Tuesday, January 26, 2010






(VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, the Holy Father presided at the celebration of second Vespers of the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The celebration marked the end of this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the theme of which has been: "You are witnesses of these things". The event was attended by a number of cardinals and bishops, as well as by representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome. In his homily Benedict XVI explained how the choice of the theme for this year's Week of Prayer - "that is, the invitation to a offer shared witness of the risen Christ in accordance with the mandate He entrusted to His disciples" - is linked "to the hundredth anniversary of the missionary conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, which many consider as a decisive event for the birth of the modern ecumenical movement". "It is precisely the desire to announce Christ to others and to carry His message of reconciliation to the world that makes us aware of the contradiction of division among Christians". he said. "The communion and unity of the disciples of Christ is, then, a particularly important prerequisite for a more credible and effective witness". The Holy Father explained how, "in a world characterised by religious indifference and even by a growing aversion towards the Christian faith, what is needed is new and intense evangelising activity, directed not only at peoples who have never known the Gospel, but also at those among whom Christianity is present and has become part of their history". After then referring to "questions that still separate us from each other, and that we hope may be overcome through prayer and dialogue", the Pope explained how there nonetheless exists "a core content of Christ's message that we can announce together: the paternity of God, Christ's victory over sin and death with His cross and resurrection, and trust in the transforming action of the Spirit. "As we journey towards full communion", he added, "we are called to present a joint witness in the face of the increasingly complex challenges of our time, such as secularisation and indifference, relativism and hedonism, delicate ethical questions concerning the beginning and end of life, the limits of science and technology, and dialogue with other religious traditions". Pope Benedict continued: "There are other fields in which we must already show our joint witness: protecting creation, promoting peace and the common good, defending the centrality of the human person, and the commitment to defeat the poverties of our time such as hunger, indigence, illiteracy and the unequal distribution of wealth". And he concluded: "Commitment to the unity of Christians is not just a task for the few, or an appendage to the life of the Church. Each is called to offer his or her contribution to help take those steps towards the full communion of all Christ's disciples, never forgetting that it is, above all, a gift constantly to be implored from God".HML/CONVERSION ST. PAUL/... VIS 100126 (520)

PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES: OPEN TO NEW KNOWLEDGE VATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office a conference was held to present "Pontifical Academies for a New Christian Humanism", an initiative that will include a special audience of the Holy Father with the pontifical academies on 28 January, and the public session of those academies on 27 January. Participating in today's press conference were Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Co-ordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies, and Msgr. Pasquale Iacobone, official of the same pontifical council and delegate of the same co-ordinating council. The Co-ordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies was created by John Paul II in 1995 and is made up of the presidents of 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. A joint public session of the Pontifical Academies is organised once a year to examine a theme of current importance. This year's meeting, the fourteenth, focuses on the "theological formation of the clergy" and has been organised by the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Theological Academy. The public session also includes the presentation of the Pontifical Academy Prize which is awarded by the Pope to institutions or to young researchers or artists who have distinguished themselves in promoting Christian humanism. The prize-winner this year is the American theologian John Mortensen who gained his doctorate in 2006 from Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross with a thesis on "Analogy in St. Thomas". In his remarks Archbishop Ravasi recalled how the activity of the Pontifical Academies focuses on three fields: theology, culture and the reappraisal of Christian heritage especially from Roman times. The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture likewise explained that one of the purposes of the session is to publicise the "often little known activity" of the academies, which he called "little worlds of very-high-quality research". The session will also help to ensure that the work undertaken in those academies leaves their confines and becomes more widespread, making them not just glorious vestiges of the past but institutions capable of confronting the modern world of knowledge. In this context, he noted that the granting of this year's prize to layman with a family is a sign of the openness of theological research which, he said, cannot be limited only to the clergy. For his part, Msgr. Iacobone pointed out that this will be Benedict XVI's first audience with the pontifical academies. He also recalled how the years 2009-2010 are very significant for some of these institutions, such as the Roman Academy of Archaeology which has celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of its foundation (1809), the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas which marked its 130 years, and the International Marian Academy which was made a pontifical academy fifty years ago.OP/PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES/RAVASI:IACOBONE VIS 100126 (510)

COMMUNIQUE FROM PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY VATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity today published the following communique: The council, the communique reads, "has learned with disappointment that a media outlet has published a test currently being examined by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. "The document published is a draft text consisting of a list of themes to be studied and examined in greater depth, and has been only minimally discussed by the said commission. "In the last meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held in Paphos, Cyprus, last October, it was specifically established that the text would not be published until it had been fully and completely examined by the commission. "As yet there is no agreed document and, hence, the text published has no authority or official status".OP/TEXT/CON-UC VIS 100126 (160)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, auxiliary of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A., as bishop of Austin (area 57,424, population 2,443,000, Catholics 437,000, priests 243, permanent deacons 198, religious 203), U.S.A.NER/.../VASQUEZ VIS 100126 (40)


CNA report:
Citing “confusing and conflicting messages” about the breast cancer risks of abortion and oral contraceptives, a coalition has sent a letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders calling for an investigation of the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the cessation of federal funding for abortion. The Jan. 20 letter was authored by the Coalition on Abortion / Breast Cancer (CABC) and was signed by several doctors and pro-life organizations.
The CABC letter cited the work of National Cancer Institute (NCI) researcher Dr. Louise Brinton. Brinton, the NCI’s Chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch, was a co-author of a 2009 study which reported a statistically significant 40 percent breast cancer risk increase for women who have had abortions.
According to the CABC, the study listed abortion among “known and suspected risk factors.”
The CABC has been critical of a 2003 NCI workshop organized by Brinton that said the non-existence of an abortion-breast cancer link was “well established.” The NCI has updated its web page on the workshop to say “the evidence overall still does not support early termination of pregnancy as a cause of breast cancer.”
The letter from the CABC reported that the web page had not been updated since 2003 until Jan. 12, 2010, soon after press inquiries began concerning the 2009 study. The Coalition questioned whether this change was coincidental.
In the Coalition’s view, the contrast between the results of the 2009 study and the information on the NCI’s web site appears “disingenuous.”
The authors of the 2009 study said their findings were “consistent with the effects observed in previous studies on younger women… induced abortion and oral contraceptive use were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.”
Other NCI information on the evidence for a connection between breast cancer and oral contraceptives is also outdated, the CABC charged.
“We request that any public funding of abortion be removed entirely from all legislation being considered by this Congress and that Congress also exercise its proper oversight authority and investigate the role of the NCI in communicating information about breast cancer risks to the American public,” the CABC letter read.
Professor Joel Brind, a professor of biology and endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York, was a signer of the letter.
Speaking in a CABC press release, Brind said there was a “direct contradiction” between Brinton’s findings and the NCI website. He called on Brinton to respond to the news reports on the 2009 study.
Karen Malec, CABC president, charged that the NCI “puts politics ahead of women’s lives.”
"That's why we're putting both parties on notice of the NCI's misconduct. If they decide to watch women die, instead of cleaning house when we have prima facie evidence of a cover-up, then both parties will have to answer to angry women."(SOURCE:


Catholic Herald report:
The bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) are to give the Vatican their answer to the new Anglican provision.Archbishop John Hepworth, the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a group of Anglican churches which have broken away from the mainstream Anglican Communion, said the bishops would come together at Easter to formulate a response to the Pope's decree Anglicanorum coetibus.The Anglican provision allows groups of Anglicans who consider themselves Catholic to enter into full communion with Rome while maintaining aspects of their heritage and identity. The document provides a new canonical provision called a Personal Ordinariate which most resembles the structure of military dioceses.In 2007 the leaders of the TAC signed a petition to the Holy See asking for "corporate reunion with the Holy See" as well as "a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of Catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment".According to Archbishop Hepworth, the bishops and vicar generals have each received a letter from Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, saying that the recent decree constituted "the definitive response of the Holy See" not only to the TAC's original request but also to "but also to the many others of a similar nature which have been submitted over the last years".Archbishop Hepworth said the letter from Cardinal Levada would allow the bishops belonging to TAC to move towards making a decision about taking up the Pope's offer of Personal Ordinariates. He said that he would produce a commentary on the decree for the TAC in the coming week and would release the full text of the original petition made by the members of the group in 2007. Emphasising that the process of discernment "concerns the primary command of Jesus to His Church", he said the process could not be hurried. But he also made it clear that a delay in making a "implementing the fullness of communion" that the traditionalist Anglicans had sought "would be in serious defiance of the will of Jesus for his Church". He outlined the steps the college of bishops and the traditionalist communion as a whole would have to take towards making a decision. TAC, he said, was already in talks with liaison bishops of bishops' conferences around the world.Archbishop Hepworth plans to meet with TAC members in Japan, Central America, the United States, Canada, Australia New Zealand and the Torres Strait in the coming weeks. Regional meetings of bishop, clergy and people are being organised to discuss Anglicanorum Coetibus.After the meeting of the full college of bishops at Easter, they will make a formal response to the Holy See, which will be followed by canonical steps in the churches belonging to TAC. The news came days after Pope Benedict XVI said the desire of the groups of Anglicans wishing to be in full communion with Rome revealed the ultimate aim of the ecumenical movement which was "the full and visible communion of the disciples the Lord". Pope Benedict was speaking to the members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and thanked them for their work in "the full integration of groups and individuals of former Anglican faithful into the life of the Catholic Church, in accordance with the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus".He said: "The faithful adherence of these groups to the truth received from Christ and presented in the Magisterium of the Church is in no way contrary to the ecumenical movement... rather, it reveals the ultimate aim thereof, which is the realisation of the full and visible communion of the disciples of the Lord." (SOURCE:


CISA report:
Amnesty International has called for arms transfers to the Somali government to be suspended until there are adequate safeguards to prevent weapons from being used to commit war crimes and human rights abuses.In its latest briefing paper on the country, Amnesty International details US shipments of arms, including mortars, ammunition and cash for the purchase of weapons to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). These transfers were made despite substantial risks that such types of weapons could be used in indiscriminate attacks by TFG forces or diverted to armed groups opposed to the TFG, who also commit gross and widespread abuses. “International concern for the future of the Somali government has not been matched by an equal concern for the human rights of civilians,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International Deputy Director for Africa.Kagari said, “Mortar attacks continue to claim lives – it is time for international donors to apply tighter controls to their support for the government”Amnesty International’s briefing also details growing international programmes of military and police training for TFG forces, despite a lack of adequate oversight procedures.The training is delivered in Somalia itself and in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda. The European Union, France, Germany and Italy are involved, or have pledged funding for it.Amnesty International calls for all states providing finance, planning, military and police training for the TFG to also provide training in international humanitarian law and arms management and press for the establishment of oversight procedures for TFG forces. A UN arms embargo on Somalia has been in place since 1992 but states can apply to the UN Sanctions Committee for exemptions to supply security assistance to the Somali government. Fighting in Somalia displaced more than 60,000 in the first weeks of 2010The number of Somali casualties and displaced civilians continues to grow as fighting in central areas of Somalia rages on. Since the beginning of the year, fighting and general insecurity have displaced an estimated 63,000 people in Somalia.(SOURCE:


Asia News report:
High tension and security at a maximum. Among the 22 candidates, the most probable are the former President Rajapaksa and General Fonseka. People want the fruits of peace and greater development. 47% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - From 7 this morning all polling stations in the Sri Lankan presidential election are open, the first vote as a united country, after the war against Tamil rebels that lasted nearly 26 years.
Tension is very high. More than 68 thousand policemen have been deployed to ensure order. This morning, hours before the opening of the polls, the people of Jaffna, in area once under the Tamil guerrillas, heard 4 explosions. In recent months, 4 people were killed and there were at least 800 violent incidents related to the campaign. Approximately 250 thousand observers are monitoring the fairness of elections.
There are 22 candidates competing for President, but the most likely winners are the current President Mahinda Rajapaksa or former head of the Armed Forces, gen. Sarath Fonseka. The first seeks to exploit the notoriety and success of the war against the Tamils, the second proposes a fight against corruption, pervasive in the current government. The two, who were allies until a year ago (see photo) are now on opposing sides.
Instead the population is demanding peace and greater economic development for a country that - thanks to widespread corruption - is still suffering the consequences of the tsunami of 2004, as well as those of war.
At least 47% of Sri Lankans live on less than $ 2 per day. Inflation is high and in recent years has reached 20%.
Sri Lanka, with a population of 20 million, is 74% of Sinhalese, 12% Tamils. The problem of coexistence was the cause of the recent war. The governments treatment of 300 thousand Tamil refugees incarcerated in northern refugee camps weighs heavily on the outcome of the election.
Catholics are 6.7% of the population and are among the most prominent voices who have long sought reconciliation in the country.(source:

Cath News report:
World-renowned expert in liturgical study, Fr Anscar Chupungco, has challenged recent announcements on liturgical reform, identifying their inability to fuse together the two basic concepts of Vatican II's liturgical renewal.
His comments were made at the launch on Friday of a new course in Liturgical Studies to be offered by The Broken Bay Institute and University of Newcastle.
Chupungco noted that recent statements which called for a reform of Vatican II's reform were part of an agenda to turn the clock back 50 years.
This call “seems to conveniently forget that since Vatican II, the Church has been marching with the times, acknowledging the changes in social and religious culture, and adopting new pastoral strategies,” said Fr Chupungco, the first Filipino priest on the Pontifical Institute's Faculty.
Fr Chupungco urged students to become "equipped with a critical mind that allows them to weigh the value of new norms and directives, though always in the spirit of ecclesial obedience".(SOURCE:


St. Titus
Feast: January 26
Feast Day:
January 26
96 at Goryna, Crete
Patron of:

Then, as regards the figure of Titus, whose name is of Latin origin, we know that he was Greek by birth, that is, a pagan (cf. Gal 2:3). Paul took Titus with him to Jerusalem for the so-called Apostolic Council, where the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles that freed them from the constraints of Mosaic Law was solemnly accepted.
In the Letter addressed to Titus, the Apostle praised him and described him as his "true child in a common faith" (Ti 1:4). After Timothy's departure from Corinth, Paul sent Titus there with the task of bringing that unmanageable community to obedience.
Titus restored peace between the Church of Corinth and the Apostle, who wrote to this Church in these terms: "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me.... And besides our own comfort we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by you all" (II Cor 7:6-7, 13).
From Corinth, Titus was again sent out by Paul — who called him "my partner and fellow worker in your service" (II Cor 8:23) — to organize the final collections for the Christians of Jerusalem (cf. II Cor 8:6).
Further information from the Pastoral Letters describes him as Bishop of Crete (cf. Ti 1:5), from which, at Paul's invitation, he joined the Apostle at Nicopolis in Epirus (cf. Ti 3:12). Later, he also went to Dalmatia (cf. II Tm 4:10). We lack any further information on the subsequent movements of Titus or on his death.

St. Timothy
Feast: January 26
Feast Day:
January 26
80, Ephesus
Patron of:
intestinal disorders, stomach diseases

A native of Lystra, he was the son of a Jewish woman named Eunice and a Greek Gentile. Converted to the faith by St. Paul, Timothy willingly received circumcision in order to assuage the Jews to whom he and Paul would be preaching, especially as it was known that his father was a Gentile. Paul found Timothy a very valuable assistant and companion, using him on several missions, such as those to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:17) and the Thessalonians (1 Thes 3:2-3). According to tradition, he was the first bishop of Ephesus, the basis for this being his journey to the city at the command of Paul to act as his representative (1 Tm 1:3). He is mentioned with St. Paul in the salutations of seven epistles in the New Testament and was teh addressee of two of three pastoral letters - 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. His martyrdom on January 22, 97 by a mob of angry pagans came about through his opposition to the celebration of the feast of Diana; it was recorded in the fourth-century Acta S. Timothei.(SOURCE:


Mark 3: 31 - 35
And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."
And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35
Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."

No comments: