Thursday, December 3, 2009










(VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique yesterday evening: "This afternoon, 3 December 2009, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Dimitri Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation. The president had previously met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. "During the cordial discussions pleasure was expressed on both sides at the cordial relations that currently exist between them, and it was agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation. "Following an exchange of opinions on the international economic and political situation - also in the light of the Encyclical "Caritas in veritate" of which the Holy Father presented the president with a copy in Russian - attention turned to the challenges currently facing security and peace. The talks then turned to cultural and social questions of mutual interest, such as the value of the family and the contribution believers make to life in Russia".OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT RUSSIA VIS 091204 (190)

POPE ATTENDS SERMON FOR ADVENT VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, in the presence of the Holy Father and of the Pontifical Family, the first sermon for Advent was delivered in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. In this Year for Priests the theme of the meditations - pronounced, as is customary, by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap, preacher of the Pontifical Household - is: "Servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries". The next two sermons will be delivered on Friday 11 and Friday 18 December..../ADVENT SERMONS/CANTALAMESSA VIS 091204 (100)

BENEDICT XVI PRAISES THE SPIRITUAL RENEWAL OF ALBANIA VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience His Beatitude Anastas, archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, who was accompanied by other representatives of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania. "As is well known", said the Pope in his English-language address to the group, "Illyricum received the Gospel in apostolic times. Since then, Christ's saving message has borne fruit in your country down to our own day. As the very earliest writings of your culture bear witness, through the survival of an ancient Latin baptismal formula along with a Byzantine hymn about the Lord's Resurrection, the faith of our Christian forefathers left wonderful and indelible traces in the first lines of the history, literature and arts of your people. "Yet", he added, "the most impressive witness is surely always found in life itself. During the latter half of the past century, Christians in Albania, both Orthodox and Catholic, kept the faith alive there in spite of an extremely repressive and hostile atheistic regime; and, as is well known, many Christians paid cruelly for that faith with their lives". The Holy Father went on: "The fall of that regime has happily given way to the reconstruction of the Catholic and Orthodox communities in Albania". In this context he praised the archbishop's missionary activity, "particularly in the reconstruction of places of worship, the formation of the clergy and the catechetical work now being done, a movement of renewal which Your Beatitude has rightly described as 'Ngjallja' (Resurrection). "Since it acquired its freedom, the Orthodox Church of Albania has been able to participate fruitfully in the international theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. Your commitment in this regard happily mirrors the fraternal relations between Catholics and Orthodox in your country and offers inspiration to the entire Albanian people, demonstrating how it is possible for fellow Christians to live in harmony. "In this light, we would do well to emphasise the elements of faith which our Churches share: a common profession of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed; a common Baptism for the remission of sins and for incorporation into Christ and the Church; the legacy of the first ecumenical councils; the real if imperfect communion which we already share, and the common desire and collaborative efforts to build upon what already exists". Benedict XVI then went on to mention two initiatives currently underway in Albania: the establishment of the Inter-confessional Biblical Society and the creation of the Committee for Inter-religious Relations, describing them as " timely efforts to promote mutual understanding and tangible co-operation, not only between Catholics and Orthodox, but also among Christians, Muslims and Bektashi". Closing his remarks the Pope expressed his joy at the "spiritual renewal" of the Albanian people, and gave assurances to Archbishop Anastas that the Catholic Church "will do all she can to offer a common witness of brotherhood and peace, and to pursue with you a renewed commitment to the unity of our Churches".AC/ALBANIA/ANASTAS VIS 091204 (500)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eleven prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger S.C.I. of Florianopolis. - Bishop Aloisio Alberto Dilli O.F.M. of Uruguaiana. - Bishop Gilio Felicio of Bage. - Bishop Irineu Gassen O.F.M. of Vacaria. - Bishop Paulo Antonio De Conto of Montenegro. - Bishop Antonio Carlos Rossi Keller of Frederico Westphalen. - Bishop Liro Vendelino Meurer, auxiliary of Passo Fundo. - Bishop Giuseppe Negri P.I.M.E. of Blumenau. - Bishop Walmir Alberto Valle I.M.C. of Joacaba. - Bishop Irineu Roque Scherer of Joinville. - Bishop Manoel Joao Francisco of Chapeco.AL/.../... VIS 091204 (120)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted: - The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Southwark, England, presented by Archishop Kevin John Patrick McDonald, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Nha Trang, Vietnam, presented by Bishop Paul Nguyen Van Hoa, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Vo Duc Minh.RE/.../MCDONALD:NGUYEN:VO VIS 091204 (90)

CNA reports that following the announcement that Uruguay's left-wing candidate won the country's recent presidential election, pro-life leader Alvaro Fernandez warned that “the ballot for life in Uruguay is frankly compromised,” as the newly elected leader has said he would not oppose a possible legalization of abortion, as did his predecessor, outgoing President Tabare Vasquez.
In an interview with CNA, Fernandez explained that president-elect Jose Mujica was a member of the Tupamaros during the 1970s, a Marxist group that resorted to violence to bring about social change in Uruguay. His wife, who was also a member, is also “clearly supportive of the legalization of abortion.”
Fernandez said the differences between the various presidential candidates “were notable, not only for exterior reasons or because of their different political styles, but also because of deep philosophical differences.”
For example, he said, former president and candidate of the National Party, Luis Lacalle, “had promised he would veto any law on abortion that was passed by Parliament. Mr. Mujica promised he wouldn’t put any obstacles against the law on abortion.”
In order to warn the fellow Uruguayans of the importance of the November 29 elections, Fernandez explained, Uruguayan pro-lifers took the streets on November 23 to protest the legalization of abortion, with some 3,500 participating.
“What is certain and sure is that the pro-life battle in Uruguay is frankly compromised,” Fernandez said, adding that pro-lifers “would continue fighting like always. We will do everything we can to achieve the impossible. We are counting on the prayers of all, and, much to the dismay of Mr. Mujica, on the help of Divine Providence.”
Carlos Polo, the director of the Office for Latin America of the Population Research Institute, told CNA, “While it is true that candidate Mujica said he supported abortion, President Mujica does not necessarily have to come down on the side of his personal convictions. He won by a very small margin and almost half of the country does not concur with his positions.” For this reason, Polo warned, “Mujica must govern everyone and not only a particular social or political group, as there is a growing social tendency in Uruguay against the legalization of abortion.” (SOURCE;



CNA reports that in light of World AIDS Day, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) released a statement in which the bishops noted the struggles Africa faces while highlighting the work the Church is doing “facing HIV in Africa and caring for people infected and affected.”
World AIDS Day is celebrated each year on December 1. This year's theme, "Universal Access and Human Rights,” seeks to challenge discriminatory laws, practices and policies that stand between people with HIV/AIDS and prevention, treatment, care, and support.
The letter, signed by Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on behalf of SECAM began by stating that the “Church is second to none in facing HIV in Africa and caring for people infected and affected. Earlier this year, responding to a journalist en route to the continent, Pope Benedict XVI said: 'The most efficient, most truly present player in the fight against AIDS is the Catholic Church herself.' And we African Bishops know he is right.”
The statement then noted that the bishops are “constantly present among millions of Africans who are badly affected by the pandemic.” Because of this, they “see how AIDS continues to ravage our populations, even if it is slipping down the agenda of governments, civil society and international organizations.”
“The global recession and economic downturn have a detrimental impact on our brothers and sisters infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Climbing prices of food and other basic necessities are hampering progress of treatment, because people cannot afford the food essential to support their medication.”
“At a time when official concerns about the pandemic are receding, we re-affirm theologically that the Body of Christ has AIDS, and express our pastoral determination as Family of God to provide fitting responses. For our continent is still the worst afflicted,” the statement continued.
In looking for a solution, the bishops called for a comprehensive approach. “For the tide to turn, the impact of all contributing factors must be recognize and tackled holistically: wars; fragile or failing states; inequality between men and women; the ravages of climate change and many more. All these make the poor even poorer, more dispossessed, more vulnerable to HIV and, if infected, more likely to develop AIDS,” they added.
“HIV/AIDS is not just a medical problem and investing in pharmaceutics alone will not work.” They noted that AIDS cannot be overcome “by relying exclusively or primarily on the distribution of prophylactics. Only a strategy based on education to individual responsibility in the framework of a moral view of human sexuality, especially through conjugal fidelity, can have a real impact on the prevention of this disease.”
“The Church's understanding of marriage as the total, reciprocal and exclusive communion of love between a man and a woman prompts the most effective behaviors for preventing the sexual transmission of disease: namely, abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage.”
The bishops also expressed great confidence in the youth of their continent, exhorting them, “ Let no one deceive you into thinking that you cannot control yourself… Formation of the human person is the true recipe, the key to it all, and we are intent on preparing you to be tomorrow's salt of the earth and light of the world, active, generous and responsible members of society and Church.”
The statement concluded by expressing the hope that Catholics around the world would “continue supporting the long-term commitment of the Church in Africa to raise awareness, to accompany the infected and the affected, to form the youth, and to face this great challenge - along with many others - in a spirit of inclusivity, reconciliation, and greater harmony in families, communities, parishes and all dimensions of Church life.” (SOURCE:



CNA reports that a British couple elected on November 10 to discontinue medical care for their son of 13 months of age. "RB" suffered from congenital myasthenic syndrome and, his doctors said, would only live a short life on artificial respiration and feeding tubes.Irene Gemeno, of the Scottish Edinburgh Napier News, reported that "RB", as he was referred to in order to protect his identity and that of his parents, could barely, if at all, move his limbs or breathe due to limitations resulting from the neuromuscular condition, but his brain appeared to be healthy.
Doctors, however, advised that he wasn't expected to live beyond three years of age and would never shed the artificial support for basic body functions.
According to the boy's father, the child was able recognize relatives and made an effort to play, but his doctors said it was impossible to know if these responses were involuntary or a result of the child's will.
After all known treatments for the congenital disorder had been attempted and the professional medical personnel had made their best efforts to treat the condition, doctors advised that they were out of options.
The mother of the child consented to disconnecting all life support, but the father, "Mr. AB," took the case to the tribunal in defense of RB's life, hoping to put the boy on a portable life support system through a tracheotomy, reported the Italian daily, La Stampa. The case was then taken to Britain's Family Division of the High Court to determine from experts' testimonies if any improvement in the baby's health could be expected.
Justice McFarlane, the court magistrate, reported in his remarks on the evidence provided by doctors, that RB “has not shown any effective response and the prospect of effective treatment for him, which would involve both identifying the defective gene and relying upon the development of a new pharmaceutical, which must be many years down the line."
After a week of the hearings, Mr. AB withdrew from the legal battle.
RB was taken off life support shortly thereafter.
Opinions supporting both sides surged on internet forums and in local British media. Some call it a case of child euthanasia, while others say that there is no obligation for doctors to provide treatment if there is no possibility that it will benefit the patient.
No one has criticized the parents, of whom Justice McFarlane recorded RB's key nurse describing them as "brilliant; they are great parents; they love him dearly, are always at his bedside and always want what they feel is best for him." But, many have called for an evaluation of the case and its relevance to the euthanasia debate. (SOURCE:



UCAN reports that Asia's largest Catholic country is temporarily losing at least two more priests after they registered as candidates in the May 10 elections.

Father Emerson Luego greets his parishioners after his last Mass as he takes leave from his priestly ministry
One priest, Father Eddie Panlilio, was given leave of absence by his bishop in 2007 when he ran for governor of Pampanga. He won and registered to run for re-election on Dec. 1.
On Dec. 4, Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando said the priest's registration as candidate this time compels the bishop to initiate procedures for his suspension from priestly duties.
"Now that he is running again, we have to initiate the canonical process. He will not be working as a priest anymore," Archbishop Aniceto says in an article on the CBCP website.
In the south, also on Dec. 1, Father Emerson Luego of Tagum diocese, Davao del Norte province filed candidacy papers for mayor of Santo Tomas town.
Father Allan Alindajao, Tagum's judicial vicar, told UCA News his confrere's suspension from priestly ministry takes effect when he receives the official letter from the diocese.
Canon 285 and 287 of the Church's 1983 Code of Canon Law states that clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.
Father Luego told reporters that after a "tough" decision, he was filing for leave of absence from the ministry.
He said he chose politics over his ministry "so I can serve my hometown."
The 36-year-old priest, ordained in 1999, has also served as council board member for nine years. He said he wants to help his hometown "by breaking the monopoly of leadership there, which has not contributed much to its development."
He is running on a platform of good governance based on "transparency and consultative leadership, just like what we are doing in our BECs (basic ecclesial communities)." Hundreds of parishioners grew emotional as he announced his candidacy at his final Sunday Mass in San Isidro this year.
Northwest of Tagum in Bukidnon province, Jesuit Bishop Honesto Pacana of Malaybalay also suspended Father Diosdado Tabios from his ministry after the priest registered for the gubernatorial race.
"After discerning, Father Tabios opted to run and I told him of his suspension and he understood the consequences," Bishop Pacana wrote in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.
The 76-year-old prelate said under the suspension, Father Tabios may not administer the Sacraments and perform other priestly duties. He stressed, however, that the priest can resume his priestly duties and obligations after an evaluation process when his political career ends.
In addition to citing canon law, Bishop Pacana explained, "Partisan politics can divide people."
Division intensified among clergy and lay members of the San Fernando archdiocese during the term of Father Panlilio as provincial governor, his confreres acknowledged.



Cath News reports that Perth charity campaigner Father Brian Morrison, who dedicated his life to helping those less fortunate and ran a crisis care centre in Perth for 37 years, has died from leukaemia. He was 76.
His doctor, Clay Golledge, has told ABC local radio Father Brian was larger than life.
"There will never be another Brian Morrison, I don't think, in terms of the amount of charity work he has done in this state and internationally and particularly with his work in Chernobyl and some of his estate is going to further that work," he said.
He had been unconscious for about four days and died late yesterday afternoon, PerthNow cites Seven News reporting.

St. Barbara
Feast: December 4
Feast Day:
December 4
Patron of:
Artillery gunners, masons, mathematicians, miners, military engineers, stonecutters, against lightning, anyone who works at risk of sudden and violent death

There is no reference to St. Barbara contained in the authentic early historical authorities for Christian antiquity, neither does her name appear in the original recension of St. Jerome's martyrology. Veneration of the saint was common, however, from the seventh century. At about this date there were in existence legendary Acts of her martyrdom which were inserted in the collection of Symeon Metaphrastes and were used as well by the authors (Ado, Usuard, etc.) of the enlarged martyrologies composed during the ninth century in Western Europe. According to these narratives, which are essentially the same, Barbara was the daughter of a rich heathen named Dioscorus. She was carefully guarded by her father who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. An offer of marriage which was received through him she rejected. Before going on a journey her father commanded that a bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling, and during his absence Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended. When her father returned she acknowledged herself to be a Christian; upon this she was ill-treated by him and dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured and finally condemned her to death by beheading. The father himself carried out the death-sentence, but in punishment for this he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body consumed. Another Christian named Juliana suffered the death of a martyr along with Barbara. A pious man called Valentinus buried the bodies of the saints; at this grave the sick were healed and the pilgrims who came to pray received aid and consolation. The emperor in whose reign the martyrdom is placed is sometimes called Maximinus and sometimes Maximianus; owing to the purely legendary character of the accounts of the martyrdom, there is no good basis for the investigations made at an earlier date in order to ascertain whether Maximinus Thrax (235-238) or Maximinus Daza (of the Diocletian persecutions), is meant.
The traditions vary as to the place of martyrdom, two different opinions being expressed: Symeon Metaphrastes and the Latin legend given by Mombritius makes Heliopolis in Egypt the site of the martyrdom, while other accounts, to which Baronius ascribes more weight, give Nicomedia. In the "Martyrologium Romanum parvum" (about 700), the oldest martyrology of the Latin Church in which her name occurs, it is said: "In Tuscia Barbarae virginis et martyris", a statement repeated by Ado and others, while later additions of the martyrologies of St. Jerome and Bede say "Romae Barbarae virginis" or "apud Antiochiam passio S. Barbarae virg.". These various statements prove, however, only the local adaptation of the veneration of the saintly martyr concerning whom there is no genuine historical tradition. It is certain that before the ninth century she was publicly venerated both in the East and in the West, and that she was very popular with the Christian populace. The legend that her father was struck by lightning caused her, probably, to be regarded by the common people as the patron saint in time of danger from thunder-storms and fire, and later by analogy, as the protector of artillerymen and miners. She was also called upon as intercessor to assure the receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of death. An occurrence of the year 1448 did much to further the spread of the veneration of the saint. A man named Henry Kock was nearly burnt to death in a fire at Gorkum; he called on St. Barbara, to whom he had always shown great devotion. She aided him to escape from the burning house and kept him alive until he could receive the last sacraments. A similar circumstance is related in an addition to the "Legenda aurea". In the Greek and present Roman calendars the feast of St. Barbara falls on 4 December, while the martyrologies of the ninth century, with the exception of Rabanus Maurus, place it on 16 December. St. Barbara has often been depicted in art; she is represented standing in a tower with three windows, carrying the palm of a martyr in her hand; often also she holds a chalice and sacramental wafer; sometimes cannon are displayed near her.

St. John Damascene
Feast: December 4
Feast Day:
December 4
676, Damascus
December 4, 749, Mar Saba, Jerusalem

This Doctor of the Church was born in Damascus, Syria, and his father was a government official under both the Byzantine emperor and the Muslim rulers of Damascus. Receiving an excellent classical education, and fluent in Arabic as well as Greek, St. John Damascene worked in the Muslim court until the hostility of the caliph toward Christianity caused him to resign his position, about the year 700.
He migrated to Jerusalem and became a monk at Mar Sabas monastery near Jerusalem. He taught in the monastery, preached many of his luminous sermons in Jerusalem, and began to compose his theological treatises.
It was about this time that the iconoclast controversy shook the Churches of the East, when the Byzantine emperor ordered the destruction of images in Christian churches. John fought the heresy, bringing down upon himself the wrath of the emperor and the hatred of the iconoclast party.
He has left a rich legacy of writings, including his principal dogmatic work, , which was a , a refutation of heresy, an exposition of the Orthodox faith, and a study of contemporary religious issues. His writings on Mary constitute a true theology of the Mother of God, and his sermons of the saints, the liturgical feasts, and the Gospels show not only vast learning but also give us information about local customs and contemporary happenings.
Since he lived in the midst of political and theological turmoil, John wrote much to clarify true doctrine and to do his part in spreading the Gospel. The fact that he lived and worked in Jerusalem itself gives his sermons, delivered at many of the holy places, a special appeal.
He died at a very old age, some say one hundred four, in the midst of his labors, beloved by his fellow monks and revered by the people. He was buried at the monastery of Mar Sabas and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1890.(SOURCE:


Matthew 9: 27 - 31
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, "Have mercy on us, Son of David."
When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to him, "Yes, Lord."
Then he touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith be it done to you."
And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, "See that no one knows it."
But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

No comments: