Lent fasting & abstinence: do they make sense?

When I was in nursery school the nuns taught us to make some small sacrifices, which were labeled fioretti (literally: small flowers. This word expresses the idea of a small offer to the Virgin Mary). Good deeds, of course, but typically focusing on the effort itself, not on obtaining tangible results. I have a vivid memory of the small poster on the wall where we glued our tiny paper flowers, regular shapes comprised of a few red petals and a yellow circle in the middle. One flower for each fioretto (sacrifice) made: we felt rewarded for being good. And proud of the accomplishment! I don’t remember instead the specific subject of my…

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Palm Sunday Rivulet of Consciousness

At mass   We gather in scattered groups; the place isn’t far from our small church. A nice blue sky. Children carry in their hands the traditional braids made of palm fronds. Every adult holds a bunch of olive branches. I notice -again- a stark contrast with my old parish in Northern Italy: here in the South it seems they love large quantities of stuff. Each of the most resourceful parishioners gathered enough branches to supply the whole congregation back in the North.   Odd: people here use to wish a happy Palm Sunday. Never heard of that. After mass we’ll exchange a olive branch with our friends and acquaintances: a nice, simple…

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Acts of Mercy from the Monkey Church

Uno dei manifesti di contestazione a papa Francesco e al suo operato comparsi a decine in tutta Roma, appesi sui muri della città, 4 febbraio 2017. La foto a tutto campo riporta l'immagine del Pontefice con un'espressione particolarmente rabbuiata e accigliata. In basso, su fondo violaceo, la scritta con venature romanesche: "A France', hai commissariato Congregazioni, rimosso sacerdoti, decapitato l'Ordine di Malta e i Francescani dell'Immacolata, ignorato Cardinali... ma n'do sta la tua misericordia?". ANSA/ FRANCESCO GERACE

If salt loses its taste There’s a new Catholic Church today. A Church that is behaving like a monkey: aping the majesty and wisdom of God, drifting away from Him. It’s a significant part of the Catholic Church; you’d easily mistake it for the Church itself. But it’s something different. It’s a sort of gooey blob that took over many positions. But it won’t end like this.   For all its blabbering about mercy, this reality is far from the true Mercy that comes from Christ; they are watering down the Church teachings in order to appease everyone. “The pitiful mother causes the wound to fester”, an old Italian saying goes. Posing…

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On Prayers Of The Faithful And Distractions

Painting of the martyrdom of the 7 Maccabees

At Mass   Scene: today we went to Mass in a church that we know but isn’t our parish. All went well, no complaints (oh, how grumpy we pew-critters tend to be at times!): a good priest, a beautiful church full of art. Before the beginning of the service, while we are already seated, there comes a guy in charge of organizing stuff. The following exchange ensues: -Anyone wants to read the Readings? The Prayers Of The Faithful? Moment of indecision. I’m pondering the idea of blurting out the appropriate answer for an occasion like this, one I’ve prepared some time ago. -I may read a Reading, but… -Then it’s…

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The Pope from the end of the world. And a Catholic Church split between doomsayers and downplayers

…But today Catholics are facing a new fear: the idea that there’s no path for resistance, that things have changed so much that this time the Church isn’t gonna make it. This would be a sign of the End of the World; a world so profoundly corrupt it cannot function anymore. There are two distinct, disturbing trends developing. On opposite sides, and yet showing a striking similarity in a crucial element: fatalism. Two models we could describe as follows: A. Downplayers: “move on, nothing to see here” types, who insist there’s nothing you should do, beyond praying of course. B. Doomsayers: those who can find the Antichrist anywhere and everywhere……

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