Tag:  Pope Francis

The Seven In Heaven: Meet The New Saints To Be Canonized In A Few Hours 

The Seven In Heaven: Meet The New Saints To Be Canonized In A Few Hours 

On Sunday 14 October, just a few hours from now, Pope Francis will officially recognize seven new saints of the Catholic Church.

Below are brief biographies on each of their lives, as well as photos of each saint’s banner currently on display at the Vatican.

Blessed Pope Paul VI

Born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897 and ordained a priest in 1920, he did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before beginning to work for the Vatican Secretariat of State. In 1954, he was named Archbishop of Milan, and in 1958 was made a Cardinal by Pope John XXIII. As a Cardinal, he helped to arrange the Second Vatican Council and chose to continue the council after he became Pope.

Montini was elected as Pope Paul VI in 1963 at age 65, not long after the start of the second Vatican Council. This was a difficult time for the Church and for the world, as the “Sexual Revolution” was in full swing and the struggle for civil rights in the United States in particular was at its peak. Paul VI is perhaps most noted for his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which served as the Church’s official rebuke to artificial contraception, prohibiting its use.

Paul VI died in 1978 and Pope Francis beatified him in 2014. 


Blessed Oscar Romero

Born in 1917 in El Salvador, Romero was auxiliary bishop of San Salvador for four years before being elevated to Archbishop in 1977. He was an outspoken defender of the rights of the poor in El Salvador, who were being terrorized by right-wing military death squads mainly because of protests over the extreme economic inequality in the country in the 20th century.

His weekly homilies, broadcast across the country on radio, were a galvanizing force for the country’s poor as well as a reliable source of news. In addition to speaking out against the government’s actions El Salvador, he also criticized the US government for backing the military junta that seized El Salvador in 1979, and even wrote to Jimmy Carter in February 1980 asking him to stop supporting the repressive regime.

In March 1980, Romero was assassinated, likely by a right-wing death squad, while celebrating Mass.

Pope Francis beatified Romero in 2015.

Blessed Vincent Romano

Born in 1751 and ordained a priest in 1775, Romano had studied the writings of St. Alphonsus de Liguori and developed a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He spent his whole life as a priest in Torre del Greco and was known for his simple ways and his care for orphans. He worked to rebuild his parish, often with his bare hands, after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1794. He died in December 1831 of pneumonia and was beatified by Paul VI in 1963.

Blessed Francesco Spinelli

Born in Milan in 1853, Spinelli entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in 1875. He began his apostolate educating the poor and also served as a seminary professor, spiritual director, and counselor for several women’s religious communities. In 1882, Fr. Spinelli met Caterina Comensoli, with whom he would found the Institute of the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. The sisters dedicated themselves to Eucharistic adoration day and night, which inspired their service to the poor and suffering.

He died in 1913. Today his institute has around 250 communities in Italy, Congo, Senegal, Cameroon, Colombia, and Argentina. Their ministries include caring for people with HIV, orphans, drug addicts, and prisoners.

St. John Paul II beatified him in 1992.

Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio

Born in Pescosansonesco, Italy in 1817, Sulprizio lost both of his parents at age six and was brought up by an uncle who exploited him for hard labor. Fatigued and often given dangerous assignments, he developed gangrene and eventually lost his leg. Despite his tremendous suffering, he would reportedly make statements such as: “Jesus suffered a lot for me. Why should I not suffer for Him? I would die in order to convert even one sinner.”

He recovered from the gangrene and dedicated himself to helping other patients before his health deteriorated again. Sulprizio died of bone cancer in 1836, when he was only 19 years old.

Pope Paul VI beatified him in 1963.

Blessed Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa

Born in 1889 in Madrid, Spain, Nazaria was the fourth of 18 children. Growing up, her family was indifferent and sometimes even hostile to her desire to enter religious life, but later she led several family members back to the Church when she entered the Franciscan Third Order. Her family moved to Mexico in 1904, and Nazarie met sisters of the Institute of Sisters of the Abandoned Elders, who inspired her to join their order. In 1915, she chose to take perpetual vows with the order in Mexico City and was assigned to a hospice in Oruro, Bolivia for 12 years.

Beginning in 1920, she felt a call to found a new order dedicated to missionary work. In June 1925, she founded the Pontifical Crusade, later renamed the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church, with the mission to catechize children and adults, support the work of priests, conduct missions, and to print and distribute short religious tracts. Many opposed her work, but Nazaria pressed on. Her order cared for soldiers on both sides of the 1932-35 war between Paraguay and Bolivia, and she herself survived persecutions in Spain during the Spanish Civil war. She died in July 1943, and four years later Pope Pius XII finally granted papal approval to the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church, which by that time had spread throughout South America and begun work in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Cameroon.

Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1992.

Blessed Maria Katharina Kasper

Born in Dembach, Germany in 1820 as Catherine Kasper, she attended very little school because of poor health. Despite this, she began to help the poor, the abandoned, and the sick at a young age. Her mother taught her household chores, as well as how to spin and weave fabric. After her father died when she was 21, Catherine worked the land as a farm hand for about 10 cents a day. Her helpfulness toward others attracted other women to her, and she felt a call to the religious life, but knew she needed to stay and support her mother, who was in poor health.

After her mother died, Catherine started, with the approval of the bishop of Limburg, Germany, a small house with several friends who also felt the call. In 1851 she and four other women officially took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and formed the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Catherine, known in the religious community as Mother Mary, served five consecutive terms as superior of the house and continued to work with novices and to open houses for their order all over the world. Today there are 690 sisters in 104 houses in Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Mexico and India.

She died of a heart attack in February 1898, and Pope Paul VI beatified her in 1978.

All photos, Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

“Even If The Pope Were The Devil Incarnate… “

“Even If The Pope Were The Devil Incarnate… “

St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Saint Catherine of Siena: “Even if the Pope were the Devil incarnate….”
Catherine set high standards – for herself, for her friends, for priests and prelates, and especially for the Holy Father. Again and again she urged the popes, first Gregory XI and later Urban VI, to act like Christ: manly, forgiving, honest, loving. Even if a pope did not act like “sweet Christ on earth,” Catherine believed that the faithful should treat him with the respect and obedience they would show to Jesus Himself. “Even if he were an incarnate devil, we ought not to raise up our heads against him – but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom.”
She wrote to the Florentines, who were rebelling against Pope Gregory XI: 

“He who rebels against our Father, Christ on earth, is condemned to death, for that which we do to him, we do to Christ in heaven – we honor Christ if we honor the pope, we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the pope… I tell you that God will and has so commanded that even if the priests and the pastors of the Church and Christ on earth were incarnate devils, it is seemly that we are obedient and subject to them, not for their sake, but for the sake of God, out of obedience to Him, for He wills that we should act thus.

“Know that the son is never in the right against the father, even if the father is ever so evil and unjust, for so great is the good which he has received from the father, that is, life itself, that he can never repay him for it. And we have received the life of grace from the Church, which is so great a benefit, that we can never, by any kind of homage or gratitude, pay the debt we owe.”
From Anne Baldwins Catherine of Siena: A Biography. Huntington, IN: OSV Publishing, 1987, pp. 95-6.
*Saint Catherine of Siena – (Third order of St. Dominic) TOSD (25 March, 1347 in Siena – 29 April 1380 in Rome), was a tertiary of the Dominican Order and a Scholastic philosopher and theologian who had a great influence on the Catholic Church. She is declared a saint and a doctor of the Church.

The Pope And The Scandal – What Can We Do? 

The Pope And The Scandal – What Can We Do? 

Pope Francis in prayer

What can we do about scandal? 

Reflection for Saturday: The Pope and the scandal – What can we do?

* Our Mother by the Cross. 

Saturday September 15, 2018.


1 Corinthians 10:14-22

Psalm 116:12-13, 17-18

John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35.

I do not want you to become participants with demons.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons.

You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.

Or are we provoking the Lord to jealous anger?

Are we stronger than him? 

(From Saturday’s first reading).

Reflection for Saturday:

The Pope and the scandal – What can we do?

I’m sure you’ve been praying about the scandal of sex abuse, coverups, and the pope. And this is exactly the right thing to do.

We simply don’t know enough to make judgments.

Yes, we can judge the sin and we must do whatever we can to stop it from happening again. But let’s also look at the bigger picture. The real enemy is Satan (Ephesians 6), and his strategy is much bigger and wider than the obvious (damaging children through sex abuse and allowing it through Church hierarchy). Our Enemy wants to destroy the Church. Our Enemy wants to render the Church untrustworthy, thereby keeping people away from Christ in the Eucharist. Our Enemy is trying to destroy us from within. He’s gaining ground right now as we vent our righteous anger against each other and against the Pope.

Praise the Lord, God has given us a way to win this battle!

I am not about to say that the Pope is doing a good or bad job of handling this crisis. I am not trusting my own thoughts and feelings about the Pope. How can we trust our limited knowledge? We do not know the mind and the motives of Pope Francis. We do not know what conversations are happening behind closed doors. And we certainly don’t know the mind of God. What is God doing about purging the Church of evil-doers? Does God want the Pope to resign? Is there a bigger plan that God is working? What good is God planning to bring from the evil, as he promised to do in Romans 8:28?

We’ve read the accusations made against the pope by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, claiming that the pope knew of Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual misconduct yet allowed him to continue in active ministry. And we’re naturally very frustrated that he did not defend himself when asked about it. His silence seems to imply that he is guilty of the coverup that Vigano described.

In righteous anger about the evils of abuses and coverups, we seek an outlet for our passionate desire to put a stop to abuses. We know that purging needs to happen within the hierarchy of the Church. Most of us, however, are not in positions where we can affect change. Lacking an outlet for our passion, frustration gets added to anger, and boom! It becomes explosive.

People are finding something — anything — to do in an effort to make a difference. Some are walking out of Mass. Some are deciding to never return to church. Many more are signing “open letters” to the pope.

But let’s be honest, okay? We don’t have enough information on which to base any decisions. We do not know the mind and the motives of Pope Francis. We do not know what conversations are happening behind closed doors. And we certainly don’t know the mind of God and why he bringing to light now — not sooner, not later — the abuses and the coverups.

What really was in the pope’s heart when he spoke to reporters on August 26 after Vigano’s letter was published? What really did he mean when he said, “I will not say a single word on this. I think this statement speaks for itself, and you have the sufficient journalistic capacity to draw conclusions.” Some say it means he’s guilty. But might it mean that he is so innocent that he assumed that anyone who looks closely at Vigano’s statement would vindicate the pope? Christianity has a long history of Saints refusing to defend their own innocence, because self-defense has too much “self” in it.

What is Satan’s role in all of this? The Bible calls him “the Great Accuser”. We need to be on guard against all accusations, because false accusations and exaggerations of true sins are exactly what the devil uses to destroy from within. Last Tuesday, Pope Francis said in his homily, “In these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.” I do not believe that he’s saying that we who are demanding repentance and change are Satan. Remember what Ephesians 6 says about that.

Anyone who does the Lord’s work effectively, making a real difference by winning souls away from Satan, wears a bullseye target on their back — especially those in positions of leadership. The enemy of Christ always tries to destroy their credibility. This is something with which I am very familiar. The Great Accuser has tried to destroy my reputation, my family relationships, and Good News Ministries with false and exaggerated claims. The Lord has taught me that the best response is not self-defense but (1) repenting of any actual sins, (2) prayer, (3) trust in God, and (4) refusing to let the devil ruin my joy. Eventually, the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) wins this battle. Not me. Not the pope.

We truly and simply do not have enough information to draw any conclusions about Pope Francis. And we need to be okay with that. If we want to be holy — instead of drinking from the cup of demons — we need to trust that God cares (far more than we do!), and that God is the only one who understands the situation fully, and that God is not sitting idly by while his Bride suffers; he is working a plan.

In 2006, I wrote: “God is purging his Church. What he started with the child molestation scandal he will continue against all types of abuses. I’m expecting more scandals to hit the news, after God gives his Church (the beloved faithful) time to rest.”

I also said: “I have had the distinct feeling that the scandals of [2001] were only Step One of the purging God desires for his beloved Church. All forms of abuse within the Church — whether by a priest or lay person or religious or deacon — is anti-evangelization, harmful to the mission of the Church, and an abomination which grieves the Lord and our Blessed Mother.”

What can you do with the passionate energy you have from your righteous anger? Pray the Rosary often for all priests, especially those tempted to abuse their vocations, and for the Pope and all decision-makers in the Vatican, and for the victims of abuse, and for the souls of the perpetrators (who are in danger of ending up in hell). That is your weapon, and through it you fight the battle for justice and truth and holiness.

Beyond prayer, there is something else we can do to make a difference. We can — and must — purge sin from our own lives. We, too, are the Church. Every compromise we make with worldly ideas of what’s right and wrong is a contribution to the demons who are working a concerted strategy to destroy the Church from within.

Saturday‘s Gospel reading calls my attention to: ” … next to the cross of Jesus, there was his mother…”. “Next to the cross” says the verse, not “in front of”, not “behind” but “next to“. Mary was right there beside her Son. She was with her Son. We can say that she even felt the pain of her Son.

Today Mary is our mother and she is with us in our daily sufferings. She feels our pain. She understands our feelings, because she knows suffering very closely. 

Mary looks, listens, feels, and knows how we feel.But she is not content with just looking and feeling; she always turns to Jesus, her Son, because she knows that he can help us. And , as in Cana, attentive and hurried, she takes our needs to him and then tells us: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

Ten Reasons Pope Francis Silence Is A Disaster 

Ten Reasons Pope Francis Silence Is A Disaster 


    I was amazed to read the Pope Francis’ supporters, Fr Spadaro and Cardinal Napier have been comparing the Pope’s silence on the Vigano accusations to Our Lord’s silence before Pilate. Cardinal Napier tweeted, and Fr Spadaro re-tweeted:


    There are so many problems with this that it is hard to know where to start.

