Friday, February 4, 2011








TODAY'S GOSPEL: FEB. 4: MARK 6: 14- 29




VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. As the Pope pointed out in his remarks, this is the first time he has received members of the institution since the promulgation of its "Lex propria", which he signed in 2008 and thanks to which it can periodically celebrate a plenary "Congregatio" for "the promotion of the correct administration of justice in the Church. IMAGE RADIO VATICANA

"The function of this tribunal is not, in fact limited to exercising supreme judicial authority", Benedict XVI added, "but it also has an executive role in overseeing the correct administration of justice within the ecclesial body. ... This activity must be co-ordinated and patient, aimed above all at supplying the faithful with a correct, prompt and efficient administration of justice, as I myself requested, regarding cases of nullification of marriage, in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Sacramentum caritatis'".

The Holy Father went on then to explain how, in that Apostolic Exhortation, he had also "referred to the Instruction 'Dignitas connubii', which gives moderators and ministers of the tribunal, in the form of a handbook, the norms they need to ensure that causes for nullification of marriage are dealt with and resolved in the quickest and surest way. The activities of the Apostolic Signatura aim to ensure that ecclesiastical tribunals are present on the ground and that their ministry is adapted to the just requirements of speed and simplicity, which the faithful have a right to expect in the handling of their cases".

"Supervision over the correct administration of justice would, however, be incomplete if it did not also include the function of ensuring correct jurisprudence", said the Pope. "Thus, I also encourage you as you reflect over these days on the correct jurisprudence to propose to local tribunals concerning 'error iuris' as a reason for the nullification of marriage".

The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura "also operates in another delicate area of the administration of justice, one entrusted to it by Servant of God Paul VI. The Signatura, in fact, deals with controversies which arise from an act of ecclesiastical administrative power, referred to it by legitimate appeal against singular administrative acts issued or approved by the dicasteries of the Roman Curia. This is a vitally important service: predisposing instruments of justice (from the peaceful resolution of controversies to their being judicially processed and decided) means offering a place for dialogue and for the restoration of communion in the Church".

The Holy Father went on: "Although it is true that injustice must be met, above all, with the spiritual weapons of prayer, charity, forgiveness and penance, in certain cases we cannot exclude the need for it to be met with legal instruments. These are, first and foremost, places for dialogue which can sometimes lead to harmony and reconciliation".

In other cases, "when it is impossible to resolve the controversy peacefully, the development of the administrative adversarial trial will lead to a judicial verdict on the controversy. Here too the activity of the Supreme Tribunal seeks the restoration of ecclesial communion; that is, the restoration of an objective order in conformity with the good of the Church".

"Justice - which the Church pursues through the administrative adversarial trial - may be considered as the beginning, the minimum requirement and charitable anticipation, indispensable yet at the same time insufficient if compared to the charity from which the Church lives. Nonetheless the People of God during their pilgrim journey on earth will never achieve their identity as a community of love if they do not remain attentive to the requirements of justice".

AC/ VIS 20110204 (620)


VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, which began forty years ago, has concluded its first two phases, according to a communique released by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The dialogue is undertaken by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Department for Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion.

The co-chairmen and co-secretaries of this new third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission have drawn up a plan for their first meeting, which will be held by the monastery of Bose in northern Italy, from 17 to 27 May. The new phase of ARCIC's work was mandated by Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, at their meeting in Rome in November 2009.

The co-chairmen of the commission - which is made up of ten Anglican and eight Catholic members - are Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England (Roman Catholic), and Archbishop David Moxon of the New Zealand dioceses (Anglican).

"The task of this third phase of ARCIC will be to consider fundamental questions regarding the 'Church as Communion - Local and Universal', and 'How in communion the Local and Universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching'. These interrelated topics emerged from the Common Declaration of the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury", the communique says.

The text concludes by explaining that "the international membership of this new phase of ARCIC represents a wide range of cultural settings, and brings to the commission a variety of theological disciplines".

CON-UC/ VIS 20110204 (280)


VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

- Bishop Felix Genn of Munster, Germany.

- Bishop Lucas Van Looy S.D.B. of Ghent, Belgium.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The Bishops of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Western Sahara appreciate demonstrations by young people. They are an opportunity for dialogue between Christians and Muslims. So far the demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia have not taken on Islamist connotations.

Algiers (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The demonstrations that are "shaking Tunisia and Egypt today" are "a vindication of freedom and dignity" in the opinion of the Conference of Bishops of North Africa (CERNA). The group published a statement last night at the conclusion of their annual meeting, held in the Algerian capital.

CERNA includes the bishops of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Western Sahara. Yesterday's was their first public pronunciation on what is happening in the Arab countries of North Africa, where popular demonstrations, driven by poverty and corruption of dictatorships are shaking political systems. Stressing the "demands for freedom and dignity," the bishops make no difference between Muslims and Christians. For them, it comes "especially from the younger generations of our region and is expressed in a will that demands they be recognized as responsible citizens."

The astonishing fact for many international observers is that the demonstrations that have taken place in Tunisia and Egypt see Christians and Muslims protest together. Their unity is a "secular" one and is based on together being victims of poverty, high prices, corruption, unemployment. In their statement the bishops do not comment on the recent anti-Christian attacks in Egypt and Iraq, and instead see "more and more opportunities" for growth of ties between Christians and Muslims as citizens. "Yes - they say - Muslim-Christian dialogue is possible."

In Egypt, Coptic Christians appear next to young Muslims, although the Coptic Orthodox hierarchy has suggested the faithful "keep calm".

So far, the demonstrations in Cairo have not taken on an Islamist hue. According to many young Copts, the Islamist threat was exploited - and nurtured- by the Mubarak regime to divide the population and control it.


UCAN REPORT: The head of the Catholic Church in Pakistan has expressed outrage at the government’s decision to withdraw a private member’s bill proposing changes in the blasphemy laws, calling it “an act of surrender.”

“It’s a mistake giving in to pressure by Islamic parties. The government has totally caved in and there seems no prospect of changes in the controversial legislation in the near future,” Archbishop Lawrence J. Saldanha, president of Pakistan Catholic Bishop’s Conference told

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told the National Assembly on Feb. 2 that the government never intended to make any changes to the law and had disbanded the committee reviewing it.

The premier also said Sherry Rehman, who introduced the bill, had decided to withdraw it.

The decision comes in the wake of the recent killing of Punjab governor Salman Taseer who was a vocal critic of the blasphemy laws.

“I have no other option but to abide by my party’s decision. The bill was not aiming to repeal the law, but to better protect our great Prophet Mohammad’s name against injustices”, Rahman said yesterday, adding, “Policies to please extremists will be harmful.”

Archbishop Saldanha agreed with the last point.

“Improving the law will bring more honor and respect to the Prophet and the country. The poor and Christians have suffered a lot; even students are now afraid to speak, discuss or write about the Prophet,” he said.

The blasphemy laws make an insult to the Qur’an an offense punishable by up to life imprisonment, while giving the death penalty to anyone convicted of insulting Prophet Muhammad. Church leaders have long charged that the blasphemy laws are being abused for personal gain and to harass non-Muslims. NGOs record 1,392 people were killed in blasphemy laws-related violence.


CATHOLIC ONLINE REPORT: YOUCAT is an accessible, contemporary expression of the Catholic Faith.

Given his diminutive stature and humble demeanor, many predicted that Pope Benedict XVI would not have the same effect on the youth of the world as did his predecessor, the Venerable John Paul II. Time has proven them absolutely wrong. The youth have a special love for this wonderful Pope. This is evident in the constantly expanding crowds of youth at World Youth Days as well as on his many apostolic visits around the globe. Now, he gives them their own Catechism of the faith.

'YouCat' is short for 'Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church'

'YouCat' is short for 'Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church'

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - I will never forget hearing those words, "Habemus Papem", "We Have a Pope!" The Cardinal announced them on April 19, 2005 to a waiting world. Pope Benedict XVI stepped forward onto the balcony overlooking St. Peters Square calling himself "a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord."

The applause was uproarious. The joy filled not only that Square but the hearts of millions throughout the entire world who had prayed for this moment. He continued, " that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the risen Lord, trusting in his permanent help, we go forward." And we have gone forward.

On that day I wrote, "Pope Benedict XVI is a gift from heaven. I believe that he will be a builder, through whom the great treasure left by his predecessor will become reality. I also believe he will surprise many, particularly in the area of ecumenism. He will dynamically lead the Church into a Catholic Millennium and we will see the springtime that his predecessor, our beloved Pope John Paul, prophetically anticipated."

"We will witness the beginnings of the coming full communion of the Church. We will witness the recovery of the Catholic academy through the rebuilding of some institutions almost lost to the Church and the building of new ones. We will see the flourishing of good, solid theological and philosophical work along with a flourishing of the arts and human culture, led by the Church, as it has been in ages past. He will be like his namesake and help to bring the Christian influence back to Europe and beyond."

Given his diminutive stature and humble demeanor, many predicted that Pope Benedict XVI would not have the same effect on the youth of the world as did his predecessor, the Venerable John Paul II. Time has proven them absolutely wrong. In fact, the youth of the church seem to have a special love for this wonderful Pope. This is evident in the constantly expanding crowds of youth at World Youth Days as well as on his many apostolic visits around the globe.

