Tuesday, July 13, 2010



VATICAN CITY, 13 JUL 2010 (VIS report) - "Religious freedom, the path to peace" is the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the celebration of the 2011 World Day of Peace.
"The World Day of Peace", reads a communique on the subject released today, "will therefore be dedicated to the theme of religious freedom. It is well known that in many parts of the world there are various forms of restriction or denial of religious freedom, from discrimination and marginalisation based on religion, to acts of violence against religious minorities".
"Religious freedom is authentically realised when it is experienced as the coherent search for truth and for the truth about man. This approach to religious freedom offers us a fundamental criterion for discerning the phenomenon of religion and its expressions. It necessarily rejects the 'religiosity' of fundamentalism, and the manipulation of truth and of the truth about man. Since such distortions are opposed to the dignity of man and to the search for truth, they cannot be considered as religious freedom".
The communique recalls words Benedict XVI's pronounced before the United Nations General Assembly in 2008: "Human rights, of course, must include the right to religious freedom, understood as the expression of a dimension that is at once individual and communitarian - a vision that brings out the unity of the person while clearly distinguishing between the dimension of the citizen and that of the believer".
The text continues: "Today there are many areas of the world in which forms of restrictions and limitations to religious freedom persist, both where communities of believers are a minority, and where communities of believers are not a minority, and where more sophisticated forms of discrimination and marginalisation exist, on the cultural level and in the spheres of public, civil and political activity. 'It is inconceivable', as Benedict XVI remarked, 'that believers should have to suppress a part of themselves - their faith - in order to be active citizens. It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy one's rights. The rights associated with religion are all the more in need of protection if they are considered to clash with a prevailing secular ideology or with majority religious positions of an exclusive nature'".
The communique concludes by highlighting how "man cannot be fragmented, and separated from what he believes, because that in which he believes has an impact on his life and on his person. 'Refusal to recognise the contribution to society that is rooted in the religious dimension and in the quest for the Absolute - by its nature, expressing communion between persons - would effectively privilege an individualistic approach, and would fragment the unity of the person'. It is for this reason that: 'Religious Freedom is the Path to Peace'".

POLAND: FAMOUS PRIEST FR. JANKOWSKI DIES AGE 74 report: Father Henryk Jankowski, chaplain to the Solidarity trade union and parson of St. Bridget’s Parish in the Baltic city of Gdansk, died on July 12 at the age of 74. He was a long-sufferer of diabetes.

Jankowski was born in 1936 in Starogard Gdanski, and had seven siblings. He studied at the seminary in Gdansk, and was ordained a priest in 1964 by Bishop Edmund Nowicki.
From 1970 he became parson of St. Bridget’s Parish in Gdansk, and was the first chaplain who would say Holy Mass for Solidarity strikers in the Gdansk shipyard, earning him the moniker of “Solidarity Chaplain.”
“It was an incredible feeling,” Jankowski told media a few years ago about his experiences in the shipyard when he said his first Mass for the strikers on August 17, 1980.
“I saw around 8,500 people at the entrance gate, not including the strikers themselves. I then realised the great danger that I could put these people in,” recounted Fr. Jankowski about the first Mass said in the Lenin Shipyard.
Throughout the 1980s Jankowski was the patron and host of many opposition meetings, which he personally supported.
Speaking after hearing the news of Jankowski’s death, historian Jan Zaryn said that the date of August 17, 1980, marked the start of Poland’s road to democracy.
Controversial figure
Even though Jankowski is remembered first and foremost as the Solidarity Chaplain, after 1989 the Gdansk parson began to be considered as a controversial character due to his homilies, which contained anti-Semitic and anti-European elements. Jankowski provoked much criticism in 1997, when he was banned from preaching for one year by Gdansk Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski for his saying “one cannot tolerate the Jewish minority in the Polish government.” The priest was also known for his provocative decoration of the scene of the Tomb of Jesus during Lent and Eastertide.
He was once more reprimanded by Archbishop Goclowski in 2004, and was stripped of his parsonage of St. Bridget’s as well as being forced to step down from the lectern for good.
After being barred from giving sermons, he turned to wine distribution, selling the drink under his own “Prelate – Monsignore” label. He wished to donate the proceedings to the completion of the amber altar in the Church of St. Bridget in his home parish.
Jankowski also donated proceeds from his brand of mineral water to education and scholarships for poorer students. The regional Dziennik Baltycki daily also wrote in its pages that the priest also gave donations to local hospitals and to an orphanage.
His contacts with American Polonia also helped with the procurement of much needed medicine.
Held in high esteem
Head of the Solidarity trade union, Janusz Sniadek underlined Jankowski’s role in the opposition movement throughout the 1980s.
Apart from being what one Gdansk priest called “a father for the strikers,” Sniadek stated that Jankowski commanded respect, adding that thanks to him Solidarity became strong enough to topple the authorities.
As a parson of St. Bridget’s, Father Jankowski would meet leaders of the opposition from Poland and abroad, as well as promote independence with patriotic fervour.
Civic Platform MEP, Boguslaw Sonik told Polish Radio that Fr. Henryk Jankowski was “a sign that the Church supported our movement,” adding that the St. Bridget’s parish was a place where the heart of Solidarity beat during the 1980s.
“May he rest in peace… A great part of Solidarity’s history has departed,” said Law and Justice politician and opposition activist, Antoni Macierewicz on hearing the news of Fr. Jankowski’s death.
He remained a resident of St. Bridget’s Parish in Gdansk until his death on Monday, July 12 at the age of 74.
Text by John Beauchamp
Audio by Michal Kubicki

USA: BOSTON: RELIC OF THE TRUE CROSS STOLEN FROM CATHEDRAL report: A janitor at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross entered the church’s Blessed Sacrament Chapel early one recent morning and made a startling discovery: A thief had pried open a panel covering a small glass case and stolen a small piece of wood venerated by Catholics as a fragment of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

The relic, one of the oldest and most treasured possessions of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, has not been seen since, and now on the wall in the dim chapel hangs a cross (PICTURED) with its base pried open and an empty cavity where the relic once rested.
“We are deeply troubled that this sacred relic was stolen, and we pray for those responsible,’’ the Rev. Kevin J. O’Leary, rector of the cathedral, said yesterday. “We ask the faithful of the Archdiocese of Boston to join the cathedral’s parishioners in praying every day for its return.’’
The relic disappeared sometime between 10 a.m. on June 30 and 8 a.m. on July 1, according to a police report. The theft was re ported Sunday by The Lady in the Pew, a blog written by Kelly Thatcher, who describes herself as “a Roman Catholic lady who loves being a Roman Catholic lady.’’ The theft was confirmed to the Globe yesterday by the Archdiocese of Boston.
Lieutenant Detective Michael Conley said police believe that the relic was stolen by someone who visited the chapel during the day because there were no signs of forced entry. The relic, he said, was last seen by a church official at 10 a.m. June 30. Nothing else was missing from the chapel, he said.
“Somebody knew what it was,’’ he said.
He said investigators are scouring eBay to see if the relic might turn up. Last night, a Globe search of eBay found a dozen items under a search for “true cross relic,’’ with price tags ranging from $105.49 to $3,800.
The relic arrived in Boston in the late 18th century, a gift to a French missionary priest, the Rev. Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus, who later became the first bishop of Boston.
The relic was given to Cheverus by Abbe Claude de la Poterie, the first pastor of the cathedral, who was also a French priest, as well as a onetime chaplain in the French Navy.
De la Poterie celebrated the first public Mass in Boston on Nov. 2, 1788.
The relic is one of many around the world that are said to be parts of the “True Cross.’’ Churches have professed to have relics of the cross since the fourth century; the authenticity is often disputed, but the relics are nonetheless significant objects of prayer for many Catholics.
“The relic of the True Cross is an important sacramental that helps Christians contemplate the crucified Savior and the great suffering He endured for the salvation of the world,’’ said archdiocesan spokesman Terrence C. Donilon.
Boston’s first Catholic church, completed on Franklin Street in 1803, was named the Church of the Holy Cross.
The church was designated a cathedral in 1808, when the Diocese of Boston was established; the current cathedral, on Washington Street in the South End, was completed in 1875. The north transept window at the cathedral depicts the legendary discovery of the cross by Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine. In the scene, a dead woman is restored to life after the cross is laid upon her.
The south transept window depicts another story associated with the cross: return of the relic to Jerusalem by a Byzantine emperor after it was stolen by the Persian army in the seventh century.
On a day-to-day basis, people visiting the chapel often stop to pray before the relic, said the Rev. Jonathan Gaspar, an aide to Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley. Yesterday at midday, a lone man stood in the chapel, praying. “What they’re doing many a time is they are uniting their own suffering, their own darkness, to the suffering of Christ, in the hope that through Christ’s power and mediation, they will have light and experience the glory, even in this life, of the resurrection,’’ Gaspar said.
On Good Friday, the cross that holds the relic is brought into the cathedral, and people are invited to come forward and venerate the cross by genuflecting and kneeling in remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus, Gaspar said.
“When a bishop comes forward to venerate the cross on Good Friday, the Ceremonial of Bishops [the book of liturgical instruction for bishops] suggests that he come to venerate without the zucchetto [the bishop’s skull cap] and without shoes,’’ Gaspar said. “He comes forward to venerate the cross as the Emperor Heraclius did, barefoot and bareheaded.’’
Lisa Wangsness can be reached at


All Africa report: The Catholic University of Rwanda (CUR) has officially opened its doors in the districts of Huye and Gisagara of the Southern Province, the varsity's Vice Rector in charge of Academic affairs has revealed.

Monsignor Jean Marie Gahizi, told The New Times, Friday, that the university was set up by bringing together two already existing institutes; the Higher Institute of Pedagogy and Catechism (ISPC) and the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences (ISSR) all located in Huye.
The university will operate two campuses; the Taba campus housing the Faculty of Psycho -Pedagogy, Catechism and Religious Sciences and the Alexis Kagame Campus located in Gisagara District that will house the faculties of Science and Technology, Public Health and Human Nutrition, Social Work, Commerce and Education.
According to Gahizi, the university has recruited competent staff to ensure the quality of teaching at the institution.
"Producing high quality, competitive graduates is our main preoccupation, this we hope to achieve with our team of highly qualified and experienced teaching staff," he said.
The university that runs day, evening and week-end programmes has recruited twenty full time lecturers who are PhD and Masters Degree holders with plans to recruit more as student numbers increase according to the vice Rector.
It will be headed by Monsignor Alphonse Mutanganda. He will be assisted by two vice Rectors; Father Jean Damascene Kayomberera as vice Rector in charge of Finance who will also be in-charge of Taba campus, and Gahizi, in charge of Academic affairs and the head of the Alexis Kagame Campus.
The university was given a three-year temporary operating licence and hopes to incorporate other Institutes including the Nyakibanda Institute of Philosophy and the Theology Institute of Kabgayi.


Asia News report: Two months from the centennial anniversary of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, preparations are underway in India to commemorate the future saint. Sister Rose Claire, a young Missionary of Charity, talks to AsiaNews about her work among the sick and how Mother Teresa is present in her every day. “I have never met Mother Teresa, but I feel her presence all around us. I hear from the senior sisters, what Mother said, what Mother did; not a day goes by without Mother being spoken of all day long.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Across India, people are preparing to mark the first centennial anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth. Ceremonies in honour of the founder of the Missionaries of Charity who dedicated her life to India’s poor and needy will not only be religious. In the capital New Delhi, a monument dedicated to her will be unveiled. The Indian government will also issue a special commemorative coin for the occasion. India has also asked the United Nations to move World Orphans Day to her birthday. In the great beehive of activities underway that will occupy Indian Catholics, AsiaNews spoke to Sister Rose Claire, a young Missionary of Charity who has never met Mother Teresa in order to hear how the story of holiness left by the little nun from Kolkata is passed on in today’s world.
Born in a Catholic family in Mangalore (Karnataka), Sister Rose Claire joined the Missionaries of Charity about ten years ago. Between 2006 and 2009, she was in Dire Dawa (Ethiopia) where she served the local house by caring for mental patients. Since January 2010, she has been working with abandoned children in the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan orphanage in Mumbai.
The houses of the Missionaries of Charity are in every corner of the world. What draws people to you?
“Jesus Christ radiates through us. It is a radiation that draws people. In our life, we are simple, average people. But through us, Christ manifests himself to people. We are called to come into the heart of the world, seeking the face of Christ in the poor, doing this together with Jesus and for Jesus. It is Christ who draws people, not us.” What was your work with mental patients in Dire Dawa? How did you help these people?
“In our house in Dire Dawa, we had around 700 mentally challenged male inmates, many of them young men. They respond positively to affection and kindness. There, in our home, we treated them as people and looked after each of them with tenderness and dignity. They have the capacity to understand and it most heartening to see them in the chapel. Often we were tempted to discourage them from coming to Mass, due to many factors, including disturbing the Eucharist, but it is amazing to see their eyes and bodily postures in the presence of the Divine. They are instinctively conscious that they are in a sacred place.”
“Mother was fond of repeating that the greatest poverty is to be unwanted, to have no one to take care of you. At our home, in Dire Dawa, after a while, even their eyes would smile. In our humble works of love for the poorest of the poor, in the way we spoke to the poor, we found the strength, respect and wisdom that we brought out through tenderness because tenderness reveals beauty and value to others. This tenderness is a great way of healing. Mother was never tired of repeating, “We are made to love and to be loved.”
In your homes, in each chapel, the words “I thirst” can be found near the cross. What does this thirst represent in today’s world?
“In many places today, people are dying without anything or anyone, forgotten by the world, rejected, unwanted, unloved . . . . This Thirst is the cry of Jesus on the Cross, “I Thirst,” and the cry of Jesus among the poorest of the poor. God thirsts for every human being; in his Heart, he yearns for the poorest of the poor, for those who are weakest and most helpless, suffering and unwanted.”
How are you getting ready for the centennial birthday of Mother Teresa?
“I have never met Mother Teresa, but I feel her presence all around us. I hear from the senior sisters, what Mother said, what Mother did. Not a day goes by without Mother being spoken of all day long. It is clear that Her spirit is with each of us. The fervour with which the sisters speak about Mother and how fervent she was increases my love for Mother each day.
How can you love Mother Teresa since you have never met her?
I love Mother Teresa as well as Jesus. I have never met Jesus but I love him. He speaks to me during worship, in the Mass, when I am working. I always have the feeling that I am going towards him. In the same way, I love Mother Teresa and I know she loves me. In my inner self, I want to live my life fervently so that I may love her and love Christ.”’s-witness-is-alive-among-the-lowest-of-the-world-18926.html


Cath News report: There needs to be stronger, more compassionate political leadership over asylum seekers, says the Catholic Religious Order, who claim the recent debate has not reflected well on Australia.

Sister Anne Derwin RSJ, President of CRA and the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph said the membership of CRA, which comprises priests, nuns and brothers, were concerned that the scaremongering and tough rhetoric played on the fears of some in the Australian community and created false assumptions.
"We would hope that the leaders of our country would instead lead the country to a stance of compassion for those genuinely in need. We believe that the best side of Australia is not showing through in the current debate. "They are people fleeing treatment and conditions unimaginable to most Australians. They do not deserve to be punished in the ways that both major parties are proposing."
The religious leaders want both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader to clearly present the real facts regarding asylum seekers.
"We urge leaders not to use asylum seekers as political footballs in the lead-up to the coming election, but to help relieve ill-founded anxieties, and demonstrate that we as a nation are really decent, compassionate and just."
St. Henry II

Feast: July 13
Born: May 6, 972, Bavaria, Germany
Died: July 13, 1024, Gottingen, Germany
Canonized: 1146 by Pope Eugene III
Major Shrine: Bamberg Cathedral
Patron of: against sterility, Benedictine Oblates, childless people, disabled people, dukes, kings, people rejected by religious orders
German King and Holy Roman Emperor, son of Duke Henry II (the Quarrelsome) and of the Burgundian Princess Gisela; b. 972; d. in his palace of Grona, at Gottingen, 13 July, 1024.
Like his predecessor, Otto III, he had the literary education of his time. In his youth he had been destined for the priesthood. Therefore he became acquainted with ecclesiastical interests at an early age.
Willingly he performed pious practices, gladly also he strengthened the Church of Germany, without, however, ceasing to regard ecclesiastical institutions as pivots of his power, according to the views of Otto the Great. With all his learning and piety, Henry was an eminently sober man, endowed with sound, practical common sense. He went his way circumspectly, never attempting anything but the possible and, wherever it was practicable, applying the methods of amiable and reasonable good sense. This prudence, however, was combined with energy and conscientiousness. Sick and suffering from fever, he traversed the empire in order to maintain peace. At all times he used his power to adjust troubles. The masses especially he wished to help.
The Church, as the constitutional Church of Germany, and therefore as the advocate of German unity and of the claims of inherited succession, raised Henry to the throne. The new king straightway resumed the policy of Otto I both in domestic and in foreign affairs.
This policy first appeared in his treatment of the Eastern Marches. The encroachments of Duke Boleslaw, who had founded a great kingdom, impelled him to intervene. But his success was not marked.
In Italy the local and national opposition to the universalism of the German king had found a champion in Arduin of Ivrea. The latter assumed the Lombard crown in 1002. In 1004 Henry crossed the Alps. Arduin yielded to his superior power. The Archbishop of Milan now crowned him King of Italy. This rapid success was largely due to the fact that a large part of the Italian episcopate upheld the idea of the Roman Empire and that of the unity of Church and State.
On his second expedition to Rome, occasioned by the dispute between the Counts of Tuscany and the Crescentians over the nomination to the papal throne, he was crowned emperor on 14 February, 1014. But it was not until later, on his third expedition to Rome, that he was able to restore the prestige of the empire completely.
Before this happened, however, he was obliged to intervene in the west. Disturbances were especially prevalent throughout the entire north-west. Lorraine caused great trouble. The Counts of Lutzelburg (Luxemburg), brothers-in-law of the king, were the heart and soul of the disaffection in that country. Of these men, Adalbero had made himself Bishop of Trier by uncanonical methods (1003); but he was not recognized any more than his brother Theodoric, who had had himself elected Bishop of Metz.
True to his duty, the king could not be induced to abet any selfish family policy at the expense of the empire. Even though Henry, on the whole, was able to hold his own against these Counts of Lutzelburg, still the royal authority suffered greatly by loss of prestige in the north-west.
Burgundy afforded compensation for this. The lord of that country was Rudolph, who, to protect himself against his vassals, joined the party of Henry II, the son of his sister, Gisela, and to Henry the childless duke bequeathed his duchy, despite the opposition of the nobles (1006). Henry had to undertake several campaigns before he was able to enforce his claims. He did not achieve any tangible result, he only bequeathed the theoretical claims on Burgundy to his successors.
Better fortune awaited the king in the central and eastern parts of the empire. It is true that he had a quarrel with the Conradinians over Carinthia and Swabia: but Henry proved victorious because his kingdom rested on the solid foundation of intimate alliance with the Church.
That his attitude towards the Church was dictated in part by practical reasons, primarily he promoted the institutions of the Church chiefly in order to make them more useful supports his royal power, is clearly shown by his policy. How boldly Henry posed as the real ruler of the Church appears particularly in the establishment of the See of Bamberg, which was entirely his own scheme.
He carried out this measure, in 1007, in spite of the energetic opposition of the Bishop of Wurzburg against this change in the organization of the Church. The primary purpose of the new bishopric was the germanization of the regions on the Upper Main and the Regnitz, where the Wends had fixed their homes. As a large part of the environs of Bamberg belonged to the king, he was able to furnish rich endowments for the new bishopric. The importance of Bamberg lay principally in the field of culture, which it promoted chiefly by its prosperous schools. Henry, therefore, relied on the aid of the Church against the lay powers, which had become quite formidable. But he made no concessions to the Church.
Though naturally pious, and though well acquainted with ecclesiastical culture, he was at bottom a stranger to her spirit. He disposed of bishoprics autocratically. Under his rule the bishops, from whom he demanded unqualified obedience, seemed to be nothing but officials of the empire. He demanded the same obedience from the abbots. However, this political dependency did not injure the internal life of the German Church under Henry. By means of its economic and educational resources the Church had a blessed influence in this epoch.
But it was precisely this civilizing power of the German Church that aroused the suspicions of the reform party. This was significant, because Henry was more and more won over to the ideas of this party. At a synod at Goslar he confirmed decrees that tended to realize the demands made by the reform party. Ultimately this tendency could not fail to subvert the Othonian system, moreover could not fail to awaken the opposition of the Church of Germany as it was constituted.
This hostility on the part of the German Church came to a head in the emperor's dispute with Archbishop Aribo of Mainz. Aribo was an opponent of the reform movement of the monks of Cluny. The Hammerstein marriage imbroglio afforded the opportunity he desired to offer a bold front against Rome. Otto von Hammerstein had been excommunicated by Aribo on account of his marriage with Irmengard, and the latter had successfully appealed to Rome.
This called forth the opposition of the Synod of Seligenstadt, in 1023, which forbade an appeal to Rome without the consent of the bishop. This step meant open rebellion against the idea of church unity, and its ultimate result would have been the founding of a German national Church. In this dispute the emperor was entirely on the side of the reform party. He even wanted to institute international proceedings against the unruly archbishop by means of treaties with the French king. But his death prevented this.
Before this Henry had made his third journey to Rome in 1021. He came at the request of the loyal Italian bishops, who had warned him at Strasburg of the dangerous aspect of the Italian situation, and also of the pope, who sought him out at Bamberg in 1020. Thus the imperial power, which had already begun to withdraw from Italy, was summoned back thither. This time the object was to put an end to the supremacy of the Greeks in Italy. His success was not complete; he succeeded, however, in restoring the prestige of the empire in northern and central Italy.
Henry was far too reasonable a man to think seriously of readopting the imperialist plans of his predecessors. He was satisfied to have ensured the dominant position of the empire in Italy within reasonable bounds. Henry's power was in fact controlling, and this was in no small degree due to the fact that he was primarily engaged in solidifying the national foundations of his authority.
The later ecclesiastical legends have ascribed ascetic traits to this ruler, some of which certainly cannot withstand serious criticism. For instance, the highly varied theme of his virgin marriage to Cunegond has certainly no basis in fact.
The Church canonized this emperor in 1146, and his wife Cunegond in 1200.

Matthew 11: 20 - 24

20 Then he began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.

21 "Woe to you, Chora'zin! woe to you, Beth-sa'ida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

22 But I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.

23 And you, Caper'na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

24 But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you."
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