Friday, January 7, 2011














VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This afternoon, to mark tomorrow's Solemnity of the Epiphany, the Holy Father travelled to the Agostino Gemelli hospital in Rome where he visited the department for children afflicted with spina bifida.

Having greeted the young patients, he went on to visit the post-natal intensive care unit and the Paul VI International Scientific Institute for research, diagnosis and therapy of marital sterility.

Addressing the medical staff, the sick children and their parents the Holy Father explained that he had cone to the Gemelli hospital to tell the young ones "that I love you and remain at your side with my prayers and affection, also to give you the strength to face your sickness. ... I bless the personnel, their commitment and these places in which they give concrete expression of love for the weakest and those most in need", he said.

"Dear children and young people, one reason I wanted to come here to visit you was to be like the Magi, whom we celebrate on this Feast of the Epiphany. They brought Jesus gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh as an expression of their adoration and affection. Today I too have brought you some gifts so that, through this small sign, you may feel the closeness and affection of the Pope. Yet I would like everyone, adults and children alike, at this Christmastime, to recall the greatest gift which God gave to each one of us".

In conclusion Benedict XVI encouraged "the various charitable and voluntary initiatives, as well as those institutions which bring their expertise to the service of life. In this context I am thinking in particular of the Paul VI International Scientific Institute, which aims to promote responsible procreation. Once again, thank you all! The Pope loves you!"

BXVI-VISIT/ VIS 20110107 (310)


VATICAN CITY, 6 JAN 2011 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. today, the Pope presided at Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.

In his homily Benedict XVI explained that the Magi "were probably wise men who studied the skies, but not in an attempt to read the future in the stars; ... rather, they were men who sought something greater, who sought the true light, the light capable of indicating the path to follow in life. They were individuals who were certain that the creation contains what we could describe as God's signature, a signature that man can and must seek to discover and decipher".

Referring to King Herod, the Pope described him as a "a man of power", to whom "even God appeared as a rival; indeed, a particularly dangerous rival Who sought to deprive men of their living space, of their autonomy, of their power. ... Herod is a unsympathetic figure to us, one we instinctively judge negatively because of his brutality. Yet we should ask ourselves whether there is not perhaps something of Herod in us too. Perhaps we too, at times, see God as a kind of rival. Perhaps we too are blind to His signs, deaf to His words, because we believe that He puts limitations on our lives and does not allow us to dispose of our existence as we wish".

"When we see God in this way", the Holy Father continued, "we end up feeling dissatisfied and discontented, because we do not allow ourselves to be guided by the One Who is the foundation of all things, We must remove all idea of rivalry from our minds and hearts, the idea that giving space to God is a limit to the self. We must open ourselves to the certainty that God is omnipotent love which takes away nothing, which threatens nothing. Quite the contrary, He is the only One capable of offering us the chance to live a full life and to experience true joy".

The Magi, the Pope went on, "being wise men, also knew that it is not with a mere telescope but with the eyes of profound reason which searches for the ultimate meaning of reality, with the desire for God moved by the faith, that it is possible to meet Him. Or rather, this is what makes it possible for God to approach us. The universe is not the result of chance, as some people would have us believe, and contemplating it we are called to read something more profound therein: the wisdom of the Creator, God's endless imagination, His infinite love for us.

"We must not", Benedict XVI added, "allow our minds to be constrained by theories which are always limited and which - if we study them well - are not in any way in competition with the faith as they cannot explain the ultimate meaning of reality. In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, its greatness and its rationality we cannot fail to read the eternal rationality. And we cannot but allow ourselves to be guided by the world to the One God, Creator of heaven and earth. If we see things in this way, we will see that the One Who created the world, and the One Who was born in a grotto in Bethlehem and continues to live among us in the Eucharist, are the same living God Who calls us, Who invites us, Who wants to lead us to eternal life".

For the Magi "it seemed logical to seek the new king in the royal palace". Yet "the star guided them to Bethlehem, a small town; it guided them among the poor, among the humble, to find the King of the world. God's criteria are different to those of mankind. God does not show Himself among the powerful of this world, but in the humility of His love, the love which asks us to welcome it in our freedom, in order to transform us and enable us to reach the One Who is Love".

"In the end, for the Magi, it was vital to listen to the voice of Holy Scripture; only that could show them the way. The Word of God is the true star which, in the uncertainty of human discourse, offers us the immense splendour of divine truth", said the Pope.

And he concluded: "Let us allow ourselves to be guided by the star, which is the Word of God, let us follow it in our lives, walking with the Church where the Word has pitched its tent. Our path will always be illuminated by a light which no other sign can give us. And we too will be able to act as stars for other people, a reflection of that light which Christ caused to shine upon us".

HML/ VIS 20110107 (820)


VATICAN CITY, 6 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass in the Vatican Basilica, at midday the Pope appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered below.

On the subject of today's feast, the Holy Father explained how "Epiphany means the manifestation of Jesus to all people, today represented by the Magi who came to Bethlehem from the East to pay homage to the King of the Jews, of Whose birth they had learned by the appearance of a star in the sky".

"Epiphany", he went on, "announced the universal openness of the Church, her call to evangelise all people. But the Epiphany also tells us how the Church accomplishes this mission: by reflecting the light of Christ and announcing His Word. Christians are called to imitate the service the star offered to the Magi. We must shine like children of light to attract everyone to the beauty of the Kingdom of God".

After the Angelus Benedict XVI expressed his congratulations "to our brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches who will celebrate Christmas tomorrow. May the goodness of God, Who appeared in Jesus Christ, the Word incarnate, strengthen everyone in faith, hope and charity, and bring comfort to communities suffering trials".

The Pope also recalled how "the Epiphany is the Day of Missionary Children, promulgated by the Pontifical Work of the Holy Childhood. Children and young people, organised in their parishes and schools, form a network of spirituality and solidarity to help their peers in difficulties. It is very beautiful and important that children should grow up with their minds open to the world, with feelings of love and fraternity, overcoming selfishness and consumerism, Dear children and young people, with your prayers and your commitment you help in the Church's mission. For this I thank you and bless you!"

ANG/ VIS 20110107 (330)


VATICAN CITY, 7 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Msgr. Leonardo Bonanno of the clergy of the archdiocese of Cosenza-Bisignano, Italy, vicar general, moderator of the archdiocesan Curia and judge of the regional ecclesiastical tribunal, as bishop of San Marco Argentano-Scalea (area 1,142, population 113,672, Catholics 111,000, priests 88, permanent deacons 3, religious 91), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in San Giovanni in Fiore, Italy in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1971. He succeeds Bishop Domenico Crusco, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Hector Luis Morales Sanchez, prelate of Huautla, Mexico, as bishop of Netzahualcoyotl (area 513, population 3,637,000, Catholics 3,314,000, priests 136, religious 133), Mexico.


UCAN REPORT: Hundreds of thousands of people attended this week’s closing ceremonies for Vietnam’s just completed Jubilee Year at the Our Lady of La Vang National Shrine.

In spite of rain and a temperature of around 10 degrees Celsius over 500,000 pilgrims gathered for the Jan. 6 closing Mass.

The event also coincided with the 29th Marian Congress of La Vang held every three years at the 213-year-old shrine in Quang Tri province, central Vietnam.

Marie Nguyen Thi Ngat, 60, from Dong Nai province, told that it was the first time she had visited the shrine.

She prayed for local Catholics to bravely practice their faith and to evangelize after the Jubilee Year.

“I also pray for my son who left me 10 years ago,” she added.

A Sedang ethnic man from Kon Tum said he saved two million dong (US$100) over six months to pay for his family’s trip to the shrine. He, his wife and one-year-old son stayed at the shrine Jan. 4-6.

“We come here to express our deep gratitude to Mother Mary who blesses us,” the 20-year-old farmer said.

He added that 3,000 ethnic people from Central Highlands came to the shrine.

Papal special envoy Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Vatican-based Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, presided at the closing Mass concelebrated by 42 bishops including seven ones from Australia, Cambodia, France, Laos and the U.S. The ceremony was also joined by 1,200 priests.

At the end of the Mass, Cardinal Dias blessed the foundation stone for a 5,000-seat basilica on the shrine.


USCCB REPORT: Bishops Invite Catholics to Commemorate Haiti’s Earthquake Anniversary with Prayer, Reflection

Novena, prayer intentions, reflection materials offered

WASHINGTON (January 6, 2011)—As the first anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year approaches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites U.S. Catholics to stand in prayerful solidarity with the people of Haiti.

“Haiti and its people still very much need our prayers and solidarity,” said Archbishop Wenski, chairman of the Special Advisory Group for Haiti at the USCCB. “As we approach the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, we join together with parishes, Catholic schools, youth groups, colleges and universities from across the country to remember the tragic events of that fateful afternoon and to respond in a faith-filled way.”

Catholics are invited to pray and reflect for nine days using the Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas. The novena starts on the evening of the anniversary, January 12, and culminates with the celebration of Mass the weekend of January 22-23, official date for the National Collection for Latin America, including Haiti and all of the Caribbean.

In addition to the novena, other catechetical and reflection resources, including didactical materials from Catholic Relief Services, have been collected at a special website,, under the title One Year Later: Pray and Walk With our Sisters and Brothers in Haiti.

Find the novena and other updates and information related to Haiti at


ASIANEWS REPORT: Tens of thousands of police agents guarded Coptic churches as Christians overcame their fear and went to church. New threats appear on radical Islamic sites. Many point the finger at the government, calling on the authorities to stop the wave of fundamentalism that is undermining coexistence in the Egypt as well as its economy and society. The Catholic Church offers suggestions on what to do, demanding equal treatment for Christians and Muslims as well as reforms to the school system, a stop to discrimination and a crackdown on media and preachers that spread hatred.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – Coptic Christmas is off without incidents thanks to massive police deployment around Egypt’s Coptic churches. At least 70,000 police and paramilitary forces, backed by armoured cars and special SWAT teams, are keeping Christian places of worship under a close watch. Roadblocks prevent vehicles from approaching churches and anyone entering a place of worship must show his or her identity papers.

Copts have defied the New Year Eve’s attack against one of their churches in Alexandria by going to church in great numbers. Even Alexandria’s al-Qiddissin (The Saints) Church, where 23 people were killed and 80 wounded, hundreds of worshippers gathered to pray.

In Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbassiya district, Patriarch Shenouda III presided over Mass last night. During the ceremony, he remembered “the martyrdom of a great many innocents” in Alexandria.

Various government officials and President Mubarak’s two sons attended the service.

In Alexandria, a group of Muslims gathered near the church that was attacked to express their solidarity with their Coptic compatriots, victims of terrorism. They shouted, “Long live the cross and the crescent!”

In the meantime, police released a facial composite of the alleged suicide bomber who set off a 10-15 kg explosive belt, which included nails and shards. The likeness is based on remains collected at the scene of the attack.

According to rumours, DNA evidence would suggest that the bomber was from Afghanistan or Pakistan, which would back the government’s claim that “foreign hands” were involved in the incident.

Appeals indicating more attacks against Coptic churches in Egypt and abroad appeared on some Islamist sites. Christmas and other days on the calendar were indicated as potential dates for attacks because of the presence of large numbers of worshippers.

The attack against Alexandria’s Coptic community highlights the fate of Egyptian Christians who have to cope with daily discrimination and the rapid rise of Islamic fundamentalism in a country that once claimed to be secular and tolerant.

Here is the analysis of the situation by Egyptian expert André Azzam.

A few days after the terrible bomb attack on New Year’s Eve, against St Paul and St George Church (the Saints Church) in Alexandria, the whole country is still moved and deeply distressed.

All over the country, everybody has been condemning this terrible attack, starting from the head of state, the ministers, the press, religious leaders from both sides and the common people, as well as foreign Embassies and expatriates working in Egypt.

Many demonstrations have been organized every day in many places. In several universities, students demonstrated against terrorism. The same took place in many sporting clubs. Discussing the matter is commonplace in all streets and public gatherings.

There is a general feeling, and hope, that this terrible incident should be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. It is not a mere incident, one more, in a long chain of attempts and discrimination against the Copts, Christian Egyptians, whose name actually means Egyptian. Many people on radio and TV expressed sympathy to Copts, since for ordinary Egyptians the attack is seen as an attempt to destroy Egypt from the inside.

For the first time, we can hear radio speakers inviting all the Muslims to go to churches on Eastern Christmas on the eve of 7 January, to share the event with their Christian brothers and sisters and express to them their condolences for the death of more than 20 of them in this despicable attack.

Pope Shenouda III decided to celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas in spite of the great bereavement, so as not to play the game of the fundamentalists and give up in front of the threats and danger. As stated by Pastor Bayadi, head of the Protestant churches in Egypt, “We must not give up praying on Sundays and on Christmas”. The official spokesman of the Catholic Church in Egypt said, “We fear no one, and nothing will prevent us from going to our churches in this country of the martyrs ». (The Coptic Calendar is called the ‘Calendar of the Martyrs’ and is based on Roman Emperor Diocletian persecutions against Christians on 303 AD. The Calendar starts in 284 AD, the year when Diocletian’s reign began).

All Catholic churches that celebrated Christmas on 25 December and celebrated Epiphany on 6 January have decided to remain open on Thursday night to share the sorrow and sadness of the Coptic Orthodox Church and people on this Nativity.

Still a lot of criticism has been expressed by many people. Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information consider that « the blood of tens of Christian is valuing the dismissal of the Home Minister ». Mohammad al Baradei, former director of International Atomic Energy Agency wrote on his blog, “A regime incapable of protecting its own citizens is a regime whose time is over.”

Mrs Georgette Qallini, a former Member of Parliament and a current member of the Coptic Church Council, stated that the official statements about the incident should have waited for an in-depth inquiry into all sides of the attack instead of immediately concluding that it was a bomb attack by a single person who died in the incident.

A leftwing party said that the crime has to be understood in terms of a crisis situation that concerns citizenship and human rights. It insisted that a law on religious buildings treat mosques and churches equally. A present, in order to build a new church, one has to get the written approbation of the head of state. Similarly, in order to repair or restore a church building or part of it, one needs the official permission of the local governor or a high rank official in charge of security.

For well-known thinker Tareq Higgy, “This attack marks a turning point in the process of fanaticism, which gave birth to violence and terrorism”. According to this philosopher, “there will be no human, efficient and final solution unless the people in charge of the country recognise the true reasons of the illness, which resides in a culture of fanaticism, hatred and rejection of the other, along with a rotten education system and religious institutions that put the seed of fire and conflagration by issuing fatwas like banning New Year’s Eve celebrations . . . .”

Recently, a fatwa was issued for the assassination of Mohammad al Baradei. The Sheikh of al-Azhar, the highest Muslim authority for Sunni Muslims, denounced this fatwa. But many people consider that al-Azhar is weak in controlling outbursts, which are daily occurrence.

Fundamentalism has reached a peak and allowed an ugly atmosphere of fanaticism to prevail in the country. Some incidents happen every now and then; for instance, in the subway, when veiled women directly attack unveiled women, considered immediately as Christian, and treated as impious. Unveiled Muslim women are highly criticised by others. These are examples of incidents that happen currently in the streets. Recently, a Muslim woman vehemently quarrelled with some youngsters who were throwing stones at crosses from outside the walls of a Christian cemetery surrounded by billboards praising the ‘union of religions’. The graveyard is located in Old Cairo, a suburb that is rich in Christian, Jewish and Muslim sites and monuments. They all went to a police station, where the woman called on the youngster’s families to educate their children to respect everybody.

To conclude, let us quote the communiqué released by Fr Rafic Greiche, head of the Press Office of the Catholic Church in Egypt and spokesman of the seven Catholic denominations that are present in the country. After denouncing the awful start of the New Year, and recalling the death of many Christians in a Nag Hammadi, Upped Egypt on 7 January 2010, it listed nine demands and one suggestion.

1. The immediate arrest of the criminals and their judgment in court.

2. Dealing severely with all agitators and agents provocateurs that directly or indirectly encourage fanatic actions through the newspapers, the media or preaching.

3. The immediate adoption of a law for all religious buildings.

4. The immediate adoption of a personal status law for Christians.

5. The adoption of a law that forbids religious discrimination and severely punishes anyone who breaks this law.

6. Reassertion of the civic foundations of the state, based on equal citizenship.

7. Complete restructuring of the educational programme and curricula to purge them of what is related to discrimination.

8. In-depth action against negative attitudes from religious leaders to prevent them from encouraging sectarianism.

9. Encouragement by the state of democratic life and protection of freedom of expression and belief.

Finally, the spokesman for the Catholic Church suggested setting up a committee headed by the head of state that includes sociologists and legal experts in order to study the phenomenon of terrorism, which is threatening not only Christians but Muslim as well, and represents a real danger for the nation.

Finally, all the people of good will in Egypt, on all sides, hope that this horrible slaughter will open the door to a drastic solution and a strong command of the situation to start on the path to control definitively the terrible social problem of fanaticism and fundamentalism.,-but-fundamentalism-and-anti-Christian-discrimination-must-still-be-tackled-20443.html


CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: Three former Anglican bishops will be ordained to the Catholic priesthood at Westminster Cathedral on January 15.

After being received into the Church on January 1, Andrew Burnham, the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, John Broadhurst, the former Bishop of Fulham, and Keith Newton, the former Bishop of Richborough, will be ordained deacons on January 13 and become priests on January 15.

Their reception into the Church marked the first concrete steps made towards establishing the first ordinariate in the world. Andrew Burnham, John Broadhurst and Keith Newton will be the first former Anglican bishops taking up Pope Benedict XVI’s provision for Anglicans wishing to be in full communion with Rome to be ordained as Catholic priests. They are likely to be ordained and incardinated into the ordinariate, which would mean such a structure will have to be erected before January 13. Speculation suggests the decree of erection will be published on January 11.

In November 2009, Pope Benedict published the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which established a new legal structure for Anglicans who wished to keep their Anglican identity but wanted to come into communion with Rome. The structure, known as a personal ordinariate, most resembles a
military diocese.

Commentators have described the establishment of an ordinariate in Britain as one of the most important developments for British Catholicism since the Oxford Movement.

Andrew Burnham, John Broadhurst and Keith Newton, will be the first members of an ordinariate in England and Wales and are expected to be followed in the first wave by 500 to 800 people. There are at least 24 existing ordinariate groups with 20 to 30 members.

Today the Church issued an official statement regarding the former Anglican bishops. The statement said: “On 8 November 2010, five Bishops of the Church of England (3 in active ministry, 2 in retirement) announced their intention to cease from public episcopal ministry and to resign from their pastoral responsibilities in the Church of England with effect from 31st December 2010.

“Following this decision, John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton (the three former Bishops who had been in active ministry) were received together with some members of their families into full communion with the Catholic Church during Mass on 1 January 2011, in Westminster Cathedral. In addition three former Anglican Religious Sisters were also received. Out of respect for the privacy of the individuals concerned and their families, no prior public announcement of the receptions was given by the Episcopal Commission responsible for organisation of the receptions.

“With the permission of the Holy See, John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton will be Ordained as Catholic Deacons in Allen Hall Seminary Chapel on Thursday 13 January 2011 at 5.30 pm. Their Ordination as Catholic Priests will take place at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 15 January 2011 at 10.30am.

“The two retired former Bishops will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and proceed to Ordination as Catholic Priests in due course.”



Most Rev Bishop Manning DD
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu.
With a Decree from the Congregation for Bishops dated 30 December 2010, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta, Most Rev Kevin Manning DD, as the new Apostolic Administrator for the vacant See of Wilcannia-Forbes until further provisions.(sede vacante et donec aliter provideatur)

Most Reverend Terry Brady will thus return full-time to his duties as Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney.

Visit Australian Catholic Bishops Conference



St. Raymond of Penyafort


Feast: January 7


Feast Day:January 7

1175 at Penafort, Catalonia, Spain

Died:6 January 1275 at Barcelona, Spain
Canonized:29 April 1601 by Pope Clement VIII
Patron of:canon lawyers, lawyers

From the bull of his canonization, by Clement VIII in 1601, and his life, written by several Spanish, Italian and French authors. See Fleury, b. 78, n. 55, 64, and chiefly Touron Hommes Illustres de l'Ordre de S. Domin. t. 1, p. I

The house of Pegnafort, or, as it is pronounced, Pennafort, was descended from the counts of Barcelona, and nearly allied to the kings of Aragon. Raymund was born in 1175, at Pennafort, a castle in Catalonia, which in the fifteenth century was changed into a convent of the order of St. Dominick. Such was his rapid progress in his studies, that at the age of twenty he taught philosophy at Barcelona, which he did gratis, and with so great reputation, that he began then to be consulted by the ablest masters. His principal care was to instil into his scholars the most perfect maxims of a solid piety and devotion, to compose all differences among the citizens, and to relieve the distressed. He was about thirty years of age when he went to Bologna, in Italy, to perfect himself in the study of the canon and civil law, commenced Doctor in that faculty, and taught with the same disinterestedness and charity as he had done in his own country. In 1219 Berengarius, bishop of Barcelona, who had been at Rome, took Raymund home with him, to the great regret of the university and senate of Bologna; and, not content with giving him a canonry in his church, made him his archdeacon, grand vicar, and official. He was a perfect model to the clergy, by his innocence, zeal, devotion, and boundless liberalities to the poor, whom he called his creditors. In 1222 he took the religious habit of St. Dominick at Barcelona, eight months after the death of the holy founder, and in the forty-seventh year of his age. No person was ever seen among the young novices more humble, more obedient, or more fervent. To imitate the obedience of a Man-God, who reduced himself to a state of subjection to his own creatures, to teach us the dangers and deep wound of self-will, and to point out to us the remedy, the saint would depend absolutely on the lights of his director in all things. And it was upon the most perfect self-denial that he laid the foundation of that high sanctity which he made the object of his most earnest desires. The grace of prayer perfected the work which mortification had begun. In a spirit of compunction he begged of his superiors that they would enjoin him some severe penance, to expiate the vain satisfaction and complacency which he said he had sometimes taken in teaching. They indeed imposed on him a penance, but not such a one as he expected. It was to write a collection of cases of conscience for the instruction and conveniency of confessors and moralists. This produced his Sum the first work of that kind. Had his method and decisions been better followed by some later authors of the like works, the holy maxims of Christian morality had been treated with more respect by some moderns than they have been, to our grief and confusion.

Raymund joined to the exercises of his solitude the functions of an apostolical life, by laboring without intermission in preaching, instructing, hearing confessions with wonderful fruit, and converting heretics, Jews, and Moors Among his penitents were James, king of Aragon, and St. Peter Nolasco, with whom he concerted the foundation of the Order of the B. Virgin of mercy for the redemption of captives. James, the young king of Aragon had married Eleonora of Castile within the prohibited degrees, without a dispensation. A legate was sent by pope Gregory IX. to examine and judge the case. In a council of bishops of the two kingdoms, held at Tar rayon, he declared the marriage null, but that their son Don Alphonso should be reputed lawfully born, and heir to his father's crown. The king had taken his confessor with him to the council, and the cardinal legate was so charmed with his talents and virtue, that he associated him in his legation and gave him a commission to preach the holy war against the Moors. The servant of God acquitted himself of that function with so much prudence, zeal, and charity, that he sowed the seeds of the total overthrow of those infidels in Spain. His labors were no less successful in the reformation of the manners of the Christians detained in servitude under the Moors which were extremely corrupted by their long slavery or commerce with these infidels. Raymund showed them, by words full of heavenly unction and fire, that, to triumph over their bodily, they must first conquer their spiritual enemies, and subdue sin in themselves, which made God their enemy. Inculcating these and the like spiritual lessons, he ran over Catalonia, Aragon, Castile, and other countries. So general a change was wrought hereby in the manners of the people, as seemed incredible to all but those who were witnesses of it. By their conversion the anger of God was appeased, and the arms of the faithful became terrible to their enemies. The kings of Castile and Leon freed many places from the Moorish yoke. Don James, king of Aragon, drove them out of the islands of Majorca and Minorca, and soon after, in 1237, out of the whole kingdom of Valentia. Pope Gregory IX. having called St. Raymund to Rome in 1230, nominated him his chaplain, (which was the title of the Auditor of the causes of the apostolic palace,) as also grand penitentiary. He made him likewise his own confessarius, and in difficult affairs came to no decision but by his advice. The saint still reserved himself for the poor, and was so solicitous for them that his Holiness called him their father. He enjoined the pope, for a penance, to receive, hear, and expedite immediately all petitions presented by them. The pope, who was well versed in the canon law, ordered the saint to gather into one body all the scattered decree of popes and councils, since the collection made by Gratian in 1150. Raymund compiled this work in three years, in five books, commonly called the Decretals, which the same pope Gregory confirmed in 1234. It is looked upon as the best finished part of the body of the canon law; on which account the canonists have usually chosen it for the texts of their comments. In 1235, the pope named St. Raymund to the archbishopric of Tarragon, the capital of Aragon: the humble religious man was not able to avert the storm, as he called it, by tears and entreaties; but at length fell sick through anxiety and fear. To restore him to his health, his Holiness was obliged to consent to excuse him, but required that he should recommend a proper person. The saint named a pious and learned canon of Gironne. He refused other dignities with the like constancy.

For the recovery of his health he returned to his native country, and was received with as much joy as if the safety of the whole kingdom. and of every particular person, had depended on his presence. Being restored again to his dear solitude at Barcelona, he continued his former exercises of contemplation, preaching, and administering the sacrament of penance. Except on Sundays, he never took more than one very small refection in the day. Amidst honors and applause he was ever little in his own eyes: he appeared in the schools like a scholar, and in his convent begged the superior to instruct him in the rules of religious perfection, with the humility and docility of a novice. Whether he sung the divine praises with his brethren, or prayed alone in his cell, or some corner of the church, ho poured forth an abundance of tears; and often was not able to contain within himself the ardor of his soul. His mildness and sweetness were unalterable. The incredible number of conversions of which he was the instrument, is known only to Him who, by his grace, was the author of them. He was employed frequently in most important commissions, both by the holy see and by the king. But he was thunderstruck by the arrival of four deputies from the general chapter of his order at Bologna, in 1238, with the news that he was chosen third general, Jordan of Saxony being lately dead. He wept and entreated, but at length acquiesced in obedience. He made the visitation of his order on foot, without discontinuing any of his penitential austerities, or rather exercises. He instilled into his spiritual children a love of regularity, solitude, mortification, prayer, sacred studies, and the apostolical functions, especially preaching. He reduced the constitutions of his order into a clearer method, with notes on the doubtful passages. This his code of rules was approved in three general chapters. In one held at Paris in 1239, he procured the establishment of this regulation, that a voluntary demission of a superior, founded upon just reasons, should be accepted. This he contrived in his own favor; for, to the extreme regret of the order, he in the year following resigned the generalship, which he had held only two years. He alleged for his reason his age of sixty-five years. Rejoicing to see himself again a private religious man, he applied himself with fresh vigor to the exercises and functions of an apostolical life, especially the conversion of the Saracens. Having this end in view he engaged St. Thomas to write his work 'Against the Gentiles;' procured the Arabic and Hebrew tongues to be taught in several convents of his order; and erected convents, one at Tunis, and another at Murcia, among the Moors. In 1256, he wrote to his general that ten thousand Saracens had received baptism. King James took him into the island of Majorca. The saint embraced that opportunity of cultivating that infant church. This prince was an accomplished soldier and statesman, and a sincere lover of religion, but his great qualities were sullied by a base passion for women. He received the admonitions of the saint with respect, and promised amendment of life, and a faithful compliance with the saint's injunctions in every particular; but without effect. St. Raymund, upon discovering that he entertained a lady at his court with whom he was suspected to have criminal conversation, made the strongest instances to have her dismissed, which the king promised should be done, but postponed the execution. The saint, dissatisfied with the delay, begged leave to retire to his convent at Barcelona. The king not only refused him leave, but threatened to punish with death any person that should undertake to convey him out of the island. The saint, full of confidence in God, said to his companion, "A king of the earth endeavors to deprive us of the means of retiring; but the King of heaven will supply them." He then walked boldly to the waters, spread his cloak upon them, tied up one corner of it to a staff for a sail, and having made the sign of the cross, stepped upon it without fear, while his timorous companion stood trembling and wondering on the shore. On this new kind of vessel the saint was wafted with such rapidity, that in six hours he reached the harbor of Barcelona, sixty leagues distant from Majorca. Those who saw him arrive in this manner met him with acclamations. But he, gathering up his cloak dry, put it on, stole through the crowd, and entered his monastery. A chapel and a tower, built on the place where he landed, have transmitted the memory of this miracle to posterity. This relation is taken from the bull of his canonization, and the earliest historians of his life. The king became a sincere convert, and governed his conscience, and even his kingdoms, by the advice of St. Raymund from that time till the death of the saint. The holy man prepared himself for his passage to eternity, by employing days and nights in penance and prayer. During his last illness, Alphonsus, king of Castile, with his queen, sons, and brother; and James, king of Aragon, with his court, visited him, and received his last benediction. He armed himself with the last sacraments; and, in languishing sighs of divine love, gave up his soul to God, on the 6th of January, in the year 1275, and the hundredth of his age. The two kings, with all the princes and princesses of their royal families, honored his funeral with their presence: but his tomb was rendered far more illustrious by miracles. Several are recorded in the bull of his canonization, published by Clement VIII. in 1601. Bollandus has filled fifteen pages in folio with an account of them. His office is fixed by Clement X. to the 23d of January.

The saints first learned in solitude to die to the world and themselves, to put on the spirit of Christ, and ground themselves in a habit of recollection and a relish only for heavenly things, before they entered upon the exterior functions even of a spiritual ministry. Amidst these weighty employments, not content with reserving always the time and means of frequent retirement for conversing with God and themselves, in their exterior functions by raising their minds to heaven with holy sighs and desires, they made all their actions in some measure an uninterrupted prayer and exercise of divine love and praise. St. Bonaventure reckons it among the general exercises of every religious or spiritual men, "that he keep his mind always raised, at least virtually, to God: hence, whensoever a servant of God has been distracted from attending to him for ever so short a space, he grieves and is afflicted, as if he was fallen into some misfortune, by having been deprived of the presence of such a friend who never forgets us. Seeing that our supreme felicity and glory consists in the eternal vision of God, the constant remembrance of him is a kind of imitation of that happy state: this the reward, that the virtue which entitles us to it. Till we are admitted to his presence, let us in our exile always bear him in mind: every one will behold him in heaven with so much the greater joy, and so much the more perfectly, as he shall more assiduously and more devoutly have remembered him on earth. Nor is it only in our repose, but also in the midst of our employments, that we ought to have him present to our minds, in imitation of the holy angels, who, when they are sent to attend on us, so acquit themselves of the functions of this exterior ministry as never to be drawn from their interior attention to God. As much as the heavens exceed the earth, so much larger is the field of spiritual meditation than that of all terrestrial concerns."



Luke 5: 12 - 16
12While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean."
13And he stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him.
14And he charged him to tell no one; but "go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to the people."
15But so much the more the report went abroad concerning him; and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities.
16But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.

1 comment:

klimt said...

I love your site, It is a pleasure to visit.
I have added your site to my site.
Please link my site to your site.
Thank you!