Wednesday, April 7, 2010



VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Pope travelled from Castelgandolfo to the Vatican for his weekly general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square. "Over these days", he said addressing the 21,00 people from various countries gathered in the square, "the Church is celebrating the mystery of the Resurrection and experiencing the great joy that arises from the good news of Christ's triumph over evil and death. A joy that lasts not just for the Easter Octave but stretches over fifty days until Pentecost". "Christ's Easter is the supreme and insuperable act of God's power. It is an absolutely extraordinary event, the most beautiful and mature fruit of the 'mystery of God'. ... Yet it is also a real historical fact, witnessed and documented. It is the event upon which all our faith rests. It is the central point in which we believe and the principal reason for which we believe". "All our faith rests on the constant and faithful transmission of the 'good news'" that Christ is risen, said the Holy Father. This, he explained, "requires the work of enthusiastic and courageous witnesses. Each disciple of Christ, each one of us, is called to be a witness. This is the precise, demanding and stimulating command of the risen Lord". Like the Apostles, we too "are certain that the Lord, today as yesterday, works with His witnesses. This is a fact we can recognise whenever we see the seeds of a true and lasting peace germinate, wherever the commitment and example of Christians and of men and women of good will is animated by respect for justice, patient dialogue, convinced respect for others, disinterestedness, and individual and community sacrifice. Unfortunately, we also see much suffering, violence and misunderstanding in the world. The celebration of the Paschal Mystery ... is an appropriate moment to rediscover and profess ... our trust in the risen Lord, Who accompanies the witnesses of His word, working prodigies with them. "We will truly and fully become witnesses of the risen Christ when we allow the prodigy of His love to transpire in us", the Holy Father added; "when in our words, and even more in our deeds - in full coherence with the Gospel - it is possible to recognise the voice and hand of Jesus Himself". And we will be witnesses of the Lord "only on the basis of, and with constant reference to, the experience of Easter", said the Pope. "In this personal encounter with the Risen One lies the unshakeable foundation and the central issue of our faith, the fresh and eternal wellspring of our hope, the ardent dynamism of our charity. Thus will our own Christian lives fully coincide with the announcement: 'Christ the Lord is truly risen". Among his remarks to pilgrims at the end of his audience, the Pope addressed "cordial greeting and best wishes to all Russians, both those who live in their homeland and those scattered around the world. May the Solemnity of Easter, which this year Catholics and Orthodox have had the joy of celebrating together, be an occasion for renewed fraternity and ever more intense collaboration in truth and in charity". At the end of his audience, the Holy Father returned by helicopter to the pontifical residence at Castelgandolfo.AG/EASTER/... VIS 100407 (560)

EASTER SATURDAY: CHRIST IS THE CURE FOR DEATH VATICAN CITY, 3 APR 2010 (VIS) - At 9 p.m. today in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope presided at the solemn Easter vigil, which began in the atrium of the basilica where he blessed the new fire and lighted the Easter candle. This was followed by the procession towards the altar with the singing of the "Exultet". During the course of the Baptismal liturgy, the Holy Father administered the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation to six catechumens from various countries. After the Gospel reading, the Pope pronounced his homily which he began with a reference to the apocryphal Jewish book "The Life of Adam and Eve", an account of Seth's journey to Paradise in search of the oil of mercy to heal his father Adam. This "legend lays bare the whole of humanity's anguish at the destiny of illness, pain and death that has been imposed upon us", said the Holy Father, referring also to "man's resistance to death. ... Somewhere - people have constantly thought - there must be some cure for death". "Today too, the search for a source of healing continues. Modern medical science strives, if not exactly to exclude death, at least to eliminate as many as possible of its causes, to postpone it further and further, to prolong life more and more". Yet, the Pope asked, would it be good to postpone death indefinitely? If we did, "humanity would become extraordinarily old, there would be no more room for youth. Capacity for innovation would die, and endless life would be no paradise, if anything a condemnation. "The true cure for death", he added, "must be different. It cannot lead simply to an indefinite prolongation of this current life. It would have to transform our lives from within. It would need to create a new life within us, truly fit for eternity: it would need to transform us in such a way as not to come to an end with death, but only then to begin in fullness. "What is new and exciting in the Christian message, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was and is what we have been told: that this cure for death, this true medicine of immortality, does exist. It has been found. It is within our reach. In Baptism, this medicine is given to us. A new life begins in us, a life that matures in faith and is not extinguished by the death of the old life, but is only then fully revealed". "What happens in Baptism is the beginning of a process that embraces the whole of our life - it makes us fit for eternity, in such a way that, robed in the garment of light of Jesus Christ, we can appear before the face of God and live with Him for ever. In the rite of Baptism there are two elements in which this event is expressed and made visible in a way that demands commitment for the rest of our lives. First is the rite of renunciation and the promises. ... We remove the 'old garments', which we cannot wear in God's presence. ... This renunciation is actually a promise in which we hold out our hand to Christ, that He may guide us and re-clothe us". The Pope explained how St. Paul calls these old garments "works of the flesh" and designates them thus: "'fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like'. These are the garments that we remove: the garments of death". In the early Church, those being baptised turned towards the east, the symbol of light, because "it is God Who clothes us in the garment of light, the garment of life. Paul calls these new garments 'fruits of the spirit', and he describes them as follows: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control'", said the Holy Father Divested of his garments, the candidate for Baptism then "descended into the baptismal font and was immersed three times - a symbol of death that expresses all the radicality of this removal and change of garments. His former death-bound life the candidate consigns to death, with Christ, and lets himself be drawn up by and with Christ into the new life that transforms him for eternity". "In the course of the centuries", Benedict XVI concluded, "the symbols were simplified, but the essential content of Baptism has remained the same. It is no mere cleansing, still less is it a somewhat complicated initiation into a new association. It is death and resurrection, rebirth to new life. Indeed, the cure for death does exist. Christ is the tree of life, once more within our reach. If we remain close to Him, then we have life".BXVI-HOLY WEEK/EASTER SATURDAY/... VIS 100407 (800)

EASTER SUNDAY: HUMANITY NEEDS A NEW EXODUS VATICAN CITY, 4 APR 2010 (VIS) - At 10.30 this morning, Benedict XVI celebrated the Easter Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord in St. Peter's Square. Before the celebration Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, wished the Pope a happy Easter in the name of all the members of the college. At midday, following Mass, the Pope appeared at the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica to pronounce his traditional Easter Message to thousands of faithful gathered below and to many others who were following the event by television and radio. Ample extracts from his Message are given below: "'Let us sing to the Lord, glorious His triumph!' ... I bring you the Easter proclamation in these words of the liturgy, which echo the ancient hymn of praise sung by the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea. ... The Gospel has revealed to us the fulfilment of the ancient figures: in His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has freed us from the radical slavery of sin and opened for us the way towards the promised land, the Kingdom of God, the universal Kingdom of justice, love and peace. "This 'exodus' takes place first of all within man himself, and it consists in a new birth in the Holy Spirit, the effect of the baptism that Christ has given us in His Paschal Mystery. The old man yields his place to the new man; the old life is left behind, and a new life can begin. But this spiritual 'exodus' is the beginning of an integral liberation, capable of renewing us in every dimension - human, personal and social. "Yes, my brothers and sisters, Easter is the true salvation of humanity! ... Christ's resurrection is a new creation, like a graft that can regenerate the whole plant. It is an event that has profoundly changed the course of history, tipping the scales once and for all on the side of good, of life, of forgiveness". "The Christian people, having emerged from the waters of Baptism, is sent out to the whole world to bear witness to this salvation, to bring to all people the fruit of Easter, which consists in a new life, freed from sin and restored to its original beauty, to its goodness and truth. ... The Church is the people of the Exodus, because she constantly lives the Paschal Mystery and disseminates its renewing power in every time and place. In our days too, humanity needs an 'exodus', not just superficial adjustment, but a spiritual and moral conversion". "I pray to the Lord Jesus that in the Middle East, and especially in the land sanctified by His death and resurrection, the peoples will accomplish a true and definitive 'exodus' from war and violence to peace and concord. To the Christian communities who are experiencing trials and sufferings, especially in Iraq, the Risen Lord repeats those consoling and encouraging words that He addressed to the Apostles in the Upper Room: 'Peace be with you!' "For the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are seeing a dangerous resurgence of crimes linked to drug trafficking, let Easter signal the victory of peaceful coexistence and respect for the common good. May the beloved people of Haiti, devastated by the appalling tragedy of the earthquake, accomplish their own 'exodus' from mourning and from despair to a new hope, supported by international solidarity. May the beloved citizens of Chile, who have had to endure another grave catastrophe, set about the task of reconstruction with tenacity, supported by their faith. "In the strength of the risen Jesus, may the conflicts in Africa come to an end, conflicts which continue to cause destruction and suffering, and may peace and reconciliation be attained, as guarantees of development. In particular I entrust to the Lord the future of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Nigeria. "May the Risen Lord sustain the Christians who suffer persecution and even death for their faith, as for example in Pakistan. To the countries afflicted by terrorism and by social and religious discrimination, may He grant the strength to undertake the work of building dialogue and serene coexistence. To the leaders of nations, may Easter bring light and strength, so that economic and financial activity may finally be driven by the criteria of truth, justice and fraternal aid. May the saving power of Christ's resurrection fill all of humanity, so that it may overcome the multiple tragic expressions of a 'culture of death' which are becoming increasingly widespread, so as to build a future of love and truth in which every human life is respected and welcomed". "Easter does not work magic. Just as the Israelites found the desert awaiting them on the far side of the Red Sea, so the Church, after the resurrection, always finds history filled with joy and hope, grief and anguish. And yet, this history is changed, it is marked by a new and eternal covenant, it is truly open to the future". Following his Message, the Pope extended Easter greetings in 65 languages before imparting the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing.BXVI-HOLY WEEK/URBI ET ORBI/... VIS 100407 (870)

CHRISTIANS, LIKE THE ANGELS, ARE MESSENGERS OF CHRIST VATICAN CITY, 5 APR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, Easter Monday, the Pope, who has been staying at his residence in Castelgandolfo since yesterday evening, appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace there to pray the Regina Coeli with pilgrims gathered in the courtyard below. The prayer was transmitted by television linkup to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. "In the light of Easter", he said, "I wish to reiterate my cordial hopes for peace and joy. As you know, the Monday following the Sunday of the Resurrection is traditionally known as the 'Monday of the Angel'. It is interesting to examine this reference to the 'Angel'. Naturally one's thoughts immediately go to the Gospel account of the resurrection of Jesus, in which the figure of the Lord's messenger appears". "But the Angel of the resurrection also has another meaning, We must, in fact, remember that the term 'angel' - apart from referring to the Angels, spiritual creatures endowed with intelligence and will, servants and messengers of God - is also one of the most ancient titles attributed to Jesus Himself", by various Christian writers such as Tertullian. "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is also called the Angel of God the Father. He is the Messenger par excellence of God's love", the Pope explained. "Let us now remember what the risen Christ said to the Apostles giving them His Holy Spirit: 'As the Father has sent me, so I send you'. "This means", the Pope added, "that just as Jesus announced the love of God the Father, so must we too announce the charity of Jesus: we are messengers of His resurrection and His victory over evil and death, bearers of His divine love. Of course, by our nature we remain men and women, but we receive the mission of 'angels', messengers of Christ. This is given to us through Baptism and Confirmation. In particular, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, it is received by priests, ministers of Christ, something I wish to highlight in this Year for Priests", Benedict XVI concluded.ANG/ANGELS/... VIS 100407 (360)

DECLARATION CONCERNING THE FORMER BISHOP OF TRONDHEIM VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today released the following declaration, in reply to questions from journalists concerning Bishop Georg Mueller SS.CC., emeritus of the territorial prelature of Trondheim, Norway. "I can confirm the information given by Bishop Markus Bernt Eidsvig C.R.S.A., apostolic administrator of Trondheim, concerning Msgr. Georg Mueller, bishop of that territorial prelature between 1997 and 2009. "The matter concerns a case of sexual abuse of a minor at the beginning of the 1990s, which came to the knowledge of the ecclesiastical authorities in January 2009. The question was rapidly confronted and examined through the apostolic nunciature in Stockholm, by order of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In May 2009, the bishop presented his resignation, which was immediately accepted by the Holy Father, and he left the diocese in June. He underwent a period of therapy and no longer carries out pastoral work. "From the point of view of civil law, the case is subject to the statue of limitations. The victim, now an adult, has thus far always asked to remain anonymous".OP/SEXUAL ABUSE/MUELLER VIS 100407 (200)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Saint Catherines, Canada, presented by Bishop James Matthew Wingle, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. On Tuesday 6 April it was made public that he: - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of Chalan Kanoa, Northern Mariana Islands, presented by Bishop Tomas Aguon Camacho, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez of San Antonio, U.S.A., as coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles (area 14,019, population 11,606,889, Catholics 4,603,000, priests 1,144, permanent deacons 306, religious 2,589), U.S.A. On Thursday 1 April it was made public that the: - Appointed Msgr. Ruperto Cruz Santos of the clergy of Manila, Philippines, rector of the Pontifical Filipino College in Rome, as bishop of Balanga (area 1,373, population 639,000, Catholics 568,276, priests 59, religious 105), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in San Rafael - Bulacan, Philippines in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983. - Appointed Msgr. Giuliano Gallorini, Msgr. Assunto Scotti and Msgr. Paolo Luca Braida, all officials of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, as bureau chiefs of the same section.RE:NEC:NER:NA/.../... VIS 100407 (210)


CNN report: An extra hole will be drilled to help ventilate a West Virginia coal mine enough to allow up to 30 rescuers access to where four miners are believed to be after a deadly explosion, officials said Wednesday.
The hole will be alongside two others drilled on the surface above where the miners are believed to be.
The first of those holes broke through into the mine early Wednesday, and the second is about 500 feet deep -- about halfway complete, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin said.
"The rescue teams are prepared," Manchin said. "They're charged up, ready to go."
Twenty-five miners died Monday in the explosion at the Upper Big Branch South Mine, about 30 miles south of Charleston, West Virginia. It was the deadliest U.S. mining disaster in 25 years.
Rescue teams were forced to turn back Tuesday because of unsafe levels of methane and carbon monoxide in the mine, which posed a risk of a second explosion.
Victims identifiedThe seven bodies removed from the coal mine have been identified. They are: Carl Accord, 52 Jason Atkins, 25 Robert E. Clark, 41 Steven J. Harrah, 40 William R. Lynch, 59 Deward Allan Scott, 58 Benny Ray Willingham, 61
Five holes will be drilled into the mine, officials said Wednesday. Four are for ventilation, and the fifth will be for a monitor to listen for any signs of life.
Thirty-one miners were working in the mine at the time of the blast, said Chris Adkins, chief operating officer for Massey Energy Co., which owns the mine.
The bodies of seven miners were removed. Officials have said 18 more bodies were found underground, but not removed, as rescue teams were focused on finding anyone still alive.
Officials want to make sure the air is cleared and rescuers can gain access to the area before they begin efforts to signal any miners who may still be alive underground.
They are concerned the miners, if alive and in a rescue chamber, would come out if they hear noise and want to make sure the conditions will support them, said Kevin Stricklin of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Pipes were lowered into the first hole, drilled earlier Wednesday, and officials banged on them in an effort to contact those underground, but there was no response, Manchin said. The hole punched into the mine about 4:15 a.m. ET after being drilled 1,093 feet below the surface.
"Today's going to be a big day," Manchin said earlier. "I think at the end of the day, we'll have more knowledge than we have right now."
High-pressure fans were being put in place to pull the bad air out of the mine, officials said. Officials said they believe they will know later Wednesday whether the air has been cleared enough to send rescue teams back in.
Two other miners were hospitalized after Monday's blast. Manchin said Wednesday one was "doing extremely well" and the other was in intensive care. He did not give their names and said their families had requested privacy.
Authorities believe they know where three of the unaccounted-for miners were working at the time of the blast, and think they may know the whereabouts of the fourth as well, officials have said.
Adkins predicted Tuesday it would take rescuers no more than five hours to find them once air levels in the mine become safe.
Families of the other miners "know the odds are not in our favor" of finding the four alive, Manchin said, "but that's what we're still holding on to." The seven bodies removed from the mine were identified Tuesday as Steven J. Harrah, 40; William R. Lynch, 59; Jason Atkins, 25; Benny Ray Willingham, 61; Carl Accord, 52; Deward Allan Scott, 58; and Robert E. Clark, 41, according to West Virginia's Department of Health and Human Resources.
Before they had to turn back, rescue crews were attempting to reach the mine's airtight rescue chambers. In a disaster, miners are trained to enter the chambers, which are stocked with four days' worth of food and water.
In addition, the crews noticed that self-contained rescue breathing devices had been taken from storage areas, fueling hope that any survivors may have taken them en route to the chambers.
However, Stricklin on Tuesday expressed skepticism that any of the miners were able to reach the chambers, citing the suddenness of the blast and its strength.
Only one chamber remained unchecked by rescue teams before they turned back, Manchin said Wednesday.
While the cause of Monday's blast remained unknown, the deaths turned a harsh spotlight on the safety record of Massey, which has paid record fines for safety and environmental violations.
Massey CEO Don Blankenship on Tuesday expressed puzzlement over what could have caused the blast.
"I think everyone thought we had proper ventilation," Blankenship said. "Of course, we don't know 100 percent sure what happened yet, so we can't speculate on it."
He said Massey's mines "are typically in better shape than others that are in our area or in the country. ... Our creativity on safety is second to none."


All Africa report: Few days after he met with some Islamic clerics, President Umaru Yar'Adua yesterday met briefly with some northern Christian religious leaders who said though he was still physically weak, he was "able to grunt out an amen."
Pastor Emmanuel Kure of the Throneroom Trust Ministry in Kaduna State said he and three other Christian leaders met for "about five to 10 minutes" with Yar'Adua at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Other leaders include John Onaiyekan and Bishop David Oyedepo.
Kure said they received separate requests to attend the meeting on behalf of the presidency. The leaders led a prayer to God on the behalf of Yar'Adua.
"He wasn't a Christian, so I don't think he would understand what we said on his behalf. He was able to grunt out amen."
Yar'Adua, 58, hasn't been seen publicly since late November, when he left Nigeria for treatment in a Saudi Arabian hospital. The president's chief physician said Yar'Adua suffered from acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart. But kidney problems and ill health long have plagued Yar'Adua, who even left the country during his 2007 electoral campaign to seek medical treatments in Germany.
"I am told that it is a great improvement from his previous state," Kure said.
Kure declined to offer further details about Yar'Adua's condition, saying: "We should not overheat the politics." However, the visit comes after many criticized Yar'Adua for meeting privately with Islamic leaders Thursday without addressing the nation. During that visit, the imam of Nigeria's national mosque said that Yar'Adua could raise his hands in prayer though he never stood up.

The visit by Christian leaders also may be an attempt by Yar'Adua's closest allies to silence criticisms over the religious nature of the last visit as well.
Yar'Adua left the country without formally placing Vice President Goodluck Jonathan in charge, sparking a constitutional crisis. The National Assembly later empowered Jonathan to become acting president on February 9.
He can resume control of the presidency by notifying the National Assembly, but so far hasn't. Analysts have suggested those surrounding Yar'Adua brought the ailing leader back to the country to keep a check on Jonathan's ambitions even if he's not strong enough to lead.
Meanwhile, trouble may not yet be over for ailing Yar'Adua, as the newly reconstituted Federal Executive Council (FEC) may have begun high level moves to ease him out off office.
Daily Champion gathered ahead of today's ministerial inauguration, members of the new cabinet are said to be secretly working with some senators and members of the House of the Representatives to invoke section 144 of the 1999 constitution to publish the health status of the president, prelude to his impeachment.
This may be the first major assignment by the new FEC any moment from Wednesday.

Source alleged that the impending impeachment plot may also claim the job of the speaker of the House, Hon. Dimeji Bankole who most people see as an unrepentant supporter of Yar'Adua.
The renewed plot followed the recent meeting of some Islamic clerics with the President and the fears in some quarters that the ailing president may stage a surprise come back any time from now.
There are also speculations in some quarters that some Christian leaders may pay similar visit to the President soon.
Sources alleged that most of the new ministers are afraid that there job may be on the line if the president stages a come back and the only option was to commence his impeachment.
The ministers allegedly met again at the weekend, during which most of them endorsed the impeachment option as the only way to protect their new job.
Our source said some of the lawmakers at the said meeting also agreed to move against Bankole to forestall possible interruption from Yar'Adua's associates.
Some of the senators who were largely instrumental to making Dr Goodluck Jonathan Acting President are alleged to have regrouped for a possible offensive.
The lawmakers were said to be highly disturbed with the reported visit by some Islamic clerics to the President.
Although the said visit may have informed a renewed agitation by some of the senators to see the ailing President, but our source said such agitation was in bad faith.
He said seeing the President would determine the next line action to follow by some forces working to nail Yar'Adua politically.
The senators under the aegis of National Interest Group (NIG) are making frantic moves to see the President.
Leader of the caucus in the Senate who is one on the new ministers, Senator Bala Mohammed is said to be leading the new offensive.
It was gathered that some of the former ministers who were not returned by Jonathan are the die hard supporters of Yar'Adua.
Meanwhile, facts emerged on Monday that Jonathan has actually been fighting very hard to ensure that President Umaru Yar'Adua was not disgraced out of office.
Daily Champion gathered that in the last few weeks pressure has been on Jonathan to speedily constitute the cabinet to pass a resolution that President Yar'Adua was incapacitated, a move that will initiate the process of his removal from office by the National Assembly.
A close confident of the ailing President told Daily Champion that contrary to recent reports, Jonathan was not working to undermine President Yar'Adua in any way, invocation of Section 144 of the Constitution is not part of the agenda the Acting President will pursue.
He said the current stories being planted on pages of newspapers to the effect that some people saw and shook hands with ailing President Yar'Adua was actually targeted at heating up the polity to create confusion in the country.
Speaking on the conditions of anonymity, he told Daily Champion that the so called cabal was equally misconstrued over its position on Yar'Adua as president and urged Nigerians to give Jonathan the support he needs to perform his function
He said: "There was no time that Jonathan wanted Yar'Adua impeached or removed from office ignominiously. No. The acting president had always insisted that President Yar'Adua must not be disgraced and that was also our position.
"So many Nigerians did not know what was going on. They felt that some of us were just there insisting that Yar'Adua must remain as president despite his state of health. Nobody ever clamoured for that position. What we said was that the man has not done anything to deserve being disgraced and I think that was faire enough on our part."
The source maintained further that it was very disturbing when many people believe the rumour that some close associates of Yar'Adua were working against the interest of Jonathan.
"No! Dr. Jonathan is a very humble man and had never at anytime insisted on removing Yar'Adua.
"We all agreed that the President can't just be pushed aside, rather, we wanted to look for a soft landing for him but so many people felt we wanted the man to remain in power despite his ill health. We know that the man is sick and we never wanted him to remain there just like that".
"What we were trying to do before the cabinet was dissolved was to agree on where the man would go to receive proper treatment and when he gets a little better he could resign. That was the premise we were working on before the cabinet was sacked," the former minister said.
Inside source confirmed to Daily Champion that Jonathan might have actually approved the treatment of President Yar'Adua in yet to be named country.


Heraldsun report: A German-born former Catholic bishop in Norway, Georg Muller, has admitted sexually abusing a minor 20 years ago, the Norwegian Catholic Church said today.
"The Catholic Church in Norway is in shock after it was revealed that former bishop Muller of Trondheim (in southern Norway) admitted being guilty of sexual abuse of a minor and said that was why he left his post last year," the Church said in a statement.
Georg Muller, 58, who was born near Trier in Germany, stepped down as bishop of Trondheim last year, officially because he was unsuited for the work.
According to the daily Adresseavisen, which broke the story, the affair goes back more than 20 years to when Muller was a priest in Trondheim.
The victim was a choir boy, who is now aged about 30, and has been paid damages by the Church.


Asia News report: Discrimination and punishment still meted out to people who break family planning laws. A university in the capital fires professor for having a second child. The ‘One Child’ policy is undermining China’s economic growth. Beijing (AsiaNews) – A Beijing law professor has been dismissed because his wife gave birth to a second child in violation of the country’s infamous ‘One Child’ policy, adopted in the 1970s to cut down drastically population growth. His dismissal again puts the spotlight on China’s population family planning programme, which the government ostensibly plans to review.
Chinese Human Rights Defender reported that Yang Zhizhu, an associated professor in the Faculty of Law at China Youth University for Political Sciences, was fired on 26 March because on 21 December 2009 he became a father for a second time.
On that same date, China Youth University officials issued a set of guidelines stipulating punishments for school employees who violated Beijing municipal family planning regulations.
Yang also wrote articles and began a blog to challenge the current family planning regulations as well as the school's penalties, which include a three-year ban on promotions for violators as well as a one-year suspension as a disciplinary action.
Since the late 1970s, China has enforced a ‘One Child’ policy. Couples are limited to one child (two in the countryside if the first child is female) and lawbreakers can be heavily fined and subject to discrimination at work.
In addition, abortion has been promoted as a population control method. For years, population control officials have also carried out forced abortions and sterilisation.
However, the policy is gradually undermining China’s economy. According to the Labour and Social Security Ministry, 23 per cent of the population will be over 60 by 2030, that is 351 million new pensioners to be maintained by the government. The proportion of working to non-working population will thus tip in favour of the latter. At present, three people work for every pensioner. In 20 years, that ratio will be two to one.
Labour shortages are already a problem in a country with a population of 1.3 billion people, especially in the golden belt that goes from Guangdong province to Shanghai.
The problem is so acute that Xie Lingli, director of Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission, has called on families to make more babies.
Shanghai, china’s largest city, has three million over 60, or 22 per cent of the population, a percentage that is expected to reach 34 per cent by 2020.
By 2050, the US Center for Strategic and International Studies expects China to have 438 million people over 60 and 100 million over 80.
At present, the ratio between people in working age and people over 60 is 1.6 to one. In 1975, it was 7.7 to one.

Cath News report: In conjunction with World Health Day today, Caritas Australia is calling on the Australian pharmaceutical company, Roche, to develop paediatric HIV medications.
Nearly 300,000 children will die this year from diseases related to HIV/AIDS as life-saving treatments remain largely inaccessible to children living in impoverished communities. With limited access to effective Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) and myriad social barriers to overcome, children are disproportionately vulnerably to the disease, the organisation said.
"Despite much talk and action on HIV, we've seen that the needs of children in particular are still neglected," said CEO of Caritas Australia Jack de Groot in a statement.
"A major issue is the lack of child-friendly fixed dose combinations of anti-retroviral drugs. In many developing countries care-givers have to use tablets designed for adults and break them up. Whilst there are some syrups available, they are difficult to handle, costly to transport and hard to store without refrigeration.
"In addition, anti-retroviral treatment for children is currently three times more expensive than adult formulations."
"The international community has committed to combat HIV/AIDS and reduce child mortality by 2015. It's a task charged to governments, companies and NGOs alike and demands a great deal of determination and leadership," Mr de Groot said.
"Roche is a leader in the pharmaceutical world and is in a unique position to do more and to inspire other companies to follow suit."


St. John Baptist de la Salle
Feast: April 7
Feast Day:
April 7
1651 at Rheims, France
1719 at Rouen, France
24 May 1900 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:
Sanctuary of John Baptist de La Salle, Casa Generalizia, Rome, Italy.
Patron of:
educators, school principals, teachers

This saint is the patron of teachers, his great achievement having been to provide a system of education for the common people at a time when the poor were grossly neglected; not mercy by founding charity schools, a cling which had been attempted countless times before only to end in repeated failure, but by creating a body of trained teachers, and thus setting them on the only possible basis which guaranteed success.
It was not by inclination, but solely by chance chat he was led to take up this work. Indeed his family background and early training seemed hardly to have prepared him for it. Born in Rheims on April 30th, 1651, the eldest son of an aristocratic family, he inherited the rank and fortune of his parents, which set a gulf between him and the teeming masses of the poor. At sixteen, while he was pursuing a course of classical studies at the College des Bons Enfants, he became a canon of Rheims, and seemed to be marked out for a successful career in the church. He subsequently studied at Saint Sulpice and the Sorbonne for the priesthood, and was ordained at the age of twenty-seven. Up to this point nothing denoted what his mission was to be, and he himself had no inkling of it. But it was shortly after this that he was asked to co-operate in establishing some charity schools in his native town, and this led him to take charge of the teachers, to bring them into his own home and to train them. Little by little he became further involved in the work until he began to realize that everything pointed to his being the chosen instrument of Providence for the creation of a system of Christian education for the poor, whose ignorance and depravity were the disgrace of this 'splendid century', so remarkable for its achievements in every other sphere.
As he had made the will of God the guiding principle of his life, he decided to give himself up completely to this task, resigning his canonry and giving away his fortune in order to be on the same footing as the teachers with whom he lived. In so doing he aroused the anger of his relatives and incurred the derision of his class-minded compatriots, but this in no way made him alter his resolution. In 1684 he transformed his group of schoolmasters into a religious community, under the name of Brothers of the Christian Schools, and this was the origin of the order which continues to this day and is spread all over the world. So chat his order might confine itself solely to the work of teaching, he laid down that no brother might become a priest and that no priest might join the order. This rule is still observed. The first years were marked by poverty and hardship, but these were cheerfully endured, thanks to the example of self-abnegation and extraordinary power of leadership shown by de la Salle, who vowed chat he would live on bread alone, if necessary, rather than abandon the work he had begun.
The religious and professional training of his brothers became his chief care, but he saw that he would never be able to satisfy all the requests he received for teachers unless he undertook the formation of secular schoolmasters as well, so he organized a training college for some forty youths in Rheims in 1687; the first instance of such an institution in the history of education.
After opening schools in a number of neighboring towns, in addition to chose in Rheims itself, he went to Paris in 1683 to take over a school in the parish of St. Sulpice, and there he established his headquarters. In the capital his work spread rapidly, and before long the brothers were teaching over 1,100 pupils. In Paris, too, he founded another training college, with a charity school attached, and organized a Sunday academy, or continuation school for youths already employed. When the exiled monarch, James II, entrusted fifty Irish youths to his care, he arranged for special courses to be given them to suit their needs.
The scope of his work was now such that it aroused the bitter antagonism of the writing masters and the teachers of the Little Schools, who saw their fee-paying pupils drifting into his free schools, and they brought law-suits against him. His schools were pillaged, and he found himself condemned and forbidden to open training colleges or charity schools anywhere in the Paris area. As a result he was excluded for a time from the capital, but by now his brothers were established in other localities, notably in Rouen, Avignon and Chartres, so that the decrees against him failed to ruin his work. Indeed from this time on, his communities multiplied all over France: in Marseilles, Calais, Boulogne, Mende, Grenoble, Troyes and other places. In Rouen he founded two important institutions: a fee-paying boarding school for the sons of bourgeois, who desired an education superior to that of the primary school but more practical than that of the 'classical' colleges; and a reformatory school for youthful delinquents and young men detained under Both proved very successful, and were significant forerunners of modern institutions of a similar kind.
In 1709 he established a third training college, at St. Den, but this lasted only a couple of years, after which it had to be closed as a result of an unfortunate law-suit.
De la Salle spent the last years of his life in Rouen, completing the organization of his institute, writing the Rule of the brothers in its definitive form, and composing and a <:Method Prayer. Mental of>On Good Friday, April 9th, 1718, he died.
His brothers, already established in twenty-two towns of France and in Rome, now expanded their work rapidly. In 1725 they received a bull of approbation of their institute from the pope and letters patent from the king granting them legal recognition. The Revolution ruined their work in France, but they were by now established in Switzerland and Italy, so that they were able to survive this catastrophe and returned to France when more favorable conditions prevailed under Napoleon. Today they number over 15,000 and conduct educational institutions of every kind all over the world. In the United States alone there are some 2,000 brothers in five different Provinces.
De la Salle's pedagogical system is outlined in , which he composed in 1695, and which is now considered an educational classic. It shows clearly his practical turn of mind and his essentially religious approach to the education of children. He wrote also several school manuals, notably and , which proved very popular and went through over a hundred editions. SOURCE


Luke 24: 13 - 35
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma'us, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad.
Then one of them, named Cle'opas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened.
Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see."
And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further,
but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.
And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.
They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"
And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them,
who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
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