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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: TUES. MARCH 2, 2010





CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: TUES. MARCH 2, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: GREETINGS TO PILGRIMS AT THE GENERAL AUDIENCE-
ASIA: PAKISTAN: CHRISTIANS GET 25 YEARS FOR TOUCHING QURAN UNCLEANLY-
MERICA: CUBA: FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT DIES-
AFRICA: KENYA: FR. THOMAS THAYIL OF SALESIANS DIES-
AUSTRALIA: CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS CONCERNED WITH CREATIONISM-
EUROPE: SPAIN: PRO-LIFE VIDEO LOOKS INTO POTENTIAL OF CHILD-
VATICAN
GREETINGS TO PILGRIMS AT THE GENERAL AUDIENCE VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father delivered greetings in different languages to various groups of pilgrims present in the Paul VI Hall. Addressing a group from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, the Holy Father said in English: "I offer my prayerful good wishes that the coming centenary of your university will strengthen your service to the pursuit of truth and your witness to the harmony of faith and reason". Speaking Polish, Benedict XVI then recalled the fact that this year is the Year of Fryderyk Chopin, marking the bicentenary of his birth. "May the music of this famous Polish composer, who made such a great contribution to the culture of Europe and the world, bring those who listen to him close to God and help them discover the depth of man's spirit", he said. Turning then to address participants in a meeting currently being celebrated in the Vatican on the subject of the pastoral care of gypsies, the Pope expressed the hope that "local Churches may work together to make an ever more effective commitment in support of gypsies".AG/GREETINGS/... VIS 100303 (200)
ASIA
PAKISTAN: CHRISTIANS GET 25 YEARS FOR TOUCHING QURAN UNCLEANLY
Asia News report:
Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi are convicted on the basis of the blasphemy law. In January, they were released on bail; now they are in two separate prison facilities. Extremist fringe put pressure, and perhaps corrupted police to find the right evidence to justify the conviction. Islamabad (AsiaNews) – A court in Kasur district, Punjab, convicted a Christian couple, Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi, to 25 years in prison. According to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), judge Ajmal Hussein convicted the couple for touching the Qur‘an without washing their hands.
Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi were released on bail last January, but were re-arrested after the judge ruled against them. The husband was locked up in Kasur’s district prison; the wife was sent to the women’s prison in Multan. Both have started serving 25 years behind bars.
CLAAS, an association that fights for the rights of the poor and marginalised, said that the couple was accused of “contaminating” the Qur‘an when they touched it “without washing their hands”.
The incident, which dates back to December 2008, unleashed the fury of Muslim extremists who put pressure on police. Unconfirmed reports suggest that extremists paid off police agents to discover “new evidence” to justify the sentence.
At the end of the police investigation, husband and wife were charged with blasphemy.
The blasphemy law is the harshest tool for religious repression available in Pakistan. It was adopted in 1986 by then dictator Zia ul-Haq to protect Islam and its prophet, Muhammad, from attacks and insults.
In fact, it is actually comprised of sections 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which respectively punish with life in prison anyone who defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur‘an, and imposes the death penalty on anyone who defiles the name of the Prophet Muhammad.
In the last two months, there were two more convictions against Christians in Pakistan.
On 11 January, a court in Faisalabad sentenced Imran Masih, a 26-year-old Christian man, to life imprisonment for insulting and desecrating the Koran. He was accused of deliberately burning Qur‘anic verses and an Arabic book in order “foment interfaith hatred and hurt the feelings of Muslims.”
On 25 February, a court in Karachi sentenced Qamar David, also a Christian, to life imprisonment for hurting the religious feelings of Muslims when he sent blasphemous SMS.
CLAAS announced that it was filing an appeal with the High Court in Lahore to have the 25-year sentence against Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi overturned.http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Punjab:-Christian-couple-touches-Qur‘an-with-dirty-hands,-gets-25-years-in-prison-17778.html

AMERICA
CUBA: FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT DIES
CNA report:
The founder and leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, said this weekend that the death of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata was due to the lazy reaction of the political world to warnings of his arrest and the abuse he received in prison.
In an article published on his website http://www.oswaldopaya.org/, the Christian Liberation Movement (CLM) leader said, “Before the heartbreaking death of Orlando, we made repeated calls on this website and other media sources to save the life of Orlando Zapata.”
“Other Cuban democracy supporters, in Cuba and abroad, did the same.” He added that “Reina, Orlando’s mother, even showed the t-shirt of her son bloodied from abuse in prison, and almost nobody listened.”
“This was just like when Pedro Luis Boitel went on a hunger strike in 1972, or when many years before, Che ordered executions by firing squad at La Cabana. In short, over the last 51 years…almost nobody has listened to the Cubans,” Paya lamented.
Paya said that he has been inundated with requests by the media for interviews about the Zapata case, but he wondered: “How long before they again forget about the suffering of the Cubans? Will another brother have to die for them to listen?”
He then called on the media and nations around the world to act now to secure the release of all political prisoners and thus avoid another tragedy.http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/cuban_dissident_died_because_nobody_listened_laments_paya/

