Glory to Jesus Christ!
That is the standard greeting among Byzantine Catholics most of the year, though to be honest I find most American ones won’t use it outside of church unless I prompt them to do so, but I start out with that because of the first entry in today’s blog – John Allen’s newest book,
We talk about the secular “war on religion” here in America, and I am never comfortable with that language. I do see the risks however in where we are going, and pushing religion out of public life is never a good thing. Here though are the stories of the current war, and it is not just in Muslim countries or by Muslim jihadists, though they contribute a large share. Communism remains and works daily at restricting Christians. There are no public Christians left in North Korea, whose capital was called the Jerusalem of Asia in the 1930s, except those in the two state-allowed chapels. Hindu fundamentalists run amok in some Indian states. Myanmar has slaughtered thousands of minority tribal members who are all Christians. Religious persecution covers the whole planet, and 80% of those acts of persecution are against Christians.
Having sat with survivors of the gulag or widows who lost everything because of their loyalty to our Church, I heartily recommend this book, and strongly encourage readers to link up with the agencies listed on pages x and xi. Mr. Allen, who is a respected Vatican scholar and reporter, has done a great service to the victims. And before going to bed tonight, please pray to God for grace for those “imprisoned or at hard labor” as we say in our Litany of Peace of the Liturgy, comfort for those who love them, and for the conversion of governments and jihadists.
I’ve never put in a You Tube video before, but here is one: our most prominent writer and liturgist, Father David Petras, is now on line courtesy of Bishop John Kudrick, Bishop of Parma. He gives a heartfelt witness as to why he has chosen to remain Byzantine Catholic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8soq4Raaf0&feature=youtu.be and speaks with great fervor of his live for our Byzantine Catholic Church and the working of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the phrase “return to your tradition” given to the Eastern Catholics at Vatican II and repeatedly since then. In addition, he speaks of God’s desire for us to know deification and to renewed in our understanding of Holy Communion and God Who takes hold of us. This little video gives you a glimpse into the interior life of one of our most dedicated priests.
I go back to Mr. Allen for the Pope’s mystical experience after his election reported by Eugenio Scalfari. Scalfari got quite a bit wrong: there is no separate chapel nor did Francis hesitate after his election, even for a moment. However, that something Divine did happen at the election remains certain. Mr. Allen confirms this through interviews and comments from people who knew Pope Francis when he was Archbishop, and the comment of one cardinal “you’re not the same guy” sums it up. And what is “it”? Allen reports:
Something happened to the new pope that night, whether we call it a mystical experience or not, that gave him a feeling of calm, and it’s stayed with him afterward. …Scalfari apparently got some of the details wrong, but the essence about right.
Why is this important? It is an affirmation to us that the papacy remains an office of the Church which is most definitely touched by God. As Father Petras says in his video, God takes hold of us. And who needs God’s hands more than the successor of Peter? This pope is rocking the boat a lot but he is doing so having experienced God’s touch. This is NOT infallibility, but rather the gentle consolation of God Himself.
Lord, have mercy on us!