Friday, August 24, 2012



WHEN she trained as a Sister of Mercy in Ireland, Sr Angela Mary Doyle was preparing for a life of teaching. Although on arriving in Australia and being thrust into a health care role, her path changed – and has taken her to meetings with royalty as well as religious and civic leaders.

Her enduring contribution to the Catholic health and aged care community in Australia was last night recognised when she became the third recipient of the Sr Maria Cunningham Lifetime Contribution Award, at the Catholic Health Australia awards dinner.

Fellow Mercy Sister Helen Monkivitch, the recipient of the award at last year’s CHA awards dinner, read the citiation outlining some of Sr Angela Mary’s many roles with the Mater Hospitals in Queensland.

After completing a diploma of nursing administration in 1964, she was appointed to a position that would be today's equivalent of the CEO of the Mater Hospitals. She served in that capacity for 22 years, also completing a bachelor of business during that period.

Sr Angela Mary later ran the Mater Hospital Trust, which has made a major contribution to the growth of Mater services around Australia, thanks in no small part to Sr Angela Mary making numerous phone calls to seek donations and support.

While in her own version of retirement, Sr Angela Mary continues to write books, conduct interviews and work for social justice. It’s a commitment that has always shaped her life and her way of thinking.

In the 1980s, for example, when many in society – including leading government officials – were shunning those with HIV/Aids, Sr Angela Mary led efforts to provide care to those men. She was named Queenslander of the Year in 1989 for that work.

“The Sisters of Mercy were founded for the poor, the sick and anyone disadvantaged. We knew our time had come to declare our hand,” Sr Angela Mary recalled in 2009, when she was inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame.

Other civic recognitions she has received include the Queensland Premier’s inaugural Queensland Greats award in 2001. She was appointed to the Order of Australia in 1993 and has received honorary doctorates from the Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University.

Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said the organisation has been able to recognise three “giants of Catholic health and aged care” since Sr Maria Cunningham was named the first recipient of the lifetime contribution award that bears her name.

“Sr Angela Mary is universally recognised as someone who deeply understands how Jesus cared for the sick, the poor and the marginalised and sees it as her role to continue that ministry in a contemporary setting,” Mr Laverty said.

“She, like Sr Maria and Sr Helen, is a remarkable role model for anyone involved in the provision of health, aged and community care.”

Photo courtesy of Catholic Health Australia


When the royal family start to behave like ordinary people, they will cease to represent us
Naked Harry pictures published

Apparently there is huge public interest in the Prince Harry story, or so I read here. I am not quite sure what this means. Does it mean that it is in the public interest that these pictures be published? Are they pictures we have the right to see, and the right to know about? The whole argument strikes me as bizarre.
What does interest me, though, is the historical perspective. Traditionally British monarchs have been very badly behaved people, whose eating, drinking and fornicating has tended to the excessive: think of Henry VIII, or of Charles II – both of whom are popular figures, though with slightly different constituencies of admirers. George IV is perhaps the paradigm of royal excess, and was never popular in his lifetime, though some modern aesthetes do admire him (and rightly so: he had great taste in both books and buildings.)
As for the well-behaved, well they are few and far between. James II and William IV had exemplary private lives during their reigns, but both had rather wild youths. George III was really the first ever to be a good family man; Queen Victoria, Georges V and VI, and of course our irreproachable present monarch, all get the thumbs up, but Edwards VII and VIII do not. Edward VII was a popular monarch, but his private life was not subject to much scrutiny, and most of his subjects must have had very little idea of his addiction to gambling and lady friends.
Edward VII was, as the phrase went, “fast”. He moved in fast circles. He was the first monarch to have Jewish friends and indeed Roman Catholic friends (which I find to his credit.) He was in many ways ahead of his time. He was a hugely successful monarch, a true focus of national unity: he was well known for his affability, and people loved him.
Prince Harry and his circle are what you would expect of a 27 year old unmarried Guards officer who had been to Eton. So is his behaviour in Las Vegas. If his behaviour is disappointing, it is because it is so ordinary. There are pictures of similar riotous behaviour all over Facebook. This is the sort of thing that people of his age and background do. And here is the problem: the Royal family are meant to be rather different, aren’t they? They are meant to set an example, though an example of what, I am not quite sure.
On the day of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, the assembled friends of the couple waiting in the Abbey before the service sounded exactly as you would have expected them to sound at any wedding where an Etonian married a Marlborough girl – that particular brand of upper class was much in evidence in the loud chatter’s vowels. (I seem to remember that Dr David Starkey pointed this out at the time.)
Does this matter? Oh yes it does. The monarch and her family are supposed to be a focus of national unity. If the day comes when the monarch and her family look like and sound like a very narrow section of British society, then on that day they cease to represent the nation, or rather the illusion that they represent the nation disappears.
Prince Harry, by his behaviour, has brought that day closer. Drunken and undignified horseplay in Vegas does not shock me one bit, it merely confirms that the things I would hope to see in any Royal family – seriousness, piety, a concern for the poor, affability, an ability to put people at their ease, along with a sense of fun and an ability to enjoy oneself in a good way – the sort of qualities that are seen in some other monarchies – are qualities not apparent in Prince Harry.



Feast Day:
August 25
25 April 1214 at Poissy, France
25 August 1270 at Tunis, Algeria
1297 by Pope Boniface VIII
Patron of:
Secular Franciscan Order, France, French monarchy; hairdressers; passementiers (lacemakers)
King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, born at Poissy, 25 April, 1215; died near Tunis, 25 August, 1270.
He was eleven years of age when the death of Louis VIII made him king, and nineteen when he married Marguerite of Provence by whom he had eleven children. The regency of Blanche of Castile (1226-1234) was marked by the victorious struggle of the Crown against Raymond VII in Languedoc, against Pierre Mauclerc in Brittany, against Philip Hurepel in the Ile de France, and by indecisive combats against Henry III of England. In this period of disturbances the queen was powerfully supported by the legate Frangipani. Accredited to Louis VIII by Honorius III as early as 1225, Frangipani won over to the French cause the sympathies of Gregory IX, who was inclined to listen to Henry III, and through his intervention it was decreed that all the chapters of the dioceses should pay to Blanche of Castile tithes for the southern crusade. It was the legate who received the submission of Raymond VII, Count of Languedoc, at Paris, in front of Notre-Dame, and this submission put an end to the Albigensian war and prepared the union of the southern provinces to France by the Treaty of Paris (April 1229). The influence of Blanche de Castile over the government extended far beyond St. Louis's minority. Even later, in public business and when ambassadors were officially received, she appeared at his side. She died in 1253. In the first years of the king's personal government, the Crown had to combat a fresh rebellion against feudalism, led by the Count de la Marche, in league with Henry III. St. Louis's victory over this coalition at Taillebourg, 1242, was followed by the Peace of Bordeaux which annexed to the French realm a part of Saintonge.
It was one of St. Louis's chief characteristics to carry on abreast his administration as national sovereign and the performance of his duties towards Christendom; and taking advantage of the respite which the Peace of Bordeaux afforded, he turned his thoughts towards a crusade. Stricken down with a fierce malady in 1244, he resolved to take the cross when news came that Turcomans had defeated the Christians and the Moslems and invaded Jerusalem. (On the two crusades of St. Louis [1248-1249 and 1270] see CRUSADES.) Between the two crusades he opened negotiations with Henry III, which he thought would prevent new conflicts between France and England. The Treaty of Paris (28 May, 1258) which St. Louis concluded with the King of England after five years' parley, has been very much discussed. By this treaty St. Louis gave Henry III all the fiefs and domains belonging to the King of France in the Dioceses of Limoges, Cahors, and Perigueux; and in the event of Alphonsus of Poitiers dying without issue, Saintonge and Agenais would escheat to Henry III. On the other hand Henry III renounced his claims to Normandy, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, Poitou, and promised to do homage for the Duchy of Guyenne. It was generally considered and Joinville voiced the opinion of the people, that St. Louis made too many territorial concessions to Henry III; and many historians held that if, on the contrary, St. Louis had carried the war against Henry III further, the Hundred Years War would have been averted. But St. Louis considered that by making the Duchy of Guyenne a fief of the Crown of France he was gaining a moral advantage; and it is an undoubted fact that the Treaty of Paris, was as displeasing to the English as it was to the French. In 1263, St. Louis was chosen as arbitrator in a difference which separated Henry III and the English barons: by the Dit d'Amiens (24 January, 1264) he declared himself for Henry III against the barons, and annulled the Provisions of Oxford, by which the barons had attempted to restrict the authority of the king. It was also in the period between the two crusades that St. Louis, by the Treaty of Corbeil, imposed upon the King of Aragon the abandonment of his claims to all the fiefs in Languedoc excepting Montpellier, and the surrender of his rights to Provence (11 May, 1258). Treaties and arbitrations prove St. Louis to have been above all a lover of peace, a king who desired not only to put an end to conflicts, but also to remove the causes for fresh wars, and this spirit of peace rested upon the Christian conception.
St. Louis's relations with the Church of France and the papal Court have excited widely divergent interpretations and opinions. However, all historians agree that St. Louis and the successive popes united to protect the clergy of France from the encroachments or molestations of the barons and royal officers. It is equally recognized that during the absence of St. Louis at the crusade, Blanche of Castile protected the clergy in 1251 from the plunder and ill-treatment of a mysterious old maurauder called the "Hungarian Master" who was followed by a mob of armed men—called the "Pastoureaux." The "Hungarian Master" who was said to be in league with the Moslems died in an engagement near Villaneuve and the entire band pursued in every direction was dispersed and annihilated. But did St. Louis take measures also to defend the independence of the clergy against the papacy? A number of historians once claimed he did. They attributed to St. Louis a certain "pragmatic sanction" of March 1269, prohibiting irregular collations of ecclesiastical benefices, prohibiting simony, and interdicting the tributes which the papal Court received from the French clergy. The Gallicans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries often made use of this measure against the Holy See; the truth is that it was a forgery fabricated in the fourteenth century by juris-consults desirous of giving to the Pragmatic Sanction of Charles VII a precedent worthy of respect. This so-called pragmatic of Louis IX is presented as a royal decree for the reformation of the Church; never would St. Louis thus have taken upon himself the right to proceed authoritatively with this reformation. When in 1246, a great number of barons from the north and the west leagued against the clergy whom they accused of amassing too great wealth and of encroaching upon their rights, Innocent IV called upon Louis to dissolve this league; how the king acted in the matter is not definitely known. On 2 May, 1247, when the Bishops of Soissons and of Troyes, the archdeacon of Tours, and the provost of the cathedral of Rouen, despatched to the pope a remonstrance against his taxations, his preferment of Italians in the distribution of benefices, against the conflicts between papal jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the ordinaries, Marshal Ferri Paste seconded their complaints in the name of St. Louis. Shortly after, these complaints were reiterated and detailed in a lengthy memorandum, the text of which has been preserved by Mathieu Paris, the historian. It is not known whether St. Louis affixed his signature to it, but in any case, this document was simply a request asking for the suppression of the abuses, with no pretensions to laying down principles of public right, as was claimed by the Pragmatic Sanction.
Documents prove that St. Louis did not lend an ear to the grievances of his clergy against the emissaries of Urban IV and Clement IV; he even allowed Clement IV to generalize a custom in 1265 according to which the benefices the titularies of which died while sojourning in Rome, should be disposed of by the pope. Docile to the decrees of the Lateran Council (1215), according to which kings were not to tax the churches of their realm without authority from the pope, St. Louis claimed and obtained from successive popes, in view of the crusade, the right to levy quite heavy taxes from the clergy. It is again this fundamental idea of the crusade, ever present in St. Louis's thoughts that prompted his attitude generally in the struggle between the empire and the pope. While the Emperor Frederick II and the successive popes sought and contended for France's support, St. Louis's attitude was at once decided and reserved. On the one hand he did not accept for his brother Robert of Artois, the imperial crown offered him by Gregory IX in 1240. In his correspondence with Frederick he continued to treat him as a sovereign, even after Frederick had been excommunicated and declared dispossessed of his realms by Innocent IV at the Council of Lyons, 17 July, 1245. But on the other hand, in 1251, the king compelled Frederick to release the French archbishops taken prisoners by the Pisans, the emperor's auxiliaries, when on their way in a Genoese fleet to attend a general council at Rome. In 1245, he conferred at length, at Cluny, with Innocent IV who had taken refuge in Lyons in December, 1244, to escape the threats of the emperor, and it was at this meeting that the papal dispensation for the marriage of Charles Anuou, brother of Louis IX, to Beatrix, heiress of Provençe was granted and it was then that Louis IX and Blanche of Castile promised Innocent IV their support. Finally, when in 1247 Frederick II took steps to capture Innocent IV at Lyons, the measures Louis took to defend the pope were one of the reasons which caused the emperor to withdraw. St. Louis looked upon every act of hostility from either power as an obstacle to accomplishing the crusade. In the quarrel over investitures, the king kept on friendly terms with both, not allowing the emperor to harass the pope and never exciting the pope against the emperor. In 1262 when Urban offered St. Louis, the Kingdom of Sicily, a fief of the Apostolic See, for one of his sons, St. Louis refused it, through consideration for the Swabian dynasty then reigning; but when Charles of Anjou accepted Urban IV's offer and went to conquer the Kingdom of Sicily, St. Louis allowed the bravest knights of France to join the expedition which destroyed the power of the Hohenstaufens in Sicily. The king hoped, doubtless, that the possession of Sicily by Charles of Anjou would be advantageous to the crusade.
St. Louis led an exemplary life, bearing constantly in mind his mother's words: "I would rather see you dead at my feet than guilty of a mortal sin." His biographers have told us of the long hours he spent in prayer, fasting, and penance, without the knowlege of his subjects. The French king was a great lover of justice. French fancy still pictures him delivering judgements under the oak of Vincennes. It was during his reign that the "court of the king" (curia regis) was organized into a regular court of justice, having competent experts, and judicial commissions acting at regular periods. These commissions were called parlements and the history of the "Dit d'Amiens" proves that entire Christendom willingly looked upon him as an international judiciary. It is an error, however, to represent him as a great legislator; the document known as "Etablissements de St. Louis" was not a code drawn up by order of the king, but merely a collection of customs, written out before 1273 by a jurist who set forth in this book the customs of Orlians, Anjou, and Maine, to which he added a few ordinances of St. Louis. St. Louis was a patron of architecture. The Sainte Chappelle, an architectural gem, was constructed in his reign, and it was under his patronage that Robert of Sorbonne founded the "Collège de la Sorbonne," which became the seat of the theological faculty of Paris. He was renowned for his charity. The peace and blessings of the realm come to us through the poor he would say. Beggars were fed from his table, he ate their leavings, washed their feet, ministered to the wants of the lepers, and daily fed over one hundred poor. He founded many hospitals and houses: the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes; the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254), hospitals at Pontoise, Vernon, Compihgne.
The Enseignements (written instructions) which he left to his son Philip and to his daughter Isabel, the discourses preserved by the witnesses at judicial investigations preparatory to his canonization and Joinville's anecdotes show St. Louis to have been a man of sound common sense, posssessing indefatigable energy, graciously kind and of playful humour, and constantly guarding against the temptation to be imperious. The caricature made of him by the envoy of the Count of Gueldre: "worthless devotee, hypocritical king" was very far from the truth. On the contrary, St. Louis, through his personal qualities as well as his saintliness, increased for many centuries the prestige of the French monarchy (see FRANCE). St. Louis's canonization was proclaimed at Orvieto in 1297, by Boniface VIII. Of the inquiries in view of canonization, carried on from 1273 till 1297, we have only fragmentary reports published by Delaborde ("Memoires de la societe de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Ilea de France," XXIII, 1896) and a series of extracts compiled by Guillaume de St. Pathus, Queen Marguerite's confessor, under the title of "Vie Monseigneur Saint Loys" (Paris,1899). source: EWTN



John 1: 45 - 51
45 Philip found Nathan'a-el, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
46 Nathan'a-el said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
47 Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
48 Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
49 Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
50 Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."
51 And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."


Vatican Radio report" Preparations for the Pope's upcoming visit to the country continue. The visit is scheduled to take place from September 14 to 16 – and the sense of anticipation among the Lebanese Christian community is strong. The General Treasurer of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate in Lebanon, Msgr. George Masri, told Vatican Radio the Holy Father's visit is an event of hope for the whole Church, especially for his community, which constitutes a small minority who, he says, "live their witness with blood."

“We are,” he continued, “a Church of martyrs - but at the same time we are a minority living through trust and hope in Jesus Christ.”

Asked about the impact the Pope's visit might have on dialogue among Christians and Muslims in the broader region, Msgr. Masri said that, although “dogmatic” dialogue is difficult, “The Holy Father gives confidence and courage,” that help Lebanese Christians to conduct what he calls a “living dialogue,” with their Muslim neighbours. “We have great hopes for the visit of the Holy Father,” he said, “and we are preparing, Christians and Muslims, in this great event. We hope that the dialogue between us and our Muslim brothers can remain a dialogue of true coexistence.”



Given recent comment by Conservative representative Todd Akin, a Pro-Life Speaker, Rebecca Kiessling was interviewed on CNNs "Piers Morgan". Kiessling survived 2 abortions after her mother was violently raped.
Todd Akin is running in Missouri and made some controversial comments on August 19, 2012 concerning rape. He was asked by a interviewer from a St. Louis TV Station whether women who have been raped should be allowed to have an abortion.
Akin replied:

Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice the particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare, If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
The Piers Morgan directly addressed this controvery by inviting Kiessling and Allred both conceived in rape. Kiessling is an attorney and was interviewed with Gloria Allred another attorney.
Kiessling noted, “Modern America doesn’t allow us to kill a rapist or even a child molester. The Supreme Court has said that they did not deserve the death penalty. And I don’t believe that I or any other child similarly situated deserve the death penalty for the crimes of our fathers.”
“You talk about how much you care about women. Well, what good is my right to anything as a woman if I don’t have my right to life?” asked Kiessling.
 “Rape victims are four times more likely to die within the next year after (they have had an) abortion, from suicide, murder, drug overdose, etc.” Kiessling in reference to the victimised women, said “I want to protect them from the rapist,” , “and from the abortion, not the baby. A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim — an abortion is. We need to educate the American public on the truth in this matter and not make public policy based on myth and misinformation.”


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
24 Aug 2012

Rebel fighters in Syria now include militias backed by Al Qaeda and Islam jihadists
Syria's civil war is now in danger of becoming an Islamic Jihad with Christians increasingly the target for out-of-control foreign militias," says the spiritual director to Sydney's 400-strong Syrian Catholic community. Afraid to give his name which could put his family in Syria at risk, he says communication with loved ones is now virtually impossible and the community has grave fears for their safety.
"Until two weeks ago I was able to reach my family via mobile phone. But the connection is now broken. It's the same with the internet. We no longer know the fate of those we love," he says.
In Homs, Qusair and other cities, Christians have been massacred, their churches burned and family members kidnapped for ransom by rebel militia jihadists.
A number of church leaders around the globe are on record saying Syria's revolution is being hi-jacked by extremist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islam's even more hardline fundamentalists, the Salafists.
Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly called for peace in Syria but what began as a non-violent rebellion in March 2011 has descended into a bloodbath of horror with reports of appalling atrocities not only by President Assad's army but by rebel militias as well.

