Pope: ‘We should daily bear witness to God’s tenderness and love’

Pope Francis greets participants in the World Conference of Secular Institutes


Pope Francis encourages members of the Secular Institutes World Conference (CMIS) to never tire of showing God’s closeness and tenderness through daily acts of love.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

We should bear witness to God’s tenderness and love through daily gestures of love.

Pope Francis offered this encouragement when addressing the Secular Institutes World Conference (CMIS) on Thursday in the Vatican. 

CMIS was founded in 1972 and received approval from the Holy See in 1974. According to the conference’s website, its goal “is to organize collaboration among Secular Institutes so they can become, in the most effective way possible, a ‘leaven in the world for the strengthening and growth of the body of Christ,’ that is, the Church (Perfectae Caritatis, 11).”

An ‘outgoing’ Church, not separated from the world

In his address, the Pope recalled CMIS’ ‘secular’ nature, and how the Church and the people of God are on a journey “among” and “with” peoples.

“Ours is an outgoing Church, not distant, not separated from the world, but immersed in the world and in history to be its salt and light, the seed of unity, hope and salvation.”

He praised their mission which places them in the midst of the people, and enables – with “God’s style” of “closeness” – to “know and understand what is going on in the hearts of the men and women of today, to rejoice together and to suffer together.”

Witnessing God’s goodness and tenderness

“You are called to experience all the precariousness of the provisional and all the beauty of the absolute in ordinary life, on the streets where people walk, where fatigue and pain are greatest, where rights are disregarded, where war divides peoples, where dignity is denied,” he said.

Pope Francis recalled that this is where, as Jesus showed us, that God continues to give us His gift of salvation.

“You are there; you are called to be there, to bear witness to God’s goodness and tenderness with daily gestures of love.”

Strength in Christ

For strength and courage, the Pope said, pray and silently contemplate Christ.

“The prayerful encounter with Jesus fills your heart with His peace and love, which you can give to others.”

“The assiduous search for God, familiarity with Sacred Scripture and participation in the sacraments,” he continued, “are the key to the fruitfulness of your work.”

Do not tire

The Holy Father praised their vocation of opening up “frontier paths” and warned against losing momentum.

“The Church is not a workshop to calm down and rest. The Church is a mission.”

Only together, the Pope stated, can we walk as the people of God, “as seekers of meaning with all the men and women of this time, custodians of the joy of a mercy made flesh in our lives.”

Be concrete

“Do not tire of bringing to the world the proclamation of new life, universal fraternity and lasting peace, splendid gifts of the Risen Lord!”

Pope Francis concluded by entrusting their work to the Blessed Mother, giving his blessing, and asking them to pray for him.

CNN Medical Analyst Who Wanted To Ban The Unvaccinated From Society And Force Children To Mask Now Reveals How Masking Has Severely Harmed Her Son

CNN medical analyst Dr. Lean Wen admits the so-called science she demanded the public comply with has impaired her young son. Wen championed mask and vaccine mandates throughout the pandemic, insisted children be forced to take PCR tests weekly until they are fully vaccinated and called for the unvaccinated to be banned from participating in…

Source: CNN Medical Analyst Who Wanted To Ban The Unvaccinated From Society And Force Children To Mask Now Reveals How Masking Has Severely Harmed Her Son

The unprecedented profile of the 2 Africans becoming cardinals


© ST. JOHN OF GOD SOCIETY – GHANA and Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia – CADEK

I.Media for Aleteia – 08/25/22

From Nigeria and Ghana, these leaders come to the College of Cardinals with unique backgrounds.

Among those who will receive the cardinal’s biretta on August 27, 2022, are Bishop Peter Okpaleke, 59, of Ekwulobia, Nigeria, and Bishop Richard Baawobr, 62, of Wa, Ghana: two young new cardinals with unusual profiles. 

Bishop Peter Okpaleke, the bishop humiliated by his diocese

By creating Bishop Peter Okpaleke a cardinal, Pope Francis has made a very strong choice for the Church in Nigeria. The 59-year-old Nigerian has a totally atypical background. When Pope Benedict XVI decided in 2012 to appoint him bishop of Ahiara, Peter Okpaleke faced a rebellion from Catholics in the diocese who did not accept his appointment. This outcry was partly linked to his ethnicity. Unlike his predecessor, who was from the Mbaise ethnic group, the majority in the diocese, Bishop Okpaleke is from Anambra, also in southeastern Nigeria. It was a situation that the laity and priests of the diocese were unwilling to tolerate. 

In 2013, Bishop Okpaleke asked to postpone the date of his episcopal consecration by a few weeks, hoping that the situation would calm down, but in vain. Consecrated as a bishop outside the diocese, Bishop Okpaleke would never take office in Ahiara, despite protests from Rome. Faced with this “lamentable” reality, Pope Francis himself stepped up to the plate and made his displeasure known in 2017 when he received a delegation from the diocese. “I think that in this case we are not dealing with tribalism, but with an attempt to take over the Lord’s vineyard,” he said during an audience in which he compared the rebellious diocesans to the homicidal vinedressers of the Gospel.

In the presence of the Nigerian delegation, he praised the patience of the humiliated bishop. Then the pontiff asked all the priests of the diocese to write to him within a month so that they would reaffirm their obedience to the pope and recognize their bishop. The priests complied with this request, hoping that another bishop would be appointed, reported the media outlet Crux.

Finally, in the face of the impasse, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Okpaleke. But two years later, he erected a new diocese, in Ekwulobia, and appointed him as its bishop. 

Bishop Richard Baawobr, the first African superior of the White Fathers

Pope Francis has decided to create a cardinal the former superior of the White Fathers, Bishop Richard Baawobr, who is now bishop of the Diocese of Wa, in northern Ghana. In 2010, he was the first African elected to head the Missionaries of Africa, a society founded at the end of the 19th century by French Cardinal Charles Lavigerie.

Born in Ghana on June 21, 1959, Richard Baawobr joined the White Fathers in 1981 after studying philosophy at St. Victor Seminary in Tamale. From 1981 to 1982, he was in Fribourg, Switzerland, for his novitiate. Then, from 1982 to 1987, he completed his theological studies at the Missionary Institute in London. It was in the British capital that he made his religious vows before being ordained a year later, on July 18, 1987.

After ministering at a parish in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the priest left for Rome to study exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. Then he crossed the Alps to Lyon to study Ignatian spirituality at the Jesuit spiritual center of Le Châtelard. There he obtained a degree in Sacred Scripture and a doctorate in biblical theology.

After spending some time in Tanzania, from 1999 to 2004 he was the director of the White Fathers’ formation house in Toulouse. He then became the first Assistant General of the Missionaries of Africa. During his mandate, he survived a deep vein thrombosis.

In 2010, he was elected Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa, a position he held until 2016. In this position, he said that he was aware that their mission was no longer limited to Africa but also to Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

He was also chosen by the Union of Superiors General to participate in the Synod on the Family in October 2015. In 2016, this specialist in Islam—then the Vice Grand Chancellor of the PISAI (Pontifical Institute for Arab-Islamic Studies)—was appointed Bishop of Wa, Ghana.

Pope Francis appointed him as a member and consultant of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity in July 2020.

Hazards of a Sexless Marriage

unhappy couple

Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs

By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD Psychologist July 07, 2021

An emotionally supportive and caring marriage is a good thing. But when that marriage lacks physical affection and sexual activity (not just intercourse), it is missing an important element. Some problems that can emerge are:

Less emotional intimacy: Physical intimacy is an important way that couples cement their emotional bond. Without it, couples may also have a less intense emotional connection.

The perpetuation and exacerbation of underlying problems: There are many things that can cause a lack of sexual intimacy. For instance, there might be medical issues, stress, conflicts between the partners, or a lack of time together. When the causes of sexual intimacy are not discussed, then those underlying problems may continue and even create growing tension in the relationship.

Resentment: When someone feels that their needs for physical intimacy are being denied — for any reason — they might develop resentment, which can corrode their relationship.

Feelings of rejection: When someone feels that their partner is uninterested in physical intimacy or their interest is not reciprocated, they will likely feel rejected. They might feel this on the level of physical attractiveness or on a deeper level of being rejected as a whole person. Either way, as I explain in a brief video, it is essential that couples work to strengthen their connection and overcome the feelings of rejection.

Infidelity: Being in a sexless marriage is one of many reasons that drive people to look outside their marriage. To be clear, lack of sex does not justify infidelity. Instead, couples would be wise to talk directly about and resolve issues related to unmet sexual needs.

Missing out on benefits to your health: We all know that the benefits to physical health are not usually the main reason that people have sex, but they are real. Without sex, people miss out on many boosts to health, such as lower blood pressure, lower risk for heart attacks, lessened pain (sex releases a hormone that raises the pain threshold), stress relief, and help for getting to sleep.

Considering the possible drawbacks and difficulties that are often associated with a sexless marriage, it is important to attend to your sex life even if you think the rest of your marriage is good. If you are not having sex, or are having it too infrequently (something best determined by you and your partner), talk with your spouse about it. This can be a sensitive subject, so approach the topic carefully. Express your thoughts and feelings while also being open to hearing those of your partner.  By working together to nurture a healthy sex life, you will strengthen your marriage, increasing both your emotional and physical intimacy.

Masters of Manipulation: How Kids Control You With Behavior

By James Lehman, MSW

A giant teenager controlling her parents who are marionettes

Kids manipulate their parents. It’s part of their normal routine. They learn to use their charms and strengths to get their way and negotiate more power in the family.

On the one hand, some forms of manipulation by kids are harmless. For example, if your daughter wants to go to a dance on a Saturday night, and she’s extra charming to you that week, but at the same time she’s getting good grades, she’s trustworthy, and she’s doing her chores, then she should be able to go. The display of charm is sweet, appropriate, and harmless.

“We were his puppets, and he was using this outburst to control us.”

On the other hand, that charm can be used inappropriately, such as when a child plays one parent against another to get what he wants. Or when a child has demonstrated previously untrustworthy behavior and tries to manipulate his parents by being overly sweet and compliant in order to get the chance to go out on Friday night.

Tracy’s Story

“My son can be the sweetest, most awesome kid in the world,” says Tracy of her 10-year-old son Jarrett.

“But he has ADHD, and he totally uses it to his advantage with us—he’s manipulative. He would have huge meltdowns when we asked him to go to bed and shut off the light.”

Tracy recalls the night Jarrett’s meltdowns went over the top.

“One night he had the biggest fit ever. He wound up throwing everything out of his room, including his mattress. He punched a hole in the wall and broke the door. We had just started The Total Transformation Program and we got out the workbook and were frantically looking through it when we saw what was wrong.”

“His outburst took on a whole new meaning. We were his puppets, and he was using his outburst to control us.”

When Manipulative Behavior Is a Problem

The real problem with manipulation is when kids use behavioral threats to manipulate you, as in the case of Tracy and her son.

In this type of manipulation, the child is telling you, “Give me my way or face my crap.” In other words, “If I don’t get my way, I’m going to make trouble for you.” In this situation, the manipulation becomes a power and control game for the child, and that’s where it gets dangerous for parents.

When kids wrestle with their parents for power and control over things, the child does things that are inappropriate, and the parents do things that are ineffective. The child talks abusively or pitches a fit, which is an inappropriate way to get what he wants, and the parents back down or give in, which is an ineffective response.

The Power Struggle

A good example of how this power struggle plays out in the home is when a child starts talking about going out in the evening and you tell him, “No, your homework’s not done, so you can’t go out until it’s done,” and the child’s voice gets louder as he resists, and his tone gets harsher.

You may look at it as anger, frustration or an inability to handle stress on the part of the child. But it’s really a sign that the child is trying to manipulate the situation—and you—through power.

In his mind, being harsher and louder will tip the balance in his direction. The child is making a power thrust—an attempt to use some form of behavior or verbally abusive power to get his way. It’s like an emotional sword in his hand and he thrusts it at you.

Responding to the Power Thrust

Whenever a child uses a power thrust to get his way, you need to be very careful about how you respond. First of all, you cannot give in and you cannot negotiate while the kid is in that state of mind. If your child raises his voice at you when he hears the word no or yells at you, say this:

“We will not talk about this if you raise your voice or if you start to threaten me.”

If a kid grumbles and gets a little mouthy on the way to his room or on the way to do a chore, that’s not a power thrust. I’m talking about intimidating, threatening behavior. This is manipulation that is designed to make you back down.

Usually, when kids use this type of behavior, they’ve acted out in the past and have gotten their way. Most parents know what’s coming. So when you see it coming, remember: the discussion about whether he can go to the dance with his friends is over. Now the discussion is, “You have to manage your voice and your behavior.”

Just Walk Away

That’s when the parent should walk away and say:

“We’ll talk about this when you calm down.”

Another appropriate response in this situation is to very calmly and without hostility ask the child:

“Are you trying to intimidate me?”

“Are you trying to bully me right now?”

These are good questions to defuse the situation. Number one, it gives the kid direct feedback that he’s bullying you and being inappropriate. It reveals to him what you’re experiencing. Number two, it takes some of the power out of the power thrust—it brings it down to its right size. Identifying it tends to neutralize it to some degree.

But remember, if your tone is hostile, it’s going to sound like a challenge to the child, and we don’t want to do that. We simply want to question it. So just calmly ask him if he is trying to bully you.

Hopefully, the child will realize that now we’re talking about power, not about going to a dance. If he says that, yes, he’s trying to bully you, your response needs to be:

“Well, that’s not going to help you solve your problem.”

If he says he’s not trying to bully you, then tell him to please lower his voice.

What you’re doing here is giving the child a decision tree that re-focuses the conversation on the new problem, the real problem, that problem that he is manipulating you to gain power and control. The conversation is no longer about going to the dance—the conversation is now about his attempt to intimidate you and that intimidation will not get him what he wants.

Splitting the Parents

Another form of manipulation kids use is to split their parents. They’ll go to the parent who they think is the weakest link or the one who has wavered in the past in order to gain power. That’s why parents have to be very coordinated in what they value and what their decisions are.

If both parents agree that homework has to be done for the entire week before the kid’s weekend starts, and if the teacher says that the child’s assignments aren’t done from Tuesday, on Friday night the child can’t start watching TV or play video games or go out until that homework’s done.

As parents, you both have to decide what the plan is and follow it through.  There can be no excuses, whether the child is being overly sweet to get out of doing homework or whether he throws a tantrum to get out of it. Both tactics are manipulative and they should be dealt with in the same way.

Two Parents, One Plan

If you have a manipulative child and you decide on certain strategies to manage that manipulative behavior, both parents have to be on the same page with their values as well as their plan. Both have to agree and be able to say to the child:

“If you forget to bring your books home, then either you borrow a book from a friend and get the work done, or you don’t get to go out until next weekend.” 

Don’t set up a situation where dad or mom gives in and lets the child off the hook if they cry, whine, plead, resist, act out, or simply lay on the charm. Stick to the plan.

Kids watch their parents for a living. It’s their job. It’s what they do. And they know their parents have more power than they do. So they learn quickly which parent can be manipulated and how much it will take to get that parent to give in. Some parents will give in when the child applies a little more charm and warmth. Other parents give in when the child lashes out, screams and gets abusive.

You can be sure your child knows what it takes to make you back down. So you need to be sure to talk about your plan for managing this behavior as parents and stay on the same page. Never say, “I’ll talk to Dad about it,” if you don’t agree with something Dad has decided. Don’t ever do that.

It’s the child’s responsibility to work it out with the parents in an appropriate way. When parents disagree, they have to handle it privately. If the consequences change, they should be changed by the parent who delegated them, so that the parents remain empowered.

Tracy’s Postscript

“So we applied James Lehman’s techniques and I told my son:

“We’re not going any further until you put your room back. I’m going out front for twenty minutes and I expect your bed to be put back, everything to be put in order, and you to be in your bed with your light off before we come in.”

He was still yelling at us. I said I’d come in and check on him in twenty minutes. So we all went out to the front porch. He started acting out even louder while we were out there. Any other time, I would have freaked out at that moment. He screamed and slammed things in his room. Normally, that’s when I would typically be like, ‘Okay, just calm down,’ and kind of give him his way.

But this time, because of the way everything was explained in The Total Transformation program, I had a lot of confidence in what I was doing. I totally ignored his behavior. We sat out there, reading the workbook and just discussing how we wanted to handle it.

Gradually, I heard less and less out of him. After about twenty minutes, I came back inside, and I just about fell over because his room was totally put back. He was in his bed with his blanket over him and his light off.

He was quiet except to say, “Mom, you’ve could’ve at least acknowledged me.”