Wednesday, November 24, 2010




LIGHT OF THE WORLD. THE POPE AND THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2010 (VIS REPORT) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present a new book published by the Vatican Publishing House. The volume is entitled: "Light of the World. The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. A conversation of Benedict XVI with Peter Seewald". The conference was presented by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, and the journalist Luigi Accattoli. Also present were Peter Seewald, who conducted the interviews with the Pope, and Fr. Giuseppe Costa S.D.B., director of the Vatican Publishing House. Archbishop Fisichella explained how Seewald had asked the Pope "about the great questions facing modern theology, the various political events that have always marked relations between States and, finally, the themes that often occupy a large part of public debate. We have a Pope who does not evade any question, who wishes to clarify everything using a language that is simple but not for that reason less profound, and who benevolently accepts the provocations inherent in so many questions. "Nonetheless", the archbishop added, "reducing the entire interview to one phrase removed from its context and from the entirety of Benedict XVI's thought would be an offence to the Pope's intelligence and a gratuitous manipulation of his words. What emerges from these pages overall is, in fact, the vision of a Church called to be 'Light of the world', a sign of unity for the whole human race". The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation went on to explain that "this book was not written by Benedict XVI, yet it brings together his ideas, concerns and sufferings over these years, his pastoral projects and his hopes for the future. The impression that emerges is that of a Pope optimistic about the life of the Church, despite the difficulties which have always existed". This book published today "is an interview which, in many ways, provokes us to undertake a serious examination of conscience, both inside and outside the Church, in order to achieve true conversion of heart and mind. The conditions of life in society, sexuality, economy and finance, the Church herself; all these questions require special dedication in order to verify the cultural drift of today's world and the possibilities for the future. Benedict XVI does not allow himself to be alarmed by the figures emerging from opinion polls because the truth has completely different criteria: 'statistics are not the measure of morality'". "In these pages Benedict XVI often returns to the relationship between modernity and Christianity, which cannot and must not be seen as parallels. Rather, the relationship must be lived by correctly uniting faith and reason, individual rights and social responsibility; in a word, by 'putting God first'. ... This is the conversion that Benedict XVI asks of Christians and of anyone who wishes to listen to him. ... This is the task the Pope sets for his own pontificate and we cannot, in all honesty, deny how difficult it seems to be". Archbishop Fisichella concluded his remarks by highlighting how "simplicity and truth are the characteristics of this interview, which was chosen by Benedict XVI as a way of making the public at large more familiar with his ideas, his way of being and his way of understanding the mission with which he has been entrusted. This is no easy task at a time when communication often tends to underline specific fragments and overlooks the global picture. A book to be read and mediated upon, in order to understand once again how the Church in the world can announce the good news which brings joy and serenity". For his part, Luigi Accattoli suggested his journalist colleagues should "read this book as a guided visit to the papal workshop of Benedict XVI and to the world of Joseph Ratzinger. ... Above all we will see this man who was called to become Pope in the same perspective as when he published the two volumes on Jesus of Nazareth, which he presents not as documents of the Magisterium, but as testimony of his own search for the face of the Lord". "From the beginning of the book he warns us that 'the Pope can have erroneous personal opinions'; he certainly does have 'the power of final decision' in matters of faith but this 'does not mean that he can continuously produce infallibility'. It is perhaps in this statement that we must seek the original roots of this book of interviews", said the journalist. In various places the Holy Father reviews his eighty-three years of life, "and reflects on the suitability of resigning should he find himself in a position where he cannot carry out his mission. On the same page he denies he ever thought of resigning over the paedophile scandal: 'We cannot run away in the moment of greatest danger', he says. We all know that modern Popes - from Pius XII on - have considered the problem of resigning, but prior to this interview none of them had done so in public". In this book, Accattoli continued his explanations, the Holy Father "dedicates ample space to the conflict between the Christian faith and modernity. However, in at least two passages he recognises 'the