Friday, January 22, 2010




Vatican Radio report:
Below is Pope Benedict's full message for the 44th World Day of Communications:Dear Brothers and Sisters,The theme of this year's World Communications Day - The Priestand Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service ofthe Word - is meant to coincide with the Church's celebration of theYear for Priests. It focuses attention on the important and sensitivepastoral area of digital communications, in which priests candiscover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and forthe Word of God. Church communities have always used themodern media for fostering communication, engagement withsociety, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level.Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of thesemedia make them all the more important for a fruitful priestlyministry.All priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of JesusChrist, the incarnate Word of God, and the communication of hissaving grace in the sacraments. Gathered and called by the Word,the Church is the sign and instrument of the communion that Godcreates with all people, and every priest is called to build up thiscommunion, in Christ and with Christ. Such is the lofty dignity andbeauty of the mission of the priest, which responds in a special wayto the challenge raised by the Apostle Paul: "The Scripture says, 'Noone who believes in him will be put to shame ... everyone who callson the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on himin whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in himof whom they have not heard? And how can they hear withoutsomeone to preach? And how can people preach unless they aresent? (Rom 10:11, 13-15).Responding adequately to this challenge amid today's cultural shifts,to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involvesusing new communications technologies. The world of digitalcommunication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makesus appreciate all the more Saint Paul's exclamation: "Woe to me if Ido not preach the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:16) The increased availability ofthe new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part ofthose called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them tobecome more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts.Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologiescreate deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, theyare called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever moreeffectively at the service of the Word.The spread of multimedia communications and its rich "menu ofoptions" might make us think it sufficient simply to be present onthe Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests canrightly be expected to be present in the world of digitalcommunications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising theirproper role as leaders of communities which increasingly expressthemselves with the different "voices" provided by the digitalmarketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel byemploying the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images,videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongsidetraditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue,evangelization and catechesis.Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce peopleto the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover theface of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if they learn, from thetime of their formation, how to use these technologies in acompetent and appropriate way, shaped by sound theologicalinsights and reflecting a strong priestly spirituality grounded inconstant dialogue with the Lord. Yet priests present in the world ofdigital communications should be less notable for their media savvythan for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will notonly enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a "soul" to thefabric of communications that makes up the "Web".God's loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in thedigital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learnedtheory, but as something concrete, present and engaging. Ourpastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show ourcontemporaries, especially the many people in our day whoexperience uncertainty and confusion, "that God is near; that inChrist we all belong to one another" (Benedict XVI, Address to theRoman Curia, 21 December 2009).Who better than a priest, as a man of God, can develop and put intopractice, by his competence in current digital technology, a pastoraloutreach capable of making God concretely present in today's worldand presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a treasure whichcan inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity whilebuilding a better future? Consecrated men and women working inthe media have a special responsibility for opening the door to newforms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction,and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritualneeds. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age tosense the Lord's presence, to grow in expectation and hope, and todraw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters anintegral human development. In this way the Word can traverse themany crossroads created by the intersection of all the different"highways" that form "cyberspace", and show that God has hisrightful place in every age, including our own. Thanks to the newcommunications media, the Lord can walk the streets of our citiesand, stopping before the threshold of our homes and our hearts, sayonce more: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hearsmy voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine withhim, and he with me" (Rev 3:20).In my Message last year, I encouraged leaders in the world ofcommunications to promote a culture of respect for the dignity andvalue of the human person. This is one of the ways in which theChurch is called to exercise a "diaconia of culture" on today's "digitalcontinent". With the Gospels in our hands and in our hearts, wemust reaffirm the need to continue preparing ways that lead to theWord of God, while being at the same time constantly attentive tothose who continue to seek; indeed, we should encourage theirseeking as a first step of evangelization. A pastoral presence in theworld of digital communications, precisely because it brings us intocontact with the followers of other religions, non-believers andpeople of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do notbelieve, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulateddesire for enduring truth and the absolute. Just as the prophetIsaiah envisioned a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Is 56:7), canwe not see the web as also offering a space - like the "Court of theGentiles" of the Temple of Jerusalem - for those who have not yetcome to know God?The development of the new technologies and the larger digitalworld represents a great resource for humanity as a whole and forevery individual, and it can act as a stimulus to encounter anddialogue. But this development likewise represents a greatopportunity for believers. No door can or should be closed to thosewho, in the name of the risen Christ, are committed to drawing nearto others. To priests in particular the new media offer ever new andfar-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody theuniversality of the Church's mission, to build a vast and realfellowship, and to testify in today's world to the new life whichcomes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who cameamong us for our salvation. At the same time, priests must alwaysbear in mind that the ultimate fruitfulness of their ministry comesfrom Christ himself, encountered and listened to in prayer;proclaimed in preaching and lived witness; and known, loved andcelebrated in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist andReconciliation.To my dear brother priests, then, I renew the invitation to makeastute use of the unique possibilities offered by moderncommunications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic heraldsof the Gospel in the new "agorà" which the current media areopening up.With this confidence, I invoke upon you the protection of the Motherof God and of the Holy Curè of Ars and, with affection, I impart toeach of you my Apostolic Blessing.From the Vatican, 24 January 2010, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.(SOURCE:


Lifesitenews report:
Arriving over an hour early for the 6:30pm Vigil Mass for the March for Life yesterday, not only was every seat in the massive Basilica of the National Shrine occupied, but so was every good standing area. Brian McFee, his wife Molly and their children Lucas and Dominic were in the front row of seats open to the public – but to gain this distinction they had to arrive at 1pm to stake out their spot.
The Mass, which precedes the annual March for Life, is a joyous celebration of faith and commitment to life, and a stunning spectacle. Five Cardinals accompanying 40 other bishops and archbishops concelebrated the Mass with 350 priests. Also in the sanctuary were 65 deacons and a whopping 550 seminarians and 60 servers.
Hundreds of men and women religious also took part, with the steps leading up the to the sanctuary taken up by a large contingent of the Sisters of Life. Well over 8,000 faithful jammed every nook and cranny of the spacious Basilica both in the main church and the crypt below.
The Mass was open to millions more as well, as the event was broadcast via EWTN into countless homes.
During the 35-minute long opening procession the faithful looked on with awe as over 1000 men of the Church professed by their presence their commitment to the cause of life. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
As they processed out of the church a little baby was held aloft to the cheers of hundreds, and was blessed by Cardinal DiNardo.


Press release: Irish Catholic Conference of Bishops
Father Tony Cummins, Ireland’s oldest priest, died yesterday at the age of 103 years. Father Cummins, a priest of Diocese of Clonfert was born in Aille, in the parish of Kilnadeema, near Loughrea, County Galway on 6 September 1906.He attended Aille National School where his mother was a teacher. He received his secondary education at the Diocesan College, Saint Joseph’s College Ballinasloe, which was located in both the Pines and later in Garbally Park.After studying for the priesthood in Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, Father Cummins was ordained in St Brendan’s Cathedral Loughrea on 10 April 1932, in time for the Eucharistic Congress.As a priest he served in the parishes of Clostoken and Kilconieron, Loughrea as well as Killimor and Tiranascragh, before being appointed parish priest of Kilnadeema and later to Cappataggle and Kilrickle in 1964 where he served as Parish Priest until his retirement in 1987. He was resident at the Diocesan Retirement Home, Arus Vianney, Ballinasloe until 2003 when he moved to Kilconnell Nursing Home where he died peacefully on Wednesday last, 20 January.Father Cummins was blessed with an active interest in life right to the end. During his long and dedicated service to his priestly ministry he was well respected and held in affection by his parishioners who saw him as a faithful priest, devoted to his people and God.Bishop John Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert, who served as a curate to Father Cummins, today paid tribute to Father Cummins who held the senior positions of Vicar Forane and Chancellor of the Diocese of Clonfert for many years. Bishop Kirby said “Father Cummins had a commitment to his ministry that was firmly rooted in his holiness and his dedication to God. He was an example to us all having served through changing times while continuing to possess a zeal for his priestly ministry. May he rest in peace.”Father Tony Cummins was the last surviving member of his immediate family and is now survived by his nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Father Cummins will be laid to rest in the grounds of Cappataggle Church after 12 noon Mass tomorrow, Friday 22 January.(source:


Sunday Nation report:
Catholic Bishops have threatened to disown the draft constitution being discussed by MPs unless it includes a clause that clearly stipulates when life begins.
The church wants the draft that will come from the Parliamentary Select Committee on the constitution review to clearly state that life begins at conception and ends with natural death. This, they say, is necessary to prevent legalised abortion.
A statement from the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC), which groups Catholic bishops, said the church will not recognise a constitution that does not protect life in all its phases.
“A constitution that does not protect life in all its phases is irremediably faulty and ceases to demand any recognition,” they stated.
“We strongly feel that we cannot be party to any legislation that supports a culture of death. Life begins at conception and ends with natural death and any attempt to deny this truth is wrong and misleading,” the clerics said.
Thursday’s statement, issued by 23 bishops, was signed by Rt Rev Philip Sulumeti, the Bishop of Kakamega and KEC vice-chairman, with the mandate of John Cardinal Njue, the Archbishop of Nairobi and the KEC chairman.
The Catholic Church strongly opposes abortion. Through its bishops, it presented to the Committee of Experts a memorandum with regard to Article 35 — Right to Life — stating its stand.
The statement to the CoE also said every person has a right to life, and there shall be no abortion. The PSC team meeting in Naivasha has, however, declined to insert the proposed clause.

Asia News report:
At least 1,000 people set fire to the Pentecostal community places of worship. According to local Muslims, the two buildings did not have the legal permits as "churches." The Nahdlatul Ulama admits the violence of radical Islamists against Christians. In 2009 in Indonesia, 35 cases of violation of religious freedom, 28 against Christians.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A crowd of at least 1000 people burned down two Protestant churches last night in Sibuhuan (district of Padang Lawas, North Sumatra). The blaze was the culmination of tension between the faithful and the local Islamic community, tired of seeing " too many faithful and too many prayers " in a place not registered as a church.
The district chief of Padang Lawas, Basrah Lubis, said that "the attackers arrived in a flash. Their number was enormous, more or less a thousand. They were angry because the administration of the church had not responded to their demands: to change the use of buildings from 'places of prayer' to 'neutral buildings'. "
Both burned churches - two adjoining buildings - belong to the Synod of the Protestant Batak Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestant, Hkbp), and are Pentecostal churches, whose faithful belong predominantly to the ethnic Batak group. Even their liturgies, with dances and songs are in Batak language.
According to police, neither of the two buildings had a building permit and had to be considered "places of prayer" and not "churches". In Indonesia, to build a church a special legal permit (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan, IMB) is necessary. The process to get the permit is almost always hard and the Islamic community has boycotted the emergence of new churches. This lack of legal permits has become the main source of Muslims violence against Christians.
According to local witnesses, the first skirmishes took place last Christmas, when a large group of Sibuhuan residents held a sit-in protest against the existence of two churches, which has "too many members and disturbs the neighbours."
In fact, the services of the Pentecostal community are full of songs and musical instruments and it is possible that the religious holiday services were a nuisance to local members of another religion.
Conflicting with previous statements, the locals also argue against the community’s attempts to turn these "places of prayer" in "real churches". "The legal basis for declaring a church is that the number of believers is at least 60 members. But this community has only 23 members", claims Basrah Lubis.
The Hkbp community of Sibuhuan is in existence since 1982 and still can not get permission to convert buildings into real recognized churches. Lubis Basrah admits that non Christian local hinder recognition.
Now that the two buildings have been reduced to ashes, Hkbp communities have to travel to Sosa, 28 kilometres from Sibuhuan, where there are three permanent churches.
The Rev. Gomar Gultom, executive secretary of the Synod of Christian Churches in Indonesia (PGI), points out that all this anti-Christian violence occurs because some radical Islamic groups are deeply opposed to the construction of Christian places of worship and seek to restrain the public practise of other faiths. "In Indonesia, Christianity is legal - he says - but often, Christians are threatened."
Only yesterday in Jakarta, Prof. Said Agil Siradj of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest (moderate) Muslim organization in the country, submitted a report by the Wahid Institute to promote pluralism in Indonesia. The report shows that in 2009, out of about 35 cases of violation of religious freedom, 28 are against Christians. Prof. Sirad says that the violence against Christians is caused by small groups of Islamic extremists, whose knowledge of "true Islam is very poor."
He also encouraged Christians to keep good relations with Muslims, showing sensitivity towards them. Trying to build a church, all right - he said - but "it is better and wiser to discuss the plan with the local population to minimize misunderstandings."
Meanwhile tension remains high in Sibuhuan. The Pastor of the Pentecostal church has fled for fear of violence.
The Pastor of Sosa, the Rev. Rickson Nainggolan is defending his community. The fire, he says, serves to scare the Christians and stop their activities. He also points his finger at police who knew of the tensions since last Christmas and have done nothing to secure the situation.
The pastor also disputes the charge that the church did not have regular permits: "The Sibuhuan Hkbp has existed since 1982 and has its IMB. What the community has done is to" extend the existing building to accommodate the growing number of faithful. But the locals accuse us of not having the permission and have forced us to shut down our activities".
Subandriya, the local police chief, says however that the building burned yesterday "is not a church, but only a 'place of prayer'".(source:,-two-Protestant-churches-burnt:-too-many-faithful-and-too-many-prayers-17427.html


Cath News report:
The Henry tax review recommendation to end Fringe Benefits Tax concessions, which allows charity-run hospitals and nursing homes to top up payment to staff, could strip salary perks of some of the lowest-paid workers.
The Henry review said current arrangements are too complex and open to abuse, and suggests a better system would be for government agencies to pay charities through direct grants, the Herald Sun reports.
The welfare sector said that as a result, it may have to close or cut back essential services such as soup kitchens, the report said.
Catholic Health Australia has been advised by KPMG that the change would cost its 75 hospitals $72 million, making it harder to recruit nurses and other qualified staff, said the report.
"Some Catholic not-for-profit private hospitals would be forced to cut or close services," CHA chief executive Martin Laverty said.
"This may in time increase public hospital workloads. It may increase the cost of private health insurance. It would cause some not-for-profit hospitals to shut their doors."
Under the current system, not-for-profit organisations are eligible for tax concessions worth up to $30,000 a year. The benefits are available to church-run hospitals and nursing homes, charities and even some state-run hospitals.
Hundreds of thousands of workers, often earning modest wages of $40,000-$60,000, can receive top-up payments, but the Productivity Commission estimates the FBT concessions cost the tax base $1 billion every year.


St. John the Almsgiver
Feast: January 23
Feast Day:
January 23
550 at Arnathus, Cyprus
616 at Arnathus, Cyprus
Patron of:
Knights Hospitaller

Patriarch of Alexandria (606-16), b. at Amathus in Cyprus about 550; d. there, 616. He was the son of one Epiphanius, governor of Cyprus, and was of noble descent; in early life he was married and had children, but they and his wife soon died, whereupon he entered the religious life.
On the death of the Patriarch Theodorus, the Alexandrians besought Emperor Phocas to appoint John his successor, which was accordingly done. In his youth John had had a vision of a beautiful maiden with a garland of olives on her head, who said that she was Compassion, the eldest daughter of the Great King. This had evidently made a deep impression on John's mind, and, now that he had the opportunity of exercising benevolence on a large scale, he soon became widely known all over the East for his munificent liberality towards the poor. One of the first steps he took was to make a list of several thousand needy persons, whom he took under his especial care. He always referred to the poor as his "lords and masters", because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High. He assisted people of every class who were in need. A shipwrecked merchant was thus helped three times, on the first two occasions apparently without doing him much good; the third time however, John fitted him out with a ship and a cargo of wheat, and by favourable winds he was taken as far as Britain, where, as there was a shortage of wheat, he obtained his own price. Another person, who was not really in need, applied for alms and was detected by the officers of the palace; but John merely said "Give unto him; he may be Our Lord in disguise." He visited the hospitals three times every week, and he freed a great many slaves. He was a reformer who attacked simony, and fought heresy by means of improvements in religious education. He also reorganized the system of weights and measures for the sake of the poor, and put a stop to corruption among the officials. He increased the number of churches in Alexandria from seven to seventy.
John is said to have devoted the entire revenues of his see to the alleviation of those in need. A rich man presented him with a magnificent bed covering; he accepted it for one night, but then sold it, and disposed of the money in alms. The rich man "bought in" the article, and again presented it to John, with the same result. This was repeated several times; but John drily remarked: "We will see who tires first." It was not John. Another instance of his piety was that he caused his own grave to be dug, but only partly so, and appointed a servant to come before him on all state occasions and say "My Lord, your tomb is unfinished; pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you." When the Persians sacked Jerusalem in 614, John sent large supplies of food, wine, and money to the fleeing Christians. But eventually the Persians occupied Alexandria, and John himself in his old age was forced to flee to his native country, where he died.
His body was brought to Constantinople, thence to Ofen by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary; thence in 1530 to Toll near Presburg, and finally in 1632 to Presburg cathedral. He was the original patron saint of the Hospitallers, and was commemorated by the Greeks on 12 Nov. His life, written by Leontius of Neapolis, in Cyprus, was translated into Latin by Anastasius the Librarian in the ninth century and was referred to at the Seventh General Council.

St. Ildephonsus
Feast: January 23
Feast Day:
January 23
607 at Toledo, Spain
January 23, 667

Archbishop of Toledo; died 23 January, 667. He was born of a distinguished family and was a nephew of St. Eugenius, his predecessor in the See of Toledo. At an early age, despite the determined opposition of his father, he embraced the monastic life in the monastery of Agli, near Toledo. While he was still a simple monk, he founded and endowed a monastery of nuns in Deibiensi villula. We learn from his writings that he was ordained a deacon (about 630) by Helladius, who had been his abbot and was afterwards elected Archbishop of Toledo. Ildephonsus himself became Abbot of Agli, and in this capacity was one of the signatories, in 653 and 655, at the Eighth and Ninth Councils of Toledo. Called by King Reccesvinth, towards the end of 657, to fill the archiepiscopal throne, he governed the Church of Toledo for a little more than nine years and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia. To these scanty but authentic details of his life (they are attested by Ildephonsus himself, or by his immediate successor, Archbishop Julianus, in a short biographical notice which he added to the "De viris illustribus" of Ildephonsus) some doubtful or even legendary anecdotes were added later. At the end of the eighth century Cixila, Archbishop of Toledo, embellished the biography of his predecessor. He relates that Ildephonsus was the disciple of Isidore of Seville, and recalls in particular two marvellous stories, of which the second, a favourite theme of hagiographers, poets, and artists, has been for ages entwined with the memory of the saint. Ildephonsus, it is said, was one day praying before the relics of Saint Leocadia, when the martyr arose from her tomb and thanked the saint for the devotion he showed towards the Mother of God. It was related, further, that on another occasion the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment, to reward him for his zeal in honouring her.
The literary work of Ildephonsus is better known than the details of his life, and merits for him a distinguished place in the roll of Spanish writers. His successor, Julianus of Toledo, in the notice already referred to, informs us that the saint himself divided his works into four parts. The first and principal division contained six treatises, of which two only have been preserved: "De virginitate perpetuâ sanctae Mariae adversus tres infideles" (these three unbelievers are Jovinianus, Helvidius, and "a Jew"), a bombastic work which displays however a spirit of ardent piety, and assures Ildephonsus a place of honour among the devoted servants of the Blessed Virgin; also a treatise in two books: (1) "Annotationes de cognitione baptismi", and (2) "Liber de itinere deserti, quo itur post baptismum". Recent researches have proved that the first book is only a new edition of a very important treatise compiled, at the latest, in the sixth century, Ildephonsus having contributed to it only a few additions (Helfferich, "Der westgothische Arianismus", 1860, 41-49). The second part of his works contained the saint's correspondence; of this portion, there are still preserved two letters of Quiricus, Bishop of Barcelona, with the replies of Ildephonsus. The third part comprised masses, hymns, and sermons; and the fourth, opuscula in prose and verse, especially epitaphs. The editions of the complete works of Ildephonsus contain a certain number of writings, several of which may be placed in either of the last two divisions; but some of them are of doubtful authenticity, while the remainder are certainly the work of another author. Moreover, Julianus states that Ildephonsus began a good number of other works, but his many cares would not permit of his finishing them. On the other hand, he makes no mention of a little work which is certainly authentic, the "De viris illustribus". It may be considered as a supplement to the "De viris illustribus" of Isidore of Seville, and is not so much a literary historical work as a writing intended to glorify the Church of Toledo and defend the rights of the metropolitan see. (SOURCE:


Mark 3: 20 - 21
Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.
And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, "He is beside himself."





Vatican Radio:
Yesterday afternoon L'Osservatore Romano newspaper published a Letter from the Holy Father, dated 15 January, in which he reiterates his confidence in Cardinal Tariciso Bertone S.D.B. as secretary of State. On 2 December 2009 Cardinal Bertone reached the age of 75 and presented his resignation from office, in accordance with the norms of Canon Law. In his Letter Benedict XVI expresses his thanks to the cardinal, recalling "the long course of our collaboration, which began with your work as consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”."My thoughts also go to the delicate work you undertook to establish dialogue with Msgr. Lefebvre", the Holy Father adds, before going on to recall how John Paul II called Cardinal Bertone to work in the Roman Curia, where he "competently and generously filled the position of secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Those were intense and demanding years during which important doctrinal and disciplinary documents were issued", he writes.The Holy Father also speaks of his admiration for the cardinal's "sensus fidei", his doctrinal and canonical knowledge and his "humanitas" which, writes the Pope, "helped us to experience a real family atmosphere in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, united to a firm and determined discipline in the workplace".And Benedict XVI concludes his Letter: "All these qualities were the motive that led me to decide, in the summer of 2006, to appoint you as my secretary of State, and they are the reasons why, also for the future, I do not wish to forgo your vital collaboration". (SOURCE:

Vatican Radio:
The Holy See's budget forecasts a slight improvement for 2010 despite continuing difficulties: this is according to a statement issued today by the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Affairs of the Holy See. The Council, led by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, met for two days here at the Vatican, to discuss the consolidated budget of the Holy See and the State budget of the Governatorate of Vatican City for the year 2010. Archbishop De Paolis, president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs, presented the consolidated budget for 2010 that covers the income and expenses of the Holy See. This encompasses all of the Roman Curia, with the exception of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as well as the "media" institutions connected with the Holy See, namely Vatican Radio, The Vatican Press Office, the newspaper Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Television Center and the Vatican Printing Press. Among the costs, the largest item is payment of the Vatican’s 2668 employees, a financial burden that is also growing because of the adjustment of wages to the cost of living. Then there are the costs of Vatican Radio and other media institutions, which, however - says the statement - must be viewed in the context of missionary activity of the Holy See. The need to make Catholic faithful more sensitive to contributing to specific Church projects for pastoral care was also discussed. Bishop De Paolis then illustrated the budget for the year 2010 the Governorate of the State of Vatican City. This body manages the property belonging to the Holy See and supports the structures of the Holy See. "From the data submitted to the members of the Council - the statement - that the Administration in question has largely overcome the difficulties of previous years and regained a security that allows it to look with greater confidence to the future". The statement concludes that Pope Benedict met and spoke with the Council during proceedings “listening to their comments with great interest and thanking them all for their invaluable collaboration”.(SOURCE:


Catholic Online report:
On January 22, 2010 millions will march on our Nation’s Capital and in Cities around the Nation. We mourn the United States Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973, Roe v Wade. The countless millions of children killed in the first home of the whole human race cry out for justice. Those who march stand in solidarity with our youngest neighbors whose cry cannot be heard without our voice. Children are being intentionally killed by surgical strikes and chemical weapons in an undeclared war on the womb in the United States of America. The Pro-Life cause is the great human and civil rights struggle of our age. In the “Gospel of Life” the Venerable John Paul II warned of what happens at the “…level of politics and government…” when “…the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority. … democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenseless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part”. He stripped the veneer of feigned civility off the barbaric practice, “The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations” He gave us the question which we must ask in the United States of America on January 22, 2010: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practiced: some individuals are held to be deserving of defense and others are denied that dignity?" The Gospel story of the “Good Samaritan” came in response to a question posed to Jesus by a Lawyer: “There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29) During the Presidential campaign Barack Obama called us to become a Nation which recognizes our obligations to our “neighbors.” Throughout the campaign I did everything I could in my writings to try to get him to respond to the question posed by the lawyer in the Gospel passage “Who is My Neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25 – 37) I simply could not fathom how any candidate could call us to recognize our obligations in solidarity to one another as neighbors and fail to recognize that the baby in the first home of the whole human race is also our neighbor. Now he is our President and his failure to recognize the first right of our first neighbors is clear. The perverse idea that “freedom” allows one who is bigger to reach in the sanctuary of the womb and take the life of a vulnerable and innocent child is now killing us as a Nation. We would never make the argument about killing a one year old child outside of the womb. Yet, there is no moral distinction. The time thresholds of “viability” forced upon us by the Roe and Doe decisions keep getting pushed back as our technology confirms the truth about our smallest neighbors. Science has confirmed what our consciences have always known, abortion is morally wrong. We now reach within the womb and routinely operate upon them to save their lives. We prosecute the aggressor who, in the commission of another crime, kills them as well. We know the truth; abortion is the intentional killing of a human person. There is no other group of human persons whom we allow to be killed under the cover of “choice”. Our Civil “law” simply rejects the Natural Law prohibition against intentional homicide. We make an exception for children in the womb. There is never a “need for abortion”. There is a need for helping the mother carrying the child during pregnancy and care for the child throughout life. The father also needs our help. The child also needs our help upon birth and throughout the continuum of life. However, there is no moral justification for taking innocent human life in the womb. Abortion is our greatest National shame and it is corrupting us from within. On February 5, 2009, President Barack Obama spoke these words at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.: “But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.” Yet, that is what we do in every procured abortion. We then protect the perpetrator of the bloody, violent act with the Police Power of the State. Now, as is evident in the fight against good people like Congressman Bart Stupak who are trying to protect our youngest neighbors from being killed under health care reform legislation, we want tax dollars to fund the executions. The parable of the “Good Samaritan” presents a litmus test for any Nation which boasts of having a concern for its neighbors. By relegating our youngest neighbors to the status of property to be disposed of in the United States of America we commit a continuing egregious evil. As we march and pray, remember our cause is just and we shall prevail. We are giving a voice to those who have none. As Blessed Teresa of Calcutta reminded us they are the “poorest of the poor. In the words of the Psalmist, the Lord hears the cry of the poor. (source:


Cath News report:
Prince William's visit (to Australia)reminds us that after his father, he is next in line to be our king. William will ascend to the pinnacle of our democracy not on the basis of his fitness for office or by winning the support of the people, but due solely to the good fortune of his birth.
The idea that someone should be born into the highest position in Australian Government is more than quaint; it is objectionable. It is inconsistent with what is otherwise a democratic and egalitarian system.
Selection by birth is not the only problem. Succession to the throne is determined by a 1701 English statute. It ranks men over women, and states that should Prince William convert to Catholicism or marry a Catholic, he will be ''for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Crown''.
As the head of the Catholic Church in England has said, ''he can marry by law a Hindu, a Buddhist, anyone, but not a Roman Catholic''.
Apart from our link to the monarchy, Australia has eliminated many examples of religious discrimination from its laws. We have moved past the bitter religious disagreements of earlier decades that split members of the Christian faiths. The fact many of our political leaders are Catholic is now nothing more than a point of note.
This is reflected in section 116 of the Australian constitution: ''no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth''.
There is a glaring inconsistency between this and the fact our monarch is known as the ''Defender of the Faith'' as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
In person, Queen Elizabeth II professes religious toleration, but in law she represents a centuries old institution that maintains a special, privileged role for only one religion, and actively discriminates against another. (source:


CISA report:
The Bishop of Djibouti Giorgio Bertin says about 4 million people face crisis after World Food Programme (WFP) suspended aid distribution in Southern Somalia.Bishop Bertin who is also the Apostolic Administrator in Mogadishu told Fides, "I am very concerned about the humanitarian situation in south-central Somalia, where 3 to 4 million people depend on international aid for their survival.""Now that the World Food Program has decided to withdraw its personnel from the area, the situation of these people may become dramatic. I understand the motivations of the leadership of WFP, but we must find ways to continue to assist these people," said Bishop Bertin.In early January, the WFP decided to suspend operations in Somalia following an ultimatum by the fundamentalist Shaabab militia, which had previously attacked and looted the humanitarian organization's facilities several times."Also, the Somali refugees in some facilities in Kenya are in difficulty because of the floods that hit the country in recent weeks," said Bishop Bertin."Regarding the 10,000 Somali refugees in Djibouti, their situation is difficult, but overall stable. The Catholic Church has entered into an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for a program of help and support for these people."On the political front, there have been new developments: autonomous groups of moderate Muslims, Sufi-inspired, independent allies of the legitimate government, are defeating the fundamentalist Shaabab militia, the cleric said."In Somalia, the Sufi confraternities, representing traditional Islam Somali, have lost much of their influence in comparison to over 30-40 years ago, but they are still a point of reference for part of the population," said Bishop Bertin."The call to traditional Islam, using the Sufi confraternities, could be part of a strategy to use the religious sentiment against those movements, such as the Shaabab, who use religion for political ends, a strategy promoted by foreign powers that have long been interfering in the affairs of Somalia.�In the northern part of Somalia, Somaliland, a region that declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991, though their independence is not recognized by the international community, the internal tensions related to the postponement of the elections are likely to cause an explosion of violence among different clans, which had so far, unlike the south of Somalia, secured a certain stability to the area.(SOURCE:


AsiaNews report:
The Philippine Church reaffirms its commitment to life and challenges the law on reproductive health. Bishops and priests invite the faithful to consider the best interests of society rather than individual interests and vote according to Christian values.
Manila (AsiaNews) - In view of the upcoming 2010 elections the Filipino bishops have reiterated their no to abortion, euthanasia and other policies against family values and invited the public to vote for candidates who fight for life. For this purpose they have published the guide "The Catechism on Family and Life for the 2010 elections”. It is the result of the meeting of the national commission of family and life of the Episcopal Conference on 30 November in Antipolo City (Manila).
"The catechism - said Fr Melvin Castro, secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and life - was created for the Catholic faithful and is intended to help in the choice of voting ".
The priest calls on Filipino Catholics to consider the best interests of society rather than individual interests, to vote according to Christian values and above all to boycott candidates who support the law on reproductive health. "It is not morally acceptable to vote for those candidates who promote abortion, euthanasia and the use of condoms – he adds - the candidates that the church wants to boycott reflect only their own vision of family and life."
The debate on Reproductive Health has been ongoing for four years. Despite UN support in favour of the law it has never reached the quorum of 120 votes needed for approval. This is due to the opposition of Catholic lawmakers and the support of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, who has always been contrary to policies of family planning and abortion. The law rejects abortion clinics, but supports a program of family planning, which prevents couples from having more than two children, punishable by the payment of a penalty and in some cases prison. The program supports the spread to all schools and public places of birth control pills, which have been banned by law, condoms and the promotion of voluntary sterilization. The Church and Catholic pro - life organizations instead promote the Natural Family Program (NFP), which aims at providing the people a culture of responsibility and love based on Christian values.
According to a recent study conducted by the Social Weather Stations in Manila 78% of the population of Cebu City (Manila) would be in favour of Reproductive Health. 84% of young people want access to services available in schools and information centres. The bishops, however, dispute these figures defining them as partial and misleading and accuse politicians of wanting to take the issue of reproductive health outside of the electoral debate.


Cath News report:
De La Salle Brother Denis Loft has joined fellow De La Salle Brother Bill Firman in Southern Sudan to assist with the Solidarity with Southern Sudan (SSS) initiative to rebuild the war-devastated region.
SSS has been developed through the combined efforts of leaders of more than 20 religious Orders to help develop a pastoral institute and a teaching hospital, with the De La Salle Brothers taking the lead role in the development of teacher education, the Brothers said in a press statement.
"We are here because the Teachers' College which we are working to set up will be based in Malakal, but will operate from quite a number of different centres. So it's not like a big institution, it's more like a correspondence and in-service program," Br Denis said.
Br Denis (in blue) and Br Bill with local kids
Br Denis has taught in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. He was also the founder and program coordinator of the popular program, Coolies, which gives high school graduates an opportunity to undertake volunteer work in India, as an alternative to Schoolies.
This new appointment in Southern Sudan differs greatly from the life he had as a maths teacher at De La Salle College Malvern since 2004. But he is confident about adjusting.
"For some reason, I always wanted to work in Africa. I've had 20 years in Papua New Guinea and I have enjoyed working in parts of India. But I had always wanted to work in Africa so this was my chance," he said.
He joins Br Bill, who moved there in August.


St. Vincent Pallotti
Feast: January 22
Feast Day:
January 22
1798 in Rome, Italy
1963 by Pope John XXIII

A contemporary of Cardinal Newman's and the Cure of Ars', St. Vincent Pallotti was a very modern saint who organized so many remarkable pastoral programs that he is considered the forerunner of Catholic Action. He was a man of great ideas and great vision and was able to inspire others to tackle great things. He is the founder of the Pallottine Fathers and the Pallottine Missionary Sisters; however, this was but the tip of the iceberg of his accomplishments. He left behind schools, guilds, and institutes that carried the Catholic mission into the very heart of contemporary society. He was born in Rome in 1795 and began studies for the priesthood very early. Although he was very bright, he was not attracted by studies, even though he was ordained a priest at twenty-three and earned a doctorate in theology soon afterward. He was given an assistant professorship at the Sapienza University but resigned it soon after to devote himself to pastoral work.
Before long, his zeal was known all over Rome. He organized schools for shoemakers, tailors, coachmen, carpenters, and gardeners so that they could better work at their trade, as well as evening classes for young farmers and unskilled workers. He soon became known as a "second St. Philip Neri." He gave away his books, his possessions, and even his clothes to the poor, and once dressed up as an old woman to hear the confession of a man who threatened "to kill the first priest who came through the door."
In 1835, he founded his two congregations and was instrumental in the founding of a missionary order in England and several colleges for the training of missionaries.
He died at the age of fifty-five and his body lies incorrupt in the church of San Salvatore in Rome. He was canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1963.


Mark 3: 13 - 19
And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him.
And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach
and have authority to cast out demons:
Simon whom he surnamed Peter;
James the son of Zeb'edee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-aner'ges, that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean,
and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.