Sunday, December 31, 2017

The God of Healing

Michael H. Brown's book The God of Healing
Michael H. Brown's book, The God of Healing

One of the benefits of the Christmas season is an opportunity to catch up on some reading. This year I decided to read Michael H. Brown's book, The God of Healing.

For those who have been following my blog, you may remember Michael H. Brown (director of the Catholic news website from my posts on his four informative talks that he gave during the Marian Day Retreat back in May of this year. Those talks not only spawned four blog posts on each respective talk and the rereading and blogging of his book, Prayer of the Warrior, but it also prompted me to acquire four other books he authored: one of which I blogged about in September, Where The Cross Stands: The Last Chance to Reclaim America; two remain on the reading and blog-draft lists; and the other is the focus of today's post.

The God of Healing, is a worthy addition to anyone's reading list that seeks to better understand an increasingly important subject matter in today's world where people are suffering from a multitude of chronic ailments, injuries, and life-threatening diseases.

Yet even in today's Information Age, many are not aware that healing is available to those who put their trust in God; who pray in a spirit of obedience, abandonment, and gratitude, as if the healing had already occurred, much in the same manner as Jesus did when raising Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:42)

Healing happens to those who not only believe that God can heal, but that He actually will heal when asked.

Part of the healing process entails our cooperation: a sincere turning to God in perfect contrition and true repentance; forgiving those who we need to forgive; letting go of hatred, resentment, and bitterness; and seeking to live a virtuous life. We should pray for these gifts and the graces to live them fully, each and every day of our lives.

We also need to spiritually cleanse our homes and lives from demonic influence. Our homes should be blessed by a priest, especially when moving into a new home. The frequent use of sacramentals (holy or exorcised water, salt, and oil) is also important in fighting the spirits of darkness (demonic) that may attempt to silently influence us.

Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation or confession is very important to "come clean" with God. Add to this: regularly attendance at Mass (more than once a week, daily if possible); appealing to Our Lady's intercession through the recitation the Rosary (the most powerful prayer next to Mass) and the intercession of the saints; adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament; fasting (especially on bread and water) which is a powerful spiritual weapon (Mark 9:29) that expels evil and cleanses the body; meditation on the Bible, especially the scriptural passages that deal with healing (half the passages in the first eight chapters of Mark deal with healing); and calling upon our guardian angels and St. Raphael to heal, guide, and protect us.

God can heal anybody of anything! God's healing is not a matter of if, but when: when we act, God acts. The God of Healing is essentially a guide book of what we need to do to put that healing process into motion. 

We must do so with a strong and unwavering faith, drawing from the lessons of Christ to the Apostles who inquired with Jesus after he cast out a demon, why they were unable to do likewise, to which he replied, "...Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:18-20)

For those who have been injured recently, diagnosed with a condition or disease and are terribly worried or perhaps bordering on despair, Brown offers some words of encouragement: "Don't accept an evil report." (16) God is above what any diagnosis and doctor will say about your health. Do not let the Evil One or his demons discourage, dishearten, and depress you! Never despair; there is always hope with God!

In chapter three, Invisible forces, Brown illustrates why we should never accept an "evil report" by citing from the example of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) who in 1958, was afflicted by bronchial pneumonia. Despite the best efforts of doctors, his condition remained and as tests were conducted, Padre Pio was informed that he had cancer and only had a few months to live. Much to the shock of doctors, Padre Pio burst out laughing and informed them that they didn't know what they were talking about. 

Padre Pio refused the evil report! He refused the doctors' advice for chemotherapy. He prayed in front of a famous pilgrim statue from Fatima, and did so the entire time it remained in the monastery. Eventually the statue was taken away and Padre Pio pleaded with Our Lady, "Dear Mother, ever since you came to Italy, I have been immobilized by sickness. Now that you are leaving, aren't you going to say even a word to me?" At that moment, he felt a surge throughout his body; he leaped out of bed and shouted, "I'm healed." Two weeks later, Padre Pio resumed all his duties. (17)

We would do well to remember what Brown wrote in beginning of the first chapter, Our Creator wants us whole, "There's no doubt whatsoever that God can heal anybody of anything." He is the God of healing. (1)

Throughout the book, Brown refers to how the demonic and unclean spirits can—and many times are—the source of emotional, psychological, and physical problems, but it is in chapter seven, Spirits of Darkness, where he elaborates on this in greater detail.

In that chapter, Brown quoted Dr. Kenneth McAll's—a Christian psychiatrist who claimed to have witness dozens of spirits haunt various locations, causing accidents, disputes, and other negativity—recommendation that upon moving to a new home, "...[I]t is a good idea to have it blessed." (36)

Giotto di Bondone's fresco, The Expulsion of the Devils From Arezzo
McAll's recommendation brought to mind Giotto di Bondone's fresco, The Expulsion of the Devils From Arezzo, which serves as another reminder of how the demonic can influence the lives of those who remain vulnerable to their attacks.

Giotto's fresco depicts Br. Sylvester blessing the town of Arezzo, Italy and in the process expelling all the demons who, up until that time, were urging people on to a "mutual slaughter."

Although not the focus of today's blog post, including the story of what actually happened in Arezzo, may be of interest to those who want to further grasp the reality of the demonic. Here is the account from St. Bonaventure's Major Life of St. Francis (CH VI, NO.9.), The Expulsion of The Devils From Arezzo:
On one occasion St. Francis arrived at Arezzo when the whole town was being torn with faction fights and threatened with destruction. There he was given hospitality in a village near the town and he could see the devils rejoicing over it and urging the people on to mutual slaughter. He was anxious to put the malicious powers of evil to flight and so he sent brother Sylvester, who was a man of dove-like simplicity, telling him to approach the town like a herald. "Go up to the town gate," he said, "and in the name of almighty God command the devils in virtue of obedience to go away immediately." Sylvester was a genuinely obedient man and did what he was told. There and then the town was restored to peace and the townspeople set about reforming the laws governing their mutual rights peacefully. Once the malignant and presumptuous influence of the demons which encompassed the town like a besieging army had been counteracted, it needed only the wisdom of a beggar, that is, Francis' humility, to restore peace and save the day. By the heroic practice of humble obedience Francis had gained complete authority over the rebellious spirits, so that he could crush their frantic efforts and put an end to the violence they attempted.
Further in Spirits of Darkness, Brown refers to Fr. Jose Maniyangat from Jacksonville, Florida who firmly believes that the majority of physical illnesses are rooted in evil. 

