Monday, October 15, 2012

VATICAN : POPE : LIVING FLAME OF FAITH - AND OTHER NEWS

ANGELUS: THE RICH MUST ENTER INTO THE LOGIC OF GOD (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Vatican City, 14 October 2012 (VIS) - "God can conquer the heart of a person with many possessions and lead him towards solidarity and sharing with the poor and needy, so that he can enter into the logic of giving", said the Pope commenting on today's Gospel reading which narrates Jesus' meeting with a rich young man.
"Jesus teaches that it is very difficult but not impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God", said the Holy Father in his remarks before praying the Angelus. "Indeed, through the 'the logic of giving', a person may follow the path of Jesus Christ Who, as the Apostle Paul wrote, 'for your sake ... became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich'".
Benedict XVI went on to remind faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that the young man in question had scrupulously observed all the commandments of God's Law, but "had not found true happiness. For this reason, he asked Jesus 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' On the one hand he was attracted, like everyone else, to the fullness of life; on the other, being used to his wealth, he thought he could somehow 'buy' eternal life, perhaps by observing some special commandment".
Christ was aware of the man's desires but also of his weakness, "his sense of attachment to his great riches". Therefore He suggested giving everything to the poor so that "his treasure - and therefore his heart - should be in heaven and not on earth. Jesus told the man: 'Come, follow me!' However, instead of welcoming Jesus' invitation with joy, he went away sadly because he could not give up his possessions, which could never give him happiness and eternal life".
It was at this point that Jesus pronounced the famous phrase: "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God". However, seeing His disciples' perplexity he added: "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God". Commenting on this parable, St. Clement of Alexandria wrote: "Let it teach the prosperous that they are not to neglect their own salvation, as if they had been already condemned, nor, on the other hand, to cast wealth into the sea, or condemn it as a traitor and an enemy to life, but learn in what way and how to use wealth and obtain life".
"The history of the Church", the Pope concluded, "is full of examples of rich people who have used their wealth evangelically, even attaining sainthood. Suffice to mention St. Francis, St. Elisabeth of Hungary and St. Charles Borromeo".
After praying the Angelus the Pope mentioned yesterday's beatification in Prague, Czech Republic, of Frederic Bachstein and thirteen companions of the Order of Friars Minor, who died for their faith in 1611. "They are the first blesseds of the Year of Faith, and martyrs", he said. "They remind us that believing in Christ also means being ready to suffer with Him and for Him".
Finally, the Holy Father concluded by noting that "today Poland and Polish parishes throughout the world are celebrating the 'Day of the Pope', with the theme: 'John Paul II - the Pope of the Family'. ... It is my hope that all Polish families may burn with the living flame of faith, goodness and evangelical love".
RELIGION REMINDS SOCIETY OF OBJECTIVE MORAL NORMS
Vatican City, 15 October 2012 (VIS) - On 14 October, Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot M.C.C.J., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, addressed the Istanbul World Forum, dedicated to the theme: "Justice and the Construction of a New Global Order". In his remarks during the meeting, which took place from 13 to 14 October, Fr. Ayuso examined the essential contribution that social justice and religious freedom make to peace, and the indispensable role religions have in promoting peace and justice in global society.
"Religion", said Fr. Ayuso speaking English, "has a role in contributing to the national conversation of any given society. That conversation needs to engage with all the complexities that societies face in the modem world. Concepts such as 'justice' and 'social justice' are an integral part of that conversation. Thus, we ask ourselves, what is the contribution of religion to the national conversation about 'justice' and 'social justice'? Justice is a divine attribute, and religious teaching certainly contributes to the reflection on the right ordering of relationships, in other words, social justice. Catholic tradition, however, maintains that justice is accessible by means of human reason, to all men and women of goodwill, both religious and non religious".
"Both believer and non believer can subscribe to the innate dignity of the human person, and agree that such dignity is the reason for the inalienable rights of each individual, the protection of which is the objective of justice. ... These rights are antecedent and independent of the State, and the measure of the justice of the State is the extent by which it respects and vindicates these antecedent rights, for justice requires that all persons should be left in the free enjoyment of their rights. ... When the State fails to administer justice or, indeed, acts unjustly, it no longer has any moral authority or legitimacy. This implies that the State is subject to judgement, that it does not have absolute power, that it can, and indeed, must be held to account. Our question is, therefore, who or what can hold the State to account, to ensure that it acts justly? The question is not political but moral, although the answer will require political choices".
"Since the ultimate question is moral in nature then it follows that the hallmark of a civil and just society is the proper and due space afforded to religion, which has a unique contribution in being the voice for the voiceless, a voice for the downtrodden, a voice for the oppressed, a voice for the persecuted, a prophetic voice calling all to act in peace and justice. Religion calls forth the conscience of society to act genuinely in favour of the common good. Religion, therefore, has a role in political debate, not in providing concrete political solutions, which lies outside the competence of religion, but to recall to society the objective moral norms at the basis of justice and the just society".
DURING THE SYNOD WE AND OUR CONTEMPORARIES JOURNEY TOGETHER
Vatican City, 13 October 2012 (VIS) - Before lunching yesterday with Synod Fathers, the Council Fathers of Vatican II and presidents of the world's episcopal conferences, Benedict XVI greeted those present with some brief remarks.
"It was a fine tradition begun by Blessed Pope John Paul II to include a communal luncheon as part of the Synod. And it is a great honour for me to be sitting between His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Archbishop Rowan Williams from the Anglican Communion", the Holy Father said.
He continued: "For me this communion is a sign that we are on the journey towards unity and that we are progressing in our hearts; the Lord will help is to progress externally too. This joy, I believe, also gives us strength in the mandate to evangelise. 'Synodos' means 'shared journey', 'journeying together', and thus the word 'synodus' makes me think of the famous journey the Lord made with the two disciples of Emmaus who, to some extent, represent today's agnostic world. Jesus, their hope, had died; the world was empty; it truly seemed either that God did not exist or that He was not interested in us. With this desperation in their hearts and, nonetheless, with a small flame of faith, they walked on. The Lord walked mysteriously with them, and helped them to a better understanding of the mystery of God, of His presence in history, of his silent presence at our side. In the end, at dinner, when the words of the Lord had inflamed their hearts and illuminated their minds, they recognised Him and finally their hearts began to see.
"In the same way, during the Synod we and our contemporaries journey together", the Pope added. "We pray to the Lord to enlighten us, to inflame our hearts that they might see, to illuminate our minds. And we pray that, at dinner, at Eucharistic communion, we may truly be opened and see Him, and thus inflame our world with His light".
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE HOLY SEE AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA
Vatican City, 13 October 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea today signed an agreement regulating relations between the Catholic Church and the State. The signing ceremony took place in the city of Mongomo in the presence of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea, and many other leading government figures.
The Agreement was signed on the part of the Holy See by Archbishop Piero Pioppo, apostolic nuncio to the country and, on the part of Equatorial Guinea, by Agapito Mba Mokuy, foreign minister.
The Agreement, which is made up of nineteen articles and an additional protocol, will come into effect with the exchange of the instruments of ratification.
"Within the context of the independence and autonomy of Church and State, and in order to further their shared desire to collaborate", reads an explanatory note released today, the Agreement "establishes a juridical framework for reciprocal relations recognising, in particular, the juridical status of the Church and her institutions. The Agreement also covers canonical marriage, places of worship, educational institutions, and spiritual assistance to Catholic faithful in hospitals and prisons".
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 15 October 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Duitama-Sogamoso, Colombia, presented by Bishop Carlos Prada Sanmiguel, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
On Saturday 13 October it was made public that the Pope appointed Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop emeritus of Manila, Philippines, as his special envoy to the tenth plenary assembly of FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences). The event is to be held at the Xuan Loc Diocese Pastoral Centre from 19 to 25 November, and the concluding ceremony will take place in the cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


AMERICA : CANADA : CARDINAL NOTES LACK OF FREEDOM IN EDUCATION

Since this speech by the Cardinal the Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty has resigned.
ARCHDIOCESE OF TORONTO REPORT

Cardinal’s Dinner – October 11, 2012
Address by His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins
As has been the tradition in our Archdiocese for the last 33 years, we come together this evening for the annual Cardinal’s Dinner, to break bread, to enjoy fellowship, and to raise important funds for charity.
I am grateful to Mr. Patrick Keenan for chairing this year’s dinner, and for his guidance and leadership in preparing for this evening. We are also grateful for the leadership of Joe Barnicke, who with Cardinal Carter founded the Cardinal’s Dinner, and has devotedly fostered its growth over the years.
I also extend my gratitude to our head table guests and, in a special way, to the representatives from the many levels of political leadership in our Archdiocese and beyond. Be assured of my prayers for all of those who hold political office. It is a sacred trust. We should all pray for our politicians, that they may always act with wisdom and concern for the common good, in the imitation of their patron Saint Thomas More, as they make the difficult decisions which are inherent in their vocation.
We are also honoured to have with us many representatives of others faiths. Welcome. As we face the challenges of a world that so often seems to be hesitant about the light of faith – and at this moment a Synod of Bishops is gathered in Rome to address this very issue – we work together, and pray together, joined in a bond of love and mutual respect.
This evening, as at every Cardinal’s Dinner, the clergy and religious of the Archdiocese of Toronto, and lay representatives of our parishes, come together as an archdiocesan family of faith. You serve faithfully and vigilantly, bringing the Gospel to life in more than 220 parishes throughout our Archdiocese. I am continually inspired by what I see in my constant travels throughout the archdiocese. Thank you for your witness to the Gospel.
For the leaders from the world of business who join us each year at the dinner, thank you for your presence. I know that for so many of you the thread of faith is woven through your work and I am grateful that we have the ability to share this time together.

Thanksgiving
This past week we celebrated thanksgiving day. While that is not a church holiday or feast, the theme of thanksgiving is one that appears often throughout the Bible.
I am personally thankful to the Holy Father for calling me to enter the College of Cardinals, as the Cardinal Priest of the parish of Saint Patrick in Rome. I will be formally installed in my Roman parish on October 23rd. The naming of the Archbishop of Toronto to the College of Cardinals is a recognition of the key role played by our Archdiocese and our country in the life of the universal Church. The experience of being made a cardinal is truly inspiring, and I was grateful to be joined by many pilgrims from Canada for the ceremony.
Visually, the scarlet robes of a cardinal are quite spectacular, but they speak of something more profound which I also experience very much as Archbishop of Toronto. They are bright red to represent the blood of martyrs which is the seed of the Church, and great Cardinals, including one of my heroes, Saint John Fisher, have shed their blood for Christ. In my office I regularly meet people from around the world who are courageously witnessing to their faith. I have on my desk a relic of the Syriac Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, where many were martyred not long ago. We should be thankful for their witness, and made more resolute as we face the various challenges, less dramatic but also severe, which we confront in our own situation as we seek to be faithful.
We are always thankful for the example and for the prayers of the saints. On October 21st I will participate in Rome in the Canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks, great saint of the first nations people of Canada and the United States. On the 21st in Midland, at Martyrs’ Shrine, there will be a celebration of this great model of holiness for us all.
We should also be thankful for those who serve the most vulnerable among us, imitating Christ who called His disciples to recognize His face in those who suffer. This evening, Catholic Charities commence their 100th anniversary celebrations. Throughout the coming year, there will several events to recognize this anniversary, culminating in a special Mass next September.
One year prior to the outbreak of World War I, Archbishop Neil McNeil saw the gaps and overlaps in the assistance being offered to the needy of the Archdiocese. In response, he established Catholic Charities in 1913 to provide guidance and oversight. Today there are 29 member agencies, many of which will be recipients of the proceeds of tonight’s dinner. They are truly making a difference.
We live in difficult economic times, with corporations, families and parishes all under great strain in many different areas. That is why I was so heartened to see this year’s ShareLife appeal raise close to $15 million, a record amount. It is testimony to the generosity of our Catholic community, and we are mindful that these funds will help people of all faiths or no faith at all.
When it comes to helping others, whether it is those suffering from a natural disaster across the ocean, or those closer to home, faith based organizations are the first in and last out. Just this past week, we have seen media reports of the Good Shepherd Refuge serving more than 1,600 thanksgiving meals. Their doors are open to all, every day of the year, the face of Christ to Toronto’s homeless.
The faithful of the Archdiocese of Toronto have responded with incredible generosity as more than 160 parishes have committed to welcoming a refugee family from the Middle East. For those seeking a new home after fleeing violence and persecution, it is only through the collaboration of people willing to welcome the stranger that a new beginning is possible.
Stop and think of the essential role which people of all faiths play in the wellbeing of our society. That should give pause to those who complain about the voice of people of faith in our democratic society, and who seek to sterilize public discourse and publicly funded institutions from religious influence. They should realize that apart from the strangely forgotten fact that people of faith pay taxes, Ontario would be a colder, harsher, darker, more cruel place without the generous action of people of faith motivated by their faith.
As always, we give thanks for Catholic Education, which from the earliest days of our province, even before the formation of our Country in 1867, has been an integral part of the educational system of Ontario. We are so richly blessed with a system in which the French and English, and the non-religious and Catholic dimensions of our whole education system work together in co-operation to make education a treasure for which all Ontarians may truly be thankful. There is more beauty in the variety of a garden than in the uniform, undifferentiated, monotony of the dull flat surface of a parking lot. The complementary variety in our educational system is an advantage for all, producing not only a healthy competition from which all benefit, but also a fruitful collaboration, and the richness of different approaches to the key issues of life. That diversity reflects the reality of the differences that exist in our province. The system works. For that we should be thankful.
Essential to the fruitfulness of that diverse educational system that is such a benefit to our province is a recognition of the legitimate identity of each partner. As for the Catholic dimension, with which I am most engaged as Cardinal Archbishop of Toronto, that identity is recognized and protected both by section 93 of our Canadian constitution – for without recognition of that identity the agreement that created Canada would not have proceeded – but also by section 1 of the Education Act of Ontario.
Both the constitution and the Education Act make it clear that the Catholic identity of the school must be respected.
This is true when it comes to the establishment of anti-bullying groups designed to make the school a better place for all, and in Catholic schools that means following the method outlined in the document Respecting Difference, of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association. It is our mission to speak up for all those who suffer, and especially those who are voiceless, for those who are forgotten.
It is also true when it comes to protecting the freedom of all in the school community to engage in pro-life activities in order to foster a culture of life in which the most vulnerable and voiceless among us are protected and honoured throughout their whole life on earth from the moment of conception to natural death. Defending the voiceless is our mission.
We all have a stake in assuring that the faith identity of Catholic schools is respected – not just Catholics, but also the countless people of other faiths who freely choose to send their children to Catholic Schools. In a healthy civil society it is vital that the deeply held principles that guide the lives of our neighbours are respected. Indeed, all citizens have a stake in that.
For all the difficulties we face, there is truly much for which we can be thankful, and the hope that comes from that allows us together to confront and to seek to overcome the problems that, sadly, are also part of our life.
This evening we give special thanks to God for the greatest religious event of the 20th Century, the Second Vatican Council, which began fifty years ago today, on October 11th, 1962. The Council ran from 1962 to1965, and produced 16 documents over the course of four sessions with more than 2,000 bishops worldwide participating in the deliberations.
As we begin today the Year of Faith which Pope Benedict has proclaimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Council, and to lead us to reflect deeply on how our faith can be strengthened by meditating on the way in which the Holy Spirit guided the Church through the Council, and how we can be revitalized in our faith, we should prayerfully study and be nourished by the fruits of the Council, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that great sourcebook of faith, and the shorter Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
But, especially in this year of Faith, we should systematically and prayerfully study the 16 Council documents, and especially the key ones, the four great constitutions:
1) The Constitution on the Liturgy

2) The Constitution on the Church,

3) The Constitution on the Word of God, and

4) The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, which opens with the marvellous line that challenges us to engage in this world in which we live, with compassion and with a passion for justice: “The joys and hopes and the sorrows and anxieties of people today, especially of those who are poor and afflicted, are also the joys and hopes, sorrows and anxieties of the disciples of Christ, and there is nothing truly human which does not also affect them.”
The Constitution on the Church, in each of its sections, offers us clear guidance about how we should live according to our particular missions as disciples living within the community of the Church.
It speaks of the Church as the People of God, with all of its members - clergy, religious, and laity - having a specific mission, but all equally called to holiness. The chapter on the universal call to holiness is a good place to start, when reading the Council documents.
Many of the other 16 documents take a section of the Constitution on the Church, and expand upon it: and so there is a separate document on the mission of lay people, on that of religious, and of priests, and of bishops.
Particularly important is what the Council says about the role of lay people. Although lay people provide invaluable support within the structure of Church organizations, and in various internal ministries, their main role, according to Vatican II, is to make the presence of God known in this world through the way in which they fulfil their lay vocation in the secular world, in their family life, in their work, and in their engagement in the life of the community. They do this as individuals, who give example through personal holiness, and sometimes through their participation in the various lay movements which flourished to some degree before the Council, but which have truly been a gift of the Holy Spirit since the Council.
The main role of clergy and religious is to provide the spiritual support which the lay people need to fulfil their mission, by preaching the Word of God, by celebrating the sacraments, and by providing the pastoral care and guidance needed by the whole community of faith.
Of course worship is essential, and the Constitution on the Liturgy helps us to appreciate the sacred liturgy more profoundly.
The Constitution on the Word of God opened up for us a clearer sense of God’s presence amongst us, in Scripture and in the living faith of the Church.
In so many ways, the Council has been a blessing for which we should be thankful. It guides the Catholic Church in its relations with our brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom we share a common baptism, but from whom we have sadly been separated over the years. It helps us to build bridges of love and respect to Jews and Muslims, and to others who are not Christians. We have seen this dialogue among believers led by the Popes themselves, most recently Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI visiting, praying and in dialogue with our friends of other faith traditions.

The Call To Holiness
Fifty years after the Council, we need to be guided by its spiritual wisdom, especially in a society that has become disconnected from the vision of faith.
This revitalization is sometimes called “the new evangelization”, and presently a gathering of bishops and of others is underway in Rome to reflect upon this theme, and to suggest ways to proceed.
As I mentioned a few days ago in a pastoral letter on the Feast of St Michael, our patron saint, we will release a Pastoral Plan in the New Year that helps map out some of our key priorities, guiding the way in our own journey of evangelization in this archdiocese.
For each of us gathered here this evening, perhaps a few short suggestions on how we can bring the new evangelization to our everyday experiences:
1) Prayer – start and end your day with prayer to thank God for everything that He has blessed you with. On the subway, before an important meeting or most importantly, when you’re frustrated: give thanks, seek strength, wisdom and patience.

2) Witness – do not be afraid to discuss your faith in the public square. You may be surprised at how many others wish they could do the same. It doesn’t have to be as organized as bible study over lunch hour; but talking about how important faith is in one’s life is something that our world is thirsting for, and that we can do any time. Our world is ripe for authentic witness – let us fill that void.

3) Invitation – consider inviting someone to join you for a moment of prayer, to rediscover the Church, or to attend a spiritual service with you. I will do that now: I invite you to join me at the cathedral on the first or second Sunday of each month (look at the schedule) for evening prayer, and for the prayerful reading of the Word of God, known as Lectio Divina.

4) Forgiveness – enter into the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Confession allows us to begin again, refreshed by the forgiveness that comes from our Loving Father. We need to let go of the baggage that weighs us down. Forgive others but first seek forgiveness yourself.
Conclusion

Tonight has been about breaking bread with friends, helping those in need, and coming to realize more fully all of the gifts for which we should give thanks. It is no surprise that the greatest act of worship in the Church is called “The Eucharist”, which means, to give thanks.
Particularly, in this Year of Faith, we give thanks for the gift of faith, and for the way in which faith leads to hope, which gives us the energy to love, and especially to show our love for those who are most in need through acts of practical service.
We give special thanks for the gift of the Second Vatican Council, which helps us to grow more deeply in faith, hope, and love.
The words with which good Pope John began the Council fifty years ago today were: “Holy Mother Church rejoices…” It is for us to bring that joyful message of hope, peace and love to the world. Thank you for your presence here this evening and may God continue to bless you now and always.
SHARED FROM OFFICIAL BLOG OF ARCHDIOCESE OF TORONTO

EUROPE : BISHOP SPEAKS ON YEAR OF FAITH

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT
By Ligita Kneitaite on Friday, 12 October 2012
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)
The Year of Faith offers Catholics the chance to profess “the faith in fullness and with new conviction, confidence and hope”, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has said.
The bishop was speaking at a Mass marking the opening of the year at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady, Help of Christians and St Peter of Alcantara, in Shrewsbury yesterday.
He recalled that the Rt Rev William Grasar, the then Bishop of Shrewsbury, set off to the Second Vatican Council in 1962 to join more 2,000 bishops for an event that would last over three years.
“It was a sobering moment,” Bishop Davies said. “The world stood on the brink of nuclear destruction. The Cuban nuclear crisis was described as the most dangerous moment in human history.”
He said the bishops gathered in St Peter’s Basilica under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to “explore the will of Christ in these extremely challenging times”.
Bishop Davies said Pope John XXIII did not ignore or despair at the modern world, like his predecessors, but called the Council to rediscover the faith at that difficult time.
Now, on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Council, “the Pope wishes to highlight again the Council’s debates and mission, inviting the dioceses to open up the Catechism of the Catholic Church”, the bishop said.
He urged Catholics in his diocese to witness to their faith in daily life.
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC HERALD

AFRICA : DEM. REP. OF CONGO : ONGOING VIOLENCE

CISA REPORT
4fc8bd0f6

NORTH KIVU, October 12, 2012 (CISA) -There is ongoing violence against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Four days ago, rebels attacked the village of Bilulu, after overcoming the local military garrison, as reported by local media. Sources from the civil society told Fides that this is the fourth village to be occupied by the rebels in North Kivu and in the neighbouring Eastern Province where there has been reports of looting, burning of houses with fire and torture. “There is much talk, concerning the violence of the M23 (group of military deserters that is said to be backed…
SHARED FROM CISA

ASIA : PAKISTAN : GIRL SHOT BY TALIBAN TO BE SENT TO BRITAIN

ASIA NEWS REPORT
by Jibran Khan
The 14 year old Pakistani activist needs more specific medical treatment. Fears for her life, after an initial cautious optimism. Nation gathers around the girl. A candlelight vigil in the Cathedral of Lahore. Bishop of Islamabad: the attack against her, a cowardly act, and sign of profound weakness and fear.


Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old Pakistani activist victim of a Taliban attack in recent days is going to be transferred to Britain for more specific medical treatment, according to army sources said in Islamabad. The young girl needs of treatment "integrated care" in order to heal. After an emergency surgery to limit the damage from the bullet to the head, following which doctors considered her condition "stable", she was admitted to a military hospital in Rawalpindi where her situation has, however, become increasingly "critical ". Hence the decision to send her to Europe, thanks to the financial contribution of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, where she will be welcomed in a specialized center; meanwhile the nation - and the entire international community - continue to pray for her, for a prompt and complete recovery.

On 9 October Malala Yousafzai - who has won national awards for her social commitment in favor of female education - was the victim of a Taliban attack in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the border with Afghanistan, stronghold of Islamic extremists opposed to the education of women. The girl was shot while on board the school bus that was taking her home, after morning lessons. So far, investigators have detained four persons held responsible for having taken part in various capacities in the attack. In all nearly 100 people have been stopped, most of them released after the payment of bail.

Meanwhile, support is building across Pakistan for the girl, whose life is still in danger, with prayers for a full recovery. Human rights activists, members of civil society and professional organizations, including Masihi Foundation and Life for All have condemned the attack, describing her as a "symbol of resistance" against the folly of extremists despite her young age. Even the local Catholic community has been mobilized, promoting a candlelight vigil - in the Cathedral of Lahore - and prayer vigils in several parts of the country. Speaking to AsiaNews, the bishop of Islamabad Msgr. Rufin Anthony said that "targeting a child is the most vile and cowardly act" and is a sign of "profound weakness and fear" of a 14 year old girl. The prelate held a special prayer vigil for the "brave" teenager and noted "the irony" that the attack against her took place in the week that celebrated the International Day for Women and Girls.


The girl became famous in 2009 at the age of 11, with her blog on the BBC's Urdu site in which she denounced the attacks by Pakistani Islamists against girls and women's educational institutions, to prevent them from studying and emancipation. Within her virtual diary, Malala bore witness to the cruelty of the Taliban and the violence through which they maintain power, terrorizing the local population.

The northwestern border is considered a stronghold of the Taliban, so that in some areas Shariah and the Islamic Courts are active, called in to judge disputes, as well as social behaviors and morality. There are hundreds of schools - even Christian - that have been closed in the Swat Valley, jeopardizing the education of tens of thousands of students and the work of about 8 thousand female teachers.

The education of the new generations is one of the key ways for the government to overcome poverty and to ensure genuine development in the nation, as outlined in a special AsiaNews dossier (see Education can stop the Taliban in Pakistan). Among the few realities in the area for some time, a group of Sinhalese Carmelite nuns women dedicated to education (see AsiaNews 22/06/2012 Sinhalese Carmelites educate girls in Pakistan), however, the sisters had to leave after a year and a half because of threats from Islamic fundamentalists.



SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AUSTRALIA : OLDEST WORKING TEACHER - JESUIT - GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS

Australian Jesuit sets record as world’s oldest schoolteacher | Fr Geoffrey Schneider SJ, world's oldest working teacher, Guinness World Records, Sydney’s St Aloysius’ College,

Fr Geoffrey Schneider
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
Australian Fr Geoffrey Schneider SJ, has been declared the world's oldest working teacher, by Guinness World Records.
Father Geoffrey Schneider, who has been teacher and chaplai at Sydney’s St Aloysius’ College's Junior School for 47 years, said he has no intention of retiring, as he approaches his 100th birthday in December.
The secret of his success, he said, is “a mountain of patience”. “If things are going wrong, don’t start shouting. Just proceed quietly and things will settle down eventually. Their books will eventually open.”
Fr Schneider has taught at schools in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, shaping the intellects and values of leading figures of Australian government, business, academia and sport, including Tony Abbott.
Retirement doesn't appeal to him. Why retire, he said, “So I can read the paper every morning and then forget what’s in it? That’s what a retired friend told me happens to him...At 3pm there’s afternoon tea and if you don’t turn up in the first minute they come knock on your door and say, ‘It’s tea time now’.
“Really, I shouldn’t be frightened of it, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I just feel I can be more useful here.”
Father Schneider enjoys a fierce popularity at St Aloysius’. In the early 1990s, Year 3 students were asked to name a new building after their favourite Jesuit saint. Innocently, they chose “Saint” Schneider.
“I didn’t worry about it at the time, really, but after that we received a direction that the Jesuits were not to have any buildings named after them while they are alive,” he said.
“I don’t believe it wasn’t a direct consequence of what happened, but they managed to name the building before that order came down.”
Father Schneider is also the namesake of the annual Schneider Cup, which recognises excellence in soccer and rugby.
Source: UCAN/The Australian

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MONDAY OCT. 15, 2012

Luke 11: 29 - 32
29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
30 For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin'eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation.
31 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
32 The men of Nin'eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.