Wednesday, November 18, 2009





17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public yesterday was a letter from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to priests of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China, for the occasion of the Year for Priests which was called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the saintly "Cure of Ars". "In the Letter that the Holy Father addressed to the bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful in the People's Republic of China on 27 May 2007, a number of guidelines are indicated for the future journey of the Church", explains the cardinal in his letter which was published in Chinese, English and Italian. "Among those I wish to emphasise reconciliation within the Catholic community and a respectful and constructive dialogue with the civil authorities, without renouncing the principles of the Catholic faith. In this regard, despite the persisting difficulties, the information that has come from different parts of China points also to signs of hope". Cardinal Bertone also expresses the view that, "at a distance of only two years since the publication of the papal Letter, it does not seem that the time has come to make definitive evaluations. Using the words of the great missionary of China, Fr. Matteo Ricci, I believe we can say that it is still more a time of sowing than of reaping". "There are", the secretary of State tells Chinese clergy, "various practical ways in which you can make your valuable contribution: for example, by visiting Catholic and non-Catholic families frequently; ... increasing efforts to prepare and train good catechists; fostering greater use of charitable services directed especially to children and to sick and old people; ... organising special gatherings where Catholics could invite their non-Catholic relatives and friends in order to become better acquainted with the Catholic Church and Christian faith; distributing Catholic literature to non-Catholics". "In this Year of the Priesthood, I wish to remind you of the source where you can find the strength to be faithful to your important mission, ... the Eucharist. ... A truly Eucharistic community cannot retreat into itself, as though it were self-sufficient, but must stay in communion with every other Catholic community". Addressing bishops, Cardinal Bertone says: "Your paternal solicitude will suggest to you, according to the possibilities and conditions of each diocese, suitable initiatives for promoting vocations to the priesthood, such as prayer days and meetings or the opening of places where priests and faithful, especially the young, can come to pray together under the guidance of expert and good priests acting as spiritual directors". "The Holy Father Benedict XVI realises that 'in China too, as in the rest of the Church, the need for an adequate ongoing formation of the clergy is emerging. Hence the invitation, addressed to you bishops as leaders of ecclesial communities, to think especially of the young clergy who are increasingly subject to new pastoral challenges, linked to the demands of the task of evangelising a society as complex as that of present-day China'". "The saintly 'Cure of Ars' teaches us that the worship given to the Eucharist outside of Mass is of inestimable value in the life of every priest. This worship is closely joined to the celebration of the Eucharist". After then highlighting how, "if we are united in the Eucharistic Christ, all of the miseries of the world echo in our hearts to implore the mercy of God", the cardinal secretary of State emphasises the need "to seek reconciliation with concrete gestures. ... In order to obtain it, there is an urgent need to pay attention also to the human formation of all the faithful, priests and sisters included, because the lack of human maturity, self-control and inner harmony is the most frequent source of misunderstandings, lack of co-operation and conflicts within Catholic communities". Finally, Cardinal Bertone concludes by "entrusting to the Most Blessed Virgin the wish that your priestly life may be guided more and more by those ideals of the total giving of oneself to Christ and to the Church which inspired the thought and action of the saintly 'Cure of Ars'".SS/.../CHINESE PRIESTS VIS 091117 (710)

CONFERENCE ON DEAF PEOPLE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the 24th international conference promoted by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. The theme of this year's gathering is "Effata! Deaf people in the life of the Church", and the event is due to be held in the Vatican's New Synod Hall from 19 to 21 November. Participating in today's press conference were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, Bishop Jose L. Redrado O.H. and Msgr. Jean-Marie Mpendawatu, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care; Fr. Savino Castiglione of the Congregation "Little Mission for the Deaf", and Marco Radici, director of the ENT unit of the Hospital of St. John of God "Fatebenefratelli" in Rome. There are 278 million people in the world who suffer from hearing impairment, of whom 59 million are profoundly deaf. Eighty percent of deaf people live in the less-developed areas of the planet. It is also estimated that there are around 1.3 million deaf people in the Catholic Church who, Archbishop Zimowski explained, "face particular difficulties in participating fully in religious practices". The forthcoming conference - which will be attended by 498 people, 89 of whom are deaf - arises from the need to promote and improve commitment in this field of disability in order "to achieve true integration for deaf people", he said. "According to the timetable", the archbishop continued, "the three days of the meeting will be subdivided into sections focusing on various aspects of deafness. The first day will examine the themes of: 'deaf people in the world, past and present'; 'the psychological world of deaf people'; the 'medical aspects of deafness', and 'experiences from the world of deafness'". The second day, during which the participants will also be received by the Pope, will consider such themes as "the family and deaf people" and "pastoral care of the deaf". The conference will come to an end on 21 November with a summarisation of the subjects discussed, roundtable discussions and the presentation of a final report. Among those attending the conference will be Archbishop Patrick A. Kelly of Liverpool, England, and Terry O'Meara, respectively president and director of the International Catholic Foundation for the Service of Deaf Persons; Silvio P. Mariotti, an expert of the World Health Organisation, and Fr. Cyril Axelrod, a blind and deaf priest. Also participating in the event will be Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan and Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, presidents emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, which is due to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its foundation on 11 February 2010.OP/EFFATA/ZIMOWSKI VIS 091117 (450)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This evening Holy Father is due to receive in audience Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi, accompanied by an entourage.AP/.../... VIS 091117 (30)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted: - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Sapporo, Japan, presented by Bishop Peter Toshio Jinushi, upon having reached the age limit. - The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon, presented by Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Samuel Kleda.RE/.../JINUSHI:TUMI:KLEDA VIS 091117 (80)

IN MEMORIAM VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks: - Bishop Roque Antonio Adames Rodriguez, emeritus of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, on 31 October at the age of 80. - Bishop Jose Afonso Ribeiro T.O.R., prelate of emeritus of Borba, Brazil, on 11 November at the age of 80. - Bishop Hubertus Brandenburg, emeritus of Stockholm, Sweden, on 4 November at the age of 85. - Bishop Abraham Escudero Montoya of Palmira, Colombia, on 6 November at the age of 69. - Bishop Antonio Rosario Mennonna, emeritus of Nardo, Italy, on 6 November at the age of 103. - Bishop Manuel Romero Arvizu O.F.M., prelate emeritus of Jesus Maria, Mexico, on 6 November at the age of 90. - Bishop Arturo Salazar Mejia O.A.R., emeritus of Pasto, Colombia, on 1 November at the age of 88..../DEATHS/... VIS 091117 (150)



CNA reports that Monday, Nov. 16 marked the 20th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. The massacre took place in 1989 and was perpetrated by members of an army battalion during El Salvador's civil war.
Speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York said that the USCCB joins in “commemorating the lives and the work of the six Jesuits and their collaborators.”
Bishop Hubbard, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on International Justice and Peace, has also thanked the members of Congress who have sponsored and co-sponsored House and Senate resolutions (H.R. 761 and S. 321) which have honored the lives of the six priests.
In his letter to Congress, Bishop Hubbard quoted Pope Benedict XVI's recent encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate,” saying, “charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine … (and) gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbor.”
The Bishop continued by saying that “it is precisely this kind of charity that was exemplified by the Jesuits in El Salvador - a commitment to a more just and peaceful society where the human needs and rights of people are acknowledged and respected.”
Bishop Hubbard concluded that “their legacy continues to be embodied in the many women and men who still seek a more just, peaceful and secure world where the life and dignity of all persons is defended.” (SOURCE:



CNA reports that during the presentation of his book, “The Contribution of Christians for a New Europe,” the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said Europe, “more than a geographic reality, is a spiritual reality, which distinguishes it from other continents,” and that it has profound Christian roots which cannot be ignored in the face of secularist threats to banish them.
In the introduction to the book, Cardinal Sodano recalls first the great work of Pope John Paul II and his contribution to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism in Europe. He also noted the late Pope's untiring work in support of the “European Community of the Spirit,” a task also important to Pope Benedict XVI.
Benedict XVI, says Cardinal Sodano, “from the outset of his pontificate, has always recalled the Christian roots of Europe, which are capable of assuring a new and harmonious development of social life on the continent.”
He said these statements by the Holy Father conflict with “a secular current that seeks to hide the religious and moral aspect of the lives of the European people. Some have even spoken of a time of historical amnesia, others of Christ-phobia. What is certain is that there are attempts to dissolve the Christian identity of Europe,” the cardinal said.
“Many people of good will, in particular the Christians of Europe, who are the guardians of that spiritual patrimony that has always characterized them throughout the centuries,” have fought against these attempts, he added.
Cardinal Sodano noted that in his recent encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate,” Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians in Europe to make the Gospel present in the lives of their communities and to thus transform society.
“Christians are only demanding the right to concur in the formation of a civilization that respects and promotes the rights of all, that is, of believers and their institutions,” the cardinal said.
“The new Europe that Christians, particularly Catholics, want to strengthen is not a sectarian Europe. But neither do they want Europe to be a secular institution that disregards the spiritual values that have given it life throughout the centuries,” he added.
Christians “understand well the duty to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but they also legitimately demand Caesar to give to God that which is God’s,” the cardinal concluded.(SOURCE:



UCAN reports that the bishop of Macau is rallying Catholic government officials to tackle corruption, which emerged as the key concern in a recent poll.

The Catholic-run Macau Inter-University Institute (IIUM) survey found that nearly a third of respondents thought corruption had worsened in the past 10 years.
It was the chief concern among the 15 topics that people were asked to respond to in the survey, which aimed to measure Macau residents' quality of life. The second highest concern was unemployment with 26 percent believing it was a worse problem now than a decade ago.
Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng told UCA News he would contact high-ranking officials who are Catholics to express his concerns, noting that as officials, they are involved in public decision-making and formulating government policies.
He said he will also instruct parishes, catechism classes and Catholic schools to strengthen their teaching of Catholic social principles.
Richard Whitfield, principal researcher of the "Quality of Life Report" survey, told UCA News that the Macau government needs to heed community demands for open and transparent governance.
The authorities should investigate allegations that government officials take advantage of their positions for monetary gain and launch an education program for them.
There have been a series of high-profile corruption cases recently.
In April this year, the former secretary for transportation Ao Man-long was sentenced to 27 years' imprisonment for taking bribes amounting to 804 million patacas (US$102 million) while in office.
Media also reported on several other allegations of government officials transferring benefits to business companies in public projects and through land selling in recent years.
The "Observatorio De Macau", a weekly newspaper published by the Lay Catholic Association of Macau, in its Nov. 8 issue drew attention to a controversial land transaction.
A 442,200-square-meter plot of land in Taipa was sold to an affiliate of a casino operator for 2.92 billion patacas without going through the process of public bidding in October.
In comparison, the weekly reported that two pieces of land, totaling just 4,700 square meters and located in less prime areas, were sold for a total of 1.41 billion patacas last year.
Legislator Paul Chan Wai-chi, director of the weekly, together with other legislators submitted a motion on Nov. 12 to hear the controversial case. This was rejected.
Chan told UCA News he will hold a rally against corruption on Dec. 20, the 10th anniversary of Macau's handover by Portugal to China.



CISA reports that civil rights groups are calling on governments and donors to implement the existing commitments on water and sanitation saying that Africa is off-track on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).Speaking during a meeting on the Africa Water Week in Midrand, South Africa the civil societies also called for allocation of half the percent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for sanitation and also an increase in the political profile of sanitation.According to IPS they again called for investment in infrastructure to mitigate floods, droughts and other threats and to involve citizens in the monitoring and management of rivers and lake basins in order to build climate resilience.According to the civil rights groups, governments have repeatedly committed to increase support for water and sanitation most recently in July 2008, at the African Union (AU) Summit in Egypt however, they say implementation has failed due to a lack of funds and political will.Jamillah Mwanjisi, executive secretary for the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation said during the meeting, “In certain countries, one in eight people have access to safe sanitation. In terms of water supply, it is mostly rich people in urban areas who have access, while the rural community still has to walk four to eight kilometers to get water.”She said that donor aid is not sufficient for Africa and until recently sanitation was not on the political agenda.Fatima Zohra Zerouati, chairperson of the National Federation for Environment Protection in Algeria added that Africa running late in terms of achieving goals on water and sanitation and there is need for swift action.She emphasized that leaders should understand that water and sanitation are more important than the army, which receives far more resources in almost every country.Ada-Oko Williams, the Regional Learning Centre Co-ordinator for Water Aid, an international NGO, says the way forward is prioritization of water and sanitation issues, the designation of responsible agencies and drawing up clear national plans for sanitation using MDG targets as benchmarks.Rose Kaggwa, manager of external services for the National Water and Sewerage Corporation of Uganda, said that to move from talk to action, it is important to bring partners together to focus in one direction; otherwise, there would be too many people doing too many things in different direction.Switzerland-based NGO International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IHRA) is also working on sustainable solutions to water and sanitation problems in West Africa. One project, at a school in the village of Luwasa in the southern Nigerian state of Lagos, replaced four poorly-maintained pit latrines with new toilets and a rainwater harvesting system.The schools nearly 2,000 pupils had stopped using the overflowing pit latrines, instead defecating in the bushes near the school compound. The school had a borehole, but it had dried up. The lack of water and private toilet facilities at the school had been linked to absenteeism among girls in particular.



Cath News reports that a Toowoomba Catholic primary school principal charged with failing to report a student's complaint of sexual assault by a teacher claimed he had followed the instructions of his superiors.
The principal, who cannot be named so as to protect the identity of the school and complainant children, told Toowoomba Magistrates Court he had sought the advice of his immediate superiors when told of the Year 4 student's allegations in September 2007, according to the Toowoomba Chronicle.
He told a packed courtroom that it was his understanding under the legislation that he was obliged to inform his employer of any such allegation and that is what he had done. He had followed their advice on how to proceed, he said.
Police say the defendant's actions in reporting the incident did not comply with that set out under the legislation and claim he could have contacted police in the first instance.


St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Feast: November 17
Feast Day:
November 17
1207 at Presburg, Hungary
17 November 1231, Marburg, Germany
1235, Perugia, Italy
Major Shrine:
Elisabeth Church (Marburg)
Patron of:
hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lacemakers, tertiaries and widows

Also called St. Elizabeth of Thuringia, born in Hungary, probably at Pressburg, 1207; died at Marburg, Hesse, 17 November (not 19 November), 1231. She was a daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary (1205-35) and his wife Gertrude, a member of the family of the Counts of Andechs-Meran; Elizabeth's brother succeeded his father on the throne of Hungary as Bela IV; the sister of her mother, Gertrude, was St. Hedwig, wife of Duke Heinrich I, the Bearded, of Silesia, while another saint, St. Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal (d. 1336), the wife of the tyrannical King Diniz of that country, was her great-niece. In 1211 a formal embassy was sent by Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia to Hungary to arrange, as was customary in that age, a marriage between his eldest son Hermann and Elizabeth, who was then four years old. This plan of a marriage was the result of political considerations and was intended to be the ratification of a great alliance which in the political schemes of the time it was sought to form against the German Emperor Otto IV, a member of the house of Guelph, who had quarrelled with the Church. Not long after this the little girl was taken to the Thuringian court to be brought up with her future husband and, in the course of time, to be betrothed to him. The court of Thuringia was at this period famous for its magnificence. Its centre was the stately castle of the Wartburg, splendidly placed on a hill in the Thuringian Forest near Eisenach, where the Landgrave Hermann lived surrounded by poets and minnesingers, to whom he was a generous patron. Notwithstanding the turbulence and purely secular life of the court and the pomp of her surroundings, the little girl grew up a very religious child with an evident inclination to prayer and pious observances and small acts of self-mortification. These religious impulses were undoubtedly strengthened by the sorrowful experiences of her life. In 1213 Elizabeth's mother, Gertrude, was murdered by Hungarian nobles, probably out of hatred of the Germans. On 31 December, 1216, the oldest son of the landgrave, Hermann, who Elizabeth was to marry, died; after this she was betrothed to Ludwig, the second son. It was probably in these years that Elizabeth had to suffer the hostility of the more frivolous members of the Thuringian court, to whom the contemplative and pious child was a constant rebuke. Ludwig, however, must have soon come to her protection against any ill-treatment. The legend that arose later is incorrect in making Elizabeth's mother-in-law, the Landgravine Sophia, a member of the reigning family of Bavaria, the leader of this court party. On the contrary, Sophia was a very religious and charitable woman and a kindly mother to the little Elizabeth. The political plans of the old Landgrave Hermann involved him in great difficulties and reverses; he was excommunicated, lost his mind towards the end of his life, and died, 25 April, 1217, unreconciled with the Church. He was succeeded by his son Ludwig IV, who, in 1221, was also made regent of Meissen and the East Mark. The same year (1221) Ludwig and Elizabeth were married, the groom being twenty-one years old and the bride fourteen. The marriage was in every regard a happy and exemplary one, and the couple were devotedly attached to each other. Ludwig proved himself worthy of his wife. He gave his protection to her acts of charity, penance, and her vigils and often held Elizabeth's hands as she knelt praying at night beside his bed. He was also a capable ruler and brave soldier. The Germans call him St. Ludwig, an appellation given to him as one of the best men of his age and the pious husband of St. Elizabeth. They had three children: Hermann II (1222-41), who died young; Sophia (1224-84), who married Henry II, Duke of Brabant, and was the ancestress of the Landgraves of Hesse, as in the war of the Thuringian succession she won Hesse for her son Heinrich I, called the Child; Gertrude (1227-97), Elizabeth's third child, was born several weeks after the death of her father; in after-life she became abbess of the convent of Aldenburg near Wetzlar.
Shortly after their marriage, Elizabeth and Ludwig made a journey to Hungary; Ludwig was often after this employed by the Emperor Frederick II, to whom he was much attached, in the affairs of the empire. In the spring of 1226, when floods, famine, and the pest wrought havoc in Thuringia, Ludwig was in Italy attending the Diet at Cremona on behalf of the emperor and the empire. Under these circumstances Elizabeth assumed control of affairs, distributed alms in all parts of the territory of her husband, giving even state robes and ornaments to the poor. In order to care personally for the unfortunate she built below the Wartburg a hospital with twenty-eight beds and visited the inmates daily to attend to their wants; at the same time she aided nine hundred poor daily. It is this period of her life that has preserved Elizabeth's fame to posterity as the gentle and charitable Cheatelaine of the Wartburg. Ludwig on his return confirmed all she had done. The next year (1227) he started with the Emperor Frederick II on a crusade to Palestine but died, 11 September of the same year at Otranto, from the pest. The news did not reach Elizabeth until October, just after she had given birth to her third child. On hearing the tidings Elizabeth, who was only twenty years old, cried out: "The world with all its joys is now dead to me."The fact that in 1221 the followers of St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) made their first permanent settlement in Germany was one of great importance in the later career of Elizabeth. Brother Rodeger, one of the first Germans whom the provincial for Germany, Caesarius of Speier, received into the order, was for a time the spiritual instructor of Elizabeth at the Wartburg; in his teachings he unfolded to her the ideals of St. Francis, and these strongly appealed to her. With the aid of Elizabeth the Franciscans in 1225 founded a monastery in Eisenach; Brother Rodeger, as his fellow-companion in the order, Jordanus, reports, instructed Elizabeth, to observe, according to her state of life, chastity, humility, patience, the exercise of prayer, and charity. Her position prevented the attainment of the other ideal of St. Francis, voluntary and complete poverty. Various remarks of Elizabeth to her female attendants make it clear how ardently she desired the life of poverty. After a while the post Brother Rodeger had filled was assumed by Master Conrad of Marburg, who belonged to no order, but was a very ascetic and, it must be acknowledged, a somewhat rough and very severe man. He was well known as a preacher of the crusade and also as an inquisitor or judge in cases of heresy. On account of the latter activity he has been more severely judged than is just; at the present day, however, the estimate of him is a fairer one. Pope Gregory IX, who wrote at times to Elizabeth, recommended her himself to the God-fearing preacher. Conrad treated Elizabeth with inexorable severity, even using corporal means of correction; nevertheless, he brought her with a firm hand by the road of self-mortification to sanctity, and after her death was very active in her canonization. Although he forbade her to follow St. Francis in complete poverty as a beggar, yet, on the other hand, by the command to keep her dower she was enabled to perform works of charity and tenderness.(SOURCE:


Matthew 25: 31 - 40
"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'

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