Sunday, September 1, 2013

POPE FRANCIS' POWERFUL WORDS CALLING FOR PEACE IN THE WORLD AND IN SYRIA--NEXT SATURDAY A DAY OF FASTING AND PRAYER,MANDATED BY THE HOLY FATHER, FRANCIS; SAINT JOSEPH, MACON, GA, WILL HAVE SPECIAL PRAYERS AT 12 NOON IN THE CHURCH TO INCLUDE THE ANGELUS, ROSARY AND BENEDICTION OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT

AT 12 NOON, SEPTEMBER 7 AT SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH, MACON, IN COMPLIANCE WITH POPE FRANCIS' CALL FOR FASTING AND PRAYER FOR PEACE IN SYRIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST, WE WILL HAVE EXPOSITION OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT, RECITATION OF THE ANGELUS, FOLLOWED BY THE HOLY ROSARY AND BENEDICTION OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH IS THE VIGIL OF THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE!

THE HOLY FATHER APPEARS AT THE WINDOW AT MINUTE 4:35:

Pope Francis: Angelus appeal for peace (full text)BY PRESSING HERE!

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has called for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the entire Mideast region, and throughout the whole world to be held this coming Saturday, September 7th, 2013. The Pope made the announcement during the course of remarks ahead of the traditional Angelus prayer this Sunday. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father's Angelus appeal.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Hello! [Good day!]


Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.
What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).

All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!




28 comments:

John Nolan said...

Still all very vague - no mention of the persecution of Christians not only by Islamic groups but also by states such as Pakistan, which, God help us, is a fully paid-up member of the British Commonwealth.

Platitudes, platitudes. Since the 1960s 'peace' has become a buzzword for sitting on your arse, smoking dope and contemplating your navel. In fact it is the absence of war. A peace achieved when all the Christian communities in the Middle East have been exterminated might be a peace that Islam would accept, but for Christians war is preferable.

Gene said...

All these continued calls for peace on the part of various leaders, dignitaries, etc. are so obligatory as to be boring. Of course, it is a fine thing to pray for peace, fast, etc. Who could think otherwise? However, the real issue is 'what are you willing to do to bring peace about?'
Nations cease to make war when they are too scared to do it. Terrorists cease committing acts of terrorism when they are all dead.
Sun Tzu once said that there is no need to be aggressive if our neighbors "respect" us sufficiently..."when a large dragon moves into the neighborhood, people will tend to give him a wide berth."

Anonymous said...


"Catholic, Orthodox leaders in Egypt deny Christian-Muslim conflict" (CNS) Speaking on behalf of Catholics in Egypt, Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac said the violence and unrest in his country are “not a political struggle between different factions, but a war against terrorism.”

While mobs began attacking Christian churches, schools and convents, claiming the Christians supported Morsi’s ouster, there also were reports of Muslims forming cordons around Christian churches to protect them from the mobs and of Muslims offering shelter to their Christian neighbors.

The Rev. Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, confirms this (Fides), noting that despite attacks against about 60 churches throughout Egypt, “Muslims who live in the vicinity of the affected churches have helped men and women religious to put out the fires.” Father Greiche adds: “The majority of the population is against terrorism and religious extremism.”

Coptic Pope Tawadros II issued a statement yesterday (AINA) along similar lines. “The attacks on government buildings and peaceful churches terrorize everyone, whether they be Copts or Muslims,” he said. “These actions go against any religion, any moral code and any sense of humanity…”

John Nolan said...

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think today's Angelus shows that Pope Francis is beginning to understand his status as a world leader which this obscure cardinal from Argentina is only now understanding and appreciating. His Angelus talk was very powerful when one listens to it in Italian and he simply doesn't read the text in an academic tone, but emphasizes his concern by the raising of his voice especially concerning the judgement of God. Hearing that in Italian brought me back to my mother's rantings of judgment toward us children in Italian and her voice inflections made you know she meant business, like Ricky Ricardo's rantings in Spanish at Lucy!

Anon friend said...

Thanks so much for your take on this, Father--very helpful post and follow-up. I can't help but think back to Pope JPII advising the world and Pres Bush about bombing & invading Iraq. Bush chose to ignore him, as did most Catholic laity, including me. Our college daughter, a very serious Catholic who was responsible for sponsoring two conversions of friends, told us we were at odds with the Holy Father. We told her that he just didn't understand our country and the horror of being attacked on 911, or the potential threat of WMD--we had no choice but to attack. She, being a very good daughter, said she understood.
I've always wondered...especially after Colin Powell came clean.

Anonymous 2 said...


John and Gene: Nulla pax sine justitia.

Anonymous 2 said...

