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Sunday, March 7, 2010

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SAT. MARCH 6, 2010






CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SAT. MARCH 6, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: PRAYS FOR UGANDA FLOOD VICTIMS-
ASIA: INDIA: MISSIONARIES OF C. STRUGGLE TO GIVE BABIES FOR ADOPTION-
AMERICA: USA: DELEGATION OF US BISHOPS TRAVELS TO HAITI-
EUROPE: GERMANY: ABUSE AMONG REGENSBURG CHILDREN'S CHOIR-
AFRICA: ZAMBIA: CATHOLIC CHURCH REMAINS NEUTRAL IN POLITICS-
AUSTRALIA: UNITY OF PRAYER AND ACTION TO DEAL WITH FLOODS-



VATICAN

POPE: PRAYS FOR UGANDA FLOOD VICTIMS

vatican radio:
Before beginning his remarks to them, the Holy Father mentioned the recent landslides in the Bududa region of the country, saying "I offer prayers to Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, that He may grant eternal rest to the souls of the deceased, and give strength and hope to all who are suffering the consequences of this tragic event".He then turned his attention to the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held last autumn. It was, he said, "memorable in its call for renewed efforts in the service of a more profound evangelisation of your continent. The power of the word of God and the knowledge and love of Jesus cannot but transform people's lives by changing for the better the way they think and act."In the light of the Gospel message", he added, "you are aware of the need to encourage the Catholics of Uganda to appreciate fully the Sacrament of marriage in its unity and indissolubility, and the sacred right to life. I urge you to help them, priests as well as the lay faithful, to resist the seduction of a materialistic culture of individualism which has taken root in so many countries. Continue to call for lasting peace based on justice, generosity towards those in need and a spirit of dialogue and reconciliation".And he continued his English-language remarks to the prelates: "While promoting true ecumenism, be especially close to those who are more vulnerable to the advances of sects. Guide them to reject superficial sentiments and a preaching that would empty the cross of Christ of its power; in this way you will continue, as responsible pastors, to keep them and their children faithful to the Church of Christ. ... Continue to sustain all who with generous hearts assist displaced persons and orphans from war-torn areas. Encourage those who care for people afflicted by poverty, AIDS and other diseases, teaching them to see in those whom they serve the suffering face of Jesus."Renewed evangelisation gives rise in turn to a deeper Catholic culture which takes root in the family", said the Pope, noting how the bishops' reports show that "programmes of education in parishes, schools and associations, and your own interventions on topics of common interest, are spreading a stronger Catholic culture. Great good can come from well-prepared lay people who are active in the media, in politics and culture", he explained, highlighting how such people need to be well versed in Catholic social doctrine."Bishops, as the first agents of evangelisation, are called to bear clear witness to the practical solidarity born of our communion in Christ. In a spirit of Christian charity dioceses that enjoy more resources, both materially and spiritually, should assist those that have less. At the same time, all communities have a duty to strive for self-sufficiency. It is important that your people develop a sense of responsibility towards themselves, their community and their Church, and become more deeply imbued with a Catholic spirit of sensitivity to the needs of the universal Church".The Holy Father concluded: "Your priests, as committed ministers of evangelisation, already benefit greatly from your fatherly concern and guidance. In this Year for Priests ... exhort them to prayer and vigilance, especially with regard to self-centred, worldly or political ambitions, or excessive attachment to family or ethnic group. Continue promoting vocations, providing for due discernment of candidates and for their proper motivation and formation. ... Priests and religious require constant support in their lives of celibacy and consecrated virginity. By your own example, teach them of the beauty of this way of life, of the spiritual fatherhood and motherhood with which they can enrich and deepen the love of the faithful for the Creator and Giver of all good gifts".

ASIA
INDIA: MISSIONARIES OF C. STRUGGLE TO GIVE BABIES FOR ADOPTION
UCAN report — A bureaucratic tangle is delaying attempts by Missionaries of Charity (MC) nuns to give orphan babies up for adoption.
On Aug. 31, 2009, the Chhattisgarh state government allowed the nuns to give babies up for adoption, listing the nun’s center as a licensed agency for promoting domestic adoption.
“With great difficulty we got permission. But only the process is on now,” said Sister Marie Ananda, superior of the MC nuns in the state capital of Raipur.
The pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party) now rules this central Indian state.
Only government approved agencies can give children up for adoption. Before the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000, the nun’s center in Indore was a licensed agency.
Even after this division, the nuns in Chhattisgarh used to take abandoned babies of “unwed mothers” to Indore, in Madhya Pradesh, some 720 kilometers to the west, to place them for adoption.
But in September 2009, as the nuns were taking four two-month-old babies by train to Indore, a group of Hindu fanatics pulled them out mid-way.
The application process for the babies, started months ago, was nearing completion in Indore but the fanatics blocked the nuns and took them to a police station, accusing them of “human trafficking” and “converting” the babies to Christianity.
Police brought the nuns and the babies to a nearby convent.
Since the incident, the nuns could not give 43 babies up for adoption, including 10 with physical disabilities. However, “we can’t refuse children since several unwed mothers seek our help,” MC regional superior Sister Mamta told UCA News.
The superior also noted that the nuns have given babies for adoption to mostly childless Hindu couples for more than 50 years.
Sister Ananda said two social welfare centers, supported by some Hindu organizations, work against the nuns and their center. “They want us to close our institution,” she added.
Chhattisgarh’s rules for adoption also make the process lengthy. The norms want foster parents to take babies for three months before actually adopting them through a court order.
The rules also stipulate that the names of foster parents should be published in the government gazette.
“Many adoptive parents will not like their names to be published,” Sister Ananda said.
She said the process has been on for the past three months to give eight babies to foster parents. However, “only after the court order, can they be completely given,” she added.http://www.ucanews.com/2010/03/05/mc-nuns-struggle-to-give-babies-for-adoption


AMERICA
USA: DELEGATION OF US BISHOPS TRAVELS TO HAITI
CNA report:
Early this week, a delegation of Catholic bishops from the U.S. toured Port-au-Prince, the recently-devastated capital of Haiti. During their stay, the prelates visited the Louverture Cleary School, a tuition-free, Catholic, co-ed, secondary boarding school for under-privileged Haitian children.
Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, San Antonio’s Archbishop Jose Gomez, and other members of the U.S. delegation, were accompanied by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the apostolic nuncio to Haiti. Together, the bishops toured and surveyed the damage to the city, in an effort to determine how to best spend the money that U.S. Catholics donated following the country's earthquake.
The bishops stopped at the Louverture Cleary School (LCS), which is run by The Haitian Project (THP), a charity founded in the early 1980’s by St. Joseph's Parish in Providence, R.I., to assist the people of Haiti.
“I believe it added an opportunity to see the hope in Haiti,” Deacon Patrick Moynihan, THP’s president told CNA.
Deacon Moynihan also writes a weekly column, "Both Oars In," for CNA.
According to the Boston Globe, Deacon Moynihan met the delegation after they celebrated an early morning Mass with the Daughters of Mary, a religious order who lost 15 sisters when the quake leveled their house. He then showed the bishops around the school, which suffered minimal damage during the massive earthquake. Two buildings need extensive repairs, and the other buildings will have modifications to help cope with the increased seismic activity following the earthquake, explained Deacon Moynihan. Four fallen wall sections also need to be replaced, but the school is in a position where it can help the surrounding community.
“We are aware that being left standing means that we are to commit more deeply to our mission of producing gifted, civic minded leaders for Haiti. Our school model has always been: We are ready to rebuild Haiti. We know what we were being prepared to do,” said the deacon.
The delegation also toured the surrounding neighborhood. “We wanted the Cardinal and Archbishop to see that we are a village--like a community around a monastery,” said Deacon Moynihan. He noted that he showed the delegation the site where THP is “ replacing a mud house with a concrete house--the original house was damaged in the quake.
“We will be doing at least 10 housing projects, some repairs and some full rebuilds. This is part of dedication to the community and service.”
The prelates, accompanied by the deacon, then visited the graves of Archbishop Joseph Miot and Fr. Charles Benoit, the vicar general of Port-au-Prince, who were killed during the earthquake. Deacon Moynihan pointed out that the lettering on Archbishop Miot’s tomb was done by a THP volunteer, Kristin Zeiler.
After the visit, Cardinal O'Malley promised to tell Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence, that THP is “doing a great job.”
For more information about The Haitian Project, visit: http://www.haitianproject.org/

