Monday, November 30, 2009





VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina, and Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two States. The Pope subsequently met with the two presidents together, each accompanied by a delegation, in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. In his address to them he recalled how the treaty "brought to an end the territorial dispute the two countries had maintained over a long period of time". "This", he said, "is an appropriate and joyful commemoration of those intense negotiations which, through pontifical mediation, concluded with a dignified, reasonable and equitable solution, thus avoiding an armed conflict which was on the point of breaking out between the two peoples". The Holy Father went on to highlight how the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and the meditation which made it possible, are indissolubly linked to the figure of Pope John Paul II who, moved by feelings of affection towards those beloved nations and in keeping with his tireless efforts as messenger and architect of peace, did not hesitate to accept the delicate and crucial task of mediator in the conflict". In this he was able to rely on "the priceless help of Cardinal Antonio Samore, who personally followed all the vicissitudes of those long and complex negotiations until the ... signing of the Treaty in the presence of delegations from both countries and of the then secretary of State, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli". "Twenty-five years on, we may note with satisfaction that that historic event made a beneficial contribution to strengthening fraternal feelings in both countries, and to ensuring greater co-operation and integration, which takes concrete form in numerous economic plans, cultural exchanges and important infrastructure projects, thus overcoming the prejudices, suspicions and reserve of the past", said the Pope. He also pointed out that "Chile and Argentina are not only neighbour States, but much more; they are brother peoples with a shared vocation of fraternity, respect and friendship which, to a large extent, is the fruit of the Catholic tradition lying at the foundations of their history and of their rich cultural and spiritual heritage". Referring once again to the treaty being commemorated today, the Holy Father described it "as a shining example of the force of the human spirit and of the will for peace against the barbarism and unreason of violence and war". In this context he also highlighted the need "always to persevere with firm resolve (and until the final consequences) in seeking to resolve controversies, with a true desire for dialogue and agreement, through patient negotiation and necessary compromise, and always bearing in mind the just requirements and legitimate interests of everyone". "In order for the cause of peace to open a way into the minds and hearts of all human beings, and especially of those called to serve their fellow citizens from the highest offices of State, it must be founded on firm moral convictions, on serenity of soul, ... and on the constant search for the common good at the national, regional and global level". Benedict XVI concluded by underlining the fact that achieving peace "requires the promotion of a true culture of life which fully respects human dignity, and the strengthening of the family as the basic cell of society. It also requires the combating of poverty and corruption, access to quality education for everyone, greater economic solidarity, the consolidation of democracy and the eradication of violence and exploitation, especially against women and children".AC/PEACE TREATY/ARGENTINA: CHILE VIS 091130 (610)

POPE RECEIVES PRESIDENTS OF ARGENTINA AND CHILE VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today. "This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, for the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Chile and Argentina, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of the Argentine Republic, and Michelle Bachelet, president of the Republic of Chile. The two illustrious guests also met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. The Holy Father subsequently delivered an address to the delegations of the two presidents gathered in the Clementine Hall. "During the cordial discussions, grateful recollection was made of the meritorious efforts undertaken by Servant of God Pope John Paul III and by the late Cardinal Antonio Samore who, by following the path of dialogue, helped the two States to resolve a long-standing territorial controversy. Attention dwelt particularly on the fact that, in the course of this last quarter of a century, the agreement has brought tangible fruits of goodness and prosperity to the two brother peoples, and continues to stand as an example and model for the countries of Latin America and for the entire international community. Opinions were also exchanged on the current international situation".OP/AUDIENCE/ARGENTINA: CHILE VIS 091130 (240)

ADVENT INVITES US TO PERCEIVE THE PRESENCE OF GOD VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this evening, Benedict XVI presided at first Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Church. In his homily the Pope reflected upon the meaning of the word Advent which "Christians used", he said, "to express their relationship with Jesus. ... The meaning of the expression advent also includes that of 'vistatio', ... a visit, which in this case means a visit from God: He enters my life and wishes to address Himself to me". "In daily life we all know the experience of having little time for the Lord, and little time for ourselves. We end up becoming absorbed by 'doing'. Is it not often true that it is activity itself that possesses us, society with its multiple distractions that monopolises our attention? Is it not true that we dedicate a lot of time to entertainment and leisure activities of various kinds?" "Advent, this potent liturgical period we are entering, invites us to remain silent as we come to appreciate a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are signs God addresses to us, signs of the care He has for each of us. How often does God make us aware of some aspect of His love! To maintain what we might call an 'inner diary' of this love would be a beautiful and rewarding task in our lives. Advent invites us and encourages us to contemplate the living Lord. Should not the certainty of His presence help us to see the world with different eyes?" The Holy Father went on: "Another fundamental aspect of Advent is that of waiting: a wait that is, at the same time, a hope. ... Hope marks the journey of humankind, but for Christians it is enlivened by a certainty: the Lord is present in the events of our lives, He accompanies us and will one day dry our tears. One not-far-distant day everything will reach fulfilment in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of justice and peace. "Yet", he added, "there are many different ways to wait. If the present time is not filled with meaning, the wait risks becoming unbearable. If we await something, but at this moment have nothing - in other words, if the present is empty - then every passing instant seems exaggeratedly long and the wait becomes an over-heavy burden because the future remains too uncertain. When, on the other hand, time has meaning and at every instant we perceive something specific and valid, then the joy of waiting makes the present richer". The Holy Father encouraged the faithful "intensely to live the present, where we already obtain the gifts of the Lord. Let us live projected towards the future, a future charged with hope". The Messiah, "coming among us, brought us and continues to bring us the gift of His love and His salvation. He is present among us and speaks to us in many ways: in Sacred Scripture, in the liturgical year, in the saints, in the events of daily life, in all creation, which changes its appearance depending upon whether [we see Him] behind it or whether [we see it] shrouded in the fog of an uncertain origin and uncertain future". "We in our turn", Pope Benedict concluded, "can address Him, present Him the sufferings that afflict us, the impatience and the questions that arise in our hearts. We are certain that He always listens to us! And if Jesus is present, then there can be no meaningless or empty time. If He is present we can continue to hope, even when others can no longer offer us their support, even when the present becomes burdensome".HML/ADVENT/... VIS 091130 (640)

THIRD PHASE OF CATHOLIC-ANGLICAN DIALOGUE TO BEGIN IN 2010 VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique concerning the preparatory committee for the third phase of the "Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission" (ARCIC). "Following the 21 November meeting in the Vatican between Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, in the course of which they reiterated their desire to strengthen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Catholics, on 23 November the meeting took place of the committee entrusted with preparing the third phase of the 'Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission' (ARCIC). It was decided that this new phase will begin during next year. "The third phase will focus on fundamental questions concerning the Church - local Church and universal Church - understood as communion, and on the way in which the local and universal Church can, in communion, discern just moral teaching. "Over coming months the members of the commission will be appointed, and the date of its first meeting will be announced".OP/ARCIC/WILLIAMS VIS 091130 (180)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. coadjutor of Maribor, Slovenia, as metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana (area 6,134, population 768,647, Catholics 570,895, priests 438, permanent deacons 9, religious 604), Slovenia. He succeeds Archbishop Alojzij Uran, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Bishop Peter Stumpf S.D.B., auxiliary of Maribor, Slovenia, as bishop of Murska Sobota (area 1,102, population 119,818, Catholics 95,135, priests 64, religious 26), Slovenia. - Appointed Bishop Marjan Turnsek of Murska Sobota, Slovenia, as coadjutor archbishop of Maribor (area 3,682, population 419,849, Catholics 356,427, priests 199, permanent deacons 3, religious 136), Slovenia. The archbishop-elect was born in Celje, Slovenia in 1955, he was ordained a priest in 1981 and consecrated a bishop in 2006.RE:NER:NEC/.../... VIS 091130 (150)

