Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Catholic World News: Wed. Aug. 12, 2009

Catholic world news: headlines:
Vatican Radio reports that at the end of the Wednesday audience this week, Pope Benedict expressed his "spiritual closeness" to "many people in recent days that have been affected by the violent typhoon in the Philippines, Taiwan, in some provinces of south-eastern China and in Japan, a country, - he noted – that has also been tested by a strong earthquake”. Morakot damaged or destroyed more than 10,000 homes and flooded over 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) of cropland, and economic losses have been estimated at 9.7 billion yuan ($1.4 billion).Rescuers are working around the clock to pull survivors from the mud submerged villages. The worst affected are is the southern provinces of Taiwan where over 2 metres rainfall has had catastrophic consequences.“I call on everyone to pray for them and for those who lost their lives – said Pope Benedict Wednesday - I hope that the relief of solidarity and the help of material aid will not be lacking”.Speaking earlier to those present in the inner courtyard of the Papal Summer Palace, Pope Benedict reflected on the deep relationship, between the Virgin Mary and the priesthood, as he looked forward to the Solemnity of the Assumption, in this Year for Priests: “My catechesis today is centred on Mary the Mother of priests. She looks upon them with special affection as her sons. Indeed, their mission is similar to hers; priests are called to bring forth Christ’s saving love into the world. On the cross, Jesus invites all believers, especially his closest disciples, to love and venerate Mary as their mother. Let us pray that all priests will make a special place for the Blessed Virgin in their lives, and seek her assistance daily as they bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus”.“The CurĂ© d'Ars, who we think of this year especially - concluded Pope Benedict - loved to repeat that after Jesus Christ gave us everything he could give, he wanted to make us heirs of what was most precious to him, his holy mother”.And with a greeting of "happy holidays", "enjoy the day, enjoy the sun, enjoy a good rest", the Pope took his leave of those present.



UCAN reports that the Church in Taiwan has rushed relief aid to typhoon victims in the south of the territory, including an indigenous Catholic village which had been badly hit by a similar storm four years ago.
The Taiwan Catholic Mission Foundation and Caritas Taiwan are distributing relief aid and collecting donations from local Catholics to aid victims.
Bishop Peter Liu Chen-chung of Kaohsiung has also set up a relief command center in Pingtung county, where at least four townships were affected. “We never know what God’s plan is and why Taiwan has to suffer miserably. We can only pray for Christ’s mercy,” he said in his appeal for aid on Aug. 11.
“This is the moment for the Church to show the spirit of the Gospel,” he said, not only by assisting victims, but also “showing we are the instrument of God by bringing them the love of Christ.”
Typhoon Morakot, the most powerful storm to hit Taiwan in the past 50 years, slammed into its eastern and southern regions on Aug. 8. The government’s Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) said on Aug. 12 the storm had killed at least 67 people and injured 45. Sixty one people were reportedly still missing.
These figures could rise dramatically since media reports say that over 100 people from Hsiaolin village in Kaohsiung county alone are still unaccounted for and are feared buried under a mudslide which engulfed their homes.
In Taitung country, eastern Taiwan, Auxiliary Bishop John Baptist Tseng King-zi of Hualien, a Puyuma tribal, and some other Catholics visited villagers at the Chialan mission station to console them and pray with them in a show of support.
The villagers in Chialan comprise Paiwan indigenous people, two-thirds of whom are Catholics.
They evacuated to a school and a community center on higher ground when the storm approached. Fortunately, there was no loss of life, said Father John Hung, who serves the mission station here.
However, half the houses were washed away in flashfloods, according to local sources. Many bridges and roads in the surrounding areas were also washed away or damaged. The situation in the nearby parishes of Chinlun and Tawu are unclear as communication links have been cut, the sources said.
According to Taiwan’s bishops’ conference, 189 people in Chialan lost their homes in the flooding, including seven workers from Our Lady Hospital. Local sources say that 53 people are still missing.
Father Hung said Typhoon Morakot has left the Paiwan indigenous Catholics in Chialan heavily traumatized. “They are still recovering from the destruction wreaked by Typhoon Haitan in 2005,” he said.
Now that their homes have been destroyed again, he continued, some Catholics are resorting to praying to traditional deities.
“I can feel their pain when they cry out,” he shared. “I dare not offer empty words as it does not help them. I can only listen to them and stand by them.”
The church in Chialan, built 50 years ago, was destroyed by Typhoon Haitan. Reconstruction plans have not yet been finalized because a decision on the new church’s location has not yet been made, Father Hung said.
“Perhaps it is fortunate that we have not begun to construct the church since the whole place is now flooded,” he said.


Over the years, population pressure, drought and changing weather
Baidoa - seat of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government - is facing a severe water shortage after most of its water points and wells dried up. These include the Garbadda water source, in the centre of town.
"Each day, hundreds of families brought their animals [to Garbadda] for watering," Hussein Sheikh Aden, a local resident, said. "Since last year, I have seen a very different situation. Due to lack of sufficient rainfall and increasingly high temperatures, the water point has dried up." Farmers and pastoralists had long relied on Garbadda for their water supply, but now they have to search long and hard for small amounts of water. "We tried to dig a well; we dug really deep but we failed to find water," Aden said.
Somali women fetch water at a well: Baidoa is facing a severe water shortage after most of its water points and wells have dried up.
A local journalist, who requested anonymity, told IRIN on 10 August that a 200-litre barrel of water cost 100,000 Somali shillings (US$3.50), a steep amount for many residents.
Grain production has also declined significantly, raising the price of cereals. Moreover, job opportunities had declined, the journalist added, as fewer traders and farmers were taking on casual labourers.
In Geneva, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the humanitarian crisis in Somalia had reached a new low.
"There are 3.2 million people in need of urgent assistance," Elizabeth Byrs told UN radio. "Since May 2009, 200,000 people have fled insecurity in Mogadishu and there are a total of 3.9 million displaced - meaning one out of seven people is displaced in Somalia."
In the port city of Kismayo, IDPs said lack of food, health facilities and sanitation were the most pressing issues for about 30,000 people in various camps around the city.
Mohamed Muse Ali, chairman of the IDPs in Kismayo, said no aid agency was operating in any of the camps.
IDP camps between Mogadishu and Afgoye have recorded an increase in the number of new arrivals fleeing violence between government troops and Islamist insurgents in the city, according to camp leaders.
In central Somalia and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, drought had displaced many pastoralist families who had also lost livestock. Many such families were facing hunger and disease outbreaks because of unsafe water.
For Somalis who have fled to neighbouring Kenya, congestion is the main problem in the three refugee camps in Dadaab.
Halima Aadan, a refugee in one of the camps, said congestion had contributed to a water shortage and high food prices, as well as difficulties accessing services such as health and sanitation.
"Refugees need more help because more are arriving daily; the new arrivals do not have shelter and have to live with relatives and other families; they should be allocated land on which to live," Aadan said.


CNA reports that Cardinal George Pell of Sydney celebrated the Mass for Life this past Sunday at the Basilica of St. Mary, in honor of all women who are expecting.
The Mass was attended by more than 150 future mothers who received a personal blessing from the cardinal at end of the celebration.
"The Archbishop and Archdiocese are keen to acknowledge the wonderful gift of new life and the willingness of women to be the bearers of this life," said Chris Meney, Director of the Archdiocese's Life, Marriage and Family Centre. "All mothers-to-be are welcome no matter what their individual circumstances or whether they are in a relationship or not. We want to celebrate those women who have made the choice to have babies and show our absolute commitment to the defense and protection of human life."
The idea of a Mass for Life, which was first celebrated in 2008, came to Cardinal Pell during a visit to Seoul, South Korea, where he was the first international figure to receive the Mysterium Vitae Grand Prix Award from the Archdiocese of Seoul for his commitment to life. The award also highlighted his creation of a $100,000 fund for adult stem cell research in Australia.
It was in South Korea that the cardinal became aware of the Mass for Life celebrated by Korean Catholics, and he decided to bring the idea with him back to Australia.(SOURCE:

