Friday, February 21, 2014


Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle
Feast: February 22

Feast Day:February 22
St Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the prince of the apostles. God had established the Roman empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of his gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself; and repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his episcopal chair, whose <successors> the bishops of Rome have been accounted in all ages. That St. Peter founded that church by his < preaching> is expressly asserted by Caius, a priest of Rome under Pope Zephyrinus; who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican Hill, and that of his fellow-labourer St. Paul on the Ostian Road. That he and St. Paul planted the faith at Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom at the same time, is affirmed by Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, in the second age. St. Irenaeus, who lived in the same age, calls the church at Rome "the greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul." Eusebius, in several places, mentions St. Peter's being at Rome, and the several important translations of this apostle in that city. Not to mention Origen, Hegesippus, Arnobius, St. Ambrose, St. Austin, St. Jerome, St.  Optatus, Orosius, and others on the same subject. St. Cyprian calls Rome the < chair> of St. Peter (as Theodoret calls it his <throne>), which the general councils and ecclesiastical writers, through every age and on every occasion, repeat. That St. Peter at least preached in Rome, founded that church, and died there by martyrdom under Nero are facts the most incontestable by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth in a point so interesting, and of its own nature so public and notorious, as to leave them no possibility of a mistake. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; also by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges which that church enjoyed from those early ages in consequence of this title.
It was an ancient custom, as Cardinal Baronius and Thomassin show by many examples, observed by churches to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The feast of the chair of St. Peter is found in ancient Martyrologies, as in one under the name of St. Jerome, at Esternach, copied in the time of St. Willibrord, in 720. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for his mercies on his church, and to implore his future blessings.
Christ has taught us, in the divine model of prayer which he has delivered to us, that we are bound to recommend to him, before all other things, the exaltation of his own honour and glory, and to beg that the kingdom of his holy grace and love be planted in all hearts. If we love God above all things, and with our whole hearts, or have any true charity for our neighbour, this will be the centre of all our desires, that God be loved and served by all his   creatures, and that he be glorified, in the most perfect manner, in our own souls. By placing this at the head of our requests, we shall most strongly engage God to crown all our just and holy desires. As one of his greatest mercies to his church, we most earnestly beseech him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with his Spirit, with which he animated his apostles.



Vatican Radio/VIS REPORT: On Friday morning, 150 cardinals participated in the extraordinary consistory on the family, said Fr. Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, during a news briefing. He also communicated that the cardinals had expressed their warmest wishes to Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, who celebrated his 90th birthday on Friday. At 7 a.m. they concelebrated Holy Mass with the Pope in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The participants in the Consistory entrusted to Fr. Lombardi the reading of the following declaration, approved by the Holy Father, which summarises the thoughts of the Pope and the College of Cardinals: “During the extraordinary Consistory, the Holy Father and the College of Cardinals raised a special prayer to the Lord for the many Christians who, in various parts of the world, are increasingly frequently victims of acts of intolerance or persecution. To those who suffer for the Gospel, the Holy Father and the Cardinals wish to renew their assurance of their constant prayers, urging them to stand firm in their faith and to forgive their persecutors from their hearts, in imitation of Jesus Christ. “Equally, the thoughts of the Pope and the Cardinals turned to those nations which in this period are riven by internal conflicts, or by serious tensions which have consequences for civil co-existence, such as South Sudan or Nigeria, in a climate of growing indifference. At this time there is particular apprehension with regard to the evolution of the difficult situation in Ukraine, where it is hoped that all violence will cease immediately and that harmony and peace will be re-established.
 “Similarly, a great cause for concern is the continuing conflict in Syria, where it appears that the parties are still far from finding a lasting and peaceful solution, as well as the situation in the Central African Republic, which assumes greater proportions day by day. Initiatives on the part of the international community to promote peace and internal reconciliation, to guarantee the restoration of security and the rule of law, and to allow the indispensable access of humanitarian aid, are becoming increasingly urgent.
 “Unfortunately, it is evident that many of the current conflicts are described as being of a religious nature, not infrequently surreptitiously placing Christians and Muslims in opposition, whereas in reality these conflicts have origins of a mainly ethnic, political or economic nature. “The Catholic Church, on her part, in condemning every form of violence perpetrated in the name of religious belief, will not cease in her commitment to peace and reconciliation, through interreligious dialogue and the many charitable works which provide daily assistance and comfort to the suffering throughout the world”.
 After reading the declaration, Fr. Lombardi described the progress made on Friday, during which the Pope announced the name of the three presidents of the Synod on the Family: Cardinals Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France; Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines; and Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil. The three presidents represent three different continents. Forty-three presentations were given Thursday afternoon and this morning, and others are expected to take place as many cardinals have registered to speak.
“We do not know if they will all be able to do so”, explained Fr. Lombardi. “Some will submit their contribution in writing, so that it can be included among the proceedings and may be useful for joint reflection by the Synod”. Among the themes considered are the concept of the family according to a Christian anthropological perspective and its value in the context of a secularised culture which presents a different concept of the family, sexuality and the person and in which the Christian approach at times encounters difficulties. “Reflection did not take place in a climate of complaint”, commented Lombardi, “but rather of realism, observing the difficulty faced by Christianity in a culture that tends to go in another direction. John Paul II's 'Theology of the Body' was quoted on a number of occasions, as well as the encyclical 'Familiaris consortio' and the Catechism of the Catholic Church'.
Another issue related to various aspects of the pastoral care of the family, especially preparation for marriage and matrimonial and family spirituality”. The cardinals also considered the problem of remarried divorcees from the perspective of canon law, and spoke about the procedures for annulment with a view to their improvement and simplification. With regard to the administering of the Sacraments to remarried divorcees, there were broad ranging and detailed discussions, but no decisions or pronouncements were made on the issue. “There was neither tension nor anxiety in relation to this matter, but rather a positive approach characterised by discernment and a concerted search for the best way to combine fidelity to the words of Jesus with divine mercy and attention to specific situations, always with great sensitivity”, said the director of the Press Office, who repeated that a single direction should not be expected of the Consistory, but rather an encouraging introduction to the path of the Synod, which by working with this breadth of vision, will be able to advance the Church's pastoral response to the heartfelt hopes held by many in this area. Finally, the cardinals discussed various specific areas of family pastoral ministry, such as migration or religious ignorance. Text from Vatican Radio website


A Baby Was Left on the Highway in a Paper Bag, But a Miracle Saved Her...


Pray for Venezuela - Violence escalates - Beauty Queen Killed

There are protests in Venezuela and violence between protesters and police. Nationwide protests started this February. On February 12, the demonstrations received attention when three people were killed. President Nicolas Maduro has been in power for 11 months after the death of Hugo Chavez. Many demonstrators across the country are students. Soldiers are shooting civilians on the street. So far 8 have died from these protests.
A Venezuela beauty queen, Genesis Carmona, age 22, was killed during the protests.Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was detained charges of terrorism and murder. He organized protests demanding better security, an end to shortages and protected freedom of speech. Lopez has denied the charges.

The charges against Lopez "smack of a politically motivated attempt to silence dissent in the country," .  Venezuelan officials accused the United States of destabilizing the government and gave three U.S. diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.  Chavez ruled for 14 years until his death last year.  Lopez remained in a military prison Thursday. His wife, Lilian Tintori de Lopez, called on supporters to keep the pressure on the government. "Don't give up," she said. "I won't." Venezuela is in South America and shares a border with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana; it has a population of 30 million.


Corrie’s Ben Price sees ‘hidden hunger emergency’ in Uganda | Coronation Street, Ben Price,  CAFOD,  Uganda, Karamoja

Ben poses for selfie with children
IND. CATHOLIC NEWS REPORT: Coronation Street actor Ben Price, an ambassador for aid agency CAFOD, is calling for urgent action after visiting communities in Eastern Uganda suffering from severe hunger due to an extended dry spell. Ben travelled to the Karamoja region of Uganda to see how communities were being affected by a lack of food and water, and how crucial the work of CAFOD’s local partners has been in providing support, building livelihoods and keeping the peace within communities facing severe shortages.
 He is now backing CAFOD’s Dig Deep fundraising campaign, which starts next month, raising funds to help provide some of the world’s poorest communities with food, seeds, tools, agricultural training and other vital services such as health and education. Following his visit, Ben said: “It was quite shocking to see how people really are living day to day, hand to mouth, and to hear what a struggle it is for some people just to find enough food to stay alive.
Over recent months, the whole world has been focused on the humanitarian crises in the Philippines and Syria, but we’ve also got to realise there are these hidden hunger emergencies in countries like Uganda, where the need for action is just as urgent.
 “I spoke to women who told me that they have to leave their children each morning – sometimes for the whole day – to forage for food, or find wood to sell in order to buy something to eat. They told me they foraged for fruit which sounds nutritious but when you see what they are actually eating its berries and leaves, or small figs and tamarind dried out by the relentless sun. “We live in a world which produces enough food for everyone, so it makes no sense that one in eight people around the world go hungry each day – and almost one in three people in countries like Uganda.
Access to food is such a basic human right, but when crops fail or the rains don’t come, the communities I met can find themselves on the brink of starvation. “The reasons people go hungry can sometimes be very complex, whether it’s climate change, conflict, or a lack of suitable farmland. But what I have seen is that there are also very simple solutions – ways CAFOD are helping people to feed their own families without having to rely on emergency hand outs – whether it’s helping them to grow crops which are drought-resistant, or working to resolve conflicts over resources. “Everyone raising funds or donating money during the Dig Deep campaign can be sure that their efforts will make a huge difference in countries like Uganda, and help some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in the world to put food on their tables.”
 CAFOD has been working in Uganda since 1985 to reduce conflict, improve basic needs, provide emergency nutrition during drought periods, and help communities argue for better support from the government. CAFOD’s partner, Caritas Moroto, ensures better access to food and water for the most vulnerable communities, helping families to grow more food and improve their household income by selling surplus produce. To reduce malnutrition and the need for emergency food aid, Caritas Moroto provides drought-resistant seeds and trains farmers to help them increase their harvest. They also teach bee-keeping skills so that communities can produce and sell honey. In parallel with Dig Deep, CAFOD’s Hungry for Change campaign is calling for more aid to be directed at small-scale farmers to help them grow their businesses and feed their communities not just their families. It is also calling for better checks on the power of multinational food companies so that the global food system better supports the poor and everyone has enough to eat.

POPE FRANCIS "“A faith that does not bear fruit in works is not faith.”

“A faith that does not bear fruit in works is not faith.” This was the affirmation with which Pope Francis opened his remarks at Mass on Friday, following the readings of the day. The Holy Father offered the Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, for the intention of Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, emeritus Archbishop of Florence, on his 90th birthday. The Pope thanked Cardinal Piovanelli for “his work, his witness and his goodness.”

The world is full of Christians who often recite the words of the Creed, while very seldom putting them into practice – [and of] erudite [scholars] who reduce theology to a series of neat categories, neatly removed and shielded from having any influence on real life. It is a danger that St. James feared even two thousand years ago, and that Pope Francis made the subject of his remarks to the faithful after the day’s readings on Friday, “[St. James’ statement],” said Pope Francis, commenting on the passage from his Letter, which was read at Mass, “is clear: faith without fruit in life, a faith that does not bear fruit in works, is not faith.”

“Also, we often make the mistake of saying: ‘But I have a lot of faith’, [and] ‘I believe everything, everything ...’- and maybe this person who says [something like this] leads a lukewarm life, a weak [life]. His faith is as a theory, though it is not alive in his life. The Apostle James, when he speaks of faith, speaks precisely of doctrine, of that, which is what is the content of the faith. Nevertheless, one might learn all the commandments , all the prophecies , all the truths of faith, though if these are not put into practice, put to work, they are useless. We can recite the Creed theoretically, even without faith, and there are many people who do so – even the demons! The demons know very well what is said in the Creed and know that it is the Truth.”

The words of Pope Francis echo the assertion of St. James: “You believe that there is one God? You do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” The difference , the Pope added, is that the demons do not “have faith” insofar as authentic faith, “is not [merely] to possess knowledge.” Rather, “[to have faith means] receiving the message of God,” brought by Christ. The Holy Father went on to say that, in the Gospel, there are two telltale signs of those, who, “know what is to be believed, but do not have faith.” The first sign is a tendency to “casuistry”, represented by those who asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes, or which of the seven brothers of the husband would have to marry the widowed woman. The second sign is a commitment to “ideology”:

“Christians who think of faith as a system of ideas, ideologically: there were such as these even ing Jesus’ own day. The Apostle John says of them, that they were the antichrist, the ideologues of faith, of whatsoever [ideological] stamp they might have been. At that time there were the Gnostics, but there will [always] be many – and thus, those who fall into casuistry or those who fall into ideology are Christians who know the doctrine, but without faith, like demons. The difference is that the demons tremble, these Christians, no: they live peacefully.”

The Pope recalled how in the Gospels, there are also examples of “people who do not know the doctrine, but have so much faith.” He went on to mention the episode of the Canaanite woman, who, with her faith obtains healing for her daughter, who was the victim of possession, and the Samaritan woman who opens her heart because, he says, “she has not met with abstract truths,” but “Jesus Christ.” Then there is the blind man healed by Jesus, who then faces interrogation by the Pharisees and teachers of the law until he kneels with humility and adores the one who healed him. Three people, said Pope Francis, who show how faith and witness are inseparable:

“Faith is an encounter with Jesus Christ, with God, from which faith is born, and from there it brings you to witness. That is what the Apostle means: a faith without works , a faith that does not involve one’s [whole] self, that does not lead to witness, is not faith. It is words – and nothing more than words.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 


The Rajya Sabha ( Upper House ) approves the decree for the division of Andhra Pradesh. Now it only needs the signature of President Pranab Mukherjee for the "official" birth of the 29th state in the country. Many continue to criticize the decision: "The development of the area will stop".

Hyderabad ( AsiaNews) - The only thing missing for the "official" birth of Telangana, the 29th state of India is a signature. Yesterday, the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, the decree states that the division of Andhra Pradesh. With the ratification of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee , the region of Telangana will become a State to all intents and purposes.

The decision of the Rajya Sabha was greeted with joy by many independence supporters, who marched through the streets with banners and posters. However,doubts remain among the same population of Andhra Pradesh. Many fear that the split will only lead to an impoverishment of the two states, instead of representing a stimulus for the development of Telangana .

About 35 million people live in the region of Telangana , that stands on a plateau rich in agricultural resources, but it is also one of the poorest areas of India. It comprises 10 districts of Andhra Pradeshes' 23. The area also includes Hyderabad, the capital, which will be shared capital for 10 years, after which it will remain in Telangana. Thus Andhra Pradesh will have to develop a new one.