Thursday, December 13, 2012


Vatican City, 13 December 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience six new ambassadors and non-resident ambassadors accredited to the Holy See: Bizwayo Newton Nkunika of Zambia, Chalermpol Thanchitt of Thailand, Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha of Sri Lanka, Wafic Rida Said of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Aminatou Batoure Gaoh of Niger and Ibrahima Sory Sow of Guinea.
In his address to the diplomats, the Pope focused on the theme of education, one of the principal challenges of our times and which today is located "in a context in which the evolution of ways of life and forms of knowledge create human, cultural, social and spiritual ruptures hitherto unknown in the history of humanity".
In this regard, he also mentioned that social networks "tend to substitute natural social and communicative spaces, often becoming the only point of reference for information and knowledge. The family and schools no longer appear to be the primary or most natural fertile ground where younger generations receive the lifeblood of their existence. ... Schools and universities seem to have become incapable of creative projects leading to a transcendental teleology able to attract young people in the very depths of their being. ... Today's world and its responsible adults are not able to provide them with the necessary points of reference".
The Holy Father asked whether the dysfunction of certain institutions and services, both public and private, can be explained "by an inadequately provided and received education", and went on to invite the governments of the nations represented by the ambassadors "to contribute courageously to the advancement of humanity, favouring the education of the new generations through the promotion of a healthy anthropology, the essential basis for all true education, and consonant with our common natural heritage. This task must take as its starting point a sober review of the various problems that exist within your respective countries, where certain political and economic policies may risk a gradual erosion of your anthropological and spiritual heritages, which have been refined through the centuries and patiently constructed on foundations that respect the essence of the human person in all its variety and in perfect harmony with the cosmos". The Pope continued, "I again urge your governments to have the courage to strengthen and consolidate the moral authority - the call to a coherent way of life - necessary for a genuine and healthy education for the younger generations".
"The right to an education in correct values can be neither denied nor neglected. The duty to educate in these values must never be limited or weakened by any form of national or supranational political interest. Therefore it is essential to educate in and about the truth: ... the truth about mankind, about creation, about institutions, and so on. Alongside education in the righteousness of the heart and mind, the young also need, now more than ever, to be educated in the meaning of effort and perseverance in the face of difficulty. They need to recognise that all human action must be responsible and coherent with the desire for the infinite, and that this action should form a part of their growth, with a view to developing a humanity that is increasingly fraternal and free from the temptations of individualism and materialism".
Benedict XVI concluded by greeting, through the ambassadors, the Catholic communities present in their countries. "The Church accomplishes her mission in faith to the Lord and with the ardent desire to make a special contribution to the advancement of your compatriots, especially in relation to the education of children and young people. She participates every day in the common effort to facilitate spiritual and human growth through her structures in the fields of education, charity and health, always seeking to promote mutual respect and responsibility. I therefore encourage your governments to continue to allow the Church to operate freely in her traditional fields of activity where, as you know, she makes an important contribution to the development of your countries and to the common good".
Vatican City, 13 December 2012 (VIS) - @Pontifex, Pope Benedict XVI's Twitter account, attracted over a million and a half followers on its first day of existence. The Pope, after his first tweet at the end of the usual Wednesday general audience, responded during the course of the day to three questions posed by members of the public from three different continents. The first was: "How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?". The Holy Father's answer was "By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need".
Shortly afterwards a second question was added: "How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?". "We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful", responded Benedict XVI.
The final tweet, posted around 6 p.m., was: "Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you", in response to: "Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?"
Vatican City, 13 December 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Anne Leahy, ambassador of Canada, on her farewell visit.
- Professor Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.
- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.




Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
11 Dec 2012

The hugely popular Lights of Christmas will once again transform St Mary's Cathedral into a spectacular show of light and sound delighting audiences nightly with the true meaning of Christmas.
Although only in its third year the remarkable light projections on to the facade of the Cathedral has attracted thousands to Cathedral Square and hundreds of thousands who have watched the beautiful creative designs on the web.
Co-hosted by the Sydney Archdiocese of Sydney and Australian Catholic University this year's projections with the theme "Unity" will be launched on Thursday night, 13th December at 8.30pm. The Lights of Christmas will run every night right through to and including 25th December.

Projected over the 75 metre high and 33 metre wide facade of the majestic sandstone Cathedral, the stunning illuminations will tell a story of unity, where all Australia's cultures and backgrounds come together and wish the world peace and harmony.
Audiences will be taken on a journey from dusk falling over the Australian desert and descending to the evening star then to a beautiful Christmas tree moving through the universe.
A Christmas wreath will also appear with flora from around the world, including the colourful lotus of many Asian cultures, the shamrocks of Ireland, the Tudor Rose of England and the wattle of Australia.
The projections and immersive soundscape will also feature wonderful images of famous paintings including a feature from the Sistine Chapel which is celebrating its 500th anniversary as well as beautiful Renaissance images of Madonna and Child.
Prior to the official opening of the event on Thursday night by Auxiliary Bishop, the Most Rev Julian Porteous, singer and educator Anita Finneran will perform a number of Christmas songs and carols.
On other nights prior to the lights display starting there will be choirs performing on the steps of the Cathedral including Artes Christi and the St Mary's Cathedral Choir.
His Eminence Cardinal George Pell who is overseas until Monday 17th December will first see the lights that night when he accompanies the Vice-Chancellor of ACU, Prof Greg Craven to the display.

Creative Director Anthony Bastic says although this is only the third year of the Lights of Christmas it has already become a tradition for Sydney.
"Thousands of Sydneysiders, families, students and visitors have come to the city to see the projections over the past two years," he said.
"I am sure this year there will be even more. The Cathedral is just the perfect venue and the projections tell the true meaning of this time of year."
Like last year the first night will be streamed live so people around the globe will experience the dazzling display.
Go to on Thursday 13th December at 7.30pm for the opening event and the Lights of Christmas.


Responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on a draft Bill to allow same sex marriage in Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, has urged that the widest possible protection should be given to civil liberties.

Archbishop Tartaglia said;

“Writing to Cardinal Keith O’Brien in August, the First Minister said that he was ‘determined to protect the important principles of freedom of speech, conscience and declaration of faith.’ A leading human rights QC has subsequently pointed out that the Government’s proposals will adversely impact religious freedom and a wide range of civil liberties. In order not to discriminate unjustly, more safeguards need to be embedded in the proposed legislation. ”

Archbishop Tartaglia added;

“The Catholic Church has made its view very clear that the redefinition of marriage is unwise and unnecessary. The Catholic Bishops of Scotland are entirely at one with their colleagues in England & Wales in upholding marriage as a union uniquely of a man and a woman for mutual love and support and open to procreation.

“Employment, Equality and Education law especially should be reviewed and, if necessary, amended so as to avoid the unjust penalization of anyone who disagrees with same sex marriage.

"The Church will respond fully to the consultation in due course, but remains committed to the belief that legislation to permit same sex marriage, enacted in Edinburgh, Westminster, or anywhere else is wrong, and is likely to have far reaching consequences which will impact far beyond the small number of people who may wish to avail themselves of the new provision."

Peter Kearney
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168
07968 122291


Note to Editors:

In a legal opinion provided to the ‘Scotland For Marriage’ campaign, Human Rights QC Aiden O’Neil highlighted six areas where legislation would need to be amended to provide the protection promised by the Scottish Government for those who do not support same sex marriage. The full list of required changes is shown below:

Civil liberties safeguards

1. Employment law must be amended to outlaw employers from punishing employees for their views on traditional marriage. For instance:
a. A hospital chaplain should not be dismissed by the NHS for preaching a sermon on traditional marriage.
b. Teachers should not lose their jobs for refusing to teach same-sex marriage.

Insert subsection 10(4) Equality Act 2010:

“For the avoidance of doubt the protected characteristic of religion or belief include beliefs regarding the definition of marriage”.

2. Equality law must be amended so that:
a. A church could not be banned from using publicly-owned facilities like community centres because it only marries opposite-sex couples.
b. A church minister could not be successfully sued (using sexual orientation or sex discrimination laws) for refusing to allow a same-sex couple to get married in his church
c. People who believe in traditional marriage are not banned from fostering children.

Insert subsection 149(10) Equality Act 2010:

“Compliance with the duties in this section requires ensuring that a belief regarding the definition of marriage is respected and that no person should suffer any detriment in respect of the holding or the reasonable expression of such a belief”.

Insert paragraph 25A at schedule 3 Equality Act 2010:

Same-sex marriage: Scotland

“(1) It is not a contravention of section 29, so far as relating to sex discrimination or sexual orientation discrimination, for an approved celebrant to decline to marry a couple of the same sex.
(2) An approved celebrant who declines to marry a couple of the same sex has no duty to make alternative arrangements by way of reasonable accommodation of any request to solemnise such a marriage.
(3) In sub-paragraph (1) and (2) “approved celebrant” has the meaning given in section 8(2)(a) of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 (persons who may solemnise marriage).”

3. Education law must be amended so that:
a. There will be a parental right of withdrawal from any lessons involving same-sex marriage;
b. When lessons do involve same-sex marriage, it will be dealt with as a controversial issue like abortion or a party political issue;
c. Primary schools will not be expected to deal with the topic at all.
d. The rights of denominational schools are fully protected.

4. Equality and education law must also be further amended to protect parents and children who believe in traditional marriage from being punished for their beliefs.

Insert section 9A Education (Scotland) Act 1980:

“Any pupil in a school to which section 9 applies may be withdrawn by his or her parents from any instruction where the notion of same-sex marriage is presented; and no pupil shall in any such school be placed at any disadvantage with respect to the instruction given therein by reason of his or her parents’ opposition to same-sex marriage, or by reason of his or her being withdrawn from any instruction where such a notion is presented”.

Insert subsection 1(c) to section 35 Ethical Standards in Public Life (Scotland) Act 2000:

“the legitimacy and value in a pluralistic and tolerant society of the belief that marriage is the exclusive union of one man and one woman”.

So that section 35(1) reads as follows:

Councils’ duties to children

(1) It is the duty of a council, in the performance of those of its functions which relate principally to children, to have regard to-
(a) the value of stable family life in a child’s development;
(b) the need to ensure that the content of instruction provided in the performance of those functions is appropriate, having regard to each child’s age, understanding and stage of development; and
(c) the legitimacy and value in a pluralistic and tolerant society of the belief that marriage is the exclusive union of one man and one woman”.

Insert section 56A Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act 2000:

“The Scottish Ministers must, in exercising their discretion under section 56, ensure that any guidance issued respects and gives proper regard to the validity of an exclusive belief in opposite-sex marriage”.

5. Charity and equality law must also be amended to guarantee protection for charities that believe in traditional marriage.
a. Charities which believe in traditional marriage are facing complaints to OSCR, the Charity Regulator. They must be protected.
b. Adoption agencies must be protected from the loss of their charitable status if they hold to traditional marriage.

Insert subsection 2A to section 8 Charities and Trustees Investment (Scotland) Act 2005:

“For the purposes of subsection 2 the provision of benefits on the basis of same-sex or opposite-sex marriage is not to be regarded as disbenefit”.

Insert subsection 193(3) Equality Act 2010:

“For the purposes of subsection (2) the provision of benefits on the basis of same-sex or opposite-sex marriage may be a legitimate aim if a person acts in pursuance of a religious purpose or vocation”.

6. Public order law must be amended to provide a specific freedom of expression clause to those expressing the belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Insert subsection 2A into section 38 Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010:

“For the avoidance of doubt nothing in subsection 1 prohibits or restricts any expression in itself of a belief regarding the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman”.

Insert subsection 7 to section 1 Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012:

“For the avoidance of doubt nothing in subsection 1 prohibits or restricts any expression in itself of a belief regarding the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman”.



by Kalpit Parajuli
The 28-year-old woman studied social work at St. Xavier College in Kathmandu. Since 2005 she has been involved with the children of female prison inmates, forced to live behind bars with their mothers.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Pushpa Basnet, a 28-year-old Nepali woman, was awarded the CNN Hero Award 2012 for her work with the children of jailed women. She is a graduate in social work from St. Xavier College, a Catholic college run by the Jesuits in Kathmandu, one of the foremost private educational facilities in Nepal.

Without support from the state, dozens of children are forced to live with their jailed mothers or left to fend for themselves in the streets. This is a problem for all women's penitentiaries in Nepal.

According to the authorities, about 80 children live in prison. In order to give them a normal life, Pushpa set up the Early Childhood Development Centre in 2005, a non-profit educational organisation for kids over the age of 4. She also established the Butterfly Home, a kindergarten for children of female inmates that provides health care, food and shelter. Some 40 children live in the facility.

CNN chose Pushpa among 10,000 candidates active in social work. The award ceremony was held last Saturday in Los Angeles, California.

"This is for my children," she said in accepting the prize. "Thank you so much everybody who voted for me and who believed in my dream."

With the CNN Hero Awards comes a cheque for US$ 250,000, which will go to the Butterfly Home.

In a press statement, St. Xavier College expressed its joy of having someone like Pushpa Basnet among its alumni. Her work is an encouragement for our school and commitment to Nepali society, the Jesuit Fathers said.

Pushpa began her involvement with children in 2005 when she was preparing an exam. For that reason, she visited a women's prison in the capital.

Struck by the bad conditions in which inmates' children lived, many just newly-born, she asked the mothers if she could take care of them until they purged their sentence. About ten women accepted the offer.

When she graduated in 2007, Pushpa decided to work full time to help the children. Through donations from friends and fellow students, she was able to find a few rooms in a building near her home.

Since it started, Butterfly Home has been home for more than a hundred infants and children, of pre- and school age.

During their stay at the facility, they keep in touch with their parents. During school holidays, Pushpa takes the smallest children to visit their mothers, bringing food, clothing and drinking water.

In order to fund her activities, the young social worker set up small stalls to sell cards, necklaces, bracelets and other trinkets made in prison by the young inmates.

She has also opened a bank account for each child to set aside some money for their higher education.



Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The diocese was founded thanks to the work of evangelization of the Comboni Missionaries. The Comboni Missionaries are still present in our diocese and we are very happy to have them with us, " says to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Sabino Ocan Odoki, Bishop of Arua, who this year celebrates the centenary of the evangelization of the area . "The conclusive celebrations started on December 9th and we are very happy to see a massive participation of the faithful, many of whom come here to Arua on foot from the entire territory of the diocese," says Mgr. Odoki. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, is on a pastoral visit in Arua for this very solemn occasion (see Fides 12/12/2012; 13/12/2012).
With regards to the future prospects of evangelization in his diocese, Mgr. Odoki says: "We will continue to work in the spirit of the Comboni missionaries, opening new parishes especially in towns like Arua, Koboko, Moyo and Adjumani, and expand the network of centers of Catechism throughout the entire diocesan territory. In this sense we are a missionary diocese, because we have many priestly and religious vocations. "
Among the most important realities created by the Comboni Missionaries in Arua is Radio Pacis directed by Fr. Tonino Pasolini, a Comboni. "After 100 years since the arrival of the first Comboni missionaries in Arua, we are still present, but we are few, because St. Comboni gave us the mandate to 'save Africa with the Africans'. At present most of the activities of the diocese is run by Ugandan diocesan priests " says Fr. Pasolini to Fides Agency. "The Comboni Missionaries are present in the Minor Basilica of Lodonga and in another parish, and in Radio Pacis, which broadcasts in three frequencies. The first two are transmitted from Arua and the third from Gulu. "
"Radio Pacis covers therefore several dioceses in Uganda until Karamogia. The name of the radio itself was chosen to give hope to the people exhausted by the war of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), which for decades has terrorized northern Uganda and has now moved its operations in other Countries," the missionary continues. "Thank God, today, in all the regions where Radio Pacis signal is present there is no more war; there is peace and desire to resume their lives," concludes Fr. Pasolini. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 13/12/2012)


The Most Reverend Walter F. Sullivan, D.D., Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, died on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at the age of 84.

Bishop Walter F. Sullivan, 11thBishop of Richmond, died on Tuesday evening, December 11that his home in Richmond. We commend him to Our Lord Jesus and ask your prayers for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his beloved family and dear friends.

A man of the Gospel, he sought to "Unite All in Christ," and was a priest who stood for justice, compassion and peace.

"Well done, good and faithful servant. Inherit your master's joy."(Matthew 25:23)

Funeral Arrangements Are As Follows:
The Liturgies will take place at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart located at 18 N. Laurel Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23220.

Tuesday, December 18th
2:00 PM Rite of Reception of the Body
3:00 PM Public Visitation until the Evening Prayer/Vigil Service
6:30 PM Evening Prayer/Vigil Service

Wednesday, December 19th
10:30 AM Mass of Christian Burial followed by Internment in the Cathedral Crypt
Following the Mass, there will be a light reception at Virginia Commonwealth University, Shafer Court

  Bishop Sullivan was born on June 10, 1928, in Washington, D.C., to Walter Francis Sullivan and Catherine Vanderloo. He was educated at Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C., St. Charles College in Cantonsville, Maryland, and St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. Bishop Sullivan was ordained to the priesthood on May 9, 1953, in Richmond, Virginia. He studied canon law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and received his degree in 1960. He became Secretary of the Diocesan Tribunal in May of that year. The then Father Sullivan was named Chancellor of the Diocese in February, 1965, and Rector of the Cathedral in October of 1967. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese on December 1, 1970, and was installed as the Bishop of the newly redrawn Diocese of Richmond on July 19, 1974.

His pastoral assignments in the Diocese of Richmond included: Associate pastor at St. Andrew's Parish in Roanoke and St. Mary's Parish in Fort Monroe (Hampton), and rector and pastor at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Virginia.

Bishop Sullivan served on the boards of the Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy in Washington, D.C.; the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and on numerous diocesan boards. He has been on the boards of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities; the Christian Children's Fund based in Richmond; the Catholic Committee of Appalachia and on the Administrative Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Likewise, he served as the Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement.

He is survived by his sisters, Kathleen McGowan of Richmond, Virginia, and Betty Hughes of Rockville, Maryland, and their families. Please remember Bishop Sullivan and his family in your prayers.


Matthew 11: 11 - 15
11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John;
14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Eli'jah who is to come.
15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.


St. Lucy
Feast: December 13

Feast Day:December 13
Born:284, Syracuse
Died:304, Syracuse
Major Shrine:San Geremia, Venice
Patron of:blind; martyrs; epidemics; salesmen, throat infections

The glorious virgin and martyr St. Lucy, one of the brightest ornaments of the church of Sicily, was born of honourable and wealthy parents in the city of Syracusa, and educated from her cradle in the faith of Christ. She lost her father in her infancy, but Eutychia, her mother, took singular care to furnish her with tender and sublime sentiments of piety and religion. By the early impressions which Lucy received and the strong influence of divine grace, Lucy discovered no disposition but toward virtue, and she was yet very young when she offered to God the flower of her virginity. This vow, however, she kept a secret, and her mother, who was a stranger to it, pressed her to marry a young gentleman who was a pagan. The saint sought occasions to hinder this design from taking effect, and her mother was visited with a long and troublesome flux of blood, under which she laboured four years without finding any remedy by recourse to physicians. At length she was persuaded by her daughter to go to Catana and offer up her prayers to God for relief at the tomb of St. Agatha. St. Lucy accompanied her thither, and their prayers were successful.
Hereupon our saint disclosed to her mother her desire of devoting herself to God in a state of perpetual virginity, and of bestowing her fortune on the poor: and Eutychia, in gratitude, left her at full liberty to pursue her pious inclinations. The young nobleman, with whom the mother had treated about marrying her, came to understand this by the sale of her jewels and goods, and the distribution of the price among the poor, and in his rage accused her before the governor Paschasius as a Christian, the persecution of Diocletian then raging with the utmost fury. The judge commanded the holy virgin to be exposed to prostitution in a brothel" house; but God rendered her immovable, so that the guards were not able to carry her thither. He also made her an over-match for the cruelty of the persecutors, in overcoming fire and other torments. After a long and glorious combat she died in prison of the wounds she had received,—about the year 304. She was honoured at Rome in the sixth century among the most illustrious virgins and martyrs, whose triumphs the church celebrates, as appears from the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, Bede, and others. Her festival was kept in England till the change of religion, as a holy day of the second rank, in which no work but tillage or the like was allowed. Her body remained at Syracusa for many years; but was at length translated into Italy, and thence by the authority of the Emperor Otho I to Metz, as Sigebert of Gemblours relates. It is there exposed to public veneration in a rich chapel of St. Vincent's Church. A portion of her relics was carried to Constantinople and brought thence to Venice, where it is kept with singular veneration. St. Lucy is often painted with the balls of her eyes laid in a dish: perhaps her eyes were defaced or plucked out, though her present acts make no mention of any such circumstance. In many places her intercession is particularly implored for distempers of the eyes.
It is a matter of the greatest consequence what ideas are stamped upon the ductile minds of children, what sentiments are impressed on their hearts, and to what habits they are first formed. Let them be inured to little denials both in their will and senses, and learn that pleasures which gratify the senses must be guarded against, and used with great fear and moderation: for by them the taste is debauched, and the constitution of the soul broken and spoiled much more fatally than that of the body can be by means contrary to its health.
There are few Lucys nowadays among Christian ladies, because sensuality, pride, and vanity are instilled into their minds by the false maxims and pernicious example of those with whom they first converse. Alas I unless a constant watchfulness and restraint both produce and strengthen good habits, the inclinations of our souls lean of their own accord toward corruption.