CNA reports that Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy, died today at the age of 88. The Knights of Columbus praised her as the founder of the Special Olympics, while pro-life leaders remembered her stand as a prominent Democrat who objected to the party’s increasing support for abortion.
"No one more than Eunice Kennedy Shriver understood better the power held by the most vulnerable in our society,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement. “She fought for those hidden in the shadows of life, while acknowledging that they teach us far more than we could ever offer them. She was consistent in her championing of every vulnerable human life.”
According to the Susan B. Anthony List, Eunice and her husband, former Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, joined Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey, Sr. and many other influential pro-life leaders in signing a full-page New York Times ad protesting the Democratic Party’s embrace of abortion politics.
The July 1992 ad, titled “The New American Compact,” denounced abortion as a drastic reversal of American progress towards liberty and justice for all. It declared the pro-abortion Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade to be “the most momentous act of exclusion in our history” which deprived every unborn human being of the “most fundamental” human right to life.
The ad also called for support for policies that help both mother and child, concluding:"We can choose to reaffirm our respect for human life. We can choose to extend once again the mantle of protection to all members of the human family, including the unborn. We can choose to provide effective care of mothers and children. And if we make those choices, America will experience a new birth of freedom, bringing with it a renewed spirit of community, compassion, and caring."
Jane Abraham, General Chairman of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Mrs. Shriver and her “heart for the most vulnerable” will be “deeply missed.”
“She fought for the dignity inherent in every human life, born and unborn. Her legacy will serve as a life-affirming example to young women everywhere, and for that we are so blessed,” Abraham added.
Mrs. Shriver was an early supporter of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. She and her husband also supported Democrats for Life of America and Feminists for Life.
Supreme Knight of Columbus Carl A. Anderson said that Knights of Columbus everywhere mourn the passing of Mrs. Shriver.
“While she made many contributions to society throughout her life, her greatest legacy is the creation of Special Olympics. Our involvement in, and support of, Special Olympics began 40 years ago, on the day that she and her husband, our brother Knight Sargent Shriver, held the first Special Olympics games in Chicago.”
Mrs. Shriver became an advocate on behalf of the disabled in part because of her developmentally disabled sister, Rosemary, the Associated Press reports. Rosemary was given a lobotomy at the age of 23 and spent most of her life in institutional care.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s personal dedication to the intellectually disabled inspired generations of Knights and their families to volunteer their time to her “unique approach” to affirm the “fundamental dignity of every person,” Anderson added.
"Her approach to this and all of the causes that she pursued was distinctively Catholic, and the depth of her faith, which she shared with her husband throughout their lives together, has been an inspiration to every Knight. We express our heartfelt condolences to Sargent Shriver and the entire Shriver family."
In an August 10 letter sent prior to Mrs. Shriver’s death, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, conveyed to her family “the warm greetings and paternal affection” of Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Sambi said the Pontiff united himself spiritually with each of her family members and prayed that God will grant Mrs. Shriver, a woman of “ardent faith and generous public service,” the reward of her many labors, particularly on behalf of the physically and mentally challenged.(SOURCE:

The Catholic Herald reports that a proposed EU equality law has been branded an "instrument of oppression" by Britain's Church leaders.The bishops of England, Wales and Scotland denounced the European Commission's planned Equal Treatment Directive, which would transfer powers over equality law to Brussels, as "wholly unacceptable" because, they said, it would force Christians to act against their consciences.The directive is aimed at harmonising and enforcing a ban across the 27-member bloc on discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, age, religious belief and disability outside the scope of employment law.But the bishops said the directive would simply have the result of sharply curtailing the rights of religious liberty and freedom of expression.They said they would be powerless to stop witches from hiring out Church property, for instance, or from insisting that people at Church events behave in a way consistent with Christian teaching.Mgr Andrew Summersgill, the general secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said the Church "recognises that groups which do not agree with its teaching should be free to organise themselves and to propagate their views as they wish"."What the Church is seeking from this directive is simply the right to maintain its own teaching and activities with integrity, according to its own ethos," he said in a written submission to a public consultation.He said that the proposals, on the contrary, would require "Catholic organisations to act against their ethos".He argued that the organisers of a Catholic conference, for instance, would be legally obliged to make double rooms available to gay and unmarried couples as well as for married heterosexuals.He said: "At this point the EU would effectively be dictating to religious bodies what their faith does or does not require - a wholly unacceptable position."The definition of harassment in the directive would also mean that any person who decided they were "offended" by an expression of Christianity could bring a case against the churches."This subjective approach to harassment will apply in all walks of life, including academic discourses, sermons, theatre, television and radio discussions," said Mgr Summersgill."Various pressure groups are likely to use the provisions of the directive to curtail the expression of views they disagree with by the simple expedient of declaring themselves to be offended."Homosexual groups campaigning for same-sex marriage may declare themselves to be offended by the presentation of the Catholic Church's moral teaching on marriage," he said, and "an atheist may be offended by religious pictures in an art gallery, or a Muslim may be offended by any picture representing the human form". The directive fails to explain how conflicting rights could be reconciled, leading to fears that the EU will subordinate the rights of some groups, especially Christians, to the rights of others, he said."If the directive is unable to provide a means of balancing those competing rights there is a risk that practical implementation may effectively turn the directive into an instrument of oppression," said Mgr Summersgill.Equality legislation has already been used to attack Church institutions. The Sexual Orientation Regulations, introduced under the 2006 Equality Act on the back of a European directive on the provision of goods and services, had the effect of closing Catholic adoption agencies that refused to assess same-sex couples as adoptive parents.The bishops of England and Wales in June complained that under Harriet Harman's Equality Bill Church schools and care homes could be forced to remove crucifixes and religious pictures from their walls in case they offend atheists.EU directives are overarching laws introducing a minimum standard which all member states must meet. A directive can only become law if all member states agree to it at a meeting of the council of the EU. The European Parliament voted in favour of the proposed directive in April but MEPs put forward changes to the text that would reduce protection for churches and faith schools. They also recommended deleting an assurance that the directive did not apply to national laws on marital status or abortion. The EU council will now have to consider whether to adopt, amend or reject the directive. (SOURCE:


St. Jane Frances de Chantal

January 28, 1572, Dijon, Burgundy, France
December 13, 1641, Moulins, France
July 16, 1767, Rome by Pope Clement XIII
Major Shrine:
Annecy, Savoy
Patron of:
forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows

Born at Dijon, France, 28 January, 1572; died at the Visitation Convent Moulins, 13 December, 1641.
Her father was president of the Parliament of Burgundy,. In 1592 she married Baron de Chantal. Baron de Chantal was accidently killed by a harquebus while out shooting in 1601. Left a widow at twenty-eight, with four children, the broken-hearted baroness took a vow of chastity. God was calling her to found the Congregation of the Visitation. Her son, barred his mother's way by lying across the threshold. Mme de Chantal stopped, overcome: " Can the tears of a child shake her resolution? " said a holy and learned priest, the tutor of Celse-Benigne. "Oh! no", replied the saint, "but after all I am a mother!" And she stepped over child's body.
The Congregation of the Visitation was canonically established at Annecy on Trinity Sunday, 6 June, 1610. (Edited from:

St. Euplius
August 12
Patron of:
Catania; Trevico; Francavilla di Sicilia

A Christian martyr of Catanic, Sicily, Italy. He was a deacon charged with possessing Holy Scriptures during the last days of the persecution under Emperor Diocleatian (r. 284-305). Calvisian, the local governor, had Euplius tortured on the rack and then beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the gods. (SOURCE:


Matthew 18: 15 - 20
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

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