Wednesday, March 3, 2010




(VIS) - In his catechesis during this morning's general audience, Benedict XVI turned his attention to St. Bonaventure who, he said, "makes me feel a certain nostalgia because, as a young scholar, my research focused on this author, who is particularly dear to me". Bonaventure, who was born around the year 1217 in the Italian town of Bagnoregio and died in 1274, was one of the great Christian figures who contributed to the "harmony between faith and culture" in thirteenth-century Europe. He was "a man of action and contemplation, of profound piety and prudent government". Baptised with the name of Giovanni da Fidanza, he suffered an illness during childhood from which he nearly died, but his mother entrusted him to the recently-canonised St. Francis of Assisi and the young Giovanni recovered. This event marked his whole life. During his education in Paris, where he studied theology, he decided to enter a Franciscan convent and took the name of Bonaventure. In the first years of his religious life he stood out for his knowledge of Sacred Scripture, the 'Sentences' of Peter Lombard, and other great theologians of his age. Bonaventure's book entitled "Evangelical Perfection" was his response to critics of the Minor Orders who questioned their right to teach in universities and even the authenticity of their consecrated life. In that work the saint showed "how the Minor Orders, and especially the Friars Minor, by practicing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, were in fact following the counsels of the Gospel itself", the Pope explained. "Over and above these historical circumstances, Bonaventure's teachings in this book and in his own life still retain all their validity", he said. "The Church is enlightened and beautified by the faithfulness to their vocation of these sons and daughters of hers, who not only put the evangelical precepts into practice but, by God's grace, are called to observe the evangelical counsels and thus bear witness - with their poor, chaste and obedient lifestyle - to the fact that the Gospel is a source of joy and perfection". When in 1257 Bonaventure was elected minister general of his order, the Franciscans numbered more than 30,000; most of them were in Europe but they also had a presence in North Africa, the Middle East and China. "It was necessary", said the Holy Father, "to consolidate this growth and, especially, to give it a unity of action and spirit, in complete faithfulness to the charism of St. Francis. In fact, various ways of interpreting the saint of Assisi's message had arisen among his followers and there was a real risk of internal division". In order to preserve the saint's authentic charism, his life and teachings, Bonaventure "zealously gathered documents concerning Francis and carefully listened to the recollections of those who had known him personally". Thus the "Legenda Maior" came into being, which is considered the most complete biography of St. Francis. Bonaventure presents Francis as "a man who passionately sought Christ. With the love that leads to imitation, he entirely conformed himself to Him. Bonaventure indicated this as a living ideal for all the followers of St. Francis. "Such an ideal, which remains valid for all Christians, yesterday, today and always, was also suggested as a programme for the Church in the third millennium by my venerable predecessor John Paul II", Pope Benedict added. Almost at the end of his life, Bonaventure was consecrated a bishop and appointed a cardinal by Pope Gregory X, who entrusted him with the preparations for the Council of Lyons which sought to reunify the Latin and Greek Churches. However Bonaventure never saw the results of his labours because he died while the council was still underway. The Pope concluded his reflections with a call to take up the heritage of this saint and doctor of the Church, who "reminds us of the meaning of our lives with the following words: 'On earth we can contemplate the immensity of divine things by reason and admiration; in the heavenly homeland, on the other hand, we can view them, when we will have been made similar to God and by ecstasy will enter into the joy of God'".AG/BONAVENTURE/... VIS 100303 (710)


CNA report:
The Apostolic Nuncio in Chile, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, remarked on Monday that the Church has already started reaching out to those most impacted by the country's 8.8 earthquake.
Speaking with Vatican Radio, the archbishop noted that while communication has been difficult due to damage in the hardest-hit areas of Concepcion, Temuco and Curico, aid is being sent to the over one million people who have been left homeless.
Acknowledging that the situation will become more difficult as winter approaches, the archbishop said that for now, the Church “is seeking to meet the immediate needs of the people.”
The nuncio then spoke about the quake-damage to the region's churches. He noted that “some churches and convent chapels that are 150 or 200 years old suffered significant damage. However,” he continued, “at the Basilica of Our Lady of Providence, which is located near the Nunciature, the bell tower was damaged but the rest of the structure was saved.”
The archbishop then referenced the work of the religious in supporting the victims of the tragedy, stressing, “I know of bishops who have already visited their parishes and churches.”
“As of now I have no word of any bishop or priest killed by this powerful earthquake,” he added.
He turned to Pope Benedict XVI’s call on Sunday for solidarity with Chile. “This intervention by the Holy Father should certainly encourage many in Chile because religious faith here is strong, especially among the families who live in rural areas.”
The Pope's words “certainly have encouraged many, beginning with bishops, priests and nuns who are in the region.”
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CISA report:
On Saturday 27, all roads led to Nakuru’s, ASK showground, where Fr Maurice Muhatia Makumba was consecrated bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru, by Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi.The cardinal was assisted by Bishop Philp Anyolo and Bishop Philip Sulumeti of Kakamega in the presence of all the other Catholic Bishops. The state was represented president Mwai Kibaki along with a host of other government functionaries. In attendance too, was the retired president Daniel Moi.In Catholic hierarchical order this is a prestigious position. Some of the qualifications required to be named bishop include: one must be morally upright, be loyal to the church authority and be a defender of the doctrines of the church.On Saturday February 27, 2010, after waiting eagerly for that day to come, Makumba was finally made the Bishop of Nakuru Diocese. He is the first to be consecrated bishop in Nakuru. A Christian in the congregation was overheard exclaiming, “at last this one is ours, consecrated for us on our own soil!” He succeeds Bishop Peter Kairo who was promoted to archbishop to head Nyeri Archdiocese. While Kairo was as a jovial, very spiritual man who loves reconciliation, Bishop Makumba is a philosopher cum academician. Born at Lirhanda village, Kakamega District, in 1968, Makumba went to Rome, Italy, where he obtained a bachelors degree at Urbaniana Pontifican University and a masters in philosophy at Pontifical Holy Cross University. He was ordained priest on October 15, 1994.Among the challenges facing the new bishop are the problems of continuous ethnic clashes which have torn apart Nakuru since 1992, the problem of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), many of whom have never been resettled since the first clashes.The killing of Fr. Michael Kamau, 41, of Nakuru during the post-election violence in Muserechi area, along Eldama-Ravine road still haunts Nakuru. At least 80 people were killed and 180 others were also injured in Nakuru town and surrounding areas such as Molo, Kuresoi and Njoro. Hundreds of houses and other property valued at millions of shillings were destroyed by arsonists while hundreds of families were displaced.Started in 1928, Nakuru was originally a mission catering primarily for European and Goan Catholics and their migrant African employees. Nakuru was first administered by Rev. Monsignor Denis Newman of the St. Patrick's Missionary Society (SPS) until 1971. Bishop Ndingi took over in 1971and Peter Kairo took over from Ndingi in 1997.Politically, it is worth mentioning that even though Archbishop Ndingi was a pain in the neck for the Kanu regime, constantly criticising it over its dictatorship tendencies, the Kalenjins in Nakuru did not receive such criticism positively given that Moi, one of them, was the president.It was during his time in Nakuru that ethnic clashes were first witnessed in the Rift Valley Province. The archbishop accused President Moi’s government of instigating the clashes, which devastated several parts of the province, especially Nakuru Diocese.It is worth noting that the new bishop is young,, having spent most of his life as a priest in the classroom, with a brief stint as administrator of the St Thomas Major Seminary.He takes over a diocese with 39 parishes and more than 450,000 Catholics spread all over the six constituencies within an area of an area of 7,242 km² and an estimated population of nearly 2 million as per the 1999 census. There are 130 priests, 88 of them diocesan while the rest are missionaries from different congregations.


CNA report:
After the Diocese of Ferns received negative feedback for remarks its bishop made earlier about asking parishioners to help with sex abuse settlements, the diocese released a statement today assuring churchgoers that “Nothing definite as to how to proceed on the issue of the source of funding for future claims has yet been decided.”
The March 3 clarification follows Bishop Denis Brennen's remarks on Tuesday, when he suggested that the faithful within his diocese should help cover some of the 10 million euro legal damages associated with sex abuse cases. Bishop Brennan previously stated at his diocese's annual Finance AGM meeting that “it will be necessary to invite the parishes to become a part of the process financially.”
The southeastern Irish diocese of Ferns was one of the first to be investigated for potential sexual and physical abuse. Bishop Brennan said the diocese has already paid 8 million euros to settle lawsuits from 48 abuse victims, but it still has 13 pending cases. The appeal for financial help has come amid an economic crisis Ireland that finds the unemployment rate at a 15 year high.
On Wednesday, the Diocese of Ferns stated that “Going to the parishes is but 'one' option the diocesan finance committee has put to parish finance committees in response to some requests from individuals within the diocese as to 'how we might help' to complete the work of justice and healing.”
“Nothing definite as to how to proceed on the issue of the source of funding for future claims has yet been decided in the Ferns diocese,” the diocese stressed.
The statement also mentioned that consultations between diocesan officials and the “diocesan family” about what will be done are still ongoing. “This process happens each year at the annual Finance AGM.”
“It may very well be that a decision will be taken to dispose of one of the diocesan assets,” the diocese noted, “but that will only occur after the conclusion of consultation over the coming months, and perhaps years – with churchgoers.”


Asia News report:
Nir Barkat, the mayor intends to demolish a group of houses in east Jerusalem to build a public park. The intervention of Prime Minister Netanyahu has frozen the project. For Palestinians, the expropriation is considered "a declaration of war." AsiaNews sources: political plan to achieve a "Jewish city”.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The intervention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has - for the moment - frozen Nir Barkat’s project. However, the intention of the Mayor of Jerusalem to demolish 89 Palestinian homes in the neighbourhood of Silwan - in the area east of the city - to build a public park is only postponed. The project is regarded as a "declaration of war" by the Palestinian side. The tension has reached alarming levels: Christian sources tell AsiaNews that "the seeds for a third intifada have been planted."
The Israeli authorities claim that the houses in the suburb renamed al-Bustan by the Palestinians - near Temple Mount - is illegal and the area has reached alarming levels of degradation. On the other hand, the Palestinians are claiming ownership of land, considered part of their capital. Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, aims to achieve the "King’s Garden " in the land where King David is believed to have composed the psalms. The project involves the demolition of 22 houses and the tenants, explains the mayor, will be "moved to other areas." 66 other houses will obtain legal recognition and the "residents have the right to remain" in the land that is the object of discord.
The area of Al-Bustan is located in the heart of Silwan, a Palestinian agglomeration that borders on the Old City of Jerusalem. Tel Aviv occupied the area in 1967 and the intention was to turn it into a public park. The buildings, Nir Barkat adds, are "illegal" and the area is "in the throes of decay" because of the lack of infrastructure. Christian sources tell AsiaNews of a "political plan" to transform "Jerusalem into a Jewish city." The framework is "disastrous" and there is little room for hope for the future: "The plan is clear to everyone - he adds - and the seeds have been planted for a third intifada." The Muslim community is ready to respond to attacks and "Christians are caught in the middle, between two fires." He adds that "I have no hopes for a Palestinian state" nor is there room for hope for a political solution, but "we expect the worst." The issue was also addressed by the UN and the U.S. government. Richard Miron, spokesman for the UN, said that "the demolition of the houses in East Jerusalem at the same time demolish confidence [in Israel], not only that of the Palestinians but of the entire international community." Washington has expressed its "appreciation" for Netanyahu’s intervention and issued an invitation to "avoid unilateral actions" that "undermine the trust and the efforts for the resumption of negotiations."’s-Garden-17786.html


Cath News report:
Catholic Healthcare has confirmed that Bathurst's private St Vincent's hospital is to close on June 1. There are plans to eventually convert it into an aged care service.
The organisation's manager of healthcare, David Maher, says the hospital is too small to be financially viable, ABC reports.
"St Vincent's private has unfortunately incurred significant financial losses over many years and at the moment requires a significant capital investment to purchase essential hospital equipment just to provide the current services we provide," he said.
St Vincent's currently employs 100 permanent and casual employees.
The 90-year-old facility will be converted to an aged care centre within the next two years, but Catholic Healthcare cannot say at this stage how many beds or staff it will have, the report adds.
The Mayor of Bathurst, Paul Tole, is cited saying that the closure announcement is a huge shock.
"We really need to be throwing all our resources in to save this hospital and make sure it is kept here in the Bathurst region."


St. Katharine Drexel
Feast: March 3
Feast Day:
March 3
November 26, 1858, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 3, 1955, Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
2000 by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:
Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
Patron of:
philanthropists, racial justice

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on 26 November 1858, Katharine was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah Jane. The latter died a month after Katharine's birth, and two years later her father married Emma Bouvier, who was a devoted mother, not only to her own daughter Louisa (born 1862), but also to her two step-daughters. Both parents instilled into the children by word and example that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.
Katharine was educated privately at home; she travelled widely in the United States and in Europe. Early in life she became aware of the plight of the Native Americans and the Blacks; when she inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, she resolved to devote her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people. In 1885 she established a school for Native Americans at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Later, during an audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing. The Pope suggested that she herself become a missionary, so in 1889 she began her training in religious life with the Sisters of Mercy at Pittsburgh.
In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. The title of the community summed up the two great driving forces in her life—devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for the most deprived people in her country.
Requests for help reached Mother Katharine from various parts of the United States. During her lifetime, approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation. The most famous foundation was made in 1915; it was Xavier University, New Orleans, the first such institution for Black people in the United States.
In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack, and in 1937 she relinquished the office of superior general. Though gradually becoming more infirm, she was able to devote her last years to Eucharistic adoration, and so fulfil her life’s desire. She died at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, on 3 March 1955. Her cause for beatification was introduced in 1966; she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on 26 January 1987, by whom she was also beatified on 20 November 1988.SOURCE:


Matthew 20: 17 - 28
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death,
and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."
Then the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.
And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom."
But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able."
He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you must be your slave;
even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."


GREETINGS TO PILGRIMS AT THE GENERAL AUDIENCE VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father delivered greetings in different languages to various groups of pilgrims present in the Paul VI Hall. Addressing a group from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, the Holy Father said in English: "I offer my prayerful good wishes that the coming centenary of your university will strengthen your service to the pursuit of truth and your witness to the harmony of faith and reason". Speaking Polish, Benedict XVI then recalled the fact that this year is the Year of Fryderyk Chopin, marking the bicentenary of his birth. "May the music of this famous Polish composer, who made such a great contribution to the culture of Europe and the world, bring those who listen to him close to God and help them discover the depth of man's spirit", he said. Turning then to address participants in a meeting currently being celebrated in the Vatican on the subject of the pastoral care of gypsies, the Pope expressed the hope that "local Churches may work together to make an ever more effective commitment in support of gypsies".AG/GREETINGS/... VIS 100303 (200)
Asia News report:
Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi are convicted on the basis of the blasphemy law. In January, they were released on bail; now they are in two separate prison facilities. Extremist fringe put pressure, and perhaps corrupted police to find the right evidence to justify the conviction. Islamabad (AsiaNews) – A court in Kasur district, Punjab, convicted a Christian couple, Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi, to 25 years in prison. According to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), judge Ajmal Hussein convicted the couple for touching the Qur‘an without washing their hands.
Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi were released on bail last January, but were re-arrested after the judge ruled against them. The husband was locked up in Kasur’s district prison; the wife was sent to the women’s prison in Multan. Both have started serving 25 years behind bars.
CLAAS, an association that fights for the rights of the poor and marginalised, said that the couple was accused of “contaminating” the Qur‘an when they touched it “without washing their hands”.
The incident, which dates back to December 2008, unleashed the fury of Muslim extremists who put pressure on police. Unconfirmed reports suggest that extremists paid off police agents to discover “new evidence” to justify the sentence.
At the end of the police investigation, husband and wife were charged with blasphemy.
The blasphemy law is the harshest tool for religious repression available in Pakistan. It was adopted in 1986 by then dictator Zia ul-Haq to protect Islam and its prophet, Muhammad, from attacks and insults.
In fact, it is actually comprised of sections 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which respectively punish with life in prison anyone who defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur‘an, and imposes the death penalty on anyone who defiles the name of the Prophet Muhammad.
In the last two months, there were two more convictions against Christians in Pakistan.
On 11 January, a court in Faisalabad sentenced Imran Masih, a 26-year-old Christian man, to life imprisonment for insulting and desecrating the Koran. He was accused of deliberately burning Qur‘anic verses and an Arabic book in order “foment interfaith hatred and hurt the feelings of Muslims.”
On 25 February, a court in Karachi sentenced Qamar David, also a Christian, to life imprisonment for hurting the religious feelings of Muslims when he sent blasphemous SMS.
CLAAS announced that it was filing an appeal with the High Court in Lahore to have the 25-year sentence against Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi overturned.‘an-with-dirty-hands,-gets-25-years-in-prison-17778.html

CNA report:
The founder and leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, said this weekend that the death of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata was due to the lazy reaction of the political world to warnings of his arrest and the abuse he received in prison.
In an article published on his website, the Christian Liberation Movement (CLM) leader said, “Before the heartbreaking death of Orlando, we made repeated calls on this website and other media sources to save the life of Orlando Zapata.”
“Other Cuban democracy supporters, in Cuba and abroad, did the same.” He added that “Reina, Orlando’s mother, even showed the t-shirt of her son bloodied from abuse in prison, and almost nobody listened.”
“This was just like when Pedro Luis Boitel went on a hunger strike in 1972, or when many years before, Che ordered executions by firing squad at La Cabana. In short, over the last 51 years…almost nobody has listened to the Cubans,” Paya lamented.
Paya said that he has been inundated with requests by the media for interviews about the Zapata case, but he wondered: “How long before they again forget about the suffering of the Cubans? Will another brother have to die for them to listen?”
He then called on the media and nations around the world to act now to secure the release of all political prisoners and thus avoid another tragedy.


CISA report:
Fr Thomas Thayil, the first Provincial of the Salesian Province of Bangalore and later former Provincial Superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco has passed on.He died on February 23, 2010 at Don Bosco Bhavan, Mannuthy, Thrissur Dt. Kerala India.According to Fr. Babu Augustine SDB, the late Fr. Thomas served at Don Bosco Upper Hill from 1985 to 1994. Later on, he was the Rector of the Philosophate at Moshi for six years. From 2000, he was at Salesian Seminary, Dodoma. In 2008 he went back to India for treatment.Fr. Thayil had undergone a successful hip replacement last December, but suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. He was being cared for by the community of Don Bosco Bhavan, Mannuthy.

Cath News report: Christian schools are concerned that a South Australian board decision to stop the teaching of creationism as part of science lessons will trigger similar action nationwide.
The chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O'Doherty, said a statement by the South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board was too strident, removing the right to teach "biblical perspectives" as part of science, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
He said the policy set a precedent which might be taken up in other states, including NSW, where the issue had been the subject of intense debate two years ago
Under policies published in December, the board said it required "teaching of science as an empirical discipline, focusing on inquiry, hypothesis, investigation, experimentation, observation and evidential analysis".
The board said it "does not accept as satisfactory a science curriculum in a non-government school which is based on, espouses or reflects the literal interpretation of a religious text in its treatment of either creationism or intelligent design".
The NSW Board of Studies has said science teaching which was not scientifically or evidence-based would not be part of assessment for the School Certificate or Higher School Certificate, the Herald reports.
Mr O'Doherty said the South Australian policy indicated it was banning teaching of the subject altogether. It was the only such subject singled out, he said. Taken literally, "it means you cannot mention the Bible in science classes", he is cited saying.
A spokesman for the South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board is quoted saying there is no ban on teaching creationism: "It can be taught in religious studies".

CNA report:
What is the potential of an unborn child who is given a chance at life? One Spanish pro-life organization has answered this question in a television commercial featuring both Mother Teresa and Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt.
The commercial also promotes the upcoming pro-life rallies in Spain which will be held March 7 to give citizens the opportunity to voice their opposition to the government's new abortion law.
“At 3,312 weeks she will help those most in need,” the spot says, showing an image of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. “At 1,056 he will be the fastest,” it continues, with a photo of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.
Titled, “Give Life Potential,” the video was produced by Francisco Javier Jimenez Rivero, media director for the pro-life website
Spain's recently passed law allows abortion on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and permits the procedure up to 22 weeks if the pregnancy endangers the mother's health.
According to Rivero, the commercial focuses on “what would happen if the human being” beyond “the arbitrary limit of 22 weeks … was given the potential to live.”
The video can be viewed at:
The International March for Life will also take place on March 7 in 70 cities across Spain, Europe, Latin America, the United States and Australia.


St. Agnes of Prague
Feast: March 2
Feast Day:
March 2
1211, Prague
March 6, 1282, Prague
November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II

Born at Prague in the year 1200; died probably in 1281. She was the daughter of Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, a relative of St. Elizabeth. At an early age she was sent to the monastery of Treinitz, where at the hands of the Cistercian religious she received the education that became her rank. She was betrothed to Frederick II, Emperor of Germany; but when the time arrived for the solemnization of the marriage, it was impossible to persuade her to abandon the resolution she had made of consecrating herself to the service of God in the sanctuary of the cloister. The Emperor Frederick was incensed at the unsuccessful issue of his matrimonial venture, but, on learning that St. Agnes had left him to become the spouse of Christ, he is said to have remarked: "If she had left me for a mortal man, I would have taken vengeance with the sword, but I cannot take offence because in preference to me she has chosen the King of Heaven." The servant of God entered the Order of St. Clare in the monastery of St. Saviour at Prague, which she herself had erected. She was elected abbess of the monastery, and became in this office a model of Christian virtue and religious observance for all. God favoured her with the gift of miracles, and she predicted the victory of her brother Wenceslaus over the Duke of Austria. The exact year of her death is not certain; 1281 is the most probable date. SOURCE:


Matthew 23: 1 - 12
Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,
"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;
so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.
They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,
and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,
and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.
And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.
He who is greatest among you shall be your servant;
whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.




CATHOLICS AND MUSLIMS AGAINST MANIPULATION OF RELIGION VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The annual meeting of the Joint Committee for Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue among the Monotheistic Religions, was held in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo on 23 and 24 February. At the end of the meeting Sheikh Muhammad Abd al-Aziz Wasil, "wakil" (representative in juridical issues) of al-Azhar and president of the Permanent Committee for Dialogue, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, signed a joint declaration. The declaration explains how "the participants were received by Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, grand imam of al-Azhar, whom Cardinal Tauran thanked for having condemned the acts of violence in which six Christians and a Muslim policeman died in Naga Hamadi, Egypt, during the Orthodox Christmas, and for having expressed solidarity with the victims' families and reaffirmed the equality of rights and duties of all citizens, regardless of their religious confession. For his part, Sheikh Tantawi said he only did what he thought his duty in the face of those tragic events". During its meeting the joint committee examined the theme: "The phenomenon of confessional violence: understanding the phenomenon and its causes, and proposing solutions with particular reference to the role of religions in this field". At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed on the following recommendations: "to pay greater attention to the fact that the manipulation of religion for political or other ends can be a source of violence; to avoid discrimination on the basis of religious identity; to open hearts to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation, which is a necessary condition for peaceful and fruitful coexistence". They also called "for similarities to be recognised and differences respected as the prerequisite of a culture of dialogue, based on shared values; for both sides again to commit themselves to recognising and respecting the dignity of each human being, without distinction of ethnicity or religion; for religious discrimination in all fields to be opposed (just laws should guarantee fundamental equality); for ideals of justice, solidarity and co-operation to be promoted in order to ensure a peaceful and prosperous life for everyone". The participants likewise undertook "to oppose with determination any act that tends to create tension, division and conflict in societies; to promote a culture of mutual respect and dialogue through education in families, schools, churches and mosques, spreading a spirit of fraternity between all persons and the community; to oppose attacks against religions by social communications media, especially satellite channels, considering the dangerous effects these transmissions can have on social cohesion and peace among religious communities". Finally, the members of the joint committee called for steps to be taken "to ensure that the preaching of religious leaders, as well as school education and textbooks, do not contains declarations or references to historical events that, directly or indirectly, may arouse violent reactions among the followers of different religions". The joint committee also announced that its next meeting will be held in Rome on 23 and 24 February 2011..../CATHOLIC MUSLIM DECLARATION/AL-AZHAR VIS 100302 (520)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Charles Martin Wamika, auxiliary of Tororo, Uganda, as bishop of Jinja (area 8,917, population 2,914,099, Catholics 681,533, priests 90, religious 342), Uganda. He succeeds Bishop Joseph B. Willigers M.H.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.NER:RE:NA/.../WAMIKA:WILLIGERS:SANDRI VIS 100302 (90)


CNA report:
Following the massive 8.8 earthquake which hit near the city of Concepción, Chile on Saturday, the international Catholic aid organization Caritas mobilized Chilean and international task forces to help the nearly two million people affected by the quake.
“Caritas Chile is working in coordination with governmental and civil society organizations in establishing a national help network in spite of enormous communications difficulties,” said Lorenzo Figueroa, Caritas Chile’s director.
The international agency noted that the regions of Maule and Bío Bío were the worst affected and are will be the first to receive aid.
“We are collecting food to be sent immediately to communities which have been most affected by the earthquake and where shortages are already being reported. Our own communications network and capacity to offer warehouses and points of collection and distribution are immediately available,” Figueroa added.
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said, “Caritas Chile and the bishops are keeping us updated on the needs of the people. Chile has faced a terrible catastrophe. The Caritas confederation will be there in support of the survivors in this initial phase of emergency response and as they look to rebuild the country.”
Emergency response, as well as search and rescue teams from Caritas are on their way to the capital city of Santiago. The teams are drawn from an international pool, including Caritas’ Humanitarian Director Alistair Dutton and Caritas Peru’s Hector Hanashiro. The Mexican search and rescue team that recently worked with Caritas in Haiti will be a part of the relief efforts in Chile as well.
Father Alfonso Baeza Donoso, deputy president of Caritas Chile, reported to the Italian news Agency SIR that the earthquake was “a huge catastrophe, especially around Concepción. Our building suffered damage, communications do not work very well. Elevators are out or order, and we are on the seventh floor.” Fr. Baeza also noted that, despite the fact that “there are great difficulties in transport by road, since roads and bridges have been destroyed,” Caritas is working to get food and funds to the people most affected. Already, Caritas has opened a bank account to accept donations. Food is also being collected in several parishes in Santiago.
“In the center of Santiago,” Fr. Baeza added, “I saw at least five churches destroyed. In the south of the country, there must be many more, but we have no definite news yet.”
In an official statement, the President of the Chilean Bishop’s Conference, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, expressed solidarity with the victims and their families. “The death of our brothers and sisters as a consequence of this catastrophe both hurts and moves/compels us. We direct our prayers for their eternal rest to the God of life and hope and we unite ourselves with their families and friends,” he said.
“We fix our gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ in this moment of tragedy,” Bishop Goic said. “We place our trust in Him that the communities which have suffered the most hurt may be able to lift themselves up both spiritually and materially, assisted by the solidarity of the entire country as well as the international community which generously offers us its help.”
For more information on Caritas relief efforts, visit:


CISA report:
As calls continue to grow for the constitution to be followed strictly in resolving the leadership crisis in the country and the sudden return of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) yesterday at the end of their plenary conference in Abuja called on the Presidency and the National Assembly to restore the country to the path of constitutional leadership and stop assaulting the psyche of Nigerians.The Catholic clergy, in a communiqué signed by the President Rev Felix Alaba-Job, Secretary, Rev. Adewale Martins and read by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rev Calistus Onaga said, "for over three, months, we have been faced with a crisis of leadership that is rooted in unwillingness to be truthful in handling issues of governance.News reports say President Umaru Yar'Adua is back in the country, we thank God and we pray for his continued recovery. But in the meantime, the nation should be promptly restored to the path of stability and progress under a clear constitutional leadership, we pray for the acting President and Commander-in-Chief, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who now oversees the affairs of our nation".The group also deplored the manner in which the president was taken back with his whereabouts shrouded in secrecy. Part of the communiqué read as follow: "Government and its functionaries should not be seen as working very hard to show that they cannot be trusted; we deplore the contempt with which Nigerians have been repeatedly denied knowledge of his whereabouts and the true state of his health.The immorality of dishonesty undermines the authority of government; they also violate the rights of the citizens to good governance."While praising the conduct of the February 6th Anambra State governorship elections, the bishops maintained that, "the fact that we are a young democracy is no excuse a flawed electoral process, we must exercise a collective will to organise elections we can be proud of.We call on political parties, the electoral commission and its officials, the police and the electorates to work together so that ours can be a democracy in name and in fact, we also call on the National Assembly to expedite action in making effective laws for the reform of our electoral system".Onaga, who read the communiqué went further to state that, "while we commend government for the amnesty process which has brought relative peace to the Niger-Delta, we insist that post-amnesty programmes must be faithfully implemented".While appraising the performance of the Nigerian Church, the bishops said from 1950 when Pope Pius XII declared the Catholic Church in Nigeria a local church, without any indigenous bishop, today, it boast 64 indigenous bishops with only 2 non-Nigerians. The church, according to the bishops has grown beyond bounds where it exports missionaries to other nations in need of evangelism.


CNA report:
Rocco Buttiglione is a prestigious Catholic intellectual who in 2004 was deprived of a post in the European Union Commission because of his faith and “conservative” views. In a recent article for L’Osservatore Romano he explains that education demands a series of restrictions as well as a formation in authentic freedom in order to seek truth.
In the article titled, “There is no freedom without prohibitions,” Buttiglione, who is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, explains that amidst the debate over the “educational emergency” in society, Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that “proper education consists of formation in the correct use of freedom” must be remembered.
Buttiglione notes that the first step in this education is to discard the present-day bias that “in order to educate in freedom, one simply needs to remove all ties and abandon young people to the simple, natural development of their passions.” This, he explains, is the “pròton psèudos (the ‘original error’) of modern education.”
Saying that this way of seeing things ignores the tendency to evil and the concupiscence that entered man through original sin, Buttiglione writes, “The emancipating and permissive pedagogy of our times has voluntarily ignored this anthropological structure of the human being. The intention was to create a liberated man,” however the effects are far from the intended results.
After contrasting “the freedom of man” and “the freedom of instinct,” Buttiglione remarks that to find freedom it is necessary “to subordinate immediate desires to the judgment of reason."
He goes on to warn of the current-day tendency to make spontaneity into an idol and explained the need to truly adhere “to goodness in order to seek truth.”
To achieve this, he continues, two fundamental factors are necessary in the education process that “today are systematically ignored:” asceticism and the experience of authority.
Asceticism, Buttiglione explains, “is the capacity to say 'no,' to resist the violence with which an impulse demands to be satisfied immediately without reflecting on whether or not it corresponds to the truth or to the true good of the person. Contemporary permissiveness has defamed asceticism by calling it ‘repression.’ Certain asceticism implies the effort to repress, but it also implies the capacity to give a new form to the energy that comes from instinct, corresponding to the truth of the person. Without asceticism there is no education of the person.”
Writing later about the experience of authority, the Italian intellectual says that it consists of “the presence of values in a person who bears witness to them and makes them directly and easily perceivable for others.
“Authority is the guide in the path towards the experience of values. Without asceticism and without authority there is no educational experience. Authority transmits the experience of values so that it can be tried in the life of the disciple. The disciple will not repeat this experience in a servile fashion as it has been fulfilled in the life of the master.” Instead, the disciple “will confront it with his own personal experience and filter it through it, reliving it and making it his own.”
Buttiglione then denounces today’s “permissive society for offering young people different ways of gaining immediate satisfaction of their own instincts, while consequently making it more difficult to form a free personality, capable of establishing an appropriate relationship with truth.”
“Traditional education was an invitation to fight to control one’s own passions, to seek the truth, to guide one’s passions according to the truth and towards the truth.”
By promoting “obedience” to one’s own passions, he explains, one prevents “the forming of a responsible and free personality, in order to create a mass of people that can be more easily manipulated by whomever is in power. This is the problem with education in our times.”
“The purpose of many modern ‘deconstructionist’ tendencies is the deconstruction of the self and the abolition of a conscious personality. In order to rebuild education we need to begin again on the basis of authorized testimonies—should not parents and teachers be the first in this—that are capable of unambiguously pointing the way towards an asceticism that makes us capable of the truth, that allows us to journey towards its discovery,” he concluded.


Asia News report:
A Catholic university chaplain has barred students from re-staging their naked “freedom run” around the campus to commemorate their fraternity’s anniversary.
Institute of Incarnate Word (IVE) Father Salvador Curutchet banned students of De La Salle Araneta University (DLSU-Araneta) in Malabon City from holding their “Oblation Run”.
The Argentinean priest, who has been chaplain for five years, told UCA News he felt it was not appropriate behavior for students from a Catholic university.
“I do not feel that students from a Catholic school should be running around the streets naked,” Father Curutchet said. “It does not show our Christian values in the community.”
The run, scheduled for yesterday [March 2], had been approved by Malabon City Hall.
Members of the international students’ fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (APO), staged a similar Oblation Run two years ago.
Randell Tupaz of the student affairs Office at DLSU-Araneta told UCA News APO had a freedom run in 2008 on the 50th anniversary of the school charter recognizing the fraternity.
“Just as they did in 2008, APO members went to the City Hall and applied for a permit to run naked around the streets outside the campus. The permit was granted by city officials again this year,” he said.
The student affairs officer said the run was canceled after Father Curuchet wrote a letter to the school administration advising them to stop it.
Tupaz said the APO members did not fight the ban and pushed on with the 60th anniversary celebration by hosting a luncheon for its members and alumni.


Cath News report:
Only 34 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Toowoomba and 27 schools operated by various Religious Institutes, mainly in the Brisbane area, would potentially be affected by staff withdrawing from activities outside normal working hours next week.

"It needs to be made clear that staff in the vast majority of the State's 288 Catholic schools did not endorse any industrial action," Queensland Catholic Education Commission Executive Director Mike Byrne said in a statement.
"Catholic employing authorities are committed to negotiating a set of salaries and conditions that recognise the vital contribution teachers make to theeducational outcomes of students.
"We believe that the wages and conditions package being offered is a fair and responsible one.
"Staff were paid a 4.5% salary increase from May last year.
"Under the proposed agreement, another 4% increase would be paid in July this year to be followed up by a further 4% due in July 2011.
"This package is also comparable with the State sector in Queensland," Mr Byrne said


St. Suitbert
Feast: March 1
Feast Day:
March 1
1 March 713 near Düsseldorf, Germany
Patron of:
angina sufferers; Germany; throat diseases

Apostle of the Frisians, b. in England in the seventh century; d. at Suitberts-Insel, now Kaiserswerth, near Dusseldorf, 1 March, 713. He studied in Ireland, at Rathmelsigi, Connacht, along with St. Egbert. The latter, filled with zeal for the conversion of the Germans, had sent St. Wihtberht, or Wigbert, to evangelize the Frisians, but owing to the opposition of the pagan ruler, Rathbod, Wihtberht was unsuccessful and returned to England. Egbert then sent St. Willibrord and his twelve companions, among whom was St. Suitbert. They landed near the mouth of the Rhine and journeyed to Utrecht, which became their headquarters. The new missionaries worked with great success under the protection of Pepin of Heristal, who, having recently conquered a portion of Frisia, compelled Rathbod to cease harassing the Christians. Suitbert laboured chiefly in North Brabant, Guelderland, and Cleves. After some years he went back to England, and in 693 was consecrated in Mercia as a missionary bishop by St. Wilfrid of York. He returned to Frisia and fixed his see at Wijkbij Duurstede on a branch of the Rhine. A little later, entrusting his flock of converts to St. Willibrord, he proceeded north of the Rhine and the Lippe, among the Bructeri, or Boructuari, in the district of Berg, Westphalia. This mission bore great fruit at first, but was eventually a failure owing to the inroads of the pagan Saxons; when the latter had conquered the territory, Suitbert withdrew to a small island in the Rhine, six miles from Dusseldorf, granted to him by Pepin of Heristal, where he built a monastery and ended his days in peace. His relics were rediscovered in 1626 at Kaiserwerth and are still venerated there. St. Suitbert of Kaiserwerdt is to be distinguished from a holy abbot, Suitbert, who lived in a monastery near the River Dacore, Cumberland, England, about forty years later, and is mentioned by Venerable Bede.SOURCE


Luke 6: 36 - 38
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back





(VIS) - At the end of his annual Lenten spiritual exercises, the Holy Father made some brief off-the-cuff remarks thanking the preacher, Fr. Enrico Dal Covolo S.D.B. who, he said, had guided the participants in the exercises "along the path of renewal of our priesthood". The Holy Father recalled how the preacher "chose as starting point, as ever-present backdrop and as goal, ... Solomon's prayer for 'a heart that listens'. Truly I feel", he went on, "that this encapsulates the entire Christian vision of man. Man is not perfect in himself, man needs relationships, he is a relational being. It is not his 'cogito' that can 'cogitare' all of reality. He needs to listen, to listen to others, above all to the Other with a capital 'O', to God. Only in this way does he know himself, only in this way does he become himself". The Pope went on: "From my place here I was always able to see the Mother of the Redeemer, the 'Sede Sapientiae', the living throne of wisdom with Wisdom incarnate in her womb. And, as we have seen, St. Luke presents Mary as a woman with a heart that listens, a woman immersed in the Word of God, who listens to the Word, meditates upon it ... and conserves it in her heart. The Fathers of the Church said that at the moment of the conception of the eternal Word in the womb of the Virgin, the Holy Spirit entered into Mary through her ear. Through listening she conceived the eternal Word, gave her flesh to this Word. Thus she shows us what it is to have a heart that listens. "Mary", he added, "is here surrounded by the fathers and mothers of the Church, by the communion of the saints. Thus over these days have we seen and understood that it is not in the isolated 'I' that we can truly listen to the Word, but only in the 'us' of the Church, in the 'us' of the communion of saints". "You", said Benedict XVI addressing Fr. Dal Covolo, "have shown us and given voice to five exemplary figures of priests, from St. Ignatius of Antioch to the beloved Venerable John Paul II. In this way have we again perceived what it means to be a priest, to become priests ever more profoundly". "Consecration tends towards mission", the Pope concluded. "Over these days we have, with God's help, deepened our own consecration. And with renewed courage we now wish to face our mission".AC/SPIRITUAL EXERCISES/... VIS 100301 (440)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 27 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Fr. Jose de Jesus Gonzalez Hernandez O.F.M., rector and pastor of the cathedral church of Inhambane, Mozambique, as bishop prelate of territorial prelature of Jesus Maria (area 25,000, population 146,000, Catholics 134,000, priests 27, permanent deacons 1, religious 72), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Etzatlan, Mexico in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1994. He succeeds Bishop Jose Antonio Perez Sanchez, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, also as military ordinary for Belgium.NER:RE:NA/.../GONZALEZ:PEREZ:LEONARD VIS 100301 (120)

ANGELUS: JESUS ALONE MUST SUFFICE US FOR OUR JOURNEY VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. Benedict XVI began his remarks by referring to his recently-concluded spiritual exercises with members of the Roman Curia. "We spent", he said, "days of meditation and intense prayer, during which we reflected on the priestly vocation, in keeping with the Year for Priests currently being celebrated by the Church". Commenting then on today's liturgy, in which St. Luke recounts the episode of the Transfiguration, the Pope explained how the Evangelist "describes the event using two elements: Jesus face which changed appearance, and His clothes which became dazzling white, in the presence of Moses and Elijah, symbol of the Law and the Prophets. The three disciples present at the scene were overcome with sleep. Theirs was the attitude of people who, though witnesses of divine prodigies, fail to understand. Only by struggling against their torpor could Peter, James and John 'see' the glory of Jesus". A little later, as Peter speaks to Jesus in amazement, a cloud came and covered them. "It was a cloud which, while covering, revealed the glory of God, as happened with the people wandering in the desert", said the Holy Father. "Their eyes could not see, but their ears heard the voice emerging from the cloud: 'This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to Him'. "Then", he added, "the disciples no longer found themselves before a transfigured face or dazzling garments, nor a cloud revealing the divine presence. Before their eyes 'Jesus was found alone', ... and this is what must suffice us for our journey. He is the only voice to listen to, the only one to follow, He Who climbing towards Jerusalem would give His life and one day 'transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of His glory'". "The Transfiguration reminds us that the joys God disseminates in our lives are not goals in themselves but lights He gives us on our earthly pilgrimage, that 'Jesus alone' may be our Law and His Word the criterion that guides our existence". "In this period of Lent", Benedict XVI concluded, "I invite everyone to meditate assiduously upon the Gospel. Furthermore, it is my hope that in this Year for Priests, pastors 'may truly be pervaded by the Word of God, know it authentically and love it to the extent that it truly does give them life and form their thoughts'".ANG/TRANSFIGURATION/... VIS 100301 (440)

HELP FOR IRAQI CHRISTIANS AND CHILEAN EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2010 (VIS) - In remarks following today's Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned the recent killing of a number of Christians in Iraq, and the people affected by an earthquake in Chile. "With great sadness did I learn the tragic news of the killing of a number of Christians in the city of Mosul, and with great concern have I followed other episodes of violence committed against defenceless people of various religious confessions in the martyred land of Iraq. Over these days of intense meditation I often prayed for all the victims of those attacks, and today I wish to unite myself spiritually to the prayer for peace and the return of security promoted by the Council of Bishops of Nineveh. I remain affectionately close to the Christian communities of the entire country. Never tire of being a leaven for good in the homeland to which you, for many centuries, fully and rightly belong. "In this delicate political phase that Iraq is currently experiencing", he added, "I appeal to the civil authorities to make every effort to restore security to the population, in particular to the most vulnerable religious minorities, My hope is that no-one succumb to the temptation to make temporary and partisan interests prevail over the safety and fundamental rights of each citizen. Finally, as I greet the Iraqis present here in St. Peter's Square, I exhort the international community to do everything possible to give Iraqis a future of reconciliation and justice, as I trustingly invoke the precious gift of peace from Almighty God". The Holy Father then went on to mention the people affected by the recent earthquake in Chile, "which caused great loss of human life and vast material damage. I pray for the victims and remain spiritually close to the people so sorely tried by such a serious calamity. I ask God to being them relief in their suffering and courage in adversity; and I am sure that no lack of solidarity will be shown, especially by ecclesial organisations".ANG/IRAQ CHILE/... VIS 100301 (350)

BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR MARCH VATICAN CITY, 1 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for March is: "That the world economy may be managed according to the principles of justice and equity, taking account of the real needs of peoples, especially the poorest". His mission intention is: "That the Churches in Africa may be signs and instruments of reconciliation and justice in every part of that continent".BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/MARCH/... VIS 100301 (80)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 1 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Five prelates from the Uganda Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki, apostolic administrator of Arua. - Bishop Giuseppe Franzelli M.C.C.J. of Lira, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Joseph Oyanga. - Bishop Martin Luluga of Nebbi. - Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, accompanied by an entourage. On Saturday 27 February, he received in audience Fr. Enrico Dal Covolo S.D.B., preacher of the Lenten spiritual exercises.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100301 (100)



CNA report:

The secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, is calling for the country's new law on abortion to “be abolished as soon as possible.”
The Spanish Senate voted last Wednesday to pass the Socialist government’s new law on abortion. The decision will allow women over the age of 16 to obtain the procedure up until the 14th week of pregnancy.
The auxiliary bishop, who is from Madrid, remarked that the Church “welcomes” and “will support” any mobilization in support of life and against this law, such as the marches planned for March 7 in Madrid and Bilbao.
“Anything that can be done to keep people aware of what is at stake, which is the right to life of the innocent and weak, is welcome, no matter who does it,” he said. The Church “will continue speaking out for the voiceless, and she will support and welcome all movements” to defend the unborn, Bishop Martinez Camino said.
Asked about whether King Juan Carlos would be barred from Communion if he signs the new law, as would be the case with politicians who voted in favor of it, Bishop Martinez Camino explained that the king’s situation is “unique” and therefore must receive different consideration. “It is not the same act. That of the king is unique and very distinct from that of a politician who votes in favor of this law when he or she doesn’t have to,” he added.
According to Spain's constitution, the king must sign laws passed by Parliament within 15 days.
Bishop Martinez Camino called the new law “a grave step backward in the protection of the inviolable right to life” that “leaves women abandoned.” Abortion is “a tragedy and a crime,” the bishop said, announcing that the Church plans to hold a social awareness campaign on March 25.
He then lamented that the “educational system has been made into a political instrument and that restrictions have been placed on conscientious objection.” He noted that one of the “most troubling” aspects of the new law is that it makes education an instrument at the service of pro-abortion ideology. “Education aimed at darkening the conscience with regards to the inviolable right to life of the unborn” must be rejected.
Abortion “is a tragedy that cries out to heaven,” he emphasized. The Church is devoted to “continuing to defend the right of the unborn and to offer alternatives to the crime of abortion.”


CNA report:
The Australian Catholic Church has paid tribute to the extraordinary life and achievements of Rosemary Goldie, the first woman to hold an official post of authority in the Roman Curia.
Rosemary, who took on a special place in Church history with her appointment in 1966 as Under-Secretary of the Council for the Laity, died at the Little Sisters of the Poor, in Randwick in Sydney's east, on Saturday, aged 94, said the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Phillip Wilson said Rosemary had made a tremendous contribution to the life of the church.
"At a time when lay people and particularly lay women might have struggled to find a voice in Church affairs, Rosemary Goldie was making history by being the first woman appointed as a Vatican curial official," he said.
"Her commitment to the lay apostolate was a life-long passion and her achievements helped pave the way for current generations.
"I offer my prayers for the repose of Rosemary's soul and for all those who knew and loved her at this sad time."
Once described as "the Roman Curia's human microchip memory on the development of the lay apostolate", Rosemary was also one of the few women appointed as an auditor to the Second Vatican Council, the bishops' statement said.
One of four children of Sydney journalists, Goldie was raised by her maternal grandmother and graduated from Sydney University in 1936. For the next two years she continued her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Rosemary was invited to join the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate set up in Rome by Pius XII in 1952. In 1959 she became Executive Secretary of the Committee. This body was the nucleus of the Council for the Laity, created by Paul VI as a result of Vatican II.



Asia News report:
Qamar David was in prison since 2006. In the weeks after his arrest police failed to find any concrete evidence against him. Muslim co-defendant acquitted, for lack of evidence. Christian activists: verdict result of "influences and prejudices” and motivated by “ external pressures ".
Karachi (AsiaNews) - Qamar David, a Christian in the dock on charges of blasphemy, was sentenced to life imprisonment. The basis of the ruling, issued on Feb. 25, the fact that the man "hurt the religious feelings" of Muslims; however, the co-defendant was acquitted for lack of evidence. The police had arrested the man in 2006, although there was no evidence against him.
Additional District and Sessions Judge found Qamar David guilty of using blasphemous remarks about the Islamic Prophet and Quran and pronounced the verdict after hearing final arguments from both sides, daily Dawn reported yesterday.
According to the verdict, a SIM phone card was found in possession of the convict and the data produced by the cellular company established that messages were sent from the seized phone card, which they claim belonged to the Christian.
A contact close to the accused is of the opinion that the facts, evidence and law were in his favour. The evidence against him is said to be based on hearsay, and an accused Muslim in a parallel case was fully acquitted on the same facts. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source described the final judgement as “biased and prejudiced,” and believes that external pressure on the court may have played a part in distorting the outcome, a news release issued by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) states.
CSW is deeply concerned over news that a Pakistani Christian from Lahore was sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, the communiqué. The Christian man was arrested in May 2006 for allegedly spreading blasphemous messages through his cellphone. During that time both Mr David and his lawyer, Parvez Choudhry, were regularly subjected to assassination attempts and threats of violence from abusive mobs.
CSW’s National Director Stuart Windsor said: “This alarming verdict is yet further illustration of the urgent need for the government of Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws. The legislation continues to be abused for the satisfaction of personal vendettas against Pakistanis of all faiths. It is a dangerous tool in the hands of those seeking to persecute or discriminate against religious minorities.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.,-a-Christian-sentenced-to-life-imprisonment-for-blasphemy-17749.html


CNA report: Pro-abortion leaders gathered at the Latin American Forum of Strategies for the Legalization of Abortion last week in Bogota, Colombia where they discussed their intention to take advantage of ambiguous international laws to pressure governments in the region to legalize the procedure.
Luisa Cabal, director of the International Legal Program for the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, called on feminists and pro-abortion groups to pressure Latin American governments to continue debating legalized abortion.
The forum was organized by a Colombian pro-abortion organization and was attended by Cecilia Olea of the Flora Tristan Center in Peru; Lucy Garrido of Everyday Women in Uruguay; Paula Viana, executive secretary of the Conference for the Right to Legal and Safe Abortion in Brazil; Luisa Cabal, director of the International Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights of New York; Maria Consuelo Mejia of the National Alliance for the Right to Choose; and Martha Maria Blandon, director of Planned Parenthood for Central America, who participated via video conference.



CISA report: A global youth initiative will launch a five-year campaign to stop Violence Against Women (VAW) and girls during the World Cup 2010 scheduled in June 11 and July 11 in South Africa.The campaign is organized by an international group called Man Up and will bring together 200 young men and women from 50 countries across the globe.Man Up target is to support organizations tackling violence against women, building a network of young advocates and defenders, and linking the efforts of community based and mainstream organizations, and the corporate, entertainment and sports communities.Man Up, an international organization that mobilizes young leaders in a movement to stop violence against women and girls is a brainchild of renowned author and activist Jimmie Briggs and Karen Robinson, former Education Director at Amnesty International USA. Harnessing the universal power of music and sport, Man Up provides innovative training, resources and support to young men and women and the organizations that collaborate with them.Man Up is calling on everyone to be part of this global summit in South Africa.Delegates to the Summit will learn how to plan and execute initiatives in their native countries and will be offered a multitude of resources and guidance from renowned non-governmental organizations, athletes, musicians and artists throughout the five-year campaign.This same cadre of delegates will gather again in Brazil at The World Cup 2014 to share their experiences and demonstrate how youth can make the world a safer place for women and girls.Robinson, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Man Up, said statistics show that one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. “Violence against women is not just a women’s issue, it affects all of us. Everyone needs to be part of the solution. We owe it to our daughters and their daughters,” says Briggs.He said, “To create long-term, sustainable change, we must engage young people who will lead us into the next generation.” Man Up was officially launched in September 2009 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York with their partner Vital Voices, a leader in the effort to build women’s leadership to promote peace and prosperity around the world.


St. Hilary
Feast: February 28
Feast Day:
February 28 or November 17
at Sardinia
28 February 468 at Rome, Italy

Elected 461; the date of his death is given as 28 Feb., 468. After the death of Leo I, an archdeacon named Hilarus, a native of Sardinia, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", was chosen to succeed him, and in all probability received consecration on 19 November, 461. Together with Julius, Bishop of Puteoli, Hilarus acted as legate of Leo I at the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449. There he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople (see FLAVIAN, SAINT). He was therefore exposed to the violence of Dioscurus of Alexandria, and saved himself by flight. In one of his letters to the Empress Pulcheria, found in a collection of letters of Leo I ("Leonis I Epistolae", num. xlvi., in P.L., LIV, 837 sq.), Hilarus apologizes for not delivering to her the pope's letter after the synod; but owing to Dioscurus, who tried to hinder his going either to Rome or to Constantinople, he had great difficulty in making his escape in order to bring to the pontiff the news of the result of the council. His pontificate was marked by the same vigorous policy as that of his great predecessor. Church affairs in Gaul and Spain claimed his special attention. Owing to political disorganization in both countries, it was important to safeguard the hierarchy by strengthening church government. Hermes, a former archdeacon of Narbonne, had illegally acquired the bishopric of that town. Two Gallican prelates were dispatched to Rome to lay before the pope this and other matters concerning the Church in Gaul. A Roman synod held on 19 November, 462, passed judgment upon these matters, and Hilarus made known the following decisions in an Encyclical sent to the provincial bishops of Vienne, Lyons, Narbonne, and the Alps: Hermes was to remain Titular Bishop of Narbonne, but his episcopal faculties were withheld. A synod was to be convened yearly by the Bishop of Arles, for those of the provincial bishops who were able to attend; but all important matters were to be submitted to the Apostolic See. No bishop could leave his diocese without a written permission from the metropolitan; in case such permission be withheld he could appeal to the Bishop of Arles. Respecting the parishes (paroeciae) claimed by Leontius of Arles as belonging to his jurisdiction, the Gallican bishops could decide, after an investigation. Church property could not be alienated until a synod had examined into the cause of sale.
Shortly after this the pope found himself involved in another diocesan quarrel. In 463 Mamertus of Vienne had consecrated a Bishop of Die, although this Church, by a decree of Leo I, belonged to the metropolitan Diocese of Arles. When Hilarus heard of it he deputed Leontius of Arles to summon a great synod of the bishops of several provinces to investigate the matter. The synod took place and, on the strength of the report given him by Bishop Antonius, he issued an edict dated 25 February, 464, in which Bishop Veranus was commissioned to warn Mamertus that, if in the future he did not refrain from irregular ordinations, his faculties would be withdrawn. Consequently the consecration of the Bishop of Die must be sanctioned by Leontius of Arles. Thus the primatial privileges of the See of Arles were upheld as Leo I had defined them. At the same time the bishops were admonished not to overstep their boundaries, and to assemble in a yearly synod presided over by the Bishop of Arles. The metropolitan rights of the See of Embrun also over the dioceses of the Maritime Alps were protected against the encroachments of a certain Bishop Auxanius, particularly in connection with the two Churches of Nice and Cimiez.
In Spain, Silvanus, Bishop of Calahorra, had, by his episcopal ordinations, violated the church laws. Both the Metropolitan Ascanius and the bishops of the Province of Tarragona made complaint of this to the pope and asked for his decision. Before an answer came to their petition, the same bishops had recourse to the Holy See for an entirely different matter. Before his death Nundinarius, Bishop of Barcelona, expressed a wish that Irenaeus might be chosen his successor, although he had himself made Irenaeus bishop of another see. The request was granted, a Synod of Tarragona confirming the nomination of Irenaeus, after which the bishops sought the pope's approval. The Roman synod of 19 Nov., 465, took the matters up and settled them. This is the oldest Roman synod whose original records have been handed down to us. It was held in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. After an address of the pope, and the reading of the Spanish letters, the synod decided that the church laws must not be tampered with. In addition to this Hilarus sent a letter to the bishops of Tarragona, declaring that no consecration was valid without the sanction of the Metropolitan Ascanius; and no bishop was permitted to be transferred from one diocese to another, so that some one else must be chosen for Barcelona in place of Irenaeus. The bishops consecrated by Silvanus would be recognized if they had been appointed to vacant sees, and otherwise met the requirements of the Church. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions an Encyclical that Hilarus sent to the East, to confirm the Oecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and the dogmatic letter of Leo I to Flavian, but the sources at our disposal furnish us no further information. In Rome Hilarus worked zealously for the integrity of the Faith. The Emperor Anthemius had a favourite named Philotheus, who was a believer in the Macedonian heresy and attended meetings in Rome for the promulgation of this doctrine, 476. On one of the emperor's visits to St. Peter's, the pope openly called him to account for his favourite's conduct, exhorting him by the grave of St. Peter to promise that he would do all in his power to check the evil. Hilarus erected several churches and other buildings in Rome. Two oratories in the baptistery of the Lateran, one in honour of St. John the Baptist, the other of St. John the Apostle, are due to him. After his flight from the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus, Hilarus had hidden himself in the crypt of St. John the Apostle, and he attributed his deliverance to the intercession of the Apostle. Over the ancient doors of the oratory this inscription is still to be seen: "To St. John the Evangelist, the liberator of Bishop Hilarus, a Servant of Christ". He also erected a chapel of the Holy Cross in the baptistery, a convent, two public baths, and libraries near the Church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. He built another convent within the city walls. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions many votive offerings made by Hilarus in the different churches. He died after a pontificate of six years, three months, and ten days. He was buried in the church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. His feast day is celebrated on 17 November.


Genesis 15: 5 - 12, 17 - 18
And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be."
And he believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
And he said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chalde'ans, to give you this land to possess."
But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"
He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
And he brought him all these, cut them in two, and laid each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.
And when birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him.
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphra'tes,

Psalms 27: 1, 7 - 9, 13 - 14
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
Thou hast said, "Seek ye my face." My heart says to thee, "Thy face, LORD, do I seek."
Hide not thy face from me. Turn not thy servant away in anger, thou who hast been my help. Cast me not off, forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!

Philippians 3: 17 - 21
Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us.
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.


Luke 9: 28 - 36
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white.
And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli'jah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah" -- not knowing what he said.
As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.