Category Archives: Pope Paul VI

Do Catholics believe in the use of indulgences today?

A person who attends a bible study I organize asked if indulgences are still possible, in vogue, as it were. “Weren’t they done away with at Vatican II?”, I was asked. I assured this person that indeed indulgences were still a common practice in the Catholic Church and that they have received a renewed sensibility with Benedict XVI. THE thing that catapulted the Church into the protestant revolution is now being talked about with seriousness and sincerity because it is realized that the practice of giving indulgences does help us to know ourselves and the mercy of God better.

In brief, the Catechism teaches that “The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance” (1471ff).

So, what is an indulgence? Why would a Catholic be interested in knowing more about indulgences?

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.”

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Populorum Progressio, 45 years later Pope Paul’s admonition remains true

Paul pp VI.jpgToday is the 45th anniversary of Populorum Progression (On the Development of Peoples) the 5th encyclical of the Servant of God Pope Paul VI. The 18,000 word letter deals with the socioeconomic issues of world sick building upon Blessed John XXIII’s Mater et Magistra

Populorum Progressio was long accorded as the humanist manifesto because it examines and urges a tailored response of the educated and wealthier nations toward those who live in poverty (subhuman standards). 
The Pope questions many things among them the ownership of land that is not used for the good of people in need, of unbriddled capitalism, the regulation of markets, foreign aid to nations, the development of internal programs to aid citizens rather than exporting natural resources to other nations and the right of governments to develop performing lands for the good of others. Pope Paul urges some controversial things: higher taxes for the rich, the expansion of aid programs, higher prices for products from third world nations, a just wage for workers, and the establishment of just interest rates for monies loaned. Freedom, charity, justice, and peace are given to all by God.

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Humane Vitae is coming to life again

Several weeks ago Jennifer Fulwiler published a story in the National Catholic Register, “Father, We’re Ready for that Homily on Contraception Now” where she writes about a priest who dealt with Humane Vitae and the problems of contraception. Remember Humane Vitae from 1968? It was THAT encyclical written by the Servant of God Pope Paul VI that spoke about the beauty of human love and was roundly dismissed for for being out-of-touch with contemporary human experience. It is far from being draconian.

Well, one ought to read Humane Vitae without the ideological sunglasses and look around to see if Pope Paul was correct. Look at the Pope’s predictions and see if they are readily present in society today. Consider, though, the whole document to see if what the Pope is speaking of is germane to an authentic life of faith and beauty of human love. Sexuality and love are indeed beautiful gifts of God given to us for our happiness today leading us, God-willing, to full communio with the Trinity in the life to come.
Just for the record, two Dominican priests at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena in New York City in recent weeks have spoken of Humane Vitae in homilies. They advocated a new reappraisal of the letter and a grasp on its truth. So, you do hear the words “Humane Vitae” publicly at Sunday Mass and Vespers.
Fulwiler’s article has a link to her priest’s homily.

Church is right on sex, women, birth control and abortion: admit it

Several days ago the Business Insider published a fascinating story: “Time To Admit It: The Church Has Always Been Right On Birth Control” by Michael Brendan Dougherty and Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry. Read it. You may agree with the exposition of the authors. Can’t contradict experience. Recall: this publication is not connected with the Catholic Church.

Pope Paul VI continues to be vilified for teaching the beauty of sex is indeed Catholic, beautiful and reasonable, that the contraceptive mentality leads to a wrong, destructive end of humanity, that abortion is always wrong and that women should not be used as objects (e.g., porn).
Let those who have ears, hear.

The 47th anniversary of election of Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI.jpg

Today’s the 47th anniversary of Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini to the Throne of Peter taking the name Paul VI. He succeeded Pope John XXIII.
The Vatican’s e-file of Pope Paul’s works can be found here.
In Your wise providence, O God, You wished Your servant Paul to be counted as one of the Popes. Please number him also among the company of Your saintly Pontiffs, we beg You, since he ruled as Vicar on earth of Your only Son.
May his memory be eternal.

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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