Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Saint November 13 : St. Francis Xavier Cabrini : Patron of Immigrants and hospital administrators


St. Francis Xavier Cabrini
VIRGIN, FOUNDRESS
Feast: November 13
Information:
Feast Day:
November 13
Born:
July 15, 1850, Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, Italy
Died:
December 22, 1917, Chicago
Canonized:
July 7, 1946 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
Chapel of Mother Cabrini High School, New York City
Patron of:
immigrants, hospital administrators

As saint of our own time and as the first United States citizen to be elevated to sainthood, Mother Cabrini has a double claim on our interest. Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart and pioneer worker for the welfare of dispersed Italian nationals, this diminutive nun was responsible for the establishment of nearly seventy orphanages, schools, and hospitals, scattered over eight countries in Europe, North, South, and Central America. Still living are pupils, colleagues, and friends who remember Mother Cabrini vividly; her spirit continues to inspire the nuns who received their training at her hands. Since the record remains fresh in memory, and since the saint's letters and diaries have been carefully preserved, we have more authentic information about her, especially of the formative years, than we have concerning any other saint.
Francesca Cabrini was born on July 15, 1850, in the village of Sant' Angelo, on the outskirts of Lodi, about twenty miles from Milan, in the pleasant, fertile Lombardy plain. She was the thirteenth child of a farmer's family, her father Agostino being the proprietor of a modest estate. The home into which she was born was a comfortable, attractive place for children, with its flowering vines, its gardens, and animals; but its serenity and security was in strong contrast with the confusion of the times. Italy had succeeded in throwing off the Austrian yoke and was moving towards unity. Agostino and his wife Stella were conservative people who took no part in the political upheavals around them, although some of their relatives were deeply concerned in the struggle, and one, Agostino Depretis, later became prime minister. Sturdy and pious, the Cabrinis were devoted to their home, their children, and their Church. Signora Cabrini was fifty-two when Francesca was born, and the tiny baby seemed so fragile at birth that she was carried to the church for baptism at once. No one would have ventured to predict then that she would not only survive but live out sixty-seven extraordinarily active and productive years. Villagers and members of the family recalled later that just before her birth a flock of white doves circled around high above the house, and one of them dropped down to nestle in the vines that covered the walls.
The father took the bird, showed it to his children, then released it to fly away.
Since the mother had so many cares, the oldest daughter, Rosa, assumed charge of the newest arrival. She made the little Cecchina, for so the family called the baby, her companion, carried her on errands around the village, later taught her to knit and sew, and gave her religious instruction. In preparation for her future career as a teacher, Rosa was inclined to be severe. Her small sister's nature was quite the reverse; Cecchina was gay and smiling and teachable. Agostino was in the habit of reading aloud to his children, all gathered together in the big kitchen. He often read from a book of missionary stories, which fired little Cecchina's imagination. In her play, her dolls became holy nuns. When she went on a visit to her uncle, a priest who lived beside a swift canal, she made little boats of paper, dropped violets in them, called the flowers missionaries, and launched them to sail off to India and China. Once, playing thus, she tumbled into the water, but was quickly rescued and suffered only shock from the accident.
At thirteen Francesca was sent to a private school kept by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. Here she remained for five years, taking the course that led to a teacher's certificate. Rosa had by this time been teaching for some years. At eighteen Francesca passed her examinations, , and then applied for admission into the convent, in the hope that she might some day be sent as a teacher to the Orient. When, on account of her health, her application was turned down, she resolved to devote herself to a life of lay service. At home she shared wholeheartedly in the domestic tasks. Within the next few years she had the sorrow of losing both her parents. An epidemic of smallpox later ran through the village, and she threw herself into nursing the stricken. Eventually she caught the disease herself, but Rosa, now grown much gentler, nursed her so skillfully that she recovered promptly, with no disfigurement. Her oval face, with its large expressive blue eyes, was beginning to show the beauty that in time became so striking.
Francesca was offered a temporary position as substitute teacher in a village school, a mile or so away. Thankful for this chance to practice her profession, she accepted, learning much from her brief experience. She then again applied for admission to the convent of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, and might have been accepted, for her health was now much improved. However, the rector of the parish, Father Antonio Serrati, had been observing her ardent spirit of service and was making other plans for her future. He therefore advised the Mother Superior to turn her down once more.
Father Serrati, soon to be Monsignor Serrati, was to remain Francesca's lifelong friend and adviser. From the start he had great confidence in her abilities, and now he gave her a most difficult task. She was to go to a disorganized and badly run orphanage in the nearby town of Cadogno, called the House of Providence. It had been started by two wholly incompetent laywomen, one of whom had given the money for its endowment. Now Francesca was charged "to put things right," a large order in view of her youth-she was but twenty-four-and the complicated human factors in the situation. The next six years were a period of training in tact and diplomacy, as well as in the everyday, practical problems of running such an institution. She worked quietly and effectively, in the face of jealous opposition, devoting herself to the young girls under her supervision and winning their affection and cooperation. Francesca assumed the nun's habit, and in three years took her vows. By this time her ecclesiastical superiors were impressed by her performance and made her Mother Superior of the institution. For three years more she carried on, and then, as the foundress had grown more and more erratic, the House of Providence was dissolved. Francesca had under her at the time seven young nuns whom she had trained. Now they were all homeless.
At this juncture the bishop of Lodi sent for her and offered a suggestion that was to determine the nun's life work. He wished her to found a missionary order of women to serve in his diocese. She accepted the opportunity gratefully and soon discovered a house which she thought suitable, an abandoned Franciscan friary in Cadogno. The building was purchased, the sisters moved in and began to make the place habitable. Almost immediately it became a busy hive of activity. They received orphans and foundlings, opened a day school to help pay expenses, started classes in needlework and sold their fine embroidery to earn a little more money. Meanwhile, in the midst of superintending all these activities, Francesca, now Mother Cabrini, was drawing up a simple rule for the institute. As one patron, she chose St. Francis de Sales, and as another, her own name saint, St. Francis Xavier. The rule was simple, and the habit she devised for the hard-working nuns was correspondingly simple, without the luxury of elaborate linen or starched headdress. They even carried their rosaries in their pockets, to be less encumbered while going about their tasks. The name chosen for the order was the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
