This posting is more of a personal note than my normal research reports. Sometimes we read of modern miracles happening to other people, and marvel at God’s goodness. And then at other times we experience these same miracles ourselves, discovering that any words we use – like marvel, wonder and astonishment – all seem to be so inadequate. Still words are our only vehicle to share our experiences, and so we use them, however feebly.
My wife Kate entered the hospital in early November 2012 to have her right lower leg amputated due to the effects of long-term diabetes. The notion of an amputation was not extremely troubling to us and we both were somewhat prepared for it. In fact some doctors advised her 18 years ago to have it amputated then because of a diabetic syndrome called Charcot foot. She consulted with experts on diabetic podiatry at a university hospital and, as a result of their intervention, Kate was able to gain almost two more decades with the foot. So we were expecting this one day and were mentally prepared for it.
But along the way, both before and after the surgery, Kate had complication upon complication develop. Continue reading →
On the day of Pope Francis’ election, a good friend of mine (who is not Catholic) posted a link to a 2 year old Guardian news story discussing (then) Cardinal Bergoglio’s purported complicity in human rights violations:
“The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate.”
It later turned out that the story was incorrect and the newspaper’s website now lists the following correction:
This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.
Continue reading →
One of the central legacies of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s papacy has been his proactive response to global secularization, especially to decades of decline in religious observance among Europeans. Taking up John Paul II’s call for the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI called for a fresh sharing of the Gospel in “those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization.” But unlike some philosophies of evangelization, a central tenet of his teaching has been that the centrality of prayer in this mission. Benedict XVI understands prayer as holding a two-fold significance in evangelization. First, those sharing the faith must first be re-evangelized themselves, growing in habits of prayer and contemplation amidst life’s busyness; and likewise, among those with whom they share the faith, prayer constitutes a deeply personal and essential means by which one encounters God. Benedict XVI writes, “Praying actualizes and deepens our communion with God. Our prayer can and should arise above all from our heart, from our needs, our hopes, our joys, our sufferings, from our shame over sin, from our gratitude from the good. It can and should be a wholly personal prayer.
The Pew Forum recently highlighted research on the status of today’s European Catholics, including their opinion of the Catholic Church and of religion in general, their Mass attendance, etc. An interesting area of their research included the role of prayer in the life of European Catholics. Notably, the research showed that few European Catholics said they engaged in prayer at least once a day. Results differed significantly among Western European
countries. German and Spanish Catholics pray more than French Catholics, for example, who are least likely among the countries polled to engage in daily prayer (between 11% and 17% reported daily prayer). Yet among German and Spanish Catholics, only four-in-ten said they engage in daily prayer. Slightly less, about three-in-ten, Italian Catholics said they pray daily in recent polls.
The role of prayer in the New Evangelization (NE) is clearly central for the Pope Emeritus. Perhaps future, more in-depth research on the prayer lives of European Catholics would be a useful means of measuring the effectiveness of its there. But with daily prayer so little a part of the lives of today’s European Catholics, the NE has a long road ahead…
Big News from Gary Adler:
“I’m happy to report some exciting news: Samuel was born Friday at 12:10 PM. He weighed 8 lbs 12 ozs, stretched to 21 3/4 inches, and announced a preferred papal candidate on the first day of the ‘interregnum.’ Our lips, however, are sealed. Baby and mommy are doing great after getting home late Monday afternoon.”