Tuesday, February 26, 2013



Hollywood actor and producer Eduardo Verastegui in Australia

Monday 25 February 2013

By Fiona Basile
Kairos Catholic Journal

EDUARDO Verástegui is a man of many talents and much passion. The 38-year-old Mexican, who now lives in Los Angeles, USA, is a Hollywood film producer, actor, singer, model and pro-life advocate and he is in Australia this week to share his story ‘from fame to faith’ and to also launch his latest award-winning film, Crescendo, which made it to the final top 50 for the 2013 Oscar nominations for short film—spare a thought for him as you check out the Academy Awards today!

View photo gallery

Eduardo, who is speaking and launching his film in Melbourne on Thursday night at Australian Catholic University’s Central Hall in Fitzroy, was born in Xicotencatl, in northern Mexico, and was raised a Catholic. However, he was ‘always lukewarm’ about his faith. ‘My faith was not at the centre of my life—not because I didn’t want it to be—but because I didn’t know my faith very well, and how can you love what you don’t know?’
At 18 he moved to Mexico City to pursue his dream of being an actor and singer. He worked as a model, studied acting and later joined the boy band Kairo—they were a big hit and toured Latin America for three and a half years. He then started acting on popular Mexican TV soap operas—he starred in five shows in four years.

Still not satisfied with his entertainment success, he moved to Miami. His ‘big break’ came on the plane from Miami to Los Angeles, when he met a casting director for 20th Century Fox who invited Eduardo to audition for a film role. Successful in the audition, he packed his bags for Los Angeles, and a career in films that continues today—although his focus has now completely changed.

‘I was one of those people who thought if I had physical beauty, fame, women and wealth, then I’d be happy—I’d be somebody,’ he said. ‘That’s what our society teaches us and I bought it. But I realised I had nothing—I was empty inside.’

Thanks to his English teacher, who gently and consistently questioned Eduardo about his Catholic faith and his ‘purpose in life’, he realised that he had not been using his creative talents responsibly. He also realised he ‘was not born to be a movie star, a producer, doctor or lawyer’. Rather, he was ‘born to know, to love and to serve God. We are all called to be saints,’ he said.
At the age of 28, Eduardo made a promise to God that he would ‘no longer take jobs that offended God, his family or his Latino culture’. He had thought about life in the priesthood, or a life of mission in the Amazon jungles, but eventually a priest friend persuaded him to remain in the ‘Hollywood jungle’, where he could be ‘a light in the darkness’.

In 2004 he co-founded Metanoia Films—Metanoia is Greek for conversion and encapsulates his own personal experience. Its first fruit, the movie Bella—which he produced and starred in—won the People’s Choice award at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. He has also starred in For Greater Glory alongside Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, and is currently producing Little Boy, which is due for release later this year.

Eduardo has received numerous awards in recognition of his positive contribution to the Latin American community and to promoting a culture of life. He is the founder of non-profit organisations, Let’s Be Heroes and Mantle of Guadalupe. For more information about Eduardo, see www.eduardoverastegui.com.ar/ingles

For more information about Eduardo’s public talks this week in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, click HERE

ADDED FEATURE! QnA with Eduardo Verástegui

While enjoying a coffee in a local café on Friday afternoon, Eduardo shared some more interesting facts about himself and his work with Kairos Catholic Journal's photo-journalist, Fiona Basile.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing Catholics today?

We have the truth, but we need to work on our marketing. We need to recognise that media is very powerful, whether it be film, television, internet, video games, radio or music. In the United States, the average time spent in meaningful conversation between parents and children is around 6 minutes a day, whereas the children are spending about 8 hours a day in front of media. So we know who is educating the youth right now and it’s not parents, schools or the Church. There is nothing wrong with media, it’s just a tool and in fact, when used well, it can change the world. The problem however is what’s coming out of the media and right now, I’d say more than 80% is poisoning our society. So we need to deliver our message of love, truth, beauty and goodness in an attractive way.

You mentioned chastity also being an important issue, particularly for young people.
There are many people, even Catholics, who don’t know the real meaning of chastity. Many people think chastity and celibacy is the same thing and that only priests or religious are called to live chastely, but we are all called to live chastely. We need to be effective in sending out this message, particularly to our young people, so that they know the wisdom and reasons for living a chaste life. We need to talk about why it’s healthy, and a good thing to be able to control ourselves. If we are called to be saints, there is no sanctity without chastity—chastity is the big rock that sustains everything. And you need to pray for the grace of chastity—it’s a gift from the Holy Spirit.

In difficult times, what gets you through?

Mass is the centre of my day. We are in a fight and this fight doesn’t end until we die. We’re human and we’re facing big temptations every day, so the only way to be victorious is if you have God on your side. That’s why Mass and communion for me is the most important part of my life—everything else comes from that. It’s also important to recognise what the purpose of your life is—it’s to be a saint. As Mother Teresa said, ‘we are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful to God’. I think when you understand that, it makes it a little easier because you at least know where you’re going, you know your purpose and meaning in life, so you can make the decisions you need to make. That gives a lot of peace and freedom.

What is the purpose of your film production company, Metanoia Films?

To produce films that not only entertain but which also make a difference in people’s lives. We want our audience to leave feeling inspired to be a better person, wanting to love and forgive more, and that they will have hope and fire in their hearts. My hope as an artist is to elevate the intellect to what is good, beautiful and truthful. I want to use art to heal the wounds that people have in their hearts and to think more about forgiveness, love, compassion and generosity—all the virtues in general.

In the opening of your movie Bella you say, ‘My grandmother once told me, if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans'. It’s a beautiful opening line.

It’s a famous sentence and it goes on to say, ‘And if you want to make God cry, follow those plans'. Sometimes our worst enemy can be our own personal dreams if they’re not in line with God’s will. Even if those dreams are good, if they’re not in line with God’s will, then you’re not going to be happy.

You’ve won a lot of awards for your film work and for promoting a culture of life. Is there an award that you’re particularly proud of?

Every award is always accepted with a lot of gratitude and of course it helps to open more doors so the message can be delivered in a wider way. But despite all of the awards and the success of the films, what is more important for me is all the people who call or send letters or emails sharing how their lives have been changed. For example, after Bella and Crescendo, I have been contacted by young girls who were pregnant and who were scheduled to terminate their pregnancies and who, after seeing Bella, for instance, they changed their minds and kept their babies. More than 1000 babies have been saved by the grace of God that we know of. Only God knows how many more babies have been saved—it might be thousands more. But even if it was only one, then that’s what matters. Life is sacred, it’s not an accident, it’s beautiful and we have to do what we can to protect it from conception to natural death.

Who’s your favourite saint?
That’s a hard one because I love all of them, and I learn from all of them. It depends what I need. I can say St Francis of Assisi, St Augustine, Mother Theresa.

What’ your favourite quote?
Mother Theresa’s, ‘We’re not called to be successful, we’re called to be faithful to God.’ That’s very liberating for me—taking into account the culture that we’re living in right now and that we all want to be successful. That’s not our call—our call is to be saints and to be faithful to God.
My second favourite one is what St Faustina wrote in her diary, ‘From the beginning of time to the end of time, all the sins of the world are nothing but a drop of water in the ocean of God’s mercy when you repent.’ I think for those of us who feel we have too much on our shoulders from the past, and that we could never be forgiven, this quote tells you that God’s forgiveness is bigger than our misery and our sins when we repent.

Where are you most at peace?
In Mass. That’s the best part of the day for me. And particularly at the moment I take communion—that’s when I feel that heaven and earth meet—where I feel that I have one hand on earth and one in heaven. That’s the most peaceful moment.

Do you have favourite hymn?
Salve Regina. I try to sing Salve Regina every night before I go to sleep.

Do you have a favourite piece of Scripture?
It depends again. I love the Gospel of St John, particularly, Chapter 1:1-14.

Other than your work, which I know you’ve very passionate about, what brings you joy?
It’s a combination of many things—I could write a book about those moments. I like to go hiking in Los Angeles. There’s a mountain I climb and you can see the entire view of Los Angeles from the top. I feel free, and breathe in the fresh air. It’s a great work out.
I like to enjoy a cup of great coffee, chocolate gives me a lot of joy, reading a book on the life of a saint also brings me a lot of joy because it inspires me and challenges me to live a life of virtue.
I like to play tennis with friends, listen to music in my house by myself, and I’m from Mexico so I like to cook. I have the fire, I put on a little music, candles, and then cook. It’s like therapy for me. I enjoy dinner parties with friends—I invite friends to my house, I cook and serve them—we have good wine, good food and chocolate. It’s those little things. It’s important to have those moments of recreation, so that we can work hard the next day. St Thomas Aquinas speaks of this ‘wholesome recreation’ or ‘eutrapelia’.

What would you most like to be remembered for?
Someone that was just trying, as best as he could, to do God’s will. Trying! But that’s for him to judge. But at least I’m trying to work hard, to do my best, and with an open heart. We’re not alone, God will carry us.

At the completion of the interview and photo shoot, while walking along the street, there was one final question I had for Eduardo! ... 'Do you know how to change a flat tyre?' 
Fortunately, the answer for me was a resounding: 'C'mon! Let's do it!'. I appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to help Eduardo (and Tomas).

Photographs copyright 2013 Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

Photos above:  (1) Eduardo enjoys "a fantastic coffee" in a local Melbourne cafe; (2) Eduardo in one of Melbourne's many alleyways; (3) Eduardo stands in front of the beautiful St Patrick's Cathedral, East Melbourne; (4) Eduardo with Kairos Catholic Journal's photo-journalist Fiona Basile; (4) Eduardo with his yummy coffee at a local East Melbourne cafe; (5) Cafe owner Joseph with Eduardo and the "fantastic" coffee beans ... although Joseph insists it's a combination of things that makes a great coffee!; (6) Eduardo; (7) Tomas gets in on the photography action; (8) Tomas and Eduardo changing the flat tyre on Fiona's car.


by Nirmala Carvalho
The victims were part of a group of 130 people who had fled from Myanmar due to sectarian violence. The 33 survivors rescued by the Sri Lankan Navy after 25 days adrift. A Thai navy vessel had intercepted the refugees and seized the boats engine, then abandoning them in the open sea. Bangkok denies the charges.

Delhi (AsiaNews) - 97 Burmese Rohingya, who fled sectarian and ethnic violence that inflame the State of Rakhine, have died of hunger and exhaustion after being left adrift for at least 25 days at sea without any assistance. The drama of this tragedy was revealed by the 33 survivors who managed to escape and were miraculously rescued last week by the Sri Lankan Coast Guard. The Muslim minority from Myanmar has never been accorded the status of political refugees, and even when they seek refuge in other Asian countries, are victims of rejection and abuse.

The survivors' stories reveal that the boat was headed for the coast of Malaysia, when it was intercepted by a navy vessel from Thailand. The Thai military - although Bangkok rejects the accusations - intercepted the boat and seized the engine, leaving it drift with 130 people on board. They spent 25 days at sea, at the mercy of the currents, without food or water, until the Sri Lankan Coast Guard intervened, on February 23, about 250 miles off the east coast, and  helped to save the people still alive when the boat began to sink.

All the survivors, 32 men and a boy were transferred to a detention centre for immigrants near Colombo, pending assylum measures, many of them suffering from serious problems caused by dehydration. Shofiulla, one of the survivors, said the trip "was very dangerous, but we had to do it ... we feared for our lives, no work, and terrible fighting [at home]." He adds that each of the people on board had to shell out 465 US dollars to get on board the boat, which set sail from the Burmese coast on January 10.

In June 2012 the District Court of Kyaukphyu in the State of Rakhine sentenced three Muslims, deemed responsible for the rape and killing in late May of Thida Htwe, a young Buddhist Arakanese (Rakhine). This is the origin of violent sectarian clashes between Muslims and Buddhists (see AsiaNews 19/06/2012 Rakhine, ethnic violence: three death sentences for the rape-murder of a woman). In the following days, an angry mob, killed10 innocent Muslims entirely unconnected with the violent episode. The spiral of hatred has caused the death of 29 others, including 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists. According to official sources at least 2,600 homes were set alight, while hundreds of Rohingya refugees have sought refuge abroad. According to United Nations estimates there are at least 800 thousand Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar whom the government considers illegal immigrants and as a result are victims of abuse and persecution.




German debt cancellation shows equitable way to solve Europe's crisis   |  post-war debt cancellation, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, Jubilee Campaign

Campaigners have marked the sixtieth anniversary of Germany's historic post-war debt cancellation by demanding an end to the policies being imposed on indebted countries by the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. German, Irish, Spanish and British campaigners have said Germany's 1953 debt cancellation, agreed by countries including the US, UK, France, Greece, Spain and Pakistan prove that the Troika's policies in Europe will continue to have a disastrous impact.
The debt cancellation contrasts markedly with how debtor countries such as Greece, Ireland and Spain are being treated today, including by Germany, their largest creditor. While Germany was given deep, comprehensive debt cancellation, peripheral European countries today have had very late, fragmented and shallow relief, if any. While Germany's debt repayments were limited to 3% of export earnings, Greece today is spending 30%. While Germany was offered negotiation to deal with further problems, southern Europe has faced harsh and undemocratic sanctions.
Nick Dearden, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: "The debt deal made with Germany in 1953 meant western Europe was reconstructed successfully and thrived. Today Europe has been forced into its worst crisis since the Second World War by the actions of Europe's leaders.
If we had no evidence of how to solve a debt crisis equitably, we could perhaps regard the policies of Europe's leaders as misguided. But we have the positive example of Germany 60 years ago, and the devastating example of the Latin American debt crisis 30 years ago. The actions of Europe's leaders are nothing short of criminal."
1) Swift debt cancellation
The debt cancellation for Germany was swift, taking place in advance of West Germany struggling to pay its debts. In contrast, when Greece's huge debts were revealed in 2010, rather than any being cancelled, the IMF and EU gave bailout loans. This paid off some of the reckless lenders, but the debt remained, and rapidly grew as austerity and debt payments crashed the economy.
2) Limited repayments
There was a clause which said West Germany should only pay for debts out of any trade surplus, and limited payments to the equivalent of three per cent of exports earnings every year. This meant those countries owed debt had to buy West German exports in order to be paid. And ensured West Germany only paid for debts out of genuine earnings, rather than through taking out new loans, which sustains the crisis for years to come.
The 'strategy' in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain today is to put the burden of adjustment solely on the debtor country to make its economy more competitive through mass unemployment and wage cuts. This austerity has shrunk economies and made countries less able to pay debts. And without creditors like Germany willing to buy more of their exports, this inflicts pain without end.
3) Inclusion of all creditors
The German debt reduction applied to all creditors, whether governments or private individuals and companies. In contrast, in 2011, discussions belatedly began on writing-off some of the Greek debt to private creditors. A limited agreement was finally reached in March 2012. But it only covered private creditors; by this stage the bailouts meant much of the debt was now owed to the IMF and EU.
Moreover, holders of Greek debt issued under British and Swiss law have been able to avoid the deal, and are still getting paid in full. Many of these are vulture funds, who bought the debt cheaply when the country was on the verge of defaulting, and are now making huge profits out of the Greek people.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - It is time to "move from sin to life" with this invitation the Pastoral Letter of the Diocese of Escuintla begins, on the occasion of Lent in the Year of Faith 2013. In the text sent by the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala to Fides Agency, His Exc. Mgr. Victor Hugo Palma Paul, says: "We must confess that in our land of Escuintla there is sin: due to the indifference towards the poverty of brothers and sisters, family irresponsibility, in the abandonment of children and youth, in the climate of violence without justification, in the materialistic and selfish mentality that leads to forgetting God."
The Bishop says: "The climate of atrocious violence that our people live, the lack of respect for life and dignity of every human being unfortunately occur every day in the streets of the second most violent department of Guatemala, Escuintla. When someone is injured or killed by organized crime, there is fear and no one denounces the fact".
The letter, entitled "The love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor, 5:14), invites us to experience the Year of Faith by taking up the path of love to change this situation. The message proposes valuable tools to do this: personal prayer and community participation in the various activities of popular religiousness which keeps alive the Christian community throughout history. The text concludes with an invitation to participate in the pastoral life of the Church, especially in parishes, nucleus organized of the great Catholic community.
Guatemala, and the area of Escuintla, is considered the second most violent in the country for the amount of people murdered. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 26/02/2013)


Matthew 23: 1 - 12

1Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,2"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;3so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.4They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.5They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,7and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.9And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.10Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.11He who is greatest among you shall be your servant;12whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


St. Porphyrius
Feast: February 26

Feast Day:February 26
347, Thessalonica, Greece
Died:February 26, 420, Gaza, Palestine
Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, b. at Thessalonica about 347; d. at Gaza, 26 February, 420. After five years in the Egyptian desert of Scete he lived five years in a cave near the Jordan. In spite of his impaired health, he frequently visited the scene of the Resurrection. Here he met the Asiatic Mark, at a later date a deacon of his church and his biographer. To effect the sale of the property still owned by Porphyrius in his native city, Mark set out for Thessalonica and, upon his return, the proceeds were distributed among the monasteries of Egypt and among the necessitous in and around Jerusalem. In 392 Porphyrius was ordained to the priesthood, and the relic of the Holy Cross was intrusted to his care. In 395 he became Bishop of Gaza, a stronghold of paganism, with an insignificant Christian community. The attitude of the pagan population was hostile so that the bishop appealed to the emperor for protection and pleaded repeatedly for the destruction of pagan temples. He finally obtained an imperial rescript ordering the destruction of pagan sanctuaries at Gaza. A Christian church was erected on the site of the temple of Marnas. In 415 Porphyrius attended the Council of Diospolis. The "Vita S. Porphyrii" of Mark the Deacon, formerly known only in a Latin translation, was published in 1874 by M. Haupt in its original Greek text; a new edition was issued in 1895 by the Bonn Philological Society.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stporphyrius.asp#ixzz1nUT80u8b


Vatican Radio/VIS REPORT – In an unofficial translation of the Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio by Holy Father Benedict XVI and dated 22 February, following are a few amendments concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff.
“With the Apostolic Letter 'De aliquibus mutationibus in normis de electione Romani Ponteficis' given as a Motu Proprio in Rome on 11 June 2007 in the third year of my pontificate, I established some norms that, rescinding those prescribed in no. 75 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis' promulgated by my predecessor Blessed John Paul II, have re-established the regulation, sanctioned by tradition, according to which a two thirds majority of the votes of the Cardinal electors present is always required for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff.”
“Considering the importance of ensuring the best implementation of what is concerned, albeit with a different significance, regarding the election of the Roman Pontiff, in particular a more certain interpretation and execution of some provisions, I establish and prescribe that some norms of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis', as well as what I myself set forth in the above-mentioned Apostolic Letter, be replaced with the following norms:
35. “No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of No. 40 and No. 75 of this Constitution.”
37. “I furthermore decree that, from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent before beginning the Conclave; however, the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to anticipated the beginning of the Conclave if all the Cardinal electors are present as well as the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more. But when a maximum of twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election.”
43. “From the beginning of the electoral process until the public announcement that the election of the Supreme Pontiff has taken place, or in any case until the new Pope so disposes, the rooms of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and in particular the Sistine Chapel and the areas reserved for liturgical celebrations are to be closed to unauthorized persons, by the authority of the Cardinal Camerlengo and with the outside assistance of the Vice Camerlengo and the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, in accordance with the provisions set forth in the following Numbers.”
“During this period, the entire territory of Vatican City and the ordinary activity of the offices located therein shall be regulated, for the period mentioned, in a way that ensures the confidentiality and the free development of all the undertakings connected with the election of the Supreme Pontiff. In particular, provision shall be made, with the help of the Cleric Prelates of the Chamber to ensure that no one approaches the Cardinal electors while they are being transported from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Vatican Palace.”
46, 1. “In order to meet the personal and official needs connected with the election process, the following individuals must be available and therefore properly lodged in suitable areas within the confines mentioned in No. 43 of this Constitution: the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, who acts as Secretary of the electoral assembly; the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations with eight Masters of Ceremonies and two Religious attached to the Papal Sacristy; and an ecclesiastic chosen by the Cardinal Dean or by the Cardinal taking his place, in order to assist him in his duties.”
47. “All the persons listed in No. 46 and No. 55, 2 of this Constitution who in any way or at any time should come to learn anything from any source, directly or indirectly, regarding the election process, and in particular regarding the voting which took place in the election itself, are obliged to maintain strict secrecy with all persons extraneous to the College of Cardinal electors: accordingly, before the election begins, they shall take an oath in the form and using the formula indicated in No. 48.”
48. “The persons listed in No. 46 and No. 55, 2 of this Constitution, having been duly warned about the meaning and extent of the oath that they are to take, before the start of the election process, shall, in the presence of the Cardinal Camerlengo or another Cardinal delegated by him, and in the presence of two numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries, in due course swear and sign the oath according to the following formula:”
“I, N.N., promise and swear that, unless I should receive a special faculty given expressly by the newly-elected Pontiff or by his successors, I will observe absolute and perpetual secrecy with all who are not part of the College of Cardinal electors concerning all matters directly or indirectly related to the ballots cast and their scrutiny for the election of the Supreme Pontiff.”
“I likewise promise and swear to refrain from using any audio or video equipment capable of recording anything which takes place during the period of the election within Vatican City, and in particular anything which in any way, directly or indirectly, is related to the process of the election itself.”
“I declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will make me subject to the penalty of excommunication 'latae sententiae', which is reserved to the Apostolic See."
“So help me God and these Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hand.”
49. “When the funeral rites for the deceased Pope have been celebrated according to the prescribed ritual, and everything necessary for the regular functioning of the election has been prepared, on the appointed day of the beginning of the Conclave established in conformity with the provisions of No. 37 of the present Constitution, the Cardinal electors shall meet in the Basilica of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, or elsewhere, should circumstances warrant it, in order to take part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration with the Votive Mass 'Pro Eligendo Papa'. This celebration should preferably take place at a suitable hour in the morning, so that in the afternoon the prescriptions of the following Numbers of this Constitution can be carried out.”
50. From the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where they will assemble at a suitable hour in the afternoon, the Cardinal electors, in choir dress and invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the chant of the 'Veni Creator', will solemnly process to the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where the election will be held. The Vice Camerlengo, the General Auditor of the Apostolic Camera, and two members of each of the colleges of numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries, Prelate Auditors of the Roman Rota, and Cleric Prelates of the Chamber will participate in the procession.
51, 2. “It will therefore be the responsibility of the College of Cardinals, operating under the authority and responsibility of the Camerlengo, assisted by the Particular Congregation mentioned in No. 7 of the present Constitution, and with the outside assistance of the Vice Camerlengo and the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, to make all prior arrangements for the interior of the Sistine Chapel and adjacent areas to be prepared, so that an orderly election and its privacy will be ensured.”
55, 3. “Should any infraction whatsoever of this norm occur, those responsible should know that they will be subject to the penalty of excommunication 'latae sententiae', which is reserved to the Apostolic See."
62. “Since the forms of election known as 'per acclamationem seu inspirationem' and 'per compromissum' are abolished, the form of electing the Roman Pontiff shall henceforth be 'per scrutinium' alone.”
“I therefore decree that, for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff, at least two thirds of the votes are required, calculated on the basis of the total number of electors present and voting.”
64. “The voting process is carried out in three phases. The first phase, which can be called the pre-scrutiny, comprises: 1) the preparation and distribution of the ballot papers by the Masters of Ceremonies—called meanwhile into the Hall together with the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and with the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations—who give at least two or three to each Cardinal elector; 2) the drawing by lot, from among all the Cardinal electors, of three Scrutineers, of three persons charged with collecting the votes of the sick, called for the sake of brevity 'Infirmarii', and of three Revisers; this drawing is carried out in public by the junior Cardinal Deacon, who draws out nine names, one after another, of those who shall carry out these tasks; 3) if, in the drawing of lots for the Scrutineers, 'Infirmarii' and Revisers, there should come out the names of Cardinal electors who because of infirmity or other reasons are unable to carry out these tasks, the names of others who are not impeded are to be drawn in their place. The first three drawn will act as Scrutineers, the second three as 'Infirmarii', and the last three as Revisers.”
70, 2. “The Scrutineers add up all the votes that each individual has received, and if no one has obtained at least two thirds of the votes on that ballot, the Pope has not been elected; if however it turns out that someone has obtained at least two thirds of the votes, the canonically valid election of the Roman Pontiff has taken place.”
75. “If the votes referred to in Nos. 72, 73, and 74 of the above-mentioned Constitution do not result in an election, a day will be dedicated to prayer, reflection, and discussion. In subsequent votes, in accordance with the procedure established in No. 74 of this same Constitution, only the two whose names have received the greatest number of votes in the immediately preceding ballot will have the passive electoral right. There can be no waiving of the requirement that a valid election takes place only by a qualified majority of at least two thirds of the votes of the cardinals who are present and voting. Moreover, in these ballots, the two persons who enjoy the passive electoral right lose their active electoral right.”
“When the election has canonically taken place, the junior Cardinal Deacon summons into the Hall of election the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, and two Masters of Ceremonies. The Cardinal Dean, or the Cardinal who is first in order and seniority, in the name of the whole College of electors, then asks the consent of the one elected in the following words: 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' And, as soon as he has received the consent, he asks him: 'By what name do you wish to be called?' Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having as witnesses the two Masters of Ceremonies, draws up a document certifying acceptance by the new Pope and the name taken by him.”
“This document will enter into force immediately upon its publication in the Osservatore Romano.”
“This I do decree and establish, notwithstanding any instruction to the contrary.”
“Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 22 February in the year 2013, the eighth of my Pontificate.”



by NAT da Polis
From the Phanar visit to the ongoing ecumenical journey, fromthe recovery of theological dialogue to focus on the Petrine ministry, according to the tradition of the undivided Church: the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reaffirms the strong link between his church and the pope, thanking him for his theological insights, culture, tenacity in pursuing the ideal for which Christ prayed that all may be one.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - A few days after Benedict XVI's decision to step down from the Petrine ministry, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, testifies to his respect for him and his commitment to relations with the Orthodox Churches and to open new fields (a "third phase") of joint collaboration in the defence of minorities, religious freedom, in ecology, and discussion of the Petrine, the "most difficult" topic to be addressed in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. Here is his interview with AsiaNews.
We all remember the Pope's visit to Istanbul. How significant was that visit?
The visit by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVT to the Ecumenical Patriarchate was a direct response to a personal invitation to attend the festivities of the feast of St. Andrew the "first-called of the Apostles and elder brother of St. Peter, being the Thronal Feast of our Patriarchate on November 30, 2006, which we extended to him upon his election to the Throne of St. Peter. Like his predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict decided to visit the Phanar as a symbolical gesture of his commitment to ecumenical relations as well as a confirmation of the dialogue of love and truth between our two Sister Churches. Just we were able to procure with the late Pope John Paul II, at the end of Pope Benedict's visit to the Church of Constantinople, we signed a Joint Statement stressing the need to protect minorities, religious freedom, and the natural environment. The visit, therefore, was a sincere and significant renewal of our obligation and responsibility - as leaders of the Christian Churches in both the East and West - to follow and fulfill the commandment of our Lord, immediately prior to His betrayal and passion, that His disciples "may be one."
Can you describe the relationship with Pope Benedict on a personal level?
Our relations with Pope Benedict have been both closely cooperative and deeply constructive. We have followed with great interest and love his ministry as an erudite and prolific professor of theology in Genu any, as an esteemed and loyal bishop of the Petrine tradition, as the traditional Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now as the venerable spiritual leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, several of our current prominent
Orthodox hierarchs throughout the world were privileged to enjoy his lectures and learn from his wisdom. Throughout these years, we have maintained warm and fraternal relations with the present Pope, founded on our common dedication to the unity of our two Churches. For this reason, since his election and enthronement as Pope, we have continued our tradition, which was instituted in the 1960s hetween Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, of the exchange of formal; annual delegations at the respective patronal feasts of our Churches. In his turn, Pope Benedict generously invited us to deliver the only address by an ecumenical leader during the official celebrations in St. Peter's Square for the 50th Anniversary since the opening of the 2nd Vatican Council last October, 2012.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, former President of the Council for Christian Unity, said that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue has entered its "third phase". How, in your opinion, has Benedict XVI contributed to this progress?
 The theological discussions between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches has been the focus of our love and attention since 1980, when following the period known as "the dialogue of love" (inaugurated by the late Patriarch Athenagoras and Popes John XXITI and Paul VI), the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue was established by our predecessor Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios and Pope Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Known as "the dialogue of truth/' this commission has met in planning and plenary sessions, publishing agreed statements on the mystery of the Church, the sacraments of the Church, the vision of unity and the problem of uniatism, ecclesiology and conciliarity, and most recently the role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church. As you might imagine, these are not easy subjects to discuss openly and honestly, especially since centuries that had elapsed from the time our two Churches had last met at the same table for  conversations in the 13th and 15th centuries. Nevertheless, we were convinced that we should persist even throughout the barriers that presented themselves, recognizing that, if we could not yet agree on theological and sacramental union, we could at least agree on our regret for the tragic divisions and hurtful wounds of the past. In this regard, the role of Pope Benedict was substantial and decisive inasmuch as he shared our concern and supported our plea for the restoration of the theological dialogue, which had unfortunately been interrupted in 2000. Thus, in 2006, the members of the Joint International Commission officially resumed dialogue.
Did you ever think that the Theological Commission would one day address the issue of the primacy of Peter? That a document would be approved, and that dialogue on the issue would go ahead?
As we have already mentioned, the development and progress of the theological dialogue was not always without hindrances and challenges. Nevertheless, wc are convinced that genuine and open dialogue, which aims at full and sacramental unity, cannot be achieved without cost. We cannot hope to obey the Lord's commandment to "love one another' and be "one with each other" without a spirit of sacrifice. There can surely be no comfortable or painless way of bearing the cross of Christ. Of course, there has been a purpose and procedure behind the meetings of the plenary sessions and the growing consensus between our two Churches. This is why we commenced with issues such as the Holy Trinity, the Church, and the Eucharist in order that we may advance to issues such as the relationship between our common faith and sacramental communion, as well as the significance and theology of the ordained ministry, especially the role of the bishop. We have always known that the ultimate thorny issue for discussion and deliberation is the role of the papacy in the life of the local, regional, and universal Church.
However, all our essential tenets of faith are vitally interconnected and cannot be isolated in their ecclesiological, canonical, and sacramental importance. It is a blessing, then, that we have persevered over the last two decades of theological dialogue and the previous two decades of fraternal relations between our two Churches. For now we are in a position to break new ground and - in a spirit of humility and love, with a willingness to respect and learn from one another - to grow even closer to the reality that existed in the Church of the first millennium, when we were one body, albeit with many limbs.
Do you think the pan Orthodox Synod that you have been working on for a long time will finally be celebrated? And what it will mean a  further step in ecumenical relations?
As you know, the Orthodox Church is a family of fourteen Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches, ail of them united in faith and sacramental communion while remaining self-governing in their interior life. Within this worldwide communion, as first among equals," the Patriarch of Constantinople enjoys a primacy of responsibility, proposing though not compelling, convening though by always consulting. In this respect, we convoked a Synaxis of First H.ierarchs of the Orthodox Churches - the first time that these hicrarchs had assembled since 1872! - gathering together in Istanbul (1992), on the island of Patmos (1995), in Jerusalem and Istanbul on the occasion of the new millennium (2000), and more recently again in Istanbul (2008). Tt is at such Panorthodox gatherings, that one senses the visible expression of the unity of the individual Orthodox Churches, the tangible manifestation of the catholic conscience of the Church. At the 5th Synaxis, we focused on difficulties that plague Orthodox Christianity worldwide, which may share the same faith and worship but in fact present an image of incomplete unity, as if we were not one Church, but rather a confederation of churches, frequently attributing priority to national interests. In this context, we proposed to advance preparations for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church and to resolve the pending matter of the Orthodox Diaspora, one of the most challenging situations in the Orthodox world. Thus, at our invitation, the Preconciliar Panorthodox Conferences have affirmed their commitment during the second half of the 20th century and activated the agreements during the 1990s of the inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committees regarding the so-called Orthodox diaspora. Moreover, regional Assemblies of Bishops have assembled throughout the world in order to present a unified voice for the Orthodox Church on social and contemporary issues that plague humanity today and as a prelude to the convocation of the Holy and Great Council. It is our fervent prayer and firm hope that all Orthodox Churches will adhere to and embrace the decisions of the Preconciliar Panorthodox Conferences in anticipation of our common vision for the Holy and Great Council.


Agenzia Fides report – “We must all support and defend efforts to promote peace” the national director of Social Pastoral of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Colombia , Mgr. Héctor Fabio Henao, told the press. These efforts, the priest said , should be undertaken by both the government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in order to put an end to the conflict which has raged for half a century .
The press note forwarded to Fides says: "All processes pass through difficult times and situations when the parties involved have to clarify many things, but we must persevere and progress along this path”. 
Mons. Henao referred to the friction which has arisen in peace talks taking place in Cuba (see Fides 20/11/2012), due to recent government statements regarding thousands of hectares of land taken from farmers reportedly by FARC troops. The rebels replied that this accusation could cause peace talks to ‘break down’. Colombian Home Minister, Fernando Carrillo, accused the rebels of interrupting the talks since they continue to kidnap army soldiers and launch attacks on civilians . "It is up to them, the FARC, to break the deadlock in the peace talks by ceasing to kidnap Colombians ", the Minister said. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 25/02/2013)