Wednesday, February 3, 2010



(VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the 2010 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The theme of this year's Message is: "The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ". Participating in today's press conference were Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Hans-Gert Poettering, former president of the European Parliament and current president of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and Msgr. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, under secretary of the pontifical council. Speaking English, Hans-Gert Poettering noted how "the Holy Father has indicated that a secularly radicalised form of the idea of distributive justice that is decoupled from faith in God becomes ideological. As a politician, I would like to add: We have experienced in collapsed socialism where this thinking can lead to". "Solidarity or charity implies the responsibility to defend and protect the universal dignity of any human being anywhere in the world under any circumstances", he said. "If we want to preserve freedom and if we want to increase justice, then we have to place the value of fraternity or solidarity at the centre of our political thinking". After then quoting Paul VI's remark that "development is the new name for peace", he expressed the view that "we have to go a step further and say 'solidarity is the new name for peace'. In formulating this we bring freedom and equality again into a proper balance with solidarity", he said. "The Holy Father has pointed us towards two essential conclusions of the Christian understanding of justice: To give up self-sufficiency and to accept our mission with humbleness. This is the compass for any policy that is committed to Christian responsibility - not only in Lent 2010 but far beyond in this twenty-first century with the huge tasks of shaping globalisation which lie ahead". "Not without cause does the cry for justice ring out all over the world", said Cardinal Cordes in his remarks. "The world of politics and the coexistence of peoples everywhere needs the various forces of social life to relate to one another. This is the field of justice", which "is downtrodden by violence, by oppression of freedom and lack of respect for human dignity, by bad legislation and the violation of rights, by exploitation and breadline wages". "There are, therefore, various social factors which have to be amended; and it must not be forgotten that in this struggle the Church also has her merits", said the cardinal. In this context he recalled how, "following Jesus' example, the first Christians sought to meet the needs of their fellow man", and "later in the Middle Ages ... with the 'Tregua Dei', the men of the Church defended the goods of the common people against the nobility and convened mass gatherings which - to the cry of 'pax, pax, pax' - promoted the enthusiastic desire for peaceful coexistence". "In the modern age too, when the European States made colonies of other countries and continents, non infrequently subjecting them to brutal exploitation, Christian missionaries and religious not only brought the inhabitants of those lands to the faith, but often taught them a way and a quality of life". "However, whoever dedicates deeper study to the Church's contribution in favour of peaceful understanding among human beings will soon discover that the problem of just coexistence cannot be resolved only though worldly interventions. ... Like the Pope, we too must go beyond the common conception of anthropology and achieve a complete vision of man: thus does the message of justice become clear in its entirety". "Evil comes from within, from the human heart, as the Lord says in the Gospel. William Shakespeare and Georges Bernanos revealed this in their works. ... And Stalin - in Ukraine - and Hitler - at Auschwitz - showed no scruples in giving free reign to their own malignity. ... The experience of evil teaches us that it would be ingenuous to entrust ourselves merely to human justice, which only intervenes on structures and behaviour from the outside. It is the heart of man that needs to be healed". The president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" went on to recall how "this Lenten Message, as it does every year, encourages the men and women of our time to do good. ... But the Pope's words are above all a challenge to our will, to entrust ourselves to God and believe in Him. ... Modern everyday life does not lead us to God. His absence is what distinguishes our daily experience. Once again we discover that the Gospel is not in harmony with bourgeois consensus and, for this reason, must be proclaimed ever and anew". "In the last part of his Message, the Pope identifies salvation in Christ as the foundation of human justice", the cardinal concluded. "Faced with the justice of the Cross man may rebel, because it highlights that he is not autonomous but needs Another in order fully to be himself. This, in the end, is what converting to Christ, believing in the Gospel, means".OP/LENTEN MESSAGE/POETTERING:CORDES VIS 100204 (870)

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR LENT 2010 VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the 2010 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The text, dated 30 October 2009, has as its title a passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans: "The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ". The full English-language translation of the document is given below: "Each year, on the occasion of Lent, the Church invites us to a sincere review of our life in light of the teachings of the Gospel. This year, I would like to offer you some reflections on the great theme of justice, beginning from the Pauline affirmation: 'The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ'. "First of all, I want to consider the meaning of the term 'justice', which in common usage implies 'to render to every man his due', according to the famous expression of Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the third century. In reality, however, this classical definition does not specify what 'due' is to be rendered to each person. What man needs most cannot be guaranteed to him by law. In order to live life to the full, something more intimate is necessary that can be granted only as a gift: we could say that man lives by that love which only God can communicate since He created the human person in His image and likeness. Material goods are certainly useful and required - indeed Jesus Himself was concerned to heal the sick, feed the crowds that followed Him and surely condemns the indifference that even today forces hundreds of millions into death through lack of food, water and medicine - yet 'distributive' justice does not render to the human being the totality of his 'due'. Just as man needs bread, so does man have even more need of God. St. Augustine notes: if 'justice is that virtue which gives every one his due ... where, then, is the justice of man, when he deserts the true God?' "The Evangelist Mark reports the following words of Jesus, which are inserted within the debate at that time regarding what is pure and impure: 'There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. ... What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts'. Beyond the immediate question concerning food, we can detect in the reaction of the Pharisees a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause. Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes 'from outside', in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes that prevent it being achieved. This way of thinking - Jesus warns - is ingenuous and short-sighted. Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious co-operation with evil. With bitterness the Psalmist recognises this: 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me'. Indeed, man is weakened by an intense influence, which wounds his capacity to enter into communion with the other. By nature, he is open to sharing freely, but he finds in his being a strange force of gravity that makes him turn in and affirm himself above and against others: this is egoism, the result of original sin. Adam and Eve, seduced by Satan's lie, snatching the mysterious fruit against the divine command, replaced the logic of trusting in Love with that of suspicion and competition; the logic of receiving and trustfully expecting from the Other with anxiously seizing and doing on one's own, experiencing, as a consequence, a sense of disquiet and uncertainty. How can man free himself from this selfish influence and open himself to love? "At the heart of the wisdom of Israel, we find a profound link between faith in God who 'lifts the needy from the ash heap' and justice towards one's neighbour. The Hebrew word itself that indicates the virtue of justice, 'sedaqah', expresses this well. 'Sedaqah', in fact, signifies on the one hand full acceptance of the will of the God of Israel; on the other hand, equity in relation to one's neighbour, especially the poor, the stranger, the orphan and the widow. But the two meanings are linked because giving to the poor for the Israelite is none other than restoring what is owed to God, who had pity on the misery of His people. It was not by chance that the gift to Moses of the tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai took place after the crossing of the Red Sea. Listening to the Law presupposes faith in God who first 'heard the cry' of His people and 'came down to deliver them out of hand of the Egyptians'. God is attentive to the cry of the poor and in return asks to be listened to: He asks for justice towards the poor, the stranger, the slave. In order to enter into justice, it is thus necessary to leave that illusion of self-sufficiency, the profound state of closure, which is the very origin of injustice. In other words, what is needed is an even deeper 'exodus' than that accomplished by God with Moses, a liberation of the heart, which the Law on its own is powerless to realize. Does man have any hope of justice then? "The Christian Good News responds positively to man's thirst for justice, as St. Paul affirms in the Letter to the Romans: 'But now the justice of God has been manifested apart from law ... the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by His blood, to be received by faith'. "What then is the justice of Christ? Above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that 'expiation' flows from the 'blood' of Christ signifies that it is not man's sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God Who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the 'curse' due to man so as to give in return the 'blessing' due to God. But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his 'due'? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another in order to realize himself fully. Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one's own need - the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. "So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from 'what is mine', to give me gratuitously 'what is His'. This happens especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ's action, we may enter into the 'greatest' justice, which is that of love, the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love. "Dear brothers and sisters, Lent culminates in the Paschal Triduum, in which this year, too, we shall celebrate divine justice - the fullness of charity, gift, salvation. May this penitential season be for every Christian a time of authentic conversion and intense knowledge of the mystery of Christ, who came to fulfil every justice. With these sentiments, I cordially impart to all of you my apostolic blessing".MESS/LENT 2010/... VIS 100204 (1480)

TELEGRAM FOR WINTER OLYMPICS IN CANADA VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram sent by the Pope to Archbishop J. Michael Miller C.S.B. of Vancouver, Canada, for the twenty-first Winter Olympic Games and the tenth Paralympic Winter Games, due to be held in the archdiocese of Vancouver and the diocese of Kamloops from 12 to 28 February. In the English-language telegram the Pope expresses the hope that "sport may always be a valued building block of peace and friendship between peoples and nations". He also praises the "More than Gold" ecumenical initiative, which will provide spiritual and material assistance to participants and visitors.TGR/WINTER OLYMPICS/MILLER VIS 100204 (110)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Two prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their 'ad limina' visit: - Bishop Charles Phillip Richard Moth, military ordinary. - Fr. Michael Bernard McPartland, S.M.A., apostolic prefect of the Falkland Islands, and superior of the 'sui iuris' mission to Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cu­nha. - Three prelates from the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, on their 'ad limina' visit: - Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. - Archbishop Mario Joseph Conti of Glasgow. - Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell.AL/.../... VIS 100204 (110)

CNA report:
Police removed a group of 15 Spanish Right to Life advocates gathered outside the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid, the site where the European Human Rights Commission was conducting a meeting.
The pro-life protestors were carrying signs reading, “What about my rights?” alongside pictures of a baby at 13 weeks of gestation. Police forced them to leave the area outside the building where the meeting was taking place.
The president of the watchdog organization “,” Ignacio Arsuaga, said the police humiliated the group of peaceful protestors, “solely because they were showing the European ministers how (Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero) treats the right to life in Spain.”
President Zapatero has given support to laws permitting abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy.
Arsuaga also urged pro-lifers to participate in the March for Life that will take place March 7 in hundreds of cities across Spain.(source:
Edited from All
The threat by influential Christian leaders to mobilise a vote against Kenya's draft constitution if it does not explicitly prevent any expansion of abortion rights appears to have succeeded.
The draft assembled by a Committee of Experts for consideration by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) contained no specific reference to abortion, but the National Council of Churches (NCCK) and the Catholic Church were up in arms about a phrase stating that "everyone has a right to life" while failing to define where life begins and ends.

Kenyans look at foetuses dumped in an open sewer by suspected abortionists: The draft constitution now prohibits abortions unless advised by a doctor.
Canon Peter Karanja of the NCCK told IPS, "Life is sacrosanct. The definition of life must be stipulated in the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. Life must be defined as starting at conception and ending at natural death."
The parliamentary committee has completed deliberations on the draft, and decided to define life as beginning at conception.
Phrases guaranteeing everyone the right to health care (including reproductive health care) and stating that no one may be refused emergency medical treatment have been deleted; added is a phrase ruling out abortion "unless in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner the life of the mother is in danger".
On its part, the Church is happy with the prohibition of abortion and definition of life as beginning at conception, and has again warned it will reject anything less.
"We should not victimise the innocent unborn children, who do not have a say in this matter. Even in the case of rape and incest, the life in the womb of the woman is innocent," says Father Paulino Wondo of the Holy Trinity Catholic Mission in the Nairobi slum of Kariobangi.
Members of the Kenya Medical Association, FIDA, Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, Family Health Options Kenya and the National Nurses Association of Kenya, have written a protest note to the PSC, the Committee of Experts and Parliament, calling for the controversial phrases to be reviewed.
Currently, abortion is permitted in Kenya only to save the life of the mother. In Kenya it is estimated that 300,000 spontaneous and induced abortions occur annually, about 29 abortions for every 100 live births," says Osur. It is estimated that 2,000 women die annually from unsafe abortions."
Nearly 21,000 women are admitted each year to Kenya's public hospitals for treatment of complications from incomplete abortions, either spontaneous or induced.
The study further shows that 800 unsafe abortions are performed every day and 2,600 women die from unsafe abortions in Kenya each year, representing 30 to 40 percent of Kenya's total maternal deaths, according to Kenya Obstetric and Gynaecological Society and Kenya Medical Association.
Nyunya says that 60 percent of the beds in the gynaecological ward at Kenyatta National Hospital, the largest referral hospital in East and Central Africa, are occupied by patients suffering from abortion complications.
He says a conservative estimate of the cost to the state for the management of these cases is approximately four million dollars a year.
(Edited from:


Asia News: At two o'clock this morning a group of vandals ransacked the church of St. Matthias Malavalli in the district of Mandya. Since the beginning of this is the sixth attack in the state of Karnataka. Attackers desecrated a crucifix, the statues destroyed and stole the hosts in the tabernacle. Once again it is feared the hand of Hindu extremists. The parish priest of the Church invites the faithful to forgive the vandals.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Attacks against Christians continue in the state of Karnataka. Last night at about two in the morning a group of unidentified people broke into the church of St. Matthias in Malavalli (Mandya district). According to local sources, the vandals desecrated a crucifix, destroyed the statues in the nave, broke windows and stole valuables. Not even the musical instruments were spared.
"The vandals entered in the middle of the night breaking in the door to the presbytery - said Fr M Anthappa parish priest of the church of S. Matthias - They ransacked the church, stealing the chalice and monstrance. "The vandals – he adds - also emptied the tabernacle stealing the pyx and consecrated hosts. And this is what has offended our religious sentiments most. Even the crown of the statue of St. Matthias was stolen”. Fr. Anthappa however has urged the faithful to forgive those who have carried out this act and says that he will pray to God for their salvation and conversion.
Since the beginning of the year this is the 6th attack on a house of worship in Karnataka. On January 25 two churches were attacked in the diocese of Karwar and Inkal. While the identity of the vandals is still not known, the main suspect in the attacks are extremists Hindus of the Sri Rama Sene, a far-right nationalist party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules the state government of Karnataka.
On 1 February the Board of Inquiry (Justice BK Somashekara Inquiry commission) to guide investigations of attacks against Christians presented a report which accused the district police and administration of covering for the perpetrators of the attacks. The document is in fact critical of the local government ruled by the Hindu nationalist BJP, the party already accused of massacres against Christians in the state of Orissa in 2008.
"These kinds of attacks are not just attacks on minorities – says Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of India - but affect the secular fabric of our society, human rights, the inalienable right to religious freedom, a right which is guaranteed by the Indian constitution”. According to Sajan George religious extremism has "shredded" the constitution, rendering Karnataka a state that protects criminals. "The Republic of India – he continues - risks self-destruction because of this bigotry in our society, which has taken office in Karnataka and does nothing but destroy the sacred values of democracy."


Cath News report:
Bishop Kevin Manning, who has looked after parishes from Parramatta to Penrith and beyond since 1997, retires next month at the age of 76. He is a bit sorry to be leaving, but looks on it as a new phase in his life.
"My contact with the people in the diocese has been important and I've tried to do everything to better their lives," Bishop Manning told the Blacktown Sun.
"To acquaint them with the revelations of the Scriptures and the teachings of Christ, which to me has always been the central thing."
He said his concerns also extended to people of other Christian denominations and people of other faiths.
"All people have a single origin; we are all children of God," Bishop Manning said.
Kevin Manning grew up in Coolah, the second-eldest of seven children. He left school at 14 and worked in a store, then the post office. He said his beliefs in social justice stemmed from his early work experiences and his family's teachings.
Bishop Manning said his own family was so poor they often had to catch rabbits to eat. "But my grandmother would say, the family next door hadn't eaten that day, so we have to share this with them,"he said.
He said he had always wanted to be a priest, even in his childhood. He studied at St Columba's Junior Seminary in Springwood and completed his studies in Rome. He said he had no ambition other than being a good priest, but he was appointed Bishop of Armidale in 1991 and then of Parramatta six years later.
Bishop Manning said it had been a privilege to serve the Parramatta Diocese, with its mix of cultures and one of the largest group of practising Catholics.
He will retire on march 4, then move to Glenbrook but intends to remain a fisher for Christ, relieving for priests around the diocese when needed. (SOURCE:


USCCB release: 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering to Bring 400 Leaders to Washington to Focus on Common Good, Papal Encyclical
WASHINGTON—The 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering will bring together over 400 Catholic leaders from across the country with the theme, “Charity in Truth: Seeking the Common Good,” echoing Pope Benedict XVI’s most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. Sponsored by 19 national Catholic organizations including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the gathering will take place February 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill. The first day’s events will include a talk on spirituality and social action by Jesuit Father Allan Figueroa Deck, executive director of Cultural Diversity in the Church for the USCCB, and an opening Mass celebrated by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. On February 8, John Carr, executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, will offer a reflection on the common work of Catholic social ministry, especially in light of Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical. The Domestic Issues Plenary speaker, Ray Boshara, vice-president and senior fellow at New America Foundation and consultant to the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, will speak on reducing poverty in America. The International Issues Plenary speaker will be Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, associate professor in the Department of Politics of The Catholic University of America and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. She will address how the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI impact the international mission of the U.S. Church and both affirm and challenge U.S. foreign policy. On February 9, attendees will break into state delegations and visit their U.S. Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill to discuss immigration reform, health care reform, job creation and policies that uphold the life and dignity of human life and pursue justice and peace worldwide. The gathering’s closing luncheon will feature David Brooks and Mark Shields of NewsHour on PBS offering commentary on how politics shape issues of human life and dignity and justice and peace. More information on the 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is available online at:


St. Joseph of Leonessa
Feast: February 4
Feast Day:
February 4
8 January 1556 at Leonissa, Umbria, Italy
Saturday 4 February 1612 at Umbria, Italy
29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV

In the world named Eufranio Desiderio, born in 1556 at Leonessa in Umbria; died 4 February, 1612. From his infancy he showed a remarkably religious bent of mind; he used to erect little altars and spend much time in prayer before them, and often he would gather his companions and induce them to pray with him. Whilst yet a boy he used to take the discipline on Fridays in company with the confraternity of St. Saviour. He was educated by his uncle, who had planned a suitable marriage for him, but in his sixteenth year he fell sick of a fever, and on his recovery, without consulting his relative, he joined the Capuchin reform of the Franciscan Order. He made his novitiate in the convent of the Carcerelle near Assisi. As a religious he was remarkable for his great abstinence. "Brother Ass", he would say to his body, "there is no need to feed thee as a noble horse would be fed: thou must be content to be a poor ass." In 1599, the year before his Jubilee year, he fasted the whole year by way of preparation for gaining the indulgence. In 1587 he was sent by the Superior General of his order to Constantinople to minister to the Christians held captive there. Arrived there he and his companions lodged in a derelict house of Benedictine monks. The poverty in which the friars lived attracted the attention of the Turks, who went in numbers to see the new missionaries. He was very solicitous in ministering to the captive Christians in the galleys. Every day he went into the city to preach, and he was at length thrown into prison and only released at the intervention of the Venetian agent. Urged on by zeal he at last sought to enter the palace to preach before the Sultan, but he was seized and condemned to death. For three days he hung on the gallows, held up by two hooks driven through his right hand and foot; then he was miraculously released by an angel. Returning to Italy, he took with him a Greek archbishop who had apostatized, and who was reconciled to the Church on their arrival in Rome. Joseph now took up the work of home missions in his native province, sometimes preaching six or seven times a day. In the Jubilee year of 1600 he preached the Lent at Orticoli, a town through which crowds of pilgrims passed on their way to Rome. Many of them being very poor, Joseph supplied them with food; he also washed their clothes and cut their hair. At Todi he cultivated with his own hands a garden, the produce of which was for the poor. His feast is kept on 4 February throughout the Franciscan Order. He was canonized by Benedict XIV. (SOURCE:


Mark 6: 7 - 13
And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.
And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them."
So they went out and preached that men should repent.
And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

No comments: