Category Archives: Reflections / Family

Modern Treason: The Corporate Moral Person Denies Any Allegiance To Our Country.

VOLUME 18 NUMBER 6 ¨ JUNE 2016 ¨ WRITTEN BY JIM HIGHTOWER

— WORKERS AT UTC’S CARRIER PLANTS IN INDIANA

A nasty new species of “jumping bean”                 Carrier and Nabisco close US plants,                      hop to Mexico and stoke the anger of working-class America.

When I was about six years of age, my Uncle Earnest showed me some­thing that made my jaw drop, my eyes bug, and my mind boggle: four beans that, on their own, moved. Leaping legumes!

It wasn’t trickery (or deviltry), but an odd twist in the natural world that creates the novelty of “Mexican jumping beans.” They’re not beans, really—they’re brownish seedpods from a desert shrub in northwest Mexico. A larva from a small moth invades a pod, hollows it out, attaches itself to the inner wall with a silk-like thread, and waits in relative coolness for its metamorphosis into mothdom. When you hold the “bean,” however, the warmth of your palm discom­forts the larva so that it twitches and pulls on that thread, causing the pod to “jump.” It’s actually more of a mini-hop or a rollover—but still, pretty astonishing to a kiddo. Decades later, I find myself wide eyed again, astonished by the odd movements of a new species of Mexican jumping bean I’ve named Corporados Greedyados. Far from being a creation of the natural world, these jumpers are enormously profitable, brand-name manufacturers. Native to our land, they’ve long reaped the benefits of being US corporations, including having highly skilled and loyal blue-collar workforces, corporate-friendly labor and consumer laws, publicly funded education and training, an interstate highway system, legal protection of special corporate privileges, extensive tax breaks, on-call police to safeguard their corporate order, military defense of their worldwide commercial pursuits, and much, much more. But now they’re twitching in their conglomerate pods and abruptly jumping to Mexico. Giving no more notice than a cursory shout of adios, they’re leaving US workers, communities, the future of our middle class, and our unifying ethic of fair play in the dust of their corporate greed.

Taking avarice to a new level

Yes, perfidious corporations have been jumping to cheap-labor countries for years, particularly since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China’s admission to the World Trade Organization, and other policies incentiv­izing corporations to export our blue-collar jobs. Since NAFTA was signed in 1994, 50,000-plus US factories have closed and more than 5 million jobs have been lost to the offshoring fad.

Unfortunately, that was just a warm-up. During the past decade, corrupted and compliant legislatures, courts, and regulatory agencies have effectively removed our society’s reins on these profit-seeking powerhouses. Not since the robber barons of the late 1800s have those in executive suites felt so free (and even entitled) to work their will on the rest of us. And they are not hesitating. Their recent surge in abandonments of the Good 01′ USA is different from the offshoring of only a dec­ade ago—today’s are bigger, cruder, greedier, and wholly narcisstic.

The real difference is a fundamental, regressive shift in the ethos of the elites who run major corporate empires. These inordinately rich executives and investors believe that what they think and do is what’s best, and everyone else should just get out of their way. This has led them to adopt a thoroughly unethical ethic of social irresponsibility, unilaterally decreeing that they and their corporate entities owe nothing to the country and the people who have nur­tured and even coddled them.

They’ve even packaged their conceit in a hokey doctrine they’ve dubbed “shareholder hegemony” (see the Lowdown, February 2016). It asserts that corporations exist strictly to benefit their shareholders—ergo and hocus pocus, corporate managers bear a “mandate” to do whatever is necessary to increase stock values, no matter what this costs everybody and everything else.

Consequently, we’re presently witnessing the murder of our country’s manufacturing prowess by industry’s own leaders. CEOs of even the most iconic, well-established, financially secure corpora­tions—companies with deep roots in our communities—have gone honkers, asserting a “moral duty” to shut down factories here, dump the workers, desert our hometowns, and hightail it out of country to any low-wage, low-environmental-standard refuge on the map.

Of course, the beneficiaries of this Kafkaesque doctrine of share­holder supremacy include not only the large stock owners, but also the very CEOs whose paychecks and bonuses depend on jacking up stock prices at our expense. It’s a socially suicidal system, providing both an irresistible incentive and a moral excuse for executives to commit corporate treason, even as their moves expand the ever-widening chasm of inequality that cleaves our society. And, by the way, CEOs and billionaire shareholders aren’t moving south with their bottom-wage factories, preferring instead to enjoy their life of luxury in America the Beautiful. Apparently unaware that their elimination of middle-class wages is eliminating their own custom­er base, they also expect you and me to continue being the primary buyers of their now foreign-made products.

And they wonder why an angry, populist rebellion is spreading like a prairie fire.

It’s getting hot in Indianapolis

If the chieftains of industry and their political henchmen want to know what’s roiling the riffraff, they could read Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty’s landmark, 1,000-page book on inequality, or listen to one of Bernie Sanders’s hour-long, tub-thumping speeches.

Or they could just spend 3 minutes and 32 seconds watching an online video showing a Carrier Corporation executive speaking to hundreds of workers in the air-conditioning giant’s Indianapolis manufacturing plant this past February (www.youtube.com/watch? v=Y3ttxGMQ0rY). The proud Steelworkers union members thought maybe they’d been called to the factory floor to hear about new orders for their quality products. After all, sales at parent-company United Technologies (UTC) were zooming—expected to jump at least $2 billion to $58 billion in 2016.

Instead of receiving praise and good news, however, they got an ugly surprise. In the fuzzy video (recorded on a worker’s phone) UTC/Carrier honcho Chris Nelson doesn’t bother with any open­ing pleasantries. He gets right to the point, reporting in the dry tones of a corporate lifer that the bosses have decided, “The best way to stay competitive and protect the business for the long term is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico.” KABLOOEY! He couldn’t finish his scripted sentence, for ­the entire assembly exploded like a human cluster bomb, with cries of disbelief, paroxysms of anguished working-class rage, raucous booing, and a steady barrage of “x#@! you.”

“Please quiet down,” the obtuse functionary instructed. But the devastated workers, realizing in an instant that Carrier is kicking their families right out of the middle class, just get rowdier. Then, as though he’s delivering a line from The Godfather, Nelson assures the angry crowd that the corporation means nothing personal by taking their jobs: “This is strictly a business decision.”

No, it wasn’t. This was a calculated greed decision. Severing this workforce of 2,100 top-quality, experienced, and dedicated producers (1,400 at the UTC/Carrier factory in Indianapolis and another 700 near Fort Wayne) makes questionable busi­ness sense: The move to Mexico is expected to save UTC only 2.W.theCREM $70 million a year in labor costs—a blip on the spreadsheets of a global behemoth that hauls in $56 billion a year in revenue and has an uninterrupted, 22-year record of increasing dividends. But UTC’s greedy Wall Street investment bankers are demand­ing that the giant go on a cost-cutting binge aimed at generat­ing a 17-percent hike in its stock price over the next two years. And what better way to please big institutional shareholders than to show a cold willingness to whack payroll.

Making such cuts is “painful,” mused Carrier’s top financial executive (though not to him personally, of course). But, he ex­plained, they are necessary for “shareholder value creation,” adding cheerfully: “We feel good about being able to execute on that.” So a city must suffer a factory abandonment, and workers must have their decent-paying jobs taken from them just so some distant, don’t-give-a-damn, rich shareholders can see a dollar rise in UTC’s stock price. “Execute” seems like just the right word.

There’s also an unstated motivation in play: Gregory Hayes’s pride. The UTC chief had taken heat from a board of directors con­cerned that the stock price hadn’t climbed as high and fast as Wall Street wants. Indeed, last year, Hayes took a “haircut” (corporatese for a pay cut). The board sliced his executive bonus in half!

“It’s embarrassing,” a financial analyst noted. “He got dinged.” But no need to cry for Greg, however, since his 2015 paycheck still totaled nearly $6 million. (A typical Carrier worker would need to stay on the job 150 years to earn that much.)

Welcome to the new, phantasmagoric Wild Kingdom of Corporate World, where prideful executive royals are empowered to uproot the livelihoods of commoners in a ploy to (1) please Wall Street, (2) manipulate corporate stock prices, (3) collect extrava­gant bonuses, and (4) save face.

Notice that such whimsy was pulled off autocratically. Despite a unionized workforce, UTC/Carrier simply commanded the workers to assemble so they could be unilaterally dispatched—there was no negotiation, consultation, or any other say-so by them, the community, public officials, or anyone else. This is our new norm of plutocratic rule, envisioned and implemented by the rampaging forces of corporate avarice.

Don’t think this is just a one-time Indiana problem. Carrier’s chief financial officer blurted out to a New York Times reporter that top executives are eying other factories to move to Mexico. Look out Charlotte (NC), Collierville (TN), and Tyler (TX)—UTC and Wall Street will be punching a one-way bus ticket to Monterrey for your Carrier jobs next.

Souring Chicago’s sweet treat

For generations, kids from 3 to 100 have loved munching on chocolaty Oreo cookies dipped in a glass of milk. But just over a year ago, the tasty treat suddenly went sour.

In May 2015, bakery workers in Nabisco’s monumental 10-story plant in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood had been expect­ing some sweet news from corporate headquarters. Rumor had it that their renown facility—after more than half a century and millions of Oreos—was about to receive a $130-million modernization invest­ment to upgrade equipment and add new production lines. So the future looked bright and spirits were high on May 15 when management convened members of Local 300 of the Bakery Workers Union to announce that the investment was indeed going to be made. In Salinas, Mexico.

For 104 years, the Marquette Park community has been proud that the delectable smell of “milk’s favorite cookie” wafts through their neighborhood. But the noses of Nabisco’s corporate brass are clogged with greed, incapable of sniffing out anything but ever-fatter profits for themselves and other rich shareholders. So, taking the NAFTA low road, they intend to move the iconic Oreo brand—and the jobs of 600 top-quality bak­ery workers—from Chicago to Mexico, where the minimum wage is a bit more than $4. Not per hour, but per day.

This is the tyranny of corporate globalization in action. In 2012 Kraft Foods split off its grocery business, which retained the Kraft name, and rebranded its remaining snack-food empire as Mondelez International, which includes Nabisco and its many brands includ­ing Triscuit, Planters nuts, Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy, and Oreos.

Such corporate empires now reign over millions of working families, arrogantly and even lawlessly making self-serving decisions from within the shrouded confines of faraway executives suites, wreaking havoc on workers, local economies, democratic values, and our sense of community. People affected get no input or warn­ing (much less any real say-so) in the profiteering that now routinely strikes us like lightning bolts from hell.

Worse, the so-called humans who’ve enthroned themselves with this autocratic power find it amusing to toy with those they rule over. Mondelez executives did exactly that after their sneak attack on Chicago’s bakery workers. In a crude gambit to shift blame to the union, the plutocratic powerhouse claimed it had made an offer to Local 300 to keep producing Oreos in Chicago, but that recalci­trant union officials had refused.

Of course they did, for Mondelez essentially proposed that the workers commit mass financial suicide. Here’s the “offer”: Since the move to Mexico is expected to save $46 million a year, the con­glomerate would graciously let the 600 ransom their jobs by paying that $46-mil themselves. Just slash your annual pay and benefits (as well as your throats) by that amount, the executives told the union, and you can keep making Oreos for us. At a poverty wage. This from an outfit that banked $7 billion in profit last year!

If Mondelez executives are so inept that they can’t find an honest way to fill a $46 million hole, here’s a suggestion: They could start by docking executive pay. The three top honchos—whose com­pensation last year totaled $37 million—can damn sure afford it. CEO Irene Rosenfeld alone took a $20 million paycheck in 2015, bringing her eight-year total to almost $200 million.

I’d say her gluttony is hoggish, but that would be unfair to swine, which have far better manners and more delicate appetites.

CORPORADOS GREEDYADOS SUCH AS Gregory Hayes of United Technologies and Irene Rosenfeld of Mondelez continue to be obsequiously deferred to and even celebrated as semi-divine social benefactors.

This is OUR fight

In a March protest outside Nabisco, a bakery worker held a hand-lettered poster aloft, proclaiming: “Crime Scene.” She’s right, but it’s not just true of her Chicago workplace—the entire United States should be enclosed in yellow tape.

Corporate America is now openly flouting our laws, violating our ethics, and rampaging over our society’s unifying sense of com­mon decency … because they can. Almost no one is telling them “no”—not Congress, the White House, Republicans, Democrats, the courts, the clergy (with the exemplary exception of Pope Francis), the police, the educational system, or others with power (and responsibility) to stand up to thugs.

We tell children to be good, to follow the Golden Rule. We teach that proper social behavior is essential, and that wrongdoing will always be punished.

But every day they see that America’s biggest, richest, most pow­erful, and most influential institutions—giant corporations—are free to be as bad as they want to be. Corporations bully their way over anyone, anything, and any rule, creating the vast inequality that presently disgraces America. Yet, perversely, rather than being punished by our society’s various authorities, Corporados Greedyados such as Gregory Hayes of United Technologies and Irene Rosenfeld of Mondelez continue to be obsequiously deferred to and even celebrated as semi-divine social benefactors.

The carnage on working-class Americans won’t stop until we actually start punishing these corporate malefactors. And that won’t start until We the People overthrow today’s clueless, elitist political establishment. The good news is that the current populist upris­ing—having spread from Occupy Wall Street in 2011 through Fight for 15, Black Lives Matter, Bernie 2016, and soon to What’s Next—is the way to get that job done. Let’s keep at it.

 

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Here are some ways to help unions battle runaway Corporados Greedyados:

SUPPORT COMPANIES THAT MAKE THEIR PRODUCTS IN THE USA. To learn more, check out the Made in America Movement: www.themadeinamericamovementcom

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NABISCO FIGHT and to sign a petition in support of the Nabisco workers, visit: www.fightforamericanjobs.org

By the way, you can still buy American-made Nabisco products. To learn what to look for when buying groceries, check out the Check the Label campaign:

www.fightforamericanjobs.org/check-the-label or fightforamericanjobs.org/checkthelabel.pdf

And for more information on rebuilding a strong manufacturing economy in the USA, visit this site: www.americanmanufacturing.org/issues/issues/made-in-america

 

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YOU CAN GO NOW. HERE’S $195 MILLION.

ALTHOUGH, UNITED TECHNOLOGIES SAYS it must skip off to Mexico with its Indiana factory jobs to save $70 million in labor costs, the conglomerate has actually been exceptionally generous to its workers. Workers in the executive suite, that is. For years, the CEOs of UTC have ranked among America’s high­est paid.

Consider the corporation’s cosseting of Louis Chenevert, who stepped down in November 2014 after six well-compensated years as CEO. The corporate board eased him out of his cushy executive chair for being too disengaged from the affairs of UTC and too focused on living the good life of wealthy swells. (The final straw came during a business trip to Asia, when he suddenly skipped over to Taiwan to check out progress on a sleek, 100-foot, 20-passenger, luxury yacht he was having built there.)

Rather than being bounced, though, Louis was squeegeed out with money: $31 million in pension benefits, $136 million in stock options, and $28 mil­lion in other compensation. Sadly for him, he got no severance pay. Still, that tidy $195 million goodbye kiss is more than twice the annual salaries all of UTC’s 2,100 displaced Indiana workers.

 

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FRANCIS PERSON TO PERSON . . .

FRANCIS Person to Person. . . .

Yes to the New Relationships Brought by Christ

87. Today, when the networks and means of human communication have made unprecedented advances, we sense the challenge of finding and sharing a “mystique” of living together, of mingling and encounter, of embracing and supporting one another, of stepping into this flood tide that, while chaotic, can become a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, a sacred pilgrimage. Greater possibilities for communication thus turn into greater possibilities for encounter and solidarity for everyone. If we were able to take this route, it would be so good, so soothing, so liberating and hope-filled! To go out of ourselves and to join others is healthy for us. To be self-enclosed is to taste the bitter poison of immanence, and humanity will be worse for every selfish choice we make.

88. The Christian ideal will always be a summons to overcome suspicion, habitual mistrust, fear of losing our privacy, all the defensive attitudes that today’s world imposes on us. Many try to escape from others and take refuge in the comfort of their privacy or in a small circle of close friends, renouncing the realism of the social aspect of the Gospel. For just as some people want a purely spiritual Christ, without flesh and without the cross, they also want their interpersonal relationships provided by sophisticated equipment, by screens and systems that can be turned on and off on command.

Meanwhile, the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.

89. Isolation, which is a version of immanentism, can find expression in a false autonomy that has no place for God. But in the realm of religion it can also take the form of a spiritual consumerism tailored to one’s own unhealthy individualism. The return to the sacred and the quest for spirituality that mark our own time are ambiguous phenomena. Today our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond ade­quately to many people’s thirst for God, lest they try to satisfy it with alienating solutions or with a disembodied Jesus who demands nothing of us with regard to others. Unless these people find in the church a spirituality that can offer healing and liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions that neither make life truly human nor give glory to God.

90. Genuine forms of popular religiosity are incarnate, since they are born of the incarnation of Christian faith in popular culture. For this reason they entail a personal relationship, not with vague spiritual energies or powers, but with God, with Christ, with Mary, with the saints. These devotions are fleshy, they have a face. They are capable of fostering relationships and not just enabling escapism. In other parts of our society, we see the growing attraction to various forms of a “spirituality of well-being” divorced from any community life or to a “theology of prosperity” detached from responsibility for our brothers and sisters or to depersonalized experiences that are nothing more than a form of self-centeredness.

