Spirit

Gospel

 

If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25)

 

Gods love is perfected in us (1 Joh. 4:7,12)

 

If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.(Rom. 12:20)

 

Pray for those who abuse you. (Lk. 6:27-28)

 

God makes his sun rise on the bad and the good(Matt 5:48)

 

All who take the sword, will perish by the sword (Matt 26:53)

 

Be merciful,just as your Father is merciful. (Lk 6:37)

 

If your sheep falls into a pit on the sabbath, would you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep.(Matt 12:11-12)

 

The tax collectors and sinners were all crowding round to listen to him, and the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them …’ (Lk 15:2-3) 

 

Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice.’ And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners. (Mt 9:12-13)

 

Let anyone who believes in me come to drink! (Jn 7:38)

 

When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table, suddenly a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town … She covered his feet with kisses and anointed him … the Pharisee said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know … what sort of person [was] touching him and what a bad name she has …’ (Lk 7:36-39)

 

They were at supper … and he got up from table, removed his outer garments … and began to wash his disciples’ feet … (Jn 13:2, 4, 5) 

 

His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath’. (Mt 12:1-2)

 

Jews, of course, do not associate with Samaritans’ (Jn 4:10)

There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can neither be male nor female – for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28-29)

 

Inspiring Stories

Released  

Lady Aung San, daughte of  the assasinated politician Aung San, became engaged in Birma’s nationwide democracy uprising in 1988. She got house arrest. Thousands of letters were sent by members of Amnesty International to her suppressors.  After 21 years she was released 13 November 2012. Like Gandhi she is campagning nonviolently for democracy. Recently her opposition party did win a byelection, but Myamar's parlement is still dominated by supporters of the military rulers.

 

Senaor B.Aquino, the staunchest critic of President Marcosof the Philippines, was assasinated in 1983. His wife Corazon stayed in monastery for a while. She studied the nonvilent methodes of Gandhi, how to topplr a monarchy. Than she emerged as leader of the opposition. With the support of many experts, millions of people,  the Catholic hierarchy and eventually the army she got Marcos to leave the country. She became the first female president of her country.


Pioneering 

 

In a dream a legion of christian youngsters together with boys and girls of other denominations all over the world is pleading with wounded Malala from Pakistan for egalitarian treatment of girls and women in education and jobs, marriage and divorse, in churches, synagoges, mosks and businesses

Courageous people

Abbe Pierre, Albert Schweitzer, Dietrich Bonnhoeffer, Dalai Lama, Muhtar Mai, Nelson Mandela, Frére Joseph, Desmond Tutu, Florence Nightingale, Helen Suzman, mother Teresa and President M.Nyerere.

30 Voices from our time

  1. One of our friends gets emotional when I talk about priesthood. From 1956 until 1968 he had been a student at a minor and a major seminary. Two weeks before he would have been ordained, he had a talk with his bishop about how a priest has to behave. He heard that he had to refuse giving communion to anybody who had been remarried without permission of the Church. He realized that in a fortnight at his first Mass he had to refuse giving communion to his youngest sister. Straight away he told the bishop: Cancel my ordination. He never regretted his decision, but he is still unable to talk about the past without getting into tears.
  2. One day the parish priest announces, that homosexuals will no longer be permitted to receive communion. A man raised from his pew, broke into tears and said: my son has been knowing that this announcement was coming. Last week he tried to commit suicide. I convince him not to do so by referring to the gospel, where Jesus said that all people are equal for God. Father, is that wrong? After mass the parish priest visited this family. He asked forgiveness for what he did.
  3. In 1980 I was divorced from my first husband.  In 1982 I was a single parent with four children and thinking about getting married again.  Our pastor knew my financial circumstances and used parish money to pay the cost for the annulment process.  Filling out the paperwork was tedious but also valuable as it forced me to really think hard about what happened before I got married and what went wrong during the marriage.  I have been married now for 31 years and I think the annulment paperwork helped me grow and be able to make a better decision about getting married and staying married.  A former pastor who knew my circumstances in the marriage had told me years ago that I would be eligible for an annulment if I divorced my husband.  After my divorce I put off going for the annulment but then was glad I did.
  4. All of us must make our decisions within the limitations of our personality, intelligence, spiritual development, upbringing and immediate and wider culture and environment.  Certainly, as we look around us, we see some people making decisions which we regard as quite flawed.  But what would I do if I were that person with all that person’s limitations of consciousness rather than my own?  I cannot possibly know and I believe it is certainly not for me (or my unelected Church representatives) to pass judgment on them.  My role is to show respect, support and love to that person.  It may also be to share the pain of the decision going badly and to help the person to pick up the pieces without condemnation. This is also what I would want from the Church.
  5. 4.     I did not consider living with my first husband before marriage.  Had we lived together for over a month, I never would have married him.  I married him 9 months after we met, so I really did not know him.  Even though I knew I had made a mistake early on, I was totally committed to the marriage because of my Catholic upbringing.  I made strenuous efforts to make the marriage a happy one.  Nevertheless, after eight years and three children, my first husband abandoned me, our "marriage" and his family.  I cannot really criticize the younger generation for living together for a while before marriage.  They understand what a terrible gamble they are making when they marry in the Church before they really know the person they are marrying.
  6. I attended meetings regarding completing the annulment process.  At the time I could not afford either the time or the money to do so.  I was working full-time, caring for my two children, and earning an advanced degree required for my job. The more I thought about the process, the more sure I became that the process would not be beneficial.  I might feel vindicated by blaming my ex, but this would not help me heal.  I had to determine what changes I needed to make so I would not marry the same kind of person again.  Counseling was very beneficial.  Spiritual direction with a Jesuit priest I highly respected was the most beneficial.  I raised my two children in the Catholic faith.  They are very successful and have families of their own.  I will not go through the annulment process.
  7. I especially am hurt by not being able to receive Eucharist if a person is part of another Christian faith.  I have a daughter who is part of another Church.  She lives her life more faithfully than many Catholics who receive but if she comes to the Catholic Church she cannot receive.  That angers me.  If I die I realize many of my children will not be able to receive communion at my funeral.  The Church does not care how deeply that hurts.
  8. I was an active, practicing Catholic for the first 59 years of my life. I stepped away from the church due to the inability of the church to welcome women to the table of the Lord, to welcome divorced and remarried Catholics to the table of the Lord, to welcome our brothers and sisters who are in same-sex relationships to the table of the Lord. I was also deeply disturbed by the ongoing inability of church leadership to recognize and accept responsibility for the scandal of priests abusing children in our society, and not holding accountable bishops and cardinals who covered up this ungodly behavior.  It was unbelievable to me that the church could compare women and others who spoke of ordination of women to the same level as priest who abused children, and worse that some of those people were excommunicated while not one priest, bishop, or cardinal faced that same outcome. I have stepped away from the church and I am now happily involved in an Inclusive Catholic community led by a woman who was ordained as part of the women's priest movement. This community welcomes all to the table of the Lord, recognizes and excepts the God-given gifts and talents of those present, and reaches out to those in need who have been ostracized by the church.
  9. And from Croatia came this story: “When I was a young Jesuit novice in 1963, my father came to visit me. We walked through the grounds of a beautiful orchard and, after an initial greeting and cordial exchanges, my father broke into tears, sobbing. I was shocked. I had never seen my father crying. In my amazement, the only thing I was able to say was: ‘What’s the matter? Why are you crying?’ I believe that my black Jesuit cassock gave him permission to cry. After a long pause, he said: ‘This morning I went to confession. I told the priest that I enjoyed sexual intercourse with your mother but I cannot permit another pregnancy. I am having a hard enough time supporting five of you. I know we are living in poverty already.’ At first I was shocked at his brutal honesty from my father at my tender age of 22. ‘The priest said he could not give me absolution because my sexual act was not intended for procreation and that was against the Church’s teaching. The priest closed the screen separating us and I was left with utter disgust with myself not knowing what to do. I knew there was something wrong here, not with me, but with the priest who handled my confession so cruelly in the name of the Church.
  10. And this: Peter said …‘You know it is forbidden for Jews to mix with people of another race or visit them; but God has made it clear to me that I must not call anyone profane or unclean … God has no favorites … and who am I to stand in God’s way?’ (Acts 10:28, 34 & 11:17)
  11. Stop sneaking in the bed of couples and their secrets.
  12. As a religious sister I got pregnant—life was lonely, confusing, controlling, and I fell in love.  I was unable to marry the father of the baby (from a foreign country and the communication issues were too difficult).  I met a wonderful, divorced man who, by a crazy and lucky fluke of being baptized Catholic by a nun in the hospital as a baby even though his family was not Catholic and his first marriage was not a Catholic marriage, hence null in the Church, we were able to be married in the Church.  This man went to Church with us, his family, for 20 years before he finally took the steps and became a full-fledged Catholic.  He joins me in the frustration of the Catholic Church in recognizing the role of women, the view of same sex marriages, the issue of birth control (we used it), and other issues of the Church. (United States).
  13. My early years of married life were an agony. There was no one I could turn to during years of his alcohol infused verbal, physical and mental abuse. I had been raised to see marriage as a forever thing—no matter how bad. But when I found out that he was sexually abusing our daughters I could no longer continue. What he had done trumped all Church teaching. When I first tried to find out about the annulment process, the priest just threw a few papers across his desk to me. Then he dismissed me and sent me home like a disobedient child. It took me another 10 years to approach the process again. This time (another priest) sat and typed while I talked and poured out my heart. It was so painful. And as I said above, I so often felt the need for a hug which he could not give me.
  14. I was an active, practicing Catholic for the first 59 years of my life. I stepped away from the church due to the inability of the church to welcome women to the table of the Lord, to welcome divorced and remarried Catholics to the table of the Lord, to welcome our brothers and sisters who are in same-sex relationships to the table of the Lord. I was also deeply disturbed by the ongoing inability of church leadership to recognize and accept responsibility for the scandal of priests abusing children in our society, and not holding accountable bishops and cardinals who covered up this ungodly behavior.  It was unbelievable to me that the church could compare women and others who spoke of ordination of women to the same level as priest who abused children, and worse that some of those people were excommunicated while not one priest, bishop, or cardinal faced that same outcome. I have stepped away from the church and I am now happily involved in an Inclusive Catholic community led by a woman who was ordained as part of the women's priest movement. This community welcomes all to the table of the Lord, recognizes and excepts the God-given gifts and talents of those present, and reaches out to those in need who have been ostracized by the church.
  15. I have had over 20 years of Catholic education from first grade through graduate programs.  As a gay man, the negative perception and discrimination toward gay individuals throughout all of my education has only provided guilt and anger on my part.  Catholic theory and theology is not related to human experiences.  Most educators and religious provide an attitude that they are saints and that the lay people are ignorant and at a lower level themselves in their relationships with God.  God and I have a very close relationship---no guilt, not demeaning.  The emphasis for Catholic theology should be on love and commitment, not guilt.
  16. Recognize that the biggest problem facing the world today is the increase in population. Also if you cannot provide for and educate a child, do not have one. Ensure you have birth control procedures in place in your relationship.
  17. Marriage has to be life-giving in broad sense. Children need to be supported and nurtured as well as can be. The couples need the ability for many reasons to regulate size of family.
  18. My husband and I struggled for years to live within the Church's teaching on birth control.  We have 5 children for which I am very grateful, but I can't help thinking that the tension and strife of those years contributed to our marriage breakdown.  My ex-husband has now been 20 years happily remarried.  I am single.
  19. We used NFP [natural family planning] to space our two children.  It worked well and put us in touch with our cooperation with God to procreate—a spiritual experience.  However to do this for a lifetime was impractical.  It's not the abstinence required that is the problem, it's needing to take one's temperature, not getting up to use the bathroom because it will throw off the temperature, not having a glass of wine at night because it would alter the temperature reading etc.  How do you do NFP and take care of a sick child during the night?  How do you cope with business trips? It's too much to ask.  Plus, our current knowledge of sexuality based on scientific research makes Thomas Aquinas's philosophical views on the purpose of sex in marriage irrelevant and archaic.
  20. I felt, and with discernment with my spouse, decided that a family of three children was the best for all of our sakes emotionally, mentally, financially the most mutually beneficial.  I feel and believe that having a vasectomy was NOT against God's laws or desires for me, our marriage or our children.  My spouse and I can and have had and do have a mutually loving, strong and beneficial sexual relationship. We would never reject a child that might subsequently come to us and would love and cherish that child just as strongly as our other three but it doesn't make sense that a couple would not have some control over their choices, decisions about their bodies, their family lives and how they express their love for each other.
  21. We used NFP [natural family planning] to space our two children.  It worked well and put us in touch with our cooperation with God to procreate—a spiritual experience.  However to do this for a lifetime was impractical.  It's not the abstinence required that is the problem, it's needing to take one's temperature, not getting up to use the bathroom because it will throw off the temperature, not having a glass of wine at night because it would alter the temperature reading etc.  How do you do NFP and take care of a sick child during the night?  How do you cope with business trips? It's too much to ask.  Plus, our current knowledge of sexuality based on scientific research makes Thomas Aquinas's philosophical views on the purpose of sex in marriage irrelevant and archaic.
  22. Prior to the live birth of our first child, my wife had four complicated miscarriages (spontaneous abortions) and came close to bleeding to death.  Subsequently, the use of artificial birth control probably prevented her death.  Eventually, we had three children. In no way do I consider the use of artificial birth control to be a sin.  Rather it is the use of God-given human reason and a use of modern medicine.
  23. “Who am I to judge?” seems the appropriate response.   Since it is a fairly recent historical development that individuals are (more or less) free to acknowledge their sexuality, it doesn't appear to be a "disordered" state—simply one that has been hidden for the sake of survival.   If we allow this "third way" to develop, who knows what can happen?   At the very least we can find ourselves open to a wider understanding of sexuality.
  24. My wife and I attend a Jesuit parish that supports our relationship.  We started a LGBTQ group in our parish.  We meet monthly for potlucks, have a faith sharing group, and do outreach at Pride events.  People are amazed and moved to hear that some Catholics are supportive.  Our priest gave our group a blessing during mass.  We long for the day that we can also get married in the church.
  25. We Catholics have been initialized by the Church—so much so that a surprising number of Catholics of my acquaintance can't even articulate what dissatisfies—or satisfies—them about the Church.  This deformity is an embarrassment and a distortion of the intellectual gifts that God has given us.
  26. How can a few individuals with limited experience and limited openness to contrary ideas be able to guide others with compassion as Jesus would have them do? How can anyone truly know the heart of another? We MUST learn to listen with open minds and hearts to the concerns and experiences of all.
  27. In general, on the one hand, my wife has been patronized, or worse, on a number of occasions because she had the courage to speak out about what she saw as an injustice.  On the other hand we have had the most uplifting experiences working with some priests and a few religious working in Marriage Encounter and various other lay movements within the Church.  Our current parish priest is an absolute gift to our parish, not least because of his constant ability to raise our spiritual awareness.
  28. I am a transgender women living in a married same-sex relationship.  My priest is aware of my situation and has been very supportive of me.  He adopted the same attitude as Pope Frances some years ago and said to me: who am I to judge.  I believe that the Church needs to listen to these voices, and get the message out that the Church is not there to judge.  However, I would not at this moment in time be optimistic that the bishops would have the same attitude.
  29. I have served on the pastoral council.  Our bishop never missed a meeting and was always interested in us and what we had to offer.  We were very fortunate.
  30. Our bishop is wonderful and so is his office.  There is real understanding of people and what they need and want.  Unfortunately, it is not so in the individual parishes and in order to stay Catholic, people are shopping around to find one that is welcoming to all and pronounces the Gospel and preaches on it.  The Church needs to stay out of my bedroom and my politics.