EUROPE
GERMANY: ABUSE AMONG REGENSBURG CHILDREN'S CHOIR

CNA report:
In response to a sexual abuse claim that surfaced this week involving a member of the famed boys’ choir of Regensburg, where the Pope’s brother served as director for 30 years, the local bishop came to Fr. Georg Ratzinger’s defense noting that the instances of abuse took place before he was in charge.
Officials are revisiting the case that came to light this week involving a former student and member of the "Domspatzen," or Cathedral Sparrows choir in Regensburg. According to the Associated Press, the victim said he was sexually abused in the 1960s during his time with the choir.
According to a letter sent to the parents of current members of the boys' choir written by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg, two now-deceased religious had already been condemned for abuses at the choir’s accompanying school. One of them was removed from his position as teacher and vice director of the institution in 1958 and the other was taken out of the school before his condemnation in 1971. They both died in 1984.
According to the bishop's letter, the results of these cases were made public at that time and "they are considered closed in the legal sense."
Bishop Müller added that the cases did not coincide with Fr. Georg Ratzinger's time there.
Fr. Ratzinger, brother of Pope Benedict and director of the choir from 1964 to 1993, told Bavarian public radio Bayerischen Rundfunk this week that he was not aware of the abuses.
L'Osservatore Romano released the bishop's words along with a message expressing the support of the Holy See for the diocese, offering its "availability to analyze the painful question decisively and in an open way."
"The main objective of the clarification by the Church is to render justice to the victims," he continued.
To date, the reported cases of abuse in Germany involve 18 of Germany's 27 dioceses, according to the Italian agency ASCA, and involve the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Jesuits, Benedictines and Capuchins. Bishops' conference investigations are being led by Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier.
Holy See vice-spokesman, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, told reporters on Friday that the Vatican is taking the situation in Germany "very seriously."

AFRICA
ZAMBIA: CATHOLIC CHURCH REMAINS NEUTRAL IN POLITICS

CISA report:
The Roman Catholic Church in Zambia has said that it will not support any political party in the country but will instead involve itself in the electoral process to enhance good governance.Speaking during the launch of the Caritas Zambia 2011 election strategy in Lusaka yesterday, Zambia Episcopal Conference secretary general, Joe Komakoma said the Church would remain independent and not support any party."The role of the Church in its involvement in the electoral process is to promote good governance and ensure people start voting for credible leaders who will develop this country."Accountability and transparency should be the core of whatever we do publicly, whether as politicians or ordinary citizens," Father Komakoma said.He said there was need for political parties in Zambia to promote internal democracy.Fr Komakoma said there was a tendency by some political parties to emphasise loyalty to the party, thereby denying their members an opportunity to hold conventions and elect office holders."Some parties have tended to have self-appointed leaders with very limited internal debate on key issues."Information is not easily shared or widely disseminated. Documents such as party constitutions or manifestos are not easily obtained or are a preserve of a few," he said.The essence of the Caritas Zambia 2011 Elections Strategy would be to ensure the country had effective and acceptable electoral laws and practices, which should be adhered to by the various stakeholders.Fr Komakoma said Caritas Zambia had noted the gaps in the electoral laws which were compromising the quality of elections and democratic governance.He said through the Caritas Zambia 2011 Elections Strategy, the church would contribute to the attainment of a credible and conducive electoral process ahead of next year's polls."Caritas Zambia is committed to addressing all aspects of the electoral process rather than focusing on the 2011 elections as an event."The project will encompass dialogue on electoral policies, the legal framework and electoral related procedures," Fr Komakoma said.Caritas Zambia’s executive director, Sam Mulafulafu said the organisation would ensure the strategy was publicised even in the remotest parts of Zambia.


AUSTRALIA
UNITY OF PRAYER AND ACTION TO DEAL WITH FLOODS

Cath News report:
Catholic Priest Peter Doohan and Anglican Priest Charlie Murry have praised the community spirit at a multi-faith service in the flood-hit town of Charleville, in Queensland's south-west.
Flood water from Bradley's Gully, which runs through the centre of the town, caused damage to roads and homes in the past week, ABC reports.
Father Doohan's home was among those damaged in the town. "I looked at the place and said a few choice words in Latin," he said. "It has been a fairly horrific time and it's been a very fragile time.
"I've felt a whole lot of mixed emotions and probably just the helplessness of it. You can't stop the water - it just keeps coming, and coming higher."
Father Murry says the community is holding together well. "People's passions have started to kick in," he said.



TODAY'S SAINT

St. Norbert
FOUNDER
Feast: June 6
Information:
Feast Day:
June 6
Born:
1080 at Xanten, Germany
Died:
6 June 1134 at Magdeburg, Germany
Canonized:
1582 by Pope Gregory XIII
Patron of:
invoked during childbirth for safe delivery; Magdeburg, peace

St. Norbert was born at Santen, in the duchy of Cleves, in 1080. His father, Heribert, count of Gennep, was related to the emperor, and his mother derived her pedigree from the house of Lorraine. The rank which his birth gave him was rendered more illustrious by the excellent qualifications of his mind and body. His application to his studies was equal to the quickness of his parts, and he went through his academical exercises with extraordinary applause. But being at first blinded by the flattery of the world, he suffered himself to be carried away by its pleasures and pastimes, and had no higher thoughts than how he might live in honor and at his ease. He even received the ecclesiastical tonsure with a worldly spirit; and though he was instituted to a canonry at Santen and ordained sub-deacon, he neither changed his spirit nor his conduct. Being naturally inclined to mirth and gayety, he was the soul of all parties of pleasure, and by living in a circle of diversions, he drowned his soul in a round of vanities and trifling amusements, and was a stranger to serious reflection on himself, which would have opened his eyes. He would not be prevailed on to receive any higher orders for fear of a greater restraint on his conduct; and he led the same manner of life in the court of his cousin, the emperor Henry IV., who appointed him his almoner. God beheld with compassion the heart of this young nobleman enslaved to the world, in which he in vain sought that contentment and quiet of mind which no earthly advantages can afford, and which it is in the power of virtue alone to give. But to break his secret chains an extraordinary grace was necessary; and God awakened him from his spiritual lethargy by an alarming accident. Norbert was riding to a village in Westphalia, called Freten, in pursuit of his pleasures, mounted on a horse richly caparisoned, and attended by only one servant, when, in the midst of a pleasant meadow, he was overtaken by a violent storm, accompanied with dreadful thunder and lightning. Finding himself at a great distance from any shelter, he was overwhelmed with perplexity and fear, and while he was going on briskly, having set spurs to his horse, a ball of fire, or lightning, with a loud clap of thunder, fell just before his horse's feet, burned the grass, and cleft the earth. The poor beast, thus affrighted, threw his rider who lay like one dead for near an hour. At last coming to himself, like another Saul, he cried out to God, in the bitter compunction of his heart, "Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" To which the divine grace interiorly suggested this reply, "Turn away from evil, and do good: seek after peace, and pursue it." Being thus humbled in the full career of his passions, he became upon the spot a sincere penitent. Returning no more to the court, he withdrew to his canonry at Santen, there led a life of silence and retirement, wore a hair shirt next his skin, and spent his time in tears, holy prayer, and meditation. Now taking a serious review of himself and the world, he detested his past ingratitude to God, and his folly in serving a deceitful world which mingles in all its delights much gall and bitterness, far outweighing the false and momentary pleasure. The remembrance of the divine mercy which had spared him, while many others had been cut off in their sins, and in a moment been buried in hell, pierced his heart to the quick, and drew daily from his eyes streams of tears, by which he endeavored to wash away the stains of his soul. The fire of divine love thus kindled in his heart, gained strength every day by his fidelity, and by fresh supplies of grace. But his conversion was completed by a retreat which he made in St. Sigebert's monastery near Cologne, and by the pious exhortations of Conon, the holy abbot of that house, who was made soon after bishop of Ratisbon. Norbert was at this time in the thirtieth year of his age.
After his conversion, he employed two years in preparing himself for the priesthood, which he received from the hands of the archbishop of Cologne, together with the order of deacon, his fervor seeming a sufficient cause for such a dispensation. At the time of his ordination, he appeared in a lambskin cassock tied with a cord, and thus published to the world, that from that moment he renounced all its vanities. After his ordination, he returned to Conon, and made, under his direction, a severe retreat of forty days to dispose himself by tears, prayer, and fasting to say his first mass, which he came back to Santen to celebrate with his chapter. After the gospel was sung at high mass, he mounted the pulpit, and made a most pathetic sermon on the vanity of the world, the shortness of human life, and the insufficiency of all created beings to satisfy the heart of man; and he indirectly inveighed against the disorders of his colleagues. In a chapter which was held the next day, he pointed them out more distinctly, and pressed a reformation so vigorously, that several of them became perfect converts, and loudly condemned their past irregularities. But others, who could not bear that their sores should be touched to the quick, burst out into intemperate rage against him, and not content with ill-usage, they accused him to the pope's legate as an innovator, a hypocrite, and one who covered pernicious designs under the specious presence of zeal for a reformation of manners. The saint, having before his eyes the sins of his past life, confessed that he deserved all manner of contempt and ill treatment, and rejoiced under injuries and afflictions Nevertheless, reflecting on what he owed to God's honor, he purged himself before the legate, in a council held at Fritzlar, in 1118. Soon after, inflamed with an ardent zeal to live to God alone, he resigned all his ecclesiastical preferments into the hands of the archbishop of Cologne, and sold his own estate, giving the money to the poor, reserving only to himself ten marks of silver, a mule, and sacred vestments and ornaments for the altar. Thus divested of all that could engage his stay in his own country, he travelled barefoot to St. Giles's in Languedoc, where pope Gelasius II. was at that time. He threw himself at his holiness's feet, and with extraordinary compunction, made to him a general confession of his whole life, begging absolution of all his past disorders, especially of the irregularity committed in his receiving the holy orders of deacon and priest at the same time, with out observing the interstices prescribed by the canons, though it had been done by the dispensation of his diocesan; and cheerfully offered himself to make any satisfaction. He obtained of the pope faculties to preach the gospel where he judged proper. It was then the depth of winter. Yet he walked barefoot through the snow, and, inflamed with an ardent love of God, and desire of promoting his glory, seemed insensible to the rigors of the season. His whole life was a perpetual lent, and he never took his meal till evening, except on Sundays. He preached penance with incredible fruit over the provinces of Languedoc, Guienne, Poitou, and Orleanois. Till he came to Orleans, he had been accompanied only by two laymen; but, passing through that city, was joined by a subdeacon, who desired to assist him in his mission. His three disciples all fell sick, and died at Valenciennes, in Hainault, in 1119. In that city Burchard, bishop of Cambray, who had been acquainted with the saint in the emperor's court, meeting him, was extremely edified with his humility, penance, and zeal; and Hugh, his chaplain, quitting his hopes and prospects in the world, resolved to accompany Norbert in his apostolical labors: this great man afterwards succeeded him in the government of his order. With this companion, the saint preached penance through all Hainault, Brabant, and the territory of Liege. The people crowded to hear him wherever he came, and his sermons, enforced and illustrated by an evangelical life, procured the conversion of great numbers, reconciled those that were at variance, and engaged usurers and others to make restitution of their ill-gotten goods.
Pope Calixtus II. having succeeded Gelasius II. in 1119, Norbert went to Rheims, where his Holiness held a council soon after his exaltation. The prelates of that assembly were no less charmed with the eloquence, wisdom, and piety of this great servant of God, than amazed at the austerity of his penance, which some advised him in vain to moderate. He was introduced to the pope, who was one of the greatest men that had filled the apostolic chair, by Bartholomew bishop of Laon, and obtained a fresh grant of the privileges and faculties he had received from his predecessor. That prelate earnestly requested that his Holiness would allow him to fix the holy man in his diocese, that he might employ him in reforming the regular canons of St. Martin's church at Laon. The pope readily consented, but these canons could not be induced to submit to his severe regulations. Wherefore the zealous bishop gave the holy man the choice of several places to build a house. The saint pitched upon a lonesome valley called Premontre, in the forest of Coucy, where he found the remains of a small chapel, which bore the name of St. John, but stood in so barren a soil that the monks of St. Vincent at Laon, the proprietors of it, had abandoned it. The bishop bought of them this desert piece of land, and there built a monastery for the saint, who assembled out of Brabant thirteen brethren, desirous to serve God under his direction. Their number soon increased to forty, who made their profession on Christmas-day, 1121. The saint gave them the rule of St. Austin, with a white habit, destining them, in imitation of the angels in heaven, to sing the divine praises on earth. Their manner of living was very austere; but their order is no other than a reformation of regular canons. It was soon spread over several parts of Europe. Among the foundations made by our saint, that of St. Michael's at Antwerp was attended with circumstances which were illustrious proofs of his zeal. That town was then in the diocese of Cambray, and consisted at that time but of one parish, which fell into the hands of an unworthy pastor, by whose sloth and irregular conduct the flock was sunk into great disorders. Tankelin, a bold and eloquent heretic, took his advantage of this unhappy state of the church at Antwerp, and openly asserted that the institution of the priesthood is a fiction, and that the eucharist and other sacraments are of no service to salvation. He drew after him three thousand persons, who believed him a great prophet, and were ready to commit any outrages to support his impious extravagances. After he had spread his errors in the dioceses of Utrecht, Cambray, and the adjacent churches, luring the people with magnificent banquets, and practising the most filthy abominations of the Gnostics, he was slain in 1115, in those tumults which himself had raised, meeting with the usual fate of the authors of seditions and disturbers of the public peace.
The combustion, however, continued still to rage with no less fury than ever, and to fill the whole country with desolation. The reputation of the sanctity and erudition of Norbert attracted the eyes of all Europe; and the canons of Antwerp, in this distress of their church, being joined by Burchard their bishop, who resided at Cambray, implored his charitable assistance. The saint lost no time, and arrived at Antwerp with a select number of his canons who labored under his direction. Such was the success of this mission, that in a short time the people were undeceived, the heretics converted, abuses reformed, and the city restored to its former tranquillity and lustre. The clergy of Antwerp settled St. Michael's church on the saint and his order; and removed the ancient college of secular canons to our Lady's, which in 1559 was erected by pope Paul IV. into a cathedral, when Antwerp was made a bishop's see. The bishop of Cambray confirmed the donation of St. Michael's to the saint in 1124. St. Norbert revived the devotion of the people to the holy sacrament of the altar, and its frequent use, which heresy had interrupted, and had the comfort to see this church flourish in piety before he returned to his first settlement. His order was then much increased, and contained ten abbeys and eight hundred religious men. Among others who embraced his rule, count Godfrey, a nobleman of high renown in the empire, put on the habit at Floreff near Namur, and led an exemplary life in that convent, serving God in the humble quality of a lay-brother. Several other persons of distinction fled from the corruption of the world to the sanctuaries established by this great director in the paths of salvation. His institute had been approved by the legates of Calixtus II., but a more solemn confirmation being judged necessary, St. Norbert undertook a journey to Rome in 1125. Pope Honorius II., who had succeeded Calixtus II. in the close of the foregoing year, and was a great encourager of learning and of good men, received him with all possible marks of respect and affection, and granted all he desired, as appears by his bull, dated in the February following. The saint at his return to Premontre, put the abbey of St. Martin's at Laon under his rule, which the canons then demanded, though they had rejected it six or seven years before. The abbey of Viviers in the diocese of Soissons made the same step. Theobald, a prime nobleman of France, desired to embrace his order; but the saint diverted him from that design, showing him that God, by the situation in which he had placed him in the world, pointed out what he required at his hands; he made him sensible that his obligations to his family and bleeding country were ties in conscience, and that by faithfully acquitting himself of them, he would most effectually labor to advance the honor, and accomplish the will of God.
Norbert having completed the great work of the establishment of his order, was obliged to quit his monastery, to be placed in a more exalted station for the benefit of many. The count of Champagne, who did nothing of importance without the advice and direction of our saint, took him into Germany, whither he was going to conclude a treaty of marriage between himself and Maud, a niece to the bishop of Ratisbon. After the death of the unhappy emperor Henry V., Lothaire II., duke of Saxony, was chosen king of the Romans in 1125, though he was only crowned emperor at Rome in 1132, by pope Innocent II. This excellent prince, whose reign was equally glorious and religious, was holding a diet at Spire when the count and St. Norbert arrived at that city. Deputies from the city of Magdeburg were come to the same place to solicit Lothaire for an archbishop in the room of Roger, who died the year before. Two persons were proposed for that dignity; but Lothaire preferred Norbert to them both. At his name the deputies rejoiced exceedingly; and, indeed, the saint was the only person not pleased with the nomination. The pope's legate, cardinal Gerard, who afterwards sat in St. Peter's chair under the name of Lucius II., made use of his authority to oblige him to comply. The deputies of Magdeburg took him with them to that city, where he was met at a distance by the principal persons, and by his clergy. He followed the procession barefoot, and was conducted to the church, and thence to his palace. But his dress was so mean and poor, that the porter shut the door against him, saying: "Why will you go in to disturb my lords?" Those that followed cried out: "He is our bishop." The saint said to the porter: "Brother, you know me better than they do who have raised such a one to this dignity." In this high station the austerity of his life was the same he had practiced in a cloister, only his humility was snore conspicuous. By the joint weight of his authority, eloquence, and example, he made a great reformation both; in the clergy and laity of his diocese; and by his strenuous and undaunted resolution, he recovered a considerable part of the lands of his church which had fallen into the hands of certain powerful secular princes. But his zeal made those his enemies whom his charity could not gain to their duty They loaded him with injuries, decried him among themselves, and encouraged one another in their disobedience and contempt of his person, calling him a stranger, whose manners were opposite to theirs. To such an excess did their rage carry them, that some even made attempts upon his life. One who saw himself obliged by the saint to renounce his licentious manner of life, hired a villain to assassinate him under presence of going to confession on Maundy-Thursday. The saint was apprized of his design, as some authors affirm, by revelation, and he caused him to be searched as he came in, and a dagger was found upon him. Another shot an arrow at the saint, which only missed him to wound another that was near him. Of these villanies Norbert only said, without the least emotion: "Can you be surprised that the devil, after having offered violence to our divine Head, should assault his members?" He always pardoned the assassins, and showed himself ever ready to lay down his life in the defence of truth and justice. By this patience and unshaken courage, ha in three years broke through the chief difficulties which obstructed the reformation of manners he labored to introduce, and from that time he carried on the work, and performed the visitation of his diocese with ease and incredible success. He continued still to superintend the observance of discipline in his order, though upon his episcopal consecration he had left the government thereof to his first disciple Hugh. The fourth general chapter consisted of eighteen abbots.
After the death of pope Honorius II. an unhappy schism divided the church. Innocent II. was duly chosen on the 14th of February, 1130: notwithstanding which, Peter, the son of Leo, under the name of Anacletus II., was acknowledged at Rome, and by Roger duke of Sicily. The true pope was obliged to fly into France, where he held councils at Clermont, Rheims, and Puy in Velay. St. Bernard and St. Norbert labored vigorously to prevent or remedy the disorders which the schism brought into many places. St. Norbert assisted for this purpose at the council which the pope assembled at Rheims in 1131. Upon his return home, the emperor Lothaire, who resolved to march with an army to Rome to put Innocent II. in possession of the Lateran church in 1132, carried our holy bishop with him in that expedition, trusting that his piety, prayers, and zealous exhortations, would contribute very much to the success of his undertaking; and the event answered his expectations. The saint returned to Magdeburg, where he fell, ill, and after four months' tedious sickness, died the death of the just on the 6th of June, in the eighth year of his episcopal dignity, the fifty-third of his age, of our redemption 1134. He was canonized by Gregory XIII. in 1582. Pope Urban VIII. appointed his festival to be kept on the 10th of June. His body remained at Magdeburg till that city embraced the Lutheran doctrine and revolted. The emperor Charles V. laid siege to it; but was prevailed upon to withdraw his army for a great sum of money. In the reign of Ferdinand II. the Lutheran magistrates, at the request of the Norbertine order, and of many princes, consented that the body of St. Norbert should be removed out of their city. The emperor ordered that it should be translated to Prague; which was done with great pomp in 1627. The sacred treasure was carried into that city by fourteen abbots with their mitres on, and laid in the church called of Mount Sion, all the orders of the city attending the ceremony in the most solemn and magnificent procession.
St. Norbert is usually painted holding a ciborium in his hand. He is distinguished by this symbol on account of his extraordinary devotion to the blessed sacrament. He inculcated in all his sermons the frequent use of this divine food, being sensible from daily experience, and from the words of truth itself, that a neglect, and much more a distaste or loathing of the holy communion, is a deplorable symptom of a most dangerous state in a spiritual life. http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/N/stnorbert.asp


TODAY'S GOSPEL

Luke 15: 1 - 3, 11 - 32
1
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
2
And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."
3
So he told them this parable:
11
And he said, "There was a man who had two sons;
12
and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them.
13
Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living.
14
And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want.
15
So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16
And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything.
17
But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger!
18
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;
19
I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants."'
20
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
21
And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22
But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet;
23
and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry;
24
for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to make merry.
25
"Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26
And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant.
27
And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.'
28
But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him,
29
but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends.
30
But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!'
31
And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
32
It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"
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