CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: FRI. MARCH 12, 2010: HEADLINES-
EUROPE: ENGLAND: BISHOPS CALL FOR RENEWAL OF THE COUNTRY-
AMERICA: USA: BISHOP STIKA WARNS AGAINST ANTI-CATHOLIC TRACTS-
AFRICA: UGANDA: ARCHBISHOP WARNS OF TRADITIONAL PRACTICES-
PRIESTS: COMPLETE ADHERENCE TO CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH
(VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in a theological congress promoted by the Congregation for the Clergy, and which is being held on 11 and 12 March in the Pontifical Lateran University on the theme: "Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of Priests". In a time such as our own, said the Pope, "it is important clearly to bear in mind the theological specificity of ordained ministry, in order not to surrender to the temptation of reducing it to predominant cultural models. In the context of widespread secularisation which progressively tends to exclude God from the public sphere and from the shared social conscience, the priest often appears 'removed' from common sense". Yet , the Pope went on, "it is important to avoid a dangerous reductionism which, over recent decades ... has presented the priest almost as a 'social worker', with the risk of betraying the very Priesthood of Christ. "Just as the hermeneutic of continuity is revealing itself to be ever more important for an adequate understanding of the texts of Vatican Council II", he added, "in the same way we see the need for a hermeneutic we could describe as 'of priestly continuity', one which, starting from Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ, and over the two thousand years of history, greatness, sanctity, culture and piety which the Priesthood has given the world, comes down to our own day". Benedict XVI affirmed that "it is particularly important that the call to participate in the one Priesthood of Christ in ordained Ministry should flower from the 'charism of prophecy'. There is great need for priests who speak of God to the world and who present the world to God; men not subject to ephemeral cultural fashions, but capable of authentically living the freedom that only the certainty of belonging to God can give. ... And the prophecy most necessary today is that of faithfulness" which "leads us to live our priesthood in complete adherence to Christ and the Church". Priests, the Holy Father continued, "must be careful to distance themselves from the predominant mentality which tends to associate the value of Ministry not with its being, but with its function". Our "ontological association with God", he said "is the right framework in which to understand and reaffirm, also in our own time, the value of celibacy which in the Latin Church is a charism imposed by Holy Orders, and is held in great esteem by the Oriental Churches. ... It is an expression of the gift of the self to God and to others". "The vocation of priests is an exalted one, and remains a great mystery. ... Our limitations and weaknesses must induce us to live and safeguard this precious gift with great faith, a gift with which Christ configured us to Himself, making us participants in His mission of salvation. Indeed, the understanding of priestly ministry is linked to faith and requires, ever more strongly, a radical continuity between formation in seminaries and permanent formation". The Holy Father concluded by telling his audience that "the men and women of our time ask us only to be priests to the full, nothing else. The lay faithful will be able to meet their human needs in many other people, but only in the priest will they find that Word of God which must always be on his lips, the Mercy of the Father abundantly and gratuitously distributed in the Sacrament of Penance, and the bread of new life".AC/PRIESTHOOD/... VIS 100312 (600)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 12 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Four prelates from the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Akio Johnson Mutek of Torit, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Paride Taban. - Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak of Wau. - Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei. - Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiberg im Breisgau. This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Yesterday afternoon he received in audience Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".AL:AP/.../... VIS 100312 (110)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 12 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Jean-Claude Boulanger of Sees, France, as bishop of Bayeux (area 5,548, population 647,933, Catholics 460,110, priests 236, permanent deacons 19, religious 617), France. He succeeds Bishop Pierre Pican S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.NER:RE/.../BOULANGER:PICAN VIS 100312 (70)
Asia News report: Kiran George had burns on 80% of her body and died after two days of slow agony. The girl was raped by the son of her Muslim master. When she threatened a lawsuit, the young man killed her. In a second incident a Muslim mob burnt a Christian home and copies of the Bible.
Lahore (AsiaNews) - A Christian girl was raped and burnt alive by the son of a Muslim master, for whom she worked as a maid. The girl died in hospital yesterday after two days of agony, for the burns on 80% of her body. The incident occurred in a small town in Punjab and has similar details to the sad story of Shazia Bashir, the 12 year old Christian raped and murdered by a powerful lawyer in Lahore, a crime still for which he is still unpunished.
Kiran George worked for a Muslim family in Sheikhupura, a Punjab town. The girl died yesterday at the Mayo Hospital in Lahore, where she was hospitalized on 9 March in critical condition. To unleash the murderous madness of the son of the employer the threat of a complaint of sexual assault.
Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church of Pakistan (NCJP), told AsiaNews that "the house of a Christian family was set on fire" as revenge because "a young man is accused of killing a Muslim." The Catholic activist explains that the suspect, Yasir Abid, is "subject to pre-trial detention. The victim is the son of a Muslim landowner in the village of Kirtu Pandora, in the Narang Mandi”.
Mohammad Raza Ahmda raped the Christian girl who, at first, confided only with her friends for fear of losing her jobs. Her family’s conditions of extreme poverty had led the young girl to remain silent. When Kiran George threatened her tormentor of telling her story to the police, the young man blocked her escape and closing the door, he poured gasoline all over her with the help of his sister, setting her on fire.
The Muslim master, instead of bringing the girl to the hospital, called her parents telling them that her clothes caught fire while cleaning the kitchen. Kiran George was subjected to two days of slow agony, however, before dying, she told the whole story to the police who opened an investigation file on the young man.
Also in Punjab a crowd of Muslims robbed and burned the house of a Christian family. The assault happened on 10 March in Narang Mandi, a town in the district of Sheikhupura. The extremist’s anger was triggered by the alleged involvement of a Christian in the killing of the son of a local landowner. The mob also burnt some copies of the Bible.
Christian families denounced the "deliberate burning" of some copies of the Bible kept inside the home. Police started to investigate and evaluate whether to open a file of investigation for the crime of blasphemy. In this case, says Peter Jacob, the judiciary "will not act under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, which provides for punishment up to life imprisonment for those who desecrate the Koran, but does not provide for the holy books of other religions”.
"We are against the blasphemy laws - concludes activist NCJP - and this applies regardless of the sacred text or who is guilty of the crime." However, he hopes for "thorough investigations" and the punishment of those who "burned the house of the Christian family."
ENGLAND: BISHOPS CALL FOR RENEWAL OF THE COUNTRY
Catholic Herald report:
The bishops of England and Wales have called for a wholesale reform of public life.In a major intervention ahead of the general election, expected on May 6, the bishops addressed the crisis of trust in Britain's institutions following the financial meltdown and the MPs' expenses scandal.Choosing the Common Good, a 10-page statement issued on Wednesday, argued that Catholic social teaching offers a solution to the country's most pressing problems.The bishops did not endorse any of the parties contending possibly the closest election in years. But their call for politicians to "recognise and support marriage" was widely seen as a boost for the Conservative Party, which has promised to give married couples tax breaks if it is elected.The bishops said that one of the key challenges facing the next Parliament was to restore trust in Britain's battered institutions."Few need reminding of how major institutions have failed to live up to their calling," they wrote. "Members of Parliament have been pilloried for their use of expenses and allowances. Bankers have earned astonishing bonuses and brought the world economy close to collapse. The Catholic Church, too, has had to learn in recent years some harsh lessons in safeguarding trust. We understand the damage inflicted when trust is betrayed. But from our part we value enormously the individuals who meet our needs with patience, compassion, skill and often great generosity. "The challenge for society is to build up our structures and institutions so that they command the same respect and trust as the individuals who represent them best. We know it can be done, but it requires a new sense of service to others at the heart of our institutions."The bishops said that trust could not be restored by increased regulation, but rather by an expansion of virtue.They wrote: "Our society will rediscover its capacity to trust by the recovery of the practice of virtue, and through an ethically founded reform of many of our social and economic institutions. This will itself begin to restore the economy to a path that is both sustainable and just. In this way trust will be re-established. "We believe that this is what the vast majority of ordinary British people instinctively want. They want to belong to a world in which people care for one another. They are alienated by a selfish society. At a profound level they care more for social capital as we have defined it than for financial capital, for quality of life than for the value of property. "Yet the structures and values built into the way society works often frustrate them. Ways need to be found to liberate the generosity of the people not only when an extreme emergency arises, but routinely."The document also touched on contentious issues such as the defence of human life, poverty and inequality, migration and community relations, the environment, marriage and family life and the role of faith communities.The bishops described abortion and euthanasia as a "fundamental denial" of the common good.They called for renewed efforts to support older people on low incomes, tackle persistent poverty and promote equality of opportunity.They said the debate about immigration should not be reduced "simply to a matter of numbers", but must clearly distinguish between the different types of migration. Immigration policy, they said, should start from a recognition of migrants' human dignity and the inalienable rights that follow from it. They also deplored politicians who "whip up fears, prejudices and anxieties" about immigration.The bishops urged leaders to "work to protect the environment from permanent damage, for instance through climate change".They also highlighted the "tragic personal, social and economic costs" of family breakdown. Government should promote stable families, they said, without usurping the rights of parents. And they called on all political parties to support marriage as a key building block of a stable society.The bishops wrote: "The future of society passes by way of the family. Families, for better or worse, are the first school of life and love, where the capacity to relate to others, to develop moral character, is founded. The tragic personal, social and economic costs of increased family breakdown are unmistakable."Whilst we recognise and applaud the many parents who, despite family breakdown, provide a loving and stable home for their children, we have also as a society to accept that the promotion and encouragement of family stability must be a high priority if this trend, so damaging to the common good, is to be reversed. "Families require financial as well as relational stability, access to affordable housing, and fair conditions of employment that respect family responsibilities. Families have a right to a life of their own, and governments do well when they interfere as little as possible while supporting parents in the exercise of their responsibilities. But at the heart of necessary policy initiatives to support the stability of couple relationships, it is essential to support marriage"Marriage brings considerable and measurable benefits to individuals, children, family life and society. It deserves protection. A strong future for marriage is both achievable and desirable."A more realistic view of married life should be encouraged and couples should be prepared with the skills to maintain and develop their commitment. There should be more resources for relationship support. Society has a vested interest in supporting marriage as the surest basis for family life. Politicians of all parties should recognise and support marriage as a key building block of a stable society." The bishops also expressed concern about threats to freedom of religion."Care must be taken not to put obstacles in the way of religious belief and practice which reduce it to devotional acts," they said.They added: "Partnerships between Government and faith communities should be mutually respectful and permit these communities to act with integrity in the provision of public services for the common good. This has long been the case in the provision of education and the benefits brought by that partnership are substantial and clear. Faith communities also have their part to play in the formulation of public policy and have a right to make a proper contribution to the life of our democracy."In his introduction to the document, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the bishops' conference, wrote: "We offer this statement as a contribution to the wider debate on the important themes of the moment. It forms a backdrop to the more particular issues which may well dominate the election itself. But it proposes that without a wider debate about a shared vision for our society, the electioneering may well be confined to bitter arguments over issues of particular policy. We need a more wide-ranging debate about the values and vision which can underpin all our joint effort today."Choosing the Common Good is available from the bishops' conference website, www.catholic church.org.uk. Tory leader David Cameron has offered to answer readers' questions ahead of the election. If you have a question for him, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at the address on Page 13 by next Wednesday. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000763.shtml
USA: BISHOP STIKA WARNS AGAINST ANTI-CATHOLIC TRACTS
Catholic Online report - In March of 2009 the faithful of Knoxville received a special gift, Bishop Richard Stika. Beloved by the faithful, we understand that this wonderful Bishop has had to deal with a lot since he responded to the invitation of the Holy Spirit working through the Church. As a Bishop in the South, that includes having to face the anti-Catholic hostility of some Christians who not only are terribly misinformed about the Catholic Christian faith but actually participate in promoting virulently Anti-Catholic literature. There are few examples worse than the notorious "Jack Chick" tracts. One of the worst is the horrid anti-Catholic tract entitled "The Death Cookie" which denigrates the most Holy Eucharist, calling it a "death cookie". It is sacrilegious, blasphemous and disgusting!These hateful and virulently Anti-Catholic "tracts" were being distributed in this Bishop's Diocese. They were disturbing the faithful and misinforming those Christians of other communities who are called to find the fullness of Christian faith in the full communion of the Catholic Church. They were also also causing a controversy among the faithful. So, what did this Bishop do? He did not sit idly by. He did not delegate the task to a member of his staff. Rather, he defended the Catholic Faith handed down to us from the Apostles. In so doing he demonstrated both his skill as a Catholic apologist and his courage as Bishop. He is indeed a successor of the Apostles in this new missionary age. As someone who has spent over three decades in authentic ecumenical work, experiencing both the fulfillment and the struggle, I know the challenge very well. I also know how important it is for Bishops like this one to show us how to respond to this kind of attack against our beloved Catholic faith while remembering that "to those to whom much is given, much will be required."We present the statement of this good Bishop as a model for how we are all called to defend the Catholic faith against attack while using every opportunity to instruct those who are misinformed...and even reach out to those who are Anti-Catholic. We also commend this good Bishop for showing us all the way. That is what it means to be a true teacher of the faithful and a Catholic Bishop. ************************Bishop Stika responds to distribution of anti-Catholic tracts KNOXVILLE- Bishop Richard F. Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville has made the following statement in response to the recently publicized distribution of anti-Catholic tracts in Pigeon Forge:
"The Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville includes 47 parishes and 36 counties in East Tennessee, including Holy Cross Parish in Pigeon Forge. As bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, I wish first to state my deep respect and love for my Protestant brothers and sisters, with whom we acknowledge and worship but one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ-and for all the members of other faiths, with whom we also share certain foundational beliefs.
I also wish to acknowledge the many Christian denominations, including the many Baptist churches in East Tennessee, with whom we pray and work in solidarity, according to the truths of the Gospel, in order to promote a culture of life. This culture of life is based on a Christian anthropology that recognizes man and woman as images of God, an essential truth for the formation of a correct vision of society. I am thinking also of our shared efforts in promoting and protecting the sanctity and dignity of every person in the womb and of the holy institution of marriage and the family as our Heavenly Creator designed them to be.
At this moment, however, I am greatly saddened by the reprehensible acts of prejudice and hatred of a few souls who, out of ignorance of Catholic teachings, have promoted the distribution of anti-Catholic tracts. These tracts contain outright lies and blatant exaggerations.
The rationale one Baptist pastor gave in support of distributing these reprehensible, discriminatory, and bigoted tracts was that he was trying to point out the primary difference his church has with Catholics: the belief that a person does not and cannot work his or her way to salvation. Unfortunately, this pastor does not have a correct understanding of what the Catholic faith teaches in this regard-and he even admitted as much.
In Catholic theology, the term justification means the cleansing of a person´s sin and the communication - by grace - of "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" (Romans 3:22) through baptism. Additionally, Catholics take very seriously the Sacred Scripture, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" ( James 2:24).
Perhaps some ...Christians misinterpret both Paul and James, thus concluding that their statements about faith and works contradict each other. This is simply not true. There are differences in emphasis but no contradictions in teaching if one understands both properly. Paul and James agree that both "faith" and "works" are essential to Christian life.
Jesus himself makes this crystal clear in his description of the LastJudgment (Matthew 25:31-46). From his judgment seat, the Lord will welcome into his eternal kingdom those who fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, and visited the sick and imprisoned-in other words, those who saw Christ in the suffering and acted in response, inspired by the love of God. Those who did not perform these "works" of love will "go off to eternal punishment" (25:46).
Catholics take the "works" cited above very seriously. As an example, empowered by the grace of Jesus Christ, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee Inc. addresses the unmet needs of the most vulnerable of our region by providing shelter, nourishment, counseling, and education in order to foster human dignity. Catholic Charities of East Tennessee delivers 17 services through 24 programs throughout the region. This agency´s services are provided regardless of religious affiliation, race, or ability to pay: fewer than 5 percent of the more than 20,000 clients served annually are Catholic.
Regarding the reprehensible leaflet titled "The Death Cookie": The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present-body and blood, soul and divini¬ty-under the appearances of bread and wine. Some Christians attack this doctrine as "unbiblical," but Catholics believe that the Bible is forthright in declaring it (l Corinthians 10:16-17 and 11:23-29 and, most forcefully, John 6:32-71).
Catholics recognize that many of our Christian brothers and sisters do not share our belief in the Real Presence. Even though we may not share the same doctrinal belief, we are thankful that our Christian brothers and sisters of different faiths deeply respect the Lord´s Supper and what it represents. Even the Southern Baptist Convention states, "The Lord´s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming."
As bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, I pray that all Christian pastors will develop a spirituality of ecumenism, with a willingness to explore with other Christians the common beliefs of our Christianity-primarily our belief in the one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ-rather than focus on our differences.
The leaflets produced by Chick Publications and distributed locally are hateful, discriminatory, and full of prejudice and bigotry.
Jesus warns that each of us will be judged by the same standard with which we judge others. If we are harsh or judgmental in our analysis of others, we will face harsh analysis. Those who are gentle and gracious toward others will be treated gently and graciously. Perhaps we should remember the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12)." http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=35762
UGANDA: ARCHBISHOP WARNS OF TRADITIONAL PRACTICESCISA report: The president of the Uganda Bishops' Conference has called the lure of indigenous beliefs one of the “major challenges” facing the Church in that nation. Archbishop Matthias Ssekamanya of Lugazi said this during his ad limina visit in Rome.“Not all the faithful have completely assimilated the Gospel. This is because the traditional cultures are still very strong. Some of these are incompatible with the Gospel, such as polygamy and certain ancestral religious beliefs,” said Archbishop Ssekamanya.“Other challenges include the sects, which have significant financial resources and have a strong appeal to young people and people living in modest conditions,” he added, According to CWN.“We do not know where all this money comes from, but we know that these sects have large quantities available to them. We also know that most of the sects present in Uganda come from North America and Europe.” Archbishop Ssekamanya also discussed the devastation wrought by the Lord’s Resistance Army. The archbishop said, “The biggest problem is the fact that we have millions of people who have been living 20 years in refugee camps. We need assistance to rebuild homes and to allow people to resume farming.” Uganda has a population of 28.3 million of which 44 percent are Catholic.
Cath News report:
The website features never-before-seen images of Mary MacKillop, readings of her final letters and virtual tours of Mary's tomb and her last home - Alma Cottage, according to a media release.
Sister Annette Arnold worked closely with leading international web developers, Fraynework Multimedia, to create a site that makes Mary and her story accessible to all people regardless of where they live and regardless of their religion.
"This website gives anyone interested in the story of Mary MacKillop an intimate and personal understanding of her life and the contributions she made to Australia," said SOSJ's Sister Annette Arnold.
"The combination of captivating video, audio, art and historical imagery help bring the story of one of Australia's great pioneering women to life in a compelling digital form," says Director of Client Services of Fraynework Multimedia, Sister Anne Walsh.
The site was developed with Fraynework, international web developers and a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=19993
Feast: March 12
Chronicler, born at Constantinople, about 758; died in Samothracia, probably 12 March, 817, on which day he is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology. He was the son of Isaac, imperial governor of the islands of the White Sea, and of Theodora, of whose family nothing is known. After the early death of his parents he came to the Court of Constantine Copronimus. He was married at the age of twelve, but induced his wife to lead a life of virginity, and in 799, after the death of his father-in-law, they separated with mutual consent to embrace the religious state, she choosing a convent on an island near Constantinople, while he entered the monastery called Polychronius in the district of Sigriano near Cyzicus. Later he built a monastery on his own lands on the island of Calonymus (now Calomio). After six years he returned to Sigriano, founded an abbey known by the name "of the great acre", and governed it as abbot. As such he was present at the second General Council of Nicaea, 787, and signed its decrees in defense of the sacred images. When the emperor Leo the Armenian again began his iconoclastic warfare, he ordered Theophanes to be brought to Constantinople and tried in vain to induce him to condemn what had been sanctioned by the council. Theophanes was cast into prison and for two years suffered cruel treatment; he was then banished to Samothracia, where, overwhelmed with afflictions, he lived only seventeen days and wrought many miracles after death.
At the urgent request of his friend George Syncellus (d. 810), Theophanes undertook the continuation of his chronicle, during the years 810-15 (P. G., CVIII, 55). He treated of the time from the year 284-813, and made use of material already prepared by Syncellus, probably also the extracts from the works of Socrates, Sozomenus, and Theodoret, made by Theodore Lector, and the city chronicle of Constantinople. The work consists of two parts, the first giving the history, arranged according to years, the other containing chronological tables, full of inaccuracies, and therefore of little value. It seems that Theophanes had only prepared the tables, leaving vacant spaces for the proper dates, but that these had been filled out by someone else (Hurter, "Nomencl." I, Innsbruck, 1903, 735). The first part, though lacking in historical precision and criticism, which could scarcely be expected from a man of such ascetical disposition, greatly surpasses the majority of Byzantine chronicles (Krumbacher, "Gesch. der byz. Litt., 1897, 342). The chronicle was edited at Paris in 1655 by Goar; again at Venice in 1729 with annotations and corrections by Combefis. A Latin version was made by Anastasius Bibliothecarius, and both were ably edited by de Boor (Leipzig, 1883).SOURCE
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?"
Jesus answered, "The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one;
and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'
The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he;
and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any question.