Wednesday, February 10, 2010



ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA, AN EXAMPLE TO PREACHERS VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to St. Anthony of Padua, "one of the most popular saints of the Catholic Church". St. Anthony was born to a noble family in Lisbon around the year 1195. Following a period spent with the Augustinian Canons, he entered the Friars Minor in the hope of travelling to Morocco to work as a missionary. However he fell sick and returned to Italy where he dedicated himself to intense and effective apostolic labours. He died in Padua in 1231 and was canonised by Pope Gregory IX in 1232. "Anthony", the Pope explained, "made a significant contribution to the development of Franciscan spirituality with his outstanding gifts of intelligence, balance, apostolic zeal and, especially, mystic fervour. ... He was also one of the first, if not the first, master of theology among the Friars Minor". The saint wrote two cycles of sermons, one entitled "Sunday Sermons" the other "Sermons on the Saints", in which he presented "a true itinerary of Christian life. Such is the wealth of spiritual teachings contained in the 'Sermons' that in 1946 Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed Anthony a Doctor of the Church, giving him the title of 'Doctor Evangelicus' because all the freshness and beauty of the Gospel emerges in his writings", said the Holy Father. Anthony of Padua, or of Lisbon as he is also known, defined prayer "as a relationship of love, which leads man to a dialogue with the Lord", and he described four "attitudes" which must characterise it: "trustingly opening our hearts to God, affectionately conversing with Him, presenting Him our needs, and giving Him praise and thanks. In this teaching of St. Anthony", the Pope explained, "we see one of the specific traits of Franciscan theology; ... that is, the central role of divine love which enters the sphere of the affections, of the will, of the heart, and which is the source of a spiritual knowledge that surpasses all other knowledge". But the "Doctor Evangelicus" also knew the defects of human nature, such as "the tendency to fall into sin, and so he continually exhorted people to combat the inclination to avarice, pride and impurity. ... At the beginning of the thirteenth century, in a context of expanding cities and flourishing trade, a growing number of people were insensitive to the needs of the poor. For this reason, Anthony frequently invited the faithful to turn their thoughts to true wealth, that of the heart" and to seek the friendship of those most in need. "Is this not", the Pope asked, "also an important lesson for us today, as the financial crisis and serious economic imbalances impoverish many people, and create situations of distresss?" He then went on to comment on one another aspect of Franciscan theology, Christocentrism, which "invites us to contemplate the mysteries of the Lord's humanity", especially His Nativity and Crucifixion. "The vision of the crucified Lord", said the Holy Father, inspired in Anthony "feelings of recognition towards God and of respect for the dignity of the human person". In that vision "everyone, believers and non-believers, may find a meaning that enriches life". This, he explained, "is the importance of the crucifixion in our culture and our humanity, which are born of the Christian faith, ... because God considers us so important as to be worthy of His suffering". The Pope concluded his catechesis by calling on St. Anthony to intercede for the whole Church, and in particular for "those who dedicate their lives to preaching. Drawing inspiration from his example, may they unite sound and healthy doctrine, sincere and fervent piety, and incisive communication. In this Year for Priests, let us pray that priests and deacons eagerly carry out their ministry of announcing and contextualising the Word of God for the faithful, especially in liturgical homilies".AG/ANTHONY OF PADUA/... VIS 100210 (660)

HARVESTING THE RESULTS OF LUTHERAN-CATHOLIC DIALOGUE VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Pope met with a delegation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, led by Bishop Mark Hanson. Addressing the group in English, the Holy Father expressed the hope that "the continuing Lutheran-Catholic dialogue both in the United States of America and at the international level will help to build upon the agreements reached so far. "An important remaining task", he added, "will be to harvest the results of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue that so promisingly started after the Vatican Council II. To build on what has been achieved together since that time, a spiritual ecumenism should be grounded in ardent prayer and in conversion to Christ, the source of grace and truth. May the Lord help us to treasure what has been accomplished so far, to guard it with care, and to foster its development". Benedict XVI concluded by renewing the wish expressed by his predecessor John Paul II addressing a similar Lutheran delegation in 1985: "Let us rejoice that an encounter such as this can take place. Let us resolve to be open to the Lord so that He can use this meeting for His purposes, to bring about the unity that He desires. Thank you for the efforts you are making for full unity in faith and charity".AG/UNITY/AMERICAN LUTHERANS VIS 100210 (230)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Fr. Marcelo Alejandro Cuenca of the clergy of the diocese of Cordoba in Argentina, pastor of Villa del Dique in Cordoba, as bishop of Alto Valle del Rio Negro (area 37,130, population 294,978, Catholics 253,982, priests 30, permanent deacons 1, religious 42), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Cordoba in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1983. He succeeds Bishop Nestor Navarro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Bishop Virginio Domingo Bressanelli S.C.I. of Comodoro-Rivadavia, Argentina, as coadjutor of Neuquen (area 94,078, population 538,852, Catholics 458,024, priests 56, permanent deacons 12, religious 130), Argentina. - Appointed Fr. Rafael Biernaski of the clergy of the archdiocese of Curitiba, Brazil, bureau chief at the Congregation for Bishops, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 5,751, population 2,326,000, Catholics 1,522,000, priests 421, permanent deacons 62, religious 1,699). The bishop-elect was born in Curitiba in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1981.NER:RE:NEC:NEA/.../... VIS 100210 (180)

NOTICE VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2010 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no edition of VIS tomorrow, 11 February, eighty-first anniversary of the institution of Vatican City State with the signing of the Lateran Pacts. Service will resume on Friday 12 February..../.../... VIS 100210 (50)


CNA report:
Auxiliary Bishop Sergio Gualberti of Santa Cruz encouraged new catechists in the Bolivian capital of La Paz to find inspiration for their work though a personal encounter with Christ and to proclaim God's presence to a world that rejects him.
The bishop urged the catechists to “find inspiration for your mission in the personal encounter with Christ,” adding that his advice “is valid not only for catechists, but for all of us, who are called to be disciples and missionaries of Jesus.”
Bishop Gualberti called on catechists to have the courage of Simon Peter to make a radical change in their lives and to remain in communion with the Lord. He told them this change can be “sustained each day” by prayer, the Eucharist, and an encounter with Christ. These things, he continued, “should bring forth in us a new dynamism that must be the inspiring force in our journey.”
Bishop Gualberti also recalled that the commandments of Christ “fill us with joy on our journey, because we want to be faithful disciples of the Word, concretely here in our Church in Latin America, in Bolivia and in Santa Cruz.”
The bishop warned catechists that the world's desire to “banish God” has made these times “difficult in every sense: in the cultural, social, political, and religious areas. “We are called to continue proclaiming the Lord, confident in his Word” and trusting that evangelization efforts will bear fruit.(source:


CISA report:
The Catholic community in Isiro, in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), held a procession and a Mass to remember and pray for the victims of Ugandan rebels of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). The day was also an expression of solidarity with those who have been wounded, tortured, or kidnapped by rebels, according to ICN.For months, the Ugandan rebels have plagued the region by attacking defenceless villages. In the absence Bishop Julian Andavo Mbia of Isiro, the Mass on Sunday was presided over by Msgr Dieudonné Abakuba, Episcopal Vicar, and concelebrated by a dozen priests, in the presence of 800 faithful. "We are gathered here to celebrate the Eucharist and to commemorate our fellow victims of the LRA, and to express our solidarity with all who suffer," said Msgr Abakuba in his homily. "We do not understand why this is happening today, but we can see these events with the light of faith. May the Lord open the hearts of the country's authorities to seek solutions,” he said. The cleric added that, “We must help our brothers who bear the brunt of this suffering. We are gathered here to share with our brothers, the pain and assets we have. What we have received from the Lord is not only for us, but is for the good of all. May we open our hearts and hands to relieve the suffering of others. We are called to communion and understanding." Fr Tatsima Baldwin, head of the diocesan Caritas, said, "Internally Displaced People (IDP) are people like us, who because of the LRA rebels have lost their children, spouses, parents, property, and home. We do not even know the fate of some who fled into the forest." On Tuesday, February 2, an interfaith conference on the crisis caused by the LRA was convened by Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani.Many people have left their villages for fear of further attacks and the dead have been left without burial, according to Msgr Abakuba.


Cath News report:
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is offering "an innovative online experience" called "The Reflection" as a Lenten resource that presents reflections on the Gospel and the Creed.
"This year we are asking that you consider spending time with friends and family reflecting on the Scriptures that lead us to this joyous celebration of the Church," Archbishop John Bathersby said in a statement.
"Instead of just giving up something for Lent, why not take up something as well?" he said about the series that is set to begin on Monday (February 15). The program will be using a lectio divina model of prayer, he added in the statement.
The Internet-based formation program follows on the successful e-conferences organised by the bishops last year.
Archbishop Bathersby is cited saying that that some 20,000 participants from across the globe joined in these two online conferences, demonstrating "a hunger in people to deepen their faith."
The Lenten series will include the contribution of 12 prelates, and will feature the Sunday Gospel readings with extra resources for deeper reflection.


CNA report:
The Archdiocese of Malta has announced the schedule of Pope Benedict XVI’s April visit to the island country for the 1,950th anniversary of the shipwreck of St. Paul. The country’s bishops have prayed that the pontiff will be welcomed to the island as warmly as St. Paul was. Archbishop of Malta Paul Cremona and Bishop of Gozo Mario Grech announced the details of the visit in a letter to the Catholics of Malta.
Like St. Paul, the bishops said of Pope Benedict, “he shall come and abide among us for a brief period of time, in order to fulfill and fortify us in the faith which the Apostle Paul instilled within us. For this also, we wish to give thanks to our Lord.”
The Pope will arrive on April 17. He will be greeted by civil authorities at the Presidential Palace and by children gathered in St. George’s Square. He will then visit the place where tradition holds St. Paul preached the Word of God to the islanders.
Pope Benedict will proceed to St. Paul’s Grotto in Rabat and thank God for His providence. He will greet the general public along his route to Rabat and at the Grotto.
On Sunday, April 18 the Pope will celebrate Mass at the Granaries in Floriana. He will then travel to the Valletta Waterfront and preside over a gathering of youths.
According to the bishops of Malta, the Pope will encourage them to “strengthen their faith, fortify their hope and enkindle their hearts in love.”
The Pontiff will leave Malta on Sunday evening.
The bishops of Malta remembered St. Paul’s preaching in their letter:
“Imbued with the power of the Spirit and encouraged by the hope which God Himself instilled in Paul’s heart through His Angel, and as ordained by His Divine Plan, Paul brought to our ancestors, and to us, their descendants, the Good News of the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom as envisaged by Jesus Christ, Son of God made man, who through his birth, life, death and resurrection brought man to eternal life.”
“Today it is our turn, as heirs of the faith of our forefathers, to give witness to this faith and pass it onto our children. For this, we give thanks to our Lord.
“By the grace of God, may we as a nation, greet His Holiness warmly and welcome him as our Father, much in the same way that our ancestors paid homage to Paul and his friends,” Archbishop Cremona and Bishop Grech wrote.


UCAN) — Protestants have forced bus companies to ban an advertising campaign against their missionary work by a group calling itself Anti-Christ.
Lee Chan-gyeong, president of Anti-Christ, says the ad was to warn against local Protestant Churches’ “offensive missionary work” and its exclusivism that “creates anxiety for Korean people.”
He told UCA News today [Feb. 10] that the ban on the ads was an “infringement of the freedom of expression and an unfair pressure on our activities.”
The ads on eight buses quoted Albert Einstein: “I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures.”
But the bus companies this week [Feb. 8] dropped the ads after Protestants protested.
“We placed the advertisement to inform people that even without Christianity they can live their lives well,” Lee told UCA News today.
Many people are uneasy about Protestant Churches’ missionary works he said.
“They do not consider the religious diversity in Korean society either.”
Anti-Christ, which has some 15,000 members, spent 2.5 million won (US$2,150) on the advertisement.
“We planned to run the advertisement at least for a month but the Protestant Churches pressed the bus companies to remove it,” Lee said.
Kim Bong-soo, an officer of Seoul’s Metropolitan Bus Transportation Union, told UCA News, he had received many complaints about the ad.
“Protestant Churches made lots of protest calls,” he said.
However, Reverend Park Seung-chul, public relations manager of the Christian Council of Korea (CCK), denied there had been “any official action” on the advertisement.
“The advertisement is the expression of blind hatred for Christianity and is different from the atheistic advertisement in Western countries which have a rational tradition.”
He said Anti-Christ’s advertisement “is just the extension of its slander and defamation of Protestantism, not based on rational criticism.”(source:


St. Scholastica
Feast: February 10
Feast Day:
February 10
480, Nursia, Italy
Patron of:
convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms and rain

This saint was sister to the great St. Benedict. She consecrated herself to God from her earliest youth, as St. Gregory testifies. Where her first monastery was situated is not mentioned; but after her brother removed to Mount Cassino she chose her retreat at Plombariola, in that neighbourhood, where she founded and governed a nunnery about five miles distant to the south from St. Benedict's monastery. St. Bertharius, who was Abbot of Cassino three hundred years after, says that she instructed in virtue several of her own sex. And whereas St. Gregory informs us that St. Benedict governed nuns as well as monks, his sister must have been their abbess under his rule and direction. She visited her holy brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went out with some of his monks to meet her at a house at some small distance. They spent these visits in the praises of God, and in conferring together on spiritual matters. St. Gregory relates a remarkable circumstance of the I last of these visits. Scholastica having passed the day as usual in singing psalms and pious discourse, they sat down in the evening to take their refection. After it was over, Scholastica, perhaps foreknowing it would be their last interview in this world, or at least desirous of some further spiritual improvement, was very urgent with her brother to delay his return till the next day, that they might entertain themselves till morning upon the happiness of the other life. St. Benedict, unwilling to transgress his rule, told her he could not pass a night out of his monastery, so desired her not to insist upon such a breach of monastic discipline. Scholastica finding him resolved on going home, laying her hands joined upon the table, and her head upon them, with many tears, begged of Almighty God to interpose in her behalf. Her prayer was scarce ended when there happened such a storm of rain, thunder, and lightning, that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could set a foot out of doors. He complained to his sister, saying, "God forgive you, sister; what have you done?" She answered, "I asked you a favour, and you refused it me; I asked it of Almighty God, and he has granted it me." St. Benedict was therefore obliged to comply with her request, and they spent the night in conferences on pious subjects, chiefly on the felicity of the blessed, to which both most ardently aspired, and which she was shortly to enjoy. The next morning they parted, and three days after St. Scholastica died in her solitude. St. Benedict was then alone in contemplation on Mount Cassino, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he saw the soul of his sister ascending thither in the shape of a dove. Filled with joy at her happy passage, he gave thanks for it to God, and declared her death to his brethren, some of whom he sent to bring her corpse to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself. She must have died about the year 543. Her relics are said to have been translated into France, together with those of St. Bennet, in the seventh century, according to the relation given by the monk Adrevald.1 They are said to have been deposited at Mans, and kept in the collegiate church of St. Peter in that city, in a rich silver shrine. In 1562 this shrine was preserved from being plundered by the Huguenots as is related by Chatelain. Her principal festival at Mans is kept a holyday on the 11th of July, the day of the translation of her relics. She was honored in some places with an office of three lessons, in the time of St. Louis, as appears from a calendar of Longchamp written in his reign.
Louis of Granada, treating on the perfection of the love of God, mentions the miraculous storm obtained by St. Scholastica to show with what excess of goodness God is always ready to hear the petitions and desires of his servants. This pious soul must have received strong pledges and most sensible tokens of his love, seeing she depended on receiving so readily what she asked of him. No child could address himself with so great confidence to his most tender parent. The love which God bears us, and his readiness to succour and comfort us, if we humbly confess and lay before him our wants, infinitely surpasses all that can be found in creatures. Nor can we be surprised that he so easily heard the prayer of this holy virgin, since at the command of Joshua he stopped the heavens, God obeying the voice of man! He hears the most secret desires of those that fear and love him, and does their will: if he sometimes seems deaf to their cries, it is to grant their main desire by doing what is most expedient for them, as St. Austin frequently observes. The short prayer by which St. Scholastica gained this remarkable victory over her brother, who was one of the greatest saints on earth, was doubtless no more than a single act of her pure desires, which she continually turned toward, and fixed on her beloved. It was enough for her to cast her eyes interiorly upon him with whom she was closely and inseparably united in mind and affections, to move him so suddenly to change the course of the elements in order to satisfy her pious desire. By placing herself, as a docile scholar, continually at the feet of the Divine Majesty, who filled all the powers of her soul with the sweetness of his heavenly communications, she learned that sublime science of perfection in which she became a mistress to so many other chaste souls by this divine exercise. Her life in her retirement, to that happy moment which closed her mortal pilgrimage, was a continued uniform contemplation, by which all her powers were united to and transformed into God.


Mark 7: 14 - 23
And he called the people to him again, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand:
there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him."
And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.
And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him,
since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery,
coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."



COMMUNIQUE FROM THE SECRETARIAT OF STATE VATICAN CITY, 9 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the complete text of a communique released today by the Secretariat of State: "Since 23 January an increasing number of news items and reconstructions have been appearing, especially in many Italian news media, concerning the events surrounding the resignation of the editor of the Italian Catholic daily 'Avvenire', with the evident intention of demonstrating the involvement of the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' in the affair, even going so far as to insinuate the responsibility of the Cardinal Secretary of State. These news items and reconstructions have no basis whatsoever in fact. "Specifically, it is false that officers of the Vatican Gendarmerie or the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' passed on the documents which lay behind the resignation of the editor of 'Avvenire' on 3 September last year; it is false that the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' gave - or in any way transmitted or endorsed - information about these documents; and it is false that he wrote under a pseudonym, or inspired, articles in other publications. "It seems clear from the proliferation of the most incredible assertions and hypotheses - repeated by the media with truly remarkable consonance - that everything rests on unfounded convictions, with the intention of gratuitously and calumniously attributing to the editor of 'Osservatore Romano' an unmotivated, unreasonable and malicious action. This is giving rise to a defamatory campaign against the Holy See, which even involves the Roman Pontiff. "The Holy Father Benedict XVI, who has been kept constantly informed, deplores these unjust and injurious attacks, renews his complete faith in his collaborators, and prays that those who truly have the good of the Church to heart may work with all means to ensure that truth and justice triumph".SS/COMMUNIQUE/... VIS 100209 (310)

INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL CONGRESS ON 11 AND 12 MARCH VATICAN CITY, 9 FEB 2010 (VIS) - An international theological congress is due to be held on 11 and 12 March on the theme "Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of Priests". The initiative, which will take place at the Pontifical Lateran University, has been organised to mark the current Year for Priests. According to a communique from the Congregation for the Clergy, which is promoting the event, "invitees to the congress principally include bishops who preside commissions for the clergy, supreme moderators of clerical institutes and associations, formators of the clergy, and priests themselves who are primarily responsible for their own permanent formation". The congress be divided into three sessions, two focusing on priestly identity and its relationship with modern culture, and one on liturgy and celibacy. Apart from Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M. and Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, also participating in the event will be Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Contributions to the congress will also be forthcoming from Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy; Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Archbishop Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; Archbishop Willem Eijk of Utrecht and primate of Holland; Bishop Filippo Santoro of Petropolis, Brazil; Bishop Gerhard Muller of Regensburg, Germany, and Bishop Francesco Moraglia of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, Italy. Benedict XVI is scheduled to receive the congress participants in audience on Friday 12 March.CPC/THEOLOGICAL CONGRESS/... VIS 100209 (300)



All Africa report:

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has called upon churches to start income-generating projects as a way of improving people's lives.
He said church leaders have a role to play in encouraging people to fight poverty in their homes.
The President was speaking to Anglican bishops who conducted a service at the State House in Entebbe on Sunday.
Museveni, flanked by his wife, Janet, urged the bishops to initiate the projects to avoid relying on foreign aid.
"For churches to be stable, they need to have regular income. You should mobilise the youth and get them interested in initiating income-generating activities," he said.
According to a press release from State House, Museveni also asked the bishops to start a new strategy of evangelism by targeting the youth.
He said the youth were the next generation and needed to be nurtured and supported.
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Orombi, asked Ugandans to respect those in authority, saying authority comes from God.
"You have to fear those in authority and do good, for God will bless you if you do," he advised.
The Rt. Rev. Edward Muhima of North Kigezi Diocese, who gave the sermon, hailed the President and his wife for sparing time to intercede with God.(source;



CNA report:

The more than 80 organizations that have joined together for the March for Life in Spain have released a statement calling on the government to withdrawal its new law on abortion, to support mothers and also to respect conscientious objection.
“Scientific evidence exists that from the moment of conception, a new human life is present and is worthy of respect and protection. This is ratified in the Madrid Manifesto, which was presented in March of 2009 and was signed by more than 3,000 Spanish scientists,” the document states.
Thus it can be understood that “abortion constitutes the violent death of a human being and a terrible tragedy for the woman who suffers it.”
Consequently, the pro-life organizations are demanding that “the government listen to Spanish society and withdraw the abortion law it intends to adopt.”
The statement then calls on politicians to “promote laws that protect the right to life...and help pregnant women overcome any problem that an unwanted pregnancy might cause.”
“The right of parents to educate their children in the area of sexuality according to their own convictions must also be respected,” the statement continues.
The pro-life organizations conclude by urging respect for “the right to the conscientious objection of health care workers so that they can carry out their commitment to defend and care for life and health from the very moment of conception.”(source:



CNA report:

Responding to a call by Archbishop Cristian Caro of Puerto Montt in Chile, numerous family organizations are urging a campaign to halt the distribution of pro-homosexual material in public schools.
Recently the “Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation” (MHIL), which drives one of the most anti-Catholic agendas in Chile, began a campaign financed by same-sex groups in Spain and the Socialist government in Holland to introduce manuals into public schools that present homosexual conduct as normal.
Portrayed as an “anti-discrimination” text, the manual describes homosexual acts as totally acceptable for minors. Public schools in various parts of Chile are already distributing them, most recently in Puerto Montt.
However, Archbishop Cristian Caro said recently that the manuals produced by the MHIL promote “a ideology-based vision of sexuality that is completely foreign to the humanist and Christian understanding, which is based on divine revelation and contained in Scripture.”
For this reason, he said, the manual “should not be distributed to children and young people” because it will only further deteriorate the quality of sexual education students are receiving, which is already deficient.
Pro-family groups are calling on the mayor of Puerto Pontt and city council members to revoke a norm allowing the manuals to be distributed in public schools.(source:



Strong protest Mgr. Pujasumarta, secretary of the local bishops' conference, during a meeting between members of parliament and religious leaders. Complaints of frequent violations of religious freedom, with threats and churches closed by Islamist groups which go unchecked by local authorities.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesia has failed to ensure its people religious freedom, as also envisaged by the Ministerial Decrees numbers 8 and 9 of 2006 on the duty of local authorities to secure the right and freedom to adopt any religion. In reality, the Muslim majority tyrannize the minority religions. This is the stark reminder of Msgr. Johannes Pujasumarta, Bishop of West Java and secretary general of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference.
Yesterday evening the bishop, with leaders of other minority groups, met with the Indonesian Parliament to present them with this difficult situation. Mons. Pujasumarta reminded the lawmakers of the many Christian and Catholic churches that have been burned or closed down by force from Islamic extremist groups and how the Muslim majority "exerts its pressure to create serious problems for minority groups to implement the right to practice of their religious faith”. He mentioned the most recent "incidents" in Belasi and Purwakarta in West Java and Sumatra Padang Lawas in northern Sumatra, where churches have been forcibly closed by from Islamic extremist groups and local authorities together with the pretext that the buildings were built without authorization (called: izin Mendirikan Bangunan, IMB).
Ministerial decrees numbers 8 and 9 of 2006 instruct local authorities to ensure interfaith harmony. But the bishop stresses that "many local authorities are easy targets for extremist groups ... they asily succumb to their pressure and accommodate their demands". How in October the chief regent Dedi Mulyadi revoked the previous IMB from Saint Mary parish church in the District of Purwakarta, , yielding to strong pressure from the Islamic Defender Front group.
The approval of two decrees in 2006 had been greeted, especially in Catholic circles, as a happy solution to the problem of religious intolerance. Years later, the bishop noted, "their non-application".
The meeting was attended by Protestant groups, including the Synod of Christian Churches in Indonesia and the Synod of Protestant Churches Huria Batak, who have also witnessed frequent attacks by radical Islamic groups and a boycott of the authorities who do not protect them and sometimes do not even respond to requests for the release of the IMB. Their churches have also been closed, forcing the faithful to gather on the street.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr. Pujasumarta insists that the country has the legal means to protect the rights of minorities, but that "in reality the norm is sometimes forgotten or even denied" by local authorities. "If I think of the latest violence against churches, I am concerned that this will increase sectarian spirit ", unhindered by weak and easily influenced local authorities.
Sugiarto, a member of the group that defends the rights of the church St. Mary of Purwakarta, noted that now the Christians are waiting for Parliament to concretely sees their rights are upheld.(source:,-religious-freedom-only-exists-on-paper-17595.html



Cath News report:

Father Frank Brennan has been appointed as "Catholic Advocate in Residence" in a move to to drive change on the health and welfare of disadvantaged Australians.
The appointment covers four bodies: the St Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Health Australia (CHA), Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), and the Australian Catholic University's Public Policy Institute (PPI).
In a speech yesterday that coincided with the appointment, Fr Brennan also called on the nation's churches to band together to support a federal charter of rights, according to AAP.
"I could not see the charter itself, and its faithful implementation, working any harm to the freedom of religion," he told the Catholic Social Services' national conference.
"We as a church can do better in promoting justice for all in our land."
St Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Health Australia (CHA), Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), and the Australian Catholic University's Public Policy Institute (PPI) have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to work together to improve the lives of the disadvantaged and marginalised, the groups said in their statement. (source:


Bl. Marianus Scotus
Feast: February 9
Feast Day:
February 9
early 11th century in County Donegal, Ireland
9 February 1098 at Ratisbon (Regensburg), Germany

Marianus Scotus was one of those rare Irish monks who migrated to the continent and influenced the spread of a Christian culture throughout Europe. He was a scribe and calligrapher of great skill. He became a monk at a very early age and in 1067 he set out with a few companions on a pilgrimage to Rome. En route, they stopped in Germany, and were invited by the bishop of Regensburg to settle there. Marianus and his companions had brought with them that marvelous love of learning and beauty so distinctive of Irish monasticism, and their monastery became a center for the creation of beautiful manuscripts and commentaries on the Scriptures, done with consummate skill and artistry. The fame of their monastery, named St. Peter's, soon spread throughout the whole of Europe. Like Bobbio in Italy and St. Gall in Switzerland, their monastery became a center of Christian learning and culture.
St. Peter's and a companion monastery dedicated to St. James became the headquarters of a renaissance of Irish monasticism on the continent. In time, their congregation numbered twelve monasteries, and the monks were highly regarded for their holiness, their devotion to learning, and for the beautiful manuscripts that came forth from their hands. In their scriptoria, they carried on the tradition of the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow. For almost four centuries, all of the monks were recruits from Ireland, and Ireland continued to supply monks, funds, and other resources for the growth of the abbey and its foundations.
The significance of the work of Marianus Scotus is indicated in by Arnold Toynbee: "The period of Irish cultural superiority over the continent and over Britain may be conveniently dated from the foundation of the monastic university of Clonmacnoise in Ireland A.D. 548 to the foundation of the Irish Monastery of St. James at Ratisbon, circa A.D. 1090. Throughout those five and a half centuries, it was the Irish who imparted culture and the English and the continentals who received it."
Blessed Marianus Scotus died on February 9, 1098.(

St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaeological and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions.Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 byPope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the "New World" today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.



Mark 7: 1 - 13
Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem,
they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed.
(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;
and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.)
And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?"
And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."
And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!
For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother'; and, `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die';
but you say, `If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God) --
then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do."





(VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Alfonso Roberto Matta Fahsen, the new ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See. In his remarks to the diplomat the Pope praised the Guatemalan people who, "with their variety of ethnicities and cultures, have a deep-rooted faith in God, an intense devotion for Most Holy Mary, and a faithful love for the Pope and the Church". He also mentioned Guatemala's "close and serene relations" with the Holy See, referring to next year's commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the creation of an apostolic nunciature in Guatemala, and expressing the hope that this celebration "may give fresh energy to the co-operation that exists between State and Church in your country, a co-operation founded on respect and on the autonomy of the separate spheres pertaining to each". And he added: "may honest and sincere dialogue continue, fomenting the common good of all Guatemalan society, which must pay special attention to its most disadvantaged members". The Pope went on: "I cannot forget those who are suffering the consequences of climatic phenomena which, in your country too, lead to increasing drought and the loss of harvests, producing malnutrition and poverty. This extreme situation has recently led the national government to declare a 'state of public calamity' and to ask for aid from the international community. I wish to express my affection and spiritual closeness to those suffering this harsh predicament, my recognition to the institutions in your country which struggle to find solutions to such serious problems, and my gratitude to the various organisations and agencies of international co-operation which are doing everything possible to mitigate famine among large sectors of the population". "The many human and evangelical values that enrich the hearts of your country's citizens, such as love for the family, respect for elders, sense of responsibility and, above all, trust in the God Who revealed His face in Jesus Christ, ... are important reasons for hope", he said. "From this abundant spiritual heritage you can draw the strength necessary to counteract other factors which cause the social fabric of Guatemala to decay, such as drug trafficking, violence, emigration, insecurity, illiteracy, sects and the loss of moral reference among the young generations". "In this decisive undertaking, the authorities of your country will always be able to rely upon the ready collaboration of the Church, in her constant efforts to open 'new and creative ways' to respond to the desolating effects of poverty, and to co-operate in ensuring the dignity all human beings", said the Holy Father. He then went on to express his recognition "for the actions being undertaken in Guatemala to consolidate guarantees for an authentic Rule of Law". "This process", he explained, "has to be accompanied by a solid determination, which arises from individual conversion of heart, to eliminate all forms of corruption in public institutions and administration, to reform justice so as to ensure that laws are justly applied, and to eradicate the sensation of impunity surrounding those who exercise any form of violence or disdain the most basic human rights". Benedict XVI also referred to certain factors that "determine the specific identity" of the Guatemalan people, factors "which can have beneficial repercussions on the political and social stability of Central America". Among these he mentioned the Constitution of Guatemala, which "guarantees the defence and legal protection of human life from conception until natural death". "I encourage all social players in the country, and especially those who represent the people in legislative institutions", he concluded, "to maintain and strengthen this basic element of 'the culture of life', something which will undoubtedly contribute to enriching the moral heritage of Guatemalans".CD/LETTERS CREDENCE/MATTA:GUATEMALA VIS 100208 (630)

FAVOURING HUMAN ECOLOGY AND A NEW LIFESTYLE VATICAN CITY, 6 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican, the Pope received the president and staff of ACEA (Rome's municipal energy and environment firm), which has just celebrated the centenary of its foundation. After highlighting how "the centenary celebrations are coming to a end in a period of great difficulty characterised by a serious international crisis", the Pope underlined the importance of "ensuring greater awareness of the need for broader 'social responsibility' in the firm, giving just consideration to the needs of workers, clients, suppliers and the entire community, with particular concern for the environment. In this way", he said, "the production of goods and services will not be exclusively linked to the search for economic profit, but also to the promotion of everyone's good". Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for what ACEA "has achieved in illuminating the monuments that make Rome unique in the world", and he thanked them for their help "during the celebrations for the eightieth anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City State". "I was happy to learn of the firm's commitment to protecting the environment through the sustainable management of natural resources, respect for the creation and the reduction of its environmental impact", he said. "It is, however, equally important to favour a human ecology capable of ensuring that the workplace and interpersonal relations are worthy of man". The Holy Father then went on to quote from his own Message for this year's World Day of Peace, underlining the need to adopt "a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realisation of our need for a change of lifestyle". In closing his remarks, the Pope invited those present to follow the example of Christ, "perfect man, ... so as to grow in humanity and thus create a city with an increasingly human face, one in which each individual is seen as a person, a spiritual being who interrelates with others. Thanks also to your commitment to improve interpersonal relations and the quality of work", he concluded, "Rome may continue to carry out her role as a beacon of civilisation that has made her illustrious over the centuries".AC/.../ACEA VIS 100208 (380)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 6 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as apostolic nuncio to Sao Tome and Principe, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Bukoba, Tanzania in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1986.NN/.../RUGAMBWA VIS 100208 (70)

ANGELUS: RESPONDING TO THE DIVINE CALL VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The divine call to the priesthood was the theme of the Holy Father's remarks before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square today. The Pope commented on the readings from today's liturgy, which focus on the human response to that call: Isaiah who felt unworthy and was purified by a seraph; the episode of the miraculous catch of fish when Peter asked Christ to leave him because he was a sinner, but then followed Him; and Paul who, after having persecuted the Church, recognised that the grace of God had worked marvels in him and decided to announce the Gospel. "In these three experiences", said Benedict XVI, "we see how the authentic encounter with God leads man to recognise his own poverty and inadequacy, his own limits and sin. Yet despite such fragility, the Lord, rich in mercy and forgiveness, transforms the life of men and calls them to follow Him. The humility displayed by Isaiah, Peter and Paul invites those who have received the gift of divine vocation not to focus on their own limits, but to keep their gaze fixed on the Lord and His astounding mercy, in order to convert their hearts and joyfully continue to 'abandon everything' for Him". "In this Year for Priests, let us ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest and to ensure that those who hear His call, following the necessary discernment, may know how to respond generously, not trusting in their own strength but opening themselves to the action of His grace. In particular", the Holy Father concluded, "I invite all priests to renew their generous daily response to the Lord's call with the same humility and faith as Isaiah, Peter and Paul".ANG/VOCATION/... VIS 100208 (310)

ALL OF US MUST SAFEGUARD AND RESPECT LIFE VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope mentioned the fact that today in Italy marks the Day for Life. "I readily associate myself", he said, "with the Italian bishops and with their message on the theme: 'The force of life, a challenge in poverty'. In this current period of economic difficulties, the effect of those mechanisms which produce poverty and create deep social inequality becomes ever more dramatic, injuring and offending life, and striking especially at the weakest and most defenceless. This situation calls on us to promote integral human development in order to overcome want and need, and above all to recall that the goal of each man and women is not wellbeing, but God Himself, and that human life must be defended and supported at every stage. No-one, in fact, is master of his own existence; rather, we are all called to safeguard and respect life, from the moment of conception until natural end". Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation "for those who work directly in the service of children, the sick and the elderly", and noted how the diocese of Rome "dedicates particular attention to the Day for Life, extending it into the 'Week for Life and the Family'. "I wish this initiative success", he added in conclusion, "and encourage the activity of consultors, associations and movements, as well as of university professors who are committed to supporting life and the family".ANG/DEFENCE LIFE/... VIS 100208 (250)

COUNCIL FOR FAMILY PREPARING VADEMECUM ON MARRIAGE VATICAN CITY, 8 FEB 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, a dicastery presided by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli. The Pope began his remarks by recalling the late Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the council for eighteen years. He then went on to remark how the dicastery's activities currently stand between the sixth World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico in 2009, and the forthcoming seventh World Meeting of Families, due to be held in the Italian city of Milan in 2012. The Holy Father noted how the Pontifical Council undertakes various activities "to raise awareness of the fundamental importance of the family for the life of the Church and society". Among these he mentioned the project known as "the family, subject of evangelisation", which aims "to organise a worldwide review of various experiences in the field of family pastoral care, to serve as inspiration and encouragement for new initiatives". He also referred to a project entitled "the family, a resource for society" which, he said, "seeks to call public attention to the benefits the family brings to society, to its cohesion and its development. Another important commitment the dicastery has", he went on, "is the compilation of a 'vademecum' of preparation for marriage" inspired by the ideas of John Paul II, who outlined how such preparation "includes three main stages: remote, proximate and immediate". "Remote preparation", the Holy Father explained, "concerns children, adolescents and young people. It involves the family, the parish and school, places in which people are educated to understand life as a vocation of love, a love which then takes specific form in the way of marriage or of virginity for the Kingdom of Heaven. In this period, the meaning of sexuality must progressively emerge as a capacity to relate, a positive energy to be integrated into authentic love. "Proximate preparation", he added, "concerns engaged couples and must be configured as an itinerary of faith and Christian life, leading to a deep knowledge of Christ and the Church, of the meaning of grace and responsibility in marriage. ... It should include a course of catechesis and of experience living in Christian communities, involving contributions from priests and other experts" as well as "the accompaniment of an exemplary Christian couple ... in a climate of friendship and prayer. It is important to take particular care that on these occasions the fiancees revive their personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, especially by listening to the Word of God, using the Sacraments and, above all, by participating in the Eucharist". Immediate preparation "takes place as the marriage approaches. Apart from the examination of the fiancees, as laid down by Canon Law, it could also include catechesis on the rite of marriage and its meaning, a spiritual retreat, and efforts to ensure that the celebration of marriage is seen by the faithful (and especially by those preparing for it) as a gift for the whole Church, one that contributes to her spiritual growth". Referring then to the theme of the plenary assembly: "the rights of child", chosen to mark the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention on that subject, the Holy Father noted how "the Church over the centuries, following the example of Christ, has promoted the dignity and rights of children". In this context he also noted how "in various cases some of her members, acting against this commitment, have violated these rights; actions which the Church does not and will not fail to deplore and condemn. ... Jesus' harsh words against those who offend one of these little ones are an admonition to everyone never to lower the level of this respect and love". "The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children", said the Pope. "They want to be loved by a mother and a father who love one another, and they need to dwell, grow and live with both parents, because the maternal and paternal figures complement one another in the education of children and in the formation of their personality and identity. It is important, then, that everything possible be done to ensure they grow up in a united and stable family". "A troubled family environment, the division of the parents and, in particular, separation through divorce, are not without consequences for children", the Holy Father concluded. "Supporting the family and promoting its true good, its rights, its unity and stability is the best way to protect the rights and the real needs of children".AC/MARRIAGE CHILDREN/ANTONELLI VIS 100208 (780)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 8 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eight prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Romania, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Cornel Damian. - Archbishop Gyorgy-Miklos Jakubinyi of Alba Iulia, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the ordinariate for Catholics of Armenian rite resident in Romania, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jozsef Tamas. - Bishop Petru Gherghel of Iasi, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Aurel Perca. - Bishop Laszlo Bocskei of Oradea Mare of the Latins. - Bishop Jeno Schonberger of Satu Mare. On Saturday 6 February he received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop emeritus of Naples, Italy. - Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, Switzerland. - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100208 (140)



Cath News report:

Queensland's Surrogacy Bill violates a child's birthright to a mother and a father, says the Family Council of Queensland, and the Australian Christian Lobby wants the bill amended or rejected.
Children "are not pets and should not simply be given to anyone who wants one," says the ACL.
The State Parliament is set to vote Wednesday on the 2009 bill, which would decriminalise non-commercial surrogacy for both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and single people, Zenit reports.
"This Bill should have been about altruistic surrogacy as a 'last resort' for an infertile couple," the Family Council of Queensland said in a letter to the Parliament written by family doctor David van Gend. "But no, under that respectable cloak this bill smuggles in an oppressive proposal to deprive children of their birthright - their fundamental right to enter the world, as all of us did, with both a mother and a father.
"There is a grave necessity - and duty - to reject a bill that would, through normalizing same-sex and single surrogacy, intentionally and wantonly deprive a child of her birthright and her most profound psychological need: to have both a mother and a father."
The Family Council of Queensland has also launched a campaign called Kids Rights Count, which seeks to inform the public on how and why surrogacy of any type is harmful to children.
The ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said in a statement that the Surrogacy Bill 2009 represents a piece of radical social engineering legislation which will alter the natural make-up of the family.
"The Bligh Government knocked back same-sex adoption, but is now going against the logic in that decision by creating situations where a surrogate child could end up with two mummies or two daddies or even just one parent - rightfrom birth," Mr Wallace said.
"This is experimenting with children's lives and at this stage they have no way of really knowing just how devastating the effects on the children will be, or the extent of identity confusion that will result. We've already had to make amends to a Stolen Generation and a Forgotten Generation - is this the next one?"(SOURCE:



CNA report:
Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court has stripped the Church of its right to choose which religion teachers it will hire, after reversing a 1972 law stating that the teachers must be approved by the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica.
The 4-3 ruling was the result of challenge filed by Randall Trejos Alvarado, who argued that the requirement caused numerous teachers to lose their jobs and constituted intrusion by the bishops into the affairs of public schools.
In Costa Rica, as well as in other countries, the Church has signed agreements with the State allowing the Church to select the candidates who will teach Catholic religion, not only on the basis of intellectual formation, but also on the candidate’s moral life.



CNA report:

The president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid, blessed the highest Catholic chapel in the world, located on the 33rd floor of Spain's new skyscraper, “Space Tower.”
The cardinal celebrated Mass in the chapel along with officials from the Villa Mir construction company and employees of the building.
The chapel was built upon the request of several workers in the skyscraper who gathered to pray the Rosary during its construction.
The Archdiocese of Madrid provided guidance during the construction of the chapel and granted permission for the Eucharist to be reserved there on a permanent basis. In addition, a local parish priest has been named chaplain to provide for the spiritual needs of those visiting the chapel each day.
The 57-floor Space Tower reaches 774 feet and is located in the business and financial district of the Spanish capital. The chapel is 442 feet above the ground, offering a spectacular view of northern Madrid and the surrounding mountains.



In 2007, China’s highest court ruled that it alone could impose the death penalty upon recommendation of lower courts. Every year, China executes 90 per cent of all death sentences in the world. Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s Supreme People’s Court has issued new guidelines on the use of the death penalty, limiting its application, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. China’s top judges ruled that criminal cases must be handled with “justice tempered with mercy”, so that the death penalty is reserved for a small number of criminals.
Every year, China alone executes 90 per cent of all capital offenders in the world. In 2008, official sources indicated that 4,000 people were sentenced to death and 1,770 executions took place.
Human rights groups claim that the actual number is twice that much. This was confirmed in 2006 by Chen Zhonglin, a delegate to the National People’s Congress, who said that China executed about “10,000 people” a year, even though it is Beijing’s policy to consider the actual figure as a state secret.
According to Chinese law, the death penalty is imposed for “the most serious crimes”, including corruption and many non-violent crimes.
Once arrested, an accused cannot expect to receive legal assistance right away. That occurs only after police interrogation. Even then, legal counsel might still be denied or limited.
Torture is often used in early interrogations to extract a confession, which can be entered in a court of law as evidence to sentence people to death.
Unlike international legal standards, there is no presumption of innocence in Chinese law.
The government has deplored the high number of death penalties, but it is the Supreme Court that has acted on the issue. In 2007, it ruled the death penalty was its sole preserve. Since then, lower courts have had to get the green light from Beijing before sending the presumed guilty to the gallows.(SOURCE:



CISA report: The newly appointed bishop of Nakuru Diocese, Morris Muhatia Makumba has said that one way of trying to solve the many problems affecting marriage and family in the society today, is to impart faith at an early age and form people in the values of a Christian family.The bishop-elect told CISA that, “The basic formation is faith. Unless we have a solid foundation in faith it is difficult to impart values at a later stage even in the seminaries.”According to the cleric, the existing programmes in the dioceses can be used as channels to address the question of family and marriage and what needs to be done to strengthen the Christian family.On the Kenya constitutional draft, Bishop Makumba said it must clearly define what family is. “It is not enough ‘to say an adult can marry.” He pointed out this could lead to loopholes that would allow for unnatural marriages.The bishop stressed that first challenge is to get the message of Christian family to the people.“Let people be made to understand about the importance of a family. We need to improve the flow of information by using the available channels.”.He added that, “We have not made use of contemporary means of communication to spread the message of what the Christian family is supposed to be.” He called for use of the available means of communication to teach about the Christian and the values of a family.He mentioned that recently, the commission of doctrines has started working on a document on marriage and family, specifically for the Kenyan community.“It is hoped that the commission of doctrine is going to make available to the people in the language understandable to them what marriage and family means. [It will perhaps be] an opportunity to explain to people these other deviations of marriage that are very present in the society today,” Bishop Makumba said.On the question of the role of woman in the church, the bishop said, “I think the church values the vocation of the woman as a human being.”“The value and the role of the woman in the Catholic Church is based on the basic thinking of the church about the human being, the one who is made in the image of God according to the Bible,” he said.He added that “the church wants to promote the dignity of woman in the church.” However, the bishop explained, “The church has no power to ordain women as priests. I don’t foresee anytime in the history of the Catholic Church when women will be ordained as priests.”The bishop pointed out that “Sometimes the desire for the ordination of women is based on misconceptions. People are ordained priests to serve not to hold ranks in the church.”“If service preceded priesthood, there would be no problem about who should be ordained priest,” he added.(SOURCE:


St. Jerome Emiliani
Feast: February 8
Feast Day:
February 8
1481, Venice
8 February 1537, Somasca
1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:

Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita. (source:


Mark 6: 53 - 56
And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennes'aret, and moored to the shore.
And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him,
and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was.
And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.