Dear LGBT Community, Come to Jesus and know how much you are loved.

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Orlando 2016

Dear LGBT community,

Come to Jesus and know how much you are loved. Every Christian is a sinner. The Church is just made up of a whole bunch of sinners in need of a saviour. So if you are a sinner too, you are gonna fit in just fine! Jesus doesn’t like people who point fingers at other people’s sin. When he saved a young woman from being stoned to death he looked at the crowed of accusers around her and told them:

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”” – (John 8:7)

Let me tell you about God…

God loves His children UNCONDITIONALLY. He loves you and me so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die on a cross to pay the price for our sins. He did this because He wants you and me to be with Him for all eternity after we die. He created you unique, special, beautiful, one of a kind.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” – (Luke 12:7)

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you God, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – (Psalm 139)

Come and find out more about this love.

We are all sinners. Jesus wants to forgive us and set us free. He wants us to see ourselves through His eyes, so we can realise how much we are loved. Not once we decide to leave our old lives behind and follow Him, but RIGHT NOW. He loves you RIGHT NOW.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – (Romans 5:8)

Come to Jesus. Come and find out about how much He loves you. Come and find out about His mercy and forgiveness.

The terror attack in Orlando was a hate crime. It was carried out by a man who had learned to hate himself. He believed his religion hated him because he too was experiencing same-sex attraction.

If only he could have known the truth about how much he was loved by Jesus – even in the depths of his hate and despair, he was still loved. He didn’t know how much He was loved.

It is too late now. I commit him, and all those who were killed in the club that night to the mercy of God. They all now stand face to face with their creator. One day, we all will stand face to face with our creator.

You are angry, of course. But please don’t let that anger grow into hate. Instead come and learn about Love as you have never known it before.

God has a plan for your life. He wants you back. Turn to Jesus now and begin the most incredible relationship of your life.

Jesus, I don’t know who you are. Everything I’ve been taught about you doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. How can you love me when I am a sinner? How can you do that? I have turned my back on God many times  in my life Jesus. I want to come to you. Help me come to you and give my heart to you. I want to know who I am through your eyes. I want to know about Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness. I want to know how much you love me.

For all those affected by same-sex attraction please visit https://couragerc.org/

 

2016: Bringing our lapsed loved ones back.

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We had a fairly quiet new years eve this year. I was expecting the text, and when it came it said that a family member had passed away peacefully after receiving the last rites.

I’m glad they received the last rites. I was also able to have Mass said, and pray a Divine Mercy chaplet for them. You see, they were a very good person, but had not practiced their faith for a very long time.

We all have loved ones who have – for whatever reason – fallen away from the faith. Each circumstance is different, each family is different, each individual is different. But we all have 2 things in common:

  1. Jesus loves us.
  2. One day we will die.

When we come face to face with God at the moment of our death we will be called to give account of our lives. Jesus tells us that “He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.” – (Divine Mercy)

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Divine Mercy

In this new year 2016, we as the Catholic Church on earth, in purgatory or in heaven, are focusing on Mercy. It seems to me that their is no greater act of mercy than to pray for those who need to come back to Jesus. We often become illusioned that our acts of kindness, mercy, charity and love have to be these big monumental events that change people’s lives. But I am saying no, they don’t. I believe that 99 times out of 100 it is the little things that make the difference. Little things done with great love.

The same can be said regarding evangelisation. People have this false manufactured notion that we need to be going out to spread the Gospel. But I disagree. I believe the people God wants us to evangelise to are the people closest to us: our spouse, children, siblings, parents. And after that: our friends, neighbours, work colleagues. God has already put us into a perfect situation to evangelise – our ordinary daily lives.

We are already surrounded by people who have fallen out of relationship with Jesus, or have not yet come into one. As positive as they are, we do not need to be setting up parish initiatives, or nationwide conferences or having meeting after meeting to decide how we are going to invent ways to take the Good News out to people, because for 99% of us those people already surround us!!!

I think for most of us it is less challenging to to talk about Jesus to a stranger than to our own family.

But the point of evangelisation is that it has to be authentic, and it has to be witnessed – and personally I believe it has to be organic ie. within the natural relationship we already have, rather than being a manufactured event. In this way evangelisation becomes much more challenging because it forces us to ask ourselves not only the question “How would I describe my relationship with Christ?” but “How do live my relationship with Christ, and can my family member/friend see this in my ordinary daily life?”

This is a big subject, and there is no way I an cover it in one blog post, but you are beginning to get the idea.

We all have lapsed loved ones who we desperately want to bring back into a relationship with Christ. And for many of us – perhaps all of us, this is going to mean taking a good look at our own relationship with Christ first.

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St Monica and her son St Augustine.

Perhaps St Monica is the one to go to here. She prayed for her wayward son for decades until he finally came back to the faith. Her wayward son of course went on to become St. Augustine.

I am surrounded by lapsed loved ones in my own life. It is, and has been one of the biggest sadnesses of my life that my faith is not able to be shared, but is instead belittled and often quietly ridiculed by those closest to me. But wasn’t Jesus mocked too? Yes, He was. And He still chose to love them and forgive them, and die for them.

In 2016, I hope I can find a way to love as Jesus loved, and be Christ to those around me who so desperately need to come back to Him. I hope you will join me in this year of mercy in praying for, and hopefully bringing all your loved ones back into a relationship with Jesus, before it’s too late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SSPX, 50 years of Vatican 2, and the Family Synod.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Today Pope Francis sent a letter to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and made a completely unexpected announcement regarding the SSPX:

“A final consideration concerns those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X. This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one. From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity. In the meantime,motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.”

For those of you who are not familiar with the SSPX here are a few brief facts:

  • The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is an international organisation, founded in 1970 by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, of traditionalist Catholic priests.
  • It was born out of opposition to changes in the Catholic Church that followed the Second Vatican Council.
  • It is commonly believed that they disagree with the whole of Vatican II, but it is only just five paragraphs. These are the ‘pelagian’ paragraphs relating to conscience.
  • The society is known as a strong defender and proponent of the Tridentine Mass.
  • The central controversy surrounding the SSPX concerns the consecration by Archbishop Lefebvre and a Brazilian bishop, Antônio de Castro Mayer, of four SSPX priests as bishops on 30 June 1988 in violation of the orders of Pope John Paul II.
  • The following day, the Congregation for Bishops issued a decree declaring that Archbishop Lefebvre and the four newly ordained bishops had incurred the automatic canonical penalty of excommunication reserved to the Holy See.
  • Lefebvre argued that his actions had been necessary because the traditional form of the Catholic faith and sacraments would become extinct without traditionalist clergy to pass them on to the next generation.
  • The canonical situation of the SSPX has been the subject of much controversy since the 1988 Écône consecrations. The Society claims to possess extraordinary jurisdiction for celebrating masses and for other sacraments like penance and marriage.
  • The view of the Holy See, as expressed by Pope Benedict XVI on 10 March 2009, is: “Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”

So you can see now why today’s announcement was so surprising.

Archbishop Lefebvre

Archbishop Lefebvre

The SSPX responded to the announcement on their website:

“The Society of St. Pius X learned, through the press, of the provisions taken by Pope Francis on the occasion of the upcoming Holy Year. In the last paragraph of his letter addressed September 1, 2015, to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the Holy Father writes:

‘I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Society of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.’

The Society of St. Pius X expresses its gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this fatherly gesture. In the ministry of the sacrament of penance, we have always relied, with all certainty, on the extrdaordinary jurisdiction conferred by the Normae generales of the Code of Canon Law. On the occasion of this Holy Year, Pope Francis wants all the faithful who wish to confess to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to be able to do so without being worried.

During this year of conversion, the priests of the Society of St. Pius X will have at heart to exercise with renewed generosity their ministry in the confessional, following the example of tireless dedication which the holy Curé of Ars gave to all priests.”
A Tridentine Mass

A Tridentine Mass

Well this is all big news! I’m slightly confused as to why the SSPX were not contacted first regarding this monumental decision and rather (as they stated in their response) found out about this “through the press”. That seems very odd indeed to me considering the magnitude of the announcement. No-one seems to have an answer to this. I’m inclined to file it away under “stuff that Pope Francis does”. 🙂

However, it struck me that the timing of the announcement was rather significant. The opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy will take place on December 8th 2015 – the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Lest we forget, that the SSPX was born out of opposition to the Second Vatican Council.

The optimist here will tell you that this announcement is an extremely exciting step that shows real hope of reconciliation between the SSPX and Rome. That it is following the same direction as Summorum Pontificum in which Pope Benedict XVI stated that all priests may once again freely celebrate the Tridentine Mass, and that Pope Francis is really reaching out to these guys.

The cynic however will tell you that it is just a way of publicly sweetening the SSPX as Rome prepares to celebrate 50 years of the thing that caused the SSPX to come into existence in the first place. And that this gesture means very little to the SSPX as far as its interaction with Rome goes because according to the Normae generales of the Code of Canon Law, their sacrament of confession is valid already – and always has been.

And the end-times watcher will tell you this is just a way of trying to include and appease the traditional side of the church, when what is really about to happen is that the church is going to be taken over and completely remodelled by a set of uber liberal diverse cardinals at the family synod in October all under the banner of the ‘spirit of vatican 2′.

Well I suppose we will have to wait and see what happens at the synod before we start to imagine all sorts of monstrosities – but I can tell you this: If things do go pear shaped at the Synod and the so called ‘spirit’ of Vatican 2 and Cardinal Kasper’s version of mercy prevails, the SSPX is gonna get real busy, real quick.