Profiles in Catholicism
Luis Paul S. Baron,
Gordon: Please provide our readers with an overview of the mission of the Pope Paul VI Foundation.
The Foundation's Mission Statement, "The 'ambition' of doing Good for other should have no limits", tells a lot about the essence of its Mission. However, even a basic overview, will depend on some knowledge about the origin of the Foundation. Unfortunately there's no satisfactory short answer for an already near half century low-profile institution, deeply interconnected with my personal life and not fitting for a short interview. An easy way to learn its origins, which is what really matters (since this Foundation is a "Seed"), is through the reading of the Article 51 of the General Statutes of the Blessed Family of Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Society, after the reading of its Glossary's entry related to the word "Ambition", plus the Article 4 of the same document, as an essentially required prior condition: Available online here, in a PDF file.
Also, reading the ABOUT tab-page of our www.BlessedFamily.us (JoAnLab.Net) website will provide a substantial historical report related to the Pope Paul VI Foundation.
Anyway, as a glimpse, I could state, as mentioned above, that the Foundation was and still is a low-profile, small and somehow 'sui-generis' organization, like a "Seed" incubator. Deeply rooted in St. Joseph, orthodox, Brazilian born, uninterruptedly not-for-profit, privately funded, inspired directly by words of Blessed Paul VI himself. Committed, proactive truth seeker under deep obedience to the 'Magisterium' united with the Pope. Quietly 'ora, adora et labora' as a faithful Roman Catholic Pro-life lobby, a former management standards research & software house; and currently an international 'Think & Prayer Tank' that sincerely try to remember, 'ad majorem Dei gloriam', what Jesus asked us in Matthew 6:3 : "… let not your left know, the Good your right is doing".
Gordon: Why do you consider Blessed Charles de Foucauld as your spiritual father and the Servant of God Chiara Lubich, as your spiritual mother?
First, regarding the SD Chiara Lubich, the Founder of a large religious family, because she was the primary source and represents the deepest foundation and joy of my whole spiritual and ministerial life. I would never be what I am without an extensive formation received from her charisma, especially during the 1970's; after a personal encounter with one of Chiara's first companion (Violetta Sartori), which was my mom's friend, sleeping over with other "Focolarinas" at my home in Curitiba, when I met her for the first time of many: As a teenager, probably sick with flu, she entered my room to visit me and either prayed or promise to pray for my well being. From my first yearly Mariapolis in July 1970 (at that time, a week-long 5,000 participants), passing through the Focolare's 2nd Generation School (Gen2-M multi-years' school, after 1973,...), I studied some and read most of Chiara's books, many in Italian since not yet available in Portuguese, at that time. For more details, please read our General Statutes' Art. 2 §4 about her foundational role, in this regard.
Now, it is not so simple to reveal, or how far I can reveal -it is very private- why Blessed Fr. Charles de Foucauld is, indeed, my spiritual father, because personally I never even thought about nor did I ask for that. I'm convinced it was/is an unbelievable gift from God, directly: One afternoon of the year 2000, I was praying fervently inside an old car donated to my foundation. After almost 3 years working full time as a volunteer at the Diocese of Orlando FL, including Saturdays plus busy Sundays, under my duties of Eucharistic Ministry and Catechist, I was exhausted (no vacations), evidently broke (never charged a penny, I have a Vow of Poverty) with many material needs. There, at that moment, praying for a couple of hours inside the car, I deeply understood that God was unilaterally granting me, in honor of Bl. Foucauld, a gigantic spiritual miracle in favor of two dear teenagers and their eventual future descendants, for whom I was not praying for, at that moment. And further, still in the car at the diocese's parking, somehow supernaturally signed as a mysterious and very rare Grace, indeed granted exclusively due to the extraordinary merits of Charles de Foucauld's, moving me to also call him, instantly, spontaneously, "Papai" Charles (daddy), followed by a profound peace and deep trust. From that moment on, I felt moved to entrust myself under his protection with an immense confidence, as my new and powerful intercessor provider for my personal needs, especially material (interestingly) needs -although the major miracle received was exclusively spiritual- which remains infallibly fruitful until this day and hopefully until death, in my life and in the life of my future spiritual sons and daughters.
Gordon: You are very active in Pro-life issues. In your understanding, what strategic areas should we focus in addition to what we are already doing well, or what can the pro-life movement do to eventually speed the pace or increase the results we need to really address current and future Pro-life challenges, at an strategic level?
First thing first: Mother Angelica, when asked a similar question, only said (don't recall the exact words) that we probably tried everything, but did not try "St. Michael the Archangel", enough. Lack of prayer, in its 'lato sense' (Mass, sacrifices, reparation, fasting, adoration, etc.) is and will always be at the same time the number one problem and, therefore, the best remedy, if converted in real priority. After all and above all we are fighting devils. Our Lady asked us to pray the Rosary daily. Do we pray it at least weekly? I don't think so, not even monthly, besides rare exceptions.When will us understand that we should pray more and work less? as our Lord told Martha, giving us her sister Maria as an example of true wisdom.
Second: Death Penalty. Evidently we cannot compare the murder of an innocent person with the lawful execution of a serial killer, for example. However, why do we kill people who kill people to show killing people is wrong? Pope Francis is right, at this day and age there's no more moral justification for death penalty. Raising the bar in order to re-include the death penalty into our official Catechism, but now in more strong condemnatory terms, like under our suggested concept of "essentially" evil (the word "intrinsically" evil can not be used, because it is not..., but almost), since perfectly avoidable in every civilized Country, would re-validate the Pro-life movement with an additional strategic power never seen before.
Third: NFP. Our irresponsible (as a Church) negligence in this area is almost "criminal". Absolutely unacceptable! NFP should be a very high strategic priority for our Church (every possible parish, school, pastoral, ...) and for the future of the Pro-life movement. Our credibility would increase exponentially and powerful yet disputable overpopulation arguments, would be better dealt with and properly addressed by NFP based solutions. Especially in areas where extreme poverty and street's "raised" children, for example (by the thousands), is a shameful problem, and everywhere else as an essentially critical pastoral and fertility resource for responsible parenthood and holier marriages.
Fourth: We need a major development in every possible area to fund, support and facilitate adoptions in large scale, exclusive by natural families.
Fifth: Euthanasia and the imminently massive physician-assisted suicide nightmare, already in its initial phase. Another Pandora's box now opened! No wonder: From the moment any Country decides to protect by Law, the satanic business of abortion on demand, it becomes 'ipso facto' a potential crime against humanity. Many other directly related major evils will keep coming, certainly, sooner then later, like euthanasia, human embryo manipulation, bio-genetic crimes, divorces, etc., until such laws are reversed and banned from the Books; not to mention indirect consequences, like traffic of human organs, the gradual self destruction of the Judicial Structure (Court System, Law Enforcement,..), etc. There's an infinite distinction, especially under God's "eyes", the realistic fact that crimes are not humanly possible to be totally eliminated from any large State-Society; but promote it and even pay for one of the worst kinds of organized crime possible to mankind, daring to legally code a brutally cold murder as a "medical procedure" and Constitutional Right by the highest Law of the Land, tantamount to a gradual but inexorable juridical and cultural suicide for any nation, no longer worthy to be called civilized.
Sixth: Do whatever we can, prudently, under the law, including and starting with those involved with assisted suicide (since most current laws still criminalize it), to boycott, blacklist and/or reveal "fake" (hit men) medical doctors and nurses, IF proven directly involved in the white mafia business of assisted suicide and, above all, the commercial killing of unborn children. We must also remind them that, if they were Catholic, knowing that abortion is a mortal sin, but freely choose or directly provide for a successful abortion, they are already automatically excommunicated, as clearly defined by Canon Law, until sacramental indult, if granted by a Priest to a really repented penitent. It's a huge moral and social duty to raise the cultural understanding or knowledge about them, probably the most despicable type of human beings, by every possible means like blogs, future laws and even a kind of county or community level 'persona non grata' implementation, if local laws shield them from jail, similar to the international world of diplomacy. Being so named, consists the most serious form of public censure which a Country can apply against some foreign diplomats. Actually doing such, (like we should, against "fake" killer "doctors", shielded by law), precisely because diplomatic immunity protected them from being arrested and other normal kinds of prosecution.
Finally, that said, we need to understand what should be obvious, but unfortunately is not understood, not even mentioned, not even considered: The foundational need to develop our international Juridical Framework in order to include in it a critical missing legal "supra-religion" angular stone: We (at the P. Paul VI Foundation) tentatively named it "The Existential Pregnancy Debt" or The Existential Gestational "Debt". It is a strategic moral concept and absolute factor of natural justice (therefore common to all human beings), doctrine that we are developing inside one of the 200 Focus-Groups, created inside our JoAnLab.Net private social network (see INDEX tab, under "Crimes against Humanity:" Abortion on demand or just write to us, if you can help or need more info).
We strongly argue that such natural fact-phase, nine months evidently indispensable for human life, should never, ever, be taken for granted, including its potential legal, philosophic and theological implications and consequent moral obligations towards humanity that, therefore, shall be mandatory: Each human being "owe" (actually much more than "just owing" in a quantitative or gender restricted mode) a nine-month pregnancy debt to our fathers, ancestors, medical community, etc., therefore to the human race. Women have the honor to pay it forward in kind, literally, and unwanted/unwilling pregnant women could then be morally and legally mandated to carry the child full term, until birth, for at least a guaranteed loving adoption. Evidently also the men who fathered the child, if he fails to keep up with his paternal responsibilities at conception, including full support for the mother, should inescapably pay it also in jail, in the worst case scenario, until justice for the child and mother is fulfilled.
Formal Justice, under such new juridical principle once fully mature to avoid every possible unjust or unreasonable application, can and should develop in order to legally establish the proper doctrinal foundation to fairly enforce a generic prohibition of all pregnancy voluntary interruptions. Otherwise, unwanted pregnancy will continue to be interrupted based on "my body my choice" ridiculously shallow, but unfortunately still valid logic argument today and forever, until the development of a such or similar future legal angular keystone.
Only further judicial developments demanded by Justice from this natural fact-phase and its many derivative existential moral obligations, will be able to support a rational and scientific legal base for a full-term "pregnancy until birth" enforcement, in cases like rape, for example. Communities, represented by the proper authorities, will then, and only then, have the minimum moral authority to explain victims that interruption of any pregnancy will never make a woman "un-pregnant", but cursed for live, for becoming, irreversibly, the mother of a dead child ultimately murdered by her in connivance with a hit man disguised as "medical doctor." And to explain, "in extremis", that as a victim of rape, under "this" new Law, she will have the Right to demand the State to sustain one hundred percent of her basic life needs (food, shelter, prenatal care and related), until the birth of that innocent child, saved to be given in adoption. Evidently, also as an additional consequence, she will then have the utmost Right to seek severe justice, to the maximum extent of the law, to punish the perpetrator of such horrible crime, but she will never be authorized to murder an innocent human being, regardless of the rape grievance.
Unfortunately, remaining "pro-choice" women will still complain, seeking abortion on demand even for frivolous reasons, under the same sophism "it is my body! I can choose to do whatever I want with my body". In fact, the real root of the pro-choice movement, paraphrasing some march for life's signs, has never been about choice, it's about escaping the consequences of bad choices, by cowardly taking all choices away from another totally innocent and defenseless human being. Hate or blind emotions from whoever is cruelly determined to "choose" death under the euphemism of pregnancy "interruption", alleging that the body is "mine", should be strongly ignored and/or reminded that her real body does not have 2 distinct DNA, 2 heartbeats, 4 eyes, 4 feet, 4 ears, neither 20 fingers, like during pregnancy and, therefore, just keep enforcing just Laws as any decent community represented by the State ought to do.
Surely our proposed principle of "Existential Pregnancy Debt" also apply 100% for Men, over very solid factual reasons and moral arguments, just not convenient to have it reported here, already an enough long text for this type of interview.
Gordon: As a well-known Evangelist, what in your opinion could all of us do or improve to better serve our Church and communities, as authentic disciples of Christ?
Again, first things first! And I know it will sound like an old cliché, when in fact it is paramount: A first hand, trustful, obedient and deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ within His Church.
That said, it also relates to your previous question. Maturity is a major keyword: spiritual maturity, human maturity, political maturity, which evidently imply a constant struggle against ideological contamination like fundamentalism, etc. Creativity/innovation is another key: "business as usual" in areas that we are losing the battles on addiction, pornography, human life protection, our fatherless young generation, the defense of natural family, are unbearable tragedies. Common sense and a popular saying should have taught us already, that we cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The lack of rational, realistic and strategic minds is also a very sad reality. We need to recognize that we (Christians in general) are indeed seriously guilty of many cowardly sins of omission. We should be on standby and ready for civil disobedience, for the moral duty of boycotts, for serious political responsibilities, which includes accountability follow-ups, and the long term preparation of our children for holy and honorable political careers, as a kind of "religious" vocation for the common good.
Gordon: I learned that you are writing an intriguing book tentatively named "Eschatological Extensionism". You implied many possible pastoral benefits, if some recent scientific discoveries are applied to the End of Times revelation and the so called "Four Last Things". Can you provide an example on how scientific developments could also enlighten Catholic Eschatology?
Before giving not only one but two examples, I would like to argue and comment why pleading Heavens for abundant blessings and world peace, should include future generations and should never limit God's absolutely sovereignty and generosity in any level, including the total extension of time and amount of future brothers and sisters that God may decide to create and grant to the human race and history. Let's recognized, for example, how easy it is for our selfish nature, as long we are alive, to justify that "others" may die or not even be born. In most pro-life marches I attended in Washington DC, I saw signs "screaming" how reprehensible selfish "pro-choice" people really are: "The only reason they can be 'pro-choice' is because their mother were pro-life and did not aborted them". Ronald Reagan used to "joke" (kind of) that "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. It's easy to be 'pro-choice' when you are not the one being killed."
As I already wrote at the glossary for our General Statues, we have a critically strategic need for wise Christians to pre-assume, pray for and desire as possible, the indisputable fact that God the Father's sovereignty is indeed absolute. Therefore, God can "decree" a real chronological extension for the End of Times calendar date, in case it is already pre "defined" (strongly denied by foundational Church teaching: no fatalism) or being precipitated due to so many outrageous sins by our blind humanity, or as an expansion of the human history hopefully many more hundreds and hundreds of millennia, in case its end date not yet ratified or decided by God Almighty.
Contemporaneous scientific data freely available, can help us to develop a better perspective of time and space. As a first example, some current live species of sea turtles, without God's direct supernatural interference in their favor, found to be over one hundred million years old! (fossils almost identical). Just Google it: That's 100,000 of... Millenniums! Would God give Christianity just two (2) millenniums, after allowing, already, hundreds of thousands of millennia to animals? Why keep and even imposing narrow horizons without sound theological and scientific reasons? Why not ponder the imponderable? That God not only can but likely would also allow the Earth, with us, in a similar natural slow flow of His entropy laws, not necessarily interfering against it, like He "did" already for the turtles and hundreds of other animals? That alone would easily "open" a couple of million of years also for mankind, if not already deadly compromised by our current lethal nuclear capacity to self-destruct the human race in a matter of hours, or gradual planetary on going destruction by greed, hate and ignorance, probably irreversible, over just a few centuries more.
Evidently assuming that we would/should dare to ask God for it and work harder for a more united and peaceful world, focusing on massive and respectful Evangelization for the salvation of souls; fighting strongly against all forms of eugenics and the whole culture of death, out of a pure and genuine love for future generations. It is appalling to see millions of presumably Christian "madams" obsessed to preserve their beauties, desperate to extend just a few years of their own lives at any price, without getting old (which is a gift from God), but caring absolutely nothing about extending the life, quality of life or expectancy of life for the future generations.
Other contemporaneous and amazing scientific data coming up after Monsignor George Lemaitre's Big Bang theory breakthrough, as my final example here (the book will have many more), is the reality of human "perception of time". This is an extremely relevant fact that can and will help us to better understand the potential true nature of Purgatory, for example, or the potentially possible coincidence between Final Judgment and Personal Judgment, just to mention another eschatological related mystery, among others. Let me give a practical example that anyone can related to: If twin sisters take a long 10 hours trip during day time -let's say by airplane- but one of them, very tired, fell asleep immediately, they will perceive the passage of time and surround spatial reality of that same time and space at very distinct levels and rates, despite being both twin sisters under the same time, space and vehicle. Let me try to explain: At the end of the trip, when the fully aware twin wakes up her sister informing that they just arrived, she -still somnolent- will probably question, in disbelief: "Already? 10 hours? How come? To me it seems that we just left about one hour ago!" It is because under deep sleep, for the sake of this improvised example (let's assume), her perception of time was 10 hours by 1, but for her sister, fully awake, the perception of the same passing time was, evidently, 10 by 10.
Now, let's imagine so many cases of persons in coma for months, even years (like Terry Wallis, that woke back alive, after 19 years in coma!) under drastically distinct level of "perception of time and space", since it is totally dependent on brain functions (just ask any boy playing video games for hours, like minutes). Let's think about an hypothetical victim of a horrific accident, in comma for one year. But suddenly able to wake up with relatively normal brain functions, partially healed probably because it rewired itself during such long therapy, even recalling the accident moment and its antecedents, after that year in deep comma. It is possible that he/she would "bet" or dispute his Doctor information, regarding the fact that the state of comma persisted for a whole year. If he/she reply to the doctor that according to her/his memory, the accident happened yesterday, it is because the perception of time and space during the state of comma was, let's say, 365 days by 1 day. Or he/she may be deeply convinced that the accident happened about one month ago, when in fact it was 12 months.
There's no way to advance such fascinating reality in a short interview, but let's imagine the obvious, as a conclusion for here, now much better understood by science. The now indisputable reality that time and space are, indeed, one hundred percent realities originated from the Big Bang, and its perception directly related to brain functions. Therefore, after human death, when our immortal souls separated from the body, we humans are no longer under the laws of time, space, biology, physiology, etc. Which also mean, very likely, not only under zero human perception of time and space as we know it, but also under zero passing of real time, and not only "perception". Therefore, it is really possible and likely that the exact moment of death, for every and all humans, will evidently coincide, with the resurrection of all bodies, during the apocalyptic second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. Doesn't matter if Jesus comes in His glory tomorrow, or in a million years. It is completely irrelevant, physiologically speaking. In other words, not only in practical terms but even in real scientific "terms", at the exact moment of your individual deaths, for all intents and purposes, we all will also face -due to bodily resurrection preceded by zero perception of time, at that exact moment, the historical end of the world, the Final Judgment, and the End of Time & Space, in much less time then a blink of an eye.
The inescapable scientifically revealed based consequences for future theological and eschatological definitions are profoundly exciting. Actually, it already changed official Church interpretations related, for example, to some aspects of the foundational dogma of Purgatory, now better understood as purely spiritual, 100% immaterial and mysterious state or reality of distinct "purification-intensities" (like being "bearable" bitten by just one "wasp", or instantly knocked down in "agony" by 500 "wasps", at the same "time"): Therefore never a matter of 'khronos', never space or time lengths, only possible under the Astrophysics Laws started by and within the Big-Bang's divinely created physical Universe in constant expansion. Indulgences, following this same improvised and obviously precarious analogy, evidently would be like 300 "less-wasps" kind of indulgences, instead of 300 "years" of indulgence.
That said, however, it is very important to note that our human limited one-sided concept of the reality of a single "instant" outside time and space, is deeply blind because a single instant outside time also means, at the same "time", a "perpetual" instant, a never ending moment under each distinct state, which would make Purgatory absolutely horrific under 500 "wasps" spiritual suffering constant intensity, if not easily submitted by God's power, under the possibility of a mysterious change of status/condition, completely outside time & space as we know it. Although likely designed to remain a "horrifically" painful "school" of Love and detachment (since we refused to learn it on Earth voluntarily) by the demands of Justice for such eventual individual Souls in need of intensity level "500", as the only way to be really beneficial. Only Church's merits and Christ Masses on Earth, plus individual members intercessions, have the real therefore divine power to alleviate or even release such Souls, keeping the same infinite benefit indispensable for a final and total purification/liberation from sinful past through just reparations, by pure additional but in this case indirect Mercy from God.
And the list goes on and on...
Gordon: Noted that one of the tentative names for your book include a risky "ism", (Eschatological Extensionism) sided by "Eschatological Extension", as a safer literary option. Could you comment?
Since it is related to such mystery, and being at the same time a "Manifesto for an Eschatological Extensionism", it may be God's Will to use this title. We don't know yet. It is related to a mysterious "Seed" entrusted by God as an essential part of the charisma of our nascent religious community, that should help our Church to generate and reach a higher Catholic spirituality platform in the future, and not just a contemporaneous group petition for Peace, protection against self extinction (nuclear war, ...) or spiritual suggestion for current Christians deeply interested in "raise" their own "bars" in their personal level of responsibilities and holiness. Also, because "ism" at the end of a proper name, does not necessarily imply mandatory "ideology", in the current (and in my opinion necessary) negative connotation, due to so many evils generated by major ideologies. As an in illustration, sufficient to say that the word "Christianism" ends in "ism", and no comments necessary about that.
Gordon: The recent "Amoris Laetitia" apostolic exhortation pleaded for a strong and more intense preparation of young couples for marriage and called for the whole Church to be involved and help such urgent effort. Would your proposed pastoral emphasis on couple spirituality named "Conjugality" also able to help or somehow add some quality spiritual resource for a future better preparation of couples for the sacrament of Matrimony?
Here I can only repeat what I wrote at the end of that essay, that in my pastoral experience, throughout the years, it revealed to be a 'mother-lode' of very practical pastoral arguments and insights, powerful enough to enlighten even bitter spiritual-directees, (by the hundreds), bringing real hope for deep healing, plus a practical, step by step spiritual path of conversion from years of indifference and hate, to gradual 'Conjugality'. And to some, passing through essential steps, like the 'Parent-child indirect-love' step, like the daughter-in-law vs son-in-law's 'competition' of love required step, etc., to the excellence in Christian Parenthood, in a matter of weeks, even for 'single' parents.
It is critically essential to first rescue the mystery and power of married couple unity (Matt.:19-6: ...So they are no longer two, but 'One Flesh'.) as a kind of virtual 'Third Person': 'The Couple', Mr. & Mrs. 'One', when mothers, then, automatically and silently 'say' to their children: 'whenever you see me, you see your father', and vice-versa. Therefore, I'm deeply certain also by experience, that a 'Conjugal Pastoral' should precede any Family Pastoral, or become the strategic mandatory first step wedge front of any smart Family Pastoral Program, really committed with results in numbers and quality."
Gordon: Thank you for taking the time to share with our readers your dynamic insights into some of our greatest challenges.
For our readers who wish to learn more about Fr. Foucauld, Chiara Lubich, Fr. Lemaitre or the basic principles of the "Conjugality" spirituality, we added some suggested links:
Missionary Baron's public profile: www.LinkedIn.com/in/LPBaron