Pope Benedict's allocutions since taking office have often been directed to the young. His paternal care and deep conviction that they will carry forward the vital work of the Church in what he views as a new missionary age permeates his inspiring and challenging calls to the young to heroically follow Jesus Christ. He knows they are being called by the Lord to proclaim the liberating message of the fullness of the Gospel as found within the Catholic Church - in their words and in the compelling witness of their lives.

Now, he has the joy and privilege of completing a task begun under his predecessor in the Chair of Peter, Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI has written the forward to - and become a tremendous advocate and booster for - "YouCat." This is short for "Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church." As evident in his inspiring forward, the Pope has great confidence and hope in the Young and sees this Youth Catechism as essential for the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI knows that the new Evangelization of the Church, and her ongoing mission to the whole world into which she has been sent to continue the redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus, will be entrusted to the young. His enthusiastic endorsement of the Youth Catechism is a part of his apostolic ministry as the successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ. Expect this Catechism to become the mainstay of youth catechesis in the global Catholic Church.

Below is the announcement released on Thursday, February 3, 2011, by Vatican Radio:

"Some people tell me that the youth of today are not interested in the catechism, but I do not believe this statement and I am certain that I am right. They are not as superficial as they are accused of being; young people want to know what life really is about. A crime novel is compelling because it involves the fate of other people, but it could be our own, this book is compelling because it speaks to us of our own destiny and therefore is closely related to each of us".

These the words of Pope Benedict XVI in the forward to a book, soon to be published in 7 languages, entitled "YouCat," short for Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the official catechism for World Youth Day.

Written for high-school age people and young adults, YOUCAT is an accessible, contemporary expression of the Catholic Faith. The popular format includes Questions-and-Answers, highly-readable commentary, margin pictures and illustrations, summary definitions of key terms, Bible citations, and quotes from the Saints and other great teachers.

The project, in the Pope's own words, was first entrusted to the Congregation for Bishops, by his predecessor John Paul II. It took its origin from another work

dating back to the 1980s, a period Pope Benedict XVI describes in his forward as "difficult ...for the Church as well as for global society, during which the need emerged for new approaches to find a way forward towards the future." After Vatican II (1962-1965) and in the changed cultural climate, he notes, "many people did not know what Christians should really believe, what the Church teaches, if it can teach something outright, and how this might fit into the new cultural climate."

Thus, John Paul II entrusted his successor with the task of coordinating the work of bishops, theologians and young people into a book, edited by the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.

Pope Benedict writes that he "was afraid of this task," and confesses his doubts that "it would succeed", describing its existence as something of a "miracle", the labour of many meetings and "passionate discussions over individual texts." He then goes on to express the hope that young people will allow themselves to be "captivated" by the catechism, and his certainty that they are far more interested in it than most believe.

In fact he writes; "This aide to the catechism does not offer you any empty praise, it does not offer easy solutions, it requires a new life on your part." He asks young people to "study the catechism with passion and perseverance! Sacrifice your time for it!"

The Pope Benedict continues; "You need to know what you believe, you need to know your faith with the same precision with which a computer specialist knows the operating system of a computer. You need Divine help, so your faith does not dry up like a drop of dew in the sun, so you do not succumb to the temptations of consumerism, so your love is not drowned in pornography, so you do not betray the weak, the victims of abuse and violence."

In one last piece of advice Pope Benedict XVI goes right to the heart of many young people's concerns about and disillusionment with the Church. He writes; "You all know how the community of believers was recently wounded by the attacks of evil, by the penetration of sin within, within the very heart of the Church. Do not make this an excuse to escape the sight of God, you yourselves are the body of Christ, the Church! Bring the wholesome fire of your love to this church every time men obscure its face. "Do not be lazy in zeal, let the Spirit ignite and serve the Lord." (Rom 12, 11) by: Deacon Keith Fournier


IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: More than 350,000 minutes were pledged by more than 100 people last Monday at the vibrant London launch of Million Minutes, a new Catholic charity to raise money for projects supporting young people. The focus in 2011 will be raising £1m through a UK-wide sponsored silence around Sunday 8 May. Danny Curtin, a recent President of the Young Christian Workers, and Paschal Uche, the young man who welcomed Pope Benedict XVI on the steps of Westminster Cathedral during 2010's Papal Visit, urged people to download resources from the new

Speaking at the launch, Million Minutes champion, Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, presenter of BBC TV programme The Big Silence, said: “this is a great way to bring together two really important and overlooked things: silence and young people”. Fellow champion Margaret Mizen, mother of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen, said it is important “that young people are supported to play their full role in society”.

She told ICN that Million Minutes will be working with the Jimmy Mizen Foundation to assist their work with young people on the theme of ‘Youth peace on the streets’. Other themes and partners include ‘Youth homelessness’ with the Cardinal Hume Centre, ‘Youth leadership’ with the Young Christian Workers and ‘Youth overseas’ with Progressio. Catholic cookery expert Delia Smith has already pledged to join the sponsored silence, along with many youth chaplains, teachers, parish priests and young people themselves.