With the success of the institute and the growing reputation of its young founder, many postulants came asking for admission, more than the limited quarters could accommodate. The nuns' resources were now, as always, at a low level; nevertheless, expansion seemed necessary. Unable to hire labor, they undertook to be their own builders. One nun was the daughter of a bricklayer, and she showed the others how to lay bricks. The new walls were actually going up under her direction, when the local authorities stepped in and insisted that the walls must be buttressed for safety. The nuns obeyed, and with some outside help went on with the job, knowing they were working to meet a real need. The townspeople could not, of course, remain indifferent in the face of such determination. After two years another mission was started by Mother Cabrini, at Cremona, and then a boarding school for girls at the provincial capital of Milan. The latter was the first of many such schools, which in time were to become a source of income and also of novices to carry on the ever-expanding work. Within seven years seven institutions of various kinds, each founded to meet some critical need, were in operation, all staffed by nuns trained under Mother Cabrini.
In September, 1887, came the nun's first trip to Rome, always a momentous event in the life of any religious. In her case it was to mark the opening of a much broader field of activity. Now, in her late thirties, Mother Cabrini was a woman of note in her own locality, and some rumors of her work had undoubtedly been carried to Rome. Accompanied by a sister, Serafina, she left Cadogno with the dual purpose of seeking papal approval for the order, which so far had functioned merely on the diocesan level, and of opening a house in Rome which might serve as headquarters for future enterprises. While she did not go as an absolute stranger, many another has arrived there with more backing and stayed longer with far less to show.
Within two weeks Mother Cabrini had made contacts in high places, and had several interviews with Cardinal Parocchi, who became her loyal supporter, with full confidence in her sincerity and ability. She was encouraged to continue her foundations elsewhere and charged to establish a free school and kindergarten in the environs of Rome. Pope Leo XIII received her and blessed the work. He was then an old man of seventy-eight, who had occupied the papal throne for ten years and done much to enhance the prestige of the office. Known as the "workingman's Pope" because of his sympathy for the poor and his series of famous encyclicals on social justice, he was also a man of scholarly attainments and cultural interests. He saw Mother Cabrini on many future occasions, always spoke of her with admiration and affection, and sent contributions from his own funds to aid her work.
A new and greater challenge awaited the intrepid nun, a chance to fulfill the old dream of being a missionary to a distant land. A burning question of the day in Italy was the plight of Italians in foreign countries. As a result of hard times at home, millions of them had emigrated to the United States and to South America in the hope of bettering themselves. In the New World they were faced with many cruel situations which they were often helpless to meet. Bishop Scalabrini had written a pamphlet describing their misery, and had been instrumental in establishing St. Raphael's Society for their material assistance, and also a mission of the Congregation of St. Charles Borromeo in New York. Talks with Bishop Scalabrini persuaded Mother Cabrini that this cause was henceforth to be hers.
In America the great tide of immigration had not yet reached its peak, but a steady stream of hopeful humanity from southern Europe, lured by promises and pictures, was flowing into our ports, with little or no provision made for the reception or assimilation of the individual components. Instead, the newcomers fell victim at once to the prejudices of both native-born Americans and the earlier immigrants, who had chiefly been of Irish and German stock. They were also exploited unmercifully by their own padroni, or bosses, after being drawn into the roughest and most dangerous jobs, digging and draining, and the almost equally hazardous indoor work in mills and sweatshops. They tended to cluster in the overcrowded, disease-breeding slums of our cities, areas which were becoming known as "Little Italies." They were in America, but not of it. Both church and family life were sacrificed to mere survival and the struggle to save enough money to return to their native land. Cut off from their accustomed ties, some drifted into the criminal underworld. For the most part, however, they lived forgotten, lonely and homesick, trying to cope with new ways of living without proper direction. "Here we live like animals," wrote one immigrant; "one lives and dies without a priest, without teachers, and without doctors." All in all, the problem was so vast and difficult that no one with a soul less dauntless than Mother Cabrini's would have dreamed of tackling it.
After seeing that the new establishments at Rome were running smoothly and visiting the old centers in Lombardy, Mother Cabrini wrote to Archbishop Corrigan in New York that she was coming to aid him. She was given to understand that a convent or hostel would be prepared, to accommodate the few nuns she would bring.
Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding as to the time of her arrival, and when she and the seven nuns landed in New York on March 31, 1889, they learned that there was no convent ready. They felt they could not afford a hotel, and asked to be taken to an inexpensive lodging house. This turned out to be so dismal and dirty that they avoided the beds and spent the night in prayer and quiet thought. But the nuns were young and full of courage; from this bleak beginning they emerged the next morning to attend Mass. Then they called on the apologetic archbishop and outlined a plan of action. They wished to begin work without delay. A wealthy Italian woman contributed money for the purchase of their first house, and before long an orphanage had opened its doors there. So quickly did they gather a house full of orphans that their funds ran low; to feed the ever-growing brood they must go out to beg. The nuns became familiar figures down on Mulberry Street, in the heart of the city's Little Italy. They trudged from door to door, from shop to shop, asking for anything that could be spared—food, clothing, or money.
With the scene surveyed and the work well begun, Mother Cabrini returned to Italy in July of the same year. She again visited the foundations, stirred up the ardor of the nuns, and had another audience with the Pope, to whom she gave a report of the situation in New York with respect to the Italian colony. Also, while in Rome, she made plans for opening a dormitory for normal-school students, securing the aid of several rich women for this enterprise. The following spring she sailed again for New York, with a fresh group of nuns chosen from the order. Soon after her arrival she concluded arrangements for the purchase from the Jesuits of a house and land, now known as West Park, on the west bank of the Hudson. This rural retreat was to become a veritable paradise for children from the city's slums. Then, with several nuns who had been trained as teachers, she embarked for Nicaragua, where she had been asked to open a school for girls of well-to-do families in the city of Granada. This was accomplished with the approbation of the Nicaraguan government, and Mother Cabrini, accompanied by one nun, started back north overland, curious to see more of the people of Central America. They traveled by rough and primitive means, but the journey was safely achieved. They stopped off for a time in New Orleans and did preparatory work looking to the establishment of a mission. The plight of Italian immigrants in Louisiana was almost as serious as in New York. On reaching New York she chose a little band of courageous nuns to begin work in the southern city. They literally begged their way to New Orleans, for there was no money for train fare. As soon as they had made a very small beginning, Mother Cabrini joined them. With the aid of contributions, they bought a tenement which became known as a place where any Italian in trouble or need could go for help and counsel. A school was established which rapidly became a center for the city's Italian population. The nuns made a practice too of visiting the outlying rural sections where Italians were employed on the great plantations.
The year that celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus' voyage of discovery, 1892, marked also the founding of Mother Cabrini's first hospital. At this time Italians were enjoying more esteem than usual and it was natural that this first hospital should be named for Columbus. Earlier Mother Cabrini had had some experience of hospital management in connection with the institution conducted by the Congregation of St. Charles Borromeo, but the new one was to be quite independent. With an initial capital of two hundred and fifty dollars, representing five contributions of fifty dollars each, Columbus Hospital began its existence on Twelfth Street in New York. Doctors offered it their services without charge, and the nuns tried to make up in zeal what they lacked in equipment. Gradually the place came to have a reputation that won for it adequate financial support. It moved to larger quarters on Twentieth Street, and continues to function to this day.
Mother Cabrini returned to Italy frequently to oversee the training of novices and to select the nuns best qualified for foreign service. She was in Rome to share in the Pope's Jubilee, celebrating his fifty years as a churchman. Back in New York in 1895, she accepted the invitation of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires to come down to Argentina and establish a school. The Nicaraguan school had been forced to close its doors as a result of a revolutionary overthrow of the government, and the nuns had moved to Panama and opened a school there. Mother Cabrini and her companion stopped to visit this new institution before proceeding by water down the Pacific Coast towards their destination. To avoid the stormy Straits of Magellan they had been advised to make the later stages of the journey by land, which meant a train trip from the coast to the mountains, across the Andes by mule-back, then another train trip to the capital. The nuns looked like Capuchin friars, for they wore brown fur-lined capes. On their unaccustomed mounts, guided by muleteers whose language they hardly understood, they followed the narrow trail over the backbone of the Andes, with frightening chasms below and icy winds whistling about their heads. The perilous crossing was made without serious mishap. On their arrival in Buenos Aires they learned that the archbishop who had invited them to come had died, and they were not sure of a welcome. It was not long, however, before Mother Cabrini's charm and sincerity had worked their usual spell, and she was entreated to open a school. She inspected dozens of sites before making a choice. When it came to the purchase of land she seemed to have excellent judgment as to what location would turn out to be good from all points of view. The school was for girls of wealthy families, for the Italians in Argentina were, on the average, more prosperous than those of North America. Another group of nuns came down from New York to serve as teachers. Here and in similar schools elsewhere, today's pupils became tomorrow's supporters of the foundations.
Not long afterward schools were opened in Paris, in England, and in Spain, where Mother Cabrini's work had the sponsorship of the queen. From the Latin countries in course of time came novice teachers for the South American schools. Another southern country, Brazil, was soon added to the lengthening roster, with establishments at Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Back in the United States Mother Cabrini started parochial schools in and around New York and an orphanage at Dobbs Ferry. In 1899 she founded the Sacred Heart Villa on Fort Washington Avenue, New York, as a school and training center for novices. In later years this place was her nearest approach to an American home. It is this section of their city that New Yorkers now associate with her, and here a handsome avenue bears her name.
Launching across the country, Mother Cabrini now extended her activities to the Pacific Coast. Newark, Scranton, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, all became familiar territory. In Colorado she visited the mining camps, where the high rate of fatal accidents left an unusually large number of fatherless children to be cared for. Wherever she went men and women began to take constructive steps for the remedying of suffering and wrong, so powerful was the stimulus of her personality. Her warm desire to serve God by helping people, especially children, was a steady inspiration to others. Yet the founding of each little school or orphanage seemed touched by the miraculous, for the necessary funds generally materialized in some last-minute, unexpected fashion.
In Seattle, in 1909, Mother Cabrini took the oath of allegiance to the United States and became a citizen of the country. She was then fifty-nine years old, and was looking forward to a future of lessened activity, possibly even to semi-retirement in the mother house at Cadogno. But for some years the journeys to and fro across the Atlantic went on; like a bird, she never settled long in one place. When she was far away, her nuns felt her presence, felt she understood their cares and pains. Her modest nature had always kept her from assuming an attitude of authority; indeed she even deplored being referred to as "head" of her Order. During the last years Mother Cabrini undoubtedly pushed her flagging energies to the limit of endurance. Coming back from a trip to the Pacific Coast in the late fall of 1917, she stopped in Chicago. Much troubled now over the war and all the new problems it brought, she suffered a recurrence of the malaria contracted many years before. Then, while she and other nuns were making preparations for a children's Christmas party in the hospital, a sudden heart attack ended her life on earth in a few minutes. The date was December 22, and she was sixty-seven. The little nun had been the friend of three popes, a foster-mother to thousands of children, for whom she had found means to provide shelter and food; she had created a flourishing order, and established many institutions to serve human needs.
It was not surprising that almost at once Catholics in widely separated places began saying to each other, "Surely she was a saint." This ground swell of popular feeling culminated in 1929 in the first official steps towards beatification. Ten years later she became Blessed Mother Cabrini, and Cardinal Mundelein, who had officiated at her funeral in Chicago, now presided at the beatification. Heralded by a great pealing of the bells of St. Peter's and the four hundred other churches of Rome, the canonization ceremony took place on July 7, 1946. Hundreds of devout Catholics from the United States were in attendance, as well as the highest dignitaries of the Church and lay noblemen. Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first American to be canonized, lies buried under the altar of the chapel of Mother Cabrini High School in New York City.

