Wednesday, February 10, 2010





(VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Alfonso Roberto Matta Fahsen, the new ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See. In his remarks to the diplomat the Pope praised the Guatemalan people who, "with their variety of ethnicities and cultures, have a deep-rooted faith in God, an intense devotion for Most Holy Mary, and a faithful love for the Pope and the Church". He also mentioned Guatemala's "close and serene relations" with the Holy See, referring to next year's commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the creation of an apostolic nunciature in Guatemala, and expressing the hope that this celebration "may give fresh energy to the co-operation that exists between State and Church in your country, a co-operation founded on respect and on the autonomy of the separate spheres pertaining to each". And he added: "may honest and sincere dialogue continue, fomenting the common good of all Guatemalan society, which must pay special attention to its most disadvantaged members". The Pope went on: "I cannot forget those who are suffering the consequences of climatic phenomena which, in your country too, lead to increasing drought and the loss of harvests, producing malnutrition and poverty. This extreme situation has recently led the national government to declare a 'state of public calamity' and to ask for aid from the international community. I wish to express my affection and spiritual closeness to those suffering this harsh predicament, my recognition to the institutions in your country which struggle to find solutions to such serious problems, and my gratitude to the various organisations and agencies of international co-operation which are doing everything possible to mitigate famine among large sectors of the population". "The many human and evangelical values that enrich the hearts of your country's citizens, such as love for the family, respect for elders, sense of responsibility and, above all, trust in the God Who revealed His face in Jesus Christ, ... are important reasons for hope", he said. "From this abundant spiritual heritage you can draw the strength necessary to counteract other factors which cause the social fabric of Guatemala to decay, such as drug trafficking, violence, emigration, insecurity, illiteracy, sects and the loss of moral reference among the young generations". "In this decisive undertaking, the authorities of your country will always be able to rely upon the ready collaboration of the Church, in her constant efforts to open 'new and creative ways' to respond to the desolating effects of poverty, and to co-operate in ensuring the dignity all human beings", said the Holy Father. He then went on to express his recognition "for the actions being undertaken in Guatemala to consolidate guarantees for an authentic Rule of Law". "This process", he explained, "has to be accompanied by a solid determination, which arises from individual conversion of heart, to eliminate all forms of corruption in public institutions and administration, to reform justice so as to ensure that laws are justly applied, and to eradicate the sensation of impunity surrounding those who exercise any form of violence or disdain the most basic human rights". Benedict XVI also referred to certain factors that "determine the specific identity" of the Guatemalan people, factors "which can have beneficial repercussions on the political and social stability of Central America". Among these he mentioned the Constitution of Guatemala, which "guarantees the defence and legal protection of human life from conception until natural death". "I encourage all social players in the country, and especially those who represent the people in legislative institutions", he concluded, "to maintain and strengthen this basic element of 'the culture of life', something which will undoubtedly contribute to enriching the moral heritage of Guatemalans".CD/LETTERS CREDENCE/MATTA:GUATEMALA VIS 100208 (630)

FAVOURING HUMAN ECOLOGY AND A NEW LIFESTYLE VATICAN CITY, 6 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican, the Pope received the president and staff of ACEA (Rome's municipal energy and environment firm), which has just celebrated the centenary of its foundation. After highlighting how "the centenary celebrations are coming to a end in a period of great difficulty characterised by a serious international crisis", the Pope underlined the importance of "ensuring greater awareness of the need for broader 'social responsibility' in the firm, giving just consideration to the needs of workers, clients, suppliers and the entire community, with particular concern for the environment. In this way", he said, "the production of goods and services will not be exclusively linked to the search for economic profit, but also to the promotion of everyone's good". Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for what ACEA "has achieved in illuminating the monuments that make Rome unique in the world", and he thanked them for their help "during the celebrations for the eightieth anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City State". "I was happy to learn of the firm's commitment to protecting the environment through the sustainable management of natural resources, respect for the creation and the reduction of its environmental impact", he said. "It is, however, equally important to favour a human ecology capable of ensuring that the workplace and interpersonal relations are worthy of man". The Holy Father then went on to quote from his own Message for this year's World Day of Peace, underlining the need to adopt "a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realisation of our need for a change of lifestyle". In closing his remarks, the Pope invited those present to follow the example of Christ, "perfect man, ... so as to grow in humanity and thus create a city with an increasingly human face, one in which each individual is seen as a person, a spiritual being who interrelates with others. Thanks also to your commitment to improve interpersonal relations and the quality of work", he concluded, "Rome may continue to carry out her role as a beacon of civilisation that has made her illustrious over the centuries".AC/.../ACEA VIS 100208 (380)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 6 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as apostolic nuncio to Sao Tome and Principe, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Bukoba, Tanzania in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1986.NN/.../RUGAMBWA VIS 100208 (70)

ANGELUS: RESPONDING TO THE DIVINE CALL VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The divine call to the priesthood was the theme of the Holy Father's remarks before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square today. The Pope commented on the readings from today's liturgy, which focus on the human response to that call: Isaiah who felt unworthy and was purified by a seraph; the episode of the miraculous catch of fish when Peter asked Christ to leave him because he was a sinner, but then followed Him; and Paul who, after having persecuted the Church, recognised that the grace of God had worked marvels in him and decided to announce the Gospel. "In these three experiences", said Benedict XVI, "we see how the authentic encounter with God leads man to recognise his own poverty and inadequacy, his own limits and sin. Yet despite such fragility, the Lord, rich in mercy and forgiveness, transforms the life of men and calls them to follow Him. The humility displayed by Isaiah, Peter and Paul invites those who have received the gift of divine vocation not to focus on their own limits, but to keep their gaze fixed on the Lord and His astounding mercy, in order to convert their hearts and joyfully continue to 'abandon everything' for Him". "In this Year for Priests, let us ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest and to ensure that those who hear His call, following the necessary discernment, may know how to respond generously, not trusting in their own strength but opening themselves to the action of His grace. In particular", the Holy Father concluded, "I invite all priests to renew their generous daily response to the Lord's call with the same humility and faith as Isaiah, Peter and Paul".ANG/VOCATION/... VIS 100208 (310)

ALL OF US MUST SAFEGUARD AND RESPECT LIFE VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope mentioned the fact that today in Italy marks the Day for Life. "I readily associate myself", he said, "with the Italian bishops and with their message on the theme: 'The force of life, a challenge in poverty'. In this current period of economic difficulties, the effect of those mechanisms which produce poverty and create deep social inequality becomes ever more dramatic, injuring and offending life, and striking especially at the weakest and most defenceless. This situation calls on us to promote integral human development in order to overcome want and need, and above all to recall that the goal of each man and women is not wellbeing, but God Himself, and that human life must be defended and supported at every stage. No-one, in fact, is master of his own existence; rather, we are all called to safeguard and respect life, from the moment of conception until natural end". Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation "for those who work directly in the service of children, the sick and the elderly", and noted how the diocese of Rome "dedicates particular attention to the Day for Life, extending it into the 'Week for Life and the Family'. "I wish this initiative success", he added in conclusion, "and encourage the activity of consultors, associations and movements, as well as of university professors who are committed to supporting life and the family".ANG/DEFENCE LIFE/... VIS 100208 (250)

COUNCIL FOR FAMILY PREPARING VADEMECUM ON MARRIAGE VATICAN CITY, 8 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, a dicastery presided by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli. The Pope began his remarks by recalling the late Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the council for eighteen years. He then went on to remark how the dicastery's activities currently stand between the sixth World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico in 2009, and the forthcoming seventh World Meeting of Families, due to be held in the Italian city of Milan in 2012. The Holy Father noted how the Pontifical Council undertakes various activities "to raise awareness of the fundamental importance of the family for the life of the Church and society". Among these he mentioned the project known as "the family, subject of evangelisation", which aims "to organise a worldwide review of various experiences in the field of family pastoral care, to serve as inspiration and encouragement for new initiatives". He also referred to a project entitled "the family, a resource for society" which, he said, "seeks to call public attention to the benefits the family brings to society, to its cohesion and its development. Another important commitment the dicastery has", he went on, "is the compilation of a 'vademecum' of preparation for marriage" inspired by the ideas of John Paul II, who outlined how such preparation "includes three main stages: remote, proximate and immediate". "Remote preparation", the Holy Father explained, "concerns children, adolescents and young people. It involves the family, the parish and school, places in which people are educated to understand life as a vocation of love, a love which then takes specific form in the way of marriage or of virginity for the Kingdom of Heaven. In this period, the meaning of sexuality must progressively emerge as a capacity to relate, a positive energy to be integrated into authentic love. "Proximate preparation", he added, "concerns engaged couples and must be configured as an itinerary of faith and Christian life, leading to a deep knowledge of Christ and the Church, of the meaning of grace and responsibility in marriage. ... It should include a course of catechesis and of experience living in Christian communities, involving contributions from priests and other experts" as well as "the accompaniment of an exemplary Christian couple ... in a climate of friendship and prayer. It is important to take particular care that on these occasions the fiancees revive their personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, especially by listening to the Word of God, using the Sacraments and, above all, by participating in the Eucharist". Immediate preparation "takes place as the marriage approaches. Apart from the examination of the fiancees, as laid down by Canon Law, it could also include catechesis on the rite of marriage and its meaning, a spiritual retreat, and efforts to ensure that the celebration of marriage is seen by the faithful (and especially by those preparing for it) as a gift for the whole Church, one that contributes to her spiritual growth". Referring then to the theme of the plenary assembly: "the rights of child", chosen to mark the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention on that subject, the Holy Father noted how "the Church over the centuries, following the example of Christ, has promoted the dignity and rights of children". In this context he also noted how "in various cases some of her members, acting against this commitment, have violated these rights; actions which the Church does not and will not fail to deplore and condemn. ... Jesus' harsh words against those who offend one of these little ones are an admonition to everyone never to lower the level of this respect and love". "The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children", said the Pope. "They want to be loved by a mother and a father who love one another, and they need to dwell, grow and live with both parents, because the maternal and paternal figures complement one another in the education of children and in the formation of their personality and identity. It is important, then, that everything possible be done to ensure they grow up in a united and stable family". "A troubled family environment, the division of the parents and, in particular, separation through divorce, are not without consequences for children", the Holy Father concluded. "Supporting the family and promoting its true good, its rights, its unity and stability is the best way to protect the rights and the real needs of children".AC/MARRIAGE CHILDREN/ANTONELLI VIS 100208 (780)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 8 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eight prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Romania, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Cornel Damian. - Archbishop Gyorgy-Miklos Jakubinyi of Alba Iulia, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian rite resident in Romania, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jozsef Tamas. - Bishop Petru Gherghel of Iasi, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Aurel Perca. - Bishop Laszlo Bocskei of Oradea Mare of the Latins. - Bishop Jeno Schonberger of Satu Mare. On Saturday 6 February he received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop emeritus of Naples, Italy. - Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, Switzerland. - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100208 (140)



Cath News report:

Queensland's Surrogacy Bill violates a child's birthright to a mother and a father, says the Family Council of Queensland, and the Australian Christian Lobby wants the bill amended or rejected.
Children "are not pets and should not simply be given to anyone who wants one," says the ACL.
The State Parliament is set to vote Wednesday on the 2009 bill, which would decriminalise non-commercial surrogacy for both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and single people, Zenit reports.
"This Bill should have been about altruistic surrogacy as a 'last resort' for an infertile couple," the Family Council of Queensland said in a letter to the Parliament written by family doctor David van Gend. "But no, under that respectable cloak this bill smuggles in an oppressive proposal to deprive children of their birthright - their fundamental right to enter the world, as all of us did, with both a mother and a father.
"There is a grave necessity - and duty - to reject a bill that would, through normalizing same-sex and single surrogacy, intentionally and wantonly deprive a child of her birthright and her most profound psychological need: to have both a mother and a father."
The Family Council of Queensland has also launched a campaign called Kids Rights Count, which seeks to inform the public on how and why surrogacy of any type is harmful to children.
The ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said in a statement that the Surrogacy Bill 2009 represents a piece of radical social engineering legislation which will alter the natural make-up of the family.
"The Bligh Government knocked back same-sex adoption, but is now going against the logic in that decision by creating situations where a surrogate child could end up with two mummies or two daddies or even just one parent - rightfrom birth," Mr Wallace said.
"This is experimenting with children's lives and at this stage they have no way of really knowing just how devastating the effects on the children will be, or the extent of identity confusion that will result. We've already had to make amends to a Stolen Generation and a Forgotten Generation - is this the next one?"(SOURCE:



CNA report:
Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court has stripped the Church of its right to choose which religion teachers it will hire, after reversing a 1972 law stating that the teachers must be approved by the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica.
The 4-3 ruling was the result of challenge filed by Randall Trejos Alvarado, who argued that the requirement caused numerous teachers to lose their jobs and constituted intrusion by the bishops into the affairs of public schools.
In Costa Rica, as well as in other countries, the Church has signed agreements with the State allowing the Church to select the candidates who will teach Catholic religion, not only on the basis of intellectual formation, but also on the candidate’s moral life.



CNA report:

The president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid, blessed the highest Catholic chapel in the world, located on the 33rd floor of Spain's new skyscraper, “Space Tower.”
The cardinal celebrated Mass in the chapel along with officials from the Villa Mir construction company and employees of the building.
The chapel was built upon the request of several workers in the skyscraper who gathered to pray the Rosary during its construction.
The Archdiocese of Madrid provided guidance during the construction of the chapel and granted permission for the Eucharist to be reserved there on a permanent basis. In addition, a local parish priest has been named chaplain to provide for the spiritual needs of those visiting the chapel each day.
The 57-floor Space Tower reaches 774 feet and is located in the business and financial district of the Spanish capital. The chapel is 442 feet above the ground, offering a spectacular view of northern Madrid and the surrounding mountains.



In 2007, China’s highest court ruled that it alone could impose the death penalty upon recommendation of lower courts. Every year, China executes 90 per cent of all death sentences in the world. Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s Supreme People’s Court has issued new guidelines on the use of the death penalty, limiting its application, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. China’s top judges ruled that criminal cases must be handled with “justice tempered with mercy”, so that the death penalty is reserved for a small number of criminals.
Every year, China alone executes 90 per cent of all capital offenders in the world. In 2008, official sources indicated that 4,000 people were sentenced to death and 1,770 executions took place.
Human rights groups claim that the actual number is twice that much. This was confirmed in 2006 by Chen Zhonglin, a delegate to the National People’s Congress, who said that China executed about “10,000 people” a year, even though it is Beijing’s policy to consider the actual figure as a state secret.
According to Chinese law, the death penalty is imposed for “the most serious crimes”, including corruption and many non-violent crimes.
Once arrested, an accused cannot expect to receive legal assistance right away. That occurs only after police interrogation. Even then, legal counsel might still be denied or limited.
Torture is often used in early interrogations to extract a confession, which can be entered in a court of law as evidence to sentence people to death.
Unlike international legal standards, there is no presumption of innocence in Chinese law.
The government has deplored the high number of death penalties, but it is the Supreme Court that has acted on the issue. In 2007, it ruled the death penalty was its sole preserve. Since then, lower courts have had to get the green light from Beijing before sending the presumed guilty to the gallows.(SOURCE:



CISA report: The newly appointed bishop of Nakuru Diocese, Morris Muhatia Makumba has said that one way of trying to solve the many problems affecting marriage and family in the society today, is to impart faith at an early age and form people in the values of a Christian family.The bishop-elect told CISA that, “The basic formation is faith. Unless we have a solid foundation in faith it is difficult to impart values at a later stage even in the seminaries.”According to the cleric, the existing programmes in the dioceses can be used as channels to address the question of family and marriage and what needs to be done to strengthen the Christian family.On the Kenya constitutional draft, Bishop Makumba said it must clearly define what family is. “It is not enough ‘to say an adult can marry.” He pointed out this could lead to loopholes that would allow for unnatural marriages.The bishop stressed that first challenge is to get the message of Christian family to the people.“Let people be made to understand about the importance of a family. We need to improve the flow of information by using the available channels.”.He added that, “We have not made use of contemporary means of communication to spread the message of what the Christian family is supposed to be.” He called for use of the available means of communication to teach about the Christian and the values of a family.He mentioned that recently, the commission of doctrines has started working on a document on marriage and family, specifically for the Kenyan community.“It is hoped that the commission of doctrine is going to make available to the people in the language understandable to them what marriage and family means. [It will perhaps be] an opportunity to explain to people these other deviations of marriage that are very present in the society today,” Bishop Makumba said.On the question of the role of woman in the church, the bishop said, “I think the church values the vocation of the woman as a human being.”“The value and the role of the woman in the Catholic Church is based on the basic thinking of the church about the human being, the one who is made in the image of God according to the Bible,” he said.He added that “the church wants to promote the dignity of woman in the church.” However, the bishop explained, “The church has no power to ordain women as priests. I don’t foresee anytime in the history of the Catholic Church when women will be ordained as priests.”The bishop pointed out that “Sometimes the desire for the ordination of women is based on misconceptions. People are ordained priests to serve not to hold ranks in the church.”“If service preceded priesthood, there would be no problem about who should be ordained priest,” he added.(SOURCE:


St. Jerome Emiliani
Feast: February 8
Feast Day:
February 8
1481, Venice
8 February 1537, Somasca
1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:

Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita. (source:


Mark 6: 53 - 56
And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennes'aret, and moored to the shore.
And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him,
and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was.
And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.

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