Wednesday, November 18, 2009





18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique yesterday evening. "This evening in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. "In the course of the meetings, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, questions of mutual interest were considered, such as the importance of dialogue and of respect for human rights, as fundamental elements in the creation of a stable society oriented towards the good of all its members. Emphasis was likewise given to the Church's commitment to contributing to the integral development of the nation of Burundi in the fields of spiritual assistance, education, healthcare and social-humanitarian work. "In this context, the hope was expressed for a framework agreement to define and guarantee the juridical status of the Church and her activities in the country".OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT BURUNDI VIS 091118 (180)

MEDIAEVAL CATHEDRALS: HARMONIOUS BLEND OF FAITH AND ART VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - "The Christian faith, profoundly rooted in the men and women of the Middle Ages", said the Pope in his catechesis during this morning's general audience, "not only gave rise to masterpieces of theological literature, it also inspired some of the most exalted artistic creations of all civilisation: the cathedrals". Apart from the more favourable historical conditions, such as greater political stability, the artistic fervour Europe witnessed over three centuries from the year 1000 was due also to "the ardour and spiritual zeal of monasticism", thanks to which the abbeys were built. There "the faithful could remain in prayer, drawn by the idea of venerating the relics of saints, which led to incessant pilgrimages", said Holy Father to the 8,000 faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall. Thus the Romanesque churches and cathedrals came into being, one of the novelties of which was the introduction of sculptures which, more than seeking technical perfection, "had an educational aim. ... Their recurring theme was the representation of Christ as Judge, surrounded by the figures of the Apocalypse. In general it is the portals of Romanesque churches that present this image, underlining the fact that Christ is the Door that leads to heaven". Benedict XVI then turned his attention to the Gothic cathedrals of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries characterised, he said, by "their vertical thrust and luminosity". They "reveal a synthesis of faith and art, harmoniously expressed through the universal and captivating language of beauty. ... The Gothic cathedrals thus sought to translate - in their architectural lines - the longing of the soul for God", while their stained glass windows caused "a cascade of light to fall upon the faithful, recounting the story of salvation". "Gothic sculpture made cathedrals 'Bibles of stone', depicting the episodes of the Gospel and illustrating the passages of the liturgical year, from the Nativity to the Glorification of the Lord. ... Nor were the figures of the Old Testament overlooked, whose story thus became familiar to the faithful". Yet "the artistic masterpieces created in Europe over previous centuries are incomprehensible is we do not take account of the religious spirit that inspired them", said Pope Benedict. "When faith, especially as celebrated in the liturgy, encounters art, a profound harmony is created because both wish to speak of God, to make the Invisible visible". He also indicated that during his forthcoming meeting with artists, scheduled for 21 November, he will renew his "proposal of friendship between Christian spirituality and art, as expressed by my predecessors, especially ... Paul VI and John Paul II". "The force of the Romanesque and the splendour of Gothic cathedrals remind us that the 'via pulchritudinis', the way of beauty, is a privileged and fascinating way to approach the Mystery of God", said the Holy Father. "May the Lord help us", he concluded, "to rediscover this way of beauty as one of the paths, perhaps the most attractive and captivating, to encounter and to love God".AG/CATHEDRALS/... VIS 091118 (510)

APPEAL TO RESPECT THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF CHILDREN VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father recalled the fact that Friday 20 November marks the United Nations Day of Prayer and Action for Children, called to mark the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. "My thoughts go", said Benedict XVI, "to all the children of the world, especially those who live in difficult conditions, and suffer because of violence, abuse, sickness, war or hunger. "I invite you to join my prayers. At the same time I make an appeal to the international community to increase its efforts to offer an adequate response to the dramatic problems of infancy. May a generous commitment on everyone's part not be lacking, so that the rights of children may be recognised and their dignity given ever greater respect".AG/APPEAL CHILDREN/... VIS 091118 (150)

