Thursday, March 11, 2010





(VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received participants in an annual course on the "internal forum" organised by the Apostolic Penitentiary. By participating in the course, he told them, "you have shown the pressing need to dedicate deeper study to a subject that is essential for the ministry and the life of priests". Benedict XVI recalled how this year's course coincides with the current Year for Priests, dedicated to St. John Mary Vianney, "who heroically and fruitfully exercised the ministry of Reconciliation. ... From the saintly 'Cure of Ars' we priests can learn not only a limitless trust in the Sacrament of Penance which leads us to reinstate it as the focus of our pastoral concerns, but also the method of 'the dialogue of salvation' which must be part thereof", he said. "Awareness of one's own limits and the need to turn to Divine Mercy in order to ask forgiveness, to convert the heart and to find support on the path of saintliness, are fundamentals in the life of priests. Only someone who has himself experienced greatness can convincingly announce and administer the Mercy of God", the Holy Father explained. The current cultural context, characterised by "a hedonistic and relativist mentality which tends to remove God from the horizon of life, does not facilitate our acquisition of a clear picture of reference values, and does not help us to discern good from evil or to develop a correct sense of sin". This, the Pope noted, is not very different from the period in which St. John Mary Vianney lived, marked as it was by "a mentality hostile to the faith, as expressed by certain forces that even sought to prevent the exercise of the priestly ministry. "In these circumstances, the saintly 'Cure of Ars' made 'the church his home' in order to lead men and women to God", the Pope added, "and he appeared to his contemporaries to be an evident sign of God that he encouraged many penitents to come to his confessional". Thus, the Holy Father went on, "it is necessary for priests to live their own response to vocation 'exaltedly', because only someone who daily becomes living and clear presence of the Lord can arouse a sense of sin in the faithful, give them courage and stimulate their desire for forgiveness from God". "The 'crisis' in the Sacrament of Penance, which is often spoken of, is an appeal addressed first and foremost to priests and to their great responsibility to educate the people of God in the radical demands of the Gospel. In particular, it calls on them generously to dedicate themselves to hearing sacramental confessions, and courageously to guide their flock not to conform itself to this world, but to make choices that go against the tide, avoiding deals and compromises". Finally, Benedict XVI invited priests to open a "dialogue of salvation" with their penitents, as suggested by the "Cure of Ars". A dialogue that, "arising from the certainty of being loved by God, helps man to recognise his own sin and progressively to introduce himself into a stable process of conversion of heart, which leads to the radical rejection of evil and to a life lived in accordance with God's wishes".AC/CONFESSION/APOSTOLIC PENITENTIARY VIS 100311 (560)

MESSAGE FOR THE DEATH OF SHEIKH TANTAWI VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has sent the following English-language message, in the Pope's name, to Sheikh Muhammad Abd al-Aziz Wasil, "wakil" of al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. "Having learned of the sudden death of the Grand Imam and Sheikh of al-Azhar, Dr. Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, Pope Benedict XVI has asked me to convey to your community and to the family of Sheikh Tantawi his heartfelt and prayerful condolences. He recalls the distinguished figure of this religious leader, who for long years was a valued partner in the dialogue between Muslims and Catholics. "I willingly express my own condolences and I recall with gratitude the impulse which the late Sheikh gave to the meetings between the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee for Dialogue of al-Azhar".MESS/TANTAWI DEATH/BERTONE VIS 100311 (150)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. - Five prelates from the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro M.C.C.J. of Juba. - Msgr. Roko Taban Mousa, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Malakal, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Vincent Mojwok Nyiker. - Bishop Cesare Mazzolari M.C.C.J. of Rumbek. - Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala Tombura-Yambio.AP:AL/.../... VIS 100311 (90)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Jorge Solorzano Perez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, as bishop of Granada (area 7,453, population 543,000, Catholics 445,000, priests 74, religious 191), Nicaragua. He succeeds Bishop Bernardo Hombach, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Msgr. John Douglas Deshotel of the clergy of the diocese of Dallas, U.S.A., vicar general, and Msgr. Mark Joseph Seitz, also of the clergy of the diocese of Dallas, pastor of the parish of St. Rita, as auxiliaries of Dallas (area 19,475, population 3,630,955, Catholics 1,094,688, priests 198, permanent deacons 143, religious 196). Bishop-elect Deshotel was born in Kinder, U.S.A. in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1978. Bishop-elect Seitz was born in Milwaukee, U.S.A. in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1980.NER:RE:NEA/.../... VIS 100311 (150)


Asia News report:
From 1998 to 2010 at least 4,500 women and children have crossed the borders of Vietnam to supply the prostitution racket. Some 65% go to China, then Cambodia, Laos, to the Europea, African and America. Internet sites sell children on the net. Is the new form of slavery which characterizes the 21st century.
Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Children sold on internet auctions to the highest bidder, through specialized sites that are updatedat least "three or four times day with new arrivals". Women who end up in prostitution, treated as "sex slaves" by traffickers of neighbouring countries - Cambodia and China - or for the European, American and African markets. In Vietnam the evil trade in human lives continues, with numbers increasing every year.
A government document published recently, shows that from 1998 to early 2010 about 4,500 women and children have crossed the borders of Vietnam, in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers. A phenomenon that began in 1987 when Hanoi opened its borders to a market economy, and exacerbated by numerous cases of corruption involving local authorities or people of "middle class." The intervention of NGOs and charities operating between Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand has had little effect.
In 2009, joint operations of the Vietnamese and Cambodian government led to the arrest of 31 traffickers, saving the lives of 70 victims preparing to cross the border into Cambodia. A social activist reports that, again last year, 981 women and children were sold in Cambodia or China. At least 781 people involved in the trafficking of human lives.
The highest trade is recorded at the border between China and Vietnam; where of the volume of total traffic is about 65%. Women feed the prostitution market, or are sold as brides to the highest bidder or exploited as labour. Another 10% is recorded along the border between Vietnam and Cambodia: the women are used as prostitutes, or transit in the country before reaching European countries including England, France and Germany. There is also a 6.3% crossing the Vietnamese border in the direction of Laos, passing through the provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri.
In some cases, the victims of extortion are brought to the ports of Tan San Nhat and Noi Bai, heading for Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Macau or to the nations of Europe, Africa and America. Since the authorities in Bangkok began a crackdown on prostitution, especially child prostitution, Vietnam has become the new "hot zone" for sex tourism. And as always the points of reference are the bars, discos, the resort areas of major cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Hai Phong and Da Nag.
P. Martino, a member of an NGO that deals with social issues, explains that the goal "is to help Vietnamese children, sold as 'sex slaves' in Cambodia." Children are sold in their "hundreds" even on the internet, on sites that define them as "new products" and are updated at least "three or four times a day." The sex market, he concludes, is "a new form of slavery characteristic of the 21st century."


CISA report:
International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has submitted more evidence to the pre-trial judges which include 20 names of PNU and ODM politicians as well as prominent businessmen suspected of fuelling the post election violence of 2007 in Kenya.However, Ocampo says the names will remain secret and are only to help the court decide whether to allow him to officially open investigations into the Kenyan case."These senior leaders from both PNU and ODM parties were guided by political objectives to retain or gain power," said the prosecutor. According to Ocampo, the prominent personalities organized, enticed and financed attacks against Kenyans on account of their perceived ethnic and political affiliation. "They utilized their personal, government, business and tribal networks to commit the crimes. They implemented their policy with the involvement of a number of State officers and public and private institutions, such as members of the parliament, senior government officers, the police force and youth gangs".The prosecutor further told the judges that the 20 utilized their personal, government, business and tribal networks to commit the crimes. Meanwhile, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC) Vice chairman Hassan Omar has commended the move by Ocampo saying it was an indication that justice will prevail soon. Ocampo had until today to provide more evidence as requested by the Pre-Trial Chamber judges last month. The names were identified by different inquiries into the post-election violence, including those carried out by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Waki Commission.


CNA report:
Dozens of Spanish women protested at the country's Ministry of Health on Monday, the International Day for Women, and announced the formation of a Union of Mothers” to stand up for the rights of stay-at-home moms.
“The reason we are creating what we call a ‘Union of Mothers,’ is that our feminist struggle has little by little taken an insufficient direction. We do not want to be treated like men, but rather being fully feminine, we wish to be treated equally with the same opportunities,” they said in a statement.
“Mothers are not protected,” they continued, noting that “Sometimes this is because we ourselves, blinded by the same pursuit of career as men, think that being a mother hinders our growth.”
The women said they intend to work for changes in society and in business to ensure that motherhood is recognized as a social good, deserving of assistance from the state and society. They also called for a reduction in the tax on diapers, an extension on maternity leave benefits, day-care services at the office, and more flexible working hours.
“Now is the time for us women, who alone are capable of giving life to another being, to unite, and like our ancestors in the feminist movement did … tell the state, businesses and society that we are proud to be women, to be mothers, and to contribute to a new generation in history,” they said.
“Welcome to true feminism. To the feminism of those who demand respect - not masculinity - of women and mothers, of those who work and are pregnant, of the women who do not want to give up anything because they know they can achieve it all, of those who speak of femininity and not of rights.”
Welcome to the feminism of mothers who, like Tolstoy said, are the ones who have the salvation of the world in our hands, who have a will for life and for love to a heroic degree,” the statement concluded.


USCCB report:
As part of an effort to address the long-term needs of the Haitian people, the United States needs to extend trade preferences for Haiti, said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In a February 19 letter, Bishop Hubbard called on the Senate Foreign Relations and Finance Committees to support the “Renewing Hope for Haitian Trade and Investment Act” (S. 2978) so that it moves quickly through the legislative process. “While an integrated vision of what it will take to help Haiti recover from the earthquake of January 12, 2010 is needed, the people of Haiti cannot wait until a comprehensive strategic plan is developed,” Bishop Hubbard wrote. “The bill represents an important start and an opportunity to improve the lives of the Haitian people.” The bishop noted that the “Renewing Hope for Haitian Trade and Investment Act” would extend the preferences already granted to Haiti under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership (HOPE II) Act of 2008 and the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act. The latter is due to expire in October and is already influencing importers’ fall season orders of apparel goods manufactured in Haiti. S 2978 would extend HOPE II through 2022 and the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act through 2013. Bishop Hubbard noted that improvements could be made to S. 2978. “Down the road it will be important to adopt broader preferential treatment for Haitian goods, but immediately extending the existing preferences will be important to the sustainable development of Haiti,” he wrote. “While under this modest legislation Haitian factories are still limited in what they can produce and export under the U.S. preference program to basic garments that have ‘little’ value added, extending the existing trade preferences will help the Haitian economy quickly create badly needed jobs and can reduce poverty in the long-term as well as encourage exporters to rebuild more quickly.” The letter from Bishop Hubbard can be found online at: ---


Cath News report:
Tasmania's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has unveiled a plaque at Hobart's St Mary's Cathedral to recognise Aborigines as the traditional owners of the cathedral grounds.

It is the first time the state's Church has given such recognition, the ABC reports.
Archbishop Doyle said the ceremony was a first, but "I'm hoping it's not the last" and expressed hope for similar ceremonies "at the entrance to all our churches."
Aboriginal elder elder Eva Richardson was quoted as saying the ceremony was an important step toward reconciliation.


St. Eulogius
Feast: March 11
Feast Day:
March 11
prior to 819, Córdoba, Spain
March 11, 859
Major Shrine:
Cathedral of Oviedo

Spanish martyr and writer who flourished during the reigns of the Cordovan Caliphs, Abd-er-Rahman II and Mohammed I (822-886). It is not certain on what date or in what year of the ninth century he was born; it must have been previous to 819, because in 848 he was a priest highly esteemed among the Christians of Catalonia and Navarre, and priesthood was then conferred only on men thirty years of age. The family of the saint was of the nobility and held land in Cordova from Roman times. The Mussulman rulers of Spain, at the beginning of the eighth century, tolerated the creed of the Christians and left them, with some restrictions, their civil rule, ecclesiastical hierarchy, monasteries, and property, but made them feel the burden of subjection in the shape of pecuniary exactions and military service. In the large cities like Toledo and Cordova, the civil rule of the Christians did not differ from that of the Visigothic epoch. The government was exercised by the comes (count), president of the council of senators, among whom we meet a similarly named ancestor of Eulogius. The saint, like his five brothers, received an excellent education in accord with his good birth and under the guardianship of his mother Isabel. The youngest of the brothers, Joseph, held a high office in the palace of Abd-er-Rahman II; two other brothers, Alvarus and Isidore, were merchants and traded on a large scale as far as Central Europe. Of his sisters, Niola and Anulona, the first remained with her mother; the second was educated from infancy in a monastery where she later became a nun.
After completing his studies in the monastery of St. Zoilus, Eulogius continued to live with his family the better to care for his mother; also, perhaps, to study with famous masters, one of whom was Abbot Speraindeo, an illustrious writer of that time. In the meantime he found a friend in the celebrated Alvarus Paulus, a fellow-student, and they cultivated together all branches of science, sacred and profane, within their reach. Their correspondence in prose and verse filled volumes; later they agreed to destroy it as too exuberant and lacking in polish. Alvarus married, but Eulogius preferred the ecclesiastical career, and was finally ordained a priest by Bishop Recared of Cordova. Alvarus has left us a portrait of his friend: "Devoted", he says, "from his infancy to the Scriptures, and growing daily in the practice of virtue, he quickly reached perfection, surpassed in knowledge all his contemporaries, and became the teacher even of his masters. Mature in intelligence, though in body a child, he excelled them all in science even more than they surpassed him in years. Fair in feature [clarus vultu], honest and honourable, he shone by his eloquence, and yet more by his works. What books escaped his avidity for reading? What works of Catholic writers, of heretics and Gentiles, chiefly philosophers? Poets, historians, rare writings, all kinds of books, especially sacred hymns, in the composition of which he was a master, were read and digested by him; his humility was none the less remarkable and he readily yielded to the judgment of others less learned than himself." This humility shone particularly on two occasions. In his youth he had decided to make a foot pilgrimage to Rome; notwithstanding his great fervour and his devotion to the sepulchre of the Prince of the Apostles (a notable proof of the union of the Mozarabic Church with the Holy See), he gave up his project, yielding to the advice of prudent friends. Again, during the Saracenic persecution, in 850, after reading a passage of the works of St. Epiphanius he decided to refrain for a time from saying Mass that he might better defend the cause of the martyrs; however, at the request of his bishop, Saul of Cordova, he put aside his scruples. His extant writings are proof that Alvarus did not exaggerate. They give an account of what is most important from 848 to 859 in Spanish Christianity, both without and within the Mussulman dominions, especially of the lives of the martyrs who suffered during the Saracenic persecution, quorum para ipse magna fuit. He was elected Archbishop of Toledo shortly before he was beheaded (11 March, 859). He left a perfect account of the orthodox doctrine which he defended, the intellectual culture which he propagated, the imprisonment and sufferings which he endured; in a word, his writings show that he followed to the letter the exhortation of St. Paul: Imitatores mei estote sicut et ego Christi. He is buried in the cathedral of Oviedo.


Luke 11: 14 - 23
Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled.
But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Be-el'zebul, the prince of demons";
while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven.
But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.
And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Be-el'zebul.
And if I cast out demons by Be-el'zebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace;
but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
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