Sunday, December 6, 2009








(VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope attended a concert offered by Horst Kohler, president of the Federal Republic of Germany, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the foundation of that State, and the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The "Augsburger Domsingknaben" and the "Residenz-Kammerorchester Munchen", conducted by Reinhard Kammler, played Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 (Cantatas I-III). In his remarks at the end of the concert, the Holy Father recalled how the Berlin Wall was "a frontier of death which for many years divided our homeland, forcibly separating people, families, neighbours and friends. Many at the time saw the events of 9 November 1989 as an unexpected dawn of freedom after a long and harsh night of violence and oppression due to a totalitarian system which, in the end, led to nihilism, to an emptying of souls. "Under the communist dictatorship no action was held to be evil and always immoral in itself. What served the aims of the party was good, however inhuman it could be", the Pope added. He went on to note how the current Federal Republic of Germany is proof that "the social order of the West is better and more humane". This is largely due to the "Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany" which "exhorts men and women, responsible before God the Creator, to give priority to human dignity, to respect marriage and the family as the foundation of all societies, and to show esteem and profound respect for what is sacred to others. "May the citizens of Germany - faithful to the duty established in the Basic Law concerning spiritual and political renewal in the wake of National Socialism and the Second World War - continue to collaborate for the construction of a freer and more social society". "The history of Europe in the twentieth century shows how responsibility before God is of vital importance for moral political activity", said the Pope. "God brings mankind together in true communion and shows individuals that, in their communion with others, a greater One is present, One Who is the original cause of our lives and of our joint existence. This is particularly evident in the mystery of the Nativity when this God comes close to us with His love and, as a Child, requests our love".BXVI-CONCERT/GERMANY/... VIS 091207 (410)

CATHOLIC INSTITUTIONS, AN EXPRESSION OF CHURCH HERITAGE VATICAN CITY, 5 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region South 3 and 4), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit, were received in audience this morning by the Holy Father who focused his remarks to them on the places where culture is transmitted (schools and universities) and on the consequences of liberation theology. "The Catholic school", he said, "cannot be conceived or experienced separately from other educational institutions. It is at the service of society, having a public function and offering a service of public utility which is not reserved exclusively to Catholics but remains open to whoever wishes to receive a quality education. The problem of juridical and economic parity with State schools cannot be correctly understood save by recognising the primary role of families and the subsidiary role of other educational institutions". Turning then to consider the subject of higher education, the Pope highlighted how the Church "has always supported universities and their vocation to take human beings to the highest level of knowledge, of truth and of dominion of the world in all its aspects". Benedict XVI likewise expressed his gratitude to the religious congregations which founded and still support various famous universities in Brazil, recalling how these places "are not the property of those who founded them, or of those who frequent them, but an expression of the Church and of her heritage of faith". The Pope then went on to recall how 25 August this year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Instruction "Libertatis nuntius" concerning certain aspects of liberation theology. That document, he said, "highlights the danger involved in the uncritical absorption, by certain theologians, of theses and methodologies that come from Marxism". "The more or less visible consequences of that approach - characterised by rebellion, division, dissent, offence and anarchy - still linger today, producing great suffering and a serious loss of vital energies in your diocesan communities". "I appeal to all who, in the depths of their being, feel in some way attracted, involved or encouraged by some of the misleading principles of liberation theology, to re-examine the aforementioned Instruction, accepting the benign light it emanates. And I remind everyone that 'the supreme rule of the faith [of the Church] derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others'". The Pope concluded by invoking the Virgin Mary, "so loved and venerated ... in Brazil. ... In her we find, pure and un-deformed, the true essence of the Church and we learn to know and love the mystery of the Church which lives in history and of which we feel ourselves to be a part. Thus do we become 'ecclesial souls', learning to resist that 'inner secularisation' which threatens the Church and her teachings".AL/.../BRAZIL VIS 091207 (500)

THE WORD OF GOD MOVES HUMAN HISTORY VATICAN CITY, 6 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square, in order to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below. The Holy Father explained that on this second Sunday of Advent the Gospel of St. Luke "focuses its attention on John the Baptist, precursor to the Messiah, and very precisely outlines the area and period in which his preaching took place". "The Evangelist wished to inform those reading or listening that the Gospel is not a legend but the account of a real story, that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person Who lived in that specific context", said the Pope. "The second element worthy of mention is that, following this detailed historical introduction, the subject turns to the 'word of God' presented as a power that descends from on high and alights on John the Baptist". Benedict XVI then went on to highlight how "the Word of God is the force that moves history, inspires prophets, prepares the way for the Messiah, convenes the Church. Jesus Himself is the divine Word Who became flesh in the virginal womb of Mary. God revealed Himself fully in Him. He told us and gave us everything, opening us to the treasures of His truth and mercy". "The most beautiful flower to grow from the Word of God is the Virgin Mary. She is the first fruit of the Church, the garden of God upon the earth. But while Mary is Immaculate - and so we will celebrate her the day after tomorrow - the Church has continual need of purification, because sin threatens all her members. Within the Church there is a constant struggle between the desert and the garden, between sin which dries out the land and grace which irrigates it to produce abundant fruits of sanctity. Let us, then, pray to the Lord's Mother that she may help us in this period of Advent, to 'straighten' our path and allow ourselves to be guided by the Word of God". After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled how tomorrow, 7 December, the UN climate conference is due to begin in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, "with which the international community will seek to counter the phenomenon of global warming. "It is my hope", he added, "that the work of the conference will help to identify actions that respect creation and promote development in solidarity, based upon the dignity of human beings and oriented to the common good. The defence of creation requires the adoption of sober and responsible lifestyles, especially with respect to the poor and to future generations. In this context, and in order to guarantee the complete success of the conference, I invite all people of good will to respect the laws established by God over nature and to rediscover the moral dimension of human life".ANG/WORD OF GOD CLIMATE/... VIS 091207 (500)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany. On Saturday 5 December the Holy Father received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. - Five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Luiz Carlos Eccel of Cacador. - Bishop Augustinho Petry of Rio do Sul. - Bishop Jacinto Inacio Flach of Criciuma. - Bishop Joao Oneres Marchiori , apostolic administrator of Lages. - Fr. Nilo Buss, diocesan administrator of Tuburao.AP:AL/.../... VIS 091207 (100)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed: - Fr. Pedro Daniel Martinez, rector of the major seminary of San Rafael, as coadjutor of the diocese of San Luis (area 76,748, population 337,000, Catholics 358,000, priests 54, religious 92), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Mendoza, Argentina in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1981. - Fr. Marian Eleganti O.S.B., abbot of the monastery of Sankt Otmarsberg, Switzerland, as auxiliary of the diocese of Chur (area 12,272, population 1,645,541, Catholics 689,746, priests 628, permanent deacons 40, religious 374), Switzerland. The bishop-elect was born in Uznach, Switzerland in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1995. - Msgr. Theodorus Cornelius Maria Hoogenboom of the clergy of the archdiocese of Utrecht, Netherlands, vicar general and provost of the metropolitan chapter, and Fr. Herman Willebrordus Woorts, also of the clergy of Utrecht, episcopal vicar for the region of Utrecht and for the liturgy, and canon of the metropolitan chapter, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Utrecht (area 10,000, population 3,938,514, Catholics 766,000, priests 460, permanent deacons 82, religious 1,404). Bishop-elect Hoogenboom was born in Oudewater, Netherlands in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1999. Bishop-elect Woorts was born in Abcoude, Netherlands in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1992. On Saturday 5 December it was made public that he: - Erected the two new dioceses of Sisak and of Bjelovar-Krizevci, both in Croatia, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Zagreb, making them suffragans of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Bishop Vlado Kosic, auxiliary of Zagreb, as first bishop of the new diocese of Sisak, and Msgr. Vjekoslav Huzjak of the clergy of the diocese of Varazdin, Croatia, secretary general of the Croatian Episcopal Conference, as first bishop of the new diocese of Bjelovar-Krizevci. Bishop-elect Huzjak was born in Jalzabet, Croatia in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986. - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Gambella, (area 50,000, population 507,000, Catholics 8,430, priests 14, religious 9), Ethiopia, to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration as before. He appointed Fr. Angelo Moreschi S.D.B., currently apostolic prefect of the same ecclesiastical circumscription, as apostolic vicar of the new vicariate. The bishop-elect was born in Nave, Italy in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1982. - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Jimma-Bonga, (area 57,000, population 3,500,000, Catholics 12,185, priests 9, religious 23), Ethiopia, to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration as before. He appointed Fr. Markos Ghebremedhin C.M., provincial superior of the Lazarist Fathers in Ethiopia, as apostolic vicar of the new vicariate. The bishop-elect was born in Shappa, Ethiopia in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1993. - Transferred Bishop Method Kilaini from the office of auxiliary of Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, to that of auxiliary of Bukoba, Tanzania.NEC:NEA:ECE:NER/.../... VIS 091207 (470)

NOTICE VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no VIS service tomorrow Tuesday, December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Wednesday, December 9..../.../... VIS 091207 (50)



CNA reports that voicing a spirit of “radical hospitality,” Archbishop of Vancouver J. Michael Miller has sent a letter to Winter Olympic athletes informing them of the archdiocese’s two hospitality centers and inviting them to Ash Wednesday and Sunday Masses during the athletic event.
“Vancouver has been preparing for your arrival for many years!” began his Nov. 30 letter to the athletes of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Archbishop Miller explained the archdiocese’s embrace of “radical hospitality” as a way to see Jesus as “both guest and host” at the Games.
“While you are here, we hope you will consider visiting one of the Archdiocese’s downtown hospitality centers for athletes,” the archbishop said.
One center is at Holy Rosary Cathedral on 646 Richards Street. The second is at the archdiocese’s offices on 150 Robson Street, across from the Olympic event venue BC Place Stadium.
“We think you will find these places to be ‘sanctuaries’ while you take a break from the rigors of competition, and we hope you will find a common language in the love of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Miller said.
He invited Olympians to Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 17 and he also noted that the locations of churches and their Mass times can be found on the archdiocese’s website.
“We wish all of you who have come to our beautiful city a satisfying and rewarding competition during the 2010 Olympiad but, most of all, we hope you will experience the ‘radical hospitality’ of Vancouverites,” he added.
The archdiocese has set up a special Olympic Outreach section on its website at



CNA reports that the newly-elected Bishop of San Sebastian in Spain, Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla, has called for the respect of parental rights in the education of their children as the government considers a proposal to remove crucifixes from public schools.
The bishop made his statements while presenting his new book, “Cards on the Table,” a 400 page collection of 150 pastoral letters on a variety of themes.
Bishop Munilla said the book was an expression of the awareness that “we are in an age of communication, and when Jesus said to lower your nets for a catch, I don’t know if he was also thinking about the internet, but I think this 'net' can be of use to us.”
“I have tried to be more succinct, more incisive, and even use humor to show that mysticism can and should have a place in the media in general,” he said.(SOURCE:



UCAN reports that Jesuit Father Josef Neuner, a prominent theologian at the Second Vatican Council has died at age 101.

Jesuit Father Josef Neuner
The priest died at 11.15 pm on Dec. 3 at Sanjeevan Ashram (monastery of saintly life), the headquarters of the Pune Jesuit province, where he had lived for the past 15 years.
On Dec. 4, his body, draped in vestments, with a rosary and a wooden cross in his hands, lay in the ashram chapel as nuns, priests and laypeople, carrying flowers, came to pay their last respects.
His funeral was scheduled for later that day and he was to be buried in a cemetery in Pune's Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, where he had taught for several years.
"He died peacefully in his sleep," Father Bertram Rosario, Jesuit provincial of Pune, told UCA News.
Jesuit Father Anil Soares, assistant to the provincial, said Father Neuner had been admitted to a private hospital with suspected pneumonia on Nov. 29. "He was put on a ventilator but responded to treatment and was brought home" on the evening of Dec. 3, he added.
"No one expected him to die. He didn't appear to be suffering from a major ailment. He seemed cheerful and alert to the core," Father Soares added.
Church people have hailed Father Neuner as a stalwart of Church renewal after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
He was one of four periti (experts) from India at the council and contributed to its many documents, especially "Nostra Aetate" (Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions) and "Ad Gentes" (Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church).
He had worked with Jesuit theologian Father Karl Rahner and helped codify the Church's decrees on priestly formation.
It was Father Neuner who drafted Pope Paul VI's speech to Hindus when the pontiff visited Mumbai (then Bombay) for the Eucharistic Congress in 1964.
Father Neuner had also acted as a bridge-builder between Religious and diocesan priests, between theology and spirituality, Christian theology and Indian religions, India and Europe, and the Church and the world.
Father Neuner was born on Aug. 9 1908, in Feldkirch, a small Austrian town near the Swiss border. He joined the South-German Jesuit province in 1926 and was ordained in 1936.
In 1938, he went to India where he taught theology for 60 years, mostly in the Pune seminary. As a theologian, the Jesuit collaborated in preparing the internationally known "The Christian Faith," a handbook of Christian teachings.
He was also known for his association with Blessed Teresa of Kolkata and was the first to write about her in German. He was retreat director for her Missionaries of Charity and helped her integrate some of the darkest spiritual moments of her life with her work for the poor.
In an interview, Father Neuner once said that Blessed Teresa was among those who had embodied the Vatican Council II spirit.
According to him, the council had reiterated that Jesus established not a religion but the Kingdom of God, in which everyone lives with dignity and in solidarity with one other.



CNN reports that the death toll rose to 23 on Friday in a suicide bombing attack at a Somali graduation ceremony, which killed three members of Somalia's U.N.-backed interim government, according to an independent media report.
The attack in Mogadishu on Thursday was carried out by a male suicide bomber dressed in women's clothing, witnesses said.
Government officials said Thursday that 19 people had been killed in the attack. A day later, Shabelle Media reported that the death toll had risen to 23.
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has blamed the Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab for the attack. A spokesman for the militant group denied any responsibility Friday.
Education Minister Abdullahi Wayel, Health Minister Qamar Aden and Higher Education Minister Ibrahim Hassan Adow were among the dead in the bombing at Banadir University's commencement, officials said.
Sports Minister Suleman Olad Roble was hospitalized in critical condition, his relatives told local media. The fatalities included nine students and two doctors, according to a professor at the university. Journalists said three colleagues died in the blast.
Al Shabaab is made up of former allies of Ahmed, once a leader of the Islamist movement that briefly held power in Mogadishu in 2006.
Ahmed and other former members accepted a U.N.-brokered peace agreement with the government they once fought. Al-Shabaab -- which the United States says has links to al Qaeda -- has rejected the peace agreement and has waged a bloody campaign against the transitional government. (SOURCE:



Cath News reports that a book about rebel Catholic priest and self-proclaimed "media tart" Peter Kennedy was launched in Brisbane on the weekend, and a documentary is under way.

The book, Peter Kennedy - The Man Who Threatened Rome, is a compilation of stories about the sacked priest, according to The Sun Herald report published in the Brisbane Times.
Contributors include former Goanna frontman and songwriter, Shane Howard, journalist Martin Flanagan, and Ross Fitzgerald of Griffith University's history and politics department.
Fr Kennedy said he thought the book was important because it raised issues the church "must face if is to remain relevant and survive the 21st century."
Issues included women in the clergy and the church's "medieval doctrines and dogma" on subjects such as the Virgin Mary, the ascension and the resurrection, he said.
"The archbishop isn't demonised in the book and some people come out against me," he said. "I feel an enormous freedom now that I'm no longer part of the church. I can see how ruthless, one-eyed and elitist it is."
Peter Hegedus, an independent filmmaker from Brisbane is making a documentary about Kennedy and St Mary's for the ABC's religious program, Compass.
"I'm still hoping to shoot an interview with Archbishop Bathersby," he said. Funding body, Screen Australia, has granted funds for the program but Mr Hegedus declined to disclose the amount. (SOURCE:


St. Sabinus
Feast: December 7
Feast Day:
December 7
304 AD, Spoleto

THE cruel edicts of Diocletian and Maximin against the Christians being published in the year 303, Sabinus, Bishop of Assisium, and several of his clergy, were apprehended and kept in custody till Venustianus, the Governor of Etruria and Umbria, came thither. Upon his arrival in that city he caused the hands of Sabinus, who had made a glorious confession of his Faith before him, to be cut off; and his two deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius, to be scourged, beaten with clubs, and torn with iron nails, under which torments they both expired. Sabinus is said to have cured a blind boy, and a weakness in the eyes of Venustianus himself, who was thereupon converted, and afterward beheaded for the Faith. Lucius, his successor, commanded Sabinus to be beaten to death with clubs at Spoleto. The martyr was buried a mile from that city, but his relics have been since translated to Faƫnza.

St. Ambrose
Feast: December 7
Feast Day:
December 7
between 337 and 340 A.D., Trier, Germany
397 A.D.
Major Shrine:
Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan, Italy where he is buried
Patron of:
Bee keepers, bees, candle makers, domestic animals, French Commissariat, learning, Milan, Italy, students, wax refiners

St. Ambrose was a small man with pale yellow hair like a nimbus. In the violence and confusion of his time, he stood out courageously resisting evil, strengthening the Church, and administering it with extraordinary ability. His learning gained for him the title of Doctor of the Church.When Ambrose had governed at Milan for two years, the bishop died, and the city was torn by strife over the election of a successor. When he stood up to protest a voice suddenly called out, "Ambrose, bishop! On December 7, 374, he was consecrated. The new bishop now gave his possessions to the poor and his lands to the Church, reserving only a small income for the use of his sister Marcellina. Conscious of his ignorance of theology, Ambrose began to study the Scriptures and the works of religious writers, particularly Origen and Basil. When Augustine of Hippo came to live at Milan, he called on the bishop, and in time the two became great friends. Augustine went often to hear Ambrose preach, and was at last baptized by him. One of Ambrose's topics was the blessing and virtue of virginity, when chosen for God's sake. At the request of Marcellina, he made a popular manual of his sermons on this subject. When Ambrose fell sick, he foretold his own death, saying he would live only until Easter. He busied himself writing a treatise called 'The Goodness of Death', and with an interpretation of the Forty-third Psalm.On Good Friday, 397, he partook of the Last Sacrament, and died soon after. He was then about fifty-seven and had been bishop for twenty-two years. His remains now rest under the high altar of his basilica, where they were placed in 835.Ambrose's varied writings influenced the development of the Church. He was the first of the Fathers to use Latin effectively, and as the Roman Empire declined in the West he helped to keep this great language alive by starting it on its new course in the service of Christianity. He enriched Church music, and seven of the hymns he wrote are still a part of the liturgy. His personality combined firmness where God's law was concerned with warmth, moderation, and generosity in all else. Trusted by sovereigns, loved by the people, Ambrose was-to quote Augustine's words after their first meeting—"a man affectionate and kind." (SOURCE:


Luke 5: 17 - 26
On one of those days, as he was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
And behold, men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they sought to bring him in and lay him before Jesus;
but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.
And when he saw their faith he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, "Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?"
When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you question in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, `Rise and walk'?
But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he said to the man who was paralyzed -- "I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home."
And immediately he rose before them, and took up that on which he lay, and went home, glorifying God.
And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today

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