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Monday, June 14, 2010

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: MON. JUNE 14, 2010

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: MON. JUNE 14, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: HOLY FATHER'S REPLIES TO PRIESTS AT PRAYER VIGIL/OTHER VIS NEWS-
EUROPE: ENGLAND: SOCCER STAR WAYNE ROONEY WEARS ROSARY AT WORLD CUP-
AFRICA: KENYA: 6 KILLED AND OVER 75 INJURED IN ATTACK-
ASIA: INDIA: HINDU EXTREMIST ARRESTED FOR ANTI-CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE-
AUSTRALIA: PROFESSOR DESMOND CAHILL HONOURED BY THE QUEEN-
AMERICA: USA: BISHOPS ON MIGRATION: I WAS A STRANGER & YOU WELCOMED ME-




VATICAN
HOLY FATHER'S REPLIES TO PRIESTS DURING PRAYER VIGIL

VATICAN CITY, 12 JUN 2010 (VIS REPORT) - During the course of the prayer vigil celebrated last Thursday night in St. Peter's Square, the Pope responded to questions from five priests, one from each of the five continents. Extensive extracts of his replies are give below.
Asked by a Brazilian priest how pastors must face the difficulties they encounter in their ministry, the Pope recognised that "today it is very difficult to be a pastor, especially in countries where Christianity is a faith of ancient standing. Parishes become ever larger, ... and it is impossible to know everyone, impossible to do everything that is expected of a pastor". In this context he underlined the importance of the faithful "seeing that the priest does not just do a job, with so many hours of work after which he is free and lives for himself, but that he is a man impassioned by Christ. ... To be filled with the joy of the Gospel with all our being is the main condition", to which must be added "three fundamental priorities: the Eucharistic and the Sacraments, ... announcement of the Word and ... Caritas, the love of Christ". Another priority "is the personal relationship with Christ. ... Prayer is not a marginal aspect. It is the priest's 'profession' to pray, also in representation of those people who do not know how to pray or do not find the time to pray. Individual prayer, especially the Liturgy of the Hours, is fundamental nourishment for our souls, for all our activity". A priest from Ivory Coast asked how to avoid a rupture between theology and doctrine and ensure "that study is not entirely academic but also nourishes our spirituality". In his reply Benedict XVI recognised "the abuse of theology" when it becomes "arrogance of reason, failing to nourish the faith and obscuring the presence of God in the world. Yet there is a theology that wishes to know more out of love for the Beloved", he said. "This is the true theology that comes from the love of God, of Christ, and wishes to enter into deeper communion with Christ". The Pope encouraged theologians to be courageous, telling them not to be afraid of "the phantasm of science, ... not to chain themselves to every hypothesis of the moment, but to think on the basis of the great faith of the Church which is present in all times and opens the way to the truth. ... Formation is very important, but we must also be critical: the criterion of faith is the criterion with which to see theologians and theologies. ... It is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we see the summary of our faith, and this Catechism is the true criterion with which to discern whether a theology is acceptable or not". Another priest, this time from Europe, asked the Pope to speak on "the profundity and authentic significance of ecclesiastical celibacy" also in view of the "worldly criticisms" to which it has been subjected. The Holy Father said that "a great problem of modern Christianity is that we no longer think of the future of God: the present moment of this world seems sufficient. ... In this way we close the doors to the true greatness of our existence. The meaning of celibacy - as an anticipation of the future - is precisely to open these doors, ... to show the reality of the future which we must live here in the present, and in this way bear witness to our faith. We truly believe that God exists, ... that we can found our lives on Christ and on the life to come". On the subject of worldly criticism, the Pope noted how "for the agnostic world ... celibacy is a great scandal because it shows that God is considered to be real and is lived as a reality. ... Celibacy is a definitive 'yes', it is allowing oneself to be taken by the hand of God, giving oneself into the Lord's hands, into His 'self'. Thus it is an act of faithfulness and trust, an act which presupposes the faithfulness of marriage, ... which is the biblical form, the natural form, of being man and woman, foundation of the great Christian culture and of other great cultures of the world. If this is lost, the roots of our culture will be destroyed. Thus celibacy confirms the 'yes' of marriage with its 'yes' to the world to come. This is how we wish to proceed and actualise this scandal of a faith which founds all of existence on God. ... We pray to the Lord to help us free ourselves from secondary scandals, to make this great scandal of our faith present: the trust, the power of our life founded in God, in Christ Jesus".
The fourth question, put to the Holy Father by a priest from Japan, focused on the way to experience the Eucharist and worship with dignity, without falling into clericalism or losing touch with reality. Recalling the words of St. Augustine, Benedict XVI explained that "the sacrifice of Christians is that of being united by the love of Christ in the unity of the one Body of Christ. The sacrifice lies precisely in emerging from ourselves, in allowing ourselves to be attracted by the communion of the one bread, the one Body, and thus entering the great adventure of the love of God. Thus we must always celebrate, love, meditate upon the Eucharist as a school of liberation from the 'self'. ... The Eucharist is the exact opposite of clericalism, of closure in oneself. ... Living the Eucharist in its original meaning, in its authentic profundity, is a school of life, it is the best protection against any temptation towards clericalism".Finally, a priest from Australia asked the Pope what could be done to contrast the decline in vocations. "There is a great temptation", the Holy Father replied, "to transform the priesthood - the Sacrament of Christ - into a normal profession, into a job that has its working hours, ... thus making it like any other vocation, making it accessible and easy. Yet this temptation does not resolve the problem. ... As the Lord invites us, we must pray to God, knock at the door, at the heart of God, that He may give us vocations, pray insistently and with great determination and conviction, because God does not close Himself to insistent, incessant and trusting prayer, even if He lets us wait .... longer that we expect". Moreover, "each of us must do everything we can to live our own priesthood convincingly". We must invite people to pray, "to have this humility, this trust in speaking with God forcefully and decisively. And we must "have the courage to speak to the young if they think that God is calling them and, ... above all, help them to find a life context in which to live their vocation".


CORRECTING IMBALANCES IN EUROPE FOR JUSTICE, SOLIDARITY
VATICAN CITY, 12 JUN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the forty-fifth Joint Meeting of the Council of Europe Development Bank, an institution created in 1956 "with an exclusively social vocation, a specialised instrument with which to promote specific policies of solidarity", said the Holy Father. He then went on to express his appreciation for the bank which began by concerning itself "with problems affecting refugees, later broadening its remit to the entire field of social cohesion".
The Pope then turned his attention to the political problems Europe had to face at the end of last century, asking whether "freedom from totalitarian ideologies has not been used solely for economic progress, at the expense of a more human development". In this context he encouraged the bank, in its interventions in support of Eastern European countries, "to correct any imbalances and favour a process based on justice and solidarity, which are essential for the present and future of Europe".
In the context of the current economic and financial crisis, the Holy Father recalled how in his most recent Encyclical "Caritas in veritate" he had referred to "the Social Doctrine of the Church and the positive contribution it makes to constructing human beings and society". He likewise highlighted how "the relation between love and truth, if experienced correctly, is a dynamic force that regenerates all inter-personal relationships, bringing real novelty and reorienting economic and financial life to serve man and his dignity".
"Economy and finance are not ends unto themselves", he went on. "They are a tool, a means. Their exclusive goal is the human being and the complete realisation of his dignity. ... Christianity has enabled Europe to understand that it is freedom, responsibility and ethics that impregnate its laws and corporative institutions. Marginalising Christianity - also by excluding its symbols - would deprive our continent of a fundamental resource which nourishes it and contributes to its true identity. Christianity is, in fact, the source of 'the spiritual and moral values which are peoples' shared heritage', values to which the members of the Council of Europe expressed their firm commitment in the Preamble to the Statue of the Council of Europe".
Recalling the bank's objectives, Benedict XVI noted how the institution is "a technical instrument which facilitates solidarity, a solidarity which must be experienced in fraternity. ... Fraternity creates spaces for gratuitous action which, though indispensable, are difficult to envisage when efficiency and profit are the only criteria", he said.
Nonetheless, "Europe has a rich past which has seen the development of a number of economic situations rooted in fraternity. I believe that the Council of Europe Development Bank wishes, in order to experience true solidarity, to respond to this ideal of brotherhood I have just mentioned and to explore areas in which fraternity and the logic of giving can be put into practice. These ideals have Christian roots and they, along with the desire for peace, made it possible for the Council of Europe to be come into being".
At the end of the address, the governor of the Development Bank presented the Holy Father with a medal of the institution. The Pope thanked him, encouraging the members of the bank to continue to work "courageously and coherently" for the good of Europe.


