Aug 1st: Day of Prayer, Adoration and Solidarity for Persecuted Christians in Iraq, Syria and Middle East
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 01 August 2014 - 13:04:47 | by admin
Today is the day chosen by the FSSP (Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter) for a worldwide day of Public Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in supplication for our persecuted brethren in Iraq, Syria and the Middle East. This initiative has been embraced by Catholics all around the globe.
If you cannot make it to Eucharistic Adoration, please join in prayer in some other way. The Rosary and Angelus would be powerful ways to join with this hugely important initiative.
Last Saturday, Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK Director of Aid to the Church in Need, addressed the large crowd near Parliament, who were praying and demonstrating in solidarity with Iraqi Christians suffering from persecution by ISIS. Here he is with a couple of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and some lay supporters.
Mr. Kyrke-Smith asked: 'What is our government doing about this and how are they responding? Whether we like to admit it or not - this country's government has over the years laid the foundations for such a situation to arise. Now the government seems incapable or unwilling to help Christians and others suffering and dying at the hands of ISIS.'
On the Aid to the Church in Need website, Mr. Kyrke-Smith notes: 'Perhaps, for a start, we could make sure that every parish here has a prayer at Mass this Sunday for all those expelled from their ancient homeland for their faith, and for peace in the Middle East. If we do not stand up for Christians in a city where they have followed Christ for 1,600 years, how will anyone help us when the attacks on us become more physical? Addressing nearly 1,000 Iraqis and ACN supporters opposite the Houses of Parliament on Saturday was a haunting experience - I had the feeling that what is happening in our biblical, historical homeland could easily happen here before long. Now is the time to stand up for our faith and the right to believe.'
We met Neville a few years ago in Liverpool. He is a very balanced, calm and widely travelled gentleman. His years with ACN have taken him to many places, where the Church both suffers and prospers, around the world. When a man of his calibre and experience starts talking like this, you need to sit up, pay attention and act.
Please do pray today for the suffering Christians of Iraq, Syria and the Middle East; and remember to say a prayer for the protection of the rights of the Church, here in the West.
'Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me' (Matthew 25:40).
Keep the Faith!
The Thirst of Jesus Christ
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 31 July 2014 - 00:13:30 | by admin
To love Jesus Christ and His Church is to long for His public reign. To love Him means that His interests are our interests. This is the way of love. And what is at the heart of Jesus' interests? We know the answer to this from His words on the Cross: ''I Thirst!'' He thirsts for souls. If we truly love Him, and love our neighbour for His sake, then we desire to assuage His thirst by bringing souls to Him. In turn, they find that their own thirst - the thirst which only God can quench - is satisfied. To love Him, and to love our neighbour, is to bring Him souls.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses a beautiful teaching on the thirst of Jesus for souls - and their thirst for Him - in CCC 2560: 'If you knew the gift of God! The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is He Who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; His asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him.'
How thirsty God is for souls in our times! And how thirsty souls are for Him.
Our Lady of Quito, in the Church-approved private revelations to Mother Mariana, in early 17th Century Equador, said that our present times would be a frivolous age and few would save their souls.
How sobering that is to our ears in a post-modern cultural milieu. And yet, how starkly obvious.
The Darkness of These Times.
This has not been an easy day for those who love the Lord and His Holy Church. Most days are not in these times. There are not too many laughs in the news these days for those who love God. Most readers will be only too aware of the unopposed slaughter and mass-displacement of Christians in Iraq by Muslim radicals; the under-reported killing of Catholics in numerous church bombings and shootings by Islamists in Nigeria; the fact that Christians are being brutally beaten by policemen in China because they refuse to remove crosses from public view on their churches; the apocalyptic dangers developing in Ukraine and in Gaza. The mainstream media reports about schools being bombed in Gaza, but fails to mention that one was a Catholic school named after the Holy Family. They also ignore the news of a Christian home being decimated by a shell which killed a lady of 60 years of age. As an innocent and suffering child wept today: 'What has any of this to do with us?'
Here in the West, there is the constant slump into post-Christian nihilism, with it's own attendant dangers for freedom of speech; and perhaps ultimately for freedom of worship. Last week, Barack Obama signed an executive order which will force Christian employers to comply with so-called LGBT-rights. The US Conference of Bishops stated that Catholics 'will not comply.' The situation, already troubling for Christians as the HHS Mandate saga continues, is becoming positively dangerous. Today we also heard about Bob Eschliman getting sacked from his job as editor-in-chief of Iowa's Newton Daily News. Mr. Eschliman had objected, on his own personal blog, to the issuing of a 'Queen James Bible' which has been published as a pro-homosexualist re-writing of the Bible.
We also heard this morning about another Orwellian development relating to the spreading acceptance of Euthanasia in Europe. Lithuania's 'Health Minister' made the disgraceful proposal, on national television, that terminally ill poor people, who cannot afford palliative care, should be given the 'option' of lethal injection, in order to prevent them from seeing 'their families agonize' over their suffering. This 'Health Minister' also suggested that Belgium's new law on child euthanasia should be 'taken into account.' Thankfully Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer and bioethicist on the Lithuanian bioethics committee, has described these suggestions as 'satanic'.
The diabolical disorientation is what is most disturbing to Catholics with their eyes and ears open.
Contemporary Churchmen: Keeping Jesus and Souls Thirsty
How few souls today find the living water of Jesus Christ and His Church! How many fail to hear the truth when papal interviews and visits give the impression that Jesus Christ and His Church - with all Her holy Liturgy, Dogma, Morals and Prayer - are not necessary for salvation and sanctification. To Jews and Muslims, the impression is being given that Jesus Christ and the Blessed Trinity are not necessary; to Evangelical and Anglican Protestants, the notion that the Catholic Church is not necessary; to atheists, the idea that God is not necessary. How cruel a deception to keep Jesus and these people thirsting for one another. Is this love?
With Friends Like These ...
How disturbing it is to learn that Eugenio Scalfari, the Pope's friend and favoured interlocutor, is not only an atheist, but also a co-founder of the anti-clericalist Radical Party of 1955, and was a leading voice in the drive to legalize abortion and divorce in Italy.
Which disciple of Christ can fail to be gutted by the news that Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a very close friend of Pope Francis, has said that he does not know whether or not Jesus would approve of 'gay marriage'?
Can any true Catholic fail to be concerned that the author of the Fides et Forma blog, which has been strongly critical of the year-long persecution of the traditionalist-leaning Franciscans of the Immaculate, has been investigated by the police at the behest of Church authorities?
Dorothy, at the blog An Honour and a Responsibility, has painstakingly translated an Italian article from Corrispondenza Romana. The original article, by Emmanuele Barbieri, deals with the identity of Mario Castellano; one of the 'consultants' on the team policing the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
The Italian article suggests that Castellano is a man with an interesting history, a 'Cathocommunist' past in Imperia; alleged affiliation to the Grand Orient of San Remo; collaboration on esoteric and pro-Islamic blogs; the writing of articles supporting the rights of Muslims in Italy, multiculturalism, and an adjustment of Italian law to the rights of Muslims; describing the presence of Mosques in Italy as 'a factor of stability and security'; evidence of sympathy for the Italian statesman Cavour - whose anti-clericalism was influenced by English-style Freemasonry; evidence of sympathy for the schismatic priests of the French Revolution. Developments in the Church read more and more like a Malachi Martin novel every day.
A Frivolous Age Indeed
This is indeed a frivolous age, and few save their souls. Catholic cathedrals in Europe have been opened up for Shintos, Suffis and women riding around the aisles on circus horses. In Madrid, a priest 'in good standing' tucks up his chasuble during Mass to dance around with Flamenco women. In Mantua, young people crowd into the cathedral for an evening of rap music with disco lights and a girl dancing ballet. Up in Scotland, the Commonwealth Games are opened by Queen Elizabeth II, with a ceremony that includes a very public homosexual kiss. On Merseyside, tens of thousands of people queue in intense heat to witness giant statues of an old lady and a little girl 'breaking wind' and 'urinating' publicly in the main streets. On Sundays, the shopping centres and outdoor markets of Europe and North America ring to the clatter of coins, whilst churches fall increasingly empty. In Montreal, over in Canada, one church closes from falling numbers every single week. The image of Hell which Our Lady of Fatima showed the three little seers is a shocking wake-up call for Catholics and all people today. In that vision, souls were falling into Hell like snowflakes. In Hell, there is an eternal thirst in an eternal fire.
Our Lady of Quito warned that Freemasonry would become dominant, that all would seem lost for the Church, and that this is when the triumph for Jesus Christ and the Church will come. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich saw revelations of the 'Illuminati' in Rome building a false new Church in harmony with the world. This will collapse and leave behind Our Lady, the Altar and the remnant to rebuild the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic Church. At Fatima, Our Lady promised: 'In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.'
Let Jesus Quench Your Thirst
Dear readers, let us use these times to draw closer to Jesus Christ. Let Him console you as you console Him. Be the quenching of His thirst, by giving Him your soul. And in this, allow Him to quench your thirst.
Remember: 'Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we might thirst for Him' (St. Augustine, De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus; CCC 2560).
Keep the Faith: He who perseveres to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).
Pope Leo XIII on the Overthrow of the Religious and Political Order of the World
Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 29 July 2014 - 10:23:48 | by admin
'At this period, however, the partisans of evil seem to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of despoiling utterly the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour'... 'that which is their ultimate purpose forces itself into view - namely, the utter overthrow of that political and religious order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere naturalism.'
Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus (HG 2; 10), 1884.
Vigil Near Parliament Square for the Suffering Christians in Iraq
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 28 July 2014 - 13:10:00 | by admin
Photo by Ninos Toma
Up to 2,000 people joined in Saturday's peaceful prayer vigil at Parliament Square for the suffering Christians in Iraq. The vigil was supported by Aid to the Church in Need and other organizations. A delegation then went down Whitehall to present a petition at 10 Downing Street. Some participants chanted ''Save the Christians of Iraq'' and ''Save the Christians of the Middle East''. A similar event, with around 100 participants, occured in Paris last week.
Although we could not get to London for the vigil, Torch of The Faith joined in prayer with the Angelus and Rosary on Saturday at 12 noon.
Sadly, in common with the violent de-Christianization of Mosul by ISIS, the London prayer-event has been largely ignored by mainstream media in the UK.
Independent Catholic News reports that some Muslims joined the event to show solidarity with the suffering Christians. Two female Muslim students told ICN that they have family in Mosul and that they are very shocked by what is happening to their neighbours, after many years of peaceful co-existence.
Some years ago, we met a beautiful young family of Iraqi Catholics in Lourdes. They live in the UK and are very committed to living and sharing the Faith through evangelization and orthodox catechesis. A member of that family has sent images to a mutual friend, which appear to show Christian men who have been crucified in Iraq by ISIS radicals.
Lord Alton of Liverpool has called on the world to urgently awaken to the plight of the ancient Christian communities of Iraq, as they face the threat of mass murder and mass displacement. He noted that some Christians have had their fingers chopped off by ISIS fighters intent on stealing their wedding rings. He also spoke out about the beheading and crucifixion of Muslims who had dared to defend their Christian neighbours. In the face of all these atrocities, Lord Alton has called for the intervention of the UN Security Council.
The situation in Iraq is dire and is being largely ignored by Church leaders, governments and media outlets in the West. Please keep interceding for the poor Christians in Iraq and for those who suffer with them.
Day for Life 2014 - Another Year, Same Fluff
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 27 July 2014 - 22:15:15 | by admin
Updated: The dramatically important encyclical Evangelium Vitae was promulgated in 1995. It called for a Day for Life to be celebrated each year, in every country. The primary purpose of this annual day was to: 'foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church and in civil society a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.' The encyclical noted that particular attention: 'should be drawn to the seriousness of abortion and euthanasia, without neglecting other aspects of life which from time to time deserve to be given careful consideration, as occasion and circumstances demand (EV 85).'
Even though an abortion holocaust was raging and euthanasia was creeping in gradually, it took until around 2003 for the English and Welsh Bishops to develop a Day for Life here. We well remember the glossy literature from that first year, designed by committee and sent out to all parishes, with its fluffy and vague call for people to get involved in life. One of the handy suggestions we saw, invited folks to help tidy up the hymn books after Mass on Sunday... At the time we were giving pro-life presentations to high-school students and were in contact with a young man who was trying to get pro-life adverts into cinemas. We were all quite simply flabbergasted at the remarkable waste of time and money.
Things did not improve with time. In 2012, William Oddie wrote an article in the Catholic Herald which wondered why the bishops in these isles always seemed to go out of their way to undermine Pope John Paul II's vision for the Church. Mr. Oddie suggested that their lacklustre approach to Day for Life was: 'perhaps the most grotesque and cynical example of this phenomenon.' He concluded that the annual Day for Life in England and Wales, had been about anything but what the, then, Holy Father had intended it to be in 1995.
We wrote a piece about all this in 2010 in relation to the question of where the monies raised on Day for Life were being sent. The article was called LIFE and the Catholic £££.
A particular low point was reached in 2012, when the UK Day for Life went with an Olympic theme and played safe with a diluted message about happiness and health.
This year's costly literature - pictured top - has been put out by the Bishops of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Drawing on Pope Francis' speeches at World Youth Day in Rio, it speaks of 'heroic young people who are getting involved in the messiness of life,' to help others. Although the literature follows Pope Francis in 'inviting everyone to get involved in caring for, nurturing and protecting life at every stage and in every condition,' this is not anchored to any practical teaching on the core life issues of abortion and euthanasia. The literature does recall Donal Walsh, the young man from Kerry in Ireland who, suffering from terminal cancer, promoted an anti-suicide message to young people. All well and good, especially in light of the very high suicide rates among young people despairing in the twilight of this post-Christian culture. May God rest his soul.
However, in spite of this positive element, and references to the importance of family, and of caring for the vulnerable, the overall content of this year's Day for Life is more about 'fluff' than real teaching.
For example, there is no developed teaching on the true antidotes to the Culture of Death; Jesus Christ, grace, the Church, the sacraments, chastity, marriage, or the fact that the human person is made in the image and likeness of God. There is a broad message in the opening paragraph, telling young people: 'Don't be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.' Although this statement is part of a call to young people to 'help the young, the weak, the elderly and the vulnerable,' it needs development to avoid reducing Jesus to some kind of 'hip' role model; to make clear the divinity of Christ and the fact that His earthly life was salvific in nature; and to highlight the spiritual nature of our earthly vocations in relation to Him. These points are especially necessary when one considers that the majority of young Catholics have received years of limited and faulty catechesis.
There is absolutely no reference to the 600 babies who are slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers every single day in the UK.
There is not even a whisper of the recently progressed 'Assisted Suicide Bill' and its disasterous ramifications for the vulnerable in our society in the future.
Readers will have to seek elsewhere to discover the facts about the countless chemical abortions which are caused by most forms of contraception today. Or about the cryogenic Auschwitz of IVF.
There is no mention that the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin has sacrilegiously compromised with the Culture of Death to become a killing centre for preborn babies, without a public whimper from the local bishop.
Neither is there an engagement with the fact that so many teens are desperate because of the loss of family and religion caused by the contraceptive mentality, resultant marital breakdown and divorce, or an education system which teaches them that they are little more than upright apes in a morally neutral wilderness.
The Day for Life literature does include a helpful prayer to Our Lord and Our Lady. This prayer includes a petition to: 'Help us to reject all that contributes to a culture of death, and to work with others of goodwill in promoting a culture of life.' However, even this becomes incongruous when one considers the fact that the deputy director of the Catholic Education Service is a former MP with a long anti-life/anti-family/anti-purity voting record. This incongruity is only increased by calling to mind the flavoured condoms given to Catholic schoolgirls in classrooms and the countless school nurses dispensing abortifacient Morning-After-Pills in Catholic schools throughout the land - and all this without the consent of their parents.
It is always a mystery to us why good pro-life initiatives like Good Counsel Network, 40-Days for Life UK, Human Life International, Precious Life, SPUC and Sisters of the Gospel of Life are not publicly highlighted, promoted and supported by the hierarchy on Day for Life. (We've also noticed that a new pro-life counselling group has been launched in Dublin called Gianna Care).
The tag-line for this year's Day for Life event is: 'Let's all be builders of a better world and protect life.' Well yes, this is an excellent notion. If it is to be more than just a pretty sentiment on a high-gloss card, it will mean that the problems we have highlighted will need to be repented of, addressed and overcome. Urgently.
Otherwise many more thousands of babies will die, countless vulnerable people will be endangered, hundreds of marriages will fail, and Day for Life 2014 will go down as just Another Year, Same Fluff...
'Duncked' in Altum...
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 25 July 2014 - 16:44:32 | by admin
Fr. Federico Lombardi, Head of the Vatican Press Office, has spoken of the ambiguous interviews of Pope Francis in terms of 'a new genre' of informal and spontaneous statements, which may need to be entrusted to others for final articulation.
Out here at the cliff-face, away from the sophisticated world of Romanese, this kind of 'final articulation' is given by tabloid-style papers like the METRO newspaper pictured above. The extent of the damage done by this headline can only be guessed at, but it is sufficient to know that around one million copies of Metro are supplied free, every single day, to readers in tea shops, public-transport hubs and workplaces across England. Indeed, for every person who took time to leaf through the paper, countless others would have absorbed the front-page headline in passing. This includes lapsed and non-Catholic members of our own families.
It hardly needs mentioning, that such a shocking header could put people off the Church, whilst also hardening them against Catholics in general - and Catholic priests in particular. Imagine how threatened a priest in clerical attire would have felt travelling that day on the Tube. Or on the days and weeks that followed. In a cultural atmosphere which is already disturbingly threatening to orthodox Catholics, this is like pouring fuel on a bonfire. On the other hand, think how a parent or child would feel about priests after reading this troubling banner. You can just see them rushing to convert. Notice too, that this headline nevertheless throws a friendly light on Pope Francis. After all, it is he who is on the case, exposing the number of 'perverts' and bringing the 'child abuse shame of the Catholic Church' into the light; as the METRO sub-heading has it. Those who read more of the Scalfari interview - that wasn't an interview after all - would also have seen this issue linked to that of priestly celibacy. That is an old chestnut that has been levelled against the Church by sex-obsessed secularists for many a year. It is worrying to hear of celibacy being raised, apparently unchallenged, in the context of a discussion on child abuse. It is even more disturbing to see that the deaf atheist Scalfari is able to pass on the equally unchallenged impression that Pope Francis sees this ancient gift of Christ as 'a problem' to be solved. The clear teaching of the Church needs to be communicated through any media used by the Holy Father. When it is not, it is the lowly foot-soldiers of the 'New Evangelization' who have to deal - without any back-up from the hierarchy - with the confused and angry harangues of family, friends and co-workers.
As we said in our recent 'Tail Gunner' article, there is a limit to what we can do in the face of such vast damage to the Church and such grave danger to souls. Nevertheless, we can do something. In our catechetical training, we were taught to always try to draw out the 'positive catechetical utility' from any given situation. It is a sort of pedagogical version of looking for one swallow to make a summer. Through this article, then, we will accomplish two things. Firstly, we will point out that this figure of 1 in 50 priests being a 'pervert' - to use METRO's headline - appears grossly inflated. Certainly this inflation is true in the UK. Secondly, we will provide a brief catechesis on papal infallibility to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding about problems resulting from a new genre of 'papal interviews.'
1. Laurence England provided a link recently to some research which had been done by Catholics Unplug Your TV - C U T. Drawing on official NSPCC data, this research demonstrated that, of 29,837 registered sex offenders in the UK, who have actually committed crimes against children, Catholic priests make up just over 0.1%.
Clearly, there should never be any Catholic priests abusing any children. Any such crime is always a grave sin against God, a sacrilege against the sacred priesthood and a serious violation of an innocent human being, who has the right to be protected and guided in holiness by a priest. Such sins must always be condemned in the most clear terms and perpetrators must be punished by the law. Children must be protected from such sinners.
At the same time, the figure of 0.1% of convicted UK sex offenders suggests a much lower figure than 1 in every 50 priests. More like 1 in every 1,000. Certainly, the inflated figure is not representative of the situation in the UK.
The C U T research also pointed to the fact that around 80% of priests who do abuse young people are actually men with a homosexual tendency. This reality is often ignored by 'mainstream' media.
2. The times when the Pope speaks with the charism of papal infallibility are limited. They do not include the 'genre' of papal interviews. The old Baltimore Catechism provides a succinct explanation of papal infallibility in proposition No 531: ''That the Pope may speak infallibly, or ex Cathedra: 1. He must speak on a subject of faith and morals; 2. He must speak as the Vicar of Christ and to the whole Church; 3. He must indicate by certain words, such as, we define, we proclaim, etc., that he intends to speak infallibly.'' The Pope is not protected from sin by the charism of infallibility, as he is a sinner, like the rest of us, in need of Christ's graces, salvation and sanctification through the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Infallibility does not protect him from sinning, but from teaching error when he speaks ex Cathedra. As an expression of Revelation, Tradition and the Natural and Divine Law, all teaching on faith and morals has to be in accord with the constant teaching of the Church expressed in the Deposit of Faith, received by the Apostles, and handed down to us by their successors.
In his explanation of the 'new genre' of papal interviews, the embattled Fr. Lombardi S.J. quipped that we are not dealing with Canon Law or the dogmatic precision of Denzinger. The headline in METRO demonstrates why such precision is - and always was - necessary for the glory of God, the good of the Church, the protection of Her members, and the salvation of souls.
Catholics must pray that such precision returns soon if their 'putting out into the deep' is not to end with a voyage to the bottom of the sea...
Urgent Prayer Alert - Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life in Court Today
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 25 July 2014 - 12:45:41 | by admin
You'll recall that Bernadette Smyth, Founder/Director of Precious Life in Ireland, was the woman who, eleven years ago, first got us to pray outside abortion centres here in England. We frequently recommend her work, because she always insists on God being acknowledged at the heart of the pro-life activism of her team.
Bernadette will be in court today in Northern Ireland to defend the right to pray, counsel and protest at the Marie Stopes abortion referral agency.
This has come about in relation to an attempt by Marie Stopes to use the Protection from Harassment (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, to stifle opposition from pro-lifers.
In January 2014, Bernadette counselled an abortion-minded young woman, who was using Marie Stopes in Belfast. Bernadette says that the security guard and the young woman's friend kept on trying to prevent Bernie from influencing the lady to choose life, but God gave Bernie the right words to say. It transpired that the young lady was expecting twins. She accepted Bernadette's telephone number and, by God's grace, eventually telephoned Bernadette to tell her that she was choosing life and keeping the babies.
However, the director of Marie Stopes came out to speak to a pro-life volunteer. She accused Bernadette of harassing her and this opened on to the present court case. Bernadette says that she and her family have suffered 6 months of persecution, with Police officers coming to her home on several occasions. She also claims to have been attacked by a Police officer outside Marie Stopes in February. This incident has been reported to the Public Prosecution Service.
Bernadette is in court today to defend the rights of pro-lifers to stand and pray in silent prayer vigils outside of Marie Stopes. She also seeks to freely defend the rights of the unborn, and to protect their mothers from the horrors of abortion by providing counsel to them.
Bernadette asks that people pray for her and this case today. She especially asks for people to pray the Rosary, to attend Holy Mass, and to pray for the intercession of St. John Paul II, whose pro-life teachings have influenced her work. The intention she specifically asks for is: 'that the eyes of everyone involved in this court case will be opened to the truth and that justice will prevail.'
Please keep this intention in your prayers today. St. Bernadette of Lourdes - Pray for us.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim - Safe, Well and Meeting the Holy Father in Rome
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 25 July 2014 - 11:02:51 | by admin
It is marvellous to hear that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and her family are, at last, safe and well. The Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Lapo Pistelli, had helped to negotiate their departure from Sudan and onward travel to Rome. The family now plan to resettle in the United States of America.
Meriam, her husband Daniel Wani, and their two children Martin and Maya (born in a Sudanese prison a couple of months ago), have been able to meet with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and to receive his blessing.
Miriam had been sentenced by a court in Sudan to 100 lashes and execution for marrying a Christian man and for supposed apostasy from Islam. She was told that she would be spared if she renounced her faith and embraced Islam. Miriam protested that she was always a Christian and refused to renounce her faith in Christ. After prayer from Christians around the world, and protests from Western governments and human-rights groups, Miriam was rumoured to have been freed from prison, re-arrested, and finally released. She tried to leave Sudan some weeks ago, but authorities at the airport questioned her papers. With help from the Italian foreign ministry, she has now left Sudan with her family.
Although the Sudanese government in Khartoum is said to be rethinking its penal code, in relation to 'apostasy' laws, Fides News reported, a few days ago, that Sudan will not permit the construction of any new Christian churches in the country. Let us not forget the countless, unknown Christians who continue to suffer under Islamic oppression in Sudan and in various other nations today.
Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., head of the Vatican Press Office, said that Pope Francis thanked Miriam for her 'courageous witness to perseverence in the Faith.'
We thank God for Miriam's faithful witness and our readers for their prayers. Keep the Faith!
Good Shepherds Lay Down their Life for their Sheep (John 10:15).
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 24 July 2014 - 10:39:39 | by admin
Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of the Catholic Chaldean Church in Baghdad has released a moving message to his flock via the Patriarchal website. Please keep praying and doing penances for the Christians and all who suffer with them in Iraq. For example, Dr. Mahmoud Al 'Asali, a Muslim and professor of law at the University of Mosul, has been executed by ISIS militants for making a courageous stand against the dreadful mistreatment of Christians in the Mosul area.
Patriarch Sako has stated:-
'I'll start my speech by the Word of Christ, as His Word is the source of strength and salvation of us, the poor of this lost world: ''There is no need to be afraid, little flock'' (Luke 12:32).
Our present pain is associated with our Christianity and with the mystery of our Passover (i.e., Easter). Our suffering, if joined to the suffering of our saviour Jesus, ''Man of Sorrows'', will turn out to be a blessing and salvation to us and to others. And the current challenges are faced with more faith, hope and prayer and solidarity and wisdom. Be brave in front of what you are facing, do not be afraid: you have deep roots in Iraq, do not give up for frustration and despair, confident that, ''all who draw the sword will die by the sword'' (Matthew 26:52) and evil does not last! You are the small mustard seed, the Lord will not let you fall. He is with you today, tomorrow, and after tomorrow, and forever.
We are your shepherds and, with our full responsibility towards you, we will stay with you to the end, we will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices. I repeat: do not be afraid; stay strong as you are with your faith and your hope and love. We thank God for your safety, as, no matter what, your life has no price.
God's blessing be upon you.
Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako.
Bishop Monforton of Steubenville, Ohio, Leads Pro-Life Prayers in Pittsburgh P.A.
Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 23 July 2014 - 12:33:21 | by admin
Every Saturday morning in the academic year, the Students for Life group at Franciscan University of Steubenville travels into Pittsburgh to pray outside one of the abortion centres. This constitutes one of the various Works of Mercy developed and promoted at the university. Other apostolates include outreach to the homeless; care for the sick; support for people suffering mental health problems; and service in nursing homes for the elderly.
The Students for Life group leads the Rosary each week to pray for the conversion of all involved in the abortions occuring at the Pittsburgh abortion centres, and to offer help to anyone who is open to receive it. We remember the joy that spread through the university campus, during our two years there, when a mother decided to keep her baby after encountering the loving witness and support of the Students for Life group. We were able to join with the group in Pittsburgh on Good Friday in 2006. It was particularly poignant to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary and to sing Lenten hymns, on that holy day when Christ suffered and died for sinners, whilst babies were being killed just across the road from us, and as a local lady told us just how much pro-lifers 'really made her sick!'.
The pro-life group are very positive and joyful, through the strength derived from the sacraments, prayer and shared ideals. They were greatly encouraged recently when Bishop Jeffrey Marc Monforton of Steubenville joined them to lead the Rosary. These pictures were taken by the group and placed on their Facebook page. They also feature Fr. Bradley LePage T.O.R.
Bishop Monforton was appointed to the Diocese of Steubenville in 2012. He wrote a very encouraging 2013 Pro-life Message to his flock last year.
''While we find ourselves admittedly in some dark recesses of our culture in this era which diminishes and normalizes the integrity of human life in all its forms, we cannot be complacent and at the same time you and I cannot despair. We are agents of hope. You and I are ambassadors of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as we allow our faith to burn brightly, the flame for all to see, throughout the present and even further in later trials, the standard of the Cross remains before us. We will be victorious. Our work in promoting life is apostolic work. It is following Our Lord, enriching our world in which we live to evangelize our brothers and sisters for them to recognize in the words of Our Lord, through the writer St. James, demonstrating faith through works. Some may look at our works as being bold or innovative, but admittedly we simply are being who we are, followers of Jesus Christ, Who suffered, died, rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father, for you and for me, so that we may live.''
It is very heartening to read these words and to witness such episcopal leadership today. May God bless Bishop Montforton and all involved in this life-saving apostolate.