St. Ignatius Loyola on Perfect Obedience

Saint Ignatius Loyola, Claudio Coello, 17th century

Saint Ignatius Loyola, Claudio Coello, 17th century

Perfect Obedience

The question of obedience is a timely one in the contemporary Church. On the progressive end of the spectrum, disobedience to the teachings of the Church have been ubiquitous since the breakdown of Catholic discipline in the second half of the 20th century. Catholic Traditionalists, also, have had many lively debates on the precise nature of obedience and how far one is bound in obedience when those in authority in the Church are themselves dissenters, heretics or leading lives of immorality.

Fortunately, this is not a question that Tradition is silent on. From the Rule of St. Benedict to the teaching of St. Francis of Assisi to the Imitation of Christ and many more spiritual works, the characteristics of obedience have been thoroughly examined.

In this post, we bring you excerpts from one of the great writings on this subject, the letter “On Perfect Obedience” from St. Ignatius Loyola. This letter was addressed to the Jesuits in Portugal around 1553 when the Society there had been rent by divisions due to certain brothers who withheld their obedience from their superiors. St. Ignatius fiercely condemns this cafeteria obedience and lays down what went on to become the classic Jesuit definition of obedience, which is nothing other than the traditional Catholic teaching. This epistle is Letter 25 in the Ignatius corpus.

The foundational principle of St. Ignatius’ teaching on obedience is that the superior is to be obeyed not by virtue of the excellence with which he wields the power of his office, but simply because he is the superior, and as such is the representative of God to the religious – this is regardless of whether he acts prudently or not:

The superior is to be obeyed not because he is prudent, or good, or qualified by any other gift of God, but because he holds the place and the authority of God, as Eternal Truth has said: He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you, rejects me [Luke 10:16]. Nor on the contrary, should he lack prudence, is he to be the less obeyed in that in which he is superior, since he represents Him who is infallible wisdom, and who will supply what is wanting in His minister, nor, should he lack goodness or other desirable qualities, since Christ our Lord, having said, the scribes and the Pharisees sit on the chair of Moses, adds, therefore, whatever they shall tell you, observe and do: but do not act according to their works [Matt. 23:2-3].
After laying this foundation, St. Ignatius explains there are three degrees of obedience. The first and lowest consists in simply doing what one is told; in other words, merely performing the command in a purely external manner. He says there is no true merit in this sort of ‘obedience of execution’:
…[T]he first degree of obedience is very low, which consists in the execution of what is commanded, and that it does not deserve the name of obedience, since it does not attain to the worth of this virtue unless it rises to the second degree…

Pope holds private meeting with transsexual man and his fiancée!

pre- conciliar days

Pope holds private meeting with transsexual man and his fiancée after the sex-swap Spaniard said his local priest had denounced him as ‘the devil’s daughter’

  • Pope Francis invited transsexual for private audience at the Vatican
  • Diego Neria Lejárraga, 48, was born a woman, but has had surgery
  • Mr Neria, from Spain, has suffered rejection from his home parish
  • Pope Francis invited Mr Neria and his fiancée after a phone call  

Pope Francis has received a transsexual man at the Vatican, in a landmark gesture of acceptance by a pope. Diego Neria Lejárraga, a 48-year-old Spanish man who underwent sex reassignment surgery, wrote to Francis last year to tell him that he felt like an outcast from the church. Mr Neria said that he was rejected by some his fellow parishioners at his church in the western Spanish city of Plasencia, where a priest denounced him as ‘the devil’s daughter.’

Francis, who has become known for surprising people with unexpected phone calls, rang him on Christmas Eve.

The Spaniard and his female fiancée then had a private audience with the pope at his private residence on Saturday morning. Francis has built a reputation for acceptance and even appeared on the cover of gay magazine The Advocate after responding to a question about gays saying ‘Who am I to judge’. Mr Neria told Spanish newspaper Hoy: ‘After hearing him speak on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me.’

Francis’ tone on homosexuality is much more moderate than his predecessor Benedict XVI who described gay sex as ‘intrinsically disordered’. But gay rights activists were disheartened by recent comments in which he suggested that gay marriage threatens the institution of the family. A historic sex conference of Catholic bishops last October gave same-sex couples hope for greater acceptance but ultimately released a document that said gay unions are not “remotely analogous” to ‘God’s plan for marriage and the family.’ 

Link to article: Pope holds private meeting with transsexual man and his fiancée after the sex-swap Spaniard said his local priest had denounced him as ‘the devil’s daughter’

Vatican releases balloons instead of doves as symbol of peace after birds were savaged by crow…

Colored balloons released by children fly next to a statue, at the end of the noon Angelus prayer recited by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Colored balloons released by children fly next to a statue, at the end of the noon Angelus prayer recited by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican not taking any chances… Peace Doves attacked two years in a row!

Vatican releases balloons instead of doves as symbol of peace after birds were savaged by crow

  • Doves are traditionally released in St Peter’s Square at the end of January
  • But last year the two birds were attacked by a crow and a seagull
  • At today’s ceremony children released balloons into the sky instead

Dozens of balloons were released at the Vatican as a sign of peace today – a year after two doves were viciously attacked by other birds at the same ceremony. The bloody conclusion to the peace service in 2014 appears to have forced the Pope’s officials to cancel the tradition, replacing the age-old symbols with a more modern alternative.

Animal welfare groups were outraged by last year’s disaster – claiming the Vatican did not do enough to protect the doves used during the ceremony.

Ceremony: The Pope was taking part in a service devoted to peace alongside young childrenCeremony: The Pope was taking part in a service devoted to peace alongside young children

After today’s weekly service, children joined the Pope at the window of his studio overlooking St Peter’s Square and released a large bunch of balloons.

Francis said, ‘Here’s the balloons that mean peace,’ as the youngsters let go of the colorful toys. One of the balloons was filled with hot air and contained messages promoting global peace, while a child read out a speech on the same theme. The Vatican announced last week that balloons would replace doves for this year’s ceremony, but did not explain the reasons behind the switch.

Contrast: Last year the Pope released two doves in St Peter's Square during the equivalent ceremony

Attack: One of the doves was set upon by a crow as thousands of worshippers looked on in January 2014

Pope John Paul II started the tradition of releasing doves on the last Sunday of January every year, as the first month is traditionally dedicated to the Catholic Church’s message of peace. But the ceremony became controversial last year, after the pair of doves were set upon by a crow and a seagull to the shock of thousands of onlookers. The two birds apparently escaped – but still aroused the fury of animal rights activists, who claimed that the Vatican should have anticipated the likelihood of the doves getting in trouble. St Peter’s Square has a large population of gulls living on its colonnade – one group said that taking a smaller bird into the square was equivalent to issuing a death sentence.

Brutal: The other bird was attacked by a seagull, leading to an animal rights controversy

Brutal: The other bird was attacked by a seagull, leading to an animal rights controversy

They appealed directly to the Pope, pointing out that he chose the name Francis after the patron saint of animals, Francis of Assisi.

Earlier this week, the pontiff courted controversy when he appeared to criticize the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo, saying that freedom of speech should not extend to the mockery of religion.

He insisted that people ‘cannot insult the faith of others’, adding that he would punch someone if they offended his mother. 

Source: Daily Mail

Related: The Vatican was not taking any chances for strike three. The old saying bad luck comes in three’s… 

Pope Francis’ peace doves attacked at Vatican…  Again? This happened last year too! Exactly one year ago with Pope Benedict XVI. A Sign of the Times!!

The Terrible Price of Communion in the Hand!

communion in the hand

Faithlessness: The Terrible Price of Communion in the Hand!!

Another sacrilegious scandal at a big Papal Pep Rally, this time in Manila. Why is the Vicar treated like God, while God is treated like a bag of Doritos? What part does the institutionalized abuse of Communion in the hand play in this ongoing outrage?

Russian artists in ‘Holy Water’ attack on Lenin mausoleum!

The two men are awaiting a court hearing and were kept in police detention overnight on Monday.

The two men are awaiting a court hearing and were kept in police detention overnight on Monday.

Holy water attack on Lenin mausoleum

Two Russian artists have been arrested after throwing holy water and shouting “rise up and leave” at the mausoleum containing Vladimir Lenin’s tomb.

Scroll down for video

A video of Monday’s incident shows the men breaching a barrier to access the building in Moscow’s Red Square before dowsing one of its walls with water.

Seconds later, police officers intervene and lead the two men to a nearby police vehicle.

They could be held for up to 15 days for disorderly conduct, reports say.

The men, identified as Oleg Basov and Yevgeny Avilov, are members of an art group called Blue Rider.

The group dubbed the performance as: “The Exorcist. Desecration of the mausoleum.”

The men told the news website (in Russian) that the act was an attempt to rid Russia of its Soviet past, which they said was beginning to assert itself in the present.

Irina Dumitskaya, of the Blue Rider group, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that the aim of the performance was “to demolish the myth that Lenin lives forever by attempting to resurrect him on the Epiphany holiday just as Lazarus was raised from the dead”.

Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrated Epiphany on Monday, marking the baptism of Jesus in the Orthodox Church.

The group is known for performing social stunts, including a performance in St Petersburg last year of a man in military dress kneeling on a Ukrainian flag and washing his face with blood.

Moscow’s Red Square was also the location of a Pussy Riot protest song against President Vladimir Putin in 2012. Two members of the all-female feminist punk group were imprisoned for a performance attacking the president at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour later that year.

In November 2013, naked performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky also nailed his scrotum to the square outside Lenin’s mausoleum in political protest.

Vladimir Lenin’s embalmed body has been been on display in Red Square for more than 90 years, following his death in 1924.

Source: BBC


Russia frees jailed Pussy Riot pair

Artist nails himself to Red Square

Lenin’s tomb reopens to publicWatch

Why are some leaders’ corpses preserved?

How do you embalm a leader?

Philippines’ divorce ban: Nearly unique in the world, shows church’s power in country

 Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.  Luke 16:18 -  DRV

Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.
Luke 16:18 – DRV

Philippines’ divorce ban nearly unique in the world shows church’s power in country…

The courts did not grant Chatto Realuyo a divorce when it allowed her to end her marriage, 10 years after her husband moved out. They can’t. They best they can do is say the marriage never happened.

The Philippines is the only country in the world — aside from the Vatican — where divorce is forbidden, a testament to the enduring power of Roman Catholicism that has flourished since Spanish colonizers imposed it nearly 500 years ago.

Visiting Pope Francis, the church and many of its followers in this Southeast Asian Catholic stronghold of 100 million believe strongly in the indissolubility of marriage. But a growing number of Catholics would support a change.

The independent pollster, Social Weather Stations, found in March 2011 showed 50 percent of Filipinos surveyed favored divorce for couples already separated so that they can remarry, while 33 percent who opposed it. In 2005, the two sides were about even. Catholics account for about 80 percent of the country’s population.

Realuyo, a 58-year-old insurance broker, said she would have gotten a divorce if it had been available back in 1989 when she filed for an annulment. She said her husband didn’t provide for their family, used drugs and was uncooperative in counseling sessions.

She was jubilant and celebrated with an “Independence Day” party when the civil annulment was approved in 1991, 12 years after her church wedding and 10 years after her husband left their home.

The annulment will allow Realuyo to remarry in civil ceremonies, but not in Catholic rites because her marriage has not been annulled by the church. If she remarries outside the church or has a live-in relationship, that would be considered immoral by the church and she would be denied communion, a form of excommunication.

Realuyo paid her lawyer about 7,000 pesos, less than $1,000 at the time, to take care of her annulment petition 25 years ago. It has gotten substantially more expensive, too costly for many in this impoverished nation to afford.

For 23-year-old Kate Briola, who wants to formalize her separation from her husband who allegedly was a verbally abusive alcoholic, getting a civil annulment would be very expensive.

Kate Briola, a 23-year-old who works for a non-government organization, would like an annulment from her husband, who she said is verbally abusive and an alcoholic. But when she inquired about attorney’s fees, she was first quoted a high of 200,000-250,000 pesos ($4,450-5,570) and a “special price” of 100,000 pesos ($2,230), which she still can’t afford.

“Of course, I want an annulment, but now that I have a child, it’s no longer my priority,” she said.

Under the country’s Family Code, marriages can be ended through legal separation, which does not allow remarrying, or an annulment, also known as a “declaration of nullity of marriage.”

An annulment cuts the marital bond because it was void from the beginning for reasons such as fraud, or the couple were too young to marry, or were married by someone with no authority.

To get an annulment on the grounds that a spouse is not fulfilling their marital obligations, one must show that this arose from a “psychological incapacity” that existed even before the marriage but manifested only later. Such a case could be particularly expensive because it could require expert testimony.

Despite the rising cost, there has been a 40 percent increase in annulment petitions in recent years — from 4,250 in 2001 to 10,528 in 2012 — according to the Office of the Solicitor General, which represents the government in such cases.

Lawyer Evalyn Ursua, a women’s rights advocate, said the large annulment expenses deprive the poor of a way out of an oppressive or violent relationship. She said annulment also requires “intellectual dishonesty” in declaring there was no marriage at all, even for couples who were married for years and had children.

“If the Catholics don’t want to have divorce, fine. But don’t deprive the others. Don’t impose the Catholic dogma,” Urusua said.

Professor Sylvia Claudio, a medical doctor and clinical psychologist who headed the Center for Women’s Studies at the University of the Philippines, said she has counseled numerous battered women who want divorce to get away from their violent husbands.

Claudio said that while some Catholics take pride in the Philippines being virtually the last holdout against divorce, the near-universal recognition of divorce suggests that “there must some rationale that (it) is good for all, across cultures and nations.”

The church recently lost a significant fight in the Philippines when President Benigno Aquino III pushed through a reproductive health law that goes against Catholic doctrine by allowing the government to provide artificial birth control to the poor.

Aquino, however, has said divorce is not a priority for his administration. The Gabriela Women’s Party, which holds two seats in the House of Representatives, has introduced divorce bills three times over the past decade, most recently in 2013, but they’ve gotten just one congressional hearing, said Rep. Emi de Jesus.

“What we are stressing here is the right to enter into and get out of a contract . if the marriage is irreparable,” she said.

Max de Mesa, a former Roman Catholic priest who is now chairman of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provision that says that men and women “are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.” He said divorce does not solve all marital problems, but “it gives at least the chance to make the decision to liberate oneself.”

“If within a relationship you are being oppressed, divorce becomes an expression of standing for dignity,” he said. For the Rev. Ruben Tanseco, the 83-year-old founder of the Center for Family Ministries, divorce is a closed issue.

“I am holding to the very covenant that the husband and the wife made when they got married: until death do us part,” the Jesuit priest said.

He said that even if divorce is legalized, Catholics will not resort to it if they want to remain Catholic, and those who do should be ready to face the consequences. Getting a divorce is “a conscience decision that the Catholic church does not agree with but the Catholic church cannot stop,” he said. “A conscience decision is something that you can live with, die for and face God with.”

Link to Article: Philippines Divorce Ban

Pope urges Filipino Church to combat inequality and injustice

sermon i hate

(Vatican Radio) Celebrating Mass in Manila’s Cathedral on Friday, Pope Francis urged Catholics in the Philippines to be ambassadors for Christ and ministers of reconciliation, proclaiming the Good News of God’s infinite love, mercy and compassion. Speaking to bishops, priests, religious and seminarians gathered in the Cathedral, the Pope said the Church in the Philippines is called to acknowledge and combat the causes of the deeply rooted inequality and injustice which mar the face of Filipino society, plainly contradicting the teaching of Christ.

As Filipinos prepare to mark the fifth century of the arrival of the Church in the Asian nation, the Pope said Catholics must build on that legacy of the past by building a society inspired by the Gospel message of charity, forgiveness and solidarity in the service of the common good.

 Below the full text of Pope Francis’ homily for the Mass in Manila’s Cathedral

Mass with Bishops, Priests and Religious in Manila’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

16 January 2015

“Do you love me?…  Tend my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).  Jesus’ words to Peter in today’s Gospel are the first words I speak to you, dear brother bishops and priests, men and women religious, and young seminarians.  These words remind us of something essential.  All pastoral ministry is born of love.  All consecrated life is a sign of Christ’s reconciling love.  Like Saint Therese, in the variety of our vocations, each of us is called, in some way, to be love in the heart of the Church.

I greet all of you with great affection.  And I ask you to bring my affection to all your elderly and infirm brothers and sisters, and to all those who cannot join us today.  As the Church in the Philippines looks to the fifth centenary of its evangelization, we feel gratitude for the legacy left by so many bishops, priests and religious of past generations.  They labored not only to preach the Gospel and build up the Church in this country, but also to forge a society inspired by the Gospel message of charity, forgiveness and solidarity in the service of the common good.  Today you carry on that work of love.  Like them, you are called to build bridges, to pasture Christ’s flock, and to prepare fresh paths for the Gospel in Asia at the dawn of a new age.

“The love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14).  In today’s first reading Saint Paul tells us that the love we are called to proclaim is a reconciling love, flowing from the heart of the crucified Savior.  We are called to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20).  Ours is a ministry of reconciliation.  We proclaim the Good News of God’s infinite love, mercy and compassion.  We proclaim the joy of the Gospel.  For the Gospel is the promise of God’s grace, which alone can bring wholeness and healing to our broken world.  It can inspire the building of a truly just and redeemed social order.

To be an ambassador for Christ means above all to invite everyone to a renewed personal encounter with the Lord Jesus (Evangelii Gaudium, 3).  This invitation must be at the core of your commemoration of the evangelization of the Philippines.  But the Gospel is also a summons to conversion, to an examination of our consciences, as individuals and as a people.

  As the Bishops of the Philippines have rightly taught, the Church in the Philippines is called to acknowledge and combat the causes of the deeply rooted inequality and injustice which mar the face of Filipino society, plainly contradicting the teaching of Christ.  The Gospel calls individual Christians to live lives of honesty, integrity and concern for the common good.  But it also calls Christian communities to create “circles of integrity”, networks of solidarity which can expand to embrace and transform society by their prophetic witness.

As ambassadors for Christ, we, bishops, priests and religious, ought to be the first to welcome his reconciling grace into our hearts.  Saint Paul makes clear what this means.  It means rejecting worldly perspectives and seeing all things anew in the light of Christ.  It means being the first to examine our consciences, to acknowledge our failings and sins, and to embrace the path of constant conversion.  How can we proclaim the newness and liberating power of the Cross to others, if we ourselves refuse to allow the word of God to shake our complacency, our fear of change, our petty compromises with the ways of this world, our “spiritual worldliness” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 93)?

For us priests and consecrated persons, conversion to the newness of the Gospel entails a daily encounter with the Lord in prayer.  The saints teach us that this is the source of all apostolic zeal!  For religious, living the newness of the Gospel also means finding ever anew in community life and community apostolates the incentive for an ever closer union with the Lord in perfect charity.  For all of us, it means living lives that reflect the poverty of Christ, whose entire life was focused on doing the will of the Father and serving others.  The great danger to this, of course, is a certain materialism which can creep into our lives and compromise the witness we offer.  Only by becoming poor ourselves, by stripping away our complacency, will we be able to identify with the least of our brothers and sisters.  We will see things in a new light and thus respond with honesty and integrity to the challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society which has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarization and scandalous inequality.

Here I would like to address a special word to the young priests, religious and seminarians among us.  I ask you to share the joy and enthusiasm of your love for Christ and the Church with everyone, but especially with your peers.  Be present to young people who may be confused and despondent, yet continue to see the Church as their friend on the journey and a source of hope.  Be present to those who, living in the midst of a society burdened by poverty and corruption, are broken in spirit, tempted to give up, to leave school and to live on the streets.  Proclaim the beauty and truth of the Christian message to a society which is tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family.  As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.

Filipino culture has, in fact, been shaped by the imagination of faith.  Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary.  This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential.  It is the way in which your people has inculturated the Gospel and continues to embrace its message (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 122).  In your efforts to prepare for the fifth centenary, build on this solid foundation.

Christ died for all so that, having died in him, we might live no longer for ourselves but for him (cf. 2 Cor 5:15).  Dear brother bishops, priests and religious: I ask Mary, Mother of the Church, to obtain for all of you an outpouring of zeal, so that you may spend yourselves in selfless service to our brothers and sisters.  In this way, may the reconciling love of Christ penetrate ever more fully into the fabric of Filipino society and, through you, to the farthest reaches of the world.

Link to article: Pope urges Filipino Church to combat inequality and injustice


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