VATICAN : POPE RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF SURINAME-
EUROPE: SERBIA: THOUSANDS MOURN DEATH OF PATRIARCH PAVLE -
AFRICA: KENYA: HOPES FOR A NEW CONSTITUTION -
AUSTRALIA: PEOPLE GATHER TO MORN MURDERED WOMAN-
The bishops called the Senate health care bill an “enormous disappointment” that creates new and unacceptable federal policy for funding and coverage of abortions, as well as rights of conscience. Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Bishop John Wester voiced their wish for better health care reform legislation in a November 20 letter to the Senate. They chair the bishops’ Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life Activities and Migration, respectively.
The letter, which was accompanied with a fact sheet on the House Stupak Amendment (http://www.usccb.org/mr/mediatalk/StupakAmendmentFactsheet.pdf), urged Senators to improve the Senate health care bill in the key areas of affordability, immigration, federal funding and coverage of abortion and conscience rights.
According to the bishops, the bill “does not live up to President Obama’s commitment of barring the use of federal dollars for abortion and maintaining current conscience laws.” They cited an “abortion surcharge” that would force insurance purchasers to pay for other people’s abortions, provisions that would allow the HHS Secretary to mandate unlimited abortion coverage nationwide, and that the bill does not even allow for religious institutions to offer their own employees coverage that conforms to their institution’s teaching.
“The Catholic bishops have advocated for decades for affordable and accessible health care for all, especially the poor and marginalized,” the bishops said. “The Senate bill makes great progress in covering people in our nation. However, the Senate bill would still leave over 24 million people in our nation without health insurance. This is not acceptable.”
The bishops encouraged expanding Medicaid eligibility for those living at 133 percent or lower of the federal policy level. They also urged an end to the five-year ban on legal immigrants for accessing federal health benefits programs and said that undocumented persons should not be barred from purchasing insurance plans with their own money.
“Providing affordable and accessible health care that clearly reflects these fundamental principles is a public good, moral imperative and urgent national priority,” said the bishops.
The text of the letter can be found online at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/2009-11-20-ltr-usccb-health-care-to-senate.pdf and in Spanish at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/SP_1080_hc_reform_Sen_1120.pdf.
The Serbian police reported that over 600,000 people attended the funeral service and procession today in Belgrade, said Domradio.de. The funeral was held in St. Sava’s Church in Belgrade, and the patriarch was buried in the Rakovica monastery in a Belgrade suburb seven miles away.
The Catholic Archbishop of Belgrade Stanislav Hocevar attended the funeral, as well as Cardinal Angelo Sodano who was appointed to be the Pope's representative at the funeral. Also in attendance was the apostolic nuncio in Serbia Orlando Antonini as well as Father Milan Zust from the Secretariat of the Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, reported Radio Srbija.
The Pope also sent a telegram expressing his condolences to the Metropolitan of Montenegro, via his representative Cardinal Sodano. Though Pope Benedict's meeting last Saturday expressed hope for an increased dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church, Serbia remains one of the few European countries to never have received a Papal Visit, said the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Patriarch Pavle is famed for his defense of Kosovo, which is esteemed as the epicenter of Serbian culture and the Serbian Orthodox faith. When Orthodox churches and monasteries were under attack by the mostly-Muslim ethnic Albanians during the Balkan conflict, Pavle rallied international support. However, the Manila Bulletin reported that critics condone the fact that various Serbian bishops gave their blessing to Serbian troops who then went out and committed atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia during Pavle's patriarchy.
Nevertheless, the Patriarch is revered as a simple and humble man, and a “saint who walks” because of the work he did to bring the faith back to the forefront of Serbian society and religion back to the classroom after the fall of communism.
Serbian president Boris Tadić said that Pavle's death was a “huge loss” for Serbia, because Pavle's was “one of those people who by their very existence bring together the entire nation.” The nation of Serbia has declared three days or mourning for the deceased patriarch. (SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17767
Ms Waterlow, 36, and her father, Nick Waterlow, 68, were found dead with stab wounds in her Randwick home in eastern Sydney on November 9, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Her three children, William, 4, Ruby, 2, and James, four months, were allegedly at the property at the time of the killings. The girl suffered a cut to her throat.
Her husband, Ben Heuston, paid tribute to his wife in a letter, which was read to mourners by her childhood friend Alix Johnson.
"The Chloe I knew was a great friend, mother and partner and I love and loved you," Mr Heuston wrote.
"The Chloe I hold in my heart always had a smile, a laugh, a cupcake or a quiche for others. Her generosity was legendary."
Mr Heuston said his wife lives on in their daughter, Ruby, who is "clearly her mother's daughter."
"Ruby is clearly her mother's daughter and we are all in for a lot more of Chloe ahead."
Several school friends offered prayers and celebrated Ms Waterlow as a "warm hearted and loving friend" who had "a richness of spirit".
Presiding priest, Father Stephen Sinn also read a eulogy made up of memories from lifelong friends and neighbours who remembered her as a lively, compassionate friend and mentor to others.
Prayers were also offered for all those suffering from mental illness, a reference perhaps to Ms Waterlow's brother Antony, 42, who suffers from schizophrenia and who is being sought by police in relation to both deaths, the report added. (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=17828
The seven-time world boxing champion in as many divisions addressed a cheering congregation at a Nov. 20 thanksgiving Mass in Manila after returning from the title fight in Las Vegas, the United States.
Manny Pacquiao holds up his trophies after being greeted by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (right) in Manila on Nov. 20, as wife Jinkee (left) looks on
"All my strength came from God," the world welterweight champion declared as he urged Filipinos: "Trust God, and he won't fail you."
The 30-year-old boxer from General Santos City, southern Philippines, dedicated most of his brief message to speaking about how faith can strengthen a person and help him achieve his goals.
"I surrendered myself completely to (God) in this fight," Pacquiao said, shifting from English to Tagalog during his speech. He said he did the same in previous fights and won against fighters heavier than himself.
"If you wonder why I was smiling entering the ring, it was because my faith in the Lord was 100 percent."
The Mass at the popular Shrine of the Black Nazarene was packed with fans including politicians and government officials.
Pacquiao told them his victory last weekend was historic not only for himself, but also for the Filipino people. "We got it!" he told the cheering crowd. "Doesn't that make you proud to be Filipino?"
He continued: "I don't say idolize me. I am saying idolize my faith in prayer and my belief it is because of God that I succeed in my boxing."
Why should he worry, he asked them, "knowing millions of Filipinos are praying for my success?"
In defeating Cotto by technical knockout, Pacquiao added the welterweight championship to his world titles in the flyweight, super-bantamweight, featherweight, super-featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.
St. Edmund the Martyr
KING AND MARTYR
Feast: November 20
841 probably at Nuremburg, Germany
Hoxne, Suffolk, England 20 November 870
against plague, kings, torture victims, wolves
Though from the time of King Egbert, in 802, the Kings of the West-Saxons were monarchs of all England, yet several kings reigned in certain parts after that time, in some measure subordinate to them. One Offa was King of the East-Angles, who, being desirous to end his days in penance and devotion to Rome, resigned his crown to St. Edmund, at that time only fifteen years of age, but a most virtuous prince, and descended from the old English-Saxon kings of this isle. The saint was placed on the throne of his ancestors, as Lydgate, Abbo, and others express themselves, and was crowned by Humbert, Bishop of Elman, on Christmas Day, in 855, at Burum, a royal villa on the Stour, now called Bures, or Buers. Though very young, he was by his piety, goodness, humility, and all other virtues, the model of good princes. He was a declared enemy of flatterers and informers, and would see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears, to avoid being surprised into a wrong judgment, or imposed upon by the passions or ill designs of others. The peace and happiness of his people were his whole concern, which he endeavoured to establish by an impartial administration of justice and religious regulations in his dominions. He was the father of his subjects, particularly of the poor, the protector of widows and orphans, and the support of the weak. Religion and piety were the most distinguishing part of his character. Monks and devout persons used to know the psalter without book, that they might recite the psalms at work, in travelling, and on every other occasion. To get it by heart St. Edmund lived in retirement a whole year in his royal tower at Hunstanton (which he had built for a country solitude), which place is now a village in Norfolk. The book which the saint used for that purpose was religiously kept at St. Edmundsbury till the dissolution of abbeys.
The holy king had reigned fifteen years when the Danes infested his dominions. Hinguar and Hubba, two brothers, the most barbarous of all the Danish plunderers landing in England, wintered among the East-Angles; then, having made a truce with that nation, they in summer sailed to the north, and landing at the mouth of the Tweed, plundered with fire and sword Northumberland, and afterwards Mercia, directing their march through Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Cambridgeshire. Out of a lust of rage and cruelty, and the most implacable aversion to the Christian name, they everywhere destroyed the churches and monasteries; and, as it were in barbarous sport, massacred all priests and religious persons whom they met with. In the great monastery of Coldingham, beyond Berwick, the nuns, fearing not death but insults which might be offered to their chastity, at the instigation of St. Ebba, the holy abbess, cut off their noses and upper lips, that appearing to the barbarians frightful spectacles of horror, they might preserve their virtue from danger; the infidels accordingly were disconcerted at such a sight, and spared their virtue, but put them all to the sword. In their march, amongst other monasteries, those of Bardney, Crowland, Peterborough, Ely, and Huntingdon were levelled with the ground, and the religious inhabitants murdered. In the Cathedral of Peterborough is shown a monument (removed thither from a place without the building) called Monks'-Stone, on which are the effigies of an abbot and several monks. It stood over the pit in which fourscore monks of this house were interred, whom Hinguar and Hubba massacred in 870. The barbarians, reeking with blood, poured down upon St. Edmund's dominions, burning Thetford, the first town they met with, and laying waste all before them. The people, relying upon the faith of treaties, thought themselves secure, and were unprepared. However, the good king raised what forces he could, met the infidels, or at least a part of their army near Thetford, and discomfited them. But seeing them soon after reinforced with fresh numbers, against which his small body was not able to make any stand, and being unwilling to sacrifice the lives of his soldiers in vain, and grieving for the eternal loss of the souls of his enemies, who would be slain in a fruitless engagement, he disbanded his troops and retired himself towards his castle of Framlingham, in Suffolk. The barbarian had sent him proposals which were inconsistent both with religion and with the justice which he owed to his people. These the saint rejected, being resolved rather to die a victim of his faith and duty to God, than to do anything against his conscience and religion. In his flight he was over taken and surrounded by infidels at Oxon, upon the Waveney: he concealed himself for some short time, but, being discovered, was bound with heavy chains and conducted to the general's tent. Terms were again offered him equally prejudicial to religion and to his people, which the holy Icing refused to confirm, declaring that religion was dearer to him than his life, which he would never purchase by offending God. Hinguar, exasperated at this answer, in his barbarous rage caused him to be cruelly beaten with cudgels, then to be tied to a tree and torn a long time together with whips. All this he bore with invincible meekness and patience, never ceasing to call upon the name of Jesus. The infidels were the more exasperated, and as he stood bound to the tree, they made him a mark wantonly to shoot at, till his body was covered with arrows like a porcupine. Hinguar at length, in order to put an end to the butchery, commanded his head to be struck off. Thus the saint finished his martyrdom on the 20th of November, in 870, the fifteenth of his reign, and twenty-ninth of his age; the circumstances of which St. Dunstan learned from one who was armour-bearer to the saint and an eye-witness. The place was then called Henglesdun, now Hoxon, or Hoxne; a priory of monks was afterwards built there which bore the name of the martyr.
The saint's head was carried by the infidels into a wood and thrown into a brake of bushes; but miraculously found by a pillar of light and deposited with the body at Hoxdon. These sacred remains were very soon after conveyed to Bedricsworth, or Kingston, since called St. Edmundsbury, because this place was St. Edmund's own town and private patrimony; not on account of his burial, for
No Christian can be surprised that innocence should suffer. Prosperity is often the most grievous judgment that God exercises upon a wicked man, who by it is suffered, in punishment of his impiety, to blind and harden himself in his evil courses, and to plunge himself deeper in iniquity. On the other hand God, in his merciful providence, conducts second causes so that afflictions fall to the share of those souls whose sanctification he has particularly in view. By tribulation a man learns perfectly to die to the world and himself, a work which, without its aid, even the severest self-denial and the most perfect obedience, leave imperfect. By tribulation we learn the perfect exercise of humility, patience, meekness, resignation, and pure love of God; which are neither practiced nor learned without such occasions. By a good use of tribulation a person becomes a saint in a very short time, and at a cheap rate. The opportunity and grace of suffering well is a mercy in favour of chosen souls; and a mercy to which every saint, from Abel to the last of the elect, is indebted for his crown. We meet with sufferings from ourselves, from disappointments, from friends, and from enemies. We are on every side beset with crosses. But we bear them with impatience and complaints. Thus we cherish our passions, and multiply sins by the very means which are given us to crucify and overcome them. To learn to bear crosses well is one of the most essential and most important duties of a Christian life. To make a good use of the little crosses which we continually meet with is the means of making the greatest progress in all virtue, and of obtaining strength to stand our ground under great trials. St. Edmund's whole life was a preparation for martyrdom.
Luke 19: 45 - 48
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold,
saying to them, "It is written, `My house shall be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers."
And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him;
but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon his words