ADVENT IS A TIME OF HOPE. APPEAL TO COMBAT AIDS VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope began by recalling how today marks the beginning of "a new liturgical year, which naturally opens with Advent, the period of preparation for the Lord's Nativity". In this context he explained how Vatican Council II, in its constitution on the liturgy, affirmed that the Church, 'within the cycle of a year, unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the Ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord'". The Council, he went on, "underlined the fact that the focus of the liturgy is Christ, like the sun around which revolve, like planets, the Blessed Virgin Mary (the closest), then the martyrs and the other saints, who 'sing God's perfect praise in heaven and offer prayers for us'. "This", the Pope added, "is the reality of the liturgical year seen, so to say, 'from God's side'. And what, we might ask, of the side of man, of history and of society? What importance can they have? "The answer is given us by the journey of Advent itself, which we begin today. The modern world has need, above all, of hope. It is needed by people in developing countries, but also by the economically evolved. We are becoming ever more aware that we are all in the same boat and must save ourselves together. Above all, we are aware that, as we see so many false hopes collapse, we need a reliable hope, and this is only to be found in Christ Who, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, 'is the same yesterday and today and forever'". Christ "embraces all dimensions of time because He died and rose again. He is 'the Living One' and, while sharing our precarious human condition, remains forever and offers us the stability of God Himself. ... Those who thirst for freedom, justice and peace, can stand up and raise their heads because in Christ freedom is drawing close". "Thus we can affirm that Jesus Christ concerns not only Christians, or only believers, but all men and women, because He, Who is at the centre of the faith, is also the foundation of hope. And hope is something of which all human beings have constant need". After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned World AIDS Day which falls on 1 December. "My thoughts and prayers go", he said, "to everyone suffering from this disease, especially to children, the poor and those who are rejected. "The Church", he added, "never ceases to strive to combat AIDS through her institutions and personnel dedicated to that task. I call upon everyone to make their contribution, with prayer and tangible assistance, so that people affected by the HIV virus may experience the presence of the Lord Who offers comfort and hope. Finally, I trust that, by increasing and co-ordinating efforts, we may manage to halt and eradicate this disease".ANG/ADVENT AIDS/... VIS 091130 (530)

HOLY FATHER RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF PERU VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today: "This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alan Garcia Perez, president of the Republic of Peru. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. "The cordial discussions provided an occasion for a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current international situation, especially in the region. "Attention then focused on certain aspects of the situation in Peru, especially the government's commitment to eradicating poverty, on promoting the rule of law, on protecting the environment and on areas of collaboration between Church and State".OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT PERU VIS 091130 (140)

MESSAGE TO BARTHOLOMEW I FOR THE FEAST OF ST. ANDREW VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - As is traditional for the Feast of St. Andrew, the Pope has written a Message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The Message was delivered during the course of a visit to Istanbul by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In his English-language Message for the feast of the patron of the patriarchate of Constantinople, the Pope recalls how that saint was brother to St. Peter and, like him, suffered martyrdom. "The memory of the holy martyrs compels all Christians to bear witness to their faith before the world", he writes. "There is an urgency in this call especially in our own day, in which Christianity is faced with increasingly complex challenges". "Our Churches have committed themselves sincerely over the last decades to pursuing the path towards the re-establishment of full communion, and although we have not yet reached our goal, many steps have been taken that have enabled us to deepen the bonds between us". The Holy Father goes on to note that "this openness has guided the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, which held its eleventh plenary session in Cyprus last month" on the theme "the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium". This subject was "certainly complex and will require extensive study and patient dialogue if we are to aspire to a shared integration of the traditions of East and West", he says. "The Catholic Church understands the Petrine ministry as a gift of the Lord to His Church. This ministry should not be interpreted in the perspective of power, but within an ecclesiology of communion, as a service to unity in truth and charity. The Bishop of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity ... is understood to be the 'Servus Servorum Dei' (Servant of the Servants of God). ... It is a question of seeking together, inspired by the model of the first millennium, the forms in which the ministry of the Bishop of Rome may accomplish a service of love recognised by one and all". And, "even as we make this journey towards full communion, we should already offer common witness by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person, in affirming fundamental ethical values, in promoting justice and peace". Our Churches, Pope Benedict concludes, "can work together in drawing attention to humanity's responsibility for the safeguarding of creation".MESS/ST. ANDREW/BARTHOLOMEW I VIS 091130 (440)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Thirteen prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Dedeus Grings of Porto Alegre, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Remidio Jose Bohn and Alessandro Carmelo Ruffinoni C.S. - Bishop Irineu Silvio Wilges O.F.M. of Cachoeira do Sul. - Bishop Gironimo Zanandrea of Erexim. - Bishop Zeno Hastenteufel Novo Hamburgo. - Bishop Jaime Pedro Kohl P.S.D.P. of Osorio. - Bishop Jacinto Bergmann of Pelotas. - Bishop Jose Mario Stroeher of Rio Grande. - Bishop Aloisio Sinesio Bohnm of Santa Cruz do Sul. - Bishop Helio Adelar Rubert of Santa Maria. - Bishop Jose Clemente Weber of Santo Angelo - Bishop Federico Heimler S.D.B. of Cruz Alta. - His Royal Imperial Highness Otto von Hapsburg, archduke of Austria, accompanied by an entourage. On Saturday 28 November he received in audience Bishop Airton Jose dos Santos of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Paulo Antonino Mascarenhas Roxo, on their "ad limina" visit.AL/.../... VIS 091130 (180)



CNA reports that the New Jersey bishops asked pastors to read a statement to their parishioners last weekend which explained the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and encouraged the faithful to pray that New Jersey will not pass a same-sex “marriage” measure. Same-sex “marriage” advocates are working to put the bill before the current governor who has promised to sign it before he leaves office in January.
His successor has promised to veto the bill.
The bishops began their letter by acknowledging a shift toward “secular individualism” noted in the “recent authorization of 'marriage' between individuals of the same sex in a few states and the call for passage of a same sex 'marriage' law in New Jersey.”
“As Catholics, we must not stand by in silence in the face of the many challenges that threaten marriage and, in turn, children and the public good,” they asserted. “We must not shirk from our responsibility.”
“Marriage faces challenges from a society more focused on individual satisfaction than on the Gospel,” the bishops' letter stated. “We must protect and promote marriage. We must not abandon the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and the complementarity of the sexes – a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by the major cultures of the world.”
They continued calling for support for those who struggle with same-sex attraction: “We must pledge our support to all family members, including those who choose to remain single. We must help those entering marriage to prepare for the challenges, sacrifices and joys to come. We must reach out with the special compassion of Christ to those married couples and families experiencing difficulties, anxiety, and illness.”
The bishops then stressed that defining marriage between one man and one woman would not take away from same-sex couples' rights to have hospital visitation privileges or employee benefits.
“In New Jersey, same sex couples have every benefit and right without exception that the State of New Jersey grants to heterosexual married couple,” the bishops noted. “Same sex civil unions may represent a new and a different type of institution, one in which government grants to same sex couples benefits and protections, but same sex unions are not marriage.”
The bishops the argued that the same-sex marriage initiative is an attempt to redefine marriage entirely and change the structure of marriage from being the union of one man and one woman.
“In New Jersey, the debate about same sex marriage is not about benefits and rights. The Civil Union Act [N.J. Statutes 37:1-31(a)] settled that issue once and for all. In New Jersey, same sex couples have every benefit and right without exception that the State of New Jersey grants to heterosexual married couples. The same sex “marriage” initiative is an attempt to change the historic structure of marriage as a union only of a man and a woman. This initiative ignores human nature because throughout all of human history marriage has required the complementarity of man and woman.”
The bishop's letter comes in wake of the victory of Maine's Question 1, which repealed a same-sex “marriage” law enacted by the Maine legislature. Same-sex unions are also highly contested in Washington D.C. where the city council, which will be voting on a same-sex “marriage” proposition on Dec.1, has refused to allow a petition which would allow voters to weigh in on the issue.
In this year's election, New Jersey voters elected Chris Christie, a practicing Catholic who said he would veto the same-sex marriage bill. Christie takes office on January 19. Pro-gay lawmakers are scrambling to put the bill before the current Governor Jon Corzine, who said that he would sign the bill, before he leaves office.
However, according to the Christian Post, a Quinnipiac University poll released last Wednesday shows that 49% of New Jersey voters oppose the bill while only 46% support it. (SOURCE:



CNA reports that the Catholic Conference of Italian Bishops will broadcast a series of spots on national television meant to raise awareness for the economic needs of Italy's 38,000 diocesan priests. The commercials, due to be released in the days leading up to the feast of the Immaculate Conception, emphasize the continual efforts of the conference to collect funds for the clergy.
For the last 20 years, the Catholic Conference of Italian Bishops (CEI) has footed the costs of its 38,000 diocesan priests, 600 of whom work in foreign missions. The CEI has been creative in pushing new initiatives for their fundraising outreach, counting a flash-based website among their inventory of resources for receiving donations.
The new 30-second spots, filmed in black and white, follow three priests as they carry out their vocations of service to the Gospel.
These “commercials” include specific information on how the viewer can make an offering to a fund and "sustain the activity of... diocesan priests, above all those in the smallest communities and communities where there is the most need."
In Italy, these donations are put into a collective fund for the shared use of all of the dioceses.
Diocesan priests also receive a stipend from the state. Since 2006, there has been a program in place called 5 per mille, or five per thousand, through which a person is able to specify the destination of 0.5% of their annual taxes. They may choose to give this cut to any one of a number of non-profits, research institutions or social initiatives in place of the Church, but if none of these options is indicated, the percentage is destined to the CEI.
Bishop of Caserta Pietro Farina, President of the Committee for the Promotion of Economic Support for the dioceses of Italy, comments on the CEI website on the value of these funds to the country, "We all know how much the Church, through its multiple activities, pastoral and social actions and, most of all, through the presence of its ministers is important for the well-being of our country. What would our cities be without our priests?
"Educating the community to sustain them," he continues, "even though an offering goes not only your own parish priest, but to all priests, means educating the community as to the sense of fraternal communion, of active participation and of real ecclesial co-responsibility."(SOURCE:



Asia News reports that the country's bishops have repeatedly, and so far unsuccessfully, asked the authorities to be allowed reuse the property - formerly owned by the Vatican - as a seminary. The Bishops' Conference now appeals to the Prime Minister.
Da Lat (AsiaNews) - Authorities in Da Lat, southern Vietnam, are knocking down the Pontifical Institute of St. Pius X in Da Lat to make a "cultural and urban park". And despite the repeated requests made by the bishops of the country for its return for use as a seminary in what was a property of the Vatican's representative in Vietnam, where some 13 bishops and 306 priests currently operating in the country graduated from.
The Institute opened its doors to its first class September 13, 1958. It was built by Jesuit Father Ferdinand Lacretelle, who arrived in Saigon in 1957, at the request of the Vietnamese bishops and the Vatican entrusted it to the Society of Jesus. It was managed by religious from France, Italy, Spain and Canada.
On August 1961, Ambassador Mario Brini laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of the structure and Msgr. Francesco De Nittis, representing the nuncio, organized its inauguration April 23, 1964. On 21 September of that year, a decree (604BCTNG/ND/HC.TC. 3) of the government of then South Vietnam guaranteed "the perpetual title of the plot No 54, page 20 of Dalat City, an area of 79,200 square meters to the Vatican Consulate”.
Until 1975, the Institute gathered seminarians from the Diocese of the South, resulting in the formation of 14 bishops. With the exception of Mgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nho, who has since died, the others are still working for the Vietnamese Church. With them 306 priests, 227 diocesan and 79 religious were formed in the St. Pius X institute. In the political situation created after 1975, the Pontifical Institute ceased its training activities in the summer of 1977 and in 1980 the government took it from the Conference of Bishops.
In 1987, the Vietnamese government opened the door to a market economy and, step by step, the country has entered a period of renewal and integration with the rest of the world. At the same time, the Vietnamese Church has found itself with a shortage of priests to send to the parishes. So the bishops have asked the government for the return of the Pontifical Institute for the chance to give a high quality formation to priests. Since then, whenever given the opportunity, the Episcopal Conference and the Diocese of Da Lat have renewed its request.
At present, however, local authorities are knocking down the Institute. The Bishop of Da Lat (pictured), who is president of the Episcopal Conference, has once again made a plea for the need of the Church. "When - said Msgr. Nguyen Van Nhon - I saw that in the are of the Pontifical Institute was being transformed into a park, on November 22, 2008, on behalf of the episcopate, the office of Bishop of Da Lat sent a petition to the authorities of the province of Lam Dong to stop the work. In response, we received a letter (8860/UBND-DC) from the provincial People's Committee, alleging that the diocese should have given its’ support to the construction of the park”.
The bishop turned to the authorities of Da Lat informing them that "on behalf of the Vietnamese biushops, December 19, 2008 I sent a message to the head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs to present the Church's needs and informing them of the petition of 22 November”.
"Recently - says the bishop - when I saw a large building under construction in the Pontifical Institute of St. Pius X, on behalf of the Episcopal Conference, on 11 February this year, I appealed to the Prime Minister and senior authorities of the province Lam Dong to ask them to reconsider the aspirations of the Episcopal conference, to be able to use the structure for the formation of priests". "Following the instructions of the leaders of the Episcopal Conference and the three archbishops of Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City - he concludes - we will continue to submit to the Prime Minister the really pressing aspirations of the Catholic Church in Vietnam".(SOURCE:



CNS reports that Church officials in southern Africa said many people in their region still "live in abject poverty" because of "bad governance, corruption and human irresponsibility."General secretaries of bishops' conferences who met in Harare, Zimbabwe, in mid-November expressed concern about excessive militarization, bribery in the public and private sectors and poor delivery of services.Church officials representing Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe discussed the role of church leaders in eliminating corruption and promoting good governance for the common good. Those countries form the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa.The church officials expressed concern over nations' judicial systems and the awarding of bids to "political friends or family members." They said political leaders should be "elected by the people, not to enrich themselves, but to work for the common good" and civil servants "are employed to serve the public.""Nurses and doctors have to combine efficiency and compassion, teachers have to remember that the future of the next generation is in their hands" and the military and police should protect all citizens and defend the whole nation, the church officials said.Institutions such as electoral commissions and the judiciary "must jealously guard their independence and resist being dictated to by the political authorities," it said, noting that political leaders "should challenge each other" and use mechanisms available such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, which encourages member states to hold each other's leaders accountable."We urge governments in our region to secure the right of access to public information and participation in policy formulation, implementation and monitoring," the church officials said, noting that "our region is not helpless. Its destiny is in the hands of those who live in it."They said "active collaboration" is needed "to achieve the ideals of a corruption-free, peaceful and prosperous society."(source:



Cath News reports in a letter to mark the International Day of People with Disability, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Bishops' Delegate for Disability, Peter Elliot, urged communities to embrace people with disability.
"The Church has taken this day as an opportunity to encourage a truly pastoral view that embraces our total community as the living Body of Christ," he wrote in the letter.
The day is observed annually on December 3 and coincides with the beginning of Advent.
This year's theme, "Empowering people with disabilities and their families" focuses on people with disability who live in poverty.
"People with disability are among the poorest in Australia and our world," said Bishop Elliot. "We are called and challenged to take action to ensure our communities are open and active in promoting opportunities that include people with disability.
"In particular we need to ensure that people with disability living in remote and rural areas, those who are new to our country and those struggling with the ever increasing daily expense of living are supported and encouraged in the most practical and appropriate manner." (SOURCE:


St. Andrew the Apostle
Feast: November 30
Feast Day:
November 30
early 1st Century, Bethsaida
mid-late 1st Century, Patras
Major Shrine:
Church of St. Andreas at Patras
Patron of:
Scotland, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Army Rangers, mariners, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, singers and performers

St Andrew was a native of Bethsaida, a town in Galilee, upon the banks of the lake of Genesareth. He was the son of Jonas, or John, a fisherman of that town, and brother to Simon Peter, but whether elder or younger the Holy Scriptures have not acquainted us. They had afterwards a house at Capharnaum, where Jesus lodged when he preached in that city. It is no small proof of the piety and good inclinations of St. Andrew, that when St. John Baptist began to preach penance in the desert, he was not content with going to hear him as others did, but became his disciple, passed much of his time in hearing his instructions, and studied punctually to practice all his lessons and copy his example; but he often returned home to his fishing trade. He was with his master when St. John Baptist, seeing Jesus pass by the day after he had been baptized by him, said, "Behold the Lamb of God." Andrew, by the ardour and purity of his desires and his fidelity in every religious practice, deserved to be so far enlightened as to comprehend this mysterious saying, and without delay he and another disciple of the Baptist went after Jesus, who drew them secretly by the invisible bands of his grace, and saw them with the eyes of his spirit before he beheld them with his corporal eyes. Turning back as he walked and seeing them follow him, he said, "What seek ye?" They said they desired to know where he dwelt; and he bade them come and see. There remained but two hours of that day, which they spent with him, and, according to several fathers, the whole night following. "O how happy a day, how happy a night did they pass I " cries out St. Austin. "Who will tell us what things they then learned from the mouth of their Saviour!"
Andrew, who loved affectionately his brother Simon, called afterwards Peter, could not rest till he had imparted to him the infinite treasure which he had discovered, and brought him to Christ that he might also know him. Simon was no sooner come to Jesus than the Saviour of the world admitted him as a disciple and gave him the name of Peter. The brothers tarried one day with him to hear his divine doctrine, and the next day returned home again. From this time they became Jesus’ disciples, not constantly attending upon him, as they afterwards did, but hearing him frequently, as their business would permit, and returning to their trade and family affairs again. Jesus, in order to prove the truth of his divine doctrine by his works, wrought his first miracle at the marriage at Cana in Galilee, and was pleased that these two brothers should be present at it with his holy mother. Jesus, going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, stayed some days in Judea, and baptized in the Jordan. Peter and Andrew also baptized by his authority and in his name. Our Saviour being come back into Lower Galilee in autumn, and meeting one day Peter and Andrew fishing in the lake, before the end of the same year, he called them to a constant attendance upon the ministry of the gospel, saying that he would make them fishers of men. Whereupon they immediately left their nets to follow him, and never went from him again. The year following, the Son of God formed the college of his apostles, in which our two brothers are named by the evangelists at the head of the rest. Not long after Jesus went down to Capharnaum and lodged at the house of Peter and Andrew and, at the request of them both, cured Peter's wife's mother of a fever, by taking her by the hand and rebuking the fever, by which it left her When Christ would not send away the multitude of five thousand persons who had followed him into the desert till they were refreshed with some food, St. Philip said two hundred pennyworth of bread would not suffice. But Andrew seemed to express a stronger faith, saying there was a boy who had five barley loaves and two small fishes—which, indeed, were nothing among so many—but Christ could, if he pleased to exert his power, seeing he was greater than Eliseus who, with twenty loaves, fed a hundred men. When Christ was at Bethania, at the house of Lazarus, a little before his Sacred Passion, certain Greeks who came to worship God at the festival, addressed themselves to Philip, begging him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip did not undertake to do it alone; but spoke to St. Andrew, and they both together spoke to their divine master and procured these strangers that happiness. This shows the great credit St. Andrew had with Christ; on which account St. Bede calls him the Introductor to Christ, and says he had this honour because he brought St. Peter to him. Christ having foretold the destruction of the temple, Peter, John, James, and Andrew asked him privately when that should come to pass, that they might forewarn their brethren to escape the danger.
After Christ's resurrection and the descent of the Holy Ghost, St. Andrew preached the gospel in Scythia, as Origen testifies. Sophronius, who wrote soon after St. Jerome and translated his catalogue of illustrious men and some other works into Greek, adds Sogdiana and Colchis. Theodoret tells us that he passed into Greece; St. Gregory Nazianzen mentions particularly Epirus and St. Jerom Achaia. St. Paulinus says this divine fisherman, preaching at Argos, put all the philosophers there to silence. St. Philastrius tells us, that he came out of Pontus into Greece, and that in his time people at Sinope were persuaded that they had his true picture, and the pulpit in which he had preached in that city. The Muscovites have long gloried that St. Andrew carried the gospel into their country as far as the mouth of the Borysthenes, and to the mountains where the city of Kiou now stands, and to the frontiers of Poland. If the ancients mean European Scythia, when they speak of the theatre of his labours, this authority is favourable to the pretensions of the Muscovites. The Greeks understand it of Scythia, beyond Sebastopolis in Colchis, and perhaps also of the European; for they say he planted the faith in Thrace, and particularly at Byzantium, afterwards called Constantinople. But of this we meet with no traces in antiquity. Several Calendars commemorate the feast of the chair of St. Andrew at Patrae, in Achaia It is agreed that he laid down his life there for Christ. St. Paulinus says, that having taken many people in the nets of Christ he confirmed the faith which he had preached by his blood at Patrae. St. Sophronius, St. Gaudentius, and St. Austin assure us that he was crucified; St. Peter Chrysologus says, on a tree; Pseudo-Hippolytus adds, on an olive-tree. In the hymn of Pope Damasus it is barely mentioned that he was crucified. When the apostle saw his cross at a distance, he is said to have cried out, "Hail, precious cross, that hast been consecrated by the body of my Lord, and adorned with his limbs as with rich jewels. I come to thee exulting and glad: receive me with joy into thy arms. O good cross, that hast received beauty from our Lord's limbs; I have ardently loved thee; long have I desired and sought thee: now thou art found by me, and art made ready for my longing soul; receive me into thy arms, taking me from among men, and present me to my master; that he who redeemed me on thee, may receive me by thee." The body of St. Andrew was translated from Patrae to Constantinople in 357, together with those of St. Luke and St. Timothy, and deposited in the Church of the Apostles, which Constantine the Great had built a little before. St. Paulinus and St. Jerome mention miracles wrought on that occasion. The churches of Milan, Nola, Brescia, and some other places, were at the same time enriched with small portions of these relics, as we are informed by St. Ambrose, St. Gaudentius, St. Paulinus, &c.
It is the common opinion that the cross of St. Andrew was in the form of the letter X, styled a cross decussate, composed of two pieces of timber crossing each other obliquely in the middle. That such crosses were sometimes used is certain; yet no clear proofs are produced as to the form of St. Andrew's cross. It is mentioned in the records of the duchy of Burgundy, that the cross of St. Andrew was brought out of Achaia and placed in the nunnery of Weaune, near Marseilles. It was thence removed into the abbey of St. Victor, in Marseilles, before the year 1250, and is still shown there. A part thereof, enclosed in a silver case gilt, was carried to Brussels by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and Brabant, who, in honour of it, instituted the Knights of the Golden Fleece, who for the badge of their Order, wear a figure of this cross, called St. Andrew's cross, or the cross of Burgundy. The Scots honour St. Andrew as principal patron of their country, and their historians tell us that a certain abbot, called Regulus, brought thither from Patrae in 369, or rather from Constantinople some years later, certain relics of this apostle, which he deposited in a church which he built in his honour with a monastery called Abernethy, where now the city of St. Andrews stands. Usher proves that many pilgrims resorted to this church from foreign countries, and that the Scottish monks of that place were the first who were called Culdees. Hungus, King of the Picts, soon after the year 800, in thanksgiving for a great victory which he had gained over the Northumbrians, gave to this church the tenth part of all the land of his dominions. Kenneth II, King of the Scots, having overcome the Picts, and entirely extinguished their kingdom in North Britain, in 845, repaired and richly endowed the Church of St. Regulus, or Rueil, in which the arm of St. Andrew was reverently kept. The Muscovites say he preached the faith among them, and honour him as the principal titular saint of their empire. Peter the Great instituted under his name the first and most noble order of knighthood, or of the blue ribbon; leaving the project of a second Order of St. Alexander Newski, or of the red ribbon, to be carried into execution by his widow.
St. Andrew, by conversing with Christ, extinguished in his breast all earthly passions and desires, and attained to the happiness of his pure divine love. We often say to ourselves that we also desire to purchase holy love, the most valuable of all treasures, and the summit of dignity and happiness. But these desires are fruitless and mere mockery unless we earnestly set about the means. We must first, with the apostle, leave all things; that is to say, we must sincerely and in spirit forsake the world (though we live in it), and must also renounce and die to ourselves before we can be admitted to the familiar converse of our Redeemer and God, or before he opens to us the treasure of his choicest graces. In the same proportion that the world and self-love are banished from our hearts shall we advance in divine love. But this great virtue is learned, exercised, and improved by conversing much with God in holy meditation, reading, and assiduous prayer and recollection; also by its external acts, in all manner of good works, especially those of fraternal charity and spiritual mercy.(SOURCE:


Matthew 4: 18 - 22
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, in the boat with Zeb'edee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

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