Monday, June 28, 2010





VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy Father today received members of the "Circolo di San Pietro" who gave him, as they traditionally do every year, the "Peter's Pence" collection which is raised annually in parishes and religious institutes of the diocese of Rome. In his brief remarks to them, the Pope spoke of the recently-concluded Year for Priests, during which the Church dedicated particular attention to the figure of St. John Mary Vianney, the holy 'Cure of Ars'. He was, said the Holy Father, "a model of evangelical life, not only for priests but also for lay people, especially for those ... who work in the vast field of charity. Indeed, one specific aspect of the life of that humble priest was his detachment from material goods". Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the example of St. John Mary Vianney may represent "a constant invitation to open our arms to all people in need of a tangible sign of solidarity". He likewise exhorted the members of the "Circolo di San Pietro" to continue "to represent this concrete sign of the Pope's charity towards those in need, in both material and spiritual terms".
Having then expressed his thanks for "Peter's Pence", the Holy Father highlighted how the collection "is an eloquent testimony of evangelical charity because it expresses, on the one hand, the affection felt by this city's inhabitants and pilgrims towards Peter's Successor and, on the other, the Holy See's real solidarity with many situations of suffering and poverty which, unfortunately, continue to exist in Rome and in many other parts of the world". "Through your commitment to go out and meet the needs of the less fortunate", the Pope concluded, "you spread a message of hope that arises from faith and adherence to the Lord, and you become heralds of His Gospel. May charity and witness continue to be the leading aspects of your apostolate".

VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Secretariat of State today published the following English-language communique: "As agreed at its first meeting in Hanoi in February 2009, the second meeting of the Vietnam - Holy See Joint Working Group took place in the Vatican from 23 to 24 June, co-chaired by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, Holy See under secretary for Relations with States who headed the Holy See delegation, and Nguyen Quoc Cuong, vice minister of Foreign Affairs who headed the Vietnamese Delegation. "After reviewing the progress made since the first Joint Working Group meeting, the two sides discussed international issues and those related to bilateral relations and to the Catholic Church in Vietnam. The Vietnamese side recalled its consistent policy of respect for freedom of religion and belief as well as the legal provisions to guarantee its implementation. The Holy See delegation took note of this explanation and asked that further conditions be established so that the Church may participate effectively in the development of the country, especially in the spiritual, educational, healthcare, social and charitable fields. The Holy See delegation also mentioned that the Church in her teaching invites the faithful to be good citizens and therefore to work for the common good of the population.
"The two sides noted encouraging developments in various areas of Catholic life in Vietnam, especially in relation to the Jubilee Year. Furthermore they recalled the address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during the last 'ad limina' visit of the Vietnamese bishops and the Holy Father's Message to the Catholic Church in Vietnam on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, and agreed that these teachings of the Holy Father would serve as an orientation for the Catholic Church in Vietnam in the years ahead.
"On bilateral relations the two sides appreciated the positive developments since the first meeting of the Joint Working Group, especially the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the Vietnamese State President Nguyen Minh Triet in December 2009. The two sides also had in-depth and comprehensive discussions on bilateral diplomatic relations. In order to deepen the relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, as well as the bonds between the Holy See and the local Catholic Church, it was agreed that, as a first step, a non-resident representative of the Holy See for Vietnam will be appointed by the Pope.
"The two sides decided to hold the third meeting of the Joint Working Group in Vietnam; the time of the meeting will be settled through diplomatic channels.
"On the occasion of the meeting, the Vietnamese delegation paid courtesy visits to Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Holy See secretary for Relations with States, to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and to the Vicariate of the diocese of Rome. The Delegation also visited the Holy See's 'Bambino Gesu' paediatric hospital in Rome".

VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Secretariat of State today announced that Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, received the Letters accrediting Nikolay Sadchikov as ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Holy See. In the near future, Archbishop Antonio Mennini will present Sergei Lavrov, minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, with the Letters of Credence accrediting him as apostolic nuncio to that State.

VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Pope focused his remarks prior to praying the Angelus on this last Sunday of June to the theme of the call of Christ and the requirements it brings. Addressing thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said that "a young man or young woman who leave their family, their studies or their work to consecrate themselves to God" represent "a living example of the radical response to the divine vocation". "One of the most beautiful experiences a person can have in the Church is that of being able to see and touch the work of the Lord in people's lives, of experiencing the fact that God is not some abstract entity, but a reality so great and strong as to fill man's heart to overflowing; a living Person Who is close to us, Who loves us and asks to be loved". Benedict XVI highlighted how the requirements for following Christ "may seem very harsh, but in reality they express the novelty and absolute priority of the Kingdom of God which is present in the Person of Jesus Christ. They are, in the final analysis, the radical commitment that is due to the Love of God, which Jesus Himself was the first to obey". "A person who renounces everything in order to follow Christ enters a new dimension of freedom", he continued. "Freedom and love are the same thing, while obeying one's own egoism leads to rivality and conflict". The Holy Father concluded by inviting everyone "to contemplate the mystery of the divine-human Heart of the Lord Jesus. ... People who fix their gaze on that Heart, pierced and ever open with Love for us, feel the truth of the following invocation: 'Be you, my Lord, my only good', and are ready to abandon everything in order to follow the Lord". After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled how in Lebanon this morning a beatification ceremony was held for Etienne (ne Joseph) Nehme, religious of the Lebanese Maronite Order who lived in Lebanon between the end of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. "My heartfelt congratulations go to our Lebanese brothers and sisters", he said, "and with great affection I commend them to the protection of the new blessed". "On this Sunday which precedes the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles", the Holy Father concluded, "Italy and other countries are celebrating the Day of the Pope's Charity. I express my gratitude to people who, with prayer and offerings, support the apostolic and charitable activity of Peter's Successor, in favour of the universal Church and of so many of our brothers and sisters, both near and far".

VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a message, made public today Sunday, sent by the Pope to Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, president of the Belgian Episcopal Conference, following the search of the cathedral of Mechelen and of the archbishopric which was conducted on 24 June.
"At this sad time I wish to express my special closeness and solidarity to you, dear brother in the episcopate, and to all the bishops of the Church in Belgium, for the surprising and deplorable manner in which searches were carried out at the cathedral of Mechelen and at the site where the Belgian episcopate was gathered in a plenary assembly which, among other things, also intended to consider questions associated with the abuse of minors by members of the clergy. On a number of occasions I myself have highlighted how these serious matters should be dealt with by both civil law and canon law, while respecting the specific nature and autonomy of each. In this context, I trust that justice may run its course in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of persons and of institutions, at the same time respecting victims, showing unconditional recognition for those who undertake to collaborate, and rejecting everything that obscures the noble goal with which justice is assigned.
"While assuring you that I accompany the progress of your Church with my daily prayers, I willingly impart an affectionate apostolic blessing".

VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Pope today received in audience the members of a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, who have come to Rome for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles.
The delegation, sent by His Holiness Bartholomew I, is composed of His Eminence Gennadios (Limouris), metropolitan of Sassima, joint secretary of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and vice moderator of the central committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland; His Eminence Bartholomaios (Ioannis Kessidis), bishop of Arianzos, assistant to the metropolitan of Germany, and Deacon Theodoros Meimaris of the patriarchal see of Fanar.
At the start of his English-language address to the group, the Holy Father rendered thanks unto God "that the relations between us are characterised by sentiments of mutual trust, esteem and fraternity, as is amply testified by the many meetings that have already taken place in the course of this year".
"All this gives grounds for hope that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue will also continue to make significant progress", he added.
Referring to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, the Pope noted how it is now "at a crucial point, having begun last October in Paphos to discuss the 'The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium'. With all our hearts we pray that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the members of the commission will continue along this path during the forthcoming plenary session in Vienna, Austria, and devote to it the time needed for thorough study of this delicate and important issue. For me it is an encouraging sign that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Holy Synod of Constantinople share our firm conviction of the importance of this dialogue".
Benedict XVI then noted how the forthcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, due to be held in October, will dedicate particular attention to "the theme of ecumenical co-operation between the Christians of that region". And he highlighted the fact that that "the difficulties that the Christians of the Middle East are experiencing are in large measure common to all: living as a minority, and yearning for authentic religious freedom and for peace. Dialogue is needed with the Islamic and Jewish communities".
"In this context I shall be very pleased to welcome the fraternal delegation which the Ecumenical Patriarch will send in order to participate in the work of the Synodal Assembly", the Pope concluded.

VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique early this afternoon:
"(1) The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna and president of the Austrian Episcopal Conference. The cardinal had asked to meet the Supreme Pontiff personally in order to report on the current situation of the Church in Austria. In particular, Cardinal Schonborn wished to clarify the exact meaning of his recent declarations concerning some aspects of current ecclesiastical discipline, and certain of his judgements regarding positions adopted by the Secretariat of State - and in particular by the then Secretary of State of Pope John Paul II - concerning the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995.
"(2) Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. were subsequently invited to join the meeting.
"In the second part of the audience certain widespread misunderstandings were clarified and resolved, misunderstandings deriving partly from certain statements of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, who expressed his displeasure at the interpretations given to his words.
"In particular:
"(a) It must be reiterated that, in the Church, when accusations are made against a cardinal, competency falls exclusively to the Pope; other parties may have a consultative function, while always maintaining due respect for persons.
"(b) The word 'chiacchiericcio' (gossip) was erroneously interpreted as disrespectful to the victims of sexual abuse, towards whom Cardinal Angelo Sodano nourishes the same feelings of compassion, and of condemnation of evil, as expressed on various occasions by the Holy Father. That word, pronounced during his Easter address to Pope Benedict XVI, was taken literally from the pontifical homily of Palm Sunday and referred to the "courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of prevalent opinions".
3) The Holy Father, recalling with great affection his own pastoral trip to Austria, via Cardinal Christoph Schonborn sends his greetings and encouragement to the Church in Austria, and to her pastors, entrusting the journey to renewed ecclesial communion to the celestial protection of the Blessed Virgin, so venerated at Mariazell".

VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
-Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria.
On Saturday 26 June he received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City.
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
-Reverend Ishmael Noko, secretary general of the World Lutheran Federation, accompanied by his wife:

VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Jakarta, Indonesia, presented by Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, S.J., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo.
- Appointed Bishop Giacomo Lanzetti of Alghero-Bosa, Italy, as bishop of Alba (area, 1,050, population, 128,000, Catholics, 125,000, priests, 152, permanent deacons, 5, religious, 355), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Sebastiano Dho, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
On Saturday 26 June it was made public that he appointed:
- As members of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See: Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru, and Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain..
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as his special envoy to the fifteenth centenary celebrations of the Marian shrine of Mary of Grace, Our Lady of Mentorella in the Italian diocese of Tivoli, which are due to be held on 29 August.


UCAN report: A Catholic priest targeted in a post-midnight shooting attack in the Philippines on Saturday says he will not abandon his parish and will continue serving the poor.

“I will never leave my parish,” Father Jose Francisco “Jeofran” Talaban, 43, parish priest of Nuestra SeƱora de la Salvacion in the Aurora province village of Bianoan, Casiguran town, told Church-run Radio Veritas.
The shots missed the sleeping priest by a few meters.
Police later recovered empty shells and grenade shrapnel. Also found were anti-communist pamphlets accusing Father Talaban of belonging to the New People’s Army.
“The Church will not be cowed and will not stop helping the poor and oppressed,” Father Talaban said.
He said he suspects that the attack was related to his campaign against government projects in the Aurora Special Economic Zone.
Father Talaban is known as a vocal advocate of the rights of farmers’ and indigenous people who will be displaced by the project.
Infanta Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona condemned the attack, saying the threats will not deter the Church.
He described the perpetrators as “cowards and without conscience”.
“We are on the side of the poor, so if they think we will back out, they are wrong,” the bishop said.
Claiming to know those behind the attack, Bishop Tirona noted that the threats against Father Talaban only started when the special economic zone project was proposed.
However, Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara, a proponent of the project in Congress, said it was premature to make any links.
“Definitely, the attack should be condemned,” he said. “(But) it may or may not have anything to do with the project.”
“Elements” may be out to destabilize the local situation, he added.
Bishop Tirona will meet local clergy later this week to discuss improved security measures.


Cath News report: Cardinal George Pell blessed two new sculptures of the Risen Christ and Mary Magdalene, by English sculptor Nigel Boonham, at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney yesterday.

The blessing took place following the unveiling of the statues at the 10:30am Solemn Mass.
The Australian quoted Cardinal Pell's suggestion that the sculptures "are worthy of Bernini", the 17th-century Roman sculptor and architect whose works adorn the Vatican.
The statues were bolted to the marble floor of the sanctuary, and will form part of a triptych with the cathedral's main altar, which depicts the entombed Christ after the crucifixion, said the report.
The altar was installed in 2008 and blessed during World Youth Day by Pope Benedict XVI.
Boonham, whose works grace many public spaces in London and other parts of Britain, said the sculptures of Christ and Mary Magdalene took 3 1/2 years from the planning stages. He spent the last seven months working full-time in Italy.
Picture: Sculptor Nigel Boonham
"I wanted to capture that profound moment between the two after Christ's resurrection, when he speaks her name and she recognises him after mistakenly thinking he was a gardener," Boonham said. "Her face must have shown a complex mixture of emotions: surprise, maybe shock; incomprehension, devotion, utter relief and released love.
"They are great art but the main purpose is to focus attention on the cathedral altar and the mystery of redemption," the report quotes from Cardinal Pell.
SWEDEN: 7 YEAR OLD BOY SEIZED BY POLICE FOR BEING HOMESCHOOLED report: Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights Friday asking it to hear the case of a seven-year-old boy seized by Swedish authorities because his parents homeschool.

“Parents have the right and authority to make decisions regarding their children’s education without government interference,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska, who is based in Europe. “A government trying to create a cookie-cutter child in its own image should not be allowed to violate this basic and fundamental human right.
"The refusal of Swedish authorities to respect that right has left us no choice but to take this case to the European Court of Human Rights.”
Swedish authorities forcibly removed Dominic Johansson from his parents, Christer and Annie Johansson, in June 2009 from a plane they had boarded to move to Annie’s home country of India. The officials did not have a warrant nor have they charged the Johanssons with any crime. The officials, say ADF lawyers, seized the child because they believe homeschooling is an inappropriate way to raise a child and insist the government should raise Dominic instead.
Social services authorities have placed Dominic in foster care and a government school and are only allowing Christer and Annie to visit their son for one hour every five weeks.
"We are gravely concerned about this case as it represents what can happen to other home-schooling families,’” explained HSLDA lawyer Mike Donnelly, one of nearly 1,700 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “In response to our inquiries, Swedish authorities have cited the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child to explain and defend their actions. If the U.S. were to ever ratify this treaty, as the White House and some members of Congress have expressed a desire to do, then this sort of thing could occur here.”
ADF and HSLDA attorneys decided to file Johansson v. Sweden with the ECHR when the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden refused to review a lower court’s December 2009 ruling in Johansson v. Gotland Social Services that found that the government was within its rights to seize the child.
The lower court cited the fact that Dominic had not been vaccinated as a reason to remove him permanently from his parents and also repeated the charges that homeschoolers do not perform well academically and are not well socialized. HSLDA and ADF said that these latter charges are “provably false.”
image source


CNS report -- Praying is now so 21st century.

Instead of a paperback missalette, there's iMissal. Instead of prayer cards, there's a touch-screen Saint A Day. Instead of randomly jotting down prayer requests, there's a digitally organized list in PrayerSteward.
These three applications -- better known as apps -- only scratch the surface of faith-related digital materials available in Apple's App Store and, to a lesser extent, in the Android Market and Palm Pre App Catalog. With these digital Catholic resources comes the undeniable convenience of modern-day prayer.
"I know people who before they even get out of bed they have their iPod Touch or their iPhone in their hand," said Sister Kathryn James Hermes, a Daughter of St. Paul and director of digital publishing for Pauline Books and Media, in an interview with the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Arlington Diocese.
"You could be looking at the psalms or the morning meditation," she added.
In March, Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company specializing in digital technologies, reported that smartphone (i.e. iPhone, Android, Palm Pre) users are expected to quadruple by 2014, resulting in 1 billion users worldwide. That's a market that everyone, even the Vatican, can get behind.
On Easter Sunday, the Vatican Observatory Foundation, which promotes scientific research of the heavens, launched the Vatican-approved iPhone app: "Daily Sermonettes with Father Mike Manning."
"These daily reflections are inspired by Scripture, using God's uplifting message as a guide in your daily life, supporting the foundation's mission of scientific research, education and discovery," the website reads.
Also approved by the Vatican is iBreviary (available on iPhone and Android), an app developed in part by Italian priest Father Paolo Padrini, that contains daily readings, the Liturgy of the Hours and other prayers in multiple languages.
"As religious, we take to heart that (Pope) Benedict has said we need to give a soul to technology, a soul to communications," Sister Kathryn said. "We do that through prayer, through reflection, through the love with which we carry out our apostolate -- even the way in which we create our apps, trying to make them a truly beautiful experience."
Sister Kathryn and the Daughters of St. Paul always are on the lookout for ways to give the Internet a soul by using it to spread the good news.
"For those who never go into a church, through the media we're able to allow wherever they are to become a church," she said. "It becomes a place of encounter for them, a sacred space, a type of church. It becomes a way to multiply our presence to a whole new audience."
The iMissal app, developed by Cantcha Inc. and available for iPhone and Android users, contains a full calendar displaying all liturgical seasons, all Mass readings for every liturgical cycle, audio readings, a daily Bible verse and a list of popular prayers.
"It really is meant to become the source of everything Catholic that Catholics turn to for prayer and devotion and faith," Sister Kathryn said. "It's this very simple thing. You can have the readings right in your hand along with everything else that organizes your life."
Favorite prayers can be e-mailed to friends, and iMissal is connected with CatholicTV, a television ministry of the Archdiocese of Boston, and enables users to stream Mass online.
Though the Rosary Miracle Prayer app, available in June, users can pray the rosary in his or her own "sacred space." Audio tracks feature the Daughters of St. Paul -- recorded at their studio in Boston -- praying the decades, and 18 different sets of pictures help draw the faithful into the four sets of mysteries.
From within the app, users can e-mail the Daughters of St. Paul directly with personal prayer intentions.
With the Saint A Day app, invoking a prayer to the patron saint of cancer, artists, flying or mail delivery is only an index finger away. A quick search results in a wide breadth of information on a particular saint, and users then are able to e-mail it to a friend in need.
PrayerSteward, an application released earlier this month by Safe-t-Technologies LLC, offers an easy way to keep track of prayer intentions.
Once a user make a promise to remember someone in prayer, it can be added to the PrayerSteward list. The user can set time limits or reminders or e-mail the prayer request to others. More information is available at, and a quick search on YouTube provides a useful tutorial.
Besides the digital apps, the Daughters of St. Paul have six CDs available for download on iTunes and will soon have books available for e-readers like Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook and Apple's iPad.
Despite all the apps, smartphones and fancy devices, however, the mission of evangelization for the Daughters of St. Paul -- and for the church -- remains the same today as 2,000 years ago in St. Paul's time.
"All of these things are means," Sister Kathryn said. "They are a way to reach out to a lot of people at once. That's really the essence of our mission, to evangelize out."

All Africa report: A Southern Sudan Catholic radio marked its first anniversary this June 19, 2010 in Eastern Equatoria State (EES).

Radio Emmanuel 89 fm's Communication Coordinator, Fr Lounoi Santino told Juba Post that the radio is community based, established to enable communities to access information on current issues.
Fr Santino said radio Emmanuel 89 fm with its slogan, "The Voice of Peace," promotes peace and development.
According to him, after the 2005 peace agreement in Sudan, the radio has been identified as one of the critical tools that can benefit communities during the post war period.
This radio's programmes are locally created and produced encouraging creative expression and entertainment; promote true peace and reconciliation derived from the true gospel and human values.
Fr Santino said, "Our overall goal is to be a voice that educates, unites and avails information that leads to peace building and integral human development."
"We have specific objectives of peace building, community empowerment through information on critical issues, civic education in view of the coming elections, referendum and beyond 2011 and Integral human development both spiritual and material," Fr Santino said.
According to the director, the radio also hopes to create a forum where people who do not have opportunity to have their voices heard, express their views.
Fr Lounoi said the vision of Radio Emmanuel 89 fm is to become a vibrant and most listened to radio station that promotes peaceful coexistence between communities, and strive for integral human development.
The radio, under the establishment of Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference (SCBC) started its first on-air single testing on June19 last year.
The radio station which is part of Sudan Catholic Radio Network is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Torit and is located 3 kilometers south of Torit town.
Radio Emmanuel covers about 60 to 100 kilometers radius in directions. It reaches four counties of Eastern Equatoria State; Torit, Ikotos, Lafon and Budi and partially covers parts of Magwi County, Kapoeta South County, Kapoeta North Counties and a portion of Central Equatoria State areas of Lirya and Bungu.
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St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Feast: June 28
Born: 130 in Asia Minor
Died: 203 in Lyons, France
The writings of Irenaeus give him an honored place among the Fathers of the Church for they laid the foundations of Christian theology and, by refuting the errors of the Gnostics, kept the youthful Catholic faith from the danger of corruption by the subtle, pessimistic doctrines of these philosophers. Irenaeus was born, probably about the year 125, in one of the maritime provinces of Asia Minor, where the memory of the Apostles was still cherished and where Christians were already numerous. His education was exceptionally liberal, for, besides a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, he had an acquaintance with Greek philosophy and literature. Irenaeus had also the privilege of sitting at the feet of men who had known the Apostles. Of these the one who made the deepest impression on him was St. Polycarp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna. All through his life, he told a friend, he could recall every detail of Polycarp's appearance, his voice, and the very words he used when telling what he had heard from John the Evangelist and others who had seen Jesus.
From early times commerce had been brisk between the ports of Asia Minor and the city of Marseilles, at the mouth of the Rhone River. In the second century of the Christian era Levantine traders were conveying their wares up the river as far as Lyons, the most populous city of Gaul and an important mart for all Western Europe. In the train of these Asiatic merchants, many of whom settled in Lyons, came Christian missionaries, who brought the Gospel to the pagan Gauls and founded a vigorous church. Here Irenaeus was sent to serve as priest under the bishop, Pothinus. The high regard which Irenaeus earned for himself at Lyons was shown in the year 177, when he was chosen to go on a serious mission to Rome. He was the bearer of a letter to Pope Eleutherius, urging him to deal firmly with the Montanist faction in faraway Phrygia, for heresy was now rampant in the East. This mission explains how it was that Irenaeus did not share in the martyrdom of his fellow Christians. A persecution broke out, and some of the leaders of the Lyons church were imprisoned; a few suffered martyrdom. This was in the reign of the philosophical pagan emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Since Lyons was a vital outpost of imperial power, adorned with temples and fine public buildings, the Roman officials perhaps thought it necessary to keep the new religion in check here. When Irenaeus returned from Rome it was to fill the now vacant bishopric. The brief period of persecution was over, and the twenty or more years of his episcopate were fairly peaceful. In addition to his pastoral duties at Lyons, Irenaeus is said to have extended the sphere of Christian influence by sending missionaries to other towns of Gaul-SS. Felix, Fortunatus, and Achilleus to Valence, and SS. Ferrutius and Ferreolus to Besancon. The bishop identified himself with his flock so completely as to speak habitually the native tongue instead of Latin or Greek, and to encourage all priests to do likewise. The spread of Gnosticism in Gaul led Irenaeus to make a careful study of its tenets, not an easy matter since each Gnostic teacher was inclined to introduce subtleties of his own. He was, Tertullian tells us, "a curious explorer of all kinds of learning," and the task interested him. His treatise , in five books, sets forth fully the doctrines of the main dissident sects of the day and then contrasts them with the words of Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles, as preserved not only in sacred writings but by oral tradition in the churches which the Apostles founded. Above all, he cites the authoritative tradition of the Church of Rome, handed down from Peter and Paul through an unbroken succession of bishops. In his theological works Irenaeus especially shows the influence of St. Paul and St. John. An humble, patient man, he writes of controversial matters with a moderation and courtesy unusual in this age of perfervid conviction.
An example of his method is his discussion of one type of Gnostic doctrine, that the visible world was created and is sustained and governed by angelic beings, but not by God, who remains unconnected with it, aloof and unmoved in his own inaccessible sphere. Irenaeus states the theory, develops it to a logical conclusion, and then by an effective demonstrates its fallacy. The Christian doctrine of a close continuing relationship between the Triune God and the world He created Irenaeus describes thus: "The Father is above all, and He is the Head of Christ; the Word (Logos) is through all things and is Himself the Head of the Church, while the Spirit is in us all, and His is the living water which the Lord gave to those who believe in Him and love Him, and who know that there is one Father above all things and through all things." Irenaeus was convinced that the veil of mystery which enveloped Gnosticism was part of its attraction, and he was determined to "strip the fox," as he expressed it. His book, written in Greek and quickly translated into Latin, was widely circulated, and from this time on Gnosticism presented no serious threat. Thirteen or fourteen years after his mission to Rome, Irenaeus attempted mediation between another Pope and a body of Christians in Asia Minor called the Quartodecimans, who refused to fix the day of Easter by the method commonly used by Christians. Pope Victor had excommunicated them, and Irenaeus pleaded with him in a beautiful letter to raise the ban, pointing out that these Asiatics were only following their Apostolic tradition, and that the difference of opinion on this minor point had not prevented St. Polycarp and many others from staying in communion. At the end of the fourth century Jerome wrote that many Eastern bishops still adhered to the ancient Jewish calendar.
The date of the death of Irenaeus is usually given as about the year 203. According to a late and dubious tradition he suffered martyrdom under Septimius Severus. His book has come down to us entire in its Latin version; and an Armenian translation of his has lately been discovered. Though the rest of his writings have perished, in these two works may be found the elements of a complete system of Catholic theology.

Matthew 8: 18 - 22

8 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.

19 And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."

20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."

21 Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."

22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
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