domingo, 18 de julho de 2021

18 de JULHO - festa de S. BARTOLOMEU DOS MÁRTIRES

 

                         S. Bartolomeu dos Mártires a DOUTOR DA IGREJA!

 

   Quando andava no Liceu, talvez no 4º ano, “conheci” Dom Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires, a partir de extractos  que continha a Selecta Literária ( o livro de leitura- literatura de Português) da “ Vida do Arcebispo” de Frei Luís de Sousa. Talvez um página desta obra. Mas uma página que me marcou até hoje e me fez admirar imenso este Arcebispo de Braga de quem nunca ouvira falar até essa altura. E fiquei fascinado… Um Arcebispo de Braga, a cavalo de uma mula, no rigor do Inverno transmontano, calcorreava caminhos ínvios à procura de aldeias pobres, negras, analfabetas e ignorantes das “ coisas” de Deus ! Não levava séquito pomposo nem abundância de víveres. Ia pobre como os pobres que ia visitar e ensinar. Pobremente morreu, partilhando sempre tudo, que era pouco por sua vontade, com quem nada tinha.

 Vivia pobremente. E, por exemplo, disse directamente ao Papa que a baixela de prata em que eram servidas as refeições não ficavam bem e logo se comprometeu , e cumpriu, de lhe enviar um serviço de porcelana.  

   Adolescente, achava espantoso como um Senhor, Arcebispo de Braga, se deslocava assim, vivia assim e dava o exemplo a todos de uma vida austera mais consentânea com a sua condição de cristão. Mas era um intelectual do mais elevado gabarito, tanto quanto a sua humildade.

  Ficou-me gravada na memória a figura de Dom Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires, um lisboeta ( baptizado na hoje Basílica dos Mártires) que tinha optado pela vida frugal e desprendida dos dominicanos e que muito contrariado aceita a insistência da Rainha para ser o Arcebispo de Braga.

  Os meus leitores, que sabem muito mais do que eu sobre a vida e a obra deste grande Arcebispo de Braga, perdoar-me-ão de aqui exarar alguns dados conhecidos de todos

  O Concílio de Trento, grande acontecimento da vida da Igreja, teve, além do Papa , como grande protagonista o “ Bracarense”, como era conhecido. A sua obra “ Estímulo de Pastores” que escreveu para si, teve um sucesso enorme na altura e no II Concílio do Vaticano, quatrocentos anos depois, foi distribuído a todos os Padres conciliares. Ficou célebre o seu “ Catecismo” que os párocos deveriam explicar aos Domingos a todos os fregueses, dada a suma ignorância destes e dos seus paroquianos!

  O “ Bracarense” ( como os actuais e futuros bracarenses se deveriam orgulhar deste epíteto dado ao mais extraordinário Arcebispo de Braga – não refiro os brilhantíssimos Antístites de Braga que deixaram marcas profundas. Dom Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires atingiu outro patamar de santidade!), foi  “ canonizado” pelo povo, sobretudo entre os mais pobres da “ Viana da Foz do Lima”, finalmente, a Igreja canonizou-o de facto em 10 de Novembro de 2019, pelo Papa Francisco, na Basílica de S. Pedro.

… Mas será preciso divulgar muito mais a vida e o exemplo deste grande Arcebispo de Braga, sobretudo, hoje, em que uma crise profunda abala os fundamentos da sociedade e a que a Igreja não escapa.

S. Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires é exemplo de humildade, de sobriedade, de caridade, de justiça, de tolerância, de sabedoria que não se aloja em mentes egoístas …

 Como já escrevi acima, desde a minha adolescência que Dom Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires me fascina.

 Que riqueza  hoje praticamente inexplorada é a sua obra escrita!

 Que exemplo é a sua vida!

 Carlos Aguiar Gomes

sexta-feira, 16 de julho de 2021

The body of Sainte Bernadette of Lourdes, by Fr. Andre Ravier, S.J.

Based on documents in the archives of the convent of Saint-Gildard, of the diocese and the city of Nevers. Original article published by Eternal Word Television Network

Very fine wax masks were laid over the face and hands of St. Bernadette's body in 1925 to disguise the sunken eyes and nose and the blackish tinge to the face and hands. During the first exhumation (1909) the face had been "a dull white" and the hands "perfectly preserved" but the nose was already "dilated and shrunken". The eyes were not noted as having yet sunk. She died on April 16, 1879. Her body has not been embalmed or specially treated in any way.

On April 16, 1879, Bernadette—or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she was known within her order—died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard. She was thirty-five.

Born into a humble family which little by little fell into extreme poverty, Bernadette had always been a frail child. Quite young, she had already suffered from digestive trouble, then after having just escaped being a victim of the cholera epidemic of 1855, she experienced painful attacks of asthma, and her ill health almost caused her to be cut off for ever from the religious life. When asked by Monsignor Forcade to take Bernadette, Louise Ferrand, the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Nevers, replied: "Monsignor, she will be a pillar of the infirmary".

