The Four Gifts: How One Priest Received a Second, Third, and Fourth Chance at Life

Pope John Paul II
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testing.licitamos.cl/azithromycin-100mg-pillole.php Jenny Colvin shares an experience during a Relief Society discussion. The Spring Creek 20th Ward elders quorum, Relief Society, and high priests group are piloting the new third-hour curriculum on Sunday, December 10, Is it fair to say that this council meeting, being more generally focused, does not supplant the ward council meeting? Brother Magleby: Yes. If anything, it is totally supportive to what the ward council would be doing and helping in a more general way than person-by-person or family-by-family. Cameron Willardson leads a discussion during elders quorum in the Spring Creek 20th Ward.

Depending on the circumstances in the ward, these council meetings could be rather sizable. How does one encourage involvement by everyone? Sister Bingham: Facilitate a spiritual discussion! Respond positively to comments and keep the focus on doctrines. It is recommended that, if the group size allows, we make a circle with our chairs so that each person feels like they have an equal voice. Those who are facilitating the council should watch for those who have not made comments or who look like they would like to make a comment but are too shy to have done so.

Include everyone. The leader of the council—what I like to call the discussion facilitator—could come prepared with a few scriptures, a couple of quotes from Church leaders, or a brief example or illustration of the doctrinal concept being discussed as prompts, to be shared if needed.

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Some questions might be these: Why is unity important? What are some of your favorite scriptures about unity? What tends to decrease unity among us? Keep this section short. What are some specific things we can do to increase our unity? Which one would you like to do as an individual? Write that down or put it in your smartphone as a reminder. Next week come prepared to briefly share how what you did has increased the unity in our Relief Society.

They are facilitated spiritual discussions. We come prepared to share, having already read the conference talk. We all know that when we have to articulate how we feel, what we think, and what we believe, it strengthens what we believe within ourselves. The discussion leader does not need to come prepared with all kinds of extra materials.

You might come prepared with a few thoughts of your own, a few scriptures that relate, maybe another quote, but really, the material in each conference talk is more than sufficient to have a wonderful spiritual discussion. Some, of course, realized this power could be leveraged for sex and abused it. New procedures for the protection of minors were put in place after But so much damage from the past has yet to be confronted.

The McCarrick case in particular revealed that the pattern of concealment and toleration of abuse went to the very top of the church. That some of the sex criminals were also responsible for directing vast sums of money to the Vatican — Maciel and McCarrick were legendary for their fund-raising — makes the toleration seem particularly cynical. We still do not know why, exactly, the traditionalist Benedict XVI decided to be the first pope to resign the office, but some were quick to note that he had compiled an extensive dossier on sexual abuse in the church … and yet somehow felt unable to act.

Was he simply overwhelmed by the task, taken aback by the scale of it, and fearful that the entire church could collapse? Francis, in one of his first press conferences as pope, struck out on a different course. He reiterated the distinction between sins and crimes and, while denouncing abuse, did not insist on sexual perfection in the priesthood, as long as failures were confessed, sins absolved, and the priest was committed to a future of celibacy.

It also, perhaps, worried some powerful sex abusers, who recognized the role of the clerical closet in keeping everything quiet. The lull may be temporary. In September, Francis appeared to lose his equanimity. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.

It may well become a moment of reckoning for his papacy — and those of his two predecessors. It may force some kind of decision about the role of gay priests, clerical celibacy, and homosexuality across the church. But how? O ne possible option is the preference of the Catholic right: for all those implicated in the McCarrick cover-up to resign, including, one presumes, Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI? Countless lay Catholics would watch their priests be outed and fired by the church. How would they react? The mass firings would brand the church as baldly homophobic and easily lead to mass resignations and a further decline in vocations.

So be it, the traditionalists say. They want a much smaller, purer church.

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But few potential popes would want to be the one who precipitated the implosion. More to the point: It could make the problem worse. The church would lose all those priests who are adjusted enough to be honest about their orientation and keep all of those who are the most deeply damaged, closeted, and self-loathing. The potential for sexual abuse could increase. A second option would be a fudge, a rerun of , when the church said all gay priests should be fired and no gay men be admitted to the seminary … and then did nothing much about it. This would be, in some ways, the worst choice.

It was precisely the simultaneous retention and anathematization of closeted gay priests that, over the decades, helped fuel the abuse and its cover-up. A third option would simply encourage an end to the clerical closet, which is to say, ask all priests to obey one of the Ten Commandments: not to lie about themselves. It would require gay priests to identify as such to their superiors and parishioners and, in clearing the air, make a renewed public vow of celibacy. Encouraging an end to the closet would underline the distinction the church formally makes between homosexual identity and homosexual acts.

It would deter disturbed closet cases from entering the priesthood and provide priestly role models for gay Catholics who find themselves called to celibacy. Those gay priests who refused to be fully transparent could leave. Cardinals and bishops and directors of seminaries could insist on frank discourse on the matter. Double lives would become far less common. If a priest is committed to celibacy and doing a good job, why is his public gayness a problem?

The only obstacle standing in the way of this path is the homophobia formally embedded into church doctrine in by the future Benedict XVI. A better analogy would perhaps be the infertile, who also, simply because of the way they are, cannot have procreative sex. In fact, the church embraces every other minority, person with a disability, and individual persecuted or marginalized by society because of some involuntary characteristic. At some point you realize that this is, in the end, the bottom line. The task, it seems to me, is not to rid the church of homosexuality, which is an integral part of the human mystery, but of hypocrisy, dishonesty, and dysfunction.

I admit to, at times, a crushing fatalism. But I also believe, as a Catholic, that nothing is impossible with God. O n a Sunday morning in late , at the conservative parish of St. Bernadette in Milwaukee, Father Gregory Greiten was extremely nervous. The next day, the National Catholic Reporter would be publishing an article he wrote in which he would come out as gay. No one in his congregation knew in advance, and now he was about to say Mass. He wanted to tell his own parish first. He found his way in to a retreat for gay priests run by New Ways Ministry, a gay-friendly Catholic group.

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I drank that poison most of the years of my life. If you need me to lie about who I am, then the priesthood is a sham. As we spoke, there was no anger in his voice, just a midwestern folksiness.

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And as an after thought, I make less then any member of either of my congregations. Then the whole thing spread. If you know someone who is no longer able to come to Mass any longer who would like to receive Holy Communion on a regular basis please let us know. I ardently hope that my visit will serve to strengthen the goodwill between us, and that it will reassure everyone of the Catholic Church's desire for interreligious dialogue and cooperation in building a more just and fraternal world. Isn't that what the church is called to be? The goal is to focus on everything that makes Christ the King.

He told me that the toll of the closet was immense on many around him, including suicides that had been hushed up. He was aware that it was relatively easy for him to come out; he knew his own record of celibacy was unblemished since he was Others were more compromised and could be more easily targeted. That Sunday morning, when he stood up to deliver his homily, he felt his mouth dry up. The church was packed, and as he started to tell his story, the silence was close to unbearable. He soldiered on. No response.

Eventually, a woman stood up in the pews and he braced himself. God bless you! And then, all at once, the congregation rose and applauded. At the end of the homily, another standing ovation. He did get a kind voice-mail on his birthday, though. I wish other priests could have some of that freedom. My mom has done for me what the church has never done — which is to love and respect me for who I am and who God has created me to be.

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The scorching temperature surpassed the previous record of No offense to year-olds. How much do you think tonight damaged him as a frontrunner? Until we get numbers, of course, this is all just pundit talk. But what the exchange clearly did was establish that his model is likely not the only electable one. It definitely was a script, and it did feel a little uncomfortably opportunistic to me. On the other hand, Harris has been underperforming expectations so far, and this is a moment people will remember.

She was excellent beyond that exchange, too. What she definitely did tonight was establish herself as a top-tier candidate. But what does that really mean, in practice? The difference: before there was a tippy-top-tier of Biden alone. Beyond Biden and Harris, did you think anyone boosted or damaged their candidacy in any serious way? Going into this debate, Pete Buttigieg had hit a rough patch in his charmed rise, after his shaky handling of a police shooting in South Bend. In one of the more striking moments tonight, he fielded a question about it by admitting that he had failed to adequately reform his police department.

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What did you make of his response? One thing that stuck out to me was that many expected someone to attack him for the response. No one expected that to come from Hickenlooper, and then Swalwell. That limited discussion of the actual substance. I thought they asked pretty good questions and for the most part imposed order, though there were some stretches of lawlessness. Strategic lawlessness! It was slightly strange that these candidates got to respond to what happened on the previous night, but clearly the moderators wanted to put on a show and maximize meaningful conflict.

