Consortium Newsletter - May 5, 2017

Father Fred Scinto's picture

Father Fred Scinto

May 5, 2017

 

CONSORTIUM NEWSLETTER

(MAY 5, 2017)

 

CONTINUING OUR EASTER AND EASTER SEASON CELEBRATION

  • As we continue with our liturgical Easter Time, here are some more meditation materials.May the Risen One make this Time a very blessed holy growthful happy Time for you and those you love and those you are honoured to serve, especially in ministry and by profession, e.g., police officers, teachers, medical personnel, workers in public transportation, workers in sanitation, etc.

     

  • “Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world.What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the Word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) “May the example of Pope Emeritus Benedict inspire each of us to strive to be a more ‘credible witness’ to the [Risen] One who draws near to us in love.Vivat Jesus!” (Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of Columbus, “Building A Better World: A Roadmap for Evangelization,” Columbia, April 2017)

  • “As joyful servants of hope, we must announce the Risen One by our lives and by our love” (Pope Francis).

  • “The Lord is risen from the dead.Alleluia!Alleluia!He is risen indeed! Alleluia!Alleluia!” (adapted from a popular greeting/acclamation used in the Ukrainian Catholic Church)

  • “Resurrection is an assertion about God before it is a puzzling reported fact about Jesus … The first shines through the second.” (Joseph Sittler, theologian)

  • “Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong directions.Practice Resurrection.” (Wendell Berry)

  • “Wish! Woosh! Bang!

    Creation Ever So Beautiful!

    Sin pops up and mars everything including Nature.

         From the Beginning, Man/Woman sinned and sins.

    All efforts to push God aside from the Centre – Deicide!

    God mourns and states this is not the way to go.

    So God chose a People to help straighten up the Mess.

    More Sin – worse than before.

    Even a flood washes nothing and fails to clean.

    God gave our Jewish ancestors kings – no change!

    God sends the Prophets but we block our ears.

    Everything, everything, everyone, everyone hosts sins, sins, sin.

    God thinks and thinks and thinks to get everything back

         To the ways of life, glory, beauty, and grace!

    Aha, I will send my Beloved Son to manifest and declare

              Divine Love, Divine mercy, Divine Compassion.

    We flung Him on the Cross and declared,

               “That is it!  It is finished – over!”

    God reached deeper and deeper and deeper in Love.

    Aha, I will raise my Son from Death and Misery and

                      Nothingness!

    Jesus the Christ exploded from the grave and rose.

    “I will clean up and restore nature but more importantly

         I will make all people my Sisters and Brothers

                      And Sons and Daughter of my Father/Mother!”

    Furthermore, “I will give them dignity, grace, honour and light.

    I will ask them to be Me to the World

          To heal it, to preach to it, to beautify it, to save it.

    Then all of us forever will be in love and light

                      And joy and community and eternal well-being.”

    And so it was and will be! Forever and ever!

                                  Amen.”

    (God’s Amazing Good News In and Through the Risen One, Father Fred Scinto, C.R.)

     

     

    UNDERSTANDING POPE FRANCIS

  • The following material was used at one of my religious community’s House Meetings recently when we were studying the encyclical Laudato Siˊ.It was generated and presented by our House Superior, Father Pat Aiello, C.R., at this meeting.It is an excellent exposition and so I share it with you.My thanks to Father Pat for allowing me to do so.

  • Here is the material.As you go along, consider the very good pastoral indications found herein.And use them in your pastoral ministry.Thank you!

     

    UNDERSTANDING POPE FRANCIS

     

                Pope Francis made it clear what he wanted to achieve in and for the Church.  In the apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera, he speaks of 1. A continual activity of pastoral conversion. 2. A witness to mercy.  3. We must generate a culture of mercy in the Church.

     

                This is his real program.  Mercy is the very core of revelation of Jesus.  We must be like Jesus Himself.  The culture of mercy is the key to understanding the entire reform that Francis is trying to bring about.  Mercy is directly related to Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) and to the Joy of the Gospel.

     

    ACCOMPANIMENT AND DISCERNMENT

     

                These two words in the sub-title are two key words that will help the Church become a place of mercy and salvation and help us understand his writings.  The Church founded by Christ is to bring us to the Father/Mother through the transformation of grace.  This is God’s entire project working through creation, redemption and through the life of each human being.  The world is God’s construction site. [Great image!]

                For Francis reform is not an idea or a theory.  Reform is an accompaniment of each other as we try to discern the working of God in our lives, e.g., A.A. [Alcoholics Anonymous] in Bermuda, and LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) in Burlington.

     

    Francis uses two axioms to illustrate his thought.

     

  • TIME IS GREATER THAN SPACE [EDITOR’S COMMENT: “Space” here has to do with place, where a person belongs – here in the Church (or out), location of his/her presence, whereas “Time” has to do with when, the moment when something desired happens, the point at which something desired occurs].

