The death of baby Alfie Evans last Saturday in England is a tragedy for the world. It is, above all else, a tragedy for his family. We, as a caring Christian community, should not cease to pray for this young man and his parents.
The past week in Rome, the Vatican offered a course for priests appointed by their dioceses to serve as exorcists. These priests are specifically chosen by their bishops and religious superiors to engage in this intense training which was held at the Pontifical University “Regina Apostolorum” from April 16 to 21.
This past week, President Donald J. Trump, along with a coalition of world leaders, including the United Kingdom and France, took military action against the violence of Bashar al-Assad’s regime on its own people in Syria.
1968 was a year that changed history. In the Church, we saw Blessed Pope Paul VI issue his prescient encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” in which he predicted that a contraceptive mentality would lead to an abortive reality. This has sadly proven to be the case.
It is not the first time that, after the publication of an “interview’’ with Eugenio Scalfari that the Holy See has had to acknowledge that what was reported was not what the Holy Father actually said. This time involved a question of what happens to the soul after death.
In a well-written piece in The Wall Street Journal (March 23), Cardinal Timothy Dolan reminded us of his tremendous academic prowess as a scholar of U.S. Catholic Church History. Ever the teacher and the storyteller, His Eminence takes us through the lives of two people, both Catholics and New Yorkers, Archbishop John Hughes of New York, an Irish immigrant (1842-1864) and Dolores Grier, an African-American, who served as vice-chancellor of the archdiocese of New York and a tireless advocate for the sanctity of life.
Once again, we come to Holy Week, and we are reminded that these are our “High Holy Days.” These are the days in which we recall the life-giving events of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Parishes are preparing their churches and chapels, lectors are getting ready to proclaim well the Word of God, servers are learning the rituals of the Sacred Triduum (and priests and deacons are trying to remember them again, having not had to perform them since last year!).
It was recently announced that two more of our Catholic academies, one in Rego Park, and the other in Queens Village, will shut their doors after the current semester. The reasons are all too familiar – rising costs and decreasing enrollment!
There are some, and it has even been debated in the pages of this newspaper, who doubt anti-Catholicism actually exists. The answer to this is yes, it most certainly does exist if you mean prejudice against those who practice their Catholic faith, and attempt to live a holistic life according to its standards and teachings.
The Rev. Billy Graham, the famous U.S. Evangelical preacher, who was immensely famous in the 20th century for his “Crusades” and acted as an advisor to many U.S. presidents, passed away Feb. 21 at the age of 99. Rev. Graham was known for going beyond the thought of many Evangelical Protestants with an openness to Catholicism, seeing the shared faith and the good works that came from the Catholic Church.