Friday, December 12th, 2008
This past Wednesday Pope Benedict continued his catechesis on the life and preaching of St. Paul.
If in the previous few weeks the Holy Father has returned the Preacher to the Gentiles to his rightful place in the Catholic pulpit, then this week he has reinstalled St. Paul behind the altar of sacrifice, where of course he has always belonged.
December 10, 2008
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Following St. Paul, we saw two things in last Wednesday’s catechesis. The first is that our human history is contaminated from the beginning by the abuse of created freedom, which attempts to emancipate itself from the Divine Will. And true freedom is not found like this, but is opposed to truth and, consequently, falsifies our human realities. Above all it falsifies fundamental relationships: the relationship with God, the relationship between man and woman, and the relationship between man and the earth. We have said that this contamination of our history is spread throughout its fabric, and that this inherited defect has increased and is now visible everywhere. This is the first thing. The second is this: from St. Paul we have learned that there is a new beginning in history and of history in Jesus Christ, he who is man and God. With Jesus, who comes from God, a new history begins formed by his “yes” to the Father, and because of this, no longer founded on the pride of a false emancipation, but on love and truth.
Joining me on today’s show to discuss the readings for Gaudete Sunday were Fr. Gabriel Gillen, OP, of the Church of St. Catherine of Siena here in New York City, and Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, OP, of the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas in Zanesville, Ohio.
Enjoy! And don’t forget . . . Rejoice!
This morning the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its most significant document treating biomedical issues in over 20 years. Dignitatis Personae updates the Congregation’s previous statements in Donum Vitae by taking into account new scientific advances that have further threatened the life and dignity of the human embryo. In 1987, the year of Donum Vitae‘s publication, major concerns included in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood. Today, questions surrounding cloning, the creation of hybrids, embryonic stem cell research, and the status of frozen embryos have taken center stage and require clear moral consideration.
Dignitatis Personae begins:
The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses a great “yes” to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research, which has an ever greater importance in today’s world. The Church’s Magisterium has frequently intervened to clarify and resolve moral questions in this area. The Instruction Donum vitae was particularly significant. And now, twenty years after its publication, it is appropriate to bring it up to date.
The teaching of Donum vitae remains completely valid, both with regard to the principles on which it is based and the moral evaluations which it expresses. However, new biomedical technologies which have been introduced in the critical area of human life and the family have given rise to further questions, in particular in the field of research on human embryos, the use of stem cells for therapeutic purposes, as well as in other areas of experimental medicine. These new questions require answers. The pace of scientific developments in this area and the publicity they have received have raised expectations and concerns in large sectors of public opinion. Legislative assemblies have been asked to make decisions on these questions in order to regulate them by law; at times, wider popular consultation has also taken place.
These developments have led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to prepare a new doctrinal Instruction which addresses some recent questions in the light of the criteria expressed in the Instruction Donum vitae and which also examines some issues that were treated earlier, but are in need of additional clarification.
For the entire text, click here.
The Congregation has also published this brief Q & A pamphlet to help readers place Dignitatis Personae in its proper context.
Who is this that comes forth like the dawn,
as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun?
The beloved story of our land’s patroness (taken from Catholic Online):
The opening of the New World brought with it both fortune-seekers and religous preachers desiring to convert the native populations to the Christian faith. One of the converts was a poor Aztec indian named Juan Diego. On one of his trips to the chapel, Juan was walking through the Tepayac hill country in central Mexico. Near Tepayac Hill he encountered a beautiful woman surrounded by a ball of light as bright as the sun. Speaking in his native tongue, the beautiful lady identified herself:
“My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother’s Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard.”