New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Considerations on Catholic Culture -Part 4 - Prof Plinio Correa De Olivera

Catholic culture
For a culture to be founded upon true principles, it is necessary that it contain exact notions concerning the perfection of man—be it in the powers of the soul or in the relations of the soul with the body—and concerning the means by which it ought to attain this perfection, the obstacles it may encounter, and so on.

It is easy to see that culture, thus understood, must be entirely nourished by the doctrinal sap of the true Religion. For it belongs to the true Religion to teach us in what man’s perfection consists, the ways to attain it, and the obstacles opposed to it. And Our Lord Jesus Christ, the ineffable personification of all perfection, is thus the embodiment, the sublime model, the focus, the vigor, the life, the glory, the standard, and the delight of true culture.

This is to say that true culture can only be based on the true Religion, and that only from the spiritual atmosphere created by the interrelationship of profoundly Catholic souls can the perfect culture be born, as the dew is formed in the sound and vivacious atmosphere of the early morning.

This is also demonstrated in the light of other considerations. We said above that man is susceptible to the influence of all he sees with the eyes of the body or the soul. All the natural marvels with which God filled the universe are made so that the human soul, considering them, may refine itself. But the realities that transcend the senses are intrinsically more admirable than the sensible ones. And if the contemplation of a flower, a star, or a droplet of water can refine man, how much more the contemplation of that which the Church teaches us concerning God, His angels, His saints, paradise, grace, eternity, providence, hell, evil, the devil, and so many other truths? On earth, the image of Heaven is the Holy Church, God’s masterpiece. The consideration of the Church, her dogmas, her sacraments, her institutions, is for this very reason a supreme element of human refinement. A man born in the tunnels of some mine, who never sees the light of day, would lose a precious, perhaps even capital, element of cultural enrichment. He who does not know the Church, of which the sun is naught but a pallid figure in the most literal sense of the word, loses much culturally.

But there is more. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. In her circulates grace, coming to us through the infinitely precious Redemption of Our Lord Jesus Christ. By grace men are elevated to participation in the very life of the Most Holy Trinity. It suffices to say this in order to affirm the incomparable element of culture the Church gives us by opening the doors of the supernatural order. Therefore, the highest ideal of culture is contained in God’s Holy Church.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Considerations on Catholic Culture- Part 3 - Prof Plinio Correa de Olivera

How one acquires culture
Everything a man learns with the senses or intelligence exercises an effect over the powers of his soul. A person may free himself more, less, or even entirely from this effect, according to the case, but in itself each measure of knowledge acquired tends to exercise an effect over him. As we already said, cultural action consists in accentuating all the effects that refine and in curbing those that do not. Well understood, reflection is the first of the positive means of action. Much, much more than a bookworm, a walking encyclopedia of facts, dates, names, and texts, the man of culture ought to be a thinker. And for the man who thinks, the principal book is the reality before his eyes, the author most consulted is himself, while the other authors and books, albeit precious elements, are clearly subsidiary. Nevertheless, mere reflection is not enough. Man is not a pure spirit. Through an affinity that is not just conventional, there exists a link between the superior realities he considers with his intelligence and the colors, sounds, forms, and aromas he perceives through his senses. The cultural effort is only complete when man absorbs, through these sensible channels, the entire essence of the values his intelligence considers. Song, poetry, and art have exactly this as their end. And it is through an accurate and superior interrelationship with what is beautiful (rightfully understood, it is clear) that the soul entirely absorbs truth and good.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sexualization of kids

I found the following bit of news very disturbing.

In its new report "Stand and Deliver," the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is demanding that governments, religious institutions and society at large provide "comprehensive sexuality education" for children as young as ten years old.

In a foreword, Bert Koenders of the Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, which helped fund the publication, asserts that, "Young people have the right to be fully informed about sexuality and to have access to contraceptives and other services. These rights are enshrined in various internationally agreed human rights convention and treaties, but – unfortunately – they are still not universally respected."

According to IPPF, as "young people are sexual beings," it should be self-evident that "sexuality education promotes individual well-being and the advancement of broader societal and public health goals." IPPF argues that
comprehensive sexuality education" must be mandatory in school, and governments must also ensure that this education is delivered to those young people who are out of school (I find this particularly designed against home schooled kids and kids in private catholic schools).

IPPF claims that "With young people as partners, today's adult decision-makers have the chance to recast sex and sexuality as a positive force for change and development, as a source of pleasure, an embodiment of human rights and an expression of self."

