Saturday, March 24, 2018

The deep Catholic faith of Arnaud Beltrame

Death of Arnaud Beltrame: the tribute of the priest who supported him at the hour of his death

Arnaud Beltrame died giving his life for that of a woman.

Tribute. Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame was a Catholic. He was preparing, with his fiancée, Marielle, to receive the sacrament of marriage from the hands of Father Jean-Baptiste, one of the Canons Regular of the Mother of God of Lagrasse Abbey. It is him who joined Marielle on Friday night, at the bedside of Arnaud, a few hours before his death. He was able to give him the sacrament of the sick and the apostolic blessing in articulo mortis. He then spoke at length with his fiancée before giving him communion. He provides a text, in which he pays tribute to the one who the whole of France celebrates today the heroic act.

Testimony of a Canon of the Abbey of Lagrasse (Aude), the day of his death, 24 March 2018.

In Arnaud Beltrame, the French have received a model.

It is the chance of a meeting during a visit to our abbey which is a historical monument, that I meet Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame and Marielle, who he had just married civilly on 27 August 2016. We got on together very quickly and they asked me to prepare them for the religious wedding that I was going to celebrate near Vannes on June 9th. We spent many hours working on the basics of married life for almost two years. I had just blessed their home on 16 December and we were finalizing their canonical marriage record. The very beautiful declaration of intention of Arnaud reached me 4 days before her heroic death.

This young couple regularly came to the abbey to participate in Masses, services and teachings, especially to a group of residences, Notre Dame de Cana. They were part of the Narbonne team. They came again last Sunday.

Intelligent, sporty, voluble and lively, Arnaud spoke readily of his conversion. Born into a family with little practice, he experienced a genuine conversion around 2008, at almost 33 years old. He received the first communion and confirmation after 2 years of catechumenate, in 2010.

After a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne-d'Auray in 2015, where he asked the Virgin Mary to meet the woman of his life, he became friends with Marielle, whose faith is deep and discreet. The engagement was celebrated at the Breton abbey of Timadeuc at Easter 2016.

Passionate about the gendarmerie, he has always had a passion for France, her greatness, her history and her Christian roots that he rediscovered with his conversion. By substituting himself for the hostages, he is probably motivated by commitment to his gallantry as an officer, because for him, being a policeman meant protecting. But he knew the incredible risk that he was taking.

He also knows the promise of religious marriage he made to Marielle, who is already his wife and who he loved tenderly, as I witnessed. So? Was he allowed to take such a risk? It seems to me that only his faith can explain the madness of this sacrifice which is today the admiration of all. He knew, as Jesus told us, that "There is no greater love than to give one's life for one's friends. » (John 15.13). He knew that if his life began to belong to Marielle, it was also to God, to France, to his brothers in danger of death. I believe that only a Christian faith animated by charity could ask for this superhuman sacrifice.

I was able to join him at the hospital in Carcassonne around 9pm last night. The gendarmes and the doctors or nurses opened the way with remarkable delicacy. He was alive but unconscious. I was able to give him the Sacrament of the Sick and the apostolic blessing at the moment of death. Marielle responded to these beautiful liturgical formulas.

We were Friday of the Passion, just before the opening of Holy Week. I had just prayed the office of none and the Stations of the Cross for him. I ask the caregiver if he can have near him a Marian medal, that of the rue du Bac in Paris.

Comprehensive and professional, a nurse, stares at his shoulder. I could not marry him as an article awkwardly said, because he was unconscious. Arnaud will never now have children in life. But his astonishing heroism will, I believe, inspire many imitators, ready to give of themselves to France and her Christian joy.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pope- "Do not read blogs that call me a heretic"

Since the Second Vatican Council, there are resistance to reforms in the Church, says the Pope. They tried to relativize and dilute the council. How he himself deals with this resistance, the Jesuit Francis let be known in a conversation with friars.

Pope Francis ignored in his own words denigration by ultra-conservative critics on the Internet. He knew the resistance against him and the groups behind it, he said in a Thursday meeting with Jesuits in Santiago de Chile during his trip to Chile on 16 January. Further, Francis said, "For mental health reasons, I do not read these internet sites of the so-called resistance."

If he experiences resistance, he tries to engage in dialogue, if that is possible, according to Francis. But some resistance comes from people "who believe they are in possession of true doctrine and accuse you of being heretical." Such resistance is regrettable, but it is necessary to proceed further. "If I cannot recognize spiritual benevolence in these persons, I simply pray for them."

At the end of September last year conservative critics of the pope spread a "Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis" ("A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies "). In the letter, which met with approval above all in conservative blogs, the authors claimed that Francis had promoted "directly or indirectly" heretical attitudes to marriage, morality, and sacramental doctrine that differed from church doctrines. "We respectfully insist that your Holiness publicly rejects these theses," the letter said.

Resistance has existed since the Second Vatican Councl

The conversation with Jesuits in Chile was published in the text on the website of the Italian Jesuit magazine, "Civilta Cattolica". The Pope approved the transcript, the journal said.

The resistance that existed after the Second Vatican Council is still there today, the Pope continued. They tried to relativise and dilute the Council. Some people told him that resistance was normal when someone wanted to make changes. After all, it is a great temptation to say, "what we all have experienced", "that it has always been done that way".

At the same time the Pope admitted that not all difficulties should be prematurely labelled as resistance. One must always take into account that it also contained a "grain of truth" and the resistance could go back to a misunderstanding. "That also helps me to relativise many things," says Francis.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Judge sentencing refugee who threatened to kill a Christian convert removes Cross from court

Judge removes crucifix permanently from his courtroom
A Bavarian judge was required to judge a suspected Islamist. He decides to remove the cross from the courtroom. The "educational measure" triggers criticism - also at a political level.

For a case against a young asylum seeker from Afghanistan, a judge has taken down the Cross in the courtroom. The 21-year-old had to answer in court because he is said to have threatened an Afghan compatriot with death, because this person has become a Christian and went to church on Sunday. The district court Miesbach in Bavaria confirmed the process.

Politicians are outraged, the judge reaching angry phone calls and emails. But he lets the criticism rebound. And even goes one step further: He announces that he will not hang the Cross again in the future.

The Miesbach judge, Klaus-Jürgen Schmidt, told the Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). On the one hand, religious symbols are generally not required in the courtroom. On the other hand, he saw the Cross as unhelpful in the trial.

He thought, "How do I educate a young man who is claimed to deny this Christian the right to live and that is a Taliban, to refrain from believing that a jihad exists between Christians and Islamists?", Schmidt said. For that he had thought it sensible not to condemn him under the visible Cross. The clear message: In Germany, religion is not above the law of the world and not above the judiciary.

Bavaria's former Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber (CSU) took a critical view of the matter: "Whoever threatens someone with death because this person has become a Christian, should be able to see the Cross in his eye," he told the "Bild" newspaper. "I think the taking down of the cross is a false signal," said the politician. Deputy Bavarian Prime Minister, Ilse Aigner (CSU) described the procedure as "highly insensitive to the feelings of the victims," according to the newspaper.

Schmidt told the BR that he was also accused of abandoning a "cultural-religious symbol of sovereignty". In addition, he would already be blamed for future actions of the man. The critics would not consider that he had considered the man for the maximum penalty. The prosecutor's office had demanded far less.

Legally, the case is clear. The judge has used a margin of discretion. Unlike in school, there is no legal provision in Bavaria obliging the judiciary to place crosses in meeting rooms. The fact that crucifixes are usually there is "an expression of the Christian tradition of our state," explained the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice.

Cross does not violate state neutrality
Since when this is so, he did not wish to say. However, the presence of the Crosses does not violate the obligation of state neutrality. Nobody, neither visitors nor witnesses, trial representatives or parties to the dispute, has to "identify with the ideas or institutions symbolically embodied therein". According to the Federal Constitutional Court, each judge can have themselves remove the Cross if those involved in the trial see their freedom of belief impaired.

In the future Schmidt wants to do without the Cross in the courtroom. The judiciary is independent of religions. In addition, it was planned to amend the Bavarian Judicial Law to the effect that neither cross nor headscarf should be worn by judges in the trial. Therefore, he considered the Cross in the courtroom inappropriate. According to "Bild" it has already found a new place: "I will hang it up in the corridor now," said Schmidt.