Author: Shirley Aaron

Prominent Ugandan Lesbian And LGBT Activist Renounces Homosexuality.

Prominent Ugandan Lesbian And LGBT Activist Renounces Homosexuality.

A prominent lesbian and LGBT activist in Uganda has reportedly renounced her same-sex attraction and now says homosexuality is a ‘sin.’

Val Kalende shocked members of the international LGBT community when she made the public declaration during a church service in Uganda that was broadcast live on Christian channel Salt TV last month, according The Edge. 

She came out as a lesbian in 2002 and spent over a decade advocating for LGBT rights, with her writing featuring in The Huffington Post, among other publications.

When Uganda passed laws criminalising homosexual behaviour in 2014, she sought refuge in Canada.

According to The Edge, she said in last month’s broadcast that she ‘joined’ lesbianism after university, at which point her Christian parents ‘cut their times with me for being gay.’

‘I became rebellious,’ she said, according to The Edge’s translation. ‘We always wondered why the world forced us to become girls who do not love men’

The newspaper also reported that the former lesbian has now returned to Uganda and is getting married soon.

According to Ugandan newspaper the Monitor, Kalende elaborated further on Facebook about the change in her sexual identity. 

The website quoted her as saying: ‘I’d be glad to respond to questions concerning what I have learned about the sin of same-sex attraction and the mystery that surrounds the homosexual lifestyle, especially for Christians, parents and people with family members or friends who struggle with same-sex attractions.’

According to PinkNews, the declaration has taken the LGBT community by surprise, with Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, telling the website that he was ‘very much worried about her.’

Ugandan human rights activist Stella Nyanzi, who identifies as queer, reportedly responded to the news by saying on Facebook that religion is ‘powerful and dangerous.’

She is not the first homosexual to make public declarations about converting back to heterosexuality. Religion does all sorts of things to people,” she was quoted as saying by Nairobi News.

Forgiveness Sustains Marriage 

Forgiveness Sustains Marriage 

*Forgiveness Sustains Marriage*

(Homily for August 17, 2018)
_“I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord GOD” *(Ezekiel 16:62-63).*_
Our first reading today from the book of Ezekiel chapter 16 is a rather moving and very graphic description of mankind in its relationship with God. Even though it was addressed to Jerusalem as a city, this passage perfectly mirrors our situation even as Christians. We have been very unfaithful to God; our religiosity is shallow and we have often prostituted ourselves with other gods. Yet, this passage concludes with a line of God’s assurance of forgiveness. 
That as a human race, we are not yet extinct is a sign that God hasn’t given up on us yet; a sign that God hasn’t divorced the human race yet; a sign that God hasn’t stopped loving us.
Our Gospel passage contains what I may call the hardest teaching of Jesus Christ and coincidentally it comes after Jesus taught another very hard topic; forgiveness. Jesus explained that in God’s mind, there is no room for divorce. Moses’ law was a mere reflection of the people’s hardness of heart. Divorce, according to Jesus is equal to adultery, and the only exception for divorce is “unchastity.” Biblical scholars have researched the original Greek word which is translated here as “unchastity” and they discovered Jesus was referring to an illegal marriage not necessarily “fornication.”
Just as Jesus’ teaching appears very hard to accept today, it was not an easy pill for His listeners to accept. In fact, His own disciples exclaimed: “if that is the case, then isn’t it better not to marry at all?” In other words, if marriage will trap me for life, why don’t I stay away from it completely by opting for celibacy? To this Jesus responded, “not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given” (Matthew 19:11).
Celibacy is a gift, it is a calling not meant for everyone. Celibacy is not an escape route from the commitment of marriage. Those who lack the gift of celibacy or misunderstand the celibate lifestyle as a ticket to freedom (moral irresponsibility) end up extremely frustrated, unhappy, never satisfied and most often drop out later in life. One who cannot be committed to just one person is not likely capable of being committed to the demands of celibacy.
So if celibacy is not a better option to marriage, how then are we to remain committed and happy in marriage for the rest of our lives? The answer is forgiveness. Before you consider divorce before you call your lawyer or even your priest to end what began in love, think of this passage in our first reading today; the fact that God is still there for us despite our imperfections. Be to your spouse what God is to the human race. Develop in your heart a kind of love that no fire can quench, a love that remains steadfast despite the hurts and pains which constantly come from your spouse.
The truth is that this love is not limited to married couples; even celibates must have this kind of love for the church and the people in other to remain true to their calling and their vows. A celibate who constantly nags and complains about his Bishop/Superior or his parishioners is not so different from a man or woman who constantly nags about their spouses. As forgiveness sustains a marriage, the celibate who cannot forgive ends up dropping the habit someday.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bless my vocation (marriage or celibate), fill my days with constant joy that I may never think of giving up on my commitments. Amen.

 

*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time: Bible Study: Ezekiel 16:1-63, Isaiah 12:2-6, Matthew 19:3-12).*
Fr. Abu.

12 Things Every Catholic Should know And Share About The Assumption Of Mary 

12 Things Every Catholic Should know And Share About The Assumption Of Mary 

August 15 is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. Here are 12 things to know and share…

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In the United States, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary is a holy day of obligation (in years when it does not fall on a Monday).

What is the Assumption of Mary, how did it come to be defined, and what relevance does it have for our lives?

Here are 12 things to know and share … 

1) What is the Assumption of Mary?

The Assumption of Mary is the teaching that:

The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory [Pius XIIMunificentissimus Deus 44].

2) What level of authority does this teaching have?

This teaching was infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 in the bull Munificentissimus Deus (Latin, “Most Bountiful God”).

As Pius XII explained, this is “a divinely revealed dogma” (ibid.).

This means that it is a dogma in the proper sense. It is thus a matter of faith that has been divinely revealed by God and that has been infallibly proposed by the Magisterium of the Church as such.

3) Does that mean it is an “ex cathedra” statement and that we have to believe it?

Yes. Since it is a dogma defined by the Pope (rather than by an ecumenical council, for example), it is also an “ex cathedra” statement (one delivered “from the chair” of Peter).

Because it is infallibly defined, it calls for the definitive assent of the faithful.

Pope John Paul II explained:

The definition of the dogma, in conformity with the universal faith of the People of God, definitively excludes every doubt and calls for the express assent of all Christians [General Audience, July 2, 1997].

Note that all infallibly defined teachings are things we are obliged to believe, even if they aren’t defined “ex cathedra” (by the pope acting on his own).

The bishops of the world teaching in union with the pope (either in an ecumenical council or otherwise) can also infallibly define matters, but these aren’t called “ex cathedra” since that term refers specifically to the exercise of the Pope’s authority as the successor of St. Peter. (It’s Peter’s cathedra or “chair” that symbolizes the pope’s authority).

4) Does the dogma require us to believe that Mary died?

It is the common teaching that Mary did die. In his work, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott lists this teaching as sententia communior (Latin, “the more common opinion”).

Although it is the common understanding of the Church, that Mary did die, and although her death is referred to in some of the sources Pius XII cited in Munificentissimus Deus, he deliberately refrained from defining this as a truth of the faith.

John Paul II noted:

On 1 November 1950, in defining the dogma of the Assumption, Pius XII avoided using the term “resurrection” and did not take a position on the question of the Blessed Virgin’s death as a truth of faith.

The Bull Munificentissimus Deus limits itself to affirming the elevation of Mary’s body to heavenly glory, declaring this truth a “divinely revealed dogma.”

5) Why should Mary die if she was free from Original Sin and its stain?

Being free of Original Sin and its stain is not the same thing as being in a glorified, deathless condition.

Jesus was also free of Original Sin and its stain, but he could—and did—die.

Expressing a common view among theologians, Ludwig Ott writes:

For Mary, death, in consequence of her freedom from original sin and from personal sin, was not a consequence of punishment of sin.

However, it seems fitting that Mary’s body, which was by nature mortal, should be, in conformity with that of her Divine Son, subject to the general law of death.

6) What are the earliest surviving references to Mary’s Assumption?

John Paul II noted:

The first trace of belief in the Virgin’s Assumption can be found in the apocryphal accounts entitled Transitus Mariae [Latin, “The Crossing Over of Mary”], whose origin dates to the second and third centuries.

These are popular and sometimes romanticized depictions, which in this case, however, pick up an intuition of faith on the part of God’s People.

7) How did the recognition of Mary’s Assumption develop in the East?

John Paul II noted:

There was a long period of growing reflection on Mary’s destiny in the next world.

This gradually led the faithful to believe in the glorious raising of the Mother of Jesus, in body and soul, and to the institution in the East of the liturgical feasts of the Dormition [“falling asleep”—i.e., death] and Assumption of Mary.

8) How did Pius XII prepare for the definition of the Assumption?

John Paul II noted:

In May 1946, with the Encyclical Deiparae Virginis Mariae, Pius XII called for a broad consultation, inquiring among the Bishops and, through them, among the clergy and the People of God as to the possibility and opportuneness of defining the bodily assumption of Mary as a dogma of faith.

The result was extremely positive: only six answers out of 1,181 showed any reservations about the revealed character of this truth.

9) What Scriptural basis is there for the teaching?

John Paul II noted:

Although the New Testament does not explicitly affirm Mary’s Assumption, it offers a basis for it because it strongly emphasized the Blessed Virgin’s perfect union with Jesus’ destiny.

This union, which is manifested, from the time of the Savior’s miraculous conception, in the Mother’s participation in her Son’s mission and especially in her association with his redemptive sacrifice, cannot fail to require a continuation after death.

Perfectly united with the life and saving work of Jesus, Mary shares his heavenly destiny in body and soul.

There are, thus, passages in Scripture that resonate with the Assumption, even though they do not spell it out.

10) What are some specific Old Testament passages?

Pope Pius XII pointed to several passages that have been legitimately used in a “rather free” manner to explain belief in the Assumption (meaning: these passages resonate with it in various ways, but they don’t provide explicit proof):

Often there are theologians and preachers who, following in the footsteps of the holy Fathers, have been rather free in their use of events and expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption.

Thus, to mention only a few of the texts rather frequently cited in this fashion, some have employed the words of the psalmist:

“Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified” (Ps. 131:8);

and have looked upon the Ark of the Covenant, built of incorruptible wood and placed in the Lord’s temple, as a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary, preserved and exempt from all the corruption of the tomb and raised up to such glory in heaven.

Treating of this subject, they also describe her as the Queen entering triumphantly into the royal halls of heaven and sitting at the right hand of the divine Redeemer (Ps. 44:10-14ff).

Likewise they mention the Spouse of the Canticles “that goes up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense” to be crowned (Song 3:6; cf. also 4:8, 6:9).

These are proposed as depicting that heavenly Queen and heavenly Spouse who has been lifted up to the courts of heaven with the divine Bridegroom [Munificentissimus Deus 26]. 

11) What are some specific New Testament passages?

Pius XII continued:

Moreover, the scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos (Rev. 12:1ff).

Similarly they have given special attention to these words of the New Testament: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women”(Luke 1:28), since they saw, in the mystery of the Assumption, the fulfillment of that most perfect grace granted to the Blessed Virgin and the special blessing that countered the curse of Eve [Munificentissimus Deus 27].

12) How can we apply this teaching to our everyday lives?

According to Pope Benedict XVI:

By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful.

Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the thousands of daily difficulties. The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon.

We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand.

Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge ahead in our lives under Mary’s guidance [General Audience, August 16, 2006].

Watch Video! “Miracle Of The Snakes” A Marian Feast’s Day’s Strange Unusual Miracle 

Watch Video! “Miracle Of The Snakes” A Marian Feast’s Day’s Strange Unusual Miracle 


Every year, on the Orthodox feast of the *Dormition of the Theotokos, a monastery on a Greek island experiences a miracle – dozens of snakes come to ‘venerate‘ an icon of Mary.

In a phenomenon that has reportedly been happening for hundreds of years, black snakes begin appearing on the Greek island of Kefalonia between Aug. 5 and Aug. 15, the days when the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the dormition of the Theotokos (celebrated in the Western Church as the Assumption of Mary).

According to tradition, the miracle of the snakes began in 1705, when nuns of the monastery were about to be attacked by pirates.

Legend has it that the nuns prayed fervently to the Virgin Mary, asking her that she turn them into snakes to avoid capture. Other versions say that the nuns prayed that the monastery be infested with snakes so as to scare away the pirates. Either way it happened, they were spared.

Since then, the small black snakes, known as European Cat Snakes, appear every year just before the feast, and make their way to the walls and entryways of the Church to ‘venerate’ the silver icon of Mary known as the Panagia Fidoussa, or the Virgin of the Snakes.

The snakes’ patterning can produce a small black cross on their head, and they have a forked tongue, adding to the legend that these snakes are marked by the sign of the Cross.  

In recent years, the faithful have taken to transporting snakes to the church in jars and bags, to protect them from being run over by unwitting motorists.

The usually-aggressive snakes are reportedly docile and calm during these days, when they are welcome in the church for Mass and prayers, and disappear from the island completely after the feast until the next year.

Reportedly, the only years the snakes have not appeared on the island were during World War II, and in 1953 – the year of a massive earthquake. Locals now take the lack of the snake’s appearance as a bad sign.

Every year, the island celebrates the Theotokos and the miracle with a Snake Festival. 

Every year, on the Orthodox feast of the *Dormition of the Theotokos, a monastery on a Greek island experiences a miracle – dozens of snakes come to ‘venerate‘ an icon of Mary.

In a phenomenon that has reportedly been happening for hundreds of years, black snakes begin appearing on the Greek island of Kefalonia between Aug. 5 and Aug. 15, the days when the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the dormition of the Theotokos (celebrated in the Western Church as the Assumption of Mary).

According to tradition, the miracle of the snakes began in 1705, when nuns of the monastery were about to be attacked by pirates.

Legend has it that the nuns prayed fervently to the Virgin Mary, asking her that she turn them into snakes to avoid capture. Other versions say that the nuns prayed that the monastery be infested with snakes so as to scare away the pirates. Either way it happened, they were spared.

Since then, the small black snakes, known as European Cat Snakes, appear every year just before the feast, and make their way to the walls and entryways of the Church to ‘venerate’ the silver icon of Mary known as the Panagia Fidoussa, or the Virgin of the Snakes.

The snakes’ patterning can produce a small black cross on their head, and they have a forked tongue, adding to the legend that these snakes are marked by the sign of the Cross.  

In recent years, the faithful have taken to transporting snakes to the church in jars and bags, to protect them from being run over by unwitting motorists.

The usually-aggressive snakes are reportedly docile and calm during these days, when they are welcome in the church for Mass and prayers, and disappear from the island completely after the feast until the next year.

Reportedly, the only years the snakes have not appeared on the island were during World War II, and in 1953 – the year of a massive earthquake. Locals now take the lack of the snake’s appearance as a bad sign.

Every year, the island celebrates the Theotokos and the miracle with a Snake Festival. 

Every year, on the Orthodox feast of the *Dormition of the Theotokos, a monastery on a Greek island experiences a miracle – dozens of snakes come to ‘venerate‘ an icon of Mary.

In a phenomenon that has reportedly been happening for hundreds of years, black snakes begin appearing on the Greek island of Kefalonia between Aug. 5 and Aug. 15, the days when the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the dormition of the Theotokos (celebrated in the Western Church as the Assumption of Mary).

According to tradition, the miracle of the snakes began in 1705, when nuns of the monastery were about to be attacked by pirates.

Legend has it that the nuns prayed fervently to the Virgin Mary, asking her that she turn them into snakes to avoid capture. Other versions say that the nuns prayed that the monastery be infested with snakes so as to scare away the pirates. Either way it happened, they were spared.

Since then, the small black snakes, known as European Cat Snakes, appear every year just before the feast, and make their way to the walls and entryways of the Church to ‘venerate’ the silver icon of Mary known as the Panagia Fidoussa, or the Virgin of the Snakes.

The snakes’ patterning can produce a small black cross on their head, and they have a forked tongue, adding to the legend that these snakes are marked by the sign of the Cross.  

In recent years, the faithful have taken to transporting snakes to the church in jars and bags, to protect them from being run over by unwitting motorists.

The usually-aggressive snakes are reportedly docile and calm during these days, when they are welcome in the church for Mass and prayers, and disappear from the island completely after the feast until the next year.

Reportedly, the only years the snakes have not appeared on the island were during World War II, and in 1953 – the year of a massive earthquake. Locals now take the lack of the snake’s appearance as a bad sign.

Every year, the island celebrates the Theotokos and the miracle with a Snake Festival. 

Source:

Catholic News Agency (CNA). 

*The term Dormition is an OrthodoxChurch teaching which expresses the belief that the Virgin died without suffering, in a state of spiritual peace. The Dormition Is actually sometimes called the Assumption Of Mary, and is celebrated on the 15th day of August, yearly. The Orthodox Church also teaches that Mary is without personal sins. The belief does not rest on any scriptural basis, but is based on apocryphal writings. In PseudoJohn the Evangelist’s Liber de Dormitione Mariae, lit. “Book of the Dormition of Mary”, known in English as “The Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God”, Mary’s soul is carried to heaven, while her body is carried away by angels to be preserved until the ultimate resurrection.

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