PRIESTS ARE A GIFT FOR THE CHURCH AND FOR THE WORLD
VATICAN CITY, 13 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Year for Priests, which came to an end last Friday at a Mass attended by some 15,000 members of the clergy, was the theme of the Holy Father's remarks before praying the Angelus this morning.
"The Year for Priests came to an end on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is traditionally the 'day of priestly sanctification', and this time it was especially so", the Pope told the faithful gathered below his study window in St. Peter's Square.
"The priest", he went on, "is a gift of the Heart of Christ, a gift for the Church and the world. It is from the Son of God's Heart, overflowing with charity, that all the good of the Church comes, in particular the vocation of those men who, conquered by the Lord Jesus, leave everything to dedicate themselves entirely to the service of Christian people, following the example of the Good Shepherd.
"The priest is moulded of Christ's own charity, that love which impelled Him to give His life for his friends and to forgive His enemies", the Pope added. "This is why priests are the primary builders of the civilisation of love. At this point my thoughts go to many priests, the well-known and the less well-known, some raised to the glory of the altars, others whose memory remains indelible in the minds of the faithful, perhaps in some small parish community. This was the case in Ars, the French village where St. John Mary Vianney worked his ministry".
The Pope also mentioned Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, the priest and martyr who "generously and courageously practiced his ministry along with those committed to freedom, to the defence of life and its dignity. His work at the service of goodness and truth was a sign of contradiction for the regime that then governed Poland" he said. "Love for the Heart of Christ brought him to give his life, and his witness was the seed of a new springtime in the Church and in society".
The Holy Father went on: "If we look at history we can see that many episodes of authentic spiritual and social renewal have been written with the decisive contribution of Catholic priests, animated only by their passion for the Gospel and for man, for his true religious and civil liberty. How many initiatives of integral human promotion began with the intuition of a priestly heart", he concluded.


POPE MENTIONS BLESSEDS GROZDE AND LOZANO GARRIDO
VATICAN CITY, 13 JUN 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus at midday today, the Pope reminded the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square of two beatifications that took place this morning: that of the young martyr Lojze Grozde in Slovenia, and of Manuel Lozano Garrido, a layman and journalist, in Spain.
Speaking of Blessed Lojze Grozde, the Holy Father referred to his "particular devotion to the Eucharist which", he said, "nourished his unshakeable faith, his capacity for sacrifice for the salvation of souls, and his apostolate in Catholic Action to lead other young people to Christ".
Turning then to address Spanish-speaking groups, Benedict XVI described Blessed Manuel Lozano Garrido as a "faithful layman who, through his example and his writings, was able to irradiate his love for God, even amidst the suffering that kept him bound to a wheelchair for nearly twenty-eight years. At the end of his life he also lost his sight, but kept wining hearts for Christ with his serene happiness and his unswerving faith. In him journalists will find eloquent witness of the good that can be done when the pen reflects greatness of soul and places itself at the service of truth and of noble causes".

SOLID BRIDGES BETWEEN PARTICULAR CHURCHES AND HOLY SEE
VATICAN CITY, 14 JUN 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience forty members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, to whom he spoke about "the significance of work in pontifical representations".
"The service of representation for which you are preparing yourselves", he said, "means participating in that 'sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum' which characterises the ministry of the Roman Pontiff. ... In this ecclesial perspective, representation involves the need to accept and nourish certain dimensions of one's own priestly life".
The first of these dimensions is the need "to cultivate full inner adherence to the person of the Pope, his Magisterium and his universal ministry; in other words, complete adherence to the one who has been given the task of strengthening his brothers in the faith. Secondly, it involves attentive care, true 'passion', for ecclesial communion".
Finally, being a representative of the Roman Pontiff means "having the capacity to be a solid 'bridge', a safe channel of communication between the particular Churches and the Apostolic See, on the one hand giving the Pope and his collaborators an objective, correct and in-depth view of the ecclesial and social reality in which you live while, on the other, undertaking to transmit the norms, indications and guidelines emanating from the Holy See, not bureaucratically but with profound love for the Church, ... at the same time respecting the efforts of bishops and the path of the particular Churches to which you have been sent".
This service, Pope Benedict went on, requires "compete dedication and generous willingness to sacrifice, if necessary, individual intuitions, personal projects and other possibilities to exercise the priestly ministry".
If the pontifical representative strives "to enter into harmony with the universal perspective, and to serve the unity of the flock of God, ... he truly becomes a sign of the Pope's presence and charity. And while this is a benefit for the life of all the particular Churches, it is especially so in certain delicate or difficult situations in which, for various reasons, the Christian community finds itself living" Thus the work of pontifical representatives is "an authentic priestly service that bears close analogy to the representation of Christ, which is typical of priests. As such, it has an intrinsically sacrificial dimension"."The figure and presence of the nuncio, the apostolic delegate and the permanent observer is determined not only by the environment in which they work but, first and foremost, by the One Whom they are called to represent. ... Being spokesman for the Vicar of Christ can be demanding, sometimes extremely arduous, but it is never demeaning or depersonalising. It is, rather, an original way to fulfil one's priestly vocation".

AUDIENCES
VATICAN CITY, 14 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Seven prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Decio Zandonade S.D.B. of Colatina.
- Bishop Celio de Oliveira Goulart O.F.M. of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim.
- Bishop Zanoni Demettino Castro of Sao Mateus.
- Archbishop Joviano de Lima Junior S.S.S. of Ribeirao Preto.
- Archbishop Joao Bosco Oliver de Faria of Diamantina.
- Bishop Hugo Maria von Steekelenberg O.F.M. of Almenara.
- Bishop Severino Clasen O.F.M. of Aracuai.
- Archbishop Beniamino Stella, president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.
On Saturday 12 June he received in separate audiences:
- Five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Antonio Carlos Felix of Luz.
- Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana.
- Bishop Odilon Guimaraes Moreira of Itabira-Fabriciano.
- Archbishop Luiz Mancilha Vilela SS.CC. of Vitoria, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Mario Marquez O.F.M. Cap.
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.AL:AP/ VIS 20100614 (180)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 14 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Jose Aparecido Goncalves de Almeida, official of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as under secretary of the same dicastery.
On Saturday 12 June it was made public that he appointed Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini O.F.M. Cap. of Izmir, Turkey, as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the apostolic vicariate of Anatolia (Catholics 4,345, priests 8, religious 16), Turkey.
PAPAL IMAGE SOURCE http://carlosechevarria.blogspot.com/2010_01_10_archive.html

EUROPE
ENGLAND: SOCCER STAR WAYNE ROONEY WEARS ROSARY DURING WORLD CUP
 
Cath News report-English soccer star Wayne Rooney displaying his rosary during the World Cup has become increasingly familiar to television viewers, reports the UK's Times Online.

Rooney, who revealed during filming for the Street Striker television series that he "might have been a priest" had he not made it as a footballer because of his enjoyment of religious education at school, makes no secret of his faith, with the beads being the most obvious example, the report said.
Father Edward Quinn, who was Rooney's parish priest in Croxteth, Liverpool, and who presided over his wedding to Coleen McLoughlin two years ago, believes that the rosary beads may have been a gift from his wife.
"I suspect Wayne might have been given them by Coleen to take with him as a blessing and also as protection," said Fr Quinn.
"I have seen the pictures of Wayne wearing them and it doesn't surprise me because both he and Coleen come from families with a strong Catholic faith.
"When I presided over Wayne and Coleen's wedding in Italy, all of the guests received a set of rosary beads, so it is clearly a symbol which means a lot to them.
"The good thing is that he is able to wear the beads while he is playing because they are light and do not get in the way."
http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=21915
PHOTO SOURCE http://www.straitstimes.com/WorldCup/2010/WorldCupPulse/Story/STIStory_540231.html
 
AFRICA
KENYA: 6 KILLED AND OVER 75 INJURED IN ATTACK
 
All Africa report: The atmosphere at Uhuru Park on Sunday was electric, the prayers fervent, the singing ecstatic, and the crowd perhaps the largest the 'No' campaign has ever mustered.

It had been headlined as a two-million man meeting and although that number was not present, it was certainly a satisfying crowd for the convenors.
But six of these did not go back home alive, and at least 75 would spend the rest of the evening at the Kenyatta National Hospital, four so badly hurt that they required emergency surgery.
Mr Stanley Gitahi, 27, and his wife Felista Wambui told the Nation at the hospital that they had travelled from Kitengela to attend the prayer rally.
They were seated near the front and stayed on as the meeting dragged past 6 pm. At the time, head of Neno Evangelism Centre James Maina Ng'ang'a asked to be handed a guitar to begin the last phase with a song.
The clerics had also used the rally to offer prayers for the sick as well as to convert and lead to God those who wished to make a change in their lives.
At about 6.45 pm, said Mr Gitahi, there was a small explosion at the back of the crowd. Mr Ng'ang'a thought it was probably a bulb on one of the street lamps. People were asked to come closer to the dais, where prayers for the sick continued.
The second explosion was more powerful, hitting Mr Gitahi in the chest. He suffered two cuts, while his wife sustained slight injuries to the hand.
Ms Rose Anyiso, a 17-year-old househelp from Ngando in Dagoretti who attends the Neno Evangelism Centre, sustained serious injuries after she was hit on the cheek and hand.
A frantic Peris Awuor could not hold back tears at the Accident and Emergency Centre at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
The 45-year-old trader from Lunga Lunga in Nairobi had lost sight of her children, Victor Aswani, 8, and Catherine Odinga, 4, who disappeared when the second blast went off.
She had been asked to look for them at the Central police station and at Uhuru Park, but could not trace them. Ms Awuor, who was slightly injured on the hip, said she would seek treatment after finding her children.
In the melee at Kenyatta Hospital that marked the first hour after the blast, the Nation also spoke to other survivors.
Ms Rosalia Mwende from Deliverance Church in Githurai recalled the first explosion that sounded like a gunshot and the crowd was asked to ignore it.
Another victim, Mr Fred Momanyi, was groaning in pain on the floor with his hands in bandages. So helpless was he that he could not answer his mobile phone which kept ringing in his jeans pocket.
It was a different tale from relatives, some who were called to the hospital by good Samaritans. Mr Antony Kamau said he was called by an usher from the Neno Evangelism Centre, who identified himself as Sammy
His brother Michael Njoroge had dropped his phone in the scramble and Sammy had called Mr Kamau. "Something has happened to your brother," was all he said.
Later, Mr Kamau was desperate to see his brother after yet another caller said Mr Njoroge was badly injured.
http://allafrica.com/stories/201006141913.html


ASIA
INDIA: HINDU EXTREMIST ARRESTED FOR ANTI-CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE

Asia News report: Pandit Bishimajhi is blamed for serious anti-Christian violence in Orissa in August 2008, which included beating people and setting buildings on fire. A member of a Hindu nationalist party, he was a wanted man for many months but was able to elude and mock police. His arrest might be a sign that justice will finally be done in Orissa.

Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) – Police arrested Hindu extremist Pandit Bishimajhi last Friday morning. He is accused of involvement in 15 acts of violence, including the rape of a Catholic nun in August 2008 during a wave of anti-Christian persecution in Orissa’s Kandhamal District. Bishimajhi, who was on the run for a year and half, was caught in the village of Kudutulli in Kandhamal after a long and patient investigation.
Christians welcomed his arrest. As Fr Ajaya Singh, social services director of for the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, told AsiaNews, “He organised heinous crimes in Kandhamal. According to some reports, he used a local police station for three days to perpetrate the massacre.” He is “also the local representative of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main Hindu nationalist party.”
“If people have faith in the justice system, a process of reconciliation” between the community and the authorities can start, Singh said.
“I am sufficiently optimistic that this is a positive sign,” he added. “We, along with a group of Christian lawyers, social workers and human rights activists, will continue to follow and monitor the situation.”
According to local sources, Bishimajhi threatened witnesses with violence and received police protection. Now that he is under arrest, he is not likely to instil as much fear as he did before. Hopefully, witnesses will have the courage to come forward to testify.
The accusations against the PJP leader include a number of actions that targeted Christians in August 2008. In addition to raping Sister Meena (pictured) as well as beating her and Fr Thomas Chellan, he is charged with setting fire to the social services centre and the pastoral centre of the diocese in Jan Vikas.
Eyewitnesses have also said that they heard him say repeatedly that Hindus must persecute Christians without fear of consequences.
Fr Dibya Parichha, the archdiocese’s legal affairs coordinator for the riots, believes that the arrest can be seen as a positive signal that the rule of law will be respected and that the law will follow its normal course.
“This,” he explained, “will support the peace-building process and help develop security and justice for victims.”
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Hindu-extremist-who-raped-Sister-Meena-arrested-18672.html


AUSTRALIA
PROFESSOR DESMOND CAHILL HONOURED BY THE QUEEN
 
CATH NEWS REPORT: RMIT University professor and former priest Desmond Cahill was among those honoured on the Queen's Birthday this year.

Prof Cahill, who has led intercultural studies at RMIT University in since 1993, was awarded "for service to intercultural education and to the interfaith movement", reports the Moonee Valley Leader.
Last December, he organised the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, which was attended by about 6500 delegates.
Prof Cahill, 64, says that working for religious moderation rather than sidelining faiths is the best way of "dealing with religious-inspired terrorism".
His passion for intercultural education started when he worked as a priest in the northern and western suburbs for six years in the 1970s.
Queensland's Bishop John Bathersby and Catholic Social Services Australia Deputy Board Chair, Professor John Warhurst, were awarded Officer in the General Division (AO).
Other receipients include:
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) - Sister Theresa Anne Morellini of WA; Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) - Rev Father Brian Francis Byron (dec) of NSW, Brian Michael Cosidine of Myers Flat, Sister Monica Josephine Crawford of South Brisbane and Sister Enid Eliza Doherty of NSW.
source http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=21914

AMERICA
USA: BISHOPS ON MIGRATION: FOR I WAS A STRANGER & YOU WELCOMED ME

USCCB REPORT: Statement of the Participants in the Regional Consultation on Migration

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Washington, D.C.
June 4, 2010
As Catholic bishops of the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Canada gathered at our regional consultation meeting in Washington, D.C., June 2-4, 2010, joined at our meeting by religious and lay persons working with migrants, we reaffirm our commitment to vulnerable persons who migrate in search of protection or for a better life for themselves and their families. We acknowledge and appreciate the presence at our meeting of His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People and representative of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
We offer several reflections on the current situation regarding migration in this hemisphere, consistent with our long-held view that persons on the move should be protected from harm while in transit and welcomed with hospitality, service, and justice.

PICTURED: Most Rev. John C. Wester, Chairman Migration, USCCB

 This view is consistent with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who calls upon all to “welcome the stranger” and who declared “for whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” (Mt. 25: 35, 40).
We stand in solidarity with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who in his recent address to the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People, called upon the nations of the world to establish policies and plans which give migrants and refugees “opportunities to obtain legal status, promoting the fair rights to family reunification, asylum and refugee status, compensating for necessary restrictive measures and opposing the appalling trafficking of human beings.” We echo the Holy Father’s call to international organizations, international bodies, and nation-states to “resolve the crucial questions of security and development to the benefit of all.” The lack of security and development are the very factors that contribute to the need for people to migrate.
It is a reality that in this hemisphere the human dignity of persons on the move continues to be violated by governmental and nongovernmental actors alike in source, transit, and receiving nations. Migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers are mistreated and exploited both by government officials and law enforcement officials, as well as smugglers and other criminal elements as they flee poverty, natural disaster, violence, or persecution. The explosion of human trafficking in this hemisphere is a scourge which continues to grow, victimizing men, women, and children.
At the same time, there are many in the Church and other people of goodwill who work hard to protect the rights of persons on the move and who work to change laws to ensure the protection of basic human rights. We stand with them as together we try to educate others about the harsh realities of migration and the need to demonstrate compassion and justice to those less fortunate.
We also acknowledge and support the right of our governments to ensure the integrity of their borders and the common good of their citizenry. We strongly believe, however, that these goals can be achieved and the rule of law preserved without violating human rights. Governments can and must collaborate effectively to achieve regional development and stability.
With these perspectives in mind, we call attention to specific issues which should be addressed on a regional basis, with cooperation from all governments of this hemisphere:
The Promotion of Sustainable Economic Development in this Hemisphere. The factors which compel people to migrate in search of work are primarily, but not solely, economic. Families in poorer countries struggle to meet their most basic needs and living-wage jobs remain scarce. Root economic causes of migration must be addressed so that migrants can remain in their home countries and support their families. The impact of current and proposed trade agreements and agricultural policy in the region must be reviewed in terms of the displacement of small farmers and workers, and subsequent migration.
For example, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), touted initially as the key to economic development in the region, has failed to reach those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. International institutions, such as international lending institutions, have not adequately addressed the needs of the poor in the region.
The goals of the millennium have not been fully realized, and now climate change is adding another element to the migration phenomenon. These economic tools must be used in a way that increases the ability of the poor to escape poverty and not be forced to migrate to other countries.
The Economic Drivers of Violence. Economic insecurity and deprivation add to a number of social issues that together provide fertile breeding grounds for violence. The lack of economic opportunity as well as the lack of a sense of social meaning, especially among younger adults, fuels the resort to underground and illicit activities in many of the countries of the hemisphere. The increasing power of drug smuggling networks must be combated, both by law enforcement efforts but also by eradicating the market for these illicit substances, particularly in the United States.
The Protection of Migrants, Refugees, and Other Vulnerable People in Transit. Persons on the move in this hemisphere are subject to exploitation, abuse, and prolonged detention in all countries. Laws must be examined and reformed in each country to establish mechanisms to ensure safe passage, protection, and due process for migrants and their families, while ensuring that violent criminals are constrained.
The Scourge of Human Trafficking. While progress has been made in raising awareness of human trafficking in this hemisphere, much more must be achieved to eradicate this scourge. Governments and nongovernmental actors must work together to address the economic and social factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking. They must root out trafficking networks, and provide rescue and services to victims. Special attention must be paid to children, who are the most vulnerable victims.
Assistance for Haiti. We call upon all governments of this hemisphere to provide special care to the people of Haiti as they attempt to rebuild their country after the January earthquake. We urge all nations to continue with their generosity and support, but also to apply and amend their migration laws to accommodate, to the greatest extent possible, Haitians and their families who can no longer remain in Haiti.
As an immigrant nation, the United States and the American people, including Catholics, have traditionally welcomed newcomers and helped to integrate them into the country. We call upon the Congress of the United States and the Obama Administration to affirm this honored tradition and reform U.S. immigration law to allow migrants who work hard in the U.S. economy to enjoy the benefits of legal protection.
This reform would preclude the need to impose criminal penalties on persons not lawfully admitted. It also would end deportations of family members and the breakup of families. In all countries of the region we continue to welcome and protect migrants and call upon our governments to make their immigration laws more humane.
As pastors, we have an obligation to defend the rights of all persons, particularly the most vulnerable members of the human community. We call upon all members of the Catholic community in our nations to stand in solidarity with persons on the move and to work for their just and humane treatment.
May we be worthy of the admonition of our Lord and Savior, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me….” (Mt. 25: 34-35).
Delivered in Washington, D.C., on 4 June, the year of our Lord, 2010
http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-118.shtml



TODAY´S SAINT

St. Methodius I of Constantinople

PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Feast: June 14
Information: Feast Day: June 14
Born: 8th century at Syracuse
Died: 847
Patriarch of Constantinople (842-846), defender of images during the second Iconoclast persecution, b. at Syracuse, towards the end of the eighth century; d. at Constantinople, 14 June, 846. The son of a rich family, he came, as a young man, to Constantinople intending to obtain a place at Court. But a monk persuaded him to change his mind and he entered a monastery. Under the Emperor Leo V (the Armenian, 813-820) the Iconoclast persecution broke out for the second time. The monks were nearly all staunch defenders of the images; Methodius stood by his order and distinguished himself by his opposition to the Government. In 815 the Patriarch Nicephorus I (806-815) was deposed and banished for his resistance to the Iconoclast laws; in his place Theodotus I (815-821) was intruded. In the same year Methodius went to Rome, apparently sent by the deposed patriarch, to report the matter to the pope (Paschal I, 817-824). He stayed in Rome till Leo V was murdered in 820 and succeeded by Michael II (820-829). Hoping for better things from the new emperor, Methodius then went back to Constantinople bearing a letter in which the pope tried to persuade Michael to change the policy of the Government and restore the Patriarch Nicephorus. But Michael only increased the fierceness of the persecution. As soon as Methodius had delivered his letter and exhorted the emperor to act according to it, he was severely scourged (with 70 stripes), taken to the island Antigoni in the Propontis, and there imprisoned in a disused tomb. The tomb must be conceived as a building of a certain size; Methodius lived seven years in it. In 828 Michael II, not long before his death, mitigated the persecution and proclaimed a general amnesty. Profiting by this, Methodius came out of his prison and returned to Constantinople almost worn out by his privations. His spirit was unbroken and he took up the defence of the holy images as zealously as before.
Michael II was succeeded by his son Theophilus (829-842), who caused the last and fiercest persecution of image-worshippers. Methodius again withstood the emperor to his face, was again scourged and imprisoned under the palace. But the same night he escaped, helped by his friends in the city, who hid him in their house and bound up his wounds. For this theGovernment confiscated their property. But seeing that Methodius was not to be overcome by punishment, the emperor tried to convince him by argument. The result of their discussion was that Methodius to some extent persuaded the emperor. At any rate towards the end of the reign the persecution was mitigated. Theophilus died in 842 and at once the whole situation was changed. His wife, Theodora, became regent for her son Michael III (the Drunkard, 842-867). She had always been an image-worshipper in secret; now that she had the power she at once began to restore images, set free the confessors in prison and bring back everything to the conditions of the Second Nicene Council (787). The Patriarch of Constantinople, John VII (832-842), was an Iconoclast set up by the Government. As he persisted in his heresy he was deposed and Methodius was made patriarch in his place (842-846). Methodius then helped the empress-regent in her restoration. He summoned a synod at Constantinople (842) that approved of John VII's deposition and his own succession. It had no new laws to make about images. The decrees of Nicæa II that had received the assent of the pope and the whole Church as those of an Œcumenical Council were put in force again. On 19 Feb., 842, the images were brought in solemn procession back to the churches. This was the first "Feast of Orthodoxy", kept again in memory of that event on the first Sunday of Lent every year throughout the Byzantine Church. Methodius then proceeded to depose Iconoclast bishops throughout his patriarchate, replacing them by image-worshippers. In doing so he seems to have acted severely. An opposition formed itself against him that nearly became an organized schism. The patriarch was accused of rape; but the woman in question admitted on examination that she had been bought by his enemies.
On 13 March, 842, Methodius brought the relics of his predecessor Nlicephorus (who had died in exile) with great honour to Constantinople. They were exposed for a time in the church of the Holy Wisdom, then buried in that of the Apostles. Methodius was succeeded by Ignatius, under whom the great schism of Photius broke out. Methodius is a saint to Catholics and Orthodox. He is named in the Roman Martyrology (14 June), on which day the Byzantine Church keeps his feast together with that of the Prophet Eliseus. He is acclaimed with the other patriarchs, defenders of images, in the service of the feast of Orthodoxy: "To Germanus, Tarasius, Nicephorus and Methodius, true high priests of God and defenders and teachers of Orthodoxy, R. Eternal memory (thrice)." The Uniate Syrians have his feast on the same day. The Orthodox have a curious legend, that his prayers and those of Theodora saved Theophilus out of hell. It is told in the Synaxarion for the feast of Orthodoxy.
St. Methodius is reputed to have written many works. Of these only a few sermons and letters are extant (in Migne, P.G., C, 1272-1325). An account of the martyrdom of Denis the Areopagite by him is in Migne, P.G., IV, 669-682, two sermons on St. Nicholas in N. C. Falconius, "S. Nicolai acta primigenia" (Naples, 1751), 39-74.
http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmethodiusiofconstantinople.asp


TODAY´S GOSPEL

Matthew 5: 38 - 42
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38 "You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
39 But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also;
40 and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well;
41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.
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