World Youth Day - Francis' Address to Bishops

Dear Brothers,
How good it is to be here with you, the Bishops of Brazil!
Thank you for coming, and please allow me to speak with you as one among friends. That’s why I prefer to speak to you in Spanish, so as to express better what I carry in my heart. I ask you to forgive me.
We are meeting somewhat apart, in this place prepared by our brother, Archbishop Orani Tempesta, so that we can be alone and speak to one another from the heart, as pastors to whom God has entrusted his flock. On the streets of Rio, young people from all over the world and countless others await us, needing to be reached by the merciful gaze of Christ the Good Shepherd, whom we are called to make present. So let us enjoy this moment of repose, exchange of ideas and authentic fraternity.

Beginning with the President of the Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, I want to embrace each and every one of you, and in a particular way the Emeritus Bishops.  More than a formal address, I would like to share some reflections with you.

ABRAHAM PRAYED
By Agbortem JC
Chosen by God to be the father of all nations, Abraham is indeed our model of faith. Yet there is more to that in the life of this friend of God. One of that is how he prayed to God in Genesis chapter 18 when told of the imminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In this passage, we can understand that to pray is to converse with God. There is a give and take attitude here that should not be neglected as far as prayer is concern. Abraham speaks and listens; God speaks and listen. This kind of conversation can only take place between two people who understand themselves and can interact with one another closely. This is the prayer attitude of a friend of God. The following lessons can be drawn from the above passage:

True Holiness


The holiness we seek does not consist of human perfection 
or strength of will, but God's grace 
by Bruce Yocum
A while ago I was counseling someone who had been battling with a particular area of sin. At one point in the conversation the person said, in some real anguish, “But surely God must know that I cannot change this!” In that brief sentence he revealed both the root of his problem and its ultimate solution. 
This man wanted God to be merciful to him, but it was clear in our conversation that he thought God’s mercy would come in the form of an exception: Yes, it is wrong to do this, but God will just have to excuse me for it, make an exception in my case, because I cannot change. 
At least he was not choosing the more radical solution, a solution all too popular today, which goes something like this: No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to conquer this area of sin. And a lot of other people are just like me. We are goodhearted, try to be decent, make efforts not to _____ (fill in the blank with your own favorite unconquerable sin), but cannot master this problem. Therefore, it must not really be wrong. Or at least, it isn’t wrong for me. 

CONTRACEPTION, A MORAL EVIL

By Agbortem JC
Dear, all,
Much has been said and written about the use of artificial contraceptive methods in the world we live that we have forgotten the precepts of our Christian belief. After going through documents and studying with faith and closeness the church teachings on this topic, I do join my voice with that of the church to condemn the use of all forms of contraception that do not respect the moral law of creation.

Definition
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.

SINS AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT


The sin or blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is mentioned in Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 12:10 (cf. 11:14-23); and Christ everywhere declares that it shall not be pardoned. In what does it consist? The church doctrine teaches us that there are six sins that offend the Holy Spirit. Let us examine each of these six sins:

Despair: "By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God's goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to his promises - and to his mercy." (C.C.C. # 2091)

BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL II: A RUSH TO JUDGMENT?

By Phil Lawler - Director, CatholicCulture.org
The Vatican’s approval of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope John Paul II has triggered criticism for three reasons. First, because everything the Vatican does or says will trigger criticism in the current climate of anti-Catholic triumphalism. Second, because the quick pace of the late Pope’s cause—with his beatification now scheduled barely 6 years after his death—gives rise to fears that the Vatican cut corners in the investigation. Third, because some serious questions still remain about his administration of the papacy.

WHY CAN’T WE GO FOR CONFESSION BEFORE BAPTISM?

To properly understand this question, one must understand the importance of the sacrament of Christian Baptism.
What is baptism? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this: Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the spirit, and the door which gives access to other sacraments. Through baptism we are free from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ and are incorporated into the church and made sharers in her mission; Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word. (CCC 1213)

THE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (revised)




There are many manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and it all depends on God.
Let us to look at the relationship between Christians and the Holy Spirit, so that it will help us to understand the reality in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
            The promise of the Holy Spirit to God’s children; was made by God in the book of Prophet Joel 3: 28-29 and some Old Testament writings; when God promised to put his spirit on all flesh. (Ezekiel 37:5, Ezekiel 39:29; Zechariah 4:6)
In the New Testament Jesus reaffirmed this promise of the Father to us through the apostles in the Gospel of John, "From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father, he will be my witness” John 15:26, John 16:13, John 20:22; Mathieu 10:20; Acts 1;8.