AFRICA: KENYA: NCCK CALLS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS-
SEVENTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
(VIS) - This morning, at the beginning of the Seventeenth General Congregation, a letter from the presidents delegate and the secretary general of the Synod was read out to the assembly. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and the session was attended by the Pope and 217 Synod Fathers. The text of the Letter is given below: "To the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. "As Synod Fathers, gathered at the Second Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, we have learned with deep sorrow of the persistent war in the dioceses of the Great Lakes Region, with its consequent destruction, violence and death of innocent people. To avoid being killed, hundreds of thousands of persons have been forced to abandon their homes and seek refuge in adjoining countries in extremely perilous conditions. This war gives rise to the worrisome situation of child-soldiers, orphans, those who are maimed and persons with grave physical and psychological problems. "As Synod Fathers, in solidarity with the president of the Synod, Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, we wish to express our deepest sentiments of fraternal communion with the bishops of the dioceses involved in this inhuman suffering of innocent peoples. At the same time, we turn to the parties concerned, imploring them to replace at once the language of arms with that of dialogue and negotiation. In dialogue, undertaken in mutual respect and peace, all problems can be solved. War, on the other hand, makes everything more difficult, transforming brothers into enemies. "Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Risen Lord Jesus, we, as Synod Fathers, declare the sacred value of every human life. The commandment 'not to kill' is not only apart of the Decalogue, revealed by God and recorded in the Bible, but a law written in the heart of every person who comes into this world. It is not lawful to kill innocent people for whatever reason, whether it be social, political, ethnic, racial or religious. The blood of the innocent cries to heaven for vengeance, to a God Who sooner or later will judge those who have stained their hands with the blood of the poor, who are His chosen ones. "While we are reflecting on reconciliation, justice and peace, we implore, through the intercession of the saints born in Africa, the gift of peace so that justice may come about in those areas where it has been gravely missing, and that hearts may open to the grace of reconciliation with God and neighbour, not only in the Great Lakes Region but in all of Africa. "We entrust our distressed, urgent appeal to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa and Comforter of the Afflicted". Following the reading of the Letter, the unified list of fifty-four propositions was presented. The propositions will be consigned to the Holy Father to consider as he writes the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. The Synod Fathers also participated in the second vote to elect the members of the ordinary council of the General Secretariat of the Synod. At the end of each ordinary general synodal assembly, the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat is formed. The Council is comprised of fifteen members; twelve of whom are elected from the Synod, and three designated by the Roman Pontiff. This afternoon the Synod Fathers will meet in language groups to prepare the collective amendments to the propositions.SE/SEVENTEENTH CONGREGATION/... VIS 091020 (610)
NOTE ON ANGLICANS WISHING TO ENTER THE CATHOLIC CHURCH VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2009 (VIS) - In a meeting with journalists held this morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, presented a note on a new measure concerning "Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church". Commenting on the English-language note, which has been published by his dicastery, Cardinal Levada explained how, "with the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion. "In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy. "The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a worldwide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony". "The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The initiative has come from a number of different groups of Anglicans" who, said Cardinal Levada, "have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion". The cardinal further indicated that "it is the hope of the Holy Father Benedict XVI that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: 'There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism'. "Our communion", the cardinal added in conclusion, "is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith". In a joint declaration on the same subject, Catholic Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Westminster and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury affirm that the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution "brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution", which is a "consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. "The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing co-operation", the declaration adds. "The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together. "With God's grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England's House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission".CDF/ANGLICANS CATHOLICS/LEVADA VIS 091020 (820)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 20 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Boston, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Francis X. Irwin, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Tarnow, Poland, presented by Bishop Wladyslaw Bobowski, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Msgr. Andrzej Jez of the clergy of the diocese of Tarnow, Poland, pastor of the parish of St. Margaret at Nowy Sacz, as auxiliary of Tarnow (area 7,566, population 1,125,753, Catholics 1,118,847, priests 1,395, religious 1,248). The bishop-elect was born in Limanowa, Poland in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1988.RE:NEA/.../IRWIN:BOBOWSKI:JEZ VIS 091020 (140)
GUATEMALA: FROM JAN-SEPT 400 CHILDRED KILLED
CNA reports that the Office of Human Rights of the Archdiocese of Guatemala denounced the murders of over 400 children between January and September of this year, and called for an end to the “culture of violence and intolerance for personal integrity” that is affecting the country.
According to a report published by the Efe news agency, “of the 400 children killed between January and September, 52 percent died from gunshot wounds.” The figure represents an increase from 2008 when “493 children were killed.”
During the first nine months of 2009, “an average of 1.46 deaths of children occurred each day, very similar to the 1.5 that occurred during the same period in 2008,” the newspaper reported.
A spokesman from the archdiocesan human rights office, Carlos Chacon, said these numbers “represent a ‘discouraging’ outlook because children ought to be in schools and not on the streets.”
