Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Vatican City, 11 December 2012 (VIS) - A note released today by the Governorate of Vatican City State announces the issue of the traditional commemorative envelope for Christmas 2012.
On the left side of the envelope there is a reproduction of the "Nativity and journey of the Three Kings", in tempera and gold leaf on board, of the Marchigian School (mid 15th century), on display in the Vatican Museums Picture Gallery.
The 60 cent stamp from the "Christmas 2012" series, issued on 6 November 2012, is franked with the special postmark in use on Christmas Day. The postmark is completed with the Latin phrase "Christus Natus est Alleluia" and the inscription "POSTE VATICANE. 25.12.2012". The serial code PV/78 is printed the back of the envelope in the lower right corner.
The commemorative envelope costs 3.50 Euros, or five Euros in a protective portfolio.
Vatican City, 11 December 2012 (VIS) - The secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fykse Tveit, has addressed a traditional Christmas message to the faithful of the 349 communities that form this ecumenical fellowship. The text opens with two Biblical citations, the first from the Prophet Isaiah: "a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice", and the second from the Gospel of St. John: "What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it".
"What the Word has brought into being is life, and the life is the light of all people", writes Tveit. "In the coming year, the World Council of Churches will focus its witness and work around a simple prayer which serves as the theme of our tenth Assembly: 'God of life, lead us to justice and peace'".
This prayer will also be the theme of the tenth General Assembly of the WCC, which will take place in Busan, South Korea, from 30 October to 8 November 2013. The programme covers "five dimensions of being the church together in the world today – koinonia (one faith and fellowship in Christ), martyria (witness in the world), diakonia (serving justice and peace), ecumenical formation (for leadership) and inter-religious cooperation (a common context)".
"In the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, we are particularly aware of God’s gift of light revealed in the eternal Word who became flesh, and who dwells among us even now. This is the light that gives us hope for this present world in spite of disunity, abuse, hatred, violence, poverty, greed and corruption. Christ’s light is the lamp for our feet that shows us the way toward justice and peace. Even when our own wicks burn dimly, the Word of God withstands the darkness, faithfully bringing forth justice on our common way toward peace", concludes the secretary of the World Council of Churches.
Vatican City, 11 December 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Daniela Leggio, official of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as head officer of the same dicastery.
- Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, currently apostolic nuncio in Guatemala, as apostolic nuncio in Australia.


by Mathias Hariyadi
The quake hit at 1 .53 local time, followed by a second tremor around 5.47. At the moment there are no reports of injuries or damage to structures. The area affected by the shock is Catholic majority. Panic among the population that poured onto the streets. The depth of the epicentre helped avoid the formation of a tsunami

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 struck this morning in Indonesia, but a possible tsunami warning was immediately recalled despite the extent of the shock. The quake developed deep underground at dawn and forced the inhabitants of the south-east of the Moluccas to pour into the streets in panic. However, at present there are no reports of injuries or significant damage to buildings. There have been repeated aftershocks, including a second - though less powerful - magnitude 5 earthquake that affected the islands of Maluku Tenggara.

The first earthquake struck the Indonesian archipelago at 1.53 am local time (23:53 on 10 December in Jakarta), while the second followed a few hours later, around 5:47. The Indonesian geophysics agency has announced that the epicenter of the earthquake was located about 180 km north-west of Saumlaki, the capital of the archipelago of the Tanimbar Islands, which consists of 65 islands.

Suhardjono, head of the earthquakes and tsunami agency alertsaid that "so far we have not received reports of damages of any kind."

Although Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, Maluku Tenggara (also known by the name of Malut) is an overwhelmingly Catholic area. It is prone to devastating earthquakes, because it rests on a surface located at the juncture of three different plates: the Pacific, Indo-Australian and Eurasian.

The Indonesian archipelago is made up of thousands of islands and atolls surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, in an area better known to scientists as the "Ring of Fire". It is characterized by intense volcanic and land-based activity, caused by the collision of several continental plates. In people's memory the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the region in December 2004 is still vivid, which caused hundreds of thousands of deaths across Asia. On 30 October 2009, another strong earthquake struck the area of ​​Padang causing around 700 deaths. More than 180 homes were razed.



Marriage is union of one man and one woman
Supreme Court's decision to hear these cases is significant moment for nation
Need prayers that Court upholds marriage's true meaning and purpose

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded to today's U. S. Supreme Court decision to hear the case challenging California's Proposition 8 and a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear these cases is a significant moment for our nation," Archbishop Cordileone said. "I pray the Court will affirm the fact that the institution of marriage, which is as old as humanity and written in our very nature, is the union of one man and one woman. Marriage is the foundation of a just society, as it protects the most vulnerable among us, children.It is the only institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers together. We pray for the Court, that its deliberations may be guided by truth and justice so as to uphold marriage's true meaning and purpose," Archbishop Cordileone said.
In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, which defines marriage in California's State Constitution as the union of one man and one woman. DOMA, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for purposes of federal law. A decision by the Supreme Court is expected by next June.Depending on the Court's ruling, there could be ramifications for marriage laws throughout the country.
Earlier this week the bishops issued a Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty as part of a pastoral response for the protection of life, marriage and liberty. Information is available at www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty