Thursday, December 10, 2009





(VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today: "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Ali Bongo Ondimba, president of the Republic of Gabon. The president subsequently went on to meet 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, mention was made of the recently-deceased President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba. Pleasure was then expressed at the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Gabon, by virtue of the Framework-Agreement stipulated in 1997 and its developments. Attention also dwelt on the contribution Catholics make to the development of the country, and to the integral progress of the Gabonese people, particularly in the field of education".OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT GABON VIS 091210 (150)

CUBA: CONCRETE SIGNS OF OPENNESS TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VATICAN CITY, 10 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Eduardo Delgado Bermudez, the new Cuban ambassador to the Holy See, today presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father. In his remarks to the diplomat the Pope noted how, "through hopes and difficulties, Cuba has conquered a leading role, especially in the economic and political context of the Caribbean and Latin America. Moreover, certain signs of openness in relations with the neighbouring United States presage new opportunities for a mutually beneficial rapprochement, in full respect for the sovereignty and rights of States and their citizens". Cuba, "by continuing to collaborate with many countries in such fundamental areas as literacy and healthcare, favours international co-operation and solidarity without subordinating these factors to any interests other than those of helping people in need. It is to be hoped that all this may contribute to fulfilling the call made by my venerated predecessor Pope John Paul II on his historic visit to your island: 'May Cuba, with all its magnificent potential, open itself up to the world, and may the world open itself up to Cuba'". Like other countries Cuba is also suffering "the consequences of the serious world crisis which, in addition to the devastating effects of natural disasters and the economic embargo, particularly affects the poorest people and families. ... The Catholic Church in Cuba which at the present time, as always, feels herself to be close to the people, wishes to offer her own modest but effective assistance", said the Holy Father. He also highlighted how greater co-operation with the Cuban authorities "has enabled the realisation of important aid and reconstruction projects, especially in the wake of natural catastrophes". "It is my hope", he went on, "that tangible signs of openness in the exercise of religious freedom will continue to increase, as has been happening over recent years". These signs include: "the celebration of Mass in various prisons, the performance of religious processions, the repair and restitution of certain church buildings and the construction of a number of religious houses, as well as the extension of social security to cover priests and religious". "In order to continue along this path, especially for the benefit of the citizens of Cuba", the Pope continued his address to the ambassador, "it is also to be desired that dialogue may continue with a view to reaching mutual agreement - following forms similar to those established with other States, yet while respecting the specific characteristics of your country - on a juridical framework to define the existing (and never-interrupted) relations between the Holy See and Cuba, a framework capable of guaranteeing the sound development of the life and pastoral activity of the Church in that nation". Finally the Holy Father expressed his hope that the climate "which has made it possible for the Church to offer her own modest charitable contribution, may also favour her participation in the social communications media and in complementary educational duties, consistent with her specific pastoral and spiritual mission".CD/LETTERS CREDENCE/CUBA:DELGADO VIS 091210 (510)

DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN HOLY SEE AND RUSSIA VATICAN CITY, 10 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office has published a communique announcing that "the Holy See and the Russian Federation, in the desire to promote their mutual friendly relations, have decided by joint agreement to establish diplomatic relations, at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See and of embassy on the part of the Russian Federation".OP/DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS/RUSSIA VIS 091210 (80)

RATIFICATION OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN HOLY SEE AND BRAZIL VATICAN CITY, 10 DEC 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Apostolic Palace today, Thursday 10 December, the exchange took place of the instruments of ratification of an Agreement between the Holy See and the Federative Republic of Brazil. The Agreement was signed on 13 November 2008. According to a communique, the ceremony was attended for the Holy See by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and for the Federative Republic of Brazil by Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, ambassador plenipotentiary. "The Agreement, which further consolidates the traditional bonds of friendship and collaboration that exist between the two sides, is made up of a preamble and twenty articles which govern various areas, among them: the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Brazil; the recognition of academic qualifications; the teaching of religion in State schools; canonical marriage and the fiscal regime. "With today's ceremony", the communique adds in conclusion, "the Agreement comes into force"..../AGREEMENT/HOLY SEE:BRAZIL VIS 091210 (170)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 10 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. - Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, accompanied by Bishop William Edward Lori of Bridgeport, U.S.A.AP/.../... VIS 091210 (50)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 10 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Legazpi, Philippines, presented by Lucilo B. Quiambao, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio to India, as apostolic nuncio to Canada.RE:NN/QUIAMBAO:QUINTANA VIS 091210 (70)



CNA reports that the founder of the Christian Life Movement, Luis Fernando Figari, encouraged the nearly 250 participants of the movement’s 3rd Plenary Assembly to build up the present and future in a spirit of hope, and to “welcome God in your lives and the assistance of Holy Mary on the path towards holiness.”
In his address yesterday afternoon in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Figari reflected on the first two plenary assemblies of the CLM and on the crisis facing today’s world. He encouraged members of the movement to deepen their commitment to the Church, so that with “the realism of hope,” they might work towards building a “more just and reconciled world.”
Recalling the words of John Paul II at the CLM’s first Plenary Assembly in Rome in 1999, Figari said that members of the movement are called to be “artisans of reconciliation” and “efficient workers in the plentiful harvest.”
“The starting point for every CLM member must be his or her identity as a human and Catholic person.” This identity, he continued, “senses a nostalgia for the infinite” and “responds to the anxiety of proclaiming the Lord Jesus as the reconciler of man who offers the key, the way to advance towards the eternal encounter in order to transform the world according to the divine plan,” Figari said.
He explained that CLM members seek to communicate their faith and fervently proclaim that “human life has meaning,” and that changing one’s live and embracing a spirit of hope is possible.
Figari noted that secularism is a “grave threat” that excludes God and his divine plan from the lives of human beings, fostering indifference and a divorce between faith and daily life. “The crisis of faith and the advance of nothingness lead to despair. To me there is a very close relationship between the loss of faith, nothingness and despair,” he added.
Figari warned that while the crisis causes anguish and suffering, for the believer it ought to be an occasion for drawing close to Christ with hope. “With a weakened Catholic identity, faith and love of the Church are also weakened, which leads people who suffer from this weakness to replace it with vague beliefs and to stray from a coherent practice of the faith,” he said.
He also reminded the CLM members that Mary is the help of Christians on the road to sanctity. He called on them to “live the spirituality of Mary, allowing yourselves to be configured to the Lord Jesus in order to thus achieve holiness.”
“God invites us to be his apostles out of love and tenderness. We must allow ourselves to be embraced by the Lord Jesus, so that his light might completely inflame our hearts. Our call is to be a flame that transforms everything with the fire of divine love, illuminating the dark and stormy night of so many, giving them warmth. Only then will we really be able to fulfill the words of the Lord Jesus that have been the theme of this assembly: ‘I have chosen you to go and bear fruit and that your fruit remain,’” Figari said.
Vicente Eduardo Bengoa, a college student and CLM member from the Dominican Republic, remarked that he has felt a real “climate of family” at the assembly. “It must be because we all share the same spirituality. The apostolate is common in all of us and I want to continue learning how to bring the message of the Lord Jesus to more people.”
Jeremy Ambrose, a young Australian living in Sydney, said, “this CLM assembly reminded me of World Youth Day because of all the young people here who have so much enthusiasm, desire and courage to serve the Church through the CLM.”
“I am convinced that the Lord wants us to continue spreading his Word to many places and many people.”
Fabio Brunori, a 23 year-old Italian from Italy, called the experience “an important occasion for my spiritual growth and for learning more about the spirituality of the CLM.” He added that hopes to bring back to Italy “a new way of carrying out the apostolate, a better way that is more attractive and creative, but always in the style of the Sodalite spirituality.”
For Yurina Mariano, a 17-year old young woman from Huambo, Angola, the assembly “was a great experience because I met other members of the CLM from all over the world and I have realized that it doesn’t matter where we are, we all have the same spirituality and the same mission of evangelization. I believe that the Lord brought me here because I can help other Angolans.”
The 3rd Plenary Assembly concludes today on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Raul Vela of Quito, Ecuador.(SOURCE:


CNA reports that preaching today at his installation as the ninth Archbishop of Birmingham, England, Most Rev. Bernard Longley reflected on his new position and today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“In preparing for this day I have been very conscious that I am entering into the life of a Christian family that has a long and rich history as well as its distinctive vocation to make Jesus Christ present, known and loved in this, the heart of England,” the prelate said in his installation Mass homily on Tuesday.
The Mass and installation were celebrated at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St. Chad in Birmingham.
Speaking on the significance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Archbishop Longley said that it “makes us aware of the power of Christ at work within us, as individuals and as communities, even – and perhaps with most effect, most fruitfully – when we are least aware of it.”
Archbishop Longley continued,“the most important moment of grace in Mary's life occurred when she was as yet incapable of sensing or recognizing it, still less understanding its importance.”
On the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, the Archbishop noted that “St. Luke does not disguise the fact that our Lady, even though she was full of grace, was deeply disturbed by the angel's words. The natural, human reaction of bewilderment and astonishment at something so powerful caused her to face it and accept it.”
Mary, preached the archbishop, had “two moments of amazement.” The first was that she was chosen by God, and the second was that her life was to be “fruitful with the birth of Christ.”
“We too, each of us, have been chosen and are highly favored,” he remarked. “We shall never fully understand the reason for God's choosing until we come one day to see him face to face, yet we have been chosen, each in our own particular way and together as the church, to bear Christ to others.”
Previously an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster from 2003 to 2009, Archbishop Longley was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Archbishop of Birmingham on Oct. 1 of this year. The prelate was born in Manchester, England in 1955 and was ordained a priest of Arundel and Brighton, England in 1981. (source;


CISA reports that Dominican Catholic priest, Fr. David Adiletta is the new Chairman of the Religious Superiors Conference of Kenya (RSCK).
RSCK was founded in the country over thirty years ago and is currently grouping together 65 religious men congregations.The new Chairman has taken over from Fr. Patrick Devine of the Society of Missionaries for Africa (SMA), who had served the mandatory two year term of four years each.
Fr. Adiletta, who is currently the regional superior for his congregation for Eastern African Region, was elected to the post at the RSCK annual general meeting, held at Dimesse Sisters Conference Centre at Karen in Nairobi at the end of November
Also elected as members of the RSCK executive committee were: Fr. Cellana Franco-Consolata; Fr. James Wanjau of Camillian; Brother Leonard Akuir Agunda of Brothers of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Rev. Fr. Ricardo Gomez, Guadalupe.
Speaking at the occasion, Bishop David Kamau, Auxiliary Bishop for the metropolitan archdiocese of Nairobi said the outgoing Chairman, Fr Devine had made major contributions to establishing a closer collaboration and cooperation between RSCK and Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC).
He also observed that the Catholic priest had made substantial impact to the structural development of the Liaison Commission for Clergy and Religious and its impact on current issues.In his acceptance speech, the newly elected Chairman, Fr. Adiletta said the outgoing Chairman was instrumental in purchasing the RSCK office in order to facilitate meeting and implementing the policies of the group.He assured RSCK of his readiness to serve.(source:


Cath News reports that although a Toowoomba Catholic primary school principal was acquitted in a case regarding child sex abuse reporting, it could still leave the school and the diocese exposed to civil litigation, a lawyer said.
The schools' principal was cleared in a Toowoomba Magistrates Court over who was responsible for bringing the matter to police, but Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist reportedly said it was clear a person at the school or Catholic Education had committed an offence, according to the Toowoomba Chronicle.
"It might be a technical win, but it still exposes the school and the diocese to civil litigation," Simon Morrison from Shine Lawyers is reported saying.
Shine Lawyers acted for a 24 year old woman in 2001 when she was awarded a landmark $834,800 payout after a trial which exposed the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane for covering up pedophile boarding master Kevin Guy's abuse of at least two girls at the school in 1990, the Toowoomba Chronicle said.
A separate AAP news report published in the Sydney Morning Herald said the families of two children allegedly sexually abused will sue the the Corporation of the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba for failing to act on complaints.
Notices of claim have been served on the Diocese of Toowoomba, a pre-litigation step under Queensland's Personal Injuries Proceedings Act, the report said. (source:


Asia News reports that both were assassinated by a gunshot to the head. Iraqi cell of al Qaeda promises new attacks if Islamic law is not applied in the country. Senior police officer accuses Syria and Saudi Arabia of complicity.
Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Yesterday evening, police found the bodies of two Christian brothers in Mosul, 350 km north of Baghdad. The two were killed with a gunshot to the head. From the capital, meanwhile, fresh claims of responsibility for the bloody attacks on 8 December, which killed 127 people, have arrived from the Iraqi branch of al Qaeda. A senior police official, however, also points the finger at Damascus and Riyadh, which he says "financed" the perpetrators.
Security sources in Mosul confirmed the murder of two brothers originally from Batnaya, a Christian village 20 km north of the city. Yesterday morning the two had arrived in the industrial area of Mosul, to repair their truck. The police found the bodies last night: Both were killed with a gunshot to the head. The dynamics of the attack speak of an execution style killing. Suspicions fall on Sunni extremists who previously attacked the Christian community.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, the first claims of responsibility for the massacre on 8 December, which killed 127 people, with over 500 injured. In a statement released through jihadist websites, the Islamic State of Iraq, a local cell of al Qaeda, claims the attack. The fundamentalists promise more attacks if the government does not apply Shariah, Islamic law in the country.
The Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has removed the head of the security forces in the capital and warned the opposing factions in Parliament not to politicize the attacks.
A senior Police Official in the capital, however, has accused Damascus and Riyadh of "complicity" in the carnage. Gen. Jihad al-Jabiri, director general of the security forces, said that "this requires considerable capital, which come from Syria and Saudi Arabia" and the governments of both countries "were aware of this." He added that the attacks were committed with explosives "from abroad."
The perpetrators were members of the former Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, with the collaboration of al Qaeda and "the help of neighbouring countries." (SOURCE:


St. Gregory III
Feast: December 10
Feast Day:
December 10

Pope St. Gregory III was the son of a Syrian named John. The date of his birth is not known. His reputation for learning and virtue was so great that the Romans elected him pope by acclamation, when he was accompanying the funeral procession of his predecessor, 11 February, 731. As he was not consecrated for more than a month after his election, it is presumed that he waited for the confirmation of his election by the exarch at Ravenna. In the matter of Iconoclasm, he followed the policy of his predecessor. He sent legates and letters to remonstrate with the persecuting emperor, Leo III, and held two synods in Rome (731) in which the image-breaking heresy was condemned. By way of a practical protest against the emperor's action he made it a point of paying special honour to images and relics, giving particular attention to the subject of St. Peter's. Fragments of inscriptions, to be seen in the crypts of the Vatican basilica, bear witness to this day of an oratory he built therein, and of the special prayers he ordered to be there recited.
Leo, whose sole answer to the arguments and apologies for image worship which were addressed to him from both East and West, was force, seized the papal patrimonies in Calabria and Sicily, or wherever he had any power in Italy, and transferred to the patriarch of Constantinople the ecclesiastical jurisdiction which the popes had previously exercised both there, and throughout the ancient Prefecture of Illyricum. Gregory III confirmed the decision of his predecessors as to the respective rights of the Patriarchs of Aquileia and Grado, and sent the pallium to Antoninus of Grado. In granting it also to Egbert of York, he was only following out the arrangements of St. Gregory I who had laid it down that York was to have metropolitical rights in the North of England, as Canterbury had to have them in the South. Both Tatwine and Nothelm of Canterbury received the pallium in succession from Gregory III (731 and 736). At his request Gregory III extended to St. Boniface the same support and encouragement which had been afforded him by Gregory II. "Strengthened exceedingly by the help of the affection of the Apostolic See", the saint joyfully continued his glorious work for the conversion of Germany. About 737 Boniface came to Rome for the third time to give an account of his stewardship, and to enjoy the pope's "life-giving conversation", At Gregory's order the monk and great traveller, St. Willibald, went to assist his cousin St. Boniface in his labours.
The close of Gregory's reign was troubled by the Lombards. Realizing the ambition which animated Liutprand, Gregory completed the restoration of the walls of Rome which had been begun by his predecessors, and bought back Gallese, a stronghold on the Flaminian Way, from Transamund, Duke of Spoleto, which helped to keep open the communications between Rome and Ravenna. In 739, Liutprand was again in arms. His troops ravaged the exarchate, and he himself marched south to bring to subjection his vassals, the Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, and the Duchy of Rome. Transamund fled to Rome, and Gregory implored the aid of the great Frankish chief, Charles Martel. At length ambassadors from the viceroy (subregulus) of the Franks appeared in Rome (739). Their arrival, or the summer heats, brought a momentary peace. But in the following year, Liutprand again took the field. This time the Romans left their walls, and helped Transamund to recover Spoleto. When, however, he had recovered his duchy, he would not or could not comply with Gregory's request, and endeavour to recover for the pope "the four cities of the Roman duchy which had been lost for his sake." In the midst of all these wars and rumours of war, Gregory died, and was buried in the oratory of our Lady which he had himself built in St. Peter's. He died in 741, but whether in November or December is not certain. It is however, on 28 November that he is commemorated in the Roman martyrology.


Matthew 11: 11 - 15
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John;
and if you are willing to accept it, he is Eli'jah who is to come.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

No comments: