Showing posts with label Conversion Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conversion Stories. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Poland's Communist Dictator Died Reconciled to the Church

(Warsaw)  two days ago the former self-confessed atheist and communist dictator of Poland, Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski (1923-2014), passed away on May 25th in Warsaw, provided with the last sacraments and reconciled with the Catholic Church.
Jaruzelski was born into a Catholic family of the Polish gentry. The family fled to Lithuania to escape German troops  where it was captured by the invading Soviet troops and deported to the Altai Mountains. Jaruzelski and his father had to do forced labor. To avoid this, the 20-year-old joined the Polish Bering-Army established in the Soviet Union, which fought alongside the Red Army against the Axis powers.

Despite Soviet Deportation He Entered Into the CP

After the Second World War, he was admitted to the General Staff Academy. After the Soviets had wiped out the Polish officer corps  in 1940 at Katyn, Moscow built from 1945 a new Army loyal to the regime.  Thus, Jaruzelski joined the ruling Communist Party in Poland in 1947, established with Soviet Help in 1945, which became in 1948 the Polish United Workers' Party  (PZPR). In addition to the military, Jaruzelski quickly made ​​a political career. In 1956 he was promoted to General, from 1964 he was a member of the Central Committee of the PZPR. He was defense minister in 1968 because of his loyalty to the regime and led to Poland by the crushing of the Prague Spring.

 Solidarity Suppressed With Martial Law

When the free trade union movement Solidarity  under Lech Walesa shook the communist regime in Poland, Jaruzelski himself  was at the head of the regime and could withstand this   for several years. In 1981 he became Prime Minister of Poland, took over the party leadership of the PZPR and imposed martial law, outlawing Solidarity  which was supported by Pope John Paul II,  and forced it underground. He was later to be justified that  the clampdown was in order to prevent a planned military intervention by the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact by an intra-Polish solution. From 1985 to 1990 the general was Polish head of state.
 His role in the Communist regime around the break-up of Solidarity and whether  democratic change followed because of his resistance is still controversial. In 1997 it became known that Jaruzelski had asked for military aid against the imposition of martial law in Moscow, should there be a need for it. In 2007 charges were  brought against him of Communist crimes. The former general was threatened with a conviction for high treason. Because of his poor health, the trial has been suspended.

Grace of Faith

As it is now from Poland,  the former Communist dictator died reconciled with the Catholic Church in his 91st year.The declared atheist and opponent of the Church was still touched at the end of his life   by the grace of God. He returned to the faith of his childhood, received the last sacraments, and died in the bosom of the Church. Perhaps this is thanks to the prayers of many Polish compatriots, who prayed for his conversion, which included the Polish Pope.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Semana
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com
AMGD


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rebuilding Catholic Culture: Church Music and the Fad of ‘Folk’ Style


Edit: We've heard of stories where a Liberal priest has changed his ways, but Liberal nuns never seem to abandon their tedious catch phrases and rote incantations about openness, diversity and caring. But here's a nun who couldn't take it any more, who stood up against the... err, well, you get the picture in an article from CNA:

By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J. *
I will never forget that moment! Flinging off his eyeglasses, he glared at me, “Sister, what have you done to our music!” I froze.
It was my first year at NYU as a graduate student of musicology, and I was enrolled in Professor Gustave Reese’s course, Medieval and Renaissance Music. He was the world’s leading authority on these two musical periods. An American Jew, a Renaissance Man, he loved the sacred music of the pre-conciliar Church. In a sense, he was its custodian. For him, musical analysis was de rigueur except for the Ave maris stella, “a honey of a piece.” When Reese blurted out his question to me, it seemed as if he had been storing it up for years. How could we have banished its musical culture, the most consequential result of the post-conciliar Church?
Effect of Music on the Human Spirit
From ancient times, people of every race and color have held that music, more than any other art form, is the most intimate expression of human feeling. According to the Ancients, music imitates the states of the soul and has the mysterious, even magical power, to influence a person’s behavior and to form moral character. We are affected by the kinds of music we experience. On the day of John F. Kennedy’s funeral in 1963, Beethoven’s second movement of the “Eroica” Symphony accompanied the cortege on its way to Washington’s St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Beethoven had dedicated the symphony “to the memory of a fallen hero.”
The Fathers of the Church agree with the Ancients. Sacred music proposes to lift up the the whole person to Christ likeness. Throughout the centuries, men and women have become converts through the beauty of liturgical music.
The Decline of Quality
Common sense dictates that not all music qualifies as suitable for divine worship, for the chosen music sets the atmosphere for the liturgy. The music expresses, reflects, and mediates the saving mysteries of Jesus in symbolic ways. It is the locus where the human and sensory realities meet the divine and spiritual. According to Sing to the Lord, the musical judgment of sacred music requires musical competence, (and) only artistically sound music will be effective and endure over time. To admit to the Liturgy the cheap, trite, or the musical cliché often found in secular popular songs is to cheapen the Liturgy, to expose it to ridicule, and to invite failure (USCCB, Sing to the Lord, #135).
The deciding factor about sacred music is its quality. Quality has two meanings: (1) Quality as the essential and objective character of something, and quality in man-made things, the condition for excellence; we value quality of life, quality time with family and friends, and quality of character; (2) Quality in man-made things, the condition for excellence; we choose quality in food and in clothing. In a long but important comment by Barbara Tuchman, Quality is the investment of the best skill and effort to produce the finest and most admirable result possible. Its presence of absence in some degree characterizes every man-made object, service, skilled or unskilled–laying bricks, painting a picture, ironing shirts, practicing medicine, shoe making, scholarship, writing a book. You do it well or you do it half-well. Materials are sound and durable or they are sleazy. The presence or absence of quality characterizes every man-made object and service, skilled or unskilled. Quality is achieving or reaching for the highest standard as against the sloppy or fraudulent. It is honesty of purpose as against catering to cheap or sentiment. It does not allow compromise with the second-rate but reaches for the highest standards. Quality can be attained without genius (Barbara Tuchman, “The Decline of Quality,” New York Times Magazine (November 2, 1980, 38-39).
Link to kathnews...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Redemption songs: The conversion of Bob Marley

Editor: We just received this item from the e-mail. It's always heartwarming to hear stories of conversion. We'll withhold comment about Mr. Marley's ultimate fate. It's not something we can know with absolute certainty and it's not our decision to make, but God is love, we know that and that Bob Marley received the last rites of the Orthodox Church gives us more hope for his salvation than had he received none.

Image stolen from, here.

Redemption songs: The conversion of Bob Marley

By Christopher Stefanick

May 11 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of Robert Nesta Marley, more popularly known as Bob Marley. He’s known by other titles as well: “The king of reggae,” “the first Third World superstar,” “The Honorable Robert Nesta Marley,” and, by Rastafarians, as “The Prophet,” or “The Teacher.” There have even been efforts by Jamaicans for him to be declared a national hero.

What many don’t know is that Bob Marley can also be called a Christian. He was baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox faith before his death in 1981.

Bob Marley had become a zealous Rastafarian as a young man. The dreadlocks and pot smoking that became central to his image weren’t just accessories to a rock star lifestyle. They were pillars of Rastafarian faith. Rastas believe that cannabis removes mental barriers to enlightened thinking, and they base their dreadlocks in Old Testament law. As debatable as these doctrines are, it’s clear that a sincere faith in God and service of his people were the driving forces in Bob’s life and music.

One doesn’t have to dig deep into his lyrics to see Marley’s faith. In “One Love,” named the song of the millennium by BBC, Bob sings, “Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right.” And in songs like, “Forever Loving Jah” (“Jah” is the Rastafarian word for God), Marley is clearly praying, not just performing. Praise to “Jah” can be found throughout his music. Bob wasn’t just a secular rock star. It’s probably more accurate to say he was a religious musician who had made it in the secular world.

Read the rest of the article, here.
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