morality of modernity' and the evidence of 'a good and just modernity'. These positive affirmations should be read alongside passages in which he recognises the religious crimes of the past: from the 'atrocities' committed 'in the name of truth' to 'the wars of religion', and that 'rigorism' towards corporeity which was used to 'frighten man'. In the conflict with the modern world, then, it is necessary to ask 'in what is secularism right' and where 'should it be resisted'". The Pope "is not afraid to use such expressions as 'the sinfulness of the Church'; ... while the term 'dirt' to indicate the sin that exists in the Church ... is used at least three times to refer to paedophilia among the clergy and to the 'enormous shock' it aroused". In this context the Pontiff also "repeatedly recognises the positive role played by the communications media, something he has expressed on various occasions in the past but never so explicitly: 'As long as they seek to bring the truth to light, we must be grateful', he says. On this subject he also gives us one of the book's most effective aphorisms: 'Only because evil was within the Church were others able to use it against her'". The Holy Father, Accattoli continued, "assures us that he would not have removed the excommunication from Bishop Williamson without undertaking further investigation, had he known the prelate's views on Holocaust denial". "Cautiously and courageously Benedict XVI seeks a pragmatic way in which missionaries and other ecclesial workers can help to defeat the AIDS pandemic, without approving - but also without excluding, in particular cases - the use of the condom. He likewise reaffirms the 'prophetic' nature of Paul VI's 'Humanae vitae', though without concealing the existence of real difficulties in 'finding paths that can be followed in a human way', ... and recognising that 'in this field many things must be rethought and expressed in new terms'". The Pope "declares himself to be optimistic concerning the fact that Christianity is facing new dynamics' which will perhaps bring it 'to assume a different cultural appearance'; yet also 'disillusioned' because 'the general tendency of our time is one of hostility to the Church'". Finally, Accattoli concluded, the Pope "dreams that people will rediscover the 'simplicity' and 'radicalism' of the Gospel and Christianity". This involves "understanding the drama of our times, remaining firmly rooted in the Word of God as the decisive word, and at the same time giving Christianity that simplicity and profundity without which it cannot function".OP/ VIS 20101123 (1320) image source Radio Vaticana

PLENARY SESSION OF INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The International Theological Commission, which is presided by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is due to celebrate is annual plenary session from 29 November to 3 December in the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae". The meeting will be chaired by Fr. Charles Morerod O.P., secretary general of the commission. According to a communique published today the commission will study three important themes: the principles of theology, its meaning and its methods; the question of the one God in relation to the three monotheistic religions; and the integration of Church social doctrine into the broader context of Christian doctrine. At the end of their deliberations the members of the International Theological Commission will be received in audience by the Holy Father.OP/ VIS 20101123 (150)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 23 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Felix Gmur of the clergy of the diocese of Basel, Switzerland, secretary of the Conference of Swiss Bishops, as bishop of Basel (area 12,585, population 3,045,000, Catholics 1,080,000, priests 715, permanent deacons 104, religious 2,554). The bishop-elect was born in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1999.
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CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: Manuela Camagni, one of the four “memores domini” – consecrated laity who help to care for the Holy Father – was killed last night in a road accident, Italian news agencies are reporting.Il Velino reports that Manuela was hit by a car yesterday at 11.40pm in a Rome suburb while returning from a dinner with friends. Rescued by the driver of the car, doctors operated on her head injuries but could not save her.Manuela was part of a team of “guardian angels” who take care of the Pope. They include Loredana, Cristina and Carmela – the three other “memores domini” – and Msgrs. Georg Gaenswain and Alfred Xuereb.Prior to working at the Apostolic Palace, she served the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, when he was Bishop of Tunis.The Pope refers to his close team of helpers in the book “Light of the World” as his “papal family”. As well as Mass and Evening Prayer, he says they also dine and watch movies together, as well as celebrate and exchange gifts at Christmas and on feast days.Members of the association “memores domini”, part of the Communion and Liberation movement, follow a vocation of total dedication to God while living in the world.
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Yet another priest assassinated in Brazil; from Sao Luis, ordained this SeptemberAgenzia Fides REPORT – Father Bernardo Muniz Rabelo Amaral, aged 28, Assistant Pastor in the city of Humberto de Campos (about 120 km from Maranhão), passed away on the evening of Saturday, 20 November in Sao Luis, the victim of a mugging. According to findings released by the Archdiocese of Sao Luis, around 3 p.m. On 20 November, Fr Bernardo was in his car when he was hit in the neck and chest by bullets fired by a man who had asked him for a ride. The man in question then took the car, along with over 400 Brazilian dollars, and the priest's cell phone. When he was rescued, the priest was still conscious. He was taken to the hospital in Humberto de Campos and later transferred to Sao Luis, however he did not survive the severe wounds he had suffered and passed away around 9 pm on Saturday, 20 November.According to information released by family members, Fr Bernardo was returning from a village in the Quebra Anzol area, on his way to Achui, in the city of Humberto de Campos, where he was to attend a parish meeting.In addition to Fr Bernardo Muniz Rabelo Amaral, in 2010 the Archdiocese of Sao Luis also lost seminarian Mario Dayvit, another victim of a robbery. He was killed in front of his house, in downtown Maranhão.Fr Bernardo Muniz Rabelo Amaral was born in Morros, on 12 January 1982. He is the son of Osmar Lima Amaral and Maria de Fatima Rabelo Amaral. He was baptized on 24 June 1982 in the city of Morros. The fifth of six children, he was ordained a deacon on 21 February 2010 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory and a priest on 5 September this year, in the city of Axixá. A week after his priestly ordination, he was appointed parish vicar in the city of Humberto de Campos. The Archdiocese of Sao Luis, represented by Archbishop José Belisario da Silva, and on behalf of all priests and seminarians, expressed his deep sorrow.
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NEWS.COM.AU REPORT: With grief on their faces, the families of 29 missing miners came bursting out of the meeting-hall. Some sobbed. Some clung to one another and gasped. And some screamed with rage - at the waiting media, at the police, at the beautiful evening sunshine.At the Grey District sports centre, in the New Zealand town of Greymouth, the families had gathered for what they hoped might be good news.Police and Pike River mine management had scheduled the regular briefing - and when the news started, it did seem good.Mr Whittall said he had been called to the mine-site in the early afternoon because experts on site believed there may be an opportunity - soon - to send rescue crews in.That news brightened the gathering - it seemed like hope."There was a round of applause, and I was standing there knowing what I was going to tell them next," Mr Whittall said last night."I just had to stand there and wait for the room to settle and say "That's not what I'm here to tell you about."Mr Whittall's sombre demeanour told another story - and he immediately moved on to explain what happened next: gas levels began to rise, then at 2.37pm came a massive blast.Nothing could have survived. At the main mine entrance portal, great clouds of smoke and dust billowed out for approximately thirty seconds."There is probably unlikely to be any survivors from that," Mr Whittall said. "There was coming a point where we were very hopeful we could get some men out of the mine, but it was probably realistic that some men could never have come out alive. This probably takes us to the point where I"m unlikely to see my workmates again. I'm unlikely to see them walk out of that mine."As Mr Whittall delivered the news, the families stood, began shouting and screaming, and some ran out, said local Anglican pastor Tim Mora, who was in the meeting. "It was terrible. The scene was just awful," Mr Mora said.Australian men Josh Ufer and Willy Joynson were killed in the blast. Mr Joynson's wife Kim and children Jonathon and Benjamin are holding each other close, family spokesman James Ashby said last night."Kim, in the back of her mind, had prepared for this," Mr Ashby said. "I don't know whether she had already begun grieving, but once the finality happened, it was just bang - here it is."Mr Ufer's pregnant partner Rachelle Weaver was being comforted last night by her parents and Mr Ufer's mother Joanne and father Karl.Another father, Laurie Drew, whose 21-year-old son Zen Drew was among the trapped men, vented his anger outside the hall. "The mountain's blown again, it's blown, they've told us they're all dead," Mr Drew said. "I've got to bury my son. It should have been the other way around. They've got what they wanted - if everyone has gone, they've got what they wanted because now nobody can come out and tell the truth except for the boys who are still here above ground, and they're going to be silenced or they won't get any pay-packets."Mr Drew said: "Now I've got to bury my son. It should be the other way around. I've got to break the news to my mother, and just hope she doesn't have a heart attack. If they've got a total collapse, it's going to be a sealed mine and a sealed tomb."As he spoke to a cluster of journalists, more family members emerged from the mine. "Turn your cameras away from me," one screamed at photographers. "How will you sleep tonight?"The families were enraged and deeply distraught, local mayor Tony Kokshoorn said."This is the west coast's darkest hour. I'm telling you. It doesn't get worse than this."Mr Kokshoorn said Mr Whittall's declaration had horrified the families. "It got started as normal, and they (Mr Whittall and district police commander Gary Knowles) came in they said look, we've got some news, we had to go up there for some assessment, and while we were there there was ane norms explosion. There was no way anyone could have survived it - and that was the end of the conference, and there was some anger, directed at the police - certainly not at Mr Whittall, everyone had nothing but praise for Mr Whittall at that stage."Superintendent Knowles emerged from the meeting to say it was "the worst thing I have dealt with in the police."At 2.37 today there was another massive explosion underground. Based on that explosion, no one survived. We now go into recovery mode. I was at the mine myself when this actually occurred. The blast was horrific,It is our belief that no one has survived, and everyone has perished. This is one of the most tragic things I've had to do as a police officer." Supt Knowles took off his hat, turned and walked away from the journalists, back into the hall where the families were waiting.There were no clues as to what caused the explosion - or whether more explosions might come, Mr Whittall said."It was more significant, it was larger, it was stronger, it lasted about 30 seconds and it was not what I wanted to see," Mr Whitttall said."This is extremely devastating for the families. They were very hopeful that we would go up there this afternoon and that we'd be starting to look at going underground. ""At conference after conference after conference, to ask the same question: If the air's clear in the tunnel, why don't you go in? And the same answer has been given over and over: because it's dangerous, it's hazardous and because the rescue teams would have put their lives gravely at risk. That decision has now been vindicated."Mr Whittall spoke last night about Joseph Dunbar, the 17-year-old boy on his first day of work at the mine on Friday - just one day after his 17th birthday.Joseph had worked the morning shift and could have left the mine before the blast, which occurred shortly after the afternoon shift began, Mr Whittall said."The young guy, he was on his first day. he could have got in a transport and got out of the mine, but he was so excited to be there, he chose to stay in the mine, because that's where he wanted to be.""It's the west coast and it's a coal mine. I'd like to think we can keep on mining, keep having a good economy. It's a fantastic place to live, fantastic people. They all understand mining, and they all understand it's part of life."From tomorrow morning, all flags in New Zealand will fly at half mast.Cabinet will on Monday launch a Commission of inquiry into "this time of national pain," Prime Minister John Key said."We are a tough and resilient little country. we care deeply about our countrymen and women," Mr Key said. "We are a set of little communities knitted together by a set of principles that have guided us through good and bad. It is this spirit that will see us through."Read more:
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JCE report: Protestors clash with police as they try to keep construction of church in progress.One Christian protester was killed near Saints Mary and Michael Church in Talbiya, by the Pyramids, Giza. The police are trying to halt the church construction, which is in its final stage. The site is under 24 hour prayer-protection by the faithful and clergy. Over 2,000 people joined in support of the church.Nearly one million Copts live in the Talbiya area, and yet have no church. The Church authorities had all the necessary permits.
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UCAN REPORT: The right to a proper education of over 400 children from families that migrated to Riau province in western Indonesia is currently under threat.The children are all students in Church-run schools.School authorities received a letter from the local government on Nov. 8 ordering the schools to be closed down, said School of Assisi headmistress Franciscan Sister Clarentia Hasugian.School authorities have since sent copies of the letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other officials.The Franciscan Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary nuns had established schools based on the demand of people who live in the middle of oil palm plantations and a mining site. These people had migrated elsewhere from Indonesia to work there.Sister Vinsensia Simbolon, the head of the foundation that established these schools, urged the local government to support the nuns in educating the children instead of closing them down.The local government’s letter violates children’s rights according to Law No. 23/2002 on child protection,” she said.“I am really worried. But we (parents) and the nuns will fight together, since these are the only schools in the village,” said Cornelius Sidabutar the father of a student.Currently there are 465 students studying in the schools from kindergarten to junior high school levels. Most of the students are Protestants.
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St. ColumbanABBOTFeast: November 23Information:Feast Day:November 23Born:540, Leinster, IrelandDied:23 November 615Major Shrine:Abbey church at BobbioThis great missionary abbot founded monastic centers in France, Switzerland, and Italy that became centers of evangelization and learning for the whole area. He was a monk of the monastery of Bangor in north Ireland, founded by St. Comgall, one of the notable monastic founders of Ireland.At Bangor, sanctity and scholarship were prized, and St. Columban became a teacher in the monastic school there. He was born in Leinster, and after a youthful struggle he lived at Cluain Inis for a time. After thirty years at Bangor, he received Comgall's permission to spread the Gospel on the continent of Europe, and taking twelve companions with him he settled in Gaul where the devastation of the barbarian invasions had completely disrupted civil and religious life. Invited by the Merovingian King Childebert, he founded a monastic center in Burgundy at Annegray and two others at Luxeuil and Fontaines. From these three monasteries over two hundred foundations were made, and Columban composed for these monasteries two monastic rules.With the zeal of a prophet, he attacked the immoral court life of the Merovingian kings, the lax local clergy, and introduced to the continent the Irish penitential system, which became the basis for private confession. Reproving a local king for his immoral life, Columban was expelled from Burgundy, traversed France and Germany, leaving disciples behind to found monasteries, and crossed the Alps to found his most famous monastery at Bobbio in Italy.He was a firm opponent of Arianism, wrote letters to popes on the religious issues of the day, and left a legacy of writings that deeply influenced the monasticism that came after him.He impressed his contemporaries as a giant of a man in mind and spirit, who revived religion on the continent and prepared the way for the Carolingian renaissance. He died at Bobbio on November 23, 615, and is buried in the crypt of St. Columban's Church there.SOURCE
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St. Clement IPOPEFeast: November 23Information:Feast Day:November 23Born:Rome, ItalyDied:101Patron of:boatmen, marble workers, mariners, sailors, sick children, stonecutters, watermenAccording to Tertullian, writing c. 199, the Roman Church claimed that Clement was ordained by St. Peter (De Praescript., xxxii), and St. Jerome tells us that in his time "most of the Latins" held that Clement was the immediate successor of the Apostle (De viris illustr., xv). St. Jerome himself in several other places follows this opinion, but here he correctly states that Clement was the fourth pope. The early evidence shows great variety. The most ancient list of popes is one made by Hegesippus in the time of Pope Anicetus, c. 160 (Harnack ascribes it to an unknown author under Soter, c. 170), cited by St. Epiphanius (Haer., xxvii, 6). It seems to have been used by St. Irenaeus (Haer., III, iii), by Julius Africanus, who composed a chronography in 222, by the third—or fourth-century author of a Latin poem against Marcion, and by Hippolytus, who see chronology extends to 234 and is probably found in the "Liberian Catalogue" of 354. That catalogue was itself adopted in the " Liber Pontificalis ". Eusebius in his chronicle and history used Africanus; in the latter he slightly corrected the dates. St. Jerome's chronicle is a translation of Eusebius's, and is our principal means for restoring the lost Greek of the latter; the Armenian version and Coptic epitomes of it are not to be depended on. The varieties of order are as follows: Linus, Cletus, Clemens (Hegesippus, ap. Epiphanium, Canon of Mass). Linus, Anencletus, Clemens (Irenaeus, Africanus ap. Eusebium). Linus, Anacletus, Clemens (Jerome). Linus, Cletus, Anacletus, Clemens (Poem against Marcion), Linus, Clemens, Cletus, Anacletus [Hippolytus (?), "Liberian Catal."—"Liber. Pont."]. Linus, Clemens, Anacletus (Optatus, Augustine).At the present time no critic doubts that Cletus, Anacletus, Anencletus, are the same person. Anacletus is a Latin error; Cletus is a shortened (and more Christian) form of Anencletus. Lightfoot thought that the transposition of Clement in the "Liberian Catalogue" was a mere accident, like the similar error "Anicetus, Pius" for "Pius Anicetus", further on in the same list. But it may have been a deliberate alteration by Hippolytus, on the ground of the tradition mentioned by Tertullian. St. Irenaeus (III, iii) tells us that Clement "saw the blessed Apostles and conversed with them, and had yet ringing in his ears the preaching of the Apostles and had their tradition before his eyes, and not he only for many were then surviving who had been taught y the Apostles ". Similarly Epiphanius tells us (from Hegesippus) that Clement was a contemporary of Peter and Paul. Now Linus and Cletus had each twelve years attributed to them in the list. If Hippolytus found Cletus doubled by an error.(Cletus XII, Anacletus XII), the accession of Clement would appear to be thirty-six years after the death of the Apostles. As this would make it almost impossible for Clement to have been their contemporary, it may have caused Hippolytus to shift him to an earlier position. Further, St. Epiphanius says (loc. cit. ): " Whether he received episcopal ordination from Peter in the life-time of the Apostles, and declined the office, for he says in one of his epistles 'I retire, I depart, let the people of God be in peace', (for we have found this set down in certain Memoirs), or whether he was appointed by the Bishop Cletus after he had succeeded the Apostles, we do not clearly know." The "Memoirs" were certainly those of Hegesippus. It seems unlikely that he is appealed to only for the quotation from the Epistle, c. liv; probably Epiphanius means that Hegesippus stated that Clement had been ordained by Peter and declined to be bishop, but twenty-four years later really exercised the office for nine years. Epiphanius could not reconcile these two facts; Hippolytus seems to have rejected the latter.ChronologyThe date intended by Hegesippus is not hard to restore. Epiphanius implies that he placed the martyrdom of the Apostles in the twelfth year of Nero. Africanus calculated the fourteenth year (for he had attributed one year too little to the reigns of Caligula and Claudius), and added the imperial date for the accession of each pope; but having two years too few up to Anicetus he could not get the intervals to tally with the years of episcopate given by Hegesippus. He had a parallel difficulty in his list of the Alexandrian bishops. Hegesippus Africanus (from Eusebius) Interval Real Dates AD Linus 12 Nero 14 12 Nero 12 66 Cletus 12 Titus 2 12 Vesp 10 78 Clemens 9 Dom 12 (7) Dom 10 80 Euaristus 8 Trajan 2 (10) Tajan 2 99 Alexander 10 Trajan 12 10 Trajan 10 107 Sixtus 10 Hadrian 3 (9) Hadrian 1 117 Telesphorus 11 Hadrian 12 (10) Hadrian 11 127 Hyginus 4 Anton 1 4 Anton 1 138 Pius 15 Anton 5 15 Anton 5 142 Anicetus Anton 20 Anton 20 157If we start, as Hegesippus intended, with Nero 12 (see last column), the sum of his years brings us right for the last three popes. But Africanus has started two years wrong, and in order to get right at Hyginus he has to allow one year too little to each of the preceding popes, Sixtus and Telesphorus. But there is one inharmonious date, Trajan 2, which gives seven and ten years to Clement and Euaristus instead of nine and eight. Evidently he felt bound to insert a traditional date—and in fact we see that Trajan 2 was the date intended by Hegesippus. Now we know that Hegesippus spoke about Clement's acquaintance with the Apostles, and said nothing about any other pope until Telesphorus, "who was a glorious martyr." It is not surprising, then, to find that Africanus had, besides the lengths of episcopate, two fixed dates from Hegesippus, those of the death of Clement in the second year of Trajan, and of the martyrdom of Telesphorus in the first year of Antoninus Pius. We may take it, therefore, that about 160 the death of St. Clement was believed to have been in 99.Identity Origen identifies Pope Clement with St. Paul's fellow-labourer, Phil., iv, 3, and 80 do Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome—but this Clement was probably a Philippian. In the middle of the nineteenth century it was the custom to identity the pope with the consul of 95, T. Flavius Clemens, who was martyred by his first cousin, the Emperor Domitian, at the end of his consulship. But the ancients never suggest this, and the pope is said to have lived on till the reign of Trajan. It is unlikely that he was a member of the imperial family. The continual use of the Old Testament in his Epistle has suggested to Lightfoot, Funk, Nestle, and others that he was of Jewish origin. Probably he was a freedman or son of a freedman of the emperor's household, which included thousands or tens of thousands. We know that there were Christians in the household of Nero (Phil., iv, 22). It is highly probable that the bearers of Clement's letter, Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Vito, were of this number, for the names Claudius and Valerius occur with great frequency in inscriptions among the freedmen of the Emperor Claudius (and his two predecessors of the same gens) and his wife Valeria Messalina. The two messengers are described as "faithful and prudent men, who have walked among us from youth unto old age unblameably ", thus they were probably already Christians and living in Rome before the death of the Apostles about thirty years earlier. The Prefect of Rome during Nero's persecution was Titus Flavius Sabinus, elder brother of the Emperor Vespasian, and father of the martyred Clemens. Flavia Domitilla, wife of the Martyr, was a granddaughter of Vespasian, and niece of Titus and Domitian; she may have died a martyr to the rigours of her banishment The catacomb of Domitilla is shown by existing inscriptions to have been founded by her. Whether she is distinct from another Flavia Domitilla, who is styled "Virgin and Martyr", is uncertain. (See FLAVIA DOMITILLA and NEREUS AND ACHILLEUS) The consul and his wife had two sons Vespasian and Domitian, who had Quintilian for their tutor. Of their life nothing is known. The elder brother of the martyr Clemens was T. Flavius Sabinus, consul in 82, put to death by Domitian, whose sister he had married. Pope Clement is rep resented as his son in the Acts of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, but this would make him too young to have known the Apostles.MartyrdomOf the life and death of St, Clement nothing is known. The apocryphal Greek Acts of his martyrdom were printed by Cotelier in his "Patres Apost." (1724, I, 808; reprinted in Migne, P. G., II, 617, best edition by Funk, "Patr. Apost.", II, 28). They relate how he converted Theodora, wife of Sisinnius, a courtier of Nerva, and (after miracles) Sisinnius himself and four hundred and twenty-three other persons of rank. Trajan banishes the pope to the Crimea, where he slakes the thirst of two thousand Christian confessors by a miracle. The people of the country are converted, seventy—five churches are built. Trajan, in consequence, orders Clement to be thrown into the sea with an iron anchor. But the tide every year recedes two miles, revealing a Divinely built shrine which contains the martyr's bones. This story is not older than the fourth century. It is known to Gregory of Tours in the sixth. About 868 St. Cyril, when in the Crimea on the way to evangelize the Chazars, dug up some bones in a mound (not in a tomb under the sea), and also an anchor. These were believed to be the relics of St. Clement. They were carried by St. Cyril to Rome, and deposited by Adrian II with those of St. Ignatius of Antioch in the high altar of the basilica of St. Clement in Rome. The history of this translation is evidently quite truthful, but there seems to have been no tradition with regard to the mound, which simply looked a likely place to be a tomb. The anchor appears to be the only evidence of identity but we cannot gather from the account that it belonged to the scattered bones. (See Acta SS., 9 March, II, 20.) St. Clement is first mentioned as a martyr by Rufinus (c. 400). Pope Zozimus in a letter to Africa in 417 relates the trial and partial acquittal of the heretic Caelestius in the basilica of St. Clement; the pope had chosen this church because Clement had learned the Faith from St. Peter, and had given his life for it (Ep. ii). He is also called a martyr by the writer known as Praedestinatus (c. 430) and by the Synod of Vaison in 442. Modern critics think it possible that his martyrdom was suggested by a confusion with his namesake, the martyred consul. But the lack of tradition that he was buried in Rome is in favour of his having died in exile.The BasilicaThe church of St. Clement at Rome lies in the valley between the Esquiline and Coelian hills, on the direct road from the Coliseum to the Lateran. It is now in the hands of the Irish Province of Dominicans. With its atrium, its choir enclosed by a wall, its ambos, it is the most perfect model of an early basilica in Rome, though it was built as late as the first years of the twelfth century by Paschal II, after the destruction of this portion of the city by the Normans under Robert Guiscard. Paschal II followed the lines of an earlier church, on a rather smaller scale, and employed some of its materials and fittings The marble wall of the present choir is of the date of John II (533-5). In 1858 the older church was unearthed, below the present building, by the Prior Father Mulooly, O. P. Still lower were found chambers of imperial date and walls of the Republican period. The lower church was built under Constantine (d. 337) or not much later. St. Jerome implies that it was not new in his time: "nominis eius [Clementis] memoriam usque hodie Romae exstructa ecclesia custodit" (De viris illustr., xv). It is mentioned in inscriptions of Damasus (d. 383) and Siricius (d. 398). De Rossi thought the lowest chambers belonged to the house of Clement, and that the room immediately under the altar was probably the original of the saint. These chambers communicate with a shrine of Mithras, which lies beyond the apse of the church, on the lowest level. De Rossi supposed this to be a Christian chapel purposely polluted by the authorities during the last persecution. Lightfoot has suggested that the rooms may have belonged to the house of T. Flavius Clemens the consul, being later mistaken for the dwelling of the pope; but this seems quite gratuitous. In the sanctuary of Mithras a statue of the Good Shepherd was found.
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 6:43 AM 0 comments

TODAY'S GOSPEL: NOV. 23: Luke 21: 5 - 11
Luke 21: 5 - 115And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,6"As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."7And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?"8And he said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!' and, `The time is at hand!' Do not go after them.9And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once."10Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 6:20 AM

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