Wednesday, March 3, 2010




CATHOLICS AND MUSLIMS AGAINST MANIPULATION OF RELIGION VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The annual meeting of the Joint Committee for Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue among the Monotheistic Religions, was held in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo on 23 and 24 February. At the end of the meeting Sheikh Muhammad Abd al-Aziz Wasil, "wakil" (representative in juridical issues) of al-Azhar and president of the Permanent Committee for Dialogue, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, signed a joint declaration. The declaration explains how "the participants were received by Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, grand imam of al-Azhar, whom Cardinal Tauran thanked for having condemned the acts of violence in which six Christians and a Muslim policeman died in Naga Hamadi, Egypt, during the Orthodox Christmas, and for having expressed solidarity with the victims' families and reaffirmed the equality of rights and duties of all citizens, regardless of their religious confession. For his part, Sheikh Tantawi said he only did what he thought his duty in the face of those tragic events". During its meeting the joint committee examined the theme: "The phenomenon of confessional violence: understanding the phenomenon and its causes, and proposing solutions with particular reference to the role of religions in this field". At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed on the following recommendations: "to pay greater attention to the fact that the manipulation of religion for political or other ends can be a source of violence; to avoid discrimination on the basis of religious identity; to open hearts to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation, which is a necessary condition for peaceful and fruitful coexistence". They also called "for similarities to be recognised and differences respected as the prerequisite of a culture of dialogue, based on shared values; for both sides again to commit themselves to recognising and respecting the dignity of each human being, without distinction of ethnicity or religion; for religious discrimination in all fields to be opposed (just laws should guarantee fundamental equality); for ideals of justice, solidarity and co-operation to be promoted in order to ensure a peaceful and prosperous life for everyone". The participants likewise undertook "to oppose with determination any act that tends to create tension, division and conflict in societies; to promote a culture of mutual respect and dialogue through education in families, schools, churches and mosques, spreading a spirit of fraternity between all persons and the community; to oppose attacks against religions by social communications media, especially satellite channels, considering the dangerous effects these transmissions can have on social cohesion and peace among religious communities". Finally, the members of the joint committee called for steps to be taken "to ensure that the preaching of religious leaders, as well as school education and textbooks, do not contains declarations or references to historical events that, directly or indirectly, may arouse violent reactions among the followers of different religions". The joint committee also announced that its next meeting will be held in Rome on 23 and 24 February 2011..../CATHOLIC MUSLIM DECLARATION/AL-AZHAR VIS 100302 (520)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Charles Martin Wamika, auxiliary of Tororo, Uganda, as bishop of Jinja (area 8,917, population 2,914,099, Catholics 681,533, priests 90, religious 342), Uganda. He succeeds Bishop Joseph B. Willigers M.H.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.NER:RE:NA/.../WAMIKA:WILLIGERS:SANDRI VIS 100302 (90)


CNA report:
Following the massive 8.8 earthquake which hit near the city of Concepción, Chile on Saturday, the international Catholic aid organization Caritas mobilized Chilean and international task forces to help the nearly two million people affected by the quake.
“Caritas Chile is working in coordination with governmental and civil society organizations in establishing a national help network in spite of enormous communications difficulties,” said Lorenzo Figueroa, Caritas Chile’s director.
The international agency noted that the regions of Maule and Bío Bío were the worst affected and are will be the first to receive aid.
“We are collecting food to be sent immediately to communities which have been most affected by the earthquake and where shortages are already being reported. Our own communications network and capacity to offer warehouses and points of collection and distribution are immediately available,” Figueroa added.
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said, “Caritas Chile and the bishops are keeping us updated on the needs of the people. Chile has faced a terrible catastrophe. The Caritas confederation will be there in support of the survivors in this initial phase of emergency response and as they look to rebuild the country.”
Emergency response, as well as search and rescue teams from Caritas are on their way to the capital city of Santiago. The teams are drawn from an international pool, including Caritas’ Humanitarian Director Alistair Dutton and Caritas Peru’s Hector Hanashiro. The Mexican search and rescue team that recently worked with Caritas in Haiti will be a part of the relief efforts in Chile as well.
Father Alfonso Baeza Donoso, deputy president of Caritas Chile, reported to the Italian news Agency SIR that the earthquake was “a huge catastrophe, especially around Concepción. Our building suffered damage, communications do not work very well. Elevators are out or order, and we are on the seventh floor.” Fr. Baeza also noted that, despite the fact that “there are great difficulties in transport by road, since roads and bridges have been destroyed,” Caritas is working to get food and funds to the people most affected. Already, Caritas has opened a bank account to accept donations. Food is also being collected in several parishes in Santiago.
“In the center of Santiago,” Fr. Baeza added, “I saw at least five churches destroyed. In the south of the country, there must be many more, but we have no definite news yet.”
In an official statement, the President of the Chilean Bishop’s Conference, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, expressed solidarity with the victims and their families. “The death of our brothers and sisters as a consequence of this catastrophe both hurts and moves/compels us. We direct our prayers for their eternal rest to the God of life and hope and we unite ourselves with their families and friends,” he said.
“We fix our gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ in this moment of tragedy,” Bishop Goic said. “We place our trust in Him that the communities which have suffered the most hurt may be able to lift themselves up both spiritually and materially, assisted by the solidarity of the entire country as well as the international community which generously offers us its help.”
For more information on Caritas relief efforts, visit:


CISA report:
As calls continue to grow for the constitution to be followed strictly in resolving the leadership crisis in the country and the sudden return of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) yesterday at the end of their plenary conference in Abuja called on the Presidency and the National Assembly to restore the country to the path of constitutional leadership and stop assaulting the psyche of Nigerians.The Catholic clergy, in a communiqué signed by the President Rev Felix Alaba-Job, Secretary, Rev. Adewale Martins and read by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rev Calistus Onaga said, "for over three, months, we have been faced with a crisis of leadership that is rooted in unwillingness to be truthful in handling issues of governance.News reports say President Umaru Yar'Adua is back in the country, we thank God and we pray for his continued recovery. But in the meantime, the nation should be promptly restored to the path of stability and progress under a clear constitutional leadership, we pray for the acting President and Commander-in-Chief, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who now oversees the affairs of our nation".The group also deplored the manner in which the president was taken back with his whereabouts shrouded in secrecy. Part of the communiqué read as follow: "Government and its functionaries should not be seen as working very hard to show that they cannot be trusted; we deplore the contempt with which Nigerians have been repeatedly denied knowledge of his whereabouts and the true state of his health.The immorality of dishonesty undermines the authority of government; they also violate the rights of the citizens to good governance."While praising the conduct of the February 6th Anambra State governorship elections, the bishops maintained that, "the fact that we are a young democracy is no excuse a flawed electoral process, we must exercise a collective will to organise elections we can be proud of.We call on political parties, the electoral commission and its officials, the police and the electorates to work together so that ours can be a democracy in name and in fact, we also call on the National Assembly to expedite action in making effective laws for the reform of our electoral system".Onaga, who read the communiqué went further to state that, "while we commend government for the amnesty process which has brought relative peace to the Niger-Delta, we insist that post-amnesty programmes must be faithfully implemented".While appraising the performance of the Nigerian Church, the bishops said from 1950 when Pope Pius XII declared the Catholic Church in Nigeria a local church, without any indigenous bishop, today, it boast 64 indigenous bishops with only 2 non-Nigerians. The church, according to the bishops has grown beyond bounds where it exports missionaries to other nations in need of evangelism.


CNA report:
Rocco Buttiglione is a prestigious Catholic intellectual who in 2004 was deprived of a post in the European Union Commission because of his faith and “conservative” views. In a recent article for L’Osservatore Romano he explains that education demands a series of restrictions as well as a formation in authentic freedom in order to seek truth.
In the article titled, “There is no freedom without prohibitions,” Buttiglione, who is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, explains that amidst the debate over the “educational emergency” in society, Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that “proper education consists of formation in the correct use of freedom” must be remembered.
Buttiglione notes that the first step in this education is to discard the present-day bias that “in order to educate in freedom, one simply needs to remove all ties and abandon young people to the simple, natural development of their passions.” This, he explains, is the “pròton psèudos (the ‘original error’) of modern education.”
Saying that this way of seeing things ignores the tendency to evil and the concupiscence that entered man through original sin, Buttiglione writes, “The emancipating and permissive pedagogy of our times has voluntarily ignored this anthropological structure of the human being. The intention was to create a liberated man,” however the effects are far from the intended results.
After contrasting “the freedom of man” and “the freedom of instinct,” Buttiglione remarks that to find freedom it is necessary “to subordinate immediate desires to the judgment of reason."
He goes on to warn of the current-day tendency to make spontaneity into an idol and explained the need to truly adhere “to goodness in order to seek truth.”
To achieve this, he continues, two fundamental factors are necessary in the education process that “today are systematically ignored:” asceticism and the experience of authority.
Asceticism, Buttiglione explains, “is the capacity to say 'no,' to resist the violence with which an impulse demands to be satisfied immediately without reflecting on whether or not it corresponds to the truth or to the true good of the person. Contemporary permissiveness has defamed asceticism by calling it ‘repression.’ Certain asceticism implies the effort to repress, but it also implies the capacity to give a new form to the energy that comes from instinct, corresponding to the truth of the person. Without asceticism there is no education of the person.”
Writing later about the experience of authority, the Italian intellectual says that it consists of “the presence of values in a person who bears witness to them and makes them directly and easily perceivable for others.
“Authority is the guide in the path towards the experience of values. Without asceticism and without authority there is no educational experience. Authority transmits the experience of values so that it can be tried in the life of the disciple. The disciple will not repeat this experience in a servile fashion as it has been fulfilled in the life of the master.” Instead, the disciple “will confront it with his own personal experience and filter it through it, reliving it and making it his own.”
Buttiglione then denounces today’s “permissive society for offering young people different ways of gaining immediate satisfaction of their own instincts, while consequently making it more difficult to form a free personality, capable of establishing an appropriate relationship with truth.”
“Traditional education was an invitation to fight to control one’s own passions, to seek the truth, to guide one’s passions according to the truth and towards the truth.”
By promoting “obedience” to one’s own passions, he explains, one prevents “the forming of a responsible and free personality, in order to create a mass of people that can be more easily manipulated by whomever is in power. This is the problem with education in our times.”
“The purpose of many modern ‘deconstructionist’ tendencies is the deconstruction of the self and the abolition of a conscious personality. In order to rebuild education we need to begin again on the basis of authorized testimonies—should not parents and teachers be the first in this—that are capable of unambiguously pointing the way towards an asceticism that makes us capable of the truth, that allows us to journey towards its discovery,” he concluded.


Asia News report:
A Catholic university chaplain has barred students from re-staging their naked “freedom run” around the campus to commemorate their fraternity’s anniversary.
Institute of Incarnate Word (IVE) Father Salvador Curutchet banned students of De La Salle Araneta University (DLSU-Araneta) in Malabon City from holding their “Oblation Run”.
The Argentinean priest, who has been chaplain for five years, told UCA News he felt it was not appropriate behavior for students from a Catholic university.
“I do not feel that students from a Catholic school should be running around the streets naked,” Father Curutchet said. “It does not show our Christian values in the community.”
The run, scheduled for yesterday [March 2], had been approved by Malabon City Hall.
Members of the international students’ fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (APO), staged a similar Oblation Run two years ago.
Randell Tupaz of the student affairs Office at DLSU-Araneta told UCA News APO had a freedom run in 2008 on the 50th anniversary of the school charter recognizing the fraternity.
“Just as they did in 2008, APO members went to the City Hall and applied for a permit to run naked around the streets outside the campus. The permit was granted by city officials again this year,” he said.
The student affairs officer said the run was canceled after Father Curuchet wrote a letter to the school administration advising them to stop it.
Tupaz said the APO members did not fight the ban and pushed on with the 60th anniversary celebration by hosting a luncheon for its members and alumni.


Cath News report:
Only 34 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Toowoomba and 27 schools operated by various Religious Institutes, mainly in the Brisbane area, would potentially be affected by staff withdrawing from activities outside normal working hours next week.

"It needs to be made clear that staff in the vast majority of the State's 288 Catholic schools did not endorse any industrial action," Queensland Catholic Education Commission Executive Director Mike Byrne said in a statement.
"Catholic employing authorities are committed to negotiating a set of salaries and conditions that recognise the vital contribution teachers make to theeducational outcomes of students.
"We believe that the wages and conditions package being offered is a fair and responsible one.
"Staff were paid a 4.5% salary increase from May last year.
"Under the proposed agreement, another 4% increase would be paid in July this year to be followed up by a further 4% due in July 2011.
"This package is also comparable with the State sector in Queensland," Mr Byrne said


St. Suitbert
Feast: March 1
Feast Day:
March 1
1 March 713 near Düsseldorf, Germany
Patron of:
angina sufferers; Germany; throat diseases

Apostle of the Frisians, b. in England in the seventh century; d. at Suitberts-Insel, now Kaiserswerth, near Dusseldorf, 1 March, 713. He studied in Ireland, at Rathmelsigi, Connacht, along with St. Egbert. The latter, filled with zeal for the conversion of the Germans, had sent St. Wihtberht, or Wigbert, to evangelize the Frisians, but owing to the opposition of the pagan ruler, Rathbod, Wihtberht was unsuccessful and returned to England. Egbert then sent St. Willibrord and his twelve companions, among whom was St. Suitbert. They landed near the mouth of the Rhine and journeyed to Utrecht, which became their headquarters. The new missionaries worked with great success under the protection of Pepin of Heristal, who, having recently conquered a portion of Frisia, compelled Rathbod to cease harassing the Christians. Suitbert laboured chiefly in North Brabant, Guelderland, and Cleves. After some years he went back to England, and in 693 was consecrated in Mercia as a missionary bishop by St. Wilfrid of York. He returned to Frisia and fixed his see at Wijkbij Duurstede on a branch of the Rhine. A little later, entrusting his flock of converts to St. Willibrord, he proceeded north of the Rhine and the Lippe, among the Bructeri, or Boructuari, in the district of Berg, Westphalia. This mission bore great fruit at first, but was eventually a failure owing to the inroads of the pagan Saxons; when the latter had conquered the territory, Suitbert withdrew to a small island in the Rhine, six miles from Dusseldorf, granted to him by Pepin of Heristal, where he built a monastery and ended his days in peace. His relics were rediscovered in 1626 at Kaiserwerth and are still venerated there. St. Suitbert of Kaiserwerdt is to be distinguished from a holy abbot, Suitbert, who lived in a monastery near the River Dacore, Cumberland, England, about forty years later, and is mentioned by Venerable Bede.SOURCE


Luke 6: 36 - 38
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back
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