Thursday, January 19, 2012



VIS REPORTS: VATICAN  CITY, 19 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican Benedict XVI received a group  of prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Regions 4  and 6), at the end of their "ad limina" visit. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Dear Brother Bishops,

I greet all of you with fraternal affection and I pray that this pilgrimage of spiritual renewal and deepened communion will confirm you in faith and commitment to your task as Pastors of the Church in the United States of America. As you know, it is my intention in the course of this year to reflect with you on some of the spiritual and cultural challenges of the new evangelization.

One of the most memorable aspects of my Pastoral Visit to the United States was the opportunity it afforded me to reflect on America’s historical experience of religious freedom, and specifically the relationship between religion and culture. At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.

For her part, the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). To the extent that some current cultural trends contain elements that would curtail the proclamation of these truths, whether constricting it within the limits of a merely scientific rationality, or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God. When a culture attempts to suppress the dimension of ultimate mystery, and to close the doors to transcendent truth, it inevitably becomes impoverished and falls prey, as the late Pope John Paul II so clearly saw, to reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person and the nature of society.

With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth. Our tradition does not speak from blind faith, but from a rational perspective which links our commitment to building an authentically just, humane and prosperous society to our ultimate assurance that the cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning. The Church’s defense of a moral reasoning based on the natural law is grounded on her conviction that this law is not a threat to our freedom, but rather a “language” which enables us to understand ourselves and the truth of our being, and so to shape a more just and humane world. She thus proposes her moral teaching as a message not of constraint but of liberation, and as the basis for building a secure future.

The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.

In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.

In this regard, I would mention with appreciation your efforts to maintain contacts with Catholics involved in political life and to help them understand their personal responsibility to offer public witness to their faith, especially with regard to the great moral issues of our time: respect for God’s gift of life, the protection of human dignity and the promotion of authentic human rights. As the Council noted, and I wished to reiterate during my Pastoral Visit, respect for the just autonomy of the secular sphere must also take into consideration the truth that “there is no realm of worldly affairs which can be withdrawn from the Creator and his dominion” (Gaudium et Spes, 36). There can be no doubt that a more consistent witness on the part of America’s Catholics to their deepest convictions would make a major contribution to the renewal of society as a whole.

Dear Brother Bishops, in these brief remarks I have wished to touch upon some of the pressing issues which you face in your service to the Gospel and their significance for the evangelization of American culture. No one who looks at these issues realistically can ignore the genuine difficulties which the Church encounters at the present moment. Yet in faith we can take heart from the growing awareness of the need to preserve a civil order clearly rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, as well as from the promise offered by a new generation of Catholics whose experience and convictions will have a decisive role in renewing the Church’s presence and witness in American society. The hope which these “signs of the times” give us is itself a reason to renew our efforts to mobilize the intellectual and moral resources of the entire Catholic community in the service of the evangelization of American culture and the building of the civilization of love. With great affection I commend all of you, and the flock entrusted to your care, to the prayers of Mary, Mother of Hope, and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.

From the Vatican, 19 January 2012


VATICAN  CITY, 19 JAN 2012 (VIS) - In keeping with a long-standing tradition a Finnish  ecumenical delegation (led this year by Catholic Bishop Teemu Sippo S.C.I. of  Helsinki and Lutheran Bishop Seppo Hakkinen of Mikkeli) is currently visiting  Rome to mark the Feast of St. Henry. The group was received this morning in  audience by the Holy Father. "Our deepened friendship and common witness  to Jesus Christ - especially before today's world, which so often lacks true  direction and longs to hear the message of salvation - must hasten our  progress towards the resolution of our remaining differences, and indeed of  all matters on which Christians are divided", the Pope said to them  speaking English.

   "In recent times, ethical questions have become one of the points of difference  among Christians, especially with regard to the proper understanding of human  nature and its dignity. There is a need for Christians to arrive at a  profound agreement on matters of anthropology, which can then help society  and politicians to make wise and just decisions regarding important questions  in the area of human life, family and sexuality. In this regard, the recent  ecumenical bilateral dialogue document in the Finnish-Swedish context not  only reflects a rapprochement between Catholics and Lutherans over the  understanding of justification, but it urges Christians to renew their  commitment to imitate Christ in life and action".

   "Our longing for the full, visible unity of Christians requires patient  and trustful waiting", Pope Benedict concluded, "not in a spirit of  helplessness or passivity, but with deep trust that the unity of all  Christians in one Church is truly God's gift and not our own achievement.  Such patient waiting, in prayerful hope, transforms us and prepares us for  visible unity not as we plan it, but as God grants it".
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VATICAN  CITY, 19 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

 -  Seven prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their  "ad limina" visit:

 -  Archbishop Edwin Frederick O'Brien, apostolic administrator of Baltimore and  pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre  of Jerusalem, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Mitchell Thomas Rozanski and  Denis James Madden.

     - Bishop Paul Stephen Loverde of Arlington.

     - Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo of Richmond.

     - Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston.

     - Bishop William Francis Malooly of Wilmington.

 -  Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke O.S.B. of Eichstatt, Germany.
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VATICAN  CITY, 19 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 -  Appointed Bishop William C. Skurla of Passaic, U.S.A., as metropolitan  archbishop of Pittsburgh of the Byzantines (Catholics 58,763, priests 64,  permanent deacons 17, religious 88), U.S.A.

 -  Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary and vicar for Jordan of  the patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins presented by Bishop Selim Sayegh,  in accordance with canon 411 of the Code of Canon Law.

 -  Appointed Archbishop Maroun Elias Lahham of Tunis, Tunisia, as auxiliary and  vicar for Jordan of the patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins (Catholics  160,700, priests 417, permanent deacons 3, religious 1,842), allowing him to  maintain his title of archbishop "ad personam".


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Joseph Mahmoud
The ongoing power struggle between Shias, Sunnis and Kurds is causing destruction and harming the Christian minority. In two days of meetings, the prelates iron out ideas for national reconciliation, urging emigrants to “come home”. Iraq’s provincial and federal governments have an obligation to guarantee stability.

Erbil (AsiaNews) – Iraq’s Catholic bishops met in assembly for two days (17-18 January) at Ankawa, a town just outside of Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Here the prelates discussed all the issues concerning their pastoral work, with special focus on the country’s ongoing power struggle between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds, which is negatively affecting its Christian minority.

At the end of the assembly, the bishops issued a statement, signed by Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk and secretary general of the Assembly.

AsiaNews is presenting its main points:

- The Assembly regarding these difficult circumstances in which Iraq is living, calls all groups to reconciliation, harmony and take seriously into consideration the demands of each party in order to establish safety, stability, democracy and civic pluralism.

- The future of Iraqis is Iraq, and therefore the Assembly calls for mutual respect to consolidate co-existence, and to reject all forms of violence and extremism. This is our country since ancient times; all religious and ethnic groups have co-existed in understanding and harmony. The Assembly hopes that this will continue in a peaceful, strengthened way and in a more secure climate of justice and dignity, which could limit emigration and encourage emigrants to return to their homes.

- Migration has many attractions. The country’s many crises have encouraged it; therefore, the Assembly calls upon all Iraqis to hold onto the home country and seek to build it.

- Finally, the Assembly calls on the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government to assume full responsibility for providing security and stability for all the components that constitute a mosaic of great beauty.,-country’s-reconstruction-needs-peace-and-security-23745.html


CATHOLIC Health Australia is pleased to see Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler today issue a draft “roadmap” for mental health reform over the next 10 years, and now waits eagerly for a similar way forward to be presented for aged care reform.nursing-home

“Like mental health, aged care has been named as a priority area for the Government, and both are worthy of that status,” CHA chief executive Martin Laverty said.

Catholic Health Australia’s network of health and aged care providers offer mental health services ranging from post-natal care to support for people with dementia, and will work with the Government through the consultation phase.

“Today’s release of the draft Ten-Year Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform sets the stage for what the Government hopes to achieve. The aged care sector is eagerly anticipating an equivalent forward-looking vision for its future.”

CHA is one of several health and aged care agencies to have listed aged care reform as their priority for 2012. There is a great deal of anticipation that what Mr Laverty calls “lengthy and necessary consultation” that has taken place over the past couple of years will finally yield firm commitments from the Government in this year’s Budget.

“The aged care sector is keen to see leadership demonstrated on this issue and a clear path, shaped by the widely supported recommendations of the Productivity Commission, is needed in the coming months.”

Mr Laverty said aged care providers have been united in their determination to give ageing Australians more choice when it comes to their care, allow easier access to the system and have a sector that is financially sustainable.

“These are the three priorities that we have presented to the Government and to the wider Parliament. We call on politicians of all parties to work together to build a system around those priorities,” Mr Laverty said.

“The mental health roadmap is welcomed and is important, but I think its release will have people in the aged care sector wondering ‘Where’s ours?’”


NAIROBI, January 17, 2012 (CISA) -The Catholic Bishops of Kenya have officially launched the use of the new English translation of the Roman Missal Third Typical Edition.
The launching ceremony held on Sunday, January 15 at Holy Family Minor Basilica in Nairobi was presided over by Bishop James Wainaina, Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for Liturgy and Bishop of Murang’a Diocese.
In his homily, Bishop Wainaina commended the Liturgical Commission for its commitment towards the institution of the new English translation of the Roman Missal.
The bishop said the Roman Missal is one of the most used texts in the Catholic Church, probably second to the Bible.
While describing the new English translation of the Roman Missal as a hard work of many years by a group of committed Catholics, the bishop also added, “It is the book that is placed on the altar and used by the main celebrant during Mass.”
“The whole work has taken about ten years and the full use of it will come to fruition in six months from today,” Bishop Wainaina revealed.
The cleric explained that the two very important functions of a Missal are to provide texts for the Mass, such as prayers, prefaces, antiphones and to provide guidance on Mass celebration through the guidelines usually called rubrics.
He further said that the liturgical texts are organized into seasons, Feast of Saints and Ritual Masses (like Masses for sacraments).
Bishop Anthony Muheria Vice-Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for Liturgy and Bishop of Kitui Diocese urged Catholics to make every effort to be closer to God in all aspects.
“This is the way we shall be able to benefit from God’s blessings,” Bishop Muheria said. He said that the new Missal is aimed at assisting the faithful become better Christians and followers of God’s teaching.
The new Roman Missal is the work of the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) through its Commission for Liturgy, and the Daughters of St Paul (Paulines) as publishers.
It will be in use in the following countries in Africa: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe.


IMAGE SOURCE: divebunnie.blogspot
By Madeleine Teahan on Monday, 16 January 2012
CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: A Catholic chaplain aboard the sinking Costa Concordia rushed to consume the Eucharist in an attempt to protect it as the cruise liner began to sink on Friday night.
Fr Rafaeli Mallena, 70, described his ordeal to Fr Giacomo Martino, director of the Apostolate of the Sea for the Italian bishops’ conference.
He said as he realised the ship was in serious peril he had two things at the forefront of his mind: protecting the valuables, which the staff had entrusted to him, and protecting the Blessed Sacrament.
When the first explosion was heard during dinner, Fr Rafaeli said, “he felt immediately that something was very, very wrong”, according to Fr Giacomo. He immediately went to the chapel to pray and 40 minutes later, when he realised the “abandon ship” alarm was sounding, he consumed the Eucharist and locked the staff’s valuables, including jewellery and money, in a safe.
As chaos ensued among the 4,200 passengers aboard, the priest tried to stay aboard in an effort to help but he was persuaded by crew members that it would be better if he boarded a lifeboat and left the sinking ship.
Fr Giacomo Martino said that Fr Mallena had now returned to Rome where he was recovering from his ordeal.
He said that Fr Rafaeli was, “very upset because as the first interviews came out, everyone was saying that the crew was not taking care of passengers and so on. But I am a personal witness of people leaving their families and children and I saw personal sacrifice. There was a staff captain, for example, who saved three or four people who could not swim.”
Fr Giacomo told The Catholic Herald that he had heard from survivors about a hotel director who remained bravely until the very end. He was going to take the very last lifeboat when he fell down the stairs and broke his leg. He remained inside the ship floating in cold water for 36 hours before he was discovered.
Fr Giacomo said: “A bad reaction from some individuals is not the whole truth. The truth is that almost everyone is understood to have behaved wonderfully. Most people were totally dedicated to saving others.”
Fr Giacomo estimated that there will have been a significant Catholic presence aboard the Costa Concordia due to a large number of Filipinos, meaning that almost a third of passengers were Catholic.
He said that Fr Rafaeli has told him “10 times over” since arriving back in Rome that he has the key to the ship’s safe and as soon it is recovered he will make sure that crew members receive the valuables that he took such care to protect.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Bishops of the Dominican Republic prepared a pastoral Letter entitled "50th anniversary of the Dominican Episcopal Conference (CED)", in which they present their mission in great detail as Pastors of the Catholic Church in the country. The Letter, a copy of which was sent to Fides, will be presented to the community on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Altagracia, on January 21, 2012. The document, signed by all members of the Dominican Episcopal Conference, the Bishops offer a deep and historic reflection on what is CED and its great contribution to both the local Church and to the Dominican Nation.
After the introduction, from the third to the thirteenth paragraph, the document of which there are 45 in total, refers to the "theological foundations" of the Episcopal Conference and its link with the universal Church. Then the historical part follows: from the first nucleus of the future Episcopal Conference to its foundation and its development, describing then the contribution made to the local Church and society, and concludes with a tribute to the founders.
In No 34 the Bishops say: "Anyone who has read or reads all the annual messages regarding the Dominican Independence Day, is convinced that the Dominican Episcopal Conference has always felt an obligation and commitment to help with its mission a nation which is morally sound, more fraternal, fair and equitable. At the moment humanity is very concerned about the economic and financial crisis, including food and political crisis. We on the other hand, without denying what was said before, say that the great modern crisis is human and moral, the true origin and cause of many crises that are reported. We are concerned because now this moral crisis is rooted in the national soul. Herein lies the cause of generalized violence that surrounds us, the growing violence against women and against the family, the precariousness of wages and basic services for everyone, the resignation of its educational role on behalf of the family, school and media, the mediocrity of many politicians, rampant corruption. We are concerned about this and we promise the Dominican people that we offer our sincere participation and our encouragement for good behavior". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 19/01/2012)


Mark 3: 7 - 12
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea
8 and Jerusalem and Idume'a and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him.
9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him;
10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him.
11 And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God."
12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.


St. Canute IV
Feast: January 19

Feast Day:January 19
1043, Denmark
Died:July 10, 1086, Odense
Major Shrine:Saint Canute's Cathedral, Odense
Patron of:Denmark
Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. 10 July 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Count of Flanders, he had a son Charles, surnamed the good. He was a strong ruler, as is proved by his stern dealing with the pirate Eigill of Bornholm. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were the objects he had most at heart. To the cathedral of Roskilde, still the royal burying-place, he gave his own diadem. His austerity was equalled by his assiduity in prayer. An expedition to England, in favour of the Saxons against William the Conqueror, planned by him in 1085, failed through the treachery of his brother Olaf. His people having revolted on account of the cruelties of certain tax-collectors, Canute retired to the island of Funen. There, in the church of St. Alban, after due preparation for death, the king, his brother Benedict, and seventeen others were surrounded and slain, 10 July, 1086. His feast is 19 January, translation, 10 July; his emblems, a lance or arrows, in memory of the manner of his death.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)