CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SAT. JAN. 2, 2010: HEADLINES-
EUROPE: ROME: VATICAN RELEASES DOCUMENTS FROM SECRET ARCHIVES-
AMERICAS: USA: ANGLICAN COMMUNION ARCHBISHOP COMMENTS-
ASIA: VIETNAM: REDEMPTORISTS ACCUSED BY GOVERNMENT-
TO MY VENERABLE BROTHERCARDINAL SEAN BAPTIST BRADYARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH
DEEPLY SADDENED TO LEARN OF THE DEATH OF CARDINAL CAHAL DALY, I OFFER HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES TO YOU AND YOUR AUXILIARY BISHOP, TO THE PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS AND LAY FAITHFUL OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ARMAGH AND TO ALL THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND. I RECALL WITH GRATITUDE CARDINAL DALY’S LONG YEARS OF DEVOTED PASTORAL SERVICE TO THE CHURCH AS PRIEST, BISHOP AND PRIMATE OF ALL IRELAND, HIS ASSISTANCE AS A MEMBER OF THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS, AND ESPECIALLY HIS SUSTAINED EFFORTS IN THE PROMOTION OF JUSTICE AND PEACE IN NORTHERN IRELAND. IN COMMUNION WITH YOU IN THE HOLY SPIRIT I PRAY THAT, THROUGH THE GRACE OF CHRIST, GOD OUR MERCIFUL FATHER MAY GRANT HIM THE REWARD OF HIS LABOURS AND WELCOME HIS SOUL INTO THE JOY AND PEACE OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. TO ALL GATHERED FAR THE SOLEMN RITES OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL AND ESPECIAL1Y TO CARDINAL DALY’S RELATIVES AND FRIENDS, I CORDIALLY IMPART MY APOSTOLIC BLESSING AS A PLEDGE OF CONSOLATION AND HOPE IN THE LORD.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
High-quality reproductions of 105 documents, 19 of which have never been seen before in public, have now been published in a book. The Vatican Secret Archives features a papal letter to Hitler, an entreaty to Rome written on birch bark by a tribe of North American Indians, and a plea from Mary Queen of Scots.
The book documents the Roman Catholic Church’s often hostile dealings with the world of science and the arts, including documents from the heresy trial against Galileo and correspondence exchanged with Erasmus, Voltaire and Mozart. It also reveals the Church’s relations with princes and potentates in countries far beyond its dominion.
In a letter dated 1246 from Grand Khan Guyuk to Pope Innocent IV, Genghis Khan’s grandson demands that the pontiff travel to central Asia in person – with all of his “kings” in tow – to “pay service and homage to us” as an act of “submission”, threatening that otherwise “you shall be our enemy”.
Another formal letter in the archive highlights the papacy’s political role. In 1863 Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, wrote to Pope Pius IX claiming that the civil war raging across America was entirely due to “Northern aggression”.
“We desire no evil to our enemies, nor do we covet any of their possessions; but are only struggling to the end that they shall cease to devastate our land and inflict useless and cruel slaughter upon our people.”
Other letters in the archive are more personal. In a 1550 note, Michelangelo demands payment from the papacy which was three months late, and complains that a papal conclave had interrupted his work on the dome of St Peter’s Basilica.
A yellowed parchment covered in neat black script reveals details of the 14th century trials of the Knights Templar on suspicion of heresy, after which members of the warrior-monk order were pardoned by Pope Clement V.
Some of the documents are already well-known, including a parchment letter written by English peers to Pope Clement VII in 1530, calling for Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon to be annulled.
An entreaty written to Rome by another British monarch, but in very different circumstances, is also reproduced in exquisite detail. In 1586 Mary, Queen of Scots, wrote from Fotheringay in Northants to Pope Sixtus V, a few months before she was beheaded for plotting against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, pledging her eternal allegiance to Rome.
The document includes letters written to Hitler by Pope Pius XI in 1934 and one received by his controversial successor, Pius XII, from Japan’s Emperor Hirohito.
“An aura of mystery has always surrounded this important cultural institution of the Holy See due to the allusions to inaccessible secrets thanks to its very name, as well as to the publicity it has always enjoyed in literature and in the media,” Cardinal Raffaele Farina, a Vatican archivist, writes in the preface to the book, which was produced by a Belgian publisher, VdH Books.
One of the most unusual documents is a letter written on birch bark in 1887 by the Ojibwe Indians of Ontario, Canada, to Pope Leo XIII. The letter, written in May but datelined “where there is much grass, in the month of the flowers”, addresses the pontiff as “the Great Master of Prayer” and offers thanks to the Vatican for having sent a “custodian of prayer” (a bishop) to preach to them.
Although scholars have had access to the secret archives since 1881, they remain closed to the general public. (SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/6917990/Vatican-reveals-Secret-Archives.html
USA: ANGLICAN COMMUNION ARCHBISHOP COMMENTS
(Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion) 'Pilgrimage must have a goal. Our goal was the healing of catholic disunity, that Anglicans had sought and then abandoned.'
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - We have followed the amazing, Spirit inspired, work of authentic ecumenism which resulted in the promulgation of the historic Apostolic Constitution entitled Anglicanorum Coetibus. There is no doubt that when history records the watershed breakthrough which this extraordinary moment in Church history portends, Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion will be a vital part of the story. We present a wonderful message from the TAC Archbishop to update our readers around the world as well as to invite them to pray Ut Unum Sint. Men of prophetic stature are never perfect, they are humble and show a willingness to be perfected by the Lord whom they love. They allow the mistakes and difficulties of life to become the tutors of time. They respond in their brokenness to the invitation of history being written by the One who broke into history to transform it from within. In this Octave of Christmas, as we approach a year of extraordinary possibility for the coming full communion of the Catholic Church, we present the Archbishop's recent reflections on the progress of the TAC's response to the invitation of the Holy Father. When it all comes down to it, there is only the Church.It is God's plan for the whole human race: A Message from Archbishop Hepworth The Octave of Christmas is a time of richness and of confrontation. Richness because of the great liturgical and popular tradition that takes us day by day into events and places that deepen our faith in the Christ Child. The feasts of Stephen, John, Holy Innocents, and the saintly martyr Archbishop Becket, all follow one another in a tumble of carols and remembrance. But these are also days of martyrdom and mass murder. The Child was laid in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. These were the clothes in which the Jewish dead would be buried. They were kept in the stable so as not to be within the realm of the living. “His death cast a shadow over His birth, because his death was the reason for His birth.” The martyrs of His octave, the first of the martyrs, Deacon Stephen, the Anglican Archbishop Becket, the host of the Innocents, the children who died for the comfort of a King, the Apostle whose failed martyrdom led to the Apocalyptic exile on Patmos, these are the ones who accompany our Christmas thoughts, and remind us of the cost of following the Child of Bethlehem. These are appropriate thoughts in this year’s Octave when the bishops of our Communion receive their formal response to their petition for communion with the Bishop of Rome and those in communion with him in East and West. To be a splinter is not a virtue, it is an irritant destined to fester. A branch unconnected to the vine withers and corrupts. Catholic communion is not an idea, nor the acceptance of a set of beliefs. It is standing together at the Altar of God, affirming one faith and receiving together the one Body and Blood of the Christ who is God and brother. Our bishops have realized from the start of our separation from the Anglican Communion that it was a separation of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage must have a goal. Our goal was the healing of catholic disunity, that Anglicans had sought and then abandoned. There is great integrity in being a pilgrim. If the destination be holy, God sustains on the journey. We will not be rushed or stampeded. Nor will we falter. So in our waiting as the vision of our destination becomes clearer in the mists of our wandering, let us take clear sight of the martyrs who are our Octave companions. Their echoes are all around us, in the destruction of innocent life, in the failure of episcopal teaching, in the denial of the Christ Child’s godliness, in the transformation of love into hate, even within the company of those who bear His Name. The dying Stephen prayed for Saul, and the Church was given Paul, and the world was transformed. These are important days for us, and days that demand that most difficult of prayers. “That we be transformed, so that the Church may transform the world.” +John Primate (SOURCE: http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=35111
Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City issued a statement in which it slammed the city's Redemptorist community for going against "the Party's policies and the nation's laws". Catholics now fear more anti-priest violence. Signed by the Committee's chairman Pham Ngoc Huu, the statement was released on 28 December and published by all state media.
The statement accused the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which is located on the south side of the city, of organising mass prayer vigils "with the participation of many priests, religious and lay people from other regions of the country without the permission of local authorities in order to distort, falsely accuse and criticise the government."
The press release also said that the Redemptorists used the church bulletin board to "post articles and images leading believers to misunderstand the Party's policies and the nation's laws".
In the last two years, the Redemptorists' church has indeed held a number of prayer vigils in support of its sister church in Thai Ha (Hanoi), which has been fighting to regain its land, unfairly seized by the city.
Since then the Church and the faithful of Our Lady of Perpetual Help have been under close surveillance by uniformed and plain clothes police, who tape and take picture of those who take part in their activities.
Local authorities have also installed loudspeakers on buildings surrounding the church to disrupt the church's services, including the vigils.
The statement singled out the vigil of 27 July, which was held for two priests brutally beaten up in Dong Hoi (cf J.B. An Dang, "Priest beaten into a coma by police. Catholics Protest throughout Vietnam," in AsiaNews.it, 28 July 2009).
Similarly, People's Committee Chairman Huu singled out Fr Joseph Le Quang Uy, a well-known local pro-life activist, for giving "a hand to hostile forces, and reactionaries to conduct propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam "
Father Le Quang was equally accused of “taking advantage of his role in leading prayer vigils to distort the social, political and economic situation of Vietnam," which in turn gave him an opportunity to "denounce the government for human rights violations” and thus "undermine national unity.”
In the last few months, the clergyman also criticised the government for allowing bauxite mining in areas in central Vietnam inhabited by Montagnards. For this reason, he was attacked by state media, which called for his conviction on charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison (see J.B. An Dang, "Redemptorist priest could be accused of plotting to overthrow Vietnam’s Communist regime," in AsiaNews.it, 2 July 2009).
More broadly, Huu has accused the Redemptorists of failing to heed the Pope's instructions. During an ad limina visit by Vietnamese bishops, Benedict XVI had in fact said that "a good Catholic is a good citizen."
A Redemptorist spokesman, Fr Peter Nguyen Van Khai, responded by accusing the authorities of distorting the sense of the Pope's words, because the Holy Father had also called for "a healthy collaboration between the Church and the State through dialogue.” Unfortunately, the government seems unwilling to accept such collaboration.
For many Catholics, the authorities seem more likely to resort to violence and the campaign against the Redemptorists appears to be but the start of a new anti-priest campaign.
The Telegraph reports that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have condemned a surge in intimidation and violence against Anglican worshippers in Zimbabwe instigated by an excommunicated bishop allied to President Robert Mugabe.
Nolbert Kunonga was excommunicated in 2008, but retains control of several church buildings in the Zimbabwean capital Photo: REUTERS
Riot police backing Nolbert Kunonga have beaten up congregants in Harare and locked them out of the city's St Mary's and All Saints Cathederal on Christmas Day despite a high court order instructing police not to interfere in chuurch acitivities.
Mr Kunonga, who has often voiced support for Mr Mugabe and has been given a farm seized from its former white owners, was bishop of Harare when he split from the Anglican province of Central Africa in 2007 and declared himself an "archbishop".
He was excommunicated in 2008, but retains control of several church buildings in the Zimbabwean capital - including the bishop's official residence and an office block in the city centre, both rented out - and is obstructing services by the official church.
After the latest attack by police when clergy managed to gain entry to the cathedral, Brian Whiteman, a visitor from Britain, said: "The ceremony was moving towards the moments of Holy Communion when the police arrived and they stopped the service.
"People broke in from the cloisters and a punch was thrown through the door and I saw one member of the congregation whose head had been split open. I have never seen anything like this in a church before."
The same day services in at least three other churches were stopped by police.
The Anglican bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya, who was installed last July, said: "We are being prevented from worshipping. The police stop us but do not have identification and will not say on whose orders they are stopping our services."
The dispute has festered for more than a year and the diocese has already obtained a high court order to have its property returned, but it has had no effect, he added, and he is preparing to go back to court.
After it emerged that worshippers were prevented from attending services on Christmas Day, a joint statement issued by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: "We condemn unequivocally any move to deny people their basic right to worship. To prevent people from worshipping in their churches on Christmas Day – unable to receive the Church's message of hope – is a further blow to civil liberties in Zimbabwe."
They also described the "unprovoked intimidation of worshippers" by police as "completely unacceptable, and indicative of the continued and persistent oppression by state instruments of those perceived to be in opposition".
Mr Kunonga, who is fiercely opposed to homosexuals in the church, once denounced Mr Mugabe's Western critics as seeking to drag Zimbabwe "back into a state of boyhood and baboonhood".
The police and Mr Kunonga failed to respond to requests to comment.
The group's page, which features a picture of the Australian flag with the words "F--- off we're full" written across it, tells non-English speakers "if you wanna speak your crappy language, go back to were (sic) you came from".
The Facebook group is called "Mate speak english, you're in australia now" and has more than 5000 members from across the nation. It is growing by more than 300 people a day.
Anti-racism groups and school principals yesterday condemned the site, started as a prank, and called for Facebook to delete it.
Its provocative and poorly spelled page features racist rants against Muslims, non-English speakers and migrants.
The group includes students from Scotch College, Melbourne Grammar, Geelong Grammar, Trinity Grammar, Lauriston, Mentone Grammar, Ivanhoe Grammar, Camberwell Grammar, and Haileybury as well as a number of Victorian government schools.
A 16-year-old Berwick Secondary College student told the Sunday Herald Sun the group had been founded by his friends a few months ago as a joke after hearing other languages spoken on trains.
He said they made him an administrator, but he now bitterly regretted his involvement with the group.
"I've got friends from all different cultures," he said.
"People started posting racist stuff. When I caught on, that's when I exited."
The youth said he had contacted Facebook three times asking for the page to be deleted.
"Because there are no administrators left, only Facebook can delete it," he said.
Dr Chris Hayes, Principal of Xavier College, said anyone who had joined the group had broken the school's rules.
"The school abhors this sort of behaviour because it goes against everything the school stands for," he said.
Principal Ross Bevege of Berwick Secondary College said the site was disgusting and offensive and that he had contacted a student's parents about his involvement.
St. Gregory Nazianzen
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: January 2
325, Arianzum, Cappadocia
January 25, 389, Arianzum, Cappadocia
Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George in the Fanar
Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389. He was son -- one of three children -- of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (329-374), in the south-west of Cappadocia, and of Nonna, a daughter of Christian parents. The saint's father was originally a member of the heretical sect of the Hypsistarii, or Hypsistiani, and was converted to Catholicity by the influence of his pious wife. His two sons, who seem to have been born between the dates of their father's priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, were sent to a famous school at Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia, and educated by Carterius, probably the same one who was afterwards tutor of St. John Chrysostom. Here commenced the friendship between Basil and Gregory which intimately affected both their lives, as well as the development of the theology of their age. Setting out by sea from Alexandria to Athens, Gregory was all but lost in a great storm, and some of his biographers infer -- though the fact is not certain -- that when in danger of death he and his companions received the rite of baptism. He had certainly not been baptized in infancy, though dedicated to God by his pious mother; but there is some authority for believing that he received the sacrament, not on his voyage to Athens, but on his return to Nazianzus some years later.
Theodosius determined that Gregory should be bishop of the new Catholic see, and himself accompanied him to St. Sophia's, where he was enthroned in presence of an immense crowd, who manifested their feelings by hand-clappings and other signs of joy. Constantinople was now restored to Catholic unity; the emperor, by a new edict, gave back all the churches to Catholic use; Arians and other heretics were forbidden to hold public assemblies; and the name of Catholic was restricted to adherents of the orthodox and Catholic faith.
Gregory had hardly settled down to the work of administration of the Diocese of Constantinople, when Theodosius carried out his long-cherished purpose of summoning thither a general council of the Eastern Church. One hundred and fifty bishops met in council, in May, 381, the object of the assembly being, as Socrates plainly states, to confirm the faith of Nicaea, and to appoint a bishop for Constantinople (see CONSTANTINOPLE, THE FIRST COUNCIL OF). Among the bishops present were thirty-six holding semi-Arian or Macedonian opinions; and neither the arguments of the orthodox prelates nor the eloquence of Gregory, who preached at Pentecost, in St. Sophia's, on the subject of the Holy Spirit, availed to persuade them to sign the orthodox creed. As to the appointment of the bishopric, the confirmation of Gregory to the see could only be a matter of form. The orthodox bishops were all in favor, and the objection (urged by the Egyptian and Macedonian prelates who joined the council later) that his translation from one see to another was in opposition to a canon of the Nicene council was obviously unfounded.
During the six years of life which remained to him after his final retirement to his birth-place, Gregory composed, in all probability, the greater part of the copious poetical works which have come down to us. Here, too, he received occasional visits from intimate friends, as well as sometimes from strangers attracted to his retreat by his reputation for sanctity and learning; and here he peacefully breathed his last. The exact date of his death is unknown, but from a passage in Jerome (De Script. Eccl.) it may be assigned, with tolerable certainty, to the year 389 or 390.
St. Basil the Great
CONFESSOR, ARCHBISHOP OF CAESAREA
Feast: January 2
329 at Caesarea, Asia Minor (modern Turkey)
14 June 379
Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists
Bishop of Caesarea, one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church, born probably 329; died 1 January, 379. He ranks after Athanasius as a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth century. With his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and his brother Gregory of Nyssa, he makes up the trio known as "The Three Cappadocians", far outclassing the other two in practical genius and actual achievement.St. Basil the Elder, father of St. Basil the Great, was the son of a Christian of good birth and his wife, Macrina (Acta SS., January, II), both of whom suffered for the faith during the persecution of Maximinus Galerius (305-314), spending several years of hardship in the wild mountains of Pontus. St. Basil the Elder was noted for his virtue (Acta SS, May, VII) and also won considerable reputation as a teacher in Caesarea. He was not a priest (Cf. Cave, Hist. Lit., I, 239). He married Emmelia, the daughter of a martyr and became the father of ten children. Three of these, Macrina, Basil, an Gregory are honoured as saints; and of the sons, Peter, Gregory, and Basil attained the dignity of the episcopate.Under the care of his father and his grandmother, the elder Macrina, who preserved the traditions of their countryman, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c. 213-275) Basil was formed in habits of piety and study. He was still young when his father died and the family moved to the estate of the elder Macrina at Annesi in Pontus, on the banks of the Iris. As a boy, he was sent to school at Caesarea, then "a metropolis of letters", and conceived a fervent admiration for the local bishop, Dianius. Later, he went to Constantinople, at that time "distinguished for its teachers of philosophy and rhetoric", and thence to Athens. Here he became the inseparable companion of Gregory of Nazianzus, who, in his famous panegyric on Basil (Or. xliii), gives a most interesting description of their academic experiences. Basil himself tells us how, like a man roused from deep sleep, he turned his eyes to the marvellous truth of the Gospel, wept many tears over his miserable life, and prayed for guidance from God: "Then I read the Gospel, and saw there that a great means of reaching perfection was the selling of one's goods, the sharing of them with the poor, the giving up of all care for this life, and the refusal to allow the soul to be turned by any sympathy towards things of earth" (Ep. ccxxiii). Basil became known as the father of Oriental monasticism, the forerunner of St. Benedict. Eusebius having persuaded the reluctant Basil to be ordained priest, gave him a prominent place in the administration of the diocese (363). Basil soon became the real head of the diocese. In any event, he became Bishop of Caesarea largely by the influence of the elder Gregory of Nazianzus. Basil died 1 January, 379. His death was regarded as a public bereavement; Jews, pagans, and foreigners vied with his own flock in doing him honour. By personal virtue he attained distinction in an age of saints; and his purity, his monastic fervour, his stern simplicity, his friendship for the poor became traditional in the history of Christian asceticism. (SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbasilthegreat.asp
John 1: 19 - 28
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."
And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No."
They said to him then, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said."
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"
John answered them, "I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know,
even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."
This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.