Monday, December 20, 2010


CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: MON. DEC. 20, 2010: headlines-







TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 20: LUKE: 1: 26-38


VATICAN CITY, 20 DEC 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Today in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father held his traditional meeting with the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and members of the Roman Curia and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, in order to exchange Christmas greetings.

Recalling the principal events of the past twelve months, the Pope noted how "with great joy we began the Year for Priests and, thanks to God, were able to conclude it with much gratitude, though it was very different to how we had imagined. Among us as priests and among the laity, also and especially the young, a renewed awareness arose of the great gift of the priesthood of the Catholic Church, which was entrusted to us by the Lord. One again we came to understand how beautiful it is that human beings are authorised to pronounce the name of God and, with complete authority, the word of forgiveness, and thus that they are able to change the world, to change life. How beautiful it is that human beings are authorised to pronounce the words of consecration. ... How beautiful it is to be able to remain, with the strength of Lord, close to mankind in his joys and sorrows".

"Thus our shock was even greater when, precisely in this year and in a dimension that we could not imagine, we became aware of the abuse of minors committed by priests who distort the Sacrament into its antithesis: under the veil of the sacred they inflicted profound harm on human beings in their infancy, causing damages that lasts a lifetime.

"In this context", the Pope added, "a vision of St. Hildegard of Bingen came to my mind, who disturbingly describes what we experienced this year".

"In St. Hildegard's vision the face of the Church was soiled with dust, and this is how we saw it. Her vestments were torn, and the fault was of priests. Just as she saw and expressed her vision, so have we lived this year. We must humbly accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair, as much as possible, the injustice committed. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our announcement, in our entire way of determining Christian existence, that such a thing could happen.

"We must discover a new resolve to be faithful and good. We must be capable of penance. We must strive to do everything possible, when preparing people for the priesthood, to ensure such a thing can never happen again. This is also the place to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone working to help victims, to restore their trust in the Church and their capacity to believe in her message.

"In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always encountered people who, with great dedication, remain close to those who are suffering or have been damaged. This is also an occasion to thank the many good priests who humbly and faithfully transmit the Lord's goodness and who, amidst so much devastation, are witnesses of the beauty of the priesthood, a beauty which has not been lost".

The Holy Father went on: "We are aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our consequent responsibility. Yet we cannot remain silent concerning the context of our time in which we see these events taking place. There is a market for child pornography which, in some way, seems to be increasingly considered by society as something normal. The psychological devastation of children in whom human beings are reduced to the level of a market commodity, is a frightening sign of the times".

In this context, the Holy Father mentioned the problem of drugs, "which with increasing strength extends its tentacles to the entire world. ... All pleasure becomes insufficient and excess under the delusion of intoxication turns into violence that rends entire regions. And all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom, in which precisely man's freedom is undermined and in the end completely cancelled.

"To oppose these forces we must look at their ideological foundations. In the 1970s it was theorised that paedophilia was entirely consistent with man and with children. This, however, was part of a basic perversion of the concept of 'ethos'" in which "nothing is good or bad in itself, everything depends on the circumstances and on the intended goal. ... Morality was replaced with a calculation of consequences, and by this process ceased to exist. The effects of these theories are evident today. Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 Encyclical 'Veritatis splendor', indicated with prophetic force the great rational tradition of Christian 'ethos' as the essential and permanent foundations for moral action. Today this text must once again be placed at the centre as a way to form consciences".

Benedict XVI then turned his attention to the Synod of the Churches of the Middle East which began when he consigned the "Instrumentum laboris" during his apostolic trip to Cyprus in June. "Even if full communion is not yet granted to us", said the Pope referring to the Orthodox Church, "we have nevertheless established with joy that the basic form of the ancient Church unites us profoundly with one another: the sacramental office of bishops as the bearer of apostolic tradition, the reading of Scripture according to the hermeneutic of the 'Regula fidei', the understanding of Scripture in its manifold unity centred on Christ, developed under divine inspiration, and finally, our faith in the central place of the Eucharist in the Church's life".

"We witnessed impressive manifestations of the rich Christian culture of the Christian East. But we also saw the problems. ... The wrongs and the deep wounds of the past were all too evident, but so too was the desire for the peace and communion that had existed before. Everyone knows that violence does not bring progress; indeed, it gave rise to the present situation. Only in a spirit of compromise and mutual understanding can unity be re-established. To prepare the people for this attitude of peace is an essential task of pastoral ministry.

"During the Synod itself", he added, "our gaze was extended over the whole of the Middle East, where the followers of different religions - as well as a variety of traditions and distinct rites - live together. ... In the turmoil of recent years, the tradition of peaceful coexistence has been shattered ... with the result that we witness with increasing alarm acts of violence in which there is no longer any respect for what the other holds sacred. ... In the present situation, Christians are the most oppressed and tormented minority. For centuries they lived peacefully together with their Jewish and Muslim neighbours. During the Synod we listened to wise words from the Counsellor of the Mufti of the Republic of Lebanon against acts of violence targeting Christians. He said: when Christians are wounded, we ourselves are wounded. Unfortunately, though, this and similar voices of reason, for which we are profoundly grateful, are too weak. Here too we come up against an unholy alliance between greed for profit and ideological blindness.

"On the basis of the spirit of faith and its rationality", the Pope went on, "the Synod developed a grand concept of dialogue, forgiveness and mutual acceptance, a concept that we now want to proclaim to the world. The human being is one, and humanity is one. Whatever damage is done to another in any one place, ends up by damaging everyone. Thus the words ... of the Synod must be a clarion call, addressed to all people with political or religious responsibility, to put a stop to Christianophobia; to rise up in defence of refugees and all who are suffering, and to revitalise the spirit of reconciliation".

The Holy Father also dwelt on his apostolic trip to the United Kingdom in September, during which he beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman, focusing his remarks on "two points that are connected with the theme of the responsibility of Christians at this time and with the Church's task to proclaim the Gospel".

On the subject of his meeting with the world of culture at Westminster Hall in London, the Pope noted how "Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day, observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place, the place of moral reasoning, is taken by purely instrumental rationality. ... In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake".

On the subject of Cardinal Newman, the Holy Father highlighted the blessed's conversion to a "faith in the living God" in which he recognised that "God and the soul, man's spiritual identity, constitute what is genuinely real, what counts. ... Where such a conversion takes place, it is not just a person's theory that changes: the fundamental shape of life changes. We are all in constant need of such conversion: then we are on the right path.

"The driving force that impelled Newman along the path of conversion was conscience", meaning "man's capacity for truth: the capacity to recognise precisely in the decision-making areas of his life - religion and morals - a truth, thetruth. At the same time, conscience - man's capacity to recognise truth - thereby imposes on him the obligation to set out along the path towards truth, to seek it and to submit to it wherever he finds it. ... The path of Newman's conversions is a path of conscience - not a path of self-asserting subjectivity but, on the contrary, a path of obedience to the truth that was gradually opening up to him".

Finally, the Holy Father also made brief mention of his trips to Malta, Portugal and Spain where, he said, "it once again became evident that the faith is not a thing of the past, but an encounter with the God Who lives and acts now".



VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI made a visit to the Vatican Apostolic Library to mark its recent reopening following three years of restoration. The Pope had last visited the library in June 2007 shortly before the rebuilding work began.

On his arrival he was welcomed by Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, and by Msgr. Cesare Pasini and Ambrogio Maria Piazzoni, respectively prefect and vice prefect of the library, who accompanied him on his tour, in the company of members of the Library Council. Following a brief prayer to bless the newly restored areas, the Pope was shown the results of the refurbishment then taken through each of the rooms and halls of the library. At the end of his visit, Benedict XVI expressed his thanks to those who work in the library and reiterated the importance the institution has for the Apostolic See and for the Universal Church. He concluded the visit by imparting his apostolic blessing.

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VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Jubilee Year of the Church in Vietnam, called to mark the 350th anniversary of the creation of the first two apostolic vicariates in the country, and the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Catholic hierarchy. The celebrations are due to take place at the Marian shrine of LaVang from 4 to 6 January 2011.

- Appointed Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation and to Uzbekistan, as apostolic nuncio to Great Britain.

- Appointed Bishop Joseph Karikkassery, auxiliary of Verapoly, India, as bishop of Kottapuram (area 3,300, population 3,333,467, Catholics 89,569, priests 137, religious 330), India.

- Appointed Fr. Santiago Gomez Sierra, dean of the cathedral chapter in Cordoba, Spain, as auxiliary of Seville (area 14,036, population 1,875,462, Catholics 1,865,000, priests 691, permanent deacons 43, religious 2,839), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Madridejos, Spain in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1982.

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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, fourth Sunday of Advent, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Today's reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew, he said, "recounts the birth of Jesus from the point of view of St. Joseph. He was engaged to Mary who, 'before they lived together, ... was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit'".

In the text "St. Joseph is presented as a 'righteous man', faithful to God's laws and ready to do His will. For this reason he is admitted into the mystery of the Incarnation after an angel of the Lord, appearing to him in a dream, tells him: 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins'. Thus Joseph abandons his plan to repudiate Mary secretly, and takes her to him because now his eyes see in her the work of God".

Despite having suffered some anguish, "Joseph acted 'as the angel of the Lord commanded him', certain he was doing the right thing. By giving the name of 'Jesus' to that Child Who upholds the entire universe, he entered the ranks of the humble and faithful servants, similar to the angels and the prophets, similar to the martyrs and the Apostles. ... St. Joseph announced the prodigies of the Lord, bearing witness to Mary's virginity and to God's gratuitous action, and protecting the earthly life of the Messiah. Thus we venerate Jesus' legal father because in him we see the emergence of the new man, who looks with trust and courage to the future, who does not follow his own plans but entrusts himself entirely to the infinite mercy of the One Who fulfils the prophecies, the One Who opens the time of salvation".

The Pope concluded his remarks by entrusting "all pastors" to St. Joseph, universal patron of the Church, "encouraging them", he said, "quietly to present Christ's words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world. ... Let us trustingly invoke the Virgin Mary, full of grace 'adorned by God', that, during the Christmas which will soon be upon us, our eyes may open and see Jesus, and our hearts may joy at this incredible encounter of love".

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.- Bishop Luis Stockler of Quilmes, Argentina reflected on the celebration of Christmas, pointing out that the image of Christ in the manger “shows us how much God loves us.”

The bishop explained in his Christmas message, released Dec. 15 that as “we set up our nativity scenes … and place the baby Jesus in the manger, let us look upon him with amazement and fervor, because this child shows us how much God loves us.”

“The faith of our ancestors becomes even stronger in us Christians, because we know that in Jesus, God truly looked upon us with human eyes and listened to us with human ears,” he said.

The baby Jesus “shows us that the greatness of man lies not in the riches he accumulates but in the riches He bestows on us. He opens our eyes to our dignity as children of God—which we are from the moment of our baptism—and which no one can take away from us.”

Bishop Stockler concluded his message praying that the baby Jesus “show us how we can overcome the barriers that separate us in our personal lives … and that he give us the strength to take the first step ourselves.”\


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The Madhya Pradesh priest was attacked in the middle of the night on 16 December by a dozen of men, armed with sticks. He barely got away alive. Years ago, a sister who was working about illiterate Tribals, was stabbed to death in the same area. Fr Thomas now prays for his attackers, that Christmas may bring “light to their hearts”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Fr Thomas Chirattavayalil, a priest in Satna diocese, was attacked by a group of armed and masked men in the wee hours of 16 December. He works among Tribals in Odagady, a remote mission station in Madhya Pradesh. “I have forgiven my attackers,” Fr Thomas told AsiaNews, "and I pray for them, that the birth of our Lord Jesus may bring hope and peace and light to their hearts, mind and lives. May the beatings I received in this season of Advent, bring graces, blessings and life and fruits to the Mission of the Church in Satna, Madhya Pradesh and India. ”

When the attack began, the priest’s assailants told him not to shout, but his driver, cook and animator heard the commotion and tried to come to his rescue. However, because the attackers had locked the doors of the building from the outside, those inside could not get out.

As the attackers beat him, Fr Thomas tried to run away but they chased him. He finally made it to the house of Januna, a member of the local Panchayath, or council of elders, about half a kilometre from where the incident started. This saved him; however, he did suffer two deep cuts to the head and wounds to the back and on other parts of the body.

“Around 2 am on 16 December, I heard someone call me: ‘Fatherji, Fatherji’,” the priest said as he related what happened to him.

“Since I thought someone needed my help I opened the presbytery door. I found myself confronted by 10-12 masked men, armed with sticks, who began beating me. I fell down, and they beat me in the back several times. I got up and began running, calling for help. But the attackers had blocked the doors of the driver, cook and animator before they called me. At the gate, two masked men hit me as I tried to go over the wall.”

