Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saint March 1 : St. David a Bishop and the Patron of Wales who Founded 12 Monasteries and was known for Miracles

(DEGUI, DEWI). Bishop and Confessor, patron of Wales. He is usually represented standing on a little hill, with a dove on his shoulder. From time immemorial the Welsh have worn a leek on St. David's day, in memory of a battle against the Saxons, at which it is said they wore leeks in their hats, by St. David's advice, to distinguish them from their enemies. He is commemorated on 1 March. The earliest mention of St. David is found in a tenth-century manuscript Of the "Annales Cambriae", which assigns his death to A.D. 601. Many other writers, from Geoffrey of Monmouth down to Father Richard Stanton, hold that he died about 544, but their opinion is based solely on data given in various late "lives" of St. David, and there seems no good reason for setting aside the definite statement of the "Annales Cambriae", which is now generally accepted. Little else that can claim to be historical is known about St. David. The tradition that he was born at Henvynyw (Vetus-Menevia) in Cardiganshire is not improbable. He was prominent at the Synod of Brevi (Llandewi Brefi in Cardiganshire), which has been identified with the important Roman military station, Loventium. Shortly afterwards, in 569, he presided over another synod held at a place called Lucus Victoriae. He was Bishop (probably not Archbishop) of Menevia, the Roman port Menapia in Pembrokeshire, later known as St. David's, then the chief point of departure for Ireland. St. David was canonized by Pope Callistus II in the year 1120.
The first biography that has come down to us was written near the end of the eleventh century, about 500 years after the saint's death, by Rhygyfarch (Ricemarchus). According to these other writers St. David was the son of Sant or Sandde ab Ceredig ab Cunnedda, The saint's mother was Nonna, or Nonnita (sometimes called Melaria), a daughter of Gynyr of Caergawch. She was a nun who had been violated by Sant. St. David's birth  took place at "Old Menevia" somewhere about A.D. 454. Afterwards he spent ten years studying the Holy Scripture at Whitland in Carmarthenshire, under St. Paulinus (Pawl Hen), whom he cured of blindness by the sign of the cross. At the end of this period St. Paulinus, warned by an angel, sent out the young saint to evangelize the British. St. David journeyed throughout the West, founding or restoring twelve monasteries (among which occur the great names of Glastonbury, Bath, and Leominster), and finally settled in the Vale of Ross, where he and his monks lived a life of extreme austerity.  Here also his monks tried to poison him, but St. David, warned by St. Scuthyn, who crossed from Ireland in one night on the back of a sea-monster, blessed the poisoned bread and ate it without harm. From thence, with St. Teilo and St. Padarn, he set out for Jerusalem, where he was made bishop by the patriarch. Here too St. Dubric and St. Daniel found him, when they came to call him to the Synod of Brevi "against the Pelagians". St. David was with difficulty persuaded to accompany them; on his way he raised a widow's son to life, and at the synod preached so loudly, from the hill that miraculously rose under him, that all could hear him, and so eloquently that all the heretics were confounded. St. Dubric resigned the "Archbishopric of Caerleon", and St. David was appointed in his stead. One of his first acts was to hold, in the year 569, yet another synod called "Victory", against the Pelagians, of which the decrees were confirmed by the pope. With the permission of King Arthur he removed his see from Caerleon to Menevia, whence he governed the British Church for many years with great holiness and wisdom. He died at the great age of 147, on the day predicted by himself a week earlier. His body is said to have been translated to Glastonbury in the year 966. (Edited from Catholic Encyclopedia)
Prayer: O God, who graciously bestowed on your Bishop Saint David of Wales
the virtue of wisdom and the gift of eloquence, and made him an example of prayer and pastoral zeal; grant that, through his intercession, your Church may ever prosper and render you joyful praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Pope Francis tells Regnum Christi Order "... a true conversion of heart and mind....was possible because you have been docile to the help...the Church has offered you, having realized the actual need for a renewal..."

Address of the Holy Father to the participants in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, and to the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women and the Consecrated Laity of the Regnum Christi, 29.02.2020

We publish below the speech of the Holy Father Francis sent to the participants in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, and to the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women and the Consecrated Lay People of the Regnum Christi:

Speech of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am happy with this meeting with you at the end of a stage of the journey you are traveling under the maternal guidance of the Church. You, Legionaries of Christ, have recently concluded the General Chapter and you, Consecrated and Lay Consecrated Persons of Regnum Christi, your General Assemblies. They were elective events of the new general governments, the conclusion of a stage on the path you are taking. This means that it is not accomplished, but must continue.

The criminal behavior of your founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, which emerged in their gravity, has produced a strong institutional and individual crisis throughout the entire reality of Regnum Christi. In fact, on the one hand it cannot be denied that he was the "historical" founder of all the reality you represent, but on the other you cannot consider it as an example of holiness to imitate. He managed to make himself considered a point of reference, through an illusion that he had managed to create with his double life. Furthermore, his long personalized government had to some extent polluted the charisma that the Spirit originally donated to the Church; and this was reflected in the norms, as well as in the practice of government and obedience and in the way of life.

In the face of the discovery of this situation, the Church has not failed to give up her maternal concern and has come to meet you with different means, placing people of great human and pastoral sensitivity alongside her, as well as with recognized juridical competence. Among them I wish to mention the late Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, Pontifical Delegate. The new Constitutions and the new Statutes are truly "new", both because they reflect a new spirit and a new vision of religious life consistent with the Second Vatican Council and the guidelines of the Holy See, and because they are the product of a three-year work, in which all your communities have been involved and which has led to a change in mentality. It was an event that brought about a true conversion of heart and mind. This was possible because you have been docile to the help and support that the Church has offered you, having realized the actual need for a renewal that would have brought you out of self-reference, in which you had closed yourself.

You courageously opened yourself to the action of the Holy Spirit, thus entering the path of true discernment. Accompanied by the Church, you have done patiently and willingly a demanding job to overcome even the very strong tensions that have sometimes occurred. This prompted a further change of mentality, because it required a new vision in the mutual relationships between the different realities that make up Regnum Christi. I know well that it was not easy, because what we are most strongly attached to are our ideas and we often lack real indifference, to which we must open up with an act of our will, to make the Holy Spirit work within us. The Spirit leads us to detachment from ourselves and to the search for the will of God alone, because only from it does the good of the whole Church and of each one of us come.

This work led to the establishment of the Federation of Regnum Christi, made up of the religious Institute of the Legion of Christ, the Society of Apostolic Life of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and the Society of Apostolic Life of the Consecrated Lay People of Regnum Christi. Numerous lay people who do not take on the evangelical counsels join this reality of the Federation, thus constituting a "spiritual family", a wider reality of the Federation itself. The Federation is a canonically "new" reality, but also an "ancient" one, because the unity and autonomy you already lived in fact in the years after 2014. There is still a very large field that must be discerned by your. So the journey must continue, looking forward, not backward. You can only look back to find trust in God's support, which has never been missing.
It is a question of determining the concrete application of the Federation Statutes. This requires discernment of both the collegial governing bodies and the general and territorial governments of the three federated entities. The Statutes must always stimulate discernment. However, if this is not easy on a personal level, much less it is in a government group. Discernment requires from everyone a lot of humility and prayer; and the latter, nourished by the contemplation of the mysteries of the life of Jesus, leads to assimilate to him and to see reality with his eyes. In this way you can act objectively, with a healthy detachment from your ideas: which does not mean not having your own assessment of the reality and the problem that you have to face, but it means submitting your point of view to the common good.

You have elected the new Superior Generals and their Councils. Certainly the Directors responsible for addressing the Legion of Christ or the Consecrated Women and the Lay Consecrated Persons of Regnum Christi are their Directors, but the Councils have a very important function, even if the Councilors are not Superiors. In fact, the Councils must be a valid aid to the Superiors in their government, but at the same time they also have a function of control over the work of the Superiors themselves. In fact, they are called to govern in the consideration of people and in respect of the common law of the Church and of that proper to the Institute or Society. For this reason, the canonical legislation provides that when a matter is submitted to the consent of the Council, the Superior cannot vote, precisely to leave the Councilors more free (cf. cann. 627 §2; 127 CIC; Pont. Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, Reply dated August 1, 1985, in AAS 77 [1985] 771).

I hope that your new governments are aware that the path of renewal has not ended, because the change of mentality in individual people and in an institution requires a long time of assimilation, therefore a continuous conversion. It is a change that must continue in all members of the Federation. Returning to the past would be dangerous and meaningless. This journey is called to travel with perseverance and patience the individual governments of the three federated realities, both with regard to their own religious Institute or Society of Apostolic Life and with regard to the Federation and the laity associated with it. This requires that the three governments have a vision consistent with the will that the Church has shown in all these years with her closeness and with all the concrete means she has made available.

You, members of the new general governments, have received the mandate from the Church to continue on the path of renewal, reaping and consolidating the fruits matured in these years. I urge you to act fortiter et suaviter: energetically in substance and gently in ways, knowing how to grasp with courage and at the same time with prudence what other paths are to be taken in the line drawn and approved by the Church. If you docilely go to the school of the Holy Spirit you will not be overwhelmed by fear and doubt, which upset the soul and prevent action. I entrust you to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary; I accompany you with my affection and my prayerful memory and from my heart I impart the Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to the whole Family of Regnum Christi. And please, don't forget to pray for me.

Quote to SHARE by St. Mother Teresa "As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and Believe' Jesus tells us..." #Lent

 "As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor -- He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you." -- Saint Teresa of Calcutta

#BreakingNews Churches in the Middle East Release Precautions to Avoid Coronavirus Transmission

Mideast Churches adopt precautionary guidelines to deal with coronavirus
For Mgr Pizzaballa, measures are needed to counter the rapid spread of the virus, like emptying fonts and receiving the Communion by hand. The Chaldean Church is vetting the possibility of suspending services. In Lebanon, the situation is still normal.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – From Iraq to the Holy Land, the Churches in the Middle East are taking action against the new coronavirus emergency by setting certain guidelines for the faithful to minimise the danger of infection.

In the most affected areas, Church leaders have not ruled out suspending Lent services – as a precaution – waiting to see how the outbreak develops more broadly.

In a message to bishops, priests, nuns and believers, Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, has provided some precautionary guidelines for the Mass.

"The threat of the new coronavirus (Covid-19),” writes the prelate, requires measures to counter its rapid spread to “many areas and countries around the world.”

“Thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the world come to the Holy Land to visit the holy sites”. Given “our unique situation and after hearing from the Authorities, the following preliminary guidelines are issued in the Diocese of Jerusalem during the celebration of Masses:”

First of all, “receiving Communion” must be by “hand only,” avoiding the use of the chalice (except for people with celiac disease) to reduce the risk of infection.

“Another preventive suggestion is to empty the holy water fonts, especially in the holy sites and sanctuaries.

“During this time of Lent, we ask for our Lord’s mercy, as we pray for all who are distressed by this infirmity and eternal rest for those who have died.”

In the rest of the Middle East, the alert level is high to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, especially in Iran, the second most affected country in the world with 26 deaths and 270 cases. Local authorities have adopted a policy to quarantine individuals, not cities or regions.

Cases of infection have been reported in Kuwait, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, whilst Saudi Arabia has suspended entry for pilgrims.

The Chaldean Church has issued some “practical recommendations” for parishes and communities to contain the outbreak.

“The Patriarchate” has ordered “its priests to follow certain preventive steps.” As in the Holy Land, the first one concerns the cleaning and emptying of holy water fonts, since they could facilitate contagion.

Another one is about the Communion, which should be given "by hands and not in the mouth". It is also advisable to "avoid holding hands or exchanging kisses of greeting" during the services.

As it waits for developments, the Iraqi Church is vetting possibly more drastic and restrictive measures, like “cancelling Masses and other activities” should “the outbreak spread further.”

At the same time, the Church is calling for prayers to the Lord “to protect our country and the whole world”.

In Lebanon, services are being held as usual; no cancellations or changes are expected, Caritas Lebanon president Fr Paul Karam told AsiaNews.

“We have taken certain precautions, especially in dispensaries,” he said, but for the rest "we are relying on God's help".
Full Text Source: AsiaNews.IT - Image Source: Google Images Middle East Moniter

Cardinal Turkson says "We must not forget that the fundamental right to health and care pertains to the value of justice..." Full Text

Message from the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Integral Human Development Service on the occasion of the XIII Day of Rare Diseases (29 February 2020), 29.02.2020

We publish below the Message of the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Integral Human Development Service, the Most Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, on the occasion of the XIII Day of Rare Diseases, which occurs today February 29:

Message from Card. Peter K. A. Turkson

To the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences,
To the Bishops in charge of Health Pastoral Care,
To men and women religious,
To socio-health and pastoral workers,
To the Volunteers and to all the People of good will,
And, above all, to the Dear Brothers and Sisters affected by rare diseases and their Families,

Rare Disease Day puts the emphasis this year on fairness and fairer conditions for people affected by these conditions. There are over 300 million people worldwide with a rare disease, a considerable number that cannot be ignored and deserves attention.

Rare diseases are often difficult to diagnose and, more often than not, patients affected by these pathologies and their families live in stigma, in solitude and with a sense of helplessness, often exasperated by the difficulties in having a specific treatment for the pathology. rare and adequate care. Unfortunately, this situation is perceived even more serious in all those countries where the health system is more vulnerable.

We must not forget that the fundamental right to health and care pertains to the value of justice and that the unequal distribution of economic resources, especially in low-income countries, does not allow to guarantee a health justice that protects the dignity and health of each person. , especially the most needy and poor.

In rare diseases, scientific research plays a substantial role in improving the life of the sick, not only in identifying the pathology and providing available therapy but also in indicating the most suitable assistance. At the same time, scientific research needs the participation of the sick to obtain meaningful results targeted to their needs. For this reason, the scientific knowledge and research of the pharmaceutical industries, even if they relate to their own laws, such as the protection of intellectual property and a fair profit as a support for innovation, must find appropriate compositions with the right to diagnosis and access to essential therapies especially in the case of rare diseases [1].

The principles of subsidiarity and solidarity must inspire the international community as well as health policies to ensure that everyone, especially the most vulnerable populations, is guaranteed efficient health systems, fair access to diagnosis and treatment, as well as support and assistance. specific to the sick and their families [2].

The impact of rare diseases on the daily life of families is disruptive both from a psychic, emotional, physical and economic point of view. They often make up for the absence or shortage of health care and social assistance. Rare disease, in fact, involves all aspects of family life: we must not only deal with the problem of disease but we must also worry about all the other aspects of life, such as, for example, nutrition, activity rehabilitation or sports, organize free time.

It is important to study activities, in synergy with the various actors present in the area, which can enhance the potential of rare patients, as, sometimes, the patient can feel a lack of humanity precisely because "in the disease the person feels compromised not only one's physical integrity, but also the relational, intellectual, affective, spiritual dimensions; and therefore awaits, in addition to therapies, support, concern, attention ... in short, love "[3].

It would be really nice if all together, alongside family members, health workers, social workers, pastoral workers and volunteers, in a spirit of fraternity, we took care of our brothers and sisters suffering from a rare disease, integrating medical care with activities and commitments social networks that make them feel a dynamic part of society.

I entrust to Mary, Salus infirmorum, all those who suffer from rare diseases, so that it helps us to be attentive to each other's needs and to know how to give with a generous heart.

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson


[1] Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, New Charter for Health Care Workers, 2016, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, n. ninety two.
[2] Ibid, nn. 141-142.
[3] Francis, Message for the World Day of the Sick, 11 February 2020.

Bishops in New Zealand Warn proposed abortion law removes Rights of Unborn Babies - Full Text

Catholic bishops warn proposed abortion law removes tenuous rights of unborn babies
19 Feb 2020 | Bioethics
Beehive and Parliament2

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops are concerned that unborn babies will lose their existing tenuous legal rights if Parliament passes the Abortion Legislation Bill in the form proposed by a select committee.

And unborn babies with a fetal disability will have even less protection than under the current law, the bishops note.

Speaking on behalf of the bishops, Catholic lecturer Ms Cynthia Piper says an unborn child is entitled to a place in the human family, along with all the rights that go with that.

“In the womb, the child already has its own unique genetic identity and whakapapa. Our abortion laws must reflect this reality,” says Ms Piper. “It is a major failing of the proposed new law that there will no longer be any statutory requirement to consider the rights of the unborn child. That is totally unacceptable to the bishops and many New Zealanders.”

Parliament’s Abortion Legislation Select Committee – set up to hear public submissions on a bill to replace New Zealand’s existing abortion laws – has recommended enacting a new law based on the Law Commission’s “Model C”, one of three alternatives the commission suggested in a 2018 report to the Government.

Model C as adopted by the select committee removes the need for any statutory tests for an abortion up to 20 weeks gestation, effectively introducing abortion on demand, says Ms Piper, a lecturer with the Church’s Te Kupenga - Catholic Leadership Institute.

Cynthia Piper

For pregnancies of more than 20 weeks gestation, a health practitioner would need to reasonably believe that the abortion is appropriate in the circumstances having regard to the woman’s physical and mental health and well-being.

But Ms Piper says the criteria referred to for that are undefined and ultimately subjective and broad.

The bishops are also concerned that the proposed bill as reported from the committee also removes all references to fetal abnormalities, unlike the existing law which cites them as a reason for abortion up to 20 weeks, but not after.

“It is clear that the legal changes being proposed for pregnancies greater than 20 weeks will significantly widen the ability for a woman to have an abortion on the basis of disability,” Ms Piper says. “That represents a significant change from the current law which does not allow late term abortions on the basis of fetal abnormality.”

Additionally, the bishops fear the proposed changes will harm the well-being of many women. Ms Piper says she has worked with many women who have had abortions and experienced long-lasting negative effects, especially when they felt pressured into having an abortion.

“The coercive reality of societal, familial and economic pressures that arise when a woman suddenly finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy is well documented. The select committee itself acknowledges that they heard from several submitters, particularly young women, who believed they might not have chosen abortion if they had received more support. But what is being proposed will not help women in this situation make different decisions.”

Footnote: The select committee received 25,718 written submissions on the proposed law change, of which more than 90 per cent were opposed. Approximately 2800 submitters asked to make an oral submission with the committee hearing from 139.

• Vatican News has interviewed Cynthia Piper about the legislation. You can listen to the interview here.

•    A full copy of the joint submission made by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and the bishops’ bioethics Nathaniel Centre can be found here. The Committee’s Report can be accessed here.

Click on this link for a copy of the Key Concerns document sent on 18 February to parishes about the select committee report.

Today's Mass Readings and Video - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - #Eucharist

Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 222

Reading 1IS 58:9B-14

Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”
If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice--
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Responsorial Psalm86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R.    (11ab)  Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God.
R.    Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R.    Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R.    Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

Verse Before The GospelEZ 33:11

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

GospelLK 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Friday, February 28, 2020

Saint February 29 : Saint Oswald the Saint of the Leap Year and Archbishop of Canterbury

February 29.—ST. OSWALD, Bishop. OSWALD was of a noble Saxon family, He was brought up by his uncle, St. Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury,Archbishop of York, d. on 29 February, 992. Of Danish parentage, Oswald was brought up by his uncle Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, and instructed by Fridegode. For some time he was dean of the house of the secular canons at Winchester, but led by the desire of a stricter life he entered the Benedictine Monastery of Fleury, where Odo himself had received the monastic habit. He was ordained there and in 959 returned to England betaking himself to his kinsman Oskytel, then Archbishop of York. He took an active part in ecclesiastical affairs at York until St. Dunstan procured his appointment to the See of Worcester. He was consecrated by St. Dunstan in 962. Oswald was an ardent supporter of Dunstan in his efforts to purify the Church from abuses, and aided by King Edgar he carried out his policy of replacing by communities the canons who held monastic possessions. Edgar gave the monasteries of St. Albans, Ely, and Benfleet to Oswald, who established monks at Westbury (983), Pershore (984), at Winchelcumbe (985), and at Worcester, and re-established Ripon. But his most famous foundation was that of Ramsey in Huntingdonshire, the church of which was dedicated in 974, and again after an accident in 991. In 972 by the joint action of St. Dunstan and Edgar, Oswald was made Archbishop of York, and journeyed to Rome to receive the pallium from John XIII. He retained, however, with the sanction of the pope, jurisdiction over the diocese of Worcester where he frequently resided in order to foster his monastic reforms (Eadmer, 203). On Edgar's death in 975, his work, hitherto so successful, received a severe check at the hands of Elfhere, King of Mercia, who broke up many communities. Ramsey, however, was spared, owing to the powerful patronage of Ethelwin, Earl of East Anglia. Whilst Archbishop of York, Oswald collected from the ruins of Ripon the relics of the saints, some of which were conveyed to Worcester. He died in the act of washing the feet of the poor, as was his daily custom during Lent, and was buried in the Church of St. Mary at Worcester. Oswald used a gentler policy than his colleague Ethelwold and always refrained from violent measures. He greatly valued and promoted learning amongst the clergy and induced many scholars to come from Fleury. He wrote two treatises and some synodal decrees. Shared from Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis' message to Artificial Intelligence Workshop - Microsoft, IBM, UN-FAO and Vatican sign Call for Ethics in AI - Full Text

Pope Francis sent a message (full text below) to participants in a workshop titled, "The 'Good' Algorithm? Artificial Intelligence: Ethics, Law, Health", organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life in the Vatican, February, 26-28. The Holy Father was scheduled to address the group but because of a “slight indisposition”, he postponed all of Friday’s official audiences outside Casa Santa Marta, where he resides. At the conclusion of the Vatican workshop, the Pontifical Academy for Life, Microsoft, IBM, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Italian government signed the “Call for an AI Ethics”, a document developed to support an ethical approach to Artificial Intelligence and promote a sense of responsibility among organizations, governments and institutions with the aim to create a future in which digital innovation and technological progress serve human genius and creativity and not their gradual replacement. (
FULL TEXT Message of Pope Francis to Workshop on Artificial Intelligence:
Distinguished Authorities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I offer you a cordial greeting on the occasion of the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life. I thank Archbishop Paglia for his kind words. I am grateful too for the presence of the President of the European Parliament, the FAO Director-General and the other authorities and leaders in field of information technology. I also greet those who join us from the Conciliazione Auditorium. And I am heartened by the numerous presence of young people: I see this as a sign of hope.

The issues you have addressed in these days concern one of the most important changes affecting today’s world. Indeed, we could say that the digital galaxy, and specifically artificial intelligence, is at the very heart of the epochal change we are experiencing. Digital innovation touches every aspect of our lives, both personal and social. It affects our way of understanding the world and ourselves. It is increasingly present in human activity and even in human decisions, and is thus altering the way we think and act. Decisions, even the most important decisions, as for example in the medical, economic or social fields, are now the result of human will and a series of algorithmic inputs. A personal act is now the point of convergence between an input that is truly human and an automatic calculus, with the result that it becomes increasingly complicated to understand its object, foresee its effects and define the contribution of each factor.

To be sure, humanity has already experienced profound upheavals in its history: for example, the introduction of the steam engine, or electricity, or the invention of printing which revolutionized the way we store and transmit information. At present, the convergence between different scientific and technological fields of knowledge is expanding and allows for interventions on phenomena of infinitesimal magnitude and planetary scope, to the point of blurring boundaries that hitherto were considered clearly distinguishable: for example, between inorganic and organic matter, between the real and the virtual, between stable identities and events in constant interconnection.

On the personal level, the digital age is changing our perception of space, of time and of the body. It is instilling a sense of unlimited possibilities, even as standardization is becoming more and more the main criterion of aggregation. It has become increasingly difficult to recognize and appreciate differences. On the socio-economic level, users are often reduced to “consumers”, prey to private interests concentrated in the hands of a few. From digital traces scattered on the internet, algorithms now extract data that enable mental and relational habits to be controlled, for commercial or political ends, frequently without our knowledge. This asymmetry, by which a select few know everything about us while we know nothing about them, dulls critical thought and the conscious exercise of freedom. Inequalities expand enormously; knowledge and wealth accumulate in a few hands with grave risks for democratic societies. Yet these dangers must not detract from the immense potential that new technologies offer. We find ourselves before a gift from God, a resource that can bear good fruits.

The issues with which your Academy has been concerned since its inception present themselves today in a new way. The biological sciences are increasingly employing devices provided by artificial intelligence. This development has led to profound changes in our way of understanding and managing living beings and the distinctive features of human life, which we are committed to safeguarding and promoting, not only in its constitutive biological dimension, but also in its irreducible biographical aspect. The correlation and integration between life that is “lived” and life that is “experienced” cannot be dismissed in favour of a simple ideological calculation of functional performance and sustainable costs. The ethical problems that emerge from the ways that these new devices can regulate the birth and destiny of individuals call for a renewed commitment to preserve the human quality of our shared history.

For this reason, I am grateful to the Pontifical Academy for Life for its efforts to develop a serious reflection that has fostered dialogue between the different scientific disciplines indispensable for addressing these complex phenomena.

I am pleased that this year’s meeting includes individuals with various important roles of responsibility internationally in the areas of science, industry and political life. I am gratified by this and I thank you. As believers, we have no ready-made ideas about how to respond to the unforeseen questions that history sets before us today. Our task is rather one of walking alongside others, listening attentively and seeking to link experience and reflection. As believers, we ought to allow ourselves to be challenged, so that the word of God and our faith tradition can help us interpret the phenomena of our world and identify paths of humanization, and thus of loving evangelization, that we can travel together. In this way we will be able to dialogue fruitfully with all those committed to human development, while keeping at the centre of knowledge and social praxis the human person in all his or her dimensions, including the spiritual. We are faced with a task involving the human family as a whole.

In light of this, mere training in the correct use of new technologies will not prove sufficient. As instruments or tools, these are not “neutral”, for, as we have seen, they shape the world and engage consciences on the level of values. We need a broader educational effort. Solid reasons need to be developed to promote perseverance in the pursuit of the common good, even when no immediate advantage is apparent. There is a political dimension to the production and use of artificial intelligence, which has to do with more than the expanding of its individual and purely functional benefits. In other words, it is not enough simply to trust in the moral sense of researchers and developers of devices and algorithms. There is a need to create intermediate social bodies that can incorporate and express the ethical sensibilities of users and educators.

There are many disciplines involved in the process of developing technological equipment (one thinks of research, planning, production, distribution, individual and collective use…), and each entails a specific area of responsibility. We are beginning to glimpse a new discipline that we might call “the ethical development of algorithms” or more simply “algor-ethics” (cf. Address to Participants in the Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World, 14 November 2019). This would have as its aim ensuring a competent and shared review of the processes by which we integrate relationships between human beings and today’s technology. In our common pursuit of these goals, a critical contribution can be made by the principles of the Church’s social teaching: the dignity of the person, justice, subsidiarity and solidarity. These are expressions of our commitment to be at the service of every individual in his or her integrity and of all people, without discrimination or exclusion. The complexity of the technological world demands of us an increasingly clear ethical framework, so as to make this commitment truly effective.

The ethical development of algorithms – algor-ethics – can be a bridge enabling those principles to enter concretely into digital technologies through an effective cross-disciplinary dialogue. Moreover, in the encounter between different visions of the world, human rights represent an important point of convergence in the search for common ground. At present, there would seem to be a need for renewed reflection on rights and duties in this area. The scope and acceleration of the transformations of the digital era have in fact raised unforeseen problems and situations that challenge our individual and collective ethos. To be sure, the Call that you have signed today is an important step in this direction, with its three fundamental coordinates along which to journey: ethics, education and law.

Dear friends, I express my support for the generosity and energy with which you have committed yourselves to launching this courageous and challenging process of reassessment. I invite you to continue with boldness and discernment, as you seek ways to increase the involvement of all those who have the good of the human family at heart. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s blessings, so that your journey can continue with serenity and peace, in a spirit of cooperation. May the Blessed Virgin assist you. I accompany you with my blessing. And I ask you please to remember me in your prayers. Thank you.

[00291-EN.01] [Original text: Italian] Source: - Official Translation

Bishops appeal for Aid to Feed Starving population of Millions including Children due to Severe Drought

Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops appeal for aid to feed starving population.
 Catholic Church News Zimbabwe February 27, 2020
By Br. Alfonce Kugwa

Archbishop Robert Ndlovu flanked by Bishops Rudolf Nyandoro and Paul Horan, delivers the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’s Conference message on the need for food aid.
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) has buttressed the government’s call by appealing for food aid citing that half of the country’s population may face starvation in the year 2020.

Addressing a Press Conference held at the Church’s headquarters in Harare on 27 February 2020, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu, said the Church’s appeal and response was on behalf of the people of every race, culture, gender and religion in Zimbabwe who are and who will soon be in dire need of food.

“We therefore join the voices of all those who have seen and are responding to this unfolding catastrophic and devastating situation which will affect millions of lives,” Archbishop Ndlovu said.

 The Archbishop stated that, through Caritas, the Church’s developmental agency, food aid will be distributed to all those in need without discrimination or favour.

He said: “Our target is to reach out to as many victims of the drought as possible. Our goal is to mobilize sufficient food aid in order for us to make a difference to the lives of the many millions who face starvation, including children, women and those living with HIV/AIDS.”

Archbishop Ndlovu reiterated that all donations will be handled transparently and that distribution will be closely monitored. Caritas Zimbabwe has launched an Emergency Appeal which already raised US$200 000. 00 but Archbishop Ndlovu said this was far below the expected amount meant to feed millions of starving people.

The Zimbabwe drought appeal message in detail:

Southern Africa is experiencing a severe drought, with up to 45 million people expected to suffer from food shortages.[1]  The World Food Programme (WFP) in Zimbabwe has reported that in 2020, more than 7.7 million people in Zimbabwe will face food insecurity.  This means that half the population of Zimbabwe in 2020 will not have enough food. The rains have been poor, but one also acknowledges that Zimbabwe is a low income country with an economy which has been underperforming.  There is already a food deficit in Zimbabwe. This food insecurity will affect urban and rural communities.  Millions of school going children, refugees, and the poor, will suffer from the severe effects of this drought.[2]  The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has categorised this as a ‘Phase 3’ food crisis, which will affect most of the country.  This is just two stages before a fully blown famine.[3]  We are experiencing the effects of the El Nino induced drought which affected the 2019 harvest and which will now have a severe impact on the 2020 harvest as the rains have come late.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops are aware of the terrible situation that lies ahead of us.  The World Food Programme and other International Organizations have already raised alarm and have started to respond to the situation which is unfolding.  The government of Zimbabwe has already announced that the stocks of grain are low and so those who can, are being encouraged to import grain and other basic commodities.

Our appeal and response is on behalf of the people of every race, culture, gender, and religion in Zimbabwe who are and will soon be in dire need.  We will endeavour to reach out to the most vulnerable.  We therefore join the voices of all those who have seen and are responding to this unfolding catastrophic and devastating situation which will affect millions of lives.  We acknowledge our moral duty to respond to this situation and to ensure that distribution of drought relief is open to all, in spite of religion, political affiliation or culture.

Following the teaching of the Gospel: ‘I was hungry and you gave me food to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me water to drink…’ (Mt 25:35), we invite all Zimbabweans, locally based and those abroad, and all people of good will throughout the whole world, to join hands in responding to this catastrophic and devastating situation which is unfolding.

Caritas Zimbabwe has launched an Emergency Appeal. At the same time, as Catholic Bishops, we have agreed that each diocese will set up fundraising structures in order to mobilize food aid in cash and in kind.  Our target is to reach out to as many victims of the drought as possible.  Our goal is to mobilize sufficient food aid in order for us to make a difference to the lives of the many millions who face starvation, including, children, women and those living with HIV/AIDS.  All donations will be handled in a transparent manner and all distribution will be monitored closely so that there will be transparency and fairness.

Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me…(Mt 25:40).  We the Catholic Bishops of Zimbabwe cannot over emphasize how dire this situation is; we therefore urgently plead with the whole world for help on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe.
FULL TEXT SOURCE: - Image Source: Google Images




For the 2nd consecutive day Pope Francis avoids most Public meetings due to “slight indisposition” but still celebrates Mass

Pope postpones official audiences but continues meetings at Santa Marta
The schedule of Pope Francis has been modified for the second day, Friday, the Vatican Press Office said.
Vatican News

“The Holy Father celebrated Mass this morning and at the end, as usual, greeted the participants, but decided to postpone today's official audiences,” the Director of the Holy See Press office, Matteo Bruni, said on Friday.  “The meetings on the agenda at Casa Santa Marta continue regularly ", he told journalists.

The previous day, Thursday, Pope Francis had skipped a scheduled penitential service with the clergy of Rome at Saint John Lateran, letting his speech be read by the Vicar of Rome Diocese, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis.

Pope to priests: Turn bitterness into fresh water for the people
Bruni explained to journalists that because of “a slight indisposition” the Pope "preferred to stay inside Santa Marta,” where the pontiff lives.  “All other commitments will go ahead regularly,” he said.

In fact, Thursday morning, the Pope celebrated Mass at Santa Marta and later met a delegation of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, an organization that collaborates with the Church for greater protection of the environment, in line with the Holy Father’s encyclical, “Laudato si’. 
Full Text Source:

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chair to Government "Americans should be outraged that our U.S. Congress cannot pass a law to ensure that newborn babies are not vulnerable to infanticide." Full Text

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Reacts to House Rejection of Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act 
WASHINGTON–Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. A procedural vote to amend another piece of legislation (H.R. 2339, Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019) to include the Born Alive Abortion Survivors’ Protection Act failed by a vote of 187 to 220. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response: “Just three days ago, the U.S. Senate tragically failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives shamefully followed suit. The Born-Alive bill simply and rightly provides additional protections to ensure that newborn babies who survive an abortion attempt are given the same care as any other baby and are not left to die or directly killed. Americans should be outraged that our U.S. Congress cannot pass a law to ensure that newborn babies are not vulnerable to infanticide. We will not and cannot stop pressing Congress to do the right thing and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”
Previous Statement from Feb. 25:
U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Reacts to Senate Rejection of Pro-Life Bills

February 25, 2020
WASHINGTON – Earlier today, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 3275) and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311). In the Senate, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and advance a bill to a vote on passage. The Pain-Capable bill would protect unborn children from late-term abortions. It failed to advance by a vote of 53 to 44. The Born-Alive bill would prohibit infanticide by ensuring that a child born alive following an abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. It failed to advance by a vote of 56 to 41.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:

“Today, the United States Senate failed to advance two critical human rights reforms that most Americans strongly support. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization when a child can certainly feel pain and has a reasonable chance of survival. And the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act helps ensure that Roe v. Wade’s license to kill unborn children does not extend to killing the newborn babies who survive abortion. It is appalling that even one senator, let alone more than 40, voted to continue the brutal dismemberment of nearly full-grown infants, and voted against protecting babies who survive abortion. Our nation is better than this, and the majority of Americans who support these bills must make their voices heard.”
Full Text Source: USCCB

Canadian Catholic Bishops Statement to Government on Assisted Suicide Legislation "It is very troubling.." and based on a "..biased and rushed online survey" Full Text

Response by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to the tabling
of Bill C-7: “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying)”
The Catholic Bishops of Canada wish to express the greatest concern and dismay in regards to
the tabling of Bill C-7 which seeks to expand the eligibility criteria for euthanasia and assisted
suicide by removing the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” criterion currently in the
Criminal Code. The bill would also loosen some of the existing “safeguards” and would even
allow patients whose death is “reasonably foreseeable” to waive final consent to receiving
euthanasia by making an advance directive. This means that those who change their minds at a
later date, but whose ability to communicate has since been impaired, would be left to express
their refusal in potentially vague “words, sounds, and gestures” (Bill C-7, 3.2.c), making it
immensely difficult and highly subjective for medical practitioners and lawyers to decipher
whether or not the patient still wishes to consent to the lethal procedure.
Discounting the open letter from over sixty-five of Canada’s leading disability advocate
organizations, and ignoring the stark apprehensions expressed in the End of Mission Statement
by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concerning
the implementation of “Medical Assistance in Dying” in Canada from a disability perspective,
the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada regrettably chose not to appeal the
Quebec Superior Court decision (Truchon v. Procureur général du Canada) and is now
imprudently moving forward to amend the Criminal Code to accommodate the Superior Court’s
It is very troubling that the introduction of Bill C-7 was justified on the basis of a highly
questionable, biased and rushed online survey, which took place over just two weeks between
13 and 27 January 2020. First, the questions in this survey were framed in a manner which
presupposed agreement with euthanasia and assisted suicide, including its broadening, without
giving Canadians who are opposed an equal voice. Second, while garnering close to
300,000 responses (less than 1% of the population), it regrettably did not ask for detailed and
essential demographic data from participants (age, gender, ethnicity, disability, etc.), hence, the
online survey cannot purport to represent a “wide spectrum” of the Canadian population, as has
been claimed. Third, the online survey excluded households which cannot afford the internet,
and made it ever more difficult for those people living in remote northern communities, the
elderly, as well as individuals with visual, cognitive, and mobility impairments to participate.
Such a flawed survey cannot be used realistically to justify Bill C-7. Furthermore, the
“roundtable consultations” conducted by the Government this past January and February, clearly
excluded at least a number of major stakeholders, and thus fell short in engaging the public in a
comprehensive democratic process.
- 2 -
With Bill C-7, the Government has effectively short-circuited the mandatory assessment of
euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada as provided in the original Act of 17 June 2016 to
amend the Criminal Code, which specifically called for “a parliamentary review of [the Act’s]
provisions and of the state of palliative care in Canada to commence at the start of the fifth year
following the day on which [the Act] receives Royal Assent.”
The Catholic Bishops of Canada with Catholic faithful as well as innumerable other Canadians –
religious or otherwise – remain opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide in any form because
of their interest in protecting and promoting human life, because it is always wrong to take the
life of an innocent person, and because medical science and compassionate care have provided
effective ways of easing pain and suffering without having to resort to direct killing. It would be
beneficial to recall once again the World Medical Association’s stance reaffirming its longstanding policy of opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
As episcopal Catholic leadership in Canada, the Bishops further wish to impress upon the
Government: first, given the lamentable legislative aim, that every opportunity for due diligence
be taken during the parliamentary process; second, that every effort be made to understand more
fully the grave implications of what is being contemplated by way of Bill C-7, including the
unavoidable, negative and detrimental dangers facing those who are most vulnerable in society.
For these reasons, the Bishops sincerely hope and earnestly request that the House of Commons
exercises its ability to refer Bill C-7 to a committee for detailed examination before Second
Reading, as is permitted according to the Standing Orders (Ch. 9 § 73), in order to allow input
from expert witnesses in a manner which is fully public, transparent, and open to a wide range of
voices – religious and non-religious alike – as well as in full and prudent consideration of
inviolable moral and ethical principles, the common good, and concern for future generations.
The Catholic Bishops of Canada are strongly opposed to this proposed legislation and will
monitor the parliamentary process closely. They call upon all Canadians to make their voices
heard; they strongly urge members of Parliament to acknowledge the giftedness of life as an
inalienable right not to be taken away by others, the importance of compassion for the ill and the
dying, as well as our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us.
26 February 2020

Pope Francis forms Child Protection Task Force to assist Episcopal Conferences

Pope Francis forms Child Protection Task Force
Following up on a plan announced at last year’s Meeting for the Protection of Minors in the Church, Pope Francis has launched a task force to help Bishops’ Conferences prepare and update child protection guidelines.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis has established a task force “in order to assist the Episcopal Conferences in the preparation and updating of guidelines for the protection of minors”. The intention to form such a group had already been announced by the Pope at last year’s Meeting for the Protection of Minors in the Church, which ran from 21-24 February 2019. One year later, after the details of the project had been worked out, Pope Francis has made the plan a reality.

Supervising committee
In a statement released on Friday, the Holy See Press Office explained that the task force will be supervised by Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, together with the  members of the organizing Committee for last year’s Meeting: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay; Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago; Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta and Deputy Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Father Hans Zollner, SJ, Dean of the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Membership of the task force
The task force itself is composed of a Coordinator, Dr Andrew Azzopardi, head of the Safeguarding Commission of the Maltese Bishops (established by the Archdiocese of Malta, the Diocese of Gozo, and the Conference of Religious Major Superiors);  and a number of canon law experts of different nationalities. The Coordinator will report quarterly to the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State on the work undertaken by the task force.

Providing assistance to Episcopal Conferences
According to communiqué, the task force will assist Episcopal Conferences, as well as Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, in preparing and updating guidelines for the protection of minors, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and current canonical legislation, especially the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

The task force’s mandate will last for two years, beginning 24 February 2020. It will be supported by a special fund established by benefactors.

Episcopal Conferences, Institutes of Religious, and Societies of Apostolic Life can request assistance at the following email address:

Full Text Source:

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, February 28, 2020 - #Eucharist

Friday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 221

Reading 1IS 58:1-9A

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm51:3-4, 5-6AB, 18-19

R.    (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before The GospelAM 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.

GospelMT 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Saint February 28 : St. Hilary : Pope

St. Hilary

Feast Day:February 28 or November 17
at Sardinia
Died:28 February 468 at Rome, Italy
Elected 461; the date of his death is given as 28 Feb., 468.
After the death of Leo I, an archdeacon named Hilarus, a native of Sardinia, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", was chosen to succeed him, and in all probability received consecration on 19 November, 461. Together with Julius, Bishop of Puteoli, Hilarus acted as legate of Leo I at the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449. There he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople (see FLAVIAN, SAINT). He was therefore exposed to the violence of Dioscurus of Alexandria, and saved himself by flight. In one of his letters to the Empress Pulcheria, found in a collection of letters of Leo I ("Leonis I Epistolae", num. xlvi., in P.L., LIV, 837 sq.), Hilarus apologizes for not delivering to her the pope's letter after the synod; but owing to Dioscurus, who tried to hinder his going either to Rome or to Constantinople, he had great difficulty in making his escape in order to bring to the pontiff the news of the result of the council. His pontificate was marked by the same vigorous policy as that of his great predecessor. Church affairs in Gaul and Spain claimed his special attention. Owing to political disorganization in both countries, it was important to safeguard the hierarchy by strengthening church government. Hermes, a former archdeacon of Narbonne, had illegally acquired the bishopric of that town. Two Gallican prelates were dispatched to Rome to lay before the pope this and other matters concerning the Church in Gaul. A Roman synod held on 19 November, 462, passed judgment upon these matters, and Hilarus made known the following decisions in an Encyclical sent to the provincial bishops of Vienne, Lyons, Narbonne, and the Alps: Hermes was to remain Titular Bishop of Narbonne, but his episcopal faculties were withheld. A synod was to be convened yearly by the Bishop of Arles, for those of the provincial bishops who were able to attend; but all important matters were to be submitted to the Apostolic See. No bishop could leave his diocese without a written permission from the metropolitan; in case such permission be withheld he could appeal to the Bishop of Arles. Respecting the parishes (paroeciae) claimed by Leontius of Arles as belonging to his jurisdiction, the Gallican bishops could decide, after an investigation. Church property could not be alienated until a synod had examined into the cause of sale. Shortly after this the pope found himself involved in another diocesan quarrel. In 463 Mamertus of Vienne had consecrated a Bishop of Die, although this Church, by a decree of Leo I, belonged to the metropolitan Diocese of Arles. When Hilarus heard of it he deputed Leontius of Arles to summon a great synod of the bishops of several provinces to investigate the matter. The synod took place and, on the strength of the report given him by Bishop Antonius, he issued an edict dated 25 February, 464, in which Bishop Veranus was commissioned to warn Mamertus that, if in the future he did not refrain from irregular ordinations, his faculties would be withdrawn. Consequently the consecration of the Bishop of Die must be sanctioned by Leontius of Arles. Thus the primatial privileges of the See of Arles were upheld as Leo I had defined them. At the same time the bishops were admonished not to overstep their boundaries, and to assemble in a yearly synod presided over by the Bishop of Arles. The metropolitan rights of the See of Embrun also over the dioceses of the Maritime Alps were protected against the encroachments of a certain Bishop Auxanius, particularly in connection with the two Churches of Nice and Cimiez.
In Spain, Silvanus, Bishop of Calahorra, had, by his episcopal ordinations, violated the church laws. Both the Metropolitan Ascanius and the bishops of the Province of Tarragona made complaint of this to the pope and asked for his decision. Before an answer came to their petition, the same bishops had recourse to the Holy See for an entirely different matter. Before his death Nundinarius, Bishop of Barcelona, expressed a wish that Irenaeus might be chosen his successor, although he had himself made Irenaeus bishop of another see. The request was granted, a Synod of Tarragona confirming the nomination of Irenaeus, after which the bishops sought the pope's approval. The Roman synod of 19 Nov., 465, took the matters up and settled them. This is the oldest Roman synod whose original records have been handed down to us. It was held in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. After an address of the pope, and the reading of the Spanish letters, the synod decided that the church laws must not be tampered with. In addition to this Hilarus sent a letter to the bishops of Tarragona, declaring that no consecration was valid without the sanction of the Metropolitan Ascanius; and no bishop was permitted to be transferred from one diocese to another, so that some one else must be chosen for Barcelona in place of Irenaeus. The bishops consecrated by Silvanus would be recognized if they had been appointed to vacant sees, and otherwise met the requirements of the Church. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions an Encyclical that Hilarus sent to the East, to confirm the Oecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and the dogmatic letter of Leo I to Flavian, but the sources at our disposal furnish us no further information. In Rome Hilarus worked zealously for the integrity of the Faith. The Emperor Anthemius had a favourite named Philotheus, who was a believer in the Macedonian heresy and attended meetings in Rome for the promulgation of this doctrine, 476. On one of the emperor's visits to St. Peter's, the pope openly called him to account for his favourite's conduct, exhorting him by the grave of St. Peter to promise that he would do all in his power to check the evil. Hilarus erected several churches and other buildings in Rome. Two oratories in the baptistery of the Lateran, one in honour of St. John the Baptist, the other of St. John the Apostle, are due to him. After his flight from the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus, Hilarus had hidden himself in the crypt of St. John the Apostle, and he attributed his deliverance to the intercession of the Apostle. Over the ancient doors of the oratory this inscription is still to be seen: "To St. John the Evangelist, the liberator of Bishop Hilarus, a Servant of Christ". He also erected a chapel of the Holy Cross in the baptistery, a convent, two public baths, and libraries near the Church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. He built another convent within the city walls. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions many votive offerings made by Hilarus in the different churches. He died after a pontificate of six years, three months, and ten days. He was buried in the church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. His feast day is celebrated on 17 November.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)