Monday, September 21, 2009









MEETING OF BILATERAL COMMISSION HOLY SEE - ISRAEL VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 16 and 17 September to continue negotiations on the "Economic Agreement", according to a communique released yesterday afternoon. "The delegations", the text reads, "worked constructively towards furthering their shared goal". The commission is next due to meet on 28 and 29 October and not on 14 and 15 of October as previously announced.OP/BILATERAL COMMISSION/HOLY SEE: ISRAEL VIS 090921 (90)

POPE ANNOUNCES A SYNOD ON THE CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE EAST VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo Benedict XVI received Catholic patriarchs and major archbishops from the Oriental Churches, in response to a request the prelates had made on various occasions in the past. Participating in the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, alongside the "Heads and Fathers" of all the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome. They are: His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, Syria; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon; Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia of the Romanians, Romania; His Beatitude Baselios Moran Mor Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India, and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins. According to a communique, the representatives of the Eastern Churches spoke to thank the Holy Father for his initiative and highlighted the two facets of the faithfulness that characterises them: "the bond with the Christian East and the bond with Peter's Successor, the universal Pastor, with his charism of unity in truth and in love". They also focused on "a number of more general themes, such as the phenomenon of migration ... and the ecumenical and inter-religious context in which their Churches live". In his address to them the Holy Father recalled how, since the start of his pontificate in 2005, he had begun "an 'ideal' pilgrimage into the heart of the Christian East; another stage of this pilgrimage is today's meeting", he said, "and it is my intention to continue". He then referred to the request made by the representatives of the Oriental Churches to have "more frequent contact with the Bishop of Rome in order to strengthen the communion of your Churches with Peter's Successor and together examine, as necessary, themes of particular importance". "As for me, I feel a primary duty to promote that sinodality which is so dear to Eastern ecclesiology, and which was greeted with appreciation by Vatican Council II", the Pope said. He then went on to refer to the Apostolic Letter "Orientale lumen" in which John Paul II reiterated "the hope that the Eastern Catholic Churches may 'flourish' and with new apostolic vigour execute the task entrusted to them ... to promote the unity of all Christians, especially Eastern Christians, in keeping with the decree on ecumenism". "The ecumenical question is often connected to the inter-religious question. In these two areas the Church as a whole needs that experience of coexistence which your Churches have matured since the first Christian millennium". Recalling then how today's meeting would serve to examine the problems currently troubling the prelates, the Holy Father said: "In particular, I do not forget the appeal for peace you placed in my hands at the end of last October's assembly of the Synod of Bishops. And, on the subject of peace, our thoughts go out first and foremost to the regions of the Middle East". Pope Benedict concluded: "I take, then, this opportunity to announce a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which I have called and will take place from 10 to 24 October 2010 on the theme: 'The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness: The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul'". At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father lunched with the representatives of the Eastern Churches.AC/EASTERN CHURCHES/... VIS 090921 (670)

CARDINAL RODE, SPECIAL ENVOY TO MILLENNIUM OF ALBA JULIA VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was the Letter in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the archdiocese of Alba Julia, Romania, due to take place there on 29 September. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 24 August. Also made public today were the names of the members of the mission accompanying the cardinal. They are Msgr. Ferenc Potyo, vicar general of the archdiocese of Alba Julia, and Msgr. Gergely Kovacs, bureau chief at the Pontifical Council for Culture.BXVI-LETTER/SPECIAL ENVOY/RODE VIS 090921 (130)

REJECT VIOLENCE BY CULTIVATING FEELINGS OF RESPECT VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father commented on a passage for the Letter of James, the second reading of today's Mass, which focuses on the question of true wisdom. "Like God from Whom it comes, wisdom does not need to impose itself by force because it possesses the indomitable vigour of truth and love, which is self affirming", said Pope Benedict. "Therefore is it peaceful, mild and compliant; it is not partisan, nor does it use lies; it is indulgent and generous, and may be recognised by the fruits of goodness it brings forth abundantly. "Why not pause now and again to contemplate the beauty of this wisdom?" he added. "Why not draw - from the uncontaminated font of the love of God - the wisdom of the heart which detoxifies us from the dross of lies and selfishness? This applies to everyone but, first and foremost, to those who are called to be promoters and 'weavers' of peace in religious and civil communities, in social and political dealings, and in international relations". The Holy Father noted how, "in our own time, perhaps because of certain typical internal dynamics of mass societies, we not infrequently see a lack of respect for truth and for keeping one's word, alongside a widespread tendency to aggression, hatred and violence". Yet, "in order to accomplish works of peace, we must become men and women of peace", he said, "enrolling ourselves in the school of the 'wisdom that comes from on high', in order to assimilate its qualities and produce its effects". "If each person, in his or her own environment, manages to reject lies and violence in their intentions, words and actions, carefully cultivating feelings of respect, understanding and esteem for others, this would perhaps not resolve all the problems of daily life, but it would make it possible to face them more serenely and effectively".ANG/WISDOM/... VIS 090921 (350)

SUPPORT FOR SOLDIERS ON INTERNATIONAL PEACE MISSIONS VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2009 (VIS) - In remarks following today's Angelus, Benedict XVI noted how the "many situations of conflict in the world bring almost daily tragic news of victims, both military and civilian". "These are events to which we can never accustom ourselves, events that provoke profound reproof and dismay in societies that have peace and civil coexistence close at heart". Having then reiterated the fact that the recent attack against the Italian contingent in Afghanistan "caused me profound grief", the Pope said: "I join in prayer with the suffering of the families and the civil and military communities. At the same time I express the same sentiments to the other international contingents, which have also recently suffered victims and which work to promote peace and the development of institutions necessary for human coexistence". "I give assurances to all that I mention them before the Lord, with a special thought for the dear civilian population. And I invite everyone to raise prayers to God". The Pope also encouraged people "to promote solidarity among nations in order to contrast the logic of violence and death, favour justice, reconciliation and peace, and support the development of peoples on the basis of love and mutual understanding, as I wrote recently in my Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate'". Benedict XVI then went on to refer to his forthcoming apostolic trip to the Czech Republic, due to take place from 26 to 28 September. There, he said, "I will visit the capital Prague, also visiting Brno in Moravia, and Stara Boleslav, site of the martyrdom of St. Wenceslas, the main patron of the country". "The Czech Republic lies, geographically and historically, at the heart of Europe. Having traversed the drama of last century, it needs, as does the entire continent, to rediscover reasons for faith and hope", said the Pope. The Holy Father also gave assurances that, following in the footsteps of John Paul II who visited the Czech Republic on three occasions, "I will pay homage to the heroic witnesses to the Gospel, old and new, and encourage everyone to live in charity and truth". He concluded: "Even now I would like to express my thanks to those who will accompany my journey with their prayers, that the Lord may bless it and make it fruitful".ANG/CONFLICT APOSTOLIC TRIP CZECH REPUBLIC/... VIS 090921 (400)

CONSTANT UNION WITH GOD ENSURES FRUITFUL MINISTRY VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At midday today in Castelgandolfo the Pope received participants in a congress, regularly held at this time of year, for recently-consecrated bishops. Addressing them, the Holy Father recalled the importance of "not forgetting that one of a bishop's essential tasks is that of helping priests - by example and fraternal support - to follow their vocation faithfully and to work enthusiastically and lovingly in the Lord's vineyard". Priests, said the Pope, must "remain united to the Lord; this is the secret of the fruitfulness of their ministry". Increased workload, difficulties, and the new requirements of pastoral care "must never distract us from intimate and personal union with Christ. Our readiness and openness to people must never diminish or overshadow our readiness and openness towards the Lord. "The time that priests and bishops consecrate to God in prayer is always time well spent", he added. "This is because prayer is at the heart of pastoral work, it is the 'lymph' which gives it strength, it is a support in moments of uncertainty and discouragement, and an endless source of missionary fervour and of fraternal love towards everyone". The Holy Father went on: "At the heart of priestly life is the Eucharist". In this context he indicated how "one special way to prolong the mysterious sanctifying action of the Eucharist throughout the day is the devout recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, as is Eucharistic adoration, 'lectio divina' and the contemplative prayer of the Rosary. The holy 'Cure of Ars'", he concluded, "showed us the importance of priests' immersing themselves in the Eucharist and of educating the faithful in the Eucharistic presence and in communion".AV/.../NEW BISHOPS VIS 090921 (290)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. - Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia.AP/.../... VIS 090921 (40)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Maria Inmaculada Garcia Abrisqueta, president of the Spanish association "Manos unidas", as a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".NA/.../GARCIA VIS 090921 (40)



The USCCB reports that Father W. Shawn McKnight, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita, Kansas, has been named head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
Father McKnight, who is 41, will assume his USCCB position in July, succeeding Father David Toups, interim secretariat director.
Msgr. David Malloy, USCCB General Secretary, made the appointment.
“Father McKnight brings extraordinary background to the position,” Msgr. Malloy said. “In addition to parish work, his experience includes years in seminary formation, education of deacons, college chaplaincy and membership on his diocesan presbyteral council. I am grateful that Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita is permitting him to serve the U.S. bishops in this national position.”
Father McKnight is the son of Mary Elizabeth (O’Reilly) and the late William Thomas McKnight and is the oldest of eight siblings. He was ordained a priest for the Wichita Diocese in 1994.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Dallas, Master of Arts and Master of Theology degrees from the Pontifical College Josephinun in Columbus, Ohio, and licentiate and doctoral degrees in theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm, in Rome.
Father McKnight taught graduate studies at the Josephinum, 2003-2008, where he also served as Director of Liturgy, Dean of Students, Director of Formation in the school of theology and Vice-president for Development and Alumni Relations. He currently serves on the faculty of the St. Meinrad Permanent Deacon Formation Program.
He served as chaplain at Newman University in Wichita, 2000-2001, where at the same time he was an adjunct professor of theology and visiting scholar at the university’s Bishop Gerber Institute of Catholic Studies.Father McKnight has been published in the Deacon Reader and the Newman Review and has spoken at assemblies of the National Association of Deacon Directors, National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education as well as at arch/diocesan programs in Wichita; Wheeling, West Virginia; Lafayette-in-Indiana; Houston; Ogdensburg, New York; Phoenix; Denver; Charleston, South Carolina; and Dodge City, Kansas. (SOURCE:



CNA reports that the Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said this week that Catholics in the media should above all “be believers and Christians. We want the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be known and understood through the testimony of the Church. If this does not happened, we are wasting our time,” he said. During his remarks at the Day of Social Communications being held in Fatima, Portugal, the Vatican spokesman said Catholics in the media “are not people who spread political propaganda, nor are they defenders of special interests or mere journalism professionals.” Today there are many possibilities for the Church to use the media “in the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he continued. After noting that there are journalists of all stripes in today’s media and that they should not be all automatically seen as sinister or ill-intentioned, Father Lombardi underscored that it is important to help guide them in the right direction, “so they may be able to provide good information, as long as they are willing to do so.” Father Lombardi said the Church’s Magisterium is a crucial reference point for Catholics in the media, and he urged them to always use “clear, simple and understandable language that is not abstract or complicated or technical.” “Always speaking the truth is the fundamental premise for confronting even the most difficult situations,” he said.



UCAN reports that Government authorities in central Vietnam are building a wall around a former parish-run catechetical building, and police have used force to prevent hundreds of Catholic protesters from reaching the site.

A woman being attended to after police hit her(Photo courtesy of Hue archdiocesan website)
Local Church sources reported that workers, under orders from the authorities, started to build a brick wall on the morning of Sept. 14 around the Lang Co elementary school, near Loan Ly church in Thua Thien-Hue province's Phu Loc district.
The sources said around 400 parishioners tried to stop the construction, but police and security officers hit them and dragged them out of the school compound. On Sept. 14 and 15, the police also blocked the road outside the church and other paths leading to the school building.
Father Paul Ngo Thanh Son, pastor of Loan Ly parish, in an interview published on the website of Hue archdiocese, said local Catholics built the three-room school building in 1956. The parish used it to give basic education and catechism to local children.
In 1975, when the country was reunified under communist rule, the government confiscated the building. The government has used the building as an elementary school on weekdays but allowed the parish to continue teaching catechism there to children on Sundays, said Father Son, 57.
On Sept. 9 and again on Sept. 12, according to the priest, local officials asked the parish to stop catechism classes. They prevented children from attending the classes on Sept 13, when the parish started a new catechism course.

Police erecting a fence around the compound(Photo courtesy of Hue archdiocesan website)
Rooms were locked and plainclothes police officers videotaped and took photos of students, he said.
Father Son, who became the parish priest last year, said authorities then erected a gate and iron fence at midnight, but local Catholics prevented further work at the site.
The next day, the officials arrived at the site with construction vehicles and building materials, and workers started to build a 2.5-meter-high brick wall around the 480-square-meter compound.
In the past, local Catholics petitioned local authorities many times to return the building so the parish could hold activities there. So far they have had no answer from the government, Father Son said.
Local Church sources reported that on Sept. 18, dozens of security officers and plainclothes police were still guarding the site and driving around the parish area threatening people to stay away.
Loan Ly parish has 800 Catholics, whose forebears moved from neighboring Quang Tri province in 1954 after communist forces in northern Vietnam defeated colonial French troops.

CISA reports that nearly half-a-century after Independence, Kenya has many unresolved issues which blew up into last year’s deadly post-election violence, a new study commissioned by the country’s main faiths has established.The country will remain unstable as long as the longstanding issues are unaddressed, such as land distribution and marginalization of certain groups from the political and economic mainstream of the Kenyan society.The study, commissioned by the Inter-Religious Forum (IRF), also found that cutthroat winner-takes-all politics predisposes the country to violence. To secure peace, the country has to take steps to make political, economic and social inclusion possible.The report titled, ‘Root Causes and Implications of the Post Election Violence of 2007’, found that social decay, characterized by evident loss of social and moral values exposed the country to factors that threaten its very existence.“The rise of the consumer society and the pursuit of material gratification by all means necessary, including grand corruption, has made it possible for the country to tolerate the conduct of public affairs in a way that widen the social gap, denying social justice to millions. Social inequality is in itself a great threat to national stability and security.”Failure to enact a new constitution and the slow pace of institutional and administrative reforms has left the country to manage very complex issues in the public arena using tools that cannot work for the Kenya of the 21st century, the report says.On the other hand, the failure to manage ethnic diversity and the exploitation of negative ethnicity during leelctions further predisposes the country to violence.Launching the report, IRF chairman Canon Peter Karanja said: “As religious leaders we call on Kenyans to be willing to pay the price of what it will take for each one of us to settle into a stable Kenya. Those who have wronged others must own up to their evil ways. Forgiveness works where people repent. If any leader in this country hopes to help the country to become stable, they must encourage all Kenyans from all ethnic communities to live anywhere and to work anywhere.”


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CathNews reports that the City of Bayswater in Western Australia has denied asking a Church run Shopfront centre to close, saying the organisation needs to apply for a permit to serve food but it may continue its food service to the homeless in the interim. "The Shopfront has planning approval to operate a referral office to direct their clients to support agencies," said City of Bayswater chief executive Francesca Lefante was quoted as saying in a report.
The Shopfront organisation in Maylands, run by about 100 volunteers, provides support, friendship, refuge and food to the homeless and disadvantaged.
"They can continue to operate as a referral centre, but they do not have and have never sought approval to act as a meal and food distribution centre," Lefante reportedly said.
Ms Lefante said there had been complaints about abusive behaviour, such as drunkenness, foul language and threatening behaviour associated with the meal service and the City had to address the issues, Maylands MLA Lisa Baker was against the prospect of removing a service for the disadvantaged.
"The people they are working with are not vagrants, most of them are families in crisis or people with mental health issues," she said.
"I don't know what the City wants to achieve by being pedantic over a technicality when it means cutting off food from the people who rely on this valuable organisation."


st. Matthew
Feast: September 21
Feast Day:
September 21
January 24, near Hierapolis or Ethiopia
Patron of:
accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, security forces, security guards, stock brokers, tax collectors

Apostle and evangelist. The name Matthew is derived from the Hebrew Mattija, being shortened to Mattai in post-Biblical Hebrew. In Greek it is sometimes spelled Maththaios, B D, and sometimes Matthaios, CEKL, but grammarians do not agree as to which of the two spellings is the original. Matthew is spoken of five times in the New Testament; first in Matt., ix, 9, when called by Jesus to follow Him, and then four times in the list of the Apostles, where he is mentioned in the seventh (Luke, vi, 15, and Mark, iii, 18), and again in the eighth place (Matt., x, 3, and Acts, i, 13). The man designated in Matt., ix, 9, as "sitting in the custom house", and "named Matthew" is the same as Levi, recorded in Mark, ii, 14, and Luke, v, 27, as "sitting at the receipt of custom". The account in the three Synoptics is identical, the vocation of Matthew-Levi being alluded to in the same terms. Hence Levi was the original name of the man who was subsequently called Matthew; the Maththaios legomenos of Matt., ix, 9, would indicate this. The fact of one man having two names is of frequent occurrence among the Jews. It is true that the same person usually bears a Hebrew name such as "Shaoul" and a Greek name, Paulos. However, we have also examples of individuals with two Hebrew names as, for instance, Joseph-Caiaphas, Simon-Cephas, etc. It is probable that Mattija, "gift of Iaveh", was the name conferred upon the tax-gatherer by Jesus Christ when He called him to the Apostolate, and by it he was thenceforth known among his Christian brethren, Levi being his original name. Matthew, the son of Alpheus (Mark, ii, 14) was a Galilean, although Eusebius informs us that he was a Syrian. As tax-gatherer at Capharnaum, he collected custom duties for Herod Antipas, and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees, who hated all publicans. When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: "I came not to call the just, but sinners". No further allusion is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the Apostles. As a disciple and an Apostle he thenceforth followed Christ, accompanying Him up to the time of His Passion and, in Galilee, was one of the witnesses of His Resurrection. He was also amongst the Apostles who were present at the Ascension, and afterwards withdrew to an upper chamber, in Jerusalem, praying in union with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts, i, 10 and 14).
Of Matthew's subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data. St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he did this for fifteen years, and Eusebius maintains that, before going into other countries, he gave them his Gospel in the mother tongue. Ancient writers are not as one as to the countries evangelized by Matthew, but almost all mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria. According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr, but this opinion conflicts with all other ancient testimony. Let us add, however, that the account of his martyrdom in the apocryphal Greek writings entitled "Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto" and published by Bonnet, "Acta apostolorum apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1898), is absolutely devoid of historic value. Lipsius holds that this "Martyrium S. Matthæi", which contains traces of Gnosticism, must have been published in the third century. There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: "S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est". Various writings that are now considered apocryphal, have been attributed to St. Matthew. In the "Evangelia apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1876), Tischendorf reproduced a Latin document entitled: "De Ortu beatæ Mariæ et infantia Salvatoris", supposedly written in Hebrew by St. Matthew the Evangelist, and translated into Latin by Jerome, the priest. It is an abridged adaptation of the "Protoevangelium" of St. James, which was a Greek apocryphal of the second century. This pseudo-Matthew dates from the middle or the end of the sixth century. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew on 21 September, and the Greek Church on 16 November. St. Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem. (SOURCE:

Matthew 9: 9 - 13
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

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