From your Pastor

Father Monte Peters

Children of God

posted October 25, 2020

Pope Francis supports ‘civil unions’ for same-sex couples.


In a feature-length documentary, titled “Francesco”, which tells the story of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis reveals his support for the creation of civil union laws for same-sex couples. “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law: that way they are legally covered.


The opinion is not new to the pope. While service as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. He isn’t trying to change church doctrine, but he is expressing his belief that gay people should enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals. Evgeny Afineevsky, the director of the documentary, said “The world needs positivity right now” and the film deals with issues the pope cares about most, including climate change, poverty, care about refugees and migration, border and walls, family separation and people most affected by discrimination.


Pope Francis’ outreach dates to his first foreign trip in 2013 when he uttered the now-famous words “Who am I to judge” when asked during an airborne new conference returning from Rio de Janiero about a purportedly gay priest. “If someone is gay and he searched for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”


In the documentary there is a segment when a gay Italian man who was attending one of the Pope’s daily masses, gave Pope Francis a letter that explained conversations he and his partner were having over whether to take their children to church, fearing they might be subject to unfair judgement as children of a gay couple. Later, the pope called him and encouraged him to take their children to church and to be honest with the pastor about their living situation.


In essence Pope Francis has not promoted change in the moral or sacramental teaching of the Church. He has simply called for all people to be treated with the dignity and love which is their due by being created in God’s image and likeness and being children of our Heavenly Father. The message of Jesus is He came to save us all. It is with the grace of God that we focus on the beauty of the person and that we are called to treat each other with fairness and dignity.

The Leadership Role of Women in the Church

posted October 18, 2020

In a recent video talk, Pope Francis commented on the important leadership role of women in the Church. By virtue of baptism, all members are called to be missionary disciples of the Lord. No one has been baptised to be a priest or a bishop. We have all been baptised as lay people.


Many women, answering this call, keep the church on its feet throughout the world with their admirable self-giving and ardent faith. The Holy Father recognizes this fact when he proposes that women should have “a real and effective impact on the organization, the most important decisions, and the direction of communities, which continuing to do so in a way that reflects their womanhood… We must emphasize the feminine lay presence because in the Church women tend to be left aside.”


This video talk is not the first time Pope Francis has insisted that women should hold positions of responsibility in the Church and participate in its decision-making bodies. Recently he called upon six women with extensive resumes to join the financial advising team of the Vatican.

Welcoming Season of Creation

Blessed are You, God alive in Earth and Cosmos!

Welcoming this Season of Creation, we celebrate your
generosity, as late summer ripens to early autumn. 
All your creatures reveal your beauty, truth and wisdom.
We give thanks for flourishing fields, bringing forth rich
harvest … colourful gardens, attracting precious pollinators.
In every season, You give us what we need. Eagerly your
Spirit nourishes us to receive and share loving kindness and compassion. 
Forgive our carelessness, causing Earth’s distress, with
loss of many species. In a time of pandemic, guide us to
participate in your call to transformation.
Awaken us to walk lightly on the land, seeding integrity
… cultivating justice … creating a climate of equality and peace.  
Gratefully, we pray in the name of Jesus, who calls us to
grow, making all thing e new. 
Amen 

~ Roma De Robertis, SCIC
(Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception)

Fratelli Tutti

posted October 9, 2020

Pope Francis issued a new encyclical on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Fratelli Tutti is a letter teaching us that everyone in this world is connected. It follows in the wake of Laudato Si, a letter that teaches us that everything in this world is connected.


The Pope sees the current world situation as comparable to the Cuban missile crisis, World War II or 9/11. In other words, he sees the world as being on the brink and leaning toward division.


Cardinal Michael Czerny, the newly ordained Canadian who heads the Vatican’s migrants and refugees office, commented that “depending on your age, what was it like to hear Pius XII deliver his Christmas messages during World War II; or how did it feel when Pope John XXIII published Pacem in Terris; or how did you feel after 9/11?” He said, “I think you need to recover that feeling in your stomach, in your whole being to appreciate Fratelli Tutti.”


Cardinal Czerny goes on to say, “If we take responsibility for our common home and for our brothers and sisters, then I think we have a good chance, and my hope is rekindled and inspired to keep on going and do more.”


Pope Francis is pushing back on a theory that most subscribe to without realizing we are doing so. “We believe ourselves,” he says, “to be self-made, without recognizing God as our creator; we’re prosperous, we believe we deserve everything that we have and consume; and we’re orphans, disconnected, totally free, and alone.”


The truth is the opposite to being self-made prosperous orphans and the encyclical offers an alternate way of looking at what is going on in our lives. The encyclical is an invitation to see one another as a neighbour, as a friend, to build relationships particularly at this time when the world feels so politically divided, and cries out for healing ways.

Sharing the Wisdom of Time

posted October 2, 2020

In the preface of a new book published by Loyola Press which highlights the wisdom of the elderly, their experiences and their insights as fundamental contributions to society, Pope Francis calls for an alliance between the young and the old to undertake an intergenerational conversation

.

During the launch of “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, the Pope invited young people to listen and bond with their elders in an effort to counter a culture of waste, a growing indifference to the plight of migrants and refugees, and a dangerous resurgence of populism that spurs hatred and intolerance.


The book contains stories gathered from elderly persons all over the world, from 30 countries and from all walks of life. In the preface the Pope repeatedly expresses his belief that the young can only sink roots into the soil of tradition through their relationships with the elderly.

Pope Francis explains that this alliance entails sharing the experience of older people, heeding their advice and creating a strong bond with the new generations who are hungry for guidance and support as they prepare for their future.


The stories are organized in five thematic chapters – work, struggle, love, death and hope. Each chapter begins with the Pope reflecting on each theme.


Speaking off-the-cuff during the book launch, Pope Francis touched on current themes and issues such as migration and the tragedy of so many force migrants and refugees who die on their journeys of hope and of the responsibility of policy-makers and world leaders to find solutions that safeguard the lives and dignity of all; the importance of cultivating memory so that evils – such as wars – witnessed in history are not repeated; the danger of populism that gives rise to hatred and intolerance.

Healing the World

posted September 27, 2020

At his recent audience Pope Francis explained that creation must be protected and not exploited. Human beings must change their relationship with nature and view it not as an “object for unscrupulous use and abuse” but as a gift they are charged by God to care for.


People are called to contemplate creation as a reflection of “God’s infinite wisdom and goodness” and not act as it people are the “center of everything” and the “absolute rulers of all other creatures”.


“Exploiting creation – this is sin. We believe that we are the center, claiming to occupy God’s place and thus we ruin the harmony of creation, the harmony of God’s design. We become predators, forgetting our vocation as guardians of life.”


With this remark, Pope Francis is continuing his talks on “healing the world” with the theme of “caring for the common home and contemplative attitude.” Contemplation is pushback to “an unbalance and arrogant anthropocentrism” in which humans place themselves and their needs “at the center of everything.”


“It is important to recover the completative dimension, that is, to look at the earth, at creation as a gift, not as something to be explicated for profit.” The pope said. “When we contemplate, we discover in others and in nature something much greater than their usefulness.”


Citing a recent report that glaciers in Antarctica are collapsing due to global warming, Pope Francis said that the consequential rising sea levels “will be terrible,” and he called on people to “guard the inheritance God has entrusted to us so that future generations can enjoy it.”


“Each one of us can and must become a guardian of the common home, capable of praising God for his creatures [by] contemplating them and protecting them.”

For the Love of Creation

posted September 17, 2020

“For the Love of Creation” is a faith-based initiative for climate justice. It originates with the Joint Ecological Ministry (JEM), a collective that has the support of a growing list of national churches, Christian international development agencies, and faith-based organizations. It sees itself as a gathering together as people of faith in the hopes of making a meaningful contribution in the next decade towards a sustainable future for all life in our Common Home. 


Many people have hope of influencing our Canadian government as parliamentarians dig into the work of planning an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“For the Love of Creation” has launched a Parliamentary Petition calling on the Government of Canada to:

    • Commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 60% below 2005 levels by 2030, and invest in a just transition. 

    • Honor the rights of indigenous Peoples;

    • Commit equal support for climate change adaption and mitigation measures in the Global south; and

    • Respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Global South.


Readers are encouraged to consider signing this petition and sending it to:

Joint Ecological Ministry 

101 Thorncliffe Park Drive

Toronto, Ontario M4H 1M2