Thursday, December 17, 2009





(VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of eight new ambassadors to the Holy See: Hans Klingenberg of Denmark; Francis K. Butagira of Uganda; Suleiman Mohamad Mustafa of Sudan; Elkanah Odembo of Kenya; Mukhtar B. Tileuberdi of Kazakhstan; Abdul Hannan of Bangladesh; Alpo Rusi of Finland, and Einars Semanis of Latvia. Addressing the diplomats as a group, the Pope referred to the need for "a just relationship between human beings and the creation in which they live and work" In this context, he underlined the need for "environmental responsibility" because "the continual degradation of the environment constitutes a direct threat to man's survival and his development, and threatens peace among individuals and peoples". Benedict XVI encouraged the political authorities of the countries the ambassadors represent, and those of all nations, "not only to increase their efforts in favour of environmental protection but also - since the problem cannot be faced only at the national level - to produce proposals and provide encouragement in order to reach vital international agreements that may prove useful and just for all sides". After then highlighting the importance of "converting or modifying the current development model of our societies", the Pope pointed out that "the Church proposes that this profound change ... be guided by the notion of the integral development of the human person". "If it is true", said the Holy Father, "that over history religions have often been a factor of conflict, it is also nonetheless true that religions lived according to their profound essence have been, and still are, a force for reconciliation and peace. At this moment in history religions must, through open and sincere dialogue, seek the path of purification in order to conform ever more closely to their true vocation". "Peaceful coexistence of different religions in each nation is sometimes difficult", he continued. "More than a political problem, this co-existence is a religious problem which lies within the bosom of each one of those traditions. Believers are called to ask God about His will concerning each human situation". "For people of faith or people of good will, the resolution of human conflicts and the delicate coexistence of different religious expressions can be transformed into an opportunity for human coexistence within a social order full of goodness and wisdom, the origin and impulse of which lies in God. Such coexistence, respecting the nature of things and the inherent wisdom that comes from God, is called peace", said Pope Benedict. "The peace we so long for will not come into being save by the joint action of individuals, who discover the true nature of God, and of leaders of civil and religious society who - respecting the dignity and faith of all people - know how to give religion its noble and authentic role in creating and perfecting the human person. This overall reworking, at once temporal and spiritual, will enable a new beginning towards the peace that God wishes to be universal".AC/CREDENTIALS/... VIS 091217 (520)


(VIS) - This morning in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father celebrated a Mass to mark the ninetieth birthday of the Czech Cardinal Tomas Spidlik S.J. Also present at the celebration were members of the "Aletti" community in Rome, where the cardinal lives..../ANNIVERSARY/SPIDLIK VIS 091217 (70)

PERENNIAL MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IN SECULARISED SOCIETY VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus who have recently completed their "ad limina" visit. The Pope began his remarks by reminding the bishops of the importance of announcing "the perennial message of the Gospel with renewed enthusiasm, in a society which is not immune from the temptations of secularisation, hedonism, and relativism, signs of which are the problems of the falling birth-rate, the fragility of families and the illusion of finding fortune outside the homeland". Hence, it is the pressing task of pastors "to underline the power of the faith, a faith rooted in solid tradition, in order to contribute to preserving the deep-rooted Christian identity of the nation, while maintaining respectful dialogue with other cultures and religions". In order to achieve this aim, the Pope told the Belarusian prelates, "pay great heed to formulating programmes and promoting ever more adequate methods of pastoral care, and to implementing the decisions of the episcopal conference. This renewed witness of unity, apart from facilitating the announcement of the Gospel, will favour relations with the civil authorities and, in particular, ecumenical relations". Benedict XVI then turned to the question of education. "Today", he said, "we are living though a kind of 'emergency' in this delicate and vital sector, and it is necessary to increase our efforts in order to ensure that people, and above all the new generations, receive a valid formation". In this context, the Holy Father made particular reference to candidates to the priesthood, calling on the bishops to ensure that they "are given a solid and rigorous spiritual and theological formation, and receive due guidance as they undertake a serious and profound examination of the divine call. The current situation of our society requires a particularly attentive discernment" in this field. The Pope continued his discourse to the prelates: "It is likewise important always to bear in mind that the Lord calls you, as pastors of the Church, to discern each of the ministries destined to edify the ecclesial body (including lay, cultural and civil ministries), so that they may all contribute to boosting the Kingdom of God in Belarus, in a spirit of true and authentic communion which recalls those Christian values that have contributed to the construction of European civilisation". The Orthodox Churches, like the Catholic Church, "are strongly committed to reflecting on how to respond to the challenges of our time, in order to transmit Christ's message faithfully. Responding to the invitation that emerged from the recent Catholic-Orthodox meeting in Cyprus, it is necessary to continue our shared journey in that direction. A significant contribution could be offered by the small but active Greek-Catholic community present in your country". Benedict XVI concluded by referring to his recent meeting with the president of the Republic of Belarus, during which "both parties expressed a desire to stipulate an Agreement, which is currently being prepared. I also", the Pope said, "underlined the particular attention with which this Apostolic See, and the episcopal conference, follow events in your country, and their commitment to effective collaboration in matters of mutual interest with the aim, while respecting the specific competencies of each side, of promoting the good of citizens".AL/.../BELARUS VIS 091217 (550)

COMMUNIQUE: MILINGO DISMISSED FROM THE CLERICAL STATE VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique at midday today: "For a number of years the Church has followed with great concern the difficulties caused by the regrettable conduct of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. Many attempts have been made to bring Archbishop Milingo back into communion with the Catholic Church, including the consideration of suitable ways to enable him to exercise the episcopal ministry. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were directly involved in those efforts and both Popes personally followed the case of Archbishop Milingo in a spirit of paternal solicitude. "In the course of this unhappy series of events, Archbishop Milingo became irregular in 2001 as a result of his attempt to marry Mrs. Maria Sung, and incurred the medicinal penalty of suspension (cf. canons 1044 para. 1, n. 3; 1394 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law). Thereafter, he headed certain groups calling for the abolition of clerical celibacy and gave numerous interviews to the media in open disobedience to the repeated interventions of the Holy See, creating serious upset and scandal among the faithful. Then, on 24 September 2006 in Washington, Archbishop Milingo ordained four bishops without pontifical mandate. "By so doing, he incurred the penalty of excommunication 'latae sententiae' (canon 1382) which was declared by the Holy See on 26 September 2006 and is still in force today. Sadly, Archbishop Milingo has shown no sign of the desired repentance with a view to returning to full communion with the Supreme Pontiff and the other members of the College of Bishops. Rather, he has persisted in the unlawful exercise of acts belonging to the episcopal office, committing new crimes against the unity of Holy Church. Specifically, in recent months Archbishop Milingo has proceeded to several other episcopal ordinations. "The commission of these grave crimes, which has recently been established, is to be considered as proof of the persistent contumacy of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. The Holy See has therefore been obliged to impose upon him the further penalty of dismissal from the clerical state. "According to canon 292 of the Code of Canon Law, the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state, now added to the grave penalty of excommunication, has the following effects: loss of the rights and duties attached to the clerical state, except for the obligation of celibacy; prohibition of the exercise of any ministry, except as provided for by canon 976 of the Code of Canon Law in those cases involving danger of death; loss of all offices and functions and of all delegated power, as well as prohibition of the use of clerical attire. Consequently, the participation of the faithful in any future celebrations organised by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is to be considered unlawful. "It must be pointed out that the dismissal of a bishop from the clerical state is most extraordinary. The Holy See has felt obliged to act in this way due to the serious consequences for ecclesial communion resulting from repeated episcopal consecrations carried out without pontifical mandate; nevertheless, the Church hopes that Archbishop Milingo will see the error of his ways. "As for those recently ordained by Archbishop Milingo, the Church's discipline in imposing the penalty of excommunication 'latae sententiae' upon those who receive episcopal consecration without pontifical mandate is well-known. While expressing hope for their conversion, the Church reaffirms what was declared on 26 September 2006, namely that she does not recognise these ordinations, nor does she intend to recognise them, or any subsequent ordinations based on them, in the future. Hence the canonical status of the supposed bishops remains as it was prior to the ordination conferred by Archbishop Milingo. "At this moment, as the Church experiences profound sorrow for the grave acts perpetrated by Archbishop Milingo, she entrusts to the power of prayer the repentance of the guilty party and of all those who - be they priests or lay faithful - have in any way co-operated with him by acting against the unity of Christ's Church".OP/LAY STATE/MILINGO VIS 091217 (690)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences two prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Wladyslaw Blin of Vitebsk. - Fr. Jan Sergiusz Gajek M.I.C., apostolic visitor for Greek Catholics in Belarus.AL/.../... VIS 091217 (50)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Limerick, Ireland, presented by Bishop Donal Brendan Murray, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.RE/.../MURRAY VIS 091217 (50)



The Bishops of Ireland released the following:

Bishop Donal Murray has today, 17th December 2009, confirmed that the Pope has accepted his resignation with immediate effect as Bishop of the Diocese of Limerick. Bishop Murray’s resignation has been announced by the Holy See today at 11 a.m.Announcing his decision to a congregation, including priests of the Diocese, people working in the Diocesan Office and the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, at 11 a.m. in St. John’s Cathedral, Bishop Murray said: “I met the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on Monday 7th December. I asked him to bring my resignation as Bishop of Limerick to Pope Benedict. The Holy Father has accepted my resignation which takes effect from this morning at 11 a.m. Irish time.“I have heard the views of many survivors, especially in the days following the publication of the Murphy Report. Some expressed the wish that I should resign; others asked me not to do so. I know full well that my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day. I humbly apologise once again to all who were abused as little children. To all survivors of abuse I repeat that my primary concern is to assist in every way that I can, on their journey towards finding closure and serenity.“A bishop is meant to be a person who seeks to lead and inspire all the people of the diocese in living as a community united in the truth and love of Christ. I asked the Holy Father to allow me to resign and to appoint a new bishop to the Diocese because I believe that my presence will create difficulties for some of the survivors who must have first place in our thoughts and prayers.“Let my last words as Bishop of Limerick be those I spoke in St. Joseph's on 29th November last: ‘We are people who believe that God’s mercy and God’s healing are without limit. We are meant to be bearers of that hope to one another and especially to people whose trust was betrayed when they were just little children and who endured the terror, helplessness and suffering inflicted by a frightening and dominant adult. They should always have a special place in our prayers’." +Donal MurrayENDSNeither Bishop Murray nor any diocesan spokesperson will be making any further comment.The following is a chronological order of how Bishop Murray arrived at this decision:
Bishop Murray took some time to study the Murphy Report after its publication on Thursday 26th November. The following is a chronological order of how Bishop Murray arrived at this decision:
On Sunday 29th November he said: “ far as I am concerned the question of whether I should resign is a question of whether my presence here is a help or a hindrance to the diocese of Limerick”. He since listened to the views – which arrived directly, by letter, text, email and telephone - of many people in and, indeed, outside the diocese, not least survivors of clerical sexual abuse. He is grateful to all who responded.
Bishop Murray informed the Vicars General of the Diocese on the afternoon of Tuesday 1st December of his decision to offer his resignation.
On Wednesday 2nd December, Bishop Murray contacted the Apostolic Nuncio, asking him to set about arranging a meeting with the Congregation of Bishops in Rome.
This meeting took place on Monday 7th December; Cardinal Re agreed to present Bishop Murray’s letter of resignation to the Pope on Saturday 12th at his weekly meeting with Pope Benedict.
On Monday 14th December, Bishop Murray visited the Congregation once more and received the news that the Holy Father had acceded to his request.
Cardinal Re agreed that it would be appropriate for Bishop Murray to return to Limerick in order to be present in the diocese at the time of the announcement of his resignation by the Holy See today, Thursday, 17th December.
Bishop Murray has expressed his appreciation to Cardinal Brady who was unfailingly supportive and helpful to him during this time.
Please see reflection by Bishop Murray “ON THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED” reissued on 17th December 2009



CNA reports that this Saturday, the Pro-Life Action League will hold its seventh annual “Empty Manger” Christmas Caroling Day, visiting four abortion clinics in Chicago and four in DuPage county.
At each facility, the carolers gather and sing around an empty manger, which symbolizes both the hope and anticipation of new life as well as the emptiness left behind when an abortion occurs. The league has had success in the past when mothers entering the clinic heard the singing and changed their minds about aborting their baby.
“One mother told our counselor that hearing 'Silent Night' made her think about how Mary said yes to God – and then she couldn't go through with the abortion,” said Eric Scheidler, communications director for the Pro-Life Action League.
One clinic, the All Women's Health Center in Chicago, has yet to be visited by any pro-life organizations. Schiedler expressed his hope that the caroling on Saturday will touch mothers entering the facility with the pro-life message.
Though the message is one of peace, the league has been met with opposition at past caroling events.
Joe Scheidler, President of the Pro Life League, told CNA on Wednesday that pro-abortion individuals have been known in recent years to stand within the caroling group, disrupt the singing and shout obscenities in an effort to drown them out. Scheidler told CNA that police have been contacted this year to protect the pro-life singers and maintain a separation.
“The Christmas story is a story of hope and joy brought into the world by a newborn baby,” said Eric Scheidler noted. “We want abortion bound mothers in Chicago and the western suburbs to know that their unborn babies are a gift, too.”
“We encourage more pro-lifers to join this national event,” urged Scheidler. “Simply print out our booklet and gather a few friends for carols at the abortion facilities in your area.”
To find out more about the Pro Life League's caroling, visit, (SOURCE:



UCAN reports that the oldest priest in Karachi archdiocese, Father D'Arcy de Souza, has died at the age of 96.

Father D’Arcy de Souza, 96,the oldest diocesan priest inKarachi who died on Dec. 10
Father de Souza had been unconscious for about two weeks before passing away on Dec. 10 at the Holy Family hospital, the only Catholic hospital in the city.
He served in Karachi archdiocese for 60 years and was honored as the most senior Catholic citizen of Karachi last year in a ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
About 700 including priests, nuns, catechists and seminarians attended his funeral on Dec. 12 at the cathedral.
Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi concelebrated the Mass alongside 40 priests from across the country. "He remained faithful to God and devoted to his mission all his life. He embraced his vocation, not to achieve greatness but to follow Christ," Archbishop Pinto said in his homily.
Father de Souza's coffin was brought to the cathedral draped with the flag of St. Patrick's High School where he had served as principal from 1958 to 1964.
Several Church workers paid tribute to the priest as a renowned educator, preacher and singer.
Columban Father Patrick McCaffrey, an associate of Father de Souza for 25 years, remembered meeting the late priest after the Columbans started their work among tribal people in the interior Sindh province in 1983.

Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachiat the funeral of Father de Souza
"He wished us well in our new venture. This was the first of many visits he was to make in the following years, always bringing with him kindly words of encouragement and wisdom," Father McCaffrey said in his address.
"Later he brought groups of young people from Karachi and introduced them to a new culture and way of life among the tribal people."
Father de Souza also pioneered the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (NCCRS). The late Cardinal Joseph Cordeiro, the first Pakistani cardinal, appointed Father de Souza as the first chaplain of the movement in 1975.
The movement now has 20 groups in 15 parishes of Karachi archdiocese. It serves both Catholics and Protestants through weekly prayer meetings and personal visits.

CISA reports that a Catholic priest and a nun have been murdered in separate attacks in the Archdiocese of Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu in the eastern of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).Fr. Daniel Cizimya Nakamaga, 51, was shot in the head in the parish in Kabare on Sunday, December 6 when gunmen broke into the presbytery of Kabare, several miles outside the eastern city of Bukavu.Two days later attackers struck a Trappist monastery just north of Bukavu, killing Sr. Denise Kahambu, Msgr. Pierre Bulambo, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bukavu told ACN.A third person died when police trying to catch the killers fired upon a car containing three possible suspects driving through the area late at night. Two of the suspects in the vehicle were able to escape.Violence and tensions have increased in the region. The violence is in part directed at Christians, Aid to the Church in Need reports.Msgr. Bulambo, said the archdiocese has fallen victim to "an act of barbarism. The people have been traumatized and are very afraid. The Congolese are fed up of crying and dying.”The vicar general said that men had stormed Fr. Cizimya's rectory in Kabare and smashed a window to get inside. They moved towards the priest's room but when he tried to close the door to keep them out they fired two shots at his head, killing him instantly.On the evening of November 7, Sr. Kahambo was killed by armed men in uniform who attacked the monastery of Our Lady of Light in Muresha, located 20 kilometers from the town of Bukavu, in the territory of Kabare.Sr. Denise, guest mistress at the monastery, was suddenly confronted by three strangers. She tried to escape but was shot dead. Her body was discovered "lying in a pool of blood."The vicar general said the incidents were the latest in a series of attacks on Church communities in the Bukavu area and that the police are investigating the two incidents and also hinted at possible collusion between security staff officials and the attackers.The attack on the Trappist nuns was the fourth since 1996.(SOURCE:


Cath News reports that the Church welcomed the Federal Government's announcement it will move ahead with plans to filter out violent and pornographic websites containing material which has been refused classification.
Australia's Catholic Bishops' said in a statement that it was "a sensible step towards internet safety."
Bishop Peter Ingham, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference's delegate for media issues, said it was good news that the government had declared that the trial carried out by some Internet Service Providers had been a success.
"It has always been our position that if it could be shown that such filtering can be done without serious adverse effects to the internet, then this would be a very positive step towards ensuring the safety of children on the Net," Bishop Ingham said.
"The Government has trialled the filter and found that ISP filtering can be achieved with negligible impact on Internet speeds and we look forward to the implementation of the policy." (SOURCE:


St. John of Matha
Feast: December 17
Feast Day:
December 17
June 23, 1160, Faucon in Provence
December 17, 1213, Rome

The life of St. John of Matha was one long course of self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor. As a child, his chief delight was serving the poor; and he often told them he had come into the world for no other end but to wash their feet. He studied at Paris with such distinction that his professors advised him to become a priest, in order that his talents might render greater service to others; and, for this end, John gladly sacrificed his high rank and other worldly advantages. At his first Mass an angel appeared, clad in white, with a red and blue cross on his breast, and his hands reposing on the heads of a Christian and a Moorish captive. To ascertain what this signified, John repaired to St. Felix of Valois, a holy hermit living near Meaux, under whose direction he led a life of extreme penance. The angel again appeared, and they then set out for Rome, to learn the will of God from the lips of the Sovereign Pontiff, who told them to devote themselves to the redemption of captives. For this purpose they founded the Order of the Holy Trinity. The religious fasted every day, and gathering alms throughout Europe took them to Barbary, to redeem the Christian slaves. They devoted themselves also to the sick and prisoners in all countries. The charity of St. John in devoting his life to the redemption of captives was visibly blessed by God. On his second return from Tunis he brought back one hundred and twenty liberated slaves. But the Moors attacked him at sea, over- i powered his vessel, and doomed it to destruction, with all on board, by taking away the rudder and sails, and leaving it to the mercy of the winds. St. John tied his cloak to the mast, and prayed, saying, "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered. O Lord, Thou wilt save the humble, and wilt bring down the eyes of the proud." Suddenly the wind filled the small sail, and, without guidance, carried the ship safely in a few days to Ostia, the port of Rome, three hundred leagues from Tunis. Worn out by his heroic labors, John died in 1213, at the age of fifty-three.(SOURCE:

Matthew 1: 1 - 17
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,
and Ram the father of Ammin'adab, and Ammin'adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,
and Salmon the father of Bo'az by Rahab, and Bo'az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri'ah,
and Solomon the father of Rehobo'am, and Rehobo'am the father of Abi'jah, and Abi'jah the father of Asa,
and Asa the father of Jehosh'aphat, and Jehosh'aphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzzi'ah,
and Uzzi'ah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki'ah,
and Hezeki'ah the father of Manas'seh, and Manas'seh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi'ah,
and Josi'ah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoni'ah was the father of She-al'ti-el, and She-al'ti-el the father of Zerub'babel,
and Zerub'babel the father of Abi'ud, and Abi'ud the father of Eli'akim, and Eli'akim the father of Azor,
and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eli'ud,
and Eli'ud the father of Elea'zar, and Elea'zar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

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