Sydney's Syrian community shocked at the devastation of their homeland
"My father's cousin has been shot and killed by jihadist rebels and my brother was recently captured and held for ransom," says Sydney's Syrian Catholic community's spiritual director.
The rebellion led by Syria's Sunni Muslim majority against President Assad's Muslim Alawite minority has become increasingly radicalised as foreign Islamic extremists infiltrate the freedom fighter armies or simply enter Syria as rag tag but well armed militias.
Although Christianity in Syria dates back 2000 years, 90% of Syria's population of 23 million today is made up of Muslims with Christians accounting for just 9% of which 500,000 are Catholics.
While Syria's initial protests were non-violent and sectarian with demands of freedom and democracy for all, the nation descended into chaos and violence as a result of Assad's brutal and merciless crackdown. Using his army against his own citizens, Assad's actions horrified the world.
But over the past year mercenaries from the Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Libya and Iraq have entered the country and changed demands for democracy to demands for Islamic rule and Sharia law. These militias are financed and armed in a large part by the Sunni regime of Saudia Arabia and are taking advantage of Syria's turmoil to create a jihadist Holy War against Assad's Alawite minority and the nation's Christians.

Christian church bombed as violence in Syria escalates
In the Hamidieh area of the country, all 138,000 Christians have been forced to flee to Damascus or Lebanon, or take refuge by hiding in the hills in the surrounding countryside, he says. In Homs, the Church of mar Elian is half destroyed and Our Lady of Peace Cathedral is occupied by rebels.
French priest, Father Philip Tournyol Clos, a Greek Catholic Melkite recently visited Syria calls Homs "the martyred city" and says fanatical Sunni extremists have turned the rebellion into a Holy War with Christians increasingly in danger.
In Aleppo and Damascus are now under relentless attack from both sides, Christians yet again being forced to flee.
"What we saw in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya is now happening in Syria with Muslim extremists determined taking over," says the spiritual director. "Two or three years ago Christians were forced to flee Iraq for the safety of Syria because their homes, businesses and churches were being bombed. Now the same thing is happening all over again and they are being forced to flee Syria as well."
He has no doubt that what is happening to Christians in Syria from the foreign jihadists is "ethnic cleansing" and militant Muslims want Christians purged from the Middle East.
For Sydney's Syrian community it is agonising to watching TV footage of Syrian violence and the escalating civil war which has claimed thousands of lives and left thousands more homeless.

Civil War in Syria has led to persecution and slaughter of Christians
"Two years ago everyone lived in peace and harmony whether they were Sunnis, Alawites or Christians. There were good schools and universities and compared to most other countries in the Middle East, Syria was doing well. We even had fibre optic cable and broadband. But now that has all gone. Schools have been bombed or have closed. Poverty has become common and for the first time in living memory in Syria, people are dying of hunger."
For those who manage to escape, life is difficult as Syrian Christians scramble to survive in the sprawling refugee camps of Jordan or try to find somewhere safe to live in Lebanon.
"In Jordan, Christians are being attacked in the refugee camps by the Sunnis who accuse Christians of being 'unbelievers.' While there is less danger of persecution, in Lebanon, life there is expensive and many who have been forced to flee, just don't have the money," he says.
Each week, Sydney's Syrian Catholic Community gather at St Mary's Catholic Church, Concord to pray for their families and for Syria's agony. Each week they also contribute funds to help those caught up in the civil war or in refugee camps.
"We send the money direct to the Church in Syria and in Lebanon to make sure it gets to the people who need the most help," he says.


by Jibran Khan
Muslim leader: no one can desecrate the Koran. And the faithful in the mosque call for the application of the "black law". Appeal of Bishop of Islamabad for unity among Christians "around the child." APMA lawyer speaks of "delicate matter" but is optimistic to have "good news soon." Families forced to flee denounce their abandonment by government.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - If guilty of blasphemy, the child should be punished according to the laws of the country. This is a widespread view among Muslims in Pakistan, whether laymen or religious leaders, regarding the tragedy of an 11 year old Christian girl who is disabled and was recently charged under the "black law". To date the child is being detained under lock and key in a reform school - pending a full hearing for release on bail - for desecrating a few pages of a book that conatined verses from the Koran (see AsiaNews 19/08/2012 An 11-year-old disabled Christian girl arrested for blasphemy, 300 families flee). Interviewed by AsiaNews on the issue scholar Mehmood Ahmed Khan, a member of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIc), said that "Rimsha is a minor, but if she is mentally stable and committed the crime, child or not she should be punished." He adds, "no one can be allowed to desecrate the Koran."

Several human rights organizations, including the Masihi Foundation and Life for All, along with the Catholic Church of Pakistan have announced a demonstration tomorrow in Lahore on August 25, demanding the release of Rimsha Masih - this is the name of the girl, arrested on blasphemy charges - and who faces up to life in prison. The incident occurred on August 17 in Umara Jaffar, G-12 Islamabad, where the family of the minor live. In response, a mob of local Muslims - egged on by the imams - attacked the Christian community, forcing hundreds of families to flee.

Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad-Rawalpindi has launched a call: "it is time for the entire Christian community to unite and string around the child. Sunday - adds the prelate - our voices will be heard in support thereof." Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) has appointed parliamentarian Tahir Naveed Chaudhry lawyer to Rimsha. He assures us that "we will defend the rights of the oppressed" and has prepared "a panel of experts to plead the case." It is a "delicate matter," says the lawyer, but he is optimistic and promises "good news soon."

However, sources say that the APMA lawyer was not allowed meet the child in prison. Now the goal is to get her out of jail and put it in a safe place, since the vast majority of blasphemy deaths are the result of extra-judicial killings, even in prison under the gaze of guards (see AsiaNews 17/09 / 2009 Punjab: young Christian man accused of blasphemy killed in prison). The Christian NGO World Vision in Progress has filed an appeal for bail, which will be discussed on 28 August.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Christian families forced to flee in fear of extremist attacks, accuse the government of neglect and disinterest, despite government proclamations in recent days that ensured comfort and help. Islamabad has announced the distribution of food aid, but so far "has not done anything," says a witness. There is a climate of "insecurity" among the people and they do not "trust to return to their homes." Meanwhile, the police have opened an investigation against 150 people suspected of the assault on the Christian Quarter of the capital when word got out of the blasphemy case.

Among the Muslims of Islamabad feelings toward the religious minority are mixed: some are willing to "accept" the return of the Christians in their homes, others do not. But on one point I agree the faithful who flock to mosques around the capital: if the girl is guilty, "to be punished according to law." No discounts or extenuating circumstances.



Agenzia Fides REPORT - "In Australia and New Zealand Churches struggle to cope with the influence of secularism. But with the development of technology and communication information, even in other Pacific countries, such as Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, one realizes that the challenge is the same: reaching with the Gospel the verandas of our humble homes in rural areas": This is what is said in a message sent to Fides Agency by His Exc. Mgr. Rochus Tatamai, MSC, Bishop of Berlina, at the conclusion of the Episcopal Council of the Federation of Bishops of Oceania, held in the past few days in Paita, New Caledonia. The meetings of the Council, made up of eight Bishops, are in view of the General Assembly of the Federation of Episcopal Conferences of Oceania to be held in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2014.
In the meeting, which has just concluded, the Bishops faced the issue in order to better prepare the different communities of the faithful of Oceania for the Year of Faith (11 October 2012 - 24 November 2013), bringing attention to the challenges of the "new evangelization," according to Pope Benedict XVI’s recommendations.
The meeting took stock of the cooperation and sharing among the Churches in different countries of Oceania, noting that efforts in this direction are underway, such as the exchange of professors among Seminars. Among other issues faced, the possibility of an insurance coverage for priests working in the diocese and for the care of their personal health.
The Federation of Bishops of Oceania consists of four Episcopal Conferences: Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands, and CEPAC, which includes all other nations and small islands in the Pacific, such as Fiji, Tonga, Guam, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Vanuatu. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/08/2012)


ANGOLA PRESS REPORT: Ndalatando — The bishop of Ndalatando Diocese, in Kwanza Norte Province, Almeida Kanda, reiterated this Thursday his appeal to the citizens of the region to abstain from every kind of physical or verbal violence, during the electoral process.
The preacher stressed in an interview to ANGOP, that his appeal aims at giving a contribution, so that the electoral process be organised with success.
Bishop Almeida Kanda said the Catholic Church calls for broad participation of all citizens in the general elections scheduled for August 31 in order to contribute to the process, avoiding all sorts of verbal or physical violence.
It also called on voters to respect the symbols of all parties.



Feast Day:
August 24
1st century AD, Iudaea Province (Palaestina)
1st century AD, Armenia
Major Shrine:
Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber Church, Rome, the Canterbury Cathedral, cathedral in Frankfurt, and the San Bartolomeo Cathedral in Lipari
Patron of:
Armenia; bookbinders; butchers; cobblers; Florentine cheese merchants; Florentine salt merchants; leather workers; nervous diseases; neurological diseases; plasterers; shoemakers; tanners; trappers; twitching; whiteners
One of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned sixth in the three Gospel lists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14), and seventh in the list of Acts (1:13).
The name (Bartholomaios) means "son of Talmai" (or Tholmai) which was an ancient Hebrew name, borne, e.g. by the King of Gessur whose daughter was a wife of David (2 Samuel 3:3). It shows, at least, that Bartholomew was of Hebrew descent; it may have been his genuine proper name or simply added to distinguish him as the son of Talmai. Outside the instances referred to, no other mention of the name occurs in the New Testament.
Nothing further is known of him for certain. Many scholars, however, identify him with Nathaniel (John 1:45-51; 21:2). The reasons for this are that Bartholomew is not the proper name of the Apostle; that the name never occurs in the Fourth Gospel, while Nathaniel is not mentioned in the synoptics; that Bartholomew's name is coupled with Philip's in the lists of Matthew and Luke, and found next to it in Mark, which agrees well with the fact shown by St. John that Philip was an old friend of Nathaniel's and brought him to Jesus; that the call of Nathaniel, mentioned with the call of several Apostles, seems to mark him for the apostolate, especially since the rather full and beautiful narrative leads one to expect some important development; that Nathaniel was of Galilee where Jesus found most, if not all, of the Twelve; finally, that on the occasion of the appearance of the risen Savior on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, Nathaniel is found present, together with several Apostles who are named and two unnamed Disciples who were, almost certainly, likewise Apostles (the word "apostle" not occurring in the Fourth Gospel and "disciple" of Jesus ordinarily meaning Apostle) and so, presumably, was one of the Twelve. This chain of circumstantial evidence is ingenious and pretty strong; the weak link is that, after all, Nathaniel may have been another personage in whom, for some reason, the author of the Fourth Gospel may have been particularly interested, as he was in Nicodemus, who is likewise not named in the synoptics.
No mention of St. Bartholomew occurs in ecclesiastical literature before Eusebius, who mentions that Pantaenus, the master of Origen, while evangelizing India, was told that the Apostle had preached there before him and had given to his converts the Gospel of St. Matthew written in Hebrew, which was still treasured by the Church. "India" was a name covering a very wide area, including even Arabia Felix. Other traditions represent St. Bartholomew as preaching in Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Armenia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, and on the shores of the Black Sea; one legend, it is interesting to note, identifies him with Nathaniel.
The manner of his death, said to have occurred at Albanopolis in Armenia, is equally uncertain; according to some, he was beheaded, according to others, flayed alive and crucified, head downward, by order of Astyages, for having converted his brother, Polymius, King of Armenia. On account of this latter legend, he is often represented in art (e.g. in Michelangelo's Last Judgment) as flayed and holding in his hand his own skin. His relics are thought by some to be preserved in the church of St. Bartholomew-in-the-Island, at Rome. His feast is celebrated on 24 August. An apocryphal gospel of Bartholomew existed in the early ages.
source EWTN