Showing posts with label Franciscans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Franciscans. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rome’s Most Popular Church: Warning Notice About Reception of Communion

Santa Maria in Aracoeli, the youngest of the Roman churches, which was built in the basilica style. On the left is the "Fatherland altar".

(Rome) The Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli on the Capitol is one of the most popular churches in Rome. In it, in a side chapel, the Santo Bambino, the baby Jesus, is worshiped. In the church, a warning board has now been attached, which is the opposite of what is said under the slogan "Communion for all".

The "Holy Child" was carved by a Franciscan in the late Middle Ages from the wood of an olive tree from the garden Gethsemani. The Franciscan order has been in charge of the church since 1250. From 1517 until the end of the 19th century, it even housed the Order's General House. The construction of the present church began shortly before.

The first church on this highest elevation on the Capitol, the former political and religious center of the city of Rome, was built in the 6th century. The church was connected to a Benedictine monastery. At that time the church was still called Santa Maria in Capitolio. The grand staircase to the church was built by the city council in the middle of the 14th century, as an exvoto for the end of the plague that raged in Europe at the time.

High altar with miraculous image

The church on the hill, today somewhat constrained by the oversized promulgation of the secular "Fatherland Altar", with which the Italian state celebrated its unification and the conquest of Rome (and also symbolically overshadowed the conquered Church, along with a new state cult), Throughout the centuries, it was the church of the Roman people - even more than St. Peter's Basilica and the other patriarchal basilicas. Here, the Romans make their pilgrimage today with their worries and requests for the baby Jesus. Here they thank with the Te Deum at the end of the year.

In 1797, the French Revolutionary troops expelled the Franciscans, robbing and destroying. The church was profaned. Already in 1799 it was restored and the brothers of St. Francis of Assisi returned. When Italy was united by force in 1870 and eliminated the Papal States, the monasteries on the Capitol, like all monasteries, were abolished. The young state turned it into a barracks.

ara caeli

In 1886 the monastic history of the monastery ended, which was demolished to give way to the aforementioned monument, which the Romans derisively call "the bit". Shortly before 1900, the Franciscans built a new, much smaller monastery next to it.

The baby Jesus was stolen in 1994 by unknown perpetrators. The excitement and indignation in Rome was very great - even Rome's underworld. From the prisons of the city, the imprisoned Roman
crooks appealed to the perpetrators to return the baby Jesus. It has remained lost until today. The Roman crooks then started a collection of money from the prison. With the money a faithful copy was made, which has been worshiped since then in the church.

The Franciscans, whether for a concrete or preventive occasion, at the entrances to the church brought a multilingual reference reminding and admonishing the faithful and visitors of the church in Italian, English, French and Spanish:

"At the Holy Mass, only baptized persons who are in the state of grace can receive Eucharistic communion."

A reminder that also applies to some German bishops.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Wikicommons
Trans: Tancred

Friday, May 19, 2017

"The Jihadist Couldn't Behead Me and Asked: 'Who Are You?'" -- The Witness of Abuna Nirwan

(Jerusalem) Abuna Nirwan is a Franciscan from Iraq. Before his ordination he had completed a medical examination. When he went to the Holy Land in 2004, the Dominican Women of the Rosary gave him a relic and a rosary from their founder, which Father Nirwan always carries with him.

Maria Alfonsina Ghattas and the Dominican Women of the Rosary

Maria Alfonsina Ghattas

The Dominican Women of the Rosary, a missionary order, were founded by Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, a Palestinian Catholic who was born in 1843 in Jerusalem, which was still part of the Ottoman Empire. At a young age, she joined a French religious order, but in 1880, according to a vision, she founded her own order for Arab girls.The missionary community, now spread in eight countries of the Middle East, is the only order founded by the Latin Patriarchy, which was reestablished in 1847 in Jerusalem.
In 2009 Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas was beatified in Nazareth's preaching base. On May 17, 2015,  she was canonized by Pope Francis. Her liturgical commemoration day is the 25th of March, when she died in 1927 in A Karim near Jerusalem (then the British League of Nations Mandate for Palestine).
When Benedict XVI in 2009, had ordered the investigation for a miracle for the Beatification of the religious, as usual, he ordered the Exhumation of the Corpse. The local bishop instructs a doctor. With the exhumation of the body of Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, Father Nirwan was commissioned because of his training, and he also wrote the medical report.

Father Nirwan (center) as head of exhumation

As the Spanish Opus Dei priest Santiago Quemada, who lived in Jerusalem, reported on his blog Un sacerdote en Tierra Santa (A Priest in the Holy Land), two years before, extraordinary events had taken place. The report by Quemada has now been taken up by various media.
What was reported occurred on July 14, 2007. Abuna Nirwan, who had been working in the Holy Land for three years, paid a visit to his family in Iraq. In Jordan, he got in a taxi, as he explained it in spring 2016 in the sermon in the almost completely Christian Palestinian town of Beit Jalla near Bethlehem.
"It was not then possible to visit my family by plane. That was forbidden. As a means of transport, therefore, only the car could be considered. My intention was to get to Baghdad and from there to Mosul where my parents lived. 

The driver was frightened because of the situation that prevailed in Iraq. A family - father and mother with a two-year-old girl - had asked if they could go with me. The taxi driver told me they had asked him to. I had no objection. They were Muslims. The driver was a Christian. He told them that there was room and they could come along. We stopped at a gas station, where another young Muslim asked if he could go to Mossul. Since there was still room, we also took him.
The border between Jordan and Iraq was closed until the morning. As the sun rose, the roadblock opened and the 50 or 60 vehicles were slowly moving in succession.
We continued our journey. After more than an hour we came to a checkpoint. We made our passports ready and stopped. The driver said, 'I am afraid of this group'. It was a military control post. However, as it turned out, an Islamic terrorist organization had killed the soldiers and taken control of the position.
When we were at the checkpoint, our passports were checked while we stayed in the car. Then they left with the passports. A person came back and said to me: 'Father, we need to continue to review. You can come to the office.'  "Well," I said, "if we are to come, we'll come." We then walked a quarter of an hour, until we came to a barrack, which had been directed to us.
Once there, two men with hooded faces came out. One had a video camera in one hand and a knife in the other. The other held a Koran in his hand. They came to us, and one of them asked me, 'Father, where are you from?' I said, from Jordan. Then he repeated the question to the driver. Finally, he turned to the young man who traveled with us, grabbed him from behind and killed him with a knife. We were frozen. They tied my hands behind me and said to me, 'Father, we are recording everything for Al Jazeera . Do you want to say something? But no more than a minute.' I said, "No, I just want to pray." They let me pray for a minute.
Then a man pushed me down to my knees and said, 'You are a priest. It is forbidden for your blood to fall to the ground, that would be a sacrilege.' He fetched a bucket and came to cut my throat. I no longer know what prayers I prayed at this moment. I was very afraid. Then I said to Maria Alfonsina: 'If it is so, that the Lord takes me away, I am ready. But if that is not so, I ask you that no one else will die."
The man grabbed my head and guided his knife with the other hand. Then nothing happened. After a moment of silence, he said, 'Who are you?' I replied, 'A religious brother.' Then he said, 'Why can I not manage to set the knife? Who are you?'
Without answering, he left me and said, 'Father, you and all the others, return to the car.'
We did that and were able to continue the journey.
Since that moment, I have ceased to be afraid of death. I know I will die one day, but now I am really aware that this will be when God wants it. Since then, I am no longer afraid of anything and nobody. What happens to me will be done according to God's will. He will give me the strength to take His cross. What counts is faith. God accepts those who believe in Him."
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: (Screenshots)
Trans: Tancred

Friday, January 29, 2016

Only "Administrative Decision" on Medjugorje -- Cardinal Puljics Recommendation to the Pope

(Rome) Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo and member of the Pontifical Commission of Inquiry, which is mandated to study the phenomenon of Medjugorje, said to have "recommended" to the pope to come to a decision on Medjugorje only on "administrative" aspects, but not on the "phenomena" and messages. [The messages are obviously heretical, if words can mean anything at all.]
The Virgin Mary is alleged to have regularly appeared at a parish of Medjugorje for the past 35 years to six "seers", which is  under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Mostar. Bishop Ratko Peric, like his predecessor Pavao Zanic (to 1993), regarded the Medjugorje phenomenon with great skepticism.  Bishop Zanic declared as competent ecclesiastical authority that the alleged apparitions were "not supernatural" in character ( non constat de supernaturalitate ). This decision was supported and confirmed in 1991 by the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference  and still applies today.
People have "the right to go to Medjugorje to pray and do penance," explained Cardinal Puljic in December for the Turkish state news agency Anadolu Agency (AA). Medjugorje "is one of the largest confessional benches, not only the Balkans, but in all of Europe, and that has to be somehow taken into account when deciding which one will meet".
Cardinal Puljic therefore recommended to the Pope a decision to "solely" address the "administrative aspects", responding in  "no way to the question of appearances." "When it comes to visions and messages, which are still under consideration,  the Church does not move quickly.  The Church does not hurry, but always arrives at a conclusion. I'm not worried about the attitude of the Holy Father or those of the CDF. "
Concerning  the pilgrims, the Cardinal, that which has already been said  applies: "It is important that the people who go to Medjugorje, pray for the strengthening of their faith and are comforted in returning home."

"Solomonic" or "Educational" solution?

Behind the scenes there has been a tug of war for years in the Vatican   around Medjugorje. The Vatican became increasingly cautious, while some Church officials, including the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Schönborn, are convinced of the authenticity of the phenomenon. [Not exactly a vote of confidence.] Since the 80s, however, there has been a negative decision on  Medjugorje. Since then, it is argued by proponents that Rome had not yet decided. A decision of Rome, however, not canonically necessary to be  provided. Among the supporters  of Medjugorje, there is the claim that Pope John Paul II. and the then faith Prefect of the CDF, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger have commented positively about Medjugorje, which has been denied in writing by Cardinal Ratzinger 1998.
In 2009 the CDF confirmed the jurisdiction of the Bosnian bishops and thus the negative decision of 1991.
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI. finally established a Vatican commission of inquiry to examine the phenomenon of Medjugorje and bring about the much-discussed decision in Rome. The signals emanating  from the Commission  were negative in the matter. At the turn of 2012, the final   report  was placed in front of the Pope.
Since then,  a decision has been delayed by some church circles, helped along by the unexpected resignation of Benedict XVI. The Commission of Inquiry had completed its work, yet remained  for another two years in office until 2014.
A postponement is argued for since it is concerned that a negative decision could unsettle many believers and shake in their faith. In fact, those in the know confirm that tension is very high among Medjugorje. The danger of divisions within the Bosnian Franciscans makes the regular rounds.  An argument  from experience- which is not taken lightly in Rome,  confirms the reluctance of Pope Francis. Francis has expressed himself repeatedly against "an addiction to apparitions and messages."
On 6 June 2015, the Pope had himself expressed the view of an early decision on the return flight from Sarajevo.  But nothing has happened since then. At the end of June, Andrea Tornielli, the  papal  household vaticanist said that a decision would wait until "after the summer break", perhaps would even be  given "at the Synod of Bishops".
An "administrative" solution has presented itself after months. A decree lays on the desk of the pope which has been formulated since the spring of 2015. Medjugorje is recognized as a place of prayer, entrusted to the pastoral care of the Franciscan Order, but is subordinated to the jurisdiction and supervision of Rome. There will be no light  construction because it interferes with the rights of the Mostar diocese. Public appearances of the "seers" are also suppressed or completely prevented. As far as  a non-decision on the "apparitions" and "messages"  it is argued that the phenomenon is still ongoing and therefore, to make a final judgment prematurely was indeed impossible.   There is talk in Rome  of a "Solomonic" or "educational" solution.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Picture: Cari Filii / Wikicommons
Trans: Tancred
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

(Camouflaged) Franciscans at Spiritual Exercises

Franciscans at Spiritual Exercises 
(Madrid) In the shadow of the great Franciscan religious innovator, mystic and preacher of repentance, Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562) spiritual exercises for members of the Franciscan order took place in Arenas de San Pedro.The well-known Catholic journalist Francisco Fernandez de la Cigoña on InfoVaticana published a photo.
"The group of Franciscans is not numerous, but few are better than none. After all, the brothers who wear the habit, compared with those who have passed on their habit, is a slight majority. The two youngest among the brothers wear it anyway. About  a brother's shorts I am silent. With a minimum of respect for his status, he would have at least made it to   the back row. The older brothers, the more they seem to seek camouflage. The Franciscans once differed between shod and unshod brothers. Today they differ between Franciscans who are recognizable as such, and camouflaged Franciscans," said de la Cigoña.

Vocation crisis: Six Provinces Joined to One Province 

The Franciscans are from the Province of the Immaculate Concepcion, which has arisen due to the vocation shortage a few years ago from the merger of six provinces and one custody.
The Franciscan in the chasuble shows that the retreatants, as they appear, have just a Mass.
Peter de Alcantara reformed the Spanish branch of the Franciscan order and founded a new branch of the Strict Observance. He himself lived in the strictest asceticism. As confessor he was at the side of Emperor Charles V  when he abdicated and retired to a Hieronymite in Extremadura. Although the most powerful man in the world, he laid down the imperial crown, as he had recognized with the Peace of Augsburg, that he had failed in his role as Emperor to  preserve the unity of the Faith of the Holy Roman Empire. Peter de Alcantara was at an advanced age, also the spiritual advisor of St. Teresa of Avila. In 1622 he was beatified by Pope Gregory XV.  and canonized in 1669 by  Pope Clement IX. canonized.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: InfoVaticana
Trans: Tancred

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Iraqi Franciscan Freed in Syria

Orontem region especially dangerous for Christians. Aleppo / Jerusalem ( KNA) A week ago in the Syrian province of Idlib, a kidnapped Iraqi religious is free again. As the Franciscan Administration of the Holy Land in Jerusalem announced on Friday night, apparently police investigations led to the release of 41-year-old Iraqi.

The Franciscan Dhiya Aziz, a minister in Jacoubieh, was arrested last Saturday by an unknown armed group of fighters southwest of Aleppo and brought for questioning to the local emir. Since then, there has been no contact with him. According to information of the Order it was initially suspected that Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group, had participated in the kidnapping.

Born in Mosul, Aziz had first worked in Egypt and Jordan, from which he volunteered to go to Syriac Lattakieh and was then assigned to Jacoubieh. The region on the Orontes is considered particularly dangerous, since it has fallen under the control of al-Nusra Jabhat.

In June, a Catholic priest was also killed in an attack on a Franciscan monastery by rebels in the province of Idlib. The monastery was robbed. A friar also living at the place and sisters were unhurt. (C) 2015 Catholic News Agency KNA GmbH. All rights reserved. Link to Trans: Tancred AMDG

Friday, December 19, 2014

Franciscan Order is Bankrupt? Millions in Switzerland, Maxi-Fraud in Italy

Franciscans at Prayer
(Assisi / Rome) the information is still scarce and the situation is quite opaque. The headline is, however: Is The Franciscan Order (OFM) In Bankruptcy? What role did Father Rodriguez Carballo have? The transactions occurred during his tenure as Minister General of the Order. In 2013 he was appointed by Pope Francis as secretary of the religious congregation.
Worldwide, there are just over 14,000 Franciscans, the next come Minorites (OFM Conv) and Capuchins (OFM Cap) who form one of the three branches of directly going back to Saint Francis of Assisi's first order. Characteristic features are  the coarse brown tunics with a white rope and the rope symbol, called the cross of St. Anthony.

"Financial Shortfall" in Italy - Money Laundering in Switzerland?

For three months, the order's accounts have been reviewed by  the General Curia. According to the Italian weekly magazine Panorama,  the result is clear: there was a "financial shortfall" of tens of millions of euros. The Order, or rather the religious leadership, was deeply in debt and risking bankruptcy.
The starting point were the checks after the Swiss prosecutor's office last October, which seized accounts of the Franciscan Order seized with tens of millions of euros. They were suspect to have  invested in companies that serve as money laundering.
The investments in Switzerland were made ​​in the administration of José Rodriguez Carballo as Minister General. Rodriguez Carballo was,  from 2003-2013, the 119th Minister General of the Order.  On April 6, 2013, he was appointed by Pope Francis as secretary of the religious congregation. As such, he immediately gained notoriety because of the provisional administration of another Franciscan Order, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate . The appointment of Carballos Rodriguez was the first major personnel decision of the current pontificate.
According to Panorama  the mendicant orders of the "Poverello" of Assisi are liable to be killed by a mountain of debt and be insolvent. Specifically, it's about two different erroneous developments that might be related. In the first case there is the suspicion of deliberate mismanagement in Italy there by foreign persons may have enriched themselves with the help of the members of the orders. On the other hand it comes to bank accounts in Switzerland, which were confiscated by the Prosecutor.

Deposed General Treasurer of the Order

The minus due to mismanagement was, among other things, accumulated through the reconstruction of the hotel Il Cantico in Via Gregorio VII in Rome. The hotel management included the former General Treasurer of the Order, Father Giancarlo Lati. Meanwhile, he was replaced by Father Silvio De La Fuente. Officially "for health reasons" as the Order had announced. The Financial Administration of the Order is the focus of the investigation.
The Order is finding itself concerned about "financial difficulties in a critical situation," according to Father Michael Perry who has held office since 2013 as New Minister General.
The Swiss investigation must first be confirmed. If the seizure is to be valid, the question arises  as to who is responsible. It is clear that there are more than 14,000 brothers who  will suffer most because few have done wrong to the Order.

Persons Outside the Order and Members of Religious Order Under Suspicion

There are several "persons  who are not members of the religious order" under suspicion.  We are talking about maxi-rraud. After the internal checks it says in the Order, that the control and security mechanisms have been "compromised" or are "too weak" in financial matters. A more detailed clarification of who did and who did not play a role is sought.
In addition, "there seems to  be a certain number of dubious financial operations made by brothers, who had been entrusted to the custody of the finances," said the Minister General. "The extent and scope of these operations have brought the financial stability of the General Curia in great danger."
It seems that both brothers as well as some persons foreign persons outside the order have put the  Order   into the jeopardy and caused great financial loss. General Minister Perry turned to the competent authorities in Italy after completion of internal audits. The "competent ecclesiastical centers" were well informed.

State authorities and the Vatican informed - begging letter to Provincials

The  General Minister has asked  all religious provincials for "financial aid" for  the General Curia "to meet its  payment obligations and above all to pay the high passive interest."
The General Government commissioned a "qualified legal counsel" to take the necessary steps. After the dismissal of the former  Treasurer General, Father Pasquale Del Pezzo was called in turn to Rome. As special representative,  all economic and financial functions are under the care  of the General Curia.
He understood the "frustration" many brethren, as Minister General Perry. It was an "encouragement" to follow the example of Pope Francis, who had prompted with a "call for truth and transparency in the financial activities of the Church and of society."
In the Franciscan monasteries scattered all over the globe, there is much surprise. "With the contents of the letter I have" said the Minister General "thorough agreement," said Father Rosario Gugliotta, the curator of the Portiuncula Chapel and the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, the most important church of the Franciscan Order.

What is the responsibility ex-Minister General Rodriguez Carballo?

Curia Archbishop Father José Rodriguez Carballo was Minister General, as the shady financial transactions were carried out with the assets of the Order. As secretary of the religious congregation, he signed, together with Cardinal Prefect Joao Braz de Aviz, the new "guidelines"  because  the Order's property was lackadaisically managed. In early August they were published.
He will also have to answer questions  internally and answer questions. Whether  Swiss Justice will deal with it is not yet clear.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: VaticanInsider
Trans: Tancred

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Sign of the Times" -- Franciscans Give up Cloister in Reutte Tyrol

(Innsbruck) And again a monastery less. The last four brothers of the Franciscan Friary in the town of Reutte in the Tyrol have left their posts. After 386 years, the Franciscan monastery in the market town on the Lech has been abandoned. The Provincial of the Franciscan province of Austria, Father Oliver Ruggenthaler, justified the abandonment  to  ORF [Austrian Broadcasting] with the words: The small number of brothers was a "sign of the times".
Certainly it is a "sign" for the continued decline of a [once] glorious 800-year-old Order. The population of Reutte wanted to ask the Order to stay by a petition. An expression of solidarity and of feeling upon the departure of losing a part of one's identity. In addition to a piece of religious history, a piece of Church history comes to an end. But  the lack of religious youth can not be fixed with petitions. Nor can the lack of priests  be replaced by  "active participation of the laity in the pastoral space" (Mayor Alois Upper).
The Franciscans were came to Reutte in 1628, where they were summoned  the sovereign of  Tyrolea then, Archduke Leopold V of Austria. The original fifteen Franciscan monasteries Tyrol together with two smaller branches attest to the deep roots of the Order in this area. The oldest monastery of the Order in Bolzano originated most likely in 1221 during the lifetime of St. Francis of Assisi. At its peak the province of the mid-18th century had about 500 brothers. At that time also was included the Bavarian monastery  and monasteries in western Austria (Vorarlberg, Baden, Württemberg, Alsace) to the Tyrolean province. The 1927 for the annexation of South Tyrol by Italy made for a division that was overcome in 2001 by the unification in a single Tyrolean province of the Order, but has not halted the further decline of the Order. In 2007 there was a merger with the Austrian chapter.
Today there are eight monasteries in Tyrol. The branches of Kufstein, Klobenstein, Hinterriß, Maia and last Innichen (2012) and Reutte (2014) had to be abandoned because of a lack of growth. . The Monastery of Cortina d'Ampezzo still exists, but since the interwar period, it is part of the Venetian Province of the Order.
From 1977-2000 the Provincial Novitiate of the Order was located in Reutte. The vacant monastery has passed over to the Community of Reutte and is to be converted into an assisted living facility.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Franciscan Province
Trans: Tancred

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fire in Dormition Abbey Near the Upper Room After Papal Mass

Edit: where the Apostles hid for fear of the Jews.
(Jerusalem)  On Tuesday, a fire broke out in the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition Abbey next to the Upper Room in Jerusalem.  On Monday, Pope Francis had celebrated Holy Mass in the completion of his Holy Land visit in the Upper Room with the Catholic bishops. Even in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, there was another fire following the Pope's visit (see separate report Fire in the  Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem just below).

According to the press agency EFE  witnesses reported that   shortly after the Pope left the place and the Franciscans had removed the barriers,”  a stranger set a fire between the pews. He  built a  pyre out of small crosses a pyre, which he lit “ (see image). The fire was noticed immediately and was quickly brought under control.

Group of Radical Jews Cursed Franciscans After Papal Mass

Other witnesses reported, according to EFE that after the papal Mass a group of radical young Jews insulted the Franciscans that they would “desecrate the Jewish holy place with their crosses  in which the Cenacle is.” Since 1948, the Jews worship the ground floor beneath the Upper Room as the alleged grave of King David.
A Benedictine monk of the Dormition Abbey said that "the police were notified immediately, which was due to the security arrangements for the Pope's visit to the same place. The fire department was able to tame the flames quickly. "

An Unidentified Man Lit “Pyre" of Crosses

"We do not know who did it.  A man was seen.  The climate is unpleasant, it was against the Pope's visit protests. We do not know whether there is a connection. It can also be that it was the act of someone deranged,”  said the Benedictine.
The Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said according to AFP: "According to initial reports took a man who was not a Jew, took a candle and lit a book in the Dormition Abbey." Rosenfeld added explicitly that someone from “within the Church" could one not  be excluded." The Israeli authorities are trying to dispel any suspicion of Jewish authorship.

Is the Dispute Over the Upper Room in the Background?

Witnesses, however, according to EFE, reported that after the concelebrated Mass of Pope  Francis in the Upper Room, a group of young ultra-Orthodox Jews, cursed the Franciscans present, accompanied by a rabbi.   Even prior to the Pope's visit to the Holy Land, there had been considerable debate in Israel about  the Upper Room.  The Catholic Church has been trying for years to get the power over the most holy place for Christianity. Opposition was loudest in those parts of the Jewish community for reasons of principle, but also with reference to the alleged David grave under the Cenacle.
For 200 years  the Cenacle  was in the hands of the Franciscans of the Holy Land. In the 16th century it was taken from them arbitrarily by the Ottomans, because alleged voices  claimed  that King David lay buried on the ground floor.   However, the local stone sarcophagus dates from the Crusader period. In 1948 Israel seized the building on the same grounds and set a synagogue on the ground floor, while the Upper Room was made into a  museum.

Catholic Church Hopes to Get back Cenacle

The Christians wish to have the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place, in which Jesus Christ instituted the sacramental priesthood and the offered sacrament of the Eucharist, where he performed the washing of the feet, appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and in His Ascension on the Pentecost sent down the Holy Spirit  upon the disciples. On the ground floor, where the Jews worship is the alleged grave of David, was probably the oldest church in the world. Incised Crosses indicate a Judeo-Christian synagogue and thus is suspected to be the earliest church from the first century AD.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Infovaticana
Trans: Tancred

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Monastery of the Franciscans of the Immaculata -- Flowering Orders of Tradition

Grotto of the first Brothers(Ancona) The traditional new  Franciscan Order of the Immaculate revives old, abandoned monasteries of other orders. One of the latest examples is the recolonization of the old Franciscan monastery from Colfano di Camporotondo in the Archdiocese of Camerino-San Severino Marche in the Marche region of Italy. The convent of the Friars Minor was founded by Saint Francis of Assisi 1215-1221. The 800-year celebrations is almost here.. Although it is not to be directly celebrated by  the Pope whose namesake the great Saint who launched the Order is, but it can be celebrated and even be Franciscan. The Franciscans had to leave the old monastery for lack of new vocations, that they had revived continuously for so many centuries. Or at least almost continuously. When the grounds were occupied by Italian guerrillas and joined to the newly formed Kingdom of Italy, the anti-clerical government led by a Masonic dominance stormed the Monasteries. For a few years the monastery of Colfano was overturned by the state and the archive destroyed. In 1870 the Franciscans were able to return.
For 33 months has been empty, except with the Franciscans of the Immaculate who on the 2nd of July, 2012 introduced new life, which continues the legacy of countless generations of Friars Minor who have prayed and worked in the spirit of the "Poverello" of Assisi.
The monastery in Colfano has been colonized by a contemplative branch of the young Franciscan religious order in the gray-blue habit. In 1970, two Franciscan pulled out of the branch of the Franciscans to live in strict observance rules of the order and to maintain devotion to Mary in a special way. From this personal experience of two men, one of the most prosperous and fastest growing orders of the Catholic Church has emerged. An order which is also committed to the white tradition. The priest celebrating in both forms of the Roman rite, but internally Rite of the liturgy is celebrated exclusively in the Old Rite.
Today the Order has  four branches, two male and two female. One branch is always pastoral, missionary and evangelically active in the world, the other branch contemplative.
Founded in 2007 as the last of the four branches of contemplative male branch. The members of the order of this branch live a life of prayer and penance. The first monastery was built in Amandola, always in the lands that belonged to the Papal States until 1860. Colfano is now in a year, the second convent.
The Franciscans of the Immaculate, besides their founder Father, Francis of Assisi, they have two saints of modern times whom they revere and whose work they try to imitate: the stigmatist, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina andr Father Maximilian Kolbe murdered in a concentration camp as a martyr. Padre Pio was a Capuchin of the order of Father Maximilian Kolbe, both were thus Franciscan Minorites. Padre Pio stirred, among other things, the love of the Old Mass. Father Maximilian Kolbe, a missionary zeal to contribute to the evangelization. Both priestly figures are also modeled in the personal life, in obedience and patience - from Father Kolbe - to martyrdom.
From the older, active evangelism of the male branch of the Order, there are already 55 convents in many countries. Two convents are in Brazil, which will be active during World Youth Day, reinforced by numerous brothers and sisters from other convents. The catechesis for young people plays an important role in the Order.
In German-speaking areas, there is a monastery in Kitzbühel in Tyrol. Two further attempts to settle there have failed owing to resistance from the dioceses.
The Order maintains, after the example of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, numerous media, including in Italy Il settimanale di Padre Pio (The weekly newspaper of Padre Pio), which includes some of the best Catholic newspapers that exist in Europe at least.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Town Camporotondo Fiastrone
Trans: Tancred

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Robert Spaemann: Pope Francis Defends Catholic Tradition and Orthodoxy

Philosopher Robert Spaemann pins great hopes on the new Pope, criticized "modernists" in the church and welcomed people leaving the church, who reject the Catholic doctrine 

Berlin ( The well-known philosopher Robert Spaemann has warned in a recent interview with the "Junge Freiheit” of  an impending  church revolt and a split from Rome that is reminiscent of the historic anti-Roman affect which recalls the dualism of the Emperor and the Pope. "The secularization trend is worldwide, but where there is such a thing as the Central Committee of German Catholics, which is financed from church taxes? Fact is that in a Curia Bishop or private secretary of Pope hardly has the chance that a German cathedral would accept him as diocesan bishop" says Spaemann.  For him  it is also clear that the de-Catholicisation is a result of de-Christianization and that Protestantism will erode faster.

Surprising the process was not. The philosopher remembered this referring to the letter to Timothy, in which the "great apostasy" was the speech and of times when the people will not endure sound doctrine. "The people want a 'Wellness' religion." But, as CS Lewis says, if the question is, which religion is the most pleasant, he would not recommend Christianity. And he adds, that can be accomplished 'also a by bottle of port,’" says Spaemann.

Secession from Rome is still nothing better than an evaporation of Christianity. He himself, however, considers that "gradual erosion” is more likely, as a schism will probably be prevented by the church tax system. “The “modernists" in the Church who have already left are specifically continuing in the way of the Evangelical Church (Protestant Church in Germany). Because there you can find almost all of their demands fulfilled already. But they do not want to leave," said Spaemann. The reason is that we would not even now like to leave the fleshpots of Egypt. "More precisely, these groups represent in the Catholic Church which is something that they could no longer represent if they were Protestant and they benefit from the church tax, since they are funded by the official Church. '." He personally welcome the release of people who reject the Catholic doctrine and can have nothing to do with the Catholic Church.

The Catholic philosopher criticized then the usual “Liberal reform agenda”.  In this, the issue of the Christian faith, doesn’t even enter into it. Instead, it is about sexuality, "gender", ecumenism, democratization etc. "It may not be a trivial question, but it certainly is not the last question." Who talks about these, must be bored by most of the demands for reform. So it is with the questions of the relationship with God, to intellect, salvation, hope, salvation, eternal life, eternal death." A Catholic liberalism doesn’t attract the intellect, though he find pertinent applause. "Martin Mosebach writes that in his youth, in the society of his parents, a reform of the Liturgy of the Mass - the abolition of the Latin, etc. -. seemed absolutely imperative.  But then there was no longer a reason to go to Mass," said the philosopher. Reform of the Church had to be spiritual in nature. It must lead you to be more needful of it.

Robert Spaemann declared at the end of the interview that he also had high hopes for the new Pope Francis.  Spaemann writes to the "Junge Freiheit” in his own words: "On the one hand is a pope in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, who cares so particularly about nature and the poor and at the same time defends the Catholic tradition and orthodoxy, it is not as easy to disparage as "reactionary", as was the case with the thinker Benedict XVI.  unfortunately.

Incidentally, the "Cardinal of the poor", as he was called in Buenos Aires, was no friend at all the so-called Liberation Theology. And: It is perhaps little known that St. Francis in his Testament, the priests of the Church  are ranged higher than the angels, which requires unconditional respect for them, as well as the greatest treasure being the place where the Eucharist is kept. From the shift to the poor a revival of spiritual perspective can be made, the perspective that is directed towards eternal life. “ 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doyen of Exorcists Dies -- Sicilian Franciscan Served Thousands

Doyen  of Exorcists Dies - Father Matteo La Grua, "Am just a servant of my Lord"

(Palermo) Yesterday Father Matteo La Grua was burried in Palermo, Sicily. The world-class Exorcist belonged to the Friars Minor. Father La Grua was a judge at the Supreme Court in Church of the Sacred Rota in Rome, a professor of ascetical and mystical theology at the College of the Franciscan Order and the Archbishop's Seminary of Palermo. These are just a few key words describing the rich work of the Franciscan, who was a spiritual guide to thousands of believers. Father La Grua represented a Franciscan  who strove always while returning to the origin of the Order in St. Francis of Assisi. A permanent opening of the man towards brotherhood, peace, hospitality and total dedication to the ordained priesthood. Father Matteo La Grua was at the international level, the doyen of the exorcists of the Catholic Church. In 1975 he was appointed by Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo, Archbishop of Palermo.  As his confessor, Father La Grua was entrusted with the spiritual leadership of the Charismatic Renewal of the Archdiocese.
His Successor as exorcist of the Archdiocese of Palermo is now the Franciscan Fra Benigno, a disciple and companion of Father La Grua. The Exorcist was considered by the Franciscans of Palermo as a "living patron saint" of their city torn by crime and the mafia. He saw himself only as  a "servant of the Lord" with the command to "go"  comfort and heal. Accordingly, he saw his main task as a special confessor and as an exorcist. When asked about cases of demonic possession, Father Matteo replied stereotypically with the sentence: "I'm not going to discuss it." But he was eager to discuss evil and the demonic activity in the world.
Father Matteo La Grua was born on 14 February 1914 in Castelbuono, Sicily, close to the magnificent Norman cathedral of Cafalù. After joining the Friars Minor he was ordained priest in 1937. According to church law, he was already "retired". "For a priest, there is no retirement," he used to respond to those inquiries who asked why an over 90-year-old was still so active. Last Sunday, Father La Grua died shortly before his 98th Birthday in Palermo.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi

Friday, July 29, 2011

Franciscan Imitates St. Francis, Rebuilds Church Alone for Fifty Years

Editor: Franciscans are "friars" not monks.

God Willed It

The unbelievable story of Father Pietro Lavini: From 1954 to 2003 he rebuilt a monastery completely alone, in an untraveled mountain area in the Apennines.

Montemonaco ( In the spring of 1954 Father Pietro disappeared without a trace from his Cloister to rebuild a ruined Monastery in the Apennines Mountains. In the summer of 2003 the Bishop of Father Pietro received a letter with the sentence: "The Monastery is finished."

Andreas Englisch told the story of the Italian priest in his book "Traces of God: Miracles of the Catholic Church". Englisch had also related this story to the Hamburg evening news.

In the spring of 1954 the Abbot of the Franciscan Cloister by Ascoli Piceno in Adria noticed that Father Peitro had vanished. After a fruitless search he was removed from the list of priests, which entitles them to government support. He was reported as missing.

In the Summer of 1971, in the mountains near Gola del Infernaccio, a deep canyon in the middle of the Apennines mountains, which are famous for falling stones and avalanches, a mountain climber met the monk and told his Bishop: "The priest had very long, matted hair and a filthy beard. He lived in the cold of the high mountains in a kind of improvised hut made only from a few branches and a torn plastic tarp."

He sustained himself with heavily moldy bread, greens and tree bark. With self-made tools, he broke stones from the cliffs, there he was completely alone, without money or machines, where he wanted to rebuild the ruins of a Monastery. He had even built an aqueduct which carried water across the canyon. He collapsed from work many times, suffered broken bones, which he cured by himself with herbs. He showed me his serious injuries. I feared, the man was severely mad."

The Bishop then sent an inspector with the mission to bring the priest to a psychiatric clinic of the Franciscans. After his expedition, the inspector reported to the Bishop that after many discussions attempting to persuade Father Pietro, that "the brother isn't mad, rather he is a saint. I bid his blessing and hope that the Church will leave him there, where he is, completely close to God. I fear our time is mad, so that for us, the example of a man like Father Pietro is so rare." All attempts by the social office of the Bishop to induce the Priest to return, were unsuccessful.

Father Pietro had contact with a family from the village of Montemonaco, which lays some 20km from Father's abode. The father, Franco D'Agonsino, then wrote to the Bishop, "I don't wonder that he doesn't starve up there! The climb is difficult, and I bring Father Pietro something to eat, and every time his larder is bare. he appears not to be concerned by it. When the snow falls, he is cut off for months at a time. I don't know how he endures."

In the summer of 2003 a letter arrived at the Diocese of Ascoli Piceno: Father Pietro wrote only one sentence: "The Monastery is finished." The Bishop traveled by helicopter to the place and wrote a report to the Vatican thereon only one sentence: "What I have seen, is a wonder."

The Village of Monemonaco in central Italy has about 700 inhabitants and lays about two hours by car from the beaches on the Adriatic. And suddenly visitors from all parts of the world came to the village to ask the way to the Gola del Infernaccio
canyon in order to see "a saint". Great gaps in the cliff walls are witness thereto, how over decades of work by hand, block upon block had been separated from the cliff.

After four hours of climbing the visitor suddenly arrives at a beautiful Monastery building. Father Pietro Lavini receives visitors happily and says: "Naturally, I could never have built these great buildings alone. That was beyond the power of a man, God desired it. God had given me this life's dream: 'Build me there, where it is impossible, a house under impossible conditions, and I will sustain you, heal your sickness and give you to eat, even when you think you must starve.'

The video in Italian is here.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Healing From God's Herb Garden: Nuns Work With Pharmaceutical Experts

For many centuries Monastic medicine was the only hope for the sick -- today modern researchers are tapping the old knowledge.

Plants from the herb book of Leonhart Fuchs from the year 1545. The representation is of high quality botanically speaking.

The powerful towers of the Church of St. Michael reach into the sky. They overlook the cloister garden of the Oberzeller Franciscans. Sister Leandra Ulsamer grows lavender, sage and hyssop. The herbs grow faster in the hot summer weeks than at other times so that the Franciscans have all their hands full to bring in the rich harvest.

"Primroses and lemon balm are ripe in the early part of the year for our herb trees", reported Sister Leandra. "We have harvested enormous quantities of St. John's Wort, mullen, peppermint and sage."

The Sisters started this garden 21 years ago with a small corner. The sisters will plant the herbs for their evening tea. Today their herb garden in Oberzell by Wurzburg with around 100 different types of herb is one of the largest in Germany. "And every year we add four, five plants onto it," said Sister Leandra. Right now she has introduced the new fine leafed olive herb that helps with indigestion.

Sister Leandra went to another patch and cut some twigs out. "The hyssop will bloom in a bit a very beautiful blue, its oil is an ideal treatment for bronchitis and dry cough", she declared. The herb belongs to the mysterious plants of the ages. Already in a prescription at the medicine school of Salerno in the year 1066 it reads: "Blue hyssop clears the chest of harmful mucus."

Modern science is also interested in the medicinal knowledge of the monks. The historian of medicine Johannes G. Mayer has worked for 10 years together with Sister Leandra. His "Cloister Medicine Research Group" at the University of Wurzburg has systematically harvested its way through the medieval sources.

Are there any surprising discoveries? "That is the important discovery, that they used penicillin-like stuff in the cloister medicine, he said. "With a mixture of moldy cheese, honey and portions of sheep dung was put together and applied directly to the wound. Unfortunately, we could not reconstitute this, to discover what cheese was used."

For the astonishing prescription comes from the Lorscher Arzneibuch (Lorsch Medical Book), which dates from the time of Charlemagne in the year 795. This valuable Codex was first rediscovered in 1989. A donation of the Pharmacy Company Boehringer Ingelheim made possible the translation and scientific research.

The existing work from the Imperial Abbey Lorsch at Worms contains around 150 pages and 500 prescriptions, which astonishingly comes in part from Antiquity. The unknown author made the admonition from biblical texts, the duty to help the sick by means of God-given healing plants.

The so-called cloister medicine had its flowering between the 8th and 13th Centuries. The art had been lost through the chaotic upheavals: the migrations, in the final collapse of the Roman Empire (476) and the plague of the time of Justinian, which came from Egypt to wide parts of the Mediterranean and European homelands. Up to a quarter of the population died by the ravaging epidemic, which broke out again in 770. People lived in the most primitive of circumstances.

Early Christianity perceived in the fury of the plague, war and the migrations the unmistakable hand of God. The ancient healing arts were lost in great part during these dark times. [Obviously, if he was copying the herbology texts, they must not have been lost. Most historians view the Dark Ages as an indeterminate period starting not long before St. Benedict's birth and ending around the millennium.] It was the monk, Benedict of Nursia (480-547), in whom the flames of knowledge burned again. At Monte Casino near Naples he founded a Cloister (Monastery) where he established his revolutionary [sic] rule.

Most Europeans were incapable of reading and writing. The monks however were obliged by Benedict to read and copy the old writings, to which also belonged the pre-Christian works of Medicine. Benedict rejected the old Christian teaching [Where that teaching is, this author doesn't say.], that all sickness is sent from God. "The care for the sick is a duty for everyone; one should serve them, as though they were Christ Himself," wrote the founder of the Benedictine Order. He established with this the foundation of cloister medicine.

Pope Gregory I, called "The Great" (540-604), was very impressed with Benedict's Rule, that he declared it binding for the entire Roman Church. Gregory I even turned his parents Villa on Monte Celio near Rome into a Benedictine Cloister.

Already there were healing herb gardens in all of the Cloisters of Europe, which increased even more the healing capabilities of the monks in the infirmaries. The Emperor Charlemagne the Great (747-814) undertook the mission to care for the sick in his Empire and ordered the foundation of herb gardens for his cities.

The last great medicinal author of the high middle ages was the mystic, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Abbess of the Benedictine Cloister on the Rupertsberg by Bingen on the Rhine. Her work "Physica" (Natural History) and "Casae et Curae" (Cause and Cures) have been discovered in recent years. Critics doubt in any case, that the writings are authentic, there is nothing original from her time.

After Hildegard the Cloister slowly lost its monopoly in the healing arts. Worldly Universities like the school at Salerno were founded, which contains the legend that it was founded by a Greek, a Latin, an Arab and a Jew.

At the University of Wurzburg, Mayer and his team of chemists, pharmacists and doctors have identified around 600 healing plants of cloister medicine. "What then can be taken away from this is for the manufacturer to decide", he said. The Research Group for Cloister Medicine has been financially supporter by Pharmaceutical Company GlaxoSmithKline and the Martin Bauer Group, who want to supply the herbs and extracts for other producers.

"Germany is the worldwide leader in the analysis of the contents of medicinal plants", says Medicinal Historian Mayer. That corresponds with the good reputation of the plants' healing properties in the country. Since 2004 a few cases have been filed against St. John's Wort in cases of depression. Otherwise the past year has seen, according to IMS Pharma Scope, a value of 796 Million Euro sold in Pharmacy Phytopharmaka alone, which was in large part the result of private business. They were distributed to Drug stores, Reform homes and supermarkets. The most popular are the cough and cold remedies, heart medicine and cancer as well as stomach and digestion.

"For the most part it is still not clear which stuff is exactly responsible for the effect, sometimes there are in any case, several," said Mayer. There has been great progress, however, with valerian and hops. "With valerian it is the roots, with hops the umbels, which produce a completely valuable mixture of materials."

The ligands in the valerian have an effect similar to caffeine or nicotine, they effect like the hormonal material adenosin, explained Mayer. "A person can drive a car with it and take a test, if one is very upset. That is the ideal remedy, to calm down." One can sleep better, but it doesn't have the side effects like many other synthetic sleep tablets, which can paralyze the organism.

"A harmless sleep", says Mayer, "is very important, especially for cell regeneration and for the assimilation of the experiences of the day. Valerian does not afterward disturb these important bodily functions." When you actually compare hops and passion flowers, then these sleep and calming remedies are clearly superior to synthetic drugs.

While modern medicine can isolate individual substances, nature offers an entire concert of ingredients in place of single instruments, Mayer insists. We almost know that from the everyday. Caffeine operates completely differently when it is applied as a single isolated substance, than as Coffee, Tea or consuming a Guarana plant. "We believe it is senseless to isolate a material which then, often does not have the complex effect which the complete plants have, as clinical studies show.

Sage slows the building of neurotransmitter acetylcholin, so the patient with Alzheimers or Dementia could profit. In any case, there are still more precise studies of the dosage which have yet to follow, sage also contains the nerve poison thujon. [An ingredient in absinthe, yum, yum] The saying, "whatever is effective has side-effects" doesn't just apply to synthetic medications, but also some medicinal plants have poisonous ingredients.

For this reason before the healing of sickness it is always the healthy lifestyle which is important. And here also Mayer has learned from the Rule of Benedict of Nursia -- whose attribution one finds in the English word for "nurse".

"Ora et labora et lege -- pray, work and read", the motto of the Benedictine order is also for the Wurzburger Medicine Historian of greatest importance. "That comes from an actual relationship between sleep and waking, from work and rest, it is important also for nourishment, from which imbalance I can be easily effected by illnesses," said Mayer. The mid-day nap is a central component of life in a Cloister, whose positive effect for modern sleep research has been established, "that's definitely been frowned upon, but after a little nap you are clearly more alert and capable."

One can also read this in the advice of the Middle Ages as from a modern Fitness expert, explained Mayer. "Don't eat too late. Meat of mammals like pork or beef were only intended for Feast Days and sickness. Otherwise one ate fish and poultry."

Even alcohol was allowed in small quantities, as Mayer reports, in the rule of the Benedictines it says that the Abbott should take care, that every monk gets one roman measure of wine per day, which is about 0.27 Liters thus about a quarter Liter. That is the exact quantity which is recommended by modern medicine as foreseeable tolerable.

But for a swallow of wine it is in these days too early. Sister Leandra takes a swallow of wine after lunch, prays an hour and finishes with by taking a nap.

Now there are waiting in the garden around 40 white-haired visitors. These also she shows her blooming glory, St, John's Wort, the healing herb and powerful blooming stripped blossoms. "it is beautiful that there are always more people taking interest in what good the herbs can do", says Sister Leandra.

And perhaps she will betray her recipe for overeating, to bring the life's spirits back into swing again: "For that you need some stems of rosemary in the best Bordeaux wine, leave to set for a few days and take a little glass with every meal." Get well.

Original, here...