    We should not try to fill, dominate or control space in pastoral work.  Individual conversion has its own dynamics.  Respect the speed and time needed for change that each person needs.

    We often tend to want quick action and results.  Each person is different.  Grace also has its own dynamics.  Patience and self-restraint are important.  In sum: A sense of belonging is first and that opens the pathway to conversion.  This applies to all ministry.

     

  • REALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN IDEAS IN THIS AREA.

    Reform needs discernment.  Take a very personal approach.

  • Know the background of the person.

  • Accompany the person you instruct.

  • Look for shades of change or progress.

  • Avoid a fixed timing for reform.

  • Reform of the Church is not to be a battle of ideas.

  • Respect the life experience of people.

     

    Goodness and love are truly convincing.  Idealism and authoritarianism are to be avoided.  True love, respect, good listening, compassion and mercy form a rich soil for the dynamic of grace to bring about change or conversion.  Allow the Spirit to do the work.  Grace works best in loving relationships.  We walk together confidently that grace and our united discernment will win the day. 

     

    PEOPLE IN LEADERSHIP

     

    The art of accompaniment and discernment requirements:

  • Recognition of personal limitations.

  • Humility goes a long way.One does not know everything.

  • Admission of one’s need for forgiveness from others brings good results.

  • Recognition that good trusting relationships, genuine trust, and love are the most fertile ground for God’s grace to work and change lives.

  • Leaders need to have the deepest respect for people.Through this respect goodness will be fostered and self-conversion will follow.

  • Leaders need to be experts in mercy and compassion.

  • To take a dogmatic and/or challenging approach undermines the work of grace.Avoid the aggression of idealism and pastoral autocracy.

     

    The above is the wisdom of Francis.  He is our shepherd.  He has the charism and the Church needs to follow him religiously.

     

     

    QUEEN ELIZABETH II’S BIRTHDAY (CORRECTION)

  • In the Consortium Newsletter of April 13, 2017, it was stated that the actual birthday of the Queen was April 4.That is not correct because the actual date or birthday is later in April, i.e., April 22.Her birthday is actually celebrated a number of times during the year because it is so important and April 4 was one of those times.Sorry for the error!

     

    WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY??

    What IS Happening in the United States Today

  • We continue our quest for evaluating President Trump’s administration according to a Christian/Catholic lens.

     

  • Since the last Consortium Newsletter, I came across an article on leadership that is excellent and an easier tool to apply to Trump and his associate because its data came from leaders around the world.The article was given to me by Brother Ed Benson, C.R., educator and a member of the leadership team at Resurrection Manor, my religious home.Brother Ed knew I was working on leadership and the Trump administration and searched his resources to find this article from the Harvard Business Review.It is titled “Leadership: The Most Important Leadership Competencies According to Leaders Around the World” done by Doctor Sunnie Giles.It is from the website https://hbr.org/2016/03/the-most-important-leadership-competencies-according-to-leaders-around-the-world and its date is March 16, 2016.I thank Brother Ed very much for bringing this material to my attention because it is even more usable to control our prejudices regarding Trump as we continue our task/quest here than Arbuckle’s material.

  • I have attached it to this newsletter as Appendix One.It is well worth your study: it comes from leaders in positions similar to Trump’s and other secular situations but it clearly can also be applied to religious organizations like the Church and to our own ministry.The material is very useful for bringing it to prayer as we examine our own leadership in ministry situations.Use it in this way and I am sure God will use it to improve your (and my) own ministerial leadership.

  • We use it in the same way here in the letter as was suggested earlier with Arbuckle’s material.

     

  • Using Giles’ material and Arbuckle’s material, I want to evaluate Trump’s leadership by giving illustrations and comments and examples of Trump’s actions as cross-referenced against these criteria and to do so with the least amount of prejudice and negative emotionality.This will be done in implicit ways for the most part but at times the process is explicit.Of course, I will also consider material written by other competent professionals too, e.g., acknowledged political commentators and other accepted professionals, e.g., newscasters.

  • Since President Trump is a complex person (as we all are), the task will be made easier and clearer if we do it over three generalized time periods, i.e., the second half/part of March, the time around the end of March and the start of April (or the early part of April), and the part of April after the second part to roughly the present time.Please note that this three-fold partition consists of all rough generalizations that at times are not strictly maintained, i.e., as you would expect, they may bleed a little bit into each other.

     

  • We begin with roughly the second half/part of March.Here below you will find some of the actions of Trump and his associates that demonstrate the type of leadership they exercise.

  • Most often the actions and activities will be listed and there will be little commentary accompanying them because it will be obvious with how they square (or not) with good leadership (Arbuckle and Giles) and elementary Catholic morality and justice.Some of the material you may have encountered earlier in a different context.

  • Many many commentators speak of the lying/mendacity of the White House, the new administration, and Trump himself.

  • Conflicting views coming out from different people in this administration.

  • Rough not-polite phone calls of Mr. Trump with the Prime Minister of Australia and the Mexican President.

  • Lots of leaks – too many of them – from people in the new government.

  • None of the various government agencies nor the Congress nor any individual has found any evidence to substantiate Trump’s statement that Obama and his administration used British Intelligence to spy on Trump during the campaign for president.This also upset British Intelligence and Britain’s government.In regards to this, Trump insulted Obama by saying on a tweet that he is a sick bad man.Trump has also insulted others.

  • Saying a misleading thing is a form of lying and President Trump has done so at times.Let us return to the preceding point on wiretapping.The source for the wiretapping incident, according to Trump, was a lawyer (Lawyer Napolitano), who is a great lawyer, but not one who was in a position to know if British Intelligence did it for Obama when asked.Without stating this qualification (which Trump did not state), the hearer would be misled.This is very misleading and here a real form of lying.

  • Allegedly, the Russians (including the Russian Government) meddled in the presidential campaign to help Trump and to hamper Hillary Clinton.This is being investigated in the United States according to the formal procedures for such a situation but Trump is interfering in these investigations.

  • The meeting with Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel, was tense and upsetting for her.Not the way world leaders should meet when they are deciding very important matters to and for all of us!

  • Trump does not use sources properly, e.g., Trump used the comments of a respected lawyer to prove that Obama was wiretapping him and for this used the National Enquirer (!) as a reliable source.

  • President Trump allows conflicts of interest to be, e.g., his daughter Ivanka has been given a positon at the White House but still runs her commercial business.

  • Trump, as some sort of Republican, fought/fights with other Republicans, e.g., the “Freedom Caucus” who do not support him or what the White House wants, especially in regards to health care.

  • Trump became angry when his advisor David Bannon made the cover of Time magazine; he was angry that it was Bannon and not himself!

  • He has refused to release his tax returns, as most presidents would do in this situation.

     

  • Mr. Trump tells people what they want to hear, as a tactic to get what he wants from them.

  • President Trump distracts our attention away from a serious problem or difficulty by bringing up something else that is important that catches our interest and thus distracting us from the original problem or difficulty.

  • Trump likes to exaggerate, e.g., he calls someone a “good friend” whom he only met recently.

  • He is very intelligent in regards to “reading” people.In addressing a crowd, he knows how to identify with them but more: he is very skillful in giving the people a sense of identity and how to use dynamics that give them a sense of who they are.Trump knows how to interact with people in order to understand what is really key to them and what really bothers them.

  • He also knows how to use social media to reach people.His many tweets are only one example of this.

  • He knows how to address a gathering of people to get their interest.That he as a billionaire can do this with poor disadvantaged people demonstrates this great skill very well.

  • In the immigration situation, he works against the courts instead of working with them.

  • He is a master at using “alternative facts.”

  • Trump is Islamophobic.

  • At times, he has a strong anti-woman stance, as pointed out a number of times by women.“And what the h-ll happened to those twelve women who accused him of sexual misconduct?” (The latest issue just published of Adbusters – The Impeachment [of Trump] and the Hamlet President [Obama]).

  • “A judge on March 30, 2017, approved an agreement for Donald Trump to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University, ending nearly seven years of legal battles with customers who claimed they were misled by failed promises to teach success in real estate.The ruling in San Diego settles two class action lawsuits and a civil law-suit by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.Trump had vowed never to settle, but said after the election that he did not have time for a trial.Under the terms of the settlement, he admits no wrongdoing.” (United States – Trump to pay $25M in lawsuit settlement,” Toronto Star, April 1, 2017)

  • Trump certainly can be and often is creative, e.g., the establishment of a “university” dealing with real estate.See the preceding point.

  • Many criticize Trump for not realizing that you cannot run a government like a business.

  • “In the days after the election [and even in March 2017], everything [seemed to be] negotiable for Trump: the [Mexican] wall became a fence, “Crooked Hillary” is good people, and maybe climate change is worth thinking about.Far from draining the swamp, he fed plums to some of its biggest gators.” (Nancy Gibbs, editor of Time magazine, “The Choice,” Time, December 19, 2016)

  • Etc., etc., etc. I could easily gather enough such comments as the above to have enough for a book but the above suffices for now!

  • “By any measure, Trump has experienced a truly awful beginning to his presidency” (Tony Burman, former head of Al Jazeera English network and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC] News, “Trump and Xi: America is passing the torch,” Toronto Star, April 1, 2017).

     

  • Let us now move on to the second section, i.e., the time around the end of March and the start of April (or the early part of April).

 

  • For me, this was a period of some good signs starting to develop that were hopeful but some negative signs continued.For example, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Washington visit seemed to be a great visit for both men.There was good rapport, both men tended to be complimentary of each other and each other’s country, and there seemed to be a lot of promise for a good future in relationships between Canada and the United States.NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was not seen as a major problem but one that just needed some tweaking in places.But then things changed quickly and the Americans (some members of the White House including President Trump) became quite harsh in their dealings with Canada regarding matters like NAFTA.This turn-around surprised me and a lot of Canadians.This turn-around shows one more thing about Mr. Trump: in any kind of negotiations, he wants to make sure that the United States (“America”) gets its way in every aspect of the negotiations and he seems unwilling to give anything to the other side that will benefit it in any way at America’s expense!It baffles me, then, how real negotiations are to be carried out with the United States and this has been the case in a number of situations already!

  • When the Obamacare health bill was repealed and defeated, President Trump wished to go back to it so that Americans would have health care.He has gone back to it a number of times so that Americans who need health care can get it.He seems to have genuine concern here. At the time of my writing this line (May 4, 2017), the House of Representatives passed the proposed health care act.

  • There has been some infighting among some of the members of the new administration, e.g., David Bannon and Jared Kushner and Trump has told them to stop fighting among themselves.

  • President Trump has taken David Bannon off the National Security Council and thus demoted him.Here I can truly say “Thank God!”

  • Trump showed Syria’s Assad with the American air raid that Assad cannot always get his murderous ways.I think this was a necessary and thus good move.

  • At first Trump was against the Democrats and then later tried to get them to help him in his legislative aims.Lots of turn-abouts in this new government!

  • Trump seems to be learning that governing is difficult and that it needs time for reflection on figuring things out.

  • As a Catholic, I am glad about Trump’s overall strategy to reduce funds used for abortion.

  • It seems that during this period of time, Trump was sending out fewer tweets (but later on, he again started using them more in his presidency).

     

  • Now we proceed to do the third and last part of our structure, i.e., the part of April after the second part to roughly our present time.

 

  • The reversal of campaign statements and statements of the early presidency continues.

  • President Trump is not following all the rules that a President should follow, e.g., in respect to the work being done by the intelligence committees of Congress. He butts in where he has no real jurisdiction.

  • There were earlier signs of this before but now we see him clearly pitting one person within the administration against another.Trump likes to keep people off balance!

  • One columnist I really like is Joe Klein of TIME magazine; he is quite perceptive and makes you think.A number of months ago, he said some things that resonate with me and that I find still hold in respect to Donald Trump.Here are these things below.

  • “I have never actually endorsed a candidate [for the Presidency]… Donald Trump is unendorsable.There has not been a major-party candidate less fit for the presidency in American history.” (“Closing argument; why Hillary Clinton is the only choice to keep America great,” TIME, November 14, 2016)

  • Klein points out Trump’s “sense of systematic depredation – Mexican as rapists, Muslims, as terrorists” (ibid.) – something that seems to be continuing.“His stereotypes deny the fabulous array of opportunities that America provides … There is one part of Trump that is indisputably real: his ego.He is personal freedom gone off the rails, a peculiarly American disease.” (ibid.)

  • “He does not read.” This one really bothered me because how does he get the information and knowledge and reflection time needed to do the great job of being President??? He lacks knowledge and it shows!This, to me, shows a carelessness in his regard to doing the job of President.

  • “The campaign…we have just experienced…set a sad new standard for ugliness and mendacity… Donald Trump… ran the most disgraceful presidential campaign that I can remember.” (ibid.)

     

    (TO BE CONTINUED)

     

  • Later we will consider President Trump’s first 100 days.In preparation for this, I would ask you to read ahead of time APPENDIX TWO.It tackles the subject from a Catholic perspective, as you can tell from its title, “In Trump’s first 100 days, Catholics find a mixed bag.”Thank you!

     

     

    MARRIAGE ADVICE

  • If you are married and have children, please stop and think about the necessity of the spouses at times to get away together (apart from the children) just by themselves.As a Toronto-Dominion Bank advertisement correctly states, “Parents need play-dates, too”!This is a practice that helps the marriage become stronger by renewing the love of the couple.Please think about it and make it happen from time to time.God bless you and your family.Amen!

     

     

  • Please pray for Pope Francis and his work in renewing and reforming the Church.And also please pray for President Trump and the new American government.

     

    May the Risen One be very good to you, especially during this Easter Season.  Amen.

     

     

    Father Fred Scinto, C.R.,

    Resurrection Ministries,

    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

    (fscinto@rogers.com)

    (519-885-4370 or toll free 1-877-242-7935)