Wednesday, April 28, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Vatican Publishing House has recently released a new edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, comprising information on the main aspects of Catholic Church activity in various countries for the period 2000-2008.
Over these nine years, the Catholic presence in the world has grown from 1,045 million in 2000 to 1,166 million in 2008, an increase of 11.54 percent. Considering the statistics in detail, numbers in Africa grew by 33 percent, in Europe they remained generally stable (an increase of 1.17 percent), while in Asia they increased by 15.61 percent, in Oceania by 11.39 percent and in America by 10.93 percent. As a percentage of the total population, European Catholics represented 26.8 percent in 2000 and 24.31 percent in 2008. In America and Oceania they have remained stable, and increased slightly in Asia.
The number of bishops in the world went up from 4541 in 2000 to 5002 in 2008, an increase of 10.15 percent.
The number of priests also increased slightly over this nine-year period, passing from 405,178 in 2000 to 409,166 in 2008, an overall rise of 0.98 percent. In Africa and Asia their numbers increased (respectively, by 33.1 percent and 23.8 percent), in the Americas they remained stable, while they fell by 7 percent in Europe and 4 percent in Oceania.
The number of diocesan priests increased by 3.1 percent, going from 265,781 in 2000 to 274,007 in 2008. By contrast, the number of regular priests showed a constant decline, down by 3.04 percent to 135,159 in 2008. Of the continents, only Europe showed a clear reduction in priests: in 2000 they represented 51 percent of the world total, in 2008 just 47 percent. On the other hand, Asia and Africa together represented 17.5 percent of the world total in 2000 and 21.9 percent in 2008. The Americas slightly increased its percentage to around 30 percent of the total.
Non-ordained religious numbered 55.057 in the year 2000 and 54,641 in 2008. Comparing this data by continent, Europe showed a strong decline (down by 16.57 percent), as did Oceania (22.06 percent), the Americas remained stable, while Asia and Africa grew (respectively, by 32 percent and 10.47 percent).
Female religious are almost double the number of priests, and 14 times that of non-ordained male religious, but their numbers are falling, from 800,000 in 2000 to 740,000 in 2008. As for their geographical distribution, 41 percent reside in Europe, 27.47 percent in America, 21.77 percent in Asia and 1.28 percent in Oceania. The number of female religious has increased in the most dynamic continents: Africa (up by 21 percent) and Asia (up by 16 percent).
The Statistical Yearbook of the Church also includes information on the number of students of philosophy and theology in diocesan and religious seminaries. In global terms, their numbers increased from 110.583 in 2000 to more than 117.024 in 2008. In Africa and Asia their numbers went up, whereas Europe saw a reduction.


Asia News report: A stray bullet kills Adil Masih, 13, during a shootout between two rival Muslim gangs. Christians demand justice. Police responds with tear gas and truncheons. For the second time in just a few months, a “mysterious” fire ravages a Christian school for girls in Punjab.

Gujranwala (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hundreds of Christians clashed with police during a demonstration that followed the death of a 13-year-old boy, Adil Masih, who was killed during a shootout between two rival Muslim gangs. According to Assist News Service (ANS), the fatal incident occurred last Friday in Dullay, a village in Gujranwala District (Punjab). The Christian boy died from a gunshot wound caused by a stray bullet.
News of the death spread among local Christians, who took to one of the village’s main streets. They blocked road and train traffic, demanding justice. The crowd shouted anti-government slogans, but remained peaceful.
However, when police moved in, tensions rose. Law enforcement used tear gas against the demonstrators, used truncheons to beat people up and fired warning shots in the air. Five people were injured, including two journalists.
Eyewitnesses told ANS that when police began shooting in the air, protesters became angry and started pelting vehicles and shops with stones and bricks.
“Some women fell unconscious from tear gas,” one eyewitness said. “Some police officers were also injured after being hit by the stones hurled by the mob.” The standoff lasted about three hours.
A high-ranking police official tried to reassure the local Christian community, saying, “Justice would be served”; Adil Masih’s killers “would be nailed down, prosecuted and penalised.”
In the meantime, elsewhere in the country, anti-Christian violence continues unabated. On Sunday, fire broke out in a girls’ hostel in Murree, a hill station in Punjab, under “mysterious circumstances”, the Pakistan Christian Post reported. About 100 Christian girls were staying at the facility when the incident occurred. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed.
The hostel is part of the St Deny’s Girls High School. It is the second time that a fire breaks out at the facility under suspicious circumstances. On 4 November 2009, the school, which is owned and run by the Catholic Diocese of Lahore, suffered significant damages. The cause of that blaze was never determined.
Areas where the influence of Islamic extremists is strongest, especially in the North West Frontier Province, women’s and girls’ educational facilities are coming increasingly under attack. Buildings are set on fire and students are attacked with acid.’s-death,-police-charge-protesters-18246.html

ITALY: GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATES BABY LEFT TO DIE report: The Italian government has announced that it will launch an investigation of a hospital where a premature baby born alive following an attempted abortion was left to die for hours, before receiving medical attention thanks to the intervention of a priest.

"If the reports are correct we are talking about a grave case of therapeutic abandonment of a very premature newborn, probably also with some form of disability: an act against the sense of human pity but also against all ethics of medical practice," said Eugenia Roccella, the Italian Subsecretary of Health.
"The Ministry of Health will send its inspectors to Rossano Calabro hospital to see that the case is effectively addressed, and to verify that respect has been shown for law 194, which prohibits abortion when there is the possibility of an autonomous life for the fetus, and allows it only if the continuation of the pregnancy is dangerous to the life of the woman," Roccella added.
The baby, who was at 22 weeks gestation, was aborted in a hospital in Rossano reportedly because he suffered from a deformity, although the mother has also claimed that the pregnancy posed a medical risk. After surviving the doctor's attempt to kill him, the infant was given no medical treatment and was left to die.
According to reports in the Italian media, the situation was discovered by a priest, who had heard of the abortion and had come to pray for the soul of the infant.
However, he was shocked to find that the child was moving and breathing, wrapped in a sheet and lying unattended with his umbilical cord still attached. He reported the situation to the doctors, who then placed the child in intensive care in a neighboring hospital. However, he died only a few hours later.
In addition to the investigation by the national health ministry, local officials in Rossano are also reportedly investigating the case to determine if there was negligence on the part of doctors.
Many similar cases of children left to die after surviving abortions have been documented in the American media as well, prompting the passage of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2002. Barack Obama, the current U.S. president, had infamously opposed a state version of the bill while serving as a senator in Illinois.


CNA report. As protesters gathered outside Peru's Apostolic Nunciature last Saturday to speak out against recent statements by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone connecting pedophilia and homosexuality, a group of Peruvian Catholics showed up in counter-protest to pray the Rosary and defend the Church.

Pro-life organizations organized the counter-protest which brought together many young people who eagerly demonstrated their public support of the Pope and the Church at large.
The gathering lasted for almost two hours. During that time, the counter-protesters sang songs, prayed the Rosary and shouted slogans such as, "Long live Benedict XVI!" "Long live the Church!" and "Long live Celibacy!"
To the rhythm of the chant, "Benedict my friend, Peru is with you," Catholics wearing white shirts as a symbol of solidarity calmly stood before protesters from groups such as Catholics for Free Choice and various gay rights groups.
"We came to pray for the Pope who is being attacked unjustly,” said Marcos, a college student present at the counter-protest. “I believe that Benedict XVI is a saint who has acted very strongly against cases” of abusive priests, the young man affirmed.
Maria Carmen, a Catholic mother who was also present, said, "It is the duty of all Catholics to defend the Pope and the Church.
“We need to make clear that it is only a few members of the clergy who have committed disgraceful acts,” she declared. "I know of many holy priests that do marvelous things which no one ever speaks of, and that is regrettable.”


All Africa report: Christian groups have begun preparations to formally launch the No campaign against the draft constitution a day after the Cabinet shut the door on changes before the referendum.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Thursday criticised the Cabinet on the decision it took arguing that it ought to have remained neutral so as to facilitate consensus building.
And on the suggestion that changes could be done after the referendum, the NCCK said the government could no longer be trusted. "We did no consider the offer to be honest. The Church participated in the talks in spirit and with a lot of patience hoping to steer the country forward on the right path but we have been duped," said NCCK deputy general secretary Oliver Kisaka during the Nairobi region conference in Limuru. "All the options the church had to build consensus have been systematically closed. We have no option but to reject the proposed law."The clerics said the whole exercise was clouded in mischief to delay the No team from launching its campaign as the Yes team toured the country promoting the proposed law.
"We have already begun mobilising support against the draft but we shall formally launch the campaign soon," he said.
The NCCK supported the action by the Kenya Christian Church Leaders to pull out of the meeting with the government with Rev Kisaka reiterating they would not renege on that position.
When asked whether they would attend the meetings, he retorted: "Somebody has already taken a decision without engaging us. How then can we meet"?
Rev Kisaka said the Church's strong opposition to draft stems from the failures the clergy noted at the 2005 referendum. At the time the Church asked its followers to read the draft law and decide on their own how they would vote.
"We failed to give leadership in 2005, so now we must guide our flock on the right path. We cannot afford a repeat at this time," he said.
The Church objects to the clause on abortion and retention of kadhis' court in the proposed law. The NCCK insisted that failure to amend the contentious areas would result in injustice, leading to inequality and conflict.
"Recognising that these issues have been raised time and again by the church yet ignored by the organs of review, and noting the decision made by the cabinet yesterday (Tuesday), we announce here today (Thursday) that we are mobilising our members to vote No at the referendum," said Bishop Joseph Kilioba who read the NCCK statement.
The draft, the clerics noted was defective in its architecture and spirit.
Questions have been raised that the Christian clergy have not been united and were only speaking for themselves and not their followers after the recent opinion polls suggested the draft enjoyed almost two-thirds support among Kenyans.
Retired PCEA moderator Rev Timothy Njoya and his counterpart former ACK leader Rt Rev David Gitari have also broken ranks with the rest of the clergy to support the draft.
However, the clerics dismissed the results of the opinion poll terming them 'immature' and also discounted claims of polarisation in the church.
"We are the elected leaders and we speak on behalf of the people who put us in the office. If one or two people are not satisfied with what the national executive committee has decided does not mean the church is polarised," responded Rev Kisaka.


Cath News report: Former Adelaide mayoress Valmai Roche has stated in her will that her daughters should be left "30 pieces of silver of the lowest denomination" from her $3.5 million estate, leaving the rest to Catholic charity Knights of the Southern Cross. Daughters Deborah Hamilton, Fiona Roche and Shauna Roche were also left jewellery from Ms Roche's collection on condition they correctly answered questions relating to their mother's personal diaries, according to a report in The Adelaide Advertiser.
Ms Roche, who died last year aged 81, believed they were involved in the death of her mother and said the amount was "blood money due to Judas", The Economic Times quotes from a Daily Telegraph report.
Her daughters are challenging the will in the South Australian Supreme Court, claiming Ms Roche was "delusional". The matter returns to court next month.
Ms Roche's mother Dorothy Maude Haber was being cared for in a nursing home. Court documents do not reveal how or when she died.
Ms Roche also left "30 pieces of silver" for her ex-husband John Roche, who was Adelaide City Council Lord Mayor from 1975 to 1977.


St. Zita

Feast: April 27

Information: Feast Day: April 27

Born: 1218 at Monsagrati near Lucca, Italy

Died: 27 April 1272 at Lucca, Italy

Canonized: 5 September 1696 by Pope Leo X and Pope Innocent XII

Major Shrine: Basilica di San Frediano, Lucca

Patron of: Domestic servants, homemakers, lost keys, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, single laywomen, waiters, waitresses
She was born in the beginning of the thirteenth century at Montsegradi, a village near Lucca in Italy. She was brought up with the greatest care, in the fear of God, by her poor virtuous mother, whose early and constant attention to inspire the tender heart of her daughter with religious sentiments seemed to find no obstacles, either from private passions or the general corruption of nature, so easily were they prevented or overcome. Zita had no sooner attained the use of reason, and was capable of knowing and loving God, than her heart was no longer able to relish any other object, and she seemed never to lose sight of him in her actions. Her mother reduced all her instructions to two short heads, and never had occasion to use any further remonstrance to enforce her lessons than to say, "This is most pleasing to God; this is the divine will"; or, "That would displease God."
The sweetness and modesty of the young child charmed everyone who saw her. She spoke little, and was most assiduous at her work; but her business never seemed to interrupt her prayers. At twelve years of age she was put to service in the family of a citizen of Lucca, called Fatinelli, whose house was contiguous to the church of St. Frigidian. She was thoroughly persuaded that labour is enjoined all men as a punishment of sin, and as a remedy for the spiritual disorders of their souls; and far from ever harbouring in her breast the least uneasiness, or expressing any sort of complaint under contradictions, poverty, and hardships, and still more from ever entertaining the least idle, inordinate, or worldly desire, she blessed God for placing her in a station in which she was supplied with the most effectual means to promote her sanctification, by the necessity of employing herself in penitential labour, and of living in a perpetual conformity and submission of her will to others. She was also very sensible of the advantages of her state, which afforded all necessaries of life, without engaging her in the anxious cares and violent passions by which worldly persons, who enjoy most plentifully the goods of fortune, are often disturbed; whereby their souls resemble a troubled sea, always agitated by impetuous storms, without knowing the sweetness of a true calm. She considered her work as an employment assigned her by God, and as part of her penance; and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep. She took care to hear mass every morning with great devotion before she was called upon by the duties of her station, in which she employed the whole day with such diligence and fidelity that she seemed to be carried to them on wings, and studied when possible to anticipate them.
Notwithstanding her extreme attention to her exterior employments, she acquired a wonderful facility of joining with them almost continual mental prayer and of keeping her soul constantly attentive to the divine presence. Who would not imagine that such a person should have been esteemed and beloved by all who knew her?
Nevertheless, by the appointment of divine providence, for her great spiritual advantage, it fell out quite otherwise and for several years she suffered the harshest trials. Her modesty was called by her fellow-servants simplicity, and want of spirit and sense; and her diligence was judged to have no other spring than affectation and secret pride. Her mistress was a long time extremely prepossessed against her, and her passionate master could not bear her in his sight without transports of rage.
It is not to be conceived how much the saint had continually to suffer in this situation. So unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten, she never repined nor lost her patience; but always preserved the same sweetness in her countenance, and the same meekness and charity in her heart and words, and abated nothing of her application to her duties. A virtue so constant and so admirable at length overcame jealousy, antipathy, prepossession, and malice.
Her master and mistress discovered the treasure which their family possessed in the fidelity and example of the humble saint, and the other servants gave due praise to her virtue. Zita feared this prosperity more than adversity, and trembled lest it should be a snare to her soul. But sincere humility preserved her from its dangers; and her behaviour, amidst the caresses and respect shown her, continued the same as when she was ill-treated and held in derision; she was no less affable, meek, and modest; no less devout, nor less diligent or ready to serve everyone. Being made housekeeper, and seeing her master and mistress commit to her with an entire confidence the government of their family and management of all their affairs, she was most scrupulously careful in point of economy, remembering that she was to give to God an account of the least farthing of what was intrusted as a depositum in her .hands; and, though head-servant, she never allowed herself the least privilege or exemption in her work on that account.
She used often to say to others that devotion is false if slothful. Hearing a man-servant speak one immodest word, she was filled with horror, and procured him to be immediately discharged from the family. With David, she desired to see it composed only of such whose approved piety might draw down a benediction of God upon the whole house and be a security to the master for their fidelity and good example. She kept fast the whole year, and often on bread and water; and took her rest on the bare floor or on a board. Whenever business allowed her a little leisure, she spent it in holy prayer and contemplation in a little retired room in the garret; and at her work repeated frequently ardent ejaculations of divine love, with which her soul appeared always inflamed. She respected her fellow-servants as her superiors. If she was sent on commissions a mile or two in the greatest storms, she set out without delay, executed them punctually, and returned often almost drowned, without showing any sign of reluctance or murmuring.
By her virtue she gained so great an ascendant over her master that a single word would often suffice to check the greatest transports of his rage; and she would sometimes cast herself at his feet to appease him in favour of others. She never kept anything for herself but the poor garments which she wore: everything else she gave to the poor. Her master, seeing his goods multiply, as it were, in her hands, gave her ample leave to bestow liberal alms on the poor, which she made use of with discretion, but was scrupulous to do nothing without his express authority. If she heard others spoken ill of, she zealously took upon her their defence and excused their faults.
Always when she communicated, and often when she heard mass, and on other occasions, she melted in sweet tears of divine love: she was often favoured with ecstasies during her prayers. In her last sickness she clearly foretold her death, and having prepared herself for her passage by receiving the last sacraments, and by ardent signs of love, she happily expired on the 27th of April, in 1272, being sixty years old: one hundred and fifty miracles wrought in the behalf of such as had recourse to her intercession have been juridically proved. Her body was found entire in 1580 and is kept with great respect in St. Frigidian's church, richly enshrined; her face and hands are exposed naked to view through a crystal glass. Pope Leo X granted an office in her honour. The city of Lucca pays a singular veneration to her memory.
The solemn decree of her beatification was published by Innocent XII in 1696, with the confirmation of her immemorial veneration. See her life, compiled by a contemporary writer, and published by Papebroke, the Bollandist, on the 27th of April, p. 497, and Benedict XIV De Canoniz. lib. ii. c. 24, p. 245.


John 10: 22 - 30

22 It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem;

23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.

24 So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me;

26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;

28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

30 I and the Father are one."
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