Wednesday, August 25, 2010




Radio Vaticana report: During his general audience this morning at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict launched an appeal for an end to violence in Somalia. In his catechesis he urged believers to view the saints as companions on the journey of faith and again returned to speak of St. Augustine and one of his key features: the constant search for Truth.
In comments after his catechesis the Pope turned his thoughts to the Somali capital Mogadishu, the continuous reports of cruel violence that occurs there and Tuesday’s news of yet another massacre: He said "I am close to the families of the victims and all those in Somalia, who are suffering from [the consequences] of hate and instability. I hope that with the help of the international community, there will be unstinting efforts to restore respect for life and human rights. "

Earlier in his catechesis, Benedict XVI urged the faithful to view the Saints as "fellow travellers" on the path of Christian life. "Everyone – he said - should have some saint who is familiar [to them], to feel close to in prayer and intercession, but also as an example to imitate". Therefore, he added, we should know more about the saints, starting with those whose names we carry, their life and writings.

He said "Be assured that they will become good guides in learning how to love the Lord even more and help in your human and Christian growth. As you know, I am bound in a special way to certain Saints: among them, as well as St. Joseph and St. Benedict after whom I am named, and others, there is St. Augustine. I have had the great gift of knowing him, so to speak, through close study and prayer and he has become a good 'companion' in my life and my ministry".

The Pope recalled an important aspect of human and Christian experience of St. Augustine. His " restless and constant search for Truth." A feature - he explained - "even in our current era where it seems that relativism is paradoxically the 'truth' that should guide thinking, choices, behaviours. The Saint and Bishop of Hippo – he noted - is a man who never lived with superficiality" he never sought a “pseudo-truth incapable of giving lasting peace to the heart ", but "that truth which gives meaning to existence and it is' the house 'where the heart finds peace and joy":

"His, we know, was not an easy road: he thought he would encounter the Truth in a prestigious career, in the possession of things, the voices that promise instant happiness, he made mistakes, he experienced sadness and faced setbacks but - and this is important – he never stopped, he was never satisfied with what gave him only a glimmer of light, he was able to look deep within himself and he realized, as he writes in the Confessions, that that Truth, that God he was endeavouring to find, was more intimate to him than he himself was, He was always beside him, He had never abandoned him, He was waiting to enter permanently into his life".
"St. Augustine - continued the Pope - knew in his restless search, that it was not he who found the Truth, but Truth itself, which is God, pursued him and found him". And in this journey towards the Truth, silence is crucial for the Saint: creatures must be silent to allow for a silence in which God can speak. This is always true in our time: sometimes there is a sort of fear of silence, of meditation, of contemplation of our actions, the deeper meaning of life, people often prefer to live only the present moment, imagining that it will bring lasting happiness; we prefer to live, because it seems easier, with superficiality, without thinking, we are afraid to seek the truth or perhaps afraid that the truth will pursue us, grab us and change our life, as it did St. Augustine”.

The Pope concluded his catechesis with a call:

"Dear brothers and sisters, I say to everyone, even those who are at a difficult moment in their faith journey, or those who do not participate much in the life of the Church, to those who live 'as if God did not exist', have no fear of the Truth, never stop your journey towards it, never cease to seek the profound truth about yourselves and things with the inner eye of the heart. God will not fail to gift the Light to see and Warmth to help the heart feel that He loves us and wants to be loved"


USCCB report: Bishop Murphy Calls for New Social Contract for ‘New Things’ in Today’s Economy in Labor Day Statement

With millions unemployed and U.S. workers experiencing tragedies such as mining deaths in West Virginia and the oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Americans “must seek to protect the life and dignity of each worker in a renewed and robust economy,” said Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York. Bishop Murphy addressed these issues in the 2010 Labor Day Statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), entitled “A New ‘Social Contract’ for Today’s ‘New Things,’” which can be found online in English ( ) and Spanish ( ).

Bishop Murphy, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, compared the challenges faced by today’s workers to the changing society of the Industrial Revolution addressed by Pope Leo XIII in the 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum (Of New Things).

“America is undergoing a rare economic transformation, shedding jobs and testing safety nets as the nation searches for new ways to govern and grow our economy,” said Bishop Murphy. “Workers need a new ‘social contract.’” Bishop Murphy said that creating new jobs would require new investments, initiative and creativity in the economy. He also drew on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI, which call for placing the human person at the center of economic life and emphasize the role of civil society and mediating institutions such as unions in pursing the common good.

“Workers need to have a real voice and effective protections in economic life,” said Bishop Murphy. “The market, the state, and civil society, unions and employers all have roles to play and they must be exercised in creative and fruitful interrelationships. Private action and public policies that strengthen families and reduce poverty are needed. New jobs with just wages and benefits must be created so that all workers can express their dignity through the dignity of work and are able to fulfill God’s call to us all to be co-creators. A new social contract, which begins by honoring work and workers, must be forged that ultimately focuses on the common good of the entire human family.”


Catholic Herald report: Susan Boyle will sing for crowds at Bellahouston Park as they wait for Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate Mass, it was confirmed today.
The Britain’s Got Talent star will sing the hymn “How great thou art” as well as her signature song “I Dreamed a Dream” before the Mass starts at about 5.15pm.
Following a hymn at the end of the Mass, she will sing a farewell song to Pope Benedict as he leaves the park to travel to Glasgow Airport for his flight to London.

During the Mass she will be singing James MacMillan’s new setting along with a choir of 800 and an orchestra including an organ, timpani and brass.
The singer, who became a YouTube sensation after performing “I Dreamed a Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent, said singing for the Pope was “her greatest dream come true” and that she was “honoured and humbled” by the invitation.

She will be singing alongside Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus. In between the performances the crowd will have a chance to rehearse the new Mass setting composed by James MacMIllan.

Miss Boyle said: “To be able to sing for the Pope is a great honour and something I’ve always dreamed of – it’s indescribable. I think September 16 will stand out in my memory as something I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve always wanted to sing for his Holiness and I can’t really put into words my happiness, that this wish has come true at last.”
Miss Boyle said she had been asked by Cardinal Keith O’Brien to perform at the event.
“My family will be there on the day on what will be a very special day for all of us and I hope they will be proud of me,” she said.
Speaking of her late mother, she said: “I know she won’t be there physically, but she was at Bellahouston Park in 1982 and I know she will be there again, spiritually, she will be with us.”
Miss Boyle said that her own faith was the “backbone” of her life.
She said: “The Pope’s visit is a very big event for Scottish Catholics… I pray and say the rosary each day and am very close to my religion. I am humbled and honoured by this invitation and I hope I can do my best.”
Cardinal O’Brien said: “I am delighted that Susan will be able to perform for the Pope. I think it is wonderful that she will have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and as her bishop I am hugely proud of her.”


Asia News report: The appeal of the Pakistani bishops and an invitation to collaboration between Christians and Muslims. In Faisalabad and Gojra (where there was a massacre of Christians) the two communities collect funds and aid for flood victims. The dioceses most affected Hyderabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and Quetta. Young people help brick manufacturers who have lost homes and jobs. News of discrimination.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Catholics in Pakistan yesterday observed a day of prayer to strengthen their efforts against the enormous damage caused by flooding in the country. The day of prayer, as well as the organization of the emergency, comes on the heels of an invitation issued by the Bishops' Conference on August 20.

Mgr Joseph Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad and National Director of Caritas, explains that in his diocese, Christians and Muslims are working together to raise funds and aid.

The bishops' letter, signed by Mgr. Lawrence Saldhana, president of the Episcopal Conference, describes the measure of the disaster: "Our country – it says - is facing the biggest natural disaster in its history. The super floods of the mighty River Indus have brought death and wide spread destruction – over 15 million people have been affected and thousands of homes have been washed away by the raging waters. We stand in solidarity with those who have suffered in this national tragedy”.