AFRICA
KENYA: FR. THOMAS THAYIL OF SALESIANS DIES

CISA report:
Fr Thomas Thayil, the first Provincial of the Salesian Province of Bangalore and later former Provincial Superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco has passed on.He died on February 23, 2010 at Don Bosco Bhavan, Mannuthy, Thrissur Dt. Kerala India.According to Fr. Babu Augustine SDB, the late Fr. Thomas served at Don Bosco Upper Hill from 1985 to 1994. Later on, he was the Rector of the Philosophate at Moshi for six years. From 2000, he was at Salesian Seminary, Dodoma. In 2008 he went back to India for treatment.Fr. Thayil had undergone a successful hip replacement last December, but suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. He was being cared for by the community of Don Bosco Bhavan, Mannuthy.http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/story.asp?ID=4448


AUSTRALIA
CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS CONCERNED WITH CREATIONISM
Cath News report: Christian schools are concerned that a South Australian board decision to stop the teaching of creationism as part of science lessons will trigger similar action nationwide.
The chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O'Doherty, said a statement by the South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board was too strident, removing the right to teach "biblical perspectives" as part of science, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
He said the policy set a precedent which might be taken up in other states, including NSW, where the issue had been the subject of intense debate two years ago
Under policies published in December, the board said it required "teaching of science as an empirical discipline, focusing on inquiry, hypothesis, investigation, experimentation, observation and evidential analysis".
The board said it "does not accept as satisfactory a science curriculum in a non-government school which is based on, espouses or reflects the literal interpretation of a religious text in its treatment of either creationism or intelligent design".
The NSW Board of Studies has said science teaching which was not scientifically or evidence-based would not be part of assessment for the School Certificate or Higher School Certificate, the Herald reports.
Mr O'Doherty said the South Australian policy indicated it was banning teaching of the subject altogether. It was the only such subject singled out, he said. Taken literally, "it means you cannot mention the Bible in science classes", he is cited saying.
A spokesman for the South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board is quoted saying there is no ban on teaching creationism: "It can be taught in religious studies". http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=19687
EUROPE
SPAIN: PRO-LIFE VIDEO LOOKS INTO POTENTIAL OF CHILD

CNA report:
What is the potential of an unborn child who is given a chance at life? One Spanish pro-life organization has answered this question in a television commercial featuring both Mother Teresa and Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt.
The commercial also promotes the upcoming pro-life rallies in Spain which will be held March 7 to give citizens the opportunity to voice their opposition to the government's new abortion law.
“At 3,312 weeks she will help those most in need,” the spot says, showing an image of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. “At 1,056 he will be the fastest,” it continues, with a photo of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.
Titled, “Give Life Potential,” the video was produced by Francisco Javier Jimenez Rivero, media director for the pro-life website HazteOir.org.
Spain's recently passed law allows abortion on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and permits the procedure up to 22 weeks if the pregnancy endangers the mother's health.
According to Rivero, the commercial focuses on “what would happen if the human being” beyond “the arbitrary limit of 22 weeks … was given the potential to live.”
The video can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFAnthDcW1o
The International March for Life will also take place on March 7 in 70 cities across Spain, Europe, Latin America, the United States and Australia.

TODAY'S SAINT



St. Agnes of Prague
PRINCESS, ABBESS, MIRACLE WORKER
Feast: March 2
Information:
Feast Day:
March 2
Born:
1211, Prague
Died:
March 6, 1282, Prague
Canonized:
November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II

Born at Prague in the year 1200; died probably in 1281. She was the daughter of Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, a relative of St. Elizabeth. At an early age she was sent to the monastery of Treinitz, where at the hands of the Cistercian religious she received the education that became her rank. She was betrothed to Frederick II, Emperor of Germany; but when the time arrived for the solemnization of the marriage, it was impossible to persuade her to abandon the resolution she had made of consecrating herself to the service of God in the sanctuary of the cloister. The Emperor Frederick was incensed at the unsuccessful issue of his matrimonial venture, but, on learning that St. Agnes had left him to become the spouse of Christ, he is said to have remarked: "If she had left me for a mortal man, I would have taken vengeance with the sword, but I cannot take offence because in preference to me she has chosen the King of Heaven." The servant of God entered the Order of St. Clare in the monastery of St. Saviour at Prague, which she herself had erected. She was elected abbess of the monastery, and became in this office a model of Christian virtue and religious observance for all. God favoured her with the gift of miracles, and she predicted the victory of her brother Wenceslaus over the Duke of Austria. The exact year of her death is not certain; 1281 is the most probable date. SOURCE:




TODAY'S GOSPEL


Matthew 23: 1 - 12
1
Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,
2
"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;
3
so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.
4
They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
5
They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,
6
and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,
7
and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.
8
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.
9
And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
10
Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.
11
He who is greatest among you shall be your servant;
12
whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
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