Saturday, February 6, 2010



CNA report:
The Holy Father accepted the credentials of the new ambassador to the Holy See from Guatemala, Mr. Alfonso Roberto Matta Fahsen, on Saturday morning. In his message to the diplomat, the Pope addressed the importance of protecting the vulnerable in the country and reinforcing their strong values.
Pope Benedict referred to the centuries-long history of the Gospel in the country of Guatemala, throughout which the people have demonstrated a "very rooted faith in God," devotion for the Virgin and a "faithful love" for the Church and the Successor of Peter.
As he addressed the current environment of faith and life in the country, the Pope expressed his "affection and spiritual closeness" for those in Guatemala who suffer from malnutrition and poverty due to "climactic phenomena" that make drought more intense and destroy crops.
He recognized those institutions and individuals who dedicate themselves to alleviating the difficulties of those in need and expressed his gratitude to those who "are doing everything possible to mitigate the scarcity in broad sectors of the population," especially the "beloved children of the Church of Guatemala," including priests, religious and lay faithful.
Pope Benedict stressed the "basic right" of every person to adequate nutrition and vocalized the importance of providing more than material and administrative assistance. Working towards this goal requires "men and women with feelings of compassion and solidarity," which should be combined with charity.
"Working in this direction is promoting and dignifying the life of all, especially that of the most vulnerable and unprotected," Benedict XVI added, citing the effects of malnutrition on the mental and physical states of children.
The Holy Father encouraged Guatemelans to fight those things that "deteriorate the Guatemalan social fabric" including drug trafficking, violence, illiteracy and loss of moral references for new generations, by looking to the "numerous human and evangelical values" that bless the people of Guatemela such as love of the family, respect for elders, a sense of responsibility and trust in God.
Initiatives that are meant to "protect and increase this inestimable wealth," he said, must be creative to reverse the effects of poverty and "cooperate in the ‘dignification’ of all human beings."
The Holy Father also recognized the need to constantly work for "democratic strengthening and political stability” in the nation, which will in turn advance a "true, integral development of the person." He also praised Guatemela for its Constitution that protects life "from conception to natural death."
The Pope concluded by offering the "complete availability" of his collaborators to the ambassador's mission and prayed for the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Ambassador Matta Fahsen has been Guatemala's lead diplomat to Colombia, Russia, the Netherlands and Great Britain in the last 20 years and has seven children.


CNA report:
On Saturday at the Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict met in audience with a group from a local Italian municipal agency. Speaking with them, but also to the international community, Holy Father stressed the importance of "social responsibility" in the business environment “to promote the good of all.”
Meeting with directors and personnel of the Roman branch of ACEA, a company that specializes in providing energy and water services to Italy, the Holy Father expressed his hope that the development model that has brought the world to its present economic crisis would be rethought so that man with his “capacity to produce, innovate, think and build the future” is placed at the center.
It’s important, he continued, to increase consciousness for “the necessity of a broader ‘social responsibility’ in business, that strives to hold in just consideration the expectations and needs of workers, clients, producers and the entire community, and to pay special attention to the environment.”
“In this way,” added Pope Benedict, “the production of goods and services will not be tied exclusively to the search for economic profits, but also to the promotion of the good for all.”
The Holy Father praised ACEA for measures it has taken to protect and reduce the negative impact of their business activities on the environment. “But it is equally important to promote a human ecology that is intended to bring about work environments and interpersonal relations deserving of man.”
Pope Benedict XVI summed up his message by saying that “the protection of creation… implies also the protection of those sentiments of kindness, generosity, correctness and honesty that God has put in the heart of every human being, created in his ‘image and likeness.’”
He concluded by saying that it is through the example of Christ that we should act “to be able to grow in humanity and so realize a City with an always human face, in which each is considered a person, a spiritual being in relation with others.”
The Pope also thanked the agency for its efforts “in the illumination of the monuments that make Rome unique in the world,” among them St. Peter’s Basilica.(source:



UCAN report:
Poor tea and rubber estate workers are mourning the death of an Italian Jesuit missioner who worked for 58 years in Sri Lanka and who was “more important than Gandhi” to them.
Father Angelo Stefanizzi passed away at Lewella in Kandy on Feb. 3 due to illness. His funeral was held today [Feb. 5] at 3 p.m.
“He is considered a saint among [tea and rubber] estate workers,” said S.P. Anthonimutthu, a Tamil coordinating officer of Caritas Sri Lanka who knew Father Angelo for more than 30 years.
For poor Tamils, he took the place of “Gandhi,” Anthonimutthu said. “He went through painful struggles to free them from poverty.”
Father Maria Anthony, the Jesuit provincial in the country, said, “We have lost a veteran missioner, a man for the poor. He was ready to work under any inconvenient circumstances [and] never liked to lead a comfortable life,” Father Anthony said.
Fluent in Tamil, Sinhalese, Latin and many European languages, the priest often preached in Tamil and Sinhalese.
He frequently trekked into tea and rubber estates to spend time with the poor workers of Indian origin, who are mostly Hindus.
Tamil plantation workers were cruelly exploited by the British and, after independence, by the local masters. They were constantly mired in debt.
“His flesh and bones are to be buried in our soil,” said Edward Kumaragamage, a Kolping worker and Christian activist in the plantation sector.
Kumaragamage said the priest had “dared to come to their aid” during the anti-Tamil riots of 1958 and 1983.
Father Stefanizzi joined the Kolping Movement and was deeply impressed by its potential to help in faith and community development.
He started the Kolping Centers and developed the group’s work in the plantation sector.
During his final days, he was in the Jesuit Infirmary at Lewella, confined to his wheelchair due to arthritis.
There are five Jesuit missioners presently serving in Sri Lanka.
Father Stefanizzi was born in Matino Lecce, Italy, in 1919. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Naples in 1936 and did his philosophical studies in Gallarate.
After his practical work experience in Bari, he came to Kurseong in India to study theology and was ordained a priest there on Nov. 21, 1949. After studying Tamil, he came to Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then known, in 1952. (SOURCE:


CNA report:
Families and friends came together for a communal funeral Mass in memory of the 16 teenagers killed last week during a party in Juarez, Mexico. According to a press release, “at least three teenagers” of the 16 who were gunned down were laid to rest in the municipal cemetery of St. Raphael after the ceremony.
On Saturday January 30, gunmen closed off a street in Juarez, Mexico with their SUVs and opened fire on a house full of teenagers who were celebrating a birthday. Authorities have not yet disclosed a motive for the crime, which is thought to be part of a trend of senseless violence related to drug trafficking.
Neighbors told the newspaper El Diario de Juarez, that seven SUV’s pulled up to the house just before midnight. Masked gunmen then stormed the party. Despite multiple calls to the police and emergency services, policemen and soldiers did not arrive until the shooting was over. Desperate families drove the injured to the hospital on their own instead of waiting for the ambulances to arrive.
Last Tuesday, the authorities in Juarez brought Oscar Arroyo before the media. Mr. Arroyo is suspected of having participated in the shooting. He reported that a drug cartel in Juarez paid him to watch the area while the hit men attacked the party.
The families of the victims have accused Mexican President Felipe Calderon with being complicit in the attack. They claim that the bloodbath would have been avoided if Calderon's numerous undercover operatives were actually working against the cartels.
Ever since President Calderon took power at the end of 2006, more than 17,000 people have died because of violence linked to drug trafficking in Mexico. The city of Juarez, where the shooting took place is seen as one of the most violent cities in the world. In 2009, 2,600 people were killed in violence related to drug-trafficking. (SOURCE:

Catholic Online – Those who oppose the Fundamental Right to Life are screaming “No” to a Superbowl ad featuring Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow, who was a survivor of a potential abortion. The Heisman-winning collegiate superstar is featured in a 30 second ad, funded by Focus on the Family, with his mother. They will tell the story of her high-risk pregnancy when she and her husband were missionaries in the Philippines. Advised to have an abortion, she chose life and Tim Tebow was born. The National Organization of Women and other pro-abortion women’s groups are throwing a yellow flag and crying foul, claiming CBS has a long-standing commitment to avoid controversial advertising. Erin Matson, Vice-President of the National Organization of Women to Politico, “The abortion debate has no place in the Super Bowl. I organize abortion rights rallies all the time and I recognize how inappropriate it would be for me to sit in the stands with signs at the Super Bowl.” Matson, along with others, such as Jehmu Greene, President of the Women’s Media Center, and the Feminist Majority Foundation have called for CBS to refuse the ad. CBS told the Washington Post on Tuesday that it had received numerous e-mails - both critical and supportive - since a coalition of women's groups began a protest campaign Monday According to the Post, on Tuesday the network indicated “that the decision to air the Tebow ad reflected a change in its policies toward advocacy ads that has evolved over the past several years.” In an interview with Politico, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony list, endorsed CBS’s decision. “Women can be trusted with information,” she stated, “and they certainly don’t need to be protected from the idea that if they have a crisis pregnancy that they can choose life.” Tebow, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, has never been reluctant to share his faith in Christ, including writing Bible verses in white on the black smudges under his eyes during games. He will enter the NFL draft this year.


CISA report:
Amnesty International has called on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to protect human rights defenders, who continue to be arbitrarily detained by security agencies and subjected to an alarming number of death threats.In its briefing, "Human Rights Defenders under attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Amnesty International documents the persecution faced by eight prominent human rights defenders in the DRC, harassment the organization fears will intensify in the build-up to 2011 presidential and national elections.“The government of the DRC must uphold the right to freedom of expression and ensure that Congolese human rights defenders are protected from threats, arbitrary arrests and assault, said Andrew Philip, Amnesty International’s researcher on the DRC said.“Many human rights defenders are detained simply because they speak out on behalf of others.”Golden Misabiko, head of the Katanga branch of a national human rights organization, was arrested by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) in July 2009 after his organization published a report alleging that government security officials were involved in illegal mining of highly radioactive uranium and other minerals from the Shinkolobwe mine, Katanga province. Following detention for almost a month, Golden Misabiko was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison with eight months' suspended after being found guilty of “publication of false information,” a conviction that his lawyers are seeking to overturn. Golden Misabiko suffered severe stomach pains, persistent vomiting and psychological trauma brought on by the appalling conditions of detention, where he was forced to pay the guards to sleep outside on a piece of cardboard to avoid an overcrowded and dirty cell.Robert Ilunga, a community advocate and head of a human rights NGO in Kinshasa, was arrested by the ANR and held incommunicado for nine days in September 2009 after the NGO issued a press release denouncing the harsh working conditions endured by workers at a gravel-making company in Kasangulu, in the province of Bas-Congo. The ANR in particular, frequently arrests, detains and intimidates human rights workers in the DRC. One of the four human rights leaders who campaigned for Golden Misabiko, Grégoire Mulamba, was abducted on October 18, 2009 on his way home from work. The other three leaders, Timothee Mbuya, Emmanuel Umpula and Dominique Munongo, fled Lubumbashi at the end of September 2009, fearing for their lives. All three returned to the city in October to continue their human rights work, despite an escalating stream of death threats.Congolese human rights defenders have told Amnesty International that harassment and arrests directed towards them have increased sharply throughout 2009, reports echoed by UN observers in the country.(SOURCE:

Cath News report:
Those charged with the administration of the law must meet both the needs of society and the dignity of the human being, Archbishop Mark Coleridge has told the annual Red Mass in Sydney. "Within the logic of crime and punishment, the penalty must fit the offence," said Archbishop Coleridge at the mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, which celebrated the commencement of the Law Term. "Often enough, this is a culture which identifies the offender wholly with the offence.
"There is, it seems, nothing more to the offender than the offence, and the punishment must match that perception.
"Mercy, however, looks at the offender, sees the offence as it really is, but sees more. It sees that there is more to the offender than the offence. This is to see as God sees," he is quoted saying by The Catholic Weekly.

Archbishop Coleridge was the principal celebrant, with concelebrants Fr Peter Joseph, spiritual director, St Thomas More Society, and Fr Paul Stenhouse MSC.
Those in attendance at the Mass included NSW Chief Justice James Spigelman; Court of Appeal president Justice James Allsop; Chief Judge at Common Law, Justice P Mcclellan; Justices of the NSW Supreme Court; Mary Macken, president of the NSW Law Society; Bernard Coles, senior vice-president of the NSW Bar Association; NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos; shadow Attorney-General Greg Smith; Prof Gerard Ryan, dean of the University of Notre Dame Law School, Sydney; and Richard Perrignon, president of the St Thomas More Society.



C-FAM report: Italian pro-life politician Luca Volontè captured the chairmanship of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) last week, besting second-place finisher Jean-Claude Mignon of France, whom socially-liberal members had rallied around after their favored candidates faded. Immediately upon assuming the chairmanship of the EPP, the chamber’s Christian Democratic grouping, Volontè was confronted with a number of challenges on controversial social issues. Due to coordinated EPP opposition, a report on "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity" sponsored by Swiss socialist Andreas Gross was withdrawn and referred to the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. Volontè had engineered a flood of some 70 substantive amendments to the bill, joined by Italian colleagues Renato Farina and Lorenzo Cesa, as well as Marco Gatti, representing San Marino, an independent microstate on the Italian peninsula. EPP unity was lacking, however, when PACE adopted a report by British Labour parliamentarian Christine McCafferty commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the Cairo conference on Population and Development as an “official Recommendation.” The report calls for universal access to "sexual and reproductive health rights," "safe abortion services" and "age-appropriate, gender-sensitive sexuality and relationship information and education in schools." The Recommendation serves as an action plan not only for the 47 Council of Europe countries represented in PACE, but also affects nations throughout the developing world. It calls upon donor governments to "allocate 10% of ODA (Official Development Assistance) to population/sexual and reproductive health and rights" programs and mandates that recipients of such aid also devote two-thirds of their total "population/sexual and reproductive budget” from domestic sources. While non-binding, the McCafferty document also calls upon the decision-making Committee of Ministers – comprised of member state foreign ministers – to consider "a European convention on sexual and reproductive health." The parliamentary tactics that worked with the Gross bill failed to stop the McCafferty proposal, as 60 amendments put forth by Volontè’s EPP allies and Irish independent Ronan Mullen failed to pass by varying margins, the closest falling short by three votes. Among the amendments that failed was language reaffirming the Cairo declaration's rejection of abortion as a method of family planning. Many EPP members did not support Volontè's amendments and joined the socialists bloc, voting to accept the recommendation in its entirety. Internal opposition was led by France’s Mignon and Holland’s Corien Jonker, a favored candidate of social liberals within the EPP and an abortion-rights sympathizer.
 Despite the evident split between EPP party members who adhere to the bloc’s founding principles and those that want to blur distinctions from progressive parties, the week closed with a victory for those who favor less activism from European institutions. Guido Raimondi was elevated to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), filling Italy’s seat and replacing a social liberal. Raimondi, a practicing Catholic, is respected across ideological lines for his past representation of Italy in front of ECHR and service as a legal adviser to the International Labour Organization. He also has been a noted jurist on the Court of Cassation, Italy’s court of last resort on issues other than those calling for constitutional interpretations.


St. Paul Miki & Companions
Feast: February 6
Feast Day:
February 4
1562, Tsunokuni, Japan
5 February 1597, Nagasaki, Japana
8 June 1862 by Pope Pius IX

In 1592 the persecution was renewed, and several Japanese converts received the crown of martyrdom. The emperor Tagcosama, one of the proudest and most vicious of men, was worked up into rage and jealousy by a suspicion suggested by certain European merchants desirous of the monopoly of this trade, that the view of the missionaries in preaching the Christian faith was to facilitate the conquest of their country by the Portuguese or Spaniards.
Three Jesuits and six Franciscans were crucified on a hill near Nangasaqui in 1597. The latter were partly Spaniards and partly Indians, and had at their head F. Peter Baptist, commissary of his order, a native of Avila, in Spain. As to the Jesuits, one was Paul Miki, a noble Japanese, and an eminent preacher, at that time thirty-three years old. The other two, John Gotto and James Kisai, were admitted into the Society in prison a little before they suffered. Several Japanese converts suffered with them. The martyrs were twenty-six in number, and among them were three boys who used to serve the friars at mass; two of them were fifteen years of age, and the third only twelve, yet each showed great joy and constancy in their sufferings. Of these martyrs, twenty-four had been brought to Meaco, where only a part of their left ears was cut off, by a mitigation of the sentence, which had commanded the amputation of their noses and both ears. They were conducted through many towns and public places, their cheeks stained with blood, for a terror to others. When the twenty-six soldiers of Christ were arrived at the place of execution near Nangasaqui, they were allowed to make their confession to two Jesuits of the convent in that town, and being fastened to crosses by cords and chains about their arm. and legs, and an iron collar about their necks, were raised into the air, the foot of each cross falling into a hole prepared for it in the ground. The crosses were planted in a row, about four feet asunder, and each martyr had an executioner near him with a spear ready to pierce his side; for such is the Japanese manner of crucifixion. As soon as all the crosses were planted, the executioners lifted up their lances, and at a signal given, all pierced the martyrs almost in the same instant; upon which they expired, and went to receive the reward of their sufferings. Their blood and garments were procured by Christians, and miracles were wrought by them. Urban VIII ranked them among the martyrs, and they are honoured on the 5th of February, the day of their triumph.(SOURCE:


Mark 6: 30 - 34 30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

No comments: