Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 20 • MAY 18 - 24, 2019

01 Cover

posted May 16, 2019, 3:37 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:38 AM ]

03 Index

posted May 16, 2019, 3:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:36 AM ]

04 Official

posted May 16, 2019, 3:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 11:05 PM ]

05 Engagements

posted May 16, 2019, 3:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:33 AM ]

07 Editorial - Bulgaria—Bridge between East and West

posted May 16, 2019, 3:30 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:31 AM ]

Pope Francis, who arrived in Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia on May 5, 2019, described Bulgaria as "a bridge between East and West, capable of favouring encounter between the different cultures, ethnic groups, civilisations and religions that for centuries have lived here in peace." The Pope praised them for being a people of diversity, combined with respect for distinctive identities - a model of enrichment, not a source of conflict."

Recalling the visit of Saint John Paul II to Bulgaria in May 2002, the Holy Father spoke of how the future Saint John XXIII served as Apostolic Delegate in Sofia for ten years. He also remembered Cyril and Methodius—the two Saints "who evangelised the Slavic peoples", and were co-patrons of Europe. The Holy Father called them "an inspiration for fruitful dialogue, harmony and fraternal encounter between Churches, States and peoples."

The Pope remarked that during his time in North Macedonia, he felt the spiritual presence of St Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was from this country. He said that this "small, yet strong, woman was an image of the Church in that land: a small community that becomes a welcoming home where many can find rest."

Pope Francis went on to describe 'this particular moment of history' in Bulgaria, focusing on the thirty years after the end of the totalitarian regime that had imprisoned the country's 'liberty and initiatives'. He spoke of the effects of emigration in recent decades that have seen over two million Bulgarians leave their country in search of employment. This, combined with what the Pope called the "demographic winter" of falling birth rates, "has led to the depopulation and abandonment of many villages and cities."

Pope Francis encouraged Bulgaria's leaders to continue creating conditions that will allow young people "to invest their youthful energies and plan their future", knowing they can lead "a dignified life" in their own homeland. The Pope also respectfully invited all Bulgarians, "who are familiar with the drama of emigration," not to close their eyes, hearts or hands "to those who knock at your door".

Pope Francis suggested we should "profit from the hospitality of the Bulgarian people" so that every religion can contribute to the growth of a culture of "respect for the human person", and "rejecting every form of violence and coercion". In this way, said the Pope, those who seek "to manipulate and exploit religion will be defeated."

Pope Francis had a meeting with young people from various religions. As he arrived, two young people offered him bread and salt—a traditional way to welcome an important guest. The Pontiff heard the testimony of a couple - a young Muslim woman and a young Catholic from the Byzantine rite. A group paid tribute to him with a traditional dance.

Pope Francis responded to a young Muslim woman who wanted to know if dreaming of a world with religious unity was dreaming too much. "I would like to say to you: dreaming is never too much. Even if you make mistakes, you can always get up and start over, for no one has the right to rob you of hope." He encouraged people to communicate with others in a personal face-to-face encounter, and not through impersonal mobile screens. We have entered into the digital age, but actually we know very little about communication. We are all 'connected,' but not really 'involved' with one another."

He urged the young to spend time with the elderly, listen to their stories, which may sometimes seem a bit unreal, but in fact are full of rich experiences, symbols of solutions that can be an antidote against all those who want to lock themselves up in the suffocating present, that drowns them with demands for alleged happiness. Not to dedicate time to the elderly is to be like a tree without roots.

Collated from Vatican News & Rome Reports

08 A Mother's Demanding Role - Pope Francis

posted May 16, 2019, 3:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:28 AM ]

Pope Francis gave a shout-out to moms around the world on May 12, 2019, after praying the midday Regina Coeli with those gathered in St Peter's Square:

"Celebrated in many countries today is 'Mother's Day.' I would like to send a dear greeting to all mothers, thanking them — an applause for all mothers! — for their precious work in the upbringing of children and in guarding the value of the family. We also remember the mothers that look at us from Heaven, and continue to watch over us with prayer. Our thought goes also to our heavenly Mother, whom we will celebrate tomorrow, May 13, with the name Our Lady of Fatima. We entrust ourselves to Her to continue on our way with joy and generosity."

Reflecting on the role of mothers today, Pope Francis said: "A life without challenges doesn't exist," and that is one reason a child needs a mother, Pope Francis suggested in a speech this month.

Mothers fulfil a vital role by helping children "look realistically at life's problems," without getting "lost in them," the Pope said. A mother helps her children "to tackle" problems courageously and to become strong enough to overcome the problems they inevitably confront.

Of course, in this role, a mother walks a fine line, seeking a "healthy balance" for a child, said Pope Francis. That means a mother "does not always take the child along the safe road, because in that way, the child cannot develop, but neither does she leave the child only on the risky path, because that is dangerous."

