CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SUN. FEB. 14, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: MESSAGE FOR LENT: THEME JUSTICE-
ASIA: CHINA: DISABLED FORCED TO HEAVY LABOUR-
EUROPE: ITALY: REMEMBRANCE OF ELUANA ENGLARO-
AFRICA: UGANDA: REV. MUHUMUZA DIES-
AMERICA: COSTA RICA: REACTION TO HANDLING OF THE EUCHARIST-
AUSTRALIA: CONTROVERSIAL BILL PASSED-
POPE: MESSAGE FOR LENT: THEME JUSTICE
Asia News report:
Angelus preceding Ash Wednesday, Benedict XVI delivers his message for Lent, on the theme of justice. The justice of God "raises up those who have been wrongly humiliated". Visit to a Caritas hostel in Termini Station. Best wishes to the peoples of Asia for the Lunar New Year, particularly to China and Vietnam.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Gospel of Christ responds positively to the human thirst for justice, but in an unexpected and surprising way. He is not proposing a social and political revolution, but one of love, which he already realised through his Cross and Resurrection". Thus Benedict XVI during his reflection before praying the Angelus today with pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square.
The theme of justice, he said, is at the heart of his message for Lent this year (See: 04/02/2010 Pope: God's justice is not that of men), which begins February 17, Wednesday Ash. "Today - he continued - I wish, therefore, to ideally deliver it to everyone, please read and meditate on it."
Jesus' Beatitudes are based on the Cross and resurrection, “offering a new horizon of Justice, inaugurated by Easter, by which we can become righteous and build a better world".
Previously, taking a cue from the Gospel of today's Mass, the pontiff revealed the link between the happiness and justice. Referring to Luke 6,20-26, he said, "Jesus raised his eyes toward his disciples, saying:" Blessed are you poor ... Blessed are you who are now hungry……. Blessed are you who are now weeping,... when people hate you, …..on account of the Son of Man. Why doe he proclaim them blessed? Why will the justice of God ensure that they are satisfied, joyful, compensated for any false accusation, in a word, why does he welcome them even now in his kingdom. The Beatitudes are based on the fact that there is a divine justice, which raises up people who have been wrongly humiliated and lowers who is exalted (cf. Lk 14:11). "
"This righteousness and happiness are realised in the 'Kingdom of Heaven' or 'Kingdom of God', which will have its fulfilment at the end of time but that is already present in history. Where the poor are comforted and admitted to the banquet of life, there the justice of God is already manifest. This is the task that the Lord's disciples are called to play also in today's society. "
In the morning, Benedict XVI had visited the Caritas Rome hostel, at the Termini railway station, where as well as shelter for homeless people; there are also social health services, a clinic and a canteen. During his Angelus, recalling his visit, he added: "I warmly encourage those involved in this worthy institution and others in all parts of the world, who carry out similar voluntary work of justice and love."
After the Marian prayer, before greetings in different languages, the pope expressed his best wishes to the many peoples of Asia who celebrate today the beginning of the Lunar New Year of the Tiger. "Many Asian countries - he said - for example, China and Vietnam, and in many communities around the world are today celebrating the Lunar New Year. These are days of celebration, that those people live as a privileged occasion to strengthen family and generational bonds. I wish all to maintain and enhance the rich heritage of spiritual and moral values that are rooted firmly in the culture of those peoples. "http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope:-The-Gospel-of-Christ-responds-to-the-thirst-for-justice-with-the-revolution-of-love-17624.html
CHINA: DISABLED FORCED TO HEAVY LABOUR
Asia News report:
Mentally disabled abducted and forced to work all day for a few cents. A local television denounces the latest episode in a scandal, which first emerged two years ago.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Workers with intellectual disabilities are forced to work day and night in the brick factories in Hubei 208 Yuan a year (a few cents a day), well below the statutory minimum wage. A TV report denounces that little or nothing has changed since the slave labour scandal erupted in June 2007, when police rescued about 570 people enslaved in brick kilns in Henan and Shanxi, including 50 children, forced to work up to 16 hours a day without pay and with little food, under the supervision of private security guards and dogs to prevent escape.
According to China Labour Bulletin, a prestigious publication for workers' rights, the situation arose when the summer of 2008 a worker was beaten to death by other workers in a brick factory in Huangpi, north of Wuhan. The local inspection office begun investigations which revealed about 5 thousand illegal workers, who were later regularized.
It has also been revealed that in February 2008, a certain Ye Huabing enticed a dozen mentally disabled and homeless at the Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan and brought them to his factory in Huangpi, where he forced them to work all day without pay. In July, one of them was tortured by his own comrades because they had been disturbed during the midday break. When Ye discovered the corpse, he immediately buried in a nearby field. His identity is still unknown.
Two months later, police arrested Ye and 6 people believed to be involved in the murder. In September 2009, the principal manager Longhai Lin Ye was sentenced to life imprisonment and 3 years in prison for forcing him to work and another 3 years for having destroyed evidence of the murder.
The report was aired on 25 January and on the same day, the local authorities claimed to have immediately launched an operation to "rectify the work and stamp out illegal criminal behaviour", ensuring that a campaign against organized crime was already in progress.
But many wonder why they are still inadequate controls, given the scandal has emerged as a serious and recurrent. (source: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Hubei:-disabled-still-forced-to-work-in-brick-kilns-17622.html
ITALY: REMEMBRANCE OF ELUANA ENGLARO
A year after the death of Eluana Englaro, known as Italy's Terri Schiavo, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life is encouraging Catholics to defend life “from conception to natural death.”
Recalling the case of 38-year-old Englaro, whose feeding tube was removed after being in a coma for 17 years, Archbishop Rino Fisichella told the magazine “Il Sussidiario” that the painful incident “tore our social fabric, especially because the people were not properly informed.”
The Englaro case, he continued, was “a very sad page in our history: a girl who was seriously ill, but alive was deprived of nourishment - she was dehydrated and exposed. Contrary to what was reported, it led to great suffering and death.”
After explaining that the Church should always be prepared for new bioethical challenges, the archbishop referred to the responsibility of the media to provide appropriate information.
“In recent days the media has finally reported on an important scientific discovery: In Belgium, several doctors have shown that brain activity can be observed, even if minimal, in people who are in a 'vegetative state' - a term which I don’t think is correct.” He went on to explain that “vegetative state” is an expression “that does not measure up to the objectivity of the clinical data. It is false and misleading.”
Archbishop Fisichella also said that Catholics have the important task of building greater consensus on issues having their foundation in natural law and that transcend cultural, religious and political differences.
“Catholics should be on the front lines of the defense of life in all of its manifestations, from conception to natural death, aware of the great responsibility they have in defending these principles,” he concluded.http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican_official_recalls_impact_of_eluana_englaros_death/
AFRICAUGANDA: REV. MUHUMUZA DIES
All Africa report:
THE North Kigezi diocesan secretary, the Rev. Can. John Muhumuza, has died. uhumuza died on Tuesday at around 4:45pm as he was preparing to leave office to go home.
It was reported that he had been suffering from ulcers and hypertension for over six months.
Muhumuza was appointed diocesan secretary in October 1999 and was a bishop-hopeful after bishop Muhima retired early next year.http://allafrica.com/stories/201002120117.html
AMERICACOSTA RICA: REACTION TO HANDLING OF THE EUCHARIST
Catholics in Costa Rica continue to express disgust following the actions of Deborah Formal, the girlfriend of presidential candidate Otto Guevara. Last Sunday, Formal broke off a piece of the Eucharist and placed it in her boyfriend's pocket.
The Costa Rican media has continued to air footage of the Mass which shows Formal receiving Communion, bringing a piece of it back to her seat, and giving it to Guevara.
Being divorced, Guevara did not present himself for Communion.
The video shows that as she approached the archbishop to receive Communion, the two briefly exchanged words. Formal said later she had requested permission from the archbishop to “share the blessing” of Communion with Guevara. She said she misunderstood the archbishop and thought that he had given her permission.
“It was never my intention to disrespect the Catholic Church,” she said.
Formal is seen receiving Communion in the hand, consuming a portion and carrying what was left back to her pew, where she leaned over and put it into Guevara’s shirt pocket.
“I tried to do something that would allow Otto to carry a part of God in his heart,” Formal explained.
After priests were notified of Formal's actions, they asked the presidential candidate to return the consecrated host. He returned it and it was immediately consumed by one of the concelebrating priests.
Numerous Catholics interviewed by the media expressed outrage over the actions of Formal, saying she displayed not only ignorance in describing the consecrated host as a “blessing” instead of as the Real Presence of Christ, but also complete disrespect for Communion and for the Eucharistic Host.
Archbishop Hugo Barrantes of San Jose called her actions “inappropriate and disrespectful,” although not sacrilegious.http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/catholics_in_costa_rica_outraged_by_disrespect_toward_the_eucharist/
CONTROVERSIAL BILL PASSED
Cath News report:
Queensland's controversial bill was passed last night by 45 votes to 36, despite two Labor MPs crossing the floor to vote against the Bligh Government.
Five absent MPs, the Speaker and the acting Speaker, did not cast a final vote on the Bill, which would allow gay couples and single parents to have children through surrogacy, the website couriermail.com.au reported.
Former Minister Margaret Keech and Capalaba MP Michael Choi told Parliament they could not support the entire Bill that decriminalises altruistic surrogacy without severely compromising their consciences.
"It is never easy to disagree with colleagues...(but) at times even the best of friends disagree," Mr Choi said.
Complex parliamentary rules meant the Opposition's alternative surrogacy Bill - which restricted it to married and de facto heterosexual couples - could not be voted on tonight because it was too similar to the Government's Bill.
Instead, the Opposition moved amendments to the Government's Bill in a last-minute bid to exclude gay couples and single parents from surrogacy but these were also defeated by 35 votes to 46, the report said. http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=19318
Feast: February 14
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known. (source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/V/stvalentine.asp
Sts. Cyril & Methodius
BISHOPS AND CONFESSORS, APOSTLES TO THE SLAVS
Feast: February 14
827 and 826, Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire (present-day Greece)
February 14, 869 and 6 April 885
Bulgaria, Czech Republic (including Bohemia, and Moravia), Ecumenism, unity of the Eastern and Western Churches, Europe, Slovakia
These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honours and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorous, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected and was accompanied by his brother. They learned the Khazar language and converted many of the people. Soon after the Khazar mission there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel. German missionaries had already laboured among them, but without success. The Moravians wished a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic tongue. On account of their acquaintance with the language, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for their work. In preparation for it Cyril invented an alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into Slavonic. They went to Moravia in 863, and laboured for four and a half years. Despite their success, they were regarded by the Germans with distrust, first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and again because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language. On this account the brothers were summoned to Rome by Nicholas I, who died, however, before their arrival. His successor, Adrian II, received them kindly. Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius bishops. Cyril, however, was not to return to Moravia. He died in Rome, 4 Feb., 869.
At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II formed an Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, made it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius archbishop. In 870 King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon. Here he was deposed and condemned to prison. After three years he was liberated at the command of Pope John VIII and reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia. He zealously endeavoured to spread the Faith among the Bohemians, and also among the Poles in Northern Moravia. Soon, however, he was summoned to Rome again in consequence of the allegations of the German priest Wiching, who impugned his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. But John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, decreeing, however, that in the Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic. Wiching, in the meantime, had been nominated one of the suffragan bishops of Methodius. He continued to oppose his metropolitan, going so far as to produce spurious papal letters. The pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false. Methodius went to Constantinople about this time, and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of Machabees. He translated also the "Nomocanon", i.e. the Greek ecclesiastico-civil law. The enemies of Methodius did not cease to antagonize him. His health was worn out from the long struggle, and he died 6 April, 885, recommending as his successor Gorazd, a Moravian Slav who had been his disciple.
Formerly the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated in Bohemia and Moravia on 9 March; but Pius IX changed the date to 5 July. Leo XIII, by his Encyclical "Grande Munus" of 30 September, 1880, extended the feast to the universal Church.
Jeremiah 17: 5 - 8
Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised.
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Luke 6: 17, 20 - 26
And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
"Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!
Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
"But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.
"Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
"Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.