Wednesday, November 4, 2009






(VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to the twelfth-century debate between St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Abelard, proponents, respectively, of the monastic and scholastic approaches to theology. The Pope began by recalling that theology "is the search for a rational understanding (in as much as that is possible) of the mysteries of Christian revelation, which are believed by faith, ... the faith that seeks intelligibility". Yet, "while St. Bernard ... places the emphasis on ... faith, Abelard ... insists ... on understanding by reason. "For Bernard", the Holy Father added, "faith itself is endowed with an intimate certainty, founded on the testimony of Scripture and on the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. ... In cases of doubt or ambiguity, faith is protected and illuminated by the exercise of ecclesial Magisterium". Thus, for the abbot of Clairvaux, "theology has a single goal, that of promoting the living and intimate experience of God". "Abelard, who among other things introduced the term 'theology' as we understand it today, ... originally studied philosophy then applied the results achieved in this discipline to theology". He had a "religious spirit but a restless personality, and his life was rich in dramatic events: he challenged his teachers and had a child by a cultured and intelligent woman, Eloise. ... He also suffered ecclesiastical condemnations, although he died in full communion with the Church to whose authority he submitted with a spirit of faith". "An excessive use of philosophy rendered Abelard's Trinitarian doctrine dangerously fragile", said the Pope. "Likewise, in the field of morals his teaching was not without ambiguity as he insisted on considering the intention of the subject as the only source for describing the goodness or malice of moral acts, ignoring the objective moral significance and value of actions. "This aspect", Benedict XVI went on, "is highly relevant for our own age, in which culture often seems marked by a growing tendency to ethical relativism. Nonetheless, we must not forget the great merits of Abelard, ... who made a decisive contribution to the development of scholastic theology. ... Nor must we undervalue some of his insights such as, for example, his affirmation that non-Christian religious traditions already contain some form of preparation to welcome Christ, the Divine Word. "What can we learn from the confrontation ... between Bernard and Abelard and, more generally, between the monastic and scholastic approaches to theology?" the Holy Father asked. "Firstly", he went on, "I believe it shows the usefulness and need for healthy theological discussion within the Church, especially when the questions being debated have not been defined by the Magisterium, which, nonetheless, remains an ineluctable point of reference". "In the theological field there must be a balance between what we may call architectonic principles, which are given to us by the Revelation and which, hence, always maintain their priority and importance, and interpretative principles suggested by philosophy (that is, by reason), which have an important function, but only an instrumental one. When this balance fails, theological reflection risks becoming marred by error and it is then up to the Magisterium to exercise that necessary service to truth which is its task". "The theological dispute between Bernard and Abelard concluded with a full reconciliation. ... What prevailed in both men was that which we must have to heart whenever a theological controversy arises: that its, defending the faith of the Church and ensuring the triumph of truth in charity".AG/BERNARD ABELARD CONTROVERSY/... VIS 091104 (600)

MAY EXAMPLE OF JOHN PAUL II INSPIRE US TO SANCTITY VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience the Pope recalled the fact that today is the liturgical feast of St. Charles Borromeo, "outstanding bishop of the diocese of Milan who, animated by ardent love for Christ, was a tireless master and guide to his brothers and sisters". Turning then to address Polish pilgrims, Benedict XVI told them that today "we recall my predecessor, Servant of God John Paul II. May the example of his life and his teaching confirm us in the faith and inspire us along the road to sanctity".AG/ST. CHARLES/... VIS 091104 (110)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Porto Nacional, Brazil, presented by Bishop Geraldo Vieira Gusmao, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Romualdo Matias Kujawski. - Erected the new diocese of San Jacinto de Yaguachi (area 6,265, population 715,856, Catholics 618,301, priests 49, permanent deacons 3) Ecuador, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Guayaquil, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Bishop Anibal Nieto Guerra O.C.D., auxiliary of Guayaquil, as first bishop of the new diocese. - Appointed Fr. Guido Ivan Minda Chala, pastor and episcopal vicar for the clergy of the diocese of Ibarra, Ecuador, as auxiliary of Guayaquil (area 18,711, population 3,454,000, Catholics 3,110,000, priests 358, permanent deacons 25, religious 686), Ecuador. The bishop-elect was born in Apula, Ecuador in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1998.RE:ECE:NER:NEA/.../... VIS 091104 (160)



UCAN reports that driven by a desire to help underprivileged kids get an education, two nuns put on their running shoes, took to the streets and ran in a marathon to raise funds.

Some of the 20,000 participants in thisyear’s Beijing International Marathon
Sister Shi Yanhui and Sister Liu Shuling were among the 20,000 who took part in the 2009 Beijing International Marathon last month to raise funds for kids seeking to further their education.
People could take part in the marathon under different sections -- the full 42-kilometer run, the half-distance 21-kilometer event, the nine-kilometer run or the 4.2-kilometer mini marathon.
Both nuns, from the Tianji Social Service Center in Jilin city in the northwest, took part in the nine-kilometer event. They completed the race in about an hour to cheers from Catholics from Jilin and Beijing, their superior general and other supporters.
Sister Shi said she decided to participate in the annual sporting event, held on Oct. 18, after seeing the look of yearning in children who come to the center seeking financial help for their education.
The center, opened in 2006, aims to promote education, health and rural development. It also seeks to provide a platform for the young to learn about and participate in social work.
Sister Shi, from Jilin diocese's Holy Family Convent, wrote in an Oct. 30 article on the center's website that the center is not well funded. She said there are many students studying in high schools and colleges applying for scholarships from the center.
The nun said she felt the urgent need to appeal to people to help academically bright children continue their education.
Center director Father Joseph Wang Guosheng said that fund-raising events prior to the nuns' efforts had raised more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,465) in Jilin diocese. But after the center's consultant told staff that "everyone, everywhere should look at ways of fund-raising," the nuns decided to go to Beijing and take part in the marathon.
The amount they raised in Beijing is still being toted up, he added.
Sister Shi said she was worried about whether she would be able to complete the race when she saw the number of participants -- young and old, locals and foreigners -- taking part in the event. However, she said the prayers from supporters boosted her morale.
"I feel proud" to have taken part in the race, she beamed.




The USCCB reports that the sixty-sixth meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the United States (ARC-USA) took place at the Washington Retreat House in Washington, October 26 and 27. Bishop Thomas Breidenthal of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio and Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana, co-chaired the meeting. It marked the third round of the dialogue focusing the theme, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences."
At the start of the meeting, consultation members considered the Vatican’s October 20 announcement that personal ordinariates would be created for former Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while “preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.” The members welcomed the Catholic Church’s acknowledgement of a substantial overlap in faith and the legitimacy of many Anglican traditions, a recognition that is the fruit of over 40 years of official dialogue between the two churches. Because the Apostolic Constitution establishing the new ordinariates has not yet been published, members felt it premature to comment in detail. They said they looked forward to receiving the document to consider at their next meeting. Members also found encouragement in the firm statements by Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders that the official dialogue between the two churches will continue.
The theological consultation examined immigration reform as its first issue. Jesuit Father Thomas Rausch, Ph.D., of the Department of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, presented the Catholic viewpoint on this question and focused on the 2003 document of the Conferences of Catholic Bishops of the United States and Mexico, “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.” Bishop Thomas Breidenthal then presented his paper, “Immigration Reform: An Anglican Approach.” The members noted substantial convergence based on common sources, including the tradition of Roman Catholic social teaching.
The second discussion looked at the 1993 encyclical by Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, which outlined fundamental elements of Catholic moral teaching. Father Charles Caccavale of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, in Huntington, New York, summarized the contents of the encyclical and emphasized that it presents the moral life as deeply connected to the life of faith and to eternal life. Professor Timothy Sedgwick, Ph.D., Professor of Christian Ethics at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, offered reflections on the document from an Anglican perspective, noting areas of agreement and others that require further exploration, including the encyclical’s understanding of “intrinsically evil acts.”
During the meeting members prayed the Roman Catholic and Anglican Liturgy of the Hours together, and celebrated the Eucharist in both traditions, with the members participating to the extent allowed by the discipline of their respective churches. On October 27, they toured the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. That evening Bishop Breidenthal hosted a dinner in honor of Bishop Christopher Epting, who will be retiring as ecumenical officer of The Episcopal Church in December, after nine years of service to the dialogue.
The next meeting is slated for March 15 and 16, 2010, in Delray Beach, Florida.
In addition to the co-chair, Catholic members of the dialogue are Msgr. David A. Bohr, Rector of St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Father Caccavale, M. Therese Lysaught, Ph.D., Department of Theology, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Theresa Notare, Ph.D., of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; Father Rausch, and Paulist Father Ronald G. Roberson, Ph.D., Associate Director of the USCCB's Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and staff to the dialogue.
Representatives of The Episcopal Church, in addition to Bishop Breidenthal, include the Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra, Professor of Theology and Ethics at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; the Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver, Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas; Mary Reath, governor of the Anglican Center in Rome and author of "Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity" (2007); Sedgwick; the Rev. Canon. J. Robert Wright, Ph.D, Professor of Church History at the General Theological Seminary in New York, New York; and the Right Reverend Christopher Epting, ecumenical officer of The Episcopal Church and staff to the dialogue.
A complete list of the agreed statements released by the consultation as well as links to earlier press releases can be found on the USCCB website at



Catholic Online reports that Italy's bishops are saying the European Court of Human Rights is guilty of a partial and ideological outlook with its Tuesday decision that crucifixes in public school are a violation of freedom. The Vatican and the Italian government expressed dismay with Tuesday's decision and Italian bishops expressed their own perplexity. The court ruled in favor of an Italian citizen of Finnish origin who complained in 2002 that the state school where her two children studied violated their freedom by displaying crucifixes. The school's administration refused to remove them, contending that the crucifix is part of Italian cultural patrimony; Italian courts subsequently backed this claim. Now, the Strasbourg-based European court has asked the Italian government to compensate the woman with €5,000 ($7,300). Judge Nicola Lettieri, who defends Italy in Strasbourg, assured that the Italian government will appeal the decision. Obligation The Italian bishops' conference said the decision "causes distress and many perplexities." "It ignores or neglects the multiple meaning of the crucifix, which not only is a religious symbol, but also a cultural sign," a communiqué from the conference stated. "It does not take into account the fact that, in reality, in the Italian experience, the display of the crucifix in public places is in harmony with the recognition of the principles of Catholicism as part of the historical patrimony of the Italian people, confirmed by the Concordat of 1984." The bishops cautioned that the ruling "runs the risk of artificially severing the national identity from its spiritual and cultural origins." The episcopal conference statement maintained that the decision goes beyond a separation of Church and state, and becomes "hostility toward any form of political and cultural relevance of religion." For his part, jurist Giuseppe Dalla Torre, rector of the LUMSA University of Rome, told the bishops' SIR news agency that the court's argument is "mistaken reasoning based on an assumption that the crucifix might oblige a profession of faith. However, the crucifix is a passive symbol, that is, it does not oblige anyone in conscience."




CISA reports that His Eminence Cardinal John NJue, Bishops Emeritus Colin Davies and Cornelius Schilder have sent their condolences to the Fatima group and the faithful of The Catholic Diocese of Ngong who are mourning the death of a Fidei Donum Missionary from Italy.Fr. Domenico Pozzi died at a Nairobi Hospital on Friday, October 30 following a long illness.Fr. Francis Mwangi, Vicar General of the Diocese said, “The late priest has been sick for the last 20 years. He loved the people of Kenya and especially those learning at Ongata Rongai.”Fr. Pozzi died at the age of 102.He was born on July 1908 in Cortemaggiore, in the diocese of Picenza in Italy. He came to Ngong Diocese in 1977.“Fr. Domenico and his group have done a lot of good work at Ongata Rongai parish and Lengisem,” Fr Mwangi said.He was part of the team that founded the Fatima Maternity Hospital in Ongata Rongai and the Fatima Health Centre in Lengisem.The requiem mass will be held at the Evangelising Sisters of Mary Convent Church at Ongata Rongai on Saturday November 7, 2009 at 10.00am. (SOURCE:


St Patrick's Catholic Church in Pomona will host an ecumenical service in protest against the Traveston Dam, bringing together spiritual leaders, activists and others who are opposed to the project.
Father Mark Franklin, of the Noosa Catholic Parish, said participants would pray that federal government politicians were guided by wisdom in making a decision about the dam, the Sunshine Coast Daily reported. The 3pm service on Sunday will be followed by a sausage sizzle.
Father Franklin said the dam proposal had been devastating for many parishioners in the area and the neighbouring Gympie parish.
"Some people have been greatly affected by it. Their whole life has been turned upside down," he said.

The Reverend Iain Watt, of the Uniting Church at Imbil, who will speak in the liturgy, said the emotional, social and economic fall out of the dam was continuing more than three years after then premier Peter Beattie announced the dam.
He likened the state government's push for the dam to a cyclone from which the community was unable to recover.
Adele Coombs, from the Save the Mary River Coordinating Group, said the prayer service was being held because a decision was imminent. Environment minister Peter Garrett is expected to announce within the month whether or not he will approve the dam. (SOURCE:


St. Charles Borromeo
Feast: November 4
Feast Day:
November 4
October 2, 1538, Aron
November 3, 1584, Milan
1 November 1610 by Paul V
Major Shrine:
Patron of:
against ulcers; apple orchards; bishops; catechists; catechumens; colic; intestinal disorders; seminarians; spiritual directors; spiritual leaders; starch makers; stomach diseases

Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal-Priest of the Title of St. Prassede, Papal Secretary of State under Pius IV, and one of the chief factors in the Catholic Counter-Reformation, was born in the Castle of Arona, a town on the southern shore of the Lago Maggiore in Northern Italy, 2 October, 1538; died at Milan, 3 November, 1584. His emblem is the word crowned, which is a portion of the Borromeo shield. He is usually represented in art in his cardinal's robes, barefoot, carrying the cross as archbishop; a rope round his neck, one hand raised in blessing, thus recalling his work during the plague. His feast is kept on 4 November. His father was Count Giberto Borromeo, who, about 1530, married Margherita de Medici. Her younger brother was Giovanni Angelo, Cardinal de' Medici, who became pope in 1559 under the title of Pius IV. Charles was the second son, and the third of six children, of Giberto and Margherita. Charles' mother died about the year 1547, and his father married again. (SOURCE:


Luke 14: 25 - 33
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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