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Nov 172017

Saint Peter's Square from the dome v2.jpg
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All through the History of the Church, Popes seldom felt the necessity of issuing “ex-cathedra” documents. Not all dogmas of Catholic Faith were formally and solemnly proclaimed; for example, in the Creed there are 12 Articles of Faith that did not have to be formally proclaimed because the Apostles themselves passed these articles of faith on to Christianity.


Let us formalize the list of Pontiff Definitions in chronological order, according to Dom Estevão Bettencourt in “Pergunte e Responderemos” Magazine (“Ask and we shall Answer You” Magazine, 1994 # 381 pages 67 to 72).


  1. Pope Saint Leo Magnus wrote a letter to Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople in the year 444 A.D. In that letter, the Pope formalized the healthy doctrine on the mystery of Incarnation, by affirming that: “Christ is one only Person (the Divine Person) with two natures (Divine and Human natures). The Pope also sent that letter to the Ecumenical Council of Calcedonia in the year 451 A.D. and the Clergy present at the Council considered it a definite and obligatory document of Christianity. That Document represented the Papal reaction to a heretic movement called Monophysicism.


  1. Pope Saint Agatho wrote a letter “to the emperors” in 680 A.D., affirming in definite character that Christ had two different wills, human and Divine wills, though his human will was totally subject to the Divine Will. By doing so, the Pope rebuked the heretic movement of Monothelitism, which affirmed that Christ only had one will, His Divine Will. The Pope sent that document to Constantinople Council III (680/681 A.D.) and the Council accepted and welcomed it with applause.


  1. Pope Bonifacius VIII wrote the Bull “Unam Sanctam” in the year 1302. In that document, the Pope declares, affirms, defines and proclaims that: “each and every human being is subject to the Supreme Roman Pontiff.” This sentence must be understood in the historical context of its proclamation and it means that the Pope has jurisdiction over each and every human creature “ratione peccati”, i.e. insofar the activities of an individual concern eternal life; it does not apply to administrative activities of civil governments and so on.


  1. Pope Benedict XII approved the Constitution “Benedictus Deus” in the year 1336. This Document defined that: pure souls can behold God’s essence face to face immediately after their physical death.


  1. Pope Leo X wrote the Bull “Exsurge Domine” in the year 1520, in which he condemned the 41 propositions made by Martin Luther as heretic.


  1. Pope Innocent X approved the Apostolic Constitution “Cum Occasione” in the year 1653. In this document, the Pope rebuked the 5 propositions of the book “Augustinus” by Cornelius Jansenius and declared these 5 propositions heretic. Jansenism (from Cornelius Jansenius) was a heresy influenced by Martin Luther’s ideas on the original sin: it supported a pessimistic concept on human nature that, according to their ideas, was enslaved to concupiscence and sin; consequently, they accepted that human beings can only do good deeds under the irresistible influx of God’s Grace. Jansenist pessimism was reinforced by the thesis that Christ did not redeem the whole of mankind but only pre-destined individuals. Pope Innocent X condemned all these heresies.


  1. Pope Innocent XI approved the Constitution “Caelestis Pastor” in the year 1687. In this Constitution, the Pope condemned as heretic the 68 propositions made by Miguel de Molinos (died 1696) about the Quietism, a mystical movement that associated spiritual perfection with total passiveness and tranquility of soul. According to this movement, Christians should not even desire eternal bliss or strive to achieve virtues: in that state of total passiveness, any personal trait or desire should be totally extinguished in their souls. Souls in this total state of annihilation should not sin anymore and they would not experience any further necessity of praying, of doing deeds of piety or fighting against temptation.


  1. Pope Innocent XII approved the Constitution “Cumm alias” in 1699. In this Constitution, the Pope condemned 23 propositions in the book “Explications des maxims des Saints sur la vie interieure” by François de Salignac Fènelon, who tried to revisit Quietism and present it as the purest love human creatures can have for God.


  1. Pope Clement XI approved the Constitution “Unigenitus” in 1713. In this document, the Pope condemned 101 articles of the book “Reflexionis Moralis” by Pascassio Quesnel (died 1719). This author supported Jansenism and their pessimistic ideas about human nature. It is worth noticing that during the Jansenist crisis the world witnessed the Visitation of Jesus, in the Apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1673-1675) and the apparition of Saint Marguerite Mary Alocoque: these Apparitions reminded the world, above all, about God’s Mercy and Christ’s Love in opposition to the pessimistic view of the Jansenism.


  1. Pope Pius VI approved the Constitution “Auctorem Fidei” in 1794. In this document, the Pope condemned 85 heretic theses approved by the Pistoria Synod in Tuscany, 1786. These theses were an expression of the radical nationalism and despotism of the State that had thrived since the times of Phillip IV the Fair in France. Encouraged by false concepts, many French Catholic Kings pretended they were creating regional Churches but mad these churches totally independent of the Pope and subject to the King. That made the Church subject to the State in these regions. Among other things, the Pistoria Synod advocated the ban of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the ban of processions, images, indulgences, priest’s fees of the Mass and other religious services and the abolishment of different religious Orders and Congregations, that should be reduced to just one order, a Jansenist order.


  1. Pope Pius XI wrote the Bull “Ineffabilis Deus” in 1854, in which he proclaimed and defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.


  1. Pope Pius XII approved the Constitution “Munificientissimus Deus” in 1950, in which he defined and proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady to Heaven in body and soul.


It is worth noticing that all further Documents issued by the Ministry of the Church, in especial by the Pope, belong to the common Ministry of the Church and all Christians must respect and follow them, even though they are not “ex-cathedra” Documents. Vatican Council II affirmed that:


“Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking” (Lumen Gentium  25).

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Nov 162017

Be sure: sin is the cause of your sadness, and only Jesus can give you back true joy

In some specific situations, where two people were condemned to death, the Romans used to apply an extremely cruel sentence. They tied the two people together, face with face, arm with arm, hand with hand, leg with leg, and so on. Then they killed only one of them and put them both in the tomb, bound. As the corpse decayed, it released substances that consumed the body of the one with whom it was tied.

In this way, we can better understand what St. Paul alluded to when he said: “Unhappy man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body, which bringeth me to death? “(Rm 7,24). He did not speak of his physical body, but of the sinful body to which he was bound.

Photo: Wesley Almeida /

As with the condemned one, we do not have the strength to get rid of this body of sin that consumes us. We are so bound to it that we appear to form one body, and we are not bound from without, but within, in our heart.

We need someone to untie us and free us from this body that kills us and makes us rot in life.

Christians are the soft odor of Christ, but when you have a body of sin locked in your heart, your own heart becomes corrupted and begins to stink, with the foul smell, the air around you. Instead of being a cause of joy and happiness for self and others, it becomes a cause of suffering and unhappiness because it moves away from God and enters into discord with people to defend selfish interests.

The truth is that we are the first victims of this evil; we feel sad, depressed and abandoned, because we are sinners and in our hearts lives a leprosy called sin, which has made us numb to the loving presence of God. And the worst is that we can not run away from sin, as if one runs away from an unpleasant person. We can not escape because sin speaks to us from within our hearts (Ps. 36: 2), we take it with us wherever we go.

Only Jesus can give you back true joy.

Rest assured, sin is the cause of your sorrow, and only Jesus can bring you back true joy. It is necessary for Him to deliver you from this evil, to kill that leprosy and to change your corrupted heart into a new heart. Every person who thinks it is impossible for his sins to be forgiven him, goes into despair, and makes his condition worse than it was before. So trust God!

If you have ever felt lost because of something you did, if you were afraid of falling into hell, you felt desolate and without strength, if, after repeated struggles against one sin, once again you were overcome and felt like giving up, I have great news for you: only those who have felt this can experience what it is to be saved by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this same Jesus can eliminate his sadness at the root.

Article extracted from the book “Vencendo Aflições Alcançando Milagres” [Conquering Afflictions Reaching Miracles]

Márcio Mendes

Born in Brasilia in 1974, Márcio Mendes is married and the father of two children.Former cadet of the Brazilian Area Force Academy, Mendes is a missionary of the Canção Nova Community since 1994, where he works in areas related to communication. Theologian, he is the author of several books.

 Posted by at 01:01
Nov 152017

translation: Love folded over so that it cannot be broken

Guilty feelings do not come from God.

“Brothers, you were called to freedom.” (Gal 5:13) Diving into the love of God is the secret to getting rid of guilt, and that feeling does not come from Him. Everything that enslaves us does not come from the Lord. Many people, because of a lack of knowledge, think that by doing the will of God they become slaves. On the contrary: the more we give up our will to do God’s will, the freer we become, because the Lord has made us free and for freedom. Many people carry a terrible sense of guilt and allow themselves to be destroyed by it. Immerse yourself in the infinite love of the Father, and immediately let go of all of these feelings.

Jesus, I trust in You!
Co-founder of the Canção Nova Community

Luzia Santiago

[It is a powerful teaching of the saints, i.e. St. Alphonsus Liguori, that once one has repented, guilty feelings that persist are not from God, just as Luzia teaches above.–Ed. 

 Posted by at 01:01
Nov 142017

translation: Stay Strong My Child

The ability to love is in you.

To love is first of all a decision. Decide for love. The point of order for you is, “Do not be afraid to love.”

Many do not have the courage to love because they have suffered too much in family, marriage, with children; were affected by diseases; had difficulties with the business; disappointments of love, in fact, countless situations that have led them to not love.

Perhaps you have suffered a lot and, of course, do not want to suffer again and this makes you stop loving, thinking of avoiding possible suffering.


But be assured that, regardless of any suffering, it is in the love given that salvation is for you. It is in love-giving that the people with whom you relate will be saved.

Despite disappointments, family problems or whatever the situation, LOVE. Decide for love! Tell those who are disappointed with everything and everyone who does not stop loving. It is not just the young people who need to wake up to the love, long grown-up, married people who need to rediscover the grace of LOVE. How many people harbor disappointments, many people have a revolted heart. They become victims of the revolt itself be it with an alcoholic, irresponsible, absent father or an unfaithful, brutal, authoritarian husband.

How many people disappointed with the family and so they are no longer able to love. But to love is life and not to love is death. It is necessary to relearn to love. Problems exist and shake the heart, but that is not why you will not love. God gives you the ability to love, the gift of love is in you, but the decision to love also depends on you.

If you decide for love, everything changes in your life. The world is of the one who loves! Whoever loves lives. Those who do not love die slowly. It is urgent to decide for life. Decide to love.

God bless you!

Your brother, Monsignor Jonas Abib
Founder of the Canção Nova Community

 Posted by at 01:01
Nov 132017

Our choices show the path of maturity towards the happiness we want to live

In the face of all that life presents to us, choices and options are always entrusted to us. In the face of the troubles we experience, there are several possibilities that we have to react: either we grow with pain, we extract from them the due knowledge, or we park in them and we become bitter people.

Life is woven by choices, by choices we make and that end up delimiting the meaning and colors of our history.


Photo: Wesley Almeida /

Accept reality

The way we act and react to our own weaknesses also becomes a reality, which holds within itself the power to determine the course of our maturity. Often we conclude that we are not and do not have what we would like, and that causes us pain. However, faced with such a human and natural dissatisfaction, we have two options: either we spend our whole life lamenting for not being or having what we idealize or we assume in what we are and make life to be happy from what we have and are, that is, from our real.

Happiness lies in choosing to be happy and to live in a concrete way

The happy disappointment of finding ourselves fragile and imperfect can be cause for sterile disgust or a significant boost to our maturity. It depends on the choice we make and how we respond.

Happiness is a possibility that resides in the real, in our truth. It is never too late to be happy and to decide for it. Every second that we live is a concrete possibility to begin to build, with our choices, our happiness.


Happiness is not instantaneous, but the construction of knowing to choose

Happiness does not happen overnight; it is the fruit of a construction, of small and great choices that need to be made, which, little by little, build in life the due maturity that knows how to extract flavor from everything, giving meaning to what one does and what one experiences.

We will always find situations before which we need to position ourselves. No one can build a future and a happy life if they say ‘yes’ to everything that is offered.

We can not allow ourselves to be carried away by life, nor can we live aimlessly, not knowing what we want, because whether we want to or not, we are always going somewhere. Either we make conscious choices about what we want to be or we will be constructed by fads and idealizations of others, thus becoming puppets in the hands of a society that does not respect what we essentially are.

Our choices shape who we are

Life was entrusted to us. Not everything that comes to us is good, and it is us who have to decide before each situation. We can not annul, giving to others such reality, which only competes with us. There is no authentic life without responsibility, without assuming the reins of our history and without deciding, in a coherent way, what will make us more people and, consequently, more of God.

We make the choices and the choices make us, so to build a future, we must choose and choose well.

Let us entrust to God the course of our history and seek in Him the strength to better decide and choose what will make us truly happy.

God bless you!

Father Adriano Zandoná

Father Adriano Zandoná is a missionary of the Canção Nova Community.

 Posted by at 01:01
Nov 122017

Today’s Gospel is the famous story of the wise and foolish virgins. It comes to us at a time in the liturgical year in which we focus on the second coming of Christ and the question given to us in the readings at this time is: Are you ready to meet Christ when He comes?

What  we will read over the next several weeks is all about being ready to encounter Christ. The “being ready” refers to His second coming but it also can refer to our own judgement at the end of our own lives. Are we ready to meet Christ if we were to stand in front of Him tomorrow? Putting it another way, it does not matter whether He comes here or we go there, what matters is whether or not we are ready to meet Him.

This particular reading has an interesting focus in it because unlike others, the crux is that the groom’s arrival is delayed. This is a common theme in much Biblical and other Catholic literature: the delayed coming of the Lord.

But we have to remember some things about Christ and His coming The first thing is that Christ reminds us that the Kingdom of God is within. It is not about just believing in the existence of God, after all the devil believes in God better than you do and he can quote scripture and church teaching better than the greatest theologian.  it is about our relationship with God transforming us from within and that transformation then is reflected in how live as an external sign of that internal transformation.

However, if there is no internal transformation there will be no external sign. Again, the devil believes, but he rejects any relationship with Christ and therefore his belief is mute.

This brings us to the Gospel reading. We have two groups of virgins, the wise and the foolish. Remember, the key to living our faith is being immersed in the wisdom of God, as we see in the first reading. So the fruit of our relationship is the wisdom of God and if there is no such fruit then we have at best a superficial relationship.

A study of many of the saints who commented on this reading such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome and St. Augustine all indicated that the meaning of the oil for the lamps was good works that we do in response to our relationship with Christ. In other words, as I say above it is the relationship that is key that transforms us.

But notice the key element in this is light and light is always the wisdom of God. It is when darkness abounds that light shines more brightly. Darkness is always representative of those who do not have God’s wisdom. So what we see here is two groups those represented by having oil in the their lamps and their lamps were burning brightly and those represented by not having oil for their lamps and had no light when darkness came.

This is the question pointed to you. Do you believe in God? That really does not mean anything. I can show you scientifically how lack of belief makes no logical sense. But, does your relationship with God transform you and conform you to do his will? Are you a different person because you embrace Christ, or are you just like you would be except that you believe in Christ as you may believe in Thomas Paine. Don’t laugh, there are churches built on that exact idea.

Notice the defining point at the end, the wise virgins go to the wedding feast, the foolish do not. They are locked out and the words that the groom says to them is that I never knew you.

Those who obey the commandments who do not also do the will of God are the ones that Jesus condemns. They do not kill, they do not steal but they treat others as inferior beings and dismiss them from their lives. They do nothing that leads others to know the power of the wisdom of God, the light of Christ in their lives. That is because their superficial understanding of God prevents them from understanding God’s wisdom. This is what the saints explain is the defining point.

You do not have to believe in God to consider murder wrong. But are you able to treat the homeless, the criminal, the mentally ill in a way that is different than the atheist does because you believe in God. Do you see an unborn child as just as human as anyone sitting next to you? How about the severely mentally handicapped. What about the neighbor who has no one to clear his or her snow covered driveway. This includes that grouchy neighbor who no one likes and all ignore.

The people to whom Jesus speaks  believe, they follow the commandments and they attend synagogue, but, then they go home and act like everyone else. These are represented by the foolish virgins.

A line that is commonly used and attributed to legions of leaders: “There is never a traffic jam on the extra mile,” We must treat others as we would want to be treated. This, Jesus reminds us, sums up the law and prophets. Allow ourselves to see Christ in others and to treat them as Christ would want them to be treated. In order to do that, you need to go beyond the extra mile.

Let me give you an example. People often are expressing some real concern about the way our world and our country is going. It seems to be going down an ominous path. What leads us down this path? Rejecting the ways of Christ. How do we fight the effects this path? We fight evil by doing the good that Christ calls us to do. We do not fight evil by doing a counter form of evil but by doing good as servants of Christ. So what is it that we as Catholics must do if we are to be the lights of wisdom that Christ calls us to be?

We need to be in daily prayer, minimum weekly mass attendance, to know our scriptures well and to live the faith in treating others as Christ wants them to be treated.  We need to be lights to others. Then when we encounter Christ face to face, He will welcome us as good and faithful servants.

 Posted by at 01:01
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