At least three times during her short life-time, she received the last Sacraments. She was gradually struck by other illnesses as well as asthma: among them, tuberculosis of the lung and a tubercular tumour on her right knee. On Wednesday, April 16, 1879, her pain got much worse. Shortly after eleven she seemed to be almost suffocating and was carried to an armchair, where she sat with her feet on a footstool in front of a blazing fire. She died at about 3.15 in the afternoon.

The civil authorities permitted her body to remain on view to be venerated by the public until Saturday, April 19. Then it was "placed in a double coffin of lead and oak which was sealed in the presence of witnesses who signed a record of the events". Among the witnesses were "inspector of the peace, Devraine, and constables Saget and Moyen".

The nuns of Saint-Gildard, with the support of the bishop of Nevers, applied to the civil authorities for permission to bury Bernadette's body in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph which was within the confines of the convent. The permission was granted on April 25, 1879, and on April 30, the local Prefect pronounced his approval of the choice of the site for burial. Immediately they set to work on preparing the vault. On May 30, 1879, Bernadette's coffin was finally transferred to the crypt of the chapel of Saint Joseph. A very simple ceremony was held to commemorate the event.

First "Identification Of The Body" September 22, 1909

In the autumn of 1909 the work of the episcopal commission looking into Bernadette's reputation for saintliness, virtue and miracles with a view to canonisation was complete. The next step was the first "identification of the body" as it is called, which implies identification in accordance with both civil and canon law and verification of the state of the corpse.

The body was exhumed for the first time on Wednesday, September 22, 1909. The official records, which are kept in the Archives of Saint Gildard, enable us to follow the identification proceedings virtually step by step.

Monsignor Gauthey, Bishop of Nevers, and the church tribunal, entered the main chapel of the convent at 8.30 a.m. A table had been placed at the entrance to the sanctuary. On it were the Holy Gospels. One by one, the three witnesses (Abbe Perreau, the Mother Superior of the order, Marie-Josephine Forestier, and her deputy), the doctors (Doctors Jourdan and David), the stonemasons, Gavillon and Boue, and the carpenters, Cognet and Mary, swore an oath to tell the truth. The party then moved on to the chapel of Saint Joseph. The mayor and the deputy mayor insisted on carrying out the legal formalities in person. Once the stone had been lifted from the vault the coffin was immediately visible. It was carried to the room prepared for it and placed on two trestles covered with a cloth. On one side was a table covered with a white cloth. The body—or, if applicable, the bones—of Bernadette were to be placed on this table. The wooden coffin was unscrewed and the lead coffin cut open to reveal the body of Bernadette in a state of perfect preservation. There was not the slightest trace of an unpleasant smell. The Sisters who had buried her thirty years earlier noted only that her hands had fallen slightly to the left. But the words of the surgeon and the doctor, who were under oath, speak for themselves:

«The coffin was opened in the presence of the Bishop of Nevers, the mayor of the town, his principal deputy, several canons and ourselves. We noticed no smell. The body was clothed in the habit of Bernadette's order. The habit was damp. Only the face, hands and forearms were uncovered.

The head was tilted to the left. The face was dull white. The skin clung to the muscles and the muscles adhered to the bones. The sockets of the eyes were covered by the eye-lids. The brows were flat on the skin and stuck to the arches above the eyes. The lashes of the right eyelid were stuck to the skin. The nose was dilated and shrunken. The mouth was open slightly and it could be seen that the teeth were still in place. The hands, which were crossed on her breast, were perfectly preserved, as were the nails. The hands still held a rusting rosary. The veins on the forearms stood out.

Like the hands, the feet were wizened and the toenails were still intact (one of them was torn off when the corpse was washed). When the habits had been removed and the veil lifted from the head, the whole of the shrivelled body could be seen, rigid and taut in every limb. It was found that the hair, which had been cut short, was stuck to the head and still attached to the skull—that the ears were in a state of perfect preservation—that the left side of the body was slightly higher than the right from the hip up.

The stomach had caved in and was taut like the rest of the body. It sounded like cardboard when struck. The left knee was not as large as the right. The ribs protruded as did the muscles in the limbs. So rigid was the body that it could be rolled over and back for washing. The lower parts of the body had turned slightly black. This seems to have been the result of the carbon of which quite large quantities were found in the coffin.

In witness of which we have duly drawn up this present statement in which all is truthfully recorded.

Nevers, September 22, 1909

Drs. Ch. David, A. Jourdan.»

The nuns washed the body and replaced it in a new coffin lined with zinc and padded with white silk. In the few hours in which it had been exposed to the air the body had started turning black. The double coffin was closed, soldered, screwed down and sealed with seven seals.

The workmen once again bore Bernadette's body into the vault. It was 5.30 p.m. by the time everything had been completed.

The fact that Bernadette's body was perfectly preserved is not necessarily miraculous. It is well known that corpses decompose less in certain kinds of soil and gradually mummify. It should be noted, however, that in the case of Bernadette this mummified state is quite astounding. Her illnesses and the state of her body when she died, the humidity in the vault in the chapel of Saint Joseph (the habit was damp, the rosary rusty and the crucifix had turned green) would all seem to be conducive to disintegration of the flesh. We should be glad, therefore, that Bernadette benefited from a fairly rare biological phenomenon. But this is not a "miracle" in the strictest sense of the word.

Second "Identification Of The Body" April 3, 1919

On August 13, 1913, Pope Pius X, in consequence of a decision of the Congregation of Rites, authorised the introduction of the cause of beatification and canonisation of Bernadette Soubirous and signed the decree of venerability. War broke out and it was impossible to take up the case again immediately. This was not done until 1918, at which time Monsignor Chatelus was bishop of Nevers.

This made another identification of the body of the venerable Bernadette necessary. Doctor Talon and Doctor Comte were asked to undertake the examination. It took place on April 3, 1919, in the presence of the Bishop of Nevers, the police commissioner, representatives of the municipalities and members of the church tribunal.

Everything was just the same as at the time of the first exhumation. Oaths were sworn, the vault was opened, the body transferred to a new coffin and reburied, all in accordance with canon and civil law. After the doctors had examined the body, they retired alone in separate rooms to write their personal reports without being able to consult each other.

The two reports coincide perfectly with each other and also with Doctor Jourdan and Doctor David's report of 1909. There is one new element as regards the state of the body. This is the existence of "patches of mildew and a layer of salt which seems to be calcium salt," and which were probably the result of the body's having been washed the first time it was exhumed. We will quote only the first few lines of Dr. Comte's report:

"When the coffin was opened the body appeared to be absolutely intact and odourless. '' (Dr. Talon was more specific: "There was no smell of putrefaction and none of those present experienced any discomfort.") The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts which appear to be calcium salts. The skeleton is complete, and it was possible to carry the body to a table without any trouble. The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body. Some of the veins are still visible. "

At 5 p.m. that evening the body was reburied in the chapel of Saint Joseph in the presence of the Bishop, Mother Forestier and the police commissioner.

Third "Identification Of The Body" April 18, 1925

On November 18, 1923, the pope pronounced the authenticity of Bernadette's virtues and the path to beatification was open.

A third and final identification of the body was required for the proclamation of beatification. The relics, which were to go to Rome, Lourdes, or houses of the Order, were to be taken during this exhumation.

Doctor Talon and Doctor Comte were once again asked to examine the body and Doctor Comte, who was a surgeon, was to remove the relics.

The ceremony took place on April 18, 1925 forty-six years and two days after Bernadette's death. The ceremony was private as is required by canon law when beatification has not yet been pronounced. Present were the nuns from the community, the Bishop, the vicars general, the church tribunal, two "instrumental" witnesses, the two doctors, Mabille, the commissioner of police, and Leon Bruneton, representing the municipal authorities.

At 8.30 a.m. in the chapel of the convent the two doctors, whose task it was to examine the body for the official identification, and the masons and carpenters who were to open the vault and take out the coffin swore the usual oaths on the gospels.

"I swear and promise to faithfully accomplish the task with which I have been entrusted", declared the doctors, "and to tell the truth in the replies I make to questions put to me and in my written statements on the examination of the body of the Venerable Servant of God, Sister Marie-Bernard Soubirous, and on the removal of the relics. This, I promise and swear. So help me God and the Holy Gospels." And each of the workmen took an oath: "With my hand on God's gospels I swear and promise to faithfully accomplish the task with which I have been entrusted. So help me God and the Holy Gospels."

The group then fetched the coffin of Bernadette from the chapel of Saint Joseph in procession and carried it to the chapel of Saint-Helen.

Here are some passages from Doctor Comte's report:

«At the request of the Bishop of Nevers I detached and removed the rear section of the fifth and sixth right ribs as relics; I noted that there was a resistant, hard mass in the thorax, which was the liver covered by the diaphragm. I also took a piece of the diaphragm and the liver beneath it as relics, and can affirm that this organ was in a remarkable state of preservation. I also removed the two patella bones to which the skin clung and which were covered with more clinging calcium matter.

Finally I removed the muscle fragments right and left from the outsides of the thighs. These muscles were also in a very good state of preservation and did not seem to have putrefied at all. " Doctor Comte continues: "From this examination I conclude that the body of the Venerable Bernadette is intact, the skeleton is complete, the muscles have atrophied, but are well preserved; only the skin, which has shrivelled, seems to have suffered from the effects of the damp in the coffin. It has taken on a greyish tinge and is covered with patches of mildew and quite a large number of crystals and calcium salts; but the body does not seem have putrefied, nor has any decomposition of the cadaver set in, although this would be expected and normal after such a long period in a vault hollowed out of the earth.»

Three years later, in 1928, Doctor Comte published "report on the exhumation of the Blessed Bernadette" in the second issue of the Bulletin de l'Association medical de Notre-Dame de Lourdes.

«I would have liked, [he  wrote,] to open the left side of the thorax to take the ribs as relics and then remove the heart which I am certain must have survived. However, the trunk was slightly supported on the left arm, it would have been rather difficult to try and get at the heart without doing too much noticeable damage. As the Mother Superior had expressed a desire for the Saint's heart to be kept together with the whole body, and as Monsignor the Bishop did not insist, I gave up the idea of opening the lefthand side of the thorax and contented myself with removing the two, right ribs which were more accessible. [The surgeon was particularly struck by the state of preservation of the liver:]

What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon.»

Once the surgical part was over, Doctor Comte had the body swathed in bandages leaving only the face and hands free. Bernadette's body was then put back into the coffin, but left uncovered. At this point a precise imprint of the face was moulded so that the firm of Pierre Imans in Paris could make a light wax mask based on the imprints and on some genuine photos. It was feared that, although the body was mummified, the blackish tinge to the face and the sunken eyes and nose would make an unpleasant impression on the public.

Imprints of the hands were also taken for the same reasons. Care was taken not to alter their position in the coffin in any way.

The body was left in the chapel of Saint-Helen, but the doors to the chapel were closed and sealed and no one could get in. The nuns who wished to pray close to the body of Bernadette could only see her through a glass partition.

On June 14, 1925, Pope Pius XI officially proclaimed Bernadette Blessed. But, as the shrine being made in the workshops of the firm of Armand Caillat Cateland in Lyons was not finished, it was not possible to place Bernadette's body in position in its shrine until July 18. The ceremony when the day came was a very simple one. Once the ecclesiastical authorities had satisfied themselves that everything in Saint-Helen's Chapel was as it had been left on April 18, the nuns dressed Bernadette's body in a new habit. The sculptor took the light wax masks which had been made on the basis of the imprints and placed them on the face and hands. Then the body was carried on a white stretcher to the novices' hall. The chant for the Office of the Virgins was sung and then the body was finally placed in its shrine.

On the evening of August 3, the shrine was ceremonially transferred from the novices' hall to the chapel of the convent of Saint-Gildard. On August 4, 5 and 6, ceremonial masses were said in Bernadette's honour.

It was in August 1925 that the long pilgrimage of friends of Saint Bernadette began. Among them are many tourists, who come out of plain curiosity; there are even sceptics among the praying throng.

"But is this really Bernadette's body?" they ask. "If it really is her body, then wasn't it embalmed?"

Sufficient answer to these questions can be found in the medical reports on the three exhumations, in the presence each time of the civil and church authorities, and in the strictness of canon law. Yes, it is Bernadette's body—intact—which is in the shrine. It looks "as if it is mummified", to quote the doctors. Only some relics have been removed. Very fine wax masks have been laid over the face and hands moulded from imprints taken directly from the body and backed up by authentic photographic documents. Anyone who were to dispute this state, however wonderful it may appear, would be questioning the sincerity of people whose word is normally considered to be authoritative; doctors, policemen, sworn witnesses, and members of the church tribunal.

Yes, this is the body of Bernadette in the attitude of meditation and prayer which it adopted in its first coffin This is the face which was lifted eighteen times to the "Lady of Massabielle", these are the hands which fingered the rosary before and during the apparitions, these are the fingers which scratched the earth and made the miraculous spring appear, these are the ears which heard the message and these the lips which repeated the Lady's Name to Father Peyramale; "I am the Immaculate Conception." This is the heart, too, which bore so much love for Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and sinners. One only has to look at the body in the shrine to be present at the wonderful events of Lourdes. Something of the grace of Massabielle strikes the soul.

Inscribed in the metal around the shrine are the words "The Virgin."

But was it necessary? A silent voice reaches out to our innermost being from the slight, fragile body which seems to be absorbed in God. Here Bernadette is present. Here Bernadette is praying. Here Bernadette bears witness. Dare we say it: here in some way Bernadette lives on. And her messages bursts forth as clearly as on the first day: here Bernadette is carrying on day by day in the presence of each pilgrim the work which the "Immaculate Conception" gave her in the name of God. She reminds us that God is Love and that he never stops calling us to pass from the night of our sin to his wondrous Light.

To know more about the true Bernadette, read:
Bernadette Soubirous: Personal notes.
Saint Gildard: Some of Bernadette's sayings.
Fr. John Moloney: Bernadette speaks.
R. Laurentin: Bernadette of Lourdes.
Nevers: Along the pathways of Faith lead us.
A. Ravier: Bernadette and her Rosary.—Bernadette, the saint of poverty and of light.—Les ecrits de Sainte Bernadette et sa voie spirituelle.

terça-feira, 13 de julho de 2021

Homélie pour le 15e dimanche,

 

Homélie pour le 15e dimanche, année B, Marc 6, 7-13

10 Jul 2021 07:27 AM PDT

 


Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ envoie les apôtres en mission. Cette mission apostolique, elle est poursuivie par les prêtres tout au long de l'histoire de l'Eglise. Autrement dit, les consignes données aux apôtres par Notre-Seigneur sont valables pour tout ministère apostolique. Et ce que firent les apôtres lors de cette mission, c'est ce que doivent encore faire les prêtres de nos jours.

Jésus demande d'abord de rien prendre de superflu pour la route: pas de pain, pas d'argent, une seule tunique, des sandales. Notre-Seigneur demande donc à ses prêtres la simplicité, la sobriété, la pauvreté. Dans leur ministère, ils ne doivent pas compter sur les moyens humains, comme le pouvoir, le savoir ou l'argent, mais uniquement sur la grâce et la puissance de Dieu. Ce qui rend fécond le ministère sacerdotal c'est la prière, l'humilité, l'obéissance à l'Eglise et la confiance en Dieu seul. Comme le pape François, Notre-Seigneur veut une Eglise pauvre pour les pauvres.

Au XIIe siècle, alors que le monde avait bien besoin d'être évangélisé, saint François a envoyé ses missionnaires, vêtus de sandales et d'une seule tunique, sans argent et vivant de mendicité. Au XIXe siècle, le curé d'Ars a opéré des prodiges de conversion, sans être un savant selon le monde, étant au contraire un prêtre pauvre et saint.

Notre-Seigneur demande aussi aux prêtres de ne pas changer de maison et de demeurer là où on les accueille. Au sens spirituel, cela veut dire que le prêtre ne doit pas fluctuer dans ses idées, mais rester fermement établi dans la doctrine de l'Eglise, telle qu'il l'a reçue. 

Enfin Notre-Seigneur demande parfois à ses prêtres d'accepter humblement l'échec dans leurs entreprises pastorales. Nous ne sommes rien. Dieu seul est tout. Et il faut avoir cette humilité devant l'échec humain, en abandonnant à Dieu cet échec, car Lui seul est assez puissant pour tirer le bien du mal et féconder mystérieusement notre apostolat, selon ses vues à Lui.

Qu'on fait les apôtres dans cette mission? Ils ont prêché la pénitence. Cela reste le point primordial de la prédication de l'Eglise: exhorter les âmes à reconnaître leur péché, en demander pardon, se convertir, revenir au Seigneur et mener une vie selon l'Evangile. 

Les apôtres aussi ont chassé les démons et guéri les malades. Le prêtre en effet combat le mal sous toutes ses formes. Son ministère est de libérer les âmes de la puissance du mal, des passions et de guérir les blessures de l'âme. Le prêtre est là pour purifier les consciences, guérir les cœurs meurtris et libérer les âmes de leur passé mauvais. Prions beaucoup pour eux. 

Simon Noel OSB

quarta-feira, 7 de julho de 2021

palabras que engañan

 

El indulto de palabras que engañan

A todos se nos reclama esa fidelidad a la coherencia de una posición católica que no aísla ni empeñece, que no excluye ni enfrenta, y fidelidad a una historia labrada generosamente por enteras generaciones que durante siglos han construido pluralmente España. Es la misma enseñanza que no hace tanto tiempo dimos los obispos españoles hablando de la unidad de nuestro pueblo como un bien moral.

 – 

Andamos a vueltas con cuestiones que nos tienen perplejos, y que nos dejan un trasfondo de extrañeza cuando con palabras que expresan realidades de gran nobleza vemos que pueden ser utilizadas de muchas maneras, incluso torticeras. Esta es la calculada ambigüedad con la que en estos días vemos que se trata el asunto de unos indultos que tienen toda una profunda carga de complejidad. Porque los indultos que un gobierno puede estudiar y, eventualmente, conceder tienen un itinerario que es claro en nuestro ordenamiento jurídico dentro de un Estado de derecho como es España. Y no se pueden arbitrariamente conceder o negar desde un caprichoso uso y un interesado cálculo que no tiene que ver con las palabras manidas en este festival de una extraña piedad, apelando a sentimientos sagrados y enormemente delicados, para venir a la postre a tapar los verdaderos motivos que se exhiben impudorosamente desde una pretendida magnanimidad.

Tener un corazón magnánimo no es señal de debilidad, sino de la más grande fortaleza. El que gasta la mezquindad en sus latidos se hace rehén y sumiso de sus entretelas más cicateras, quizá presas del miedo que atenaza o del rencor resentido que te hiela. Estamos en una época en la que las palabras son continuamente robadas para volcar una verborrea vacía que de tanto repetirla ya no nos dice nada. Es una suerte de encantamiento para serpientes ingenuas que se dejan llevar por palabras sin verdad con una trama que engaña. Son un ‘flatus vocis’, como decían los clásicos, y que en la tradición medieval indicaba la acción de emitir palabras huecas y sin sentido, en un hablar por hablar, parloteando para no decir absolutamente nada a sabiendas.

Cuando se invocan el diálogo, la magnanimidad, la reconciliación, la tolerancia, las medidas de gracia, no siempre se quiere decir lo que esas palabras significan en su recta comprensión verbal, e incluso en la genuina tradición cristiana, sino que a veces pueden señalar algo ambiguo, escurridizo y falaz. Es extraño invocar el diálogo con los que no quieren hablar, o tener magnanimidad con quienes la van a usar y tirar, o empeñarse en la reconciliación con los que siguen insidiando con saña y dividiendo sin rubor, o abogar por la tolerancia con quienes no renuncian a la violencia, o apelar a medidas de gracia para beneficio de los que ni las piden ni las merecen por su amenazante actitud de reincidencia. Digo que es extraño y también culpable, porque no resulta un atrevimiento ingenuo, ni una bondadosa inocencia.

Suele esconder una estrategia que tiene pretensiones inconfesadas, y unos objetivos buscados tras la tramoya que tiene pagadores que te los financian. Pero lo que se oculta con ardid retorcido, se descubre sin especial dificultad a la corta o a la larga. Y los beneficios maquillados y trucados son fácilmente reconocibles y dan la cara. Cuando todo esto resulta una maquinación política, una más que nos acerca la ralea de quienes han hecho su propio cortijo de la gobernanza de un pueblo, entonces se descubre la actitud tramposa de unos modales en las formas y la aptitud perversa de unos intereses sin entraña.

Más difícil resulta calificar la actitud y la aptitud cuando no hay siglas políticas detrás, sino simplemente un buenismo irresponsable que se alinea con ellas sin más, repitiendo como un mantra los argumentos prestados y asumidos en canal, cuando más bien cabría esperar un juicio moral que se deriva de la rica doctrina social de la Iglesia que ahonda en su sabiduría y bebe de su experiencia que con logros y fallos hemos ido escribiendo como preciosa aportación serena a la sociedad. Cabría también esperar un amor a la verdad que descarta enjuagues con la ambigüedad engañosa, una audacia templada que sabe medir bien los tiempos sin precipitarse y sin fugarse cuando hay que hablar y actuar ponderando las consecuencias para todos y no sólo para una parte. Esto sería un buen testimonio desde una conciencia ética cristiana y desde una pedagogía paciente que no hace extraña su responsabilidad dentro de la Iglesia.

Pero son estos los tiempos que corren, no aquellos de los que no tenemos malsana nostalgia, ni tampoco los tiempos que vendrán sin tener hoy noticia apresurada. Son estos tiempos, los nuestros, donde hemos de librar la batalla cultural dando razón de nuestra esperanza y leyendo adecuadamente nuestra centenaria historia. Como ciudadanos todos y como cristianos los creyentes, tanto en las coyunturas civiles así como en las eclesiásticas, a todos se nos reclama esa fidelidad a la coherencia de una posición católica que no aísla ni empeñece, que no excluye ni enfrenta, y fidelidad a una historia labrada generosamente por enteras generaciones que durante siglos han construido pluralmente España. Es la misma enseñanza que no hace tanto tiempo dimos los obispos españoles hablando de la unidad de nuestro pueblo como un bien moral, capaz de valorar lo que nos distingue y, al mismo tiempo, lo que nos enriquece complementariamente, cuando no hacemos de las distinciones un arma arrojadiza cainita y letal.

Porque parece que se indultan solamente las mascarillas que nos embozaban, cuando a alguien se le ha ocurrido distraernos con tamaña concesión de gracia. Se indultan los oscuros derroteros para perpetuarse un rato más en unas poltronas y cetros con los que seguir construyendo el alibí gaseoso de una pompa llena de la nada que tiene en la mentira su recurrente herramienta política más esmerada. Se indultan los intereses construidos desde el diseño egoísta e insolidario de quien se aprovecha tan sólo de su propia causa engañando, forzando, manipulando, insidiando y dividiendo. Pero no se indulta la vida del no nacido a cuyo asesinato en el seno de su madre se aspira a que sea un derecho, ni la vida del enfermo o anciano terminal al que se permite acabar con su vida eutanásicamente en lugar de cuidarla con respeto, cariño y consuelo con las medidas paliativas y espirituales, ni la educación de nuestros más jóvenes sustrayendo ideológicamente la responsabilidad de sus padres.

‘Flatus vocis’, voces de aire que no dicen nada, las digan quienes las digan. Nosotros seguiremos clamando y defendiendo la vida en todos sus tramos, la verdad que nos hace libres, la convivencia plural y pacífica, la comunión fraterna que nos une y complementa, la educación que no manipula. Todo eso que responde a las promesas de Dios y a los deseos de los hombres, a nuestras preguntas que encuentran correspondencia en sus respuestas.

Jesús Sanz Montes, arzobispo de Oviedo

Publicado no diário espanhol ABC de 24.VI.2021

terça-feira, 6 de julho de 2021

As rosas de Santa Isabel

 

As rosas de Santa Isabel abrem-se hoje à «vastidão de lugares, tempos e modos de exprimir o amor»

«Santa Isabel, na sua condição social, cultural e religiosa, oferece-nos esse imenso testemunho de alguém que se deixou seduzir por Deus, se centrou no seu amor conhecido e acolhido, e fez da fé cristã o caminho único da sua vida», seguindo os passos que lhe conferem plenitude: celebrar a Eucaristia e os outros sacramentos, a profecia-anúncio de Cristo e o testemunho da caridade, «de um modo especial os mais pobres no âmbito material, espiritual, social, sanitário ou outro, seja ele qual for».

O bispo de Coimbra presidiu no domingo à missa na solenidade de Santa Isabel de Portugal, tendo-se lhe referido como «a mulher da caridade cristã, que acolhe e testemunha de modo exemplar este ir ao encontro dos mais pequeninos, este “ser para os outros”».

«Da atenção a cada pessoa nas suas debilidades à assistência social organizada, do amor familiar ao sentido de oferta de si mesmo em âmbito laboral, cultural, político, económico, cada um e todos temos à nossa frente uma vastidão de lugares, tempos e modos de exprimir o amor de Deus», assinalou D. Virgílio Antunes.

Depois de ter chamado a atenção para o facto de nas grandes procissões a atenção recair «mais nas multidões que se juntam para participar ou para ver do que na dimensão celebrativa da fé ou na catequese e evangelização», o prelado apontou para a necessidade de «retomar a centralidade da fé» na vida cristã.

A fé «não pode ser alguma coisa a mais, um conjunto de ritos ou práticas cíclicas, um calendário de festas, um refúgio nos perigos e medos da vida, uma tradição cultural no meio de tantas outras», mas fonte que determina o «rumo» e «ritmo de vida», «mobiliza todas as dimensões» do ser humano e «não rivaliza com nada nem com ninguém porque tem o primeiro lugar».

O prelado vincou que a existência cristã «não pode assentar somente em generalidades ou num conjunto de ideias nascidas a partir do Evangelho de Jesus ao longo da história», mas tem de conduzir ao Evangelho, que «tem poder transformador» de cada pessoa «e de todas as realidades que dela fazem parte a nível pessoal, social, cultural e religioso».

A padroeira principal da cidade de Coimbra palmilhou a rota traçada por D. Virgílio Antunes quando «foi ao âmago da fé que está para além de todas as suas roupagens, foi às fontes do coração de Deus e deixou que nela fossem regadas as sementes de santidade».

«Somos convidados a dar à fé a centralidade única, procurando purificá-la cada vez mais de todas as poeiras que a podem obscurecer e tornar pouco relevante», assinalou o bispo, que concluiu a homilia com um apelo-síntese das suas palavras: «Cresçamos na fé, alimentemo-nos da Palavra de Deus e testemunhemos a caridade».



Imagem"Rainha Santa Isabel e o milagre das rosas" | C. 1540 | Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, Coimbra

 

Rui Jorge Martins
Fonte: Diocese de Coimbra
Imagem de topo: "Rainha Santa Isabel e o milagre das rosas" (det.) | C. 1540 | Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, Coimbra
Publicado em 05.07.2021

 

 

Renovação da Igreja

Renovação da Igreja é «absolutamente necessária» e precisa de mais oração, reflexão e cuidado pelos pobres

«Se a renovação da Igreja é inadiável, isto acontece a partir das paróquias», mas para concretizar a primeira e renovar as segundas é necessário começar por combater a «tentação do activismo», porque hoje em dia «há pouca oração pessoal e muito menos comunitária».

A declaração foi proferida pelo arcebispo de Braga, na homilia da missa a que presidiu, este domingo, na paróquia bracarense de S. Mamede, por ocasião da inauguração do espaço P. Abílio Gomes Correia, sacerdote falecido há 54 anos e que, para o prelado, foi «um reconstrutor da Igreja».

«Contentamo-nos com eucaristias rápidas e o sacrário não é acompanhado. A oração deixou de estar nas agendas quotidianas das pessoas e das famílias. Há exemplos novos maravilhosos. Só que são poucos aqueles que rezam em casa, a caminho do trabalho, no silêncio de uma igreja da cidade ou das nossas aldeias», afirmou D. Jorge Ortiga.

Depois de apontar a necessidade de zeladores que mantenham as igrejas abertas, o arcebispo-primaz vincou que «não bastam as eucaristias»: «Precisamos de momentos de oração. Necessitamos de lausperenes vividos. A oração poderá ser feita em moldes diferentes. O que importa é que rezemos. A obra da renovação não é nossa. Há muita coisa e muitas pessoas que querem que ela não aconteça».

A sugestão de constituir, em cada paróquia, grupos que «de um modo permanente e estável se dedicassem à oração» concluiu a primeira lição que D. Jorge Ortiga extraiu da vida do Venerável P. Abílio Correia, «verdadeiro patrono e modelo» das comunidades católicas.



«Nunca se ama a Deus que não se vê, se não se ama o próximo que se vê. Estes dois amores condicionam-se reciprocamente e tornam-se um só na solicitude e solidariedade para com todos»



O segundo ensinamento é a reflexão e, no seu seguimento, a escuta e o diálogo: «Renovar significa encontrar-se com ideias novas e confrontar-se com quem pensa de um modo diferente. Os novos caminhos necessitam de ser pensados».

«Não estaremos a necessitar de algo que venha promover uma reflexão sinodal sobre a Igreja que somos e a que queremos ser? Não estaremos a precisar de um sério confronto com os novos problemas que afetam a vida das pessoas e das comunidades?», questionou.

D. Jorge Ortiga frisou que «a oração e a reflexão na vida do P. Abílio e da Igreja naquela época não eram actividades fechadas em considerações espirituais e intelectuais. Estavam sempre acompanhadas pela atenção e preocupação em matar a fome aos necessitados».

«Não há renovação paroquial sem compromisso social. Nunca se ama a Deus que não se vê, se não se ama o próximo que se vê. Estes dois amores condicionam-se reciprocamente e tornam-se um só na solicitude e solidariedade para com todos», afirmou.

O arcebispo reiterou que «uma nova imagem da Igreja, através do seu rosto visível que são as paróquias, é absolutamente necessária», e expressou o desejo de que «os sacerdotes acreditem numa nova imagem de paróquia».


 

Rui Jorge Martins
Fonte: Arquidiocese de Braga

Publicado em 05.07.2021

sexta-feira, 2 de julho de 2021

Any fantasy ideology is utterly at odds with the Christian religion

Five Reasons Why Christians Are Public Enemy No. 1

An article originally published by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse on National Catholic Register. No copyrights infringment intended.

Fellow Christians, do you ever feel like we are in the crosshairs of all sorts of ideological groups? I sure do. I’ve had to think about this a lot! And I think I’ve figured out a pattern that explains why we are always in hot water with the “Latest and Greatest and Ultimate Ideological Fad.”  

I first discovered this pattern in my study of the Sexual Revolution. 

Step 1: Somebody sells the public on a utopian ideal, a heaven on Earth, something that sounds appealing but is utterly impossible. Even good ideas and noble goals can be corrupted by being turned into utopian ideologies. For instance, the utopian dream of the communists is the workers’ paradise of perfect economic and social equality. Now, we can eliminate some inequality, but we will never have perfect equality in every dimension. That’s completely impossible.

Some environmentalists want to eliminate all pollution, all carbon footprints. Not possible. Reduce pollution? Sure, we can do that. But eliminate it? not possible. Some in the public health establishment want to eliminate all cases of COVID. Reduce the number of cases? Sure. Eliminate them all? Not possible. And of course, the Sexual Revolution is all about creating a sexual heaven on Earth, where every adult can have all the sex they want and nothing bad ever happens. 

Step 2: These same people selling the fantasy also sell themselves as the potential savior class who can make this dream a reality, if only 

Step 3: We grant them enough power. Doing the impossible requires a lot of power. So, the self-described “savior class” requires unlimited power to bring about the fantasy dreamscape. But even with lots of power, they can’t really do the impossible. So, they must fill the society with 

Step 4: Unlimited propaganda, which  keeps people convinced that the dream is possible and desirable. And finally, and very importantly, the propaganda must turn people’s attention to the 

Step 5: Scapegoat Class. The dreamscape will never materialize, so, the savior class needs someone to blame. Every totalitarian ideology you can think of, has had a scapegoat class. The communists blamed the kulaks and rich peasants and crypto capitalists. The Nazis blamed the Jews. The Sexual Revolutionaries scapegoat Christian hold-outs who refuse to go along with the program. 

Any fantasy ideology is utterly at odds with the Christian religion. Let’s review the five elements to see why. 

  1. A fantasy ideology first promises heaven on Earth. But Jesus never promised us heaven on earth. As a matter of fact, he promised us persecution and trouble. He told us to “take up your cross and come follow me.” He told us to abandon our families, our possessions and our reputations, anything that interferes with the cross. Jesus does not promise heaven on earth. He promises heaven in heaven. 
  2. The fantasy ideology presents the need for a savior class, which can bring about this heaven on earth. Jesus doesn’t allow us to go looking for a savior class. He is the one and only savior. The Christian religion specifically forbids us from assigning the title of “savior” to anyone but Jesus. 
  3. The savior class can save us if only we give them enough power to achieve the impossible task they have set for us. As Christians, we are not allowed to take this deal. We are supposed to render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar only what is Caesar’s. It should go without saying that we are not allowed to render unto the political or technocratic elites unlimited power. We owe the experts in any field a respectful hearing. We don’t owe them unquestioned obedience. In fact, they owe us respectful answers to our questions and concerns. At the end of the day, the experts in public health or in so-called sexual health or climate science or the global economy are ordinary citizens just like the rest of us. To make Christians even more troublesome to power elites, we have this crazy idea that people with power do not get to do whatever they want. The guy at the top of the totem pole does not get to do whatever he can get away with. The history of Christianity is littered (literally) with the bodies of people who confronted people in power on this point. This, more than anything else, has gotten Christians into trouble with ruling classes down through the ages. 
  4. Fantasy ideologies need unlimited propaganda. Let’s be clear: Propaganda is a form of deception. When an ideology gives itself permission to deceive in order to achieve the dream, the faithful Christian needs to object. Christianity holds that there is such a thing as truth, that truth can be discovered both through reason and revelation and that everyone has a responsibility to live in the truth.
  5. Finally, the fantasy ideology requires someone to blame when things don’t go according to plan. But the Christian religion specifically forbids us to scapegoat people. Because we believe in original sin, we have no expectation that we could cure the human race of all evil if we could just get rid of Those Bad People Over There. When the subject is sin, we are all in it together. As Solzhenitsyn famously said, “The line between good and evil runs within every human heart.” There are degrees of personal wrongdoing of course. There are better and worse societies, of course. But no matter how much improvement we might make, we will never achieve perfection. Promising that we will, somehow, someday do so, is setting us up for failure and disappointment. 

People of faith are the ones standing in the way of whatever the fantasy ideology of the moment happens to be. When a new ideology breaks out, we are the ones scratching our heads, saying, “That doesn’t sound right.” We are the ones who are willing to say: “If someone promises heaven on Earth, don’t take the bait. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably neither good nor true.” 

And that is why Christians are public enemy No. 1.

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