READ POPE FRANCIS' EXHORTATIONS

As we prepare for the observance of Holy Week just seven days away, may I suggest that reading the Apostolic Exhortation Evangeli Gaudium of Pope Francis would be a very interesting and even controversial reading. Bring it with you and while sitting in your car for hours or lying on the beach or in between trekking or diving, just read excerpts from it. There are 288 paragraphs but it is divided into topics so you can actually just choose specific topics. Some of the more interesting topics to me are: “No to the new idolatry of money”; “No to a financial system which rules rather than serves”; “ and “ No to the inequality which spawns violence.” Pope Francis mixes economics and Catholic social teachings. He says: “The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.” The Exhortations covers topics of interest to different groups. He talks of the rejection of Ethics in the business and political worlds. He speaks of the proliferation of new religious movements which tend to fundamentalism and “exploits the weaknesses of people living in poverty and on the fringes of society.”

ALSO: The Apostolic Exhortations

"An apostolic exhortation is a type of communication from the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It encourages a community of people to undertake a particular activity but does not define Church doctrine. It is considered lower in formal authority than a papal encyclical, but higher than other ecclesiastical letters, Apostolic Letters and Other Papal Writings. Apostolic exhortations are commonly issued in response to a synod of bishops, in which case they are known as post-synodal apostolic exhortations" WEB DEFINITION (WIKIPEDIA). APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY, CONSECRATED PERSONS AND THE LAY FAITHFUL ON THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL IN TODAY’S WORLD. (READ INDEX, PAGE 1 OF  288)

ALSO: Pope apologizes for priests’ sex abuse, promises strong response

Pope Francis called April 11 for an “even stronger” Catholic Church response to combat sexual abuse, saying he felt compelled to “personally ask forgiveness” for priests who have sexually abused children. “The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed,” the Pope told the International Child Bureau in an April 11 audience at the Vatican, according to Vatican Radio. He said the response to sex abuse has to be “even stronger” because “you cannot interfere with children.” The International Catholic Child Bureau is a Catholic NGO dedicated to global work on behalf of children. The Pope also discussed other issues affecting children. He stressed the importance of fighting slave labor, recruitment of children as soldiers, and “all forms of violence against children.” “On a positive note, we must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity,” he said. The Pope voiced support for parents to decide their children’s moral and religious education, while he rejected “any kind of educational experimentation with children.” READ MORE...

ALSO: The Christian life is a constant battle against evil, Pope reflects

Pope Francis centered his daily homily on the topic of temptation, observing that it has a specific structure, and encouraging attendees to learn from scripture how to fight the devil. “We too are tempted, we too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of Evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ,” the Pope expressed in his April 11 daily Mass. Speaking to those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the pontiff highlighted that every Christian struggles against the spirit of evil, just as Jesus did during his life and ministry. Drawing attention to how Jesus himself was tempted, the Pope emphasized that as his followers, we too are the subject of spiritual attacks which seek to deter us from the Lord, because the devil “does not want our Christian witness.” “And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus?” he asked, observing that “the temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap.” “Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing,” the pontiff stated, adding that “Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community.” In the end, “in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself,” the Bishop of Rome explained, reiterating that “it grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.” Looking to Scripture, Pope Francis recalled the temptation of Jesus in the desert, noting that the first attempt of the devil to thwart him by having him throw himself from the temple to show that he is the Messiah was almost like a seduction. However, when Satan is rejected, he grows and returns stronger than before, continued the Pope, pointing out how even Jesus knew this when he spoke of how the devil looks for companions and then returns with all of them to torment the same person. READ MORE...


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Read Pope Francis’ exhortations


By Elfren S. Cruz

MANILA, APRIL 14, 2014 (PHILSTAR) BREAKTHROUGH By Elfren S. Cruz - As we prepare for the observance of Holy Week just seven days away, may I suggest that reading the Apostolic Exhortation Evangeli Gaudium of Pope Francis would be a very interesting and even controversial reading.

Bring it with you and while sitting in your car for hours or lying on the beach or in between trekking or diving, just read excerpts from it. There are 288 paragraphs but it is divided into topics so you can actually just choose specific topics.

Some of the more interesting topics to me are: “No to the new idolatry of money”; “No to a financial system which rules rather than serves”; “ and “ No to the inequality which spawns violence.”

Pope Francis mixes economics and Catholic social teachings. He says: “The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”

The Exhortations covers topics of interest to different groups. He talks of the rejection of Ethics in the business and political worlds. He speaks of the proliferation of new religious movements which tend to fundamentalism and “exploits the weaknesses of people living in poverty and on the fringes of society.”

He speaks of the family experiencing a profound cultural crisis, the evils of human trafficking, and the cynicism of media. He has advice for the pastoral workers, bishops priests, brothers and nuns, who are constantly facing temptations. He talks of income inequality and the need to resolve the “structural causes of poverty.” He points to our world torn apart by wars and violence and the re-emergence of conflicts and old divisions from the past. He condemns capitalism but says realities are greater than ideas. He has paragraphs for the youth, women, intellectuals, serious journalists, lay people and non-Christians.

Read the Exhortations of Pope Francis and you will find at least one paragraph that will provide you the guidance and inspiration to live the life you have been seeking.

Feast of St. John Baptist de La Salle

Last Monday, April 7 was the feast day of St. John Baptist de La Salle, Patron Saint of Christian teachers and founder of a congregation of teaching Brothers known officially as the Brothers of the Christian Schools. In the Philippines, this order is more popularly known as the La Salle Brothers.

He was born in Rheims. France in April 30, 1651 and died on April 7, 1719. He was canonized May 24, 1900 and proclaimed by the Catholic Church as Patron Saint of Christian Teachers on May 15, 1950.

St. John Baptist de La Salle was a pioneer in founding training colleges for teachers, reform schools for delinquents, technical schools and secondary schools for modern languages, arts and sciences and invented the modern classroom style of education.

Because of his life and his writings he was made Patron Saint for all those who work in the field of education. After 300 years, he continues to inspire others how to teach and care for young people.

De La Salle saw that for the schools to truly succeed, they needed committed people who were willing to give their lives to the work of education for life. The Brothers were to be ministers, not of the Sacraments but of the Word through their teaching of the catechism and through their literacy work in schools. It was in 1689 that the first Brothers made their promises, the forerunners of the vows the Brothers make today.

At the present time there are La Salle schools in 80 different countries around the world. In the Philippines, the La Sallian institutions continue to strive to fulfil its mission of giving as many young people, from all sectors of society, the opportunity for a La Sallian education.

The first La Salle school, in the Philippines, was founded in 1911.Today De La Salle University is considered as among the best institution of higher learning in Asia. The University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City and DLSU-Lipa are the leading university in their respective regions. DLSU – Dasmarinas and College of St. Benilde are innovators in different areas of tertiary education. There are now La Salle schools in Caloocan, Iligan, Ozamis, Antipolo and Surigao.

In the primary and secondary education, the Brothers have fulfilled their mission of offering a La Sallian education to all sectors of society. Schools like La Salle-Greenhills, La Salle-Zobel and La Salle-Bacolod are among the nation’s best. But, unlike most other religious orders, La Salle has schools that offer quality education for the poor. This includes schools like La Salle-St. Joseph in Bacolod, Br Jaime Hilario in Bataan, the Adult Night School in La Salle-Greenhills and other La Salle managed schools. Then there is “Balay Pag-Asa” a reformatory school for juvenile delinquents in Negros Occidental. Hopefully, another one will be set up in the MetroManila area.

In 1996, Br Andrew Gonzales FSC, former DLSU president, before he passed away said that while De La Salle University puts the liberal arts and the classics of the East and the West on a pedestal and proposes them as the foundation of a sound liberal education, it nevertheless balances them with an orientation in modern life: accountancy, entrepreneurship, management, engineering, computer science, basic sciences.

The abiding desire of every La Sallian should be that the La Sallian heritage of an excellent and Christian education be accessible to as many Filipino as desire it.

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATIONS - FROM http://goo.gl/yBZPgo (SHORTENED URL)

"An apostolic exhortation is a type of communication from the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It encourages a community of people to undertake a particular activity but does not define Church doctrine. It is considered lower in formal authority than a papal encyclical, but higher than other ecclesiastical letters, Apostolic Letters and Other Papal Writings. Apostolic exhortations are commonly issued in response to a synod of bishops, in which case they are known as post-synodal apostolic exhortations" WEB DEFINITION (WIKIPEDIA).






FROM THE VATICAN WEBSITE

Pope apologizes for priests’ sex abuse, promises strong response April 11, 2014 By CNA Daily News Vatican City, Apr 11, 2014 / 10:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).

Pope Francis called April 11 for an “even stronger” Catholic Church response to combat sexual abuse, saying he felt compelled to “personally ask forgiveness” for priests who have sexually abused children.

“The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed,” the Pope told the International Child Bureau in an April 11 audience at the Vatican, according to Vatican Radio.

He said the response to sex abuse has to be “even stronger” because “you cannot interfere with children.”

The International Catholic Child Bureau is a Catholic NGO dedicated to global work on behalf of children.

The Pope also discussed other issues affecting children. He stressed the importance of fighting slave labor, recruitment of children as soldiers, and “all forms of violence against children.”

“On a positive note, we must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity,” he said.

The Pope voiced support for parents to decide their children’s moral and religious education, while he rejected “any kind of educational experimentation with children.”

“The horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals and, with the pretense of modernity, push children and young people to walk on the dictatorial path of ‘only one form of thought’,” he warned.

Pope Francis also reflected on the need for sound formation of human rights advocates.

He said that work for human rights presupposes a good understanding of the human person and “knowing how to respond to the problems and challenges posed by contemporary culture and widespread mentality propagated by the mass media.”

He urged the children’s rights advocates to propose the “positive values of the human person.”

The Christian life is a constant battle against evil, Pope reflects April 11, 2014 By CNA Daily News -Vatican City, Apr 11, 2014 / 07:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).

Pope Francis centered his daily homily on the topic of temptation, observing that it has a specific structure, and encouraging attendees to learn from scripture how to fight the devil.

“We too are tempted, we too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of Evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ,” the Pope expressed in his April 11 daily Mass.

Speaking to those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the pontiff highlighted that every Christian struggles against the spirit of evil, just as Jesus did during his life and ministry.

Drawing attention to how Jesus himself was tempted, the Pope emphasized that as his followers, we too are the subject of spiritual attacks which seek to deter us from the Lord, because the devil “does not want our Christian witness.”

“And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus?” he asked, observing that “the temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap.”

“Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing,” the pontiff stated, adding that “Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community.”

In the end, “in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself,” the Bishop of Rome explained, reiterating that “it grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”

Looking to Scripture, Pope Francis recalled the temptation of Jesus in the desert, noting that the first attempt of the devil to thwart him by having him throw himself from the temple to show that he is the Messiah was almost like a seduction.

However, when Satan is rejected, he grows and returns stronger than before, continued the Pope, pointing out how even Jesus knew this when he spoke of how the devil looks for companions and then returns with all of them to torment the same person.

Recalling Jesus’ preaching in the synagogue, the Roman Pontiff noted that his enemies’ words – “but isn’t this the son of Joseph, the carpenter, the son of Mary. He never studied so with what authority can he speak?” – illustrate how temptation begins as what seems like a small trickle of water, but eventually turns into a flood.

“We have a temptation that grows: it grows and infects others,” he repeated. “For example, let’s look at gossip: I’m a bit envious of this or that person and at first I’m just envious inside” but eventually “I need to share it and go to another person and say: ‘But have you seen that person?’”

Inevitably, “this gossip tries to grow and infects another and another,” he went on to say, adding, “This is the way gossip works and all of us have been tempted to gossip!”

“Maybe not one of you, if you’re a saint, but I too have been tempted to gossip! It’s a daily temptation. And it begins in this way, discreetly, like a trickle of water. It grows by infecting others and in the end it justifies itself.”

Concluding his reflections, the Pope encouraged attendees to be vigilant in their prayer, noting, “We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle.”

“That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ,” he repeated.

Observing how some might say, “But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century,” the Pope warned them to “look out because the devil is present!”

“The devil is here…even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”


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