The launch at St Mary Moorfields Church in East London was attended by the directors of youth services in at least six Catholic dioceses and youth workers from Catholic organisations such as Young Christian Workers and Pax Christi. Bishop George Stack, auxiliary in Westminster and Fr John Dale, Director of Missio, were also there in support. Danny Curtin, one of the founders, summed up with: “A few of us have thought for a while about how best to raise money for young people and raise their profile in the Church as well as in the rest of society and Million Minutes seems to be an idea whose time has come.”



Screenshot from the Caritas Australia website


Caritas Australia has urged all Australians to remain in "solidarity" with "vulnerable communities", as 64 million more people across the glob plunged into extreme poverty in the past year, reports The Catholic Weekly.For all those who experience natural disaster, for all those who bear the burden of intractable poverty, the value of your steadfast support and solidarity is immeasurable," the organisation's chief executive officer, Jack de Groot said.

Mr de Groot said that solidarity also marked the generosity of Caritas partners who responded in compassion to Australia's own recent flooding disaster.

"Our partners in Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil have offered their solidarity and prayers as our nations experience historic flooding; though Australians may have greater resources to recover, our partners know that human suffering is not a numbers game.

"It is this solidarity and determination to uphold human dignity that connects us with the rest of the world; that inspires our partners to extend their support; and that motivates Australians to contribute financially in times of dire need – be it to their neighbour somewhere in Australia or a community in the furthest reaches of the world."

Mr de Groot said that in the past year Caritas Australia has shared in the "abundant reward of creating a more just global community, committed to the eradication of a poverty that robs men, women and children of their inherent dignity and their rights"

He said Caritas Australia was again charged this year "with supporting the world's most vulnerable communities in the face of increasing poverty and decreasing resources".

"In the past year an additional 64 million people were plunged into extreme poverty; though the global recession has taken its toll on Caritas Australia, their commitment to empower the poorest of the poor is now not only dutiful but imperative," he said.

The "historic Lenten fundraising appeal" – Project Compassion – had reached a record tally last year, "a mammoth $9.3 million".


St. Joseph of Leonessa


Feast: February 4


Feast Day:February 4

8 January 1556 at Leonissa, Umbria, Italy

Died:Saturday 4 February 1612 at Umbria, Italy
Canonized:29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV

In the world named Eufranio Desiderio, born in 1556 at Leonessa in Umbria; died 4 February, 1612. From his infancy he showed a remarkably religious bent of mind; he used to erect little altars and spend much time in prayer before them, and often he would gather his companions and induce them to pray with him. Whilst yet a boy he used to take the discipline on Fridays in company with the confraternity of St. Saviour. He was educated by his uncle, who had planned a suitable marriage for him, but in his sixteenth year he fell sick of a fever, and on his recovery, without consulting his relative, he joined the Capuchin reform of the Franciscan Order. He made his novitiate in the convent of the Carcerelle near Assisi. As a religious he was remarkable for his great abstinence. "Brother Ass", he would say to his body, "there is no need to feed thee as a noble horse would be fed: thou must be content to be a poor ass." In 1599, the year before his Jubilee year, he fasted the whole year by way of preparation for gaining the indulgence. In 1587 he was sent by the Superior General of his order to Constantinople to minister to the Christians held captive there. Arrived there he and his companions lodged in a derelict house of Benedictine monks. The poverty in which the friars lived attracted the attention of the Turks, who went in numbers to see the new missionaries. He was very solicitous in ministering to the captive Christians in the galleys. Every day he went into the city to preach, and he was at length thrown into prison and only released at the intervention of the Venetian agent. Urged on by zeal he at last sought to enter the palace to preach before the Sultan, but he was seized and condemned to death. For three days he hung on the gallows, held up by two hooks driven through his right hand and foot; then he was miraculously released by an angel. Returning to Italy, he took with him a Greek archbishop who had apostatized, and who was reconciled to the Church on their arrival in Rome. Joseph now took up the work of home missions in his native province, sometimes preaching six or seven times a day. In the Jubilee year of 1600 he preached the Lent at Orticoli, a town through which crowds of pilgrims passed on their way to Rome. Many of them being very poor, Joseph supplied them with food; he also washed their clothes and cut their hair. At Todi he cultivated with his own hands a garden, the produce of which was for the poor. His feast is kept on 4 February throughout the Franciscan Order. He was canonized by Benedict XIV.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: FEB. 4: MARK 6: 14- 29

Mark 6: 14 - 29
14King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him."
15But others said, "It is Eli'jah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old."
16But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."
17For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero'di-as, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her.
18For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
19And Hero'di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,
20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.
21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.
22For when Hero'di-as' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it."
23And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom."
24And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer."
25And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
26And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.
27And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,
28and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
29When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

No comments: