Friday, April 12, 2013


Vatican City, 12 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission with their president, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the conclusion of their annual plenary assembly, which had the theme of “Inspiration and Truth in the Bible”.

Venerable Brother,
Dear Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission,

I am pleased to welcome you at the end of your annual Plenary Assembly. I thank the President, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, for his greeting and summary of the topic that has been the subject of careful consideration in the course of your work. You have gathered again to study a very important topic: the inspiration and truth of the Bible. It is a matter that affects not only the individual believer, but the whole Church, for the life and mission of the Church is founded on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology and the inspiration of all Christian life .

As we know, the Holy Scriptures are the testimony in written form of God's Word, the canonical memorial that attests to the event of Revelation. The Word of God, therefore, precedes and exceeds the Bible. It is for this reason that the center of our faith is not only a book, but a history of salvation and especially a Person, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. Precisely because the Word of God embraces and extends beyond Scripture, to understand it properly we need the constant presence of the Holy Spirit who "guides [us] to all truth" (Jn 16:13). It should be inserted within the current of the great Tradition which, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the Magisterium, recognized the canonical writings as the Word addressed by God to His people who have never ceased to meditate and discover its inexhaustible riches. The Second Vatican Council has reiterated this with great clarity in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum: "For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finally to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God" (n. 12).

As the aforementioned conciliar Constitution reminds us, there is an unbreakable unity between Scripture and Tradition, as both come from the same source: "There exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred Tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence" (ibid., 9).

It follows, therefore, that the exegete must be careful to perceive the Word of God present in the biblical texts by placing them within the faith of the Church. The interpretation of the Holy Scriptures cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but must always confront itself with, be inserted within and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church. This norm is essential to specify the correct relationship between exegesis and the Magisterium of the Church. The texts inspired by God were entrusted to the Community of believers, the Church of Christ, to nourish the faith and guide the life of charity. Respect for this profound nature of Scripture conditions the very validity and effectiveness of biblical hermeneutics. This results in the insufficiency of any interpretation that is either subjective or simply limited to an analysis incapable of embracing the global meaning that has constituted the Tradition of the entire People of God over the centuries, which “in credendo falli nequit" [cannot be mistaken in belief – ed](Conc. Ecum. Vatican II Dogmatic Cost. Lumen Gentium, 12).

Dear Brothers, I wish to conclude my talk by expressing my thanks to all of you and encouraging you in your important work. May the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the Divine Teacher who opened the minds and hearts of his disciples to understand the Scriptures (cf. Lk 24:45), guide and support you always in your endeavors. May the Virgin Mary, model of docility and obedience to the Word of God, teach you to accept fully the inexhaustible riches of Sacred Scripture not only through intellectual pursuits, but in prayer and throughout your life of believers, especially in this Year of the Faith, so that your work will help to shine the light of Sacred Scripture in the hearts of the faithful. Wishing you a fruitful continuation of your activities, I invoke the light of the Holy Spirit and impart my Apostolic Blessing upon you all.
Vatican City, 12 April 2013 (VIS) – At 10:00 this morning, the Holy Father Frances went to the library of the Secretariat of State to meet the entire staff of the two sections of the Secretariat, that is, nearly 300 people—not only priests but also religious and lay men and women.
The Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., greeted the Pope with a brief address of welcome and presentation, assuring the Pope of the dedicated and cordial service of all those present who work in the Secretariat of State, which is fully the “Pope's Secretariat”.
The Pope responded with a few brief words emphasizing his sincere and heartfelt gratitude for the welcome he has been given and for all the work carried out in this period, noting that tomorrow will already be a month from his election, as well as for the priceless commitment of service carried out by all the members of the Secretariat of State.
After imparting his blessing, the Pope personally greeted everyone present. The meeting lasted around 50 minutes.
Vatican City, 12 April 2013 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received eight prelates from the Tuscany region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Antonio Buoncristiani of Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino,
- Archbishop Giovanni Paolo Benotto of Pisa,
- Bishop Giovanni De Vivo of Pescia,
- Bishop Rodolfo Cetoloni, O.F.M., of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza,
- Bishop Alberto Silvani of Volterra,
- Bishop Simone Giusti, of Livorno,
- Bishop Guglielmo Borghetti of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello,
- Bishop Carlo Ciattini of Massa Marittima-Piombino


FATHER EMIL KAPAUN was awarded, post-humously, the Medal of Honor on Thursday, April 11, 2013 by President Obama of the USA. (IMAGE SHARE FACEBOOK) His nephew Ray Kapaun received the medal for his uncle. Fr. Emil was born in 1916 in Wichita, Kansas and was of Bohemian descent. He volunteered as an army chaplain and never carried a gun. He was assigned to the 8th Calvalry of the US Army. They were overtaken by the Chinese army in North Korea in 1950. When the army deserted Fr. Emil stayed behind with the sick and wounded. He heard Confessions, celebrated Mass and Baptized. Also he treated the sick and wounded. Fr. Kapaun offered Mass on the hood of a army jeep. He was captured and died in a Prisoner of War camp on May 23, 1951. 
He was buried near the Yalu River. Others have testified that Fr. Emil kept other prisoners from dying by obtaining food for them.

"After the Communist invasion of South Korea, [Father Kapaun] was among the first American troops that hit the beaches and pushed their way north through hard mountains and bitter cold. In his understated Midwestern way, he wrote home, saying, “this outdoor life is quite the thing” and “I prefer to live in a house once in a while.” But he had hope, saying, “It looks like the war will end soon.”
That’s when Chinese forces entered the war with a massive surprise attack -- perhaps 20,000 soldiers pouring down on a few thousand Americans. In the chaos, dodging bullets and explosions, Father Kapaun raced between foxholes, out past the front lines and into no-man’s land -- dragging the wounded to safety.
When his commanders ordered an evacuation, he chose to stay -- gathering the injured, tending to their wounds. When the enemy broke through and the combat was hand-to-hand, he carried on -- comforting the injured and the dying, offering some measure of peace as they left this Earth.
When enemy forces bore down, it seemed like the end -- that these wounded Americans, more than a dozen of them, would be gunned down. But Father Kapaun spotted a wounded Chinese officer. He pleaded with this Chinese officer and convinced him to call out to his fellow Chinese. The shooting stopped and they negotiated a safe surrender, saving those American lives.  
Then, as Father Kapaun was being led away, he saw another American -- wounded, unable to walk, laying in a ditch, defenseless. An enemy soldier was standing over him, rifle aimed at his head, ready to shoot. And Father Kapaun marched over and pushed the enemy soldier aside. And then as the soldier watched, stunned, Father Kapaun carried that wounded American away.   
This is the valor we honor today -- an American soldier who didn’t fire a gun, but who wielded the mightiest weapon of all, a love for his brothers so pure that he was willing to die so that they might live. And yet, the incredible story of Father Kapaun does not end there.  
He carried that injured American, for miles, as their captors forced them on a death march. When Father Kapaun grew tired, he’d help the wounded soldier hop on one leg. When other prisoners stumbled, he picked them up. When they wanted to quit -- knowing that stragglers would be shot -- he begged them to keep walking.
In the camps that winter, deep in a valley, men could freeze to death in their sleep. Father Kapaun offered them his own clothes. They starved on tiny rations of millet and corn and birdseed. He somehow snuck past the guards, foraged in nearby fields, and returned with rice and potatoes. In desperation, some men hoarded food. He convinced them to share. Their bodies were ravaged by dysentery. He grabbed some rocks, pounded metal into pots and boiled clean water. They lived in filth. He washed their clothes and he cleansed their wounds.
The guards ridiculed his devotion to his Savior and the Almighty. They took his clothes and made him stand in the freezing cold for hours. Yet, he never lost his faith. If anything, it only grew stronger. At night, he slipped into huts to lead prisoners in prayer, saying the Rosary, administering the sacraments, offering three simple words: “God bless you.” One of them later said that with his very presence he could just for a moment turn a mud hut into a cathedral.
That spring, he went further -- he held an Easter service. As the sun rose that Easter Sunday, he put on [his] purple stole and led dozens of prisoners to the ruins of an old church in the camp. And he read from a prayer missal that they had kept hidden. He held up a small crucifix that he had made from sticks. And as the guards watched, Father Kapaun and all those prisoners -- men of different faith, perhaps some men of no faith -- sang the Lord’s Prayer and “America the Beautiful.” They sang so loud that other prisoners across the camp not only heard them, they joined in, too -- filling that valley with song and with prayer.
That faith -- that they might be delivered from evil, that they could make it home -- was perhaps the greatest gift to those men; that even amidst such hardship and despair, there could be hope; amid their misery in the temporal they could see those truths that are eternal; that even in such hell, there could be a touch of the divine. Looking back, one of them said that that is what “kept a lot of us alive.”
Yet, for Father Kapaun, the horrific conditions took their toll. Thin, frail, he began to limp, with a blood clot in his leg. And then came dysentery, then pneumonia. That’s when the guards saw their chance to finally rid themselves of this priest and the hope he inspired. They came for him. And over the protests and tears of the men who loved him, the guards sent him to a death house -- a hellhole with no food or water -- to be left to die.
And yet, even then, his faith held firm. “I’m going to where I’ve always wanted to go,” he told his brothers. “And when I get up there, I’ll say a prayer for all of you.” And then, as was taken away, he did something remarkable -- he blessed the guards. “Forgive them,” he said, “for they know not what they do.” Two days later, in that house of death, Father Kapaun breathed his last breath. His body was taken away, his grave unmarked, his remains unrecovered to this day. 
The President was speaking to an audience that included several of Father Kapaun's relatives, as well as a number of the American heroes who served alongside him—veterans and former POWs from the Korean War. They came to the White House to witness President Obama bestow our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, on Emil Kapaun six decades after his death.  As one of Father Kapaun’s comrades said when he heard the news, “it’s about time.” (SHARED FROM WHITEHOUSE BLOG)
*** Photo of Father Emil Kapaun celebrating Mass


John 6: 1 - 15

1After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber'i-as.2And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased.3Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples.4Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.5Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?"6This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.7Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little."8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,9"There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?"10Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand.11Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.12And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost."13So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.14When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!"15Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.



Packed to the Rafters - Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor Centenary Mass

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
12 Apr 2013
Eileen O'Connor
It will be 'standing room only' as Sydney's very own religious order, Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor, celebrates its centenary with a Thanksgiving Mass being held tomorrow at 10 am (13 April 2013) at St Mary's Cathedral.
Already, more than 700 immediate and extended family and friends join with the 13 remaining sisters of this tiny but much-loved congregation to celebrate a unique chapter in Australia's history.
For 100 years, the order - fondly known as the Brown Nurses - has quietly provided in-home healthcare, advocacy and friendship for the poor and marginalised throughout Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.
Even now, its work is largely unknown except those who require its services.
The Thanksgiving Mass will be co-celebrated by Bishop Terence J Brady DD VG, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, six bishops, two monsignors and 56 priests from throughout Australia.
They include representatives from the Archdioceses of Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra Goulburn and the Dioceses of Maitland Newcastle, Broken Bay and Wollongong.
They include Darwin-based Fr John Kelliher msc, who grew up close to Our Lady's Home - the congregational headquarters - at 35 Dudley Street, Coogee.
A special address will be given by the Most Reverend Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the recently-appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.
The UK-born and educated Archbishop Gallagher has been a member of the Holy See diplomatic service for almost 30 years.
He has held posts in Tanzania, Uruguay, the Philippines and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg before serving as Apostolic Nuncio - the Holy See's ambassador - to Burundi, Guatemala and now Australia.
Also in attendance will be a wide representation of Catholic orders and organisations, including the Catholic Women's League, Knights of the Southern Cross and St Vincent de Paul.
Other dignitaries attending include:Official Secretary and Chief of Staff to Her Excellency the Governor of NSW, Brian Davies; NSW Attorney General and Member for Epping, Greg Smith; Federal Member for Berowra and Former Federal Attorney and Minister for Immigration, the Honourable Philip Ruddock;  NSW Legislative Council members, the Honourable Sophie Costis and Luke Foley; Randwick Mayor, Tony Bowen, and City of Sydney councillor, Linda Scott.
The OLN Sisters will process into the Cathedral behind well-known indigenous musician, Glen Doyle, preceded by a "Welcome to Country" by Gadigal Elder, Charles Madden.
Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor was founded in Sydney in 1913 by a young Australian woman,
Eileen O'Connor
OLN Congregational Leader, Sister Margaret Mary Birgan, says the congregation is humbled by the enthusiasm shown by the community for the centenary.
"Our mission has always been low-key so this response has been simply overwhelming," she says.
"We've had replies from people who have had experiences, associations and friendships with the sisters or who are devotees of 'Little Mother' and Fr Ted from all over Australia.
"Even those who can't join us have written lovely reminiscences of their memories of their connection with the sisters.
"We are particularly thrilled that so many members of the O'Connor and McGrath families will also be in attendance."
Other special guests include John Hosie, Dr Mary O'Connell and Jocelyn Hedley, authors of various biographies of Eileen O'Connor and Fr Edward McGrath.
Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor was founded in Sydney in 1913 by a young Australian woman, Eileen O'Connor, whom many consider to be Australia's next saint-in-waiting, and a Missionaries of the Sacred Heart priest, Father Edward McGrath.
Both shared a deep devotion to Our Lady and the desire to establish a ministry of compassionate service to the sick poor in their own homes in her honour.
At the time, there was no Government healthcare assistance, meaning that if poor people were ill they could not afford to see a doctor, let alone go into hospital.
A number of young women arrived at Coogee to undertake their mission amongst Sydney's sick poor, many of whom lived in squalor.
They quickly became affectionately known as the 'Brown Nurses' because of their distinctive brown cloaks and bonnets.
In 1953, the Society of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor was recognised as a religious order.
Soon afterwards, ministries were established in New Farm, Brisbane and then Merewether, Newcastle.
At one stage, its community boasted almost 40 religious sisters and novices, all trained or training as registered nurses.
Today, the mission of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor remains as important as ever. Assisted by the generosity of their benefactors and volunteers, the Sisters continue to assist the sick poor in Sydney, Newcastle and Macquarie Fields.
The Sisters' mission for the poor and disadvantaged in the local government areas of Sydney, Randwick and Leichhardt is conducted by an organisation called the Brown Nurses.
Based at Glebe, a small team of registered nurses continue to minister to the sick poor in the tradition of the Sisters.
Many of their clients are suffering the debilitating effects of mental illness, physical disability, chronic addictions or a combination of all three.
Being in the care of the Brown Nurses may be their last chance to live independently.
Amazingly, Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor and the Brown Nurses remain completely.

Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor would visit the poor and sick in their homes, helping with household work,
taken care of children, cooking and looking after the sick. SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY


Agenzia Fides report -To ensure transparent elections that take place in a peaceful atmosphere away from violence. This is the request made by a delegation of IMBISA (Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa) to Emilio Guebuza, President of Mozambique and President of SADC (Southern Africa Development Community).
According to a statement sent to Fides, the delegation of IMBISA asked the President of the SADC his help in order "to ensure harmonised national elections in Zimbabwe this year. We have decided to make this request to you and other SADC leaders to avoid the rude awakening we had in 2008 when unprecedented violence was unleashed on the nation in the June Presidential run-off elections."
To avoid a recurrence of these events, the IMBISA delegation requested SADC support so that: All parties sign up The Zimbabwe Political Parties Code of Conduct and International monitors and observers are deployed three months ahead of the presidential elections and remain on the ground for at least another month after the elections to minimize the possibility of violence after the elections.
After reporting that "A very good dialogue followed the presentation of the paper and President Guebuza thanked the interest of IMBISA" the statement concludes by emphasizing the availability of Bishops of Southern Africa to work together to safeguard peace in the region. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 12/04/2013)



Religion and nationalism are locked in a bloody battle for primacy
Street clashes in Bangladesh are frequent and violentStreet clashes in Bangladesh are frequent and violent
  • The Third Eye
  • Bangladesh is going through turbulent times.
It can partly be blamed on the ongoing political struggle between the main political rivals, the ruling Awami League and the opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). As national elections loom, this impasse has sparked a series of bloody street clashes.
But as well as the usual party political friction, there is also a war of ideology sweeping through the nation between radical Islamists and secularists. It’s a question of primacy: which should come first, religion or nation?
Last weekend, radicals from the Hifazat-e-Islam group marched en masse through Dhaka to parade their staunchly Islamic 13-point agenda.
It includes the death penalty for bloggers who defame Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. They also want an anti-blasphemy law, a mandatory Islamic education system, exclusion of members of the Ahmadi sect from the Muslim faith, abolition of a pro-women development policy and the restoration of a pledge to Allah in the constitution.
It’s a manifesto that would make the country a fully fledged Islamic state, perhaps even a Taliban state.
On Monday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said 'no' to their demand for a blasphemy law. This, unsurprisingly, led to another round of violent clashes and wildcat strikes.
The sworn opponents of the Islamic radicals comprise activists, progressives and secular groups. This loosely connected coalition, which has attracted attention from the international press and garnered massive public support, is no less trenchant in its views or pugnacious in its demands.
It called loudly for the death penalty for those found guilty in the recent war crimes tribunals, most of whom are leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamic political party, It also wants confiscation of Jamaat-owned institutions and a ban on Jamaat and religion-based politics.
Its advocates will tell you the nation has suffered repression and victimization in the name of religion for far too long, from the orthodox Hindu Sena era a millennium ago to the effective rule of pro-Islamist West Pakistan in the mid-20th century.
They will also tell you that Jamaat and its forebears historically supported attacks on Bengali culture and nationalism in the name of Islam; that they sided with the Pakistan army during the 1971 war of independence; and that they have consistently persecuted religious minorities and even moderate Muslims.
Yet although these radical Islamists only represent around 5 percent of the population, their medieval ideologies continue to torment Bangladesh.
And even though the majority of people dislike the country’s dysfunctional political culture, it seems we just can’t get rid of it.
Which brings us back to the endless wrangles between the major political parties – the Awami League, the BNP and the others. For the sake of winning a vote, they will claim to be both nationalist and/or religious – whichever they think people want to hear at the time – although of course they are neither. They are just opportunist politicians who trade on nationalism and religion for personal gain.
Tragically, the history of Bangladesh is littered with monumental blunders; the British partition of India and Pakistan on religious grounds was possibly the biggest of them all. It’s a pity those reactionary forces that still hold us to ransom don’t seem to have learned a thing from those blunders.
The Third Eye is the pseudonym of a commentator based in Dhaka     


Text: Archbishop Nichols' keynote speech on business, at St Paul's  | Vincent Nichols,  St Paul’s Institute, St Paul’s Cathedral, Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor. Baroness Helena Kennedy,  Tracey McDermott, FSA, Bishop Peter Selby

Archbishop Nichols at St Paul's

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, delivered a keynote speech at a debate hosted by the St Paul’s Institute last night,  Thursday 11 April,  in which he asserted the need for businesses, and our urban environment more generally, to be of service to human flourishing.
The debate was held in St Paul’s Cathedral and was chaired by Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor. Other panellists in the debate included: Baroness Helena Kennedy, Labour Member of the House of Lords; Tracey McDermott, FSA Director of Enforcement and Financial Crime and Bishop Peter Selby former Bishop of Worcester and St Paul’s Institute Interim Director.
 Tracey McDermott, FSA Director of Enforcement and Financial Crime and Bishop Peter Selby former Bishop of Worcester and St Paul’s Institute Interim Director.
The text of Archbishop Nichols’ speech follows below:
“Good People”
St Paul’s Cathedral, 11 April 2013
Will Self provides a dramatic image of the City of London’s changing skyline. He likens it to a slow motion firework display as new glass and steel skyscrapers rise and fall, sparkling for a few decades but - by implication at least - destined for ashes.
It is easy to paint a depressing vision of the City, of any city. Quite apart from the aftershocks of the financial crisis, we could point to exploited workers, impersonal skyscrapers, gated communities, shocking inequality, lonely lives … But I have not come here this evening to announce that we are all doomed. I shall leave that to the politicians.
City life, and especially the City of London, is often considered somehow apart from the rest of society. But the City - any city - is first and foremost where people live and work, in all kinds of families and industries. People make the City. It’s not built around one area of business. In this context, the question “What kind of City do we want?” takes on a different hue. Can the City be a place of human flourishing? If so, what is required?
There is a wonderful line in TS Eliot’s Chorus from the Rock:
When the Stranger says: “What is the meaning of this city?
Do you huddle close together because you love each other?”
What will you answer? “We all dwell together
To make money from each other”? Or “This is a community”?
If the City is a community, then we must pursue all that cultivates community. To do so means honouring a profound, but often ignored, truth about humanity: our relationships are an intrinsic part to who we are. As human beings we are not just individuals. We are each born into a human community and find our deepest fulfilment as persons in relationship to others, and I would add, to God. This idea is central to the Judeo-Christian vision of humanity created in the image and likeness of God. who is a communion of persons.
The ancient Greeks also had a clear view on the purpose of the city, the polis: it was to build a good society – a community where citizens thrived as members of a virtuous community. Aristotle explored this vision. He thought the cultivation of friendship, and indeed love, were needed for there to be a good city. He also said, “the greatest of blessings for a state is that its members should possess a moderate and adequate property”. (Politics n.39).
This reference to ‘property’ invites exploration of the specific ways in which the city’s resources must serve everyone’s good if the city is to have any sense of common destiny. Whatever the activity of the city might be, we are all in it together, like climbers tied together by invisible ropes where the well being and fulfilment of each is in some ways dependent on others. There are ties of trust and solidarity to be recognised and developed. The institutions of business and commerce, on which the reputation and history of the City of London rest, have as their foundation precisely such common bonds. Indeed, there are many common bonds that only come into being through such trust and solidarity.
In recent times narratives about what makes for a good society have been viewed with suspicion. It is the hard won individual freedom to pursue my own good in my way, within the law that is celebrated. This mentality has legitimated the pursuit of narrow self interest, sometimes with a tendentious claim that benefits will eventually yield better outcomes for everyone. It has made possible the atrophying of common values at the heart of good business, and undermined institutions that stand between the market and the state, from the family to all kinds of community forms through which our relationships are enriched and extended.
However, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, we have a rare opportunity to learn from the recent past how not to repeat it. The protest of the Occupy movement contained some searching questions about inequality and the need to think hard, together, about what can be changed for the good of all.
How then can we nurture these relationships I speak of? How can we even think about a destiny shared by all the people who work in the City, when the vast majority of people who work there come and go every day, whether high paid professionals or those on low pay providing the transport, office cleaning and myriad other services, whose lives seem totally disconnected from those with headline making bonuses?
‘Good people bound by good purpose’. This phrase is key to the answer.
Community is created and common destiny established through the vision, commitment and relationships which good people form. But what do I mean by ‘good’? How is the notion of the good to be explored when we no longer share many of the patterns of thought which help establish its meaning?
Rather that cast ‘morality’ only in terms of dull and boring duty, it helps to understand ‘desire’ as a more vital and fundamental driving force of morality.
We yearn for love, for relationships of deep friendship, and for our lives to have meaning and to make a contribution. Far from being an externally imposed duty on us, the desire for the ‘good’ lies deep within us. It reflects our deepest nature as sharing a common humanity and as called into a life of relationships with others. This desire and this call, invites us to recognise that other people matter. Respecting others and seeking their good is essential to my own good. Seeking the good and responding to its attractiveness takes us out of narrow, self-centeredness. It is the path to true human flourishing and fulfilment. The truth is we are all secretly tempted…to be good.
But the complementary, inconvenient truth is that our desire for the good can easily be distorted through selfishness, or greed or pride or lust. This is the struggle between good and evil that runs right through each of us, in every aspect of our lives. We don’t like to think in these terms. Yet we all operate in a moral space, discerning and testing our desires, deciding how to live. We are caught between on the one hand the attractiveness of a good we suspect may not only be transitory but also carry with it damaging consequences for others, and on the other our capacity and desire for extraordinary generosity and selflessness.
To learn to live well is, on this understanding, to learn to practice the virtues, which are both rooted in our dignity and gradually shape our character as persons. By the pursuit of virtue we act well not because of external constraint, but because it has become habitual for us to do so. The virtues form us as moral agents, so that what we do is right and honourable irrespective of reward and regardless of what we are obliged to do.
The classical, pivotal or cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, courage and temperance. Permit me a quick glance at each of these, which belong to all humanity and are held in trust for all not least in our Christian tradition. Their relevance to ‘good people bound by good purpose’ is clear.
The virtue of prudence, or right reason in action, is the opposite of rashness and carelessness. It enables us to discern the good in any circumstance and the right way to achieve it. It enable us to know how to weigh the meaning and importance of our feelings.
The virtue of courage ensures firmness and the readiness to stand by what we believe in times of difficulty. It is the opposite of opportunism and of evasiveness. It is the practice of fortitude in face of difficulty and produces heroism in every field. Courage is an important element in artistic creativity and it helps those who battle against sickness, injustice or depression.
Justice is the virtue by which we strive to give what is due to others by respecting their rights and fulfilling our duties towards them. It expands our sense of self by strengthening the ties between us. Justice towards God is ‘the virtue of religion’ which frees us from the tyranny of false gods who claim our worship.
The virtue of temperance helps us to moderate our appetites and our use of the world’s created goods. It is the opposite of consumerism and the uninhibited pursuit of pleasure. It is about learning to desire well. Indeed, it is an essential part of a happy life.
The formation of good people starts, of course, in the family. That is the first school of citizenship, and loving stable families are the vital building block of every city as they are of any human society. Schools of course are the next most important institutions when it comes to building character, as are universities and, in the context of the City, the business schools.
Whilst we should look to these institutions of the community to foster virtue and thereby build character, we can and should also look to the institutions of commerce to nurture and strengthen character. If this is to happen, then such institutions will have a clear sense of purpose, shared across the institution, and evidently existing for a wider common good. They will be enterprises of ‘good purpose’.
Following the Francis review into Staffordshire NHS Trust where the staff - good people in the main - were led by a catalogue of failings to collude in a catastrophic failure, the head of the professional standards authority spoke of leaders having lost sight of their moral purpose. They had forgotten they exist to do good. Concern for finances had taken priority over care, compassion and respect. He said “unless you know the purpose for which you are running an organisation you will never get the ethics right within it”.
Let us be clear: such a sense of ‘good purpose’ is not just for the public sector but also for commercial organisations. Mark Carney, the incoming Governor of the Bank of England spoke recently of the need for companies to “define clearly the purpose of their organisations and promote a culture of ethical business”, and, in doing so, for employees to have “a sense of broader purpose, grounded in strong connections to their clients and their communities”.
We have seen what happens when businesses or people simply focus on profit as an end in itself and simply exploit every situation for that end. The true justification of business, I suggest, is when profit is made through delivering a purpose that genuinely adds to human well-being. All businesses have an implicit licence to operate given by society. In my view, then, all businesses big or small should be able to demonstrate how they are making the world a better place through providing goods that are truly good, or services that truly serve people, and, by doing so, create employment and fair returns to investors, whilst minimising harm.
Any business that wants to stay true to that purpose needs people who have not only the technical skills or competencies for that particular industry or business but also the character and virtues of which I have been speaking. Such people become indispensable to the long term flourishing of the business. Of course, in the short term greed and ambition can triumph. It always has and will. Out-of-control bonuses were one of the symptoms. But the architects of lasting business success learn to understand and control their own self-interest, and genuinely seek to serve society through the way their business operates. By acting consistently, doing what they say, setting and acting on high expectations, they create a culture within the organisation that actually strengthens good practice. A business that has a compelling story about its purpose, that lives its values in this way, will “crowd –in”, not “crowd-out”, virtue. It will nurture, attract and reward good people. It will inspire the good in people and help create the common goods that serve to reduce inequality by providing opportunities and operating in every aspect of its work in a fair and equitable way.
Part of the interest in business in the exploration of ‘good people bound by good purpose’ has come from recognising the limits of law and regulation. Law and regulation matter, but they are not sufficient. New rules usually deal with the last problem not the next one. A compliance mentality typically creates perverse incentives and increasing bureaucracy. Rules become a lazy proxy for morality: people think if it’s not against some rule it must be OK to do it. Such a society is inherently fragile. What is required, beyond even ethical standards of conduct, is a fundamental transformation of purpose, so that business, and the financial sector in particular, is seen by everyone as it should be, which is at the service of the rest of society. A change of language or of mission statements is not enough, and the risk of the language changing without credible reform is real. I am not surprised that commentators such as John Kay say that it will take another financial crisis before the City really wakes up to the scale of reform that is needed.
I believe there is great potential for good in people which far too many employers do not release or encourage when they see themselves simply as there to maximise short term profit. It is surely bad for business if people feel that they have to leave their values at the door when they go to work. It is a mistake if companies have to justify themselves through their additional programmes of social benefit or the philanthropy of their staff. These are good of course. But they should be supplementary to the shared value created by the core work of the business activity. The vocation to work in business is a good for people and society, but critically depends on a business having a clear purpose to serve society.
Often, the quality of leadership is critical. The struggle to maintain the positive purpose of a business or institution is challenging. The temptations of short cuts, of ignoring and marginalising uncomfortable questions are real and powerful, especially to those in leadership roles. I know. But I also recall a very profound point about leadership made by Vaclav Havel. He said that a key moral choice which leaders often have to make concerns what they appeal to in others. Do they appeal to their fear? Do they appeal to their greed? Or do they appeal to their selflessness and the desire for a wider good?
Business, the media, wider society, in short our culture is hugely influenced by these choices made by leaders in all walks of life. They contribute significantly to the background expectations within which we all make our choices. Being reminded regularly of our wider purpose will prevent us from slipping from those moorings. Having routines which reinforce all that is best in us – for many the practice of prayer is a fine example – help us to remember a good business is a community as well as an organisation. It produces people as well as goods and services, and contributes to the formation or undermining of society by the way people are treated. As the CEO of Unilever Paul Polman reminded us at the launch conference of the Blueprint for Better Business last September, in the long term no business can succeed in a society that fails.
The City that we want has many other dimensions to it of which I have not spoken: reduced income inequality and a living wage, the need for much greater support for family life in the built environment, a welcome for new communities and efforts to overcome barriers. In many ways London is a remarkable example of tolerance and vibrant city life. These are all aspects of community life that are deeply connected to how business operates.
The Christian instinct at its best is to see the potential for good in a city. It is interesting to note that the Bible starts in a garden and ends in a city, even if it is not the Square Mile that the Evangelist has in mind. This beautiful Cathedral provides a stunning symbol of the vision of the heavenly City in the midst of the earthly one. It invites us to gaze upwards and place our hopes and fears in the context of the Eternal. Yet its spectacular size and beauty at the same time invite us to our knees, to recognise our frailty, our need of one another and our shared destiny. Humanity has the most extraordinary capacity for good, and I deeply believe there are great wellsprings of renewal for this City, for every city, in untapped ways of how we organise the world of work at the service of the common good.
The debate was part of a series of three looking at the topic ‘The City & the common good: what kind of City do we want?’ Tickets for the debates are free and available at
shared from IND. CATH. NEWS


Pope St. Julius I
Feast: April 12

Feast Day:April 11
Born:Rome, Italy
Died:12 April 352
The immediate successor of Pope Silvester, Arcus, ruled the Roman Church for only a very short period — from 18 January to 7 October, 336 — and after his death the papal chair remained vacant for four months. What occasioned this comparatively long vacancy is unknown. On 6 Feb., 337, Julius, son of Rustics and a native of Rome, was elected pope. His pontificate is chiefly celebrated for his judicious and firm intervention in the Arian controversies, about which we have abundant sources of information. After the death of Constantine the Great (22 May, 337), his son Constantine II, Governor of Gaul, permitted the exiled Athanasius to return to his See of Alexandria (see ATHANASIUS). The Arians in Egypt, however, set up a rival bishop in the person of Pistus, and sent an embassy to Julius asking him to admit Pistus into communion with Rome, and delivering to the pope the decisions of the Council of Tyre (335) to prove that Athanasius had been validly deposed. On his side Athanasius likewise sent envoys to Rome to deliver to Julius a synodal letter of the Egyptian bishops, containing a complete justification of their patriarch. On the arrival of the Athanasian envoys in Rome, Macarius, the head of the Arian representatives, left the city; the two remaining Arian envoys, with the Athanasian deputies, were summoned by Pope Julius. The Arian envoys now begged the pope to assemble a great synod before which both parties should present their case for decision.
Julius convened the synod at Rome, having dispatched two envoys to bear a letter of invitation to the Eastern bishops. Under the leadership of Eusebius, who had been raised from Nicomedia to the See of Constantinople, the Arian bishops had meanwhile held a council at Antioch, and elected George of Cappadocia Bishop of Alexandria in the place of Pistus. George was intruded forcibly into his see, and Athanasius, being again exiled, made his way to Rome. Many other Eastern bishops removed by the Arian party, among them Marcellus of Ancyra, also came to Rome. In a letter couched in haughty terms, however, the Arian bishops of the party of Eusebius refused to attend the synod summoned by Julius. The synod was held in the autumn of 340 or 341, under the presidency of the pope, in the titular church of the presbyter Vitus. After a detailed examination of the documents, Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra, who had made a satisfactory profession of faith, were exonerated and re-established in their episcopal rights. Pope Julius communicated this decision in a very notable and able letter to the bishops of the Eusebian party. In this letter he justifies his proceedings in the case, defends in detail his action in reinstating Athanasius, and animadverts strongly on the non-appearance of the Eastern bishops at the council, the convening of which they themselves had suggested. Even if Athanasius and his companions were somewhat to blame, the letter runs, the Alexandrian Church should first have written to the pope. "Can you be ignorant," writes the pope, "that this is the custom, that we should be written to first, so that from here what is just may be defined" (Julii ep. ad Antiochenos, c. xxii). After his victory over his brother Constantine II, Emperor Constans was ruler over the greater part of the Empire. He was entirely orthodox in his views, and, at the request of the pope and other Western bishops, interceded with his brother Constantius, Emperor of the East, in favour of the bishops who had been deposed and persecuted by the Arian party. Both rulers agreed that there should be convened a general council of the Western and Eastern bishops at Sardica, the principal city of the Province of Dacia Mediterranea (the modern Sofia). It took place in the autumn of 342 or 343, Julius sending as his representatives the priests Archidamus and Philoxenus and the deacon Leo. Although the Eastern bishops of the Arian party did not join in the council, but held their assembly separate and then departed, the synod nevertheless accomplished its task. Through the important canons iii, iv, and v (vii in the Latin text) of this council, the procedure against accused bishops was more exactly regulated, and the manner of the papal intervention in the condemnation of bishops was definitely established.
At the close of its transactions the synod communicated its decisions to the pope in a dutiful letter. Notwithstanding the reaffirmation of his innocence by the Synod of Sardica, St. Athanasius was not restored to his see by Emperor Constantius until after the death of George, the rival Bishop of Alexandria, in 346. Pope Julius took this occasion to write a letter, which is still extant, to the priests, deacons, and the faithful of Alexandria, to congratulate them on the return of their great pastor. The two bishops Ursacius of Singidunum and Valens of Mursia, who, on account of their Arianism, had been deposed by the Council of Sardica, now made a formal recantation of their error to Julius, who, having summoned them to an audience and received a signed confession of faith, restored to them their episcopal sees. Concerning the inner life of the Roman Church during the pontificate of Julius we have no exact information; all agree, however, that there was a rapid increase in the number of the faithful in Rome, where Julius had two new basilicas erected: the titular church of Julius (now S. Maria in Trastevere) and the Basilica Julia (now the Church of the Twelve Apostles). Beside these he built three churches over cemeteries outside the walls of Rome: one on the road to Porto, a second on the Via Aurelia, and a third on the Via Flaminia at the tomb of the martyr St. Valentine. The ruins of the last-mentioned have been discovered. The veneration of the faithful for the tombs of the martyrs continued to spread rapidly. Under the pontificate of Julius, if not earlier, catalogues of feast-days of saints came into use — the Roman feast-calendar of Philocalus dates from the year 336.
Through St. Athanasius, who remained in Rome several years subsequent to 339, the Egyptian monastic life became well-known in the capital, and the example of the hermits of the Egyptian deserts found many imitators in the Roman Church. Julius died on 12 April, 352, and was buried in the catacombs of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, and, very soon after his death, was honoured as a saint. His body was later transported to S. Maria in Trastevere, the church which he had built. His feast is celebrated on 12 April.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)



St. Zeno
Feast: April 12

Feast Day:April 12
Born:300, Mauretania
Died:April 12, 371, Verona
Major Shrine:Basilica di San Zeno, Verona
Patron of:Fishermen, anglers, newborn babies, Verona
Entered in the Roman Martyrology on 12 April as a Bishop of Verona martyred under Gallienus. Probably, however, he was a confessor who governed the Church of Verona from 362-380. At Verona a basilica, San Zenone, is dedicated to his honour, and some thirty churches and chapels bear his name. In the basilica his statue, bearing the episcopal insignia, is prominent in the choir; coins with his likeness and an inscription were in use. On 21 May and 6 Dec. the translation of his body and his consecration were formerly commemorated. In "De viris illust." Of St. Jerome and Gennadius, Zeno is not mentioned, but St. Ambrose (Ep. v) speaks of him as an episcopus sanctae memoriae, and St. Gregory (Dial., III, 19) relates a miracle wrought at the Church of St. Zeno at Verona. Mabillon ("Vetera analecta", Paris, 1675) published an anonymous poem, "De landibus Veronae", taken from the writing of Ratherius, Bishop of Verona (d. 974), found in the abbey at Lobbes in Belgium (P.L., XI, 154, 225), which gives a list of the bishops of Verona and makes Zeno eighth. In the Monastery di Classe at Ravenna was found an eighth-century chasuble (casula diptycha) with the names and pictures of thirty-five bishops of Verona on its front and back; among them was that of Zeno. This list was accepted by Gams in his "Series episcoporum" (Bigelmair, p. 27). Zeno had not been known as a writer before 1508, when two Dominicans, Albertus Castellanus and Jacobus de Leuco, edited at Venice 105 tractatus or sermons found in the episcopal library of Verona fifty years earlier. In 1739 the brothers Ballerini published "S. Zenonis episcopi Veronae sermones", with an elaborate prolegomena. From these it appears that Zeno was a native of Africa, eighth Bishop of Verona (362-80), an able speaker, and an untiring champion of Christianity against the heathens and of orthodoxy against the Arians. Much controversy arose as to the time at which St. Zeno lives, whether two bishops of Verona of this name were to be admitted or but one, and on the authorship of the sermons. Various opinions were held by Sixtus of Siena, Baronius, Ughelli, Dupin, Tillemont, Fabricius, and others. Of the 105 sermons 12 have been rejected as belonging to other authors. Of the rest 16 are larger sermons, the others merely sketches or perhaps fragments. They contain valuable material on Catholic doctrine, practice, and liturgy; they treat of God, creation, the Blessed Virgin, Holy Scriptures, the Church, the sacraments, etc., and warn against the vices of the day.