Saturday, July 3, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SAT. JULY 3, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: RECEIVED IN AUDIENCE CARDINAL DIAS-
AFRICA: DEM. REP. CONGO: 300 BELIEVED DEAD IN TRUCK EXPLOSION-
EUROPE: SPAIN: OVER 600, 000 YOUTH HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED FOR WYD-
AUSTRALIA: PRIEST REMORSEFUL AS SENTENCED TO PRISON-
ASIA: INDONESIA: CHRISTIAN MAN THREATENED BY DEATH FOR BAPTISING-
AMERICA: PANAMA: 3RD YOUTH CONGRESS IN "CENTRO MEDIO LUNA" JULY 9-
POPE: RECEIVED IN AUDIENCE CARDINAL DIAS
Pope Benedict XVI received in audience this morning: Eminence Card. Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of peoples; H.e. Mons. Nikola Eterović, Archbishop tit. of Cibale, Secretary-General of the Synod of bishops: H.e. Mons. Józef Kowalczyk, Archbishop of Gniezno (Poland); Eminence Card. William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith.
DEM. REP. CONGO: 300 BELIEVED DEAD IN TRUCK EXPLOSION
Agenzia Fides REPORT– "It is a tragedy whose precise dimensions are not yet known. According to the local radio, the number of dead could be 300," Fides was told by Sister Teresina Caffi, a Xaverian missionary from Bukavu, capital of South Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where in the village of Sange (about 70 km south of Bukavu), a tanker truck caught fire and exploded.
"According to information we have gathered, a convoy of five tanker trucks was crossing the center of the village when one of them capsized. The crowd rushed to collect fuel, a bit as occurs in Nigeria. Suddenly a spark, possibly caused by a cigarette butt, caused the explosion," says the missionary.
"There is a busy marketplace in downtown Sange, thus it is feared that the victim count will be very high," says Sister Teresina.
According to local authorities, dozens of homes built on earth and straw, were destroyed.
North and South Kivu are two of the most unstable areas of Congo due to the presence of numerous armed groups that have been fighting for a long time, thus hindering the social and economic development of the civilian population which is forced to live in poverty and insecurity.
SPAIN: OVER 600, 000 YOUTH HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED FOR WYD
CNA report: With 409 days remaining before the World Youth Day celebrations open in Madrid, the organizers of the event are reporting that over 600,000 pilgrims from countries outside Spain have pre-registered to take part in the week-long encounter with the Holy Father.
So far, organizers report that 120,000 Italians, 70,000 French, 50,000 Poles and 25,000 North Americans have signed up for the event. The majority of the pilgrims have signed up in groups, whether it be from their diocese, youth group, parish, or other organization.
Each pilgrim is required to pay a registration fee based on their country of origin, the length of their stay and the services they will require. Though part of the fee will help finance the event, a part of each pilgrim’s registration fee will be set aside in a “solidarity fund” which will help pay the cost of the trip and their stay for those who would not otherwise be able to afford it. World Youth Day “is not for the rich, but rather for everyone, for those who come from Madagascar and from the south of Latin America.” said Bishop Cesar Franco, an auxiliary bishop in Madrid. He underlined the necessity of the 10 Euro contribution to the “solidarity fund” which has been added to each pilgrim’s registration. In this sense he said, they have appealed to the youth to be “generous.”
Registration this year is taking place online. The website http://www.madrid11.com/ was designed by ISBAN, with the financial support of various Spanish institutions. At the end of the event, the Archdiocese of Madrid will make a gift of the system to the Vatican, in the hopes that it can be used to help organize future pilgrimages. The system, which features a two-layer page, will collect personal information via a secure connection in order to help the archbishop and coordinators know more about the pilgrims and their needs in order to better serve them. Though registration is not required to participate in all the events, the organization behind WYD Madrid 2011 is hoping to register at least 40 percent of the people who will attend. They are also projecting that the event will draw a crowd that is 15 percent larger than those of previous World Youth Days.
PRIEST REMORSEFUL AS SENTENCED TO PRISON
Cath News report: Father John Sidney Denham appeared in NSW District Court for sentencing on Thursday, and described himself as a "scumbag pedophile", in a testimony during sentencing submissions.
"I've spent the last 25 years trying to figure out why I did it, and I still haven't got an answer for it," he said in the submission, as victims and their families looked on from the public gallery, reports The Australian.
"Maybe I was so full of hubris that no one could resist me . . . I was an irresistible creature."
Under questioning by crown prosecutor Helen Wilson, Denham accepted he committed a "gross breach of trust".
He said he began to understand "what a foul creature I had become" after attending group therapy where victims of child sex abuse spoke about their trauma.
"I see myself as a mere scumbag pedophile who took advantage of his situation and used my power to abuse young people," Denham said.
Meanwhile The Age this week published a letter that corrected a recent report in the newspaper that misleadingly described a close relationship between a priest and a female parishioner as an "affair".
It reported on June 9 that Michelle Goldsmith of Eaglehawk, a suburb of Bendigo, went to the internal church complaints process, Towards Healing, over an "affair" she claims happened with her parish priest.
But senior Sandhurst priest Father John Ryan, who lives in Canberra, wrote to The Age that the Church's independent assessor made no determination on the precise nature of the relationship.
"As a confidant of Ms Goldsmith and the priest, I write to clarify that her concern in sharing her story was to highlight what she perceived to be unjust and hurtful systemic processes within the church, especially in matters pertaining to women."
INDONESIA: CHRISTIAN MAN THREATENED BY DEATH FOR BAPTISING
Asia News report: A banner depicting a Christian with a noose around his neck is hung outside a mosque with these words: “This man deserves the death penalty!” Andreas Sanau, together with Henry Sutanto, is accused of organising mass baptisms. “The government must protect all citizens from anarchist action as mandated by the constitution,” says secretary of the Communion of Indonesian Churches.
The man is Andreas Sanau, 29, accused along with Henry Sutanto by the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) of organising mass baptisms. The FPI is a radical Islamic group known for his violence against religious minorities, especially Christians.
For years, Islamic extremists have targeted Bekasi Christians, accusing the latter of trying to “Christianise” the city. In the first months of 2010, radical Islamic groups have interrupted Christian religious services, prevented Christians from entering their churches and blocked the building of new churches.
Charges against Sanau and Sutanto are the result of an initiative by the Mahanaim Foundation, a Christian organisation that helps the poor. Last Wednesday, 14 buses full of people met at the residence of the foundation’s president, Henry Sutanto. For Murhali Barda, the local FPI leader, Sutanto “must be killed; he wants a mass baptism.”
Foundation spokeswoman Marya Irawan said that the busloads of people were villagers who had come as part of an outreach programme in favour of the poor. The Foundation has no intention of baptising anyone.
Meanwhile things are getting worse, especially after the local FPI decided to set up a paramilitary organisation ahead of an expected struggle with Christians. More than 1,500 volunteers are training.
According to Murhali Barda, “we are doing this because we want to strike fear in the hearts of Christians who behave in such a way. If they refuse to stop what they’re doing, we’re ready to fight.”
Fr Andreas Yewangoe, secretary of the Communion of Indonesian Churches, said that the militia will only create fear, nervousness and unrest in the nation. “The government must protect all citizens from anarchist action as mandated by the constitution.” So far,the government has done nothing.
Political analyst Arbi Sanit said that the authorities are afraid of taking step that might be interpreted as anti-Islam. For them, “Being popular is more important [. . .] than punishing those who are clearly breaking the law,” Sanit said.
PANAMA: 3RD YOUTH CONGRESS IN "CENTRO MEDIO LUNA" JULY 9
Agenzia Fides report – The Youth Ministry of the Catholic Church of Panama will celebrate its Third Congress in the “Centro Media Luna” in the province of Colon, from Friday, July 9 to Sunday, July 11, with the slogan: "Youth Missionaries, Witnesses of Christ's Love": the announcement was given by Deyanira Rivera, executive secretary of this Commission of the Panamanian Bishops' Conference. In a note sent to Fides, we learn that the objective of this Congress is to revitalize the national youth ministry, making it more of a part of the lives of young people themselves, through a personal and communal encounter with Jesus Christ and the project of assuming missionary discipleship as a lifestyle in the transformation of Panama. That is why the theme of the congress is "Young Panamanians, Walking With Jesus, Revitalizing Our Peoples." Young people will have the opportunity to make an analysis of the national reality, to identify the "weak points" of the organization of Youth Ministry at national level, as well as review strategies adopted to promote an integrated work. http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=27009&lan=eng
Feast: July 3
Died: 72 in India
Little is recorded of St.Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St.John he plays a distinctive part. First, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, "Thomas" who is called Didymus [the twin], said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Again it was St. Thomas who during the discourse before the Last Supper raised an objection:" Thomas saith to him : Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). But more especially St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles announced Christ's Resurrection to him: " Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29).
This exhausts all our certain knowledge regarding the Apostle but his name is the starting point of a considerable apocryphal literature, and there are also certain historical data which suggest that some of this apocryphal material may contains germs of truth. The principal document concerning him is the "Acta Thomae", preserved to us with some variations both in Greek and in Syriac, and bearing unmistakeable signs of its Gnostic origin. It may indeed be the work of Bardesanes himself. The story in many of its particulars is utterly extravagant, but it is the early date, being assigned by Harnack (Chronologie, ii, 172) to the beginning of the third century, before A. D. 220. If the place of its origin is really Edessa, as Harnack and others for sound reasons supposed (ibid., p. 176), this would lend considerable probability to the statement, explicitly made in "Acta" (Bonnet, cap. 170, p.286), that the relics of Apostle Thomas, which we know to have been venerated at Edessa, had really come from the East. The extravagance of the legend may be judged from the fact that in more than one place (cap. 31, p. 148) it represents Thomas (Judas Thomas, as he is called here and elsewhere in Syriac tradition) as the twin brother of Jesus. The Thomas in Syriac is equivalant to XXXXX in Greek, and means twin. Rendel Harris who exaggerates very much the cult of the Dioscuri, wishes to regards this as a transformation of a pagan worship of Edessa but the point is at best problematical. The story itself runs briefly as follows: At the division of the Apostles, India fell to the lot of Thomas, but he declared his inability to go, whereupon his Master Jesus appeared in a supernatural way to Abban, the envoy of Gundafor, an Indian king, and sold Thomas to him to be his slave and serve Gundafor as a carpender. Then Abban and Thomas sailed away until they came to Andrapolis, where they landed and attended the marriage feast of the ruler's daughter. Strange occurences followed and Christ under the appearence of Thomas exhorted the bride to remain a Virgin. Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spend the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him; but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted. Going about the country to preach, Thomas met with strange adventures from dragons and wild asses. Then he came to the city of King Misdai (Syriac Mazdai), where he converted Tertia the wife of Misdai and Vazan his son. After this he was condemed to death, led out of city to a hill, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers. He was buried in the tomb of the ancient kings but his remains were afterwards removed to the West.
Now it is certainly a remarkable fact that about the year A.D. 46 a king was reigning over that part of Asia south of Himalayas now represented by Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, and Sind, who bore the name Gondophernes or Guduphara. This we know both from the discovery of coins, some of the Parthian type with Greek legends, others of the Indian types with the legends in an Indian dialect in Kharoshthi characters. Despite sundry minor variations the identity of the name with the Gundafor of the "Acta Thomae" is unmistakable and is hardly disputed. Further we have the evidence of the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, which is dated and which the best specialists accept as establishing the King Gunduphara probably began to reign about A.D. 20 and was still reigning in 46. Again there are excellent reasons for believing that Misdai or Mazdai may well be transformation of a Hindu name made on the Iranian soil. In this case it will probably represent a certain King Vasudeva of Mathura, a successor of Kanishka. No doubt it can be urged that the Gnostic romancer who wrote the "Acta Thomae" may have adopted a few historical Indian names to lend verisimilitude to his fabrication, but as Mr. Fleet urges in his severely critical paper "the names put forward here in connection with St.Thomas are distinctly not such as have lived in Indian story and tradition" (Joul. of R. Asiatic Soc.,1905, p.235). On the other hand, though the tradition that St. Thomas preached in "India" was widely spread in both East and West and is to be found in such writers as Ephraem Syrus, Ambrose, Paulinus, Jerome, and, later Gregory of Tours and others, still it is difficult to discover any adequate support for the long-accepted belief that St. Thomas pushed his missionary journeys as far south as Mylapore, not far from Madras, and there suffered martyrdom. In that region is still to be found a granite bas-relief cross with a Pahlavi (ancient Persian) inscription dating from the seventh century, and the tradition that it was here that St. Thomas laid down his life is locally very strong. Certain it is also that on the Malabar or west coast of southern India a body of Christians still exists using a form of Syriac for its liturgical language. Whether this Church dates from the time of St. Thomas the Apostle (there was a Syro-Chaldean bishop John "from India and Persia" who assisted at the Council of Nicea in 325) or whether the Gospel was first preached there in 345 owing to the Persian persecution under Shapur (or Sapor), or whether the Syrian missionaries who accompanied a certain Thomas Cana penetrated to the Malabar coast about the year 745 seems difficult to determine. We know only that in the sixth century Cosmas Indicopleustes speaks of the existence of Christians at Male (?Malabar) under a bishop who had been consecrated in Persia. King Alfred the Great is stated in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" to have sent an expedition to establish relations with these Christians of the Far East. On the other hand the reputed relics of St. Thomas were certainly at Edessa in the fourth century, and there they remained until they were translated to Chios in 1258 and towards to Ortona. The improbable suggestion that St. Thomas preached in America (American Eccles. Rev., 1899, pp.1-18) is based upon a misunderstanding of the text of the Acts of Apostles (i, 8; cf. Berchet "Fonte italiane per la storia della scoperta del Nuovo Mondo", II, 236, and I, 44).
Besides the "Acta Thomae" of which a different and notably shorter redaction exists in Ethiopic and Latin, we have an abbreviated form of a so-called "Gospel of Thomas" originally Gnostic, as we know it now merely a fantastical history of the childhood of Jesus, without any notably heretical colouring. There is also a "Revelatio Thomae", condemned as apocryphal in the Degree of Pope Gelasius, which
has recently been recovered from various sources in a fragmentary condition
FEAST OF ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE
John 20: 24 - 29
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."