Posted by: fvbcdm | July 31, 2013

Feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus (30 July 2013)

In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his famous encyclical letter entitled Humanae Vitae that we spoke about last week. The previous year he had written another encyclical letter entitled Populorum Progressio, which means “the progress of peoples.” It has to do with the obligation of the Church and of the Christian community in general to help the human race achieve a sufficiency of this world’s goods and services like education, good government, and human rights. As a result of that encyclical, the Holy See has established an organization called the Populorum Progressio Institute to try to do exactly what the encyclical calls for: help to the poor of this world, both individuals and countries. I was very happy to see in the Vatican News report this week that about $2 million is being distributed by that institute to some 200 beneficiaries in Latin America as seed money for the needs of those countries and individuals. When you consider the totally unChristian attitudes and actions of corrupt politicians and businessmen like the drug barons of Colombia and the president of Venezuela as well as the Communist Castro followers in Cuba, you realize that even though those countries are mostly Catholic in name, the real principles of the gospel have not penetrated into the hearts of some of those people.

I remember very well one Mardi Gras day when I was in college. Fairly early that morning, a number of big, black limousines came down Saint Charles Avenue in front of our home on their way downtown before the streets were closed to regular traffic so that the parades could pass unobstructed. In most of the cars were the kings and queens of the various carnival organizations. But in one of them was General George Marshall, the author of the Marshall Plan, by which the United States gave enormous amounts of money, food and raw materials to help Europe get back on its feet after World War II. That endeavor on the part of our nation was one of the greatest and finest moments of our entire history. It was very much an anticipation of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical.

As I watched that car go by and recognized who was in it, I thought to myself: I am looking at one of the greatest men I will ever see. I have also seen Pope Paul VI and even concelebrated Mass with Pope John Paul II. As Our Lord says in the gospel, “Blessed are the eyes which see what some of us have seen.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago. 

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