the Examiner Articles

Warming the Hearts of Men: the Life  of  St Anthony of Padua

 Jeanne Kun

The Patron of Lost Articles was also a passionate, eloquent preacher of the gospel.


Stories abound about the extraordinary events colouring the life of St Anthony of Padua, the "wonder-worker." Fish are said to have listened to him preach, their heads attentively raised out of the river, when the hard of heart refused to heed his words.

A donkey knelt reverently before the Blessed Sacrament, convincing heretics who had challenged Anthony on Christ's presence in the host. A severed foot was reportedly rejoined to its owner's leg when Anthony blessed it. Statues depicting Anthony with the infant Jesus in his arms recall the occasion when the Child appeared to him surrounded by marvelous light.

This popular saint is also known as the "Finder of Lost Articles." When a novice once ran away with a book of psalms containing notes Anthony had made for teaching his fellow Franciscans, he prayed for the young friar and the recovery of the book. Soon the novice repented and returned to the Order, bringing the precious Psalter back with him. Since then, millions of people have asked Anthony for help in finding lost possessions. Yet, we might wonder, why is this saint of the Middle Ages still so well-known today? Behind all the remarkable miracles and captivating stories told of Anthony is a man who loved God passionately, and who tirelessly proclaimed the truth of the gospel.

The man who became known to the world as St Anthony of Padua was born Fernando Bulhom in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195. His father served King Alfonso I as a knight, and Fernando grew up dreaming of the adventures of knighthood. However, when he was fifteen, he chose instead to join the Augustinian monks at San Vincente, just outside the city.

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Towards Full Presence

Courtney Mares

Vatican releases pastoral reflection on Christian engagement with social media.

 Attention #CatholicTwitter and keyboard warriors, the Vatican has released recommendations for how to better "love your neighbour" on social media.

The 20-page text, "Towards Full Presence: A Pastoral Reflection on Engagement with Social Media" published on May 29 addresses the challenges Christians face in using social media. The aim of the document is to promote a common reflection on the involvement of Christians in social media, which have increasingly become part of people's lives. Inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan, the document offers an opportunity to begin a shared reflection on how to promote a culture of being "loving neighbours" also in the digital world.

Topics covered in the pastoral reflection include information overload, constant scrolling, not giving others one's full attention, being an "influencer," witnessing to Christ, "digital detox," the need for silence, intentional listening, and building community in a fragmented world."One significant cognitive challenge of digital culture is the loss of our ability to think deeply and purposefully," it warns.

"We scan the surface and remain in the shallows, instead of deeply pondering realities."

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Magnanimous Love of the Sacred Heart

Dr Jeanette Pinto

People constantly face innumerable challenges with radical ideologies, confusing sex, gender issues and morals, with the line getting blurred all the time. Jesus is hard to see in this chaotic 21st century. But our calling is to be a light in the storm, and what we need is God's overflowing boundless love and mercy. The human heart has long been a symbol of love, and the source of all human activity – intellectual, emotional and spiritual. June 16 marks the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus this year, reminding us of Christ's magnanimous love for all humanity.

The Church has constantly been challenged by various heresies, yet it has withstood the test of time. In 1856, the Feast of the Sacred Heart became a universal feast. Pope John Paul II, a great devotee of the Sacred Heart, said, "This feast reminds us of the mystery of the love of God for the people of all times." The deepest longing of Christ's Heart is that we discover how much He loves us, the extent of His love for creatures, who cooled by their selfishness, look only inwards at themselves, as if they were afraid to let themselves be loved unconditionally by their Creator, who asks nothing, but gives everything.

We are aware of broken hearts that Vladimir Putin's ruthless invasion of Ukraine continues to evoke; images of fear, distress, death and trauma. Millions have lost their lives, and amidst this carnage, there is chaos, fear, danger and insecurity.

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Pope: We have responsibility before God to protect Common Home

Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis said that we have a responsibility before God to protect the Earth, under constant attack from the devastating effects of climate change, which requires a concrete response by all, as he addressed the organisers and participants in the Green & Blue Festival, coinciding with World Environment Day.

Pope Francis stressed that the catastrophic effects of climate change hold us accountable before God, as he appealed for recognising our shared responsibility to take concrete action to protect the planet.

With events on June 5 in Rome, and from June 6-8 in Milan, the festival brought together Italian and international players who are united in their commitment to urgently combat climate change.

During the audience, the Pope encouraged them in their commitment to protect the environment. He also drew attention to the ever-more violent natural disasters devastating the globe, as he urged the International Community and all people of good will, to do their part in safeguarding our Common Home.

"Experts clearly point out how the choices and actions put in place this decade will have an impact for thousands of years. Our knowledge about the impact of our actions on our Common Home and those who inhabit it, and will inhabit it, has expanded."

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‘Toxic’ wave of plastic pollution risk for human rights, say UN experts

Zeus Legaspi

The world must rid itself of the "toxic tidal wave" of plastic pollution that threatens human rights, say two United Nations independent experts.

The two experts working with the United Nations (UN) urged member states and other stakeholders to prioritise human rights in the international Treaty on Plastic Pollution currently under negotiation.

The call came as some 175 countries continued negotiations towards the first international legally binding treaty on plastic pollution, ahead of World Environment Day on June 5.

"Plastic production has increased exponentially over recent decades, and today, the world is generating 400 million tons of plastic waste yearly," said David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, and Marcos Orellana, Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights.

"We are in the middle of an overwhelming toxic tidal wave as plastic pollutes our environment and negatively impacts human rights in myriad ways over its lifecycle," the experts added.

 'Serious risks' of plastic cycle

Plastics are dangerous and have adverse impacts on human rights in all its stages, the experts detailed in their joint statement on Thursday, June 1.

Plastic production releases hazardous substances and "almost exclusively relies on fossil fuels," while plastic itself contains toxic chemicals which pose "serious risks and harms" to human health, human rights, and the environment, the special rapporteurs said.

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The tattooed generation

Paul Chigwidden

Tattoos trivialise permanent things and permanentise trivial things.

 According to recent studies, Western millennials and, in particular, Western millennial parents, are the most tattooed group in society. In fact, there is widespread agreement that it was millennials who made tattooing mainstream. Although estimates vary, at least half of all millennials may have a tattoo.

Perhaps it was the perfect storm – a generation in which everyone got a prize needed newer ways to stand out, and then social media came along to ensure that everyone stood out in pretty much the same way.

The tattoo is a perfect allegory for  our generation.

They reflect our relationship with reality. Tattoos trivialise permanent things and permanentise trivial things. Tattoos are an important way for younger people to express themselves. They're intensely personal. They're totally me. They summarise my likes, my values, my cultural outlook, and they're forever. Even a cursory examination of millennial culture reveals that this paradox is our consistent way of interacting with reality.

Let's begin with health.

Statistically, we are the healthiest generation ever. Our life expectancy, our access to healthcare, the availability of painkillers; we should be the first health-insouciant generation.

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