Rules shmules. One thing that will definitely change about the questions in future debates: Harris and Warren will both have to defend their records now. The combined speaking-time tally via the Boston Globe. This was no a spontaneous attack—Harris had clearly planned the ambush, and it worked. Biden was defensive. I do not praise racists. What was to come was even shakier. And what do those who receive it become? The Eucharist reinforces the incorporation into Christ which took place in Baptism though the gift of the Spirit cf.

The joint and inseparable activity of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, which is at the origin of the Church, of her consolidation and her continued life, is at work in the Eucharist. The gift of Christ and his Spirit which we receive in Eucharistic communion superabundantly fulfils the yearning for fraternal unity deeply rooted in the human heart; at the same time it elevates the experience of fraternity already present in our common sharing at the same Eucharistic table to a degree which far surpasses that of the simple human experience of sharing a meal.

The seeds of disunity, which daily experience shows to be so deeply rooted in humanity as a result of sin, are countered by the unifying power of the body of Christ. The Eucharist, precisely by building up the Church, creates human community. The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church.

This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It is pleasant to spend time with him, to lie close to his breast like the Beloved Disciple cf. Jn and to feel the infinite love present in his heart. How often, dear brother and sisters, have I experienced this, and drawn from it strength, consolation and support! This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium, 49 is supported by the example of many saints.

A Christian community desirous of contemplating the face of Christ in the spirit which I proposed in the Apostolic Letters Novo Millennio Ineunte and Rosarium Virginis Mariae cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our communion in the body and blood of the Lord. The Eucharist too is one and catholic. It is also holy, indeed, the Most Holy Sacrament. But it is above all its apostolicity that we must now consider. It is in continuity with the practice of the Apostles, in obedience to the Lord's command, that the Church has celebrated the Eucharist down the centuries.

At various times in the two-thousand-year history of the People of the New Covenant, the Church's Magisterium has more precisely defined her teaching on the Eucharist, including its proper terminology, precisely in order to safeguard the apostolic faith with regard to this sublime mystery. This faith remains unchanged and it is essential for the Church that it remain unchanged. The Eucharist also expresses this sense of apostolicity. The assembly gathered together for the celebration of the Eucharist, if it is to be a truly Eucharistic assembly, absolutely requires the presence of an ordained priest as its president.

On the other hand, the community is by itself incapable of providing an ordained minister. This minister is a gift which the assembly receives through episcopal succession going back to the Apostles. It is the Bishop who, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, makes a new presbyter by conferring upon him the power to consecrate the Eucharist. The Catholic Church's teaching on the relationship between priestly ministry and the Eucharist and her teaching on the Eucharistic Sacrifice have both been the subject in recent decades of a fruitful dialogue in the area of ecumenism.

We must give thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the significant progress and convergence achieved in this regard, which lead us to hope one day for a full sharing of faith. The Catholic faithful, therefore, while respecting the religious convictions of these separated brethren, must refrain from receiving the communion distributed in their celebrations, so as not to condone an ambiguity about the nature of the Eucharist and, consequently, to fail in their duty to bear clear witness to the truth.

This would result in slowing the progress being made towards full visible unity. Similarly, it is unthinkable to substitute for Sunday Mass ecumenical celebrations of the word or services of common prayer with Christians from the aforementioned Ecclesial Communities, or even participation in their own liturgical services.

Such celebrations and services, however praiseworthy in certain situations, prepare for the goal of full communion, including Eucharistic communion, but they cannot replace it. The fact that the power of consecrating the Eucharist has been entrusted only to Bishops and priests does not represent any kind of belittlement of the rest of the People of God, for in the communion of the one body of Christ which is the Church this gift redounds to the benefit of all. If the Eucharist is the centre and summit of the Church's life, it is likewise the centre and summit of priestly ministry.

Priests are engaged in a wide variety of pastoral activities. If we also consider the social and cultural conditions of the modern world it is easy to understand how priests face the very real risk of losing their focus amid such a great number of different tasks. The Second Vatican Council saw in pastoral charity the bond which gives unity to the priest's life and work.

Their daily activity will thus become truly Eucharistic. The centrality of the Eucharist in the life and ministry of priests is the basis of its centrality in the pastoral promotion of priestly vocations. It is in the Eucharist that prayer for vocations is most closely united to the prayer of Christ the Eternal High Priest. At the same time the diligence of priests in carrying out their Eucharistic ministry, together with the conscious, active and fruitful participation of the faithful in the Eucharist, provides young men with a powerful example and incentive for responding generously to God's call.

Often it is the example of a priest's fervent pastoral charity which the Lord uses to sow and to bring to fruition in a young man's heart the seed of a priestly calling. All of this shows how distressing and irregular is the situation of a Christian community which, despite having sufficient numbers and variety of faithful to form a parish, does not have a priest to lead it. Parishes are communities of the baptized who express and affirm their identity above all through the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

But this requires the presence of a presbyter, who alone is qualified to offer the Eucharist in persona Christi. When a community lacks a priest, attempts are rightly made somehow to remedy the situation so that it can continue its Sunday celebrations, and those religious and laity who lead their brothers and sisters in prayer exercise in a praiseworthy way the common priesthood of all the faithful based on the grace of Baptism. But such solutions must be considered merely temporary, while the community awaits a priest. The sacramental incompleteness of these celebrations should above all inspire the whole community to pray with greater fervour that the Lord will send labourers into his harvest cf.

Mt It should also be an incentive to mobilize all the resources needed for an adequate pastoral promotion of vocations, without yielding to the temptation to seek solutions which lower the moral and formative standards demanded of candidates for the priesthood. It is not by chance that the term communion has become one of the names given to this sublime sacrament.

The Eucharist thus appears as the culmination of all the sacraments in perfecting our communion with God the Father by identification with his only-begotten Son through the working of the Holy Spirit. The celebration of the Eucharist, however, cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection. The sacrament is an expression of this bond of communion both in its invisible dimension, which, in Christ and through the working of the Holy Spirit, unites us to the Father and among ourselves, and in its visible dimension, which entails communion in the teaching of the Apostles, in the sacraments and in the Church's hierarchical order.

The profound relationship between the invisible and the visible elements of ecclesial communion is constitutive of the Church as the sacrament of salvation. Consequently it is an intrinsic requirement of the Eucharist that it should be celebrated in communion, and specifically maintaining the various bonds of that communion intact. Only in this way do we have true communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Keeping these invisible bonds intact is a specific moral duty incumbent upon Christians who wish to participate fully in the Eucharist by receiving the body and blood of Christ. The two sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance are very closely connected. If a Christian's conscience is burdened by serious sin, then the path of penance through the sacrament of Reconciliation becomes necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

The judgment of one's state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one's conscience. However, in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved.

The Eucharist, as the supreme sacramental manifestation of communion in the Church, demands to be celebrated in a context where the outward bonds of communion are also intact. It is not possible to give communion to a person who is not baptized or to one who rejects the full truth of the faith regarding the Eucharistic mystery. Christ is the truth and he bears witness to the truth cf. Jn ; ; the sacrament of his body and blood does not permit duplicity. The ecclesial communion of the Eucharistic assembly is a communion with its own Bishop and with the Roman Pontiff.

The Bishop, in effect, is the visible principle and the foundation of unity within his particular Church. The Eucharist creates communion and fosters communion. Saint Paul wrote to the faithful of Corinth explaining how their divisions, reflected in their Eucharistic gatherings, contradicted what they were celebrating, the Lord's Supper.

The Apostle then urged them to reflect on the true reality of the Eucharist in order to return to the spirit of fraternal communion cf. The Eucharist's particular effectiveness in promoting communion is one of the reasons for the importance of Sunday Mass.

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I have already dwelt on this and on the other reasons which make Sunday Mass fundamental for the life of the Church and of individual believers in my Apostolic Letter on the sanctification of Sunday Dies Domini. The safeguarding and promotion of ecclesial communion is a task of each member of the faithful, who finds in the Eucharist, as the sacrament of the Church's unity, an area of special concern.

More specifically, this task is the particular responsibility of the Church's Pastors, each according to his rank and ecclesiastical office. For this reason the Church has drawn up norms aimed both at fostering the frequent and fruitful access of the faithful to the Eucharistic table and at determining the objective conditions under which communion may not be given. The care shown in promoting the faithful observance of these norms becomes a practical means of showing love for the Eucharist and for the Church.

In considering the Eucharist as the sacrament of ecclesial communion, there is one subject which, due to its importance, must not be overlooked: I am referring to the relationship of the Eucharist to ecumenical activity. We should all give thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the many members of the faithful throughout the world who in recent decades have felt an ardent desire for unity among all Christians. Our longing for the goal of unity prompts us to turn to the Eucharist, which is the supreme sacrament of the unity of the People of God, in as much as it is the apt expression and the unsurpassable source of that unity.

Jas , the Church believes that she will be heard, for she prays in union with Christ her Head and Spouse, who takes up this plea of his Bride and joins it to that of his own redemptive sacrifice. Precisely because the Church's unity, which the Eucharist brings about through the Lord's sacrifice and by communion in his body and blood, absolutely requires full communion in the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance, it is not possible to celebrate together the same Eucharistic liturgy until those bonds are fully re-established.

Any such concelebration would not be a valid means, and might well prove instead to be an obstacle , to the attainment of full communion , by weakening the sense of how far we remain from this goal and by introducing or exacerbating ambiguities with regard to one or another truth of the faith. The path towards full unity can only be undertaken in truth. In this area, the prohibitions of Church law leave no room for uncertainty, 92 in fidelity to the moral norm laid down by the Second Vatican Council.

While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion, the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established. This was the approach taken by the Second Vatican Council when it gave guidelines for responding to Eastern Christians separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, who spontaneously ask to receive the Eucharist from a Catholic minister and are properly disposed.

These conditions, from which no dispensation can be given, must be carefully respected, even though they deal with specific individual cases, because the denial of one or more truths of the faith regarding these sacraments and, among these, the truth regarding the need of the ministerial priesthood for their validity, renders the person asking improperly disposed to legitimately receiving them.

And the opposite is also true: Catholics may not receive communion in those communities which lack a valid sacrament of Orders. There is an episode which in some way serves as its prelude: the anointing at Bethany. But Jesus' own reaction is completely different.

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Mk ; Lk and with the narration of the institution of the Eucharist. Reflecting at least in part the Jewish rites of the Passover meal leading up to the singing of the Hallel cf. Mt ; Mk , the story presents with sobriety and solemnity, even in the variants of the different traditions, the words spoken by Christ over the bread and wine, which he made into concrete expressions of the handing over of his body and the shedding of his blood.

In the wake of Jesus' own words and actions, and building upon the ritual heritage of Judaism, the Christian liturgy was born. Could there ever be an adequate means of expressing the acceptance of that self-gift which the divine Bridegroom continually makes to his Bride, the Church, by bringing the Sacrifice offered once and for all on the Cross to successive generations of believers and thus becoming nourishment for all the faithful?

With this heightened sense of mystery, we understand how the faith of the Church in the mystery of the Eucharist has found historical expression not only in the demand for an interior disposition of devotion, but also in outward forms meant to evoke and emphasize the grandeur of the event being celebrated.

This led progressively to the development of a particular form of regulating the Eucharistic liturgy , with due respect for the various legitimately constituted ecclesial traditions. On this foundation a rich artistic heritage also developed. Architecture, sculpture, painting and music, moved by the Christian mystery, have found in the Eucharist, both directly and indirectly, a source of great inspiration. The designs of altars and tabernacles within Church interiors were often not simply motivated by artistic inspiration but also by a clear understanding of the mystery.

The same could be said for sacred music , if we but think of the inspired Gregorian melodies and the many, often great, composers who sought to do justice to the liturgical texts of the Mass. Similarly, can we overlook the enormous quantity of artistic production , ranging from fine craftsmanship to authentic works of art, in the area of Church furnishings and vestments used for the celebration of the Eucharist?

How could we not give particular thanks to the Lord for the contributions to Christian art made by the great architectural and artistic works of the Greco-Byzantine tradition and of the whole geographical area marked by Slav culture? In the East, sacred art has preserved a remarkably powerful sense of mystery, which leads artists to see their efforts at creating beauty not simply as an expression of their own talents, but also as a genuine service to the faith.

Passing well beyond mere technical skill, they have shown themselves docile and open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The architectural and mosaic splendours of the Christian East and West are a patrimony belonging to all believers; they contain a hope, and even a pledge, of the desired fullness of communion in faith and in celebration. Within this context of an art aimed at expressing, in all its elements, the meaning of the Eucharist in accordance with the Church's teaching, attention needs to be given to the norms regulating the construction and decor of sacred buildings.

As history shows and as I emphasized in my Letter to Artists , the Church has always left ample room for the creativity of artists. But sacred art must be outstanding for its ability to express adequately the mystery grasped in the fullness of the Church's faith and in accordance with the pastoral guidelines appropriately laid down by competent Authority.

This holds true both for the figurative arts and for sacred music.

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The development of sacred art and liturgical discipline which took place in lands of ancient Christian heritage is also taking place on continents where Christianity is younger. In my numerous Pastoral Visits I have seen, throughout the world, the great vitality which the celebration of the Eucharist can have when marked by the forms, styles and sensibilities of different cultures.