CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: MON. FEB. 28, 2011: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: CALLS FOR DAILY TRUST IN GOD'S LOVE
TODAY'S SAINT: FEB. 28: ST. HILARY
TODAY'S GOSPEL: FEB. 28: MARK 10: 17- 27
VATICAN: POPE: CALLS FOR DAILY TRUST IN GOD'S LOVE
TRUSTING IN GOD'S LOVE IN OUR DAILY LIVES
VATICAN CITY, 27 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below.
He commented on today's reading from the Prophet Isaiah who, consoling Jerusalem afflicted by calamities says: "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you".
This phrase, said the Pope, is "a call to trust in the indefectible love of God", as is the episode in the Gospel of St. Matthew in which Jesus exhorts His disciples "to trust in the providence of the heavenly Father, Who nourishes the birds of the air, clothes the lilies of the field and knows our every need. Thus the Master says: 'Do not worry, saying: What will we drink? or: What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things?'
"Faced with the situation of so many people who, near and far, live in dire poverty, these words of Jesus may seem unrealistic, even evasive", the Holy Father added. "Yet in fact the Lord wants us to understand clearly that we cannot serve two masters: God and money. Those who believe in God, the Father full of love for His children, give priority to seeking His Kingdom and His will. This is the exact opposite of fatalism. ... Faith in Providence, does not, in fact, dispense us from the arduous struggle of living a dignified life, but frees us from our attachment to things and our fear of the morrow".
And he went on: "Clearly this teaching of Jesus, while it remains true and valid for everyone, is practiced in different ways depending on our different vocations: A Franciscan friar may follow it more radically, while a family man will have to take account of his duties towards his wife and children. Yet in all cases Christians stand out for their absolute faith in the heavenly Father, just like Jesus" Who "showed us what it means to live with our feet firmly planted on the ground, attentive to the real situation of our neighbours and, at the same time, with our hearts in heaven, immersed in God's mercy".
Finally the Pope called on the Virgin Mary to intercede "that we may all learn to live a more simple and sober life, working hard every day and respecting the creation which God entrusted to our care".
HOLY FATHER RECEIVES THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE
VATICAN CITY, 26 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - At midday today Benedict XVI received participants in the annual meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Life, led by their new president, Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula. IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA
The question of post-abortion syndrome, which is being examined by the assembly, reveals, said the Pope "the irrepressible voice of moral conscience and the terrible wound it suffers each time a human action betrays the human being's innate vocation to good".
"In your reflections it would also be helpful to focus attention on the sometimes-clouded conscience of the children's fathers, who often abandon pregnant women", he explained. "Moral conscience has the duty to discern good from evil in the various situations of life so that, on the basis of this judgement, human beings can freely orient themselves towards what is good. To people who would deny the existence of moral conscience in man, reducing its voice to the result of external conditioning or to a purely emotive phenomenon, it is important to highlight that the moral nature of human action is not an extrinsic or optional value, nor is a prerogative only of Christians and believers; rather, it unites all mankind. Through moral conscience God speaks to each of us, inviting us to defend human life at all times, and in this personal bond with the Creator lies the profound dignity of moral conscience and the reason for its inviolability".
"Doctors", the Holy Father went on, "must not fail in their serious duty to ensure that women's consciences are not tricked into believing that abortion will resolve family, economic and social difficulties, or the health problems of their child. In this latter situation in particular, women are often convinced, at times by the doctors themselves, that abortion represents not only a morally acceptable choice but even a 'therapeutic' act necessary to avoid suffering for the child and its family, and to remove an 'unjust' burden from society. In a cultural context characterised by an eclipse of the meaning of life, in which the shared perception of the moral gravity of abortion and others forms of attacks against human life has been attenuated, doctors are called to show particular fortitude in continuing to affirm that abortion resolves nothing; rather it kills the child, destroys the woman and blinds the conscience of the child's father, often devastating family life.
"However", the Pope added, "this duty concerns not only the medical profession and healthcare workers; society as a whole must defend the conceived child's right to life and the true good of the woman who can never, in any circumstances, find fulfilment in the decision to abort. In the same way it is important ... to ensure that the necessary help is not lacking for women who, having unfortunately already chosen the path of abortion, are now experiencing all its moral and existential consequences. There are initiatives, at a diocesan level or by individual volunteer organisations, which offer psychological and spiritual support for a full recovery. The solidarity of the Christian community must not abandon this kind of shared responsibility".
The Pope then turned his attention to the second question being examined by the annual meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Life: the use of stem cells from the umbilical cord.
"This has important clinical applications", he said, "and is a promising form of scientific research; however its realisation depends to a large extent on the generosity of donating cord blood at the moment of childbirth, and on adapting structures in order to make the mothers' desire to donate viable. I invite you, then, to promote genuine and well-informed human and Christian solidarity", he said.
In closing Benedict XVI referred to the concern of many researchers regarding the increasing number of private cord blood banks for autologous use. "This option", he said, "apart from having no greater scientific merit than the donation of cord blood, weakens that genuine spirit of solidarity which must constantly animate the search for that common good, towards which, in the final analysis, science and medical research are striving".
VATICAN CITY, 26 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope addressed to His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir for the occasion of his resignation from the office of patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon.
The Holy Father notes how "the year consecrated to the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Maron is drawing to a close. The Maronite Church has experienced a period of grace in this exceptional Jubilee Year, which has also been the coronation of your own service for the greater glory of God and for the good of all your faithful".
"For nearly twenty-five years", Benedict XVI writes, "you worked with your two predecessors in the See of Antioch before being elected by the Synod to succeed them on 19 April 1986. ... You began your noble ministry of patriarch of the Maronites amidst the torment of the war which bloodied the face of Lebanon for so many years. With the ardent desire for peace in your country, you led the Church and travelled the world to console those obliged to emigrate. Finally, peace returned, ever fragile but still extant".
The Holy Father recalls John Paul II's visit to Beirut in 1997 to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "A new hope for Lebanon" which, Pope Benedict writes, "re-emphasised your Church's constant bond with Peter's Successor". The Letter also mentions Cardinal Sfeir's participation in the 2010 Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, as president delegate "ad honorem".
"You have chosen to resign from your office as patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites in this special circumstance, and I accept your free and magnanimous decision as an expression of great humility and profound detachment", says the Pope. "I am sure", he concludes, "that you will always accompany the journey of the Maronite Church with your prayers, your wise counsel and your sacrifice".
VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"Today, Monday 28 February, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Jerzey Buzek, president of the European Parliament. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
"The discussions, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions concerning relations between the Catholic Church, the European Parliament and other European institutions, as well as the contribution the Church can make to the Union.
"In the course of the meeting attention also turned to questions of current affairs, such as commitment to promoting religious freedom and the protection of Christian minorities in the world".
VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications who are currently meeting to reflect on the question of language and new technology.
The Pope noted how "ideas and relations are always part of the modality of language, understood, naturally, in a broad and not only a verbal sense". In this context he affirmed that "the new languages being developed in digital communications lead, among other things, to capacities that are more intuitive and emotional than analytical, tending towards a different logical organisation of our ideas and our relationship with reality, often privileging images and hypertextual links".
"The risks involved are, of course, visible to everyone: the loss of inner depth, superficiality in relationships, the flight into emotionalism, the prevalence of the most convincing opinion over the desire for truth. This is the consequence of an incapacity to experience, fully and authentically, the significance of the new innovations, and hence the vital importance of reflecting on the languages developed by modern technology".
Going on then to refer to "digital culture" and the challenges the ecclesial and civil communities have to face in this field, the Holy Father highlighted how "it is not just a question of expressing the Gospel message in modern language, but also of having the courage to give more profound consideration, as happened in other ages, to the relationship between the faith, the life of the Church and the transformations mankind is experiencing". Whence arises "the importance of helping people in positions of responsibility in the Church to understand, interpret and speak the 'new language' of the mass media in their pastoral functions, interacting with the modern world and asking themselves what challenges does so-called 'digital thought' place before faith and theology? What questions does it raise, what requirements does it impose?"
After then highlighting how "digital culture challenges our capacity to speak and listen to a symbolic language of transcendence", the Pope noted that "today we are called to discover, also in digital culture, symbols and significant metaphors which may be of help in speaking of the Kingdom of God to modern man".
"The appeal to spiritual values", the Pope concluded, "will facilitate the promotion of a truly human form of communication. Over and above any facile enthusiasm or scepticism, we know that this is a response to the call imprinted into our nature as beings created in the image and likeness of the God of communion. ... The contribution made by believers can, then, be useful to the world of the mass media, opening horizons of meaning and value which digital culture alone is incapable of seeing or representing".
VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Holy Father today received in separate audiences three prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo O.M.I. of Cotabato, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo.
- Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla of Davao.
On Saturday 26 February he received in separate audiences:
- Seven prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Emmanuel T. Cabajar C.SS.R. of Pagadian.
- Bishop Juan de Dios M. Pueblos of Butuan.
- Bishop Jose A. Cabantan of Malaybalay.
- Bishop Antonieto D. Cabajog of Surigao.
- Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar of Tandag.
- Bishop Romulo T. de la Cruz of Kidapawan.
- Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez of Marbel.
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, as a counsellor of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
- Appointed Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de La Habana, Cuba, as a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Riobamba, Ecuador, presented by Bishop Victor Alejandro Corral Mantilla, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Stefano Di Pinto, official of the Office of Pension Funds, as director of the same office.
- Appointed Stefano Loreti, bureau chief in the Ordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), as director for a five-year period of APSA's "Area for Controlling Management and Procedures".
- Appointed Francesco Anastasi, official of the Extraordinary Section of APSA, as bureau chief of the Ordinary Section of APSA.
- Appointed Roberto Carulli and Stefano Lori, officials of the Ordinary Section of APSA, as bureau chiefs in the Extraordinary Section of APSA.
On Saturday 26 February it was made public that the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, presented by Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, in accordance with canon 126 para.2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
Rome (AsiaNews) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said a "humanitarian emergency" was developing in Libya as thousands of people fled the North African country, scene of a popular uprising against the 40-year-old rule of Muammar Kaddafi. The UN agency said that at least 100,000 foreign workers left the strife-torn country by air, land and sea. Many of the escapees are from Asia, trying to get out by any means. Some have left thanks to rescue operations by their governments.
Two ferries docked late Sunday with some 300 people on the small Mediterranean island of Malta, which has become a key hub in the desperate scramble to get foreigners out of Libya.
Malta's Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said his island nation had received some 8,000 people since the Libyan crisis began and he feared that an even greater exodus could lead to a disaster.
Earlier a ferry arrived in Malta loaded with some 1,800 Asian workers, including citizens of China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
However, many more are left in the country. Foreign governments have prepared evacuation plans, but fighting between government troops and rebels are making rescue operations difficult.
Libya is one of the world’s largest oil producers. Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers are employed in the oil industry or construction. Many are also domestic workers.
China said it had evacuated nearly 29,000 of its nationals from Libya. The Foreign Ministry in Beijing said around 2,500 Chinese citizens had already returned home and 23,000 more had been sent to Greece, Malta, Tunisia, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, where they were waiting to board flights home. An additional 3,400 had left Libya aboard ships and were making their way to Greece, it added.
So far, Nepal welcomed home about 2,000 of its national, many suffering from malnutrition after going nine days without food. However, other groups of Nepalis do not have the right papers or the money to buy a ticket. Hundreds are lost somewhere in Libya after their papers were burnt during rebel attacks against companies controlled by the government.
India has also proceeded to repatriate its citizens. Indian authorities organised two flights to bring back about 500 of the 18,000 Indians in Libya. New Delhi also dispatched three warships to help with the evacuation. A passenger ferry arrived in the eastern city of Benghazi to take Indian evacuees to Alexandria in Egypt, from where they will be flown home.
Mohammed Sali, the first Indian to make it back home, told the BBC that he was robbed of all his possessions at knifepoint as he reached Tripoli airport.
Hundreds of workers from Vietnam and Philippines crossed into neighbouring Algeria.
About 900 Vietnamese have made it home; another 4,000 are on their way. Vietnamese authorities said that almost 7,500 of its citizens will have left Libya by Wednesday.
Manila also began repatriating its nationals. However, critics at home have lambasted the government for its slow reaction to the crisis. The Filipino Embassy in Tripoli organised convoys, one carrying 550 Filipinos to Tunisia.
The Foreign Ministry in Manila announced that 1,877 Filipinos out of 26,000 working in the country were able to get out. Labour groups retorted that at least 30,000 Filipinos were working in Libya, saying that government figures were out of date.
At least 4,000 out of 60,000 workers from Bangladesh reached the borders with Egypt and Tunisia. A Chinese company brought 800 Bangladeshi to Crete by sea.
“The government has not evacuated any Bangladeshi workers so far. But we have all preparations ready if the situation worsens," a government minister said.
In the meantime, some 30 South Koreans managed to get out on board a Turkish army vessel. According to South Korea authorities, at least 500 South Koreans are still thought to be in Libya.
The Sveti Stefan II, a ship chartered by Russian businesses operating in Libya, picked up 1,126 people, as a Russian emergency situations ministry plane flew to Tripoli.
Meanwhile, Turkey's foreign ministry said on Sunday that it had sent a military cargo plane to Libya to repatriate 125 nationals who were rescued after being held hostage in Tripoli. (D.S.)
(Kalpit Parajuli contributed to the article)
CATHOLIC ONLINE REPORT: Film Underscores the Power of Forgiveness
When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and just about everyone else. Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God's grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD ... and never underestimate the power of God's love.
The summary of the film from the producers states that "when Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and just about everyone else.
"Mac's rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he's partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.
"Mac's home life is as frightening as anything he encounters on the streets of Memphis. Money is tight and emotions run high as he constantly argues with his wife and his surviving son Blake, who is hanging with the wrong crowd and in danger of flunking out of school.
"Sam Wright also never expected to be a police officer. He has a calling-to be a minister like his Grandpa George. But leading a small, start-up church doesn't always put enough food on the table for a young family, so Sam doubles as a police officer. With his new promotion to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate.
"Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it's impossible for either of them to look past their differences-especially the most obvious one?
"Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God's grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD ... and never underestimate the power of God's love."
Christine Schult of Catholic Media Review (www.catholicmediareview.blogspot.com) strongly endorses this film on forgiveness. "It was actually disturbing to see how Mac impacts those around him," she writes, "his wife, his son and his partner. Both Mac and Sam are missing something in their life; Mac has shut God out of his life for a long time, and Sam begins to doubt his calling as a pastor.
"Sam relies on his faith, and guidance from his grandfather George (Louis Gossett Jr.), but it takes a tragic incident to provide the impetus for change that Mac needs in his life.
"I've reviewed quite a few movies that emphasize forgiveness, but The Grace Card brought it to a whole new level. The ending is especially emotional, and unexpected.
"A very good movie worth seeing."
While veteran reviewer Phil Boatright (www.moviereporter.com) finds the film a little lacking he also sees it as a worthwhile project to support. "Well, it's a drama alright. It includes the death of a child, bigotry, family squabbles, a son doing drugs, and financial problems. What it doesn't always have is finesse. Rather, the script and some of the performances are heavy-handed and transparent.
"What saves it from being a well-meaning "church" film is the gentle insertion of spiritual themes. A preacher's sermon concerning love and another about the power of grace are both sincere and enlightening. Ultimately uplifting, it is worth supporting."
Christian leaders from various of traditions have given the film high marks. For more information, you can visit the movie site at http://www.thegracecardmovie.com/home.
CATH NEWS REPORT: Priests will be the key teachers and explainers of the newly translated parts of the Mass in Australian parishes, Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton told the Record.
Bishop Sproxton, who heads Perth's Archdiocesan Implementation Committee, said that while most of the changes are perfectly understandable, with some "elevated language" priests must help the faithful understand the theology behind the new texts.
For example, when the congregation says that Jesus Christ is "consubstantial with the Father" rather than "of one being" with the Father in the Nicene Creed, "that's up to the priest to give a catechesis on that word".
The Bishop dismissed notions that such phrases are unnecessary as they are not "the language of the street".
"Instead of that idea - that theological point - being lost, here's an opportunity now for it to be explained.""[Consubstantial] is a difficult term but it is a theological term; so it's not a question of English, it's a question of theology," he said.
"I'm quite happy for priests to express reservations about certain aspects of the translations, because even those who were involved in the project had some reservations about some decisions that were made. But that doesn't mean it's a bad thing," he said.
"I can't think of anyone who will dig in his heels and say 'I'm not going to do it'. That hasn't been voiced here. I'm confident that they'll just do the best for the sake of their people, that they'll want their people to experience this in a seamless way.
"Even before the project began when I was a priest, I noticed that when you compare the (pre-1974 Latin Mass) to the English there's an awful lot not in that English prayer, and I thought that was selling us short.
"We weren't getting that whole content of what that Latin was giving, so I think it's great we've got a text which is much closer to that Latin - not because it's Latin but because of the nature of the prayer, the theological and spiritual content of the prayer, which is now accessible to us through this translation."
A new website, www.romanmissal.org.au, will be launched by March to help parishes, communities and individuals implement the new translations.
A Vatican official visited the tomb of Franciscan Clarist Sister Rani Maria in central India on February 26, on the 16th anniversary of her “martyrdom.”
Capuchin Father Giovangiuseppe Califano, postulator general for the Beatification Causes of Saints, visited Udainagar in Madhya Pradesh as part of the murdered nun’s canonization process.
Hired killer, Samunder Singh, stabbed the nun as she was traveling to Indore on a bus in 1995. Her work among poor landless people had angered several landowners, one of whom hired Singh to kill her.
Franciscan Clarist Sister Bincy Theresa, an external collaborator for the canonization cause who accompanied the Vatican official from Rome, said he visited sites where Sister Maria worked, lived and died.
A diocesan tribunal, set up by late bishop George Anathil of Indore, submitted a 10,000-page report to the congregation in 2007.
The Vatican congregation has given juridical validity to the diocesan tribunal findings and appointed Father Daniel Ols as the relater to “take the process further,” Sister Theresa said.
Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, who heads the Church in the state, led the ceremonies on the 16th anniversary of her martyrdom.
He prayed that Sister Maria’s death could help local people understand Christianity and its services to the poor.
More than 1,100 people from across the state, mostly nuns and priests, attended the event at Udainagar where Sister Maria was killed.
Father Santosh Tigga, the local parish priest, said people in the area accept the Church and appreciate its work. “There is no threat from anybody now,” he said.
The priest said people now call Sister Maria, “Rani [queen] of Udainagar.”
Her killer, Singh, who converted to Christianity while serving a 12-year jail term, also came to pray at Sister Maria’s tomb.
She was a holy person and “Udainagar would never forget her services to the poor,” he said.