Thursday, April 22, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: THURS. APRIL 22, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE PRAISES MACEDONIA'S CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL HERITAGE-
AMERICA: ARGENTINA: FACEBOOK REUNITES ABANDONED CHILD WITH MOTHER-
AFRICA: ZAMBIA: ROSARY BOOKLETS FOR DEATH ROW INMATES-
ASIA: IRAQ: PRIEST ATTACKED NEAR MOSUL-
EUROPE: ENGLAND: CATHOLIC CANDIDATES IN THE ELECTION ON MAY 6-
AUSTRALIA: MCCLELLAND REJECTS PROPOSAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER-
POPE PRAISES MACEDONIA'S CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL HERITAGE
VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2010 (VIS) - Gjoko Gjorgjevski, the new ambassador to the Holy See of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, today presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father.
In his address to the diplomat, the Pope mentioned "the good relations" that exist between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Holy See, relations "characterised by cordial co-operation". He likewise expressed his pleasure "at the joint commitment shown recently in the construction of new places of Catholic workshop at a number of sites around the country".
"Macedonians", the Holy Father went on, "show visible signs of those human and Christian values, incarnated in people's lives, which constitute the priceless spiritual and cultural heritage of the nation, one eloquent testimony of which are the stupendous religious monuments built at various times and in various places". The Pope also highlighted how the Holy See considers this heritage "with great respect and consideration, favouring ... historical study and research for a greater knowledge of the cultural and religious past".
"Firm in their spiritual identity", the Macedonian people "will be able to offer European peoples the contribution of their own experience", said Benedict XVI. In this context, he expressed his hope for the success of the country's "growing efforts to become part of the united Europe, while accepting the relative rights and duties, and with reciprocal respect for the collective demands and traditional values of each people".
The commitment of Macedonians to fomenting dialogue and co-existence among the various ethnic and religious groups that make up the country, said the Pope, "has favoured the creation of a climate in which people consider each another as brothers, children of the same God and citizens of one country.
"First and foremost", he added, "it is certainly the task of leaders of institutions to identify ways to translate men and women's aspirations for dialogue and peace into political initiatives. Yet believers know that peace is not just the fruit of human plans and activities, but is above all a gift of God to men and women of good will. Justice and forgiveness represent the columns that hold up this peace. Justice ensures full respect for rights and duties, while forgiveness heals and reconstructs relations among people from their foundations, relations which are still experiencing the consequences of the ideological clashes of the recent past".
The Holy Father continued his address: "Having overcome the tragedy of World War II, and following the sad experience of a totalitarianism that denied the fundamental rights of the human person, the Macedonian people are now on the road to harmonious progress. ... Stable social and economic development cannot but take account of people's cultural, social and spiritual requirements, just as it must make use of the most noble popular traditions and resources". He likewise noted that globalisation, "while on the one hand bringing a certain levelling of social and economic differences could, on the other, aggravate the imbalance between those who take advantage of the increasing possibilities to produce wealth and those who are left on the sidelines of progress". "My hope is that, in a general context of moral relativism and scant interest in religious experience affecting a part of European society", the Macedonian people "may exercise wise discernment in opening new horizons of authentic civility and true humanism.
"To this end, we must seek to strengthen and maintain the principles that lie at the roots of this people's civilisation, at both the individual and community level", the Pope concluded. These principles include: "dedication to the family, defence of human life and the promotion of religious needs especially among the young. The Catholic Church in your nation", he told the ambassador, "though representing a minority, wishes to make her sincere contribution to building a more just and united society, founded on the Christian values that have enriched the minds of its inhabitants".
CD/ VIS 20100422 (660)
STATISTICS FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN PORTUGAL
VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2010 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Portugal, due to take place from 11 to 14 May, statistics concerning the Catholic Church in that country have been published. The information, updated to 31 December 2008, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church. Portugal, the capital of which is Lisbon, has a population of 10,610,000 of whom 9,368,000 (88.3 percent) are Catholic. There are 21 ecclesiastical circumscriptions and 4,830 parishes. Currently there are 52 bishops, 3,797 priests, 6,007 religious, 594 lay members of secular institutes and 63,906 catechists. Minor seminarians number 279, and major seminarians 444.
A total of 129,230 children and young people attend 900 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church, or run by priests or religious in Portugal include 34 hospitals, 155 clinics, 799 homes for the elderly or disabled, 663 orphanages and nurseries, 55 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 462 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 168 institutions of other kinds.
PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100422 (190)
VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
- Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
- Frere Alois, prior of the community of Taize.
AP/ VIS 20100422 (60)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, Ireland, presented by Bishop James Moriarty, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Appointed Bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Da Lat, president of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam as coadjutor archbishop of Hanoi (area 7,000, population 5,399,400, Catholics 334,788, priests 91, religious 322), Vietnam. The archbishop-elect was born in Da Lat in 1938, he was ordained a priest in 1967 and consecrated a bishop in 1991.
ARGENTINA: FACEBOOK REUNITES ABANDONED CHILD WITH MOTHER
CNA report: In an amazing series of events, a young man who was abandoned at birth used a Facebook group to find his biological mother. After then were reunited, the young man thanked her for resisting the temptation to have an abortion. Mauricio, 23, was abandoned by his mother at birth. In an effort to find her, he created a Facebook group called "I’m searching for my mother." Mauricio ended up finding her and the two were reunited. Last Saturday afternoon, Mauricio spoke on the telephone with his mother for the first time.“My son,” she said, “it’s me, your mom. Don’t hate me. Forgive me. I always remembered you, I never forgot you.” The next day, they met in the town of Cordoba, Argentina. The emotional encounter was full of hugs and silence. Later, Mauricio told the newspaper, El Diario Clarín, "I feel complete. I have never experienced this serenity of my soul. Finally, I can finish my story.” "The only thing I could say to her was that everything was fine and that I forgave her," he added.During their talk, the young man explained, his mother told him that she didn’t have any other children. She said that his father was "a mistake" and that she had gone on to reconstruct her life with another person. Without resentment, he replied in gratitude: "Thank you for having the courage to bear me for seven months and for not having me aborted."
Now, says Mauricio, the Facebook group will be renamed, "I found her."
ZAMBIA: ROSARY BOOKLETS FOR DEATH ROW INMATES
CNA report. Maximum security prisoners and death row inmates in Zambia will receive booklets about the Rosary through a joint initiative of two U.K.-based charities. A reported 1,600 copies of the booklet, created by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), will be distributed to prisoners in Kamfinsa State Prison and Kabwe Maximum Security Prison. The initiative is conducted by ACN and the charity Crown of Thorns in response to inmates’ requests for more information about the Rosary.Lisa de Quay, chief executive of Crown of Thorns, told ACN the charity regularly receives many letters from prisoners, including those on death row. She said contact with the prisoners was probably established after a visiting chaplain distributed Crown of Thorns cards describing the rosary prayers.
“Inmates are usually family breadwinners, worried about the poverty and hardship that their crime has left their families suffering and too far from home for their families to visit,” de Quay explained.
“Although kindly treated, most inmates spend years in prison with only the clothes that they were arrested in, and with no soap, and with no blanket or sheet to cover themselves in through the cold months of the year, and (are) often rejected from their society through crime or disease.”
Sending Rosary cards to prisoners and the booklet is making a difference in their lives, she said.
“Their letters will surprise you, (they are) full of the great joy of contact, of being accepted, and of finding God,” she commented. Another message of thanks came from a maximum security prisoner in Kabwe jail, who called the Rosary distribution “a lamp that one cannot hide under the table.” “It is a light of the world, a light that can be seen thousands of miles up and much farther on land. This light shines before people.
“How thrilling it is to be part of God’s work, shining out in this dark and corrupt world.
“For the love and faith you have for God’s people, I pray that God should bless you all, and that he gives you knowledge that you can share with me.”
IRAQ: PRIEST ATTACKED NEAR MOSUL
Asia News report: The villagers near Mosul demand a public apology. An "isolated, but very serious” episode. The Kurdish military commander of the group promises that the guilty will be judged in court.
Baghdad (AsiaNews) – The Christians of Telleskuf are demanding an apology from the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, northern Iraq, after a bodyguard of Peshmerga attacked a priest last week. On April 16, the community of the town - not far from Mosul and the neighbouring semi-autonomous province of Kurdistan – held a protest calling for a public apology (see photo) from the Kurdish government, which depends on the peshmerga,: Local sources told AsiaNews – “A priest is considered a real authority and any offense against him is against the Church itself. "
The episode dates back to April 15 – according to online agency Ankawa.com - when Father Thomas Faris Yacoub, on his journey home, passed near the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (the formation of Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, ed). "At that moment I saw a guard throw a plastic cup full of water into the next room - says the priest - I asked him why he did it, seeing the place had just been cleared to reopen at the weekend" .
The response was swift and came from a fellow soldier, who began to insult and slap Fr. Faris, until the other peshmerga intervened to stop him. After the attack, one of the officers on duty made the priest enter the barracks to calm him down and apologize. Two hours later - Fr. Faris himself tells - The commander of peshmerga in person, with a small delegation, went to his house to make an apology and ensure that the guilty soldier would be tried by a special court.
The soldier attacked the priest despite being fully aware of who he had in front of him, because the priest was wearing his clerics. The fact has provoked a public outcry among the inhabitants of Telleskuf, but the situation has not degenerated thanks to the immediate apology from the top commanders of the Peshmerga.
With the peaceful demonstration last Friday, but the Christian community has sought to stress its indignation and concern for an act considered "isolated, but very serious."
ENGLAND: CATHOLIC CANDIDATES IN THE ELECTION ON MAY 6
By Jon Cruddas
And this brings me to Labour and why it is vital that Catholics engage with the Labour tradition once more. There has been much that has been worthy of criticism in the past 13 years. We have been too pro-City, too managerial and too bureaucratic. That said, we have a record that bears comparison with any other country when it comes to health, education and a redistribution to the poor. There are signs, and Ed Miliband has indicated the direction with the manifesto, that we are connecting again with our own tradition and with Catholicism on the political economy. The manifesto will include a Peoples' Bank to recapitalise local areas, a living wage in public procurement and a cap on interest rates. Above all, when it comes to the bailout and the public debt, it should not be the case that the terms of recovery should be set by those who caused the debt in the first place. This contrasts with the Conservative agenda, where poor families would be the first to feel the consequences of not building new homes, in a reduction of human contact hours with adults in schools, of an agenda that favours the bankers that they bailed out 18 months ago. But it goes deeper than that, and it goes to the heart of the matter. As a Labour Catholic I believe that we are fallen and capable of grace, that we find redemption in the love we show to each other, in the ethic of reciprocity, where we build a common life together. From tax cuts to debt the Conservatives still make a virtue of greed and self-interest. They make nice noises about the big society but do not deliver where it matters. The living wage is a Catholic idea that used to be called a family wage, whereby you strengthen family life through paying people enough to live. The Conservatives rejected it; we're running on it. The Conservatives won't put a limit on usury, we will. The goodness of our life is dependent upon the quality of the relationships we have. Debt undermines that and we will do something about it. The Murdoch media will say this is a left turn, but they do not understand. It is a Catholic turn, a turn back to family life, community, reciprocity and solidarity in which the dignity of each human life is what matters. On public and private debt, on family and neighbourliness, on justice and solidarity, there are real dividing lines and we are on the right side of them. I think that the next decade will be defined by our response to the financial crash. Human needs, family life and the real economy should come first. I urge all Catholics of good will not simply to vote Labour but to re-engage with the Labour movement as the political embodiment of the organised hope of the working people of this country and as the expression of Catholic social teaching in action.
We need more kindness and love, more reciprocity and mutuality, more responsibility and democracy. We need each other to build a good society which preserves the unique human status of each person.
I am committed to strengthening that agenda within the Labour Party and I ask you to join me in doing that.
Jon Cruddas is the Labour MP for Dagenham
David Cameron has been the leader of the Conservative Party since December 2005
We are committed to changing it: It has to go further, however. Between the family, and the nation, there is a whole string of important institutions, including, vitally, schools. A Conservative government will put an end to our current education gap. We are the sixth wealthiest country in the world, yet parents face a postcode lottery to get a decent education for their children. Catholic schools consistently do well not only in academic results but also in areas like juvenile delinquency and racial integration. Conservatives have a vision to allow churches and voluntary bodies to set up schools which teach their values. We are determined to restore to teachers proper disciplinary powers, including the legal enforceability of home-school contracts and, crucially, the head teacher's power to exclude. Excluded children should not simply be dumped in another school or, worse still, left to roam the streets. Instead we would reform pupil referral units, making use of the excellent voluntary organisations which have done so much in this area.This point can be widened across the spectrum of social provision. There is a range of organisations, many of them run by the churches, which do a much better job than any state-run body at functions from prisoner rehabilitation through to treatment of addicts. Yet the existing system works against them, rather than in favour of them. Civil servants would rather keep money in their own budgets, however unsuccessful their operations. A single office of a charity for the disabled, the Shaw Trust, one year placed more severely disabled people in jobs than all the Job Centres in London. Yet I had to fight tooth and nail to prevent the appointment of a "disability adviser" in my own local Job Centre which would have soon threatened the grant to the local office of the Shaw Trust. The traditional Conservative vision is of a contract between the current generation, the obligations it owes the next generation and the respect it has for those who have come before. There can be no justification for this Government shackling our children by doubling the national debt - and planning to do so again over the next few years. Britain has the worst level of household indebtedness in Europe but even more important is to tackle burgeoning government debt. To do this we need to rein back the proliferation of bureaucracy, in central government, in regional development agencies and in quangos. This is not just about saving money; it is also about getting the culture of targets and regulation off the backs of ordinary people and indeed hard-working doctors and nurses, teachers, police officers and others who just want to get on with their jobs. We must move from regulation, box-ticking and borrowing to economic recovery, social responsibility and public service - and central to all that are the traditional institutions we inherited from earlier generations.While the current Government believes in top-down state control, Conservatives believe in bottom-up social responsibility and the voluntary sector is key to this. Much more social provision should be directed through them, enabling charities and volunteers to grow the communities they work in and help rebuild "broken Britain". The saddest part of the campaign we have already started is meeting people who have become so disillusioned with politics that they say they won't vote. Some MPs have behaved very badly but the vast majority of MPs of all parties are hard-working men and women who put their constituents first. There is no excuse to stay at home and leave these matters for other people. The choice is stark: continue central government regulation and direction or change to restoring the traditional institutions of social responsibility, the school, the voluntary organisation, the community and, above all, the family. Julian Brazier is the Conservative MP for Canterbury. He is a Shadow Transport Minister and a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship
Nick Clegg has led the Liberal Democrats since December 2007 (PA Photos)
By Sarah Teather
A Liberal Democrat would agree passionately with the statement in Choosing the Common Good that the common good is not an aggregate of well-being in society, where the needs of individuals can be superseded by the good of the masses. Rather, "if anyone is left out, and deprived of what is essential then the common good is betrayed".
The Liberal Democrats' commitment to making sure no one is left out runs throughout every policy area, from our radical plans to make the tax system fairer and take the lowest paid out of paying tax altogether, to our commitment to put £2.5bn into schools serving the most deprived areas.
Just as Pope Benedict XVI argued in Caritas in Veritate, Liberal Democrats believe in free markets, but believe that these markets must be run for the service of people, and not for the service of themselves. That is why it was the Liberal Democrats alone, through Vince Cable, who argued during the boom years against the dangers of building the economy on a bubble of personal debt and poorly regulated risky banking practices.
Sometimes, like the Catholic Church, our commitment to promoting human dignity is controversial. We have always resisted the knee-jerk populism that screams for vengeance in the criminal justice system. Rather, we want a proper balance between punishment and rehabilitation, for a justice gained by reducing offending, not by appeasing headlines. We have courted controversy too with our campaign to end the detention of children in immigration centres, and for an independent, fair and efficient asylum system that provides sanctuary for those fleeing persecution and which lets people work to support themselves while they wait for a decision.
If you believe in Catholic principles of solidarity and the dignity of the person, those principles cannot stop at our shores. It was the Liberal Democrats who led the campaign in Parliament against Guantanamo Bay, who fought against British complicity with torture, and who opposed the illegal war in Iraq. It was also the Liberal Democrats who campaigned tirelessly for Government to protect the environment, long before it became fashionable to do so, because we understand we have a duty to protect the poorest countries from the effects of climate change and to preserve our planet to hand on to our children.
Freedom of speech and conscience is a deeply held liberal principle. The Liberal Democrats would reduce the power of Government whips to dictate to MPs how to vote. We believe that life issues such as abortion, embryology and euthanasia should always be free votes.
This election could be a turning point for Britain. What is also true is that it could be one of the closest fought elections in decades.
If you want the next Parliament to reflect Catholic values for a fairer society that puts people first, you need to make sure you vote for it. I urge you to use that vote for the Liberal Democrats.
Sarah Teather is the Liberal Democrat MP for Brent East
MCCLELLAND REJECTS PROPOSAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER
Cath News report: The Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, has rejected a proposal, led by Catholic priest Father Frank Brennan, for a human rights charter because it was too politically divisive.
The bill of rights had been recommended by a consultation committee chaired by Father Brennan, but was opposed by the federal Labor cabinet after a backlash from prominent figures who feared it would hand too much power to the judiciary, the Age reports.
Mr McClelland denied he had unrealistically raised expectations of a charter by spending $2.8 million on a human rights consultation process, The Australian reports.
Instead, the Attorney-General said he would introduce "positive and practical" measures to improve human rights but stood by the government's decision to reject its human rights committee's recommendation for a charter.
"A legislative charter of rights is not included in the framework as the government believes that the enhancement of human rights should be done in a way that, as far as possible, unites rather than divides our community," he told the National Press Club in Canberra.
He said the government would form a new parliamentary committee to scrutinise laws for compliance with international human rights obligations.
The government would also require that new bills introduced to parliament were accompanied by a statement of compatibility with human rights.
And he said it would spend $12m improving education on human rights.
The measures seek to clarify the government's plans for human rights ahead of this year's election, The Australian added.
The human rights lobby condemned the measures announced yesterday, and said they did not go far enough. Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Branson said the decision was disappointing.
VIRGIN AND ABBESS
Feast: April 22
Information: Feast Day: April 17
Born: at the castle of Exmes, Argentan, near Ayesmes, Normandy, France
Died: 22 April 770, Montreuil, France
Patron of: Diocese of Séez
Virgin and abbess of Montreuil, three miles from Seez, an episcopal see in Normandy, of which her brother, St. Chrodegang, was bishop. This holy prelate, returning from a pilgrimage of devotion which he had made to Rome and other holy places, went to pay a visit to his cousin, St. Lantildis, abbess of Almanesches, in his diocese; but was murdered in the way, at Normant, on the 3d of September, 769, by the contrivance of Chrodobert, a powerful relation, to whom he had intrusted the administration of his temporalities during his absence. He is honored in the Breviary of Seez on the day of his death: his head is enshrined in the abbey of St. Martin in the Fields, at Paris, and his body in the priory of Isle-Adam upon the Oise, near Pontoise. St. Opportuna did not long survive him, dying in 770, on the 22d of April, having lived an accomplished model of humility, obedience, mortification, and prayer. Her relics were carried from Seez during the incursions of the Normans, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to the priory of Moussy, between Paris and Senlis, in 1009: and some time after to Senlis. In the reign of Charles V., in 1374, her right arm was translated to Paris with great devotion and pomp, and deposited in the church which was built in her honor, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to receive a former portion of her relics then brought from Moussy. It was then a small church, built at the entrance of a wood, near a hermitage, called before, Notre Dames des Bois Paris. The town being since extended much beyond this church, it was made parochial and a collegiate of canons. Great part of the head of St. Opportuna remains at Moussy; her left arm, with part of her skull, at Almenesches: one jaw in the priory of St. Chrodegang, at l'Isle-Adam, and a rib, with her right arm, in her church at Paris. In processions, when the shrine of St. Genevieve is taken down, and carried, the ancient portion of the relics of St. Opportuna, kept in a large shrine, is also carried next the shrine of St. Honoratus. She is commemorated in the Paris Breviary, and is the titular saint of a parish in that city.
John 6: 44 - 51
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
48 I am the bread of life.
49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.