Friday, November 19, 2010


For more than 10 years now, both at St Bede and here at Our Savior, I have been leading a prayer-vigil/Eucharistic Adoration the evening of 31 December in advance of the World Day of Prayer for Peace, 1 January. Begun by Pope Paul VI, our world desperately needs all the help it can get in seeking paths we can walk together in harmony. Famously, Pope Paul titled one of his earliest messages If you want peace, work for justice.”

This coming year’s theme from Pope Benedict is “Religious freedom, the path to peace.” And as usual there will be a vigil this 31 December at Our Savior. We mix times of silent adoration, excerpts from the Pope’s message (yet to be published at this point), Scripture and hymns. It allows us to focus with the Holy Father on the desperate need people throughout the world have to be people of faith in the authentic freedom of their conscience (where God calls them), without coercion from any outside source. The Vatican II Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignatatis Humanae, championed by theologians like Rev John Courtney Murray, SJ (and found to be so distasteful by the schismatic Society of St Pius X) was also championed by then-archbishop Karol Wojtyla, who knew first-hand about the kind of oppression Catholics were suffering for the Faith in his home country of Poland.

Today, our hearts and prayers and thoughts go out in particular to the Catholic and Orthodox Christians of Iraq and the Holy Land, caught in the crossfire either of Sunni/Shiite or Muslim/Israeli conflicts.

But we don’t have to wait for 31 December to pray and fast for peace. We may think we cannot effect religious freedom in the world; we may believe we cannot achieve justice for others on the global scale we need. But we can make more of a difference than we think, and if our prayer makes us more welcoming of the stranger and more eager to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8), we can begin to make a difference. As Gandhi put it, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


  1. Father, what was the reason the Society of St. Pius X found the
    Vatican ii Declaration on Religious Freedom, "Dignatatis Humanae" so

  2. They saw it as a "sell-out" of what was called the "Catholic Thesis," by which it was understood that religious "tolerance" was justifiable only until a Catholic majority was obtained in a country; then the Catholic Church should be given preferential (if not exclusive) treatment in law. This was especially an issue in Europe in the times of the 18th-20th centuries.

  3. Father Tokarz:
    I heard you speak today at St. Pius X Church. Your talk on reconciliation was so meaningful to me. It spoke to a personal issue I have been battling for over a year. I feel very empowered to forgive the person who has wronged my family, who has no desire to make amends. It is very liberating to liberate myself from the anger. Thank you so much for your words.

  4. This comment really makes my day (or week, in fact)! Thank you for sharing it, Lorian.