Thursday, December 3, 2009





(VIS) - Made public today was the Pope's Message for the eighteenth World Day of the Sick, which is due to be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on 11 February 2010, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Noting how the forthcoming Day coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, the Holy Father expresses the hope that this fact "will be the occasion for a more generous apostolic commitment at the service of the sick and of their carers". "In the mystery of Christ's passion, death and resurrection", writes the Pope, "human suffering finds meaning and fullness of light. ... At the Last Supper the Lord Jesus, before returning to the Father, bent to wash the Apostles' feet in a foretaste of His supreme act of love upon the Cross. With this gesture He invited His disciples to follow His own logic of a love that especially gives itself to the weakest and to those most in need. Following His example all Christians are called to relive, in different contexts, the parable of the Good Samaritan". Jesus, says the Holy Father, "exhorts us to attend to the bodily and spiritual wounds of so many of our brothers and sisters whom we meet on the roads of the world. He helps us to understand that, with the grace of God accepted and lived in everyday life, the experience of sickness and suffering can become a school of hope". "At the current historical-cultural time", the Message continues, "there is an increasing need for an attentive and extensive ecclesial presence alongside sick people, as well as a presence in society capable of effectively transmitting evangelical values for the protection of human life in all its phases, from conception until natural end". The Pope expresses his heartfelt thanks "to the people who daily 'serve the sick and suffering' ensuring that 'that their apostolate of mercy may ever more effectively respond to people’s needs'". In the current Year for Priests, Benedict XVI also addresses the "'ministers of the sick', sign and instrument of Christ's compassion which must reach everyone who suffers". In this context he invites clergy "to show no reserve in offering help and comfort. Time spent alongside the suffering is rich in grace for all other dimensions of pastoral care. "Finally," he adds in conclusion, "I address you, dear sick people, and I ask you to pray and to offer your suffering for priests, that they may remain faithful to their vocation and that their ministry may be rich in spiritual fruits for the benefit of the entire Church".MESS/WORLD DAY OF SICK/... VIS 091203 (460)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Dimitrij Anatolievic Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, accompanied by an entourage.AP/.../... VIS 091203 (40)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bafoussam, Cameroon, as archbishop of Bertoua (area 26,320, population 327,550, Catholics 122,655, priests 56, religious 97), Cameroon. The archbishop-elect was born in Akok-Bekoe, Cameroon in 1952 he was ordained a priest in 1987 and consecrated a bishop in 1999. He succeeds Archbishop Roger Pirenne C.I.C.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Sosthene Leopold Bayemi Matjei of the clergy of Eseka, Cameroon, professor of philosophy at the University of Central Africa in Yaounde and collaborator of the apostolic nunciature to Cameroon, as bishop of Obala (area 14,849, population 713,842, Catholics 407,865, priests 91, religious 80), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Matomb, Cameroon in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1994. He succeeds Bishop Jerome Owono-Mimboe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Faustin Ambassa Ndjodo C.I.C.M., provincial superior of the Scheut Fathers and president of the conference of superiors major of Cameroon and of that of Africa and Madagascar, as bishop of Batouri (area 15,981, population 205,000, Catholics 47,000, priests 27, religious 44), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Ekouda, Cameroon in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1997. - Appointed Fr. Gines Ramon Garcia Beltran, canon of the cathedral of Almeria, Spain, as bishop of Guadix (area 5,677, population 109,982, Catholics 107,000, priests 66, religious 131), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Lora, Spain in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Juan Garcia-Santacruz Ortiz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou of the clergy of the diocese of Abomey, Benin, secretary general of the "Conference Episcopale Regionale de l'Afrique de l'Ouest Francophone" (CERAO) and of the Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA), and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. - Appointed Fr. Bernard Ardura O. Praem., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.NER:RE:NA/.../... VIS 091203 (390)



CNA reports that a federal judge in Buenos Aires has barred same-sex “marriage” from taking place in the Argentinean capital this week, overturning a decision by a lower court judge who had previously ruled it to be unconstitutional to prohibit marriage between two persons of the same sex.
Judge Martha Gomez Alsina ruled that the lower court judge did not have the jurisdiction to rule on the country’s Civil Code, which states that marriage is a contract between one man and one woman.
The lower court ruling had struck down two articles of the Civil Code as unconstitutional for prohibiting marriage between two persons of the same sex. Judge Gomez suspended the ruling until further review.
Lawyers appealing the lower court decision said they were driven by “the concern of many married couples that two men were going to be allowed to marry, and thus the foundations of an institution that forged the greatness of Argentina...would be destroyed.”
“We want to be clear that this is not a religious issue. The civil institution of marriage is not the result of some lawmaker 100 years ago. Lawmakers then simply recognized what common sense, history and nature tell us about what is best for the good of a society: that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that this was the foundation of the Argentinean family.”
The Arcbhishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, recently commented on the unease Catholics felt over the failure of the Buenos Aires government to appeal the initial ruling, saying the government officials “failed gravely in their duty as leaders.”(SOURCE:



CNA reports that Caritas International’s special advisor for the fight against AIDS, Msgr. Robert Vitillo, said this week that one of the main ways of combating the disease is to teach values to young people. He added that though it doesn't cost anything to do this, it requires “much effort and is tiresome.”
Speaking to Vatican Radio from Nairobi, Msgr. Vitillo recalled that the Church is always close to those who are suffering most. “This pandemic continues and according to U.N. statistics, more than two million people were infected in 2008. This means that we must re-dedicate ourselves to the prevention of this disease.”
He noted that teaching young people is not easy, “as it is difficult to successfully make them discover values and their own dignity. But it is necessary to establish healthy connections among them.”
Msgr. Vitillo also pointed out that in poor countries, 60 percent of the population does not have access to medicine. He remarked that this is a major issue because only 20 percent of HIV-positive children receive treatment because “the drugs are not specifically for pediatric use.”
Vitillo said pharmaceutical companies and governments must invest in developing drugs that are especially adapted for children.
According to recent data, as of 2009 some 33.4 million people are living with HIV, while some 2.7 million became infected in 2008, and another 2 million died that year as a result of complications from the disease. Estimates are that in 2008, 430,000 children were born HIV-positive, with 2.1 million infected children under the age of 15.(SOURCE:


UCAN reports that most of Japan's Catholic bishops do not want their country to build up its military, and support retention of their constitution's "peace clause," says Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki.

Archbishop Joseph MitsuakiTakami of Nagasaki (File photo)
The Church leader, speaking to UCA News recently while visiting Rome, said he hopes the new government, led by Yukio Hatoyama, will not change Article 9 in the constitution.
That clause is "very important" in curbing militarization, he said.
Japan has significant military might, but for defensive purposes only. Following the country's World War II defeat, the victorious United States forced the inclusion of Article 9 into the 1946 Japanese Constitution. It aimed to prevent Japan ever going to war again, Archbishop Takami recalled.
The Japanese people, the clause says, "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes." It states that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained" and asserts that "the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."
Right-wing nationalists have long advocated revising this article to allow the development of a military capacity. Their campaign has gained ground in the last decade as the United States encouraged Japan to take a more active role in security concerns.
Born in Nagasaki on March 21, 1946, Archbishop Takami was in his mother's womb when the United States dropped an atomic bomb there. Almost 74,000 people died instantly, and at least 25,000 more in the years that followed. Among them were the archbishop's grandmother, two aunts and a cousin.
His recent visit to Rome coincided with the Nov. 24 anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's beatification last year of 188 Japanese martyrs from the 17th century. Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo led the pilgrimage group of seven bishops and 163 lay Catholics.
Pope Benedict met them briefly on Nov. 25. Archbishop Okada handed him a letter of gratitude signed by the Japanese bishops and a reliquary containing a bone of one of the martyrs.
Archbishop Takami told UCA News that besides militarization, another major challenge facing Japan's Catholic Church is evangelization.
The Catholic Church in Japan has about 1 million members, but less than half are native Japanese. The majority are Brazilian, Filipino, Korean and Chinese migrants who have brought new life and resources to the Church, the archbishop said.
He acknowledged that Pope John Paul II's historic 1981 trip to Japan, where he visited Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo, inspired the whole Catholic community. The bishops convened national evangelization conventions in 1987 and 1993, each followed by a national missionary effort, but Archbishop Takami admitted these efforts have borne few visible fruits.
The bishops feel they have to do "something new" to evangelize, he added, and are planning to issue a letter on this, perhaps in 2010.
The archbishop also responded to a question about a reported comment by Ichiro Ozawa, secretary general of Japan's ruling Democratic Party, that "Christianity is an exclusive, self-righteous religion," he said.
Ozawa "has some reason" for his statement, in the attitudes Churches have taken in history, Archbishop Takami remarked.
"We exclude when we consider another religion as nothing, and when we consider ourselves to be right and the others to be wrong." Likewise, Japan was also being exclusive "when it expelled missionaries and denounced Christianity as a bad religion," he said.
Nonetheless, "the Christian Gospel is absolutely good and a supreme value and I believe in it," the Japanese prelate asserted. "We don't always live exactly according to the Gospel, and that is a problem, and we recognize it."


Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has called for an end to the buying and selling of African farmland by rich nations during UN hunger summit the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy.Speaking at a UN hunger summit, he described it as “new feudalism” which could spread to Latin America as well.“We should fight against this new feudalism, we should put an end to this land grab in African countries,” Libyan Colonel declared.“Rich countries are now buying the land in Africa. They are cheating African people out of their rights. This is also going to happen in Latin America,” Gaddafi said.However, Gaddafi’s call was disputed by Kanayo Nwanze, who heads the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development. Nwanze said, "It is wrong to call them land grabs. These are investments in farmland like investments in oil exploration. We can have win-win situations." But French Farm Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by the Reuters news agency agreeing with the Libyan colonel - that "predatory" farmland acquisitions in poor countries should be halted.In the past two years, various non-African countries China, India, South Korea, Britain and the Arab Gulf states leading the pack have picked up huge tracts of farmland in Africa by lease or purchase, to produce food or biofuels for their own use.In Sudan, South Korea has acquired 1.7 million acres of land to grow wheat. The United Arab Emirates, which already has 74,000 acres hectares in Sudan, is investing in another 959,000 acres to grow corn, alfalfa, wheat, potatoes and beans. In Tanzania, Saudi Arabia is seeking 1.2 million acres. According to reports most of the land claimed by foreign acquisition was already in use by local people.(source:


Cath news reports Brisbane Archdiocese launched a comprehensive statement on disability and inclusion to mark the International Day for People with Disability today.
The Sign of the Kingdom statement acknowledges the Church has often reflected the same myths and misunderstandings about people with disability as are found in society, the Archdiocese said. It is being offered as a resource for reflection on inclusive practice in parishes, schools and agencies of the Archdiocese.
In his letter for the statement Archbishop John Bathersby encourages everybody "to know and support people with disability and to develop the confidence and capacity to go about this task."
"I invite you to listen to the stories of people with disability and their families, to examine with them ways in which your parish, school or agency may become a more inclusive community."
The community is encouraged to look at their capacity to assist people with disability to gain access to education, employment and to walk with them as advocates with government and agencies that work with people with disabilities.
The statement provides a theological framework for inclusion grounded in the theology and spirituality of communion and includes stories from people with disabilities and their families as a reflection point especially for people who have little experience of disability, the Archdiocese said. (SOURCE:


St. Francis Xavier
Feast: December 3
Feast Day:
December 3
April 7, 1506, Javier, Navarre
December 3, 1552, China
March 12, 1622 by Gregory XV
Patron of:
African missions; Apostleship of Prayer; Australia; Bombay, India; China; East Indies; Fathers of the Precious Blood; foreign missions; Goa India; India; Tokyo, Japan; missionaries; Missioners of the Precious Blood; navigators; parish missions; plague epidemics; Propagation of the Faith

Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, 7 April, 1506; died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China, 2 December, 1552. In 1525, having completed a preliminary course of studies in his own country, Francis Xavier went to Paris, where he entered the college de Sainte-Barbe. Here he met the Savoyard, Pierre Favre, and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them. It was at this same college that St. Ignatius Loyola, who was already planning the foundation of the Society of Jesus, resided for a time as a guest in 1529. He soon won the confidence of the two young men; first Favre and later Xavier offered themselves with him in the formation of the Society. Four others, Lainez, Salmeron, Rodriguez, and Bobadilla, having joined them, the seven made the famous vow of Montmartre, 15 Aug., 1534.
After completing his studies in Paris and filling the post of teacher there for some time, Xavier left the city with his companions 15 November, 1536, and turned his steps to Venice, where he displayed zeal and charity in attending the sick in the hospitals. On 24 June, 1537, he received Holy orders with St. Ignatius. The following year he went to Rome, and after doing apostolic work there for some months, during the spring of 1539 he took part in the conferences which St. Ignatius held with his companions to prepare for the definitive foundation of the Society of Jesus. The order was approved verbally 3 September, and before the written approbation was secured, which was not until a year later, Xavier was appointed , at the earnest solicitation of the John III, King of Portugal, to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He left Rome 16 March, 1540, and reached Lisbon about June. Here he remained nine months, giving many admirable examples of apostolic zeal.
On 7 April, 1541, he embarked in a sailing vessel for India, and after a tedious and dangerous voyage landed at Goa, 6 May, 1542. The first five months he spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them. About October, 1542, he started for the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula, desirous of restoring Christianity which, although introduced years before, had almost disappeared on account of the lack of priests. He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of Western India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon. Many were the difficulties and hardships which Xavier had to encounter at this time, sometimes on account of the cruel persecutions which some of the petty kings of the country carried on against the neophytes, and again because the Portuguese soldiers, far from seconding the work of the saint, retarded it by their bad example and vicious habits.
In the spring of 1545 Xavier started for Malacca. He laboured there for the last months of that year, and although he reaped an abundant spiritual harvest, he was not able to root out certain abuses, and was conscious that many sinners had resisted his efforts to bring them back to God. About January, 1546, Xavier left Malacca and went to Molucca Islands, where the Portuguese had some settlements, and for a year and a half he preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of Amboyna, Ternate, Baranura, and other lesser islands which it has been difficult to identify. It is claimed by some that during this expedition he landed on the island of Mindanao, and for this reason St. Francis Xavier has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines. But although this statement is made by some writers of the seventeenth century, and in the Bull of canonization issued in 1623, it is said that he preached the Gospel in Mindanao, up to the present time it has not been proved absolutely that St. Francis Xavier ever landed in the Philippines.
By July, 1547, he was again in Malacca. Here he met a Japanese called Anger (Han-Sir), from whom he obtained much information about Japan. His zeal was at once aroused by the idea of introducing Christanity into Japan, but for the time being the affairs of the Society demanded his presence at Goa, whither he went, taking Anger with him. During the six years that Xavier had been working among the infidels, other Jesuit missionaries had arrived at Goa, sent from Europe by St. Ignatius; moreover some who had been born in the country had been received into the Society. In 1548 Xavier sent these missionaries to the principal centres of India, where he had established missions, so that the work might be preserved and continued. He also established a novitiate and house of studies, and having received into the Society Father Cosme de Torres, a Spanish priest whom he had met in the Maluccas, he started with him and Brother Juan Fernandez for Japan towards the end of June, 1549. The Japanese Anger, who had been baptized at Goa and given the name of Pablo de Santa Fe, accompanied them.
They landed at the city of Kagoshima in Japan, 15 Aug., 1549. The entire first year was devoted to learning the Japanese language and translating into Japanese, with the help of Pablo de Santa Fe, the principal articles of faith and short treatises which were to be employed in preaching and catechizing. When he was able to express himself, Xavier began preaching and made some converts, but these aroused the ill will of the bonzes, who had him banished from the city. Leaving Kagoshima about August, 1550, he penetrated to the centre of Japan, and preached the Gospel in some of the cities of southern Japan. Towards the end of that year he reached Meaco, then the principal city of Japan, but he was unable to make any headway here because of the dissensions the rending the country. He retraced his steps to the centre of Japan, and during 1551 preached in some important cities, forming the nucleus of several Christian communities, which in time increased with extraordinary rapidity.
After working about two years and a half in Japan he left this mission in charge of Father Cosme de Torres and Brother Juan Fernandez, and returned to Goa, arriving there at the beginning of 1552. Here domestic troubles awaited him. Certain disagreements between the superior who had been left in charge of the missions, and the rector of the college, had to be adjusted. This, however, being arranged, Xavier turned his thoughts to China, and began to plan an expedition there. During his stay in Japan he had heard much of the Celestial Empire, and though he probably had not formed a proper estimate of his extent and greatness, he nevertheless understood how wide a field it afforded for the spread of the light of the Gospel. With the help of friends he arranged a commission or embassy the Sovereign of China, obtained from the Viceroy of India the appointment of ambassador, and in April, 1552, he left Goa. At Malacca the party encountered difficulties because the influential Portuguese disapproved of the expedition, but Xavier knew how to overcome this opposition, and in the autumn he arrived in a Portuguese vessel at the small island of Sancian near the coast of China. While planning the best means for reaching the mainland, he was taken ill, and as the movement of the vessel seemed to aggravate his condition, he was removed to the land, where a rude hut had been built to shelter him. In these wretched surroundings he breathed his last.
It is truly a matter of wonder that one man in the short space of ten years (6 May, 1542-2 December, 1552) could have visited so many countries, traversed so many seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations, and converted so many infidels. The incomparable apostolic zeal which animated him, and the stupendous miracles which God wrought through him, explain this marvel, which has no equal elsewhere. The list of the principal miracles may be found in the Bull of canonization. St. Francis Xavier is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful miracles he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction. He was canonized with St. Ignatius in 1622, although on account of the death of Gregory XV, the Bull of canonization was not published until the following year.
The body of the saint is still enshrined at Goa in the church which formerly belonged to the Society. In 1614 by order of Claudius Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus, the right arm was severed at the elbow and conveyed to Rome, where the present altar was erected to receive it in the church of the Gesu.


Matthew 7: 21, 24 - 27
"Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;
and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;
and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."

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