Thursday, June 27, 2013


Papa Giovanni XXIII
Angelo Roncalli, born in Sotto Il Monte in 1881, is known for his profound spirituality as well as his extraordinary goodness from the young years of his life. When he feels a need to serve God, Angelo goes to study theology in Bergamo, and in Apollinare School (Rome) and becomes a priest. During his studies, he gets to know his two dearest friends, Mattia and Nicola. Very soon, most people see marvelous talents in him, including his wide knowledge and a constant readiness for sacrifice. The Holy See makes him go further to bishop and cardinal, and the Holy Father sends him to various places as a representative of the Church. When Pius XII dies on October, the 9th, 1958, 77 year-old Angelo goes to Rome, to conclave to choose a new pope. However, this time, it is him who hears gentle words of Jesus "Tu es Petrus!" ("You are Peter!") and from October, the 28th leads the church as pope John XXIII. Anonymous 2003 Film 


Vatican Radio REPORT- There are people who "masquerade as Christians," and sin by being excessively superficial or overly rigid, forgetting that a true Christian is a person of joy who rests their faith on the rock of Christ. Some think they can be Christian without Christ; others think being Christian means being in a perpetual state mourning. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass on Thursday.

Rigid and sad. Or happy but with no idea of ​​Christian joy. These are two - in a sense opposite - "houses", in which two categories of believers live and which are both seriously flawed: they are grounded in a Christianity made of words and fail to rely on the "rock" of the Word of Christ. Pope Francis identified both groups in his comments on the Gospel of the day, the famous passage from Matthew of the houses built on sand and rock.

"In the history of the Church there have been two classes of Christians: Christians of words - those" Lord, Lord, Lord "- and Christians of action, in truth. There has always been the temptation to live our Christianity not on the rock that is Christ. The only one who gives us the freedom to say 'Father' to God is Christ, our rock. He is the only one who sustains us in difficult times, no? As Jesus said: the rain falls, rivers overflow, winds blow, but the rock is safe, words, the words take flight, they are not needed. But this is the temptation of these Christians of words, of a Christianity without Jesus, a Christianity without Christ. And this has happened and is happening today in the Church: being Christians without Christ. "
Pope Francis went on to analyze these "Christians of words," revealing their specific characteristics. There is a first type – which he defined as "gnostic -"who instead of loving the rock, loves beautiful words "and therefore lives floating on the surface of the Christian life. And then there's the other, who Pope Francis called "pelagian", who leads a staid and starched lifestyle. Christians, the Pope ironically added, who “stare at their feet” :

"And this temptation exists today. Superficial Christians who believe, yes, God, yes Christ, but not ‘everywhere’: Jesus Christ is not the one who gives them their foundation. They are the modern gnostics. The temptation of gnosticism. A 'liquid' Christianity. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the Christian life should be taken so seriously that they end up confusing solidity, firmness, with rigidity. They are rigid! This think that being Christian means being in perpetual mourning. "

Pope Francis continued that the fact is that there “are so many” of these Christians. But, he argued, "they are not Christians, they disguise themselves as Christians." "They do not know – he added - what the Lord is, they do not know what the rock is, do not have the freedom of Christians. To put it simply ‘they have no joy ":

"The former have a ‘superficial’ happiness. The others live in perpetual state of mourning, but do not know what Christian joy is. They do not know how to enjoy the life that Jesus gives us, for they know not to talk to Jesus. They do not feel that they rest on Jesus, with that firmness which the presence of Jesus gives. And they not only have no joy, they have no freedom either. They are the slaves of superficiality, of this life widespread, and the slaves of rigidity, they are not free. The Holy Spirit has no place in their lives,. It is the Spirit who gives us the freedom! Today, the Lord calls us to build our Christian life on Him, the rock, the One who gives us freedom, the One who sends us the Spirit, that keeps us going with joy, on His journey, following His proposals. " 



Vatican Radio REPORT: Pope Francis has established a Pontifical Commission charged with drawing up an “exhaustive” report into the activities, structure and legal status of the Vatican’s Institute for the Works of Religion, more commonly known as the IOR. 

The Commission is composed of 5 people: Cardinal Raffaele Farina, emeritus Archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives and Librarian of the Apostolic Library; Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, current President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and former Archivist and Librarian of Holy Roman Church; Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells, Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See; Harvard Law Professor, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and former US Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon. 

Presenting the Secretariat of State communique to journalists Wednesday, the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, explained that the Commission is to conduct inquiries and present the Holy Father with a report of their findings “in view of possible reform,” specifying that Commission is not permanent. “The Pope,” said Fr. Lombardi, “has set for himself the objective of reforming the Vatican bank [sic] to make it more responsive to the needs of the Church,” and, “any decision about its nature will be taken after the work that this committee is to do.”


Vatican City, 27 June 2013 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity issued a press release today with the information that a delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will visit Rome from 27 to 29 June 2013 as part of the traditional exchange of delegations for their feasts of patron saints—29 June in Rome for the celebration of the Apostles Peter and Paul and 30 November in Istanbul for the celebration of St. Andrew the Apostle.
His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamo, co-president of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, will head the delegation and will be accompanied by His Eminence Athenagoras (Yves Peckstadt), bishop of Sinope and auxiliary of the metropolitan of Belgium, and Archimandrite Fr. Prodromos Xenakis, vice secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Church of Crete.
On Friday, 28 June, the Patriarchate's delegation will be received by the Holy Father Francis and then will talk with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. On Saturday, 29 June, the delegation's members will attend a Eucharistic celebration presided by the Holy Father.
Vatican City, 27 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, there was a presentation of the agreement between Vatican Television and Canal 21 (the television channel of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina) as well as of the new Master Control Room that will make digital archiving possible. Speaking at the press conference were: Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, director of Vatican Television; Julio Rimoldi, director of Canal 21; and Stefano D'Agostini of Vatican Television.
Vatican Television is in the process of completely digitizing its television signals. The project, already begun with the acquisition of a high def mobile unit, is continuing with the building, in collaboration with Sony, of a new Master Control Room on the top floor of the Vatican Television building, which will be the hub of the signals.
The new, technologically advanced structure will allow the transformation into and usage of the signals as “files”, with clear advantages for their exchange and storage.
The entire process, from shooting, to editing, to archiving, will become “tapeless”, that is, without the use of the magnetic tapes that are still the weak point in the creation and maintenance of valuable archives such as Vatican Television's, which holds 30 years of images from the pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis.
The agreement with Canal 21, which allows Vatican Television to acquire and distribute the Argentinian channel's large archives covering the activities of Cardinal Bergoglio up to 13 March 2013, the day of his election to the throne of Peter, is also part of this initiative.
Vatican City, 27 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received:
  - Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and
  - Ms. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFO).


The attack took place in the Bab Tuma borough, in Old Damascus. The suicide bomber mingled with a group of people queuing for food and other basic necessities handed out by a religious charity. No final figure for the dead and wounded is available.

Damascus (AsiaNews) - A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the Greek Orthodox cathedral in Bab Tuma, in central Damascus.
Four people were killed and eight more wounded, Syria's state news agency and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attacker mingled with a group of people queuing outside a religious building for food and medical care provided by the religious. According to witnesses, the blast damaged a large section of the building.

One of the oldest churches in the capital, the cathedral in Bab Tuma is the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.



