Monday, August 23, 2010





Radio Vaticana report: There is less than a month to go until Pope Benedict arrives in the UK on a Apostolic Visit. One of his engagements during the September 16th to 19th trip will be a visit to St. Peter’s Residence for Older People, in Vauxhall. Bishop Andrew Summersgill is UK Co- ordinator for the Papal Journey. He explains more about this item on the Pope’s Itinerary:
"St Peter’s home for the elderly is in Vauxhall, it's run by the Little Sisters of the Poor and on the Saturday afternoon of Pope Benedict's visit he will go to St Peter’s to visit the community there and to visit the elderly residents and their families. The importance of the this visit is that within all the great gatherings and events of the Papal Visit there's a real opportunity for the Holy Father to go as a pastor to those who cannot go to him - to those who are housebound, to those who are elderly. And it's a great opportunity to celebrate the pastoral care that is given, day in day out, by so many people in the Church. I also think it's a chance to underline the importance the Church places, and particularly Pope Benedict places, in his own teaching and ministry, in the value of life - the value of life from its beginning to its natural end. To visit a home where those who are coming towards the end of their life are cared for both spiritually and physically, is a real value and sign to our community and our society. It's a great thing for the Holy Father to do while he's here".


Radio Vatican report: The first volume of Joseph Ratzinger’s Opera Omnia, edited by Libreria Editrice Vaticana was presented yesterday at the Rimini Meeting. It is the first of 16 volumes that represent the collected writings of the future Pope on the centrality of the liturgy in Christian life.

Pope Benedict XVI has often described the liturgy, as "the highest expression of the beauty of God's glory,….somehow a glimpse of heaven on Earth." In the preface to Opera omnia Joseph Ratzinger writes: "It 's been for me since my childhood, the central activity of my life”. Going on to quote from St. Jerome, the author of "Vulgate," the Pope stresses that the liturgy “is still alive, it is not a thing of the past”.
Bishop of Regensburg, Mgr. Gerhard Muller, curator of the Opera omnia in German spoke to us about the liturgy in the life and teachings of Benedict XVI.
A. - The Christian faith is not a theory, a philosophy, an ideology, but personal contact with Christ, the God who became man, Jesus is present in the Holy Spirit. The liturgy is sacramental participation in the life of God. The liturgy is not just a 'theatre', a self expression of the heart or a subjective idea. The Catholic liturgy is the expression of objective, real, concrete contact with God himself, who wants to live with us, his creatures.
The director of this Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Don Giuseppe Costa is also attending the Meeting in Rimini. Don Costa illustrated the fundamental characteristics of the Italian Opera omnia and offered a preview on the second volume of Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI.
A. - There are 16 volumes that do not relate to his teachings as Pope, but his writings, his teachings, his interviews as a cardinal. The Complete Works stops where he was elected Pope. We have published all the teachings of Benedict XVI in his series "Teachings" until 2009.
Q. - This not counting other publishing initiatives of the pope such as the book on the life of Jesus?
A. - Of course, the translators of the Secretary of State are already working, a demanding task, on the various translations in various languages. We have already reached agreement with 18 publishers for the first edition of the text of the Holy Father, the new "Jesus of Nazareth," which will focus on the paschal mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
Q. - A date for the release of the Pope's next book?
A. - We have already speculated on the first Sunday of Lent, March, and we also aim to deliver various publishers texts by Jan. 15 in order to prepare for national issues.


Radio Vaticana report: "Witness in our time that the great things that the human heart longs for are found in God" is Pope Benedict XVI’s message to participants at the Rimini Meeting, which opened Sunday morning in the Italian seaside resort with a Mass celebrated by the diocesan bishop, Mgr. Francesco Lambiasi.
The Meeting, in its 31st edition has drawn thousands of participants from throughout Italy and abroad to discuss the theme: “The nature which pushes us to desire great things is the heart”.
The papal message, read during mass, noted that there is a risk of establishing a purely materialistic concept of life, but that "human nature” is expressed first of all, in the hearts longing for ‘greater things’. “Every man – the Pope states in his message, - intuitively knows that in realizing the deepest desires of his heart, man finds the opportunity for achievement, fulfilment, to become truly himself". "Mankind – the message continues - is often tempted to stop at the little things, those that give 'cheap' satisfaction and pleasure, those that satisfy for a passing moment, things that are as easy to obtain as they are illusory." "God - continues the Pope - came into the world to awaken in us a thirst for 'greater things'." "And we should purify our desires and our hopes to be able to welcome the sweetness of God”. “We can ask God - continued the Pope, "for all that is good. The goodness and power of God, knows no boundary between great and small things, between material and spiritual things, between earthly and heavenly things. In dialogue with him, living our whole life under his gaze, we learn to desire the good things, in the end to desire God Himself.".
In the message, the Pope also recalled the fifth anniversary of the death of Mgr. Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation, who organise and host the event. The Rimini Meeting has dedicated a tribute to him through words, images and a short video documenting his passion for life. As Don Giussani was known to say: "I do not want to live in vain, this is my obsession".


All Africa report: JINJA Catholic Diocese is to construct a major seminary to train priests, Bishop Martin Wamika, has said.
"Over the years, youth wishing to join priesthood have been studying at Katigondo and Alokolum seminaries. The new structure will benefit our sons," he said.
Wamika was speaking at the ordination of four deacons and a priest at St. Mukasa Balikuddembe Namwendwa Parish in Kamuli district on Saturday.
Wamika decried the shortage of priests, saying out of every 100,000 seminarians, only 10% are ordained priests. He said Jinja College would start admitting students wishing to join the seminary as construction continues.


Cath News report: Muslim groups are trying to convince Church leaders of the Cathedral of Cordoba in southern Spain - once the Great Mosque of Cordoba - to allow for both Muslim and Christian worship within the premises. But the Bishop of Cordoba, Demetrio Fernandez, says sharing the space with Muslims would be like a man sharing his wife with another man, according to a report on the Christian Today website.

"There are things that are shared and others that are not, and the Cathedral of Cordoba is not shared with Muslims," said Fernandez, according to the Spanish-language Europa Press.

Built in the 8th century after the Moorish invasion of Spain, the Cordoba house of worship was transformed from a mosque into a cathedral in 1236 when King Ferdinand III captured the city of Cordoba from the Moors.
Since then, except on rare occasions, Muslim prayer rites have been forbidden inside.
Earlier this year, in April, there was a scuffle between police officers and Muslim tourists from Austria who were trying to pray there.
Despite the bishop's rejections, efforts to open Cordoba Cathedral for Muslim prayer and worship are ongoing.
Mansur Escudero, who is leading the push for Muslims to pray at the Cathedral, said the issue is not only important for Muslims but for humankind.
"We want it to be a place where anyone - whether Muslim, Christian or Jew - can do his meditation or his internal way of worshipping, or praying or whatever he wants to call it," he added.


Asia News report: Samdhong Rinpoche reveals the importance of the Blessed of Calcutta for Tibetan Buddhism. "For us, the Mother is the incarnation of Maha Karuna (immeasurable compassion). For her, no one was unreachable. The Dalai Lama had the deepest admiration and respect for Mother. "
New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Continuing our review of testimonies on Mother Teresa of Calcutta promoted by AsiaNews, a few days from the centenary of the birth of the Blessed. On August 26 the anniversary of the Missionary of Charity will be celebrated.
Samdhong Rinpoche, 71, has lived in exile in India since 1959, when he fled from Tibet due to Chinese government repression. On July 29, 2001, he was elected prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile by civilians who had fled from Tibet. Below his interview with AsiaNews:
How was Mother Teresa viewed by Tibetan Buddhists?
She represents love without distinction and compassion for all humanity. For Tibetan Buddhism, the Mother is the incarnation of Maha Karuna (immeasurable compassion). Everyday love has a reason: we love our family, friends ... But the love of Mother Teresa is the divine love for all human beings. And Mother's love was expressed through humble service.
Mother Teresa served the people, she transfigured the face of suffering humanity through her love and compassion. For her, no one was unreachable, she touched the poorest of the poor with her soul and gave them a reason to live and dignity.
What kind of relationship was there between Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama?
The Dalai Lama admired Mother Teresa and had the deepest respect for her. After meeting her, he said she was an example of a compassionate person. Often he told Buddhist monks and nuns to follow the example of Mother Teresa and serve the poorest of the poor in an imitation of her spirit, her compassion and her dedication.
The Dalai Lama also said that the spirit, compassion and dedication of Mother Teresa would continue to lead the human community.“The-Dalai-Lama-tells-Buddhists-to-follow-the-path-of-Mother-Teresa.-19259.html


Cath News report: Baby Max Millar is a first cousin to Mary MacKillop five times removed. He is also a miracle baby who survived a critical period in the initial weeks of his life.
Delivered amost two weeks late, Max wasn't breathing at birth and his major organs had been starved of oxygen during the birth, said a report in the Sydney Morning Herald. He was resuscitated and placed on a ventilator in an incubator. But medical staff feared that if he survived, he might have severe brain damage. Eleven days later an MRI brain scan showed there was no damage.
His grandmother, Marion Millar, said: ''I was praying, all my friends were praying, and we believe his life was saved. Max is a miracle baby.''
Max's mother, Rachel, 37, said: ''He is certainly a very lucky baby to be alive. When we were told the brain scan was fine, we were just really surprised - we were told he could well have had a significant disability.''
Max, now 14 months old, had suffered from meconium aspiration syndrome, a leading cause of severe illness and death in newborn babies.
The relationship to Mary MacKillop was unravelled by for The Sun-Herald. A closer relative is unlikely to be found, given that Blessed Mary's seven siblings did not have children.
The nun's grandfather, John MacKillop, is Max's great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, said the report.
Ironically, Max's grandmother, Marion Millar, 71 is not a Catholic. She is Baptist, although she worships at a Presbyterian church because she doesn't like the ''happy clappy'' music.

AMERICA: USA: UTAH COURT RULING AGAINST ROADSIDE MEMORIAL CROSSES REPORT - A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of an atheist group that complained roadside crosses commemorating fallen state troopers amounted to state endorsement of the Christian religion.
According to a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion issued Wednesday, the 14 crosses erected would appear to "a reasonable observer" as an endorsement of the Christian religion, and would lead to "fear" that the group that erected the crosses would discriminate against non-Christians, both in highway patrols and the employment process.
The case against the crosses was launched by the non-profit group American Atheists.
The crosses, which the Utah Highway Patrol Association (UHPA) began erecting in 1998, are 12 feet high and emblazoned with a fallen trooper's name, rank, and badge number. The purpose of the memorials, according to the group, is to "stand as a lasting reminder" to colleagues and citizens that a trooper "gave his life in service to this state," to encourage safe driving, and to "honor the trooper and the sacrifice he and his family made for the state of Utah."

The cross symbol was chosen in order to "convey the simultaneous messages of death, honor, remembrance, gratitude, sacrifice, and safety." They were erected with the consent of each fallen trooper's family, none of which took advantage of the offer to erect a different symbol.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff defended the crosses as traditional and broadly-accepted symbols of death and remembrance. "When someone driving sees that white cross, what goes through their mind? Someone died here, and not Jesus Christ. The context of the cross on the side of the road, means death," Shurtleff told the Associated Press. "What else would you put up?"
The state attorneys general of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma issued amicus curiae briefs in Utah's defense.
But the 3-panel court rejected the defendants' argument that the crosses constituted constitutionally-protected private free speech. Although the Utah government had stated it "neither approves or disapproves" of the memorials, the Court said that because they were erected on public property, they should be considered in light of the constitutional prohibition against state endorsement of a religion. "We conclude that the cross memorials would convey to a reasonable observer that the state of Utah is endorsing Christianity," stated the Court opinion.

Because all the memorials are in the form of crosses, wrote the judges, "This may lead the reasonable observer to fear that Christians are likely to receive preferential treatment from the UHP - both in their hiring practices and, more generally, in the treatment that people may expect to receive on Utah's highways."
While defendants argued that fallen U.S. soldiers' graves are routinely marked with a cross, the Court responded that, because fallen Jewish soldiers are marked with the Star of David, "there is no evidence that [the cross] is widely accepted as a secular symbol."
Addressing the fact that crosses are frequently used by families to commemorate those who have died in automotive accidents, the Court argued that "the mere fact that the cross is a common symbol used in roadside memorials does not mean it is a secular symbol. There is no evidence that non-Christians have embraced the use of crosses as roadside memorials." In addition, they wrote, the "massive size" of the crosses "conveys a message of endorsement, proselytization, and aggrandizement of religion that is far different from the more humble spirit of small roadside crosses."
Utah attorney General Shurtleff has said he has not yet decided whether to appeal the decision.
Governor Gary Herbert
email form
Utah State Capitol Complex
350 North State Street, Suite 200
PO Box 142220
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220
Fax 801-538-1528

St. Rose of Lima
Feast: August 23
Born: April 20, 1586, Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Died: August 24, 1617, Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Canonized: April 2, 1671, Rome by Pope Clement X
Major Shrine: convent of Santo Domingo in Lima, Peru
Patron of: embroiderers; gardeners; India; Latin America; people ridiculed for their piety; Peru; Philippines; Santa Rosa, California; against vanity; Lima; Peruvian Police Force

Rose of Lima has a special claim on our interest for she has the honor of being the first person born in the Western Hemisphere to be canonized by the Church. Only a little more than half a century before her birth, the fabulous land of Peru had been discovered and seized for Spain by the explorer Francisco Pizarro. In 1533 this enterprising conquistador subdued the native population and took over as his capital the inland city of Cuzco, with its strange Inca temples, palaces, and great fortress. Two years later the seat of government was transferred to Lima, a city on the coast, which came to be called the "royal city of kings," because of its architectural splendors. Dominican friars and the representatives of other religious orders were in the vanguard of a great migration from Spain and Portugal that meant a long, dangerous journey across the Atlantic, across the Isthmus of Panama, and down the western coast of South America. To implant Christianity in the new empire was a major aim; while the civilian population, European and native, were working the mines and raising products for export, the friars and priests were intensely active. They taught, preached, learned the native languages, tried to win the love and confidence of the Indians, and soon were engaged in building churches, hospitals, and schools.

The child who became St. Rose of Lima was born on April 20 1586, of a Spaniard, Gaspar de Flores, and Maria d'Olivia, a woman who had Inca blood in her veins. The infant, one of ten children born to the couple, was baptized Isabel, after an aunt, Isabel de Herrara, who acted as godmother. This ceremony took place at home, for the baby was extremely weak. Several weeks later the tiny infant was carried to the nearby church of San Sebastian for baptism by the priest, Don Antonio Polanco. By the time she was confirmed by Archbishop Toribio of Lima, the name Isabel had been replaced by Rose, and this was the name now bestowed on her. Rose had a fresh, lovely complexion, and she was worried by the thought that this name had been given as a tribute to her beauty. So sensitive was her conscience that she had genuine scruples over bearing the name, and on one occasion, after hearing someone praise her comeliness, she rubbed pepper into her face to mar it; another time, she put lime on her hands, inducing acute suffering. This was her way-a way conditioned by the time and place-of fighting a temptation to vanity. Such self-imposed cruelties, as we have seen in the lives of some of the other saints, have not been uncommon, particularly among those of a mystical bent.

Rose seems to have taken for her model St. Catherine of Siena, and, like the earlier saint, she experienced so ardent a love of God whenever she was in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament that exaltation completely filled her soul. Yet Rose was not without a practical side. Her father had been well-to-do, but when he lost money in mining ventures, the family's fortunes reached a very low ebb. Rose helped out by selling her fine needlework; she also raised beautiful flowers and these too were taken to market. One of her brothers, Ferdinand, was sympathetic and understanding toward this sister who was so markedly "different." As she grew to maturity, her parents were anxious to have Rose marry, and indeed there were several worthy aspirants for her hand. Rose did not wish marriage, and, to end the arguments and offers, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, donned the habit, and took a vow of perpetual virginity.

For many years Rose lived virtually as a recluse. There was a little hut in the family garden, and this she used as an oratory. She often wore on her head a circlet of silver studded on the inside with sharp points, in memory of the Lord's crown of thorns. Other forms of penitence which she inflicted on her body were floggings, administered three times daily, the wearing of a hair shirt, and the dragging of a heavy, wooden cross about the garden. She rubbed her lips with gall and often chewed bitter herbs to deaden the sense of taste. Both eating and sleeping were reduced to a minimum. Naturally her health was affected, but the physical disorders which resulted from this regime-stomach ailments, asthma, rheumatism, and fevers-were suffered uncomplainingly. This manner of life offended her family, who preferred their daughter to follow the more conventional and accepted ways of holiness. Finally, when Rose began to tell of visions, revelations, visitations, and voices they deplored her penitential practices more than ever. She endured their disapproval and grew in spiritual fortitude.

In spite of the rigors of her ascetic life, Rose was not wholly detached from happenings around her, and her awareness of the suffering of others often led her to protest against some of the practices of the Spanish overlords. In the new world, the discovery of unbelievable mineral resources was doing little to enrich or ennoble the lives of the Peruvian natives. The gold and silver from this land of El Dorado was being shipped back to strengthen the empire and embellish the palaces and cathedrals of Old Spain, but at its source there was vice, exploitation, and corruption. The natives were oppressed and impoverished, in spite of the missionaries' efforts to alleviate their miseries and to exercise a restraining hand on the governing class. Rose was cognizant of the evils, and spoke out against them fearlessly. Sometimes she brought sick and hungry persons into her own home that she might better care for them.
For fifteen years Rose bore the disapproval and persecution of those close to her, as well as the more severe trial of desolation of soul. At length an examination by priests and physicians was indicated, and this resulted in the judgment that her experiences were indeed supernatural. Rose's last years were passed in the home of a government official, Don Gonzalo de Massa. During an illness towards the end of her life, she was able to pray, "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Thy love in my heart." This remarkable woman died on August 25, 1617, at the age of thirty-one.
Not until after her death was it known how widely her beneficent influence had extended, and how deeply venerated she was by the common people of Lima. When her body was borne down the street to the cathedral, a great cry of mourning arose from the crowd. For several days it was impossible to perform the ritual of burial on account of the great press of sorrowing citizens around her bier. She was finally laid to rest in the Dominican convent at Lima. Later, when miracles and cures were being attributed to her intervention, the body was transferred to the church of San Domingo. There it reposes today in a special chapel. Rose of Lima was declared patroness of South America and the Philippines; she was canonized by Pope Clement in 1671, August 30 being appointed her feast-day. This holy woman is highly honored in all Spanish-American countries. The emblems associated with her are an anchor, a crown of roses, and a city.
Matthew 23: 13 - 22
13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.
15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'
17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?
18 And you say, `If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.'
19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
20 So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it;
21 and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it;
22 and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.