John and Gene (again): I agree, as long as people on both sides of a conflict continue to think as you do, there will be no peace. When people on both sides of a conflict begin to think as Pope Francis does, seeking a culture of encounter and dialogue instead of war, there will be peace.

Now, how does that relate to the aphorism “Nulla pax sine justitia.”?

Flavius Hesychius said...

I'm skeptical, Anon 2, about how someone is supposed to dialogue with Assad, or any dictator. That's why this entire conflict exists, right? Because one man seeks the subjugation of those around him?

I honestly cannot see how a "culture of encounter and dialogue" has anything to do with a nation rising up to overthrow its oppressors. A man who seeks unlimited power--one who seeks to place all others under his heel--cannot be "dialogued" with, because in his mind there exists no alternative to his desire.

One can pontificate all day long, and men like Assad simply aren't going to listen, because in their view, the one pontificating is merely another person to subjugate.

Gene said...

Anon 2, Justice is vanquishing evil people and crushing evil regimes. (I do not, however, support intervention in Syria).
Were you a flower child back in the day...you know, running around stuffing flowers down rifle barrels and listening to Donovan singing Sunshine Superman. Did you have a VW bus with flowers on it? Hey, Dude, it's, like, the Age of Aquarius.

Anonymous said...

Justice is NOT "vanquishing evil people and crushing evil regimes."

Justice is a moral obligation that requires that all persons should be left in the free enjoyment of all their rights. (See "Catholic Encyclopedia")

Anonymous 2 said...

Flavius Hesychius:

I would respectfully suggest that neither you nor I know remotely enough to form a judgment about how best to proceed regarding Syria. However, it is the beginning of wisdom to recognize that fact, as you do when you ask why this entire conflict exists. You think you know, but you are open to the possibility that you really don’t. Good for you!

So, what do we DO then? We practice humility -- something we are reminded about in today’s readings. Thus, we listen to those who might actually be in a better position to understand the incredible complexities of the situation – and I know enough to know that there are incredible complexities in the situation. This includes especially people like the Bishops on the ground, and I emphasize on the ground, in Syria itself. In that respect see Father’s post of August 30. Pope Francis seems to be reflecting their position in his comments today.

Understanding must always precede judgment if the judgment is to be a wise one. That, it seems to me, is basic. And that understanding must include an understanding of the myriad forms of "injustice” and “perceived injustice” that exist in and around the situation. It must also include a realistic understanding of the limits on one’s own power and the likely consequences of various courses of action. But we do not even recognize the need for understanding unless we first have the virtue of humility.

Now, if the Bush administration had actually taken this approach in Iraq, I am convinced that we would not be dealing with the present situation in Syria today. As Pope Francis says, violence begets violence – it always has and it always will. Sometimes, as the Church itself recognizes, there is no alternative to violence. But I am convinced that those situations are far fewer and far between than we might think. The reason we think otherwise is because we lack proper humility. Most especially, of course, we lack proper humility before God, even enlisting Him and putting Him in uniform on our side (just as the other side enlists Him and puts Him in their uniform). What blasphemy!

And what do we do when He comes to tell us to stop it? We crucify Him. And what do we do when His representatives on earth tell us to stop it in His name? Well, of course, we crucify them as well.

Anonymous 2 said...

Yes, Gene, you have me exactly right. Also I had a ponytail, a dog called Bongo, and was permanently stoned. Hey man, you should have seen me back then. I was really something else.

Give me a break!

Actually, I spent a great deal of time listening to my parents about the realities of war – the Second World War – and imbibed much of my mother’s cynicism about the manipulations of populaces by their governments. I wish you had been there. You could have learned a thing or two. I guess we are all creatures of our experience.

Anon friend said...

Far out, man!
Actually, back in the day, Gene, I was working to pay my own way thru college; full academic scholarship, but had to work (2 jobs, no holidays) for room and board money, No car at all, (let alone a VW bus!) until I graduated (Summa Cum Laude) and got my first job in order to pay for grad school. No money, and definitely no time for flower child stuff...sorry to disappoint...
You're an idiot at times, but God loves you and I'm trying.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Anon 2:

You said, "I would respectfully suggest that neither you nor I know remotely enough to form a judgment about how best to proceed regarding Syria."

I never said what action(s) should be taken regarding Syria. My entire post at 7:17 p.m. had one point: dictators cannot be reasoned with (or, to use your verb, "dialogued" with). That is a fact, and saying so is no more "making a judgement" than saying the sky is blue. The rest of your post, unless I cannot read, supports my so-called "judgement." Men like Assad possess none of the qualities you've written about, and automatically assume their actions and views are correct--and, in some legal systems, are de jure correct on the basis of originating from that person. They lack the very humility you claim necessary for dialogue.

