Wednesday, September 28, 2011

VATICAN: POPE: MOTU PROPRIO MARRIAGE - OTHER NEWS










RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio on Monday, in which certain kinds of cases arising under Church law, such as a claim that a marriage had been contracted but not consummated - and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation - as well as claims regarding the nullity of Holy Orders, have been removed from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Such cases will now be examined by a new office established within the Roman Rota. In the Letter, Pope Benedict XVI explains that the move is being made so that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will be free more fully to dedicate itself to the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, envisioned by the Second Vatican Council in the document Sacrosanctum concilium.

Below is the full Latin text of the Motu proprio

Litterae apostolicae Motu proprio datae
Quibus Constitutio apostolica Pastor bonus immutatur atque quaedam competentiae a Congregatione de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum ad novum Officium de processibus dispensationis super matrimonio rato et non consummato ac causis nullitatis sacrae Ordinationis, apud Tribunal Rotae Romanae constitutum, transferuntur.
Benedictus pp. XVI
Quaerit semper Apostolica Sedes sua moderaminis instituta pastoralibus necessitatibus accommodare, quae annorum decursu in Ecclesiae vita identidem exstiterunt, structuram ideo immutans et competentias Dicasteriorum Curiae Romanae.
Ceterum Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum ii hanc agendi rationem confirmat, dum pariter edicit Dicasteria esse aptanda necessitatibus temporum, regionum ac Rituum, praesertim quod spectat ad eorundem numerum, nomen, competentiam propriamque procedendi rationem, atque inter se laborum coordinationem (cfr. Decr. Christus Dominus, 9).
Haec principia persequens, Decessor Noster, beatus Ioannes Paulus ii, operam dedit ut Curia Romana in universum denuo per Constitutionem apostolicam Pastor bonus disponeretur, quae die XXVIII mensis Iunii anno mcmlXXXVIII edita est (AAS 80 [1988] 841-930), Dicasteriorum competentiam ita definiens, prae oculis Codice Iuris Canonici habito, qui quinque ante annis evulgatus erat, necnon normis respectis quae iam tunc adumbrabantur pro Ecclesiis Orientalibus. Deinceps aliis praescriptis tum idem beatus Decessor Noster, tum Nos Ipsi effecimus ut structura et competentiae nonnullorum Dicasteriorum immutarentur, quo expeditius commutatis necessitatibus subveniretur.
His rerum in adiunctis congruum visum est Congregationem de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum potissimum operam dare ad Sacram Liturgiam in Ecclesia iteratis nisibus promovendam, secundum renovationem, quam Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum ii, initio sumpto ex Constitutione Sacrosanctum Concilium, voluit.
Itaque consentaneum iudicavimus ad novum Officium, apud Tribunal Rotae Romanae constitutum, competentiam transferre quae respiceret processus dispensationis super matrimonio rato et non consummato necnon causas nullitatis sacrae Ordinationis.
De consilio igitur Venerabilis Fratris Nostri Eminentissimi Cardinalis Praefecti Congregationis de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, favente excellentissimo Decano Tribunalis Rotae Romanae, auditis item sententiis Supremi Tribunalis Signaturae Apostolicae et Pontificii Consilii de Legum Textibus, haec quae sequuntur decernimus:
Art. 1.
Abrogantur articuli 67 et 68 Constitutionis apostolicae Pastor bonus, quam supra memoravimus.
Art. 2.
Articulus 126 eiusdem Constitutionis apostolicae Pastor bonus ad subsequentem textum mutatur:
Art. 126 § 1. Hoc Tribunal instantiae superioris partes apud Apostolicam Sedem pro more in gradu appellationis agit ad iura in Ecclesia tutanda, unitati iurisprudentiae consulit et, per proprias sententias, tribunalibus inferioribus auxilio est.
§ 2. Apud hoc Tribunal Officium est constitutum, cuius est cognoscere de facto inconsummationis matrimonii et de exsistentia iustae causae ad dispensationem concedendam. Ideoque acta omnia cum voto Episcopi et Defensoris Vinculi animadversionibus accipit et, iuxta peculiarem procedendi modum, perpendit atque, si casus ferat, Summo Pontifici petitionem ad dispensationem impetrandam subicit.
§ 3. Hoc Officium competens quoque est in causis de nullitate sacrae Ordinationis cognoscendis ad normam iuris communis et proprii, congrua congruis referendo.
Art. 3.
Officio de processibus dispensationis super matrimonio rato et non consummato ac causis nullitatis sacrae Ordinationis praeest Rotae Romanae Decanus, quem adiuvant Officiales, Commissarii deputati et Consultores.
Art. 4.
Die quo hae Litterae vim obligandi sortientur, processus dispensationis super matrimonio rato et non consummato ac causae nullitatis sacrae Ordinationis, quae apud Congregationem de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum reperiuntur, novo Officio apud Tribunal Rotae Romanae demandabuntur, quod easdem definiet.
Nostras has deliberationes, quas his apostolicis Litteris Motu proprio datis praescripsimus, firmas et efficaces omnibus ex partibus esse et fore volumus, non obstantibus quibusvis contrariis rebus, etiam peculiari mentione dignis, atque decernimus ut per editionem in actis diurnis «L’Osservatore Romano» eaedem promulgentur et vim suam exserant a die primo mensis Octobris anno mmxi.
Datum ex Arce Gandulfi, die XXx mensis Augusti, anno Domini mmxi, Pontificatus Nostri septimo.
http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=524340




BENEDICT XVI REFLECTS ON HIS APOSTOLIC TRIP TO GERMANY

VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2011 (VIS) - During today's general audience, celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI reflected on his recent apostolic trip to Germany, defining it as "a great feast of the faith" during which he had seen "how it is God Who gives our lives their deepest meaning, their true fullness".

