ASIA: SRI LANKA: APPEAL FOR RIGHTS-
POPE TO NEW BISHOPS: FAITHFULNESS, PRUDENCE, GOODNESS VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father conferred episcopal ordination upon five priests who have worked in the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Governorate of Vatican City State. The new bishops and archbishops are: Msgr. Gabriele Giordano Caccia, apostolic nuncio to Lebanon; Msgr. Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio to Burundi; Msgr. Pietro Parolin, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela; Msgr. Raffaello Martinelli, bishop of the suburbicarian see of Frascati, and Msgr. Giorgio Corbellini, president of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA). In his homily Benedict XVI recalled how "service and the giving of self" represent "the most profound nucleus of the mission of Jesus Christ and, at the same time, the true essence of His priesthood". "In Jerusalem during the last week of His life Jesus Himself ... revealed three characteristics of correct service, giving concrete form to the image of priestly ministry", he said. "The first characteristic the Lord requires from His servant is faithfulness", the Pope explained. "The Church is not our Church but His Church, the Church of God. ... We do not seek power, prestige or esteem for ourselves. We lead men and women towards Christ and thus towards the living God. In this way we introduce them into truth, and into the freedom that derives from truth". The Holy Father highlighted the fact that "affairs in civil society and, not infrequently, in the Church too, suffer from the fact that many of those charged with responsibility work for themselves and not for the community. ... The faithfulness of the servant of Jesus Christ consists precisely in the fact that he does not seek to adapt the faith to the fashions of the age". "Faith", he explained, "needs to be transmitted. It was not given to us for ourselves alone, for the individual salvation of our souls, but for others, for this world and for our time". The second characteristic is prudence, which is "something quite different from being astute", said the Pope. Prudence, according to Greek philosophical tradition the first of the cardinal virtues, "indicates the primacy of truth, which through 'prudence' becomes the criterion by which we act. Prudence requires humble, disciplined and vigilant reason which does not allow itself to be blinded by prejudice, which does not act in accordance with desires and passions, but seeks the truth, even an uncomfortable truth". "Through Jesus Christ, God opened the window of truth for us. ... In Sacred Scripture and in faith in the Church, He shows us the essential truth about man, which imposes the right direction upon our actions. Thus, the primary cardinal virtue of the priest minister of Jesus Christ consists in allowing himself to be moulded by the truth that Christ shows us. In this way we truly become men of reason, men who judge on the basis of the whole picture and not of random details". The third characteristic is goodness. "Only God is good in the complete sense", the Holy Father explained. "He is goodness, goodness par excellence, goodness in person". Thus in man "being good is necessarily founded upon a profound inner orientation towards God. ... Goodness presupposes above all a living communion with God, a growing interior union with Him". Finally Benedict XVI recalled how the Church today commemorates the Most Holy Name of Mary and how "in western tradition the name 'Mary' has been translated as 'Star of the Sea'. ... How many times does the history through which we live seem like a dark sea whose waves strike threateningly against the ship of our lives", he asked. "But then, close by, we see the light that shone forth when Mary said: 'Here am I, the servant of the Lord'. We see the clear light of goodness that emanates from her. In the goodness with which she welcomes and reaches out to the great and small aspirations of so many men and women, we recognise, in a very human way, the goodness of God Himself. With His goodness He ever and anew brings Jesus Christ (and thus the great Light of God) into the world". "We pray", the Holy Father concluded, "that you may become faithful, prudent and good servants, and thus that one day you may hear from the Lord of History the words: Good and faithful servant, share in the joy of your lord".HML/EPISCOPAL ORDINATIONS/... VIS 090914
(750 CHRIST DID NOT TEACH A PHILOSOPHY BUT SHOWED US A PATH VATICAN CITY, 13 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared on the balcony overlooking the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below. Commenting on today's Gospel text, the Pope noted how it "raises two crucial questions which I would summarise thus: 'who is Jesus of Nazareth for you?' and 'is your faith translated into actions or not?'". To the first of these questions, "Peter's response is clear and immediate: 'You are Christ', in other words the Messiah. ... Peter and the other Apostles, unlike most people, believed that Jesus was not only a great teacher or prophet, but much more. They had faith. They believed that God was present and worked in Him. "However", the Holy Father added, "immediately after this profession of faith, when for the first time Jesus openly announced that He would have to suffer and be killed, Peter opposed this prospect of torment and death. Jesus had .... to make him understand that it is not enough to believe that He is God but, impelled by charity, we have to follow Him on His journey, the journey of the cross. Jesus did not come to teach us a philosophy but to show us a path, the path that leads to life". Pope Benedict went on: "This path is love, which is an expression of true faith. If someone loves his neighbour with a pure and generous heart, this means he truly knows God. If on the other hand someone claims to have faith but does not love his brothers and sisters, he is not a true believer. God does not dwell in him". In this context the Holy Father quoted St. John Chrysostom's commentary on the Letter of James which was the second reading of today's Mass: "A man may have an upright faith in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, but if he does not lead an upright life, his faith will not serve him for his salvation". Finally, recalling that tomorrow and the day after are, respectively, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Pope said: "The Virgin Mary, who believed in the Word of the Lord, did not lose her faith in God when she saw her Son rejected, humiliated and placed on the cross. She stayed near Jesus, suffering and praying unto the end. And she saw the radiant dawn of His Resurrection. Let us learn from her to bear witness to our faith through a life of humble service, ready to pay personally so as to remain faithful to the Gospel of charity and truth, in the certainty that nothing of what we do will be lost".ANG/FAITH CHARITY/... VIS 090914 (480)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto S.S.S. of Paraiba. - Bishop Jose Gonzalez Alonso of Cajazeiras. - Bishop Jaime Vieira Rocha of Campina Grande. - Bishop Francisco de Assis Dantas de Lucena of Guarabira. - Bishop Manoel dos Reios de Farias of Patos. - Fr. Joao Acioly, diocesan administrator of Afogados da Ingazeira. Yesterday, 13 September, the Holy Father received in separate audiences: - Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, apostolic nuncio to Lebanon, accompanied by members of his family. - Archbishop Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio to Burundi, accompanied by members of his family. - Archbishop Pietro Parolin, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela, accompanied by members of his family. - Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati, Italy, accompanied by members of his family. - Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, president the Labour Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA), accompanied by members of his family.AL:AP/.../... VIS 090914 (170)
UCAN reports that the lengthy sentence handed down to Tamil Christian journalist J.S. Tissanayagam has led to a broad-based call for the repeal of the country's Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
Christian and Buddhists demonstrating in Colomboon Aug. 31 for the release of the jailed journalist
Hundreds of citizens have been punished under the 1979 law, under which some have languished in remand for 15 years without trial, according to activists.
Christian priests, journalists, rights activists, lawyers and artists gathered at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) on Sept. 10 for a meeting to discuss the situation. The meeting, though not publicized, drew around 200 participants.
Father Terrence Fernando, 51, a priest of Colombo archdiocese, told UCA News that although freedom of expression is universally recognized as a fundamental right, "it is already buried in our country."
"People should come forward fearlessly to urge the government to uphold freedom of expression," he said.
Participants decided to form a steering committee to organize a campaign to demand the government abolish the PTA and respect fundamental human rights.
Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissanayagam, who has written articles critical of the government, was convicted under the controversial law for attempting to cause acts of violence or racial or communal disharmony, and for attempting to cause disrepute to the government.
He was also charged with collecting and obtaining information and funds for the purpose of terrorism through his "North Eastern Monthly" magazine in 2006 and 2007.
The journalist was arrested on March 7, 2008, but some media reports say he was charged only the week before being sentenced on Aug. 31 to 20 years in prison.
Attorney J.C. Weliamuna, executive director of Transparency International-Sri Lanka, called use of the PTA against the journalist inappropriate.
"People should come to the streets and demand the government ban this act and uphold the freedom of expression," he said.
Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has spoken publicly against misuse of the act. Speaking in Parliament, he accused the government of attempting to use the provisions of the terrorism act to suppress the media.
The anti-terrorism act applies to terrorists, not to journalists, he insisted during an emergency debate.
According to media reports, 14 journalists have been murdered in the past two years, and another 11 left the country.
Father Fernando decried the sentence against Tissanayagam.
"It is a death sentence to a family man. He is the first victim of the terrorism law (being brought against) someone who used his pen," the priest said.
"Many innocent people are losing their lives every week, and the United Nations is very concerned about the killing, abduction, maiming and displacement of innocent civilians," said Ameerah Haq, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan.
In Sudan, Western Equatoria State has been hardest hit by the recent upsurge in attacks blamed on the LRA, which have also taken place in several regions in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).
"During the last six weeks alone, 11 incidents of LRA attacks have been reported, seven of them in the first week of September," Haq told reporters on 11 September during a visit to Yambio, the state capital of Western Equatoria.
In Nairobi, Justin Labeja, the head of the LRA's peace negotiating team, questioned the authorship of the attacks.
"It is very unfair because nobody can come up with clear concrete evidence. Who can say this is the LRA of [leader Joseph] Kony who is doing this?" he said.
What the "real LRA" is any more is hard to pin down. When it emerged in northern Uganda in the late 1980s the LRA was made up almost exclusively of people from the region's Acholi community, fighting perceived marginalization. The LRA now includes nationals from Sudan, the DRC and CAR - many as a result of recruitment-by-abduction. In Southern Sudan "LRA" has been used as a catch-all label for any armed group which attacks civilians.
However, those displaced by the latest attacks reported tactics which bore the hallmarks of the LRA, including grotesque killings and targeting church congregations.
Combating the small groups of guerrillas - experienced in jungle warfare and able to slip across international frontiers with apparent ease - has become a hard task.
"There is not much coming from the [Sudanese] state, they are not able to provide the security that they [people] need," said the UN's Haq. "While the humanitarian community is providing food and other non-food items, the food itself is becoming a magnet for LRA attacks... The answer to that is really how we can provide security around a perimeter."
Extra troops from the south's military, the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), have been sent to the region, according to spokesman Maj-Gen Kuol Diem Kuol.
"We are working hard and doing all we can to ensure the safety of civilians in the region," he explained.
Southern Sudanese who fled LRA raids on their villages, waiting for food aid in Yambio, Western Equatoria State.
The main military force are Ugandan troops, whose soldiers have established camps in Sudan to try and hunt down the now mobile LRA units in Southern Sudan, DRC and CAR.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has just 200 blue helmets based in the sprawling region of Western Equatoria.
Officials said the force has been stretched by a string of recent violent inter-ethnic clashes elsewhere in Southern Sudan.
Its mandate, one official added, needed to be beefed up by the UN Security Council to allow active military engagement against the LRA.
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"We need an integrated approach to really provide security to these people, [and] that will require the support of the UN and UNMIS," said Jemma Nunu Kumba, the governor of Western Equatoria.
"UNMIS needs to get involved just like MONUC [the UN peacekeeping mission] in Congo [DRC], to be able to repulse the rebels when they are attacking the civilians," he added.
Those displaced by the LRA say more effort is needed, not simply to hunt the rebels, but to provide security that would allow people to return to their homes.
"The LRA have killed our people, and they took two of my children," said Karina Zeferino, who fled after attacks in August on her hometown of Ezo, close to Sudan's border with CAR.
She trekked the 155km to Yambio town with her remaining young daughter.
The LRA will remain a problem and we will be unable to go home until pressure is really put on tnem by all sides
After the attacks, peacekeepers airlifted UN staff and aid workers from Ezo by helicopter, shutting down international humanitarian work in that area.
"People are suffering, but we cannot go home because the LRA will attack again," added Zeferino, holding her child tightly to her side. "There is no help for us there, so that is why we have come to Yambio, but it is hard here too."
"The LRA will remain a problem and we will be unable to go home until pressure is really put on them by all sides," said Gaaniko Bate, a leader of the ever-growing Makpandu camp in Southern Sudan, which hosts some 2,530 refugees from DRC.
"These people will not be easily stopped," he added.
[ SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/200909141504.html
"The Catholic Church has been very badly affected in the last 20 years or so because of the actions of others and so it would be smart marketing, if I was advising them, to approach it in a very different way than throwing the rules around" regarding Fr Bob's resignation, Dr Harrison was cited saying by the Herald Sun.
He said Fr Bob, whom he described as a "marketing guru", seemed more real to his congregation than the church hierarchy and having the priest in the community was a more effective recruiting tool for the Church.
The newspaper said Fr Bob spent his 75th birthday drafting a short letter to Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, with the advice of lawyers, in response to the Archbishop's request for his resignation.
Fr Bob said the letter would say "thank you, thank you, thank you for the invitation, but I decline to accept." (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=16439
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Feast: September 14
The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross sprang into existence at Rome at the end of the seventh century. Allusion is made to it during the pontificate of Sergius I (687-701) but, as Dom Bäumer observes, the very terms of the text (Lib. Pontif., I, 374, 378) show that the feast already existed. It is, then, inexact, as has often been pointed out, to attribute the introduction of it to this pope. The Gallican churches, which, at the period here referred to, do not yet know of this feast of the 14th September, have another on the 3rd of May of the same signification. It seems to have been introduced there in the seventh century, for ancient Gallican documents, such as the Lectionary of Luxeuil, do not mention it; Gregory of Tours also seems to ignore it. According to Mgr. Duchesne, the date seems to have been borrowed from the legend of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Lib. Pontif., I, p. cviii). Later, when the Gallican and Roman Liturgies were combined, a distinct character was given to each feast, so as to avoid sacrificing either. The 3rd of May was called the feast of the Invention of the Cross, and it commemorated in a special manner Saint Helena's discovery of the sacred wood of the Cross; the 14th of September, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, commemorated above all the circumstances in which Heraclius recovered from the Persians the True Cross, which they had carried off. Nevertheless, it appears from the history of the two feasts, which we have just examined, that that of the 13th and 14th of September is the older, and that the commemoration of the Finding of the Cross was at first combined with it.(SOURCE:http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/E/exaltationoftheholycross.asp
John 3: 13 - 17
No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.