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Thursday, January 28, 2010

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: THURS. JAN. 28, 2010














CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: THURS. JAN. 28, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: VITALITY OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES-
EUROPE: ENGLAND: UK BILL DEFEATED, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM PRESERVED-
AMERICA: CANADA: BISHOPS: LETTER ON TRAFFICKING IN PREP FOR OLYMPICS-
AFRICA: SUDAN: NEW CATHOLIC RADIO STATION-
ASIA: PHILLIPINES: CHRISTIANS FORCED TO EMBRACE ISLAM-
AUSTRALIA: NATIONAL TESTING PROGRAM TO IMPROVE SYSTEM-








VATICAN
VITALITY OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES





VIS) - This morning, Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Benedict XVI received the 300 people who yesterday participated in the annual public session of the pontifical academies. The event was attended by representatives from the following institutions: the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Theological Academy, the Academy of Mary Immaculate, the International Marian Academy, the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature "dei Virtuosi al Pantheon", the Roman Academy of Archaeology and the "Cultorum Martyrum" Academy. Having praised the "glorious past" of these institutions, the Pope noted how at the present time "contemporary culture, and even more so believers themselves, continually petition the Church to concentrate her reflections and actions in those fields in which new problems emerge. These", he told his listeners, "are also sectors in which you operate". "You are called", the Holy Father went on, "to make your qualified, competent and enthusiastic contribution to ensure that all the Church, and particularly the Holy See, is able to exploit the appropriate opportunities, languages and means necessary to enter into dialogue with modern cultures, and provide an effective answer to the questions and challenges which face her in the various areas of human knowledge and experience. "As I have said before", he added, "modern culture is deeply marked, both by relativism and subjectivism, and by methods and approaches that are sometimes superficial, even banal. These harm the seriousness of research and reflection and, as a consequence, also of dialogue, exchange and interpersonal communication. It is, then, urgently necessary to recreate the conditions essential for ... deeper study and research, so as to make dialogue and exchange on the various problems more reasonable and effective, with a view to shared growth and a formation that promotes man in his entirety and completeness". "This task is particularly urgent in the field of forming candidates for Holy Orders, as prescribed by the Year for Priests and confirmed by the happy decision to dedicate your annual public session to" the formation of the clergy. "The philosophy and witness of St. Thomas Aquinas encourage us to dedicate careful study to emerging problems, in order to find appropriate and creative answers. Trusting in the possibilities of 'human reason', and with complete fidelity to the immutable 'depositum fidei', we must ... always draw from the richness of Tradition in a constant search for the 'truth of things'. To this end it is important that pontifical academies, today more than ever, become living and vivacious institutions, capable of acute perception, both as regards the demands of society and culture, and the needs and expectations of the Church. They must do so in order to offer an appropriate and valid contribution and so promote, with all the energies and means at their disposal, an authentic Christian humanism".AC/PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES/... VIS 100128 (480)









AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Seven prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham. - Archbishop Patrick Altham Kelly of Liverpool, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Anthony Williams, and by Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Vincent Malone. - Bishop John Anthony Rawsthorne of Hallam. - Bishop Seamus Cunningham of Hexham and Newcastle. - Bishop Michael Gregory Campbell O.S.A. of Lancaster. - Appointed Fr. Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas O.F.M. Conv., president of the "St. Bonaventure" Pontifical Theological Faculty in Rome, as a relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100128 (120)








OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Seoul, Korea, as bishop of Chunchon (area 17,000, population 1,157,879, Catholics 75,702, priests 98, religious 292), Korea. He succeeds Bishop John Chang Yik, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Bishop Luis Quinteiro Fiuza of Orense, as bishop of Tui-Vigo (area 1,721, population 541,000, Catholics 514,000, priests 289, permanent deacons 3, religious 544), Spain. He succeeds Jose Dieguez Reboredo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Joao Noe Rodrigues of the clergy of Witbank, South Africa, pastor of the parish of the Sacred Heart at Ackerville, as bishop of Tzaneen (area 49,500, population 2,500,000, Catholics 50,000, priests 27, permanent deacons 3, religious 43), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Bishop Hugh Patrick Slattery M.S.C., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Eusebius Alfred Nzigilwa of the clergy of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, former rector of St. Mary's major seminary in Visiaga, and Fr. Salutaris Melchior Libena of the clergy of Mahenge, Tanzania, professor and spiritual director at St. Paul's major seminary in Kipalapala, as auxiliaries of Dar-es-Salaam (area 40,000, population 5,003,000, Catholics 1,490,000, priests 193, religious 737). Bishop-elect Nzigilwa was born in Mwanza, Tanzania in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1995. Bishop-elect Libena was born in Itete, Tanzania in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1991.NER:RE:NEA/.../... VIS 100128 (300)





EUROPE
ENGLAND: UK EQUALITY BILL DEFEATED, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM PRESERVED

CNA report:
Religious freedom provisions safeguarding the rights of British churches and other religious employers to require that employees live according to their sexual ethics have been passed in the House of Lords despite repeated opposition from the Labour government. Before the amendment, critics of the proposed Equality Bill said it treated the rights of religious believers as secondary and could have forced churches to hire youth ministers who do not support Christian ethics.
The Government claimed its plans would “clarify” the law, but churches said they narrowed important safeguards.
Lady O’Cathain had proposed the amendment to keep unchanged the current law, which allows churches and other faith-based employers to require that staff live consistently with their teachings on sexual behavior. Her amendment passed 216 to 178 in an initial vote.
According to the Christian Institute, the Government made an “extraordinary move” and broke with House of Lords convention to try to damage Lady O'Cathain's victory. In two further votes her amendment won by 195 votes to 174 and by 177 votes to 172.
It is not known whether the government will try to overturn its defeat.
“We are delighted that the House of Lords has voted to protect freedom of association for churches,” commented Mike Judge of the Christian Institute. “It is a shame that the Government didn’t listen to churches earlier. It’s almost as if they don’t care.”
The Anglican Archbishop of York John Sentamu supported the amendment during the debate in the House of Lords.
“You may feel that many churches and other religious organizations are wrong on matters of sexual ethics.
“But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organizations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions.”
He asked for examples of actual abuses and of court rulings showing that the law is defective.
The Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff Peter Smith voiced regret that the Government had refused to meet earlier with religious groups and “work out an amendment with the right wording.”
He said the amendment was a “prudent course” to address concern that a court might construe the law’s wording “too narrowly,” the Christian Institute reported.(source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/religious_freedom_safeguards_preserved_by_defeat_of_uk_equality_bill/



AMERICA
CANADA: BISHOPS: LETTER ON TRAFFICKING IN PREP FOR OLYMPICS

CCCB report:
Pastoral letter on human trafficking issued within the context of preparations for the 2010 Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver.
Episcopal Commission for Justice and PeaceCanadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
What is human trafficking?
In 2010, Canada will host the Olympic Winter Games. Many are looking forward to watching some of the world’s best athletes compete. Others, in Vancouver and elsewhere – especially groups involved in the struggle against human trafficking – are worried. They know that some see this event as an opportunity to make money, no matter the cost to human dignity and human rights.
The fact is that at some major sporting events, systems are often put in place to satisfy the demand for paid sex. Unfortunately, this is likely to be the case during the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.1
As pastors of the Catholic Church in Canada, we denounce human trafficking2 in all its forms, whether it is intended for forced labour (domestic, farm or factory work) or for sexual exploitation (whether it be prostitution, pornography, forced marriages, strip clubs, or other). We invite the faithful to become aware of this violation of human rights and the trivialization of concerns about prostitution. Following the example of Jesus, who came into the world so that people “may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), we can share in the suffering of the victims and change the behaviours and mentalities that foster institutionalized violence in this new form of slavery which is human trafficking. Jesus himself proclaimed the liberation of captives as a sign of his presence among us (Luke 4:18-19).
The scale of human trafficking is alarming. While it is difficult to find precise figures, the International Labour Organization (ILO) nevertheless estimates that 2.4 million people are victims of trafficking;3 1.3 million of these are involved in various forms of sexual exploitation.4 In another study, the United States Department of State estimates there are 800,000 victims of trafficking worldwide every year; the majority of whom are women and children.5 According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the most widespread form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation (79 percent).6 This area of organized crime brings in billions of dollars for pimps and for owners of strip clubs, massage parlours, and legal and illegal brothels. This figure does not include taxes paid to governments that often turn a blind eye to this activity.
How is human trafficking possible?
In a context of economic globalization where the gap between rich and poor countries is only increasing, the impoverished populations of the South and East remain vulnerable to trafficking. Their desire for a better life sends them across the border towards the North or the West to look for jobs. When hunger threatens their family’s lives, people are more likely to believe the promises of unscrupulous smugglers or to succumb to the attraction of earning money through sexual tourism. Today, the speed of Internet and cellphone communication makes it easy to recruit people, who may find themselves in another country just a few hours later. Often, they cannot speak the language, their passport has been taken from them, and they are at the mercy of pimps who demand to be reimbursed for the victim’s transportation costs. Women and children, usually under the influence of drugs, must then engage in prostitution under the vigilant eye of pimps who pocket the profits. If the victims try to run away or stand up for their rights, the pimps threaten to kill them or members of their families back home.
In Canada, Aboriginal women and young girls disappear from their villages and are never seen again. Increasingly, younger immigrants work the downtown streets or get jobs in strip clubs and massage parlours. Escorts answer calls that result from classified ads in the newspaper. With the support of non-governmental organizations working to combat trafficking, many of these women and girls describe their experiences as a living hell. Often their stories reveal similarities between their suffering and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress experienced by survivors of war.
What can we do?
First, we must become aware that human trafficking is happening in Canada, as it is elsewhere.7 We need to recognize it, talk about it with others, and take action in our communities to stop it. The author of the First Letter of John asks us, “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (1 John 3:17). We must also recognize that the demand for prostitution fuels the market for human trafficking. Without customers who ask for sexual services, there would be no prostitution, and thus no trafficking. In a country that considers equality between women and men to be a fundamental value, a country where a majority of citizens are Christians who promote the dignity of each person created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), how can we tolerate prostitution, which is a form of institutionalized violence that destroys the physical, psychological and spiritual integrity of other human beings?
Many avenues exist to help solve this problem. We can support organizations that work with those who are victims of human trafficking, and also ask our governments to set up programs to educate people and to prevent violence against women. To help women break free of prostitution, as they are generally the victims, we must provide concrete assistance: including health care, psychological counselling, detoxification programs, safe housing, decent employment, and spiritual support.
Our prayers will also strengthen the hope of those many people whose liberty and humanity have been taken from them by trafficking and the courage of those groups that assist them. We believe that we are the hands and feet of the Risen Christ today: he who passed from death to life shows us the path that leads to the liberation of those caught in the snares of death. May our faith and outrage spur us to get involved, individually and together, for the transformation of our world!
26 January 2010
Members of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace:
+ Brendan M. O’Brien, Archbishop of Kingston (Chairman)+ François Lapierre, P.M.É, Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe+ David Motiuk, Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton+ Valéry Vienneau, Bishop of Bathurst
1 See Senator Mobina Jaffer’s statement:http://sen.parl.gc.ca/SenWeb/speeches/details.asp?lang=en&sen=59&speechID=388.See also the first report, dated November 2007, of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women on trafficking of women and children during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The federal Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, clearly expressed before the Standing Committee his objection to the legalization of prostitution in any form (39th Parliament, 2nd Session, 7 February 2008).2 According to Article 3 in Annex II of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, “‘Trafficking in persons’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs….” http://www.unodc.org/pdf/crime/a_res_55/res5525e.pdf3 International Labour Organization (ILO), Combating Forced Labour: A Handbook for Employers and Business, 2008, p. 13.4 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 (June 2009), p. 8.5 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2007 (June 2007), p. 8.6 UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (2009), p. 6.7 More information on the trafficking of women and children is available on the website of the Canadian Religious Conference, under the heading “CRC Priorities”: http://www.crc-canada.org/. (SOURCE: http://www.cccb.ca/site/content/view/2751/1217/lang,eng/




AFRICA
SUDAN: NEW CATHOLIC RADIO STATION


CISA report:
A new Catholic community-based radio, Good News FM went on air Sunday evening, January 24, in Rumbek, Sudan. Broadcasting on 89 FM, the station that is part of Sudan Catholic Radio Network (SCRN), is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek.Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of Rumbek congratulated all those who have worked hard to realize this remarkable event in the history of the diocese.The bishop told the Good News Fm director, Fr Don Bosco Ochieng, that the radio will strive to remind listeners about “God being always there in our lives through its programs.” The bishop added that Good News FM “will call us with its voice to come to the wisdom of letting what happens each day deliver a significant and constructive impact on our lives and on our world.”Bishop Mazzolari added that the radio station is intended to make events significant and not a boring routinely broadcast that does not touch lives.Fr Ochieng expressed his gratitude to all those who have helped in one way or another to realize this dream. He told SCR News over the phone that technicians were boosting the transmitter’s signal to try to cover up to Yirol, some 70 km east of Rumbek.With the new station, SCRN now has six stations broadcasting in a good part of southern Sudan: Bakhita Radio, in Juba, Voice of Peace, in Gidel – Nuba Mountains, Voice of Love, in Malakal, Radio Emmanuel in Torit, Easter FM in Yei and now Good News FM in Rumbek.Radio Don Bosco in Tonj, Warrap state, will start transmissions soon.SCRN also runs a news service, a production department and a training centre to prepare journalists and presenters for the network.(SOURCE: http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/story.asp?ID=4366




ASIA
PHILLIPINES: CHRISTIANS FORCED TO EMBRACE ISLAM

Asia News report:
A Filipino nurse with ten years in Saudi Arabia talks about the dramatic situation of Christian workers, forced to embrace Islam just to keep their job. Despite abuses and violence, migrants still choose the Middle East because of the availability of work. Manila (AsiaNews) – “In my tens in Saudi Arabia, I have witnessed several Catholic or Christian Filipino migrants accept Islam under duress,” said Joselyn Cabrera, a Filipino Catholic nurse working at Riyadh hospital. Because of high unemployment levels in the Philippines, more than ten million Filipinos have left to seek jobs abroad. Every day, about 3,000 leave the country. Recently, a majority has gone to Arab countries—some 600,000 in all, 200,000 in Saudi Arabia alone.
“After some months, employers give you an ultimatum, telling you to become Muslim to keep your job,” she said. “For us, it is hard to make such a choice, but if we don’t, we become the victims of abuse.”
In her years in the kingdom, she said she saw at least 50 forced conversions at work.
“Even I have been subjected to pressures from my Muslim co-workers, but I have always refused saying that I’d rather remain Catholic. Until now, nothing has happened to me, yet.”
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Filipino emigration towards the Middle East has grown by 29.5 per cent between 2007 and 2008, a destination of choice for many migrants, and this despite horrible working conditions that include the possibility of forced conversion and sexual abuse in the case of women.
The most recent case involves a woman who was raped at work. Because of the incident, Saudi authorities accused her of unlawful extramarital sex and on 11 September jailed her in the capital.
As a result of the rape, she became pregnant, but miscarried because of harsh conditions in the prison.
Next month, she is scheduled to appear before a court, which could sentenced her to 100 lashes (see “Riyadh: rape victim might be lashed 100 times,” in AsiaNews, 22 January 2010).(SOURCE: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Christian-Filipino-migrants-forced-to-convert-to-Islam-17478.html

AUSTRALIA

NATIONAL TESTING PROGRAM TO IMPROVE SYSTEM


Cath News report:
The Catholic Education Office Sydney says it values a national testing program "that can be used to inform on areas of need and drive improvements", but has cautioned against "simplistic, one dimensional league tables".
The remarks by the executive director of Catholic schools in the archdiocese of Sydney, Dr Dan White, follow the decision by Australian Education Union members to ban students from undertaking the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) tests in May 2010.
The ban is in protest of the likelihood of league tables being created from data extracted from the My School website, The Catholic Weekly reports.
"For many years, Sydney Catholic systemic schools have published data about student performance on their websites," said Dr White.
"We are proud of the achievements of our schools, and we are also keen to identify areas that may need additional support or resources.
"I also recognise the need for parents to have access to meaningful information about schools so that they can make informed choices about their children's education," Dr White said.
Dr White added that supporters of league tables fail to acknowledge that comparisons between schools based on simplistic, superficial data are not meaningful.
The Sydney Morning Herald and the Herald Sun published news reports examining and explaining the My School website that went online at 1am today, and both newspapers are featuring various related coverage.
Amid concern parents could remove kids from struggling schools, Education Minister Julia Gillard was quoted by the Herald Sun that $2 billion was being spent on disadvantaged schools, boosting teacher quality and improving literacy and numeracy.
Ms Gillard admitted that launching the My School site was a controversial move, but hit back at criticism the website would allow league tables to be made.
"We will shine a light on schools that are bolting ahead and be able to share the best practice happening in those schools. We will also shine a light on schools that need an extra helping hand and we will give them that," she said.
"A crude comparison of Geelong Grammar with the most remote outback school will not tell us anything we don't already know."
(SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=19048



TODAY'S SAINT

St. Thomas Aquinas
CONFESSOR, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: January 28
Information:
Feast Day:
January 28
Born:
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
Died:
7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
Canonized:
July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine:
Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of:
Catholic universities, colleges, and schools

The great outlines and all the important events of his life are known, but biographers differ as to some details and dates. Death prevented Henry Denifle from executing his project of writing a critical life of the saint. Denifle's friend and pupil, Dominic Prummer, O.P., professor of theology in the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, has taken up the work and is publishing the "Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, notis historicis et criticis illustrati"; and the first fascicle (Toulouse, 1911) has appeared, giving the life of St. Thomas by Peter Calo (1300) now published for the first time. From Tolomeo of Lucca . . . we learn that at the time of the saint's death there was a doubt about his exact age (Prummer, op. cit., 45). The end of 1225 is usually assigned as the time of his birth. Father Prummer, on the authority of Calo, thinks 1227 is the more probable date (op. cit., 28). All agree that he died in 1274.
Landulph, his father, was Count of Aquino, Theodora, his mother, Countess of Teano. His family was related to the Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, and to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and France. Calo relates that a holy hermit foretold his career, saying to Theodora before his birth: "He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him" (Prummer, op. cit., 18). At the age of five, according to the custom of the times, he was sent to receive his first training from the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino. Diligent in study, he was thus early noted as being meditative and devoted to prayer, and his preceptor was surprised at hearing the child ask frequently: "What is God?" About the year 1236 he was sent to the University of Naples. Calo says that the change was made at the instance of the Abbot of Monte Cassino, who wrote to Thomas's father that a boy of such talents should not be left in obscurity (Prummer, op. cit., 20). At Naples his preceptors were Pietro Martini and Petrus Hibernus. The chronicler says that he soon surpassed Martini a grammar, and he was then given over to Peter of Ireland, who trained him in logic and the natural sciences. The customs of the times divided the liberal arts into two courses: the Trivium, embracing grammar, logic, and rhetoric; the Quadrivium, comprising music, mathematics, geometry, and astronomy . . . . Thomas could repeat the lessons with more depth and lucidity than his masters displayed. The youth's heart had remained pure amidst the corruption with which he was surrounded, and he resolved to embrace the religious life.
Some time between 1240 and August, 1243, he received the habit of the Order of St. Dominic, being attracted and directed by John of St. Julian, a noted preacher of the convent of Naples. The city wondered that such a noble young man should don the garb of poor friar. His mother, with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow, hastened to Naples to see her son. The Dominicans, fearing she would take him away, sent him to Rome, his ultimate destination being Paris or Cologne. At the instance of Theodora, Thomas's brothers, who were soldiers under the Emperor Frederick, captured the novice near the town of Aquapendente and confined him in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. Here he was detained nearly two years, his parents, brothers, and Sisters endeavouring by various means to destroy his vocation. The brothers even laid snares for his virtue, but the pure-minded novice drove the temptress from his room with a brand which he snatched from the fire. Towards the end of his life, St. Thomas confided to his faithful friend and companion, Reginald of Piperno, the secret of a remarkable favour received at this time. When the temptress had been driven from his chamber, he knelt and most earnestly implored God to grant him integrity of mind and body. He fell into a gentle sleep, and, as he slept, two angels appeared to assure him that his prayer had been heard. They then girded him about with a white girdle, saying: "We gird thee with the girdle of perpetual virginity." And from that day forward he never experienced the slightest motions of concupiscence.
The time spent in captivity was not lost. His mother relented somewhat, after the first burst of anger and grief; the Dominicans were allowed to provide him with new habits, and through the kind offices of his sister he procured some books—the Holy Scriptures, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard. After eighteen months or two years spent in prison, either because his mother saw that the hermit's prophecy would eventually be fulfilled or because his brothers feared the threats of Innocent IV and Frederick II, he was set at liberty, being lowered in a basket into the arms of the Dominicans, who were delighted to find that during his captivity "he had made as much progress as if he had been in a " (Calo, op. cit., 24). Thomas immediately pronounced his vows, and his superiors sent him to Rome. Innocent IV examined closely into his motives in joining the Friars Preachers, dismissed him with a blessing, and forbade any further interference with his vocation. John the Teutonic, fourth master general of the order, took the young student to Paris and, according to the majority of the saint's biographers, to Cologne, where he arrived in 1244 or 1245, and was placed under Albertus Magnus, the most renowned professor of the order (on chronology of this period see Prummer, op. cit., p.25). In the schools Thomas's humility and taciturnity were misinterpreted as signs of dullness, but when Albert had heard his brilliant defence of a difficult thesis, he exclaimed: "We call this young man a dumb ox, hut his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world."
In 1245 Albert was sent to Paris, and Thomas accompanied him as a student. In 1248 both returned to Cologne. Albert had been appointed regent of the new , erected that year by the general chapter of the order, and Thomas was to teach under him as Bachelor. (On the system of graduation in the thirteenth century see PREACHERS, ORDER OF—II, A, 1, d). During his stay in Cologne, probably in 1250, he was raised to the priesthood by Conrad of Hochstaden, archbishop of that city. Throughout his busy life, he frequently preached the Word of God, in Germany, France, and Italy. His sermons were forceful, redolent of piety, full of solid instruction, abounding in apt citations from the Scriptures . In the year 1251 or 1252 the master general of the order, by the advice of Albertus Magnus and Hugo a S. Charo (Hugh of St. Cher), sent Thomas to fill the office of Bachelor (sub-regent) in the Dominican at Paris. This appointment may be regarded as the beginning of his public career, for his teaching soon attracted the attention both of the professors and of the students. His duties consisted principally in explaining the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard, and his commentmies on that text-book of theology furnished the materials and, in great part, the plan for his chief work, the "Summa theologica".
In due time he was ordered to prepare himself to obtain the degree of Doctor in Theology from the University of Paris, but the conferring of the degree was postponed, owing to a dispute between the university and the friars. The conflict, originally a dispute between the university and the civic authorities, arose from the slaying of one of the students and the wounding of three others by the city guard. The university, jealous of its autonomy, demanded satisfaction, which was refused. The doctors closed their schools, solemnly swore that they would not reopen them until their demands were granted, and decreed that in future no one should be admitted to the degree of Doctor unless he would take an oath to follow the same line of conduct under similar circumstances. The Dominicans and Franciscans, who had continued to teach in their schools, refused to take the prescribed oath, and from this there arose a bitter conflict which was at its height when St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were ready to be presented for their degrees. William of St. Amour extended the dispute beyond the original question, violently attacked the Friars, of whom he was evidently jealous, and denied their right to occupy chairs in the university. Against his book, "De periculis novissimorum temporum" (The Perils of the Last Times), St. Thomas wrote a treatise "Contra impugnantes religionem", an apology for the religious orders (Touron, op. cit., II, cc. vii sqq.). The book of William of St. Amour was condemned by Alexander IV at Anagni, 5 October, 1256, and the pope gave orders that the mendicant friars should be admitted to the doctorate.
About this time St. Thomas also combated a dangerous book, "The Eternal Gospel" (Touron, op. cit., II, cxii). The university authorities did not obey immediately; the influence of St. Louis IX and eleven papal Briefs were required before peace was firmly established, and St. Thomas was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Theology. The date of his promotion, as given by many biographers, was 23 October, 1257. His theme was "The Majesty of Christ". His text, "Thou waterest the hills from thy upper rooms: the earth shall be filled with the fruit of thy works" (Ps. ciii, 13), said to have been suggested by a heavenly visitor, seems to have been prophetic of his career. A tradition says that St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas received the doctorate on the same day, and that there was a contest of humility between the two friends as to which should be promoted first. From this time St. Thomas's life may be summed up in a few words: praying, preaching, teaching, writing, journeying. Men were more anxious to hear him than they had been to bear Albert, whom St. Thomas surpassed in accuracy, lucidity, brevity, and power of exposition, if not in universality of knowledge. Paris claimed him as her own; the popes wished to have him near them; the of the order were eager to enjoy the benefit of his teaching; hence we find him successively at Anagni, Rome, Bologna, Orvieto, Viterbo, Perugia, in Paris again, and finally in Naples, always teaching and writing, living on earth with one passion, an ardent zeal for the explanation and defence of Christian truth. So devoted was he to his sacred task that with tears he begged to be excused from accepting the Archbishopric of Naples, to which he was appointed by Clement IV in 1265. Had this appointment been accepted, most probably the "Summa theologica" would not have been written.
Yielding to the requests of his brethren, he on several occasions took part in the deliberations of the general chapters of the order. One of these chapters was held in London in 1263. In another held at Valenciennes (1259) he collaborated with Albertus Magnus and Peter of Tarentasia (afterwards Pope Innocent V) in formulating a system of studies which is substantially preserved to this day in the of the Dominican Order (cf. Douais, op. cit.). It is not surprising to read in the biographies of St. Thomas that he was frequently abstracted and in ecstasy. Towards the end of his life the ecstasies became more frequent. On one occasion, at Naples in 1273, after he had completed his treatise on the Eucharist, three of the brethren saw him lifted in ecstasy, and they heard a voice proceeding from the crucifix on the altar, saying "Thou hast written well of me, Thomas; what reward wilt thou have?". Thomas replied, "None other than Thyself, Lord" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 38). Similar declarations are said to have been made at Orvieto and at Paris. On 6 December, 1273, he laid aside his pen and would write no more. That day he experienced an unusually long ecstasy during Mass; what was revealed to him we can only surmise from his reply to Father Reginald, who urged him to continue his writings: "I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that all I have written now appears to be of little value" (, Prummer, op. cit., p. 43).
The "Summa theologica" had been completed only as far as the ninetieth question of the third part (De partibus poenitentiae). Thomas began his immediate preparation for death. Gregory X, having convoked a general council, to open at Lyons on 1 May, 1274, invited St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure to take part in the deliberations, commanding the former to bring to the council his treatise "Contra errores Graecorum" (Against the Errors of the Greeks). He tried to obey, setting out on foot in January, 1274, but strength failed him; he fell to the ground near Terracina, whence he was conducted to the Castle of Maienza the home of his niece the Countess Francesca Ceccano. The Cistercian monks of Fossa Nuova pressed him to accept their hospitality, and he was conveyed to their monastery, on entering which he whispered to his companion: "This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it" (Ps. cxxxi, 14). When Father Reginald urged him to remain at the castle, the saint replied: "If the Lord wishes to take me away, it is better that I be found in a religious house than in the dwelling of a lay person." The Cistercians were so kind and attentive that Thomas's humility was alarmed. "Whence comes this honour", he exclaimed, "that servants of God should carry wood for my fire!" At the urgent request of the monks he dictated a brief commentary on the Canticle of Canticles.
The end was near; extreme unction was administered. When the Sacred Viaticum was brought into the room he pronounced the following act of faith: "If in this world there be any knowledge of this sacrament stronger than that of faith, I wish now to use it in affirming that I firmly believe and know as certain that Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament." Then he added: "I receive Thee, the price of my redemption, for Whose love I have watched, studied, and laboured. Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught. Never have I said anything against Thee: if anything was not well said, that is to be attributed to my ignorance. Neither do I wish to be obstinate in my opinions, but if I have written anything erroneous concerning this sacrament or other matters, I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass from this life" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 45). He died on 7 March, 1274. Numerous miracles attested his sanctity, and he was canonized by John XXII, 18 July, 1323. The monks of Fossa Nuova were anxious to keep his sacred remains, but by order of Urban V the body was given to his Dominican brethren, and was solemnly translated to the Dominican church at Toulouse, 28 January, 1369. A magnificent shrine erected in 1628 was destroyed during the French Revolution, and the body was removed to the Church of St. Sernin, where it now reposes in a sarcophagus of gold and silver, which was solemnly blessed by Cardinal Desprez on 24 July, 1878. The chief bone of his left arm is preserved in the cathedral of Naples. The right arm, bestowed on the University of Paris, and originally kept in the St. Thomas's Chapel of the Dominican church, is now preserved in the Dominican Church of S. Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, whither it was transferred during the French Revolution.
(source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/stthomasaquinas.asp



TODAY'S GOSPEL


Mark 4: 21 - 25
21
And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand?
22
For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light.
23
If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
24
And he said to them, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.
25
For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
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