The Pope recalled the various stages of his journey, beginning with his visit toBerlin where, before the Federal Parliament, he had "expounded on the foundations of law and the rule of law; that is, the measure for all laws inscribed by the Creator into the very heart of His creation". After addressing the Bundestag, he had gone on to meet members of the German Jewish community with whom, "having recalled our shared roots of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we highlighted the fruits that have thus far emerged from dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism in Germany". In his subsequent meeting with members of the Muslim community, the Pope had reflected on "the importance of religious freedom for the peaceful development of humankind".

Benedict XVI then went on to speak of his satisfaction at seeing such large numbers of people in attendance at the Mass he had celebrated at the Olympic stadium in Berlin. On that occasion he had dedicated his homily "to the importance union with Christ has for our personal lives as believers and for our being Church, His mystical body".

The Holy Father had then gone on to visit the region of Thuringia, cradle of the Protestant Reformation. Hence, said Pope Benedict, "the particular ecumenical emphasis of that second stage of my journey". In Thuringia he had met with members of the German Evangelical Church Council in the city of Erfurt, where Martin Luther had joined the Augustinian order and been ordained a priest. In the former Augustinian convent of Erfurt "we again saw how important our combined witness of faith in Jesus Christ is in today's world. ... We need to make joint efforts on the journey towards full unity", however "only Christ can give us that unity, and we will become increasingly united to Him in the extent to which we return to Him and allow ourselves to be transformed by Him".

The Pope also mentioned the Vespers he had celebrated at the Marian shrine of Etzelsbach, located on "a strip of land that has always remained Catholic through the vicissitudes of history, and the inhabitants of which courageously opposed the dictatorships of Nazism and Communism". During Mass the following day in the Cathedral Square of Erfurt, the Pope had spoken about the patron saints ofThuringia - Elizabeth, Boniface and Kilian - highlighting "the shining example of the faithful who bore witness to the Gospel under totalitarian regimes. I invited the faithful to be saints today, worthy witnesses of Christ, and to contribute to building our society", he said.

The Pope went on: "I had a moving encounter with Msgr. Hermann Scheipers, the last living priest to have survived to concentration camp of Dachau. At Erfurt I also had the opportunity to meet some victims of sexual abuse by clergy, to whom I spoke of my regret and my participation in their suffering".

The last stage of the Pope's apostolic trip took him to the archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau. There he had presided at a prayer vigil with young people, where "I was happy to see that the faith in my German homeland has a young face, that it is alive and has a future", he said. "I told them that the Pope trusts in the active collaboration of the young. With the grace of Christ they can bring the fire of God's love into the world".

Another outstanding moment of his visit was his meeting with seminarians. "I wanted to show those young men the beauty and greatness of their divine call, and to offer them some help to continue their journey joyfully and in profound communion with Christ", the Pope said. Referring then to his encounter with representatives from the Orthodox Churches, the Pope laid emphasis on "the shared duty to be a leavening for the renewal of our society".

Mass celebrated at the airport of Freiburg im Breisgau gave Benedict XVI "the opportunity to thank everyone involved in various areas of ecclesial life, especially the many volunteers who collaborate in charitable initiatives. It is thanks to them that the German Church is able to offer such great assistance to the universal Church, particularly in the mission lands. I reminded them that their precious service will be fruitful as long as it derives from an authentic and living faith, in union with the bishops and the Pope, in union with the Church. Finally, before my return, I addressed a thousand Catholics active in the Church and society, to whom I proposed certain points for reflection on Church activity in a secularised society, on the call to be free from material and political burdens in order to be more transparent to God".

"This apostolic trip to Germany", Pope Benedict concluded, "provided me with an opportunity to meet the faithful of my own homeland, to confirm them in faith, hope and love, to share with them the joy of being Catholic. But my message was also addressed to the German people as a whole, inviting them to look to the future with trust. It is certain that 'where God is, there is a future'".

AG/ VIS 20110928 (930)

ITALY: A MODEL OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE

VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, yesterday delivered an address at the Italian embassy to the Holy See in the course of a ceremony called to mark the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. The event was attended by the president of the Italian Senate, the president of the Constitutional Court, a number of ministers and other public authorities.

Archbishop Becciu recalled how Benedict XVI had sent a message for the anniversary of unification to Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Italian Republic, and had presided at a prayer for Italy at the papal basilica of St. Mary Major. "The Church in Italy", said the archbishop, "has dedicated her energies with great conviction to affirming ... the vitality of that spirit of loyal collaboration for the promotion of man and the good of the country which characterises relations between the Church and the political community in Italy".

In this context Archbishop Becciu referred to the Lateran Pacts of 1929 and to their 1984 revision which, as the Pope wrote in his message to President Napolitano, "are clear indications of dialogue between the Holy See and Italy, ... and of the harmonious and supportive collaboration between the Church and the political community, in support of the individual and the common good".

"The Italian experience of relations between Church and State, each in its distinct field and with fruitful mutual collaboration, could profitably be shared with other countries", the archbishop concluded.

SS/ VIS 20110928 (260)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Wilson Tadeu Jonck S.C.I. of Tubarao, Brazil as metropolitan archbishop of Florianopolis (area 7,862, population 1,478,000, Catholics 1,153,000, priests 191, permanent deacons 112, religious 575), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Vidal Ramos, Brazil in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1977. He has worked as seminary director, formator, parochial vicar and later pastor, and professor of philosophy. He has also served as a member of the regional council of his religious order. He was ordained a bishop in 2003.

- Bishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, as coadjutor archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 50,000, population 2,291,000, Catholics 1,805,000, priests 194, permanent deacons 6, religious 789). The archbishop-elect was born in Clusone, Italy in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1971. He served as a chaplain to Italian migrants inSwitzerland before moving to Bolivia where he worked as parochial vicar and later pastor. He has held a number of offices in the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, and was ordained a bishop in 1999.

AMERICA: CANADA: BISHOPS TO HOST PLENARY ASSEMBLY OCT. 17

PA270808

CCCB – Ottawa REPORT… The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will hold its annual Plenary Assembly 17-21 October 2011, at the Nav Canada Centre, Cornwall, Ontario. About 90 Bishops from across the country will gather to review pastoral activities of the past year and share their experiences and insights on the life of the Church and the major events that shape society. This Plenary will also mark the end of the term for the current President, the Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, Bishop of Saint-Jerome, and the election of a new President and other members of the Executive Committee who will serve for the next two years.

The Plenary will also welcome invited observers and guests from a number of national Catholic organizations as well as from other Churches, together with accredited representatives from the media. The public session of the Plenary Assembly is on Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 17 October, and on Tuesday, 9:15 a.m. to noon, 18 October. The Annual Report from the President of the CCCB and the daily liturgical celebrations will be broadcast live online this year, thanks to the collaboration of the Catholic television channel Salt and Light.

The first part of the Plenary will include reflections on the Post-Synodal Apostolic ExhortationsSacramentum Caritatis (on the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission) and Verbum Domini (on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church). The Most Reverend Robert Le Gall, O.S.B., Archbishop of Toulouse, France, will lead these reflections, which will be followed by workshops for the Bishops.

The annual Plenary Assembly is also the occasion when the Roman and Eastern Catholic Bishops of Canada receive reports on the work over the past year by the Conference’s national and sectoral commissions and standing committees, as well as the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council.

The CCCB is the national assembly of the Bishops of Canada. It was founded in 1943 and officially recognized by the Holy See in 1948. After the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), the CCCB became part of a worldwide network of Episcopal Conferences, established in 1965 as an integral part of the life of the universal Church.

http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/media-room/3162-2011-cccb-plenary-assembly

EUROPE: GERMANY: LEADERS IMPRESSED WITH POPE'S ADDRESS

Photo: DPA

THELOCAL.DE REPORT: Benedict XVI’s address to the German parliament made waves before he had even set foot in the Reichstag building. The Local’s media roundup assess the impact.

Several rows of bright blue seats testified to the absence of a handful of MPs who did not want their places filled to disguise their decision to stay away from the pontiff's speech.

The invitation to address the Bundestag sparked concern among many that it compromised the separation of church and state. This was countered by others who said his visit here was as the head of state of the Vatican – although one of the first things Benedict said himself was that he was not coming to Germany to talk about politics, but about God.

The warm reception he received reflected at the very least the enduring star-appeal of his position, as well as a deep-rooted respect for the Catholic Church in Germany – seen within most parties, not just the conservative Christian Democrats.

Although he has made speeches in the past that have not gone down so well, Benedict’s Bundestag performance was initially well received across the German media.

The Berlin-based centrist daily Der Tagesspiegel wrote, “The MPs who did not come have missed out on much. They are deprived of a pope who movingly said he was honouring the parliament of his German fatherland. A leader of the Catholic Church, the first German pope for half a millennium, who describes himself as a compatriot, 'who remains bound to his roots his life long' – those who only want to see the man as a representative of an authoritarian state organization have been too narrow-minded. They have missed a conciliatory, humorous speaker, who quoted the legal philosopher Kelsen, and said with reference to himself, one can obviously still think sensibly at 84.”

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, “The appearance of a born German as representative of a foreign state, who calls for his compatriots to have a ‘listening heart’ in his mother tongue is – to say the least – an event of the century. To call upon the political body to become a ‘struggle for justice and to create the conditions for peace,’ could not be done by any other secular guest without appearing presumptuous.

“Considering this message one could be astonished at why the pope as speaker in parliament provoked so much rejection from the start. But in a country of religious as well as permanent political Protestantism as well as well-developed individualism this should actually be no surprise.”

Sensationalist paper Bild wrote, “That was a great day in the history of the German parliament. There spoke a pope who did not proselytize. Who draws his message from the wisdom of his age, from the depth of his belief. That was a great day in the history of the German parliament. There spoke the leader of a billion Catholics across the whole world, of ‘our Basic Law’. Benedict XVI also spoke as a citizen of this country. And he spoke as a European! Human rights, justice, equality of all before the law – that is a gift of this Christian-influenced continent. The pope wants to protect this heritage.

“At a place where politicians often make tin gods of party success, the pope declared the differentiation of good and evil to be the measure of all politics. Reason and cold science alone cannot be allowed to set the rules for people. Here spoke a pope who was buoyant and relaxed. Who also praised the Greens because they, like he, want to protect nature as God’s creation rather than destroy it. In one word he said what many citizens want – politicians need a ‘listening heart’. This papal word will become the basic law of our democracy. Thank you, citizen Benedict!”

The northern regional paper Kieler Nachrichten wrote, “Benedict used his authority in order to call upon the MPs to return. They should, according to his simple reminder, differentiate between good and evil as well as serve justice and peace – only seeming self-evidences which so quickly slip out of focus in the every-day of the modern world.

"That the parliamentary speech despite this, will only develop a limited appeal, lies with Joseph Ratzinger himself. Again, he spoke too little as Benedict and too much as a theology professor. This pope can philosophize blindingly about the basis of justice. Taking doubters with him is, in contrast, much more difficult for him.”

The Regensburg-based Mittelbayrische Zeitung was more positive, writing, “That was a small philosophical-theological stroke of genius from Pope Benedict XVI yesterday in the Bundestag. The head of the Catholic Church told the parliamentarians politely but clearly how much they owed to the European culture in their roles and duties – namely to serve justice and peace.

"And how little they meet these duties, in partisan struggles for majorities, as well as in the situations where they are freed from their party-line constraints. Whether believers or not – and despite the separation of church and state as regulated in the constitution: when it is about making the right decisions as politicians, one is according to Benedict’s opinion, not badly advised by the principles of Christian action.”

AUSTRALIA: COUPLES CELEBRATE WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES

Celebrate the Journey Homily
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA REPORT: Couples from Parishes throughout the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta joined with Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP for the annual 'Celebrate the Journey' Mass for major Wedding Anniversaries at St Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday 18 September.

Homily of Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP for the ‘Celebrate the Journey’ Mass for major Wedding Anniversaries, 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, 18 September 2011

A man lies dying. He’s a hardened sinner and he refuses to repent. His wife and children beg him to receive a priest and the Last Rites. He refuses. At least he has the integrity not to feign a death-bed conversion. But is it integrity or stubbornness? He’s not sure. He wants to go out with no regrets, singing I did it my way. So he resists every prompting of grace, whether it’s the tears of his family or the unease of his conscience.

The man’s breathing is laboured; the end is near. He sees what looks like a ghostly presence hovering above him at the ceiling. Just one of those dying man’s illusions, he tells himself, like out-of-body experiences and seeing bright lights down a long corridor and welcoming faces. Superstitious nonsense: if you’re going to believe in ghosts you might as well believe in the Holy Ghost. So he tries to keep his heart hard, closed, impenetrable. His breathing comes to its climax with one last breath, then a long peaceful exhalation. As he breathes his last he momentarily lets down his guard; a chink appears in the armour around his heart; the Holy Spirit swoops down through that crack and fills his heart with love and repentance. He is ready for God.

Australians are a fair-minded people, no respecters of personages. We believe in giving everyone a fair go and in a fair day’s pay for fair day’s work. All this is very Christian. So what on earth is going on in the divine vineyard this morning (Mt 20:1-6)? Some people, especially the Jews, have laboured for God under the hot sun all day long and now these Jonny-come-latelies, mostly Gentiles, get the same pay. The shop-stewards and industrial commissions wouldn’t stand for this! Consoling as it is that God will always have us back, and our wayward children and friends too, it can still be a bit galling when professional sinners, after a life of debauchery whose pleasures we may secretly envy, return to God, are absolved of all wrongdoing and gets front-row seats in heaven! In this tenth anniversary week of 9-11 who could believe that an Osama bin Laden could repent just before the special forces got him and share heaven with a Mother Teresa? Sure, God’s ways are not our ways, as our First Reading reminds us (Isa55:6-9). But sometimes His accounting seems plain ramshackle.

Yet who we to audit the Book of Life? None of us deserved life, our natural talents and opportunities. None of us deserved salvation, the innumerable supernatural graces we receive. Friendship, we all know, comes unmerited, unexpected, unmeasured. Sure, we can work for it, open ourselves up to its infinite possibilities, cooperate with it and respond to it with equal affection. But we can never force it, never demand it. Spouses know that. Parents know that. None of us deserved our beloved or our children or the many years we’ve had together.

Grace is like friendship; indeed it is friendship, friendship with God and through God with others. By definition it is undeserved, unmeasured, unexpected: it is God’s sovereign generosity lavished upon us all. That’s why in our Eucharistic Prayer today we ask God not to do us justice: “admit us, we beseech you, into the company [of your saints], not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon, through Christ our Lord.” Not weighing our merits, but giving us much more than we deserve: thankfully God far exceeds our pusillanimous accounting. That means we may be surprised whom we see in heaven!

Does all this make your fidelity to marriage, your generosity with each other, with each other’s in-laws, with your children and grandchildren, your forgiving each other as often as Peter was told to last Sunday, your efforts to keep communicating, your little acts of kindness, your total gift of yourselves to each other and to God, all worthless? Is justification, in the end, arbitrary, so that nothing we do by way of acknowledging or responding to God, our own professions of faith, our prayers and penances, our good works can contribute even one iota to salvation. As the parable shows, the Divine Vigneron doesn’t care, doesn’t even notice!

Well, let’s look more closely at that parable. First, we note that all those rewarded by the Master did in fact respond to his call to come into the vineyard, whether in the last few minutes or for many hours. Some respond rather late to God’s gracious invitation, but respond they must if they are to join Him: God won’t force anyone into the Church on earth or in heaven. The invitations may be innumerable but in the end we must say Yes.

Secondly, we notice that the response is a lived one: we must not only sayyes to God but also live yes to God. For however long or short a time we are given in God’s vineyard we have some work to do there. Whether it’s the domestic grind, the complex task of loving well, the challenges of family or work, the making of time for prayer amidst the busyness of modern life, all our acts of lovemaking of one kind or another: we all get grapes to pick in the Lord’s vineyard; we make our contribution to the divine harvest. And when we do, it really is good, good in itself, good for us and others; it really merits God’s gratuitous promises. We might not deserve heaven but God does, and if He chooses to associate us in His work of salvation, He makes us merit that salvation, He makes us deserving.

There’s a third reason why living a good married life matters. Not only must we say yes to God and live yes to God: we must also die yes to God. Osama bin Laden had every chance to repent, right up to the moment he breathed his last. If he finally said yes to the God of Love that would have meant heaven for him, though one suspects after a rather long purgatory! We don’t know. But this much is clear: if we devote our lives to hatred and violence, or to debauchery and abuse, or to materialism and envy, we become so ingrained in living outside the Lord’s vineyard that it will be almost unimaginable for us to change course at the end. Christian marriage and family life, on the other hand, is a school in virtue, a school in generosity and peace-making. Christian marriage prepares you to say yes to God, right to the end, not ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ or ‘Only on my terms’.

Thanks be to God, then, that you have said yes to working in his vineyard that is your marriage and family and home. Your long years of marriage – some of you 25 years, 30, 40, 50, 60 and more – says loud and clear where you stand. Without being vain or presumptuous about it, you know that living your marriage well and doing good in your family forms you for something more. You are readying yourselves for the marriage feast of heaven and eternal life in the family of God.

ASIA: INDONESIA: VANDALS ATTACK CATHOLIC SCHOOL

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nirmala Carvalho
No injuries. It is the tenth incident against the St. Joseph of Belgaum convent school since last January. For school principal Sister Thankam Michael, the attacks want to stir up mob violence.

Belgaum (AsiaNews) - Parents and teachers of the St. Joseph convent school in the district of Belgaum (Karnataka) are "concerned", "shocked" and "outraged". For the tenth time since the beginning of this year, on September 24 last, a group of unknown persons threw stones and bottles against the school building. All the incidents have gone unpunished, despite protests from the parent-teacher association.

"It has been like this since from 16 January - explains school principal Sister Michael Thankam to AsiaNews - each time the police increases the security level: now the monastery is guarded 24 a day. Yet, no one has ever been arrested. We fear that the purpose of these episodes is to foment popular unrest. "

At present, the school of St. Joseph has about two thousand students, of which only 415 are Christian.

AFRICA: KENYA: RIP PROF. MAATHAI: NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE

wangari

CISA REPORT -Renowned Kenyan environmentalist and Africa’s first female winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Prof Wangari Muta Maathai died late Sunday September 25, in a Nairobi hospital following a battle with ovarian cancer. She was 71.

Prof Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on sustainable development, democracy and peace. She believed that environmental degradation and unbridled development were among the roots of poverty.

The Green belt movement, an organization she founded in 1977, planted 30 million trees in hopes of improving the chances for peace, a triumph for nature that inspired the U.N. to launch a worldwide campaign that resulted in 11 billion trees planted.

Wangari Maathai combined the protection of the environment, with the struggle for women’s rights and fight for democracy.

Her work was quickly recognized by groups and governments the world over, winning awards, accolades and partnerships with powerful organizations.

“Wangari Maathai was a force of nature. While others deployed their power and life force to damage, degrade and extract short term profit from the environment, she used hers to stand in their way, mobilize communities and to argue for conservation and sustainable development over destruction,” said Achim Steiner, the executive director of UNEP.

Her quest to see fewer trees felled and more planted saw her face off against Kenya’s powerful elite. At least three times during her activist years she was physically attacked, even clubbed unconscious by police in 1992.

A long time friend and fellow professor at the University of Nairobi, Vertistine Mbaya said that Maathai showed the world how important it is to have and demonstrate courage.

“The values she had for justice and civil liberties and what she believed were the obligations of civil society and government,” Mbaya said. “She also demonstrated the importance of recognizing the contributions that women can make and allowing them the open space to do so.”

Born April 1, 1940, Maathai grew up in rural Kenya and received a scholarship to study at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kan., where she majored in biology, graduating in 1964.

She was the first woman to earn a doctorate in East Africa, in 1971 from the University of Nairobi, where she later was an associate professor in the department of veterinary anatomy.

In 2002 she was elected to parliament and served as assistant minister for the environment and natural resources but was voted out in 2007, after one term.

Professor Wangari Muta Maathai is survived by three children.

http://www.cisanewsafrica.com/?p=2766

TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 28: ST. WENCESLAUS, D. 935


St. Wenceslaus
DUKE, MARTYR, AND PATRON OF BOHEMIA
Feast: September 28
Information:
Feast Day:
September 28
Born:
903, Prague, Bohemia
Died:
September 28, 935, StarĂ¡ Boleslav, Bohemia
Major Shrine:
St Vitus Cathedral, Prague
Patron of:
Bohemia, Czech Republic, Prague

Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.
His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother (St. Ludmilla) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.

TODAY'S GOSPEL: SEPT. 28: LUKE 9: 57-62

Luke 9: 57 - 62
57As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."
59To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
60But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home."
62Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

VATICAN: POPE: VISIT TO LAMEZIA- MEETING WITH SEMINARIANS- OTHER NEWS

PASTORAL VISIT TO LAMEZIA TERME AND SERRA SAN BRUNO

VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the programme of the pastoral visit which Benedict XVI is due to make on Sunday 9 October to the Italian towns of Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno.

The Pope will depart from Ciampino airport in Rome at 8.30 a.m., landing at 9.15 a.m. at the airport of Lamezia Terme. At 10 a.m. he will celebrate Mass in an industrial area on the outskirts of the town.

Following lunch with bishops at 1.30 p.m. in the episcopal residence of Lamezia Terme, at 4.30 p.m. the Holy Father will greet the organisers of his visit. At 4.45 p.m. he is due to travel by helicopter from the "Guido d'Ippolito" stadium to Serra San Bruno where, at 5.30 p.m., he will meet with local people at the sports ground.

At 6 p.m. the Pope Benedict will celebrate Vespers and deliver a homily in the church of the Carthusian monastery of Serra San Bruno, after which he will meet the monastic community and visit a cell and the infirmary of the monastery.

He is scheduled to return to Lamezia Terme by helicopter at 7.30 p.m., and to depart from there by plane to Rome at 8 p.m.

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CELEBRATIONS TO BE PRESIDED BY POPE: OCTOBER-NOVEMBER

VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of celebrations to be presided by the Holy Father in the months of October and November:

OCTOBER

- Sunday 9: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Pastoral visit to Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno, Italy.

- Sunday 16: 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for the New Evangelisation.

- Sunday 23: 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, canonisation of the following blesseds: Guido Maria Conforti, Luigi Guanella, Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro.

- Wednesday 26: At 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, prayer in preparation for the Meeting for Peace in Assisi.

NOVEMBER

- Wednesday 2: All Souls Day. At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Grottoes, a moment of prayer for deceased Popes.

- Thursday 3: At 11.30 a.m. at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for cardinals and bishops who died over the course of the year.

- Friday 4: At 5.30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica. Vespers for the beginning of the academic year in the Pontifical Universities.

- Friday 18 - Sunday 20: Apostolic trip to Benin.

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THE SEMINARY: A PLACE FOR DISCERNMENT AND STUDY

VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2011 (VIS) - On Saturday 24 September, during the course of his apostolic visit to Germany, the Holy Father met with seminarians in the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, whom he addressed off-the-cuff in German. Extracts of his remarks are given below.

The Pope dwelt upon the significance of the years spent in the seminary, and he reflected on the passage from the Gospel of St. Mark which narrates the foundation of the community of the Apostles: "The Lord appoints twelve", said the Holy Father. "He makes something, He does something, it is a creative act. He makes them, 'to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach'. ... They have to be with Him in order to come to know Him, ... but at the same time they have to be envoys who go out, who take with them what they have learnt, who bring it to others, ... even into places far removed from Him. ... This combination of, on the one hand, going out on mission, and on the other hand being with Him, remaining with Him, is - I believe - precisely what we have to learn in the seminary".

"The seminary is therefore a time for training. Also, of course, it is a time for discernment, for learning. ... The mission must be tested, and this includes being in community with others and also, of course, speaking with your spiritual directors". It involves "learning to trust: if He truly wants this, then I may entrust myself to Him. In today's world ... in which everything is in a constant state of flux, in which human ties are breaking down, ... it is becoming more and more difficult to believe that I will hold firm for the whole of my life". But, "if He wants me, then He will also hold me, He will be there in the hour of temptation, in the hour of need, and He will send people to me, He will show me the path. ... Faithfulness is possible, because He is always there, because He exists yesterday, today and tomorrow".

Apart from being a time for discernment, learning and vocation, the seminary is also a time for prayer, "for listening to Him", said Benedict XVI, "listening, truly learning to listen to Him - in the word of Sacred Scripture, in the faith of the Church, in the liturgy of the Church - and learning to understand the present time in His word. In exegesis we learn much about the past: what happened, what sources there are, what communities there were, and so on. This is also important. But more important still is that from the past we should learn about the present, we should learn that He is speaking these words now, and that they all carry their present within them, and that over and above the historical circumstances in which they arose, they contain a fullness which speaks to all times".

"Faith comes from hearing", said the Holy Father referring to the words of St. Paul. That is to say, faith needs "the living word, addressed to me by the other, whom I can hear, addressed to me by the Church throughout the ages" by "priests, bishops and my fellow believers. Faith must include a 'you' and it must include a 'we'".

In this context the Pope highlighted the importance of accepting other people in their individuality, while remaining aware that they too must accept us in our individuality. Only in this way, he explained, can the community of faithful become a "'we', journeying together towards the living God. ... The 'we' is the whole community of believers, today and in all times and places. ... We are Church: let us be Church, let us be Church precisely by opening ourselves and stepping outside ourselves and being Church with others".

In closing, Benedict XVI reminded the seminarians of the importance of study. "We all know that St. Peter said: 'Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you'. Our world today is a rationalist and thoroughly scientific world, albeit often somewhat pseudo-scientific. ... The faith is not a parallel world of feelings that we can still afford to hold on to, rather it is the key that encompasses everything, gives it meaning, interprets it and also provides its inner ethical orientation: making clear that it is to be understood and lived as tending towards God and proceeding from God. Therefore it is important to be informed and to understand, to have an open mind, to learn. ... Study is essential: only thus can we stand firm in these times and proclaim within them the reason for our faith".

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OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 950th anniversary of the dedication of Speyer Cathedral in Germany, due to take place on 2 October.

AMERICA: USA: BISHOPS RELEASE RESPECT FOR LIFE MONTH STATEMENT


USCCB REPORT: Cardinal DiNardo calls on Catholics to respect, promote and teach the 'transcendent nature of the human person' Catholics must not shrink from obligation to defend right to life, conscience right Respect Life Program marks 40th year Theme for 2011-12: "I came so all might have life and have it to the full" (cf. John 10:10)

WASHINGTON—In a statement to mark Respect Life Month, October 2011, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston addressed multiple direct threats to human life as well as threats to religious liberty and conscience rights. Echoing Pope Benedict XVI, he invited Catholics to “pray and reflect on how each of us might renew our commitment and witness to ‘respecting, promoting and teaching the transcendent nature of the human person.’”

Cardinal DiNardo chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo reflected on the Respect Life Program’s theme for 2011-12: “I came that all might have life and have it to the full.” “Jesus’ promise of ‘life to the full’ is especially poignant today,” he wrote, “when our culture and sometimes our government promote values inimical to the happiness and true good of individuals and society.”

“The unborn child, the aging parent who some call a ‘burden’ on our medical system, the allegedly ‘excess’ embryo in the fertility clinic, the person with a disability, the cognitively impaired accident victim who needs assistance in receiving food and water to live—each today is at risk of being dismissed as a ‘life unworthy of life’,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

Cardinal DiNardo highlighted factors that undermine efforts to build a culture of life: “We face increasing attempts to expunge God and religious discourse from public life. … Some now even seek to eliminate religiously motivated people and organizations from public programs, by forcing them to violate their moral and religious convictions or stop serving the needy,” he said.

Cardinal DiNardo objected to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requirement to cover all forms of contraception and sterilization as “preventive services for women.” “The decision [by HHS] is wrong on many levels. Preventive services are aimed at preventing diseases (e.g., by vaccinations) or detecting them early to aid prompt treatment (e.g., screening for diabetes or cancer). But pregnancy is not a disease…. Mandating such coverage shows neither respect for women’s health or freedom, nor respect for the consciences of those who do not want to take part in such problematic initiatives,” he said.

Cardinal DiNardo specifically countered claims that contraception is necessary for women’s health, and that it reduces the abortion rate. “Far from preventing disease, contraceptives can have serious health consequences of their own, for example, increasing the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS…,” he said. “Studies report that most women seeking abortions were using contraception in the month they became pregnant. Again and again, studies show that increasing access to contraception fails to reduce rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.”

The HHS’s “religious employer exemption” is “so extremely narrow that it protects almost no one,” he said. “Jesus himself, or the Good Samaritan of his famous parable, would not qualify as ‘religious enough’ for the exemption, since they insisted on helping people who did not share their view of God.”

“Catholics must not shrink from the obligation to assert the values and principles we hold essential to the common good, beginning with the right to life of every human being and the right of every woman and man to express and live by his or her religious beliefs and well-formed conscience.”

Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program stresses the value and dignity of human life. It is observed in the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. The full statement follows and may be found online in English and Spanish atwww.usccb.org/respectlife.

STATEMENT FOR RESPECT LIFE MONTH
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 26, 2011

This October the Catholic Church throughout the United States will observe Respect Life Month, an annual tradition now in its fortieth year.

Beginning on October 2, 2011—Respect Life Sunday—Catholics across the nation will join together to witness to the inherent equality and transcendent value of every human being.

In countless liturgies and events we will give thanks to God for the gift of human life, and pray for his guidance and blessings on our efforts to defend the most vulnerable members of the human family.

We will voice our opposition to the injustice and cruelty of abortion on behalf of those victims whose voices have been silenced. At the same time, we will remind the living victims of abortion—the mothers and fathers who grieve the loss of an irreplaceable child—that God’s mercy is greater than any human sin, and that healing and peace can be theirs through thesacrament of reconciliation and the Church’s Project Rachel Ministry.

The theme chosen for this year’s Respect Life Program is I came so that all might have life and have it to the full. In this brief explanation of his mission (cf. John 10:10), Jesus refers both to our hope of eternal life, to be restored through his death and resurrection, and to our life in this world.

By following Jesus’ new Commandment of unselfish love, our lives can be richly fulfilling, and marked by joy and peace. In contrast, treating others as either means or obstacles to one’s self-serving goals, while never learning to love generously, is an impoverished way to live.

Viewing life as a “zero sum” game, in which advancing one’s interests requires putting aside the needs of others, can lead to callous unconcern for anyone who is especially weak, defenseless, and in need of our help. The unborn child, the aging parent who some call a “burden” on our medical system, the allegedly “excess” embryo in the fertility clinic, the person with a disability, the cognitively impaired accident victim who needs assistance in receiving food and water to live—each today is at risk of being dismissed as a “life unworthy of life.”

Jesus’ promise of “life to the full” is especially poignant today, when our culture and sometimes our government promote values inimical to the happiness and true good of individuals and society. We face increasing attempts to expunge God and religious discourse from public life. This promotes the dangerous proposition that human beings enjoy no special status by virtue of their God-given humanity. Some now even seek to eliminate religiously motivated people and organizations from public programs, by forcing them to violate their moral and religious convictions or stop serving the needy.

The same forces, aided by advertising and entertainment media, promote a selfish and demeaning view of human sexuality, by extolling the alleged good of sexual activity without love or commitment. This view of sex as “free” of commitment or consequences has no place for openness to new life. Hence contraceptives are promoted even to young teens as though they were essential to women’s well-being, and abortion defended as the “necessary” back-up plan when contraceptives fail. And fail they do. Studies report that most women seeking abortions were using contraception in the month they became pregnant. Again and again, studies show that increasing access to contraception fails to reduce rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

Both these trends—a distorted view of sexuality and a disdain for the role of religion—are exhibited by the Department of Health and Human Services’ recent decision on the “preventive services” to be mandated in virtually all private health plans under the new health care law. The Department ruled that such mandated services will include surgical sterilization and all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices—including the abortifacient drug “Ella,” a close analogue to the abortion pill RU-486.

The decision is wrong on many levels. Preventive services are aimed at preventing diseases (e.g., by vaccinations) or detecting them early to aid prompt treatment (e.g., screening for diabetes or cancer). But pregnancy is not a disease. It is the normal, healthy state by which each of us came into the world. Far from preventing disease, contraceptives can have serious health consequences of their own, for example, increasing the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS, increasing the risk of breast cancer from excess estrogen, and of blood clots that can lead to stroke from synthetic progestin. Mandating such coverage shows neither respect for women’s health or freedom, nor respect for the consciences of those who do not want to take part in such problematic initiatives.

The “religious employer” exemption offered by the Department is so extremely narrow that it protects almost no one. Catholic institutions providing health care and other services to the needy could be forced to fire their non-Catholic employees and cease serving the poor and vulnerable of other faiths—or stop providing health coverage at all. It has been said that Jesus himself, or the Good Samaritan of his famous parable, would not qualify as “religious enough” for the exemption, since they insisted on helping people who did not share their view of God.

All these misguided efforts to foster false values among our youth, to silence the voice of moral truth in the public domain, and to deprive believers of their constitutionally-protected right to live according to their religious convictions, must be resisted by education, public advocacy, and above all by prayer.

The founders of our nation understood that religion and morality are essential to the survival of a freedom-loving society. John Adams expressed this conviction, stating: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Catholics must not shrink from the obligation to assert the values and principles we hold essential to the common good, beginning with the right to life of every human being and the right of every woman and man to express and live by his or her religious beliefs and well-formed conscience.

As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us last year in one of his Ad Limina addresses to visiting bishops, “a society can be built only by tirelessly respecting, promoting and teaching the transcendent nature of the human person.” That common nature transcends all accidental differences of age, race, strength, or conditions of dependency, preparing us to be one human family under God.

During this Respect Life Month, as we celebrate God’s great gift of life, let us pray and reflect on how each of us might renew our commitment and witness to “respecting, promoting and teaching the transcendent nature of the human person,” thereby shoring up the foundations of a society sorely in need of this guidance.

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Keywords: Pope Benedict XVI, USCCB, U.S. Catholic bishops, Cardinal DiNardo, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Respect Life Month, pro-life, abortion, RU-486, abortion funding, abortion rate, assisted suicide, contraception, Ella, conscience rights, end of life, disabilities, health care, health care reform, prayer, social justice, stem cell research, conscience rights, conscience protection, post-abortion healing, Project Rachel

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