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Sunday, December 6, 2009

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: MON. DEC. 7, 2009




CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: MON. DEC. 7, 2009: HEADLINES-

VATICAN: BENEDICT XVI RECALLS THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
AMERICAS: CANADA: ARCHBISHOP INVITES OLYMPIC ATHLETES TO MASS
EUROPE: SPAIN: BISHOP CALLS FOR RESPECT OF PARENTAL EDUCATION

ASIA: INDIA: FR. JOSEF NEUNER DIES AGE 101-

AFRICA: SOMALIA: 23 DIE IN SUICIDE BOMBING AT GRAD CEREMONY -
AUSTRALIA: BOOK ABOUT REBEL PRIEST-


VATICAN

BENEDICT XVI RECALLS THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL


(VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope attended a concert offered by Horst Kohler, president of the Federal Republic of Germany, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the foundation of that State, and the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The "Augsburger Domsingknaben" and the "Residenz-Kammerorchester Munchen", conducted by Reinhard Kammler, played Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 (Cantatas I-III). In his remarks at the end of the concert, the Holy Father recalled how the Berlin Wall was "a frontier of death which for many years divided our homeland, forcibly separating people, families, neighbours and friends. Many at the time saw the events of 9 November 1989 as an unexpected dawn of freedom after a long and harsh night of violence and oppression due to a totalitarian system which, in the end, led to nihilism, to an emptying of souls. "Under the communist dictatorship no action was held to be evil and always immoral in itself. What served the aims of the party was good, however inhuman it could be", the Pope added. He went on to note how the current Federal Republic of Germany is proof that "the social order of the West is better and more humane". This is largely due to the "Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany" which "exhorts men and women, responsible before God the Creator, to give priority to human dignity, to respect marriage and the family as the foundation of all societies, and to show esteem and profound respect for what is sacred to others. "May the citizens of Germany - faithful to the duty established in the Basic Law concerning spiritual and political renewal in the wake of National Socialism and the Second World War - continue to collaborate for the construction of a freer and more social society". "The history of Europe in the twentieth century shows how responsibility before God is of vital importance for moral political activity", said the Pope. "God brings mankind together in true communion and shows individuals that, in their communion with others, a greater One is present, One Who is the original cause of our lives and of our joint existence. This is particularly evident in the mystery of the Nativity when this God comes close to us with His love and, as a Child, requests our love".BXVI-CONCERT/GERMANY/... VIS 091207 (410)


CATHOLIC INSTITUTIONS, AN EXPRESSION OF CHURCH HERITAGE VATICAN CITY, 5 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region South 3 and 4), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit, were received in audience this morning by the Holy Father who focused his remarks to them on the places where culture is transmitted (schools and universities) and on the consequences of liberation theology. "The Catholic school", he said, "cannot be conceived or experienced separately from other educational institutions. It is at the service of society, having a public function and offering a service of public utility which is not reserved exclusively to Catholics but remains open to whoever wishes to receive a quality education. The problem of juridical and economic parity with State schools cannot be correctly understood save by recognising the primary role of families and the subsidiary role of other educational institutions". Turning then to consider the subject of higher education, the Pope highlighted how the Church "has always supported universities and their vocation to take human beings to the highest level of knowledge, of truth and of dominion of the world in all its aspects". Benedict XVI likewise expressed his gratitude to the religious congregations which founded and still support various famous universities in Brazil, recalling how these places "are not the property of those who founded them, or of those who frequent them, but an expression of the Church and of her heritage of faith". The Pope then went on to recall how 25 August this year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Instruction "Libertatis nuntius" concerning certain aspects of liberation theology. That document, he said, "highlights the danger involved in the uncritical absorption, by certain theologians, of theses and methodologies that come from Marxism". "The more or less visible consequences of that approach - characterised by rebellion, division, dissent, offence and anarchy - still linger today, producing great suffering and a serious loss of vital energies in your diocesan communities". "I appeal to all who, in the depths of their being, feel in some way attracted, involved or encouraged by some of the misleading principles of liberation theology, to re-examine the aforementioned Instruction, accepting the benign light it emanates. And I remind everyone that 'the supreme rule of the faith [of the Church] derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others'". The Pope concluded by invoking the Virgin Mary, "so loved and venerated ... in Brazil. ... In her we find, pure and un-deformed, the true essence of the Church and we learn to know and love the mystery of the Church which lives in history and of which we feel ourselves to be a part. Thus do we become 'ecclesial souls', learning to resist that 'inner secularisation' which threatens the Church and her teachings".AL/.../BRAZIL VIS 091207 (500)


THE WORD OF GOD MOVES HUMAN HISTORY VATICAN CITY, 6 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square, in order to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below. The Holy Father explained that on this second Sunday of Advent the Gospel of St. Luke "focuses its attention on John the Baptist, precursor to the Messiah, and very precisely outlines the area and period in which his preaching took place". "The Evangelist wished to inform those reading or listening that the Gospel is not a legend but the account of a real story, that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person Who lived in that specific context", said the Pope. "The second element worthy of mention is that, following this detailed historical introduction, the subject turns to the 'word of God' presented as a power that descends from on high and alights on John the Baptist". Benedict XVI then went on to highlight how "the Word of God is the force that moves history, inspires prophets, prepares the way for the Messiah, convenes the Church. Jesus Himself is the divine Word Who became flesh in the virginal womb of Mary. God revealed Himself fully in Him. He told us and gave us everything, opening us to the treasures of His truth and mercy". "The most beautiful flower to grow from the Word of God is the Virgin Mary. She is the first fruit of the Church, the garden of God upon the earth. But while Mary is Immaculate - and so we will celebrate her the day after tomorrow - the Church has continual need of purification, because sin threatens all her members. Within the Church there is a constant struggle between the desert and the garden, between sin which dries out the land and grace which irrigates it to produce abundant fruits of sanctity. Let us, then, pray to the Lord's Mother that she may help us in this period of Advent, to 'straighten' our path and allow ourselves to be guided by the Word of God". After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled how tomorrow, 7 December, the UN climate conference is due to begin in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, "with which the international community will seek to counter the phenomenon of global warming. "It is my hope", he added, "that the work of the conference will help to identify actions that respect creation and promote development in solidarity, based upon the dignity of human beings and oriented to the common good. The defence of creation requires the adoption of sober and responsible lifestyles, especially with respect to the poor and to future generations. In this context, and in order to guarantee the complete success of the conference, I invite all people of good will to respect the laws established by God over nature and to rediscover the moral dimension of human life".ANG/WORD OF GOD CLIMATE/... VIS 091207 (500)


AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany. On Saturday 5 December the Holy Father received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. - Five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Luiz Carlos Eccel of Cacador. - Bishop Augustinho Petry of Rio do Sul. - Bishop Jacinto Inacio Flach of Criciuma. - Bishop Joao Oneres Marchiori , apostolic administrator of Lages. - Fr. Nilo Buss, diocesan administrator of Tuburao.AP:AL/.../... VIS 091207 (100)



OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed: - Fr. Pedro Daniel Martinez, rector of the major seminary of San Rafael, as coadjutor of the diocese of San Luis (area 76,748, population 337,000, Catholics 358,000, priests 54, religious 92), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Mendoza, Argentina in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1981. - Fr. Marian Eleganti O.S.B., abbot of the monastery of Sankt Otmarsberg, Switzerland, as auxiliary of the diocese of Chur (area 12,272, population 1,645,541, Catholics 689,746, priests 628, permanent deacons 40, religious 374), Switzerland. The bishop-elect was born in Uznach, Switzerland in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1995. - Msgr. Theodorus Cornelius Maria Hoogenboom of the clergy of the archdiocese of Utrecht, Netherlands, vicar general and provost of the metropolitan chapter, and Fr. Herman Willebrordus Woorts, also of the clergy of Utrecht, episcopal vicar for the region of Utrecht and for the liturgy, and canon of the metropolitan chapter, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Utrecht (area 10,000, population 3,938,514, Catholics 766,000, priests 460, permanent deacons 82, religious 1,404). Bishop-elect Hoogenboom was born in Oudewater, Netherlands in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1999. Bishop-elect Woorts was born in Abcoude, Netherlands in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1992. On Saturday 5 December it was made public that he: - Erected the two new dioceses of Sisak and of Bjelovar-Krizevci, both in Croatia, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Zagreb, making them suffragans of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Bishop Vlado Kosic, auxiliary of Zagreb, as first bishop of the new diocese of Sisak, and Msgr. Vjekoslav Huzjak of the clergy of the diocese of Varazdin, Croatia, secretary general of the Croatian Episcopal Conference, as first bishop of the new diocese of Bjelovar-Krizevci. Bishop-elect Huzjak was born in Jalzabet, Croatia in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986. - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Gambella, (area 50,000, population 507,000, Catholics 8,430, priests 14, religious 9), Ethiopia, to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration as before. He appointed Fr. Angelo Moreschi S.D.B., currently apostolic prefect of the same ecclesiastical circumscription, as apostolic vicar of the new vicariate. The bishop-elect was born in Nave, Italy in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1982. - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Jimma-Bonga, (area 57,000, population 3,500,000, Catholics 12,185, priests 9, religious 23), Ethiopia, to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration as before. He appointed Fr. Markos Ghebremedhin C.M., provincial superior of the Lazarist Fathers in Ethiopia, as apostolic vicar of the new vicariate. The bishop-elect was born in Shappa, Ethiopia in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1993. - Transferred Bishop Method Kilaini from the office of auxiliary of Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, to that of auxiliary of Bukoba, Tanzania.NEC:NEA:ECE:NER/.../... VIS 091207 (470)


NOTICE VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2009 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no VIS service tomorrow Tuesday, December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Wednesday, December 9..../.../... VIS 091207 (50)




AMERICAS

CANADA: ARCHBISHOP INVITES OLYMPIC ATHLETES TO MASS




CNA reports that voicing a spirit of “radical hospitality,” Archbishop of Vancouver J. Michael Miller has sent a letter to Winter Olympic athletes informing them of the archdiocese’s two hospitality centers and inviting them to Ash Wednesday and Sunday Masses during the athletic event.
“Vancouver has been preparing for your arrival for many years!” began his Nov. 30 letter to the athletes of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Archbishop Miller explained the archdiocese’s embrace of “radical hospitality” as a way to see Jesus as “both guest and host” at the Games.
“While you are here, we hope you will consider visiting one of the Archdiocese’s downtown hospitality centers for athletes,” the archbishop said.
One center is at Holy Rosary Cathedral on 646 Richards Street. The second is at the archdiocese’s offices on 150 Robson Street, across from the Olympic event venue BC Place Stadium.
“We think you will find these places to be ‘sanctuaries’ while you take a break from the rigors of competition, and we hope you will find a common language in the love of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Miller said.
He invited Olympians to Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 17 and he also noted that the locations of churches and their Mass times can be found on the archdiocese’s website.
“We wish all of you who have come to our beautiful city a satisfying and rewarding competition during the 2010 Olympiad but, most of all, we hope you will experience the ‘radical hospitality’ of Vancouverites,” he added.
The archdiocese has set up a special Olympic Outreach section on its website at http://www.rcav.org/2010.



EUROPE

SPAIN: BISHOP CALLS FOR RESPECT OF PARENTAL EDUCATION


CNA reports that the newly-elected Bishop of San Sebastian in Spain, Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla, has called for the respect of parental rights in the education of their children as the government considers a proposal to remove crucifixes from public schools.
The bishop made his statements while presenting his new book, “Cards on the Table,” a 400 page collection of 150 pastoral letters on a variety of themes.
Bishop Munilla said the book was an expression of the awareness that “we are in an age of communication, and when Jesus said to lower your nets for a catch, I don’t know if he was also thinking about the internet, but I think this 'net' can be of use to us.”
“I have tried to be more succinct, more incisive, and even use humor to show that mysticism can and should have a place in the media in general,” he said.(SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17968



ASIA


INDIA: FR. JOSEF NEUNER DIES AGE 101



UCAN reports that Jesuit Father Josef Neuner, a prominent theologian at the Second Vatican Council has died at age 101.

Jesuit Father Josef Neuner
The priest died at 11.15 pm on Dec. 3 at Sanjeevan Ashram (monastery of saintly life), the headquarters of the Pune Jesuit province, where he had lived for the past 15 years.
On Dec. 4, his body, draped in vestments, with a rosary and a wooden cross in his hands, lay in the ashram chapel as nuns, priests and laypeople, carrying flowers, came to pay their last respects.
His funeral was scheduled for later that day and he was to be buried in a cemetery in Pune's Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, where he had taught for several years.
"He died peacefully in his sleep," Father Bertram Rosario, Jesuit provincial of Pune, told UCA News.
Jesuit Father Anil Soares, assistant to the provincial, said Father Neuner had been admitted to a private hospital with suspected pneumonia on Nov. 29. "He was put on a ventilator but responded to treatment and was brought home" on the evening of Dec. 3, he added.
"No one expected him to die. He didn't appear to be suffering from a major ailment. He seemed cheerful and alert to the core," Father Soares added.
Church people have hailed Father Neuner as a stalwart of Church renewal after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
He was one of four periti (experts) from India at the council and contributed to its many documents, especially "Nostra Aetate" (Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions) and "Ad Gentes" (Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church).
He had worked with Jesuit theologian Father Karl Rahner and helped codify the Church's decrees on priestly formation.
It was Father Neuner who drafted Pope Paul VI's speech to Hindus when the pontiff visited Mumbai (then Bombay) for the Eucharistic Congress in 1964.
Father Neuner had also acted as a bridge-builder between Religious and diocesan priests, between theology and spirituality, Christian theology and Indian religions, India and Europe, and the Church and the world.
Father Neuner was born on Aug. 9 1908, in Feldkirch, a small Austrian town near the Swiss border. He joined the South-German Jesuit province in 1926 and was ordained in 1936.
In 1938, he went to India where he taught theology for 60 years, mostly in the Pune seminary. As a theologian, the Jesuit collaborated in preparing the internationally known "The Christian Faith," a handbook of Christian teachings.
He was also known for his association with Blessed Teresa of Kolkata and was the first to write about her in German. He was retreat director for her Missionaries of Charity and helped her integrate some of the darkest spiritual moments of her life with her work for the poor.
In an interview, Father Neuner once said that Blessed Teresa was among those who had embodied the Vatican Council II spirit.
According to him, the council had reiterated that Jesus established not a religion but the Kingdom of God, in which everyone lives with dignity and in solidarity with one other.






AFRICA


SOMALIA: 23 DIE IN SUICIDE BOMBING AT GRAD CEREMONY



CNN reports that the death toll rose to 23 on Friday in a suicide bombing attack at a Somali graduation ceremony, which killed three members of Somalia's U.N.-backed interim government, according to an independent media report.
The attack in Mogadishu on Thursday was carried out by a male suicide bomber dressed in women's clothing, witnesses said.
Government officials said Thursday that 19 people had been killed in the attack. A day later, Shabelle Media reported that the death toll had risen to 23.
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has blamed the Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab for the attack. A spokesman for the militant group denied any responsibility Friday.
Education Minister Abdullahi Wayel, Health Minister Qamar Aden and Higher Education Minister Ibrahim Hassan Adow were among the dead in the bombing at Banadir University's commencement, officials said.
Sports Minister Suleman Olad Roble was hospitalized in critical condition, his relatives told local media. The fatalities included nine students and two doctors, according to a professor at the university. Journalists said three colleagues died in the blast.
Al Shabaab is made up of former allies of Ahmed, once a leader of the Islamist movement that briefly held power in Mogadishu in 2006.
Ahmed and other former members accepted a U.N.-brokered peace agreement with the government they once fought. Al-Shabaab -- which the United States says has links to al Qaeda -- has rejected the peace agreement and has waged a bloody campaign against the transitional government. (SOURCE: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/12/04/somalia.attacks/index.html




AUSTRALIA

BOOK ABOUT REBEL PRIEST


Cath News reports that a book about rebel Catholic priest and self-proclaimed "media tart" Peter Kennedy was launched in Brisbane on the weekend, and a documentary is under way.

The book, Peter Kennedy - The Man Who Threatened Rome, is a compilation of stories about the sacked priest, according to The Sun Herald report published in the Brisbane Times.
Contributors include former Goanna frontman and songwriter, Shane Howard, journalist Martin Flanagan, and Ross Fitzgerald of Griffith University's history and politics department.
Fr Kennedy said he thought the book was important because it raised issues the church "must face if is to remain relevant and survive the 21st century."
Issues included women in the clergy and the church's "medieval doctrines and dogma" on subjects such as the Virgin Mary, the ascension and the resurrection, he said.
"The archbishop isn't demonised in the book and some people come out against me," he said. "I feel an enormous freedom now that I'm no longer part of the church. I can see how ruthless, one-eyed and elitist it is."
Peter Hegedus, an independent filmmaker from Brisbane is making a documentary about Kennedy and St Mary's for the ABC's religious program, Compass.
"I'm still hoping to shoot an interview with Archbishop Bathersby," he said. Funding body, Screen Australia, has granted funds for the program but Mr Hegedus declined to disclose the amount. (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=18142



TODAY`S SAINTS


St. Sabinus
MARTYR
Feast: December 7
Information:
Feast Day:
December 7
Died:
304 AD, Spoleto

THE cruel edicts of Diocletian and Maximin against the Christians being published in the year 303, Sabinus, Bishop of Assisium, and several of his clergy, were apprehended and kept in custody till Venustianus, the Governor of Etruria and Umbria, came thither. Upon his arrival in that city he caused the hands of Sabinus, who had made a glorious confession of his Faith before him, to be cut off; and his two deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius, to be scourged, beaten with clubs, and torn with iron nails, under which torments they both expired. Sabinus is said to have cured a blind boy, and a weakness in the eyes of Venustianus himself, who was thereupon converted, and afterward beheaded for the Faith. Lucius, his successor, commanded Sabinus to be beaten to death with clubs at Spoleto. The martyr was buried a mile from that city, but his relics have been since translated to Fa├źnza.
(SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/stsabinus.asp

St. Ambrose
BISHOP, CONFESSOR, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: December 7
Information:
Feast Day:
December 7
Born:
between 337 and 340 A.D., Trier, Germany
Died:
397 A.D.
Major Shrine:
Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan, Italy where he is buried
Patron of:
Bee keepers, bees, candle makers, domestic animals, French Commissariat, learning, Milan, Italy, students, wax refiners

St. Ambrose was a small man with pale yellow hair like a nimbus. In the violence and confusion of his time, he stood out courageously resisting evil, strengthening the Church, and administering it with extraordinary ability. His learning gained for him the title of Doctor of the Church.When Ambrose had governed at Milan for two years, the bishop died, and the city was torn by strife over the election of a successor. When he stood up to protest a voice suddenly called out, "Ambrose, bishop! On December 7, 374, he was consecrated. The new bishop now gave his possessions to the poor and his lands to the Church, reserving only a small income for the use of his sister Marcellina. Conscious of his ignorance of theology, Ambrose began to study the Scriptures and the works of religious writers, particularly Origen and Basil. When Augustine of Hippo came to live at Milan, he called on the bishop, and in time the two became great friends. Augustine went often to hear Ambrose preach, and was at last baptized by him. One of Ambrose's topics was the blessing and virtue of virginity, when chosen for God's sake. At the request of Marcellina, he made a popular manual of his sermons on this subject. When Ambrose fell sick, he foretold his own death, saying he would live only until Easter. He busied himself writing a treatise called 'The Goodness of Death', and with an interpretation of the Forty-third Psalm.On Good Friday, 397, he partook of the Last Sacrament, and died soon after. He was then about fifty-seven and had been bishop for twenty-two years. His remains now rest under the high altar of his basilica, where they were placed in 835.Ambrose's varied writings influenced the development of the Church. He was the first of the Fathers to use Latin effectively, and as the Roman Empire declined in the West he helped to keep this great language alive by starting it on its new course in the service of Christianity. He enriched Church music, and seven of the hymns he wrote are still a part of the liturgy. His personality combined firmness where God's law was concerned with warmth, moderation, and generosity in all else. Trusted by sovereigns, loved by the people, Ambrose was-to quote Augustine's words after their first meeting—"a man affectionate and kind." (SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stambrose.asp





TODAY`S GOSPEL





Luke 5: 17 - 26
17
On one of those days, as he was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
18
And behold, men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they sought to bring him in and lay him before Jesus;
19
but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.
20
And when he saw their faith he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."
21
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, "Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?"
22
When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you question in your hearts?
23
Which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, `Rise and walk'?
24
But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he said to the man who was paralyzed -- "I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home."
25
And immediately he rose before them, and took up that on which he lay, and went home, glorifying God.
26
And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SUN. DEC. 6, 2009



CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SUN. DEC. 6, 2009: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: ANGELUS ADVENT MESSAGE
EUROPE: ENGLAND: CATHOLICS URGED TO CARE FOR BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES
AMERICAS: ARGENTINA: CARDINAL SUGGESTS RETURN TO PRAYER & EUCHARIST
ASIA: SRI LANKA: MSGR. STARTS A COLLECTION FOR WAR CHILDREN
AFRICA: DARFUR: DEADLY ATTACK ON SOLDIERS
AUSTRALIA: ARCHBISHOP CONTACTS POLICE ABOUT ABUSE CHARGES


VATICAN

POPE: ANGELUS ADVENT MESSAGE


A large crowd of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to recite the Angelus with the Pope this second Sunday of Advent. Referring to the todays Gospel passage, the Pope recalled how the evangelist Luke warns that the Gospel is not a legend, but the history of a true story, and that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical figure inserted in a specific context. The second item worthy of note, then said the Pope, is that after this historical introduction, the subject becomes the Word of God, presented as a force that descends from above. And he concluded: "Dear friends, the most beautiful flower to sprout from the word of God is the Virgin Mary. She is the beginning of the Church, the garden of God on earth. While Mary is the Immaculate; the Church is in constant need of purification because sin undermines all its members. There is a constant and ongoing struggle within the Church betweeen the desert and the garden, between sin that dries up land and grace that irrigates it so it produce abundant fruits of holiness. Therefore, let us pray to the mother of God to help is in this time of Advent to straighten our paths and be led by the Word of God.



EUROPE


ENGLAND: CATHOLICS URGED TO CARE FOR BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES



The Catholic Herald reports that England's heritage chief has said that some Catholic dioceses "simply do not get the point" when it comes to preserving historic and beautiful buildings. Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said the Church's approach to its historic buildings varied hugely across the country. Other dioceses, he said, were "outstanding" in the way they took account of their heritage. He was speaking ahead of the launch of a survey of England's cathedrals which showed that they are in better condition now than they have been for centuries. He said it was "incredibly important" that dioceses considered not only the Church's mission but also the value of its buildings when closing churches. "Congregations themselves have great affection for these buildings," he said. Mr Thurley also urged dioceses not to close churches simply because they were expensive. He said it was much better to close a church without any architectural value because it could more easily be converted and re-used. Closing a listed building, he said, "gives everyone a huge headache". Dozens of churches in the north of England are expected to close in the next few years due to shrinking congregations and a drastic shortage of priests. In the Diocese of Lancaster alone almost 40 parishes have been earmarked for closure in the next decade. One parish, St Patrick's on Barrow Island, closed last week. In Preston, five out of eight churches were recommended for closure last year, including the Grade I listed St Walburge's, although the diocese has yet to decide their fate. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, who spoke at the English Heritage event this week, said dioceses with historic churches in places where they were no longer needed faced "extremely difficult decisions".But he said there was "a growing awareness of the importance of Catholic heritage, not least in architectural terms". He said an "eye-opener" for many people had been A Glimpse of Heaven, a 2007 book celebrating the beauty of Catholic places of worship.He also said more and more dioceses were taking up the English Heritage Taking Stock scheme, which assesses the value of all the buildings owned by a particular diocese. On Tuesday English Heritage announced that England's cathedrals were in their best condition "for many, many centuries" thanks to £250 million spent on repairs. Mr Thurley said there had been an "incredibly concerted period of really hard work" to get cathedrals back into shape after urgent problems were discovered in 1991. Now only a handful of Anglican cathedrals needed repairs urgently. Catholic cathedrals were relatively new, he said, and therefore did not need the same kind of major repair work as the large, medieval Anglican buildings. But he said Catholics monitored cathedrals less rigorously than Anglicans. "Catholic cathedrals wait until the repairs are urgent before they get on with the work," he said. "There isn't a consistent annual reporting process. The Anglicans have got it down to a fine art."In the long run, he said, the Catholic approach could potentially be more costly. "If you spend money up-front on a small problem, it stops it becoming a big problem. One thing which stops that is regular inspection," he said.He said only five per cent of planned repair work was at Catholic cathedrals, adding: "You can't be confident that this is the full story."But he said it was "fantastic" that Catholic cathedrals had responded so well to the English Heritage survey and he praised the work of Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, chairman of the Patrimony Committee of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. He also said he was "delighted" that Archbishop Nichols had attended the survey's launch.The Archbishop said his speech would emphasise that Catholic churches and cathedrals were "first and foremost places of prayer, not multi-purpose buildings". This point, he said, was "not always understood" by people in government and by those responsible for Britain's grant-making policy.The event also marked the launch of Creativity and Care: New Works in English Cathedrals, a book that showcases recent improvements to Anglican and Catholic cathedrals. It celebrates re-ordering and glass confessionals at Leeds Cathedral, mosaics at Westminster Cathedral and a rotunda at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.(SOURCE: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000700.shtml



AMERICAS


ARGENTINA: CARDINAL SUGGESTS RETURN TO PRAYER & EUCHARIST



CNA reports that Cardinal Estanislao Karlic, Archbishop Emeritus of Parana, Argentina, encouraged the participants of 3rd Plenary Assembly of the Christian Life Movement to be true missionaries of Christ by always resorting to prayer and the Eucharist.
On the second day of the assembly, which runs December 1-8, Cardinal Karlic delivered the keynoted address on the theme, “The spiritual life as the foundation of apostolic fruitfulness.”
“We are all elected by God for a mission,” he said, and we must become “other Christs in order act as missionaries of Christ.”
“How do we live this missionary mystery? We must discover ourselves in this mystery, believe it, celebrate it, live it and pray it,” he explained.
The cardinal noted that in order to celebrate and communicate the mystery, one must first live the experience of “being given by God in order to later give Him away.” God “comes to us and when He makes His dwelling in us, his temple, then we are able to communicate Him” to others.
“The encounter between men must be an encounter of mutually communicating God to one another. That is friendship; it’s not only giving things or giving one’s self, its giving God,” he added.
Cardinal Karlic recalled that prayer “implies friendship as well as intimate and frequent dialogue with the One who is loved.” In this way one learns to dialogue with God in order to learn how to convey Him in the apostolate to others, said the cardinal.
He added that the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life, from which everything flows and towards which everything leads.(source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17952



ASIA

SRI LANKA: MSGR. STARTS A COLLECTION FOR WAR CHILDREN


Asia News reports that promoted by Msgr. Malcolm Ranjith to support the work of Caritas - Sedec in the Diocese of Mannar. The donations are intended to build a reception centre for children of Adampan in Manthai West division, and to help homeless refugees. Also for scholarships for orphans, children of soldiers disabled by war.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Church of Colombo has launched a special Christmas collection to help refugee children in the district of Mannar, orphans of war and children of soldiers killed or who remain disabled during the conflict. Mgr. Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of the capital of Sri Lanka, addressed to all the faithful a letter entitled "Our call to love the poor". The fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday, December 13th, but the Bishop is calling on parishes of the diocese to extend the initiative throughout the period of Advent.
The initiative is being coordinated by Seth Sarana, head of the Office for Human Development of the Church of Colombo, who will send donations to the National Caritas - Sedec which is entrusted with the implementation of projects.
The money will be used in particular for the construction of a shelter in Adampan in Manthai West division which is part of the Diocese of Mannar. The project is aimed at children of refugee families. With funds raised the bishop of Colombo will also support the studies of children of soldiers who were killed or remained disabled during the conflict. Part of the donations will also be used for operations in favour of the poor refugees who have been left homeless.
"Christmas this year should be a time of strong solidarity on our part to all the people who are suffering," says the bishop in the letter. He adds: "I appeal to all the faithful, asking them to make a sacrifice for the happiness of these children at Christmas."
For years, the Church in Sri Lanka has been engaged in assisting so-called Internnally displaced persons (IDPs) and the same collection of 13 December launched for Advent by the Bishops Conference of the island. But the collection of Christmas will be the beginning of a renewed and continuing support for the needs of refugees and victims of war. Archbishop Ranjith invites the faithful to contribute to the Diocesan Fund for charity during the whole year to come so as to create "a more vigorous assistance program". The Bishop calls on the parishes of the diocese to make this help routine and has proposed that in future money that would have been allocated to decorations during his pastoral visits be given instead to the Fund.
To support the construction of the Adampan center and contribute to scholarships the bank details are: 1190030812 Current Account, payable to Seth Sarana - Columbus at Commercial Bank of Ceylon - Borella, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka - Swift Code CCEYLKLX. To support the project for the poor homeless bank references are current account 1190033006, payable to the Archbishop of Colombo at the Commercial Bank of Ceylon - Borella, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka - Swift Code CCEYLKLX. (SOURCE: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=17052&size=A


AFRICA

DARFUR: DEADLY ATTACK ON SOLDIERS


The joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) today spoke out against the "cowardly" attack against its forces yesterday that claimed the lives of three blue helmets.
Two soldiers were also seriously wounded in the incident that took place at about 4:45 pm local time, when a platoon comprising 20 Rwandan peacekeepers escorting a water tanker was attacked by unknown gunmen in Saraf Umra in North Darfur.
The Rwandan blue helmets, who had arrived in the area less than two weeks ago, returned fire with restraint since there were civilians in the area, sending the attackers fleeing.
In a press release issued in El Fasher, UNAMID called on the Sudanese Government "to identify the perpetrators, arrest them and bring them to justice."
Yesterday's attack also sparked condemnation by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"The Secretary-General deplores this attack on AU-UN peacekeepers in Darfur," he said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, expressing his condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers and reiterating his appreciation "for their service and commitment to the search for peace in Darfur."
The deadly attack brings to 20 the number of UNAMID armed personnel killed in a hostile confrontation since the mission deployed at the start of 2008. In July 2007 a joint police and military patrol from the preceding AU mission was ambushed by at least 200 attackers, leaving seven peacekeepers dead and 22 wounded.
Yesterday's incident follows the shooting and wounding of three other peacekeepers, also by unidentified gunmen, in West Darfur in October, and the killing of another in South Darfur in May, as well as the kidnapping of two UNAMID civilian staff members in August in West Darfur. They are still being held.
In his latest report on UNAMID last month, Mr. Ban said increased threats to international staff, including "extremely alarming" kidnappings, military action by Chad, Sudan and rebels, and Government limits on peacekeepers' movements continued to hamper efforts to stabilize the Sudanese area torn apart by nearly seven years of war.
At least 300,000 people are estimated to have died and 2.7 million more have been driven from their homes in the fighting between the Government, its militia allies and various armed groups.
Almost two years after being set up, UNAMID has still only reached 69 per cent of its authorized troop strength - 14,638 military personnel out of the total 19,555, and 4,449 police - and still lacks key military elements, including two medium transport units, a level II hospital, an aerial reconnaissance unit, and 18 medium utility helicopters.(SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/200912060009.html




AUSTRALIA

ARCHBISHOP CONTACTS POLICE ABOUT ABUSE CHARGES



Cath News reports that Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart will contact police over concerns

the Church's investigator Peter O'Callaghan QC, tipped off two priests that they were under investigation by detectives for alleged sexual abuse.
Depending on the advice he receives from police, Archbishop Hart has also said that he may review the process used for 13 years by the Melbourne archdiocese to privately investigate more than 450 cases of Church sexual abuse, The Age reports.
"He will await the outcome of the discussions with the police (before deciding whether to conduct a review)," a spokesman for the archbishop is quoted saying.
The newspaper reported yesterday that Mr O'Callaghan told two priests via their lawyers that they were the subject of police probes, without the consent of detectives, before police had interviewed them and while the inquiries were at a covert stage.
Archbishop Hart has also said he was unaware until yesterday that a police detective had, earlier this year, expressed concern to Mr O'Callaghan about the way his process interacted with that of the police, the report said. (source: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=18115




TODAY'S SAINT

ST. NICHOLAS



St. Nicholas
BISHOP, PATRON OF CHILDREN
Feast: December 6
Information:
Feast Day:
December 6
Born:
270, Patara, Lycia
Died:
6 December 343, Myra, Lycia
Major Shrine:
Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Italy.
Patron of:
Children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, pawnbrokers, prostitutes, repentant thieves, many cities.

The great veneration with which this saint has been honoured, both in the Greek and Latin churches for many ages, and the great number of altars and churches which have been everywhere erected in his memory, are proofs of his extraordinary sanctity and of the glory which he enjoys with God. The Emperor Justinian built a church in his honour at Constantinople, in the quarter called Blaquernae, about the year 430, and he was titular saint of four churches in Constantanople. All accounts agree that he was a native of Patara, in Lycia. We are told that in his infancy he observed the fasts of Wednesdays and Fridays, refusing to suck the breasts on those days. Happy are they who, from their infancy and innocent age, are inured to the exercises of devotion, penance, and perfect obedience. St. Nicholas increased his fervour in these and all other virtues with his years, especially when he had devoted himself to a religious life in the monastery of Holy Sion, near Myra, of which house he was made abbot by the archbishop, its founder. Charity in comforting and relieving the distressed seemed his characteristical virtue. Amongst many other instances, it is related that when three young virgins were exposed through distress to the danger of falling into vicious courses, he, for three successive nights, conveyed to them through the window a competent sum of money for a fortune for one of them, so that they were all portioned and afterwards happily married. Lycia was a large ancient province of Asia, in which St. Paul had planted the faith. Myra, the capital, three miles from Patara and from the sea, was an archiepiscopal see, founded by St. Nicander, of so great dignity that in later ages, thirty-six suffragan bishoprics were subject to it. This metropolitan church falling vacant, the holy abbot Nicholas was chosen archbishop, and in that exalted station became famous by his extraordinary piety and zeal, and an incredible number of stupendous miracles. The Greek histories of his life agree that he suffered imprisonment for the faith, and made a glorious confession in the latter part of the persecution raised by Diocletian: and that he was present at the great council of Nice, and there condemned Arianism. The silence of other authors make many justly suspect these circumstances.
The history of the translation of his relics place his death in 342. He died at Myra and was buried in his own cathedral. The relics of St. Nicholas were kept with great honour at Myra, till they were translated into Italy. Certain merchants of Bari, a seaport in the kingdom of Naples situated on the Adriatic Gulf, sailed in three ships to the coast of Lycia; and watching an opportunity when no Mohammedans were near the place, went to the church in which the relics of St. Nicholas were kept, which stood in a desert place three miles from the sea, and was guarded by a small community of monks. They broke open the marble coffin in which the sacred bones lay, and carried them off to their ships; the inhabitants, upon the alarm given, pursued them to the shore with horrible outcries, but the Europeans were got safe on board. They landed at Bari on the 9th of May 1087, and the sacred treasure was deposited by the archbishop in the Church of St. Stephen. On the first day, thirty persons were cured of various distempers, imploring the intercession of St. Nicholas, and from that time the tomb of St. Nicholas of Bari has been famous for pilgrimages. The authentic history of this translation, written by John, at that time archdeacon of Bari, by order of the archbishop, is extant in Surius.
St. Nicholas is esteemed a patron of children, because he was from his infancy a model of innocence and virtue, and to form that tender age to sincere piety was always his first care and delight. To impress on the minds of children perfect sentiments of devotion, religion, and all virtues, with an earnestness in all duties, is a task often as delicate as it is important. Instructions must be made sensible and adapted by similes, parables, and examples, to the weakness of their capacities. Above all, they are to be enforced by the conduct of those with whom children converse. They learn their maxims, imbibe their spirit, and are moulded upon their example. A child which sees those who are about him love their own ease and ever seek what best pleases their senses; still more, if he observes them to be choleric, peevish, vain, slothful, or impatient, will naturally cherish these passions and yield up the government of himself to them, instead of learning by tractableness, humility, meekness, and self-denial, to subdue and govern them. And so in all other points. Precepts and exhortations lose their force when contradicted by example; and whilst the infant sees everyone study to please himself in everything, in flat opposition to the rules of the gospel which he hears preached from their mouths, he seems tacitly persuaded that such a conduct is reconcilable with those very maxims which condemn it.
(SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/N/stnicholas.asp



TODAY'S MASS READINGS

2ND SUN. OF ADVENT/YEAR B


Baruch 5: 1 - 9
1
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God.
2
Put on the robe of the righteousness from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting.
3
For God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
4
For your name will for ever be called by God, "Peace of righteousness and glory of godliness."
5
Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height and look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east, at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them.
6
For they went forth from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne.
7
For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.
8
The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God's command.
9
For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.




Psalms 126: 1 - 6
1
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
3
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
4
Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb!
5
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!
6
He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.




Philippians 1: 4 - 6, 8 - 11
4
always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
5
thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
6
And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
8
For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
10
so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
11
filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.




GOSPEL


Luke 3: 1 - 6
1
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiber'i-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturae'a and Trachoni'tis, and Lysa'ni-as tetrarch of Abile'ne,
2
in the high-priesthood of Annas and Ca'iaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechari'ah in the wilderness;
3
and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
4
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
6
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."