91. One important challenge is to show that the solution will never be found in fleeing from a personal and committed relationship with God that at the same time commits us to serving others. This happens frequently nowadays, as believers seek to hide or keep apart from others or quietly flit from one place to another or from one task to another without creating deep and stable bonds. “Imaginatio locorum et mutatio multos fefellit.”68

This is a false remedy that cripples the heart and at times the body as well. We need to help others to realize that the only way is to learn how to encounter others with the right attitude, which is to accept and esteem them as companions along the way, without interior resistance. Better yet, it means learning to find Jesus in the faces of others, in their voices, in their pleas. And learning to suffer in the embrace of the crucified Jesus whenever we are unjustly attacked or meet with ingratitude, never tiring of our decision to live in fraternity.69

92. There indeed we find true healing, since the way to relate to others that truly heals instead of debilitating us is a mystical fraternity, a contemplative fraternity. It is a fraternal love capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbor, of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God, of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others just as their heavenly Father does. Here and now, especially where we are a “little flock” (Lk 12:32), the Lord’s disciples are called to live as a community that is the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-16). We are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospe1.70 Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of community!

Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation, Paragraphs 87-92, Pope Francis (Catholic News Service)

THE PASTORAL CHALLENGES OF THE FAMILY IN THE CONTEXT OF EVANGELIZATION

“The family is experiencing very difficult times requiring the church’s compassion and understanding in offering guidance to families ‘as they are.”

Synod 2014 Working Paper

The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization

By the Synod of Bishops General Secretariat

Origins, Pages 157-183, July 17, 2014 Volume 44 Number 10

Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization

Contraception, divorce, same-sex marriage, abortion and the right of parents to be primary educators of their children will be among the topics facing the third extraordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops, according to the 24,600-word “instrumentum laboris,” or working paper, made public June 26 at the Vatican by the Synod Secretariat. The document will serve as the basis for discussions at the synod, scheduled for Oct. 5-19. It summarizes the thousands of responses received from bishops’ conferences, dioceses, parishes, academic institutions and individual Catholics and non-Catholics to a series of questions posed by the Vatican on marriage and family life. “Many respondents confirmed that even when the church’s teaching about marriage and the family is known, many Christians have difficulty accepting it in its entirety,” it says. Catechesis about marriage and family “cannot be limited exclusively to the preparation of couples for marriage,” but must instead permeate the entire church, the document adds. The working document says many bishops’ conferences encouraged the church to consider “more widely exercising mercy, clemency and indulgence toward” divorced and remarried Catholics. On the topic of same-sex marriages, the document said the church needs to “develop a ministry that can maintain the proper balance between accepting persons in a spirit of compassion and gradually guiding them to authentic human and Christian maturity.” The text of the working document follows

INTRODUCTION

0 n Oct. 8, 2013, Pope Francis convoked the third extraordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops to treat the topic “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops began its preparation by sending the preparatory document, which generated significant reflection among the people of God. The results of that consultation are presented in this instrumentum laboris. . . . .

The Holy Father has determined that the work of the Synod of Bishops is to take place in two stages forming an single organic unity. In the third extraordinary general assembly in 2014, the synod fathers will thoroughly examine and analyze the information, testimonies and recommendations received from the particular churches in order to respond to the new challenges of the family. The ordinary general assembly in 2015, representing a great part of the episcopate and continuing the work of the previous synod, will reflect further on the points discussed so as to formulate appropriate pastoral guidelines.

The instrumentum laboris is based on the responses to the questions in the preparatory document that was divided into eight groups of questions on marriage and the family. After its publication in November 2013, this document was distributed worldwide.

A great number of detailed responses to the questions was submitted by the synods of the Eastern Catholic churches sui iuris, the episcopal conferences, the departments of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors General. In addition, other responses — categorized as observations — were sent directly to the General Secretariat by a significant number of dioceses, parishes, movements, groups, ecclesial associations and families, not to mention academic institutions, specialists both Catholic and non-Catholic, all interested in sharing their reflections.

The present text is divided into three parts and, for an orderly treatment at the synodal assembly, reflects the eight major subjects treated in the series of questions. The first part, devoted to the Gospel of the family, treats the divine plan and the vocation of the person in Christ. Within this perspective, the section gives indications — positive as well as negative — of the faithful’s knowledge and acceptance of pertinent teachings on the family from the Bible and the documents of the church’s magisterium as well as the faithful’s understanding of the natural law.

The second part treats various challenges and actual situations related to the pastoral care of the family. The third part is devoted to the topic of an openness to life and the responsibility of parents in the upbringing of their children — characteristic of marriage between a man and a woman — with particular reference to difficult pastoral situations.

The present document, the fruit of a collegial effort by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and the ordinary council of the General Secretariat to gather and examine the results of the consultation of the particular churches, is placed in the hands of the members of the synod assembly as the instrumentum laboris. The document offers a broad, yet by no means exhaustive perspective on the present-day situation of the family, on the challenges of the family and on the reflections related to the family today.

The topics that are not included in the document, those in response to Question 9 in the preparatory document (miscellaneous), will be treated in the ordinary general assembly of 2015.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri General Secretary Vatican City, June 24, 2014

PREFACE

The proclamation of the Gospel of the family is an integral part of the mission of the church, since the revelation of God sheds light on the relationship between a man and a woman, their love for each other and the fruitfulness of their relationship. In these times a widespread cultural, social and spiritual crisis is posing a challenge in the church’s work of evangelizing the family, the vital nucleus of society and the ecclesial community.

This proclamation of the Gospel of the family takes place in continuity with the synodal assembly on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” and the Year of Faith announced by Pope Benedict XVI.

The extraordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” aware that “tradition, originating with the apostles, proceeds in the . . .

COMMENTARY

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, one of three presidents appointed by Pope Francis to direct the daily sessions of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October, told Catholic News Service that he found responses to a Vatican questionnaire about marriage and family issues “shocking, if I am allowed to use that word.”

“Shocking because almost in all parts of the world the questionnaires indicated that the teaching of the church regarding family life is not clearly understood by people, and the language by which the church proposes the teaching seems to be a language not accessible to people,” the cardinal said in an interview in mid-May.

“So this is my hope, not far change — how can you change the biblical teachings? But maybe a real pastoral and evangelical concern for the church: How do we present the good news of the family to this generation, with its limitations, with its greatness, with its unique experiences?”

Cardinal Tagle will take turns with Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris and Cardinal Raymund° Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, running the general sessions of the synod, which will be held Oct. 5-19.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., will represent the U.S. at the 2014 synod as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Other presidents of national bishops’ conferences, the heads of Eastern Catholic churches, Vatican officials and three superiors of men’s religious orders, chosen by the Union of Superiors General, will be full voting members. Usually the pope also makes several appointments..

The extraordinary synod — held outside the normal three-year cycle of synods — will not make any final. . . .

ISSN 0093-609X, Origins, CNS Documentary Service, is published weekly (except biweekly during July, August and December’s last week) by Catholic News Service, 3211 4th Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017-1100. Copyright © 2014 by Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Periodical-class postage paid at Washington, D.C. Editor, Edmond Brosnan; Associate Editor, Mary Esslinger; Director of CNS, Tony Spence                                                                                                                                    Editorial: (202) 541-3284. Circulation: (202) 541-3290 – www.originsonline.com.                                                                                                                                                                    Subscriptions: One year, $114; two years, $199; three years, $284; foreign postage additional. Single copy: $8.                                                                                                                     Back issues: Inquire for availability and rates. Attach mailing label to change of address requests and subscription correspondence.                                                                  Postmaster: Send address changes to Origins, CNS Documentary Service, 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017-1100.                                                                               Documentation in Origins is selected on the basis of interest and usefulness in reference to current issues. Publication does not signify endorsement by Origins or its sponsoring body, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

158 origins

continued on page 158

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents/rc_synod_doc_20140626_instrumentum-laboris-familia_en.html

‘SENSUS FIDEI’ IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH

“Is the ‘sensus fidei’ something different from the majority opinion of the faithful in a given time or place, and if so how does it differ?

‘Sensus Fidei’ in the Life of the Church

International Theological Commission

Humble listening and proper consultation are necessary to discern the “sensus fidei” (sense of the faith) and “sensus fidelium” (sense of the faithful), especially on matters of controversy within the church, according to a new document from the International Theological Commission. Prepared by a 10-member subcommission and published on the Vatican website in late June with the approval of Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the document aims to explain the meaning, purpose and limits of the capacity of individual believers and of the church as a whole to discern the truth of faith. “When the reception of magisterial teaching by the faithful meets with difficulty and resistance, appropriate action on both sides is required,” it says, calling for “constant communication and regular dialogue on practical issues and matters of faith and morals between members of the church.” The document charges theologians with the task of critically examining “expressions of popular piety, new currents of thought and also new movements in the church for the sake of fidelity to the apostolic tradition.” Laypeople must commit to active participation in the liturgy and the sacraments, constant prayer, active engagement in the church’s mission and “a willingness to follow the commands of God,” the theologians said. Church leadership, for its part, must be open to what Pope Francis calls “new ways for the journey,” as discerned by laypeople. “One of the reasons why bishops and priests need to be close to their people on the journey and to walk with them is precisely so as to recognize ‘new ways’ as they are sensed by the people,” the document says. The full text follows:

Preliminary Note

In its quinquennium of 2009-2014, the International Theological Commission studied the nature of sensus fidei and its place in the life of the church. The work took place in a subcommission presided by Msgr. Paul McPartlan and composed of the following members: Father Serge Thomas Bonino, OP (secretary-general); Sister Sara Butler, MSBT; Rev. Antonio Castellano, SDB; Rev. Adelbert Denaux; Msgr. Tomislav Ivancic; Bishop Jan Liesen; Rev. Leonard Santedi Kinkupu, Dr. Thomas Söding, and Msgr. Jerzy Szymik.

The general discussions of this theme were held in numerous meetings of the subcommission and during the plenary sessions of the same International Theological Commission held in Rome between 2011 and 2014. The text “Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church” was approved in forma specifica by the majority of members of the commission by a written vote and was then submitted to its president, Cardinal Gerhard L. Willer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who authorized its publication.

INTRODUCTION

1. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father” and bears witness to the Son (Jn 15:26), all of the baptized participate in the prophetic office of Jesus Christ, “the faithful and true witness” (Rv 3:14). They are to bear witness to the Gospel and to the apostolic faith in the church and in the world. The Holy Spirit anoints them and equips them for that high calling, conferring on them a very personal and intimate knowledge of the faith of the church.

In the first Letter of St. John, the faithful are told: “You have been anointed by the holy one, and all of you have knowledge. … The anointing that you received from [Christ] abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. … His anointing teaches you about all things” (1 In 2:20, 27).

2. As a result, the faithful have an instinct for the truth of the Gospel that enables them to recognize and endorse authentic Christian doctrine and practice, and to reject what is false. That supernatural instinct, intrinsically linked to the gift of faith received in the communion of the church, is called the sensus fidei, and it enables Christians to fulfill their prophetic calling.

In his first Angelus address, Pope Francis quoted the words of a humble elderly woman he once met, “If the Lord did not forgive everything, the world would not exist”; and he commented with admiration, “That is the wisdom the Holy Spirit gives.”‘ The woman’s insight is a striking manifestation of the sensus fidei, which, as well as enabling a certain discernment with regard to the things of faith, fosters true wisdom and gives rise, as here, to proclamation of the truth. It is clear, therefore, that the sensus fidei is a vital resource for the new evangelization to which the church is strongly committed in our time.’

3. As a theological concept, the sensus fidei refers to two realities that are distinct though closely connected, the proper subject of one being the church, “pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tm 3:15),3 while the subject of the other is the individual believer who belongs to the church through the sacraments of initiation and who, by means of regular celebration of the Eucharist in particular, participates in her faith and life.

“The fathers and theologians of the first few centuries considered the faith of the church to be a sure point of reference for discerning the content of the apostolic tradition.”

On the one hand, the sensus fidei refers to the personal capacity of the believer, within the communion of the church, to discern the truth of faith. On the other hand, the sensus fidei refers to a communal and ecclesial reality: the instinct of faith of the church herself, by which she recognizes her Lord and proclaims his word.

The sensus fidei in this sense is reflected in the convergence of the baptized in a lived adhesion to a doctrine of faith or to an element of Christian praxis. This convergence (consensus) plays a vital role in the church: The consensus fidelium is a sure criterion for determining whether a particular doctrine or practice belongs to the apostolic faith.’

(Continued in Origins for July 3, 2014 – Volume 44, Number 9)

 

COMMENTARY – Page 134

The International Theological Commission was instituted by Pope Paul W in 1969 as an international body of theologians charged with advising the pope, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and other Vatican agencies on doctrinal issues. Its members are appointed by the pope and serve five-year, renewable terms. The commission’s president is the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, German Cardinal Gerhard Muller.

As explained in the preliminary note, the commission has been studying the nature of the “sensus fidei” since 2009. The text presented here was developed by a subcommittee, discussed during four years of the commission’s plenary sessions, approved by a majority of its members in a written vote and approved for publication by Cardinal Millie,: Current members of the commission, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in June 2009, includes:

—Archbishop Study Hon Tai-Fai. SDB (China, secretary, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Vatican City).

—Archbishop Jan Wilhelmus Maria Liesen (Breda, Netherlands).

—Bishop Charles Morerod, OP (Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, Switzerland).

—Bishop Paul Rouhana, OLM (titular bishop of Antarado, bishop, Patriarchal Vicariate of Sarba, Lebanon).

— Father Peter Damian Akpunonu (Nigeria, biblical exegesis, University of St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein Seminary!, Chicago, Ill).

—Father Serge Thomas Bonino OR secretary-general (philosophy, the Catholic Institute of Toulouse; theology, Dominican Study Home of Toulouse, France).

—Father Geraldo Luiz Borges Hackmann (systematic theology, Pontifical Catholic University do Rio Grande do Sul of Porto Alegre, Brazil)

—Sister Sara Butler,

(Continued on Page 135)

NOTE: Complete text on link: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/index.cfm

_________________________________________

ISSN 0093-609X, Origins, CNS Documentary Service, is published weekly (except biweekly during July, August and December’s last week) by Catholic News Service, 3211 4th Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017-1100. Copyright CO 2014 by Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Periodical-class postage paid at Washington, D.C. Editor, Edmond Brosnan; Associate Editor, Mary Esslinger; Director of CNS, Tony Spence.

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Page 133-134  of   Origins – Pages 133-154.

REV. MSGR. JAMES M. RIBBLE, PhD + October 19, 2013

Spring2007FUNERAL MASS

The Reverend Monsignor James M. Ribble, Ph.D.
March 11, 1930 — October 19, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes
Spokane, Washington

THE REVEREND MONSIGNOR JAMES M. RIBBLE, PH.D.

Ordained Priest May 30, 1957

Diocesan Director of Vocations 1957-1968

Teacher/Rector, Bishop White Seminary 1957-1965

Rector, Mater Cleri Seminary 1965-1968

Principal, DeSales High School 1968-1970

Doctoral Studies/Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Pullman 1970-1976

Rector, Mount Angel Seminary 1976-1983

Rector, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1983-2005

Installed Prelate of Honor, bestowed by Blessed Pope John Paul II April 4, 1997

Senior Rector Emeritus, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes 2011

Dear Friends, Greetings!

I have had 56 years of Priestly Service during which I could have composed my farewell to you. And yet the time that I have been with you has been such a precious gift to me I could not concentrate on formulating an adequate goodbye. This letter is not a goodbye, (because we only live twice), but rather a continued pledge of my love and respect for you in the bond of faith that we share together.

You have taught me much by your generous service and ministry to one another. I have engaged the thought … it is I who am more the pupil and you the teachers. You have given me the opportunity to serve as a Priest through the years. I have been surrounded with the resources of your wisdom, moral support, friendship, and prayers. These have made my every assignment an extraordinary honor.

I give thanks to God for the gift of life. I pray that we will experience one another again in the Communion of Saints at ‘The Feast”. Let this earthly farewell be as sweet as the memories that I carry with me.

I thank you for everything, and I ask God’s blessing on you and your loved ones. Please pray for the repose of my soul.

Your Brother in Christ,Monsignor James M. Ribble

 

Born:  March 11,1930, Duluth, MN

Parents:         Christian Merritt Ribble and Eva Rivers Ribble

Attended:      Central High School: Aberdeen, SD

Carroll College: Helena, MT, B.A.

St. Paul’s Seminary: St. Paul, MN, M.A. and M.Div.

1962 Graduate Studies: Northwestern University: Evanston, IL

(Doctoral Studies in Education)

Washington State University: Ph.D.

Ordained: 30 May 1957 by Bishop Bernard. J. Topel D.D., Bishop of Spokane, WA

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes

Celebrated: 16 June 1957 First Solemn Mass, St. Joan of Arc, Skokie, IL

1997 Golden Anniversary of Ordination, The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane, WA

Assigned:       1957 -1968 Diocesan Director of Vocations

1957 -1965 Teacher and Rector at Bishop White Seminary

1965 -1968 Rector at Mater Cleri Seminary

1968 -1970 Principal DeSalles High School, Walla Walla, WA

1970 -1976 Graduate Doctoral studies and pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Pullman, WA

1976 -1983 President/Rector Mount Angel Seminary, Portland,OR

1983 – 2005 Rector of The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane, WA

Received:       1997 Papal Honors from John Paul II and made Domestic Prelate with

the title Reverend Monsignor

1997 The Legacy of Leadership award, Mount Angel Seminary

1997 Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of The Knights of The Holy Sepulcher

2013 October 19th, Spokane, WA, Entered the fullness of life

 

FR. LAWRENCE ROBOTNIK + February 28, 2014

sunrise

           We recently learned of the death of a member of your class and want to share the information.

Fr. Lawrence  Robotnik died on February 28, 2014, in Erlanger, Kentucky.

Visitation — Thursday, March 2, 2014, Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, KY from 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Vigil Service — Thursday, March 6, Cathedral Basilica, 8:00 p.m.

Visitation — Friday, March 7, 2014, Cathedral Basilica, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Funeral Mass — Friday, March 7, 2014, Cathedral Basilica. 11:00 a.m.

We will remember our good friend and your classmate in the prayers of The Saint Paul Seminary community.

God be with you!

The Saint Paul Seminary

SCHOOL Of DIVINITY • UNIVERSITY OF SAINT THOMAS

APART FROM THE CHURCH, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO FIND JESUS



Apart From the Church,
It Is Not Possible to Find Jesus


Pope Francis

Introduction:

“Following Jesus means belonging to the church, the community that gives Christians their identity, Pope Francis said. “Apart from the church it is not possible to find Jesus,” he said in a homily April 23. “The great Paul VI said: It is an absurd dichotomy to wish to live with Jesus but without the church, to follow Jesus but without the church, to love Jesus but without the church.” Dozens of cardinals living in Rome or visiting the Vatican joined the pope in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace for the Mass on the feast of St. George, the martyr. The feast is the pope’s name day; he was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio. In his homily, Pope Francis spoke about the persecution of the first Christian communities and how opposition did not stop them from sharing their faith in Christ, but went hand in hand with even greater missionary activity. “At the very moment when persecution broke out, the church’s
missionary nature also ‘broke out,'” the pope said. When the first Christians began sharing the Gospel with the Greeks and not just other Jews, it was something completely new and made some of the apostles “a little nervous,” the pope said. They sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on the situation, a kind of “apostolic visitation,” he said. “Perhaps, with a touch of humor, we can say that this was the theological origin of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” The pope spoke in Italian; a Vatican translation of his homily follows, copyright © 2013 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana.”

Address:

“I thank His Eminence, the cardinal dean, for his words: Thank you, Your Eminence, many thanks.
I also thank those of you who came today. Thank you! Because I feel warmly welcomed by you. Thank you! I feel at home with you and that pleases me. Today’s first reading makes me think that at the very moment when persecution broke out, the church’s missionary nature also “broke out.” These Christians went all the way to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch and proclaimed the word (cf. Acts 11:19). They had this apostolic fervor in their hearts; and so the faith spread! Some people from Cyprus and Cyrene, not these but others who had become Christians, came to Antioch and began to speak also to the Greeks (cf. Acts 11:20).
This is yet another step. And, so the church moves forward. Who took this initiative of speaking to the Greeks, something unheard of, since they were preaching only to Jews? It was the Holy Spirit, the one who was pushing them on, on and on, unceasingly. But back in Jerusalem, when somebody heard about this, he got a little nervous and they sent an apostolic visitation: They sent Barnabas (cf. Acts 11:22).
Perhaps, with a touch of humor, we can say that this was the theological origin of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: this apostolic visitation of Barnabas. He took a look and saw that things were going well (cf. Acts 11:23).

If we want to take the path of worldliness, bargaining with the world … we will never have the consolation of the Lord.

And in this way the church is increasingly a mother, a mother of many, many children: She becomes a mother, ever more fully a mother, a mother who gives us faith, a mother who gives us our identity. But Christian identity is not an identity card. Christian identity means being a member of the church, since all these people belonged to the church, to mother church, for apart from the church it is not possible to find Jesus.
The great Paul VI said: It is an absurd dichotomy to wish to live with Jesus but without the church, to follow Jesus but without the church, to love Jesus but without the church (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 16). And that mother church who gives us Jesus also gives us an identity that is not simply a rubber stamp: It is membership. Identity means membership, belonging. Belonging to the church: This is beautiful! The third idea that comes to my mind ? the first was the outbreak of the church’s missionary nature and second the church as mother ? is that, when Barnabas saw that crowd, the text says, “and a great many people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24), when he saw that crowd, he rejoiced. “When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced” (Acts 11:23). It is the special joy of the evangelizer.
It is, as Paul VI said, “the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing” (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80). This joy begins with persecution, with great sadness and ends in joy. And so the church moves forward, as a saint tells us, amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of the Lord (cf. St. Augustine,
De Civitate Dei, 18:51, 2: PL 41, 614).
This is the life of the church. If we want to take the path of worldliness, bargaining with the world ? as the Maccabees were tempted to do back then ? we will never have the consolation of the Lord. And if we seek consolation alone, it will be a superficial consolation, not the Lord’s consolation, but a human consolation. The church always advances between the cross and the resurrection, between persecutions and the consolations of the Lord. This is the path: Those who take this path do not go wrong.
Today let us think about the missionary nature of the church: these disciples who took the initiative to go forth and those who had the courage to proclaim Jesus to the Greeks, something that at that time was almost scandalous (cf. Acts 11;19-20). Let us think of mother church, who is increasing, growing with new children to whom she gives the identity of faith, for one cannot believe in Jesus without the church. Jesus himself says so in the Gospel: But you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep (cf. Jn 10:26).
Unless we are “Jesus’ sheep,” faith does not come; it is a faith that is watered down, insubstantial. And let us think of the consolation Barnabas experienced, which was precisely the “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing.” Let us ask the Lord for this parrhesia, this apostolic fervor that impels us to move
forward as brothers and sisters, all of us: forward! Forward, bearing the name of Jesus in the bosom of holy mother church, as St. Ignatius said, hierarchical and Catholic. Amen.”

COMMENTARY:

“The biggest threat to the church is worldliness, Pope Francis said in his daily morning Mass homily. A worldly church becomes weak, and while people of faith can look after the church, only God “can look evil in the eye and overpower it,” he said April 30. The pope celebrated the Mass with members of the Vatican’s investment agency in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthas. The day’s reading from the Gospel of St. John recounts Jesus telling his disciples, “I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming;” but Satan “has no power over me.”
The pope said, “If we don’t want the prince of this world to take the church in his hands, we have to entrust her to the only one who can defeat the prince of this world. Entrusting the church to the Lord is a prayer that makes the church grow” and is an act of faith because “we can do nothing. All of us are poor servants of the church,” he said.
Israeli President Shimon Peres officially invited Pope Francis to Israel, telling the pope “the sooner you visit the better, as in these days a new opportunity is being created for peace, and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace.”
The Israeli president’s remarks were reported in a statement released by the Israeli Embassy to the Vatican after Peres met Pope Francis April 30. The statement said Peres told Pope Francis about efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, mentioning specifically the meeting April 29 in Washington between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of the Arab League.
Peres also told the pope that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “is a genuine partner for peace,” the statement said. Peres left the meeting at the Vatican telling the pope, “I am expecting you in Jerusalem and not just me, but all the people of Israel.”
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters, “The pope would be happy to go to the Holy Land,” although there are no concrete plans for the trip. The Vatican said that during their half-hour private conversation, the pope and the president discussed “the political and social situation in the Middle East, where more than a few conflicts persist.” Going to confession isn’t like heading off to be tortured or punished, nor is it like going to the dry cleaners to get out a stain, Pope Francis said in a morning Mass homily. “It’s an encounter with Jesus” who is patiently waiting “and takes us as we are,” offering penitents his tender mercy and forgiveness, he said April 29.
Members of the Vatican’s investment agency and a group of religious women joined the pope for the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all,” the pope said, quoting from the First Letter of John.
While everyone experiences moments of darkness in life, the verse refers to the darkness of living in error, “being satisfied with oneself, being convinced of not needing salvation,” he said. As John continues, the pope said, “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” People have to start out with the humility of realizing “we are all sinners, all of us, “he said.”



FIRST THINGS – Success Is Not Dignity

THE  PUBLIC SQUARE  –  First Things Editorial Pages

By R. R. Reno

Success Is Not Dignity

1           Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam is worried about America. He should be. As Charles Murray put it in the title of his important book, we’re coming apart. (I wrote about Coming Apart in the March 2012 issue: “The One Percent.”) Putnam’s latest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, tells pretty much the same story, but he slices the American population differ­ently. Putnam divides society into the college-educated over and against those with a high-school diploma or less. This is a rough but useful distinction between today’s haves and have-nots. The evidence of a growing divide is clear. And not just clear, but familiar to anyone who has been paying attention over the past couple of decades.

Money? The less educated make less money and are less wealthy, and they’re much more likely to feel finan­cially stressed. Divorce? It’s twice as frequent among the less educated. Illegitimacy? Nearly seven times as likely. Single parenthood? Same. Rates of imprisonment? Same. Unemployment? Same. Church? The less educated are less likely to attend. He doesn’t give statistics on drug use, alcoholism, diabetes, and other dysfunctions, but, again, they also affect those lower down on the social scale far more than those higher up.

In his widely read book Bowling Alone (2000), Putnam popularized the notion of social capital, meaning the so­cial assets we have that help us navigate through life. In Our Kids, he looks at data on social trust, breadth of so­cial networks, even the number of friends. One does not need a degree in sociology to anticipate that a population more likely to be imprisoned, use drugs, divorce, and have children out of wedlock will lack social capital. And this is in fact what his research shows.

Putnam is too politically correct to state the blunt truth bluntly, but the details of Our Kids say it again and again: College-educated people are largely functional, while less-educated people are increasingly dysfunctional. There are two Americas. We’re coming apart.

Putnam reports on the implications of the Great Diver­gence for children. It will come as no surprise to readers that the children of dysfunctional people tend to have a hard time in life, while the children of functional peo­ple tend to have an advantage. Dysfunctional parents give their children less time and are more likely to ne­glect and even abuse them. The children live in run-down neighborhoods that have little sense of community. They do more poorly in schools that have less rigorous course-work and more discipline problems. They’re less likely to go on to college and are vastly less likely to graduate. They have more difficulty finding steady employment.

Put simply, and again in a politically incorrect way, the children of dysfunctional people tend to be dysfunctional, which means kids at the bottom of society are only too likely to stay at the bottom.

Our Kids is also full of stories, both of kids fortunate enough to be born to college-educated parents who con­form to the neo-bourgeois standards of the upper middle class, and of those born into the increasingly large un­derclass. The differences are stark. The suffering of those born in bad circumstances anguishes any sensitive reader. It certainly anguished me.

Yet I was also irked, though not for the reasons others have objected to Putnam’s analysis. Some reviewers on the left have attacked Putnam for failing to zero in on the way in which “financial capitalism” and the selfishness of the rich is at the root of all these problems. Where is class politics in this book on class? Those on the right have complained he does not properly blame the deregulation of sex and the general trend to moral relativism that has de­pleted the social capital of the poor. Still others complain that Putnam paints too rosy a picture of 1950s America, a period of relative middle-class equality from which he thinks we have fallen, downplaying the the racism and sexism of that era.

But I did not have these criticisms in mind as I read Our Kids. By and large, Putnam strikes the right balance. It’s absurd to think that the dra­matic economic changes wrought by economic globalization (or “financial capitalism,” if you prefer) haven’t eroded working-class culture. Creative de­struction may promote economic growth, but it can be hell on actual communities. It’s also ridiculous to deny that feminism and the sexual revolution exploded the social norms that once brought order and dignity to working-class communities. One of the greatest spiritual failures of my lifetime has been the self-righteous refusal of feminists, gay activists, and assorted multiculturalists to acknowl­edge the heavy price poor and vulnerable people have paid for their cherished freedoms.

No, I was not irked by Putnam’s refusal to identify the “bad guys.” Instead, what troubled me was his implicit view of human flourishing. We read that bad family back­grounds limit “one’s ultimate economic success,” and that the growing dysfunction of the working class threatens the American dream of “upward socioeconomic mobil­ity.” What do the doleful charts about illegitimacy and other pathologies tell us? “More single parents means less upward mobility,” while “affluent neighborhoods boost academic success.” Our biggest problem is an “opportunity gap.”

I’m all for upward mobility. It’s surely a boon for chil­dren to advance further in education, make more money, and live in nicer houses than their parents did. It makes the inevitable inequalities of our society (any society) more palatable when the rising tide lifts all boats.

But to speak of “success” and upward mobility in the context of the lives of today’s growing underclass seems almost obscenely narrow and impoverished. Those who live in the dysfunctional world of today’s poor and en­dure its misery suffer from a moral and spiritual poverty more primitive than a lack of “opportunity.” Economic and academic “success” are upper-middle-class preoccu­pations. A good college, a rewarding career? That’s what we want for our kids, to be sure. But this sort of focus is largely a luxury. And like so many luxuries, it can seduce and bewitch us.

any of the subjects interviewed by Putnam’s team see as much. Andrew is an eighteen­ year-old in Bend, Oregon, who has every advantage. His father is financially successful. His mom stayed at home during his childhood. He went to a good school. He’s off to college and undoubtedly hopes to be successful. But he senses that climbing the ladder isn’t of first importance, and his life goal isn’t “success.” He gestures toward something more basic: “The first thing that would be good for me would be if I could build a home and have a family. Hopefully I will meet somebody that’s like my best friend, and then give my kids close to the same as what I had.” And what did he get that he wants to give to his children? “My dad always reminds me every day how much my mom and dad love me.” This is something very precious, and it’s not upward mobility.

David is roughly the same age as Andrew. His father is in prison. His mother moved out when he was an infant. Both have revolving-door relationships with alcoholic and drug-addicted partners. Half-brothers and half-sisters are born and neglected. His girlfriend gets pregnant, leaves him, and moves in with a drug addict. He feels he’s reached a dead end. In his darkness he does not think of “success.” Instead, he tries to take care of his neglected half-siblings, and his daughter. “I love being a dad,” he says. Despite having gotten next to nothing from those who brought him into the world, he too wants to give.

Elijah is a young black man in Atlanta. His childhood was brutal, painful. His life has been violent. He says, “I just love beating up somebody.” Yet he does not come across as a monster, because he sees himself clearly, and he does not like what he sees. “I don’t want to go that route now.” He goes to work and to church, “just trying to be a good all-around American citizen.” He seeks decency. Again, this is a precious thing, and it’s not “success.”

I don’t wish to denigrate Putnam’s concern. As its title indicates, Our Kids is a book written to call us—the well-to-do, the upper third—to see the poor as fellow citizens whose burdens we should share. It’s the right call to issue. But utilitarian, individualistic, meritocratic assumptions dominate his analysis.

To a great degree this impoverishment is forced on him by contemporary social science. It can’t see social institutions like marriage, family, neighborliness, and ed­ucation as goods in themselves. They are goods because they have positive utility functions, which are cashed out in terms of how conducive they are to “success.” Read to your kids at night because it will help their brains develop more fully!

As I read the many gut-wrenching stories in Our Kids of poor young Americans who live without stability, without anything resembling a home life, without adults who are responsible enough to take care of them—without love—it became more and more painful to see Putnam worrying that all this means that, to an ever-greater extent, not ev­erybody has an equal opportunity “to get ahead.”

Being poor at any time and in any place has al­ways been hard. But for many in the past, per­haps most, it could be decent and dignified. Putnam’s own stories of Port Clinton, his home­town, show us as much. He tells of Jesse, a black schoolmate he had growing up. Jesse’s parents had fled the brutal racist system in the South. Neither was educated beyond primary school. Both did menial work. Theirs was a hard life we wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yet, two genera­tions ago, they gave Jesse what Andrew and David want to give. They embodied the decency Elijah seeks.

Today, self-giving and decency are remote ideals for many poor people in America. Basic human dignity seems out of reach for those on the bottom of society. Raised in an environment of moral chaos, David lacks the discipline and self-possession—lacks the basic context of family sta­bility—to give himself to those whom he loves. This is the great crisis of our time, not the lack of upward mobility.

I don’t want to discount the role of poverty. Being be­hind on credit-card payments, losing your job because your car breaks down and you can’t get to work on time, feeling as though the world of opportunity has passed you by—all these and more can be hammer blows on the soul. If rich people are more likely to divorce when a spouse loses a job or piles up debt, the relentless financial battering the poor endure is surely a contributing factor to their dysfunctional lives. But we need to be clear about our brother’s burdens if we are to carry them. Today, the poor lack social capital first and foremost, not financial capital. They are spiritu­ally impoverished more than educationally disadvantaged.

Economic and educational reforms may be necessary. But they won’t address the deeper problem. We have to face the dark fact that over the past fifty years we’ve waged a cultural war on the weak. In the 1950s, when Putnam was growing up, a too common racism dogged the life of his classmate Jesse. But the larger culture supported Jesse’s parents in their main goal, which was to raise their son to be a dignified man: sober, law-abiding, honest, hard­working, faithful to his wife, devoted to his children, and God-fearing. That’s no longer true.

Or at least no longer true for those born poor. As Putnam points out, today’s America has become rigorous­ly segregated. The functional people insulate themselves and their children from the dysfunctional people. Im­bued with a therapeutic ethos that softens the rigors they impose on themselves and their children (drug use and sexual license are “unhealthy,” not wrong) and cowed by multiculturalism, today’s rich won’t speak up for a com­mon culture. Instead, they quietly and covertly pass on their social capital to their children in gated communities and class-segregated schools that celebrate diversity and “inclusion” while forming the young people into the rigid molds of the meritocracy.

0n occasion I’ve spoken up at conferences and meetings, arguing that the prefer­ential option for the poor today means social conservatism (again, not only, but certainly at least). It means policies that punish divorce and reward marriage. It means getting serious about limiting pornography and resisting the temptation to legalize drugs. It means affirming gen­der roles that encourage men to act like gentlemen and women like ladies. It means having the courage to use the word “sin.” Most of all it means fighting against the One Percent’s almost complete conscription of the cultural conversation to serve its own interests. (What could be more One Percent than gay marriage and efforts to break the “glass ceiling”?)

The reaction is almost always one of horror. I’m “blam­ing the victim” or “imposing my white male values.” I’ve come to see that it’s not the victims that most progressives care about. The well-to-do like the way the therapeutic, nonjudgmental culture works for them. It keeps the public domain open and flexible and forgiving, which is conve­nient for those of us who have the social capital that allows us to keep our footing when we screw up. Why should the functional people who succeed today give this up?

The rich almost always want to keep as much of what they have as they can. So perhaps what I need to advocate is a more progressive view of our cultural politics. Just as we have a progressive tax system committed to redis­tribution, we should have a progressive cultural system in which the meritocracy that now rules has to accept a higher rate of moral rigor so that we can redistribute its benefits to the rest of society.

First Things, R. R. Reno, May-June Issue, Page 2-5.

 

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WISDOM FROM THE KNOM RADIO MISSION

WISDOM FROM THE KNOM RADIO MISSION

Our Father, when we long for life without trials and work without difficulties,
remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and
diamonds are made under pressure.
With stout hearts may we see in every mishap an opportunity and
not give way to the pessimism that sees in every
opportunity a calamity…

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift, which is our reason for calling it “the present!””

Most of us will never do great things  but each of us can do small things in a great way.

Do not fear tomorrow. God is already there.

YOUR LOVE FOR GOD IS NO GREATER
THAN YOUR LOVE FOR THE LEAST IMPORTANT
PERSON YOU KNOW

Humans judge by the success of our efforts.
God looks at the efforts.

Life is like a game of tennis:
the player who serves well seldom loses.

Loving someone is seeing them the way God intended.

God, grant us the light of Christmas, which is faith; the warmth of Christmas, which is love and the radiance of Christmas, which is purity.

A day hemmed in prayer seldom unravels

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I feel it not. I believe in God even when He is silent.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

In God’s kingdom, the only way up is down. To become great in His kingdom, become the least – the servant of all.

He who wants milk should not sit on a stool in the middle of a pasture waiting for a cow to back up.

One of God’s arrangements is that, after winter, there should come beautiful spring and summer days. It happens every year. And it happens in every life.

There is nothing as strong as gentleness, or as gentle as true strength.

Lord, let my actions be prayer in motion:  silent, effective, and born of love.

 

KNOM Radio Mission, P.O.Box 988, Nome, Alaska 99762; www.knom.org.

EVANGELII GAUDIUM: APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION


Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation

Pope Francis
 
Introduction:
“In his first extensive piece of writing as pope, Pope Francis lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization in a positive key, with a focus on society’s poorest and most vulnerable. The pope’s apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), was released by the Vatican Nov. 26. (Pope Francis’ first encyclical, “Lumen Fidei,” published in July, was mostly the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.) Pope Francis wrote the new document in response to the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, but declined to work from a draft provided by synod officials. Pope Francis’ voice is unmistakable in the lengthy document’s relatively relaxed style – he writes that an “evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!”- and its emphasis on some of his signature themes, including the dangers of economic globalization and “spiritual worldliness.”
The church’s message “has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary,” he writes. “In this basic core, what shines forth is the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead.” The exhortation is too long to fit into one edition of Origins. The first half of the document follows, copyright © 2013 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana; the second half will appear in a forthcoming edition of Origins.“

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”

Commentary
“”Evangelii Gaudium” “The Joy of the Gospel”) was written in response to the October 2012 World Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization. The three-week gathering, which brought more than 260 bishops and religious superiors to the Vatican, along with dozens of official observers and experts, discussed how the church can revive and spread the faith in increasingly secular societies. Pope Francis participated in the synod as a delegate of the Argentine bishops’ conference.
In a homily at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square opening the synod, Pope Benedict XVI said, “The church exists to evangelize” and does this by sharing the Gospel with people who have never heard of Christ, strengthening the faith of those who already have been baptized and reaching out to those who “have drifted away from the church.”
“At various times in history, divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the church’s evangelizing activity, “as happened, for example, with the evangelization of the Americas beginning late in the 15th century, he said. “Even in our own times the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the church a new effort to announce the good news,” the pope said, pointing to the Second Vatican Council, where he said the modern effort to proclaim salvation in Christ found “a more universal expression and its most authoritative impulse.” Pope Benedict said the synod would be dedicated to helping people strengthen their faith and to helping those who have drifted away “encounter the Lord, who alone fills existence with deep meaning and peace, and to favor the rediscovery of the faith, that source of grace that brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life.”

In a homily marking the closing of the 2012 synod, Pope Benedict underscored “three pastoral themes” that he said had emerged from the talks. “Ordinary pastoral ministry … must be more animated by the fire of the Spirit so as to inflame the hearts of the faithful,” he said, stressing the importance of the sacrament of confession and the necessity of “appropriate catechesis” in preparation for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist.
The pope also called for a “new missionary dynamism” to “proclaim the message of salvation to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ.”
Finally, the pope spoke of the need to persuade lapsed Catholics, “especially in the most secular countries,” to “encounter Jesus Christ anew, rediscover the joy of faith and return to religious practice in the community of the faithful.” This effort, in particular, calls for “pastoral creativity” and use of a “new language attuned to the different world cultures,” he said. For coverage in Origins of the 2012 world Synod of Bishops, see Vol. 42, Nos. 20, 21, 22 and 23, dated respectively Oct. 18, 2012, Oct. 25, 2012, Nov. 1, 2012, and Nov. 8, 2012.

At the conclusion of the 2012 world Synod of Bishops, its participants issued a “message to the people of God” that expressed optimism about the future despite the growth of secularism, increased hostility toward Christianity and the sinful behavior of some church ministers.
That optimism is based on Christ’s promise of salvation, synod participants said. They said they were certain God “will not fail to look on our poverty in order to show the strength of his arm in our days and to sustain us in the path of the new evangelization.”

Even if the world often resembles a “desert” for Christians, “we must journey, taking with us what is essential: ‘the company of Jesus, the truth of his word, the eucharistic bread that nourishes us,’ the fellowship of community and the work of charity,” the message said.

Although the message described forces hostile to the Christian faith today, the synod members also said,
“With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weakness of Jesus’ disciples, especially of his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission.”

The text of the message appeared in Origins, Vol. 42, No. 23, the issue dated Nov. 8,2012.

Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on sharing the joy of the Gospel is a call to faith-filled optimism, recognizing challenges but knowing that God’s love and lordship will prevail, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella, introducing the text to the media.

The archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, told reporters Nov. 26 that “Evangelii Gaudium” is “an invitation to recover a prophetic and positive vision of reality without ignoring the current challenges.”

When the pope writes about the reform of church structures to be always missionary or the need to improve homilies or the obligation to reach out to the poor first of all or his insistence that the church always will defend the life of the unborn, Archbishop Fisichella said, “the cement which binds all these themes together is concentrated in the merciful love of God.”

At the Vatican news conference to present the papal document, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Pope Francis wrote it himself in Spanish, mostly during his August vacation.

Archbishop Claudia Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said the exhortation
“has an almost conversational feel to it which reflects a unique and profound pastoral sensitivity.

In calling for the reform of church structures at every level and a change of attitude on the part of all Catholics in order to give priority to sharing the Gospel of God’s love and mercy with all, he said, the pope uses “the simple, familiar and direct language that has been the hallmark” of his style since becoming pope.

Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, said Pope Francis took the suggestions made by the 2012 Synod of Bishops on new evangelization, “made them his own, re-elaborating them in a personal way” and coming up with “a programmatic, exhortative document” on mission in the fullest sense. “Evangelii Gaudium”is not a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, he said, “because its scope goes well beyond the discussions of the synod.”

Archbishop Fisichella called the document “a map and guide” for the church’s pastoral mission and work in the world. Both Archbishops Fisichella and Baldisseri noted how Pope Francis in the apostolic exhortation expresses a need for the church to return to the Second Vatican Council and find concrete ways to ensure the world’s bishops, united with the pope, exercise collegiality or shared responsibility for the mission of the church.

Archbishop Fisichella also said the pope sees a need for the church to move “from a bureaucratic, static and
administrative vision of pastoral ministry to a perspective which is not only missionary, but is in a permanent state of evangelization.””

EVANGELII GAUDIUM: Apostolic Exhortation

Paragraph 1. “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept
his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the church’s journey in years to come.”

A Joy Ever New, A Joy That Is Shared – Paragraphs 2-8

Paragraph 2-8. “The great danger in today’s world,
pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish
born of a complacent yet . . . .”

Paragraphs 9-13:The Delightful and Comforting Joy
born of of Evangelizing

Paragraphs 11-13: Eternal Newness

Paragraphs 14-18: The New Evangelization for
the Transmission of the Faith

The Scope and Limits of this Exhortation – Paragraphs – 16-18

1. THE CHURCH’S MISSIONARY TRANSFORMATION – Paragraphs 19-49

A Church That Goes Forth – Paragraphs 20-23

Taking the First Step,
Being Involved and Supportive,
Bearing Fruit and Rejoicing
– Paragraphs 24-26

Pastoral Activity and Conversion – Paragraphs 25-26

An Ecclesial Renewal
That Cannot Be Deferred
– Paragraphs 27-33

From the Heart of the Gospel – Paragraphs 34-39

A Mission Embodied Within
Human Limits
– Paragraphs 40-45

A Mother With An Open Heart – Paragraphs 46-49

2. AMID THE CRISIS OF COMMUNAL COMMITMENT – Paragraphs 50-109

Some Challenges of Today’s World – Paragraphs 52-75

No to an Economy of Exclusion – Paragraph 53-54

No to the New Idolatry of Money – Paragraph 55-56

No to a financial System
That Rules Rather Than Serves
– Paragraph 57-58

No to the Inequality
That Spawns Violence
– Paragraph 59-60

Some Cultural Challenges – Paragraph 61-67

Challenges to
Inculturating the Faith
– Paragraph 68-70

Challenges From Urban Cultures – Paragraph 71-75

Temptations Faced by
Pastoral Workers
– Paragraphs 76-77

Yes to the Challenge of
a Missionary Spirituality
– Paragraph 78-80

No to Selfishness and
Spiritual Sloth
– Paragraph 81-83

No to a Sterile Pessimism – Paragraph 84-86

Yes to the New Relationships
Brought by Christ
– Paragraph 87-92

No to Spiritual Worldliness – Paragraph 93-97

No to Warring Among Ourselves – Paragraph 98-101

Other Ecclesial Challenges – Paragraph 102-109

3. THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL – Paragraphs 110-175

The Entire People of God
Proclaims the Gospel
– Paragraph 111

A People for Everyone – Paragraphs 112-114

A People of Many Faces – Paragraphs 115-118

We Are All Missionary Disciples – Paragraphs 119-121

The Evangelizing Power
of Popular Piety
– Paragraphs 122-126

Person to Person – Paragraphs 127-129

Charisms at the Service of
a Communion That Evangelizes
– Paragraphs 130-131

Culture, Thought and Education – Paragraphs 132-134

The Homily – Paragraphs 135-136

The Liturgical Context – Paragraphs 137-138

A Mother’s Conversation – Paragraphs 139-141

Words That Set Hearts on Fire – Paragraphs 142-144

Preparing To Preach – Paragraph 145

Reverence For Truth – Paragraphs 146-148

Personalizing the Word – Paragraphs 149-151

Spiritual Reading – Paragraphs 152-153

An Ear to the People – Paragraphs 154-155

Homiletic Resources – Paragraphs 156-159

Evangelization and the
Deeper Understanding of the kerygma
– Paragraphs 160-162

Kerygmatic and
Mystagogical Catechesis
– Paragraphs 163-168

Personal Accompaniment
in Processes of Growth
– Paragraphs 169-173

Centered on the Word of God – Paragraphs 174-175

4. THE SOCIAL DIMENSION OF EVANGELIZATION – Paragraphs 176-258

Communal & Societal Repercussions
of the Kerygma
– Paragraph 177

Confession of Faith and
Commitment to Society
– Paragraphs 178-179

The Kingdom and
Its Challenge
– Paragraphs 180-181

The Church’s Teaching on
Social Questions
– Paragraphs 182-185

Inclusion of the Poor
in Society
– Paragraph 186

In Union with God,
We Hear a Plea
– Paragraphs 187-192

Fidelity to the Gospel,
Lest We Run in Vain
– Paragraphs 193-196

Special Place of the Poor
in God’s People
– Paragraphs 197-201

The Economy and
the Distribution of Income
– Paragraphs 202-208

Concern for the Vulnerable – Paragraphs 209-216

The Common Good and
Peace in Society
– Paragraph 217-221

Time is Greater than Space – Paragraphs 222-225

Unity Prevails Over Conflict – Paragraphs 226-230

Realities Are More
Than Ideas
– Paragraphs 231-233

The Whole Is Greater
Than the Part
– Paragraphs 234-236

Social Dialogue as
a Contribution to Peace
– Paragraphs 238-241

Dialogue Between
Faith, Reason and Science
– Paragraphs 242-243

Ecumenical Dialogue – Paragraphs 244-246

Relations With Judaism – Paragraphs 247-249

Interreligious Dialogue – Paragraphs 250-254

Social Dialogue in
a Context of Religious Freedom
– Paragraphs 255-258

5. SPIRIT-FILLED EVANGELIZERS – Paragraphs 259-288

Reasons For a Renewed
Missionary Impulse
– Paragraphs 262-263

Personal Encounter With the
Saving Love of Jesus
– Paragraphs 264-267

The Spiritual Savior of
Being a People
– Paragraphs 268-274

The Mysterious Working of the
Risen Christ and His Spirit
– Paragraphs 275-280

The Missionary Power of
Intercessory Prayer
– Paragraphs 281-283

Mary,
Mother of Evangelization
– Paragraph 284-

Jesus’ Gift to His People – Paragraphs 285-286

Star of the
New Evangelization
– Paragraphs 287-288

Franciscus

INSPIRATIONAL SPOTS, JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2005

Inspirational Spots, January & February 2005

  • Hallowed be Thy Name, not mine. Thy kingdom come, not mine. Thy will be done, not mine.
  • Can you feel God’s encouragement? Can you sense in creation or in the presence of loved ones,
    or just in your heart, that your Creator knows you and approves of you?
  • The right amount of light we receive doesn’t depend on the voltage in the lines. Usually,
    it’s the size of the bulb we use that makes the difference.
  • God has given us unlimited power through His Son. But we cannot give His Light to the world
    through small bulbs.
  • Without charity, without adequate time for worship, without a dedication to service,
    we have no right to expect great results.
  • We are the light of the world! Do we expect God to give us the light to illuminate the earth,
    but we’ve only plugged a 15-watt bulb into His power line?
  • A voyage of discovery involves not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.
  • Because God loves you, you never stand alone. You can go beyond yourself.
    You can ask forgiveness of those you’ve hurt. You can care for the weak.
    You have the power to touch hearts with compassion. The power of God’s Love lies within you.
  • Love sees through a telescope, not a microscope.
  • There is nothing as strong as gentleness, or as gentle as true strength.

June 2005:

  • Hope is putting Faith to work when doubting would be easier.
  • Does someone in your life aggravate you? Does one of their habits frequently irritate you? Has a friend recently put you down? Does someone you know wish you harm? Jesus said an amazing thing: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Great and wonderful things happen when you do. It’s impossible to feel anger toward someone you’re praying for. God will improve your attitude and intensify your forgiveness.
  • We go through life collecting bricks and steel bars of sin, hurt and doubt. This world tells us that we’re free to collect these thing, so long as we’re not hurting anyone. But the reality is that these bricks and bars add up. They build a priso cell arond our soul, keeping us from others, keeping us from God. We can see great beauty beyond those walls with a surrender to the Peace of Christ.

July 2005:

  • Keep this thought handy to help brighten your day: God is absolutely, without a doubt, head-over-heels in love with you. He sends you flowers every spring, and a sunrise every morning. He could live anywhere in the universe. But he chose your heart.
  • Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If we add more worry, it can cut a deep channel through which all our other thoughts drain. Let your stream of worry trickle out of your mind — to God.
  • Time on your knees will improve your standing.
  • Remember the three R’s: Respect for yourself, regard for others and responsibility for all of your actions.
  • Nothing to be thankful for? Check your pulse!

Inspirational Spots – Christmas 2005 and  The conclusion of 2005

  • God of Love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of Your Word made flesh.
  • There must be some one to whom I could reach out, someone whose life I can bring a little Christmas joy.
  • Make us a people of this light. Make us faithful to Your Word, that we may help bring Your Light into the darkness of waiting world.
  • Not just family or friends – someone else will be remembering. It would be a nice Christmas gift for Our Lord on His birthday.

Suggestions for a happy Christmas celebration:

  • Keep Christ in Christmas;
  • Pause to consider the immensity of God’s gift of Christ to humankind;
  • Be generous in giving to the needy;
  • Plans for the happiness of those who are outside of your family and friends;
  • Give gifts for the simple joy of sharing;
  • Be patient and understanding with those who bear a burden at Christmas;
  • Remember that just as Jesus the Christ is God’s Gift to us, we can make our celebration of His birth a gift to God.
  • Born in a stable. A choice He made. Simplicity and poverty. A choice no temporal power or influence would have ever suggested.
    A choice – God became man in a way no one would have ever guessed. Do you suppose He was trying to tell us something?
  • Dear God, help me see that this is not just another day. Open my eyes so I can clearly see the unique promise that this day holds. Open my mind so I can clearly understand the message and messengers You send my way. Open my heart so I may lovingly accept the challenges, blessings and surprises that You so lovingly will provide me today.

Taken from Station KNOM’s 4-page newsletter published each month

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