Saturday, 9 May 2020

Laudato Si’. Introductory Hors D'oeuvres

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The following was posted yesterday on the blog of the Newmarket Society of St Vincent de Paul.

Five years ago, on 25 May 2015, Pope Francis promulgated his famous encyclical letter, Laudato Si' - On Care for Our Common Home. Papal encyclicals are always named from the opening words in Latin, but this one is in Italian - from the opening words of the famous Canticle of the Sun and Moon by St. Francis of Assisi: "Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures, especially Brother Sun, Who is the day through whom You give us light." Indeed, the encyclical devotes an entire section to this great saint of the poor who had such love both for the poor and for the goodness and beauty of the natural world around him.
(You can download the encyclical in PDF format here.)

The encyclical can appear quite daunting if for nothing other than its length - one hundred and eighty pages. The language, however, is not as heavily stilted or technically theological as the encyclicals of most of Pope Francis' predecessors. In great part, this is because the Pope is addressing this encyclical not just to Catholics, not even just to Christians, but to "the whole human family".

Question: How do you enjoy a huge dinner?
Answer: Savour one mouthful at a time.
The same principle applies to papal encyclicals.

For seven days starting Monday, 11 May, I will post a Laudato Si’ introductory Hors D'oeuvres for Vincentians, and others concerned with the plight of the poor and vulnerable, that just looks at a tiny part of the encyclical - Chapter 1, Section V - Global inequality. It is broken down into digestible extracts, one per day. For each day you are invited, firstly, to read what the pope wrote. Then read it again, finding and reflecting on a word, phrase or sentence that stands out the most to you. Thirdly, prayerfully and with a listening heart, tell the Lord how you feel about what you read and why: Frustration? Encouragement? Helplessness? Resolve? Whatever. Allow time for silence and the Holy Spirit. Then finish with one of the two prayers that the Pope gives us right at the end of his letter to the whole world. (I recommend the one for Christians if you are a Christian.) Actually, we will start right there, with the prayers, on Day 1 and Day 2.

You will be able to find the posts on our FaceBook page
and on our Vincentian Blog
If you register your email address at the bottom of the blog page then you can receive new blog posts in your email the following morning. If you have difficulty registering your email, contact Terry directly and I will try to assist you.

Don't forget, Monday, 11 May.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Quiet Tectonic Shift by Catholic Church on May Day

St. Joseph the Worker

Pope Francis today said in his homily on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker: “Today we join the many men and women, believers and non-believers, who commemorate the Day of the Worker, Labor Day, for those that fight to have justice in work, for those business people who treat those in their employ with justice.” (1)
This amounts, in my view, to a tectonic shift in official Catholic attitudes and thinking. Why do I say this?

Karl Marx published the Communist Manifesto in 1848 in militant defence of the rights of workers against the exploitation of those who owned the means of production - 'Capitalists'. A full forty-three years after that, in 1891, Pope Leo XIII published 'Rerum Novarum', the Church's take on the same subject matter, the rights of workers against exploitation, and declaring the dignity of human labour.

Ten years after the Second World War, with Communism, usually atheistic, gaining traction in Europe, and May Day celebrations getting bigger each year, Pope Pius XII, in 1955, established the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker to be celebrated on May 1 as a counter-celebration to the Communists’ May Day. Now today, with Pope Francis, no longer in a counter-celebration but in a con-celebration, we join the many men and women, believers and non-believers, who commemorate the Day of the Worker, Labor Day, for those that fight to have justice in work, for those business people who treat those in their employ with justice.

See also:

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Refugees and Veterans

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As must be the case with many of you reading this, my father and grandfathers fought in the two world wars of the twentieth century. They, and our family, were fortunate that they survived, although my wife has an uncle in her ancestry who lost his life when his ship sank in a naval engagement, and my dad came out of the war minus one lung. Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand were not under direct attack or threat in the same way as were the countries of Europe and Britain. Their armies were fighting not so much for their own motherland as helping defend and liberate their allies and for the values and principles of world liberty and freedom from tyranny.

I find it disappointing, therefore, when I read so often in the social media that people are advancing an anti-refugee position by bemoaning how "our government" can find money to assist refugees but cannot properly assist "our vets". Please, let's keep the two issues separate. By all means, let us lobby for a better deal for our war veterans, but not on the backs of the most vulnerable. This is disingenuous and an insult to the very ones who died in the wars, who died for something far nobler than keeping "our country" free from refugees.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Monitoring the Magi

So, Ingrid is on top of this. Not only is she monitoring the progress of the Magi over field and fountain, moor and mountain, but she is also ensuring that the star with royal beauty bright is westward leading, still proceeding with an ETA of 6 January, 2020.

Field and fountain, moor and mountain

Field and fountain, moor and mountain

Westward leading, still proceeding

Westward leading, still proceeding

Star with royal beauty bright

Star with royal beauty bright

Guide us to thy perfect light

Guide us to thy perfect light