Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Vatican City, 4 April 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his remarks during this morning's general audience today to his recent trip to Mexico and Cuba by which, he said "I sought to embrace the entire continent, inviting everyone to live together in hope in concrete commitment to united progress towards a better future". The audience was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 11,000 people. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Holy Father recalled the reasons for his journey: The bicentenary of the independence of Mexico and other Latin America countries, the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Holy See, and the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the image of "Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre" in Cuba.
The Pope noted how his visit had been characterised by "the extraordinary, festive and vivacious welcome" of Mexicans, a sign of "the warm embrace of an entire people". He specifically mentioned his stay in the city of Leon where, in the presence of the civil and religious authorities, he had "underscored the need to recognise and protect fundamental human rights, among which religious freedom is particularly important", and had given guarantees of his "closeness to those who suffer social ills such as conflicts, old and new, corruption and violence". Nonetheless, he remarked, the widespread enthusiasm bore witness "to the tenacious hope of Mexican Christians, a hope that remains alive in peoples' hearts despite moments of difficulty".
Also in Leon, the Pope met with children and adolescents, whose joy "expressed the deep-felt desire of all young people in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean to live in peace, serenity and harmony, in a just and reconciled society".
The Holy Father continued his reminiscences: "The Lord's disciples must seek to augment the joy of being Christian and the joy of belonging to the Church. Such joy foments the energies necessary to serve Christ in situations of difficulty and suffering". For this reason the Pope had exhorted the thousands of faithful participating in Sunday Mass in Leon's Parque Bicentenario "to trust in the goodness of Almighty God, which can transform unbearable and incomprehensible situations from within, from the heart". He had also expressed his gratitude "to those who spread the Gospel in complex situations beset with restrictions".
Benedict XVI had left Mexico calling on the Mexican people "to remain faithful to the Lord and His Church, firmly anchored in their Christian roots".
The Pope then turned his attention to the Cuban leg of his journey. "I went there", he said, "to support the mission of the Catholic Church, which is committed to the joyful announcement of the Gospel, notwithstanding limited means and despite the difficulties which still have to be overcome before religion can offer its spiritual and educational services in the public arena". The Holy Father highlighted the good relations that exist between the State and the Holy See, relations "which aim to serve the living and constructive presence of the local Church. I also gave assurances that the Pope carries the concerns and aspirations of all Cubans in his heart, especially those suffering due to restrictions on freedom".
"One moment of intense spirituality", the Pope recalled, was the first Mass he celebrated on Cuban soil, marking the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the image of "Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre", patron of the island. The thousands of people who turned out for the ceremony were the "sign of a Church which is emerging from a difficult situation, but which has a vivacious witness of charity and an active presence in people's lives".
"I invited Cuban Catholics and the entire population, who are hoping for a better future, to give renewed vigour to their faith and, with the courage to forgive and comprehend, so as to help build an open and renewed society, where there is ever more space for God, because without God the world becomes an inhospitable place for mankind".
On the second stage of his Cuban journey, Havana, the young "were the main participants in the enthusiastic welcome I received as I made my way to the nunciature. There I was able to meet with local bishops to discuss the challenges the Cuban Church is called to face, in the awareness that people are looking to her with increasing trust", the Pope said.
During Mass on Sunday morning "I reminded everyone that Cuba and the world need change. This will only come about if everyone opens to the integral truth about man (an indispensable premise in order to achieve freedom) and decides to spread reconciliation and fraternity. ... I also underlined the fact that the Church does not seek privileges, but asks to be able to proclaim and celebrate the faith, also in public, bringing the Gospel's message of hope and peace to all sectors of society". In this context, Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for the progress made by the authorities in Cuba and highlighted the need to continue this process until achieving complete religious freedom.
Speaking of his departure, the Holy Father mentioned the thousands of Cuban faithful who, despite the rain, had come out to greet him on his way to the airport. In his farewell address he explained that the moment had come for the various members of Cuban society "to make a sincere effort at collaboration and patient dialogue, for the good of the country". In this light, his own presence on the island was intended "to encourage people to open their hearts to Christ, Who is the source of hope and a power for good".
Benedict XVI affirmed that his pastoral trip to Mexico and Cuba had borne positive pastoral results, and he expressed the hope that both countries would harvest abundant fruits, to build a future of peace and brotherhood.
In conclusion the Holy Father mentioned the Easter Triduum, the culmination of the liturgical year which begins tomorrow with the Mass of the Last Supper. "Each of us", he told the faithful, "was loved by Jesus 'unto the end'; that is, unto the giving of Himself on the cross, when He cried: 'It is finished'. Let us allows ourselves to be touched by this love, let us allow ourselves to be transformed, so that the resurrection can truly be achieved in each one of us".

Vatican City, 4 April 2012 (VIS) - After delivering language greetings to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for his general audience, the Holy Father recalled the fact that today marks the international day to raise awareness on anti personnel mines. He expressed his closeness to victims and their families, and expressed his encouragement to "everyone who works to free humanity from these terrible hidden devices which, as Blessed John Paul II said when the Anti Personnel Mines Convention came into force, prevent mankind from 'walking together on the journey of life without fearing destruction and death'".

Vatican City, 4 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed :
- Bishop Oscar Omar Aparicio Cespedes, auxiliary of La Paz, Bolivia, as military ordinary for Bolivia.
- Msgr. Francesco Milito of the clergy of the archdiocese of Rossano-Cariati, episcopal vicar for ecumenism and culture, and director of the archdiocesan historical archives, as bishop of Oppido Mamertina-Palmi (area 930, population 179,603, Catholics 176,250, priests 99, permanent deacons 16, religious 182), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Rossano, Italy in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1972. Among other things, he has worked as professor and rector in a number of seminaries, official of the Secretariat of State and director of the archdiocesan monthly magazine. He is also author of numerous essays and articles on the ecclesiastical and cultural history of the Italian region of Calabria.
- Msgr. Tulio Luis Ramirez Padilla of the clergy of the archdiocese of Valencia en Venezuela, vicar general, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Caracas (area 790, population 4,435,000, Catholics 3,781,000, priests 538, permanent deacons 9, religious 1,722), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Caracas in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1984. He studied in Spain and in Rome and has worked in pastoral care in a number of parishes.

Vatican City, 4 April 2012 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:
- Bishop John George Chedid, emeritus of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles of the Maronites, U.S.A., on 22 March at the age of 88.
- Archbishop Ante Juric, emeritus of Split-Makarska, Croatia, on 20 March at the age of 89.
- Bishop Edward Materski, emeritus of Radom, Poland, on 24 March at the age of 89.
- Bishop Anarghyros Printesis, apostolic exarch emeritus for Catholics of Byzantine rite resident in Greece, on 18 March at the age of 74.
- Bishop Paulino Reale, emeritus of Venado Tuerto, Argentina, on 29 March at the age of 88.


Brother Bernard Elliot RIP | Brother Bernard Elliot SJ,Jesuit,Jesuit Refugee Service

Br Bernard Elliot
Brother Bernard Elliot SJ, a Jesuit who was involved with the Jesuit Refugee Service in the UK from its earliest days, died on Monday, after a brief illness. He was 82. Over more than 30 years, Bernard supported refugees arriving, often destitute, in the UK and tried to 'accompany, serve and advocate' on their behalf.

Bernard Gerald Elliot was born in Macclesfield on 20 May 1929 and went to school at St John's, Alton, and then Cotton College in Staffordshire. On leaving school, he served his National Service with the Royal Artillery, largely as an instructor of radar, before working in marketing and advertising in the confectionery trade.

Bernard entered the Society of Jesus at Harlaxton, Lincs, in 1963, at the age of 34, and studied administrative skills and economics at Campion Hall in Oxford; both his father and younger brother had been accountants. After taking his vows as a brother in 1965, he spent four years at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire as sacristan, and returned there in 1973 after his tertianship at Corby Hall in Sunderland. From 1976, he was Master to the Lower Grammar boys at Stonyhurst, before being appointed to work in the Jesuit parish of St George's in Worcester.

After a brief term at the Community Centre in Boscombe, Dorset, Bernard moved in 1979 to Heythrop College in London, where his collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) began. For the next 32 years, he was to assist, work with and listen to refugees, detainees and asylum seekers through JRS, based first at Osterley, near Heathrow, then in various parts of London - Stamford Hill, Stockwell, London Bridge and finally, at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping.

The Jesuit Refugee Service was started in 1980 by Father Pedro Arrupe SJ; in the UK, Bernard established a system of support for Vietnamese fleeing from the atrocities of their homeland and arriving as refugees here. Below is a link to an interview, first published in 2005 on the 25th anniversary of JRS International, which tells the story in Bernard's words.

Bernard's final years were spent as a member of the Wimbledon Jesuit Community, living in Feltham, Middlesex. He was admitted to St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey on 19 March 2012 and died there on 2 April 2012. May he rest in peace.

To read an interview with Br Bernard, see:

Source: JRS/Jesuit Comms



Archbishop Mark ColeridgeTuesday 3 April 2012
The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Philip Wilson yesterday welcomed the appointment of Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge as Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane.
Archbishop Coleridge has served as the chief pastor of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn since 2006. Archbishop Coleridge replaces Archbishop John Alexius Bathersby who retired last year after serving the people of Brisbane since 1992.

Archbishop Wilson said yesterday that he was delighted with the appointment of Archbishop Coleridge and extended his heartfelt prayers to the Archbishop and the people of the Archdiocese.
“Archbishop Coleridge is an exceptionally talented pastor and will show solid leadership to the people of Brisbane. He has a great many gifts and wonderful human qualities. I will pray for him and the people of the Archdiocese in the coming weeks”, said Archbishop Wilson.
Archbishop Coleridge said he was heartened that Pope Benedict and others had chosen him as Chief Pastor of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, and grateful to the Holy Father for the trust he placed in him.

"Until recently, I never imagined that I would be appointed Archbishop of Brisbane, following in the footsteps of some remarkable men," he said. "Faced now with the call, I feel the need for a strength not my own. I will do my best, but that will not be enough. Yet the Lord equips those whom he sends in ways they could never equip themselves.
"Therefore, peacefully and without reserve I put my life in his hands and at the service of the Church in Brisbane and Queensland. That service will be a great privilege.

"I am deeply grateful for the grace of my six years as Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, and I will leave with unforgettable memories of people and places from Canberra to Bega, from West Wyalong to Cooma, from Gundagai to Goulburn and beyond. I will always be a small part of the Archdiocesanstory, but the Archdiocese will always be a large part of my own story."

Archbishop Mark Coleridge was appointed the Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn in 2006, after spending some years as Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.
Archbishop Mark has held posts as Master of Catholic Theological College, Melbourne; Media spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and foundation President of the Forum of Australian Catholic Institutes of Theology.

Appointed to Rome in 1997, Archbishop Mark worked in the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and was Chaplain to the late Pope John Paul II.
He is currently Chair of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee and the International Commission for the Preparation of an English-language Lectionary.
He chairs the Australian Bishops’ Commission for Liturgy and is a member of the Bishops’ Commission for Doctrine and Morals. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

He has recently been appointed to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Archbishop Coleridge will be installed as Archbishop of Brisbane on 11 May at St Stephen’s Cathedral.

Archbishop Coleridge said he would remain the Archdiocesan Administrator until his installation.

"The Auxiliary Bishop will then assume that responsibility until the College of Consultors elects an Administrator who will be responsible for the affairs of the Archdiocese until my successor is installed," he said.


by Melani Manel Perera
During Chrism Mass, Card Malcolm Ranjith urged more than 200 religious to follow the Lord for "we belong to Christ totally and integrally". The bishop is not superman but "one like you" with whom to collaborate to help the people of God to find their back to Him.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - "Let us then reflect about the beauty and the dignity of our vocation as priests and allow the Lord to shine through us, weak though we are, leading us to where he wishes to take us-writing the beautiful story of our life," said Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, in his homily during the Holy Chrism Mass held in All Saints Church, Borella in Colombo. Some 200 priests from 123 parishes in the diocese took part in the liturgy. The prelate co-celebrated the Mass with Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, Auxiliaries Bishop Emmanuel Fernando and Bishop Maxwell Silva as well as Archbishops Emeriti Nicholas Marcus Fernando and Oswald Gomis.

In the past few years, the Chrism Mass has been held on the Monday before Easter rather than Holy Thursday to allow every priest in the diocese to participate.

Speaking to the religious present, Card Ranjith said, "Dear Fathers today as we renew our priestly promises we ought to recall this most important aspect of our priestly identity," namely that "we belong to Christ totally and integrally. St Paul [. . .] saw this 'belonging' as the key element of his spiritual strength. 'I live yet not I, but Christ lives in me' (Gal, 2:20). [. . .] On our ordination day, willingly we accepted to allow the Lord to own us so that he may lead us and make our lives fruitful for him".

"Your bishop," the cardinal explained, "is one like you who by the will of God and the favour of the Holy Father has been entrusted for a given period of time with the task of shepherding this diocese. He is not a superman though. And he cannot do this work alone. The Lord has placed you" in a position "to collaborate with him so that with your cooperation he can help the people of God in this part of the Church to find their way back to Him." It is "the way through which the Lord fashions your life, and mine too, [thus] making them bear fruit-whatever the task that is assigned to each one of us. No one is indispensible; it is true. But everyone has to join in."

Benedict XVI once said, "Our obedience is a believing with the Church, thinking and speaking with the Church, serving through her." Indeed, "letting oneself be guided where one does not want to be led is an essential dimension for service and it is exactly what makes us free".,-follow-the-Church-24427.html


Cisa News REPORT
GAO, APRIL 03, 2012 (CISA) -Caritas Mali reported that its local office in Gao in northern Mali was destroyed along with the local church when Tuareg rebels seized the city last weekend.
Despite the conflict in the north and a coup last month, Caritas Mali operations continue.
The Tuareg rebels have seized three regional capitals in as many days. The main rebel group is the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). They are operating alongside the Islamist group Ansar Edine, who have links to Al Qaeda’s north African branch.
Father Jean-Jacques, director of Caritas Gao, said, “Caritas staff fled Gao on Saturday March 31. We learned from our guard that the centre and the church compound have been destroyed.”
“We have received calls from the small Catholic community left in Gao. They are now in hiding, fearing for their lives,” he told Zenit.
Father Jean-Jacques says there are about 200 Catholics in Gao.
The capital of Mali is calm. “All is normal here in Bamako,” said Théodore Togo, the Secretary General of Caritas Mali.”We are monitoring the situation in the north. Apart from in Gao and in Mopti temporally, our program continues in assisting people affected by the food crisis.”
Caritas Mali is distributing corn, millet, rice and sorghum, as well as seeds to over 100,000 people affected by a growing food crisis.
“If the rebels limit their activities to the north, then the majority of our aid programs will be able to continue as planned,” said Théodore Togo.
A coup last month toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure, adding further insecurity to the volatile situation in Mali.
Caritas members in Niger are also providing food aid to refugees who have fled the conflict in northern Mali. SOURCE: CISA NEWS AFRICA


Agenzia Fides report - The Bishops of Colombia expressed their satisfaction with the release of ten people (including members of the police and army) who had been kidnapped by the FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Yesterday, April 2nd, the hostages were handed over to a humanitarian mission composed of delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and two members of the Colombian Commission for Peace (CCP).
"The Bishops of Colombia share the joy shared by those who have been released, their families and their friends, and all Colombians, so that they do not lose the hope of seeing all the hostages freed" said the President of the Episcopal Conference, His Exc. Mgr. Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota in a statement.
The Bishops, invite "groups that are still holding people as hostages to release them as soon as possible, in order to allow the crime of kidnapping to disappear from our country forever". In this way, therefore, "deep respect for the rights of all Colombians, as the basis for building a just and fraternal society will be consolidated". Furthermore, "the unilateral liberation of all hostages is a necessary first step to start the process of dialogue in order to end the scourge of civil war in Colombia and to advance along the paths of peace." Some of the released hostages had been held prisoners for more than 10 years. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 03/04/2012)


Matthew 26: 14 - 25
14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15 and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?"
18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.'"
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.
20 When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples;
21 and as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
22 And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?"
23 He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me.
24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
25 Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."


St. Isidore of Seville
Feast: April 4

Feast Day:April 4
Born:560 at Cartagena, Spain
Died: 4 April 636 at Seville, Spain
Canonized:1598, Rome by Pope Clement VIII
Patron of:computer technicians, computer users, computers, the Internet, schoolchildren, students
Born at Cartagena, Spain, about 560; died 4 April, 636.
Isidore was the son of Severianus and Theodora. His elder brother Leander was his immediate predecessor in the Metropolitan See of Seville; whilst a younger brother St. Fulgentius presided over the Bishopric of Astigi. His sister Florentina was a nun, and is said to have ruled over forty convents and one thousand religious.
Isidore received his elementary education in the Cathedral school of Seville. In this institution, which was the first of its kind in Spain, the trivium and quadrivium were taught by a body of learned men, among whom was the archbishop, Leander. With such diligence did he apply himself to study that in a remarkably short time mastered Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Whether Isidore ever embraced monastic life or not is still an open question, but though he himself may never have been affiliated with any of the religious orders, he esteemed them highly. On his elevation to the episcopate he immediately constituted himself protector of the monks. In 619 he pronounced anathema against any ecclesiastic who should in any way molest the monasteries.
On the death of Leander, Isidore succeeded to the See of Seville. His long incumbency to this office was spent in a period of disintegration and transition. The ancient institutions and classic learning of the Roman Empire were fast disappearing. In Spain a new civilization was beginning to evolve itself from the blending racial elements that made up its population. For almost two centuries the Goths had been in full control of Spain, and their barbarous manners and contempt of learning threatened greatly to put back her progress in civilization. Realizing that the spiritual as well as the material well-being of the nation depended on the full assimilation of the foreign elements, St. Isidore set himself to the task of welding into a homogeneous nation the various peoples who made up the Hispano-Gothic kingdom. To this end he availed himself of all the resources of religion and education. His efforts were attended with complete success. Arianism, which had taken deep root among the Visigoths, was eradicated, and the new heresy of Acephales was completely stifled at the very outset; religious discipline was everywhere strengthened. Like Leander, he took a most prominent part in the Councils of Toledo and Seville. In all justice it may be said that it was in a great measure due to the enlightened statecraft of these two illustrious brothers the Visigothic legislation, which emanated from these councils, is regarded by modern historians as exercising a most important influence on the beginnings of representative government. Isidore presided over the Second Council of Seville, begun 13 November, 619, in the reign of Sisebut. But it was the Fourth National Council of Toledo that afforded him the opportunity of being of the greatest service to his county. At this council, begun 5 December, 633, all the bishops of Spain were in attendance. St. Isidore, though far advanced in years, presided over its deliberations, and was the originator of most of its enactments. It was at this council and through his influence that a decree was promulgated commanding all bishops to establish seminaries in their Cathedral Cities, along the lines of the school already existing at Seville. Within his own jurisdiction he had availed himself of the resources of education to counteract the growing influence of Gothic barbarism. His was the quickening spirit that animated the educational movement of which Seville was the centre. The study of Greek and Hebrew as well as the liberal arts, was prescribed. Interest in law and medicine was also encouraged. Through the authority of the fourth council this policy of education was made obligatory upon all the bishops of the kingdom. Long before the Arabs had awakened to an appreciation of Greek Philosophy, he had introduced Aristotle to his countrymen. He was the first Christian writer to essay the task of compiling for his co-religionists a summa of universal knowledge. This encyclopedia epitomized all learning, ancient as well as modern. In it many fragments of classical learning are preserved which otherwise had been hopelessly lost. The fame of this work imparted a new impetus to encyclopedic writing, which bore abundant fruit in the subsequent centuries of the Middle Ages. His style, though simple and lucid, cannot be said to be classical. It discloses most of the imperfections peculiar to all ages of transition. It particularly reveals a growing Visigothic influence. Arévalo counts in all Isidore's writing 1640 Spanish words.
Isidore was the last of the ancient Christian Philosophers, as he was the last of the great Latin Fathers. He was undoubtedly the most learned man of his age and exercised a far-reaching and immeasurable influence on the educational life of the Middle Ages. His contemporary and friend, Braulio, Bishop of Saragossa, regarded him as a man raised up by God to save the Spanish people from the tidal wave of barbarism that threatened to inundate the ancient civilization of Spain, The Eighth Council of Toledo (653) recorded its admiration of his character in these glowing terms: "The extraordinary doctor, the latest ornament of the Catholic Church, the most learned man of the latter ages, always to be named with reverence, Isidore". This tribute was endorsed by the Fifteenth Council of Toledo, held in 688.



Vatican City, 3 April 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh, issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The message is signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council. (IMAGE RADIO VATICANA\)
Vesakh is the main Buddhist feast and commemorates the three fundamental moments in the life of Gautama Buddha. According to tradition, the historical Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and passed away during the full moon of the month of May. Thus Vesakh is a mobile feast which this year falls on 5 and 6 May, while in China it is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese calendar, which this year corresponds to 28 April. On those days, Buddhists decorate their houses with flowers and perfume them with incense, visit local temples and listen to the teaching of the monks.
This year's message is entitled: "Christians and Buddhists: Sharing Responsibility for Educating the Young Generation on Justice and Peace through Inter-religious Dialogue": Extracts from the English-language version of the text are given below.
"Today, more and more in classrooms all over the world, students belonging to various religions and beliefs sit side-by-side, learning with one another and from one another. This diversity gives rise to challenges and sparks deeper reflection on the need to educate young people to respect and understand the religious beliefs and practices of others, to grow in knowledge of their own, to advance together as responsible human beings and to be ready to join hands with those of other religions to resolve conflicts and to promote friendship, justice, peace and authentic human development.
"With His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, we acknowledge that true education can support an openness to the transcendent as well as to those around us. Where education is a reality there is an opportunity for dialogue, for inter-relatedness and for receptive listening to the other. In such an atmosphere, young people sense that they are appreciated for who they are and for what they are able to contribute; they learn how to grow in appreciation of their brothers and sisters whose beliefs and practices are different from their own. When that happens there will be joy in being persons of solidarity and compassion called to build a just and fraternal society giving thus hope for the future.
"As Buddhists you pass on to young people the wisdom regarding the need to refrain from harming others and to live lives of generosity and compassion, a practice to be esteemed and recognised as a precious gift to society. This is one concrete way in which religion contributes to educating the young generation, sharing the responsibility and cooperating with others.
"As a matter of fact, young people are an asset for all societies. By their genuineness, they encourage us to find an answer to the most fundamental questions about life and death, justice and peace, the meaning of suffering, and the reasons for hope. Thus they help us to progress in our pilgrimage towards Truth. By their dynamism, as builders of the future, they put pressure on us to destroy all the walls which unfortunately still separate us. By their questioning they nurture the dialogue between religions and cultures.
"Dear friends, we join our hearts to yours and pray that together we will be able to guide the young people by our example and teaching to become instruments of justice and peace. Let us share the common responsibility we have towards the present and future generations, nurturing them to be peaceful and to be peace makers".

Vatican City, 3 April 2012 (VIS) - Beginning in the second week of May when many countries around the world celebrate Mother's Day, the text of the "Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb", having received the approval of the Holy See, will be made available in parishes throughout the United States. The announcement was made recently in a note issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops informing the faithful that the the text - printed in both English and Spanish - has received the "recognitio" of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the episcopal conference's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has explained that the blessing was prepared to "support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage parish prayers for and recognition of the precious gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society". The blessing may be imparted either during the liturgy or outside of Mass and the text will eventually be included in the Book of Blessings, after it has been revised.
The blessing of unborn children was promoted by Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville. When bishop of Knoxville he had asked the Committee on Pro-Life Activities to see whether a blessing existed for a child in the womb. When none was found, the committee began preparing a text which was presented to the Divine Worship Committee in March 2008. In November of the same year the full body of bishops approved the prayer and it was sent to the Holy See for the "recognitio".

Vatican City, 3 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Jose Carlos Cabrero Romero of Zacatecas, Mexico, as archbishop of San Luis Potosi (area 19,428, population 1,925,000, Catholics 1,845,000, priests 264, permanent deacons 10, religious 985), Mexico. He succeeds Archbishop Luis Morales Reyes, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Castor Oswaldo Azuaje Perez O.C.D., auxiliary of Maracaibo, Venezuela, as bishop of Trujillo (area 7,400, population 788,000, Catholics 746,000, priests 117, permanent deacons 23, religious 93), Venezuela. He succeeds Bishop Vicente Ramon Hernandez Pena, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit


Appeal for solidarity with autistic people  | Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski,Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, autistic people

Archbishop ZimowskiIND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:
Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, has written a message for the Fifth World Autism Day, which took place yesterday, in which he makes an appeal for sensitivity and supportive solidarity towards autistic people and their families. In the message he recalls how "autistic spectrum disorders constitute ... a grave alteration of behaviour, of verbal and non-verbal communication, and of social integration, with a wide-ranging effect on the normal development and evolution of the personality".

"The Church sees as impelling the task of placing herself at the side of these people - children and young people in particular - and their families, if not to breakdown these barriers of silence then at least to share in solidarity and prayer in their journey of suffering". This is particularly important because families with autistic children, although they look after these children with loving care, experience repercussions as regards the quality of their own lives, and are often, in their turn, led to be closed up in an isolation that marginalises and wounds".

For this reason the Church and all men and women of good will "feel committed to being 'travelling companions' with those who live this eloquent silence, which calls upon our sensitivity towards the suffering of others".

The president of the pontifical council highlights the efforts of health care workers, educators, professionals and volunteers, adding that "the scientific world and health care policies must also be encouraged to engage in and ... increase diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative pathways that can address a pathology which affects more people in numerical terms than could have been imagined only a few years ago. To encourage and sustain, in the supportive action of the world of schools, voluntary work and associations, these efforts is a duty, not least to discover and bring out that dignity which even the gravest and most devastating disability does not eliminate, and which always fills us with hope".

Finally Archbishop Zimowski commends autistic people and their families to God. "Although enveloped in the mystery of silence because of a grave psychological disturbance, they are never alone, inasmuch as they are passionately loved by God and, in Him, by the community of those whose faith commits them to becoming a living and transparent sign of the presence of the Resurrected Christ in the world".

Source: VIS


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Archbishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. Jose Escobar Alas, complained that for the past three months, the Metropolitan Cathedral has been occupied by a group of ex-combatants, which does not allow the religious celebrations to be held. "We regret that our Cathedral is still occupied, especially during this special moment such as Holy Week. This is why, once again, we ask the people who are inside to reflect and desist from this evil act that goes against the respect and honor of God and violates the right of people to worship God in his temple", said the Archbishop talking to the press.
According to local Fides sources, the Archbishop stressed that this situation constitutes a violation of the right to the freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution of the Republic. Meanwhile, the occupants have expressed their willingness to negotiate and leave the premises of the church. Camilo Artiga, one of the occupants, explained that this forceful action continues because the negotiation process has stopped for the Easter holidays. "The Government of the Republic and the Archbishop know our willingness to continue negotiations and to give temple back before Holy Week, but it was not possible because the American government went on vacation," said Artiga. The occupants have also criticized Mgr. Escobar Alas’ words, when he said that their decision is "an act of disrespect" towards the faithful.
The ex-combatants, who entered the cathedral occupying it at the beginning of January, announced that they are not going away until a commission to negotiate with the government is set up. The demands of ex-combatants regard their reinstatement as veterans of the police and the reinstatement of their representative in parliament; the recognition of their trade union (see Fides 16/01/2012). They also stressed their good will because, without having yet reached any agreement, they have opened the Cathedral to ensure that the faithful could visit the grave of Archbishop Romero, on the anniversary of his assassination. "Everything depends on the government if a proper agreement is reached, and if there is an agreement , tomorrow the faithful can also come to Mass in the Cathedral" said Artiga. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 03/04/2012)


Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee's Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010
+ Cardinal George Pell,
30 Mar 2012


Catholics hold strong beliefs about the dignity of the human person and the goodness and beauty of marriage as a natural institution between a man and a woman. In response to the subject inquiry, I make the following submissions regarding the nature of marriage and why the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia must continue to recognise and support marriage as meaning the exclusive and permanent union of one man and one woman.
What is marriage?
Marriage is a natural institution whereby a man and a woman give themselves to each other for life in an exclusive sexual relationship that is open to procreation. It is a union that is publicly recognised, honoured and supported because of its unique capacity to generate children and to meet children's deepest needs for the love and attachment of both their father and their mother. In the words of Professor Robert George of Princeton University:
"Marriage is the community formed by a man and a woman who publicly consent to share their whole lives, in a type of relationship oriented toward the begetting, nurturing and educating of children together. This openness to procreation, as the community's natural fulfilment, distinguishes this community from other types."1
By contrast, although the community formed by a homosexual couple may involve genuine caring, affection and commitment to one another, it is not an inherently procreative community, because their sexual relationship is not designed to generate children. Marriage is not simply a loving, committed relationship between two people, but a unique kind of physical and emotional union which is open to the possibility of new life.
The definition of marriage as an inherently procreative community does not exclude heterosexual married couples who cannot have children for reasons of age or infertility. They are still married because their sexual union is naturally designed to give life, even if it cannot give life at a particular point in time, or ever. Marriage between a man and a woman always has an inherent capacity for, and orientation towards, the generation of children, whether that capacity is actualized or not.
How does marriage between a man and a woman make a unique contribution to society?
Marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to society because a stable, loving marriage provides the best conditions for raising children. Through marriage, children are able to grow up knowing that they were created through an act of intimate love and with the knowledge that their mother and father have committed to each other for life. Marriage also contributes uniquely to society in modelling the way women and men live interdependently, recognising the equal dignity, beauty and value of the other, and committing to seek the good of each other. The family based on marriage is also the best social framework for the promotion of inter and intra-generational biological connectivity, which is an important and vital social good.
Marriage: discrimination against same-sex couples?
Unjust discrimination against persons is always wrong, but participation in particular social institutions is not always equally available to all persons within society. Distinguishing between certain groups is essential for the maintenance of the validity of the institution; e.g. university access is based on academic merit and not simply on the desire to attend a university. Women's and girls' only schools and colleges are permitted to deny entry to men, because society recognises that receiving men into the institution would change its essential character.
It is not unjust discrimination against homosexual couples to uphold marriage as being between a man and a woman. Marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities. Justice, in fact, requires society to recognise and respect this difference.
Marriage: a basic human right?
"The right to marry and found a family" is affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). International law has always understood and affirmed the enduring, unchanging truth that marriage is a life-giving union of a man and a woman. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors international human rights treaties, has stated that the right to marry "implies, in principle, the possibility to procreate".2 The right to marry is a fundamental human right. However, to respect this right means to accept the objective reality of marriage as a union of a man and a woman that is inherently procreative.

Why should secular society recognise, structure and encourage marriage?
Secular society has always recognised marriage as a public institution because the marital relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good. Marriage is pre-political and the state has in this sense inherited marriage. The state should not alter and supply different reasons for an institution which it has inherited; rather it can only consider the reasons why this institution has deserved - and still deserves - social recognition and support. The primary reason why nation states have been interested in marriage and why it has attracted public support is because of its procreative aspect, encompassing the generation and raising of children:
"Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good".3
Companionship and love are undoubtedly important, but it is not the role of the state to legislate on the basis of private affections. Procreation, however, constitutes the public reason for marriage, because the creation and raising of children is publicly significant, with immense implications for the common good. The family, based on marriage, is the basic unit on which society and the extended family is built. As such, the state has an interest in and duty to ensure children are raised, as far as possible, by their natural families.4
The state cannot grant the legal status of marriage to same-sex unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the public good.
While same-sex couples can have children by means of donor sperm or eggs, or through adoption, their relationship does not inherently have the possibility of creating children. For same-sex couples, having a child will always involve the use of one or more persons outside their relationship. This is unjust to children and destructive of their family connectedness. This practice should not be publicly endorsed or encouraged, because it involves a profound loss and deprivation for the child concerned: the loss of a pre eminent and vital relationship with their biological father or mother.
Although it is deeply natural and good to desire children, the child should always be seen as a gift - a person whose rights and dignity must always be respected. As affirmed by international law, children have a right to their biological heritage.5 It is a grave injustice to deliberately deprive children of the experience of being loved and raised by their natural mother and father6 and to prevent them from having a developing and ongoing relationship with their biological siblings.
Religious freedom at risk for all Australians
Some proponents of same-sex marriage have argued that in the event of marriage being redefined, the Catholic Church and other religious communities will be "protected" or "exempted" from being required by law to perform same-sex marriages. Such proposals fail to understand the immensely powerful role and influence of the law in our society. Changing the Marriage Act would, in practice, compel Catholics and other faith communities to recognise and accept same-sex marriage in their schools, charities, social welfare, health care and adoption services.
An 'exemption' would only apply to religious celebrants, and would offer no legal protection for the vast majority of Catholics and other Australians with a religious and/or conscientiously-held belief that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
The Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, with or without any accompanying 'exempting' legislation, poses a grave danger to religious freedom. It would threaten the right of Catholics and all Australians who believe in marriage to live, teach and publicly practise their belief that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
In March 2012 the European Court of Human Rights handed down a judgment reaffirming its earlier decision that same-sex marriage is not a human right under the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Court added that:
"Where national legislation recognises registered partnerships between same sex, member states should aim to ensure that their legal status and their rights and obligations are equivalent to those of heterosexual couples in a similar situation."7
Mr Neil Addison, an English barrister who specialises in discrimination law, explained that what this means is that:
"Once same-sex marriage has been legalised then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage. This means that if same-sex marriage is legalised in the UK it will be illegal for the Government to prevent such marriages happening in religious premises."8
Australia is not a party to the European Convention on Human Rights and is not bound by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. But this reasoning is likely to be followed by Australian courts and tribunals to read down 'exemptions' intended to protect religious freedom.
The meaning of marriage is important for all of us
The philosopher Ronald Dworkin, himself a supporter of homosexual marriage, explains why there is a strong case for not changing the meaning of marriage. He begins with the premise that the institution of marriage is:
"a unique and immensely valuable cultural resource. Its meaning and hence its value have developed over centuries, and the assumption that marriage is the union of a man and a woman is so embedded in our common understanding that it would become a different institution were that assumption now challenged and lost. Just as we might struggle to maintain the meaning and value of any other great natural or artistic resource, so we should struggle to retain this uniquely valuable cultural resource.
I believe that argument to be the strongest that can be made against gay marriage. It raises a larger and even more important issue. Who should have control, and in what way, over the moral, ethical, and aesthetic culture in which we must all live and that defines the meaning of our social and legal institutions and shapes our lives in many other ways?"9
We should not treat lightly those legal and social norms which limit marriage to persons of opposite sex. Often out of a sense of not wanting to unfairly discriminate, we can think that allowing equal status to other forms of unions somehow seems just. However, when we equate same-sex relationships with marriage, it further undermines our understanding of family by wrongly implying that biological connectivity of children with their parents and siblings is not important. In addition, it mistakenly says that having both a mother and a father is an unnecessary and superfluous duplication. Contrary to everything we intuitively and sociologically know about effective parenting, it adds further confusion by saying that mothers can 'father' just as well as men, and that fathers can 'mother' just as well as women.
When we permit same-sex relationships to mimic marriage we also say that a child gains no benefit from the knowledge that they were created through an intimate act of love between their parents. As a result, our understanding of children also changes. Instead of seeing children principally as gifts created in love we begin to treat them as an entitlement.
When legislatures act to change laws, social norms change as a consequence, and these impact on all members of the community. Because marriage is one of the greatest resources of society, one that encourages men and women to commit to each other for life and to love and raise their children together, any change in the definition of marriage away from procreation to simply an emotional union will fundamentally alter society's values. Professors David Tubbs and Robert George explain the impact of a change in the definition of marriage:
"the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships as marriages is likely to further destabilize an institution already damaged by the casual acceptance of cohabitation and unwed childbearing as well as by the high rate of divorce. If a desire to stamp social approval on homosexual conduct and relationships leads to a redefinition of marriage that detaches it not only from biological complementarity and procreation but also from the related norm of sexual exclusivity, what will be left of the institution?"10
Legislation similar to the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 is being considered in the United Kingdom. As the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales stated recently in their letter of 10 March 2012:
"The law helps to shape and form social and cultural values. A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society's understanding of the purpose of marriage. It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two people involved. There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children."11
I reiterate strongly the declaration of the English and Welsh bishops that we have a duty to all married couples, and to future generations, to do all we can "to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost".12 The real and distinctive meaning of marriage - a meaning cherished and preserved for countless generations of the human family - must not be taken away because of a deeply misguided idea that marriage only means any kind of committed relationship between two individuals.
Marriage: our common heritage
Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us that marriage between a man and a woman is a fundamental element of the "common patrimony" of humanity - our most precious heritage as human beings. Marriage is the place where sexuality is truly humanized, where man and woman through their exclusive commitment to each other create a family and pass this love on to their children and to future generations:
"We have a positive idea to offer, that man and woman are made for each other … that marriage develops, first of all as a joyful and blessing-filled encounter between a man and a woman, and then, the family, which guarantees continuity among generations and through which generations are reconciled to each other and even cultures can meet."13
I urge you once again to recognise that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, uniquely designed for the gift of children, and to support the essential and irreplaceable contribution marriage makes to our society.
Thank you for the opportunity to make this submission on such an important matter of national interest.

  1. Robert P. George, In Defense of Natural Law. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1999, p.168.
  2. UN Human Rights Committee General Comment No 19.
  3. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, June 3, 2003. Available at:
  4. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7(1).
  5. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 30.
  6. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7(1).
  7. "Gay Marriage is not a human rights, according t European ruling" The Telegraph (UK), 21 March 2012.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ronald Dworkin, "Three Questions for America", The New York Review of Books, September 21, 2006.
  10. David L. Tubbs & Robert P. George, "Redefining Marriage Away", City Journal, Summer 2004.
  11. A Letter on Marriage. Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. 10-11 March 2012. Available at:
  12. Ibid.
  13. Press interview with Pope Benedict XVI, Castel Gandolfo, Italy, August 5, 2006.


by David Viehland
Members of the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace condemn the killing of Arturo Eustaquio III, president of Universidad de Zamboanga, gunned down by unknown assailants on Sunday. He had been involved in education for years. His university was one of the main centres of higher education on the island of Mindanao.

Manila (AsiaNews) - Christian and Muslim leaders have condemned the killing of Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ) president Arturo Eustaquio III, calling on the authorities to stop the spate of killings in the southern Philippines city. Two suspects, reportedly on motorcycles, shot to death the 69-year-old Eustaquio, a Muslim, on Sunday in Santa Maria village.

An active member of the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP), Eustaquio was laid to rest the next day on the grounds of the university, founded by his family. The college serves at least 8,000 students, both Christians and Muslims, and over the years has become one of the most prominent centres of higher education in the region. Its main campus is in Zamboanga City and Ipil, but plans are on the drawing board to start another branch in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

The Eustaquio family also owns one of the main private hospitals in the city.

According to police, one motive for the murder was that the university was getting too big. In recent months, the victim had received death threats, the latest on 21 March. Police had warned him that he might be abducted for ransom.

In a press statement signed by IRSMP secretary Fr Angel Calvo and other Christian and Muslim religious leaders, the organisation described the slain educator as a peace advocate who helped students from poor families.

The group complained about the violence that is sweeping the city, with killings and kidnappings. Increasingly, residents are concerned and fearful about their safety.

"If an assassin can kill with impunity a man of stature like Eustaquio, who then in this city can be safe from a similar attack?" IRSMP leaders asked.

The IRSMP appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to exercise his extraordinary and special powers to order appropriate officials, agencies and sectors to restore and preserve peace and order and the rule of law in Zamboanga City and the rest of the island.

After 40 years of fighting between the Filipino military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Mindanao has become one of the most dangerous places in the Philippines and the world. Abductions, attacks and killings are everyday occurrences, and most go unpunished.

During his election campaign, President Aquino promised to change direction from that taken by her predecessor, Gloria Arroyo. The latter is currently on trial on corruption charges and has been accused of protecting friendly businessmen involved in brutal murders.


 Cisa News REPORT
DAR ES SALAAM, April 03, 2012 (CISA) -The Second Dar es Salaam Counter Human Trafficking Symposium for the grassroots and faith based organizations came to an end on March 29, 2012.
The symposium was organized by Reintegrated Efforts for Social Transformation (REST), Hope for the Children Organization (HFCO) and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI) Sisters in Dar, Tanzania assisted by KARDS and Consolation East Africa from Nairobi, Kenya.
Several faith based and other local organizations were represented in this symposium including The Catholic Professionals of Tanzania (CPT), Wanawake Wakatoliki Tanzania (WAWATA), Caritas Tanzania, Legal Human Rights Center (LHRC), University of Dar es Salaam and Youth for Change (Y4C).
The symposium provided a healthy forum for exchange of ideas, perspectives and information on the Challenge of human trafficking in Tanzania. The important outcome of the symposium was the fact that participants felt the need to strengthen networking and collaboration amongst themselves.
The primary topic handled by the symposium was the reintegration of the victims of human trafficking in Tanzania. This appears to be a great challenge as facilities for temporary safe haven are lacking. So far only one organization provides facilities the DMI sisters in Kimara.
Organizations working in countering human trafficking have little know how of what it entails and its scope. Hence constant forums for knowledge exchange that also contribute to promotion of networking play an important role. The participants from Kenya shared with the other participants that the Church in Kenya dedicated the first week of the 2011 Lenten period to discuss amongst human trafficking. By entrenching the message against human trafficking in the Lenten Campaign the Kenyan Church indicated that they saw it as a peace and justice issue.
The next symposium is scheduled for 28th and 29th June in Mombasa and the last major symposium for this year will be held in Nairobi on 21st, 22nd and 23rd November. The third counter human trafficking symposium for Tanzania will be held in 28th and 29th March 2013.


John 13: 21 - 33, 36 - 38
21 When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus;
24 so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks."
25 So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, "Lord, who is it?"
26 Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
27 Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."
28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.
29 Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the feast"; or, that he should give something to the poor.
30 So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night.
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified;
32 if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.'
36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward."
37 Peter said to him, "Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
38 Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times.