IPPF contends that comprehensive sexuality education is necessary to encourage young people's "self-esteem, thoughtful decision-making and negotiation skills and it helps them to develop satisfying and pleasurable sexual lives." Moreover,
IPPF expounds that the "power" of comprehensive sexuality education "to challenge traditional gender roles" must not be underestimated.

The IPPF report stresses granting young people "unconstrained" access to sexuality education and services, "free from administrative restrictions and obstacles," like requiring health providers to obtain parental or spousal permission before providing contraceptives. IPPF demands that young people be able to "obtain the services they need and want, unconstrained by psychological, attitudinal, cultural or social factors."

IPPF targets religion and religious groups as one of the main barriers to adolescent access to sexuality education and sexual and reproductive "services." IPPF criticizes that many religious teachings "deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex and limited guidelines for sexual education often focus on abstinence before marriage," which IPPF claims has been ineffective in many settings.

According to IPPF, religious institutions – like the Catholic Church and Islamic schools – need to be "pragmatic" to accommodate young people as "sexual beings" and amend their teachings to "find a way of explaining and providing guidance on issues of sex and sexual relationships among young people, which supports rather than denies their experiences and needs."

Sexual education has been a topic of heated debates at the United Nations, with many critics fearing that parental rights to educate their children will be violated. Just last year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a set of sexual education guidelines that were met with such staunch resistance from conservatives that the organization was forced to take down the document from its website and review.

Critics expect more debates over "comprehensive sexuality education" to flare up in the coming months as UN Commission season gets underway.

(Article from

Considerations on Catholic Culture - Part 2 - Prof Plinio Correa De Olivera

Culture and instruction
At first sight and in the general understanding, the distinction between instruction and culture is less clear. But, things being well analyzed, one sees that such a distinction exists and rests upon a solid foundation. A person who reads a great deal is generally considered very cultured, at least as compared with another who reads little. And, between two who read a lot, the one who reads more will be seen as the more cultured. As instruction in itself refines the spirit, it is natural that, all else being equal, one who is better read is considered more cultured. The danger of error in this proposition arises from the fact that many people inadvertently simplify notions and end up considering culture a mere consequence of the number of books read. It is a flagrant error, for reading is advantageous not so much in the quantity as in the quality of the books read, and principally in function of the quality of the one who reads and the reason for which he reads.

That is, reading, in thesis, instructs—in the sense of merely providing information. But a person well read and instructed, or as it may be, a person informed of many facts or notions of scientific, historical, or artistic interest, may well be less cultured than another with a lesser store of knowledge. Instruction only fully refines the spirit when followed by profound assimilation resulting from sound reflection. And for this reason, he who has read little but assimilated much is more cultured than he who has read much but assimilated little. For example, a museum guide is usually quite informed about the exhibits he shows visitors, but, not infrequently, he is little cultured. He limits himself to memorization and looks not to assimilation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A visitor from Vatican City visted my blog

I was looking at the stats on my blog and look what I found

I could not save it any better. But it reads

Holy See (Vatican City State) arrived on "Dies Irae: The Judging Panel of the "Angelicum" in Rome awarded the highest Possible grade to the doctoral thesis of Msgr. Joao Scognamiglio Cla Dias,EP, entitle".

The browser used is Firefox on and Mac computer and they came in directly.

I wonder who it was?

Considerations on Catholic Culture - Part 1 - Prof. Plinio Correa De Olivera

Today I will publish an article of Prof Plinio. Since it is quite large i am braking it up in parts which will publish from today onwards.

Considerations on Catholic Culture - Part 1

What is culture? The question has received a variety of responses, some inspired in the study of literature, others in philosophic or social systems of every kind. So complicated are the contradictions surrounding this term and another related to it—civilization—that international congresses of professors and other learned men have met especially to define them. As usually happens, much discussion shed little light on the subject.

It is impossible in the space we have here to mention all the theses and arguments of the various currents, to affirm and justify our own thesis, and afterwards to treat of Catholic culture. We can, however, seriously consider the subject, taking the term culture in the thousand modes in which it has been clothed by the language of so many peoples, social classes, and schools of thought. We begin by showing that in all of them, “culture” contains an invariable basic element, the refinement of the human spirit. At the heart of the notion of refinement is the idea that every man has in his spirit qualities susceptible of development and defects that can be restrained.

Refinement, then, has two aspects: one positive, signifying the growth of what is good, and the other negative, the removal of what is bad. Many current ways of thinking and feeling about culture are explained in light of this principle. Thus, we do not hesitate to recognize as cultural a university, a school of music or acting, or even a chess club. These entities or social groups directly seek the refinement of the spirit, or at least pursue ends that in themselves refine the spirit. We also recognize that a university or any other cultural institution may work against Culture, however, as happens when, because of errors of any kind, its action deforms the spirit. One could affirm this, for example, about certain schools that impress upon their students disdain for everything philosophical or artistic. A person whose state of spirit moves him to adore technology as the value supreme and the only foundation of the soul, to deny every certainty not derived from laboratory experiment, and to scornfully reject everything beautiful is, without a doubt, suffering from a deformation of spirit. Deformed also would be the spirit that, moved by an inordinate philosophical appetite, were to deny any worth to art, poetry, or even more modest activities that also require intelligence and culture, such as technology.

We would say that universities which form their students according to some of these false orientations exercise an anti-cultural action or propagate a false culture. In this current sense, fencing is recognized as an exercise of a certain cultural value, for it supposes physical dexterity, vivacity of soul, and elegance. But it would be contrary to common sense to attribute any cultural value to boxing, which, aiming heavy and brutal blows at the very face of a man, is inherently degrading to the spirit.

Msgr Joao Cla Dias audience with the Holy Father

On the occasion of the defence of his doctoral thesis in Canon Law, at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Msgr. Joao Scognamiglio Cla Dias, was received by Pope Benedict XVI,on November 26, 2009. At the start of the audience, the Holy Father made mention of the characteristic cross of the Heralds, which the founder wore on his cassock. Upon being thanked for granting the pontifical approval of the Clerical Society Virgo Flos Carmeli and the feminine Society Regina Virginum, the Pope said: "You deserved it, you deserved it." When he was told that the Heralds would soon have 112 doctors in Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law, Pope Benedict XVI asked in which universities these studies were being pursued. He was informed that they were the Angelicum, Gregorian and Salesianum in Rome; as well as the Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellin; the Pontifical and Civil Faculty of Theology, Lima, and the Pontifical Post Graduate Institute of Canon Law in Rio de Janeiro.

As a token of fidelity to the Church and the Chair of Peter, Msgr. Joao presented a Rosary of rubies and diamonds to the Pope, crafted by artisans of the Heralds of the Gospel. Benedict XVI received it, saying: "How precious!" Finally, the Holy Father granted an apostolic blessing to all the members of the Heralds throughout the world.

(Pictures and article from The Heralds of Gospel magazine)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Judging Panel of the "Angelicum" in Rome awarded the highest Possible grade to the doctoral thesis of Msgr. Joao Scognamiglio Cla Dias,EP, entitle

In Rome-the worldwide centre for academic formation of the clergy the renowned Pontifical University of ST. Thomas Aquinas, commonly known as the Angelicum stands out. Belonging to the Order of Preachers, this institution of higher learning dales back to the medieval Studium established in 1220. Its faculties of Philosophy and Canon Law have more than a century of tradition; the former was founded in 1882 and the latter in 1896.

Content of the Doctoral Thesis

On November 27, 2009 Msgr. Joao Scognamiglio Cla Dias defended his doctoral thesis in Canon Law in this renowned university. Entitled “The Genesis and Development of the Heralds of the Gospel Movement and Its Canonical Recognition”, the work is aimed at "assessing which juridical model most suits the Heralds' Movement."

The thesis is composed of three chapters. The first chapter examines various existing association models within the present canonical legislation. The second chapter outlines the vocational journey of the founder, and the juridical evolution of the Movement, from its genesis until the present. Also in this chapter, is a detailed explanation of the import ant role of Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira in the religious, philosophical and cultural formation of , Msgr. Joao Scognamiglio CIa Dias, showing clearly how the thought and personality of this Outstanding Catholic lay figure of the Twentieth century influenced the charism of the Heralds of the Gospel. The third chapter presents the essential elements of the charism and spirituality of the Movement, which can be summarized as an ardent devotion to the Holy Eucharist, Mary and the Pope. Finally, the author of the thesis draws important and valuable conclusions.

The opinion of the Judges

The judging panel was composed of Rev. Fr. Bruno Esposito, OP, Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law and Thesis Moderator; Rev. Fr. Jan Sliwa, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law; and Rev. Fr. Marcelo Santos das Neves, OP, acclaimed professor of the Faculty of Canon Law and Thesis Censor. After the exposition, Fr. Bruno Esposito and Fr. Marcelo Santos das Neves addressed various questions to Msgr. Joao and, subsequently, gave their assessment of the work presented. They noted that this had been the first defence of a thesis made by a founder in the Angelicum. The thesis of Msgr. Joao Scognamiglio Cla Dias received the highest possible grade.

(This article is from the Heralds of the Gospel Magazine)


Here is a link to a very interesting document about persecution of Christians globally