Pastoral Counselling Course can lead to radical change

Testimony By Jackie Pau

Although I have the privilege of being a cradle Catholic, I had a very rudimentary and immature understanding of Catholicism in my younger days. I was guilty of walking away from the Church as the values of the world made more sense to the young adult that I was.

The world, not surprisingly, was unable to satisfy my desires and I grew increasingly unhappy, and more broken. I was stuck in sin, and despite everything I did to fill the emptiness inside of me, I remained unfulfilled and starving. I was searching for truth and love, essentially God, but I did not know it fully then. So by the time I attended Pastoral Counselling School* (PCS) in Bangalore in 2003, I was ready for radical change in my life. And radical change was what I got.

For the first time in my life, I encountered God in a very personal way through Jesus Christ. I learned how much the Father loved me and was waiting for me to return home, and that He had already forgiven all my sins. I just needed to do the same for myself, to find my way home. Jesus showed me the way in the people around me – the ‘teachers ‘, the facilitators, PCS staffers and fellow participants. I experienced forgiveness, and love, the type of love the world cannot give.

Through the seminars, I gained insight into how my past had shaped the person I was. I learned how childhood hurts can impact one’s life in the present, and how one can rise above personal hurts and brokenness through inner healing. I also received a better understanding of who God was: He was the loving and forgiving Father. As such, I was able to reclaim my identity as Beloved Daughter of God. I even discovered what my vocation was, and it was in Bangalore that I crystallized the meaning of life, my life, in a most profound manner.

I fell in love with Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and I committed myself to following Him for the rest of my life. The spiritual healing I received gave me the courage to let go of the less salubrious parts of my life and move forward. I won’t lie, the intervening years have not been easy, for choosing God’s will in all things requires great sacrifice. However the inner peace, the joy, and the many blessings, I have since received, make the journey worthwhile.

PCS was where I learned how to truly praise and worship God with the reverence and passion He deserves; to fully engage in the Eucharistic celebration, awed by the beauty of the liturgy and sacrament. I also received a taste of what community life was like, and wanted more. I was glad to be Catholic for there is such richness in the faith to be mined. My time at PCS was transformational, and set the groundwork for my formation as disciple.

Since 2003, I have been gone on to deepen my knowledge of Scripture and Tradition. I found a spiritual director and a community, prescribed at PCS as important for continued spiritual growth. I got heavily involved in parish ministries as well as ICPE ministries and outreaches. I go where the Spirit leads, sincerely bringing my limited gifts, endeavouring my best to spread the joy of the Gospel, the joy I first experienced at PCS all those years ago.

If you want to say yes to Jesus in a more enlightened and committed way, to experience inner healing and the deep joy of communion with the Holy Spirit, to truly see what the Way, the Truth and the Life is, attend the upcoming Pastoral Counselling Course in August. Come and see, with an open heart, and be transformed.

The ICPE Mission has years of experience in the area of Pastoral Care and Inner Healing. The Pastoral Care Course is a shortened version of the *Pastoral Care School (PCS), which a 3 week live-in programme.


June 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Pastoral Care Course – Empowering the Wounded Healer

Are you currently a Ministry/Community Leader or active member that yearns to be empowered to journey with others in their woundedness and in the area of inner healing? This Course is designed to help you develop an understanding of pastoral care and its effective use for building up the Body of Christ. Imagine the difference you could make in your Church by being a more effective ‘carer’ of others.

During the five day programme, participants will have the space to explore inner work for themselves, encounter Christ the wounded Healer and be empowered to pass it on to others.

Organised by the Institute for World Evangelisation – ICPE Mission, the Pastoral Care Course (PCC) will be especially helpful to Christian leaders of Communities and Ministries, and all those actively involved in journeying with others, and want to be equipped in Inner healing and pastoral care.

To register, go to: http/

Date &Time: 16 August (8am) – 20 August (7pm)
Price :
Twin Sharing : $390 per person ($360 for registration before end June)
Single Room : $530 ($500 for registration before end June)

The ICPE Mission has years of experience in the area of Pastoral Care and Inner Healing. The Pastoral Care Course is a shortened version of the Pastoral Care School (PCS), which a 3 week live in programme.

The Institute for World Evangelisation – ICPE Mission is an International Association of Christ’s faithful of Pontifical Right dedicated to the formation and training of Catholics so that they may become more effective evangelisers.


June 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

We Are Not Orphans, We Have Mary

 Pope at General Audience: ‘We Are Not Orphans’ ‘We Have Mary’

Tells Faithful in St. Peter’s Square, That in Most ‘Dense Darkness,’ Mary Is There Faithfully Present

May 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

3 Aspects of Ignatian Style

Pope Greets Community of the Pontifical Campano Seminary of Posillipo


May 24, 2017 at 2:01 pm Leave a comment

Warning Against Rigidity, Double Lives

Saint Paul’s Conversion at Heart of Pope’s Morning Homily

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Warns Against Rigidity, Double Lives

 On the feast of St. Paul’s conversion,  Pope Francis has warned against rigidity and living a double life.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis did so today, May 5, 2017, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta.

The Pontiff drew inspiration from today’s first Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which recounts of Saint Paul’s conversion from Saul, “a rigid persecutor,” to Paul, “a meek and patient proclaimer of the Gospel.”

It was at the stoning of St. Stephen, that the name Saul appears, Francis recalled, describing the future evangelist as a “young,” “rigid,” man who was convinced of the rigidity of the law.

While he was rigid, he was “sincere,” Francis reflected. On the other hand, Jesus condemned those who were rigid, without sincerity.

No Double Lives

In his homily, Francis criticized those in the Church nowadays, who use rigidity to cover-up their own sins.

They are rigid people living a double life: They make themselves look good, sincere, but when no one sees them, they do ugly things. On the other hand, this young man was honest. He believed that.”

“When I say this, I think of the many young people in the Church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are sincere, they are good. We have to pray that the Lord might help them to grow along the path of meekness.”

Others, he said, “use rigidity in order to cover over weakness, sin, personality problems; and they use rigidity” to build themselves up while sacrificing others.

In this way, Pope Francis explained, Saul grew even more rigid, to the point where he couldn’t tolerate what he saw as a heresy, and therefore began to persecute the Christians.

In parentheses, the Pope suggested, at least Saul allowed children to live, noting nowadays, those who persecute Christians don’t even spare children.

Turning to when Saul went to Damascus to arrest Christians, and on the road there, Francis stated Francis recalled how on the way, he encountered “another Man, who spoke with a language of meekness: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’”

Sincerity, Meekness

“This rigid young man, who had become a rigid man – but sincere! – was made a little child, and allowed himself to be led where the Lord called him.”

This is, Francis pointed out, the power of the meekness of the Lord.”

Saul, having become Paul, the Jesuit Pope pointed out, proclaimed the Lord to the very end, and suffered for Him.

“He, who had persecuted the Lord with the zeal of the law,” Francis stressed, “said to the Christians, ‘With those same things by which you have drawn away from God, with which you have sinned – with the mind, with the body, with everything – with those same members now you are perfect, you give glory to God.’”

Warning Against Rigidity

Urging those present to pray for those who are rigid, “that they may follow the way of meekness of Jesus,” the Pope noted there is a dialogue between what is sufficient, rigidity, and meekness.

This is, he explained, “the dialogue between a sincere man and Jesus, who speaks to him with sweetness.”

Thus, he said, “begins the story of this man whom we have known from his youth, in the stoning of Stephen, who would end up betrayed by an internal conflict among Christians.”

Path of Christians

In the minds of some, the Holy Father admitted, the life of Saint Paul “is a failure,” like that of Christ.

Yet, he admonished, “this is the path of the Christian: to go forward along the path marked out by Jesus: the path of preaching, the path of suffering, the path of the Cross, the path of the resurrection.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily with the following prayer: “Today, in a special way, let us pray to Saul for those in the Church who are rigid: for the rigid who are sincere, as he was, who have zeal, but are mistaken. And for the rigid who are hypocrites, those who live a double life.”


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May 23, 2017 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

Your Life Is Shaped by Your Thoughts


“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2b NLT).

You cannot become all God created you to be until you understand the five factors that influence your identity. The first two are chemistry (how you are made) and connections (your relationships). You are a product of the way God created you and of the relationships in your life.

Your identity is also influenced by two other factors that we’ll examine today: your circumstances and your consciousness.

Circumstances are the things that happen to you and around you — none of which you control. You are a product of the trauma, troubles, suffering, shame, shock, pressures, and pain that have shaped your life. Perhaps even abuse has affected your identity. If you’ve ever had a series of failures or a catastrophe, it has left an indelible mark on who you are.

Consciousness is how you talk to yourself. And you know what? If you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself, you probably wouldn’t be friends anymore, because our thoughts are filled with the lies we’ve heard from other people that we’ve let simmer and fester. When we repeat other people’s thoughts in our head, they go deeper and deeper into our consciousness, and they begin to shape our identity.

In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts”(GNT). Your thoughts don’t have to be true to hurt you; you just have to believe them. If you tell yourself your marriage won’t last, then it won’t. If you’re afraid you can’t do something, then you won’t. Your thoughts run your life!

Your circumstances may be out of your control, but God is in control of everything. Your thoughts shape who you are, but you can change the way you think. Your circumstances and consciousness have shaped who you are, but the way you respond to your circumstances and the thoughts you choose to believe will shape the rest of your life.

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May 22, 2017 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

Freedom of Religion in Europe: Achievements and Perspectives

FORUM: ‘High Level Seminar on Freedom of Religion in Europe: Achievements and Perspectives’

An Analysis by Grégor Puppinck, PhD, Director General of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), Member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief


Robert Cheaib – Www.Flickr.Com/Photos/Theologhia – Robert Cheaib – Www.Flickr.Com/Photos/Theologhia

Below is the analysis of a high-level seminar on Freedom of religion in Europe: achievements and perspectives, published April 28, 2017, by Grégor Puppinck, PhD., Director General of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) and member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief:


Freedom of religion and education

Your Excellency,

Mister President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Freedom of religion and education is a vast subject; I will try to go straight to the essential to clarify the current issues, with an historical perspective.

Education and religion are tightly linked, as the Church has been the teacher of Europe. Hundreds of thousands of members of the clergy have dedicated their lives to teaching and instruction, and they continue nowadays. In Europe, teaching stems from religion. Knowledge was preserved and cultivated within monasteries during the Middle-Ages, and the classic heritage was transmitted thanks to the religious tradition in the Renaissance period. The great minds of modernity: Erasmus, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza or Kant are the heirs of the religious faith, culture and tradition. In this tradition, knowledge can spread under all its dimensions.

The secularisation of teaching is a recent and incomplete phenomenon[1]. It is only with the emergence of the atheistic and rationalist school of thought, that education and religion were presented as incompatible. The pretention of rationalism to explain everything negated the epistemological legitimacy of religions.

Contemporary Europe inherited this conflict, which intensified with the fight of secular school against religious teaching, as evidenced by the dramas of the first half of the XXthcentury, marked by the prohibition and expulsion of teaching religious congregations by the French Republic in 1901 and the prohibition of religious institutions by the Soviet and Nazi regimes. The first half of the XXth century was marked by a will of the State to have a stranglehold on the youth through schools, to impose their ideology.

At the end of the Second World War, European States managed to escape this conflict, which was internal to the European culture, in accepting to guarantee freedom of conscience and religion and to respect the rights of parents concerning the religious teaching of their children[2].

Against a statist and totalitarian system which imposes itself from the government to the people, “top down”, the writers of the Universal declaration of human rights, of the European convention and of its 1st Protocol have sought the balance point in the relations between child, family, communities, society and the state.[3] This was realised in a cultural context, marked, on the one hand by a positive vision of family, of intermediate bodies[4] and of religions, and on the other hand on a negative vision of State, statism and (atheist) ideologies.

The solution of 1948 and 1950 relies on the organic and natural comprehension of society according to the mode of subsidiarity. The aim was to rebuild the society from the base, “bottom-up”, basing it on persons and families.

Family is then recognised as the fundamental and natural unit of society[5], so naturally the Universal Declaration declares that “parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children[6]. This priority is the expression of the precedence and superiority of the rights of parents on those of society; it is exercised against the State and all other social groups. The role of the State is subsidiary; it must not absorb or substitute itself to the families, but on the contrary recognize and help them in accomplishing their own responsibilities, and, supplement the failings of parents when children are deprived of proper teaching.

This is the spirit that animated the writers of the European Convention and of its 1st Protocol, when they recognized the right to education in the respect of the rights of parents regarding religious and philosophical convictions.[7]

The preparatory works of the Convention and of its 1st Protocol clearly show that the first aim of their authors was less to proclaim a right to education than to guarantee the prior right of parents against the State. The rights of parents are then very often called a “natural”, “elementary”, “fundamental”, “innate” or “priority” right. This right which was initially considered to be the 3rd paragraph of article 12 of the initial project of the Convention was not entitled “right to education” but the “prior right of parents to choose the kind of education to be given to their children”. It was one of the “family liberties”, with “the right to marry and to found a family” and the right to “freedom from arbitrary interference with the family”.[8] As underlined by numerous drafters of the convention, it was aimed at protecting families “against the danger of nationalization, absorption, monopolization, requisitioning of young people by the State”.[9]

In its report of 4th December 1951, the Committee on Legal and Administrative Questions of the Assembly[10] insisted on the fact that “the rights to which parents can and should be entitled, (…) extend not only to the education but also to the teaching given to their children”.[11] The Rapporteur of this Committee precises that this text must hence guarantee “the fundamental rights of all parents to have their children brought up and taught in accordance with the dictates of their consciences, whatever these may be, and it is not for the State to judge”.

Based on these natural and liberal principles, the Court developed the right to instruction, particularly for ethnic and religious minorities, underlying the importance, inter alia, of pluralism and tolerance.

The situation nowadays

Between 1950 and today, the context has deeply changed. The society of 1950 was mostly homogenous; it is not the case anymore; we saw the burst of the institution of the family, the drop of Christian religious practice and the correlative rise of individualism. In an individualist society,[12] subsidiarity is not possible anymore.

Nowadays, the Western society has a largely negative view of religions and a largely destructured experience of families. Yet, within the majority population, minority and immigrated populations seem exempted from such trend and keep constituting alive communities, but distinctly; they do not integrate the postmodern “liquid society” described by Zygmunt Bauman.

The disaggregation of the “subsidiary society” indeed strengthens the State which then appears as the ultimate factor of cohesion. At the same time, traditional communities, while becoming a minority, are more isolated but also more visible, like lumps in the “liquid society” of individual relativism. They face increasing hostility.

What is the answer?

When the social cohesion is weakened, school becomes a major political issue again. What is at stake for the State is not only to support the cohesion of society but more than that, to struggle against its disaggregation. Once again this is a “top-down” social process, consisting in imposing integration, notably through forced modernization, whish implies secularisation.

In some of its judgments, the jurisprudence of the European Court took that path by approving the reinforcement of the power of the State against religious expressions within teaching institutions. The Court hence admits that the role of the State is not limited anymore to ensure about the quality of the teaching and the respect of the health of children, but that it can reach to the expressions of religious convictions and even to the contents of moral convictions of pupils and students. It was first seen in the acceptance of the prohibition of wearing religious symbols within teaching institutions.

It was even more spectacular in the recent Osmanoǧlu and Kocabaş v. Switzerland case of 10th of January 2017, in which it poses the principle, which will have far reaching consequences, that “the interest of the children in a full education enabling a successful social integration according to local customs and customs takes precedence over the wish of the parents to see their daughters exempted from the mixed swimming lessons[13] in accordance with their religious convictions.

The Court believes that violating the rights of the parents aims at, “protecting foreign pupils from any phenomenon of social exclusion” (§ 64), namely protecting the children from their parents, because they are foreigners.

This judgment confirms the logic of the Konrad v. Germany case of 2006, [14] in which the Court had validated the prohibition of home-schooling in the name of “integration of minorities in the society” and of the “general interest of society to avoid the rising of parallel societies”.

As regards moral teaching, the phenomenon is the same. To my knowledge, the Court has ruled in favour of the State in every case filed by parents complaining about the content of sex-education[15] and non-confessional moral classes.[16]

There is a contradiction here with the education rights guaranteed to historical minorities, such as Roms, as well as with those of families who put their children in private schools reserved to pupils of a specific religion, or even more of a specific cult within a religion.[17]

To conclude

Social circumstances can justify a reinforcement of the action of the State to support the cohesion of society. But one must be aware that this reinforcement leads to statism and to the risk of violating the rights of families.

As noted by Juris Rudevskis, an excellent jurist of this house, between statism and totalitarianism, there is but a difference of degree,[18] while the difference between a totalitarian sate and a subsidiary state is one of nature. Liberal philosophers, such as Friedrich von Hayek or Chantal Delsol, think that subsidiarity is the guarantee of a sane liberalism. This liberalism is based on the trust in the person and the distrust towards the State, like the system of protection of human rights. The opposite situation, of trust in the State and distrust towards part of the population, is pernicious. It is unfortunately topical.

There is a limit not to pass for a society to remain liberal. As you will have understood, I personally believe that the aforementioned judgments have already dangerously got close to this limit, if not have already passed it, in favour of a uniform conception of culture.

I believe that social cohesion and peace can be obtained not by force but in respecting the natural laws of human nature, in keeping a model based on subsidiarity; which does not prevent from strengthening requirements as regards social values.

To this regard, I believe it is essential to respect the natural rights of parents and communities to create denominational schools, to pass moral values and the sense of their belonging to a community on to their children.

I also believe it is fundamental to ensure, in the State schooling system, the respect of the epistemological legitimacy of religion, namely the fact that science does not answer the question of God.

I will conclude with a lesson coming straight from the Middle-Ages, while society was deeply religious. Questioned on the possibility to remove a child from his Jewish parents, for the best interest of the child to be baptised and integrated into the society, St Thomas Aquinas firmly opposed it in the name of the priority nature of the natural rights of the parents, thus explaining that public freedoms essentially consist in guarantying the natural laws of society.

I thank you for your attention.

[1] Ce serait une erreur historique, et une injustice, que de prétendre à l’existence d’une opposition radicale entre l’éducation et la religion. Dans la grande tradition européenne, il y a une différence entre l’éducation à la religion, mais pas une incompatibilité, car le savoir sur le monde, sur la création, participe du savoir sur le créateur, tout en s’en distinguant par les modalités de connaissance. La connaissance religieuse n’est pas de même nature que la connaissance profane, mais elles sont reconnues complémentaires.

[2] Indeed, this conflict calmed down during the second half of the XXth century around a Christian-democrat consensus, one of the most remarkable fruits of which was the Counsel of Europe.

[3] Au sein d’une société subsidiaire, le point d’équilibre dans les rapports entre l’enfant, la famille, les communautés et la société est un point d’harmonie. Plus cette harmonie vitale est réalisée, moins le pouvoir de l’Etat est nécessaire.

[4] Hence the taste for social rights

[5] Charte sociale européenne de 1961. Article 16 § 3 de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme de 1948 ; article 23 §§ 1 et 2 du Pacte International sur les droits civils et politiques de 1966, article 10 § 1 du Pacte International sur les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels de 1966, Préambule de la Convention relatives aux droits de l’enfants de 1989 ; article 16 de la Charte sociale européenne (révisée) de 1996 ; article 33 de la Charte des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne de 1989 ; article 44 de la Convention internationale sur la protection des droits de tous les travailleurs migrants et membres de leur famille de 1990.

[6] Art. 26.3 DUDH,

[7] Art. 2. 1er Protocole additionnel :

Droit à l’instruction

Nul ne peut se voir refuser le droit à l’instruction. L’Etat, dans l’exercice des fonctions qu’il assumera dans le domaine de l’éducation et de l’enseignement, respectera le droit des parents d’assurer cette éducation et cet enseignement conformément à leurs convictions religieuses et philosophiques.

[8] Tel que cela ressort du rapport de la Commission des Questions juridiques et administratives,

[9] Travaux préparatoires, p. 195.

[10] Report of Committee on Legal and Administrative Questions of the Assembly on the communication of the Committee of Ministers, 4 December 1951, P. H. Teitgen, Rapporteur. T. P. pp 163 – 167.

[11] Preparatory works, p. 163.

[12] Le propre de l’individualisme est d’exclure de l’identité personnelle tout ce que le sujet n’a pas voulu, n’a pas choisi lui-même, afin d’accéder à une plus grande indépendance assimilée à la liberté. L’individualisme détruit les appartenances naturelles, culturelles et religieuses. Ce faisant l’individualisme détruit ce que les personnes ont de commun, ce qui constitue leur vie en société.

[13] Non official translation.

[14] Konrad v. Germany, no. 35504/03, 11 septembre 2006.

[15] Jiménez Alonso et Jiménez Merino c. Espagne, n° 51188/99, décision du 25 mai 2000 ; Kjeldsen, Busk Madsen et Pedersen c. Danemark, no. 5095/71, 5920/72, 5926/72, arrêt du 7 décembre 1976, § 54 ; Dojan et autres c. Allemagne, n° 319/08, décision du 13 septembre 2011 ;

[16] Sluijs c. Belgique, n° 17568/90, décision du 9 septembre 1992 ; Appel-Irrgang c. Allemagne, n° décision du 6 octobre 2009 ;

[17] L’exigence « d’intégration sociale » peut-il justifier une restriction de la liberté de l’enseignement religieux « sectaire », voire son interdiction ? Pensez à toutes les petites écoles juives de Strasbourg ; que pensez-vous de leur intégration sociale ?

[18] « la différence entre un État totalitaire et un État subsidiaire est une différence de nature, alors que la différence entre un État-providence interventionniste et un État totalitaire n’est que celle de degré ou d’intensité. »

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May 20, 2017 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

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