Saturday, April 24, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SAT. APRIL 24, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN-POPE: SAYS GIVE A SOUL TO INTERNET COMMUNICATION-
EUROPE: ITALY: BISHOP´S CONFERENCE PROMOTES DIGITAL WITNESS-
AUSTRALIA: BISHOP URGES CHARITABLE TREATMENT OF REFUGEES-
ASIA: IRAQ: CHRISTIANS ERECT A STATUE OF CHRIST-
AMERICA: CANADA: STUDENTS WALK FOR LIFE-
AFRICA: KENYA: CHURCHES CLING TO HOPE FOR CHANGES TO DRAFT-
POPE: SAYS GIVE A SOUL TO INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Radio Vaticana report: The need to give the Internet a soul and humanize the dynamics of the digital world was at the heart of Pope Benedict XVI’s message Saturday to participants in a conference on modern means of mass communication.
Promoted by the Italian Bishops Conference, “Digital Witness” draws together experts in information technology, social networking, web journalism and blogging to focus on the language we use and the way we communicate as Christians in the online society.
Pope Benedict told participants that the task of every believer who works in media, is to ensure the “quality of human contact, guaranteeing attention to people and their spiritual needs”. “This is increasingly urgent in today’s world”, he said, at a time when Internet appears to have a “basically egalitarian” vocation, but at the same time, “marks a new divide", the "digital divide" that "separates the included from the excluded"
"The dangers of homologation and control, of intellectual and moral relativism are also increasing, as already recognizable in the decline of critical spirit, in truth reduced to a game of opinions, in the many forms of degradation and humiliation of the intimacy of the person"
Thus said the Pope we see, a "spiritual pollution" that brings us to no longer "look one another in the face”. So we must “overcome those collective dynamics that risk reducing people to "soulless bodies, objects of exchange and consumption”. The media must become a “humanizing factor”, focused "on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples". Only then, will "the epochal times we are experiencing be rich and fertile in new opportunities":
"Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to qualify ourselves by living in the digital world with a believer’s heart, helping to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication".
POPE MEETS AMBASSADOR FROM BELGIUM
Radio Vaticana report: Pope Benedict XVI today received the new ambassador from Belgium to the Holy See, Charles Ghislain. In his address to the European nation, Pope Benedict underlined that “The Church works for the common good and wants to have the opportunity to bring its message to humanity, in respect for freedom of conscience”.
There are over seven million Catholics in Belgium, about three quarters of the total population, spread across eight diocese. However, recent pew figures show an annual decline in Church attendance and vocations to religious life. This despite it being home to one of the worlds most famous and ancient Catholic universities, Leuven.
On Saturday the Pope spoke of his conviction that despite these social changes which have taken place in Belgium, Christianity is still an important foundation for the nation, and the Gospel principles of brotherhood and solidarity have much to offer the country’s growth.
Pope Benedict described life and human dignity as precious assets and spoke of their fragility, referring two recent disasters in Belgium: the collapse of a building in Liège, in late January, and an rail accident in Buizingen in March.
These catastrophes - said the pope – “measure the fragility 'of human existence and the need to
protect it”, for an ''authentic social cohesion” and “respect in diversity”.
Finally, Benedict XVI took the opportunity to greet the new archbishop of Brussels, Mons. Leonard, and expressed his appreciation for the whole work of the Church in Belgium.
ITALY: BISHOP´S CONFERENCE PROMOTES DIGITAL WITNESS
CNA report: The Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI) inaugurated a three-day conference on "Digital Witnesses" yesterday in Rome. The gathering is aimed at providing a new generation with access to the message of Christ, using a recognizable "language."
The conference has drawn more than 1,300 participants from across Italy, who are attending addresses given by directors and journalists from Italian media outlets, experts on communications and digital technologies and Church leaders.
In his address on the opening day of the conference, CEI's secretary general, Bishop Mariano Crociata, said that while new media channels promoted by the Church community do not replace other means of communication, they do "represent a new opportunity" in response to the demand to "intensify dialogue and collaboration."
It's about reaching a generation which has a different vocabulary, Bishop Crociata explained, describing young people as "digital natives" who have been raised with the speed and pervasiveness of today's "horizontal, decentralized and interactive communication."
It's "a generation that is not against God or the Church, but a generation that is learning to live without God and without the Church," he noted.
In this context, he continued, the commitment of the Church to developing a "new literacy" in the digital media is about having a presence that is marked by "the Christian identity, the superabundance represented by the Gospel."
He also highlighted the challenge of establishing an "organic project" for social communications in the pastoral plan of dioceses that integrates this language and identity into other environments.
Citing the Holy Father's message for World Communications Day, the CEI secretary general concluded, "We must stop considering communications as 'an ulterior segment to the pastoral ministry or a sector dedicated to the media,' to understand it rather as 'the setting for a pastoral outreach entirely and integrally "rethought" from what the culture of media is and determines in consciences and in society.'"
Additional topics to be address during the conference are: "The social network and its centrality in communicative practices" and "Young people between mass media and personal media."
The culminating event of the conference is the final address, which will be given by the Holy Father in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall on Saturday afternoon to a crowd of around 8,000 participants and other representatives of the Italian Church.
BISHOP URGES CHARITABLE TREATMENT OF REFUGEES
Cath News report: Australia will be judged by the way it treats refugees, says Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.
"There is a desperate need for leadership from both sides of politics on this issue. If our attitude to refugees in recent months is any measure of our humanity, we will be found badly wanting," Bishop Saunders said in a statement calling for a more compassionate response to asylum seekers.
"Australia sees only a tiny proportion of the world's asylum seekers. The US, Canada, France and the UK see many times more than we do.
"Measured against 42 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including 16 million refugees and asylum seekers, Australia's annual allocation of fewer than 14,000 places under the humanitarian program is small."
The vast majority of displaced people are seeking shelter in developing countries, Bishop Saunders said.
"Applications for asylum should be assessed on individual circumstances, not simply on nationality. When it abandoned the 'Pacific solution', the Rudd Government promised that asylum seekers would be detained for the shortest time possible. Australia must keep that promise."
"We can afford to be far more compassionate and humane in our response to people fleeing desperate situations and in dire need," Bishop Saunders said.
IRAQ: CHRISTIANS ERECT A STATUE OF CHRIST
Asia News report: The statue to launch a message of "peace and hope" for the entire country. The sculpture erected in Baghdeda and one-tenth the height of the original. Made by two of the city’s security guards for a cost of 130 dollars the result of donations of the faithful.
Hamdaniya (AsiaNews) - To send a message of "peace and hope" to the whole country, Christians in northern Iraq have erected a statue of Jesus, which recalls the statue of Christ Redeemer on Mount Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro. The sculpture is one-tenth the height of the original- 40 meters high - which dominates the Brazilian metropolis, but has become more destination for faithful and pilgrims.
On 10 April, Fr. Louis Kassab, chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs, unveiled the statue of the Iraqi Christ Redeemer (pictured). It has been placed at Baghdeda’s check point number 1,at the entrance to the municipal town of al-Hamdaniya in Nineveh governorate. Najib Attallah, head of the checkpoint where the statue stands, says that the idea came from his security guards. "In the past we have set up the crib at Christmas - says the man -. The guards wanted to build a statue for the celebration of Easter, along the lines of Christ Redeemer in Brazil. "
The construction lasted about a month and a half, the men devoting 18 hours of work per week. The work was carried out by two checkpoint guards, Alaa Nasir Kithya and Amaar Anaya, thanks to numerous donations and support from colleagues and faithful of the city. The final cost was 150 thousand dinars, slightly less than 130 dollars. Bashar Jarjees Habash, coordinator of the Committee for Religious Affairs, stressed that the construction of the statue is a "message of peace for all." "The statue is of stone - he says - and can be removed at any time, but the story of Iraqi Christians can not be erased." We have a long history behind us, claims the man, and we "show our loyalty to Iraq." Alaa Naser Matti, one of the volunteers who helped build the statue, adds that it "should last for 30 years. We wanted to colour it white, because it is the colour of peace, and we will repaint paint it every year. " Last February in just 10 days eight Christians were killed in Mosul, capital of the governorate of Nineveh. Human rights activists have asked the central government and local government to increase security and protection for the faithful who are victims of a struggle for dominance in the area that involves Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen.
Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, about 200 Christians have been killed in attacks or as a result of the attacks. A carnage that Pope Benedict XVI recalled at Easter, urging the Iraqi authorities to "do more" to protect the minority.
CANADA: STUDENTS WALK FOR LIFE
JCE report: Every year approximately 1.6 million children are aborted in Canada and the United States. Worldwide the figure is over 40 million. The numbers are stunning. This summer two students from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Michael Hayden and Jonathan Baker, have decided to do something about it. They’ll be going for a walk.
During their 5500 kilometer walk, which will take them almost three months to complete, Michael and Jonathan will pray morning and evening prayer plus 20 decades of the rosary every day, attend daily Mass when possible, speak to Churches and youth groups across the country, and pray in front of abortion clinics in every major city they visit.
It will be the walk of a lifetime but it won’t be without sacrifices. In order to do the walk they will have to forgo their summer jobs and will be unable to meet the costs of their education next year. If you would like to help Jonathan and Michael in their mission, donations may be sent to Michael Hayden (attention: Walk for Life) at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, 18 Karol Wojtyla Square, Box 249, Barry’s Bay, ON K0J 1B0. Donations can also be made online through PayPal:
KENYA: CHURCHES CLING TO HOPE FOR CHANGES TO DRAFT
All Africa report: Churches still cling to the hope that changes will be made to the draft constitution before the referendum.
They have asked politicians not to hold the country hostage by blocking the changes. National Council of Churches of Kenya general secretary Peter Karanja said on Friday that Parliament can make the changes.
"The Constitution is made by Kenyans, and they should change it to suit the interests of the majority," he said. The Church has formed a 10-member committee to meet government representatives from Monday to discuss the contested clauses.
The government has, however, ruled out any amendments before the referendum. But speaking during a Central Province NCCK regional delegates' conference, the Rev Karanja hoped that the government would agree to Church demands to amend the Constitutional Review Act to allow the changes.
The Church objects to a section of Article 26, which empowers doctors to end a pregnancy if it endangers the mother's life. Its leaders are also opposed to the kadhi's courts in the constitution. The NCCK boss said: "The draft seems to have addressed all other issues, including the political and economic spheres. Only religious views have been locked out."
The Rev Karanja was presiding over the close of a conference, in which more than 300 delegates issued a statement backing the NCCK position to push for amendments on abortion and kadhi's courts. The team, appointed by the Church, will meet the government side to try and unlock the deadlock on the contentious issues.
At the same time, NCCK has criticised some retired clerics for issuing statements they purport to represent their members' position on the proposed draft. It was apparently referring to retired Anglican Archbishop David Gitari and retired PCEA clergyman Timothy Njoya, who said they would vote Yes. The retired clergymen were expressing their own personal views, the organisation said.
And Grand National Unity Party said it would wait for the outcome of consultations between the government and church leaders before making a stand on the draft. Secretary-general Nderitu Gachagua pointed out that it was the party's wish that the two sides reach consensus.
St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Feast: April 24
Information: Feast Day: April 24
Born: 1577 at Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany
Died: 24 April 1622 at Grusch, Grisons, Switzerland
Canonized: 29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV
Major Shrine: Capuchin Convent of Weltkirchen (Feldkirch), Austria
He was born in 1577, at Sigmarengen, a town in Germany, in the principality of Hoinvenzollen. The name of his father was John Rey. The saint was christened Mark, performed his studies in the university of Fribourg in Switzerland, and while he taught philosophy, commenced doctor of laws. He at that time never drank wine, and wore a hair-shirt. His modesty, meekness, chastity, and all other virtues, charmed all that had the happiness of his acquaintance. In 1604, he accompanied three young gentlemen of that country on their travels through the principal parts of Europe. During six years, which he continued in this employment, he never ceased to instil into them the most heroic and tender sentiments of piety. He received the holy sacrament very frequently, particularly on all the principal holidays: in every town where he came, he visited the hospitals and churches, passed several hours on his knees in the presence of the blessed sacrament, and gave to the poor sometimes the very clothes off his back. After this he practiced the law in quality of counsellor or advocate, at Colmar, in Alsace, with great reputation, but with greater virtue. Justice and religion directed all his actions. He scrupulously forbore all invectives, detractions, and whatever might affect the reputation of any adversary. His charity procured him the surname of counsellor and advocate for the poor: but the injustices of a colleague in protracting lawsuits for gain, and his finding fault with our saint for producing all his proofs for his clients in the beginning, in order to the quicker dispatch, gave him a disgust of a profession which was to many an occasion of sin, and determined him to enter among the Capuchin friars. He first received holy orders, and having said his first mass in their convent at Fribourg, on the feast of St. Francis, in 1612, he consecrated himself to God by taking the habit. The guardian gave him, in religion, the name of Fidelis, or Faithful, alluding to that text of the Apocalypse which promises a crown of life to him who shall continue faithful to the end. From that moment humiliations, macerations, and implicit obedience were his delight. He overcame temptations by discovering them to his director, and submitting to his advice with regard to his conduct under them. By his last will, he bequeathed his patrimony to the bishop's seminary, for the establishment of a fund for the support of poor students, to whom he also left his library; and gave the remainder of his substance to the poor.
In regard to dress and furniture, he always chose that for his own use which was the least valuable and convenient. He fasted Advent, Lent, and Vigils, on bread and water, with dried fruits, tasting nothing which had been dressed by fire. His life was a continued prayer and recollection, and at his devotions he seemed rather like an angel than a man. His earnest and perpetual petition to God was, that he would always preserve him from sin, and from falling into tepidity or sloth in his service. He sought the most abject and most painful employments even when superior; knowing that God exalts those highest who have here humbled themselves the lowest and the nearest to their own nothingness. He had no sooner finished his course of theology, than he was employed in preaching and in hearing confessions; and being sent superior to the convent of Weltkirchen, that town and many neighboring places were totally reformed by his zealous labors, and several Calvinists converted. The congregation de propaganda fide, sent to father Fidelis a commission to go and preach among the Grisons; and he was the first missionary that was sent into those parts after that people had embraced Calvinism. Eight other fathers of his order were his assistants, and labored in this mission under his direction. The Calvinists of that territory, being incensed at his attempt, loudly threatened his life, and he prepared himself for martyrdom on entering upon this new harvest. Ralph de Salis, and another Calvinist gentleman, were converted by his first conferences. The missionary penetrated into Pretigout, a small district of the Grisons, in 1622, on the feast of the Epiphany, and gained every day new conquests to Christ; the conversion of which souls ought to be regarded as more the fruit of the ardent prayers in which he passed great part of the nights, than of his sermons and conferences in the day. These wonderful effects of his apostolic zeal, whereof the bishop of Coire sent a large and full account to the congregation de propaganda, so enraged the Calvinists in that province, who had lately rebelled against the emperor. their sovereign, that they were determined to bear with them no longer. 'The holy father having notice of it, thought of nothing but preparing himself for his conflict, passing whole nights in fervent prayer before the blessed sacrament, or before his crucifix, and often prostrate on the ground. On the 24th of April, 1622, he made his confession to his companion with great compunction, said mass, and then preached at Gruch, a considerable borough. At the end of his sermon, which he delivered with more than ordinary fire, he stood silent on a sudden, with his eyes fixed on heaven, in an ecstasy, during some time. He foretold his death to several persons in the clearest terms, and subscribed his last letters in this manner: "Brother Fidelis, who will be shortly the food of worms." From Gruch he went to preach at Sevis, where, with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. A Calvinist having discharged his musket at him in the church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered, that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Gruch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. The martyr rose again on his knees, and stretching out his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have pity on me. Mary, mother of Jesus, assist me." Another stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay wetering in his blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stabs in his body, and hacked his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them. A Catholic woman lay concealed near the place during this butchery; and after the soldiers were gone, coming out to see the effects of it, found the martyr's eyes open, and fixed on the heavens. He died in 1622, the forty-fifth year of his age, and the tenth of his religious profession. He was buried by the Catholics the next day. The rebels were soon after defeated by the imperialists, an event which the martyr had foretold them. The minister was converted by this circumstance, and made a public abjuration of his heresy. After six months, the martyr's body was found incorrupt, but the head and left arm separate from the trunk. These being put into two cases, were translated from thence to the cathedral of Coire, at the earnest suit of the bishop, and laid under the high altar with great pomp; the remainder of the corpse was deposited in the Capuchin's church at Weltkirchen. Three miracles performed by his relics and intercession, out of three hundred and five produced, are inserted in the decree of his beatification, published by pope Benedict XIII., in 1729. Other miracles were proved, and the decree of his canonization was published by Benedict XIV., in 1746. The 24th of April is appointed the day of his festival, and his name is inserted in the Roman Martyrology. See the acts of his canonization: also his life, written by Dom. Placid, abbot of Weissenau, or Augia Brigantina, published by Dom. Bernard Pez, librarian in the famous abbey of Melch, in Austria, in his Bibliotheca Ascetica, t. 10, p. 403.
John 10: 11 - 16
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.