Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Vatican City, 17 October 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI began a new series of catecheses which will cover the period of the Year of Faith. The Year, he said, is intended "to renew our enthusiasm at believing in Jesus Christ, ... to revive the joy of walking along the path He showed us, and to bear concrete witness to the transforming power of the faith".
With his catecheses over coming months the Holy Father hopes to help people understand that the faith "is not something extraneous and distant from real life, but the very heart thereof. Faith in a God Who is love and Who came close to mankind by taking human flesh and giving Himself on the cross to save us and open the doors of heaven for us, is a luminous sign that only in love does man's true fullness lie", he said. "Where there is domination, possession and exploitation, ... man is impoverished, degraded and disfigured. Christian faith, industrious in charity and strong in hope, does not limit life but makes it human".
"God has revealed Himself with words and actions throughout the long history of His friendship with man. ... He came forth of heaven to enter the world of men as a man, that we might meet and hear Him; and from Jerusalem the announcement of the Gospel of salvation has spread to the ends of the earth. The Church, born of Christ’s side, has become the herald of a new hope. ... Yet, from the very beginning, the problem of the 'rule of faith' arose; in other words, the faithfulness of believers to the truth of the Gospel ... to the salvific truth about God and man to be safeguarded and handed down".
The essential formula of the faith, the Pope explained, is to be found in the Creed, in the Profession of the Faith, whence develops "the moral life of Christians, which there has its foundation and its justification. ... It is the Church’s duty to transmit the faith, to communicate the Gospel, so that Christian truths may become a light guiding the new cultural transformations, and Christians may be able to give reasons for the hope that is in them.
"We are living today in a society that has changed profoundly, even with respect to the recent past, a society in continuous flux", the Holy Father added. "The process of secularisation and a widespread nihilist mentality, in which everything is relative, have left a strong imprint on the collective mentality. ... And while individualism and relativism seem to dominate the hearts of so many of our contemporaneous, it cannot be said that believers remain completely immune from these dangers. ... Surveys carried out on all the continents in preparation for the current Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation have revealed some of these dangers: the faith lived passively or privately, the rejection of education in the faith, the rupture between faith and life".
Benedict XVI went on: "Christians today often do not even know the central core of their Catholic faith, the Creed, thus leaving the way open to certain forms of syncretism and religious relativism, with no clarity about which truths must be believed and the salvific uniqueness of Christianity. ... We must go back to God, to the God of Jesus Christ, we must rediscover the message of the Gospel and cause it to enter more deeply into our minds and our daily lives.
"In these catecheses during the Year of Faith I would like to help people make this journey, in order to regain and understand the central truths of faith about God, man, the Church, and all social and cosmic reality, by reflecting upon the affirmations contained in the Creed. And I hope to make it clear that these contents or truths of the faith are directly related to our life experience. They require a conversion of existence capable of giving rise to a new way of believing in God".
Among his greetings at the end of his catechesis the Pope addressed Polish pilgrims. "Yesterday", he told them, "on the anniversary of the election of John Paul II to the See of Peter, we remembered him as a great guide in the faith, who introduced the Church into the third millennium".
Finally, in Italian, he had words of greeting for representatives of the "Acting all together for the Dignity of the Fourth World" Movement, who were in St. Peter's Square to mark the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. "I encourage you in your commitment to protect the dignity and rights of people forced to suffer the scourge of poverty, against which humankind must struggle without cease", said Benedict XVI.
Vatican City, 17 October 2012 (VIS) - During yesterday afternoon's session of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. announced that the Holy Father will shortly be sending a delegation to Damascus, Syria, to express, in the name of the Pope and the entire Church, "fraternal solidarity with the entire population, with a personal offering from the Synod Fathers as well as from the Holy See". The delegation will also express "spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters" and encourage "all those involved in seeking an agreement respectful of the rights and duties of all, with particular attention to the demands of humanitarian law".
We cannot, Cardinal Bertone said, "be mere spectators of a tragedy such as the one that is unfolding in Syria. In the certainty that the only possible solution to the crisis is a political solution, and bearing in mind the immense suffering of the population, the fate of displaced persons, and the future of that nation, it has been suggested that our synodal assembly express its solidarity. ... It is expected that once the necessary formalities have been carried out with the apostolic nuncio and the local authorities, the delegation will make its way to Damascus next week. In the meantime time we pray that reason and compassion might prevail".
"The delegation will be made up of the following Synod Fathers: Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A.; Bishop Fabio Suescun Mutis, military ordinary of Colombia, and Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Phat Diem, Vietnam. Also on the delegation will be Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and Msgr. Alberto Ortega, official of the Secretariat of State.
Vatican City, 17 October 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Elio Rama I.M.C., regional superior of the Consalata Missionary Institute in Brazil, as bishop of Pinheiro (area 21,360, population 467,000, Catholics 269,000, priests 54, religious 38), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Tucunduva, Brazil in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1984. He studied in Brazil and Rome, and has worked in education and pastoral care. He succeeds Bishop Ricardo Pedro Paglia M.S.C., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.


Exhibition includes the jeep Blessed Pope John Paul II was travelling in when he was shot and an immense horse-drawn carriage made in 1826
By Carol Glatz on Wednesday, 17 October 2012
A 'Gala Berlin' carriage, made around 1825 during the pontificate of Pope Leo XII (Photo: CNS)
A 'Gala Berlin' carriage, made around 1825 during the pontificate of Pope Leo XII (Photo: CNS)
The white open-air jeep Blessed John Paul II was riding in when he was shot May 13, 1981, has been taken out of storage and put on display in the Vatican Museums’ newly revamped Popemobile Pavilion.

Sandro Barbagallo, art critic at the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, said the move was not meant to sensationalise the tragic event or turn it into a sideshow, but to highlight the car that has become “highly symbolic” of that fateful day and help people “reflect on the value of life and everything John Paul did”.
Mr Barbagallo was the driving force behind restoring and reopening the Museums’ permanent exhibit of historic modes of papal transport. The grand opening took place on October 16 – the 34th anniversary of Blessed John Paul’s election as pope.
The underground exhibit, which houses more than a dozen ornate papal carriages and nine papal cars, had been open only sporadically over the years. Deciding to put the 1980 white Fiat Campagnola on display was the impetus to re-launch the space and keep it open to the public to showcase its other transport treasures of the popes.
Some gems include:
- The very last Volkswagen Beetle to roll off the production line in Mexico. The light teal 2003 Bug with whitewall tires was donated to Blessed John Paul in 2004 to thank him for visiting the country in 2002.
- The steering wheel of a Ferrari Formula One racing car donated to Blessed John Paul in 2005 by the car-maker’s president, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. An accompanying plaque honors the pope for his “26 years in the pole position on the roads of humanity”.
- An immense six-horse-drawn Gran Gala gilded carriage whose wooden wheels are more than five feet high. It was built around 1826 for Pope Leo XII.
But when horse-drawn carriages started giving way to automobiles, the Vatican was slow to follow.
Archbishop John Farley of New York gave an Itala to Pope Pius X in 1909.
The pope refused to accept the newfangled contraption, saying he preferred the “clippity-clop” of horses pulling his Landau carriage to the “chugga chugga” of a gasoline engine, Mr Barbagallo told Catholic News Service.
A car would have been useless at the time anyway since a dispute with the Italian government over the sovereignty of the Holy See kept popes confined inside the tiny Vatican City from 1870 to 1929.
When the 1929 Lateran Pacts finally allowed popes to go freely outside Vatican City walls, Pope Pius XI became the first pope to put the rubber to the road in a Detroit-made Graham Paige.
The auto-producing Graham brothers donated the vehicle to the pope, who used it for the very first time he or any pope was able to leave the Vatican in nearly 60 years.
It was also used by Pope Pius XII when he went to visit Rome’s San Lorenzo neighborhood to comfort residents in the wake of a deadly US bombing raid of the area in 1943.
The exhibit also includes the first official white “popemobiles”. The first white off-road open-air vehicle used by a pope was a 1976 Toyota Land Cruiser used periodically by Pope Paul VI. That was followed by the 1980 Fiat Campagnola, a 1983 Land Rover Santana and a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 230.
Currently, the papal fleet has three cars that carry the pope: two black sedans and a white Mercedes-Benz popemobile, Mr Barbagallo said.

The “Graham Paige 837″ was donated by the Graham brothers of the United States in 1929 to Pope Pius XI to mark the occasion of the Lateran agreement between Italy and the Vatican

This Mercedes-Benz sedan was used as a papal automobile beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the early part of the pontificate of Pope John Paul I.


The High Court in Islamabad delays the trial before deciding whether to drop the blasphemy charges or not. The girl's lawyers want the case thrown out of court. In Karachi, a mob of extremists attack St Francis Catholic Church. In Faisalabad, Christians praying for Malala Yousafzai come under attack.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The High Court in Islamabad extended to 14 November the restraining order against the trial of Rimsha Masih, a mentally challenged Christian girl charged with blasphemy. The ruling came at a hearing on a petition filed by the accused girl's lawyers to quash the First Information Report (FIR) registered against her on the ground that the charges are false and baseless. Meanwhile, anti-Christian violence continues as attacks are reported against Karachi's St Francis Catholic Church and Faisalabad's Bawa Chak Presbyterian Church.

At the end of the hearing, the court extended the restraining order until 14 November, directing counsels to conclude their arguments at the upcoming hearing. In his remarks, one of the defence lawyers reiterated his client's demand for dismissal of the case since there was no offence and that Rimsha should be released.

He added that the imam at the Jaffer Mosque, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, fabricated the story in order to force out minority Christians from their homes and seize their assets, and that if anyone committed blasphemy, it was the imam according to the testimony of three witnesses, who however later retracted.

The irony is that the imam who deliberately desecrated the Qur'an is free on bail. His lawyers are trying to delay proceedings. Prosecutors in the case have indicated that they are not planning to try the imam on blasphemy charges, which goes to show, critics point out, of how the 'black law' is used arbitrarily against minorities, political adversaries, and business competitors.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Christians and their places of worship are still targeted. On 12 October, a mob of hundreds attacked St Francis Catholic Church in Karachi. The building suffered external damage but the attackers were not able to get inside. Worshippers later spoke about the fright they experienced as the local bishop, Mgr Joseph Coutts, tried to lessen their fear by organising support rallies and slamming the extremists who attacked.

A second incident was reported last Sunday in Faisalabad. At 11 am, Muslim fanatics attacked the Bawa Chak Presbyterian Church. The attack was sparked by an incident in which a 26-year-old Muslim man was accidentally struck by a cricket ball during a match by Christian teenagers.

The altercation that followed led to a full blown attack by a mob of Muslims wielding sticks, stones and guns against the local Presbyterian church during Sunday mass. Some children and women were injured during the assault. Most residents of the area locked themselves in their homes to avoid further violence.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Christian activist and lawmaker Joel Aamir Sahotra said the whole affair was very sad since the attack against the church occurred during a special Mass for Malala Yousafzai, the Muslim girl wounded by the Taliban who is now recovering in a British hospital. This token of solidarity was for all Muslims, who in response attack minorities.

For Fr Nisar Barkat, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in Faisalabad, "violence has penetrated people's minds because of biased teachings" in mosques by extremist imams and religious leaders. For this reason, he wants the government to enforce the law and promote peace and harmony.

(Shafique Khokhar contributed to the article.)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Oct 2012

Single mothers face sharp drop in benefits
Michael Perusco, CEO of the Society of St Vincent de Paul NSW is disturbed by a University of NSW study that has found 2.26 million Australians are living below the poverty line, affecting one in eight Australian families and one in six children. But he is not surprised.
"We see the impacts of poverty right across NSW in the work we do visiting people in their homes and through our homelessness services," Mr Perusco says.
The study commissioned by the Australian Council of Social Services and compiled by academics at UNSW using the Bureau of Statistics data, uses a definition of poverty for those living on half the national median income. For a single person this is $18,680 pa and for couples with no children, $28.020. This rises to $29,899 for a single parent with two children and for a couple with two children to $39,239.

Hardest hit will be women who make up 90% of Australia's single parents
The release of the study coincides with National Anti Poverty Week which began on Sunday, 14 October and makes for sobering reading. But the continuing rise in the number of families, single parents and retirees struggling to make ends meet comes as no a surprise to welfare agencies such as Vinnies. Instead the study simply confirms what Mr Perusco says was already known or suspected through the agencies' day to day experiences helping those in need.
"At Vinnies NSW we've noticed a steady and constant demand for our services over the past few years. We're also seeing an increasing number of people who have had to turn to us for help for the first time in their lives. People who never imagined this might happen to them," he says, adding that the experience at Vinnies among social workers and counsellors is consistent with the findings of the study.
"The study shows unequivocally that Australia has a group of single men, women and families who are shut out of the economy and shut out of the opportunities the rest of us take for granted."
The study which examines those living below the poverty line for 2009-2010 reveals that more than 575,000 of these were children with half living in single parent families. A further 360,000 living below the poverty line were aged pensioners and retirees.
Mr Perusco says the ACOSS study not only draws much needed attention to the extent of poverty in a country as rich and prosperous as Australia, but reveals the total inadequacy of the Newstart allowance which has not been increased in real terms since 1994, and which Mr Perusco says, is driving people further into poverty.

Michael Perusco, CEO of Society of St Vincent de Paul NSW
From 1 January 2013, just two and a half months away, more people will be forced into poverty, he predicts and cites the bill passed last week by the Gillard Government which will transfer sole parents onto the Newstart allowance once their youngest child reaches eight years of age, slashing their fortnightly social security benefits by more than $100.
From January next year, 140,000 single parents, 90% of whom are women, will no longer be eligible for single parent benefits and will have to try to pay rent, fares, school expenses, escalating electricity and water bills as well as clothe and feed themselves and their families on a fortnightly income of $489.70 - or just $35 per day.
Dr John Falzon, CEO of the Vinnies' National Council is also extremely concerned at the Government's decision to bring the legislation forward by six months and instead of it taking effect from July 2013 as originally planned, to implement the changes in just 10 weeks time.
"The fundamental flaw of this legislation is that although it will result in a saving of $728 million over four years it will do nothing to assist sole parents into employment," he says. "You cannot help people into jobs by forcing them into poverty. You don't build people up by putting them down."
Dr Falzon points out the irony of Julia Gillard's speech in Parliament the same day the bill was passed where she made an impassioned address on gender equality and demanded women be treated equally and given the same respect as men. Her speech was picked up worldwide by women who called it a long overdue and powerful statement about sexism. But a speech on behalf of women and women's rights had little meaning when she and her Government voted the very same day to penalise more than 100,000 single mothers and their children by slashing their benefits and pushing them further into poverty.

PM Julia Gillard denounces sexism and demands respect and equality while slashing benefits to single mums
"What we want is a country that provides the best opportunities for all children. But with this move which is part of the Government's bid to produce a budget surplus, even more children will be forced into poverty," Mr Perusco warns and fears even more families will be driven into homelessness.
Over one third of those whose main income is social security now live below the poverty line. This figure includes 52% of those on the Newstart allowance which is expected to rise dramatically once sole parents are transferred on to Newstart from the single parent benefit in two and a half months time.
"Australia's housing crisis has a lot to do with the poverty we are seeing, in particular in Sydney where there are very high housing costs whether to buy or to rent. This means families have less and less money for other essentials," says Mr Perusco.
"We need to be prepared as a community to take a long hard look at the housing market and be prepared for fundamental reforms that will lead to a better functioning and fairer system," he says. "At the moment only a few in the community receive significant benefits from today's housing market while the market drives others into poverty."
Mr Perusco believes a re-think about public housing and also long overdue tax reforms could play a large part in tackling and reducing poverty in Australia. He says under the present system, tax concessions for negative gearing and concessional capital gains rates have not only pushed up house prices and rents, but are being subsidised by the tax payer to the tune of $6-$7 billion dollars per year.
But instead of the Government embarking on tax reforms to harness these funds, he says it is instead passing a bill to penalise some of Australia's poorest and most vulnerable single parent families and force them further into poverty.
"In a country as wealthy as Australia this is a disgrace."


2012 Respect Life Program Poster Image

Faith opens our eyes to human life in all its grandeur and beauty.

The Respect Life Program begins anew each year on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday in October. The program is highlighted in liturgies and marked by special events. The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities publishes a program packet each year to call attention to numerous human life issues. These materials are especially helpful for priests, parish groups and other organizations.

Click around to find more information, order Respect Life Program packets, single or grouped items, or find clip art, free bulletin inserts and more information for your parish.

2012 Respect Life Month Statement

USCCB Mass for the Beginning of Respect Life Month

Most Reverend Martin D. Holley's Homily (October 4, 2012)

Respect Life Program Materials

To order materials from the 2012-2013 Respect Life Program, please call 1-866-582-0943 or visit USCCB Publishing.
  • Pamphlets & Bulletin Inserts

This year, we are proud to announce 8-full colored pamphlets in both English and Spanish.
Parishes, schools and the press may use these articles for free with attribution to the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. The bulletin insert text may be copied and pasted, with attribution, into other resources to fit your local format.
  • Liturgy Guide 2012 Respect Life Program Liturgy Guide

The liturgy guide, available in both English and Spanish, includes homily notes and intercessory prayers for Respect Life Sunday and January 22, 2013, excerpts from the new "Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life" (and reflections on the Mass), excerpts from the new "Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb," orders for the blessing of pro-life pilgrims and missionaries, and a prayer service for our nation in light of 40 years of abortion and for the healing of all those involved in abortion. (Microsoft Word version: English, en español)
The liturgy guide is also available to order.
  • Posters

These colorful and joyful posters are available to download in both English and Spanish.
The two-sided full-color, 22x14" poster is also available to order.
  • Flyer

The flyers, available to download in English (Word version) and Spanish (Word version), provide a short overview of the different topics addressed in the Respect Life Program.
The flyer is also available to order in both English and Spanish.
  • Catalog

A complete list of all pro-life publications available to order.
  • Clip Art (Coming Soon!)

Last year's clip art is still available.
  • Program Models

October Prayer Initiatives
This past spring, the bishops urged an intensification of prayer and fasting for religious freedom in our beloved country. As the Year of Faith draws near, new resources are provided to help the faithful learn more about our courageous forbears in the faith and follow their example.

- Rosary Novena for Life and Liberty
2-sided booklet format (English) (en español)
1-sided format (English) (en español)

- Holy Hour for Life and Liberty

- SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14! Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty: Starting at 12 noon EDT, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C. Check out the press release and Facebook page!

More prayer resources coming soon!
Other Resources

- Reading selection and word scramble

More resources coming soon!

Other Items Available to Order

Pocket folder contains full-color Respect Life flyers (English and Spanish), eight full-color pamphlet-length articles (perfect for bulletins and vestibule pamphlet racks!) covering major pro-life issues.
Complete Set of Materials
Pocket folder contains full-color Respect Life flyers (English and Spanish), eight full-color pamphlet-length articles, plus a liturgy guide, one Respect Life poster (with English and Spanish on reverse sides).
Kit Folder
Attractive full-color 9"x11" pocket folder; ideal for holding Respect Life Program articles and related materials.

Past Respect Life Program Materials 1972-2010

Our past Respect Life Program materials have not gone away!
  • 2011-2012


Agenzia Fides REPORT- Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS), was shocked to see the level of destruction carried out by the Sudanese army in the town of Abyei, disputed between Sudan and South Sudan. This was reported by the Archbishop himself after returning from a visit to Abyei, in an interview with Catholic Bakhita Radio. According to Bishop Deng the military in Khartoum, that occupy the city, destroyed government offices, churches, schools and homes. The mosque is the only building left standing in Abyei, said the religious leader.
Mgr. Deng questioned the rationality of the Sudanese army in destroying churches and schools, leaving the mosque standing, and whether the military in Khartoum intend to drag the two countries into religious conflict. The fate of Abyei, an oil-rich area on the boundary between the two States, remains one of the issues left unresolved by the Agreement signed by Sudan and South Sudan on 27 September in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), which regulates in particular the division of the proceeds of oil, extracted in Southern Sudan and exported through the Sudanese structures. (L.M.)


Luke 11: 42 - 46
42 "But woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
43 Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places.
44 Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it."
45 One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also."
46 And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.