers betray Christ and undermine the Good News. We need to be close the Lord as the 12 were, as the 72 were, as those who heard and saw Him as described in the Acts of the Apostles. 
Do we worship the Lord? Do only turn the Lord ask of Him things, or do we turn to Him to worship Him?
Worshiping God means learning to be with Him, stop dialogue, but sensing his presence is the most true and most important of all. It means striping ourselves of our idols (e.g., money, power, and fame) and placing God in the center of our lives. Does God have the first place in our lives, that we are convinced that God is the God of our lives and our history? 
The Pope’s three key ideas spoken: proclamation, witness, worship.
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How Catholics use Scripture: Pope Francis talks on inspiration and truth in the Bible

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Yesterday, the Holy Father met with the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) led by German Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The theme the PBC’s annual plenary assembly was “Inspiration and Truth in the Bible.” On the personal and parish level, this theme is revisited year-in and year-out. Catholics (and the Orthodox) have a particular way of praying, reading, studying and living the sacred Scripture that is very different from the Protestant ecclesial communities: from WITHIN the context of the living community of faith, i.e., the Liturgy.

Pope Francis paid close attention to this year’s work of the PBC by saying it “affects not only the individual believer but the whole Church, for the Church’s life and mission are founded on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology as well as the inspiration of all of Christian existence.”

He noted that in Dei Verbum the emphasis of what the nature of Scripture is, how the Church interprets Scripture, what is conserved by the Church, and by whose authority is at work. I  think one of the “money quotes” is when Francis reminded us that “The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be just an individual academic effort, but must always be compared to, inserted within, and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church.” 

The point we Catholics have to come to understand and to work on is that we are a biblically based religion, like none other, established by Jesus Christ, and preaching Him since 33 AD. We can’t get away from the Scriptures and that’s why bible study AND lectio divina are crucial every day. The Scriptures are testimony of how God works and humanity responds to God’s invitation.

Here is the Pope’s text:

I am pleased to welcome you at the end of your annual Plenary Assembly. I thank the President, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, for his greeting and summary of the topic that has been the subject of careful consideration in the course of your work. You have gathered again to study a very important topic: the inspiration and truth of the Bible. It is a matter that affects not only the individual believer, but the whole Church, for the life and mission of the Church is founded on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology and the inspiration of all Christian life .

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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