Thursday, November 7, 2019

Saint November 8 : Four Crowned Martyrs : Romans condemned to death as Christians


The old guidebooks to the tombs of the Roman martyrs make mention, in connection with the catacomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus on the Via Labicana, of the Four Crowned Martyrs (Quatuor Coronati), at whose grave the pilgrims were wont to worship (De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, I, 178-79). One of these itineraries, the "Epitome libri de locis sanctorum martyrum", adds the names of the four martyrs (in reality five): "IV Coronati, id est Claudius, Nicostratus, Simpronianus, Castorius, Simplicitus". These are the names of five martyrs, sculptors in the quarries of Pannonia (now a part of Austria-Hungary, south-west of the Danube), who gave up their lives for their Faith in the reign of Diocletian. The Acts of these martyrs, written by a revenue officer named Porphyrius probably in the fourth century, relates of the five sculptors that, although they raised no objections to executing such profane images as Victoria, Cupid, and the Chariot of the Sun, they refused to make a statue of Æsculapius for a heathen temple. For this they were condemned to death as Christians. They were put into leaden caskets and drowned in the River Save. This happened towards the end of 305. The foregoing account of the martyrdom of the five sculptors of Pannonia is substantially authentic; but later on a legend sprang up at Rome concerning the Quatuor Coronati, according to which four Christian soldiers (cornicularii) suffered martyrdom at Rome during the reign of Diocletian, two years after the death of the five sculptors. Their offence consisted in refusing to offer sacrifice to the image of Æsculapius. The bodies of the martyrs were interred at St. Sebastian and Pope Melchiades at the third milestone on the Via Labicana, in a sandpit where rested the remains of others who had perished for the Faith. Since the names of the four martyred soldiers could not be authentically established, Pope Melchiades commanded that, the date of their death (8 November) being the same as that of the Pannonian sculptors, their anniversary should be celebrated on that day, under the names of Sts. Claudius, Nicostratus, Symphorianus, Castor, and Simplicius. This report has no historic foundation. It is merely a tentative explanation of the name Quatuor Coronati, a name given to a group of really authenticated martyrs who were buried and venerated in the catatomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus, the real origin of which, however, is not known. They were classed with the five martyrs of Pannonia in a purely external relationship. Numerous manuscripts on the legend as well as the Roman Martyrology give the names of the Four Crowned Martyrs, supposed to have been revealed at a later date, as Secundus, Severianus, Carpoforus, and Victorius. But these four martyrs were not buried in Rome, but in the catacomb of Albano; their feast was celebrated on 7 August, under which date it is cited in the Roman Calender of Feasts of 354. These martyrs of Albano have no connection with the Roman martyrs described above. Of the four Crowned Martyrs we know only that they suffered death for the Faith and the place where they were buried. They evidently were held in great veneration at Rome, since in the fourth and fifth century a basilica was erected and dedicated in the Caelian Hill, probably in the neighbourhood of spot where tradition located their execution. This became one of the titular churches of Rome, was restored several times and still stands. It is first mentioned among the signatures of a Roman council in 595. Pope Leo IV ordered the relics removed, about 850, from the Via Labicana to the church dedicated to their memory, together with the relics of the five Pannonian martyrs, which had been brought to Rome at some period now unknown. Both group of maryrs are commemorated on 8 November. Text - the Catholic Encyclopedia

#BreakingNews Catholic Church in Pakistan Demolished by Extremist Muslim Mob - Please Pray

Punjab, a Muslims mob destroys a Catholic church
by Shafique Khokhar
The police witnessed the demolition and did not intervene. The place of Christian worship was built in 2007 and stands on land donated by a Catholic. Muslims dispute the lack of necessary permits. Catechist: "They do not want the church to exist".

Lahore (AsiaNews) - A mob of Muslim radicals demolished a wall and the front door of a Catholic church in the village of Waqya Chak, district of Arifwala, in the Pakistani Punjab. The destruction took place on November 4th under the eyes of the police.

The official reason for the destruction is that the Christian community did not have the necessary permits. Speaking to AsiaNews, however, Catholics complain that it is the fruit of "envy" against Christians. Naseer Masih, a church catechist, declares: "Muslims do not want the church in the village because they have bad feelings towards Christians".

About 4 thousand people live in the village. There are 70 Catholic families, and now they live with pain and anger. Naseer has been leading prayers since the place of worship was built in 2007. This is not a real building, given that the resident Catholic community does not have the funds to build a church, but a small fenced plot, given by a member of the community. Inside there is a modest construction where the masses are celebrated and the parish priests of the nearby churches officiate the liturgy on the major Christian feasts.

Muslims oppose the presence of the wall. On 4 November 50 policemen arrived in front of the gate and asked Catholics if they had ever had problems praying in church. Christians have responded that they had never had difficulties. Meanwhile, a crowd of 60 people gathered to bring a tractor and hammers. With the tractor they knocked down the door, then the Muslims completed the destruction with hammers.

The following day police officers - including the assistant commissioner, deputy superintendent and the station attendant - called a meeting between Christians and Muslims. On that occasion the policemen told the Christians that they will not be able to build the church proper until they have the permission of the district coordinator. Then they added that the church was destroyed because it was illegal.

According to Naseer, "the demolition of church property is against the law. Among the other things we had no warning from the police before the accident. The Muslims carried out the destruction and the policemen did nothing against them. This means that they are on their side ”. "We have prepared all the documents - he says - and we will appeal to the district, so that we can finally build the church and that it is registered by the government. Muslims do what they can against us, and the police conspire with them. We hope that the bishop and the priests will support us in presenting the documents".

If the district opposes the registration of the church, he promises, "there is nothing left but to knock on the door of the court. We also ask that those who destroyed the church be punished."
Full Text Source: Asia News IT

Pope Francis to Montreal Protocol Meeting "..give real life to dialogue for the sake of shared responsibility for the care of our common home.."


To the Participants in the Thirty-first Meeting
of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
I offer a cordial greeting to all those taking part in the Thirty-first Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This Protocol, together with its Amendments and the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, represents a model of international cooperation not only in the area of environmental protection but also that of the promotion of integral human development.
Nearly thirty-five years have passed since the first legally binding international Convention devoted to the protection of the ozone layer was opened for signature in Vienna on 22 March 1985. It was to become the first Convention of the United Nations system to gain universal endorsement on the part of the entire family of nations, which today numbers one hundred and ninety-seven signatory States.
These thirty-five years have yielded positive results. In fact, many scientific studies, including more recent ones, attest to how the thinning of the ozone layer is gradually being reduced.
In this regard, I would like to focus on three lessons that we can learn from the thirty-five years that have passed since the implementation of the international ozone regime.
First, there is a need to emphasize and appreciate how that regime arose from a broad and fruitful cooperation among different sectors: the scientific community, the political world, economic and industrial actors and civil society.
This cooperation has shown how we can “achieve important outcomes, which make it simultaneously possible to safeguard creation, to promote integral human development and to care for the common good, in a spirit of responsible solidarity and with profound positive repercussions for present and future generations”.[1]
In a certain sense, the international ozone regime demonstrates that “we have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (Laudato Si’, 112). This allows us to be confident that “although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities” (Laudato Si’, 165).
We are in fact facing a “cultural” challenge either for or against the common good. Here, an honest and fruitful dialogue truly capable of listening to different needs and free of special interests, together with a spirit of solidarity and creativity, are essential for the building of the present and future of our planet.
In the same way, and here is the second lesson I would mention, this cultural challenge cannot be met solely on the basis of a technology that, “presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others” (Laudato Si’, 20).
This was evidenced by the need to adopt, in 2016, a new Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment. That Amendment has the aim of prohibiting substances which, in themselves, do not contribute to damaging the ozone layer, but which affect the warming of the atmosphere and whose use has increased as a means of replacing certain substances harmful to the ozone layer.
It is important that the Kigali Amendment quickly gain universal approval on the part of the whole family of nations, as has happened with the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol.
In this regard, I am pleased to announce the intention of the Holy See to adhere to the Kigali Amendment. With this gesture, the Holy See desires to continue giving its moral support to all those States committed to the care of our common home.
Moving ahead, the third lesson which I would mention is the importance that this care for our common home be anchored in the realization that “everything is connected”.
It can be said that the Kigali Amendment also appeals to this principle, since it represents a sort of bridge between the ozone problem and the phenomenon of global warming, thus highlighting their interaction.
Careful consideration of the various interconnections of our decisions and their resulting impact involves numerous levels of complexity. We are living at an historic moment marked by challenges that are pressing yet stimulating for the creation of a culture effectively directed to the common good. This calls for the adoption of a farsighted vision on how most effectively to promote integral development for all the members of the human family, whether near or far in space or time. This vision must take shape in centres of education and culture where awareness is created, where individuals are trained in political, scientific and economic responsibility, and, more generally, where responsible decisions are made.
The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and our planet, coupled today with a more intense pace of life and work, should constantly urge us to ask whether the goals of this progress are truly directed to the common good and to a sustainable and integral human development, or whether they cause harm to our world and to the quality of life of much of humanity, now and in the future (Laudato Si’, 18).
A thoughtful response to this question can only be given in the light of a consideration of the three points on which I have focused. First, to give real life to dialogue for the sake of shared responsibility for the care of our common home, one in which no one “absolutizes” his or her own point of view. Then, to make technological solutions part of a broader vision that takes into consideration the variety of existing relationships. Finally, to structure our decisions on the basis of the central concept of what we can call “integral ecology”, grounded in the realization that “everything is connected”.
I express my prayerful hope that the international ozone regime, as well as other praiseworthy initiatives of the global community on care for our common home, can continue on this complex, challenging, but always stimulating path.
From the Vatican, 7 November 2019

[1] Statement, attached to the instrument of adhesion on the part of the Holy See to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its first four Amendments, 9 April 2008.

US Bishops' Commend US Administration action preventing Discrimination of Faith-Based Adoption - Full Text Release

Bishop Chairmen Commend Administration Action to Prevent Government Discrimination Against Faith-based Adoption, Foster Care, and Social Service Providers
November 1, 2019
WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, have issued a statement commending a proposed rule change that will help ensure faith-based social service providers will not be excluded from certain federally-funded programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Their joint statement follows:
“We commend the Administration for acting to change a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut out faith-based social service providers, namely adoption and foster care agencies that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father. To restrict faith-based organizations’ work by infringing on religious freedom – as the 2016 rule threatened to do - is unfair and serves no one, especially the children in need of these services. We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when over 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to take steps to increase – not decrease – their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families. We welcome today’s proposed rule modifications and look forward to reviewing and commenting on them further.”
Source: USCCB

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, November 7, 2019 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 488

Reading 1ROM 14:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother or sister?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written:

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.

So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1BCDE, 4, 13-14

R. ( 13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

AlleluiaMT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.'
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

"Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
'Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.'
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents."