Thursday, March 11, 2021

Saint March 12 : St. Theophanes the Chronicler - Both he and his Wife Entered Religious Life

St. Theophanes

758, Constantinople
Chronicler, born at Constantinople, about 758; died in Samothracia, probably 12 March, 817, on which day he is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology. He was the son of Isaac, imperial governor of the islands of the White Sea, and of Theodora, of whose family nothing is known. After the early death of his parents he came to the Court of Constantine Copronimus. He was married at the age of twelve, but induced his wife to lead a life of virginity, and in 799, after the death of his father-in-law, they separated with mutual consent to embrace the religious state, she choosing a convent on an island near Constantinople, while he entered the monastery called Polychronius in the district of Sigriano near Cyzicus. Later he built a monastery on his own lands on the island of Calonymus (now Calomio). After six years he returned to Sigriano, founded an abbey known by the name "of the great acre", and governed it as abbot. As such he was present at the second General Council of Nicaea, 787, and signed its decrees in defense of the sacred images. When the emperor Leo the Armenian again began his iconoclastic warfare, he ordered Theophanes to be brought to Constantinople and tried in vain to induce him to condemn what had been sanctioned by the council. Theophanes was cast into prison and for two years suffered cruel treatment; he was then banished to Samothracia, where, overwhelmed with afflictions, he lived only seventeen days and wrought many miracles after death.
At the urgent request of his friend George Syncellus (d. 810), Theophanes undertook the continuation of his chronicle, during the years 810-15 (P. G., CVIII, 55). He treated of the time from the year 284-813, and made use of material already prepared by Syncellus, probably also the extracts from the works of Socrates, Sozomenus, and Theodoret, made by Theodore Lector, and the city chronicle of Constantinople. The work consists of two parts, the first giving the history, arranged according to years, the other containing chronological tables, full of inaccuracies, and therefore of little value. It seems that Theophanes had only prepared the tables, leaving vacant spaces for the proper dates, but that these had been filled out by someone else (Hurter, "Nomencl." I, Innsbruck, 1903, 735). The first part, though lacking in historical precision and criticism, which could scarcely be expected from a man of such ascetical disposition, greatly surpasses the majority of Byzantine chronicles (Krumbacher, "Gesch. der byz. Litt., 1897, 342). The chronicle was edited at Paris in 1655 by Goar; again at Venice in 1729 with annotations and corrections by Combefis. A Latin version was made by Anastasius Bibliothecarius, and both were ably edited by de Boor (Leipzig, 1883).

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

Bishops of Ireland say “Dying with Dignity Bill represents a failure of compassion” in Statement - FULL TEXT

“Dying with Dignity Bill represents a failure of compassion” – Irish Bishops’ Conference

The following statement has been agreed by the Spring General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference which took place this week. 


In January 2021, the Council for Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference made a submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Health, regarding the Dying with Dignity Bill. Alongside the protection of human life, our concern is to offer our pastoral support to people living with terminal illness and to their families. We are very aware that, sadly, all across Ireland, many families are engaged day by day in accompanying loved ones through terminal illness.

The Bill currently before the Oireachtas wrongly proposes the deliberate ending of life as a way of conferring dignity on people with terminal illness. The opposite is the case. Human dignity belongs to every person by virtue of his or her human nature. Terminal illness does not take away that dignity. Indeed, in our experience, the inherent dignity of the person often shines through under those difficult circumstances. Under existing law and current best practice, people with terminal illness are supported by family members, by doctors and nurses and palliative care teams, in living life to the full until death comes naturally. We take this opportunity to thank the many healthcare professionals who so generously devote their lives to the care of people with terminal illness.

What this Bill proposes may be appropriately described as “Assisted Suicide”, because it involves one person taking his or her own life, with the active participation of another. We believe that every life has an inherent value, which should be endorsed by society. This Bill, if passed, would be a sad reflection of the unwillingness of society to accompany people with terminal illness. It would reflect a failure of compassion.

The Dying with Dignity Bill presents the deliberate ending of life as an expression of personal autonomy, but what is proposed in this Bill has implications for society as a whole. Once it is accepted in principle, that one person may participate actively in ending the life of another, there is no longer any logical basis for refusing this same option to any person who feels that life is no longer worth living. We are aware that, in countries where it is legally permitted for healthcare professionals to be directly involved in the taking of human life, it has very quickly been extended to include people who are not terminally ill (the elderly, people with intellectual disability, young adults on the autistic spectrum and even minors who, in other circumstances, would not be considered capable of giving legal consent).

The Bill anticipates that doctors and nurses, whose vocation and purpose is to serve life, will now be prepared to involve themselves in ending life. This would represent a radical transformation of the meaning of healthcare. While the Bill does, theoretically, provide for conscientious objection, it still requires healthcare professionals to refer their patients to other medical practitioners who will carry out their wishes. This means that, one way or another, healthcare professionals are required to involve themselves in something which they believe to be contrary to morality and to medical best practice. This, in our view is unacceptable.

As we mark the anniversary of the arrival of Covid-19 in Ireland, and consider the enormous efforts that have been made across every sector of society to protect the life and health of people who are most vulnerable, this Bill is in clear contradiction with the shared commitment of our society. It is at odds with the common good, which it is the function of the state to promote. This Bill is fundamentally flawed. It cannot be repaired or improved and we call on Catholics to ask their elected representatives to reject it entirely.


Bishops of Japan Release Statement on Anniversary of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Saying "Protect All Life," Quoting Pope Francis - FULL TEXT


Message Announced by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan “A BOND OF SOLIDARITY BECOMES A BEACON OF HOPE -Ten Years of 

Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction-“

Ten Years of Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It has been 10 years since an unprecedented catastrophe struck eastern Japan, mainly along the Pacific coast of Tohoku. Nearly 20,000 people died, the fates of more than 2,500 people remain unknown, and more than 40,000 people continue to live as evacuees. We continue to pray for the eternal rest of the deceased and extend our deepest sympathies to all the victims.

Thanks to volunteers, fundraisers and supporters

In the face of damage far greater than we could have imagined, many people not only in Japan but from all over the world rushed to support us. The activities of volunteers who have worked closely with the reconstruction efforts in various parts of Tohoku have built bonds of solidarity that have spread throughout the world. Those bonds have led to further relief activities in various parts of the country that have experienced disasters since then.

On March 16, 2011, immediately after the disaster, the Catholic Church in Japan established a center for reconstruction assistance in Sendai and began activities centered on the Catholic Diocese of Sendai, which has responsibility for the Tohoku region. At the end of March, the country’s 16 dioceses agreed to work together to provide reconstruction assistance for 10 years. Based on this resolution, they established eight volunteer bases in various parts of the Tohoku coast to accept volunteers from all over the country.1

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the many volunteers who rushed to the volunteer bases from inside and outside the Church and from Japan and abroad and participated in activities together with the people in the disaster-stricken areas over the past decade. There could have been no reconstruction support activities without the presence of volunteers. We would also like to thank local governments and social welfare councils for their understanding of this work of the Catholic Church and for the opportunity to work together.

In addition, Caritas Japan, the humanitarian organization of the Catholic Church in Japan, received financial support from Caritas organizations around the world, as well as donations from many people in Japan. Caritas Japan joined reconstruction support activities in Tohoku. Fund-raising activities were carried out for months and years after the earthquake, expanding the circle of goodwill. We express our sincere gratitude to the many donors in Japan and overseas who have supported our reconstruction activities over the past decade.2

Moving Ahead as “A New Creation”

As a locally rooted presence even before the disaster, the Catholic Church has aimed to create hope for life not only in temporary relief efforts, but also in the future as it works together with the people of Tohoku. When the Catholic Diocese of Sendai, which has responsibility for the disaster-stricken areas, took the lead in reconstruction assistance with the motto “A New Creation,” it chose to continue moving forward with hope rather than returning to the past. Church activities will not end at the 10-year milestone.3

At a gathering with people from the disaster-stricken areas of Tohoku during his visit to Japan in November 2019, Pope Francis said, “many people, not only from Japan, but from all over the world, mobilized immediately after the disasters to support the victims with an outpouring of prayers and material and financial aid. We should not let this action be lost with the passage of time or disappear after the initial shock; rather, we should continue and sustain it.”4

Ten years have passed, and some volunteer bases have already completed their activities. Others have developed into NPOs, etc. Through its local parishes the Catholic Church in Japan will continue to change the shape of its relationships and contribute to the further reconstruction of local communities.

Pope Francis also said, “Without basic resources such as food, clothing and shelter, it is not possible to live a worthy life and have the bare minimum needed to succeed in rebuilding. This, in turn, calls for experiencing the solidarity and support of a community. No one ‘rebuilds’ by himself or herself; nobody can start over alone. We have to find a friendly and fraternal hand, capable of helping to raise not just a city, but also our horizon and our hope.”5


Guided by these words, the Catholic Church in Japan is not limited to material support but will continue to walk in the bonds of solidarity with the people of Tohoku as friends, brothers and sisters, a solidarity that spreads around the world to “raise … our horizon and our hope.”

Abolition of nuclear power plants and ecological conversion

In November 2011, eight months after the earthquake and in response to the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima the bishops released a message “Abolish Nuclear Power Plants Immediately.” In it, we called for the immediate abolition of nuclear power plants from the standpoint of believers who protect life, the gift of God. At the same time, we stressed that “Christians have an obligation to bear genuine witness to the Gospel especially through the ways of life expected by God: ‘simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, charity towards all, especially towards the lowly and the poor, obedience and humility, detachment and self-sacrifice.’” We proposed a new look at the way society should be.6

Unfortunately, we feel that over time the situation is moving in a different direction from this call. Ten years after the accident, we renew our call for the immediate abolition of nuclear power plants and a review of lifestyles.

The Catholic Church believes that human life is a gift from God. The theme of Pope Francis’ visit to Japan was “Protect All Life.” Responding to the pope’s call, we want to bring about a society in which all life is protected without exception, its dignity is preserved, and no one is forgotten.

Now with the coronavirus pandemic the world is in solidarity to “Protect All Life.” Pope Francis calls on us to go to those in need of help, to those who are isolated and facing the crises of life in this modern world of conflict and division, discrimination and exclusion, isolation and loneliness.

When we were struck by that unprecedented disaster, we felt the limits of human wisdom and knowledge. Before the power of nature, we understood how weak we are. At that time, we engraved on our hearts the importance of helping each other, the importance of solidarity to protect life, and the importance of a caring heart. Now, 10 years after the great earthquake and tsunami, the world surely needs to think about that importance.

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we pray for the eternal rest of those who have died and pray for the blessings and protection of God for the many who have been affected by the disaster. In the bonds of solidarity with one another let us journey hand in hand to find the light of hope.

March 11, 2021
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan

US State Governor of Arkansas Signs a Pro-Life Law to Save the Lives of All Unborn in the State

Governor Asa Hutchinson, of Arkansas, signed a law Tuesday to ban abortion of babies in  within the state. Before signing the law, the Republican governor, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, expressed hopes that it will prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, 

“SB6 is a pro-life bill that prohibits abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency. It does not include exceptions for rape and incest.

"I will sign SB6 because of overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions. SB6 is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law. I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.” 


Life News reports that, the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act (Senate Bill 6) passed the state legislature by a strong majority. If enacted, the bill would ban all abortions in the state. The only exceptions would be if the mother’s life or health are at risk. Abortionists who violate the ban would face up to 10 years in prison. Women would not be punished.

“Arkansas is the most pro-life state in the nation and never have our constituents or Arkansans ever voted for abortion in Arkansas,” said state Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, the lead sponsor of the bill in the House.

The law could protect nearly 3,000 unborn babies from abortions in Arkansas every year. However, the American Civil Liberties Union already has promised to file a legal challenge.

US Bishops Concerned over American Rescue Plan's "...general references to healthcare that, absent the express exclusion of abortion..." FULL TEXT

 Statement of USCCB President and Bishop Chairmen in Response to Passage of the American Rescue Plan Act
MARCH 10, 2021 
WASHINGTON – Following the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in the U.S. House of Representatives today, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the chairmen of six USCCB committees released a statement. The bishops expressed support for the provisions in the bill that would provide relief to help those in need during the ongoing COVID pandemic but were also critical of the bill’s lack of protections for the unborn.
Chairmen joining the statement included Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, of Oakland, chairman for the Committee on Catholic Education; Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Migration.
The statement follows:
“As the American Rescue Plan Act was being written, Catholic bishops reached out to every House and Senate office to express our support for providing additional relief to help poor and vulnerable people who are most at risk of harm from this pandemic, and our strong conviction that this relief should also protect the unborn and their right to life.
“We are grateful this legislation addresses many positive provisions including unemployment assistance, child and earned income tax credit enhancements, nutrition funding, vaccine distribution funding, health care funding, housing assistance, international assistance to regions stricken by COVID, conflict, and hunger. There are provisions in this bill that will save people from extremely desperate situations and will likely save lives.
“However, it is unconscionable that Congress has passed the bill without critical protections needed to ensure that billions of taxpayer dollars are used for life-affirming health care and not for abortion.
“Unlike previous COVID relief bills, sponsors of the American Rescue Plan Act refused to include the longstanding, bi-partisan consensus policy to prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortions domestically and internationally. The policy was needed because this bill includes many general references to healthcare that, absent the express exclusion of abortion, have consistently been interpreted by federal courts not only to allow, but to compel, the provision of abortion without meaningful limit.  
“The many important, life-saving provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act have been undermined because it facilitates and funds the destruction of life, which is antithetical to its aim of protecting the most vulnerable Americans in a time of crisis.”
FULL TEXT Official Release USCCB