Monday, February 21, 2011


CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SUN. FEB. 20, 2011: Headlines-




VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORT) - In his remarks before praying the Angelus today with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention to this Sunday's Bible readings which speak to us, he said, "of God's desire to bring mankind to share in His life: 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy' as it says in the Book of Leviticus. IMAGE : RADIO VATICANA

"With these words and the precepts that follow", the Holy Father added, "the Lord invites the people He chose to remain faithful to their covenant with Him by following His path, and He founds social legislation on the commandment: 'you shall love your neighbour as yourself'. If, then, we listen to Jesus, in Whom God took a mortal body in order to come close to all men and to reveal His infinite love for us, we rediscover this same call, this same bold objective".

The Pope continued: "Jesus Himself says: 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven'. Those who welcome the Lord into their own lives and love Him with all their hearts are able to make a new start. They manage to accomplish the will of God: that of creating a new form of existence, inspired by love and destined for eternity. ... If we are truly aware of this fact and our lives are profoundly moulded around it, then our witness becomes clear, eloquent and effective".

The Holy Father then went on to recall the fact that 22 February marks the Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter, the "first of the Apostles", to whom "Christ entrusted the role of master and pastor for the spiritual guidance of the People of God, that they might be raised unto heaven. Thus", he said, "I exhort all pastors 'to assimilate that new style of life which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles'".

In his greetings delivered in various languages after the Angelus prayer, the Pope emphasised the importance of reconciliation. "When we suffer because of evil, persecution or injustice, let us avoid retribution, revenge and hatred, and pray for our persecutors", he said. "'Overcome evil with good'. Let us entrust all these adversities to God in order to achieve freedom and spiritual peace".

Finally, speaking Spanish, the Holy Father reaffirmed that today's liturgy invites us "to the fullness of Christian life and perfection of charity by forgiving our enemies and praying for our persecutors, which is the source of lasting reconciliation".


VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the rector, students and teachers of the Pontifical Filipino College, which this year is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation by Blessed John XXIII.

Your "first and most important task", the Pope told them, speaking English, "remains to assist students in their formation in the sacred sciences. This the college has accomplished well". In this context he encouraged the students "to grow in faith, to strive for excellence in your studies, and to grasp every opportunity afforded you to attain spiritual and theological maturity, so that you will be equipped, trained, and stout-hearted for whatever awaits you in the future.

"As you know", he added, "a complete priestly formation includes not only the academic: over and above the intellectual component offered to them here, the students of the Filipino College are also formed spiritually through the Church of Rome's living history and the shining example of her martyrs, whose sacrifice configures them perfectly to the person of Jesus Christ Himself.

"I am confident that each of you will be inspired by their union with the mystery of Christ and embrace the Lord's call to holiness which demands from you as priests nothing less than the complete gift of your lives and labours to God. Doing so in the company of other young priests and seminarians gathered here from throughout the world, you will return home, like those before you, with a grateful and permanent sense of the Church of Rome's history, of her roots in the paschal mystery of Christ, and of her wonderful universality".

Pope Benedict then went on to encourage the priests "to consider the needs of those around them, including the members of the Filipino community living in Rome and its environs. In doing so, let the use of your time always strike a healthy balance between local pastoral concerns and the academic requirements of your stay here, to the benefit of all".

"I urge you all to return to the Philippines", he concluded, "with an unshakeable affection of your own for the Successor of Peter and with the desire to strengthen and maintain the communion which binds the Church in charity around him. In this way, having completed your studies, you will surely be a leaven of the Gospel in the life of your beloved nation".

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VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute for General Affairs, presented the Holy Father with the 2011 edition of the "Annuario Pontificio" or pontifical yearbook. Also present were the officials responsible for compiling and printing the volume.

A note concerning the presentation highlights some of the facts contained in the new edition. In 2010, the Pope erected ten new episcopal sees, one apostolic exarchate and one apostolic vicariate. One diocese was elevated to the rank of metropolitan see, two prelatures to the rank of diocese, and two apostolic prefectures and one apostolic administration to the rank of apostolic vicariates.

The number of Catholics in the world increased from around 1,166 million in 2008 to 1,181 million in 2009, an increase of fifteen million faithful which corresponds to a growth of 1.3 percent.

The distribution of Catholics between the continents is notably different from that of the general population. Between 2008 and 2009 the Americas maintained their proportion of the global population fixed at 13.6 percent; by contrast, over that two-year period Catholics there reached 49.4 percent of the Catholic population of the world. Over the same period, Asia's Catholic population increased from 10.6 percent to 10.7 percent of the world total, considerably lower than the 60.7 percent of the global population living in that continent. Europe's share of the world population is three percentage points lower than that of the Americas, but its share of world Catholics is nearly half that of the Americas, at 24 percent. For States in both Africa and Oceania, their share of the world population differs little from their share of the world Catholic population (respectively, 15.2 percent and 0.8 percent).

The note also indicates that the number of bishops grew between 2008 and 2009 from 5,002 to 5,065. As for priests, both regular and diocesan, their numbers have increased over the last ten years from 405,178 in 2000 to 410,593 in 2009, although their distribution differs considerably from continent to continent. Numbers of diocesan clergy are falling in Europe and increasing in all the other continents, while numbers of religious clergy are in general decline, with the exception of Asia and Africa.

Numbers of permanent deacons have increased by 2.5 percent, from 37,203 in 2008 to 38,155 in 2009. Their presence grew more rapidly in Oceania (19 percent) and in Asia (16 percent), while in Europe and America the increase was of 2.3 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Among the pastoral workers who assist bishops and priests in their activities, female religious remain the largest group, although their numbers fell from 739,067 in 2008 to 729,371 in 2009. The crisis continues despite the fact that numbers have increased in Africa and Asia.

The number of candidates to the priesthood grew by 0.82 percent, from 117,024 in 2008 to 117,978 in 2009. Here too the different continents show a different evolution, for while in Africa and Asia numbers grew by 2.39 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, in Europe and America they fell by 1.64 percent and 0.17 percent.

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VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Six prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:

- Msgr. Claro M. Caluya, diocesan administrator of Masbate.

- Bishop Arturo M. Bastes S.V.D. of Sorsogon.

- Bishop Manolo A. de los Santos of Virac.

- Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, apostolic vicar of Puerto Princesa.

- Bishop Edgardo S. Juanich, apostolic vicar of Taytay.

- Bishop Leopoldo S. Tumulak, military ordinary.

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Msgr. Miguel Angel D'Annibale, vicar general of the diocese of San Isidro, as auxiliary of Rio Gallegos (area 265,614, population 300,000, Catholics 210,000, priests 55, permanent deacons 9, religious 94), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1985.

- Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, apostolic nuncio to Ukraine, as apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation.

- Fr. Juan Nsue Edjang Maye, pastor of the parishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of Our Lady of Help on the Island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea, as bishop of Ebebiyin (area 12,000, population 204,000, Catholics 164,000, priests 33, religious 89), Equatorial Guinea. The bishop-elect was born in Mikomeseng-Kie Ntem, Equatorial Guinea in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1995.

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CNN REPORT: Two months ago, a Tunisian fruit vendor lit a match, starting a fire that has spread throughout the Arab world. Muhammad Bouazizi's self-immolation prompted anti-government protests that toppled the regime in Tunisia and then Egypt. The demonstrations have spread across a swath of the Middle East and North Africa. Here are the latest developments, including the roots of the unrest:

Monday's developments:


The Bahrain International Circuit said Monday the country will withdraw from hosting this year's Formula One Grand Prix race "so the country can focus on its process of national dialogue."