Some 15 Catholic families live in Odagady. The other residents are Hindu, but the Church takes care of everyone irrespective of caste or faith. Many are Tribal, landless and illiterate peasants who are exploited.

“We give Tribals an education and inform them of their rights,” Fr Thomas said. “Thanks to our self-help groups, which the Church linked to government schemes and benefits, our Tribals are on their way towards self-sufficiency and are able to defend their human dignity. I am certain that the people who attacked me came from the village because they called be fatherji and had not come to steal or ransack.”

Fr Thomas has been in Odagady for the past year and half. “I continue the work of Sister Maria Rani, who worked here for ten years before she was attacked with a knife and killed. She did a great job in improving the conditions of poor people,” the priest said.

“I have five stitches on my head and wounds to my back, but I was ordained a priest to serve the poor, and this is the best way to prepare for the arrival of Jesus, who came to be poor among the poor and the oppressed.”,-Indian-priest-forgives-his-attackers-20299.html


Bethlehem children send Christmas greetings to London | images from Bethlehem,Aida,William Parry

Hyde Park
If you are in London this coming week, in among the Christmas lights and decorations, you may spot some striking images from Bethlehem. Two dozen children from the Aida refugee camp, painted stars, trees and Christmas greetings on the Separation Wall surrounding their hometown. Images of them by photojournalist William Parry will be projected onto prominent wall spaces around London - among them Leichester Square, the Strand, Hyde Park Corner and Tottenham Court Road.

"The idea is to provide a stark political backdrop to the frantic Christmas shopping rush," said Parry, "to remind Britain and the West that Israel’s illegal occupation and separation wall are strangling Bethlehem – and Palestine – the birthplace of Christ and Christmas. We’re bringing the reality of Bethlehem to London this Christmas.

"The children who painted the message on the wall are third and fourth generation refugees, at risk of being made refugees again because of the wall’s devastating impact. We are complicit in suspending their rights to justice and freedom through our governments’ biased support of Israel."

Photos of these ‘hijacked’ spaces, of bringing the reality of Bethlehem to London’s walls, will then be circulated via the web around the world to amplify the message.

One of the young artists, Zayed, who is 10, and dreams of travelling around the world when he can get a passport, said: "The wall is an ugly prison. I can see it from my home. I want to tell people of the world that Palestinians want peace and justice. We want to be free like everybody else."

Parry’s initiative was facilitated by a local Palestinian artist who goes by the tag name, ‘Trash’, who in December 2007 helped Banksy and London-based Pictures on Walls to carry out their Santa’s Ghetto project in Bethlehem. Projection artist, Beverley Carpenter is collaborating on the London project.

William Parry is a freelance photojournalist and author of Against the Wall: the art of resistance in Palestine, published in July by Pluto Press.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “A historic day for the Diocese of Ziguinchor,” recounts Fr Bruno Favero to Fides, director of the Pontifical Mission for Senegal and Mauritania, who describes how on 12 December in Ziguinchor, the capital of Casamance, three important events took place for the Church: the foundation of a Sanctuary, the establishment of a diocesan pilgrimage and the arrival a valuable and impressive statue of the Virgin Mary.
Fr Favero sent a note to Fides about the event: “It all started with the ardent and shared desire of the late Bishop Maixent Coly, Bishop of the diocese in 2000 when the diocesan Sanctuary of Ziguinchor, dedicated to “Our Lady of Peace in Temento”, became the Sanctuary of the newly formed Diocese of Kolda.
Ten years later, building on the extensive experience of the inter-diocesan pilgrimage that is held the third Sunday of Lent in Temento, the Diocese of Ziguinchor wanted to find a site to build its sanctuary and start conducting a pilgrimage in his own diocese. Meanwhile, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who Bishop Coly requested in 1999 to take care of the sanctuary and mission in Temento, settled in the Diocese of Ziguinchor, in Elinkine. The Oblates were accompanied by a large statue of the Virgin Mary, donated by a community from the “Présentation de Marie de France”. Thus there were all the elements to realize the dream of Bishop Maixent Coly, who died suddenly after an illness on 24 August, 2010.
This long introduction is necessary to understand what happened in Elinkine on 12 December. A crowd of pilgrims gathered to welcome the Virgin Mary, under the guidance of Bishop François Jacolin of Mende on his visit to the diocese. The number of faithful was well above the expectations of the organizers. Regional and local administrative authorities, Muslims and those from other Christian churches - priests and religious, the faithful and the curious - they all gathered at Mary's feet. When the Bishop unveiled the statue, a spontaneous standing ovation greeted the Mother of God and sincere emotion was felt by the crowd. The day was accompanied by a sober Liturgy, punctuated by songs and Diola folklore, and by fervent prayer.
The Sanctuary is dedicated to Our Lady of the Mission. Why Our Lady of the Mission? The current mission of the Church continues to be emphasized by Pope Benedict XVI and in our pastoral care planning, where 'witness' and 'mission' are keywords to discover and experience. The mission was not completed, in fact it seems to be at the beginning. The new evangelization is a specific requirement for today, both in Countries of ancient Christian tradition where faith seems to have disappeared, and in our Country where the Gospel needs first of all to take root and find the best way to be embodied. Our Lady of the Mission comes to meet these expectations and challenges. With Mary - who is mother and model for those who follow the Lord - we want to give a breath of life to the path of evangelization. In his homily, the Bishop explained why and how Mary continues to be authentically missionary and how to participate in an extraordinary way in the realization of the Father's plan and in the mission of her Son Jesus.”


CATH NEWS REPORT: The Catholic Bishops of Australia will travel to Rome in October 2011 on a spiritual pilgrimage designed to celebrate and strengthen their communion with the universal Church and the Pope.

The pilgrimage is known as the Ad Limina Apostolorum visit – or "to the threshold of the Apostles", and it will take place from October 10-22.

All Bishops who are charged with the leadership of a diocese, are required to make an Ad Limina visit every five years and present a report on the pastoral situation of the local Church. It is an important spiritual pilgrimage and a reminder of a local bishop's wider role in communion with the Bishops of the world.

The key events for Australia's Bishops will be a visit to the tombs of Sts Peter and Paul and a personal meeting with the Holy Father.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Philip Wilson said he and his fellow Bishops would be seeking the prayers of those in their diocesan community as they prepared for the Ad Limina pilgrimage.

"The Bishops wish to involve the whole Catholic community in reflection and prayer, as we prepare for this spiritually significant event," Archbishop Wilson said. "The Ad Limina visit confirms and celebrates that which we profess at Mass each week in the Micene Creed when we express our belief in the 'one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church'."


St. Dominic of Silos


Feast: December 20


Feast Day:December 20
Born:1000, Cañas (modern Rioja), Spain
Died:December 10, 1073, Silos
Patron of:against rabies; against rabid dogs; against insects; captives; pregnant women; prisoners; shepherds

St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, was named after this Benedictine abbot, who lived a century before him. According to Dominican tradition, St. Dominic of Silos appeared to Blessed Joan of Aza (the mother of the later St. Dominic), who made a pilgrimage to his shrine before the birth of her son, and named him after the abbot of Silos.

Dominic of Silos was born in Navarre, Spain, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, and was a shepherd boy, looking after his father's flocks. He acquired a love of solitude and as a young man became a monk at the monastery of San Millan de la Cogolla. He eventually became prior of the monastery and came into conflict with the king of Navarre over possessions of the monastery claimed by the king. The king drove Dominic out of the monastery, and Dominic went with other monks to Castille, where the king of Castille appointed Dominic abbot of the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos.

The monastery was in terrible shape, spiritually and materially, and Dominic set about to restore the monastery and to reform the lives of the monks. He preserved the Mozarbic Rite (one of the variants of the Latin Rite) at his monastery, and his monastery became one of the centers of the Mozarbic liturgy. His monastery also preserved the Visigothic script of ancient Spain and was a center of learning and liturgy in that part of Spain.

Dominic of Silos died on December 20,1073, about a century before the birth of his namesake, St. Dominic of Calaruega. Before the Spanish Revolution of 1931, it was customary for the abbot of Silos to bring the staff of Dominic of Silos to the Spanish royal palace whenever the queen was in labor and to leave it at her bedside until the birth of her child had taken place.

In recent times, great interest in Dominic of Silos has arisen since the literary treasures of the library of Silos have become known. The abbey had a profound influence on spirituality and learning in Spain. Today the monastery is an abbey of the Benedictine Congregation of Solesmes housing a library of ancient and rare manuscripts. SOURCE EWTN.COM

TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 20: LUKE: 1: 26-38

Luke 1: 26 - 38
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
30And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
35And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
36And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37For with God nothing will be impossible."
38And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

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