Pope Francis declares a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, 7 Sep 2013

Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, September 7, 2013

This graphic was from Ignatius Press.  The graphic contains Pope Francis’s call for the Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syriaon Saturday, September 7, 2013.  This call was made during his Wednesday audience at St. Peter’s Square last September 1, 2013:

I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church… a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

According to the Code of Canon Law:

Can.  1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit.

Was it Simon of Cyrene who was crucified on the cross and not Jesus?

QUESTION by Martin:

This Lenten, I would like to comment about the Catholic fanatics crucifying themselves on the cross. As a form of imitating the suffering of Christ, a friend of mine told me it should first be established that it was actually Christ who was crucified. He argued that the story in the New Testament related that on the way to Golgotha the Cross was taken from Christ by the Roman soldiers and Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it. It does not say that Simon returned it. So, it could be the case that it was Simon who was really crucified. That’s why when he was there hanging on the Cross, and being a good and charitable person, he asked of God to forgive them, the crucifiers, because they did not know what they were doing. I have reservations about such an argument, and I really am not too conversant about what really took place, not being born nor present at that time yet. And I, as well as my friend, really mean no irreverence and disrespect to what others have to say about the matter. They could have other sources of knowledge my friend was not privy to.


Submitted on 2012/04/08 at 11:15 am | In reply to martin.


Here are the verses in the Bible about Simon of Cyrene:

“As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.27A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.28n Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children,29for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’30 At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’o31 for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” 32Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed.The Crucifixion.p33When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left.q” (Lk 23:26-33)

The pronoun “him” who was crucified refers to the closest preceding male noun mentioned. That noun is Jesus; Simon is too far. The Roman soldiers would not be too stupid to crucify Simon of Cyrene, because Jesus Christ is unmistakable: he has a crown of thorns, he was scourged, and everybody knows him as a prophet. The Jewish priests who want to kill Jesus must make sure that the person crucified is the right man. Mary and John was there beneath Jesus’ cross. There can be no doubt that it was Jesus who was crucified and not Simon of Cyrene.

Filipino Nurses: Is the right to life the right to end life (euthanasia)?

I came across an article in the blog Filipino Nurses, entitled “Right to End Life (Euthanasia).

The first argument is that for animals in serious injury or illness that couldn’t be cured, the and “humanely” thing to do is to “put them to sleep.”  So, the argument goes, the same should also be true for humans.

There is no such thing as animal rights co-equal with human rights because animal rights are what humans bestow on animals.  Once we lose our biblical moorings, our philosophical arguments goes adrift.  When God made Adam and Eve, God gave them “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth” (Gen 1:28).  After the Great Flood, God told Noah:

Fear and dread of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. 3b Any living creature that moves about shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. 4c Only meat with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.* 5Indeed for your own lifeblood I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from a human being, each one for the blood of another, I will demand an accounting for human life.d(Gen 9:2-5)

If you are going to kill your animal to eat it, God allows you to do it. If you want to kill your animal to put an end to its suffering, the Bible does not explicitly say, but it appears you can do it.  But if you are going to kill a man to end his suffering that is another story: God explicitly forbids it, because, as God told Noah, God will demand an accounting for every human life whose blood was shed by another man.  Thus, mercy-killing or euthanasia of another man is wrong.

This is what the Cathechism of the Catholic Church teaches about Euthanasia:


2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.

Filipino nurses and doctors needs to read carefully these words of the Catechism, because Church defines what are morally and not morally acceptable forms of treatment.  These statements are rooted in 5th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.  As stated in the original Hippocratic Oath:

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.

In this time of Lent, Jesus shows us that the path to human happiness is not by spurning the cross but embracing it.  Suffering, when united to the suffering of Christ, becomes redemptive.