2010 Feature Articles Feed
"Mary MacKillop chose to act when she saw a need," OzSpirit says. "Her actions, while challenged by others at times, have a long lasting legacy that is evident today."
"How will your group 'act' to meet the need identified?" it asks.
“Never see a need without doing something about it” (OzSpirit)
Offering her daily tasks to God, known as her "Little Way", fits well with the YCW's See-Judge-Act.
The Saint's vision of finding God in the small everyday things of daily life, is given a practical tool in our Review of Life Method, helping us as YCWs to see where God is acting, and to act with Him, in our everyday tasks. St Thérèse's "Little Way" is nothing more complicated than recognising that holiness is not to be found only in dramatic martyrdom or major sacrifice, but in accepting the irksome little things and minor sacrifices which are part of each day.
This quiet acceptance of what goes against our will, "mortifications", or "offering it up" formed a major part of traditional Catholicism. We can, for instance, get up the minute the alarm goes off, rather than having another five minutes in bed; when the bus is late, or we are late for the bus, we can give that time to God, or do something useful with it, rather than huffing and cursing.
Most important of all, for YCWs, we can use our work as a way to holiness, whatever our work is - study, seeking work, or work itself.
SOURCE AND FULL ARTICLE
"The Remains of a Burnt-out Love" - Relics of our Patron visit the UK( (YCW Impact)
Since at least the time of Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) Catholic leaders have been concerned about Europe’s secularization, including both the materialism of communism and of capitalism. Several of those leaders embraced the Catholic Action strategy as developed in the 1930s by Msgr. (later Cardinal) Joseph Cardijn in Belgium. The best-known expressions of Catholic Action include the Young Christian Students, the Young Christian Workers and, originating in Chicago, the Christian Family Movement. European leaders also experimented with the worker-priest movement, whereby some clergy took jobs in factories and shops to more directly influence workers.
- Bill Droel
The Working Catholic: Book highlights Chicago's "labor apostles" (Chicago Catholic News)
Below we present some extracts from John's blog on his experiences in strife-torn Honduras in central America, and the use of the see-judge-act method by the diocese.
“Enough of the repression,” Honduran bishop, Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos of Santa Rosa de Copán demanded, “we will not tolerate a single more death at the hands of the police and the military.”
Though he has been critical of the teachers at times, he noted that “the teachers shouldn’t continue to endure being clubbed - I have seen them bleeding. And I don’t think that those of us who have protested against the unjust Mining Law should continue shedding our blood in the western part of our country.”
“It is good that the people are peaceful, but we cannot put up with the images which we have been seeing.”
And that's how we are in Honduras these days.
From Thursday to Saturday I was with a group of lay leaders of the diocese in the second Catholic Social Teaching workshop. This one we spent on learning the “See, Judge, Act” methodology of Catholic Social Teaching, with three priests leading the sessions.
One group identified as weaknesses of the country – corruption, ungovernability (manifested by poverty, drug-trafficking, violence, and the lack of security in the country which the government is unable to control), and the radical bipartite political system, virtually controlled by the two major parties.)
Later this emerged as the list of the most urgent problems of Honduras:
We didn’t go into much depth on the problems since this was more an effort to identify the reality and then look at some issues in light of Catholic Social Teaching.
But on the second night I showed a few videos I had downloaded – a 2008 video on climate change and its effect on Honduras, taken in Tomalá, Lempira, and one taken this year on the proposed dam in San Francisco de Opalaca, Intibucá, financed by a company owned by one of the wealthy elite.
Since it was late we had a short discussion. The concern about the severe weather here is real – the rains have affected crops in many parts of the diocese and so next year we may face more serious hunger. And the concern about the taking over of rivers for large hydroelectric dams by large companies is real.
And so we go forward, seeking justice.
- John Donaghy, lay volunteer with Santa Rosa de Copán diocese in Honduras
Honduras - ¿independent? (Hermano Juancito)
This must come about "through the leaven, salt and light of the Gospel, introduced in social celebrations, in the realm of work and of the different occupations, in communications, in the management of economic and political life and in religious and cultural manifestations," the prelate explained.
He affirmed that "the Gospel and the Christian proposal of life and coexistence are 'Good News' for this urban world."
For Cardinal Scherer, the Church "will not be able to exercise this mission in a proper way without an active and courageous participation of all her members: clergy, religious and laity."
"We are all missionary disciples of Jesus Christ," he said, "each one with his gift and competence in the Body of Christ, the People of God, which is the Church."
In particular, the cardinal added, the laity "are the apostles of the Gospel in the vast and complex secular world, in which they are citizens and members of the earthly city and, at the same time, members and disciples of the Kingdom of God."
"The mission to introduce the salt, leaven and light of the Gospel in the reality of this world is the duty of lay men and women," he said.
"In the diversity and pluralism of convictions and cultural visions, Christians have something particular to say and to contribute," the prelate affirmed, "so that the city will be better, more worthy and just for each one of its inhabitants and more worthy of God, who dwells in it."
He concluded, "Let us ensure that Christian testimony, consistent with the Gospel, is positive and does good to the city."
The words and deeds of Pope Pecci revealed his deep religiosity; and this had a correspondence in his magisterium: Among his many encyclicals and apostolic letters, like the string of a necklace, there are those of a specifically spiritual character, dedicated above all to the growth of Marian devotion, especially through the rosary. It is a real “catechesis” that stretches from the beginning to the end of the 25 years of his pontificate.
But we also have the documents on Christ the Redeemer, on the Holy Spirit, on consecration to the Sacred Heart, on devotion to St. Joseph, on St. Francis of Assisi. Leo XIII was especially close to the Franciscan family and he himself belonged to the Third Order. I like to consider all of these different elements as various facets of a single reality: the love of God and of Christ, which absolutely nothing must come before. And this his first and principal quality, Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci learned here, in his native town, from his parents, from his parish.
But there is a second aspect, which derives from the primacy of God and of Christ and that one meets in the public action of every pastor of the Church, especially of every Supreme Pontiff, with the characteristics proper to each one. I would say that precisely the concept of “Christian wisdom,” which already emerged from the first reading and the Gospel, offers us the synthesis of this position of Leo XIII -- it is not by chance that it is also the “incipit” of one of his encyclicals. Every pastor is called to transmit to the People of God, not abstract truths, but a “wisdom,” that is, a message that joins faith and reason, truth and concrete reality. Pope Leo XIII, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, was able to do this in one of the most difficult historical periods of the Church, remaining faithful to tradition and, at the same time, measuring it with the great open questions. And he succeeded in his efforts precisely on the basis of the “Christian wisdom,” founded on sacred Scriptures, on the immense theological and spiritual patrimony of the Catholic Church and also on the solid and limpid philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, which he appreciated in the highest way and promoted in the whole Church.
At this point, after having considered the foundation, that is, faith and the spiritual life, and therefore the general framework of the message of Leo XIII, I can turn to his social teaching, made famous and timeless in his encyclical “Rerum novarum,” but also richly expressed in multiple interventions that constitute an organic body, the first nucleus of the Church’s social doctrine. We take our cue from St. Paul’s Letter to Philemon, which happily the liturgy has us read precisely today. It is the shortest of all the Pauline epistles. During a period of imprisonment the Apostle transmitted the faith to Onesimus, a slave from Colossae, who had fled from his owner Philemon, a wealthy inhabitant of that city, who, along with his family, had become Christian through the preaching of Paul. Now the Apostle writes to Philemon, inviting him to welcome Onesimus no longer as a slave but as a brother in Christ. The new Christian brotherhood overcomes the separation between slaves and freemen, and it triggers in history a promotion of the person that will lead to the abolition of slavery, but also to the overcoming of the barriers that had existed up until then. Pope Leo XIII dedicated his 1890 encyclical “Catholicae Ecclesiae” precisely to the theme of slavery.
FULL SPEECHPapal Homily for Visit to Leo XIII's Birthplace (Zenit.org)
It will be a good opportunity for lay people in Asia to discuss realities in the continent and help the church of Asia discern "the sign of the times."
What has disturbed me, however, is the fact that neither the Korean church nor the Vatican consulted with the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, the FABC, the representative body of the national bishops' conferences in Asia with regard to the congress. I asked Virginia Saldanha, who recently retired from the post of secretary general of FABC Office of Laity, what she knew about the congress. She told me in an e-mail that neither she nor her successor have received any news on the event from either the Vatican or the Korean church, except that Archbishop Rolando Tirona, president of FABC Office of Laity, received an invitation in 2009.
I could not help but raise the question: Has the Vatican or its Council for the Laity forgotten one of the major teachings of the Second Vatican Council, "collegiality of bishops and laity"? I cannot help but say that the Vatican has made a critical mistake by ignoring such collegiality of the bishops and the faithful.
- Paul Hwang, Center for Asian Theology Solidarity
And there was truth in what he said, for initially unions saw themselves as protecting the poor and vulnerable workers, those seeking work, immigrants and those suffering because of war and disorder in their own countries.
Because workers’ rights, like all rights, are based on the nature of the human person and on his transcendent dignity, the Catholic Church was never reticent to list these rights in the hope they would be recognised in juridical systems.
In so doing, the Church recognised the fundamental role played by labour unions which “grew up from the struggle of the workers – workers in general but especially the industrial workers – to protect their just rights vis-a-vis the entrepreneurs and the owners of the means of production.” (Laborem Exercens, 20)
In her teaching the Church insists that unions are not a reflection of the “class” structure of society but should be promoters of the struggle for social justice, for the rights of workers.
- Emeritus Bishop of Parramatta Kevin Manning, who was also a YCW chaplain as a priest
FULL ARTICLE AND SOURCE
Unions, workers and the Church (CathBlog)
Founded in 1985 by Sister Jeane Devos, a Belgian nun with the Order of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the NDWM is affiliated with the Labour Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of India, Asia News reports.
“We broke a wall of silence, slavery and exploitation,” Sr Jeane, a Belgian nun with the Order of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a former YCS collaborator, said. “Our movement has grown and we can change the situation of domestic workers through solidarity, dignity, justice and empowerment.”
The NDWM operates 53 branches in 23 Indian states. Its goal is to secure the recognition and protection of domestic workers.
At present, the situation for many domestic workers is truly appalling, something that Seetha Lakshmi, a domestic worker in Dindigul (Tamil Nadu), knows all too well.
“I was getting 50 rupees a month (US$ 1.1) and I was never treated like a human being,” she said. “I cried every day.”
“In 1992, I heard about NDWM and so I turned to them. We talked about wages, hours, and days off. When I spoke to my employer about this movement, my situation improved,” she said.
“Great things have happened to domestic workers,” Sr Jeane said. “We shall continue to move with faith in God and the Spirit that guides the movement.”
SOURCE AND FULL STORY
This phenomenon is disastrous for the inhabitants of grabbed land, as it deprives them of their means of subsistence and disrupts the natural balances they had built. On the other hand, it does not solve the problems faced by countries that lack land. Many scientists showed that small farmers are far more productive than big-scale agriculture: they use little energy and the food they produce is more nutritious. Besides, the biodiversity they protect offers them a better adaptability and resistance to climate vagaries.
- Claire Quintin, President MIJARC Europe
FULL ARTICLE HERE
Young rural Catholics promote food sovereignty to protect biodiversity (MIJARC)