by Deacon Nick Donnelly

 

I come from a very pro-life Catholic family, which in part is due to my brothers and I being born very premature, and a brother and sister dying just after birth. Since a young boy I have been very aware of the preciousness and the sanctity of human life. My own two children, Gabriel and Ariel, died in the first trimester and I’ll never forget seeing their hearts beating on the ultrasound screen at seven weeks gestation. One of the reasons why I love the Catholic Church is because of her unambiguous defence of the sanctity of the lives of pre-born babies, expressed in Vatican II crystal-clear statement, ‘abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes’(Gaudium et Spes, 51). 

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byAnthony Murphy

The time has come for the laity to demand a thorough reform of St. Patrick’s Seminary

“If a man has the power to do good, it is sinful in him to leave it undone”. This short line from the Epistle of Saint James is a stark reminder of the duty of every Christian believer to do what is right. Why then, we may ask, are our bishops not taking an active role in bringing about a sorely-needed reform of our national seminary, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth? 

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.

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

 "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

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. 

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