Friday, January 25, 2013


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The commission was instituted ten years ago as a initiative of the ecclesial authorities of the family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The commission has dedicated this week to exploring "more fully the communion and communication which existed between the Churches in the first five centuries of Christian history", Benedict XVI said, expressing his hope that "relations between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches will continue to develop in a fraternal spirit of cooperation, particularly through the growth of a theological dialogue capable of helping all the Lord’s followers to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel."
"Many of you," he concluded, "come from areas where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all. Through you, I would like to assure all the faithful of the Middle East of my spiritual closeness and my prayer that this land, so important in God’s plan of salvation, may be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in serving the cause of peace and justice in fidelity to the Lord’s will. May the example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints, who throughout the ages have borne courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen all of us in meeting the challenges of the present with confidence and hope in the future which the Lord is opening before us."
Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – 'Ministrorum institutio' is the title of the Motu Proprio by which the Holy Father modifies the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus', (John Paul II, 1988) and transfers the competency for seminaries from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the Congregation for the Clergy. Following are ample extracts from the document.
"The formation of sacred ministers was one of the main concerns of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, who wrote that, 'fully aware that the desired renewal of the whole Church depends to a great extent on the ministry of its priests, [the Council] proclaims the extreme importance of priestly training'. In this context, canon 232 of the Code of Canon Law claims 'the duty and the proper and exclusive right' of the formation of those who are designated for the sacred ministries?that by regulation takes place in seminaries?as belonging to the Church."
"The first body of a universal character entrusted with the foundation, government, and administration of seminaries … was the Congregatio Seminariorum instituted by Benedict XIII in the constitution 'Creditae Nobis' (1725). Over time that organisation became defunct and the seminaries continued to receive the Holy See's particular consideration through the Sacred Congregation of the Council (which today is the Congregation for the Clergy) or also through the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars and, from 1906, only by means of the latter."
"With the Apostolic Constitution 'Sapienti consilio' (1908), St. Pius X reserved jurisdiction over seminaries to the Sacred Consistorial Congregation. … With the Motu Proprio 'Seminaria clericorum' (1915), Benedict XV … created a new dicastery that took the name 'Sacra Congregatio de Seminariis et Studiorum Universitatibus'. The Holy Father explained his decision as due to concern for the increasing amount of issues and the importance of the office. … The new dicastery ... was adopted by the Code of Canon Law of 1917."
"It is significant to note that, during the drafting of the new Code, there was discussion regarding the possibility of maintaining the same provision but, in the end, it seemed more appropriate to premise the entire norm as an introduction to the part that dealt with the clergy. Thus the rules and directives regarding seminaries were included … under the apt title of 'The Formation of Clerics'. … The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council again recalled that 'major seminaries are necessary for priestly formation' … Therefore, according to the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law of 1983, seminaries fall under the sphere of the 'formation of clerics' that, to be true and effective, must seal permanent formation with seminary formation …"
"As my venerated predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, affirmed in the Apostolic Exhortation 'Pastores dabo vobis' (1992) … 'It is particularly important to be aware of and to respect the intrinsic link between formation before ordination to the priesthood and formation after ordination. Should there be a break in continuity, or worse a complete difference between these two phases of formation, there would be serious and immediate repercussions on pastoral work and fraternal communion among priests, especially those in different age groups'."
"I find it opportune, therefore, to assign the promotion and governance of everything regarding the formation, the life, and the ministry of priests and deacons to the Congregation for the Clergy: from the pastoral care for vocations and the selection of candidates for Holy Orders?including their personal, spiritual, doctrinal, and pastoral formation in seminaries and special centres for permanent deacons?to their permanent formation?including living conditions and procedures for exercising their ministry and their welfare and social assistance."
Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – With the Motu Proprio “Fides per doctrinam” that was signed 16 January and published today, the Holy Father modifies the apostolic constitution "Pastor bonus", transferring responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation. Following are ample extracts from the document.
"Faith," the Pope writes, "needs to be supported by doctrine that is capable of illuminating the minds and hearts of believers. This particular historical moment in which we are living, marked among other things by a dramatic crisis of faith, requires an awareness that is able to respond to the high expectations that arise in the hearts of believers when facing the new questions that challenge the world and the Church. Understanding faith, therefore, always requires that its content be expressed in a new language, one capable of presenting the living hope of believers to those inquiring into its purpose."
"On the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, while the Church continues to reflect on the richness of the teaching contained its documents and to find new ways of putting it into practice, it is possible to see the long path travelled over these decades in the area of catechesis. It has been a path, however, that in the years following the Council has not been without mistakes, even serious ones, both in method and in content. All of this has brought about profound reflection and led to the development of post-conciliar documents that represent a new wealth in catechesis."
"The Council's teachings and the subsequent Magisterium, as interpreters of the Church's great tradition in this field, have connected the Catechism ever more closely to the process of evangelisation. The Catechism, therefore, represents a significant step in the daily life of the Church, announcing and communicating the Word of God in a living and effective manner, so that it might reach all and that believers might be trained and educated in Christ to build His body, which is the Church."
"In the Apostolic Letter, formulated as a Motu Proprio, 'Ubicumque et sempter' of 21 September, 2010, I instituted the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation to pursue 'its own ends both by encouraging reflection on topics of the new evangelisation, and by identifying and promoting suitable ways and means to accomplish it'. In particular, I wanted to assign the task of promoting 'the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an essential and complete formulation of the content of the faith for the people of our time' to the new dicastery."
"Given all this, I believe it opportune that that dicastery assume as part of its institutional tasks the one of caring for, on behalf of the Roman Pontiff, the relevant instrument of evangelisation that the Catechism, along with catechetical teaching in all its diverse forms, represents for the Church in order to bring about a more organic and effective pastoral outreach. This new pontifical council will be able to provide the local churches and the diocesan bishops an appropriate service in this area."
"Accepting the agreement proposed by the heads of the dicasteries concerned, therefore, I have decided to transfer the competency for catechesis that the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus' had entrusted to the Congregation for the Clergy on 28 June 1988, to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, with the same jurisdiction in the matter as previously exercised by the Congregation as required by canon law."
Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – This Sunday, 27 January, will mark the 60th World Day for the Fight Against Leprosy. For the occasion, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, has published a message entitled: "A Fitting Occasion for Intensifying the Service of Charity". In the text of the document the archbishop notes that Hansen's disease is "a malady that is as old as it is grave when we consider the suffering, the social exclusion and the poverty that [it] involves".
"According to the most recent data of the WHO," the message states, "about 220,000 people?men, women and children?contracted leprosy in 2011 and many of these new cases were diagnosed when the disease was at an advanced stage. These data demonstrate the continuation?notwithstanding the praiseworthy action of international and national, governmental and non-governmental, institutions, such as the WHO and the Raoul Follereau Foundation and the Sasakawa Foundation?of a still insufficient level of access to centres that offer diagnoses and of a lack of education as regards prevention in communities that run the risk of contagion, as well as the need for specifically designed medico-hygienic initiatives. All of this is fundamental in the case of leprosy, which by now does not lead to death if it is suitably treated, as it is the case, to a greater extent, of the other ‘neglected diseases’ ... These are pathologies that constitute authentic scourges in some parts of the world but which do not receive sufficient attention from the international community; amongst these pathologies we find dengue fever, sleeping sickness, bilharziosis, onchocerciasis, leishmaniasis, and trachoma."
"In the face of such a health-care emergency, in the light of the Year of Faith as well, and with the wish to commit ourselves increasingly intensely, as Catholics, to carrying out what Jesus requested by his commandment ‘Euntes docete et curate infirmos’ and by our baptism, I wish to renew my invitation to work to ensure that this Sixtieth World Leprosy Day constitutes a new ‘fitting occasion for intensifying the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us’."
"An equally important role should also be played by all those people who are victims of leprosy, who are called to cooperate in the establishment of a more inclusive and just society that will allow the integration of those people who have been cured of leprosy; in spreading and promoting its forms of diagnosis and treatment; in stressing the need to receive therapies so as to be cured, thereby contributing to a weakening of the disease; and in distributing those medico-hygienic criteria that are indispensable to hindering its further propagation in the contexts to which they belong."
"As a Christian, a person who has been afflicted by leprosy also has the possibility of living his or her condition in a perspective of faith, ‘finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love’, praying and offering up his or her suffering for the good of the Church and humanity. In awareness that what has been emphasised is certainly not easy, and requires charity towards themselves and their neighbours, hope, courage, patience and determination, I would like to observe, employing the words of St. Paul, that none of us ‘received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear’: we have ‘received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!"’. And, ‘if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him’. Even in the most adverse situations, a Christian is certain that ‘nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’," concludes the text.
Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and
- Mr. Nikolay Sadchikov, ambassador of the Russian Federation, on his farewell visit.
Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kalookan, Philippines presented by Bishop Deogracias S. Iniguez in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- appointed Bishop Buenaventura Malayo Famadico as bishop of San Pablo (area 1,203, population 2,821,000, Catholics 2,466,000, priests 172, religious 508), Philippines. Bishop Famadico was born in 1956 in Banton, Romblon, Philippines, was ordained to the priesthood in 1983, and received episcopal ordination in 2002. He was previously bishop of Gumaca, Philippines from 2003. He succeeds Bishop Leo M. Drona, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of San Pablo the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.


POPE BENEDICT XVI encouraged the March for Life in Washington DC saying via his
@pontifex Twitter ,  "I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life."

Homily of Most Rev. Kevin J. Farrell, Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas
The Vigil for Life

The National Shrine, Washington, D.C.
Friday 25 January 2013
In the name of Jesus Christ I welcome all of you who have come today to celebrate God’s greatest gift to us – the gift of human life and to commemorate with sadness that tragic decision, 40 years ago, that has led to the death of over 55 million innocent children, fellow citizens whose rights were not respected or defended. (IMAGE SHARE GOOGLE)
We come together at this celebration of the Mass to thank God for this gift of life and to pray for a change of heart for those who do not respect life from the moment of conception to its natural end. We began our pilgrimage last night with the Mass, many of you have spent the night in prayer and now it is time to go beyond the doors of this “House of Mary” and to give witness to the whole world as St. Mark tells us in today’s Gospel. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature”. Mk 16:15.
How appropriate it is that today is the Feast of the “Conversion of St. Paul”. Most of us, when we think of St. Paul, we think of the great Apostle, the great preacher of the Word of God, the great missionary, the one who was not afraid to stand in the center of Athens and preach the Word of God to politicians and intellectuals. We think of St. Paul as the one who preached “in season and out of season”, as the apostle who was a great missionary to cultures that were totally indifferent or openly hostile to the Christian way of life, as the man who wrote so many letters to the early Christian communities, explaining the Faith to the people, and, as the great evangelizer. Yes, most of us think of Paul as a man filled with zeal for Christ and his Word.
However, there was another side to Paul. Just as he was zealous about teaching and giving witness to Jesus Christ, he was, before his conversion, just as zealous about persecuting the followers of Christ. His hatred of Christ and his message, before his conversion, was in direct proportion to the great love and apostolic zeal he experienced after his conversion.
On this 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the example of Paul’s conversion fills us with great Hope. If Jesus and his Word could change the
heart of Paul, His Word can change the mind and the heart of those who do not respect human life.
Over the past 40 years we have labored in the name of Jesus to rid our nation of the tragic scourge of abortion. We have had some success. Today, there is a nationwide decline in both the number and rate of abortions. More and more people understand the truth that the child in the womb is a human being. Sadly, over 1 million innocent children lose their lives each year through abortion. After these 40 years of hard work we may feel like the “chosen people” of the Old Testament who wandered through the desert for 40 years. The Lord made a covenant with them that they would inherit the Promised Land, but with all the setbacks, the discouragement, the suffering and pain and the passage of time, they began to lose hope. Without faith, we too can begin to lose hope of ever changing the hearts of those who do not believe in the sanctity of human life. There is a real danger that we too can become complacent.
Dear brothers and sisters, Christ has promised us that His Word will prevail. We cannot lose hope. We must continue the struggle in positive, life-affirming ways. We must pray and we must continue to make our voices heard so that our elected leaders know that there are many who stand for life. We must never give up…
At times we can fall on our knees before God and complain as did the apostles… “Lord we have labored all night and caught nothing…” In his name we will cast the nets…we will continue we will not lose hope.
It is important to note that the 40th anniversary occurs during the Year of Faith. In announcing this Year of Faith Pope Benedict states that “we must open our hearts to be touched and transformed by the grace and Word of God”. (Porta Fidei No.1). The Year of Faith is a call to all of us to put more “life and energy into our faith”. It is a time to re-commit ourselves to living our faith and living the Gospel of Life. It is also a time to examine how we teach or preach the Word of God. The New Evangelization is about how we communicate the message of the Gospel to others.
Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical letter “The Gospel of Life” reminds us that “when the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life”. (no.21). If we wish to change the “culture of death” in our society we must restore God to the center of our lives. The power of the Gospel is to transform humanity from within and to make it new. Like the yeast which leavens the bread, the Gospel is meant to permeate all cultures and give them life from within so that they may express the full truth about the human person and about human life.
Brothers and sisters, in this Year of Faith we need to renew our commitment to building a “Culture of Life” in our communities. We need to refocus our energies. A “Culture of Life” is not only a deterrent to abortion but it is the answer to many of the evils that afflict our society today: it would promote respect for all human life, in every situation, circumstance and stage of life. A “Culture of Life” would never permit the violence that permeates our lives; it would never permit the lack of reverence and respect for the dignity of every human person. It is time for us to focus more on the need to change the “minds and hearts” of people as Jesus did, one person at a time. We can change the world as Jesus did, by placing more emphasis on the teaching of the Word of God, just as we are called to do in the New Evangelization.
The Apostles carried on the work of building up the Church in a world and culture that was totally opposed to the teaching of Jesus. Blessed John Paul, when he challenged us to create a culture of life, knew that many times we would find ourselves in situations where civil laws would be contrary to God’s law; he knew that we would be called to live our faith in cultures that were adverse to the Gospel; he understood that we had to do all that we could to change the laws or make them inoperative by creating in our communities a culture that would instinctively reject such laws or such a philosophy of life. This is the work which Pope Benedict calls us to in this Year of Faith.
Brothers and sisters let us renew our faith and our commitment to give witness to the Gospel of Christ. Let us not yield to discouragement and let us never lose hope. We shall overcome all the difficulties and challenges we have to face. Jesus promised us that His Word would prevail.
We gather this morning in prayer so that we may be nourished by the bread of life. We are convinced that our voice will become irresistible, because we will speak with the power of love, the love of Jesus for humanity. And, as we do so we will create a “Culture of Life”.
On this day in which we commemorate the conversion of St. Paul, let us be filled with the zeal of Paul. Let us imitate Peter and Paul and preach the Gospel even in Rome and Athens, even to those who do not wish to hear it. Peter and Paul transformed the world with the Word of God.
Let us go forth from this church today filled with the zeal of Paul and ready to evangelize and give witness to the faith we have received.
May God bless each one of you.


by Reggie Littlejohn
The US pro-life movement recognises Reggie Littlejohn for her work against China's one-child policy. She wonders where "the pro-choice movement" stands on the issue, whether "forced abortion and sterilisation" ordered by the Communist Party are a choice. United, victory is possible.

Washington (AsiaNews) - In a few hours, about half a million people are expected in the US capital for the annual March for life against abortion. It is the 40th anniversary of the first rally by the pro-life movement. Today's event includes prayers and in-depth discussions about life and what threatens it in the world.

This year, the Pro-Life Recognition Award goes to Reggie Littlejohn whose organisation, Women's Rights Without Frontiers, has opposed forced abortions and sterilization in China.

What follows is the speech she will deliver tonight.

It is truly humbling to receive this award, which I accept on behalf of the women and children of China, who suffer unspeakably under China's brutal One Child Policy. The fact that you have chosen to recognize my work to end forced abortion and gendercide in China indicates that the focus of the U.S. pro-life movement extends beyond the shores of this land to human rights atrocities occurring on the other side of the earth -- at the hands of a brutal totalitarian regime, the Chinese Communist Party.

You may have heard reports that China is ending its One-Child Policy. This is untrue. As recently as January 14, 2013, Wang Xia, Chairman of the National Population and Family planning Commission, stated, "We must unwaveringly adhere to the One Child Policy as a national policy to stabilize the low birth rate as the primary task." China's One Child Policy is here to stay.

The magnitude of suffering is almost unimaginable. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the U.S. has had about 55 million abortions. Since the One-Child Policy was instituted in 1980, the Chinese Communist Party boasts that it has "prevented" 400 million births. That's more than the entire population of the United States.

Many of these births are "prevented" through forced abortion. Family Planning Police drag women out of their homes and force them to abort their babies, up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Family Planning Officials also order involuntary sterilizations, and even infanticide, the killing of infants.

Because of the preference for boys, girls are targeted for abortion, just because they are girls. According to one UN estimate, up to 200 million women are missing in the world today because of sex-selective abortion.

China's One Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth, and any other official policy in the history of the world, because of the sheer numbers involved. One woman out of every five on earth is Chinese. This is the real "war against women."

Thank you for caring about the women and babies of China. You are to be commended for taking on one of the toughest international issues of our age: the coercive enforcement of China's One Child Policy.

My question is: where is the pro-choice movement on this? Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, no one supports forced abortion because it is not a choice. Why isn't the pro-choice movement condemning forced abortion in China? Why aren't they standing against forced sterilization? Why aren't they crying out against the selective abortion of baby girls? Right now, as I am speaking to you, women are being dragged out of their homes, strapped down to tables, and forcibly aborted and sterilized. I challenge these organizations to take a stand.

And yet there is hope. Women's Rights Without Frontiers recently launched a "Save a Girl" campaign that is saving the lives of baby girls in China. We have field workers who identify women who have had an ultrasound, discovered that they are carrying girls, and plan to abort or abandon them. We reach out to these mothers, persuade them to keep their daughters, and give them a monthly stipend for a year to help them support their baby girls. This campaign is saving lives in China. You can find it on the Women's Rights Without Frontiers website.

I am truly thankful for this award, but more than that, for every committed life in this room. May the power of every ignited heart combine to burst into a flame that will set the world on fire.





John Cardinal Njue
Nairobi, January 22, 2013 (CISA) -John Cardinal Njue has urged Catholic doctors in the country to be always at forefront in protecting and defending human life.
The Cardinal, who was officially launching the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA) on January 22 at Nairobi’s Holy Family Minor Basilica said “to be a medical doctor within the Catholic faith was more than a profession.”
“Here one is not only expected to treat the Sick professionally, but to allow one’s faith to prevail at all times,” he said.
The Cardinal, accompanied by more than ten bishops, welcomed the formation of KCDA, hoping that the association will go a long way to assist its members be better placed in their profession.
“The formation of KCDA is being instituted when human life faces many a challenges today. Some of them calling for a serious commitment on the side of the doctors,” he pointed out.
Addressing the gathering, which brought together Catholic doctors from various dioceses, the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Health, The Rt Rev Paul Kariuki Njiru of Embu Diocese, said the role of the Catholic Church in health sector in the country was quite appreciable.
“Some of our health Centers /hospitals are serving the needy in some of the remote and marginalized areas of the country. Our services in the health sector is to compliment those of the Government,” said the Bishop.
In his welcoming speech, the Chairman of KCDA, Dr Stephen Kimotho Karanja said the new Catholic doctors’ body has laid out some guidelines for any member of the association.
Some of those guidelines include; members must not commit, support, and refer for advice in the association which must at all thus be clearly defined as deliberate killing of the human being.
Other guidelines include that the member of the association must not give, use, support, propagate or distribute contraceptive and other population control gadgets that are meant to destroy the family.
Members of the association must not support movements that propagate the culture of death and also that they must reject euthanasia.
The grand occasion, where the Cardinal blessed some of the medical gadgets, was also attended among others by Jacinta Mutegi, the Executive Secretary for the Bishops’ Health Commission.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Young Catholics throughout Chile arrived in Concepcion to participate in the First National Congress of Catholic youth, from 23 to 27 January. From 6am yesterday, 23 January, the PalaSport in the town of Concepcion received delegations of young people, after a journey which took several hours from Temuco, Valdivia, Los Angeles, Antofagasta, Valparaiso, La Serena, San Felipe, Iquique, Punta Arenas, Calama, Rancagua, Osorno and Villarrica, among others. With them the representatives of the apostolic movements, pastoral delegates of higher education and pastoral Commissions of the various ecclesial realities.
"In the history of Pastoral Youth in Chile there is no previous event that has brought so many young people (about one thousand) to share, listen together and formulate the paths for the future of the Church incarnated in the witness of the Catholic youth," is what the statement said sent by the Episcopal Conference of Chile to Fides Agency, which reports the first impressions of the members of the "Vicaris de la Esperanza Joven", one of the groups called to organize the event.
"What matters in the National Congress of Catholic youth, with about one thousand delegates representing many other young people, is not numbers, but the heart of Catholic identity on which the Father's love is printed, given to all, without distinction," said the note, which then concludes:" From the heart of Aparecida, we will live a great opportunity to renew ourselves as Church and as missionary disciples. To do this we will see the reality of youth as a gift and we will respond to the challenge that offers the slogan that guided the steps of the Youth Mission: 'So that young people, in Jesus, have life in abundance.' "(CE) (Agenzia Fides 24/01/2013)


CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: By Chris Horton on Friday, 25 January 2013
A replica of the Coronation Crown at Sotheby's (Photo: PA)
A replica of the Coronation Crown at Sotheby's (Photo: PA)
A Catholic MP has called the Bill reforming Britain’s succession laws an “attack” on the Catholic Church because it still forbids Catholics from ascending to the throne.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, said during a debate in the House of Commons that he would like to amend the Bill to allow a Catholic to become monarch.
Mr Rees-Mogg criticised the Bill in both its content and the speed with which it is being processed. He said the Bill was being “done in a rush as if it is counter-terrorism legislation”. He added: “It is an insult to the nation… to our sovereign and indeed to Parliament.”
Throughout the debate, Mr Rees-Mogg voiced concerns about the implications of allowing royal heirs to marry Catholics considering the legislation stopped a Catholic from becoming monarch. He said, in relation to this dilemma: “By amending the statutes, we are saying that all the provisions are modernised, and that the Act of Settlement and all its anti-Catholic provisions are acceptable in a modern world.”
Sir Gerald Howarth MP ended the debate saying: “There is a paradox in the situation in which we find ourselves. The Government are seeking to end part of a discriminatory law, and yet have resurrected rather a lot of hurt.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The current law says that our monarch can’t be married to a Catholic. This legal ban doesn’t apply to any other faith.”
He added: “Today we do not support laws which discriminate on either religious or gender grounds. They have no place in modern Britain, and certainly not in our monarchy.”
Mr Clegg proposed the Bill to amend what he termed the “bygone laws” enabling a female first-born heir to be superseded in line to the throne by her younger brothers.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
25 Jan 2013

Free recitals will be given on St Mary's 3600 pipe organ on Australia Day
The weekly practice session tonight by St Mary's Cathedral team of volunteer bell ringers will also be their final rehearsal before Saturday when they will give three separate performances ringing out the Cathedral bells as part of Sydney's Australia Day celebrations.
Under the direction of the Cathedral's Bell Captain, Kathi Downs St Mary's volunteer bell ringers will not only be ringing the bells on Saturday, 26 January but will play host to the countless Sydneysiders who have booked tours, eager to climb the 120 steps to the Cathedral belltower to see the massive set of 14 cast iron bells and to watch the bell ringers in action.
Tours of the Cathedral's belltower and the joyous peal of bells across the city are one of the highlights of Australia Day.
While the city's iconic Catholic Cathedral itself is an integral part of Sydney's Australia Day celebrations.

Murray-Luke Peard volunteer ringer high in the belfry of St Mary's Cathedral
This year is no different with the Cathedral offering a packed program of organ and opera recitals, face painting and story-telling for children in the baptistry, a series of guided history tours as well as tours of the Crypt with its world-famous hand-crafted terrazzo floor and historical displays some of the early chalices and vestments used and worn by John Bede Polding, the nation's first Catholic Archbishop.
The history of the Cathedral which was designed by William Wardell is intertwined with the history of the city itself dating back to the days of convict chain gangs and bullock drawn carts.
"The Cathedral's bell ringers love ringing the bells on Australia Day and we particularly showing people around and telling them a bit about the history of the bells," says Murray-Luke Peard.
The 36-year-old post graduate student, musicologist, capella sublime singer and IT expert has been ringing the bells at the Cathedral for the past six years.

Spectacular ceiling of the central belltower at St Mary's Cathedral
"As happens with most of us, what began as a hobby quickly became a passion," he says.
According to Murray-Luke, the responses from people who take the tour of the belltower are almost always marked by surprise and amazement at the massive size of the bells, the largest of which weighs a hefty 1746 kilos.
"Children are in awe while their parents are keen to know the story of St Mary's 14 bells, or 'set' as they are known," he says.
For architectural buffs there are also questions about the beautifully carved hand painted oak ceiling of the central tower, while others want to know what it takes to become a ringer and how strong you have to be to pull the ropes of one of the larger bells.
"Physical co ordination helps but strength is not an issue," he says explaining that the bells are balanced in such a way that once a ringer develops his skills there is no need for muscle power.

Thomas Wilson Director of Music at St Mary's Cathedral
"But being physically fit helps if there is a long session," he admits.
Together with the tours, two other very special highlights of Saturday's Australia Day celebrations at the Cathedral are performances by opera singers and also recitals by two of the world's internationally acclaimed organists.
Thomas Wilson, Director of Music at the Cathedral and an outstanding organist will give a recital inside the Cathedral from 10.30 to, while Oliver Brett, St Mary's Assistant Director of Music and a renowned organist will give a recital at 3.00 to 3.30 pm.
Both recitals will be played on the Cathedral's spectacular 3600 pipe organ. Every visitor to St Mary's Cathedral is struck by the visually-stunning organ which sits beneath a rose window in the Cathedral's western transept. Built by Canadian organ builder Fernand Letourneau in 1999, the Cathedral's organ's vast array of pipes include some the size of trees and others no more than a few centimetres high. The size and large number of pipes creates a vast range of tonal resources and the recitals are sure to thrill music lovers.
Among the pieces planned for the afternoon recital will be Robert Ampt's Trumpet Tune for Organ, June Nixon's Mr Purcell's Procession and Dulcie Holland's Toccata in the Baroque style.

Bell ringing and historic tours of the Cathedral part of the Australia Day program
The opera recitals promise to be equally impressive. To experience opera sung in a magnificent setting like the Cathedral with its outstanding acoustics will be a thrilling experience says Thomas Wilson.
The recitals and opera performances are free and all are welcome.
In addition to the celebrations planned at the Cathedral on Saturday there will also be an important Mass and commemoration of the Fallen. The Mass will take place at Noon and will include the laying of a wreath at the Cathedral's Fallen Soldier Memorial.

For details of times and events log on to



Mark 16: 15 - 18

15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."


Conversion of St. Paul
Feast: January 25

Feast Day:January 25
This great apostle was a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin. At his circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth, he received the name of Saul. His father was by sect a Pharisee, and a denizen of Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia: which city had shown a particular regard for the cause of the Caesars; on which account Cassius deprived it of its privileges and lands; but Augustus when conqueror, made it ample amends by honoring it with many new privileges, and with the freedom of Rome, as we read in the two Dions and Appian. Hence St. Paul, being born at Tarsus, was by privilege a Roman citizen, to which quality a great distinction and several exemptions were granted by the laws of the empire. His parents sent him young to Jerusalem, where he was educated and instructed in the strictest observance of the law of Moses, by Gamaliel, a learned and noble Jew, and probably a member of the Sanhedrin; and was a most scrupulous observer of it in every point. He appeals even to his enemies to bear evidence how conformable to it his life had been in every respect. He embraced the sect of the Pharisees, which was of all others the most severe, though by its pride the most opposite to the humility of the gospel. It was a rule among the Jews that all their children were to learn some trade with their studies, were it but to avoid idleness, and to exercise the body, as well as the mind, in something serious. It is therefore probable that Saul learned in his youth the trade which  he exercised even after his apostleship, of making tents.

Saul, surpassing all his equals in zeal for the Jewish law and their traditions, which he thought the cause of God, became thereby a  blasphemer, a persecutor, and the most outrageous enemy of Christ. He was one of those who combined to murder St. Stephen, and by keeping the garments of all who stoned that holy martyr, he is said by St. Austin to have stoned him by the hands of all the rest6 to whose prayers for his enemies he ascribes the conversion of St. Paul: "If Stephen," said he, "had not prayed, the church would never have had St. Paul."

After the martyrdom of the holy deacon, the priests and magistrates of the Jews raised a violent persecution against the church at Jerusalem, in which Saul signalized himself above others. By virtue of the power he had received from the high priest, he dragged the Christians out of their houses, loaded them with chains, and thrust them into prison. He procured them  to be scourged in the synagogues, and endeavored by torments to compel them to blaspheme the name of Christ. And as our Saviour had always been represented by the leading men of the Jews as a n enemy to their law, it was no wonder that this rigorous Pharisee fully persuaded himself that <he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.> By the violences he committed, his name became everywhere a terror to the faithful. The persecutors not only raged against their persons, but also seized their estates and what they possessed in common, and left them in such extreme necessity, that the remotest churches afterwards thought it incumbent on them to join in charitable contributions to their relief. All this could not satisfy the fury of Saul; he breathed nothing but threats and the slaughter of the other disciples." Wherefore, in the fury of his zeal, he applied to the high priest and Sanhedrin for a commission to take up all Jews at Damascus who confessed Jesus Christ, and bring them bound to Jerusalem, that they might serve as public examples for the terror of others. But God was pleased to show forth in him his patience and mercy: and, moved by the prayers of St. Stephen and his other persecuted servants. for their enemies, changed him,, in the very heat of his fury, into a vessel of election, and made him a greater mall in his church by the grace of the apostleship, than St. Stephen had ever been, and a more illustrious instrument of his glory. He was almost at the end of his journey to Damascus, when, about noon, he and his company were ml a sudden surrounded by a great light from heaven, brighter than the sun. They all saw the light, and being struck with amazement, fell to the ground.. Then Saul heard a voice, which to him was articulate and distinct; but not understood, though heard by the rest : < Saul, Saul, why cost thou persecute me>? Christ said not: Why cost thou persecute my disciples? but me: for it is he, their head, who is chiefly persecuted in his servants. Saul answered: <Who art thou, Lord>? Christ said: <Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutes. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad>:—" to contend with one so much mightier than thyself. By persecuting my church you make it flourish, and only prick and hurt yourself." This mild expostulation of our Redeemer, accompanied with a powerful interior grace, strongly affecting his soul, cured his pride, assuaged his rage, and wrought at once a total change in him. Wherefore, trembling and astonished, he cried out: <Lord, what wilt thou have me to do>? What to repair the past? What to promote your glory? I make a joyful oblation of myself to execute your will in every thing, and to suffer for your sake afflictions, disgraces, persecutions, torments, and every sort of death. The true convert expressed this, not in a bare form of words, nor with faint languid desires, nor with any exception lurking in the secret recesses of his heart; but with an entire sacrifice of himself, and au heroic victory over the world with its frowns and charms, over the devils with their snares and threats, and over himself and all inclinations of self-love; devoting himself totally to God. A perfect model of a true conversion, the greatest work of almighty grace! Christ ordered him to arise and proceed on his journey to the city, where he should be informed of what he expected from him. Christ would not instruct him immediately by himself, but St. Austin observes, sent him to the ministry which he had established in the church, to be directed in the way of salvation by those whom he had appointed for that purpose. He would not finish the conversion and instruction of this great apostle, whom he was pleased to call in so wonderful a manner, but by remitting him to the guidance of his ministers; showing us thereby that his holy providence has so ordered it, that all who desire to serve him, should seek his will by listening to those whom he has commanded us to hear, and whom he has sent in his own name and appointed to be our guides. So perfectly would he abolish in his servants all self-confidence and presumption, the source of error and illusion. The convert, rising from the ground, found that, though his eyes were open, he saw nothing. Providence sent this corporal blindness to be an emblem of the spiritual blindness in which he had lived, and to signify to him that he was henceforward to die to the world, and learn to apply his mind totally to the contemplation of heavenly things.. He was led by the hand into Damascus, whither Christ seemed to conduct him in triumph. He was lodged in the house of a Jew named Judas, where he remained three days blind, and without eating or drinking. He doubtless spent his time in great bitterness of soul, not yet knowing what God required of him. With what anguish he bewailed his past blindness and false zeal against the church, we may conjecture both from his taking no nourishment during those three days, and from the manner in which he ever after remembered and spoke of his having been a blasphemer and a persecutor. Though the entire reformation of his heart was not gradual, as in ordinary conversions, but miraculous in the order of grace, and perfect in a moment; yet a time of probation and a severe interior trial (for such we cannot doubt but he went through on this occasion) was necessary to crucify the old man and all other earthly sentiments in his heart, and to prepare it to receive the extraordinary graces which God designed him. There was a Christian of distinction in Damascus, much respected by the Jews for his irreproachable life and great virtue; his name was Ananias. Christ appeared to this holy disciple, and commanded him to go to Saul, who was then in the house of Judas at prayer: Ananias trembled at the name of Saul, being no stranger to the mischief he had done in Jerusalem, or to the errand on which he was set out to Damascus. But our Redeemer overruled his fears, and charged him a second time to go to him, saying: <Go, for he is a vessel of election to carry my name before Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: and I will show him how much he has to suffer for my name.> For tribulation is the test and portion of all the true servants of Christ. Saul in the mean time saw in a vision a man entering, and  laying his hands upon him, to restore his sight. Ananias, obeying the divine order, arose, went to Saul, and laying his hands upon him, said: <Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to thee on thy journey, hath sent me that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.> Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his eyesight. Ananias added: <The God of our fathers hath chosen thee that thou shouldst know his will and see the just one, and shouldst hear the voice from his mouth: and thou shalt be his witness unto all men to publish what thou hast seen and heard. Arise, therefore, be baptized and washed from thy sins, invoking the name of the Lord.> Saul then arose, was baptized, and took some refreshment. He stayed some few days with the disci. pies at Damascus, and began immediately to preach in the synagogues, that Jesus was the Son of God, to the great astonishment of all that heard him, who said: <Is not this he who persecuted at Jerusalem those who invoked the name of Jesus, and who is come hither to carry them away prisoners>? Thus a blasphemer and a persecutor was made an apostle, and chosen to be one of the principal instruments of God in the conversion of the world.

St. Paul never recalled to mind this his wonderful conversion, without raptures of gratitude and praise to the divine mercy. The church, in thanksgiving to God for such a miracle of his grace, from which it has de rived such great blessings, and to commemorate so miraculous an instance of his almighty power, and to propose to penitents a perfect model of a true conversion has instituted this festival, which we find mentioned in several calendars and missals of the eighth and ninth centuries, and which pope Innocent III. commanded to be observed with great solemnity. It was for some time kept a holy day of obligation in most churches in the West; and we read it mentioned as such in England in the council of Oxford in 1222 in the reign of king Henry III.