MANDERA, June 25, 2013 (CISA) -At least 15 people were killed and 20 more seriously injured on June 23 at Choroko, Mandera County, along the Ethiopia and Somalia border. Among the victims were 6 women and 5 children.
Gunmen armed with grenades attacked a camp set up for those displaced by months of fighting in the region between the rival Garre and Degodia communities. Dozens of tents were torched and various villages were targeted by the armed group. A policeman was injured and the vehicle of a District Commissioner damaged in the attack. The District Commissioner, Samuel Mwati was on a peace mission in the area.
Sunday’s attack came after Friday‘s clashes in the same area between the two communities that left nine dead and hundreds displaced. Police have deployed agents throughout the area to ease tension.
No group has claimed the attack, but local security sources point a finger to a group of around fifty gunmen from neighboring Ethiopia who are suspected of receiving backing from local politicians.
A series of meetings have taken place in Nairobi between local leaders and representatives of the Commission for National Cohesion and Integration in a bid to reconcile the two communities battling over territory.
Apart from the inter-community violence that heightened since last year, Mandera is at a threat of frequent attacks against security forces, attributed to Somali Al Shabaab insurgents.



London: Catholic actors summer gathering |  Catholic Association for Performing Arts, Catholic Stage Guild), Corpus Christi, Fr Alan Robinson,  Breda McKinney, David Hoyland, Martha Van der Bly

Afterwards, there was a reception at the Club for Acts and Actors.   Michael Slater and Dutch actress Martha Van der Bly, 'And Then They Came for Me - Remembering the World of Ann Frank and Eva Schloss',

Jonathan Coote and Martha Van der Bly with Michael Slater
Members of the  Catholic Association for Performing Arts,  (formerly the Catholic Stage Guild), met for their annual summer gathering in Covent Garden on Wednesday evening. Mass at Corpus Christi's in Maiden Lane, was celebrated by Fr Alan Robinson, with soloist Breda McKinney accompanied by David Hoyland. 
Afterwards, there was a reception at the Club for Acts and Actors.   Michael Slater and Dutch actress Martha Van der Bly read two scenes from the play 'And Then They Came for Me - Remembering the World of Ann Frank and Eva Schloss', and then Martha gave a talk about about her recent tour of South Africa, with the play 
Produced by Nic Careem for the Blue Sky Network,  'And Then They Came For Me' tells the story of Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and Ann Frank’s stepsister, who had very similiar childhoods.  Martha described how Eva, now an energetic 84 year-old, accompanied the tour and took part in  Q & As after the show.  She said: "Eva told me: 'when we came back we wanted to talk but no one wanted to listen. Later when people wanted us to talk we couldn't speak." But, she said, 'reading Ann Frank's diary had helped her to find her voice, and more importantly, to use it to speak up.'" Eva has also recently published a book about her experiences.
Performing the play in front of multi-racial audiences in South Africa felt particularly poignant, Martha said, because of the themes it deals with. Just a few years earlier, it would not have been possible.  Nelson Mandela himself read the Ann Frank's diary when he was in prison. He said the fact that a 13 year-old in such circumstances could write so positively and  with such courage, helped him to cope.
The play was performed in a number of venues in Cape Town,  in Port Elisabeth and in the Apartheid Museum and in the Woman’s Gaol on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. "We had hoped to peform it on Robbin Island, Martha said, 'But it was too windy so instead we performed it on the coast."
The show has also been staged in England  at the Dulwich Prep theatre with Martha performing in the lead role, winning excellent reviews.
Martha is now working on a documentary on religious tolerance entitled:  'The Secret of Salona',  produced by Nic Careem on the  Blue Sky network. 
Another guest at the evening was actor Jonathan Coote, who has recently been performing in the West End show The Audience, with Helen Mirren.  He is now developing a film project:  'Ranny Gazoo'  based on a PJ Woodhouse comedy.

For more information on CAAPA see:
Shared from Ind. Cath. News


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
25 Jun 2013
1986 address by Pope John Paul II to Indigenous people in Alice Springs has lost none of its impact
When parishes, schools, churches and communities across Australia join together to commemorate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on 7 July the message is one of hope and reconciliation. There is also good reason to celebrate with latest statistics revealing that young Indigenous Catholics are the Church's fastest growing demographic in Australia.
"Between 1991 and 2011 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Catholic population has increased from 62,000 to 125,000. This  represents a growth of more than 105%," says Craig Arthur, National Administrator of the NATSICC (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council).
Even more interesting is that this fast growing demographic has an average age of 21.5 more than 16 years younger when compared with the current median age for all Catholics across Australia.
"We knew there has been a surge in our young people proclaiming their faith and becoming involved with the Church but I don't think until the release of these statistics by the Pastoral Research Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) that any of us realised the extent to which this is happening," he says.
Young Australians from all cultures are increasingly responding to initiatives such as World Youth Day and the New Evangelisation and embracing or re-embracing their faith. For many growing up in a secular society and a celebrity dominated media, the search for truth and need to find real meaning in their life through Christ has become increasingly important, Craig says.
Peace and Mercy for All is the theme of this year%27s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday
But he believes with young Indigenous Australians, the Catholic faith is also offering them hope as they struggle under the Government's Intervention which has been in place for six years and on 1 July will be further expanded from the Northern Territory to other areas of Australia, including Bankstown in Sydney.
Under the Intervention or the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have been disempowered, their social welfare payments quarantined and forced onto Income Management Schemes. These measures have been taken by politicians and bureaucrats in Canberra with little consultation with community elders or the involvement of affected communities.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples not only have a rightful place in Australian society but they have a uniquely important contribution to make that will enrich our lives, our nation and our Church," says Bishop Christopher Saunders, Bishop of Broome and Chair of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and member of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday will be celebrated across Australia on 7 July
In his message written for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday entitled "Living the Gospel of Hope," Bishop Saunders doesn't mince words when it comes to acknowledging how Indigenous people have been treated dating back to earliest Colonial times, nor does he shy away from admitting that the advent of Christianity, historically speaking, among Australia's Indigenous peoples "has not always been good news."
"There are of course numerous instances of just and heroic work undertaken among Aboriginal people by missionaries. In some places, Aboriginal people would have simply died out had no missionaries intervened with various care and support, and advocated for their protection," he says.
The Bishop says it is also manifest that some missionaries of various creeds behaved less than honourably in the conduct of their duties, and is concerned that "even in today's world, a minority persists in a view of Aboriginal people that is not at all welcoming and embracing."
But he also points to numerous instances of heroic work undertaken among Aboriginal people by missionaries where in some instances Aboriginal people may have simply died out had not these religious men and women intervened and given them their care and support, as well as advocate on their behalf.
"The address of Pope John II in 1986 to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Alice Springs has lost nothing of its impact," Bishop Saunders says.
On that day in Alice Springs Blessed John Paul reminded those present that "the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ speaks all languages. It esteems and embraces all cultures. It supports them in everything human and when necessary, it purifies them. Always and everywhere the Gospel uplifts and enriches cultures with the revealed message of a loving and merciful God. That Gospel now invites you to become, through and through, Aboriginal Christians."
Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chair of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Taking the theme "Peace and mercy for all " this year's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday will not only celebrate the 25th anniversary of its inclusion in the official calendar of the Australian Catholic Church, but is reaching out to all parishes and schools across Australia in the spirit of mutual understanding, support and reconciliation.
"For the first time in preparing this year's liturgy and resource kit, we have included youth activities for both primary and secondary school students and these along with the kits have gone out to every one of Australia's 1700-plus Catholic schools, " says Craig Arthur of NATSICC.
Similar kits have also been sent to parishes along where church groups and parishioners are being encouraged to contact their local Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM).
"We are a national body but the ACMs in every diocese across Australia are the ones who are the heart and soul of the movement and who with parishes can help build relations, foster understanding and give each other mutual support," he says.
Liturgy resources and youth activities along with special group reflections, clipart for youngsters and the meaning behind traditional Aboriginal ceremonies can be downloaded from NATSICCs website atwww.are available by logging on to

Shared from Archdiocese of Sydney


St. Cyril of Alexandria
Feast: June 27

Feast Day:June 27
Born:376 at Alexandria, Egypt 
Died:444 at Alexandria, Egypt
Patron of:Alexandria, Egypt
Doctor of the Church. St. Cyril has his feast in the Western Church on the 28th of January; in the Greek Menaea it is found on the 9th of June, and (together with St. Athanasius) on the 18th of January.
He seems to have been of an Alexandrian family and was the son of the brother of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria; if he is the Cyril addressed by Isidore of Pelusium in Ep. xxv of Bk. I, he was for a time a monk. He accompanied Theophilus to Constantinople when that bishop held the "Synod of the Oak" in 402 and deposed St. John Chrysostom. Theophilus died 15 Oct., 412, and on the 18th Cyril was consecrated his uncle's successor, but only after a riot between his supporters and those of his rival Timotheus. Socrates complains bitterly that one of his first acts was to plunder and shut the churches of the Novatians. He also drove out of Alexandria the Jews, who had formed a flourishing community there since Alexander the Great. But they had caused tumults and had massacred the Christians, to defend whom Cyril himself assembled a mob. This may have been the only possible defence, since the Prefect of Egypt, Orestes, who was very angry at the expulsion of the Jews was also jealous of the power of Cyril, which certainly rivaled his own. Five hundred monks came down from Nitria to defend the patriarch. In a disturbance which arose, Orestes was wounded in the head by a stone thrown by a monk named Ammonius. The prefect had Ammonius tortured to death, and the young and fiery patriarch honoured his remains for a time as those of a martyr. The Alexandians were always riotous as we learn from Socrates  (VII, vii) and from St. Cyril himself (Hom. for Easter, 419). In one of these riots, in 422, the prefect Callistus was killed, and in another was committed the murder of a female philosopher Hypatia, a highly-respected teacher of neo-Platoism, of advanced age and (it is said) many virtues. She was a friend of Orestes, and many believed that she prevented a reconciliation between the prefect and patriarch. A mob led by a lector, named Peter, dragged her to a church and tore her flesh with potsherds till she died. This brought great disgrace, says Socrates, on the Church of Alexandria and on its bishop; but a lector at Alexandria was not a cleric (Scr., V, xxii), and Socrates does not suggest that Cyril himself was to blame. Damascius, indeed, accuses him, but he is a late authority and a hater of Christians.

Theophilus, the persecutor of Chrysostom, had not the privilege of communion with Rome from that saint's death, in 406, until his own. For some years Cyril also refused to insert the name of St. Chrysostom in the diptychs of his Church, in spite of the requests of Chrysostom's supplanter, Atticus. Later he seems to  have yielded to the representations of his spiritual father, Isisdore of Pelusium (Isid., Ep. I, 370). Yet even after the Council of Ephesus that saint still found something to rebuke in him on this matter (Ep. I, 310). But at last Cyril seems to have long since been trusted by Rome.

It was in the winter of 427-28 that the Antiochene Nestorius became Patriarch of Constantinople. His heretical teaching soon became known to Cyril. Against him Cyril taught the use of the term Theotokus in his Paschal letter for 429 and in a letter to the monks of Egypt. A correspondence with Nestorius followed, in a more moderate tone than might have been expected. Nestorius sent his sermons to Pope Celestine, but he received no reply, for the latter wrote to St. Cyril for further information. Rome had taken the side of St. John Chrysostom against Theophilus, but had neither censured the orthodoxy of the latter, nor consented to the patriarchal powers exercised by the bishops of Constantinople. To St. Celestine Cyril was not only the first prelate of the East, he was also the inheritor of the traditions of Athanasius and Peter. The pope's confidence was not misplaced. Cyril had learnt prudence. Peter had attempted unsuccessfully to appoint a Bishop of Constantinople; Theophilus had deposed another. Cyril, though in this case Alexandria was in the right, does not act in his own name, but denounces Nestorius to St. Celestine, since ancient custom, he says, persuaded him to bring the matter before the pope. He relates all that had occurred, and begs Celestine to decree what he sees fit (typosai to dokoun--a phrase which Dr. Bright chooses to weaken into "formulate his opinion"), and communicate it also to the Bishops of Macedonia and of the East (i.e. the Antiochene Patriarchate).

The pope's reply was of astonishing severity. He had already commissioned Cassian to write his well known treatise on the Incarnation. He now summoned a council (such Roman councils had somewhat the office of the modern Roman Congregations), and dispatched a letter to Alexandria with enclosures to Constantinople, Philippi, Jerusalem, and Antioch. Cyril is to take to himself the authority of the Roman See and to admonish Nestorius that unless he recants within ten days from the receipt of this ultimatum, he is separated from "our body" (the popes of the day had the habit of speaking of the other churches as the members, of which they are the head; the body is, of course the Catholic Church). If Nestorius does not submit, Cyril is to "provide for" the Church of Constantinople. Such a sentence of excommunication and deposition is not to be confounded with the mere withdrawal of actual communion by the popes from Cyril himself at an earlier date, from Theophilus, or, in Antioch, from Flavian or Meletius. It was the decree Cyril has asked for. As Cyril had twice written to Nestorius, his citation in the name of the pope is to be counted as a third warning, after which no grace is to be given.

St. Cyril summoned a council of his suffragans, and composed a letter which were appended twelve propositions for Nestorius to anathematize. The epistle was not conciliatory, and Nestorius may well have been taken aback. The twelve propositions did not emanate from Rome, and were not equally clear; one or two  of them were later among the authorities invoked by the Monophysite heretics in their own favour. Cyril was the head of the rival theological school to that of Antioch, where Nestorius had studied, and was the hereditary rival of the Constantinopolitan would-be patriarch. Cyril wrote also to John, Patriarch of Antioch, informing him of the facts, and insinuating that if John should support his old friend Nestorius, he would find himself isolated over against Rome, Macedonia, and Egypt. John took the hint and urged Nestorius to yield. Meanwhile, in Constantinople itself large numbers of the people held aloof from Nestorius, and the Emperor Theodosius II had been persuaded to summon a general council to meet at Ephesus. The imperial letters were dispatched 19 November, whereas the bishops sent by Cyril arrived at Constantinople only on 7 December. Nestorius, somewhat naturally, refused to accept the message sent by his rival, and on the 13th and 14th of December preached publicly against Cyril as a calumniator, and as having used bribes (which was probably as true as it was  usual); but he declared himself willing to use the word Theotokos. These sermons he sent to John of Antioch, who preferred them to the anathematizations of Cyril. Nestorius, however, issued twelve propositions with appended anathemas. If Cyril's propositions might be might be taken to deny the two natures in Christ, those of Nestorius hardly veiled his belief in two distinct persons. Theodoret urged John yet further, and wrote a treatise against Cyril, to which the latter replied with some warmth. He also wrote an "Answer" in five books to the sermons of Nestorius.
As the fifteenth-century idea of an oecumenical council superior to the pope had yet to be invented, and there was but one precedent for such an assembly, we need not be surprised that St. Celestine welcomed the initiative of the emperor, and hoped for peace through the assembly. (See EPHESUS, COUNCIL OF.) Nestorius found the churches of Ephesus closed to him, when he arrived with the imperial commissioner, Count Candidian, and his own friend, Count Irenaeus. Cyril came with fifty of his bishops. Palestine, Crete, Asia Minor, and Greece added their quotient. But John of Antioch and his suffragans were delayed. Cyril may have believed, rightly or wrongly, that John did not wish to be present at the trial of his friend Nestorius, or that he wished to gain time for him, and he opened  the council without John, on 22 June, in spite of the request of sixty-eight bishops for a delay. This was an initial error, which had disastrous results.
The legates from Rome had not arrived, so that Cyril had no answer to the letter he had written to Celestine asking "whether the holy synod should receive a man who condemned what it preached, or, because the time of delay had elapsed, whether the sentence was still in force". Cyril might have presumed that the pope, in agreeing to send legates to the council, intended Nestorius to have a complete trial, but it was more convenient to assume that the Roman ultimatum had not been suspended, and that the council was bound by it. He therefore took the place of president, not only as the highest of rank, but also as still holding the place of Celestine, though he cannot have received any fresh commission from the pope. Nestorius was summoned, in order that he might explain his neglect of Cyril's former monition in the name of the pope. He refused to receive the four bishops whom the council sent to him. Consequently nothing remained but formal procedure. For the council was bound by the canons to depose Nestorius for contumacy, as he would not appear, and by the letter of Celestine to condemn him for heresy, as he had not recanted. The correspondence between Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople was read, some testimonies where read from earlier writers show the errors of Nestorius. The second letter of Cyril to Nestorius was approved by all the bishops. The reply of Nestorius was condemned. No discussion took place. The letter of Cyril and the ten anathemaizations raised no comment. All was concluded at one sitting. The council declared that it was "of necessity impelled" by the canons and by the letter of Celestine to declare Nestorius deposed and excommunicated. The papal legates, who had been detained by bad weather, arrived on the 10th of July, and they solemnly confirmed the sentence by the authority of St. Peter, for the refusal of Nestorius to appear had made useless the permission which they brought from the pope to grant him forgiveness if he should repent. But meanwhile John of Antioch and his party had arrived on the 26th and 27th of June. They formed themselves into a rival council of forty-three bishops, and deposed Memnon, Bishop of Ephesus, and St. Cyril, accusing the latter of Apollinarianism and even of Eunomianism. Both parties now appealed to the emperor, who took the amazing decision of sending a count to treat Nestorius, Cyril, and Memnon as being all three lawfully deposed. They were kept in close custody; but eventually the emperor took the orthodox view, though he dissolved the council; Cyril was allowed to return to his diocese, and Nestorius went into retirement at Antioch. Later he was banished to the Great Oasis of Egypt.

Meanwhile Pope Celestine was dead. His successor, St. Sixtus III, confirmed the council and attempted to get John of Antioch to anathematize Nestorius. For some time the strongest opponent of Cyril was Theodoret, but eventually he approved a letter of Cyril to Acacius of Berhoea. John sent Paul, Bishop of Emesa, as his plenipotentiary to Alexandria, and he patched up reconciliation with Cyril. Though Theodoret still refused to denounce the defence of Nestorius, John did so, and Cyril declared his joy in a letter to John. Isidore of Pelusium was now afraid that the impulsive Cyril might have yielded too much (Ep. i, 334). The great patriarch composed many further treatises, dogmatic letters, and sermons. He died on the 9th or the 27th of June, 444, after an episcopate of nearly thirty-two years.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



USCCB LogoUSCCB RELEASE: June 26, 2013
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The statement follows.
“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.
“Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.
“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.
“When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.
“Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.”

Supreme Court Cases: DOMA & Proposition 8

Check back for further updates, statements, op-eds, etc. about the June 26 Supreme Court decisions

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Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 374

Reading 1             GN 16:1-12, 15-16

Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children.
She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.
Sarai said to Abram:
“The LORD has kept me from bearing children.
Have intercourse, then, with my maid;
perhaps I shall have sons through her.”
Abram heeded Sarai’s request.
Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan,
his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian,
and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine.
He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant.
When she became aware of her pregnancy,
she looked on her mistress with disdain.
So Sarai said to Abram:
“You are responsible for this outrage against me.
I myself gave my maid to your embrace;
but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy,
she has been looking on me with disdain.
May the LORD decide between you and me!”
Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Or             GN 16:6B-12, 15-16

Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Responsorial Psalm      PS 106:1B-2, 3-4A, 4B-5

R. (1b) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or proclaim all his praises?
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.
Visit me with your saving help,
that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your people,
and glory with your inheritance.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel      MT 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.