Tuesday, February 23, 2010





HOLY FATHER MEETS ITALIAN CIVIL AVIATION ASSOCIATIONS VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received managers and staff of the Italian associations ENAC (National Company for Civil Aviation) and ENAV (National Company for Air Navigation Services). The Pope described the activities undertaken by those who work in the field of civil aviation as "truly remarkable", highlighting how "in any project or activity the primary asset to be protected and appreciated is the person in his entirety, who must represent the end and not the means towards which to strive incessantly". "Respecting such principles may seem particularly complex and difficult in current conditions, because of the economic crisis which provokes problematic effects in the civil aviation sector, and the threat of international terrorism which sets it sights on airports and aeroplanes in order to implement its subversive ends", said the Holy Father. "However, even in this situation it is important never to lose sight of the fact that respecting the primacy of the person and caring for his needs not only does not make service less effective or penalise economic management, but is an important guarantee of true efficiency and authentic quality". Benedict XVI noted how the Church "reserves a particular form of pastoral care for the world of civil aviation". Airport chapels and chaplains "are principally intended for aircrew and ground staff, for police, customs and security officers, and for medical and paramedical personnel, but also for all airport users. "This presence", he added, "reminds us that every person has a transcendent dimension, a spiritual dimension, and helps us to recognise ourselves as one family made up of people who are not simply near each other but who, relating to one another and to God, create a fraternal solidarity founded on justice and peace". The Pope concluded by recalling how in the year 1920, Benedict XV proclaimed Our Lady of Loreto as the patroness of aviators and entrusted to her the work and initiatives of everyone who works in this sector.AC/CIVIL AVIATION/... VIS 100222 (340)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio to Canada. - Frank E. de Coninck, ambassador of Belgium, accompanied by his wife, on a farewell visit. - Juan Gomez Martinez, ambassador of Colombia, accompanied by his wife, on a farewell visit. - Fr. Joaquin Alliende, international president of the "Aid to the Church in Need" association. - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.AP/.../... VIS 100222 (90)

ANGELUS: LENT, A PERIOD OF SPIRITUAL "COMBAT" VATICAN CITY, 21 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The significance of the Lenten journey was the theme of Benedict XVI's remarks before praying the Angelus this morning with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope commented on the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert, which was the Gospel reading for today, the first Sunday of Lent, explaining that the temptations "were not a by-the-way incident, but the consequence of Jesus' decision to complete the mission entrusted to Him by the Father". "Christ came into the world to free us from sin and from the ambiguous lure of seeking to plan our lives without God. He did this not with high-sounding proclamations but by struggling personally with the Tempter, all the way to the Cross. This example holds true for us all: that the world is improved by beginning with ourselves, by changing, with God's grace, what is wrong with our lives". Of the three temptations of Jesus, the first "had its origin in hunger, in material want", said the Pope. "But Jesus responded with the words: 'One does not live by bread alone'". The second temptation came when the devil showed Christ all the kingdoms of the earth; this, the Holy Father explained, "is the lure of power which Jesus unmasked and rejected". To the third temptation, the proposal to perform a miracle that everyone might believe in Him, Jesus responded: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test. "Making constant reference to Holy Scripture", the Pope added, Jesus "made human criteria subject to the only true criterion: obedience to the will of God. This is a fundamental lesson for us too: if we carry the Word of God in our minds and hearts, if it enters our lives, then we too can reject all the tricks of the Tempter". "Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism". In closing his remarks the Holy Father invoked the help of the Virgin Mary "that we might live this period of grace joyfully and fruitfully. May she particularly intercede for me and my collaborators in the Roman Curia as we begin our spiritual exercises this evening", he concluded.ANG/LENT/... VIS 100222 (450)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed: - Msgr. Antonio Bartolacci, bureau chief of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, as head of the chancellery of the same tribunal. - Bishop Luis Antonio Sanchez Armijos S.D.B. of Tulcan, Ecuador, as bishop of Machala (area 5,819, population 542,000, Catholics 513,000, priests 39, permanent deacons 1, religious 92), Ecuador. He succeeds Bishop Nestor Rafael Herrera Heredia, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. On Saturday 20 February it was made public that he: - Appointed Archbishop-elect Novatus Rugambwa, apostolic nuncio to Sao Tome and Principe, also as apostolic nuncio to Angola. - Appointed Bishop Francis Kallarakal of Kottapuram, India, as metropolitan archbishop of Verapoly (area 1,500, population 3,063,000, Catholics 310,500, priests 377, religious 1,569), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Kottapuram in 1941, he was ordained a priest in 1968 and consecrated a bishop in 1987. - Elevated the territorial prelature of Calama (area 43,000, population 157,500, Catholics 130,000, priests 15, permanent deacons 14, religious 43), Chile, to the rank of diocese, with the same territorial configuration as before, giving it the name of "San Juan Bautista de Calama" and making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Antofagasta. He appointed Bishop Guillermo Patricio Vera Soto, prelate of Calama, as first bishop of the new diocese. - Appointed Fr. Jorge Patricio Vega Velasco S.V.D., national director of Pontifical Missionary works in Chile, as bishop prelate of the territorial prelature of Illapel (area 10,350, population 85,400, Catholics 81,400, priests 19, religious 39), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago, Chile in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1984. He succeeds Bishop Victor De la Barra Tagle, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Gerhard Ertl, professor of physical chemistry at the "Frtitz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft" in Berlin, Germany, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.NA:NER:NN:ECE:RE:NA/.../... VIS 100222 (350)



Asia News report: Violence stoked by disputed land, which Muslims settlers want to rob from Christians and Buddhists. Local sources say the army fired on the crowd. At least 50 homes and the UN headquarters destroyed. Dhaka promises reconstruction of places of worship.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - A church, a pagoda and a UN office set on fire, at least eight people dead, hundreds injured and more than 50 houses burned. This is the toll from recent clashes among tribal minorities and Bangladeshi settlers in Baghaichhari upazila in south-east of the country, some 400 kilometers from the capital Dhaka. The military intervention helped to fuel the tension: Local sources reported that troops opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd.
Surendranath Chakrabarti, Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati district, confirmed to AsiaNews that "a church, a pagoda and a United Nations office were set on fire." A statue of Buddha in the Buddhist monastery located in Banani was also targeted, while another statue, donated by Thailand to the monastery was plundered. He adds that some fifty houses were burnt in Baghaichhari.
On 20 February the local administration called for army intervention to quell clashes between settlers and minorities, which broke out after disputes over land. The authorities imposed a kind of curfew, implementing Article 144 of the Penal Code which forbids public meetings with more than five people. However, the military and security forces started to burn houses, to encourage the settlement of the Bangladeshi settlers and remove the tribals, a predominantly Christian and Buddhist.
Leaders of the local minority groups speak of five deaths in the violence, but the victims could be eight. Witnesses present at the time of the clashes, add that the military fired "indiscriminately" on the crowds. The police have confirmed the death of a woman, Buddhapudi Chakma, 40, who was "shot repeatedly with a pistol."
In the 1980s the government in Dhaka ordered thousands of Bangladeshi citizens, most of them victims of floods, to be resettled in the hilly region of Chittagong. A decision which has sparked violent conflicts over land ownership, contested between ethnic and religious minorities and the majority Muslim.
Today the government has ensured that it will rebuild places of worship destroyed in the clashes.,-pagodas-and-churches-burnt-17692.html



CNA report: The Archdiocese of Mexico City released a statement last week strongly condemning the murder of Father Jose Luis Parra Puerto, a pastor and chaplain of the Knights of Columbus in the Mexican capital. The statement called upon the authorities to avoid cutting corners in the investigation and to not allow the case to remain unsolved.
Fr. Jose Luis Parra was abducted and subsequently shot in the head on February 17 when he resisted the theft of his truck. According to the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Fr. Parra had been at a Knights of Columbus meeting, and was giving another member of the organization a ride home when the two men were accosted. The layman was freed, but the priest's body was found in his truck hours later, in a suburb outside Mexico City.
“The Church in Mexico City demands that competent officials carry out a rigorous investigation in order to bring justice and punish those guilty of this sacrilegious homicide.” The archdiocese then called for the attorney general of Mexico City to investigate and solve the murder.
The statement said the crime brought back memories of the case of Father Ricardo Junius Sander, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, whose murder was overshadowed by the inefficiency of the justice system. The fact that the police and investigators did not execute their task thoroughly led to the tarnishing of the dead priest's name and honor. The statement also highlighted the incompetence of the police in investigating what was termed the “inexplicable suicide” of Marist Brother Pedro Escamilla Sanchez, which occurred earlier this month.
It is hoped that this statement, which calls upon the highest authorities, will bring attention to the injustice of the recent murders, and also to encourage efficiency in the criminal investigation and resolution of the case.
The archdiocese then joined in the “international condemnation” of the murder of Fr. Parra, “who had just received approval for a foundation he was promoting to assist the poor,” the statement indicated.


CNA report: During meetings last week in Switzerland, 47 countries represented in the Council of Europe adopted a declaration regarding the scope of jurisdiction of the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, France. The new policy limits the court's decisions concerning traditions and national culture in member countries, which extends to the prohibition of crucifixes in Italian public institutions.
According to L'Osservatore Romano, the council met for two days in Interlaken, Switzerland to decide on reforms concerning the activities of the European Human Rights Court.
These meetings were held particularly to address the need for speed, efficiency and credibility within the European Human Rights Court, where there is growing concern for the increasing number of backlogged cases. The Council of Europe calls this situation "desperate," citing more than 100,000 outstanding cases, 90 percent of which are "clearly inadmissible or have no legal basis, and reveal a serious ignorance of the Convention and the Court's procedures."
Discussion during the meetings turned to the topic of crucifixes at the behest of Lithuanian and Maltese representatives, according to LOR. Carmelo Mifsu Bonnici, Justice Minister of Malta, proposed that the court "is not sufficiently sensitive" to the "cultural characteristics" of the "national identities" of member states, to which he provided the example of the situation regarding crucifixes in Italy.
The Lithuanian Minister of the Exterior, Maris Riekstins, declared that the court must work to provide "clear, precise, unambiguous and comprehensible" rulings for everyone, something she said did not happen in their decision last fall against crucifixes in schools.
Vatican officials denounced the ruling upon its release in November, saying it was not in the court's hands to rule on a matter of Italian tradition.
On Nov. 3, the court ruled in favor of Soile Lautsi's case to remove religious symbols, including crucifixes, from public schools to ensure her children's right to a secular education.
The new declaration of policy from the Council of Europe "invites" the court "to apply in a uniform and rigorous manner the criteria concerning admissibility and jurisdiction..."
These measures, however, do not immediately overturn November's decision, and an appeal against it, citing the longstanding tradition of the crucifix in public places in Italy, is expected to be processed by March.
CISA report: The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba has called on politicians to remain serious and committed to the cause of Sudan and southern Sudan in particular.Talking to the faithful at a requiem mass for Monsignor Constantino Pitya, Archbishop Paolino Lokudu Loro told politicians to be serious and behave well in the next April general elections.Archbishop Lokudu further asked politicians to be honest before the citizens during the elections.He said Monsignor Pitya was part of the process for the cause of peace in Sudan and southern Sudan and therefore his death before elections is a major lose to the politicians and the citizens.

Cath News report: A group of students from Townsville are spreading their award-winning environmental messages on the side of a garbage truck.
The students, from Ryan Catholic College and Wulguru State School, won a National Recycling Week poster competition. They have been rewarded with a $500 cash prize and the chance to put their environmental message on a larger canvas, ABC reports.
The truck will carry their messages about recycling and reducing waste
"The competition is exactly the kind of thing that our students like working on, they enjoy artwork, they enjoy posters, and the opportunity to have their artwork placed on one of the city council trucks for 12 months was quite motivating," said Ryan Catholic College teacher Anita Livingstone.
"I believe that these students really do understand that the poster they have made about waste minimisation can make a big difference to the issues we have like climate change".


Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle
Feast: February 22
Feast Day:
February 22

St Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the prince of the apostles. God had established the Roman empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of his gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself; and repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his episcopal chair, whose the bishops of Rome have been accounted in all ages. That St. Peter founded that church by his is expressly asserted by Caius, a priest of Rome under Pope Zephyrinus; who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican Hill, and that of his fellow-labourer St. Paul on the Ostian Road. That he and St. Paul planted the faith at Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom at the same time, is affirmed by Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, in the second age. St. Irenaeus, who lived in the same age, calls the church at Rome "the greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul." Eusebius, in several places, mentions St. Peter's being at Rome, and the several important translations of this apostle in that city. Not to mention Origen, Hegesippus, Arnobius, St. Ambrose, St. Austin, St. Jerome, St. Optatus, Orosius, and others on the same subject. St. Cyprian calls Rome the of St. Peter (as Theodoret calls it his ), which the general councils and ecclesiastical writers, through every age and on every occasion, repeat. That St. Peter at least preached in Rome, founded that church, and died there by martyrdom under Nero are facts the most incontestable by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth in a point so interesting, and of its own nature so public and notorious, as to leave them no possibility of a mistake. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; also by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges which that church enjoyed from those early ages in consequence of this title.
It was an ancient custom, as Cardinal Baronius and Thomassin show by many examples, observed by churches to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The feast of the chair of St. Peter is found in ancient Martyrologies, as in one under the name of St. Jerome, at Esternach, copied in the time of St. Willibrord, in 720. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for his mercies on his church, and to implore his future blessings.
Christ has taught us, in the divine model of prayer which he has delivered to us, that we are bound to recommend to him, before all other things, the exaltation of his own honour and glory, and to beg that the kingdom of his holy grace and love be planted in all hearts. If we love God above all things, and with our whole hearts, or have any true charity for our neighbour, this will be the centre of all our desires, that God be loved and served by all his creatures, and that he be glorified, in the most perfect manner, in our own souls. By placing this at the head of our requests, we shall most strongly engage God to crown all our just and holy desires. As one of his greatest mercies to his church, we most earnestly beseech him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with his Spirit, with which he animated his apostles.

Matthew 16: 13 - 19
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"
And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

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