By: Pierpaolo Finaldi, Managing Editor

…No this isn’t the beginning of a bizarre religious joke. The Dalai Lama was invited to speak at the huge summer festival of popular music in Somerset and was asked whether he endorsed the message of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’. He had glowing words of appreciation for the Holy Father and thanked him for bringing the issue to the top of the agenda for the international community.

Taking a leaf out of Pope Francis’s book, the Dalai Lama was happy to go beyond his ordinary message of world and inner peace and gave some practical advice on saving energy and water. “I always turn the lights off when leaving rooms and take showers instead of baths” although he did admit to taking two showers a day!

It is particularly interesting for Catholics that the crowds at Glastonbury were asked to consider the teachings of the Church not far from the site of the oldest Marian Shrine north of the Alps! Glastonbury continues to be a charming and worthwhile place for pilgrimages today.

For more information about making a pilgrimage to Glastonbury order Glastonbury: A Pilgrim’s Companion from the CTS Christian shrines series.

Do908 Laudato Si'By: Pierpaolo Finaldi, Managing Editor

Laudato Si identifies the environmental problems facing the world and the global challenge of looking after our common home. The solutions call for major changes in the consumer economy and global politics, but the Holy Father also calls on families and individuals to do their part. Here are 5 practical suggestions made by Pope Francis that we can all put into practice…

1. Use your purchasing power to effect change!

“This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers.” (LS 206)

2. Return to saying grace before and after meals

“That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.” (LS 227)

3. Buy fewer presents (for yourself) and be more present

“A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment. To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfilment.” (LS 222)

4. Small actions are an act of love

“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle. Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices. All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings. Reusing something instead of immediately discarding it, when done for the right reasons, can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity.” (LS 211)

5. Take time to appreciate the beauty of creation

“By learning to see and appreciate beauty, we learn to reject self-interested pragmatism. If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple.” (LS 215)

 

Laudato Si sometimes paints a bleak picture of the situation but there is hope!

“All is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom.” (LS 205)

 

You can pre-order Laudato Si now from CTS for £4.95…

By: Natallia Ushe, Customer Services and Sales Officer

D653When thinking of where to go on holiday, many people choose a destination for its bustling lifestyle; sun; gorgeous scenery, and delicious cuisine. Then there is the ultimate shopping experience along the Champs-Élysées or Las Ramblas. But if you find yourself searching for something more, why not consider the rich Catholic culture that lies in the midst of some of the most popular holiday destinations.

Spain is home to one of the greatest and oldest pilgrimages, the El Camino de Santiago. For those who do not wish to walk the whole road, there is a possibility of starting the trail at various different points. (More information below).

The pilgrimage itself is one of the most difficult trails to complete. Many have had to stop due to the gruelling toll: the exhaustion, the leg fatigue and, not to mention, the tricky roads you have to walk!

But don’t fret!

Though challenging, it is a beautiful pilgrimage where one can experience a profound sense of the love of God through the other pilgrims. Whether it is the person you happen to pass along the Camino, or the little old lady you help down the stairs of the Cathedral; one thing many pilgrims and tourists say on is that this pilgrimage has changed their life in some way. Sharing in the faith through this pilgrimage, they can testify that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).

If you cannot get to Santiago, there are many other ways to experience Pilgrim Spain. There is Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, for a truly aesthetic pilgrimage! For the more practical pilgrims, there is the possibility of walking in the footsteps of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross in Toledo and Avila. If you are on a family holiday, or needing to “escape from the confinements of daily life” (Baldwin, 13) there is a niche for you in Spain. Challenge yourself to do something different this summer. As Malcom McKay says (article attached below): “we are all capable of far more than we think we are”.

More Information:

Planning your Pilgrimage: Routes to Santiago

Walk of a lifetime: Why the epic Camino trail across Spain is a route to true happiness

Spanish Holiday Essentials:

Libro de Oracion Comun Teresa of Avila D653 B702
Pope Francis

Pope Francis

By: Pierpaolo Finaldi, Managing Editor

The Holy See Press Office has confirmed the title of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on the environment which will be released on Thursday 18th June 2015.

The Holy Father has once again broken with convention and not used Latin for the title of his second encyclical. “Laudato si’,” (may you be blessed) is a quotation from St Francis of Assisi’s poem, The Canticle of the Creatures. The poem is the first post-Latin work of Italian literature, written in thirteenth century Umbrian dialect.

The subtitle of the encyclical: ‘on the care of our common home’, is clearly rooted in the important Catholic Social teaching concept of the Common good.

CTS is looking forward to having printed copies ready within a week of release, it will be available to purchase as soon as we know the length of the document and can set a price here.

For a couple of interesting treatments of the background to the forthcoming encyclical see the following stories:

CRUX – Getting ahead of the spin on the pope’s environmental encyclical

BBC Magazine – Is the Pope a Communist?

On 24th March, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero went to the Divine Providence Hospital in San Salvador to celebrate Mass. As he finished his homily, inviting his congregation to prayer, a shot rang out through the church, and Romero slumped to the ground, a bullet in his heart. He died soon after.

“Romero was a remarkable figure, not just for the tragic circumstances of his martyrdom, but also for the depth of his teaching,” says Fr Ashley Beck, author of the newly revised CTS booklet on Romero. “The essence of his teaching can be seen in the words of his final Sunday Homily, given the day before his death:

“I have been trying during these Sundays of Lent to uncover in divine revelation, in the word read here at Mass, God’s programme to save peoples and individuals. Today, where history offers our people various proposals, we can say with assurance: the programme that better reflects God’s programme will prevail. And this is the Church’s mission, and so, in the light of God’s word revealing God’s plan for the happiness of peoples, we have the duty of also pointing out the realities, of seeing how God’s plan is reflected among us or despised among us. Let no one take it ill that in the light of God’s words read in our Mass we illuminate social, political and economic realities. If we did not, this would not be our own Christianity. It is thus that Christ willed to become incarnate, so that the light that he brings from the Father may become the life of people and of nations. I know that many are scandalised at what I say and charge that it forsakes the preaching of the gospel to meddle in politics. I do not accept that accusation. No, I strive that we may not just have on paper and study in theory all that Vatican Council II and the meetings at Medellín and Puebla have tried to further in us, but that we may live it and interpret it in this conflict-ridden reality, preaching the gospel as it should be preached for our people. I ask the Lord during the week, while I gather the people’s cries and the sorrow stemming from so much crime, the ignominy of so much violence, to give me the fitting word to console, to denounce, to call to repentance. And though I continue to be a voice that cries in the desert, I know that the Church is making the effort to fulfill its mission.””

For Romero, continues Fr Beck, “campaigning for social justice and denouncing injustice were part of the Church’s witness”. He had a great love for his people, who were suffering under violence and oppression, and he saw it as his duty to stand up to these injustices happening around him.  This was the essence of his ministry and teaching, and the reason why this humble, holy and courageous man has become an inspiration to so many millions of people.


Oscar Romero is to be beatified on Saturday 23rd May, and some 300,000 people are expected to attend the Mass in Salvador del Mundo Square in El Salvador.

To find out more about Oscar Romero, his life and teachings, you can buy the newly revised booklet Oscar Romero: Martyr for Faith from CTS for £2.50. Read a preview below:

Facing Difficulties in Christian Family Life

On Friday 20th March in the Diocese of Westminster, Dr Peter Kahn will be giving the keynote address at the Annual Theology of the Body Lecture. We spoke to Dr Kahn, who is also a CTS author and editor of the popular Family Matters series, about his latest CTS booklet Facing Difficulties in Christian Family Life.

CTS: What inspired you to write this title?  

Dr Peter Kahn: Families face many difficulties in today’s world. It is heart-breaking to see friends and acquaintances suffer in so many ways , as well as to realise how widespread difficulties are felt in family life. The task of responding to these difficulties is not something that we can just leave to others.

CTS: This is a challenging subject to discuss. How have you approached it? 

Dr Peter Kahn:  We cannot control our circumstances, but this booklet suggests that even when we encounter difficulties it is still possible to find fulfilment that is both concrete and real. The booklet looks at conflicts in the family, as well as at difficulties that are linked to suffering and death. It addresses challenges that arise from providing for one’s family and living in society with others. The booklet doesn’t provide a straightforward happy ending to these difficulties. Rather, it draws attention to ways that God has helped families in the past, exploring how it is possible to experience difficult family circumstances in ways that do not involve us giving in to despair and bitterness. The booklet principally does this by offering a range of stories and testimonies on family life, as well as by looking at the wisdom of the Bible. When human frailty and sin come together, then suffering is intense indeed. But if we long for Christ to reach out to us in our difficulties, then he will not abandon us.

CTS: How does this booklet tie in with the wider discussion of family life in the church and the world today?

Dr Peter Kahn: The Catholic Church is presently struggling to find ways to reach out to those who are experiencing difficulties within families. At this stage of proceedings the debate is either being held at one distance removed from those actually facing the difficulties, or it is played out in the media from a secular perspective. This booklet is directly addressed to those who are facing difficulties in their families, and it tackles the issues from a perspective that takes faith into account. God sees our difficulties from a different angle – every difficultly can become a means to encounter Christ. He can reach out to us and replace our despair and bitterness with wonder, even when the difficulty itself remains.

CTS: What do you hope people will take away from reading this booklet? 

Dr Peter Kahn: I hope that this booklet will provide some encouragement to family members in the difficulties that they experience, as they realise that even in such situations they can still be generous to others and find life. I hope also that it will encourage others in the church to proclaim a message of hope before the sea of challenges that families face across the world, and to assist in framing  responses that present Christianity not as an unrealisable ideal, but as something that is liveable and fulfilling. 

 

Facing Difficulties in Christian Family Life is available now from CTS for £2.50.  Dr Peter Kahn will also be giving the keynote address on this topic at the annual Theology of the Body Conference on Friday 20th March – click here for details.

You can read an extract from Facing Difficulties in Christian Family Life below:

 


Of Related Interest:

9781784690397 Pure Womanhood – Every girl longs for love, but many have already given up. In Pure Womanhood, Crystalina Evert restores a woman’s hope. By her powerful testimony and honest words of wisdom, she shows that real love is possible, regardless of the past. Evert answers the most common issues girls can face when it comes to sex, love and dating, including… “Guys don’t want a pure girl.” “Nobody’s getting hurt.” “It’s all fun and games.” “It’s my body. It’s my choice.” “If I say no, I might lose him.” “I can’t be alone.” “It’s too late for me.”
978784690380 Pure Manhood – Every day boys and young men are bombarded with messages and images that encourage them to make sexual impurity a way of life. And since it looks like so much fun, they can easily be made to feel as if they’re foolishly missing out on something really great. Jason Evert’s Pure Manhood will help them to see things in a new light. Best of all, it will give them the spiritual tools they need to stay pure—or to return to purity.

Click here for more CTS books about Marriage and Family Life 


 


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