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When man turns from God there is selfishness, injustice, crime, and, with it, pain, sadness and alienation. The brutal killing of George Floyd, along with three other officers abetting the murderous action, is an example of what happens when man forgets his Maker and there is no regard for human life. The loss of the sanctity of life,  beginning with the destruction of life in the womb, is the extreme degradation of man. This happens when men no longer respect God’s plan and love. For the most part the media and politicians have obscured the issues making them political and ignoring the deeper religious and social causes.

Following this crime and similar violent acts in various cities of our country, many people have reacted understandably with pain and anger, and have voiced their sentiments in many cities of our country. They have a right to peaceful manifestation of their feelings and rights.

Hundreds of people, however, have joined in these protests advancing their own personal or ideological aims and turned them into acts of rioting, violence and looting. We see how just causes are usurped by wrongful persons. Again, the loss of the sanctity of life is shown because the rioters and looters have killed some people who have simply tried to protect their property. Hijacking peaceful protests in order to do violence with little regard for the victims is another example of the loss of respect for humanity.  The scenes of many violent protests also remind us that violence should not be met with violence. Martin Luther King taught that one can resist evil without resorting to violence, and showed by his example that this is possible. 

In a sermon on the response of Christians to persecution, St. John Henry Newman writes:

“Now, our Lord and Saviour did not forbid us the exercise of that instinct of self-defence which is born with us. He did not forbid us to defend ourselves, but He forbad certain modes of defence. All sinful means, of course, He forbad, as is plain without mentioning. But, besides these, He forbad us what is not sinful, but allowable by nature, though not in that more excellent and perfect way which He taught—He forbad us to defend ourselves by force, to return blow for blow. “

Many innocent human beings have been hurt and some killed in these violent riots which co-opted the peaceful protests . Businesses and even churches have been destroyed or vandalized. In light of the grave events of these days, the Gospel has important lessons to teach us.

-Each human being is created by God in His likeness and deserves respect regardless of his color, religion, education or political views.

-Man sows what he reaps, and each person will be accountable for his acts. Those who commit crimes deserve just punishment.

-Jesus Christ died on the Cross to obtain forgiveness for our sins. Men and women need to turn to God –to be reconciled with Him– and to work for peace and justice in their neighborhoods, cities and the world at large. When men forget God, they destroy themselves. 

In addition to seeking justice for the death of George Floyd, and reforming the culture and practice of police departments, there are many serious underlying problems of social injustice, poverty, crime and the welfare state that our society must address. This will require the continued serious and constructive work carried out by dedicated Christians, persons of other religious beliefs, and other men of good will. Too often, however, their work will be eclipsed by other social issues, and harmed by a glamorized portrayal of violence, drugs and sex in some music, video games and public entertainment.

At the same time we recognize that the majority of police officers protect our communities, and deserve our respect and gratitude. Some have been killed during the riots protecting our communities because of the wrongdoings of a few. We must not only decry violence to persons arrested or incarcerated but also to the good and faithful men and women who risk their lives daily serving our communities.

Under other circumstances, St. John Henry offers Christians who are persecuted the following advice which can nonetheless still apply in part:

“First: sobriety, self-restraint, control of word and feeling (…)

Further, let this be considered. The precept given us is, that “we resist not evil;” that we yield to worldly authority, and “give place unto wrath.” This the early Christians did in an especial way (…)

To this must be added, that the truth has in itself the gift of spreading, without instruments; it makes its way in the world, under God’s blessing, by its own persuasiveness and excellence.”

As we seek justice for crimes and reconciliation in our country, we must show respect to every person and to their property. We must look for ways of showing others gestures of understanding and respect at work and in our daily living, fostering a culture worthy of human beings and children of God. But we must begin by examining how we honor God, if we obey His commandments and if we seek to have a personal relationship with Him who is our Maker and Savior. For as Vatican II teaches: “without the Creator the creature would disappear.”

In addition to working for justice which is an indispensable condition for peace, we must remember that peace is foremost a gift from God, a gift for which we must pray to Him. Without prayer and trust in God we cannot achieve peace. Let us pray these days more fervently to Jesus, Prince of Peace through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, for peace and justice in our nation and in the world.

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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

The true light of Christ’s divinity was made visible to the Apostles at the Transfiguration.

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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

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About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.

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Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

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Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
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