Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rest in Peace, Father Groeschel

Father Benedict Groeschel and Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Father Benedict Groeschel died on the eve of the Feast of St. Francis.  I was able to hear Father Groeschel speak many times and had the great honor of meeting him on a few different occasions.  He was the real deal.  He made some missteps along the way - don't we all - but there can be no doubt of his love for our Lord, the Church and the poor.  He completely dedicated his life to fulfilling the Gospel.  

I remember the first time I saw Father Groeschel in person.  I had seen him on EWTN many times and knew he was a celebrity.  However, my first impressions were of a very down to earth and humble man.  He was wearing sandals that were beat up to say the least and his simple gray habit tied with a rope.  He greeted anyone and everyone who came up to him, giving all that warm smile with a twinkle in his deep blue eyes.  He spoke in plain English with no attempt to impress anyone.  He had a wonderful sense of humor.  And his speech was filled with love for Our Lord, to whom he completely dedicated his life.  

Father Groeschel always told us that he fully expected a stay in Purgatory.  I think he may have been "disappointed."  He suffered tremendously in the last several years of his life, and was never without pain since his near death experience after being hit by a car in Florida in 2004.  I believe he suffered his purgatory here on earth.  That did not stop him from his ministry.  He was everywhere, traveling far and wide and a fixture on EWTN.  

I really like this quote from Father Groeschel:
Bishop Sheen used to say that there is nothing worse than wasted suffering. And that is certainly true. I was taught by the sisters long ago in Catholic school to unite my sufferings, works, and prayers each day with Christ, and I continue to do that through the heart of Mary. It gave great meaning to me while I was in the hospital and idle, unable to work for the salvation of souls, to be able to offer the pains and the patience required by them as a prayer for the world.

You have to be careful with suffering. One has to be careful not to enjoy it, or focus on it, or expand it too much. Then suffering becomes the goal. The goal is not suffering; the goal is loving patience, offered to God as best one can. And the humility to admit that we don’t do this very well. One of the things I learned from my illness is that over and over again we have to tell God that we really trust Him. Trusting in God is not one action; it’s an ongoing way of life.
On this Feast Day of St. Francis, an antiphon from the Divine Office said, "Francis left this earth a poor and lowly man; he enters heaven rich in God’s favor, greeted with songs of rejoicing." The same could be said of Fr. Benedict Groeschel. There is little doubt in my mind that he is now rejoicing in heaven with his good friend, Mother Teresa, and Father Solanus Casey, whom he also knew, and St. Francis himself.

Pray for us, Father Groeschel. We need it.

Well done, good and faithful servant.  

Cardinal Kasper Explains Why He Is Wrong

Credit: www.religionnews.com
There has been a tremendous amount of cyber ink spilled on the subject of divorced and remarried Catholics being readmitted to the sacraments, specifically being able to receive Holy Communion while in an invalid marriage. Cardinal Walter Kasper is at the front of the line heading the charge that such individuals be allowed to receive the sacraments.

I have great respect for Cardinal Kasper, who is a very well regarded Catholic theologian (despite what you hear over the Internet), and I believe he is also a very devout prince of the Church. Up to this point, I have been withholding judgment on this matter of divorced and remarried Catholics, although I admit that I actually wanted Cardinal Kasper to be right.

However, Catholic News Service just released a video of excerpts of an interview with Cardinal Kasper in which he left no doubt that he is completely wrong on this subject. His own words condemn his position, and I have no choice but to admit that. You can watch the video below.



You will see that the first words of Cardinal Kasper on this video are, "If there's a second union, well it's not a sacramental one." Those words of and by themselves should end the discussion. He tries to mitigate this statement with his next statement, "It's not of the same level as the first one." Not of the same level? That is like saying an Episcopalian bishop is not of the same level as a Catholic bishop. "Levels" has nothing to do with this.  One is legitimate, the other is not.  The "second union" of which Cardinal Kasper speaks is an illegitimate union in the eyes of the Church and God.  And Cardinal Kasper has admitted as much in his first statement.  His second statement does not lessen that truth in any way.

I am sure that I do not need to tell Cardinal Kasper that it is not possible to make anything holy which has not been made holy by Our Lord. Cardinal Kasper knows this, and has even admitted it. Yet, he continues to persist. After admitting that a civil marriage cannot be sacramental, he says the civil union "can be seen some marriage elements of a marriage and of a family. There is love, there is commitment, there is exclusivity. It is forever, there is prayer life, there are children. . ." Cardinal Kasper is arguing that if something looks like the real thing, then it can be accepted as the real thing, even though it has not been blessed by the Holy Spirit.