BENEDICT XVI RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER OF BANGLADESH VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today: "At the end of his general audience today, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. She subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. "During the cordial discussions, opinions were exchanged concerning the current situation in Bangladesh, the principal challenges facing the country, and the efforts to promote a society that is ever more open to, and respectful of, the human rights of all its citizens. Furthermore, with reference to the regular contacts between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, attention also focused on the positive and much-appreciated contribution the Catholic Church makes to human promotion and social life in the country, through her activities of education, healthcare and assistance".OP/AUDIENCE/BANGLADESH VIS 091118 (160)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Luiz Antonio Guedes of Campo Limpo, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Emilio Pignoli. - Bishop Jose Moreira de Melo of Itapeva. - Bishop Francisco Jose Zugliani of Amparo.AL/.../... VIS 091118 (70)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jean (John) Bosco Baremes S.M., former provincial counsellor of the province of Oceania of the Marist Fathers, as bishop of Port-Vila (area 11,870, population 230,000, Catholics 32,500, priests 24, permanent deacons 1, religious 86), Vanuatu. The bishop-elect was born in Han, Papua New Guinea in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1987.NER/.../BAREMES VIS 091118 (70)



The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to approve the last five pieces of the English translation of the Roman Missal during the November 17 session of the annual Fall General Assembly. Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, called the bishops’ completion of their years-long work on the Missal “historic.”
The bishops approved the Proper of Saints with 195 in favor, 23 opposed and 4 bishops abstaining. The bishops approved the Commons with 200 bishops in favor and 19 opposed. They approved the Roman Missal Supplement with 203 in favor, 15 opposed and 3 abstaining. They approved the U.S. Propers with 199 in favor, 20 opposed and 1 abstaining. They approved the U.S. Adaptation to the Roman Missal with 199 in favor, 17 opposed and 1 abstaining.
These items will now go to the Vatican for recognitio, or approval, which Bishop Serratelli said is expected sometime in 2010. Once the new translation is approved in its entirety, the materials for its implementation at the parish level will be ready in approximately a year.---(SOURCE:



CNA reports that at the conclusion of their Plenary Assembly at the Shrine of Fatima, the bishops of Portugal stated that any form of euthanasia, or any “action or omission that, by its nature or intentions, provokes death,” is unacceptable.
In response to efforts to promote euthanasia in Portugal, the bishops issued a pastoral letter entitled, “Caring For Life Until Death.” “Nobody is the absolute owner of his or her own life and much less of the lives of others. Therefore,” they said, “assisted suicide of any kind is ethically equivalent to euthanasia.”
The prelates stressed that palliative care and attention are the best answers to alleviating suffering, but noted that it is ethically permissible to avoid extraordinary measures of care.
The legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide would inevitably lead to pressure on those whose health is not up to society’s standards, “making them feel like an unwanted burden or inconvenience,” the bishops stated. (SOURCE:



UCAN reports that Priests in mainland China say they appreciate the Vatican's recent letter to them, while pointing out at the same time the challenges faced by the "underground" and government-approved Church communities.

A procession of deacons before their priestlyordination Mass in Jilin, China (File photo)
Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's letter, written for the Year for Priests, was published in the Vatican's Fides Service and Vatican Radio websites on Nov. 16. It was believed to be a result of the meeting of the Holy See's Commission for the Catholic Church in China in late March.
Half of the meeting was devoted to the formation of seminarians, priests and Religious.
The document, dated Nov. 10, reiterates the importance of reconciliation within the Catholic community and reminded the clergy to find strength from the Eucharist. It also advised bishops to ensure adequate formation for their priests.
Father John Li Hongwei of Changsha, from the "open" Church community, said the letter was timely and useful in helping priests learn how to act according to the Gospel.
Since Changsha diocese has had no bishop for nine years, his fellow priests have tended to work independently with little cooperation among themselves. Such lack of unity has caused many problems, he said.
Father Paul Bai Chunlong of Jilin, also from the open Church community, appreciated the cardinal's reminder to bishops to pay "particular attention" to young priests working alone soon after ordination.
"Sometimes when attention and care are inadequate, priests can face many temptations," said Father Bai, who teaches at the diocesan seminary in northeastern China.
The priest, who is in his 30s, said he welcomed the section in the letter asking priests to emulate the dedication of Saint John Mary Vianney, patron of parish priests, to his priestly ministry.
Commenting on the letter's emphasis on "reconciliation within the Catholic community" in China, he believes bishops from both Church communities should take the lead by contacting and accepting one other. "Three of my primary schoolmates became underground priests and we lost contact. But now we phone each other and meet up regularly," he said.
Father John Baptist of Mindong diocese's underground community said he was touched by the cardinal's concerns for priests in China.
He observed that both clergy and laypeople have become very secular in outlook, thus they especially need spiritual formation. Most mainland priests are also not well educated and some even lack proper seminary training.
However, he noted that the older bishops lack the energy to mentor the younger priests, while the younger bishops find it hard to command the same kind of respect from priests in the same age group.


CISA reports that the Kenyan Government has refuted claims that the evictions of settlers from the Mau Forest are inhuman. The government has not gone back on its word and those leaving the forest were provided with transport and food, Forestry and Wildlife Minister, Dr Noah Wekesa said in a statement on November 16.He also accused leaders from the region of politicising the process saying, "The people who moved out have been provided with transport to take them where they would like to go. Livelihood support is already on ground to cater for all encroachers for at least one month," He made the remarks as the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) started evicting squatters still lingering in the Mau Forest.Those ejected joined nearly 2,000 now camping in three temporary camps after moving out of the dwellings in the South Western Mau. A team of forest service rangers moved deeper into the forest at Tinet where the settlers were persuaded to move out.The armed officers did not use any force but talked to the concerned families and even helped them transport their belonging in their trucks. KFS trucks streamed out of the forest, carrying mainly women and children as men drove their animals and others carted households on donkey backs.The operation got under way as the first form of humanitarian assistance started trickling in for the families staying in the cold in the temporary structures. A team of Red Cross personnel arrived at Kapkembu on Monday afternoon and proceeded to distribute what they termed "non-food items" - blankets, soaps and mosquito nets to the families.However, the plight of the displaced families was worsened by heavy rains the whole afternoon. According to reports by the Daily Nation from camps in Kapkembu, Saino, Ndoinet, Tiriita and Kipkongor last week found that none of the arrangements promised by Forestry minister was in place.Dr Wekesa said the eviction of settlers would continue as similar evictions had been undertaken in Mt Kenya, Mt Elgon, Cherangany and Aberdares. "People have been removed from Embobut Forest in Marakwet and Marmanet Forest in Nyahururu... Our appeal to all Kenyans is to support the government's conservation efforts as they are not targeted to any community," said Dr Wekesa.So far more than 2, 000 squatters have left the forest in Chematich, Olenguruone, Kapkembu and Saino. The situation in Mau has been described as grave and it is imperative that the government urgently assists the families who are camped by the roadside.Mau Forest is a forest complex in the Rift Valley of Kenya. It is the largest indigenous Montane forest in East Africa. The Mau Forest complex has an area of more than 27,000. Over the last two decades, the Mau Complex has lost approximately 25 percent of its forest cover - around 107,000 hectares (413 square miles) - due to irregular and unplanned settlements, illegal resources extraction, in particular logging and charcoal burning, the change of land use from forest to unsustainable agriculture and change in ownership from public to private.The forest area has some of the highest rainfall rates in Kenya. Mau Forest is the largest water catchment area in Kenya. Numerous rivers originate from the forest, including Ewaso Ng'iro River (southern), Sondu River, Mara River and Njoro River. These rivers feed Lake Victoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Natron. Westerns slopes of the Mau Escarpment are covered by Mau Forest. The strategic importance of the Mau Forest lies in the ecosystem services it provides to Kenya and the region - river flow regulation, flood mitigation, water storage, reduced soil erosion, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, carbon reservoir and microclimate regulation. (SOURCE:


Cath News reports that Adelaide City Council said it is "disrespectful" of the Church to propose the demolition of buildings surrounding St Francis Xavier Cathedral to make way for a nine storey glass office building.
The council's Development Assessment Panel said the Catholic Church Endowment Society $50 million plan was unsympathetic and deputy presiding member Rob Cheesman cast doubt on whether it was genuine, The Advertiser reported.
"I'm not sure if this proposal is serious or not. I'm not being flippant," he said, citing a lack of documentation and forethought.
Adelaide City councillor Michael Henningsen, who is a member of St Francis Xavier's parish, also had grave concerns about the plan.
"I find this to be an absolutely schizoid proposal," Cr Henningsen said.
"The current Catholic diocesean offices respect everything around it; they are extremely sympathetic to the heritage neighbours.
"Now we have this proposal. I find them incredibly anal in some ways, but in other ways very disrespectful."
The Catholic Church Endowment Society was not available for comment, the report said.


St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
Feast: November 18
Feast Day:
November 18
29 August 1769 at Grenoble, France
18 November 1852 at Saint Charles, Missouri, USA
July 3, 1988 by Pope John Paul II

Rose Philippine Duchesne came to the wilds of North America when anything west of Pittsburgh was considered uncharted wilderness. She came up the Mississippi to Missouri and established a school at St. Charles as early as 1818, while St. Elizabeth Seton was doing her work in the eastern United States. She is the foundress of the American branch of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
She was born in Grenoble, France, in 1769, her father a successful businessman. She was educated by the Visitation nuns and, although her father opposed her decision, she entered the Visitation Order in 1788, in the middle of the French Revolution. She was not able to make her profession because of the disruption of the Revolution and had to return home when the Visitation sisters were expelled from their convents.
During the Revolution, she cared for the sick and poor, helped fugitive priests, visited prisons, and taught children. After the Revolution, she tried to reorganize the Visitation community but was unsuccessful, so she offered the empty convent to St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and entered the Sacred Heart Order herself. When the bishop of New Orleans, William Du Bourg, requested nuns for his huge Louisiana diocese, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne came to the United States, arriving in New Orleans in 1818.
She and her four nuns were sent to St. Charles, Missouri, where she immediately opened a school; then at Florissant, she built a convent, an orphanage, a parish school, a school for Indians, a boarding academy, and a novitiate for her order. In 1827, she was in St. Louis where she founded an orphanage, a convent, and a parish school. Her energy and ideas were prodigious. When she was seventy-two years old, she founded a mission school for Indian girls in Kansas and spent much of her time there nursing the sick.
Her last years were spent at St. Charles, a model and inspiration to those around her, facing all the hardships of pioneer work. She died on November 18, 1852, at the age of eighty-three and was canonized in 1988. She was truly the "missionary of the American frontier," one that her beloved Potawatomi Indians called , "Woman-who-prays-always."

Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul
Feast: November 18
Feast Day:
November 18

The Vatican Church, dedicated in honour of St. Peter, is the second patriarchal church at Rome, and in it reposes one half of the precious remains of the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul. The tombs of the great conquerors and lords of the world have been long since destroyed and forgotten; but those of the martyrs are glorious by the veneration which the faithful pay to their memory.
The body of St. Peter is said to have been buried immediately after his martyrdom, upon this spot, on the Vatican hill, which was then without the walls and near the suburb inhabited by the Jews. The remains of this apostle were removed hence into the cemetery of Calixtus, but brought back to the Vatican. Those of St. Paul were deposited on the Ostian Way, where his church now stands. The tombs of the two princes of the apostles, from the beginning, were visited by Christians with extraordinary devotion above those of other martyrs. Caius, the learned and eloquent priest of Rome, in 210, in his dialogue with Proclus the Montanist, speaks thus of them: "I can show you the trophies of the apostles. For, whether you go to the Vatican hill, or to the Ostian road, you will meet with the monuments of them who by their preaching and miracles founded this church."
The Christians, even in the times of persecution, adorned the tombs of the martyrs and the oratories which they erected over them, where they frequently prayed. Constantine the Great, after founding the Lateran Church, built seven other churches at Rome and many more in other parts of Italy. The first of these were the churches of St. Peter on the Vatican hill (where a temple of Apollo and another of Idaea, mother of the gods, before stood) in honour of the place where the prince of the apostles had suffered martyrdom and was buried and that of St. Paul, at his tomb on the Ostian road. The yearly revenues which Constantine granted to all these churches, amounted to seventeen thousand seven hundred and seventy golden pence, which is above thirteen thousand pounds sterling, counting the prices, gold for gold; but, as the value of gold and silver was then much higher than at present, the sum in our money at this day would be much greater. These churches were built by Constantine in so stately and magnificent a manner as to vie with the finest structures in the empire, as appears from the description which Eusebius gives us of the Church of Tyre; for we find that the rest were erected upon the same model, which was consequently of great antiquity. St. Peter's Church on the Vatican, being fallen to decay, it was begun to be rebuilt under Julius II in 1506, and was dedicated by Urban VIII in 1626, on this day; the same on which the dedication of the old church was celebrated The precious remains of many popes, martyrs, and other saints, are deposited partly under the altars of this vast and beautiful church, and partly in a spacious subterraneous church under the other. But the richest treasure of this venerable place consists in the relics of SS. Peter and Paul, which lie in a sumptuous vault beyond the middle of the church, towards the upper end, under a magnificent altar at which only the pope says mass, unless he commissions another to officiate there. This sacred vault is called The confession of St. Peter, or The threshold of the Apostles (



Luke 14: 22 - 33
And the servant said, `Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.'
And the master said to the servant, `Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.
For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'"
Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them,
"If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.'
Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.
So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

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