"At this critical moment of national tragedy - he continues - it is our Christian duty to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim and Hindu brethren and face the common calamity with courage and determination. We your religious leaders want to mobilize our limited resources in doing what we can to alleviate the sufferings of the many displaced persons".

"We Bishops appeal to all our members to come forward and help the flood-hit people with cooked foods or dry rations, and also provide tents for shelter and medicines against cholera and other diseases. Our youth are urged to serve as volunteers in relief camps".

Bishop Coutts said that with regard to Christians, the dioceses most affected are those of Hyderabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and Quetta, "but - he adds - the torrential rains have resulted in damage to life and people in other dioceses."

Yesterday, the bishop presided at Eucharistic adoration and a mass in the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Faisalabad. He points out that in his diocese Christians and Muslims are working together to raise funds and aid for victims. Bishop Coutts recalls that in his diocese is the town of Gojra, where a year ago there was a massacre of Christians.

Jasmine Joseph, director of Caritas in Faisalabad, confesses that the task before the whole population of Pakistan is immense. Although the diocese has not been directly affected by the floods, there are many problems: crops were destroyed and the homes of many poor have collapsed. Jasmine said that Caritas is trying to reach more people. So far those helped are predominantly Muslim. "Right now the problem is not faith or religion, but to help those most affected."

Fr. Khalid Rashid, vicar general of Faisalabad and director of the Youth Commission is committed to motivating young people to participate in fundraising and relief operations. "We distribute aid to people affected and at the same time collect data on the most serious situations," he says.

"At the moment - he adds - young people are helping the poor who worked in brick factories. Torrential rains have brought down their huts and there is no work for them because of floodwaters. These days are really rough for them. "

Within the story of this tragedy, there are also some news reports about discrimination in aid distribution against Christians and Ahmadis.


Cath News report: Twelve-year-old Catholic school student, Brandon Sheehan, who is a descendant of Mary MacKillop, will travel to Rome for her canonisation on 17 October, said Catholic Education of the Parramatta Diocese.
Brandon, a Year 6 student at Our Lady of the Rosary Primary, St Marys, and his family, will join a group of more than 50 representatives from the Parramatta Diocese who will make the pilgrimage to attend the canonisation by Pope Benedict XVI at St Peter's Basilica, according to a media statement.
Brandon's father, Mark Sheehan, carries the link to Mary MacKillop. Mark's 92-year-old grandmother, Elma Davidson, is the oldest living relative of Mary. Elma's grandmother was Mary's cousin.
Brandon was selected by Our Lady of the Rosary principal, Mark Geerligs, as one of two students who will represent the diocese on the pilgrimage.
Fittingly, Brandon's school is one of many in the diocese founded by Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph. The second student is Laura Wonton from St Nicholas of Myra Primary, Penrith.
"To be part of a school that was actually founded by a saint is such a great honour," Mark said. "We are so pleased that members of our community have the opportunity to participate in this significant occasion, particularly for Brandon and his family."
"I was so excited when Mr Geerligs called me into his office and told me that I had been selected to go," Brandon said. "I am very proud to be a relative of Mary MacKillop and to be representing my school."


Agenzia Fides REPORT – "Thirty people were killed in the attack: six are members of Parliament and four are senior government officials. The other 20 victims are innocent civilians." This is the assessment following the attack on the Mona Hotel in Mogadishu, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Abdirahman HajiAdab Ibbi.
This morning, August 24, gunmen wearing army uniforms attacked the Mona Hotel, which is located near the Presidential Palace and is often used by representatives of the Somali government and Parliament, because of its proximity to government buildings.
The assailants entered the hotel firing wildly, killing all those they encountered along the way. When government troops surrounded the building, at least two assailants blew themselves up with suicide vests. One member of the commando was arrested by government soldiers.
The likely perpetrators of the attack are members of Shabab, the Somali fundamentalist group, which is fighting against the transitional government, backed by the pan-African military force (AMISOM). In recent days the Shabab have launched a military offensive against government troops and AMISOM. Dozens of civilians have died in the fighting, being caught up in the crossfire and bombings.
The assault on the "Mona," located in an area theoretically strongly controlled by government troops and AMISOM, aims to continue weakening the prestige of the government administration, which has already been lost for the most part among the local population. The attack also recalls similar operations carried out in Afghanistan and Iraq by Islamic groups. It is an event that shows a growing integration of the Shabab with Islamic groups on an international level.


St. Louis IX of France
Feast: August 25
Information: Feast Day: August 25
Born: 25 April 1214 at Poissy, France
Died: 25 August 1270 at Tunis, Algeria
Canonized: 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII

Patron of: Secular Franciscan Order, France, French monarchy; hairdressers; passementiers (lacemakers)

King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, born at Poissy, 25 April, 1215; died near Tunis, 25 August, 1270.

He was eleven years of age when the death of Louis VIII made him king, and nineteen when he married Marguerite of Provence by whom he had eleven children. The regency of Blanche of Castile (1226-1234) was marked by the victorious struggle of the Crown against Raymond VII in Languedoc, against Pierre Mauclerc in Brittany, against Philip Hurepel in the Ile de France, and by indecisive combats against Henry III of England. In this period of disturbances the queen was powerfully supported by the legate Frangipani. Accredited to Louis VIII by Honorius III as early as 1225, Frangipani won over to the French cause the sympathies of Gregory IX, who was inclined to listen to Henry III, and through his intervention it was decreed that all the chapters of the dioceses should pay to Blanche of Castile tithes for the southern crusade. It was the legate who received the submission of Raymond VII, Count of Languedoc, at Paris, in front of Notre-Dame, and this submission put an end to the Albigensian war and prepared the union of the southern provinces to France by the Treaty of Paris (April 1229). The influence of Blanche de Castile over the government extended far beyond St. Louis's minority. Even later, in public business and when ambassadors were officially received, she appeared at his side. She died in 1253. In the first years of the king's personal government, the Crown had to combat a fresh rebellion against feudalism, led by the Count de la Marche, in league with Henry III. St. Louis's victory over this coalition at Taillebourg, 1242, was followed by the Peace of Bordeaux which annexed to the French realm a part of Saintonge.

It was one of St. Louis's chief characteristics to carry on abreast his administration as national sovereign and the performance of his duties towards Christendom; and taking advantage of the respite which the Peace of Bordeaux afforded, he turned his thoughts towards a crusade. Stricken down with a fierce malady in 1244, he resolved to take the cross when news came that Turcomans had defeated the Christians and the Moslems and invaded Jerusalem. (On the two crusades of St. Louis [1248-1249 and 1270] see CRUSADES.) Between the two crusades he opened negotiations with Henry III, which he thought would prevent new conflicts between France and England. The Treaty of Paris (28 May, 1258) which St. Louis concluded with the King of England after five years' parley, has been very much discussed. By this treaty St. Louis gave Henry III all the fiefs and domains belonging to the King of France in the Dioceses of Limoges, Cahors, and Perigueux; and in the event of Alphonsus of Poitiers dying without issue, Saintonge and Agenais would escheat to Henry III. On the other hand Henry III renounced his claims to Normandy, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, Poitou, and promised to do homage for the Duchy of Guyenne. It was generally considered and Joinville voiced the opinion of the people, that St. Louis made too many territorial concessions to Henry III; and many historians held that if, on the contrary, St. Louis had carried the war against Henry III further, the Hundred Years War would have been averted. But St. Louis considered that by making the Duchy of Guyenne a fief of the Crown of France he was gaining a moral advantage; and it is an undoubted fact that the Treaty of Paris, was as displeasing to the English as it was to the French. In 1263, St. Louis was chosen as arbitrator in a difference which separated Henry III and the English barons: by the Dit d'Amiens (24 January, 1264) he declared himself for Henry III against the barons, and annulled the Provisions of Oxford, by which the barons had attempted to restrict the authority of the king. It was also in the period between the two crusades that St. Louis, by the Treaty of Corbeil, imposed upon the King of Aragon the abandonment of his claims to all the fiefs in Languedoc excepting Montpellier, and the surrender of his rights to Provence (11 May, 1258). Treaties and arbitrations prove St. Louis to have been above all a lover of peace, a king who desired not only to put an end to conflicts, but also to remove the causes for fresh wars, and this spirit of peace rested upon the Christian conception.

St. Louis's relations with the Church of France and the papal Court have excited widely divergent interpretations and opinions. However, all historians agree that St. Louis and the successive popes united to protect the clergy of France from the encroachments or molestations of the barons and royal officers. It is equally recognized that during the absence of St. Louis at the crusade, Blanche of Castile protected the clergy in 1251 from the plunder and ill-treatment of a mysterious old maurauder called the "Hungarian Master" who was followed by a mob of armed men—called the "Pastoureaux." The "Hungarian Master" who was said to be in league with the Moslems died in an engagement near Villaneuve and the entire band pursued in every direction was dispersed and annihilated. But did St. Louis take measures also to defend the independence of the clergy against the papacy? A number of historians once claimed he did. They attributed to St. Louis a certain "pragmatic sanction" of March 1269, prohibiting irregular collations of ecclesiastical benefices, prohibiting simony, and interdicting the tributes which the papal Court received from the French clergy. The Gallicans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries often made use of this measure against the Holy See; the truth is that it was a forgery fabricated in the fourteenth century by juris-consults desirous of giving to the Pragmatic Sanction of Charles VII a precedent worthy of respect. This so-called pragmatic of Louis IX is presented as a royal decree for the reformation of the Church; never would St. Louis thus have taken upon himself the right to proceed authoritatively with this reformation. When in 1246, a great number of barons from the north and the west leagued against the clergy whom they accused of amassing too great wealth and of encroaching upon their rights, Innocent IV called upon Louis to dissolve this league; how the king acted in the matter is not definitely known. On 2 May, 1247, when the Bishops of Soissons and of Troyes, the archdeacon of Tours, and the provost of the cathedral of Rouen, despatched to the pope a remonstrance against his taxations, his preferment of Italians in the distribution of benefices, against the conflicts between papal jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the ordinaries, Marshal Ferri Paste seconded their complaints in the name of St. Louis. Shortly after, these complaints were reiterated and detailed in a lengthy memorandum, the text of which has been preserved by Mathieu Paris, the historian. It is not known whether St. Louis affixed his signature to it, but in any case, this document was simply a request asking for the suppression of the abuses, with no pretensions to laying down principles of public right, as was claimed by the Pragmatic Sanction.

Documents prove that St. Louis did not lend an ear to the grievances of his clergy against the emissaries of Urban IV and Clement IV; he even allowed Clement IV to generalize a custom in 1265 according to which the benefices the titularies of which died while sojourning in Rome, should be disposed of by the pope. Docile to the decrees of the Lateran Council (1215), according to which kings were not to tax the churches of their realm without authority from the pope, St. Louis claimed and obtained from successive popes, in view of the crusade, the right to levy quite heavy taxes from the clergy. It is again this fundamental idea of the crusade, ever present in St. Louis's thoughts that prompted his attitude generally in the struggle between the empire and the pope. While the Emperor Frederick II and the successive popes sought and contended for France's support, St. Louis's attitude was at once decided and reserved. On the one hand he did not accept for his brother Robert of Artois, the imperial crown offered him by Gregory IX in 1240. In his correspondence with Frederick he continued to treat him as a sovereign, even after Frederick had been excommunicated and declared dispossessed of his realms by Innocent IV at the Council of Lyons, 17 July, 1245. But on the other hand, in 1251, the king compelled Frederick to release the French archbishops taken prisoners by the Pisans, the emperor's auxiliaries, when on their way in a Genoese fleet to attend a general council at Rome. In 1245, he conferred at length, at Cluny, with Innocent IV who had taken refuge in Lyons in December, 1244, to escape the threats of the emperor, and it was at this meeting that the papal dispensation for the marriage of Charles Anuou, brother of Louis IX, to Beatrix, heiress of Provençe was granted and it was then that Louis IX and Blanche of Castile promised Innocent IV their support. Finally, when in 1247 Frederick II took steps to capture Innocent IV at Lyons, the measures Louis took to defend the pope were one of the reasons which caused the emperor to withdraw. St. Louis looked upon every act of hostility from either power as an obstacle to accomplishing the crusade. In the quarrel over investitures, the king kept on friendly terms with both, not allowing the emperor to harass the pope and never exciting the pope against the emperor. In 1262 when Urban offered St. Louis, the Kingdom of Sicily, a fief of the Apostolic See, for one of his sons, St. Louis refused it, through consideration for the Swabian dynasty then reigning; but when Charles of Anjou accepted Urban IV's offer and went to conquer the Kingdom of Sicily, St. Louis allowed the bravest knights of France to join the expedition which destroyed the power of the Hohenstaufens in Sicily. The king hoped, doubtless, that the possession of Sicily by Charles of Anjou would be advantageous to the crusade.

St. Louis led an exemplary life, bearing constantly in mind his mother's words: "I would rather see you dead at my feet than guilty of a mortal sin." His biographers have told us of the long hours he spent in prayer, fasting, and penance, without the knowlege of his subjects. The French king was a great lover of justice. French fancy still pictures him delivering judgements under the oak of Vincennes. It was during his reign that the "court of the king" (curia regis) was organized into a regular court of justice, having competent experts, and judicial commissions acting at regular periods. These commissions were called parlements and the history of the "Dit d'Amiens" proves that entire Christendom willingly looked upon him as an international judiciary. It is an error, however, to represent him as a great legislator; the document known as "Etablissements de St. Louis" was not a code drawn up by order of the king, but merely a collection of customs, written out before 1273 by a jurist who set forth in this book the customs of Orlians, Anjou, and Maine, to which he added a few ordinances of St. Louis. St. Louis was a patron of architecture. The Sainte Chappelle, an architectural gem, was constructed in his reign, and it was under his patronage that Robert of Sorbonne founded the "Collège de la Sorbonne," which became the seat of the theological faculty of Paris. He was renowned for his charity. The peace and blessings of the realm come to us through the poor he would say. Beggars were fed from his table, he ate their leavings, washed their feet, ministered to the wants of the lepers, and daily fed over one hundred poor. He founded many hospitals and houses: the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes; the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254), hospitals at Pontoise, Vernon, Compihgne.

The Enseignements (written instructions) which he left to his son Philip and to his daughter Isabel, the discourses preserved by the witnesses at judicial investigations preparatory to his canonization and Joinville's anecdotes show St. Louis to have been a man of sound common sense, posssessing indefatigable energy, graciously kind and of playful humour, and constantly guarding against the temptation to be imperious. The caricature made of him by the envoy of the Count of Gueldre: "worthless devotee, hypocritical king" was very far from the truth. On the contrary, St. Louis, through his personal qualities as well as his saintliness, increased for many centuries the prestige of the French monarchy (see FRANCE). St. Louis's canonization was proclaimed at Orvieto in 1297, by Boniface VIII. Of the inquiries in view of canonization, carried on from 1273 till 1297, we have only fragmentary reports published by Delaborde ("Memoires de la societe de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Ilea de France," XXIII, 1896) and a series of extracts compiled by Guillaume de St. Pathus, Queen Marguerite's confessor, under the title of "Vie Monseigneur Saint Loys" (Paris,1899).

TODAY'S GOSPEL Matthew 23: 27 - 32

Matthew 23: 27 - 32
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31 Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
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