CWN - Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai expressed concern about “deficiencies in the pastoral and spiritual formation of priests,” in his address to the Synod of Maronite bishops last week.

The Lebanese prelate saw “a significant drop in the level of scientific and theological competence” among his priests, and consequently a “slacking off in the theological, dogmatic, and moral teaching” of the Maronite community. He observed that too many priests are offering opinions—sometimes online, without proper authorization—that do not correspond to Church teachings, and are consequently “scandalizing the faithful.”

The Maronite Patriarch also voiced his concern about the incidence of marital breakdown. “Our courts are allowing annulments for psychological reasons all too easily,” he said. Rather than accepting the collapse of marriages, he said, the Church should seek out new ways to defend marital unions through “intensive pastoral care, and the creation of centers for marriage preparation and centers for counseling and reconciliation.”

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Teachings of Christ

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force...it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

St. John Chrysostom