Putting them here also means that I should be able to find them easier.
Papal Visit to the USA, September 2015
I am very grateful to all those who posted photographs, tweets and articles about Pope Francis when he was in the United States, because they helped me participate in it from the other side of the world. But nothing beats getting his words unfiltered. So here is the best resource for those words. (I wish something similar had been done with the visit to Cuba). http://aleteia.org/2015/09/28/read-the-full-texts-of-all-of-pope-francis-addresses-during-his-visit-to-the-u-s/
Synod on the Family, October 2015
After Part 1 of the Synod in 2014, I decided that there would be far too many voices trying to put their own spin on the 2015 part of the Synod. To keep sanity amongst the wordy jungle and endless controversy and speculation, I decided to read only the information coming from the Synod itself, i.e. any interventions published by the speaker, any of the reports from the working groups, and snippets from the official press conferences. Very early on, I discovered that Archbishop Coleridge of Brisbane was providing a regular blog of his Synod experiences. Mercifully he has been far more interested in the participants and the daily working of the Synod than anything else – and it has been a joy to follow him through the joys of catching up with acquaintances, the struggles of finding unity of thought in the working groups, and his awareness of God might be working through it all. These blog posts are all under the title of 'On The Road Together' and start on 1 Oct 2015, and will probably continue a few days past 25 Oct 2015. http://brisbanecatholic.org.au/archbishop/articles-releases/
Related to all these discussions on the Family, are the following three articles:
Firstly, why helping families to thrive matters so much. An article with data about the outcomes of regions with the most intact marriages compared to the same data for regions with the least intact marriages. http://family-studies.org/how-strong-families-help-create-prosperous-states/
Secondly, how patterns of sin can erode marriages and why we need to hear preaching about how to recognise sinful habits and how to turn away from them and seek to live differently with God's help. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher/2015/10/08/married-to-an-angry-man-an-open-letter-to-the-synod-fathers-guest-post/
Thirdly, how hard it is to break free of dysfunctional behaviour learnt in the family, and how important it is to have someone who cares about your well being enough to patiently teach you healthier behaviours. http://chnetwork.org/2015/10/lisa-campbell-former-assembly-of-god-the-journey-home/
The St Vincent de Paul society recently released a report on homelessness called 'Sick With Worry'. It convincingly shows that the major causes of homelessness are structural and rarely have anything to do with personal bad decisions. Only a tiny proportion of rental properties are affordable to someone on a pension. To have to go on a pension, all it takes is a health issue or a physical accident – things that could happen to anyone. The report contains many detailed case studies. Please read it. https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Publications/National/Articles_Reports__Speeches/Sick_with_worry_2015_national_report/
Then read this eye-opening article with facts and figures on how providing low cost housing actually does lead to an 'everybody wins' scenario. http://www.vox.com/2014/5/30/5764096/its-three-times-cheaper-to-give-housing-to-the-homeless-than-to-keep
Gospel vs modern world view
While I don't agree with all of the conclusions in this article, the analysis of the prevailing ideas that young people have about God, faith and religion is brilliant. I am sure you have come across them:
•A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
•God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
•The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
•God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
•Good people go to heaven when they die. (Good as in earthly measures of good, not heavenly measures of good).
At some point or other you have heard a young person (or not so young person) ask why they should bother going to church. Answering that question stumps most of us. This article gives two viable reasons in language that millennials understand; we go to church to worship God and we go to be formed in virtue and schooled in faith. Consider sharing this one with your social networks and praying that young people click and read it. http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/10/go-to-church-justin-bieber
If you are looking for an antidote to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, then this next article is for you. It contains reminders from St John of the Cross about several uncomfortable truths, i.e. that life is short, and that the path to salvation is difficult. http://blog.adw.org/2015/10/some-hard-spiritual-truths-that-will-set-you-free-a-meditation-on-a-teaching-by-st-john-of-the-cross/
Another refreshing antidote to the relationship chaos that so many young people find themselves in these days is this wonderful article on how great it is to develop a relationship with God while waiting for Him to let you know His long term plan for your happiness. Any person who is sick to death at being asked about when they are going to stop being single will want to share it with their tormentors. http://arleenspenceley.com/single/
That's more than enough to chew over for now.
May Blessed Paul IV intercede that the Synod on the Family achieves Gods purposes.
May St Rita of Cascia pray for all married couples who are struggling.
May St Benedict Joseph Labre pray for all people suffering homelessness.
May St John Bosco pray for all of our young people, that they may find the true happiness God desires for them.