Highlighting the hidden aspect of the demonic, Brown wrote, "In the vast majority of cases, spirits aren't recognized and remain hidden (causing 'incurable,' mysterious ailments). Lack of joy and peace—a feeling of despair—is a marker. So is malaise." (38) Brown quoted Fr. Jose on the clandestine aspect of a demonic presence within a home:
It is important to remember, that if the entities manifesting are of a diabolical nature, then they must be driven out in the Name of Jesus...They will always clandestinely affect the persons in the home in a negative manner, one way or the other, whether through sicknesses like heart attacks, headaches and stomach aches, relational problems and division within the family, emotional and psychological illnesses like impatience, anger, and depression, temptations like lust, pride, and sloth with regard to one's prayer life and Christian obligations; weakening of faith in God, as well as failures in businesses and other endeavours. (38)
With respect to souls of the departed that are still earthbound, they too may negatively affect us much in the same manner as demons. Elaborating on this Brown wrote, "Again: Jesus used the term 'unclean' when casting spirits of infirmity out of people. If we'd stop and realize how many 'psychological' illnesses are caused by spiritual influence, we would clear out half of our psychiatric wards." (39)

Further highlighting the clandestine demonic root of mental problems, Brown referred to a patient of Sigmund Freud's who was of the belief that the root cause of her condition was due to an "entity" within her. Brown went on to further note that Freud's assistant agreed with the patient. 

Sadly, there are many in the professional field of psychiatry and psychology that don't understand or believe that demonic influence is the root cause of many conditions or problems. We need not look any further than to the vocabulary used by such professionals, "They call obsession 'neurosis'; oppression 'schizophrenia'; and possession a 'split' personality or 'multiple-personality disorder' (the Lord said 'legion,' Luke 8:30)." (39)

Much if not all of what is going on in our lives can be cleared through confession, repentance, expiation, and forgiveness; all of which sets us on the path to healing.

To aid in the healing process, Brown referred to a few saints that we can pray to for their intercession: St. Lucy, St. Joseph, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, and St. Andre Bessette, the miracle man from Montreal, whose devotion to St. Joseph helped many in the healing process and restoration to normal health.

Brown cited one such case of a woman who was suffering from cancer of the eye, who was told by St. Andre Bessette to, "...[T]ake some oil from the oratory [St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal] apply it to her eyes, and offer a daily prayer to Saint Joseph, using a medal of him." (40) The women complied with the instructions and even climbed the stairs to the crypt on her knees, spending the rest of the day in prayer. Within weeks the cancer disappeared and a year later, the woman's daughter wrote to St. Joseph's Oratory that her mother was in "excellent health." (40)

We can also cooperate with God's healing by remembering that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body." (1Corinthians 6:19-20)

Part of glorifying God in our bodies translates into: eating the right foods, drinking plenty of water, getting the rest we need, and regular exercise.

Brown begins to address the importance of healthy living and expelling stress in our lives in chapter eight, The Power that closes the wounds. In that chapter, he emphasizes that harmony with God and His Creation can lead not only to a healthy life, but a long one. He cited the example of Esmeralda Stavra from Symi, Greece:
I read an account of a woman named Esmeralda Stavra in Symi who was 107 when she died on the island in Greece where they are very physically active, eat the right things, take time for neighbors, get sun, and don't know stress. Her house was at the top of the village steps and even when she was a hundred years old Esmeralda went up and down three or four times a day so she could sell the feta cheese and yogurt she made. She was never ill; never went to the doctor, for so much as a checkup (her children said). She was 'harmonious.' She was in tune with nature. She was connected to God. (44)
Further in the book at chapter eleven, Lean and Clean, Brown encourages the reader to "Invoke the Holy Spirit and do, eat, and drink what He guides you to do, eat, and drink." (57)

At chapter thirteen, Those who live longest, Brown refers to the Hunzas, residents of the Himalayas (northern Pakistan) who experience such longevity that they have been studied for decades. He described their healthy diet:
They are regularly over a hundred, and some are purportedly a decade or more beyond that. Their diet consists of fresh raw carrots, sprouted legumes, cabbage, whole-grain chapattis, unpasteurized  whole milk (yes, they ingest some dairy), a little meat once a week, and lots of pure water...
In the land of the Hunzas, apricots are staples as are cherries, mulberries, and walnuts. Organic vegetables are grown in soil prepared with natural compost. Their proteins come chiefly from beans, legumes, and chickpeas. When meat is taken, it's in small doses from animals ('free-range') that graze in a natural manner. Hunzas also drink that clean glacier water and eat fermented butter and cheese in small quantities. A main drink is apricot oil...(72)
It was Hippocrates who stated, "Let food be your medicine and medicine your food." (74) 

Hippocrates was the first to write about the benefits of garlic as a medicine for eliminating tumors. Brown noted how recent studies have shown that garlic "...[K]ills insects, parasites, bad bacteria, and fungi. It also eliminates various tumors, lowers blood sugar levels, lowers harmful fats in the blood, and prevents clogging of the arteries." (74) 

Further he remarked, "Perhaps this is why a community in southern Italy called Campodimele (halfway between Rome and Naples, and heavy on garlic) is called 'Village of Eternal Youth.' God's medicine is often found in a natural state." (75)

Citing another example Brown referred to those living in Okinawa, Japan, "There the mainstay is whole grains, leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, and smaller amounts of fish, organic soy products, and pork" (75)

Brown went on to write, "The theme is that people who live long lives are drawing minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients right from the way God fashioned them. They also get sufficient rest..." (75)

God is in total control. Does that mean that everyone who prays will automatically be healed or receive a miracle. It is a matter for God to decide. 

If we don't receive a healing, it might be as Brown suggests because we have yet to pray from the deepest recesses of our hearts. It may be a matter of redemptive suffering; that is, the purification through suffering that a soul must undergo so as to become better suited for Heaven.

Sometimes healing is immediate, but most occur over a period of time. As Brown notes, "Just as natural remedies may take a while, even a long one, to have their effect, so too do spiritual cures. Often, what is profound takes time. It is progressive. There may be unseen matters to resolve." (35)

In the last chapter, Your destiny is the best outcome," Brown states in the first sentence, "Final outcomes are in the Hands of God." (141) To reiterate from earlier in this post, we must never give up hope!

For those that may be tempted into despair, here are some encouraging words from Brown's last chapter:
You can't experience victory if you plan for defeat...Don't be the architect of your own failure. Don't draw up a 'blackprint' of your future. With Jesus and your angels (ask for extra ones) and the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit: all will turn out well in what ever way...Everyone goes through angst, which is a trial in life. We worry about how to pay for our health care. We have debts from a home or a car. We fall back in payments. There is tension at work...The right attitude will take you through any 'furnace,' through any oppression, to a higher place. The more things are difficult for you, the greater your chance of enhancing His glory...God puts you in situations so you come out higher (and whiter). When we persist, He takes away what has been holding us back...God puts us in situations that purge what keeps us from Him and our missions. Move forward, always forward. If you are focussed on what's behind you, you are headed backwards. Often, you have to lose something to gain something. When God takes something away, He gives more back. It is only separation from God that should concern us when the 'going gets tough'; for when the going gets tough, the tough—headed for wellness, healing through God—get on their knees. (143)
In the words of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, "Pray, hope, and don't worry."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Unborn

Our Lady of Guadalupe's image on St. Juan Diego's tilma
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe
on St. Juan Diego's tilma
Today's feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is an especially important one for millions of Catholics in the Americas and around the world who pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the protection of human life, especially for developing human beings in the womb: the unborn children who are faced with the danger of abortion.

The pregnant aspect of Our Lady's image on Saint Juan Diego's tilma (cactus cloth) has made Our Lady of Guadalupe a symbol for the plight of the unborn. It is a constant reminder of God's mercy and Divine Intervention in the world, and Our Lady's continued work for the salvation of souls that includes exposing the deception of the Evil One and his demons.

It is for that very purpose that Our Lady has appeared in so many places throughout the centuries: to eradicate pagan worship, debauchery, New Age and occult practices, and all other types of evil, and in the process has been, and continues to be, our light to Christ, showing us the path to Jesus.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was revealed in 1531, when St. Juan Diego unfolded his tilma (full of flowers) in front the local bishop and as the flowers fell to the floor, the exquisitely detailed painting of Our Lady was seen by all present. 

Our Lady's image also draws our attention to its supernatural power and the fact that it caused the conversion of eight million Aztecs and other indigenous people in less than ten years, in the area that is known today as Mexico

Saint Juan Diego was himself converted to the Catholic faith some time between 1524-1525, and was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr. Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries.

Praying for conversions is an important aspect in the fight against abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, contraception, in vitro fertilization, the death penalty, and all other threats to the value and inviolability of human life. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the powerful intercessor that we have recourse to in the fight against the Culture of Death.

It is important to remember that the fight to protect the unborn is primarily a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons, of which the Holy Mass and group recitation of the Rosary—the two most powerful forms of prayer—are essential weapons in the spiritual arsenal to fight the good fight.

In addition to the Mass, Rosary, and your own personal prayers, you may want to consider the following selected prayers taken from Michael Brown's Marian devotional book, Seven Days With Mary, in which he dedicates one of the seven days to Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Prayer of John Paul II
Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children. We beg you grant us a great love for all the holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth. Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which come to us from your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen. (47)
Morning Offering
Immaculate Heart of Mary, heart of my mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, I unite to thy purity, thy sanctity, thy zeal, and thy love, all my thoughts, words, acts, and suffering this day, that there may be nothing in me that does not become through thee a pleasure to Jesus, a gain for souls, and an act of reparation for the offenses against thy heart. (49)
Closing Prayer
Remember, O most gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mount Tepeyac you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection.
Accordingly, listen now to our supplications and grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that, relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us. As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us the graces we need. Amen. (51)  
So important is Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Americas that in 1945, Pope Pius XII decreed Our Lady of Guadalupe to be “Patroness of all the Americas,” and today in Mexico, it is a Holy Day of Obligation.

In more recent times during his pastoral visit to Mexico, Saint John Paul II, in his homily at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City on Saturday, January 23, 1999, entrusted the future of the continent and the Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary, imploring the Holy Virgin of Guadalupe to, "Save the nations and peoples of this continent. Teach everyone, political leaders and citizens, to live in true freedom and to act according to the requirements of justice and respect for human rights, so that peace may thus be established once and for all. (9)

Saint John Paul II, who was well known as a staunch defender of human life, stated during that homily, “...[T]he Church must proclaim the Gospel of life and speak out with prophetic force against the culture of death.” (8)

It was in 1995, only four years prior to that homily, that St. John Paul II released his encyclical on the Gospel of Life, Evangelium Vitae; an essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the Church's teaching on the value and inviolability of human life, and the many threats to it. For those who are somewhat new to the life of St. John Paul II, here is an excerpt from Evangelium Vitae that captures the richness of this encyclical and his commitment to the protection of the unborn:
"Your eyes beheld my unformed substance" (Ps 139:16): the unspeakable crime of abortion 
Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an "unspeakable crime".
But today, in many people's consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (Is 5:20). Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as "interruption of pregnancy", which tends to hide abortion's true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth. (58)
If we look to the human sacrifices of St. Juan Diego's time (1500s) and our modern times, we can easily draw a parallel between the demonic worship during the Aztec era with that of today's abortions: the mass murder of innocent human beings in the womb performed in hospitals, "health care centers," "women's care clinics," and so-called "family-planning facilities" such as Planned Parenthood.

The Aztecs offered human sacrifices as part of their worship to two chief Aztec gods (demons), Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipocawhich, of which the most popular was the brutal ritual performed on top of Aztec pyramids. The Our Lady of Guadalupe web site at details this:
Perhaps the most popular of the public rituals was taking the victims to the tops of the Aztec pyramids where they were laid on top of a flat stone. There, the priests cut open their chests and their hearts were ripped out. The bodies were then thrown down the steps of the pyramid.
After the bodies tumbled down the stairs, the priests removed the limbs, cooked and ate them. Specially hands and thighs were considered the best delicacies. The heads were placed in skull racks for public exhibition.
The atrocities committed in our modern times against human life, as during the Aztec era, are inspired and influenced by the demonic. Just as the Aztecs intentionally offered their human sacrifices to their gods (demons), so too are people today intentionally performing abortions as part of a blood sacrifice and offering to Satan.

Here in Canada, where abortion is available on demand, we are in great need of God's Divine Intervention and Our Lady of Guadalupe's intercession to eradicate abortion and all other threats to human life (euthanasia and assisted suicide, contraception, in vitro fertilization) from the landscape.

Sadly, Canada is a country whose political leaders have failed the nation by consistently rejecting God’s plan for humanity, and in the process ignored Canada’s Christian heritage, history, and identity. This failure dates back to Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the infamous 1969 Omnibus Bill that ushered in "therapeutic abortions" performed in hospitals, which eventually paved the way for Dr. Henry Morgantaler's 1988 constitutional challenge that resulted in abortion being made available on demand across the nation.

Our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau (supposedly a Catholic like his father Pierre Elliot Trudeau) has stated on more than one occasion that anyone seeking to join the Liberal Party of Canada must support abortion. This fact alone is a telling sign of the ongoing moral crisis in Canada that seems to be increasing with each new generation.

God's Holy Law clearly states in the Fifth Commandment, "You Shall Not Kill." The Catechism of the Catholic Church elaborates on this Commandment, "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." (2258)

None of this has meant anything to Canada's prime ministers since Pierre Elliot Trudeau; the result of which has seen a growing moral disorder in Canada and with it the establishment of a Culture of Death.

I respectfully urge my fellow Canadians to pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the protection of the unborn, and for God's Divine Intervention, that the moral disorder that has taken root over the past five decades may be eradicated from the land and that Canada be restored to a Culture of Life.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Saint John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Dies Domini on Keeping the Lord's Day Holy

Saint Pope John Paul II in Krakow, Poland, September 13, 1991
Saint John Paul II in Krakow, Poland, September 13, 1991. Photo: Grzegorz Gałązka via TotusTuus 2010 Calendar, Postulation of the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God John Paul II.

Coming off a fresh reading of Dies DominiSaint John Paul II's apostolic letter on keeping the Lord's Day holy, I thought if fitting to publish today's post on what I consider to be an essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Lord's Day.

Released on May 31, 1998, on the Solemnity of Pentecost, Dies Domini, was written in part to support the pastoral efforts of bishops around the world, and for the laity as a continuation of St. John Paul II's "lively exchange" with the faithful, inviting the laity to rediscover the full meaning of Sunday with a new intensity in the changing circumstances of the times and the "new situations" that had arisen from them.

Spotlighting the changing socio-economic conditions and the profound modifications in social behaviour St. John Paul II stressed the need to distinguish between the special character of the Lord's Day from the more widespread "custom of the weekend."

Although St. John Paul II acknowledged that there are positive aspects of the weekend's cultural, political, and sporting activities, he encouraged the disciples of Christ to, "...[A]void any confusion between the celebration of Sunday, which should truly be a way of keeping the Lord's Day holy, and the 'weekend', understood as a time of simple rest and relaxation." (4)

Drawing from the First Letter of Peter (1 Pt 3:15), St. John Paul II noted that avoiding such confusion will require a "genuine spiritual maturity" allowing Christians to, "...'[B]e what they are' in full accordance with the gift of faith, always ready to give an account of the hope which is in them." (4)

Another new situation that St. John Paul II spotlighted was the strikingly low attendance at the Sunday liturgy, which he attributed to sociological pressures, weakened faith, and the lack of priests in both mission countries and countries evangelized long ago.

Recognizing that some young Churches have illustrated how fervently Sunday can be celebrated, St. John Paul II presented what he believed to be the main causes for decreasing Mass attendance on the Lord's Day, "In the minds of many of the faithful, not only the sense of the centrality of the Eucharist but even the sense of the duty to give thanks to the Lord and to pray to him with others in the community of the Church, seems to be diminishing." (5)

Given these situations and the questions they have prompted, it was St. John Paul II's belief that there was an ever increasing necessity to recover the deep doctrinal foundations underlying the Church's precepts, so that the, "...[A]biding value of Sunday in the Christian life will be clear to all the faithful." (6)

It is through Dies Domini that St. John Paul II sought to do just that, identifying and elaborating on the many aspects of the Lord's Day and the duty to keep Sunday holy: the importance to remember God's creative work for six days, that He rested on the seventh day, blessed it and made it holy; the sacred value to rest in the Lord; keeping the Lord's Day holy by means of prayer, works of charity, and abstention from work; the Sunday obligation to attend Mass as stipulated in the Code of Cannon Law; and how the Lord's Day is a day of joy and solidarity.

Amongst the many different aspects of Dies Domini, one that stood out in my mind was—perhaps one of the most salient aspects considering the increasing secular landscape of so many Christian countries—the fact that keeping the Lord's Day holy is a Commandment, the Third Commandment to be precise which can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work."

Referring to the Third Commandment in the first chapter under the subheading, "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy" (Gn 2:3) , Saint John Paul II emphasized that the Lord's Day was so important for God's plan that it was included the Ten Commandments. Adding to this, he wrote the Lord's Day is a "...[D]efining and indelible expression of our relationship with God," and it is from this perspective that "...Christians need to rediscover the Sabbath precept today." (13)

Stressing how important that relationship is with God, Saint John Paul II wrote further in the same section, "...But man's relationship with God also demands times of explicit prayer, in which the relationship becomes an intense dialogue, involving every dimension of the person. 'The Lord's Day' is the day of this relationship par excellence when men and women raise their song to God and become the voice of all creation." (15)

It is worth mentioning that St. John Paul II dedicated the importance and sacredness of rest in sections 64-68 under the subheading, The Day of Rest. It is an especially important aspect for the Christian fulfillment to keep the Lord's Day holy. To get a sense of the richness of Dies Domini, here are a few excerpts from those respective sections: is something 'sacred', because it is man's way of withdrawing from the sometimes excessively demanding cycle of earthly tasks in order to renew his awareness that everything is the work of God. There is a risk that the prodigious power over creation which God gives to man can lead him to forget that God is the Creator upon whom everything depends. It is all the more urgent to recognize this dependence in our own time, when science and technology have so incredibly increased the power which man exercises through his work. (65)
In our own historical context there remains the obligation to ensure that everyone can enjoy the freedom, rest and relaxation which human dignity requires, together with the associated religious, family, cultural and interpersonal needs which are difficult to meet if there is no guarantee of at least one day of the week on which people can both rest and celebrate. (66)
Through Sunday rest, daily concerns and tasks can find their proper perspective: the material things about which we worry give way to spiritual values; in a moment of encounter and less pressured exchange, we see the true face of the people with whom we live. Even the beauties of nature — too often marred by the desire to exploit, which turns against man himself — can be rediscovered and enjoyed to the full.
Therefore, also in the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy. In any case, they are obliged in conscience to arrange their Sunday rest in a way which allows them to take part in the Eucharist, refraining from work and activities which are incompatible with the sanctification of the Lord's Day, with its characteristic joy and necessary rest for spirit and body. (67)
In order that rest may not degenerate into emptiness or boredom, it must offer spiritual enrichment, greater freedom, opportunities for contemplation and fraternal communion. Therefore, among the forms of culture and entertainment which society offers, the faithful should choose those which are most in keeping with a life lived in obedience to the precepts of the Gospel. (68)
During his inaugural homily in October 1978, Saint John Paul II encouraged the Church and the world, "Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!" In Dies Domini, he renews that encouragement specifically with respect to the rediscovery of Sunday, "...Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction." (7)

The rediscovery of the Lord's Day is a grace that one should pray for, which St. John Paul II specifically noted in the introduction:
The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings. Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human. (7)
This latest reading of Dies Domini proved to be just as intriguing when I first read it in May 2002. Given the growing secularism in Canada and so many other Christian countries around the world, this apostolic letter is even more relevant today.

May your reading of Dies Domini strengthen your resolve to "rest and remember" on the Lord's Day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ireland's Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith

Coastline along the Slea Head Peninsula, the westernmost part of the Dingle Peninsula, located in the barony of Corca Dhuibhne in southwest County Kerry, Ireland. Photo: Pam Brophy/[CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, November 26, at 9:30am (2:30pm local time in Ireland), I will be uniting my recitation of the Rosary to the faithful Catholics in Ireland participating in the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith: a national prayer effort that will encircle Ireland with a "Human Rosary." 

Drawing inspiration from Poland's Rosary at the Borders and a similar Italian effort, participants will be praying for the preservation of the faith and the protection of life at all stages, including the developing human being in the womb.

It also draws encouragement from Matthew's Gospel, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Matt 18:20)

Organized by a small, but faithful team of Catholics, this national prayer effort calls on all Catholics (the clergy, those in religious Orders, and the laity) to take part by selecting locations along the coast which they are prepared to travel to. It is a call that has been heard and well received throughout Ireland as much of the coastline is quickly filling up with several locations.

To form the "Human Rosary," organizers initially sought fifty-three locations for all the Hail Mary's of the Glorious Mysteries (including the three in the introductory prayers) and additional locations for the Apostles' Creed, Our Fathers, Glory Be, and the Fatima prayers. As of this blog post, there are almost 200 designated locations on the coast, and that number is growing. 

The date for this event was not randomly selected, but specifically chosen to be held on the Solemnity of Christ the King, which has a special significance for Ireland: Ireland was the first nation to be consecrated to Christ the King in the 1930s. As to the importance of this solemnity, the organizers point out that, "Acknowledging Christ as King has relevance for the spiritual, social, cultural, legal, and political life of Ireland. When we honour Christ as King, we are immediately brought to His Queen, Mary and her Immaculate Heart!"

It is Mary's Immaculate Heart that all participants will be appealing to for Her intercession to restore Ireland to a Culture of Life and rid the landscape of the moral disorder that has taken root in the past few decades.

Such an appeal highlights the importance and need for prayer, which organizers for this event have prepared an impressive prayer program that includes: recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary beginning at 2:30pm (local time in Ireland), in honour of Christ the King and His Queen the Immaculate Heart of Mary; prayer to Saint Patrick, the martyrs, saints and holy souls who preserved the faith through the years; prayer to Saint Michael, the angel of Ireland, and the guardian angels of the Irish living and dead; prayer for the protection of life in Ireland; prayer for the preservation of faith in Ireland; prayer of consecration to Christ the King; prayer of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; prayer for the blessing of Ireland; the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm; and the planting of Miraculous Medals around the coast.

The Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith is also an appeal, in particular, to the Catholic laity in Ireland, one that echoes the words of Saint Pope John Paul II's homily—during his Apostolic Journey to Irelandon October 1, 1979, at the Greenpark Racecourse, Limerick:
Lay people today are called to a strong Christian commitment: to permeate society with the leaven of the Gospel, for Ireland is at a point of decision in her history. The Irish people have to choose today their way forward. Will it be the transformation of all strata of humanity into a new creation, or the way that many nations have gone, giving excessive importance to economic growth and material possessions while neglecting the things of the spirit? The way of substituting a new ethic of temporal enjoyment for the law of God? The way of false freedom which is only slavery to decadence? Will it be the way of subjugating the dignity of the human person to the totalitarian domination of the State? The way of violent struggle between classes? The way of extolling revolution over God? 
Ireland must choose. You the present generation of Irish people must decide; your choice must be clear and your decision firm. Let the voice of your forefathers, who suffered so much to maintain their faith in Christ and thus to preserve Ireland's soul, resound today in your ears through the voice of the Pope when he repeats the words of Christ: "What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life?" (Mt 16 :26). What would it profit Ireland to go the easy way of the world and suffer the loss of her own soul? (3)
Your country seems in a sense to be living again the temptations of Christ: Ireland is being asked to prefer the "kingdoms of the world and their splendour" to the Kingdom of God (cf. Mt 4 :8). Satan, the Tempter, the Adversary of Christ, will use all his might and all his deceptions to win Ireland for the way of the world. What a victory he would gain, what a blow he would inflict on the Body of Christ in the world, if he could seduce Irish men and women away from Christ. Now is the time of testing for Ireland. This generation is once more a generation of decision. (4)
Saint Pope John Paul II's homily is ever more relevant today; a relevance that is also understood by many faithful Catholics from around the world. With each passing day, the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith is not only gaining momentum, but increased international attention and support. Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Scotland has urged Scottish Catholics to follow in Ireland’s footsteps.

Confirmed locations as of November 14, 2017.
The Daughters of Mary Mother of Healing Love in the United States will be uniting their Rosary—and asking others especially of Irish descent to do likewise—encouraging everyone to "...[O]ffer this gift in honor of our Irish ancestors who suffered so much to hand on the great treasure of the Catholic faith to us!" 

Joining the effort will also be faithful Catholics from England: the Missionaries of Charity in London, and at the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houghton Saint Giles, Norfolk.

The Catholic Herald in England also has reported on this national prayer effort with an article entitled, Irish Catholics plan mass-rosary prayer along coast.

Here in Canada, LifeSiteNews has reported this event with Dorothy Cummings McLean's article, Thousands to pray rosary on Irish coasts to protect nation from abortion.

This is an especially important time for Ireland; secularism has done much to wane and remove the faith from the hearts of minds of many, providing an opportunity for those—including international globalist and billionaire George Soros through his Open Society Foundation—who seek to usher in a Culture of Death and drastically change Ireland's Christian identity and culture.

Part of what the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith seeks to accomplish is the defeat of the Eighth Amendment repeal referendum scheduled for May or June 2018. Abortion advocates are hoping that a "successful" referendum will remove the pro-life provision in the constitution which reads, “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

The Eighth Amendment was approved by 67% of the Irish population in a referendum on September 7, 1983. It came into effect on October 7, 1983, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Next year's referendum will be an opportunity for Ireland to, once again, positively respond to St. John Paul's homily of October 1, 1979, in Limerick:
And so I say to all, have an absolute and holy respect for the sacredness of human life from the first moment of its conception. Abortion, as the Vatican Council stated, is one of the "abominable crimes" (Gaudium et Spes, 51). To attack unborn life at any moment from its conception is to undermine the whole moral order which is the true guardian of the well-being of man. The defence of the absolute inviolability of unborn life is part of the defence of human rights and human dignity. May Ireland never weaken in her witness, before Europe and before the whole world, to the dignity and sacredness of all human life, from conception until death. (6) 
As to why all this is happening in Ireland one need only look to Ireland's history stemming from the last century up until the last few decades. It is not difficult to ascertain how the forces of darkness (the Evil One and his demons) have been waging a war to usher in a moral disorder that includes a Culture of Death:

  • Contraceptive devices and birth control pills have been available for decades
  • A referendum in 1992, resulted in the option for women to travel to another country (England) in order to have an abortion, as well as the availability of information regarding abortion "services" in other countries.
  • In 1995, Ireland's ban on divorce was removed through another referendum.
  • The referendum of 2015, ushered in "same-sex marriage." 
  • In 2016, the Irish government set up a "Citizens' Assembly" to "consider" the future of the Eight Amendment, which concluded in April 2017, that the Eight Amendment should be repealed. They voted overwhelmingly for abortion to be permitted on the grounds of a mental or physical threat to the life of the mother, in cases of disability, and for socio-economic reasons.

Those interested in further information about Ireland's moral decline, including a detailed report available for download, please read Voice of the Family's article, Ireland's Tragic Abandonment of Catholic Teaching.

The Eight Amendment repeal referendum is a disturbing development, but no matter what the problem, issue, or crisis may be, we as Catholics always have recourse to Divine Intervention through Our Lady of the Rosary who, throughout the history of the Catholic Church, has provided Her assistance to those who have put their trust in Her intercession.

Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith speaks volumes about the trust in Our Lady's intercession, as well as to the understanding that the battle for Ireland is primarily a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons; 
that a most efficacious way to fight the good fight is through group recitation of the Rosary.

Saint Louis De Montfort stated in his book, The Secret of the Rosary, Forty-Sixth Rose: Group Recitation, that not only is group recitation of the Rosary the method of prayer that the devil fears the most, but "...[I]t is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him." (98)

Utilizing the Rosary as a spiritual weapon has long been understood by the Church from the very beginning of its origin, when it was given to St. Dominic by Our Lady in 1214—which St. Louis De Montfort details in the same book, Second Rose: Origin—as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.

I cannot help but also think of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, Supremi Apostolatus Officio, on devotion to the Rosary and its efficaciousness as a remedy for the many evils of society, who wrote, "It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God." (2)

Written in 1883, Pope Leo XIII's encyclical not only encouraged devotion to the Rosary, but spotlighted how important it has been in the history of the Catholic Church when faced with several threats; namely, the violence of heresy, intolerable moral corruption, and aggressive Islamic attacks by the Ottoman Turks.

This encyclical is a historical lesson that has not lost its relevance for the many evils of today's world. It is in my view, a worthy addition to anyone's reading list on the Rosary that is sure to inspire Catholics in Ireland to join Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith at a time in Ireland's history that is so dependent upon the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

May this national prayer effort inspire Catholics in Ireland—and throughout the world—to be united in prayer on November 26; that this day may draw God's Divine Intervention upon the nation, uproot and remove the moral disorder from the Irish landscape, and restore Ireland to a Culture of Life.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Declares 2018 to be the Year of the Families

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Budapest Family Summit
Prime Minister Viktor Orban giving his speech during the Budapest Family Summit. Photo: About Hungary Blog/PM Orbán at World Congress of Families XI summit: 2018 will be the year for families

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared 2018, to be the "Year of the Families"; a declaration made on May 25, during his opening speech at the Budapest Family Summit.

It is a declaration that not only spotlights a nation's strength relies on its people—and fundamental to that is the family, the primary cell of society—but also seeks to address the declining birth rate experienced by many countries in Europe (including Hungary) with real and immediate solutions that will help families have more children.

The World Congress of Families (WCF) and the International Organization for the Family (IOF) chose Hungary for the second time to host this summit—whose theme was “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Great Again”—because Hungary, as the WCF Managing Director Larry Jacobs put it, "...[H]as demonstrated its strategic leadership as an advocate for the natural family in Europe." Here is what the WCF also published about why they chose Hungary:
Hungary’s leadership in defense of family, life, and Christianity is well known in Europe. The adoption of key provisions in the Hungarian Constitution in 2011 defining marriage between a man and a woman and protecting human life from conception to natural death have made the Orban government the hero of pro-family and pro-life leaders from all over the world. Hungary’s leadership is fully committed to family friendly governance and has recently launched a new national motto, 'Hungary, the Family Friendly Country.'
In Hungary's constitution, The Fundamental Law of Hungary, there are four provisions that specifically point to the truth and accuracy of Jacobs' statements. The first is contained within the National Avowal, which states, "We hold that the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence, and that our fundamental cohesive values are fidelity, faith and love." (2)

The second is located at FOUNDATION Article L, "(1) Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the survival of the nation. Family ties shall be based on marriage and/or the relationship between parents and children."

The third is under FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY Article II, "Human dignity shall be inviolable. Every human being shall have the right to life and human dignity; the life of the foetus shall be protected from the moment of conception."

The fourth is at FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY Article XV, "(5) By means of separate measures, Hungary shall protect families, children, women, the elderly and persons living with disabilities."

Hungary's constitution is impressive; reading it is time well spent. For those interested in knowing more about it, consider my post of December 2016, Viktor Orbán: A True Leader of and for the People of Hungary and Hungary's Constitution The Fundamental Law of Hungary.

It comes as no surprise that Hungary was chosen to host this summit; part of the goal of this summit, as stated on the WCF website, was to "...[S]trengthen our existing international network and help launch a new global profamily alliance of countries dedicated to defending marriage, the family and the sanctity of human life.”

Since Orbán and the party he leads, the Fidesz Party, was elected in 2010, the government has spent 9.7 billion EUR in support of families. Debt relief, child support, family housing incentives, support for household modernization are just some of the latest measures put into place to help families.

It is part of a demographic battle that Orbán is fighting—an approach that seeks to strengthen families from within Hungary rather than rely on the false solution of immigration—knowing full well that strong families will create a strong, competitive, and prosperous Hungary for current and future generations.

The family is at the center of Orbán's vision of the future! It is Orbán's firm belief that protecting families, no matter what the costs, is essential.

Orbán certainly articulated that very belief during his speech at the Budapest Family Summit (World Congress of Families XI)a speech worth reading to not only better understand the importance of the family, but to capture the strength and intelligence of Orbán's leadership.

A safe society is a fundamental component of any government's plan to protect families, which Orbán highlighted in the first part of his speech, when referring to Brussels' so-called "refugee" resettlement scheme and the migrant crisis that it created.

Hungary's border fences along the Hungarian-Serbian border
Hungary's southern border fences along the Hungarian-Serbian border. Photo: About Hungary Blog/Hungary’s southern border fence has been protecting the frontier of Europe for two years

Orbán responded to that threat with the building of two border fences along the border with Serbia, as well as establishing border-hunters (specially trained border guards), who form part of a security force: modern-day border-fort garrisons, police officers, and the defence forces.

Not only has Orbán brought the Balkan-migrant route—of which Hungary is an extension—to a complete halt, but he has enabled Hungarians to live in a peaceful and safe society; and in the process, has inspired confidence in young people to have families, secure in the knowledge that throughout Hungary will echo the "Happy cries of children rather than sirens from police cars and ambulances."

Today, Hungary is one of the safest countries in Europe!

The danger for Hungary and Europe is not over as Orbán pointed out, "It is only a matter of time and political expedience before millions of people who are ready to set out are once again channelled in our direction." (1) The coalition of human rights activists and people smugglers continue to work to send waves of migrants—mostly men in their prime—in the direction of Europe.

Recent developments prove Orbán to be absolutely correct as has been reported by Government Spokesman Zoltán Kovács in his latest blog post, European Parliament speeds up realization of the Soros plan.

In that post, Kovács spotlights the proposal made by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) for a limitless resettlement quota scheme, that coupled with what he described as a "Hungary-bashing report," points to a pro-immigration agenda that will attempt to strong-arm any member that refuses to cooperate.

Youth and traditional dancing at the Budapest Family Summit
Hungarian youth and traditional dancing at the Budapest Family Summit. Photo: Daily News Hungary/INTERNATIONAL FAMILY SUMMIT – ORBÁN: GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE FAMILY TAX BENEFITS

One of the most salient points in the speech that Orbán so candidly spoke of, is the declining birth rate among European countries, including Hungary. He went on to state that, "...The time for straight talking has come. Europe, our common homeland, is losing out in the population competition between great civilisations. Fewer and fewer marriages are producing fewer and fewer children, and the population is therefore ageing and declining." (2)

There are two views on how to solve this problem. The first sees immigration as the answer, while the other view taken by Central Europe (including Hungary) is that they must solve the demographic problem by relying on their own resources; a truth that Orbán stated must be acknowledged through a spiritual renewal.

To put the declining birth rate in Hungary into perspective, Orbán cited from national statistics on Hungary's population in 1980, when the population was at 10,709,000 people; by 2017, that figure dropped to 9,799,000. It is a dramatic drop in population—a loss of almost 1 million people—which as Orbán pointed out, "...[I]s more than all the casualties we sustained in World War II." (2) 

So important is the need to address the declining birth rate that Orbán refers to the restoration of natural reproduction not only as a national cause, but "the national cause."

Orbán's goal is to raise the birth rate to 2.1% by 2030, which will require responsible family policies that must be pursued for decades, over the course of several governments. Orbán considers this to be the first precondition for the population turnaround.

The second precondition is a powerful financial engine, "A competitive model that is full of energy." Elaborating further on this Orbán stated that any major political, social and intellectual turnaround always requires financial resources:
As far as we Hungarians are concerned, I can tell you that here economic growth is in a range between three and five per cent. This is the magical GDP growth. Government debt is declining and unemployment is coming to an end. Because our economic policy has been successful, the next target of our general and economic policy is to promote the number of children being born. It is to this that we’ve adjusted our fiscal system, it is to this that we’ve adjusted our housing support system; and our work-based economic system – with which we shall soon reach full employment – also serves this purpose. (3)
The third precondition for a successful demographic turnaround is for Europe to be in "good shape"; that is, each country's economic plan has to include support for the family. So important is this that Orbán stated, "If as a unit of community the family does not occupy first place in the hearts of young people, however, economic strength and excellent national economy figures are in vain: we cannot achieve anything." (3) Hungary spends 4.6% of GDP on family support.

Orbán acknowledged the simple truth that it is essential to pursue a policy that removes obstacles from the path of young people if more children are to be born. It was in the spirit of this truth, that he declared 2018, as the "Year of the Families." 

Accompanying that declaration is an action plan that will help to ensure young people are financially supported and encouraged to have more children. There is no better way to understand that action plan than to read it from Orbán's own words:
We’ve decided to further raise the rates of family tax allowances, and to place families with two children at the centre of this, as they represent the largest section in Hungary. And I’ve learnt that where there is room for two, there is also room for three – or even four. Braver families may even find room for five. For young women with two children and student loans, the Government will cancel fifty per cent of their debt, and for those with three or more children one hundred per cent of the student loan debt will be cancelled. For graduates we shall extend the term of maternity leave by a year, and for university students it is extended until the child reaches the age of two. Hungarians 3/4 understand the meaning of this family policy measure. “My home is my castle”: this is how the Hungarians think, and this is another reason why it is difficult to adopt a good policy here. We have decided that families with mortgages can have one million forints written off their debt if they have three children, and one million forints will be written off for each further child, with the state bearing the burden. Finally, we shall embark on infant day care developments on an unprecedented scale. We are going to build infant day care centres everywhere families live, and we shall renovate existing infant day care centres wherever necessary. We are also opening up our family support system – although cautiously – to fellow Hungarians who live outside the borders As a result, from next year they may also be eligible for maternity support after the birth of children, and baby bonds will be available across the entire Carpathian Basin. (4)
If that wasn't impressive enough, Orbán also announced the establishment of a research institute that will serve to better Hungary's spiritual and intellectual competitiveness, and good policy planning. The institute will become an international think tank that will, as Orbán put it, "...[P]rovide sufficient knowledge and intellectual munition to help and support families, laying the philosophical foundations for our family policy, and enabling accurate understanding of the situation in Europe and the world." (4)

Using the analogy of a ship sailing into the wind Orbán pointed out that obstacles do exist, but no matter what those obstacles are, with perseverance, courage and the backing of like-minded allies, together Hungary and Europe, just like a ship that knows what port it is aiming for, will reach its destination.

The brave, responsible, and intelligent leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has proven itself for seven straight years, and there is every reason to believe that Hungary's progress and growth will continue for many years to come: the Hungarian model is working and it shows!

Such is the kind of leadership that other countries should be seeking if they are serious about: a major demographic turnaround; protecting and strengthening the family; securing their borders; and guarding against all threats to their Christian identity, heritage, and culture.

God bless Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for continuing to demonstrate the kind of leadership that is so desperately needed in many countries in Europe, in Canada, and throughout the world.

May 2018, be a great year for the families!