Tag Archives: environment



In all things consider the end; how you shall stand before the strict Judge from Whom nothing is hidden and Who will pronounce judgment in all justice, accepting neither bribes nor excuses. And you, miserable and wretched sinner, who fear even the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to the God Who knows all your sins? Why do you not provide for yourself against the day of judgment when no man can be excused or defended by another because each will have enough to do to answer for himself? In this life your work is profitable, your tears acceptable, your sighs audible, your sorrow satisfying and purifying.


The patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory when he grieves more over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury; when he prays readily for his enemies and forgives offences from his heart; when he does not hesitate to ask pardon of others; when he is more easily moved to pity than to anger; when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body into complete subjection to the spirit.

It is better to atone for sin now and to cut away vices than to keep them for purgation in the hereafter. In truth, we deceive ourselves by our ill-advised love of the flesh. What will that fire feed upon but our sins? The more we spare ourselves now and the more we satisfy the flesh, the harder will the reckoning be and the more we keep for the burning.

– From: Thomas a Kempis; The Imitation of Christ

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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Words of Wisdom


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“We are more than just consumers

In an inspired remark at the Mass for All Souls Day, our parish priest Fr Paul Redmond at Christ the King, Bramley, invited us to reflect on the fact that when we die and meet God ‘face to face, the full purpose and meaning of our own mysterious lives will be revealed to us’.

When we die and meet God face-to-face, the full purpose and meaning of our lives will be revealed to us

Meanwhile, we struggle on, trying to relate to others and manage our human desires for basic material goods, for other human beings and for God.

The difficulty seems to be that we are now living in times of such ferocious reductionism that our abilities to manage our desires are constantly being diminished. No need to worry about God in our secular world, only our abuse of others is a serious problem (especially in war and sexual abuse), though we can scarcely agree on what are the basic human needs of shelter, food and clothing for each and every person.

And yet, as St Augustine spelled out, our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly.

Our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly

An editorial in the recent Concilium theology magazine asked: ‘How can we humans order our desires rightly when we are bombarded with advertising that constantly tells us that we need more of everything all the time?’

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded

We are all increasingly reduced to being regarded as consumers today. All values are reduced to monetary measures as the ‘economy now rules all’. Parents are even being urged by government to ask first and foremost ‘can they afford to have another child’? Students, patients and passengers are all called ‘consumers’. Personal contribitions, even of charitable volunteers, are now measured in quantitative cash values. As Pope Francis spells out in Evangelii Gaudium : ‘human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a throwaway culture which is now spreading’.

Everything human is being given a price tag

Not only are humans being regarded as literally ‘disposable’, increased consumerism is being driven by economic globalism, which is leading to a widening divide between those getting richer and those becoming poorer. Trade and commerce are driven by a continuing commodification of human life where nearly everything that human beings can be or do is increasingly a marketable product. Everything human is being given a price tag. This is far from the mysterious meaning and purpose of the human vocation, that personal ‘calling by God’ of each and every person whose human dignity is sacred from the outset.

Resisting the tyranny of market domination

Resisting this ‘tyranny’ of market domination, as Pope Francis labels it, is a huge challenge. Notably, the new supermarkets of Aldi and Lidl are overtaking the ‘big four’. In Leeds, Morrisons in Kirkstall offers 28,000 choices of goods on the shelves; the new Aldi store in Bramley only 8,000. St Augustine warned that entrapment in too many ‘choices’ is actually a form of slavery which diminishes our capacity to make really important choices.

I find myself hard to grasp (St Augustine)

When he wrote ‘I find myself hard to grasp’ he was challenging that  reduction of our lives to the economy of ever-expanding choices and inviting us to open up to God’s mysterious purposes.

– This article by John Battle was published in the Catholic Universe newspaper, issue 7th November, 2014. (Bold and headings added afterwards.) For subscriptions to the Catholic Universe newspaper please contact (external link)


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Pope Francis wants us to step off the escalator

“Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that people should not regard the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ as ‘puritanical’ in its message. Asked about the encyclical’s appeal for ‘sobriety and sself-denial’, Cardinal Nichols said people needed to go beyond reading the encyclical in a ‘puritanical way’. He continued by saying that Pope Francis wanted the faithful to recognise that when it comes to consumerism ‘less is better’ and that being trapped on an escalator where you ‘always want more’ is not a ‘happy escalator’.

Do I need this?

Cardinal Nichols also said that the encyclical made clear that when we purchase an object we make an ethical choice and that individuals should ask themselves: ‘Do I need this?’ In Laudato Si’ the Pope says: ‘A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment.’

The Cardinal was speaking at a press conference at Our Lady and St Joseph’s Catholic primary school in Poplar, East London. He said the location had been chosen as a reminder that we have an obligation gation to care for the earth for the sake of future generations, and also because the school was specifically designed in an environmentally friendly way.

A thoroughly Catholic document

Cardinal Nichols described the Pope’s encyclical as a ‘thoroughly Catholic document’ that was consistent with the teachings of former popes, and because it is focused on the ‘dignity and the calling of the human person’. The cardinal also described this text as a teaching document that is ‘essentially ethical in its challenge’ and encourages dialogue, and is ‘centred on the work of God and how it comes to fulfilment in the Person of Jesus.'”

– This article was copied off the one published in the “Catholic Herald” newspaper, issue June 26 2015. For the online-version and subscriptions, please visit (external link).

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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Words of Wisdom


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“On this Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul let us remember to pray for Pope Francis, the successor of St Peter. Pope Francis has shown great courage in reforming the Roman Curia and the Vatican Bank. He also lives a simple lifestyle and shows a great example how we should live a Gospel life in the Church. His mercy and love has been admired by people all over the world and he has travelled much to make contact with those in the church who particularly need support. A few days ago Pope Francis issued an encyclical letter addressed to all peoples of the world concerning environmental issues. This will contribute greatly to the discussion taking place about how we look after our planet, which is our common home.

So we should pray for Pope Francis that he will fulfil the mission given to him by God and that he will always be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in leading us in the Church.” (St Saviour’s)


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“Natural family planning (N.F.P.) is easy, cheap and reliable, which is why users are numerous from New Zealand to the Philippines, through Europe from Poland to Ireland, down from Canada to South America. On moral grounds, nature’s way is acceptable to all creeds and so attracts not only Roman Catholics but Christians of other denominations, Hindus and various back-to-nature communities.”


“What bothers some couples contemplating natural methods is the problem of coping with periods of abstinence. They feel that frustration is inevitable. Surprisingly, however, people seem to be engaging in potentially frustrating activities all the time, giving up smoking, saving for a mortgage, sticking to a diet, training for Saturday’s match.

The answer seems to lie in how important the result is for you. A need to regulate one’s family size, combined with a concern for healthy living or just a dislike of [unnatural] contraceptive intercourse [and dislike of swallowing chemicals that are tested on animals / contributing to pollution of the environment / not wanting to contribute to Rainforest-deforestation for rubber plantations etc.] can easily motivate a couple [also non-Christians] to accept these regular phases of going without. Perhaps one should ask, ‘Am I a person who easily gets frustrated and, if so, why? What are the important values in life which merit some sacrifice?’


A further anxiety is voiced by those who consider that all spontaneity of sexual expression in their marriage would be lost through the practice of periodic abstinence. Couples agree that N.F.P. does require personal control and co-operation between husband and wife; but when two people have promised to share their lives together, these are qualities worth cultivating.


Spontaneity can be a great joy to a couple; it is to be hoped that they will use the infertile times to express their love freely and fully, but in a loving relationship tenderness, consideration and responsibility must also hold a high place. There will inevitably be times in a marriage, during pregnancy, illness, sadness or strain, where expressing love through intercourse would be inappropriate. Indeed there are many occasions in life when one is required to restrain a physical or emotional urge, to control one’s anger, stifle an unkind word or curb a tendency to greed.


Paradoxically, couples have reported that their appreciation of sexual intercourse is heightened by periodic abstinence. Postponing intercourse voluntarily can promote greater sexual fulfilment; a case perhaps of quality rather than quantity! For the successful use of N.F.P. some adaptation of a couple’s sexual habits will be needed to adjust the phases of fertility and infertility in their shared life. Where intercourse has been the main expression of love and closeness, then they will need, during the fertile phases, to look for other ways of conveying their feelings, through acts of thoughtfulness, signs of affection and intimacies other than intercourse.

This is perhaps more of a challenge than a threat for it should be the ideal of all couples to strengthen their bond of love through sharing, caring, talking things out and looking imaginatively for ways of expressing affection.”
– J. Johnson


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From last Tuesday’s Inauguration Mass of our Holy Father, Pope Francis…he spoke the following words as part of his homily:


“I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful… The vocation of being a ‘protector’ is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as St Francis of Assisi showed us.


It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!


Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are ‘Herods’ who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.”
– Pope Francis (headings in capitals added)


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