Catholic world news: Mon. Aug. 31, 2009: headlines:
VATICAN: POPE PROTECT CREATION
EUROPE: ENGLAND: ARCHBISHOP BACKS RELEASE OF CONVICTED MAN:
AUSTRALIA: FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS -
ASIA: VIETNAM: PRIEST REMAINS IN PRISON-
AFRICA: GUINEA-BISSAU: CATHOLIC & ISLAMS JOIN FOR RADIO-
AMERICA: THE LATE TERRI SCHIAVO'S FATHER DIES-
TODAY'S SAINT: RAYMOND NONNATUS
For a second time in just one week Pope Benedict has called for more to be done for the protection of Creation. In his Angelus address yesterday, he particularly encouraged industrialised countries to work together so that the poorest populations are not the ones to bear the heaviest burden for climate change. Pope Benedict was looking towards a conference that opened today at the United Nations in Geneva. René Gommes is a Senior Officer at the UN’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization. He said that getting long term forecasts right is key to helping prevent ruined crops and stave of starvation for many poor nations:
ENGLAND: ARCHBISHOP BACKS RELEASE OF CONVICTED MAN
The Catholic Herald reports that Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow has backed the release on compassionate grounds of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill released Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi from prison last Thursday after doctors said he had prostate cancer and has only months to live. Faced with mounting domestic and international pressure, the Scottish Parliament was recalled on Monday to discuss the matter. Opposition politicians strongly criticised Mr MacAskill's decision, and President Barack Obama also called it a "mistake".Archbishop Conti, however, said that he, and many other Scottish Catholics, "admired the decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on grounds of compassion", as this was "one of the principles inscribed on the mace of the Scottish Parliament by which Scotland's government should operate".The archbishop said: "The showing of mercy is not a sign of weakness."Indeed, in this situation, with the pressures and circumstances of the case, it seemed to me a sign of manifest strength."Despite the barrage of criticism justice minister Kenny MacAskill has received, the archbishop said he believed the decision ultimately to release Mr Megrahi would "be respected in the international community"."I have been impressed by the expressions of understanding and insight from Dr Jim Swire and other relatives who lost loved ones on the Pan Am flight who have acknowledged both the rightness of the gesture of compassion and their doubts as to the safety of the original conviction," the archbishop said. Like them, the archbishop said, he did not believe the full truth of the Lockerbie bombing had emerged."I would welcome any move which would try to find clearer answers as to what happened and why," he added.The Justice Minister said this week the decision to release the 57-year-old on compassionate grounds was his alone.Prime Minister Gordon Brown denied he had any role in the decision, adding that he was "angry and repulsed" at Libya's welcome home for Mr Megrahi.Mr MacAskill added that Megrahi's release had not been contingent on the Libyan dropping his appeal."In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity," he said."The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live."However, Mr MacAskill faced harsh criticism when the Scottish Parliament reconvened to discuss the affair. Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said the Scottish Executive made the "wrong decision, in the wrong way, with the wrong consequences". Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie said Mr MacAskill's decision was not made in the name of Scotland.As we went to press the opposition parties were preparing a motion of censure for Mr MacAskill.Archbishop Conti's comments echoed the words of Canon Patrick Keegans, the Galloway priest who served at Lockerbie when Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the sky, killing 270 people.Mgr Keegans said: "I am very pleased that the Scottish government has agreed to release Mr Megrahi on compassionate grounds. He is a dying man and the best way to deal with him is in a true and proper fashion as a human being and let him die at home with his family and friends."Mgr Keegans, a parish priest in Lockerbie at the time of the disaster and now the administrator of St Margaret's Cathedral in Ayr, Scotland, said he had befriended many families of the American victims and had presided over the marriage of Kara Weipz of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, whose 20-year-old brother, Richard Monetti, was a Syracuse University student on board the flight."I have been in contact with American families ever since the disaster happened and I admire them very much," Fr Keegans said. "The American families have always known that I believe Megrahi is innocent. They find it hard that I have spoken out for Megrahi and argued that he should be released on compassionate grounds. I have said that irrespective of the guilt he should be released home on compassionate grounds," he added.Fr Keegans, 63, visited Megrahi in prison days after returning from a Lockerbie memorial event in the US in December 2008. "After speaking with him I was more convinced than ever of his innocence," he said. "He spoke about his trial, how the trial had gone and how a UN official observer had said to him three days before the verdict that he was going home. Imagine how he felt when he was convicted."He spoke of his respect for Christianity and how he read the Bible every day and the Koran every day. He spoke of his desire to clear his name. He said: 'I want the tag of the Lockerbie bomber to be removed; I want to clear my name.' "Megrahi, 57, lost his first appeal against conviction and launched a second appeal after a 2007 review of his case by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission found that there might have been a miscarriage of justice.In a statement issued last week, Megrahi maintained his innocence but said he dropped his appeal after he was "faced with an appalling choice: to risk dying in prison in the hope that my name is cleared posthumously or to return home still carrying the weight of the guilty verdict, which will never now be lifted."Canon Keegans said he also believed that Megrahi's decision to drop his appeal to secure a compassionate release meant that the truth about Lockerbie might never be established.Peter Kearney, spokesman for Cardinal Keith O'Brien of St Andrews and Edinburgh, said that "the [Scottish] bishops' conference has not taken a position" on the release of Megrahi. (SOURCE:
FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS
CathNews Australia reports that Sacred Heart School Cabramatta, in the Archdiocese of Sydney, is one school benefiting from the Federal Government's investment in schools under its economic stimulus package.
