Saturday, May 29, 2010




Asia News report: Benedict XVI gives a greeting in Chinese, before the pilgrims from Macerata and Marche, Italy, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the death of Matteo Ricci. The importance of Matteo Ricci's Chinese friends, "pillars of the nascent Chinese Church." Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan for a greater relationship between China and Christianity.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Fr Ricci was primarily a missionary, who went to China to bring the Gospel". And in doing so he formed an important "dialogue between cultures, between China and the West”. This is what Benedict XVI said today to a Paul VI Hall packed with thousands of pilgrims from Macerata, birthplace of Matteo Ricci, and Marche, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the death of the great Jesuit missionary.
Welcoming the bishops and the faithful, the pope also greeted the Chinese with a resounding "Nimen hao" (how are you?).
After noting that Ricci is still held in high esteem in China today, the pontiff said that missionary’s work "must not be separated" from his commitment to "Chinese inculturation of the Gospel Message and his introduction of Western culture and science to China”.
Indeed, many events celebrating the fourth centenary of the death, risked presenting Matteo Ricci, as a mere cultural mediator. "Fr. Ricci - said the pope - went to China not to bring science and Western culture, but to bring the Gospel to make God known”. He added: "And as he proclaimed the Gospel, Fr. Ricci found in his interlocutors the desire for a wider confrontation, so that a encounter motivated by faith, became a dialogue between cultures, a disinterested dialogue free from the ambitions of economic or political power, lived in friendship, which makes the work of Fr. Ricci and his disciples one of the highest and happiest points in the relationship between China and the West".
Benedict XVI also recalled "the role and influence" that his Chinese friends had in the work of Ricci (Xu Guangqi; Zhizao Li, Yang Tingyun, Li Yingshi): "His choices he did not depend on an abstract strategy of inculturation of the faith, but from all the events, encounters and experiences that he made, so all that he achieved was also thanks to his encounter with the Chinese, an encounter he lived in many ways, but which was deepened through his relationship with some friends and disciples, especially the four famous converts, 'pillars of the nascent Chinese Church'. "
The memory of Ricci and his friends, continued Benedict XVI should be an occasion for prayer for "the Church in China and the entire Chinese people, as we do every year, on May 24, turning to Mary, venerated in famous Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai, and may they also be an incentive and encouragement to live the Christian faith intensely, in dialogue with different cultures, but in the certainty that in Christ the true humanism is realised, open to God, full of moral and spiritual values and able to respond to the deepest longings of the human soul".
The Pope concluded expressing his appreciation and greeting to China and the desire for a deeper relationship between it and Christianity: "Like Father Matteo Ricci, today I express my profound respect to the noble Chinese people and its ancient culture, convinced that their renewed encounter with Christianity will bring abundant fruits of good, and like then, that it will favour peaceful coexistence among peoples".


CNS report: The Vatican is hosting two hours of eucharistic adoration “in reparation for abuses committed by priests and for the healing of this wound within the church.”

The service in St. Peter’s Basilica this Saturday will feature an hour of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour of prayer and meditation, and a solemn blessing at the end.
The unusual initiative was organized by Catholic university students in Rome. Sources said the event was originally planned for the small Church of St. Anne inside Vatican City, but that it was moved to St. Peter’s at the suggestion of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who is archpriest of the basilica.
So far, however, the Vatican has not publicized the event. Invitations have been forwarded by email and spread by word-of-mouth.
The hour of prayer and meditation will be led by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who deals directly with cases of priests accused of abuse of minors.
In several recent statements, Pope Benedict has said the response to the sex abuse crisis in the church will require openness, adoption of new measures to protect children and spiritual reparation.
In a letter to Irish Catholics earlier this year, he asked that eucharistic adoration be set up in every diocese, so that “through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm.”


All Africa report: Bishop Giuseppe Sandri blessed one of the stadiums that will be used for this year's FIFA World Cup.

On Monday, the bishop of Witbank was given access to the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, one of 10 venues around South Africa that will be used in the international soccer tournament, which begins June 11.
The prelate blessed the 43,000-seat stadium along with a local pastor, Fr Roger Masuku, accompanied by two Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Sister Cecilia Binder and Sister Emily Schmidt.
Stadium workers were diligently preparing for the coming event and security guards were undergoing training as the group of religious passed through the checkpoints to enter the arena.
Bishop Sandri read Psalm 67 and then asked God "to bless this beautiful structure and all who built it and who will use it hopefully in a true spirit of good sportsmanship."
He walked the expanse of the field, blessing it with Holy Water, and then extending the blessing to the first rows of seats, including those reserved for substitute players and the coaching staff.
The bishop blessed workers and other people who gathered to watch the ceremony, and then ended with a final prayer.
Meanwhile, an official 'Church on the Ball' video, focusing on the work of the Catholic Church in South Africa, particularly in the areas of HIV AIDS and human trafficking, has been released today by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference.
Set against the backdrop of the 2010 Football World Cup, the film shows a different side to the glamour of the tournament.
The Southern African Conference of Bishops has a complete section of their official website dedicated to the world cup. In addition the conference has organized a number of faith related activities and reflections to accompany the world event in South Africa. For more detail on The Church on the Ball click on:


Asia News report: The authorities fear that the final toll may exceed 150 deaths. About 200 injured, some seriously. Police charged a local group affiliated to the rebels, but the spokesman denies any involvement in the incident. Hindu nationalists against the government: too soft on Maoists.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The latest toll from yesterday’s rail disaster in district of West Midnapore (West Bengal), between the stations and Khemasoli Sardiya is of 110 dead. The wounded are about 200, many of whom are in serious condition. The collision between the high speed passenger train (from Calcutta to Mumbai) is believed to have been caused by Maoist rebels tampering with the rail lines. Authorities fear that the toll may exceed 150 deaths.
The accident occurred at 1 .30 am on May 28, in an area considered one of the strongholds of the Maoist guerrillas in West Bengal. The passenger train derailed and five carriages invaded the track of the oncoming freight train. The crash resulted in a real slaughter. Railway sources confirmed the discovery of 78 corpses, but there are still more than 30 bodies trapped between the wreckage that rescuers are still trying to pull out.
The police report that posters of a local group, closely linked to the Maoists rebels were found at the accident site. Investigators confirm the removal of part of the track, which caused the derailment of Gyaneshwari Express passenger train, so far there is no confirmation of a simultaneous bomb explosion at the passage of the convoy.
Police and government point the finger at the Maoists, but the rebels deny any involvement in the massacre. Interviewed by the BBC, spokesman Comrade Khokan said that the government "put the blame on us and put us on the defensive". Meanwhile, Congress, the majority party in India, and executive led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under pressure to strengthen the fight against Maoist rebels. The Hindu nationalist opposition accuses New Delhi of "too soft" response towards the "Maoist threat", guilty of three large-scale attacks in the last two months.

USCCB report: The U.S. bishops called for steps to protect the lives of the most vulnerable, provide fairness for immigrants and guarantee conscience protections for individual and institutions in a statement on health care reform issued May 21.

The statement was offered by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Immigration.
“Following enactment of the health care reform legislation, our challenge remains formidable but in some ways is simpler,” the bishops said. “Since the battle over the bill is over, the defects can be judged soberly in their own right, and solutions can be advanced in Congress while retaining what is good in the new law. Indeed, any failure to do so would only leave these genuine problems as ammunition for those who prefer total repeal of the law.”
The bishops said the current situation “provides a new opportunity for the Catholic community to come together in defense of human life, rights of conscience and fairness to immigrants so we will have a health care system that truly respects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all.”
The statement follows.
Setting the Record Straight
As the Chairmen of the three committees most directly involved in the efforts of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on health care reform, we are writing to set the record straight on some important issues raised during and after final consideration of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” this spring.
From our first statement to Congress a year ago ( to Cardinal George’s March 23rd, 2010 statement about the enactment of a “profoundly flawed” final bill, the position of our Conference has been unified and consistent. Reflecting decades of advocacy on behalf of universal access to health care, the bishops were clear in calling for health care reform as a moral imperative and urgent national priority. We called for reform that would make health coverage affordable for the poor and needy, moving our society substantially toward the goal of universal coverage. We were equally clear in stating that this must be done in accord with the dignity of each and every human person, showing full respect for the life, health and conscience of all.
Specifically we insisted that the provisions of the Hyde amendment and other longstanding current laws, which forbid federal funding of abortion and of health plans that cover abortion, must be preserved in this or any new legislation. Likewise, we sought to have longstanding policies of respect for rights of conscience applied to this legislation. Americans must retain in new legislation the rights they had before its enactment. These include the full range of protections regarding the right to provide and purchase health care in accord with their religious beliefs and moral convictions. In addition, since access to basic health care is a right inherent in each human person, as acknowledged both in Catholic social teaching and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, legislation must not unfairly exclude immigrants from health coverage (January 26, 2010 Letter to the House).
Apparently, because we always presented these criteria together and insisted that each had profound moral implications, some thought the bishops might ultimately be persuaded to abandon one or the other in response to political pressures from left or right. Some hoped or feared that we would join with those who reject the need for vigorous government action to reform our ailing health care system. Others hoped or feared that, for the “greater good” of making progress on health care, we would neglect or deny the rights of the most vulnerable members of our society, including unborn children who have no voice and of immigrants.
There was never any chance that the bishops would do any of these things. We will never cease to advocate for everyone, beginning with the most needy, to have access to health care. We will never conclude that we must accept what is intrinsically evil so that some good may be achieved. Specifically we reject the argument made to us by some Catholics that expanding health care coverage justified setting aside our longstanding opposition to government participation in elective abortions or weakening rights to life and freedom of conscience. Catholic teaching rejects any idea that the weakest or “disposable” members of society must be forgotten to serve alleged “greater goods.” Arguments of this sort undermine the common good. Our vision of the common good embraces the good for each and every member without exception, beginning with those who are weakest and most vulnerable.
Ultimately the House of Representatives approved a health care reform bill that the bishops welcomed for substantially meeting most of the principles and goods we were espousing. We hoped to address final concerns as the legislation moved forward. However, the Senate rejected the House legislation, including the key elements that we supported, and produced a bill that abandoned the very principles that we espoused: no expansion of abortion, protections for freedom of conscience and the rights of immigrants. With these foundational principles rejected, it was then announced that no further substantive changes were possible. From that moment on, the bishops were clear and consistent in saying that this “take it or leave it” offer was morally unacceptable and politically divisive. Whatever might be the positive aspects of the Senate bill, we had no choice but to oppose the Senate version as a matter of principle. As bishops we must faithfully proclaim the truth. We must defend the rights of the unborn and the weakest and most vulnerable among us. We must oppose the advance of elective abortion in our society, especially the use of government authority and funding to advance it, and we must speak out in favor of the rights of freedom of conscience for persons and institutions. We urged Congress to vote against this version of the bill, with the hope that together we could find a way to address our legitimate concerns in a bill which would thus have broader appeal and greater support. Unfortunately, the political will to do so did not emerge.
The final result is legislation that expands health care coverage, implements many needed reforms, and provides welcome support for pregnant and parenting women and adoptive families. Unfortunately it also perpetuates grave injustices toward immigrant families and makes new and disturbing changes in federal policy on abortion and conscience rights. We have documented the legislation’s serious flaws in several analyses available on the bishops’ web site,
Since final passage of the legislation, we have been disturbed and disappointed by reactions inside and outside the Church that have sought to marginalize or dismiss legitimate concerns that were presented in a serious manner by us. Our clear and consistent position has been misrepresented, misunderstood and misused for political and other purposes. Our right to speak in the public forum has been questioned. Our teaching role within the Catholic Church and even our responsibility to lead the Church have come under criticism. All of us must be open to different points of view and recognize the legitimacy of serious criticism. However, whether from within or without the Catholic community, very often these critics lacked an understanding of these particular issues or of the moral framework that motivated our positions. Others did grasp the seriousness of the issues we were attempting to address. Yet other priorities, in our judgment, led them to accept an inaccurate reading of the proposed legislation. They gave credence to analyses by those who were likewise dedicated to minimizing important concerns so as to pass the legislation. In the end, they made a judgment that the moral problems in the new law – for example, the fact that the federal government, for the first time in decades, will now force Americans to pay for other people’s elective abortions – simply are not serious enough to oppose a particular health care reform bill. We regret that this approach carried the day, as some overlooked the clear evidence or dismissed careful analysis and teaching on the morality of these matters. But making such moral judgments, and providing guidance to Catholics on whether an action by government is moral or immoral, is first of all the task of the bishops, not of any other group or individual. As Bishops, we disagree that the divergence between the Catholic Conference and Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association, represents merely a difference of analysis or strategy (Catholic Health World, April 15, 2010, “Now That Reform Has Passed”). Rather, for whatever good will was intended, it represented a fundamental disagreement, not just with our staff as some maintain, but with the Bishops themselves. As such it has resulted in confusion and a wound to Catholic unity.
Following enactment of the health care reform legislation, our challenge remains formidable but in some ways is simpler. Since the battle over the bill is over, the defects can be judged soberly in their own right, and solutions can be advanced in Congress while retaining what is good in the new law. Indeed, any failure to do so would only leave these genuine problems as ammunition for those who prefer total repeal of the law. In this context we do not need agreement among lawmakers that the problems are serious enough to oppose the legislation – we only need agreement that the problems are real and deserve to be addressed. This provides a new opportunity for the Catholic community to come together in defense of human life, rights of conscience and fairness to immigrants so we will have a health care system that truly respects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all. We urge Catholics, members of Congress of all parties and others of good will to join us in advancing this worthy goal.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Housto
Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre
Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development
Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City
Committee on Migration


Cath News report: South Australian's Christian Brothers College will be launching a pilot program to map its water, electricity and gas consumption through an online database.

The program to be launched later this term will involve students in Years 10 to 12 regularly recording the school's energy usage, with the data sent to an online system where they can track their consumption each day, week and month, reports the City Messenger.
The program also will be trialled in a handful of other SA schools, and stems from a program now being used by about 15 schools in Sydney through a partnership with Carbon Systems Australia and the Catholic Education Office.
Christian Brothers College deputy principal Shaun Clarke says the program will enable students to analyse peak periods, including how much energy is used in summer compared to winter, and devise strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.


St. Maximinus of Trier

Feast: May 29
Information: Feast Day: May 29

Born: at Silly near Poitiers, France

Died: 12 September 349 or 29 May 352 (records vary)

Patron of: Trier, Germany
St. Maximinus was one of those pastors whom God raised in the most dangerous times to support his church. He was born at Poitiers, nobly descended, and related to Maxentius, bishop of that city before St. Hilary. The reputation of the sanctity of St. Agritius, bishop of Triers, drew him young to that city, and after a most virtuous education, he was admitted to holy orders, and, upon the death of Agritius, chosen his successor in 332. When St. Athanasius was banished to Triers in 336, St. Maximinus received him, not as a person disgraced, but as a most glorious confessor of Christ, and thought it a great happiness to enjoy the company of so illustrious a saint. St. Athanasius stayed with him two years; and his works bear evidence to the indefatigable vigilance, heroic courage, and exemplary virtue of our saint, who was before that time famous for the gift of miracles. St. Paul, bishop of Constantinople, being banished by Constantius, found also a retreat at Triers, and in St. Maximinus a powerful protector. Our saint, by his counsels, precautioned the emperor Constans against the intrigues and snares of the Arians, and on every occasion discovered their artifice, and opposed their faction. He was one of the most illustrious defenders of the Catholic faith in the council of Sardica in 347, and had the honor to be ranked by the Arians with St. Athanasius, in an excommunication which they pretended to fulminate against them at Philippopolis. St. Maximinus is said to have died in Poitou in 349, having made a journey thither to see his relations. He was buried near Poitiers; but his body was afterwards translated to Triers on the day which is now devoted to his memory. St. Maximinus, by protecting and harboring saints, received himself the recompense of a saint.


Mark 11: 27 - 33

27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,

28 and they said to him, "By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?"

29 Jesus said to them, "I will ask you a question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.

30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me."

31 And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say, `Why then did you not believe him?'

32 But shall we say, `From men'?" -- they were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet.

33 So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
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