A mother, said the Pope, "knows how to balance things."

Pope Francis talked about mothers' roles during a May 4 visit to the Basilica of St Mary Major, the oldest church in the West dedicated to Jesus' mother. May is observed in the Church as a month of Mary.

During his visit, Pope Francis accented Mary's motherhood. In her own life, Mary "saw many difficult moments," he noted. And "like a good mother, she is close to us, so that we may never lose courage before the adversities of life" and "might feel her support in facing and overcoming the difficulties of our human and Christian journey."

But while Mary's motherhood was central in the talk Pope Francis gave, it seemed clear his observations were directed to all mothers. I found his comments relevant for fathers too.


09 What are you reading this summer? - Fr Joshan Rodrigues

posted May 16, 2019, 3:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:26 AM ]

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one." – George R.R. Martin. The deep penetration of digital technology into our lives had prompted many to prophesy the demise of paperbacks and hand-held books with the passage of time. Surprisingly though, books refuse to walk into the sunset, instead growing even more popular with the i-Generation. This is evident from the large number of bookstores dotting our city, filled with youngsters crouching over a book with a cup of latte. The number of books being published has only increased over time, ironically because digital writing tools and software have made writing and reading accessible to the larger populace. "This young generation does not read!" is largely a myth, as I discovered while talking to young people, in the process of putting together this list.

Summer is a great time to catch up on reading, whether you are on the sandy beaches of Goa, chilling at a resort outside the city limits, or still commuting to and fro from work by train. For those who drive, audio books are a great option. Here's a list of some great books recommended by The Examiner readers. If you're planning to pick up a book but can't make up your mind, you can begin with one of these. Do let us know what you are reading by leaving us a message on our Facebook page - 'The Examiner Catholic Newsweekly' @theexaminermumbai.

Millennium (by Ian Mortimer)

History's greatest tour guide, Ian Mortimer, takes us on an eye-opening and expansive journey through the last millennium of human innovation. In Millennium, bestselling historian Ian Mortimer takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the last ten centuries of Western history. It is a journey into a past vividly brought to life and bursting with ideas, that pits one century against another, in his quest to measure which century saw the greatest change.

We journey from a time when there was a fair chance of your village being burned to the ground by invaders — and dried human dung was a recommended cure for cancer — to a world in which explorers sailed into the unknown, and civilisations came into conflict with each other on an epic scale. Here is a story of godly scientists, fearless adventurers, cold-hearted entrepreneurs, and strong-minded women — a story of discovery, invention, revolution, and cataclysmic shifts in perspective.

Millennium is a journey into the past like no other. Our understanding of human development will never be the same again, and the lessons we learn along the way are profound ones for us all.

Elsa D'Silva, Andheri

Word by Word (by Kory Stamper)

While most of us might take dictionaries for granted, the process of writing them is in fact as lively and dynamic as language itself. With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper cracks open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography—from the agonising decisions about what and how to define, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She explains why small words are the most difficult to define (have you ever tried to define 'is'?), how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence. Throughout, Stamper brings to life the hallowed halls (and highly idiosyncratic cubicles) of Merriam-Webster—a world inhabited by quirky, erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate. A sure delight for all lovers of words, Word by Word might also quietly improve readers' grasp and use of the English language.

Runcil Rebello, Bhayandar


11 Modern Saints - Fr F. M. Britto

posted May 16, 2019, 3:24 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:24 AM ]

The first Pope to visit India (Pope St Paul VI)

This year, our homes are adorned with the Mission Sunday calendars picturing Pope St Paul VI. In 2000 years of Christianity in India, he was the first Pope ever to step on the soil of not only our motherland, but also Asia. This is the first year the Church celebrates the feast day of this recently declared saint.

Giovanni Battista Montini, who later became Pope Paul VI, was born on September 26, 1897 at Concesio, Italy. After his ordination on May 29, 1920, his bishop sent him to Rome for higher studies. He was then recruited for the Vatican diplomatic services. He served at the Vatican Secretariat of State for 30 years with increased responsibilities. Pope Pius XII appointed him Archbishop of Milan - the largest Italian diocese - in November 1954, and Pope John XXIII named him a cardinal in 1958. As expected, he succeeded Pope John XXIII on June 21, 1963, and took the name Paul VI.

He continued the Second Vatican Council begun by his predecessor, guiding the remaining three sessions. After the completion of the Council on December 8, 1965, Pope Paul VI was confronted with the formidable task of implementing the decisions. In July 1968, he published the much debated encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life) on artificial means of birth control. His stand on the retention of the priestly celibacy (Sacerdotalis caelibatus, June 1967) also brought much criticism. The Pope was also disturbed by the number of religious men and women asking for release from their vows, or quitting their religious lives.

From the very outset, he gave importance to the solution of social problems and their impact on world peace. Such problems dominated in his first encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam (His Church) in August 1964, and then in Populorum Progressio (Progress of the Peoples), March 1967. As a great devotee of Mary, he declared her as the Mother of the Church, and issued three Marian encyclicals. He authored seven encyclicals.

With changes proposed in the liturgy by Vatican II, he promulgated a new Roman Missal in 1969. He introduced vernacular language in the liturgy. Paul VI established the Synod of bishops as an advisory body to the papacy in September 1965. Since he had worked in the Roman Curia for years, he enacted gradual reforms. In August 1966, he made all bishops submit their resignations on their 75th birthday.

Paul VI made history as the first Pope to leave Europe. He undertook a series of unparallelled apostolic journeys that saw him set foot on five continents, earning him the nickname 'The Pilgrim Pope'. In 1970, Paul VI undertook the longest papal journey in modern history, ten days visiting Tehran, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka. When he stepped down from the plane in Manila, an attempt was made on his life, but providentially, he escaped with no serious injury. In all these trips, basically, he dealt with the same themes: social justice, world peace, illiteracy, brotherhood and international cooperation.


12 Involved, Indifferent or Undecided? - Eddy D’Da

posted May 16, 2019, 3:22 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:22 AM ]

"The enemy sends errors in pairs. He relies on our dislike of one to send us into the opposite," warns C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. We're all prone to address an evil that offends or victimises us by embracing its flawed opposite. Nowhere is this clearer than the current relationship the Church has with social justice,where many Christians inadvertently embrace the extreme of uncompassionate individualism or permissive secularism. Both are a corruption of the grace and truth that is the gospel, and both feed into one another in subtle but devious ways.

Many conservative Christians reject involvement in what has come to be known as the "Christian social justice movement". To them, participation in this movement compromises doctrine by pursuing a false gospel that emphasises cultural identity, social engineering and earthly liberation over repentance and spiritual liberation from sin. This world becomes the focus, and God's law is replaced by interpretations of the human experience and relativism. To them, the achievements of this worldly bunch are negated by the frayed social fabric left in their wake. For instance, while they agree with equal treatment under the law for women, many believe the women's equality movement has become an effort to deny natural gender distinctions, and ultimately, to subside biological difference. Accurate or not, many evangelical Christians have used this narrative as justification to disparage and obstruct efforts connected with social justice.

At best, this line of reason ignores injustice; at worst, it rationalises the Church's participation in the oppressive status quo. From the untouchability era to mass incarceration today, overlooking systemic injustices prolongs the suffering of our brothers and sisters. And in an ironic twist, this posture results in fertile ground for the growth of a secularised social gospel influencing the next generation of believers, who struggle to find justice-seekers in the evangelical Church. In other words, pushing back against social justice has made the "social justice warrior" caricature an attractive reality. Indeed, the Church's social justice neglect has allowed groups outside—and at times, opposed to—the Church to fill that gap.

It should be difficult to read the gospels without being overwhelmed by the force of Jesus' social concern. Whether it's the adulterous woman, the Good Samaritan, or Jesus commanding us to love our neighbour as ourselves, Jesus both models and commands active concern for our neighbour's well-being. This involves more than a "bless your heart" moment, or honourable but distant charity. In James 2:15-17, the apostle articulates the insufficiency of well-wishing without action: "Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."


14 Combat hatred with love on the networked platforms - Shaiju Joseph SSP

posted May 16, 2019, 3:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:19 AM ]

On Friday, March 15, 2019, the world received the shocking news of the mass shooting of innocent people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The young man, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, who gunned down 50 worshippers, including a 3-year-old child, had an agenda—to propagate hatred and fear, and get fame.

This is evident from the planning and execution of this heinous incident. Prior to the firing, he posted a 74-page manifesto of hatred and violence on Twitter. Then he called the attention of the world to himself by opening fire at innocent strangers and live-streamed the bloodshed on Facebook. The live streaming on Facebook was not a spontaneous decision. It was well planned. He went prepared. He wanted to spread his story of hatred to the whole world.

His weapon was not only the semi-automated gun he used. He used the more powerful tool of social media. “I chose firearms for the effect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide, and the effect it could have on the politics of the United States, and thereby the political situation of the world,” he said in his ‘manifesto’. He knew that the carnage would go viral. The clip would be shared by millions of people, and would travel on multiple platforms and devices. In fact, he wanted to use both the networked platforms and us (the users) to share his story of hatred.

The New Zealand government was quick to recognise the intention of the perpetrator and acted swiftly. The government ordered YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to remove the video from their platforms, and to contain the clip from going viral. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacintha Ardern, denied him the fame he wanted, when she said, “You will never hear me mention his name.” She added, “He is a terrorist; he is a criminal; he is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”


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