According to officials, there is an average of 17 murders each day, most attributed to youth gangs and organized crime related to the drug trade. (SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17443
SPAIN: BISHOP DENOUNCES ABORTION LAW
CNA reports that Bishop Jesus Sanz Montes of Huesca in Spain has called the new law on abortion being promoted by the Zapatero administration “chauvinist and unjust.” He added that calling abortion a “right” is “a venomous source of immorality and injustice that mars the entire law.”
In a pastoral letter, Bishop Sanz criticized the government for its demagoguery and half-truths, which are so laughable as to not merit a response “were it not for the fact that the human life of an innocent human being is in question.”
He also warned against the “economic agenda of abortion clinics and laboratories that are ‘marketing’ abortion pills” and against politicians who wink and nod at so-called progress in order to obtain political benefits and social status, while turning a blind eye to issues such as the economic crisis, corruption and loss of prestige at the international level.
“Abortion has a profound effect upon women, who would otherwise not be given the time of day by pro-abortion lawmakers who vote to provide funding for the nonsense that takes place in laboratories and clinics,” the bishop said.
“It is a suicidal killing in which the unborn baby dies and the mother begins her long and terrible agony,” he added. (SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17442
Cardinal Oswald Gracias (center), Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana (left) and Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi (extreme right) lead the concluding Mass
The Church "does not seek power and prestige," the cardinal-archbishop of Bombay said on Oct. 18 in his homily during the concluding Mass of the first Indian Mission Congress. "She does not seek an increase in numbers just for greater influence," he stressed.
Some 1,500 delegates from the country's 160 dioceses attended the five-day congress titled Prabhu Yesu Mahotsav (Lord Jesus grand festival) in Mumbai, formerly called Bombay.
Apart from Catholics, hundreds of people from various Christian denominations and some Hindus were among those present at the Mass, a public affair open to media. The Church leader's remarks were reported on the Internet, and several videos of the proceedings can be seen on YouTube.
Cardinal Gracias, president of the congress's organizing committee and First Vice President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, acknowledged that some Indians fear the Church aims to convert people to Christianity.
Some states in India want laws to stop "forced" conversions, he pointed out. "Our answer to them is that there is no need for your anti-conversion laws. The Catholic Church does not believe in forced conversions."
The prelate added that any "forced" conversion would be "meaningless, because conversion is a transformation of heart -- a turning to God, for us Christians a turning to Jesus Christ."
About 1,500 delegates from across India attended the congress
The Church official urged Hindus not to feel threatened by the Church or its activities. The Catholic Church, he explained, wants to make the world a better place as directed by Christ. "We tell you that we serve because we were told to do so by Jesus, who was sent by God to bring love, peace and harmony into the world."
Describing the anti-Christian violence in 2008 in the eastern Indian state of Orissa as "a bad dream," the cardinal commended the victims for forgiving their offenders, as Christ taught.
The entire Church supports the Christians in Orissa and feels edified by stories of their heroic martyrdom, he continued. "The Church of India is with you," he told the delegates from Orissa.
Cardinal Gracias urged the Orissa government and other states where Christians have faced violence not to forget their constitutional duty to protect all minorities.
Father Joaquim Fernandes, media convener for the congress, said the delegates joined Hindus to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, on Oct. 17.
That evening, the delegates "lit their candles from one big lamp, and the entire venue was filled beautifully with little lights," he shared.
The head of Catholic Education in the far north, Dr Bill Sultmann, says he expects only a small number of teachers in his area to go on strike, ABC reports.
"I am really disappointed with the Independent Education Union in going this way," Mr Borserio was quoted as saying by the ABC.
"The benchmark for salary levels in Catholic schools has always been that of our colleagues in Education Queensland - we have a strong relationship with EQ and the Minister in providing quality education outcomes right across the state."
Mr Borserio said the action "has the potential to disrupt teaching and learning in 32 of our schools in one day," and is asking the teaching staff to reconsider.
"I'm hopeful that schools will not close. The worst case scenario will that there would be supervised study," Dr Bill Sultmann said about the schools in the far north.
"There will be no strike action in Brisbane Catholic Education schools," said Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education, David Hutton.
Mr Hutton said only 37 percent of teachers in Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) schools voted in favour of strike action in support of a union claim for a pay rise greater than the 4.5 percent already awarded to teachers in BCE schools.
"We have shown respect for the right of employees to vote, and only 37 percent of the teachers and 29 percent of the support staff who were eligible to vote ended up supporting the union's plan to strike," Mr Hutton said.
"I thank our staff for not sacrificing the education of our students for the sake of an unnecessary and pointless strike in these difficult financial times."
The proposed strike is scheduled for October 28.
Feast: October 20
A nun of Portugal who is especially revered in Santarem. She is considered by scholars to be identical to Irene (f.d. April 5), despite the considerable differences in years between the accounts of their lives.
Luke 12: 35 - 38
"Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning,
and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them.
If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants!