al4by Deacon Nick Donnelly

 

The publication of Pope Francis’Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love, finally provides us with the Holy Father’s answer to the vexed question that has been at the focus of two synods and three years of intense debate in the Church, ‘can the divorced and re-married receive Holy Communion’? 

 

Nowhere in the 260 pages of Amoris Laetitia will you find Pope Francis write the words, ‘The divorced and re-married can now receive Holy Communion’. Only when speaking of,  husbands or wives abandoned by their spouses, who remain faithful to their marriage vows, will you find Pope Francis state categorically that they must be encouraged to receive Holy Communion. 

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

Within the octave of the horrific events in Paris and on the very Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – a feast established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, even as most monarchs in the world were vanishing or had already vanished, in a particular way, I find myself reflecting on the closing words of the Preface for that feast. In one of the loveliest and most powerful prefaces in the entire Roman Missal, the Kingdom of Christ is described as “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.” Seven characteristics, embodying the fullness of reality. I hope they can serve as spiritual food for thought in the light of these events.

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

 

Around the time of the Second World War, Italy boasted the world's highest birth rate. It now boasts one of the world's lowest due to its ever-increasing secularization, which is firmly rooted in a selfish materialism (Pope Francis' "throwaway culture") and the "culture of death" (St. John Paul II), with their two massive pillars: abortion and artificial contraception. Even though Italians with their healthful Mediterranean diet tend to live longer than most other peoples, their rapidly aging native populations are not being replenished. 

by Deacon Nick Donnelly


At this time of year I observe a personal tradition that my wife and I began over ten years ago as a way of preparing spiritually for the New Year. It involves us listening in the quiet of the evening to audio recordings of the Book of Revelation, with their vivid evocation of the conflict between good and evil that is occurring now and is not yet fully upon us. In recent years I have taken this eschatological perspective further by annually reading novels by my favourite Catholic authors that explore apocalyptic themes, such as those by Michael D O’Brien and Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson.

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

I'll never forget the first time I attended Holy Mass at the Pantheon when I was a seminarian studying in Rome back in the early 1990s. As I listened attentively to the moving polyphonic motets, umbrellas began to open up as a gentle rain came down through the "oculus" ("the eye") or "opening"in the Pantheon's massive rotund roof. I distinctly remember being mesmerized by the rain gathering on the floor of the Pantheon as incense billowed and I chimed in to join the chorus of Gregorian chant that continued to ring out without missing a beat.

 by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

 "The corruption of the best is the worst!" Another way we can express this ancient Latin adage is with a famous saying attributed to Lord Acton: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!"  During this last leg of my Roman sojourn another major scandal has emerged from the dark shadows into the full light of day, this time concerning secret Vatican documents, leaked by a Spanish monsignor (Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, an official in the Holy See’s department of economic affairs) and his female colleague (Francesca Chaouqui, a public relations consultant!).  

by Rev. Nicholas L. Gregoris

How many of you remember the childish jingle, "Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!"? Or perhaps you are familiar with Sir Walter Scott’s insightful line, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!" Or, the famous quip of Mark Twain (or was it Benjamin Disraeli?): "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Well, during this immediate post-synodal period, some lies seem to be surfacing in the Vatican concerning matters great and small. Indeed, there are certain strange and scandalous developments happening nowadays, most notably "Part II" (as it were) of "Vatileaks" whose intricacies have yet to be resolved, and which therefore remain far beyond the scope of the present article. So, let's reflect a bit on a smaller matter. 

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