    First of all, when you or the person you support is under fire for something of which that person may be guilty it is not a good idea to play the victim….not even a little bit. But to compare the person under fire to Jesus at his trial? No. Just don’t go there. Playing the victim card doesn’t work anymore. It’s a worn out ploy. After the blizzard of snowflakes and faux victims we can see through that trick now.

    Secondly, if the person in question is a privileged person don’t play the victim card at all. Would you pity Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton if they played the victim card? No. If a person is a powerful and privileged person and you play the victim card it is a big own goal. The pope is one of the most powerful people in the world. He’s right up there with the Queen of England as an international leader and he is therefore on the top of the heap. When the big guys play the victim card it is not only ridiculous, it is a gross insult to all the true victims in the world.

    Third, once his supporters have played the Pope as a victim in all this, the result is disastrous for the pope and the papacy. Suddenly we see all his foot washing of prisoners, kissing of disabled people and embracing immigrants as the big show off fakery some of us thought it was all along. When the pope is in hot water and plays the victim he makes his showy advocacy of victims look like a cheap publicity stunt

    Fourth, the pope may be the Vicar of Christ, but he’s not the successor of Jesus. He’s the successor of Peter. When Jesus was on trial, we should remember that there was another person who was also silent and did not stand up for his friend who was the Way , the Truth and the Life. It was Peter. I think maybe Fr Spadaro and Cardinal Napier need to get their Bibles down off the shelf, blow off the dust and read the story again.

    Fifth, this needn’t be such a big deal that the Pope has to go all publicly sanctimonious, play the silent suffering savior and hope the storm blows over. If he wants to be like Jesus he should calm the storm. He could deny Vigano’s accusations and produce the paperwork on the whole McCarrick affair, prove Vigano wrong and take positive action to clean up the Vatican and command his bishops around the world to do the same in their dioceses. His silence only prolongs the whole sordid affair.

    Sixth, while Vigano’s testimony may seem leaky. (Philip Lawler discusses the evidence here). there is enough background evidence based in Pope Francis’ previous actions to make it credible. I outlined some reasons here. Instead of silence the Pope could easily appoint an external, independent investigator to present a report on the matter. His silence and seemingly passive stance isn’t helping anyone, and most of all it is not helping him. Instead it is moving him closer to the lame duck papacy I predicted here.

    Seventh, the pope’s withdraw into silence is revealing him to be a hypocrite in a very important situation. He has presented himself as a listener, one who gets the smell of the sheep and who comes close to the wounded, the upset, the confused and bewildered–those who are alienated from their own church. Does he not realize that there are a huge number of his sheep in the United States and worldwide who are at the brink of despair over the sex abuse crisis and the bishops’ incompetence and sleazy behavior? These people need to be listened to. They also need to be comforted and led with a strong and compassionate hand. Casting them as the Pharisees and hiding behind a fake humility and the “silence of Jesus on trial” is just about the dumbest thing any spiritual leader could do, and his tin eared sycophants don’t seem to get it….at all.

    Eighth, the silence is un necessary and destructive for him and his papacy. My own view about Pope Francis is more moderate than some. I don’t want him to resign. We don’t need three popes. I don’t think he’s a bad man and I’m dubious about some of the worst gossip about him. I do think he’s out of his depth and has surrounded himself with the worst possible advisors and supporters. But the silence is not necessary, and he’s a big enough man to do something positive. When he realized he had messed up badly in the case of the Chilean bishops’ cover up of sex abuse he back tracked, admitted his mistakes and tried to put things right. So its not like this sort of thing is impossible for him. He could do that in this case if Vigano’s accusations are on target.

    Ninth, playing the Jesus victim here is simply over the top. Nobody is trying to crucify Pope Francis. Sure, there are some extremists who want him to resign, but most of us simply want him to be the firm, compassionate and intelligent leader we expect of a pope. We don’t want him to be a victim and we don’t want him dead, but we would like him to answer the accusations of Vigano with a strong, open and understanding answer. We’d like him to then take action. If he is guilty as charged, then to make amends and put things right. If he is not, then to ask independent investigators to make a report with full access to documents, explaining exactly what did happen.

    Tenth, playing the victim actually plays into the hands of Henry Sire–the author of The Dictator Pope. Sire portrays Pope Francis as an opportunistic, cynical manipulative operator. He portrays the pope as a man who plays both sides of the house against each other. He portrays the pope as a Jesuitical Jesuit who manipulates the truth according to his own whims and tinkers with people and situations to get his own way. By putting on a long face and playing the victim, Pope Francis is, unfortunately, helping to make Sire’s devastating thesis seem plausible.

    This article was originally written by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

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