The other day, my husband and I were walking past beautiful old All Saints Episcopalian church in Brooklyn. The doors were open and we could see a magnificent high altar, and there was even a lit sanctuary lamp next to it. If we didn't know better, we would have sworn this was a Catholic Church. But putting in a high altar with a lit sanctuary lamp does not make it Catholic nor does it mean that Jesus Christ is present in the tabernacle.

Below is a picture of All Saints Episcopal Church, which at first glance looks very Catholic. But you will notice that this is a marriage of two men. Ah, how deceptive looks can be!

Credit:   http://mjandnate.com
I am really amazed that Cardinal Kasper would make the argument that because a relationship "looks" legitimate and even contains certain real elements of a true marriage, that somehow makes it valid and legitimate.  The picture above of a same sex wedding looks legitimate and contains many elements of a real wedding, but it can never be any more than play acting for those involved.  And that is just as true for illegitimate second "marriages" among Catholics.  

Cardinal Kasper then went on making more arguments which, again, show that his position is untenable. He says of those divorced and remarried, "To say every sexual act is sinful, that's different. If you tell people who live this way, and they do it in a responsible way, to tell them that's adultery, permanent adultery, I think they would feel insulted and offended." Yes, Your Eminence, people involved in sin no doubt feel "insulted and offended" when you point out their sin. But do we really have any other choice? Cardinal Kasper's statement that people in invalid marriages can have sexual relations "in a responsible way" just makes no sense whatsoever. Does sin stop being sin if we somehow sin "responsibly"? What does that even mean? The fact is, that statement has no meaning at all.

Cardinal Kasper then makes an even more ludicrous statement: "Such a sexual relationship within such a couple has also its positive values, it's not only its negative values, and I think the first word the church always, in every situation, is a 'yes'." I guess the positive values are that the couple is involved in only one sinful monogamous relationship instead of multiple, promiscuous relationships. So I guess, according to Cardinal Kasper, jumping off of a 10 story building would be less damaging to us than jumping off of a 40 story building, even though the results are the same.  I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland at this point.  

Credit:  www.pinterest.com
Cardinal Kasper continues, and it actually gets even worse, "I'm happy that God gives you this love and that you can express this love. It's not the fullness already, but who of us loves God and loves the neighbor as he should do it?" Cardinal Kasper is saying that those involved in an invalid marriage are involved in an "imperfect" relationship, but the rest of us have no right to judge such relationships because we are not perfect, either. Cardinal Kasper knows that the Church not only has a right to judge such relationships, it is her DUTY to judge these relationships. The Church cannot endorse any situations that are spiritually harmful to Church members. Not to make a judgment on these invalid marriages would actually be a dereliction of the Church's duty.

Cardinal Kasper then says it is his duty to accompany these couples in their invalid marriages, and encourage them "to do according to their conscience when it is a very mature conscience." The Cardinal is actually saying that, even though someone is living in violation of church teaching, if the people involved have a "mature conscience", then it is okay to encourage them to follow that "mature conscience."

Cardinal Kasper is a great theologian, so I know he has read Roman 1:28 which says, "Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done." A conscience that is formed outside of Church teaching cannot be trusted. We can never support anyone who is living in direct opposition to Church dogma. I truly cannot understand how Cardinal Kasper can make statements that are contrary to this.

But the worst of Cardinal's Kasper's statements are still to come. He says, "On God, everybody has always, if he wants, a chance. And God gives a new chance." That statement is absolutely, unequivocally true. Our Lord never stops calling out to us, calling us to repentance and His Love and Mercy. Our sin can and often does drown out the Voice of God, but that doesn't mean He stops calling to us.

But then Cardinal Kasper goes off the rails. He says, "After a shipwreck, you do not get a new ship, but you can have a plank in order to survive. And that's the mercy of God." This is absolutely, completely false. Our Lord did not come to earth and pour out His Life on the cross to give us a "plank" so that we could merely "survive." As recorded in John 10:10, Our Lord said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." St. Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Our Lord wants us to experience His Saving Grace fully and abundantly, not just a small piece of it marred by our sin.

In Luke 5:36-37, Jesus said:
"No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins."
Cardinal Kasper is telling us that God's mercy will allow us to stay in our sin and that He will give us a "plank" that will somehow stop our sin from destroying us.  It seems that Cardinal Kasper truly believes that the great Mercy of God will allow people to stay in their sin and have only a piece of the Holy Spirit (if even that much) instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit and in a full relationship with Him. 

This goes against everything taught by Our Lord and the Apostles.  When we come to Christ, we must get rid of everything that hinders our relationship with Him, and that means getting rid of ALL of our sin.

St. Paul wrote Philipians 3:7-8:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Does Cardinal Kasper think that St. Paul is saying we must get rid of everything that hinders us except an invalid marriage? Does Cardinal Kasper think St. Paul would agree that if an invalid marriage has enough elements of a valid marriage, and the couple involved have a "mature" conscience, this somehow brings them into the graces of God?

Our Lord told us in Matthew 18:8-9:
If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Certainly Our Lord did not mean that we should literally maim ourselves, but He did mean that we should be ruthless and unrelenting in getting rid of anything that is sinful in our lives.

I really wanted to believe that there was a way for divorced and remarried Catholics to be able to receive the sacraments. Nothing I had read up to this time convinced me one way or the other on this issue. But this video of Cardinal Kasper leave no doubt in my mind. I now realize, from his own words, that Cardinal Kasper is wrong on this issue. I find no joy in this at all. This is an extremely divisive issue in the Church, and Cardinal Kasper is actually making it wore by his insistence on taking a stance against Church doctrine while trying to convince us that he is upholding Church teaching. And I think that he actually does believe this. At the same time, I still believe it is very important that the issue be explored and discussed among the bishops so that they will be able to show the world that there is no other possible judgment.

We really need to be in prayer about the Synod which starts on Sunday, October 5. We need to pray that all involved are completely submissive to the Holy Spirit, and that it will not prove to be a cause of division among Catholics. We are at a crucial point in the world and in the Church. We cannot allow Satan to have the upper hand. 

Credit:  www.keepcalmandposters.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Candidate for Patron Saint of Bloggers: St. Therese of Lisieux


Credit:  www.pinterest.com
The only way to advance rapidly in the path of love is to remain always very little. That is what I did, and now I can sing with our holy Father, St. John of the Cross: 'Then I abased myself so low, so very low, That I ascended to such heights, such heights indeed, That I did overtake the prey I chased!'
St. Therese of Lisieux

Today is the Feast Day of St. Therese of Liseux, one of our most amazing saints.  She is the patron saint of missionaries although she was never a missionary.  She is a doctor of the Church, even though she wrote only one book - her biography - and was never even a teacher in her short life.  She lived only 24 years and died as an unknown little nun.  Yet, she is now loved and revered around the world, and considered one of our greatest saints.

I would also propose that St. Therese be named the patron saint of bloggers. Why? St. Therese taught the "little way", which means making ourselves as small and insignificant as possible. Her "little way" includes accepting personal insults without striking back, and in this way making ourselves a part of the suffering of Our Lord, who took all of our sins upon Himself.
Think of how different the Internet would be if bloggers got rid of all of the self righteousness and indignation with which so many of us express ourselves, and we instead treated one another with love and understanding, even though we disagree with one another.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who modeled herself after the Little Flower, had a "Humility List" which corresponds with the teaching of St. Therese of Liseux:
1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
I am using this opportunity to confess that I have failed miserably in living this list on this blog and on the Internet in general.  I have been subjected to some pretty nasty name calling, such as bloviating crackpot, an evil rotheart, a megalomaniac and a twit, to list just a few of the pejoratives used against me.  I've also gotten "hysteria and irrational methodology", "Your behavior is impulsive and irrational", "You have been inconsiderate, unreasonable, and biased", "your rhetoric is blatantly dishonest, it's why you have a double standard". One of the "nicer" things said about me is that I am "clueless." I confess that I more often than not allow my pride to get in the way and have reacted to these insults with indignation. Hardly the way of St. Therese and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

As a Catholic blogger, with the emphasis on "Catholic", I am here and now making a pledge, in the spirit of the "Little Way" of St. Therese of Lisieux, never to get involved in personal attacks against others.  I will continue to comment on issues and show where and when I think others are wrong in their opinions and even in their actions.  That is the definition of blogging about the issues.  But I will never again make personal attacks against others, judging their character in any way.  

More importantly, I will never again respond in any way to personal attacks made against me.  I am going to write my blog and live my life according to Blessed Mother Teresa's "Humility List."   I accept personal attacks from others as a tool to help me in my own spiritual growth, as a reminder that I am just a sinful human being in great need of correction.

There is no need to fight our personal battles. We have a Savior who will fight for us. We are told in the Divine Office, "Surrender to God, and he will do everything for you." It is not necessary to win every argument or even win any arguments. The ultimate aim of all we do should be to spread the Love of Jesus Christ, and the best way to do that is to allow Him fight our battles for us.

In reading the Gospels, you will never see even one instance where our Lord defended his personal honor against others.  He always defended the Gospel, but when it came to personal attacks, He never once struck back.  This is most especially seen when He was crucified.  In fact, one of His last statements was made on behalf of those who were crucifying Him:  "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."  

The Word of God warns constantly of the senselessness of arguing, and just how self defeating it is:

Credit: www.pinterest.com
Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Proverbs 15:18 - "A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel."

II Timothy 2:14 - "Keep reminding God's people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen."

Credit: tap4him.blogspot.com
II Timothy 2:23 - "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels."

James 4:1 - "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?"

I know that when I argue with others, it is far too often not because I am searching for the truth, but because I want to prove how right I am.  It is a matter of ego.  It is in direct contradiction to the teachings of that great doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux, who taught the "little way." 

Following are a few quotes from St. Therese by which I think every blogger should live: 
"And it is the Lord, it is Jesus, Who is my judge. Therefore I will try always to think leniently of others, that He may judge me leniently, or rather not at all, since He says: "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged."
"You are wrong to find fault with this thing and with that, or to try and make everyone see things as you see them. We desire to be 'as little children,' and little children do not know what is best: to them all seems right. Let us imitate their ways. Besides, there is no merit in doing what reason dictates."
"When something painful or disagreeable happens to me, instead of a melancholy look, I answer by a smile. At first I did not always succeed, but now it has become a habit which I am glad to have acquired."
“Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant ones, count as nothing.”
“It is better to leave each one in his own opinion than to enter into arguments.”
I think it is important that Catholic voices are heard on the Internet, but let us try to follow the way of the Little Flower. Let the Catholic voice be one of love and true concern, and not just a matter of showing how "right" we are. When someone personally attacks you, be it on the Internet or in your personal relationships, instead of striking back and answering in a like manner, think of this quote from St. Therese:
“Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.”
St. Therese, pray for us.

Credit  quotingcatholic.wordpress.com

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Praying for the Synod On the Family

Icon from "Divine Office" Ministry


I try to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. One major reason that I am able to do this is because of a great organization that releases an audio recording of the LOTH every day. "Divine Office" has both an app and a website where you can listen and pray with them. You can access their website HERE. The website is free to use, but the app is about $19.99 to buy and download onto your iphone, ipad, ipod and android devices. However, you can get it at Amazon for $14.99 [HERE]. The app has a cool little feature which shows a spinning globe with points of light representing all those around the world praying the LOTH with you. This does not include anyone praying offline as well.

This Divine Office app has been invaluable for me. I download the Daily Office onto my ipad in the morning, plug in my bluetooth headset, and pray along as I get ready for the day, during the day and then again at night. I highly recommend that, if at all possible, everyone take advantage of this wonderful ministry.

The reason I bring this up is because on today's LOTH, they included prayers for the upcoming Synod on the Family which begins in Rome on October 5. This is a very important event in the Church and for the entire world. The family is under attack as never before in history in almost every culture in the world. Divorce, the legalization of abortion, universal use of artificial contraception, the collapse of morals, easy access to pornography and the promotion of same sex marriage are just a few of the weapons being used to destroy families. No society can exist without the family, and Satan knows this. Destroy the family and you destroy the culture and put souls in eternal peril.

Cardinal Walter Kasper who advocates
mercy and leniency for the divorced and remarried
The Holy Spirit has inspired the Magesterium to call the Synod on the Family to address some of these major issues facing families today. The issue that has gotten the most press is that of divorced and remarried Catholics having access to the sacraments. If we are to believe some of the reports we hear, even bishops are in disagreement over this.

 Many "Catholics" are using the divorced and remarried issue to try to turn other Catholics against Church hierarchy, saying that anyone who so much as wants to just explore the problem of divorced and remarried Catholics is a modernist out to destroy the Church, and the ones most guilty of this includes bishops, cardinals and even the Holy Father. Those who are attacking the hierarchy are doing so despite the fact that millions of Catholics are in a divorced and remarried situation and are, in effect, in spiritual limbo with no access to the sacraments unless they are willing to walk away from their current families. Are we just to ignore these people and let them find their own way out of this situation with no help from the spiritual shepherds in charge of their souls? Many would say yes.

Cardinal Raymond Burke who insists that nothing can change in
the Church's actions towards those divorced and remarried
I thank God that I do not have to make any judgments in cases like this, but as a member of the laity, I do have a responsibility to be in deep prayer over those who are making the hard decisions. The "Divine Office" has given us some good prayers to help get us started.  I have copied these prayers below:
Sept. 28, The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization

Day of Prayer
for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the
Synod of Bishops
Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sunday, 28 September is to be set aside as a Day of Prayer for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to take place from 5 to 21 October to treat the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.

Particular churches, parish communities, institutes of consecrated life, associations and movements are invited to pray for this intention during Mass and at other liturgical celebrations, in the days leading to the synod and during the synod itself. The faithful, individually but above all in families, are invited to join in these prayers.
The suggested prayers include the Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod, composed by Pope Francis, and the following proposed intentions during the Prayers of the Faithful which can be adapted at Sunday Mass on 28 September and during the synod. The recitation of the Holy Rosary is also recommended for the duration of the synodal assembly. These intentions can also be included in the petitions at Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Vespers (Evening Prayer).
I – Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.
Amen.

II – Prayer of the Faithful

Brothers and Sisters,
gathered together as God’s family and inspired by our faith, we raise our minds and hearts to the Father, that our families, sustained by the grace of Christ, might become true domestic churches where all live and bear witness to God’s love.

Together we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For Pope Francis: the Lord has called him to preside over the Church in charity; sustain him in his ministry of service to the communion of the episcopal college and the entire People of God, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For the synod fathers and the other participants at the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: may the Spirit of the Lord enlighten their minds so that the Church might respond, in faithfulness to God’s plan, to the challenges facing the family, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For those who have the responsibility of governing nations: that the Holy Spirit might inspire programmes which acknowledge the value of the family as the basic unit of society in God’s plan and which offer support to families in difficulty, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For Christian families: may the Lord who has sealed the union of husband and wife with his presence, make our families cenacles of prayer and ardent communities of life and love, after the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For couples undergoing difficulties: may the Lord, rich in mercy, be present to them through the Church’s motherly care and concern in showing understanding and patience in their journey towards pardon and reconciliation, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For families who, for the sake of the Gospel, are forced leave their fatherland: may the Lord who endured exile with Mary and Joseph, comfort them with his grace and open for them paths of fraternal charity and human solidarity, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For grandparents: may the Lord who was received in the Temple by the elders Simeon and Anna, make them wise collaborators with parents in transmitting the faith and the raising their children, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For children: may the Lord of life, who in his ministry welcomed them and made them a model for entering the Kingdom of heaven, inspire a respect for life in the womb and programmes in raising children which conform to the Christian outlook towards life, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

For young people: may the Lord, who made holy the Wedding at Cana, lead them to discover the beauty of the sacredness and inviolability of the family in God’s plan and sustain engaged couples as they prepare for marriage, we pray:
– Lord, bless and sanctify our families.

O God, you never forsake the work of your hands, hear our prayer; send the Spirit of your Son to enlighten the Church as the synodal journey begins, so that contemplating the splendour of true love which shines forth in the Holy Family of Nazareth, she might learn the freedom and obedience to respond with boldness and mercy to the challenges of today’s world. Through Christ Our Lord.
Amen.
It should be noted that no decisions will be forthcoming from the Synod. The purpose of this Synod is to set the agenda for a larger synod on the family in October 2015, which will make recommendation to the pope who will make any final decisions. One thing you can be sure of is that the Catholic blogosphere will be in major meltdown as finger pointing and accusations of the destruction of the Church will be flying fast and furious. As St. Paul warned us in Ephesians 4:14, we should not allow ourselves to be "blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming." When you hear harsh and severe condemnation of the Magesterium and hierarchy of the Church, it is time to change channels.

As members of the Church, we should turn to our Lord with trust, knowing that the Holy Spirit will not allow the Church to be misguided. We are facing unprecedented situations in the Church and world today. The doctrine and the teaching of the Church will never change. It cannot change. But our understanding needs to grow and mature as we face these new challenges. Our Lord always reached out to sinners with love, mercy and compassion. He was never easy on sin, but was never unmerciful to the sinner. We, as a Church, need to find this balance as well. I certainly have no solutions, but I can and must be involved in sending up my prayers on behalf of those persons who will be participating in the Synod.

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