Scandal! Scandal! Read All About It! - A Reflection by Fr. Denis

Blog Share from Fr. Denis Lemieux: (picture added from Google Images by JCE)
Scandal! Scandal! Read All About It! Again and again, in every corner of the world, like a flame bursting from blackened ashes, there would appear the old tale of the Brown Scandal, or Priest Ruins Potter Home. Tireless apologists of the priest's party watched for it, and patiently tagged after it with contradictions and exposures and letters of protest. Sometimes the letters were published in the papers; and sometimes they were not. But still nobody knew how many people had heard the story without hearing the contradiction. It was possible to find whole blocks of blameless and innocent people who thought the Mexican Scandal was an ordinary recorded historical incident like the Gunpowder Plot. Then somebody would enlighten these simple people, only to discover that the old story had started afresh among a few quite educated people, who would seem the last people on earth to be duped by it.
 And so the two Father Browns chase each other round the world for ever; the first a shameless criminal fleeing from justice; the second a martyr broken by slander, in a halo of rehabilitation. But neither of them is very like the real Father Brown, who is not broken at all; but goes stumping with his stout umbrella through life, liking most of the people in it; accepting the world as his companion, but never as his judge. GK Chesterton, The Scandal of Father Brown Reflection – One of the downsides or upsides (I can’t decide which, really) of being on social media is that whether you like it or not, you end up knowing about the latest scandals of the day, the stories that are rocking the zeitgeist house, or at least that little portion of the zeitgeist that you personally occupy. You end up at least knowing about them (after the 50th time some story or other pops up in your newsfeed), whether you have the slightest interest in them or not. I think part of the wise use of social media is being vigilant about being swept along in the current of scandal, simply thinking, reading, and caring about some story or other for no other reason than that everyone else is thinking, reading, and caring about it. We need to actively fight against that tendency in our on-line, wired-in world.
Just because (for example) some woman got cat-called walking down a street in New York and made a video about it, we don’t by that very fact have to Have A National Conversation about harassment. Really. We don’t. Or, I understand that there is some Cardinal or other in Rome who’s gotten moved from one job to another (the details escape me), and this presages the coming of the antichrist or something. As has been foretold: “Lo, and I saw the seventh seal being broken open, and a voice from heaven cried, let the curial officials be transferred without a full explanation being given to those who Feed on the Buzz. And there was a great outcry and lamentation in the heavens, and a third of the bureaucrats fell from the heavens.” (The Apocalypse of Rorate Caeli 6: 66). Yeah, anyhow, whatever. Not my circus, not my monkeys, as the saying goes. All of this (which I have absolutely no intention of taking further interest in, writing about, or debating), puts me powerfully in mind of that wonderful Chesterton story “The Scandal of Father Brown.” As with many GKC stories, the plot is irrelevant. Essentially Fr. Brown is caught up in an affair where he appears to be helping a woman run away from her husband with her lover, and an American journalist on the scene dashes off an expose of this perfidious deed. It then turns out that the journalist got the characters wrong, and that the lover was the husband and vice versa, and Fr. Brown was restoring the marriage to right order. But it’s this last bit of the story that I find especially relevant, where the scandal rages in the media, denunciations and defenses, pro-Burke and anti-Burke (oops, I meant to write Brown) camps forming, and high drama ensuing as the man is pilloried and then vindicated, pilloried and vindicated. Zzzzzzz… oh, sorry, nodded off there. My goodness, how boring and pointless I find all this scandal mongering. And meanwhile, the real Cardinal Brown (oops, I mean to write… well, you know), is neither pilloried nor vindicated, not broken at all, but I hope is stumping along with his umbrella, so to speak, accepting (and here’s the money phrase) ‘the world as his companion, and never his judge.’ That’s it, there. The trouble with all this stupid tiresome SCANDAL, SCANDAL all the time, in the Church, out of the Church, wherever, is that it gives the ‘world’, be it Buzzfeed, Gawker, the NY Times or CNN, wayyyyy too much power. These people are not our judges. They’re no one’s judges. They really, truly, utterly Do Not Matter.
 For that matter, the Pope is not our judge, either. If Pope Francis phones me up today and transfers me to Ulan Bator or something, who cares? Off I will go to Mongolia, and see what awaits me there. There is one Judge, and one Judge only, and all of us are to spend our lives stumping along and attending to our duties, being obedient, and loving as best we can, where we are, under the merciful eyes of the One Judge of men. Everything else is a distraction, pure and simple. And that, my brothers and sisters, is all I have to say on that subject. By : Fr. Denis Lemieux
Shared from http://frdenis.blogspot.ca/

Latest Statistics of the Catholic Church to SHARE - 1.2 Billion Catholics!

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – As every year, in view of World Mission Day, this year celebrated on Sunday, October 19, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published (updated to 31 December 2012) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year's figures, are marked increase + or decrease – in brackets.
 To 31 December 2012 the world population was 7,023,377,000 with an increase of 90,067,000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above all in Asia (+ 51,473,000) and Africa (+ 26,664,000) followed by America (+ 8,639,000); Europe (+ 2,977,000) and Oceania (+ 314,000).
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1,228,621,000 units with an overall increase of 15.030.000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents especially America (+ 6,509,000) and Africa (+4.920,000) followed by Asia (+ 2,403,000); Europe (+ 1,122,000) and Oceania (+ 76,000). The world percentage of Catholics slightly decreased by 0.01 %, settling at 17.49%. By continent: increases were registered in America (+ 0.12) and Asia (+ 0.01) while decrease was shown in Europe (-0.01) and Oceania (- 0.02), unvaried in Africa.
 Mission stations with a resident priest number 1,847 (65 more than in the previous year) and increases registered in America (+31), Asia (+51) and Oceania (+11). Decreases in Africa (-23) and Europe (-5). Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in number by 658 units, to 130,795. Compared to the previous year, increase is registered in Africa (+1.152) and Asia (+433); whereas the number dropped in America (- 2,038); Europe (- 4) and Oceania (- 201). The total number of priests in the world increased by 895 units, to 414,313. The only continent which registered a decrease was again Europe (- 1,375) America (- 90) and Oceania (-80), whereas figures grew in Africa (+ 1,076); and Asia (+ 1,364).
 An overall decrease in the number of women religious (- 10,677), today 702,529. An increase was registered in Africa (+ 727) and Asia (+ 2,167), decrease in America (– 4,288), Europe (- 9,051) and Oceania (- 232). The number of lay missionaries in the world is 362,488 units, with an overall decrease of 19.234 units. Numbers increase in: Asia (+ 324) and Europe (+ 71). Numbers decrease in Africa (- 578), America (+ 18,794) and Oceania (-257). Catechists in the world increased by 45,408 units to a total of 3,170,643. The only increase was in Asia (+ 61.913), but numbers dropped in: Africa (+ 7,254), America (- 4,090), Europe (- 4,341) and Oceania (- 820).
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71,188 kindergartens with 6,728,670 pupils; 95,246 primary schools with 32,299,669 pupils; 43,783 secondary schools with 18,869,237 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,381,337 high school pupils, and 3,103,072 university students. Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church are 115,352. The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) to 8 October 2014 are 1,109. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa (507) and in Asia (476). Followed by America (80) and Oceania (46). (SL) (Agenzia Fides 17/10/2014]

#PopeFrancis “Only when the will for dialogue exists, things are resolved” #Angelus Video/Text


Pope Francis at General Audience - AFP
12/11/2014 10:54


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed to international and local leaders to take action to protect and support persecuted Christians in various parts of the world; he expressed his closeness to the people of Mexico for the disappearance of a group of students who have allegedly been killed by drug traffickers; and he recalled the 30th anniversary of the peace treaty between Argentina and Chile invoking dialogue and peacemaking for all peoples locked in conflict.    
In a series of appeals issued during the weekly General Audience, the Pope spoke off- the-cuff to various language groups present in St. Peter’s Square.   
In Spanish he turned to pilgrims from Mexico expressing his sorrow for what appears to be the (legal?) disappearance “even although we know they have been murdered” – of 43 students. This renders visible – the Pope said – “the dramatic reality of crime that exists behind the selling and trafficking of drugs”.
And turning to a group of Chilean soldiers, Pope Francis said that in these days we mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty between Argentina and Chile. Borders – he said – are clear: “let us not continue to argue about borders. Let us argue about other things, but not about this!” And he noted that the signing of the treaty came about thanks to dialogue. “Only when the will for dialogue exists, things are resolved” he said. And he expressed gratitude to “Saint John Paul II and to Cardinal Samorè who did so much to obtain peace for us”.
Let us hope that all peoples locked in conflict of any kind, including cultural borders – Pope Francis said – “make a commitment to resolve their issues at the table of dialogue and not through the cruelty of war”.
And finally speaking in Italian, Pope Francis said he is following with great trepidation the dramatic situation of Christians who “in various parts of the world are persecuted and killed for their religious faith”. He said he feels the need to express his “deep spiritual closeness to Christian communities who are harshly persecuted with an absurd violence that does not give signs of abating”. Encouraging pastors and faithful to be firm and united in hope, “once again” – the Pope said – “I turn to those who have political responsibility both on a local and on an international level, as well as to all persons of goodwill, with a heartfelt appeal to engage in a vast mobilization of consciences in favour of persecuted Christians. They have the right to once again find security and serenity in their own countries, freely professing our faith” he said.(Linda Bordoni)
Vatican Radio) Pope Francis today urged bishops, priests and deacons always to be humble and to recognize that their ministry is an unmerited gift of God’s mercy.
Speaking at the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said the Lord continues to shepherd his flock with love through the ordained ministry of bishops, priests and deacons.
Recalling the Pastoral Epistles the Apostle Paul sent to his disciples Timothy and Titus in which he highlights human qualities such as the capacity to be welcoming, sober, patient, meek, reliable and good of heart as absolute necessities as well, of course, as the gifts of faith and holiness for those who receive the gift of vocation.
No bishop, priest or deacon – the Pope said – must assume an authoritarian attitude, and behave as if his community were his own property and personal reign.
The acknowledgment – he continued - that his ministry is a gift and a grace, helps a pastor never to fall into the temptation of putting himself at the center of attention or of relying only upon himself, Francis said.
A bishop, priest or deacon must never assume that he knows all, always has the right answer and never has to ask for help. To the contrary – the Pope said – he must always be humble and understanding towards others, he must listen to his people and be aware that he always has something to learn, even from those who may still be far from faith and from the Church.
Let us thank the Lord – Pope Francis concluded – for this ministry in the Church, and pray that our ordained ministers may always be sustained in their efforts to be living icons of the Father’s loving concern for all his children.
Please find below the English synopsis of the Pope’s catechesis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our catechesis on the Church, we have seen that the Lord continues to shepherd his flock with love through the ordained ministry of bishops, priests and deacons.  Today we consider the qualities demanded of these ministers in their service to Christ and the Church.  In addition to the essential gifts of firm faith and holiness, Saint Paul lists such human qualities as kindness, gentleness, patience, prudence and attentive concern for others.  These gifts too are required for the exercise of spiritual leadership.  In a special way, Paul urges the Church’s ordained ministers to rekindle constantly the gift of God which they have received.  For it is only by acknowledging that their ministry is an unmerited gift of God’s mercy that bishops, priests and deacons can serve their brothers and sisters with humility, generosity, wisdom and compassion, and thus build up the Church’s communion in faith and love.  Let us thank the Lord for the gift of this threefold ministry in the Church, and pray that our ordained ministers may always be sustained in their efforts to be living icons of the Father’s loving concern for all his children.
(Linda Bordoni)

#Ebola death toll reaches 5000 in West #Africa - Please PRAY



Caritas Fights to Contain Ebola as Death Toll Tops 5000

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
11 Nov 2014
Paul O'Callaghan, CEO of Caritas Australia
Caritas Australia's CEO, Paul O'Callaghan has welcomed the Government's commitment of a further $20 million to set up and staff a field hospital in Sierra Leone. But he says more international aid is urgently needed in the battle against the deadly Ebola virus that has already claimed more than 5000 lives.
So far more than 10,000 men, women and children have been infected in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea with the World Health Organisation warning that this figure is rising sharply and by December could see as many as 10,000 new cases each week.
"The Ebola crisis is not just about a couple of countries in West Africa. It is a global issue," Paul says.
In a bid to halt to the spread of the virus, the US has sent 3000 military troops to West Africa to set up 17 treatment centres and train healthcare providers. Britain has also sent military medical teams and donated more than $400 million towards the fight to contain the disease. Europe has contributed as much as 1 billion Euros as well as personnel.
The scale of the Ebola emergency is much greater than the capacity of available facilities to treat the deadly virus
But even with the help of the NGOs on the ground such as Caritas Internationalis, the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres), Oxfam, Save the Children and Catholic Relief Services, far more is needed, Paul says.
"The scale of the need in West Africa continues to be much higher than the capacity of healthcare and medical facilities available," he says.
While the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response reports that the spread of the virus in Liberia may be improving, and that it also seems to be stable in Guinea, in Sierra Leone the number of those infected continues to escalate.
With only four Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leona with a capacity of just 288 beds when the UN says at least 1864 beds are needed, leaving more than two thirds of new cases recorded over the past three weeks without treatment. The UN also suspects that more than 50 percent of cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone are not being reported, and warns that even with the commitment by Australia and other Western nations to set up Ebola Treatment Centres, the 10 planned fall short with a combined capacity of just 1333 beds.
The death toll from Ebola in West Africa is 5000 with a further 10,000 infected
with the virus
"Lack of available beds in Sierra Leone is forcing families to care for their loved ones at home, where caregivers are unable to adequately protect themselves from exposure, thereby increasing transmission risk of the virus," the UN warned late last week.
The latest outbreak of Ebola began in March this year. Western nations were slow to act to the crisis and it was not until August this year when more than 1900 had died that governments began donating money and medical personnel to West Africa to fight Ebola.
But from the beginning, Caritas Internationals together with Catholic priests, brothers, religious and missionaries are at the forefront of the battle against Ebola and on the ground in the poverty stricken West Africa.
With the World Health Organisation estimating that between 40% and 70% of all African healthcare infrastructure is the property of or managed by Catholic churches, Caritas and the Catholic Church have long cared for the poor and sick of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
For those living in rural and remote areas the only available healthcare has long been Catholic-run clinics which are operated by dedicated religious, brothers and local parishes.
Director of Monrovia's Catholic Hospital of St Joseph died of Ebola on 2 August this year
However as the Ebola crisis has escalated, West Africa's entire healthcare infrastructure has been stretched to breaking point. Liberia's Catholic Hospital of St Joseph in Monrovia, which has long been considered to be one of the best health facilities in the nation, was forced to close in August this year after the tragic deaths from Ebola of the Hospital's Director, Brother Patrick Nshamdze and eight staff members.
"These medical missionaries, and the local staff with whom they worked, gave their lives because they were committed to the medical oath of serving all sick people and of upholding the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death. For them the practice of medicine was not a 'business;' it was a vocation," says Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo, the Rome-based special advisor to Caritas Internationalis and Head of the Caritas Delegation to the UN on HIV-Aids and Health.
Mons Vitillo recently returned from Liberia and reports that due to deaths from Ebola and fears of transmission of the virus, many other hospitals and clinics have had to close which he says has made it virtually impossible for local people to obtain treatment for any other medical emergency or disease.
Australia is financing a 240 bed Ebola Treatment Centre but many many more are needed
In addition, schools and most government offices have also closed their doors and in communities where quarantine has been imposed due to Ebola, the people have no access to food, clean water or other necessities.
"There is tremendous fear," says Paul O'Callaghan. Comparing feeling on the ground in West Africa's Ebola-affected areas with the panic triggered by the Black Death plague of the Middle Ages, he says local people are traumatised and terrified.
Caritas is providing psychological support to families, households and communities affected by Ebola as well as medical supplies, hygiene kits, education about the transmission of the virus via body fluids and raising money to reopen some of the hospitals that have had to close.
The Brothers of St John of God are in the process of reopening the Catholic Hospital of St Joseph in Monrovia but needs funds to do this as well as establish an Ebola Screening Centre.
Caritas Australia has launched an Africa Emergency Fund to help the fight against Ebola and to support the dedicated work of Caritas staff and volunteers on the ground in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. To donate log on to:http://www.caritas.org.au/learn/emergency-response/ebola-outbreak
Shared from Archdiocese of Sydney 

Today's Mass Readings : Wednesday November 12, 2014


Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 493


Reading 1TI 3:1-7

Beloved:
Remind them to be under the control of magistrates and authorities,
to be obedient, to be open to every good enterprise.
They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate,
exercising all graciousness toward everyone.
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded,
slaves to various desires and pleasures,
living in malice and envy,
hateful ourselves and hating one another.

But when the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
he saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1B-3A, 3BC-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Gospel LK 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

Latest News from Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis

12-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 199 

Summary
- General audience: the spiritual and human alphabet of ministers of the Church
- Francis expresses his closeness to persecuted Christians and the Mexican people
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Pontifical Letter to G-20: “Responsibility for the poor and marginalised must be an essential element of any political decision”
- The Pope to the Italian Episcopal Conference: no to “clerical” or “functionary” priests
- Special College of cardinals and bishops to study the appeals process for serious offences established in the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
General audience: the spiritual and human alphabet of ministers of the Church
Vatican City, 12 November 2014 (VIS) – What is required of ministers of the Church – bishops, priests and deacons – for their service to be authentic and fruitful?”. This was the question posed by Pope Francis in his catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square.
In his pastoral epistles, St. Paul lists, alongside faith and spiritual life, a number of human qualities essential for these ministries: hospitality, temperance, patience, gentleness, reliability, and goodness of heart. These, said the Holy Father, are “the alphabet, the grammar at the base of every ministry! Without this predisposition to encounter, know, enter into dialogue with, appreciate and relate to one's brethren in a respectful and sincere way, it is impossible to offer a service and a truly joyful and credible witness”.
There is another basic attitude that Paul recommends to his disciples and, consequently, to all those in whom pastoral ministry is invested: the continual renewal of the gift received. “This means always keeping alive the awareness that one does not become a bishop, priest or deacon for being more intelligent or better than others, but by receiving a gift from God … for the good of His people. This knowledge is truly important and constitutes a grace to be asked for every day. Indeed, a pastor who is aware that his ministry stems solely from the mercy and from the heart of God can never assume an authoritarian attitude, as if he had everyone at his feet and as if the community were his own property, his own personal kingdom”.
“The awareness that it is all a gift, it is a grace, also helps the pastor not to give in to the temptation to place himself at the centre of attention and to trust only in himself. These are the temptations of vanity, pride, sufficiency, arrogance. God does not like it when a bishop, priest or deacon thinks that he knows it all, that he always has the right answer for everything and has no need for anyone else”, exclaimed Francis. “On the contrary, the knowledge that he, first and foremost, is the object of God's mercy and compassion must lead a minister of the Church always to be humble and understanding towards others. While in the knowledge of being required to courageously guard the faith entrusted to him, he must always be willing to listen to the people. Indeed, he is aware that there is always something to learn, even from those who may be distant from the faith and from the Church. All this must lead him to assume, with his brethren, a new attitude characterised by sharing, corresponsibility and communion”.
“We must always be grateful to the Lord Who, in the person and the ministry of the bishops, priests and deacons, continues to guide and form His Church, enabling her to grow along the path of sanctity. At the same time, we must continue to pray, so that the pastors of our communities may be the living image of communion and of God's love”, concluded the bishop of Rome.
Francis expresses his closeness to persecuted Christians and the Mexican people
Vatican City, 12 November 2014 (VIS) – “It is with great trepidation that I follow the dramatic events of Christians who in various parts of the world are persecuted and killed for their religious beliefs. I feel the need to express my profound spiritual closeness to the Christian communities who are so badly afflicted by an absurd violence that shows no sign of stopping, and I encourage the pastors and all faithful to be strong and firm in their hope”.
The Pope thus launched a heartfelt appeal to all those with political responsibility at local and international levels, as well as all persons of good will, “to mobilise consciences on a large scale in favour of persecuted Christians. They have the right to find safety and serenity in their own countries, freely professing their faith”.
Before concluding the general audience, the Pope greeted the faithful in various languages, and dedicated some off-the-cuff comments to pilgrims from Mexico. “I wish to express to the Mexicans, those present and those in their homelands, my closeness in this painful moment following the formal disappearance, which we know to be the assassination, of students. This makes visible the dramatic reality of the criminality behind the trade and trafficking in drugs. I am close to you and your families”.
Francis also recalled that in these days the thirtieth anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty between Argentina and Chile, which was achieved as a result of the “will to dialogue”, and, recalling with gratitude the role played by St. John Paul II and Cardinal Antonio Samore in this treaty, he expressed his hope that “all peoples in conflict for any reason, territorial or cultural, will be encouraged to resolve them through dialogue and not by the cruelty of war”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 12 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- a delegation from the Catholic-Muslim forum;
- a group of sick children and disabled persons.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Bishop Cesar Augusto Franco Martinez as bishop of Segovia (area 6,949, population 166,200, Catholics 156,200, priests 185, religious 387), Spain. Bishop Franco Martinez is currently auxiliary of the archdiocese of Madrid. He succeeds Bishop Angel Rubio Castro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Fr. Antonio Tourinho Neto as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Olinda e Recife (area 4,058, population 3,996,000, Catholics 3,777,000, priests 275, permanent deacons 23, religious 1,216), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Jequie, Brazil in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the Institute of Canon Law of the archdiocese of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Jequie, including: defender of the bond and promoter of justice, judge auditor of the Ecclesiastical Chamber, parish priest of the Santo Antonio Cathedral, chancellor of the diocesan curia, spiritual director of the Joao Paulo II diocesan seminary, and parish priest of the community of Santo Antonio do Quilometro Cem in the municipality of Brejoes. He is currently vicar general in the diocese of Jequie.
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Zaragoza, Spain, presented by Archbishop Manuel Urena Pastor, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
11-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 198 
Pontifical Letter to G-20: “Responsibility for the poor and marginalised must be an essential element of any political decision”
Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia, who will chair the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the 20 Countries (G-20) scheduled to take place on 15 and 16 November in Brisbane. The agenda of the meeting will focus on efforts to relaunch sustained and sustainable growth of the world economy and the fundamental imperative, which emerged from the preparatory work, of creating dignified and stable employment for all. Extensive extracts from the text are published below:
“I would ask the G20 Heads of State and Government not to forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions, and it would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle. Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, there are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists. In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.
It is my hope that a substantial and productive consensus can be achieved regarding the agenda items. I likewise hope that the assessment of the results of this consensus will not be restricted to global indices but will take into account as well real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality. I express these hopes in light of the post-2015 Development Agenda to be approved by the current session of the United Nations Assembly, which ought to include the vital issues of decent work for all and climate change.
The G20 Summits, which began with the financial crisis of 2008, have taken place against the terrible backdrop of military conflicts, and this has resulted in disagreements between the Group’s members. It is a reason for gratitude that those disagreements have not prevented genuine dialogue within the G20, with regard both to the specific agenda items and to global security and peace. But more is required. These conflicts leave deep scars and result in unbearable humanitarian situations around the world. I take this opportunity to ask the G20 Member States to be examples of generosity and solidarity in meeting the many needs of the victims of these conflicts, and especially of refugees.
The situation in the Middle East has revived debate about the responsibility of the international community to protect individuals and peoples from extreme attacks on human rights and a total disregard for humanitarian law. The international community, and in particular the G20 Member States, should also give thought to the need to protect citizens of all countries from forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious. I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximisation of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity. A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice. Responsibility for the poor and the marginalised must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level”.
The Pope to the Italian Episcopal Conference: no to “clerical” or “functionary” priests
Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, read the message sent by Pope Francis to the participants in the 67th General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, of which Cardinal Bagnasco is president. The meeting, which will finish next Thursday, is being held at the Domus Pacis of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, and is dedicated to the life and formation of priests.
In his message, the Holy Father writes that convening in Assisi recalls “the great love and veneration that St. Francis nurtured for the hierarchical Holy Mother Church, and in particular for priests … through whom the maternity of the Church reaches the entire People of God. How many of them we have known!” he exclaims. “We have seen them spending their lives amongst the people of our parishes, educating the young, accompanying families, visiting the sick at home and in hospital, and taking care of the poor”, in the knowledge that the gravest error is to separate oneself from others.
“Holy priests are sinners who have been forgiven, and instruments of forgiveness. Their existence speaks the language of patience and perseverance; they are not tourists of the spirit, eternally undecided and unsatisfied, as they know that they are in the hands of He Who never fails in His promises, and whose Providence ensures that nothing can ever separate them from their belonging. … Yes, it is still the time for priests of this substance, 'bridges' enabling the encounter between God and the world”.
“Priests like this cannot be improvised: they are forged through the valuable formative work of the Seminary, and Ordination consecrates them forever as men of God and servants of His people”. However, “the identity of the presbyter, precisely as it comes from above, demands he follow a daily itinerary of reappropriation, starting from that which made of him a minister of Jesus Christ. … The formation of which we speak …. is without end, as priests never cease to be disciples of Jesus and to follow Him. Therefore, formation as discipleship accompanies the ordained minister throughout his life”, writes the Holy Father. “Initial and continuing formation are two parts of a single entity: the path of the presbyter disciple, enamoured of his Lord and constantly following him”.
“You are aware that there is no need for clerical priests whose behaviour risks distancing people from the Lord, or functionary priests who, while they fulfil their role, seek their consolation far from Him. Only those who keep a steady gaze on what is truly essential may renew their acceptance of the gift they have received. … Only those who allow themselves to conform to the Good Shepherd find unity, peace and strength in the obedience of service; only those who take their breath in presbyteral fraternity leave behind the falsehood of a conscience that claims to be the epicentre of everything, the sole measure of their feelings and actions”.
The Pontiff concluded by expressing his hope that the participants in the Assembly would experience “days of listening and comparison, leading to the definition of itineraries of permanent formation, able to link spiritual and cultural, communicative and pastoral dimensions: these are the pillars of life formed according to the Gospel, preserved in daily discipline, in prayer, in the guardianship of the senses, in care for oneself, in humble and prophetic witness; lives that restore to the Church the trust that she first placed in them”.
Special College of cardinals and bishops to study the appeals process for serious offences established in the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela
Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – St. John Paul II's Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (SST), published on 30 April 2001 and implemented on 21 May 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, defines the offences reserved to the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cf. Art. 1-6), in accordance with Art. 52 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith judges these offences by penal or administrative procedures (cf. Art. 21 paras 1 and 2, No. 1 SST), taking into account the possibility of submitting the decision directly to the Supreme Pontiff in the most serious cases (see Art. 21 para. 2, No. 2 SST). Crimes against faith remain, in the first instance, within the sphere of competence of the Ordinary or the Hierarch (cf. Art. 2 para. 2 SST).
Due to the number of appeals and the need to guarantee that they are examined more rapidly and following detailed reflection, in the Audience granted to Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on 3 November 2014, the Holy Father Francis decreed the following:
1. A special college is to be instituted within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of seven cardinals or bishops, who may either be members of the Dicastery or external to it;
2. The President and the members of the aforementioned College are to be appointed by the Pope;
3. The College is a provision made by the Ordinary Session of the Congregation to enable greater efficiency in processing appeals in accordance with Art. 27 SST, without substantive modification to its competences as established in the same Art. 27 SST;
4. Should the offender be of episcopal dignity, his appeal shall be examined by the Ordinary Session, which will also be able to decide specific cases according to the Pope's judgement. Other cases to be decided by the College may also be deferred to the Ordinary Session;
5. The College shall periodically report its decisions to the Ordinary Session;
6. Specific internal regulations shall determine the working methods of the College.
Audiences
Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father received in audience Emma Madigan, new ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See, presenting her letters of credence.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Prosper Balthazar Lyimo as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Arusha (area 67,340, population 2,364,000, Catholics 512,073, priests 128, religious 639), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Kyou-Kilema, Tanzania in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He studied canon law at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, and subsequently obtained a doctorate in canon law from St. Paul's University, Ottowa, Canada, and is currently chancellor and judicial vicar of the archdiocese of Arusha, Tanzania.