Tuesday, July 3, 2012


PROGRAMME OF THE POPE'S APOSTOLIC TRIP TO LEBANON  (IMAGE SOURCE RADIO VATICANA)Vatican City, 3 July 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is to make an apostolic trip to Lebanon from 14 to 16 September in order to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in the Vatican in October 2010.
The Holy Father will depart from Ciampino airport in Rome at 9.30 a.m. on Friday 14 September and land at the Rafik Hariri international airport in Beirut at 1.45 p.m. local time. Following the welcome ceremony he will travel to Harissa where he will visit the basilica of St. Paul and sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday 15 September the Pope will travel to the presidential palace at Baabda where he will pay a courtesy visit to the president of Lebanon, as well as to the prime minister and the speaker of the parliament. He will then meet with the heads of Muslim communities before going on to pronounce an address before representatives from government, State institutions, the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and the world of culture.
On the same day the Pope will have lunch at the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Bzommar with patriarchs and bishops of Lebanon, members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, and the papal entourage. At 6 p.m. he is scheduled to deliver an address to young people gathered on the square in front of the Maronite Patriarchate at Bkerke.
At 10 a.m. on Sunday 16 September the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at Beirut City Centre Waterfront and consign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. Having prayed the Angelus he will then travel by car to the apostolic nunciature at Harissa where he will have lunch with members of his entourage. At 5.15 p.m. he is due to preside at an ecumenical gathering in the Syro-Catholic Patriarchate of Charfet. From there he will travel directly to the airport of Beirut whence his return flight to Rome is due to depart at 7 p.m.

Vatican City, 3 July 2012 (VIS) - The conductor Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra are to play a concert for Benedict XVI. The event will take place on 11 July, St. Benedict's Day, at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, and the programme will feature works by Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music will be the focal point of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra's summer tour.
After its opening performance in Munich, Germany, on 10 July the orchestra will take in Versailles, France; Geneva, Switzerland; the BBC Proms in London, England, and the Salzburg Festival in Austria, among other venues. The concert scheduled for Berlin's Waldbuhne on 29 July will be one of the highlights of the "Beethoven for All" summer tour and will again be in aid of educational projects organised by the orchestra in Israel and Palestine.
"Benedict XVI has long promoted active dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims", says a communique on the event released today. "In 1999 Barenboim and Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a grouping of musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Spain. Every year they come together for summer workshops, which take their inspiration from the spirit of music and a willingness to engage with the views and experiences of the assembled musicians, each with personal ties to the troubled situation in the Middle East".

Vatican City, 3 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu of Vijayawada, India, as archbishop of Visakhapatnam (area 25,950, population 12,816,000, Catholics 250,186, priests 154, religious 581), India. He succeeds Archbishop Mariadas Kagithapu M.S.F.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Msgr. Jeffrey Marc Monforton of the clergy of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Andrew in Rochester, as bishop of Steubenville (area 15,309, population 538,000, Catholics 38,900, priests 118, permanent deacons 6, religious 100), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Detroit in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1994. He has served in pastoral care in numerous parishes, and has worked as professor and later rector of the Sacred Heart Seminary.
- Erected the new diocese of Batticaloa (area 7,269, population 1,199,966, Catholics 55,225, priests 48, religious 84) Sri Lanka, with territory taken from the diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Colombo. He appointed Bishop Joseph Ponniah, auxiliary of Trincomalee-Batticaloa, as first bishop of the new diocese.


Sunday July 1 saw an attack on the Catholic Cathedral of Garissa and another Evangelical Church. This caused the death of 17 and wounded 50 people. "We are greatly concerned by the deadly attacks on innocent Kenyans at the Africa Inland Church and the Catholic Cathedral of Garissa," said the Bishops of Kenya in a statement.


by Nguyen Hun
A group linked to the Patriotic Front targets the Catholics of Con Cuong while celebrating mass. A woman has fractures to her head and is hospitalized. The authorities pay authors of the raid up to 25 dollars as "compensation" for their "work". Protest of the faithful: violation of religious freedom and the laws of the country.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A group of thugs linked to the Vietnam Patriotic Front, instigated by local authorities, targeted the faithful gathered in a house of prayer in Con Cuong district - Nghe An province, Vinh Diocese- as they gathered to celebrate Mass Sunday. The attack against the Catholic community took place on the evening of July 1 and is just the latest in a series of incidents of persecution that have targeted Christian communities in the area since November of last year (see AsiaNews 29/12 / Young Vinh Catholic kidnapped by police on Christmas Eve). Anonymous sources interviewed by AsiaNews also reported that the so-called "local authority" gave up to 25 dollars "compensation" to the thugs who beat priests and lay people who only wanted to gather to celebrate the Eucharist.

On the evening of July 1, as every Sunday, Fr. J.B. Nguyễn Đình Thuc met with faithful in a chapel of Con Cuong, to celebrate mass. Suddenly, a group of thugs - probably close to an extremist nationalist movement - disrupted the function targeting those present. Instigated by local authorities, who pay these groups to attack Catholic communities, the mob struck with force and brutality, injuring dozens of people. One of them, Mrs. Maria Ngo Thi Thanh, suffered a skull fracture and was hospitalized in intensive care.

In recent weeks, officials of Con Cuong have patrolled the streets of the district on board a jeep, broadcasting slogans and warnings against Catholics - lay and clergy - guilty of "illegally celebrating of the Mass". Some families confirm that "local authorities do not know" or pretend not to know the "laws governing religious freedom in Vietnam." Police and security agents threaten Christians and force the faithful to promise not to participate in functions or ceremonies in the future. "They are violating the laws of Vietnam - comment members of the community - as well as basic human rights."

However, in spite of threats and persecution, which continued for a year and a half Fr. B. Nguyễn Đình Thuc celebrated Sunday Mass and rites associated with major feast days. In response, the local government has strengthened its enforcement policy "by mobilizing hundreds of people including police, undercover agents and groups of thugs" who throw stones at the faithful, and make arrests. A source, anonymous for security reasons, tells AsiaNews that the perpetrators of the violence "are rewarded with 25 dollars each" for their actions against peaceful believers.

In response to yet another attack, the parishioners have protested outside the offices of the district Con Cuong People's Committee, asking the local party secretary to put an end to violations and respect the principle of freedom of religious profession. But leaders continue to ignore these requests and allocate police to harass the faithful. In recent weeks, the traffic control officers have closed access to the churches, making it increasingly difficult to participate in mass and services. The faithful expect a strong and resolute stance of the Bishop of Vinh, in defense of religious freedom.



German bishop appointed to head CDF | Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pontifical Biblical Commission, nternational Theological Commission, Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,

Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller
Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany has been appointed by Pope Benedict as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Bishop Muller, whom the Pope elevated to archbishop, will also head the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which oversees Catholics who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.
He will succeed Cardinal William Levada, who submitted his resignation upon reaching the age of 75.
Archbishop Muller was born in Mainz-Finthen in 1947. He was ordained a priest in 1978 and served as a chaplain and as a religion education teacher in secondary schools, according to the Diocese of Regensburg.

He earned his doctorate in 1977 on the subject of the Church, Sacraments and the thought of German Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Source: VIS


Agenzia Fides REPORT - There are now more than 3,000 young people enrolled in the 34th National Catholic Youth Day in Uruguay, to be held in Maldonado on 1 and 2 September. According to information sent to Fides Agency from the National Commission of Youth Pastoral of the Episcopal Conference of Uruguay, this important event will have the aim to renew the faith of young Catholics and to share the enthusiasm of the proclamation and commitment towards others. To promote this meeting, the Diocese of Maldonado has opened a website where one can listen to the anthem of the meeting and find all the useful information, like the poster (which can also be downloaded as a file and as a background graphic), the words, the music and the sound of the hymn of the great festival of young Catholics in Uruguay. A page has the details of how to get to the place where the meeting will be held. One section is reserved for priests who wish to participate, where in addition to the enrollment they can also choose the type of pastoral collaboration they intend to offer. The website also has a version available for new phones and other mobile devices. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 02/07/2012)
Link The 34th National Youth Day website


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
1 Jul 2012

Archbishop Mark Coleridge before the ceremony
in Rome
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane and Perth's Archbishop Tim Costelloe were among 44 archbishops who had a woollen band placed around their shoulders when they knelt before him Pope Benedict XV1 at St Peter's Basilica for the pallium ceremony before the Solemnity Mass of SS. Peter and Paul.
Pope Benedict XV1 told each one of the archbishops the ceremony was a reminder of their ties to heaven and earth and also of their loyalty to Christ and the successor of Peter.
Presented every year to new archbishops or those who have been assigned to a new archdiocese, the pallium ceremony is attended by many archdiocesan representatives and pilgrims from around the world. Before celebrating Mass, Pope Benedict gave the archbishops from 23 countries the woollen palliums as a sign of their sharing with him authority over the faithful in their archdioceses. This represented a significant change in the ceremony which was to avoid interrupting the flow of the Mass or seeming to suggest that the bestowal of the pallium has the status of a sacrament.

Archbishops in St Peter's Basilica for the ceremony
and the Mass of SS. Peter and Paul
The pallium is a band of fabric made of white lamb's wool, that circles the neck and hangs down in the front and back. On the Feast of St Agnes in February each year, two lambs are blessed by the Pope, and the wool from these lambs are made by a group of nuns into the pallium.
Present also for the ceremony and Mass was the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell and Auxiliary Bishop Peter A.Comensoli.
Archbishop Coleridge also brought 30 pilgrims from his archdiocese and he said he hoped the ceremony would be a boost to re-evangelising Australia.

The archbishop noted that the pallium "is a call not just to me as the archbishop who wears it but it is a call to whole Church to be more apostolic and you can only become more apostolic by entering into deeper communion with the See of Peter."

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia:
" Pope Benedict actually confirmed me, kin faith and also
in my work as archbishop, when he placed the pallium
on my shoulders today.
it means a lot in this difficult moment in our local church."
"If you separate yourself from the See of Peter then it becomes impossible to fulfill the apostolic task entrusted to the Church by Jesus."
During the homily the Pope said to the archbishops;" You have been constituted in and for the great mystery of communion that is the church, the spiritual edifice built upon Christ as the cornerstone, while in its earthly and historical dimension, it is built on the rock of St Peter."


John 20: 24 - 29
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."


St. Thomas
Feast: July 3

Feast Day:July 3
Died:72 in India
Patron of:against doubt, architects, blind people, builders, East Indies, geometricians, India, masons, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, surveyors, theologians
Little is recorded of St.Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St.John he plays a distinctive part. First, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, "Thomas" who is called Didymus [the twin], said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Again it was St. Thomas who during the discourse before the Last Supper raised an objection:" Thomas saith to him : Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). But more especially St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles announced Christ's Resurrection to him: " Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29).
This exhausts all our certain knowledge regarding the Apostle but his name is the starting point of a considerable apocryphal literature, and there are also certain historical data which suggest that some of this apocryphal material may contains germs of truth. The principal document concerning him is the "Acta Thomae", preserved to us with some variations both in Greek and in Syriac, and bearing unmistakeable signs of its Gnostic origin. It may indeed be the work of Bardesanes himself. The story in many of its particulars is utterly extravagant, but it is the early date, being assigned by Harnack (Chronologie, ii, 172) to the beginning of the third century, before A. D. 220. If the place of its origin is really Edessa, as Harnack and others for sound reasons supposed (ibid., p. 176), this would lend considerable probability to the statement, explicitly made in "Acta" (Bonnet, cap. 170, p.286), that the relics of Apostle Thomas, which we know to have been venerated at Edessa, had really come from the East. The extravagance of the legend may be judged from the fact that in more than one place (cap. 31, p. 148) it represents Thomas (Judas Thomas, as he is called here and elsewhere in Syriac tradition) as the twin brother of Jesus. The Thomas in Syriac is equivalant to XXXXX in Greek, and means twin. Rendel Harris who exaggerates very much the cult of the Dioscuri, wishes to regards this as a transformation of a pagan worship of Edessa but the point is at best problematical. The story itself runs briefly as follows: At the division of the Apostles, India fell to the lot of Thomas, but he declared his inability to go, whereupon his Master Jesus appeared in a supernatural way to Abban, the envoy of Gundafor, an Indian king, and sold Thomas to him to be his slave and serve Gundafor as a carpender. Then Abban and Thomas sailed away until they came to Andrapolis, where they landed and attended the marriage feast of the ruler's daughter. Strange occurences followed and Christ under the appearence of Thomas exhorted the bride to remain a Virgin. Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spend the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him; but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted. Going about the country to preach, Thomas met with strange adventures from dragons and wild asses. Then he came to the city of King Misdai (Syriac Mazdai), where he converted Tertia the wife of Misdai and Vazan his son. After this he was condemed to death, led out of city to a hill, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers. He was buried in the tomb of the ancient kings but his remains were afterwards removed to the West.
Now it is certainly a remarkable fact that about the year A.D. 46 a king was reigning over that part of Asia south of Himalayas now represented by Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, and Sind, who bore the name Gondophernes or Guduphara. This we know both from the discovery of coins, some of the Parthian type with Greek legends, others of the Indian types with the legends in an Indian dialect in Kharoshthi characters. Despite sundry minor variations the identity of the name with the Gundafor of the "Acta Thomae" is unmistakable and is hardly disputed. Further we have the evidence of the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, which is dated and which the best specialists accept as establishing the King Gunduphara probably began to reign about A.D. 20 and was still reigning in 46. Again there are excellent reasons for believing that Misdai or Mazdai may well be transformation of a Hindu name made on the Iranian soil. In this case it will probably represent a certain King Vasudeva of Mathura, a successor of Kanishka. No doubt it can be urged that the Gnostic romancer who wrote the "Acta Thomae" may have adopted a few historical Indian names to lend verisimilitude to his fabrication, but as Mr. Fleet urges in his severely critical paper "the names put forward here in connection with St.Thomas are distinctly not such as have lived in Indian story and tradition" (Joul. of R. Asiatic Soc.,1905, p.235).
On the other hand, though the tradition that St. Thomas preached in "India" was widely spread in both East and West and is to be found in such writers as Ephraem Syrus, Ambrose, Paulinus, Jerome, and, later Gregory of Tours and others, still it is difficult to discover any adequate support for the long-accepted belief that St. Thomas pushed his missionary journeys as far south as Mylapore, not far from Madras, and there suffered martyrdom. In that region is still to be found a granite bas-relief cross with a Pahlavi (ancient Persian) inscription dating from the seventh century, and the tradition that it was here that St. Thomas laid down his life is locally very strong. Certain it is also that on the Malabar or west coast of southern India a body of Christians still exists using a form of Syriac for its liturgical language. Whether this Church dates from the time of St. Thomas the Apostle (there was a Syro-Chaldean bishop John "from India and Persia" who assisted at the Council of Nicea in 325) or whether the Gospel was first preached there in 345 owing to the Persian persecution under Shapur (or Sapor), or whether the Syrian missionaries who accompanied a certain Thomas Cana penetrated to the Malabar coast about the year 745 seems difficult to determine. We know only that in the sixth century Cosmas Indicopleustes speaks of the existence of Christians at Male (?Malabar) under a bishop who had been consecrated in Persia. King Alfred the Great is stated in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" to have sent an expedition to establish relations with these Christians of the Far East. On the other hand the reputed relics of St. Thomas were certainly at Edessa in the fourth century, and there they remained until they were translated to Chios in 1258 and towards to Ortona. The improbable suggestion that St. Thomas preached in America (American Eccles. Rev., 1899, pp.1-18) is based upon a misunderstanding of the text of the Acts of Apostles (i, 8; cf. Berchet "Fonte italiane per la storia della scoperta del Nuovo Mondo", II, 236, and I, 44).
Besides the "Acta Thomae" of which a different and notably shorter redaction exists in Ethiopic and Latin, we have an abbreviated form of a so-called "Gospel of Thomas" originally Gnostic, as we know it now merely a fantastical history of the childhood of Jesus, without any notably heretical colouring. There is also a "Revelatio Thomae", condemned as apocryphal in the Degree of Pope Gelasius, which has recently been recovered from various sources in a fragmentary condition

source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/stthomas.asp#ixzz1R4TkmFUX


Vatican City, 1 July 2012 (VIS) - The miraculous cures of the daughter of Jairus and of the woman who suffered haemorrhages provided the theme for the Pope's remarks before praying the Angelus today. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI explained that both episodes can be interpreted at two levels: "the purely physical: Jesus tends to human suffering and heals the body; and the spiritual: Jesus came to heal the human heart and to give salvation, and He asks people to have faith in Him". The two episodes again show that Jesus "came to liberate human beings in their entirety", he said. "First is the physical healing, but this is closely tied to a deeper healing, which bestows the grace of God upon those who are open to Him in faith".
All this, the Holy Father went on, invites us "to overcome a purely horizontal and materialistic view of life. We ask God to cure us of our problems, to meet our concrete needs - and it is right that we should do so. Yet we must insistently ask for an ever stronger faith, that the Lord may renew our lives, and a firm trust in His love, in His providence which does not abandon us".
"Jesus' concern for human suffering makes us think of all those who help the sick to carry their crosses, in particular physicians, healthcare professionals and those who provide pastoral care in nursing homes. They are the 'reserves of love' who bring peace and hope to the suffering. In the Encyclical 'Deus Caritas est' I noted that, while such invaluable service requires professional competence as a primary and fundamental requirement, this in itself is not enough". The sick need "need humanity and heartfelt care".
"Let us call upon the Virgin Mary to accompany our journey of faith and our commitment to concrete expressions of love, especially to those in need, as we invoke her maternal intercession for our brothers who live with suffering in body or spirit".
After the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that "the holidays may be a time to strengthen our faith through prayer and charity".

Vatican City, 30 June 2012 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father received the metropolitan archbishops upon whom he yesterday imposed the pallium in the course of a Mass in the Vatican Basilica. The archbishops were accompanied by members of their families.
"The presence of metropolitan archbishops from all over the world is a visible expression of the universality of the Church, called to make Christ known and to announce the Gospel on all the continents and in different languages", said the Pope in his remarks to the group. "I assure you of my constant prayers that you may carry out your episcopal mission with joy and fidelity, building your diocesan communities in charity, supporting them with the witness of faith and helping them to express a rewed enthusiasm at meeting the person of Christ. ... Carry back to your communities the experience of intense spirituality and authentic evangelical unity of these days, that it may touch the hearts of believers and reverberate throughout society, leaving traces of good", the Holy Father concluded.

Vatican City, 30 June 2012 (VIS) - The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household today announced that on Tuesday 3 July the Holy Father will travel to the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.
Over the summer months private and special audiences will be suspended, while the Wednesday general audiences - likewise suspended during the month of July - will begin again at Castelgandolfo on Wednesday 1 August. On Sundays and Solemnities during this period, the Pope will pray the Angelus from the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

Vatican City, 30 June 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was the letter in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B., bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, China, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the centenary of the birth of Blessed Peter To Rot, catechist and martyr of Papua New Guinea, due to take place in Rabaul on 7 July.
The mission accompanying the cardinal will be made up of Bishop Rochus Josef Tatamai M.S.C. of Bereina, whose recently deceased father was a nephew of the blessed, and Fr, Francis Mell, a priest of the archdiocese of Rabaul and judicial vicar at the archdiocesan tribunal of first instance.

Vatican City, 29 June 2012 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI concelebrated the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica with new metropolitan archbishops, upon whom he imposed the pallium. As is customary, a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople also attended the ceremony. The music for the liturgy was provided by the Choir of the Sistine Chapel, as well as by members of the Choir of Westminster Abbey whom the Pope thanked for their participation.
Following the Gospel reading the Pope pronounced his homily, extracts of which are given below:
"Christian tradition has always considered St. Peter and St. Paul to be inseparable: indeed, together, they represent the whole Gospel of Christ. ... Peter and Paul, much as they differ from one another in human terms and notwithstanding the conflicts that arose in their relationship, illustrate a new way of being brothers, lived according to the Gospel, an authentic way made possible by the grace of Christ’s Gospel working within them. Only by following Jesus does one arrive at this new brotherhood: this is the first and fundamental message that today’s solemnity presents to each one of us, the importance of which is mirrored in the pursuit of full communion, so earnestly desired by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Bishop of Rome, as indeed by all Christians.
"In the passage from St. Matthew’s Gospel that we have just heard, Peter makes his own confession of faith in Jesus, acknowledging Him as Messiah and Son of God. He does so in the name of the other Apostles too. In reply, the Lord reveals to him the mission that He intends to assign to him, that of being the “rock”, the visible foundation on which the entire spiritual edifice of the Church is built. But in what sense is Peter the rock? How is he to exercise this prerogative, which naturally he did not receive for his own sake? The account given by the Evangelist Matthew tells us first of all that the acknowledgement of Jesus’ identity made by Simon in the name of the Twelve did not come “through flesh and blood”, that is, through his human capacities, but through a particular revelation from God the Father. By contrast, immediately afterwards, as Jesus foretells His passion, death and resurrection, Simon Peter reacts onthe basis of “flesh and blood”: he “began to rebuke him, saying, this shall never happen to you”. And Jesus in turn replied: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me”. The disciple who, through God’s gift, was able to become a solid rock, here shows himself for what he is in his human weakness: a stone along the path, a stone on which men can stumble".
"Here we see the tension that exists between the gift that comes from the Lord and human capacities; and in this scene between Jesus and Simon Peter we see anticipated in some sense the drama of the history of the papacy itself, characterised by the joint presence of these two elements: on the one hand, because of the light and the strength that come from on high, the papacy constitutes the foundation of the Church during its pilgrimage through history; on the other hand, across the centuries, human weakness is also evident, which can only be transformed through openness to God’s action.
"And in today’s Gospel there emerges powerfully the clear promise made by Jesus: “the gates of the underworld”, that is, the forces of evil, will not prevail. ... Peter will have to be defended from the “gates of the underworld”, from the destructive power of evil. Jeremiah receives a promise that affects him as a person and his prophetic ministry; Peter receives assurances concerning the future of the Church, the new community founded by Jesus Christ, which extends to all of history, far beyond the personal existence of Peter himself.
"Let us move on now to the symbol of the keys, which we heard about in the Gospel. ... The key represents authority over the house of David. And in the Gospel there is another saying of Jesus addressed to the scribes and the Pharisees, whom the Lord reproaches for shutting off the kingdom of heaven from people. This saying also helps us to understand the promise made to Peter: to him, inasmuch as he is the faithful steward of Christ’s message, it belongs to open the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven, and to judge whether to admit or to refuse. Hence the two images - that of the keys and that of binding and loosing - express similar meanings which reinforce one another. ... The parallelism “on earth ... in the heavens” guarantees that Peter’s decisions in the exercise of this ecclesial function are valid in the eyes of God".
"The authority of loosing and binding consists in the power to remit sins. And this grace, which defuses the powers of chaos and evil, is at the heart of the Church’s mystery and ministry. The Church is not a community of the perfect, but a community of sinners, obliged to recognise their need for God’s love, their need to be purified through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ sayings concerning the authority of Peter and the Apostles make it clear that God’s power is love, the love that shines forth from Calvary".
"The iconographic tradition represents St. Paul with a sword, and we know that this was the instrument with which he was killed. Yet as we read the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles, we discover that the image of the sword refers to his entire mission of evangelisation. ... This was certainly not the battle of a military commander but that of a herald of the Word of God, faithful to Christ and to His Church, to which he gave himself completely. And that is why the Lord gave him the crown of glory and placed him, together with Peter, as a pillar in the spiritual edifice of the Church.
"Dear Metropolitan Archbishops, the pallium that I have conferred on you will always remind you that you have been constituted in and for the great mystery of communion that is the Church, the spiritual edifice built upon Christ as the cornerstone, while in its earthly and historical dimension, it is built on the rock of Peter. Inspired by this conviction, we know that together we are all cooperators of the truth, which as we know is one and “symphonic”, and requires from each of us and from our communities a constant commitment to conversion to the one Lord in the grace of the one Spirit".

Vatican City, 30 June 2012 (VIS) - At the end of this morning's Mass concelebrated with forty-three metropolitan archbishops upon whom he imposed the pallium, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
"The signs of the lives and glorious deaths of the humble fisherman of Galilee and the Apostle of the Gentiles are inscribed into the very history of Rome, which has rightly chosen them as her protectors", the Pope said. "Treasuring the memory of their shining witness, we recall the venerable beginnings of the Church which in Rome believes, prays and announces Christ the Redeemer. Yet Sts. Peter and Paul blaze not only in the skies of Rome, but also in the hearts of believers all over the world who, illuminated by their teaching and example, walk the paths of faith hope and charity".
Benedict XVI continued: "On this journey of salvation the Christian community, strong and serene in the presence of the living spirit of God, feels impelled to continue along the path of faithfulness to Christ and announcement of His Gospel to men and women of all times. Part of this fruitful spiritual and missionary journey is the consigning of the palliums to metropolitan archbishops, which I performed this morning in the basilica; an eloquent rite which highlights the intimate communion of pastors with Peter's Successor and the profound ties which bind us to apostolic tradition. It is, in fact, a dual treasure of sanctity in which the unity and catholicity of the Church come together: a precious treasure to be rediscovered and experienced with renewed enthusiasm and constant commitment".

Vatican City, 2 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
- Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
On Saturday 30 June he received in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Vatican City, 2 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and as president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the International Theological Commission, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. He succeeds Cardinal William Joseph Levada, whose resignation from the same offices the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Removed Archbishop Robert Bezak C.SS.R., from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Trnava, Slovakia.
On Saturday 30 June it was made public that the Holy Father:
- Appointed Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot M.C.C.J., president of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
- Appointed as presidents delegate of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican from 7 to 28 October on the theme: "The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith": Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China; Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Dunkeld, Scotland, presented by Bishop Vincent Paul Logan, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Phu Cuong, Vietnam, presented by Bishop Pierre Tran Dinh Tu, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Nguyen Tan Tuoc.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Quy Nhon, Vietnam, presented by Bishop Pierre Nguyen Soan, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Matthieu Nguyen Van Khoi.
- Appointed Bishop Marian Rojek, auxiliary of Przemysl of the Latins, Poland, as bishop of Zamosc-Lubaczow (area 8,144, population 486,624, Catholics 472,742, priests 469, religious 168), Poland.
On Friday 29 June it was made public that the Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the territorial prelature of Corocoro, Brazil, presented by Bishop Toribio Ticona Porco, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Claudio Dalla Zuanna S.C.I., vicar general of the Dehonian Fathers, as archbishop of Beira (area 78,018 population 1,490,000, Catholics 828,000, priests 77, religious 134), Mozambique. The archbishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1984. He has served in missionary and pastoral work in Mozambique and as counsellor general of his order.
- Appointed Fr. Joseph Alessandro O.F.M. Cap., vicar general of the diocese of Garissa, Kenya, as coadjutor of the same diocese (area 142,704, population 847,500, Catholics 8,500, priests 17, religious 29). The bishop-elect was born in Paola, Malta in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1970. He has worked in education, including as rector of INSERM (Institutum Nationale Studiorum Ecclesiasticorum Religiosorum Melitensium), and has also held various positions of responsibility in his religious congregation.


Vale Fr Peter Steele SJ


Wilhelm Geertman was active in helping leftist peasant groups in central Luzon
ucanews.com reporters, Manila
July 3, 2012
A Dutch NGO worker and missionary working in central Luzon was shot dead by gunmen in Pampanga province today.
Renato Reyes, secretary general of the New Patriotic Alliance, a leftist political coalition, said Wilhelm Geertman was shot in front of his office in Sto Domingo village in Angeles City at around 1 pm local time.
Reyes said Geertman was executive director of Alay Bayan Inc, a disaster relief organization based in central Luzon.
He was a known supporter of peasant groups in central Luzon. His organization is known to provide relief and rehabilitation services to farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people identified with leftist groups.
As news of Geertman’s death began to spread, an alliance representing fisherfolk immediately accused the government of having a hand in the killing.
“[President Benigno] Aquino and his extrajudicial killers in the [military] can deny this to high heaven, but the truth is shown in the manner he was killed and on the cause of his advocacy for genuine land reform, rural empowerment and social justice,” said Fernando Hicap, chairperson of the National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organization in the Philippines.
Geertman was also active in opposing the establishment of the Aurora Pacific Special Economic Zone and Free Port project in Casiguran town.
Geertman is the second European missionary to have been killed in the last year.
In October 2011, Italian priest Fausto Tentorio was shot and killed at the Mother of Perpetual Help parish church in Arakan town, in Mindanao.


Ooberfuse headlines anti-human trafficking youth concert | Ooberfuse headlines anti-human trafficking youth concert
Electro-pop band ooberfuse will headline a concert on 7 July to highlight the issue of human trafficking, the fastest growing crime by which people are enslaved. To help draw attention to the event they have released today their electro-pop version of Matt Redman and LZ7’s 27 Million.

Cherrie, front-woman for the band says: "we are thrilled to have been asked to play this gig. Our aim is to help expose the horrific facts behind human trafficking and at the same time highlight that there are ways to make a difference."

Hal, from ooberfuse adds: "Gathering statistics to get an idea of the scale of the problem is extremely difficult because this is a hidden crime that does not show up on normal radar screens. Because it is carried out in the shadows it therefore often lies undetected. According to UNICEF 1.2 million children are trafficked every year. The risks are increased around major sporting events like the forthcoming 2012 Olympics. The Anti-Trafficking Alliance for example have evidence from previous sporting events that suggests a surge in the number of visitors to a country can lead to an increased demand for prostitution – and an increase in trafficking to meet this demand."
The band says: "We hope that through our music we will be able to add our voices to those calling for an end to this ugly crime that destroys so many people’s lives. Please come and join us next Saturday, 7:30 pm at Grimsby Minster. In the meantime check out our version of 27 Million! "
The concert, organised by the ONE Youth Partnership in Grimsby, is part of a wider initiative of Churches Together in North East Lincolnshire’s Week Against Human Trafficking which runs from 1-8 July.

Listen to the track here: http://ooberfuse.bandcamp.com/track/twenty-seven-million .


NAIROBI, June 29, 2012 (CISA) -Jesuits from over 15 African countries gathered in Nairobi from June 24 to 28 for a seminar to discuss matters relating to the Jesuit Social Apostolate in Africa and how they could develop self-reliance in order to meet the demands of their mission.
The meeting was organized by the Jesuits of the Social Network and Coordination of the Social Apostolate, two services of the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM)
In his opening speech, Fr Michael Lewis, President of JESAM, reflected on the Social Apostolate model for contemporary Africa, a continent in rapid economic growth that is facing many challenges, including food insecurity, poor governance and lack of self-sufficiency.
“There are four practical problems that the Social Apostolate will have to face in the future: financial sustainability of the social apostolic societies, neglect of the youth for social apostolate, inclusion of lay people and strengthening the commitment of the Jesuits in the promotion of justice,” said Fr Lewis.
In his speech Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, Provincial Superior of Eastern Africa, said that the Church and the Society of Jesus in Africa must be an active conscience of society, engaging in the formation of leaders.
“There should be a collaboration with other religions and with civil society in promoting democracy, the rule of law, the common good, human rights, as well as social justice in Africa” added Fr Orobator.
According to Fr Russel Pollitt, a parish priest from Johannesburg, running the organization on itself is indeed a challenge. “As demographics change and poverty increases, parish finances become an issue. Rising costs of food and fuel also means people are struggling more”, he said.
To face this challenge, Fr Russel has taken some measures to make the organization self-reliant, such as appealing to parishioners, carefully budgeting and planning and monitoring.
“I intend to help people to realize what we can do for them and seek to become more self sufficient,” he said.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM) congratulated the Mexican people for their actions during the elections last Sunday, July 1st, and asks the new government of Enrique Peña Nieto to satisfy "the the most authentic needs of the Mexican people" and not to betray the trust of voters.
"We are happy when we recognize democracy as a primary way to achieve peace, justice and development, much desired by Mexicans ... We congratulate those who won the elections and recognize the civilization of the candidates and parties that were not chosen by the voting citizen, for recognizing that in democracy the people's will must prevail": this is how the Bishops express themselves in a statement, also sent to Fides Agency, signed by His Exc. Mgr. Carlos Aguiar Retes, President of CEM, and by His Exc. Mgr. Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez, Secretary general of the CEM.
According to data collected by Fides, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the elections last Sunday, which had been in government for about 71 years and returns after 12 years. Peña Nieto, according to the local press, obtained 38 percent of the votes, while the leftist leader Andres Manuel López Obrador, 31 percent. (CE)


Matthew 8: 18 - 22
18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.
19 And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."
21 Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."