Father Bob Connor has been trying to preach a meditation every Saturday morning – NOTE: a passcode is now used in place of a waiting room.



  1. The passcode is embedded in this link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/210168415?pwd=dVlJK1UrWktOQkR2cVNybThjVysrZz09 .   

    You can dial in at (646)558-8656,  meeting ID: 210 168 415, Passcode: 772742.
    One tap mobile +16465588656,,210168415#,,,,*772742# 

June 16, 1950 – Anniversary of the Definitive Approval of Opus Dei by The Holy See.

June 16, Anniversary of the Definitive Approval of the Work by The Holy See.

The definitive approval was saying to Opus Dei that it was OK. What was OK? In the words of St. Josemaria: “the fundamental principles of the Work: secularity, sanctification of work, the fact that we are ordinary citizens and above all, especially in the spiritual dimension, our conviction that we are sons and daughters of God.” The obvious brouhaha consisted in Opus Dei having nothing of the trappings of the almost bimillenial status of religious orders that involved leaving the world, and formal taking of vows. It had the simplicity of David going to battle Goliath with loin cloth and sling shot armed only/merely with power of the Lord. The Lord gave Escriva no interest in vows  for Opus Dei, separation from the world, but rather, yes, an interest in virtues and self giftedness in work and service to persons.  Great importance is given to the formation of persons in making the gift of self in the place where the Lord has called them. And so, the approval of Opus Dei as a way of sanctity  in 1950 was and is very significant.  

   Basically, the definitive approval is saying that if one lives the vocation to Opus Dei, he/she is on the way to becoming “another Christ” by engaging in a secular, professional work and family life as any other person/citizen of one’s country as Christ did in radical obedience (even to death) to His Father.  In its utter simplicity, the Work is a novelty, as old as the gospel, which engages people of all classes and conditions, without any discrimination of race, nation or language, to awaken that sweet encounter with Jesus Christ in their daily tasks. It is a simply novelty just like the ‘good news’ of the Lord. And to open the way for this divine wish, an event of great theological, pastoral and social importance in the life of the Church, God led me by the hand, quietly, little by little, until his castle was built. ‘Take this step,’ he seemed to say, ‘put it here now, take away what’s here in front and put it over there.’ That is the way our Lord has built his Work, with firm stokes and fine outlines, a work behold and new, as is the Rod of Christ

               “This divine game I am talking to you about appears very clearly in the history of our juridical path within the life of the Church. I have not had to calculate, as if I were playing chess; among other things because I have never tried to guess the other person’s moves so as to checkmate him later. What I have had to do is to let myself be led.’

               Let me introduce Joseph Ratzinger’s observations on Escriva here:

October 06, 2002
L’Osservatore Romano (special supplement)

I have always been struck by the interpretation which Josemaria Escrivá gave of the name Opus Dei—an interpretation which we could call biographical and which allows us to understand the founder in his spiritual dimension. Escriva knew that he should found something, but he was always aware that whatever it was was not his work, that he had not invented anything, that the Lord had simply made use of him. Thus it was not his work, but Opus Dei [Latin for “work of God”]. He was only an instrument with which God had acted.

While I was pondering this fact, there came to mind the words of the Lord reported in the Gospel of John (5:17): “My Father is always working.” These are words spoken by Jesus in the course of a discussion with some religious specialists who did not want to recognize that God could act even on the Sabbath. This is a debate that is still going on, in a certain way, among people and even Christians of our own time. Some people think that after creation God “retired” and no longer has any interest in our everyday affairs. According to this manner of thinking, God could no longer enter into the fabric of our daily life. But the words of Jesus affirm the opposite. A man open to the presence of God discovers that God is always working and still works today: We should, then, let him enter and let him work. And so things are born which open to the future and renew mankind.

All this helps us to understand why Josemaría Escrivá did not consider himself “founder” of anything, but only a person who wants to fulfill the will of God, to second his action, the work, precisely, of God. In this sense, the theocentrism of Escrivá, in accordance with the words of Jesus, means this confidence in the fact that God has not retired from the world, that God is working now and we ought only to put ourselves at his disposal, to be ready, capable of reacting to his calling. This, for me, is a message of greatest importance. It is a message which leads to overcoming what could be considered the great temptation of our times: the pretense, that is, that after the “big bang” God retired from history. God’s action did not “stop” at the moment of the “big bang”, but continues throughout time in the world of nature and the world of man.

The founder of Opus Dei said: I am not the one who invented anything; there is Another who acts, and I am only ready to serve as an instrument. So the name, and all the reality which we call Opus Dei, is deeply bound up with the interior life of the founder. He, while remaining very discreet on this point, makes us understand that he was in permanent dialogue, in real contact, with Him who created us and works through us and with us. The Book of Exodus (33:11) says of Moses that God spoke with him “face to face, as a friend speaks with a friend.” I think that, even if the veil of discretion hides many details from us, still from some small references we can very well apply to Josemaria Escrivá this “speaking as a friend speaks with a friend,” which opens the doors of the world so that God can become present, to work and transform everything.

In this light one can understand even better what holiness means, as well as the universal calling to holiness. Knowing a little about the history of saints, and understanding that in the causes of canonization there is inquiry into “heroic” virtue, we almost inevitably have a mistaken concept of holiness: “It is not for me,” we are led to think, “because I do not feel capable of attaining heroic virtue. It is too high a goal.” Holiness then becomes a thing reserved for some “greats” whose images we see on the altars, and who are completely different from us ordinary sinners. But this is a mistaken notion of holiness, a wrong perception which has been corrected—and this seems to me the central point—precisely by Josemaria Escrivá.

Heroic virtue does not mean that the saint performs a type of “gymnastics” of holiness, something that normal people do not dare to do. It means rather that in the life of a person God’s presence is revealed—something man could not do by himself and through himself. Perhaps in the final analysis we are rather dealing with a question of terminology, because the adjective “heroic” has been badly interpreted. Heroic virtue properly speaking does not mean that one has done great things by oneself, but rather that in one’s life there appear realities which the person has not done himself, because he has been transparent and ready for the work of God. Or, in other words, to be a saint is nothing other than to speak with God as a friend speaks with a friend. This is holiness.

To be holy does not mean being superior to others; the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy. And if, then, Josemaría Escrivá speaks of the calling of all to be saints, I think that he is actually referring to this personal experience of his of not having done incredible things by himself, but of having let God work. And thus was born a renewal, a force for good in the world, even if all the weaknesses of mankind will remain ever present. Truly we are all capable, we are all called to open ourselves up to this friendship with God, to not leave the hands of God, to not neglect to turn and return to the Lord, speaking with him as if speaking with a friend, knowing well that the Lord really is a true friend of everyone, including those who cannot do great things by themselves.

From all this I have better understood the inner character of Opus Dei, this surprising union of absolute fidelity to the Church’s great tradition, to its faith, and unconditional openness to all the challenges of this world, whether in the academic world, in the field of work, or in matters of the economy, etc. The person who is bound to God, who has this uninterrupted conversation, can dare to respond to these challenges, and no longer has fear. For the person who stands in God’s hands always falls into God’s hands. And so fear vanishes, and in its place is born the courage to respond to today’s world.

John-Henry Westen <lsn@lifesitenews.com> Unsubscribe5:46 AM (4 hours ago)
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Our pro-life reporting is being attacked. So is the truth. We can’t back down in the fight against abortion!View this email in your browserDear robert,

Big Tech, mainstream media, and the abortion industry are now colluding to make us an even bigger target than previously reported – because they see that LifeSite’s articles are too effectively exposing their lies and evil deeds. 

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Cancel culture has really ramped up their efforts to cancel conservatives over the last year. When the main LifeSiteNews Facebook page was removed last month, we learned that four of the top U.S. anti-life and anti-family organizations were actively behind our removal from Facebook.   

In a joint statement, Media Matters for America and LGBT powerhouses such as GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and NARAL Pro-Choice America said in part:It took pressure to get Facebook to remove LifeSiteNews’ page, including calling attention to the flagrant COVID-19 and vaccine disinformation on LifeSiteNews’ page, compiling more than 100 posts that proved LifeSiteNews’ repeated violation of Facebook’s related policies, and outreach from GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, NARAL, and Media Matters to get Facebook to finally act. Let’s be clear: together, these four organizations form an axis of evil, seeking to eliminate all voices who oppose their inhuman ideologies, and right now we seem to be public enemy #1.  

Their statement concludes by revealing their next move: “LifeSiteNews still has three pages that remain on the platform — which Facebook must be committed to removing.” 

As we’ve experienced, Big Tech corporations like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter have used the global virus situation to double down on their efforts to silence those of us who are fighting for a pro-life and pro-family culture.  

And now, we are experiencing first-hand exactly how Big Tech is in cahoots with the abortion industry.

The external threats that we face are stronger than ever, impacting our ability to deliver our unique news reports to the world. Therefore, our efforts to become completely self-sufficient and not rely on Big Tech at all is especially crucial, and also very costly. 

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We are currently acting quickly and efficiently to detach from all mainstream companies we use to process donations, send out daily news emails to our millions of subscribers, and the hosting and operation of our website. Unfortunately, the cost of these platform changes is significant. 

Several of the third-party companies that we have used for years have already de-platformed other pro-life and pro-family activists and organizations. Now, based on the evidence of Big Abortion actively seeking to silence us, it’s clear that we would be next on the chopping block! 

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Vatican II: The Source of the Epistemology and Anthropology of the New Man: Ipse Christus

Gaudium et spes 22 and 24 carry the anthropological burden of Vatican II; Here a work in progress to go deeper into this, who was responsible, etc.

Gaudium et Spes’ development is meticulous and allows us to understand the influence of the peritii and bishops involved in the redaction process, including Karol Wojtyła. Fr. Haubtmann became the editor-in-chief of Gaudium et Spes on 16November 1964 replacing Bernard Häring.6 His influence on Gaudium et Spes from then on is of singular importance, particular to the first part of the document where GS 22 §1 and GS 24 §3 are located.7 Bishop Gabriel-Marie Garrone, who was intimately involved in the redaction of Gaudium et Spes from the very beginning, 8 testifies that: “One is able to say indeed that the actual text of Gaudium et Spes is his text . . . the framework of several of the chapters of the first part is his. It remains to be said especially that he participated as the front runner [all the way] to the final readjustment and unification [of the document] into a whole.”9 Charles Moeller worked on Gaudium et Spes from the very beginning (February 1963) having been invited by Cardinal Suenens to be part of a group of eminent theologians who created early drafts. 10 Among others, this group included Jean Daniélou and Yves Congar.11 In assessing the influence of Wojtyła on the development of GS 22 §1 it is insufficient to consider only his submissions that are recorded in the Acta Synodalia, because these represent only a small part of his contribution. ……

            For an accurate evaluation of his involvement, we need to understand his contribution ‘behind the scenes’, especially from February to December 1965. It is during these months that both GS 22 §1 and GS 24 §3 appear in a recognizable form.13 6 R. Burigana and G. Turbanti, “Preparing the Conclusion of the Council,” History of Vatican II: Church as Communion, eds. G. Alberigo and J. Komonchak (Maryknoll, Orbis: 2003), 520. 7 Pierre Haubtmann (1912-1977) was a French priest. He was ordained in 1936 and worked as chaplain for Action Catholique Ouvrière, a French Catholic workers movement, from 1954 to 1962. From 1962 until 1977 he taught at the Institut Catholique de Paris, being the rector from 1966. He held doctorates in Theology, Philosophy, Letters, and Social Science. Before being appointed as editor-in-chief, Haubtmann had worked on appendix four and five of the Zürich text (an early redaction of Gaudium et Spes) and had given daily news conferences to French journalists throughout the Council. 8 P. d’Ornellas, Liberté, que dis-tu de toi-même? (Saint-Maur: Parole et Silence, 1999), 317. Gabriel-Marie Garrone (1901-1994) was Bishop of Toulouse at the time of the Council. In 1967 Paul VI made him a cardinal and in 1968 appointed him as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education as well as Grand Chancellor of the Gregorian University. He became the first President of the Pontifical Council of Culture in 1982. …….   

            Charles Moeller (1912-1986) was a Belgian priest. He was ordained in 1937 and taught literature for 13 years at the Collège Saint-Pierre in Jette, Belgium. In 1950 he became professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven. After the Vatican Council he was made Sub-Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then in 1972 Secretary of the Secretariat for Christian Unity. At this time he also became the rector of the Oriental Institute in Jerusalem. 11 Moeller, “The History of the Constitution,” 12-17. 12 Wojtyła made twenty-three interventions in the Council hall, mostly in writing. For a list and summary of these see A. Dulles, The Splendor of Faith: The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II (New York: Herder and Herder, 1999), 15-16. Seven of these concerned Gaudium et Spes. One can be loosely related to the themes of GS 22 §1. This intervention is from 28 September 1965, by which time GS 22 §1 is formulated. It addresses the question of atheism in GS §19 and states that the problem of atheism is not just the issue of the denial of God, but the denial of the truth about man, which can only be seen in truth from the perspective of man’s relationship with God (see Acta Synodalia IV, II 662). 13 For a consideration of the redactions of Gaudium et Spes prior to February 1965 and their influence on the composition of GS 22 §1, see W. Newton, Gaudium et Spes 22 §1: A Commentary Based on the Theology of St Thomas Aquinas, Ph.D. Thesis, John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne, Australia, unpublished: 2008. 3 February 1965: the appearance of GS 22 §1 The first text that clearly resembles GS 22 §1 is in a draft from 1 February 1965. This redaction was created by Haubtmann as the ‘working text’ for a week-long meeting at Ariccia, near Rome, that took place between 1 and 5 February 1965. This meeting was a gathering of 26 Bishops, including Wojtyła, accompanied by 31 periti, including Congar, Daniélou, Schillebeckx, Häring, and Moeller.14 In this text of Haubtmann, there is a paragraph entitled, “Man does not know himself” (L’homme ne se connaît pas lui-même), in which we find the following: Pour lui-même, en effet, l’homme est un être plein de mystère. Créé à l’image de Dieu, il ne peut pleinement se comprendre qu’en regardant l’Homme parfait, le Christ Jésus (Eph. 4, 13), qui n’est pas seulement, comme nous tous, à l’image de Dieu, mais qui est lui-même, personnellement, Image du Dieu invisible et Fils unique du Père. Nouvel Adam (1 Cor. 15, 45), il éclaire tout homme venant en ce monde (Jn. 1, 9), et il sait ce qu’il y a dans l’homme (Jn. 2, 25). For to himself, indeed, man is a being full of mystery. Created to the image of God, he cannot fully understand himself other than looking at the perfect Man, Christ Jesus (Eph 4:13), who is not only, as all of us, to the image of God, but who is himself personally the Image of the invisible God and only Son of the Father. The new Adam (1 Cor 15:45), he illuminates all men coming into this world (Jn 1:9), and he knows what is in man (Jn 2:25).15 This text is clearly GS 22 §1 in an ‘embryonic’ form. Happily, it is possible to make some assessment of the influences behind this text because in Haubtmann’s archive there is a folder titled “Contacts, notes and diverse documents having been used for the 1st redaction P.H. of Schema XIII December 64, January 65.”16 This folder contains various notes, letters, and articles that were obviously forming Haubtmann’s ideas in creating the redaction of 1 February.17 Of interest are notes taken from a collection of essays on the theology of Henri de Lubac.18 In this regard, we should note the speculation that a line from de Lubac’s book Catholicism is the ultimate inspiration for GS 22 §1.19 This line reads, “By revealing the Father and by being revealed by Him, Christ completes the revelation of man to himself.”20 It is certain that Haubtmann read Catholicism because his archives contain six pages of his handwritten notes on the book. However, these notes are dated 12 March 1965 which is after the appearance of GS 22 §1 in its “embryonic” form …..

Ratzinger and Rahner are not present in the Arricia session…..

This particular moment in history and the sources for these two texts of Gaudium et Spes have decided the epistemological level all discourse that is taking place now world-wide and will continue to affect everything. Give it attention. The information is available

The Whole Self as Ontological Ground of Morality

               And so, the ontological ground of morality for Wojtyla is the ontological tendency of the “Acting Person” in his totality of body, soul, faculties, feelings, drives , intellect and will. And the active word is “experience” of this totality of the self by the self. And since the self is revealed to be created in the image and likeness of the divine Persons who are theologically appreciated as pure Self-gifts of engendering, obeying-glorifying and mutuality (Spirit), the ontological density of the person in himself is the ground of moral action. That is, as the divine Persons are relational and dynamic visa vis each Other, so is the human person tending relational to God and others.  

Thoughts on moral good: Modernity after Descartes separated “ought” from “is.” That is, facticity does not ground moral demand that this fact and not that “should” be done.’ Fact is fact is fact is fact. It simply is. It is not ontological “tendency.” Modern philosophy took this separaton of faith and reason and ran with it. If ontological reality is reducible to empirical facticity, then the experience of moral obligation that we all have has to have its causative foundation somewhere. And if it is not in the empirical fact, then it must be from within man himself as a “categorical imperative.” Karol Wojtyla hastens to say that this is true, but it is not mere subjectivist feeling but the whole ontological structure of the human person. Wojtyla was able to say that having done his homework on the phenomenology of the human person derived from Edmund Husserl through Max Scheler.      

               And so, the ontological ground of morality for Wojtyla is the ontological tendency of the “Acting Person” in his totality of body, soul, faculties, feelings, drives , intellect and will. And the active word is “experience” of this totality of the self by the self. And since the self is revealed to be created in the image and likeness of the divine Persons who are theologically appreciated as pure Self-gifts of engendering, obeying-glorifying and mutuality (Spirit), the ontological density of the person in himself is the ground of moral action. That is, as the divine Persons are relational and dynamic visa vis each Other, so is the human person tending relational to God and others.  

Fr. Georges Lemaitre, ‘Father’ of the Big Bang Theory

by Maggie Ciskanik, M.S. | Feb 12, 2021 |

Fr. Georges Lemaitre, 'Father' of the Big Bang Theory

“The whole matter of the world must have been present at the beginning, but the story it has to tell may be written step by step.” —Fr. Georges Lemaitre, Nature, 1931

Like the theory of evolution, there is a great deal of misunderstanding of the Big Bang theory and its implications for religious belief. In fact, it might not be an exaggeration to state that many people of faith dismiss the theory as a modernist attempt to write God out of the story of the universe. On the other hand, many cosmologists seek alternate explanations of the observational and mathematical data that make a beginning unavoidable precisely because it looks like a religious idea. As it was when the theory was proposed, so it is now! 

In order to dispel both of the above “myths” about the theory, we will give a summary of the state of cosmology at the time of its development and examine the life and faith of the Belgian priest who is commonly recognized as the “Father” of the Big Bang theory, Fr. Georges Lemaitre

The Story Behind of the Big Bang Theory 

From ancient times and through the early 20th century, the most common assumption was that the universe was eternal. According to an article in BioLogos, the discovery of radioactivity and the concept of thermodynamic entropy knocked this assumption off its pedestal. It was impossible for the existence of the universe to proceed infinitely backwards in time, precisely because these processes are still going on.

With the discovery of Hubble’s red shift in 1929 came another blow to the static and eternal model of the universe: the experimental confirmation that the universe was expanding. Fr. Lemaitre had anticipated this discovery by his application of Einstein’s equations of the theory of relativity in a 1927 paper (published in English in 1931). The significance of an expanding universe was not lost on Fr. Lemaitre. As startling as the idea of an expanding universe was, Fr. Lemaitre proposed another startling mathematical conclusion: the universe must have had a beginning.

In 1931, in a very short article in the magazine Nature, Fr. Lemaitre mades the following statement:

“Thermodynamical principles from the point of view of quantum theory may be stated as follows: (1) Energy of constant total amount is distributed in discrete quanta. (2) The number of distinct quanta is ever increasing. If we go back in the course of time we must find fewer and fewer quanta, until we find all the energy of the universe packed in a few or even in a unique quantum.” —Fr. Georges Lemaitre [emphasis added]

Lemaitre proposed that this original primeval atom —“the atomic weight of which is the total mass of the universe”—would divide into smaller and smaller atoms by a kind of super-radioactive process. The mechanism he proposed was incorrect, but the theory still holds. According to an article published in the Oxford University Press,

“It was only in the late 1940s that George Gamow and his collaborators Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman independently transformed Lemaître’s spirited hypothesis into a sophisticated model of the early universe. They assumed the initial state to consist of a very hot, compressed mixture of nucleons and photons, thereby introducing the hot Big Bang model.”

Father of the Big Bang: A Belgian Priest?

Born in 1894, in Charleroi, Belgium, Georges Lemaitre came from a devout Catholic family. Apparently, from an early age, not only did he know he wanted to be a priest, but he demonstrated a remarkable talent for mathematics. The family lived in a mining region, so originally, he began studying engineering. 

World War I interrupted his life, as it did the life of so many. He spent four years fighting in the Belgian artillery, winning the Belgian War Cross for bravery and service in battle. After returning, he recognized that his real interest was in mathematics and physics, so he switched his educational path. Not only did he enter the seminary at this time—with all the theological studies that entailed—he completed the equivalent of a PhD in Mathematics and became Fr. Lemaitre in 1923.

Cardinal Mercier encouraged the talented priest to pursue his interest in physics and philosophy. It was during this time that Fr. Lemaitre was given a grant to study under Sir Arthur Eddington in England. (In 1919, during a solar eclipse, Eddington made the famous observational proof of the bending of light by the sun. This was one of several predictions of Einstein’s theory of relativity.) Eddington recommended Lemaitre for further studies at Harvard College Observatory with Harlow Shapley. During his time under Shapley, Fr. Lemaitre made a significant contribution:

“[H]e invented a graphical presentation of four properties of a pulsating star. The relationship between luminosity, period, mass, and temperature could be read quickly from this graph, so that if three of the properties were known the fourth could be estimated.”

Lemaitre also used his time at Harvard to travel around the U.S. and Canada visiting observatories and universities active in cosmological research. (For a summary of his travels go to this article.) He made his public debut as a cosmologist in 1925 at the American Physical Society critiquing the static, matter-free model of the universe proposed by Dutch cosmologist, Wilhelm de Sitter. After returning to Belgium in 1925, Lemaitre began teaching at the University of Louven. The subsequent 1931 publication of his 1927 paper and its results were mentioned earlier. In 1934, Fr. Lemaitre won the Francqui prize,

“…for his outstanding work on the systems of galaxies and on cosmic theory. His discoveries and theories have had a profound influence on astrophysical and physical thought throughout the world, especially in connexion with the theory of the expanding universe, which he originated.”

For the rest of his career, from 1935, his research focused on cosmic rays (which he mistakenly thought might be the visible “remnants” of the Big Bang). In 1936, Pius XI asked him to join the newly re-formed Pontifical Academy of Science. He received multiple awards throughout his career, and his contributions to cosmology continued as discussed in several excellent biographies. 

Negative Big Bang Cosmology Response from the Establishment

Sir Arthur Eddington candidly admitted that the idea of a beginning to the universe was “repugnant,” even though he recognized the significance and validity of Lemaitre’s use of Einstein’s field equations in his 1927 paper. 

Initially, Einstein also resisted. It is reported that he told Lemaitre, “Your calculations are correct, but your physics is abominable.” After several encounters and discussions, Einstein finally became convinced especially after a 1933 encounter at CalTech with both Hubble and Lemaitre.

Many other atheist astronomers resisted Lemaitre’s expanding universe with a finite beginning. They threw their support behind a steady state model, especially astronomer Fred Hoyle. (Hoyle coined the term “big bang” in a 1949 radio show, some say to mock Lemaitre’s theory.) Eventually, most astronomers accepted the theory—with the exception of Fred Hoyle. Even after the 1965 discovery of cosmic background radiation (expected if an initial explosive event had occurred) and other evidence, he doggedly and somewhat controversially held to the steady state model until his death in 2001.

Why Such Strong Resistance?

Many scientists today have revived attempts to avoid a “beginning” and have proposed alternative theories. For many, the idea of a beginning still smacks of religion, and it is seen as an attempt at scientific proof of Genesis.

It seems Pope Pius XII made a somewhat similar mistake! Or at least that is the popular interpretation of the story. At the opening of the 1951 meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Science, the Pope gave his now famous “Fiat Lux” speech. In it he appeared to claim that new cosmological theories proved the existence of a creator. 

Rightly fearing the Pope’s remarks would be used by critics to dismiss his theory, and more importantly, recognizing the tenuous nature of scientific theories, Fr. Lemaitre intervened quickly. There is no record of their meeting, but what is known is that the Pope amended his statements in his 1952 speech to the International Astronomical Union. (That story has been explained and written about elsewhere.) In all of his own public talks and lectures, Lemaitre was careful to distinguish between the idea of a beginning (a mathematical calculation) and creation (a theological concept).

Faith and science

Does the Church need science? Certainly not, the cross and the gospel are sufficient for her. But nothing human is alien to the Christian. How could the Church have failed to take an interest in the most noble of the strictly human occupations: the search for truth? –Georges Lemaître

How did Fr. Lemaitre view his work as a scientist, his vocation, and life of faith? Were they separated as distinct activities? During his career he continued his priestly duties and always appeared in public in clerical clothes. In this article, his deep spirituality is mentioned: 

He was part of a small community of priests, the Friends of Jesus, who sought a deeper spirituality through studying mystics, regularly attending silent retreats and taking special vows, such as poverty and a complete offering of their lives to Christ.

Nevertheless, Fr. Lemaitre clearly defends the scientific integrity of his theory as distinct from his faith:

As far as I can see, such a theory [the Big Bang] remains entirely outside any metaphysical or religious question. It leaves the materialist free to deny any transcendental Being. —Fr. Lemaitre as quoted in M. Godart and M. Heller’s, “Cosmology of Lemaître”

Or as Fr. Lemaitre put it in 1936, “Divine revelation never taught us what we could have found out by ourselves.”

Fr. Lemaitre, however, cannot be accused of seeing two magisteria—faith and science—as having non-overlapping domains. As Bro. Guy Consolmogno remarked in a post for the Vatican Observatory, the intersection of faith and science is in a human person, the scientist himself. Fr. Lemaitre reveals this integrity at the conclusion of a collection of essays published in 1950, “The Primeval Atom”:

“We cannot end this rapid review which we have made together of the most magnificent subject that the human mind may be tempted to explore without being proud of these splendid endeavors of Science in the conquest of the Earth, and also without expressing our gratitude to One Who has said: “I am the Truth,” One Who gave us the mind to understand him and to recognize a glimpse of his glory in our universe which he has so wonderfully adjusted to the mental power with which he has endowed us.” —Georges Lemaître

Female Teen Suicide Attempts Increased Sharply During Pandemic Lockdowns

BY SAMUEL ALLEGRI June 12, 2021 Updated: June 12, 2021biggersmallerPrint

Teenagers hospitalized for suspected suicide attempts saw a spike during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

A new CDC study found that between Feb. 21 and March 20, female adolescents between ages 12 through 17 have been visiting the emergency department (ED) at a rate of nearly 51 percent higher than the same time frame in 2019 before the lockdowns were enforced.

During the same time, in the case of male teenagers of the same age, officials noted nearly a 4 percent increase in visits to the ED for suspected suicide attempts.

“The findings from this study suggest more severe distress among young females than has been identified in previous reports during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for increased attention to, and prevention for, this population,” the analysis reads, adding that this doesn’t imply that the suicide rates have increased.

The study says that “mitigation measures” in response to the pandemic have especially affected young people, including: physical distancing; lack of connection to schools, friends, and teachers; increases in drug usage; anxiety about family health and financial situations; and a lack of access to mental health treatment.

Visits to the ED also increased on average in 2020 compared to 2019 due to mental health concerns and suspected child neglect and abuse, all factors that increase the risk of attempted suicide.

COVID-19-related lockdowns enacted across the country and around the world have been linked to a rise in mental health issues particularly among youth, who have been robbed of in-person interactions, freedom to leave the home, and have been forced to attend online Zoom sessions for hours on end to continue their education.

Medical and psychiatric experts are increasingly worried about the toll the pandemic has had on the next generation.

Doctors have reported children—some as young as 8—intentionally running into traffic, overdosing on pills, and self-harming amid the pandemic. A health care executive told The Epoch Times in August last year that the mental health crisis is “now an epidemic within a pandemic.”

 CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

PRESENTATION OF THE APOSTOLIC LETTER IN THE FORM OF MOTU PROPRIO MISERICORDIA DEI

INTERVENTION BY H. EM. CARD. JOSEPH RATZINGER Thursday, 2 May 2002 

The fact that humanity needs purification and forgiveness is something that is most evident at this historical moment. For this very reason the Holy Father in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte placed among the priorities of the mission of the Church for the new millennium “a renewed pastoral courage in proposing in an attractive and effective way the practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation” (n. 37).Personalist nature of Christian lifeThe new Motu Proprio Misericordia Dei is linked to this invitation and makes theologically, pastorally, and juridically concrete a few important aspects of the practice of this sacrament. Above all, the Motu Proprio emphasizes the personalist nature of the Sacrament of Penance:  as the sin, despite all our bonds with the human community, is ultimately something totally personal, so also our healing with forgiveness has to be something that is totally personal. God does not treat us as part of a collectivity. He knows each one by name, he calls him/her personally and saves him if he has fallen into sin. Even if in all the sacraments, the Lord addresses the person as an individual, the personalist nature of the Christian life is manifested in a particularly clear way in the Sacrament of Penance. That means that the personal confession and the forgiveness directed to this person are constitutive parts of the sacrament. Collective absolution is an extraordinary form that is possible only in strictly determined cases of necessity; it also supposes, as something that belongs to the nature of the sacrament, the will to make the personal confession of sins, as soon as it will be possible to do so. The strongly personalist nature of the Sacrament of Penance was overshadowed in the last decade by the ever more frequent recourse to general absolution which was increasingly considered as a normal form of the Sacrament of Penance, an abuse that contributed to the gradual disappearance of this sacrament in some parts of the Church.Trent understands that the power to forgive sins given to the Apostles and their successors requires a judgementIf the Pope now reduces again the extent of this possibility, the objection might be made:  but has not the Sacrament of Penance undergone many transformations in history, why not this one? In this regard one needs to say that, in reality, the form manifests notable variations, but the personalist component was always essential.The Church had and has the consciousness that only God can forgive sins (cf. Mk 2,7). For that reason she had to learn to discern carefully and almost with reverent awe what powers the Lord transmitted to her and which he did not. After a long journey of historical maturation, the Council of Trent expounded in an organic form the ecclesial doctrine on the Sacrament of Penance (DS 1667-1693; 1701-1715).The Fathers of the Council of Trent understood the words of the Risen One to his disciples in Jn 20,22f as the specific words of the institution of the sacament:  “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (DS 1670; 1703; 1710). Starting with Jn 20 they interpreted Mt 16,19 and 18,18 and understood the power of the keys of the Church as the power for the remission of sins (DS 1692; 1710). They were fully conscious of the problems of the interpretation of these texts and established their interpretation in terms of the Sacrament of Penance with the help of “the understanding of the Church” that is expressed in the universal consensus of the Fathers (1670; 1679; 1683; important for this 1703).The decisive point in these words of institution lies in the fact that the Lord entrusts to the disciples the choice between loosing and binding, retaining or forgiving:  the disciples are not simply a neutral instrument of divine forgiveness, but rather a power of discernment is entrusted to them and with it a duty of discernment for individual cases. The Fathers saw in this the judicial nature of the sacrament. Two aspects belong essentially to the Sacrament of Penance:  on the one hand the sacramental aspect, namely the mandate of the Lord, that goes beyond the real power of the disciples and of the community of disciples of the Church; on the other hand, the commission to make the decision that must be founded objectively and, therefore, must be just and in this sense has a judicial nature. “Jurisdiction” belongs to the sacrament and it requires a juridical order in the Church, that is always directed to the essence of the sacrament, to the saving will of God (1686f).Trent is clearly differing from the position of the Reformers, in which the Sacrament of Penance signifies only the manifestation of a forgiveness already granted through faith, and so does not do anything new, but only announces what always already exists in faith.The judicial nature of the Sacrament implies the necessity to confess each mortal sinThis juridical-sacramental character of the sacrament has two important implications:  if this is the reality, we must speak of a sacrament that is different from Baptism, of a specific sacrament, that supposes a special sacramental power, that is linked with the Sacrament of Orders (1684). If however, there is also a judicial evaluation, then it is clear that the judge has to know the facts of the case on which he is to judge. The necessity of the personal confession with the telling of the sins, for which one must ask pardon of God and of the Church because they have broken the unity of love with God that is given by baptism, is implicit in the juridical aspect. At this point the Council can say that it is necessary iure divino (by divine law) to confess each and every mortal sin (can. 7, 1707). So the Council teaches that the duty of confession was instituted by the Lord himself and is constitutive of the sacrament, and so not left to the disposition of the Church.Church does not have the power to replace personal confession with general absolutionTherefore It is not in the power of the Church to replace personal confession with general absolution:  the Pope reminds us of this in the new Motu Proprio, that expresses the Church’s consciousness of the limits of her power; it expresses the bond with the word of the Lord that is binding even on the Pope. Only in situations of necessity, in which the human being’s final salvation is at stake, can the absolution be anticipated and the confession left for a time in which it will be possible to make it. This is the true meaning of what in a rather obscure way is meant by the word collective absolution. Now it is also the mission of the Church to define when one is in the presence of such a situation of necessity. After, as we said, experiencing in the last decades expansive, and for many reasons unsustainable, interpretations of the concept of necessity, in this document the Pope gives precise determinations that must be applied in their particulars by the Bishops.Confession offers experience of liberation by God from the past weight of sinsDoes this document place a new burden on the backs of Christians? It is precisely the contrary:  the totally personal character of Christian life is defended. Of course, the confession of one’s own sin can seem to be something heavy for the person, because it humbles his pride and confronts him with his poverty. It is this that we need:  we suffer exactly for this reason:  we shut ourselves up in our delirium of guiltlessness and for this reason we are closed to others and to any comparison with them. In psychotherapeutic treatments a person is made to bear the burden of profound and often dangerous revelations of his inner self. In the Sacrament of Penance, the simple confession of one’s guilt is presented with confidence in God’s merciful goodness. It is important to do this without falling into scruples, with the spirit of trust proper to the children of God. In this way confession can become an experience of deliverance, in which the weight of the past is removed from us and we can feel rejuvenated by the merit of the grace of God who each time gives back the youthfulness of the heart.