Friday, October 23, 2009





(VIS) - During the Eighteenth General Congregation, held this morning in the presence of the Holy Father, the final message of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was presented and voted upon. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa. At the beginning of the session Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, announced the names the fifteen members of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod, twelve elected by the assembly and three appointed directly by the Holy Father. They are: - Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa. - Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. - Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, president of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Western Africa (AECWA).- Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, first vice president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). - Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya, president of the Kenya Episcopal Conference. - Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. - Archbishop Norbert Wendelin Mtega of Songea, Tanzania. - Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria. - Archbishop Simon Ntamwana of Gitega, Burundi, president of the Association of Episcopal Conferences for Central Africa (AECCA). - Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of Bamenda, Cameroon. - Archbishop Odon Marie Arsene Razanakolona of Antananarivo, Madagascar. - Bishop Youssef Ibrahim Sarraf of Le Caire of the Chaldeans, Egypt. - Bishop Maroun Elias Lahham of Tunis, Tunis. - Bishop Edmond Djitangar of Sarh, Chad. - Bishop Francisco Joao Silota M. Afr. of Chimoio, Mozambique, second vice president of SECAM. A first version of the concluding Message of the Synod has been published, extracts of which are given below: "

I: LOOKING AT AFRICA TODAY Rich in human and natural resources, many of [Africa's] people are still left to wallow in poverty and misery, wars and conflicts, crisis and chaos. ... [These] are largely due to human decisions and activities by people who have no regard for the common good and this often through a tragic complicity and criminal conspiracy of local leaders and foreign interests. There is much good news in many parts of Africa. But the modern media often tend to emphasize bad news and thus seem to focus more on our woes and defects than on the positive efforts that we are making. ... Signals abound of many initiatives seeking to bring effective solutions to our problems.

II: IN THE LIGHT OF FAITH True pardon promotes the justice of repentance and reparation, leading to a peace that goes to the roots of conflict, making friends, brothers and sisters out of former victims and enemies. Since it is God who makes this kind of reconciliation possible, we must give adequate place for prayer and the sacraments in this ministry, especially the Sacrament of Penance".

III: TO THE WORLD CHURCH The Church in Africa thanks God for many of her sons and daughters who are missionaries on other continents. ... Special thanks go to those who have remained with their people even in times of war and grave crisis. Some have even paid for their fidelity with their very lives. IV: THE CHURCH IN AFRICA We are convinced that the first and most specific contribution of the Church to the people of Africa is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. ... In this regard, all members of the Church, clergy, religious and lay faithful, must be mobilised to work together in the unity that brings strength. As bishops, we challenge ourselves to work in unity in our various Episcopal Conferences. ... The unity of the episcopacy is a source of great strength, while its absence wastes energies, frustrates efforts and gives room for the enemies of the Church to neutralise our witness. An important area where such national cooperation and cohesion is very useful is in the media and social communications. Each bishop ... should ensure the establishment of a Justice and Peace Commission at all levels. We should continue to work hard on forming consciences and changing hearts, through effective catechesis at all levels. Our dioceses must be models of good governance, transparency and good financial management. We have to continue to do our best to tackle poverty, which is a major obstacle to peace and reconciliation. Here suggestions for micro-finance schemes deserve careful attention. In this Year for Priests, dear brothers in the priesthood, we address you in particular, who occupy a key position in the apostolate of the diocese. ... Catechesis, formation of the laity, the pastoral care of people in high office; none of these will go far without your full commitment in your parishes and different places of assignment. ... Your fidelity to the priestly commitment, particularly to a life of celibacy in chastity, as well as detachment from material things is an eloquent witness to the People of God. Africa in recent years has also become very fertile ground for religious vocations: priests, brothers and sisters. We thank God for this great blessing. ... In particular, the Synod congratulates you, women religious, for your dedication and zeal in your apostolate of health, education and other areas of human development. This Synod turns with deep affection to the lay faithful of Africa. You are the Church of God out in the market places of society. It is in and through you that the life and witness of the Church are made visible to the world. ... Allow your Christian faith to permeate every aspect and facet of your lives; in the family, at work, in the professions, in politics and public life. This is no easy task. That is why you must assiduously access the means of grace, through prayer and the Sacraments. The Synod has a very important and special message for you, our dear African Catholics in public life. We commend the many of you who, not minding all the dangers and uncertainties of politics in Africa, have generously offered yourselves for the public service of your people, as an apostolate to promote the common good and God's kingdom. ... Africa needs saints in high political office: saintly politicians who will clean the continent of corruption, work for the good of the people, and know how to galvanize other men and women of good will from outside the Church to join hands against the common evils that beset our nations. ... Many Catholics in high office have fallen woefully short in their performance in office. The Synod calls on such people to repent, or quit the public arena and stop causing havoc to the people and giving the Catholic Church a bad name. Dear Catholic families of Africa, we congratulate you for doggedly remaining true to the ideals of the Christian family and retaining the best values of our African family. We alert you to be on your guard against some virulent ideological poisons from abroad, claiming to be "modern" culture. You should continue to welcome children as gift from God, and train them in the knowledge and fear of God, to be people of reconciliation, justice and peace in future. ... Poverty often makes parents unable to take good care of their children, with disastrous consequence. ... Most families are asking for just what is enough for survival. They have a right to live. The specific contribution of women, not only in the home as wife and mother but also in the social sphere should be more generally acknowledged and promoted. The Synod recommends to our local Churches to go beyond the general statement of EIA, and put in place concrete structures to ensure real participation of women "at appropriate levels". We feel the need to pay particular attention to you, young adults. You are often neglected, left adrift as targets for all kinds of ideologies and sects. You are the ones most often recruited and used for violence. We urge all the local Churches to consider the apostolate to the youth a high priority.

V: AN APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY The Church is second to none in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the care of people infected and affected by it in Africa. ... This Synod, with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, seriously warns that the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics. We appeal to all who are genuinely interested in arresting the sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS to recognise the success already obtained by programs that propose abstinence among those not yet married, and fidelity among the married. To the great powers of this world, we plead: treat Africa with respect and dignity. Africa has been calling for a change in the world economic order, with unjust structures piled heavily against her. Recent turmoil in the financial world shows the need for a radical change of rules. But it would be a tragedy if adjustments are made only in the interest of the rich and again at the expense of the poor. Many of the conflicts, wars and poverty of Africa derive mainly from these unjust structures. A change is called for with regard to the debts burden against poor nations, which literally kills children. Multinationals have to stop their criminal devastation of the environment in their greedy exploitation of natural resources. It is short-sighted policy to foment wars in order to make fast gains from chaos, at the cost of human lives and blood. Is there no one out there able and willing to stop all these crimes against humanity?

VI: AFRICA, RISE UP! We commend the efforts to liberate Africa from cultural alienation and political bondage. ... On the economic front, Africa has tried to fashion for herself a strategic framework for development called NEPAD, New Economic Partnership for African Development. ... The Synod commends these efforts, because these programmes clearly link economic emancipation of Africa with the installation of good governance. Here, unfortunately, is the sticking point. For most African nations the beautiful documents of NEPAD are still a dead letter. The Synod happily congratulates the few countries in Africa which have started on the route of genuine democracy. ... The Synod is sad to note that the situation in many countries is a great shame. We think in particular about the ... situation in Somalia, ... in Northern Uganda, South Sudan, Darfur, Guinea Conakry and other places. ... Whatever may be the responsibility of foreign interests, there is always the shameful and tragic collusion of the local leaders: politicians who betray and sell out their nations.

VII: JOINING OUR SPIRITUAL FORCES The Synod calls for ever greater ecumenical collaboration with our brothers and sisters of other Christian traditions. We also look forward to more dialogue and cooperation with Muslims, the adherents of African Traditional Religion (ATR) and people of other faiths. Religious fanaticism is ... causing havoc in many parts of Africa. From our traditional religious culture, Africans have imbibed a deep sense of God, the Creator. ... When this religious fervour is misdirected by fanatics or manipulated by politicians, conflicts are provoked that tend to engulf everyone. The Synod heard the testimony of many Synod Fathers who have successfully walked the road of dialogue with Muslims. ... The issues of reconciliation, justice and peace generally are concerns for entire communities, irrespective of creed. Working on the many shared values between the two faiths, Christians and Muslims can contribute greatly towards restoring peace and reconciliation in our nations. Freedom of religion includes also freedom to share one's faith, to propose, not impose it, to accept and welcome converts. Those nations which by law forbid their citizens from embracing the Christian faith are depriving their own citizens of their fundamental human right to freely decide on the creed to embrace. ... This Synod warns that such restriction of freedom subverts sincere dialogue and frustrates genuine collaboration. Since Christians who decide to change their religion are welcomed into the Muslim fold, there ought to be reciprocity in this matter. Mutual respect is the way forward". During this afternoon's Nineteenth General Congregation, the presentation of the final list of propositions is due to take place.SE/EIGHTEENTH CONGREGATION/... VIS 091023 (2060)



CNA reports that hundreds of traditionalist Anglican clergy will meet this weekend in London to discuss whether to enter the Catholic Church in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s creation of an Anglican “ordinariate.”
About 500 members of members of the group Forward in Faith will attend the meeting, the Times Online reports. Many of them are waiting for the Vatican’s publication of a Code of Practice, which will provide more detail about the proposed new church structure organized under an Apostolic Constitution.
The chairman of Forward in Faith, Bishop of Fulham, England John Broadhurst, issued a statement on Tuesday responding to the Vatican announcement that a structure will be created to assist Anglicans who want to enter into communion with Rome.
Bishop Broadhurst said that Anglican Catholics have had “frequently expressed hope and fervent desire” to be enabled to enter into full communion with Rome while retaining “every aspect of their Anglican inheritance which is not at variance with the teaching of the Catholic Church.”
“We rejoice that the Holy Father intends now to set up structures within the Church which respond to this heartfelt longing. Forward in Faith has always been committed to seeking unity in truth and so warmly welcomes these initiatives as a decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England.”
He closed his message with the Latin phrase “Ut unum sint,” Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John meaning “may they be one.” The phrase is also the title of Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical on ecumenism.
Jack Leo Iker, Episcopal Bishop of Ft. Worth, Texas, also responded to the proposed church structure in a Tuesday message.
“Many Anglo-Catholics will welcome this development as a very generous and welcoming offer that enhances the Pastoral Provision that has been in place for several years for those seeking reunion with Rome,” he commented. “Other Anglicans who desire full communion with the See of Peter would prefer some sort of recognition of the validity of Anglican orders and the provision for inter-communion between Roman Catholics and Anglicans.”
He said the virtues of the proposal include the maintenance of “certain aspects” of Anglican worship and spirituality, but he added that not all Anglo-Catholics can accept certain Catholic teachings and do not believe they must first “convert to Rome” to be truly catholic Christians.
The proposal comes at a “difficult time,” Bishop Iker continued, noting the lawsuits against his diocese by the Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.
His diocese voted to leave the Episcopal Church in November 2008, choosing to join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
“This diocese stands for orthodox Christianity, and we are increasingly at odds with the revisionist practices and teachings of the official leadership of The Episcopal Church,” he had said at the time of the vote.
The bishop closed his Tuesday statement by eschewing “hasty decisions” and by pledging to continue to work and pray for Christian unity.
Bishop Iker’s predecessor, Clarence C. Pope, Jr., converted to Catholicism in 2007.
More than 440 clergy left the Church of England after the Anglican Church’s General Synod voted in 1992 to ordain women priests, the London Times says. Some subsequently returned.
Pope Benedict’s proposal has reportedly made their conversion easier by allowing Anglicans to retain crucial aspects of their identity and by allowing them to set up seminaries.
However, some may face financial difficulties. The London Times reports that Catholic priests in Britain earn slightly over one-third the salary of Anglican clergymen.
While Anglican clergy who left the Church of England after its 1992 synod received a compensation package, the Archbishop of Canterbury has indicated there will be no similar package this time.
Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, the two prelates appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to minister to Anglicans opposed to women priests, advised against “sudden decisions.”
They said Anglicans will want to stay within the Anglican Communion, while others will want to make “individual arrangements.”
“A further group of Anglicans, we think, will begin to form a caravan, rather like the People of Israel crossing the desert in search of the Promised Land,” they commented.
The two bishops suggested Feb. 22, the Feast of the Chair of Peter, as an appropriate day for priests and laity to make an “initial decision” about whether to “explore further” Pope Benedict’s proposal. (SOURCE:



CNA reports that Peru’s Minister of Justice, Aurelio Pastor, said the legalization of abortion for reasons of rape and fetal deformation cannot be approved by the Peruvian Congress because there are not enough votes to support the change.
Pastor explained that although a debate is taking place based on religious, legal and medical arguments, “the truth is that there is no way it will be approved” due to the lack of votes “in Congress to pass it,” he said.
He then stressed that there has not been a change to Peru's laws on abortion despite a vote to move the proposal through a government committee. To become law, the bill would still have to go before the full body.



UCAN reports that Catholic Chinese nationals working in Singapore say they face problems finding Masses celebrated in Mandarin Chinese and at a time when they can attend.

Father Henry Siew
Most are unable to attend morning services as they start work early on Sundays and do not finish until late. Although they may be able to find an English-language Mass at a suitable time, they cannot understand it, many say.
Li Er Min, 33, from Hebei, works in construction. He told a Church meeting recently that a friend had suggested going to a Protestant church. He said that was fine "to have a look" but as Catholics, "we cannot do without Mass."
After much searching Li was able to attend the Mandarin Sunset Mass at 8 pm at the Church of the Holy Family.
Li was one of the participants at a meeting organized by the Singapore archdiocese's Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin-speaking (CAMS) at Blessed Sacrament Church on Oct. 17. The meeting aimed at discussing how best to serve the recent influx of Chinese nationals living and working in the Chinese-majority country.
One of the seminar's participants, Francis Goh, said he was encouraged by the piety of many of the Chinese Catholics and their desire to attend Mass.
"We need to pay more attention to the Chinese workers," he said.
Goh, 65, said that on hearing that some Chinese nationals sit alone at the back of the church, he was determined to reach out to them. "Perhaps they are shy, maybe they feel inferior. If they won't approach us, then we must approach them," he said.
"Who else will help them if we don't?" Goh asked. "This is a rare opportunity for us."
CAMS Spiritual Director Father Henry Siew asked those present to reflect on their attitudes to the influx of Chinese nationals.
"Are we aware and proactive? Do we see this as God's plan that they have been brought here to Singapore for a chance to learn about the Catholic faith?" he asked.
The Chinese nationals in Singapore fall into two broad categories -- immigrants who take up permanent residency and transient workers who work to earn money and then return home, Father Siew said.
The priest also stressed to participants that bringing Jesus' love to them through one's actions is more important than trying to convert those who are not Catholics to Catholicism.
Father Siew suggested offering practical help such as helping children of Chinese nationals adapt to their new environment, helping in translation, and accompanying migrants to the clinic when they are ill.
"Love them as you love Jesus," he said.
The Church is already making some attempts to address the special needs of the foreigners.
One initiative taken by a group called Gospel Station, based at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, helps provide weekly Sunday dinners for these migrants. The group also gives them basic English lessons, allows them to use Internet-ready computers and provides a telephone for them to keep in touch with their families back home in China.
Li is in agreement with aid such as these. "We want to learn some basic English, and perhaps you could provide some food for us," he said.



CISA reports that the Bishop Coadjutor of Goma, Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said that the church will fight for and protect women and children against sexual violence in the embattled regions of that country.Bishop Ruboneka said “Taking our experience today in DR Congo, to give some comfort to women and children for the consequences and traumas they were submitted to, we promise the following:1. to fight against sexual violence by going back to their ultimate cause which is the crisis of governance manifested by the wars, pillage and anarchical exploitation of natural resources, circulation of weapons, the maintenance of militias, the absence of a strong and republican army.2. The creation of homes for women and young girls as centers for listening and accompanying these violated and traumatized women.3. The direct involvement of women in the “Justice and Peace” Commissions: so that women may promote peace and fight against the degrading ideas about them held by the new world ethic and certain cultural traditions.4. The formation for Catechesis and concrete literacy of women to allow women to play their role properly. It is articulated in three modules, namely: dignity and vocation of woman, woman as the artisan of peace and woman as the actress of social change.5. Creating structures for the promotion of women. This could consist in organizations of women working on various activities at the parish and diocesan levels; centers of formation for women for peace.“Thousands of women have suffered, at the hands of all armed groups, massive sexual violence, as a weapon of war, in flagrant violation of the international juridical dispositions,” Bishop Ruboneka said.(SOURCE:


Cath News reports that Sydney's Cardinal George Pell led a delegation of about 20 church leaders to Canberra to raise concerns about a national charter of human rights, warning the Rudd government it could curtail religious freedoms and give judges the power to shape laws on issues such as gay marriage, said The Australian.
The leaders, representing major churches including the Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist and Pentecostal, warned that a charter of rights could restrict the ability to hire people of faith in churches, schools and welfare bodies.
Cardinal Pell said a charter of rights would be used against religious schools, hospitals and charities by other people who did not like religious freedom and thought it should not be a human right.
"If these protections are to be revised, it should be done by MPs answerable to the people, not by judges or human rights commissars," Cardinal Pell writes in The Australian today.
Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen did not attend the meeting with Attorney-General Robert McClelland on Wednesday because of a synod meeting but said he staunchly backed the delegation's views.
"We strongly support human rights, but we don't think a charter such as this is necessary or even effective in protecting the rights of the most vulnerable people in our community. It may in all likelihood make things worse, particularly in the area of religious freedom," he said.
Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis warned if rights such as the right to found a family were enshrined in a charter, as recommended, it could allow the courts to shape laws on issues such as gay marriage and adoption. (SOURCE;


St. John of Capistrano
Feast: October 23
Feast Day:
October 23
June 24, 1386, Capestrano, Abruzzi, Kingdom of Naples
October 23, 1456, Ilok, modern Croatia
1690 or 1724, Rome by either Pope Alexander VIII or Pope Benedict XIII
Patron of:

Born at Capistrano, in the Diocese of Sulmona, Italy, 1385; died 23 October, 1456. His father had come to Naples in the train of Louis of Anjou, hence is supposed to have been of French blood, though some say he was of German origin. His father dying early, John owed his education to his mother. She had him at first instructed at home and then sent him to study law at Perugia, where he achieved great success under the eminent legist, Pietro de Ubaldis. In 1412 he was appointed governor of Perugia by Ladislaus, King of Naples, who then held that city of the Holy See. As governor he set himself against civic corruption and bribery. War broke out in 1416 between Perugia and the Malatesta. John was sent as ambassador to propose peace to the Malatesta, who however cast him into prison. It was during this imprisonment that he began to think more seriously about his soul. He decided eventually to give up the world and become a Franciscan Friar, owing to a dream he had in which he saw St. Francis and was warned by the saint to enter the Franciscan Order. John had married a wealthy lady of Perugia immediately before the war broke out, but as the marriage was not consummated he obtained a dispensation to enter religion, which he did 4 October, 1416.
After he had taken his vows he came under the influence of St. Bernardine of Siena, who taught him theology: he had as his fellow-student St. James of the Marches. He accompanied St. Bernardine on his preaching tours in order to study his methods, and in 1420, whilst still in deacon's orders, was himself permitted to preach. But his apostolic life began in 1425, after he had received the priesthood. From this time until his death he laboured ceaselessly for the salvation of souls. He traversed the whole of Italy; and so great were the crowds who came to listen to him that he often had to preach in the public squares. At the time of his preaching all business stopped. At Brescia on one occasion he preached to a crowd of one hundred and twenty-six thousand people, who had come from all the neighbouring provinces. On another occasion during a mission, over two thousand sick people were brought to him that he might sign them with the sign of the Cross, so great was his fame as a healer of the sick. Like St. Bernardine of Siena he greatly propagated devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, and, together with that saint, was accused of heresy because of this devotion. While he was thus carrying on his apostolic work, he was actively engaged in assisting St. Bernardine in the reform of the Franciscan Order. In 1429 John, together with other Observant friars, was cited to Rome on the charge of heresy, and he was chosen by his companions to defend their cause; the friars were acquitted by the commission of cardinals.
After this, Pope Martin V conceived the idea of uniting the Conventual Friars Minor and the Observants, and a general chapter of both bodies of Franciscans was convoked at Assisi in 1430. A union was effected, but it did not last long. The following year the Observants held a chapter at Bologna, at which John was the moving spirit. According to Gonzaga, John was about this time appointed commissary general of the Observants, but his name does not appear among the commissaries and vicars in Holzapfel's list (Manuale Hist. Ord. FF. Min., 624-5) before 1443. But it was owing to him that St. Bernardine was appointed vicar-general in 1438. Shortly after this, whilst visiting France he met St. Colette, the reformer of the Second Franciscan Order or Poor Clares, with whose efforts he entirely sympathized. He was frequently employed on embassies by the Holy See. In 1439 he was sent as legate to Milan and Burgundy, to oppose the claims of the antipope Felix V; in 1446 he was on a mission to the King of France; in 1451 he went at the request of the emperor as Apostolic nuncio to Austria. During the period of his nunciature John visited all parts of the empire, preaching and combatting the heresy of the Hussites; he also visited Poland at the request of Casimir IV. In 1454 he was summoned to the Diet at Frankfort, to assist that assembly in its deliberation concerning a crusade against the Turks for the relief of Hungary: and here, too, he was the leading spirit. When the crusade was actually in operation John accompanied the famous Hunyady throughout the campaign: he was present at the battle of Belgrade, and led the left wing of the Christian army against the Turks. He was beatified in 1694, and canonized in 1724. He wrote many books, chiefly against the heresies of his day.(SOURCE:


Luke 12: 54 - 59
He also said to the multitudes, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, `A shower is coming'; and so it happens.
And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat'; and it happens.
You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
"And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.
I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper."

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