Today The Australian featured an article about a former Sacred Heart primary school Cabramatta student, Jim Zuma (pictured right), who is now working on the school's refurbishment as a result of the funding. He has employed three others and will be hiring two more in coming months.
The report used the men's activities, purchases and routine as an observation on how the local economy is being stimulated.
Sacred Heart Cabramatta received $3 million under the government's primary schools building program, comprising $1.8 million to build a state-of-the-art multi-purpose school hall and $1.2 million to refurbish Mr Zuma's old kindergarten classrooms.
The Catholic Education Office, Sydney, is overseeing almost $300 million worth of building projects in its 147 schools, which project manager Bovis Lend Lease estimates is supporting about 2300 jobs, either by creating new jobs or preventing companies from shedding staff.
VIETNAM: PRIEST REMAINS IN PRISON
CathNews Australia reports that Vietnam will free more than 5000 prisoners as part of an annual prison amnesty program to mark the country's National Day this week, but the government isn't budging on the detention of a dissident priest.
Father Nguyen Van Ly (photo), who was sentenced to eight years in 2007 for anti-government activities after he helped organise a pro-democracy party, would not be released this time for lack of "sincere repentance," Vice Minister of Public Security Le The Tiem was quoted as saying in an Associated Press report published by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Activists and politicians around the globe, including US Senators, have called for Fr Nguyen's release since his incarceration and trial. He was not represented by a lawyer and he was repeatedly silenced during his trial in July, the report said.
An Australian is among 5459 prisoners who will be released by President Nguyen Minh Triet to mark the National Day, which falls on Wednesday.
Others include four from China, one from the United States and two from Canada. The government did not release their names or disclose their crimes.
Also among the number are 794 women and 13 reported "national security offenders", the Vietnam News Agency is qouted reporting by Thanh Nien News.
GUINEA-BISSAU: CATHOLIC & ISLAMS JOIN FOR RADIO
CISA reports that a Catholic and an Islamic radio stations have signed an accord to air each others programs in order to promote interfaith dialogue, a local missionary has reported.“A priest will speak of the Gospel in an Islamic radio and a Muslim shall speak Islam at a catholic radio,” Fr Davide Sciocco told MISNA.The accord will be a “unique and important aspect for interfaith dialogue” in a country where Muslims represent some 40 percent of the population and Christians 12 to 13 percent,” said the missionary from the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME).According to Fr Sciocco, the two radios, Radio Sol Mansi ‘the risen sun’ and the Quranic school radio in Mansoa, Recom have actually maintained ties for some time; the signed accord gives it a more symbolic and official value.“I’m not sure if this is the first experience of this type but it is surely one of the first. I will refer to the Gospel every time in telling a story. I shall speak addressing a non-Christian audience. Our radio will reciprocate hosting various Recom programs, confirming the space that already gives an imam the chance to discuss Islam to an audience of non-Muslims,” Fr Sciocco said.The goal is to “promote and strengthen interfaith dialogue, already strong in Guinea Bissau as it is; opening to various forms of collaboration, technical and journalistic,” said Fr Sciocco.The PIME missionary said, “If we wish to live together we must learn each other’s faiths very well.”Abubacar Djaló, the director of Recom has confirmed that cooperation, established by a written accord, is in fact the conclusion of a path started a long time ago as he notes some of the basic steps such as the participation of Muslim representatives to a seminar of catechists from the Mansoa catholic mission.However, Fr Sciocco says the experiment also represents a message that appears to be challenging the recently adopted security laws also featured in most European Union (EU) countries in Italy, which do not reconcile dialogue and mutual respect.He concluded, “What we propose is peaceful cohabitation of people of different faiths who want to get to know one another.”
THE LATE TERRI SCHIAVO'S FATHER DIES
CNA reports that the father of the late Terri Schindler Schiavo, Robert S. Schindler, Sr., died of heart failure on Saturday at the age of 71. He had struggled to save the life of his brain-damaged daughter in 2005, when Terri’s husband successfully sought to remove her feeding tube, causing her death.
In the wake of Terri's death, Robert, with his wife Mary, daughter Suzanne Vitadamo, and son Bobby Schindler, founded the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation in St. Petersburg, Florida. The foundation is dedicated to support other families who must fight for the rights of their disabled or otherwise vulnerable loved ones.
His son issued a statement at his father’s death saying his was “heartbroken” over the loss of his father, but added “I know at this moment he is rejoicing with my sister, Terri.”
“My dad was a man of integrity, character and compassion who was blessed with a close and loving family. He taught all three of his children to respect and value life and to love our fellow man.
“Even at the height of the battle to save my sister Terri’s life, when his patience and temperance was near exhaustion, he managed to display a gentleness of spirit. Yet it was his unfathomable strength that allowed him to shoulder up his own heartache and lead us through our darkest hour.”
“What greater legacy could a man leave behind?” the younger Schindler added.
Fr. Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life, said Schindler remains “an inspiration.”
“In spite of enduring the heartbreaking, court ordered killing of his daughter, Terry Schiavo, Bob never stopped fighting for the rights of others who were disabled or medically vulnerable. His quiet strength in the face of persecution and his compassion for those who were too weak to defend themselves will forever serve as examples of how we should show Christ's love.”
Wanda Franz, president o f National Right to Life, said his death was a “profound loss” for the pro-life movement.“Today, our thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife, Mary and their children, Bobby and Suzanne.”
A public visitation for Schindler will be held at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Southampton, Pennsylvania on September 4 at 10 a.m. A funeral Mass will be held at noon, followed by a private burial service at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Philadelphia.(SOURCE:http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=16982
St. Raymond Nonnatus
CARDINAL AND MERCEDARIAN
1204, La Portella, Comarca of Segrià, Catalonia, Kingdom of Aragon
August 31, 1240, Cardona, Province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Kingdom of Aragon
1657, Rome by Pope Alexander VII
Childbirth; children; expectant mothers; falsely accused people; fever; infants; midwives; newborn babies; obstetricians; pregnant women
Born 1200 or 1204 at Portello in the Diocese of Urgel in Catalonia; died at Cardona, 31 August, 1240. His feast is celebrated on 31 August. He is pictured in the habit of his order surrounded by ransomed slaves, with a padlock on his lips. He was taken from the womb of his mother after her death, hence his name. Of noble but poor family, he showed early traits of piety and great talent. His father ordered him to tend a farm, but later gave him permission to take the habit with the Mercedarians at Barcelona, at the hands of the founder, St. Peter Nolasco. Raymond made such progress in the religious life that he was soon considered worthy to succeed his master in the office of ransomer. He was sent to Algiers and liberated many captives. When money failed he gave himself as a hostage. He was zealous in teaching the Christian religion and made many converts, which embittered the Mohammedan authorities. Raymond was subjected to all kinds of indignities and cruelty, was made to run the gauntlet, and was at last sentenced to impalement. The hope of a greater sum of money as ransom caused the governor to commute the sentence into imprisonment. To prevent him from preaching for Christ, his lips were pierced with a red-hot iron and closed with a padlock. After his arrival in Spain, in 1239, he was made a cardinal by Gregory IX. In the next year he was called to Rome by the pope, but came only as far as Cardona, about six miles from Barcelona, where he died. His body was brought to the chapel of St. Nicholas near his old farm. In 1657 his name was placed in the Roman martyrology by Alexander VII. He is invoked by women in labour and by persons falsely accused. The appendix to the Roman ritual gives a formula for the blessing of water, in his honour, to be used by the sick, and another of candles.((SOURCE:http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/R/straymondnonnatus.asp)
Matthew 25: 1 - 13
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;
but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'
Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.'
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.
Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.'
But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.