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May 10, 2007

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Benedict

He decided with Jimmy Akin around, Italy was in good enough hands.

Tim J.

Shoot... I thought for a second that the title of this post might mean that B16 was heading to Arkansas.

Or at least Memphis.

Oh well... I'm sure Brazil needs attention, too.

A.Williams

After reading John Allen's analysis of the religious dilemma's facing the Catholic Church in all of Latin America, I can only think that there is one item that nobody seems to be talking about, a fundemental root of so many problems in the Latin American Church: Adultery, premarital sex and an epidemic of 'dead beat dads'.

I highlight this, as I have done before in other threads, only because it is almost never discussed, or considered to be a root cause of so many spiritual, cultural and economical ills in all of Latin America.

Since I live in the Caribbean, in a Latin American country, I see it first hand, everyday. And all those I talk to on the subject, here, also agree that it is a fundemental vice affecting almost every aspect of life, and especially poverty, the family and religion.

To put it short.. with so much adultery and premarital sex occurring, especially amongst the poorest of the poor, the effects on Catholic faith, practice and spirituality, are incredible. And because even the poorest KNOW that what they are doing is wrong, they knowingly decide to stay away from the Sacraments. (For instance, here in the Dominican Republic, only about 15% of the Catholics attend Mass on any given Sunday) And many who are living in sin or impurity, who DO attend Mass, refrain from Holy Communion, as is taught them to do by many Pastors here.

Furthermore, there are multitudes of families with extramarital children, and even more single mothers, whose boyfriends or husbands have abandoned them to raise the children alone.

What I'm trying to say, is that THIS PROBLEM, being a ROOT PROBLEM, needs to be addressed! If laws against adultery, divorce and 'dead beat dads' were enforced ...there might actually be a chance for the Church to start flourishing again. If nothing is done ...I think Pope Benedict's trip will have little effect. Cultural and political discipline and regulation, in regards to marraige and sex, is something that shouldn't be ignored any longer in Latin America.

I pray that Pope Benedict, on this important trip, will adequately address this root evil!

"Thou shalt not commit Adultery"!

Alvarro

The Franciscan monk who will become Brazil's first native-born saint is credited with 5,000 miracle cures, but doctors are skeptical of his works and even a former Brazilian archbishiop laments the healings as fakery.

Despite the doubts, the canonization of Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao by Pope Benedict XVI at an open-air mass on Friday is sure to please the more than 1 million Catholics expected to be in attendance.

The Vatican has officially certified the medical cases of two Brazilian women as divinely inspired miracles that justify the sainthood of Galvao.

Both of these women spoke of their faith with The Associated Press, claiming that their children would not be alive today were it not for the tiny rice-paper pills that Friar Galvao handed out two centuries ago.

Although the friar died in 1822, the tradition is carried on by Brazilian nuns who toil in the Sao Paulo monastery where Galvao is buried, preparing thousands of the Tic Tac-sized pills distributed free each day to people seeking cures for all manner of ailments. Each one is inscribed with a prayer in Latin: "After birth, the Virgin remained intact. Mother of God, intercede on our behalf."

Sandra Grossi de Almeida, 37, is one such believer. She had a uterine malformation that should have made it impossible for her to carry a child for more than four months. But in 1999, after taking the pills, she gave birth to Enzo, now 7.

"I have faith," Grossi said, pointing to her son. "I believe in God, and the proof is right here."

Nearly 10 years before that, Daniela Cristina da Silva, then 4 years old, entered a coma and suffered a heart attack after liver and kidney complications from hepatitis A.

"The doctors told me to pray because only a miracle could save her," Daniela's mother Jacyra said recently. "My sister sneaked into the intensive care unit and forced my daughter to swallow Friar Galvao's pills."

A few days later, a cured Daniela was discharged from the hospital.

But doubters remain.

"That was no miracle," said Roberto Focaccia, an infectious disease expert at the hospital where Daniela was treated. "Statistics show that an average of 50 percent of these patients die and the other 50 percent recover completely. She was lucky to be among the 50 percent who survive.

"It worries me," he added, "that so many people think that these small pieces of paper can replace the treatment available in any decent hospital in Brazil."

Even the church has skeptics.

In 1998, shortly after Galvao was beatified as a key step toward sainthood, then-Archbishop Aloisio Lorscheider of Aparecida do Norte ordered the nuns to stop making what he called "small pieces of paper that foster superstition." But his ban fizzled and the pills remained as popular as ever.

"Those pills are like the fake medicines that miracle workers claim could cure all diseases," Lorscheider said by telephone from southern Brazil, where he lives in retirement.

"If I were archbishop today, I would ban those pills again because all they are good for is to fool the people," he said. "But like in 1998, I don't think anything I could say would stop their production."

Thousands of believers flock to the 18th-century Luz Monastery every day for the pills, three of which must be swallowed over a nine-day period known as a "novena."

"This is the third time I am here for the pills and all I can say is they work," said Antonio Celso Poltronieri, who lined up under a sweltering sun to get the holy pills for his mother, an Alzheimer's sufferer. "My mother now takes care of herself, cooks and washes."

The cases of Grossi and da Silva were documented by Sister Celia Cadorin — assigned in 1986 to be Galvao's "postulator" and investigate his possible sainthood. She said the first known miracle attributed to the pills was a boy who was cured of kidney stones in the 1780s, and "to this day, the reports continue pouring in."

Augustine

I'd add to the fellow Caribbean Catholic, that Catholics in Latin America don't flee the Church to Protestant sects because they will condone their vices. Rather, they'll hear, perhaps for the first time ever from the pulpit, that either they straighten up or they risk eternal damnation.

Why don't they hear this from Catholic pulpits? Because the cancer of Liberation Theology dominates the Latin American clergy, convincing them that Heaven is here and now under a Socialist system. With such a shallow view of the mystery of life and of eternal life, it's not hard to understand that the faithful seek "greener" pastures.

And, worst of all, a good part of those defecting Catholicism are church-going people, pulling Mass attendance even lower.

May Our Lady of Aparecida intercede for the Church in Latin America.

Brian

Why don't they hear this from Catholic pulpits? Because the cancer of Liberation Theology dominates the Latin American clergy

Sadly, we don't hear "straighten up or risk eternal damnation" here in the States either. I imagine the same is true in Europe and the rest of North America. I think Liberation Theology is just the way that a deeper problem has expressed itself in Latin America.

Augustine

Brian,

I think you're onto something that might explain better the state of the Church in several countries.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for the Church.

Maureen

"Und on our way home, we'll stop off at Mr. Akin's house. I hear zere is a dance tonight!"

Some Day

The Pope went to go visit the future of Catholicism.

The last super-huge Catholic country.

It almost restored the Empire a couple years ago.
40% voted in favor, and it would have won if the Republican forces didn't cheat.

Imagine a true Catholic country with the Church and State united.

And it is still the biggest Catholic population.

And not to brag but as Cardinal Rode said in Brazil yesterday I think, the Brazilian Born Heralds of the Gospel is a "miracle" because of the great number of vocations.

Brazil is new "Daughter of the Church", taking off where France and later Spain apostated from.

Fue muito bem la visita do Papa!

Holy Office of B16

Mas esto no es español. Que pena. Muy malo el google de este sitio.

Brian

Articles like this Pope in Hot Water Again are all over the internet after Pope Benedict acknowledged the sufferings of indigenous Latin Americans during colonization at today's general audience.

The above article lists two quick quotes the Pope made in South America: "Christianity was not imposed by a foreign culture," and "Christ was the Saviour (America’s natives) silently yearned for." Which apparently have resulted in many people calling for him to issue an apology. The media is quick to relate this situation to the reaction to his Regensburg address.

I haven't read the whole texts from Benedict's comments today or from his trip, but I have two preliminary rhetorical questions:

1) Are we 5 years old? It's not like Benedict called anyone mean names or something. He gave his version of history. If you disagree, gather up your evidence and explain your reasoning for why he's wrong. Yelling, "That's not nice, take it back!" is not how adults handle differences of opinion. I understand that the Pope's remarks were very nuanced and easily misunderstood. My interpretation of them is that he wasn't denying that the conquistadors forced their culture on the New World. Instead he was saying that Christianity isn't something that must be imposed in place of indigenous cultures, rather it completes and fulfills them. No matter which level of understanding someone disagrees with his comments, there's no reason one can't respond like an adult rather than throw tantrums and demand apologies like a child.

2) What do people expect the Pope to say? Is he supposed to proclaim that Jesus died on the cross for everyone except the native Latin American people? I don't expect non-Christians to agree with the Benedict's comments - and as I said before I'm all for people responding with rational disagreements to them - but don't blame the Pope for being Catholic.

Anyway, I hope that Benedict keeps proclaiming the truth and keeps upsetting people. Agree or disagree with him, Benedict's statements are usually well thought out - he doesn't shoot from the hip. I wish people would give him the same consideration when expressing their disagreements with his statements.

Juan

Instead he was saying that Christianity isn't something that must be imposed in place of indigenous cultures, rather it completes and fulfills them.

Not quite. The Pope said: "The Utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal Church, would not be a step forward: Indeed, it would be a step back." That is a rather clear statement saying that such indigenous cultures are NOT to be practiced. Instead, only synthetic post-indigenous religions are to be practiced, as in, "The wisdom of the indigenous peoples fortunately led them to form a synthesis between their cultures and the Christian faith which the missionaries were offering them."

Brian

Juan, thank you for debating my and Benedict's statements.

I think the Pope was trying to make the distinction between culture and religion. He spoke against reverting back to pre-Columbian religions, not pre-Columbian cultures. He said it was the wisdom of the indigenous people to synthesize their cultures with the Christian faith, not European culture. Catholics believe its their mission to spread the Gospel to the whole world; they believe this can be done while still celebrating diversity of culture. But I see your point that culture and religion are usually so intertwined that it's impossibly to draw a clean distinction between the two.

I also think it's very easy to respond that Benedict is trying to pull a fast one by assigning all the negative aspects of colonization to the cultures of Spain, Portugal, and the other colonizing nations while assigning all the positive aspects to Christianity. Especially since he didn't afford Islam this luxury in Regensburg. If someone challenged me on this I wouldn't know how to respond, but maybe someone else here does.

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