Friday, April 9, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 9 APR 2010 (VIS) - At 5.30 p.m. today in the pontifical residence at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI will attend the screening of a film entitled "Under the Roman Sky", an international production starring the American actor James Cromwell which reconstructs Hitler's plan to kidnap Pope Pius XII.

.../PIUS XII FILM/... VIS 20100409 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 9 APR 2010 (VIS) - Tomorrow 10 April, the exposition of the Holy Shroud of Turin will open in the cathedral of that Italian city. One of the highlights of the exposition, which is due to end on 23 May, will be the visit of Benedict XVI, who will celebrate Mass in the city's Piazza San Carlo on 2 May.The Shroud of Turin is believed by millions of Christians to be the burial cloth which wrapped the body of Jesus Christ following His death. The pure linen cloth in a fishbone weave measures 4.37 metres by 1.11 metres. It contains the full frontal and dorsal imprints of a supine man and has carmine-colour stains corresponding to blood. It is marked with a double series of dark spots caused by burns it suffered in a fire in the sixteenth century, while the water use to douse the flames has left broad symmetrical rings, clearly visible. Less visible are transverse marks corresponding to creases in the linen which, before its final voyage to Turin in 1578, had been preserved in a reliquary in forty-eight folds.The man in the image is 180 centimetres tall and has long hair, a beard and moustache. The eyes are closed, the hands and forearms crossed, and the body bears signs of torture.During the period of the exposition, daily Mass will be celebrated in the cathedral in front of the Shroud at 7 a.m., followed by Lauds. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the penitentiary of Palazzo Chiablese throughout the day. The chapel will be reserved for silent prayer and Eucharistic worship.
Priests will be available in the penitentiary to hear confessions and administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The exposition route to view the Shroud will be open from the end of Mass up to 8 p.m. (reservations are required). It will also be possible to enter the cathedral by the main door, but then the Shroud will only be visible from a distance. The nave will be reserved for prayers and silent reflection. In the evening, depending on the calendar, the cathedral may be open for special ceremonies or religious cultural events. The website  provides texts and information concerning all aspects of the organisation of the exposition..../EXPOSITION SHROUD/TURIN VIS 20100409 (390)

FR. LOMBARDI ON DEBATE  (VIS) - Given below is a text entitled "Following Holy Week, Holding Our Course", written by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. and published today on the website of Vatican Radio. "The debate concerning sexual abuse, and not only that committed by the clergy, continues with news items and comments of various kinds. How can we sail through these stormy waters while maintaining a secure course and responding to the evangelical motto 'Duc in altum - Put out into the deep'? In the first place, by continuing to seek truth, and peace for the victims. One of the most striking things is that today so many inner wounds are coming to light, wounds that also date to many years (sometimes decades) ago, but evidently still open, Many victims do not seek financial compensation but inner assistance, a judgement on their painful individual experiences. There is something that we have yet to fully understand; perhaps we need a more profound experience of events that have had such a negative impact on the lives of individuals, of the Church and of society. One example of this, at the collective level, is the hatred and violence of conflicts between peoples which are, as we see, so difficult to overcome in true reconciliation. Abuse opens wounds at a deep inner level. For this reason, certain episcopates were right when they courageously resumed developing ways and places in which victims could express themselves freely, listening to them without taking it for granted that the problem had already been faced and overcome by the workshops established sometime ago. For this reason also, other episcopates and individual bishops were right to intervene paternally, showing spiritual, liturgical and human concern for victims. It seems certain that the number of new accusations of abuse is falling, as is happening in the United States, but for many people the road to profound healing is only now beginning, and for others it has yet to start. In the context of this concern for victims, the Pope has written of his readiness to hold new meetings with then, thus sharing in the journey of the entire ecclesial community. But this journey, in order to achieve profound effects, must take place in respect for people and the search for peace. Alongside concern for victims we must continue to implement, decisively and truthfully, the correct procedures for the canonical judgement of the guilty, and for collaborating with the civil authorities in matters concerning their judicial and penal competencies, taking the specific norms and situations of the various countries into account. Only in this way can we hope effectively to rebuild a climate of justice and complete trust in the ecclesiastical institution. It has happened that a number of leaders of communities and institutions, through inexperience or unpreparedness, have not had a ready understanding of the protocols and criteria for intervention which could have helped them intervene decisively even when this was very difficult or painful for them, also because they were often surprised by the accusations. But, while civil law intervenes through general norms, canon law must take account of the specific moral gravity of an abuse of the trust placed in persons who hold positions of responsibility within the ecclesial community, and of the flagrant contradiction with the conduct they should show. In this sense, transparency and rigour are urgent requirements if the Church is to bear witness to wise and just government. The formation and selection of candidates for the priesthood, and more generally of the staff of educational and pastoral institutions, is the basis for an effective prevention of the risk of future abuses. Achieving a healthy maturity of the personality, also from a sexual point of view, has always been a difficult challenge, but today it is particularly so, although the best psychological and medical knowledge is of great help in spiritual and moral formation. It has been observed that the greatest frequency of abuses coincided with the most intense period of the 'sexual revolution' of past decades. Formation must take account of this context and of the more general context of secularisation. In the final analysis, this means rediscovering and reaffirming the sense and importance of sexuality, chastity and emotional relationships in today's world, and doing so in concrete, not just verbal or abstract, terms. What a source of disorder and suffering their violation or undervaluation can be! As the Pope observed in his Letter to Irish Catholics, a Christian priestly life today can respond to the requirements of its vocation only by truly nourishing itself at the wellspring of faith and friendship with Christ. People who love truth and the objective evaluation of problems will know where to seek and find information for a more overall comprehension of the problem of paedophilia and the sexual abuse of minors in our time, in different countries, understanding its range and pervasiveness. Thus they will be able to achieve a better understanding of the degree to which the Catholic Church shares problems that are not only her own, to what extent they have particular gravity for her and require specific interventions,and, finally, the extent to which the experience the Church is going through in this field may also be useful for other institutions or for society as a whole. In this context, we truly feel that the communications media have not yet worked sufficiently, especially in countries in which the Church has a stronger presence and in which she is more easily subject to criticism. Yet, documents such as the national US report on the mistreatment of children deserve to be better known in order to understand what fields require urgent social intervention, and the proportions of the problem. In the U.S.A. in 2008 alone, 62,000 people were identified as having committed acts of abuse against minors, while the proportion of Catholic priests was so small as not to be taken into consideration as a group. The protection of minors and young people is, then, an immense and unlimited field, which goes well beyond the specific problem concerning certain members of the clergy. People who sensitively, generously and attentively dedicate their efforts to this problem deserve gratitude, respect and encouragement from everyone, especially from the ecclesial and civil authorities. Theirs is an essential contribution for the serenity and credibility of the education and formation of young people, both inside and outside the Church. The Pope rightly expressed words of great appreciation for them in his Letter to Irish Catholics, though naturally with a view to a vaster horizon. Finally, Pope Benedict XVI, a coherent guide along the path of rigour and truth, merits all respect and support, testimony of which is reaching him from all parts of the Church. He is a pastor well capable of facing - with great rectitude and confidence - this difficult time in which there is no lack of criticism and unfounded insinuations. It must be said that he is a Pope who has spoken a lot about the Truth of God and about respect for truth; and he has become a credible witness of this. We accompany him, learning from him the constancy necessary to grow in truth and transparency, continuing to open our horizons to the serious problems of the world and responding patiently to the slow and gradual release of partial or presumed 'revelations' which seek to undermined his credibility, and that of other institutions or individuals of the Church.This patient and solid love of truth is necessary, in the Church, in the society in which we live, in communicating and in writing, if we wish to serve rather than confuse our fellow men and women".


Asia New report: A record: usually on average there were 1500 -2 thousand new Catholics. Bishop Tong urges the new and the old faithful to be missionaries: "The mission to bring others to know Jesus is the most important Christian commitment."

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – During the Easter vigil in various parishes in Hong Kong 3 thousand adults were baptized. In his Easter letter, Mgr. John Tong thanked the catechists and asked all to be missionaries.
In the past, in Hong Kong, there were on average 1500-2 thousand baptisms of adults who after catechumenal preparation, were received into the Catholic community during the Easter Vigil.
This year their number - 3 thousand - is a record, so much so that Mgr. Tong has devoted a large part of his pastoral letter on the occasion of Easter to this fact.
" With God’s blessings, - says the bishop - the Diocese of Hong Kong rejoices in over 3,000 adult baptisms this Easter Vigil. On behalf of the diocese, I would like to offer our warmest welcome to the newly baptised who have joined our Catholic family”. The bishop has already met the new believers during the catechumenate and has planned a thanksgiving mass with them for Pentecost.
In his letter, Msgr. Tong also thanked the 1000 Catechism schools throughout the diocese and 580 volunteer catechists who teach the catechumens during the year. "They - said the prelate - sacrifice their time and energy to spread the faith. I admire their efforts. I hope and pray that all of them will follow the footsteps of the Apostles and make further progress along the road to God”.
"The mission to bring others to know Jesus is the most important Christian commitment," said Mgr. Tong, who has called "new and old Catholics” to study the catechism of the Church so as to" spread the Gospel in ever wider circles and give a more powerful testimony of faith. "
There are 350 thousand Catholics in Hong Kong out of a population, estimated at about 6.8 million.


USCCB report—"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) welcomes the signing of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the United States and the Russian Federation," said Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the USCCB, in an April 8 letter to President Barack Obama.

“The horribly destructive capacity of nuclear arms makes them disproportionate and indiscriminate weapons that endanger human life and dignity like no other armaments. Their use as a weapon of war is rejected in Church teaching based on just war norms,” Cardinal George wrote. The cardinal cited teaching from both the U.S. bishops and Pope Benedict XVI calling for a world without nuclear weapons.
“Based on a moral imperative to rid the world of nuclear weapons,” Cardinal George said, “the Conference of Bishops will be a steadfast supporter of strong and bipartisan action on the new START Treaty as an important and essential step toward a nuclear-weapons-free future.”
Cardinal George acknowledged that “the path to a world free of nuclear weapons will be long and difficult,” but listed steps that would help, such as ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, securing nuclear materials from terrorists, and strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor nonproliferation efforts and ensure access to peaceful uses of nuclear power.
The full text of Cardinal George’s letter to President Obama can be found online at Other resources on nuclear weapons are at


All Africa report: Catholic bishops were Thursday asked to allow their followers decide their fate during the referendum on a new constitution slated for July.

The Kericho Diocese priest Fr Ambrose Kimutai at the same time dismissed as "unnecessary" the meeting between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga and leaders of the main Christian faiths.
Fr Kimutai of Segemik parish in Chepalungu district said that as much as the African Catholic bishops were against the legalisation of abortion in the country 's constitution, the same was not the case in Europe where the majority are catholic faithful.
The clergy stated that in Italy where most of it's MPs are Catholic and moreover where the Pope resides, abortion had been legalised in the constitution.
The use of contraceptives, he alleged, was the order of the day and wondered why African bishops were rigid on the issue.
"If in the Vatican, where our Pope stays, abortion was not a big issue, why are we in Kenya trying to blow the matter out of proportion for the sake of scuttling the constitutional review process?" he queried.
Speaking to the Nation in Bomet town Thursday, Fr Kimutai said that the meeting between the two principals and the church leaders was unwarranted saying these are people who "wine and dine" in their bungalows when Kenyans take to streets protesting the infringement of their rights.
"These leaders should leave their followers make their own decision during the referendum instead of being panicky and meeting the President and the Premier over issues that they have no control about."
He pointed out that the draft should be passed as it is and amendments on the contentious issues be introduced later.


Catholic Herald report: Michael Whyte’s documentary film No Greater Love is a tender and sympathetic account of the daily routines of the Carmelite nuns who live at the monastery of the Holy Trinity in north Kensington. Apart from two periods of recreation, the Sisters are silent throughout the day. They rarely leave the purpose-built Victorian compound except for visits to the dentist or doctor, and high walls around the grounds protect them from the distractions of trendy Notting Hill.
Whyte parks his cameras at the end of corridors or in the gardens and simply records what happens. The result is surprisingly absorbing. For one thing, the silence lends a kind of seriousness and sanctity even to the nuns’ mundane chores – cleaning the windows, polishing the parquet floors, or doing the online shop at Tesco. As if to emphasise this point, Whyte intersperses housekeeping duties with the recitation of the Daily Office and the rituals of the sacred liturgy during Holy Week. And the film has a loose structure that suggests the cycle of beginnings and endings inside the monastery. We see the profession of a novice as well as the death of an octogenarian Sister.
The silence is not absolute, of course: it doesn’t mean there’s no noise, just an absence of frivolous chit-chat. And the lack of human banter has the effect of amplifying the mechanical sounds that remain, especially machines and power tools. In the garden a nun turns the soil with a Rotovator; another uses a chainsaw to hack off the branches of a tree. (These nuns are physically strong.) In the kitchens they run a business manufacturing Communion wafers. They pour batter on to a circular hotplate to produce a flat disc of bread, bigger than a dinner plate; then another machine stamps out the Hosts.
“Silence becomes music,” says Sister Christine Marie. “It’s something that’s full of life and expectancy. There’s grace in it.” The nuns appear serene and have open and clean-washed faces. But the religious life does not sound like an easy option. The Sisters describe struggling, often for years and years, with doubts or difficulties in prayer.
Whyte, a self-effacing interrogator, asks the prioress, who joined in 1959 straight after graduating from Cambridge, whether she fears death. With delightful frankness she says: “Well, there’s always the thought that maybe the atheists are quite right and there’s just a void at the other side.”
And you can hear Whyte gasping when the prioress says she went through 18 years in a kind of spiritual depression, feeling that she was not good enough and expecting God to slam the door in her face. The religious life starts well, she says, but “pretty soon... that goes” and you’re left with “darkness, boredom, dryness” and it’s as though “you’re sitting there talking to yourself on your knees”. The patience and piety of these women is something to see – that they have the faith to get through these testing periods and pass on to a deeper level of self-knowledge and, as one says, “a truer relationship with God”.
It’s not all serious, however. Recreation (home-made – they don’t watch television) affords moments of joy. At one point the Sisters switch on a tape player and dance to Scottish reels. It is an extremely moving scene – something about the mixture of the seriousness with which they approach the task of twirling one another around, and the plain happiness on their faces.
Josh Appignanesi’s The Infidel is a change-of-identity comedy celebrating religious diversity. David Baddiel’s screenplay has witty lines but takes few risks. Omid Djalili plays Mahmud Nasir, a roly-poly Muslim everyman. He runs a minicab firm and has a wife (Archie Panjabi) of unlikely beauty, considering he’s a slap-headed slob, and two children. He suffers a crisis when he finds that he was adopted and was born Jewish.
The early part of the film contains some amusing scenes, in which Mahmud bonds with his alcoholic Jewish neighbour Lenny (Richard Schiff from The West Wing) as he tries to learn how to behave like a Jew. Lenny shows Mahmud how to gesture expansively, say “Oy vey”, and dance like Topol in Fiddler on the Roof.
In its second half The Infidel starts to drag as it pokes fun in an obvious way at conceited Islamists. The cultural humour is often laboured but the film’s heart is in the right place.


Cath News report: Teachers at Catholic and independent and schools will not join a boycott of the of the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy tests planned by the Australian Education Union.

The union is not opposed to the tests, but objects to the results being published to compare school performance on the My School website, said The Daily Telegraph.
The AEU will vote on Monday to to pull its members out, which will cost NSW taxpayers $6.6 million to hire 8300 independent supervisors; and throw more than 2000 primary and secondary Government schools into chaos as qualified replacements from outside the teachers' union have to be found to supervise the tests for children in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, the report added.
The tests are due to be held from May 11-13.
The AEU is trying to stop the publication of school performance league tables claiming they have "profound negative consequences for students, teachers and parents".
But Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has refused to remove results data from the website saying she will not "bow to threats from the union".
Parent and principal groups are not opposing NAPLAN and teachers at independent and Catholic schools will not boycott the tests, the report said.
NSW Education Minister Verity Firth said yesterday the Government would ask the Industrial Relations Commission to order the union to lift the ban.


St. Mary Cleophas

Feast: April 9
Information:Feast Day: April 9

This title occurs only in John, xix, 25. A comparison of the lists of those who stood at the foot of the cross would seem to identify her with Mary, the mother of James the Less and Joseph (Mark 15:40; cf. Matthew 27:56). Some have indeed tried to identify her with the Salome of Mark, xv, 40, but St. John's reticence concerning himself and his relatives seems conclusive against this (cf. John 21:2). In the narratives of the Resurrection she is named "Mary of James"; (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10) and "the other Mary" (Matthew 27:61; 28:1). The title of "Mary of James" is obscure. If it stood alone, we should feel inclined to render it "wife of (or sister of) James", but the recurrence of the expression "Mary the mother of James and Joseph" compels us to render it in the same way when we only read "Mary of James". Her relationship to the Blessed Virgin is obscure. James is termed "of Alpheus", i.e. presumably "son of Alpheus". St. Jerome would identify this Alpheus with Cleophas who, according to Hegesippus, was brother to St. Joseph (Hist. eccl., III, xi). In this case Mary of Cleophas, or Alpheus, would be the sister-in-law of the Blessed Virgin, and the term "sister", adelphe, in John, xix, 25, would cover this. But there are grave difficulties in the way of this identification of Alpheus and Cleophas. In the first place, St. Luke, who speaks of Cleophas (xxiv, 18), also speaks of Alpheus (6:15; Acts 1:13). We may question whether he would have been guilty of such a confused use of names, had they both referred to the same person. Again, while Alphas is the equivalent of the Aramaic, it is not easy to see how the Greek form of this became Cleophas, or more correctly Clopas. More probably it is a shortened form of Cleopatros.


John 21: 1 - 14

1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe'ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.

2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan'a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb'edee, and two others of his disciples were together.

3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

5 Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No."

6 He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.

7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea.

8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.

10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught."

11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.

13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.

14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.