VATICAN: SUMMARY OF PAPAL VIST TO CZECH REPUBLIC=
EUROPE: BRITAIN: POPE TO VISIT NEXT YEAR-
ASIA: INDIA: NEW RELIGIOUS IDENTITY -
AUSTRALIA: DISCRIMINATION RIGHTS IN CHURCH GROUPS-
VATICAN: SUMMARY OF PAPAL VIST TO CZECH REPUBLIC
Catholic Herald reports that Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Britain next year, it was reported today. The visit, which some reports say could be as early as January, will be the first by a Pope since John Paul II's trip in 1982.Pope Benedict was personally invited to Britain by the prime minister, Gordon Brown, when he visited the Vatican in February. Previous invitations had been extended by Tony Blair and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. But commentators say a crucial reason for the visit is the beatification next year of Cardinal John Henry Newman, whom Benedict XVI is known to greatly admire. The beatification is expected to take place in Birmingham in May. The visit would be a triumph for Francis Campbell, the outgoing Ambassador to the Holy See. Mr Campbell, Britain's first Catholic ambassador at the Vatican since the Reformation, has helped to facilitate increasingly warm relations between Britain and Rome. John Paul II's six-day visit in 1982 was the first papal trip to Britain since the Reformation. He travelled to Canterbury, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff, and celebrated Mass at Wembley stadium. (SOURCE: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000649.shtml
Zenit.org reports that the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael McGivney, might be closer to recognition as a saint, as an expanded report on a possible miracle has been sent to Rome. The Knights of Columbus announced in a press release today that on Tuesday, officials of a supplemental tribunal from the Hartford Archdiocese, where Father McGivney served as a parish priest, formally sent the report to the Congregation for Saints' Causes. Carl Anderson, the supreme knight, as well as a regular ZENIT columnist, explained that this submission "marks an important step forward." He explained: "The Vatican's congregation for the causes of saints will now have valuable additional testimony that clarifies and adds significantly to the original submission. "We believe that the congregation will now have all the information it needs to complete its assessment of the case, although of course this review could take several years." The new report includes additional testimonies and interviews from witnesses and medical doctors who supported the original description of the reported miracle. Father McGivney founded the knights in 1882, and died in 1890 at age 38. The cause for his sainthood was opened by Archbishop Daniel Cronin of Hartford in 1997. In March 2008, Benedict XVI declared him venerable. "Father McGivney's beatification would be an important event," Anderson said, "not only for Knights of Columbus, but for the many thousands of parish priests who quietly do the Lord's work in parishes each day and regard him as an outstanding example for priests everywhere." The supreme knight added, "In this Year for Priests it is an especially appropriate step forward." (SOURCE: http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=34497
According to Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel, how Religious can be active participants in India's socio-economic life is on the agenda for Religious major superiors to discuss at the upcoming CRI national assembly, held once every three years.
CRI represents more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and nuns in India.More than 500 major superiors from around the country are expected for the scheduled Sept. 26-Oct. 2 meeting in New Delhi.
The interview with Brother Mekkunnel follows:
Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel
UCA NEWS: How will this meeting impact the CRI?
BROTHER MANI MEKKUNNEL: The CRI is having its assembly in New Delhi for the first time in its 47-year history. That in itself aims at making a difference. Earlier meetings focused mostly on Religious and Church life, and activities of Religious. But this assembly will try to showcase the CRI as an organization that is more concerned with national issues.
In recent years, Christians have experienced turmoil in various degrees. Some groups have attacked Christians. So it is time we met with society on broader terms. We cannot remain mere spectators and the good guys of society. We have to become active agents in nation building.
Do you feel Catholic Religious were not really part of society until now?
Yes, in a sense. Earlier we used to gather and talk about Religious life and issues related to it, and then go back happy thinking we had done something good. We were not connected with national life. A change of heart is required to establish this connection. We are hoping this meeting will turn us around a bit.
The assembly is an attempt to place ourselves on the national scene and decide what we should do to create a new identity. We also want others to look at us not merely as a religious society but as a voluntary organization involved in the country's socio-economic life.
Will a new face to the CRI emerge after the meeting?
Yes, we are trying for one. We want to portray the assembly not as a religious gathering but as a national event. The program is titled "Leadership Conference" and its logo reflects a harmonious India. It is a theme that goes beyond Church circles. India is changing, so the Religious should also have to change.
Do you foresee any challenges?
The first challenge is to change the way we look at society. There has been a kind of unseen wall built between Religious life and secular society. On many occasions we have behaved as disinterested onlookers. The secular-Religious divide is too strong in many Religious. But it is breaking down and this meeting indicates that.
Indian nuns at a meeting (file photo)
The conference will help the Church to assert its voice in the modern world as decreed by Vatican II. So far, we have been quite comfortable among ourselves. The problem is with us, not with the outside world. We are not courageous enough -- or have not realized the need -- to make changes from within.
For example, we consider someone a Christian only if he or she is baptized. That ritual takes only a few minutes. After that we do not bother about how that person lives the faith. At the same time, we are not willing to accept as Christians thousands who follow Christ in spirit.
Today in Europe, only 10 percent of the population are baptized Christians, but we have no problem calling it a Christian continent. But if you say this of India, there would be a hue and cry. There are thousands of Indians brought up in the Christian tradition who live with Christian values, perhaps more than the number of Christians in Europe. In Varanasi (northern India), many people call themselves Christu bhakta (Christ devotees). They are not baptized, but live like Christians. Yet we don't accept them as Christians.
But how is this a challenge for the Religious?
Religious are supposed to be the Church's missioners and pioneers. They are the prophets in the Church. However, social factors are acting as hindrances. The Church needs a quantum movement for change. If an individual suddenly tries for change, he or she may not survive long.
But some, like Mother Teresa, have thrived.
Mother Teresa couldn't change her original congregation. Today that congregation is one of the dying congregations, although it was among the first to come to India. Change can happen from anywhere, not only from Religious. Major changes in the Church during the 13th century happened because of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a layperson, not a monk.
Religious life started as a contestation against certain Church practices, but it gradually became part of the Church. The Religious are now busy attending to the Church's ordinary needs such as maintenance of institutions.
The CRI is considered the second most powerful group in the Catholic Church in India. Why doesn't it assert itself more?
If you speak in democratic terms, more than 125,000 members and institutions make the CRI a much larger force than any other Church body in the country. However, in terms of authority or hierarchy, the CRI is nothing. It belongs to another order of things. Its power comes from its charismatic nature or commitment, not its position. There is no position for the Religious in the Church hierarchy.
What are some of the problems with the Indian Religious?
Education, mainly. A large number of the Religious, mostly nuns, are mere matriculates (having a 10th-grade education). Nuns are the largest CRI group, so it is also a gender problem.
The women Religious are not able to play their role. Our present concern is to make the Indian Religious communicate. Many Religious superiors still think using the Internet or educating the nuns could lead to abuse. How to break that mindset and make our women communicators is a big challenge. It will happen, but if you ask me when, my answer is: "Not in our life time." Because the structure is so strong, changes can happen soon only if something out of the way happens.
I have told women leaders that nothing will happen if they leave it to bishops and priests to talk about change. The day women start talking about changes, things will start happening.
Do women get a chance to say what they want?
They are given forums, but they remain silent. It's a cultural factor. They come from homes where they are not allowed to raise their voices. The way they've been brought up also does not permit them to speak out. Even the highly qualified and Western educated become part of a silent group.
“Oh Lord God Almighty, Give us a new heart” We, the Catholic Bishops of Kenya meeting in plenary session in Nairobi wish to address current issues in our country which are a source of suffering to us and all people of good will.A) CONFLICT AMONG PASTORALISTSOnce again, our hearts are torn and bleeding because of the violence seen in the past few days in Samburu District. The killings of innocent women and children add a new and terrible dimension to this conflict. The government machinery seems unable or unwilling to intervene in this situation. Coming late in the day and wringing one’s hand is not sufficient or helpful. There must be an overall plan to prevent situations like this. The problem is caused by lack of food, water, education and the proliferation of small arms. Sending in GSU for two weeks is not a permanent solution. The problem between these two communities can only be solved by dialogue and responsible efforts. The law of jungle (survival for the fittest) must not be the rule of the day. The people involved should be guided by an upright conscience and respect for human life. “Do not do to others what you would not want done to you” The pastoralists’ problem is as a result of neglect by successive governments. There has been no meaningful development that has taken place. Outside help is necessary, so we expect the government to take a meaningful approach to the problem.B) POLITICS VERSUS THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLEOur political class – all of them are out of touch with the aspirations of the ordinary people, i.e., discussing for hours on end political partisanship when their first duty is look after the poor and deprived in our society. Many people in the country are unable to get a proper meal and our politicians do not seem to care.C) THE DEGRADATION OF OUR ENVIRONMENTIt is obvious that the Mau and other water catchment areas must be restored. The government must not be deviated from dealing with the problem immediately. It is however necessary to have a viable mechanism to prevent politically inspired clashes again as has been threatened in certain quarters.Immediate action is necessary. Kindly, note what is happening to Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru so visible examples of degradation.D) INSECURITYInsecurity is a problem. We look at our sources of law and order to ensure that people feel secure in their homes and Shambas. They have neglected their duties and involved themselves in self enrichment. This factor must be taken as a priority by the new Police Commissioner and let him take effective steps to make this country safe for all its citizens.E) TRIBALISMAre we, Kenyans, rally able to overcome the curse of Tribalism? Are our schools doing enough to eradicate this evil? The inculcation of patriotic ethics must be a priority in our schools. We appeal to all our Catholics and people of good will to fight the disease of tribalism as we are all children of God and we have one Father.F) FOOD SECURITYThere must be an immediate plan put in place to secure sufficient food both for now and the coming years. Where will we get the food? Where will we get the money to buy the food? This will be a test of the quality and sincerity of our leaders. Yes a large part of our country is arid. But famine can be overcome by meaningful planning of boreholes, dams and irrigation.G) INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONSThis problem must be solved now. For how long will people starve and live in squalor in their own country? Is hunger, famine and inhumanity synonymous with being Kenyan? We appeal to the Government to work extra hard to resettle the IDPs before the next rainy seasonH) THE WAY FORWARDWe continue to call for reconciliation and change of heart. We ask the government to look into the distribution of land and to examine how sales of land are made. Public land should remain public. People should say what they mean and mean what they say. It is necessary that our schools educate students to be honest and God-fearing.We ask all people of goodwill to pray for our country. We must pray and pray to our God ‘who causes the Rain to fall on both bad and good’.Signed by: His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi and Apostolic Administrator of Ngong, Chairman – Kenya Episcopal Conference, and all Catholic bishops of Kenya.Nairobi, Friday, September 18, 2009
Mr Hulls said a new Equal Opportunity Bill will be introduced into parliament next year with changes that state religious groups will not be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding, according to The Sunday Age.
Church groups must prove why any person refused employment must meet certain religious beliefs. Victims must make an official complaint for action to be taken.
The Sunday Age said the plan will allow church groups to discriminate on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status and parental status.
Critics are unhappy with the concessions but the move was welcomed by church leaders. Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart told the paper the move strikes "a fair and correct balance".
St. Vincent de Paul
FOUNDER OF THE VINCENTIANS
Feast: September 27
April 24, 1581, Pouy, Gascony, France
September 27, 1660, Paris, France
16 June 1737, Rome by Pope Clement XII
St Vincent de Paul chapel, Rue de Sèvres, Paris, France
charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; volunteers
Like his fellow saint, Francis de Sales, who was his friend and contemporary, Vincent de Paul performed an invaluable service to the Catholic Church in a period of confusion and laxness. But unlike the aristocratic bishop of Geneva, Vincent was born in poverty, of peasant stock. His birthplace was Pouy, near Dax in Gascony, in southwest France; the year was 1576. Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras, his parents, were sturdy farming people who reared a family of four sons and two daughters. Observing young Vincent's quick intelligence, his father sent him to be educated by the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. When the boy had been at school for four years, a lawyer of the town engaged him as tutor to his children, thus enabling Vincent to go on with his studies without further expense to his parents. Vincent continued his education at the Spanish University of Saragossa, and then returned to France to attend the University of Toulouse. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained priest by' the bishop of Perigueux, but remained at Toulouse for another four years to take the degree of Doctor of Theology.
TODAY'S MASS READINGS
26TH SUN. ORDINARY TIME/ YEAR B
Numbers 11: 25 - 29
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more.
Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.
And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."
And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them."
But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.
John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us."
But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
For he that is not against us is for us.
For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.