The only thing you seem to have addressed was "That's why this entire conflict exists, right? Because one man seeks the subjugation of those around him?", to which you suggested I was wrong. Point taken, but I don't really care about the causes of the conflict, or even how it ends. The one thing I care about is the US not getting involved. The population of Syria can drop to zero and the country be reduced to a pile of ash and I'd still be against the US getting involved.

In fact, you say "Thus, we listen to those who might actually be in a better position to understand the incredible complexities of the situation", which is an irrelevant statement, since I'm against being involved entirely.

Your fourth paragraph seems based on the presumption I'm for US intervention. Had I been able to understand Iraq in 2003 (I was 9), I'd have been as opposed to it as I am involvement in Syria. It presumes I support violence ("Sometimes, as the Church itself recognizes, there is no alternative to violence.") at sometime or another--but I never said I did; you only appear to have inferred it.

And, I'm still trying to figure out if I should take "You think you know, but you are open to the possibility that you really don’t. Good for you!" as condescending or not. That last sentence especially, lol.

Flavius Hesychius said...

On another note, slightly more on topic, I'm glad Pope Francis is calling for fasting. Scoffers abound at the mention of fasting.

Gene said...

Anon Friend, I wasn't talking to you, rather to Anon 2. All you up front Anonymi are confusing, at times.

John Nolan said...

I can't attribute the aphorism 'nulla pax sine justitia' but it sounds a little glib to me. It all depends on how you define peace and how you define justice. "As long as people on both sides of a conflict continue to think as you do, there will be no peace". Most conflicts are resolved by diplomacy. The Holy See mediated in the dispute between Argentina and Chile over the Beagle Channel, and war was averted. However, when one side resorts to armed force, as Argentina did with regard to the Falkland Islands, the other side has a right to self-defence, and war is more or less inevitable.

During the Cold War it was accepted that Syria was a client state of the Soviet Union, just as Israel was a client state of the USA. In the Yom Kippur War of 1973 both superpowers put pressure on their clients to accept a negotiated settlement. Now that there is only one superpower we have a dangerous imbalance.

The 19th century suppression of the slave trade which was arguably the greatest achievement of the Pax Britannica (the East African slave trade run by the Arabs for centuries was particularly intractable) was the only example of foreign policy dictated by moral and altruistic motives. It was achieved largely through diplomacy. Using your military muscle to punish states that do not conform to your high moral standards looks like throwing your weight around, and opens you up to the charge of having double standards - North Korea, anyone?

Britain and France were involved in the Middle East because they saw it to be in their national interest. In the 1950s American policy was to remove British and French influence from the region. This is why they were stabbed in the back by Eisenhower and Dulles in 1956. Cameron, of course, has little knowledge of history and Hollande needs to boost his sagging ratings at home. Waiting for Obama to act and then offering to hold his coat for him is not the behaviour of once-proud nations.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Folks, you have all digressed from Father McDonald's column. We are to fast and prayer on September 7. This is not a platitude, and anyone who denies the power of prayer or fasting needs to reread the Book of Jonah. Our Melkite Catholc Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory the III has spoken out quite strongly against any attack on Syria. The Patriarch also urges all of us to listen to the Pope in this matter.

John Nolan, we are all aware of the situation in Pakistan, but unlike Pakistan, Syria has the ability to ignite a world war. Pakistan is simply immobilized presently by the inertia of its own problems.

Gene - I do not know if you are for a war against Syria or not (Use of any military force is an act of war, no matter how our media spins it) our last war in Iraq shattered the Chaldean Catholic Church. Our so called liberation destroyed the Christian community. Did you ever see the bombing of the churches there, an act which Hussein would never have allowed? The U.S. media ignored it, but you could find the pictures through www.byzcath.org Sure, Assad's not a saint, but as a secular muslim, Assad has protected the rights of Christians, and since the 1950s they have allowed Christians to serve in the government and military of Syria (it shocked Nasser!) And, the so called rebels (called protestors until last fall by our main stream propaganda media) are the ones destroying churches and kidnapping orthodox bishops (have you all forgotten that, or does ecumenism only extend to Protestants, and not those in apostolic succession?) In any event, less whining and more prayer! I am sorry to rant, but should the dogs of war be let loose, we will all suffer. Syria is not Iraq in 2003. or Afghanistan in 2002. They have modern weapons from the Russians and will not be caught napping. Nor will they act passively in response to a missal strike (as Sudan had to after Clinton blew up their pharmaceutical factory!), but Syria has the ability to defend themselves and attack our Mediterranean fleet. I do not have the confidence in America's military abilities as I once did, or in Israel's (they are not the army of 1967 or 1982). An attack on Syria will invite a Syrian response, which will invite an American counter response, which will invite in Russia, Iran and Israel, and voila! a world war!

Flavius Hesychius said...

James M, the entire situation reminds me of the Thirty Years' War. It started off as a rebellion, and by its end had morphed into a war between the Hapsburgs and Bourbons.

We're playing with fire, when we shouldn't've picked up the book of matches in the first place.

Anonymous 2 said...

Flavius Hesychius,

Again with respect, I think you did make a judgment. Indeed, I believe you made several related judgments:

(1) The entire conflict exists because men like Assad want to dominate those around him
(2) A culture of encounter and dialogue has “nothing to do with a nation rising up to overthrow its oppressors”
(3) The further judgments (implied) that (a) there is a “Syrian nation” that is “rising up” and (b) the conflict is “about” that rising up
(4) Men like Assad cannot be dialogued with
(5) There is no alternative in Assad’s mind to his desire for power
(6) Assad is the only potential partner for “encounter and dialogue.”
(7) The final judgment (implied) that it is futile for Pope Francis to call for encounter and dialogue (which is what the post was about).

There are probably others I have missed but these are enough to be going on with. None of these are “facts.” They are “judgments” or, if you prefer, “opinions,” about the situation in Syria and various parties involved in the conflict that simplify an incredibly complex situation. Of course, you could be correct in each of these “judgments” or “opinions.” But do you really know that you are? Or do you lack a proper and full understanding of the situation? I certainly do.

Moreover, given the context of the relevant exchanges (I was responding to John Nolan and Gene, who were both dismissing Pope Francis’s call for encounter and dialogue and apparently emphasizing the need for other types of response, at least in the form of a projection of power, instead of “sitting on your arse” as John put it, although he has now clarified his support for diplomacy, and you were responding to my response to them), I could also be forgiven for thinking that you were agreeing with them because of your “skepticism.” However, I certainly accept in light of what you say that this may have been an over-reading of your comment. That said, it seems that you do in fact make a judgment about the appropriate action/response on the part of the United States, i.e, that we should not get involved at all in any way, shape, or form (I assume this included diplomacy and efforts to support a “culture of dialogue and encounter”)

I also apologize if I appeared to be condescending. But I am genuinely gratified at any indication that someone does not fully understand the situation in Syria or what should be done about it, because there is a tendency (on the part of some on this Blog) to think they know all about “Muslims” and what to do about them.

Anonymous 2 said...

James McCauley and Flavius Hesychius:

I have now seen your latest posts, and agree with your cautionary sentiments as well as the value of and need for prayer and fasting.

Gene said...

Again, I am not in favor of military intervention in Syria, not the least of which reasons is that it is foolhardy to make war with an incompetent leader in power. If we had a President who was a statesman and who understood the nuances of international politics and long existing protocols, then we might be at least somewhat confident that, were he to take action, it would be with good and considered reason. We can have no such confidence...this guy is like a kid with a new chemistry set.

We don't seem to have ever gotten it right about the Middle East, but I do not know enough to ponder what "right" might be.

Flavius Hesychius said...

It's jarring--I go from this very heavy conversation to Facebook, where every single post there is about drugs, sex, or drama.

Gene said...

Hey, Flavius, so stay out of Facebook...LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...

Flavius Hesychius,

Something just stuck me about my reply to you at 12:17 p.m. yesterday. I said that I thought you had made several “judgments” about the situation in Syria in response to your comment that you had not made a judgment about what action(s) should be taken regarding Syria.

I still think that you did make a judgment about what action should be taken, or more accurately, should not be taken, i.e, not attempting dialogue. However, it was unfair of me to say that you had made all those other “judgments.” I do think they could be called judgments (about the nature of the situation), but they are descriptive judgments that have to do with “understanding” rather than normative or prudential judgments about how to act based on that understanding. And since I was the one who originally drew a terminological distinction between “understanding” and “judgment” and who used the term “judgment” to refer to decisions about “how best to proceed” you were quite correct to resist the suggestion that you had made a “judgment” about what action to take.

So, although I think you did make all seven assumptions that I list, I was wrong to take you to task for making all those “judgments” when you said you didn’t make a “judgment.” I apologize to you for that. This may not seem like a big point, to do more with semantics than substance, but I try to be fair in what I write and I wasn’t. I will try to do better when reading your future posts.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Anon 2, I was going to reply that I wasn't sure we were on the same page, but then I went to Facebook.

Anonymous 2 said...

Well, Flavius, if you went to Facebook we definitely would not be on the same page as I do not do Facebook =).