About 1,000 protesters remained at the Pearl Roundabout, which has become the island nation's equivalent of Egypt's Tahrir Square. Opposition groups are considering a list of demands, which include an independent investigation into the deaths of at least 10 protesters. They also want answers about people unaccounted for since security forces moved in to clear the Pearl Roundabout last week, using tear gas, pellet guns and clubs. On Saturday, joyous Bahrainis retook the Pearl Roundabout after Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa ordered the military to vacate.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters initially took to the streets of Manama last week to demand reform and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy. But some are now calling for the removal of the royal family, which has led the Persian Gulf state since the 18th century. Young members of the country's Shiite Muslim majority have staged protests in recent years to complain about discrimination, unemployment and corruption, issues they say the country's Sunni rulers have done little to address. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said authorities launched a clampdown on dissent in late 2010. It accused the government of torturing some human rights activists.


Five people were found dead Monday, a day after protests were held in cities across Morocco calling for political reform, the nation's interior minister told reporters. The bodies were found in a bank in the northern Moroccan town of Al Hoceima, Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui said Monday. Thousands demonstrated Sunday in towns across the country, according to Human Rights Watch. Labor unions, youth organizations and human rights groups demonstrated in at least six cities. Police stayed away from the demonstrations, most of which were peaceful, Human Rights Watch reported.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters in Morocco are calling for political reform. Government officials say that such protests are not unusual and that the protesters' demands are on the agenda of most political parties.


On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Egypt for meetings with that country's military leaders, the prime minister's office said.

Also Monday, authorities in Egypt have frozen the assets of former President Hosni Mubarak and his family, state-run media reported Monday. Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud requested the action, according to the state-run EgyNews website.

Protesters in Egypt have issued a reminder to the military that they are watching the reform process. They celebrated the one-week anniversary of Mubarak's ouster Friday in a "Day of Victory" rally at Tahrir Square, epicenter of the protests. Mubarak stepped down February 11 following 18 days of unrest in Egypt. The military has been in charge since Mubarak resigned. Meanwhile, G20 leaders concluded a two-day meeting in Paris on Saturday with pledges to support the new emerging governments of Egypt and Tunisia.

Roots of unrest:

Complaints about police corruption and abuses were among the top grievances of demonstrators who forced Mubarak from office. Demonstrators were also angry about Mubarak's 30-year rule, a lack of free elections and economic issues such as high food prices, low wages and high unemployment.


Libya's justice minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has resigned to protest the "bloody situation and use of excessive force" against protesters by security forces, the Quryna newspaper in Libya reported Monday. The newspaper has been pro-government but recently has started to cover in detail the protests.

Early Monday, Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, appeared on state television to warn demonstrators that the country could fall into civil war if their protests do not subside.

Tripoli residents said state-run al-Shababiya TV was attacked Sunday evening by anti-government protesters. One eyewitness told CNN the network was off the air from Sunday evening until about 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Ongoing unrest has left at least 233 people dead, according to Human Rights Watch, citing hospital sources. CNN is not able to confirm the figure independently, having not been granted access to report on the ground. The network has been in contact with medics and eyewitnesses in Libya whose accounts corroborate closely with Human Rights Watch.

Roots of unrest:

Protests in Libya began in January when demonstrators, fed up with delays, broke into a housing project the government was building and occupied it. Gadhafi's government, which has ruled since a 1969 coup, responded with a $24 billion fund for housing and development. A month later, more demonstrations were sparked when police detained relatives of those killed in an alleged 1996 massacre at the Abu Salim prison, according to Human Rights Watch. High unemployment has also fueled the protests as have anti-Gadhafi groups.


Anti-government protests appeared to be gaining ground Monday with news that Houthi rebels, who have been battling the government for years, were staging protests and may come to Sanaa, the capital, to join Yemenis in demonstrations.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected demands Monday that he step aside, comparing the anti-government protests to a virus sweeping through the region. "This is a virus and is not part of our heritage or the culture of the Yemeni people," he told reporters.

Between 3,000 to 3,500 anti-government protesters demonstrated peacefully in Sanaa for the 11th consecutive day Monday. A day earlier, protesters chanted, "First Mubarak, now Ali," referring to the recently ousted Egyptian ruler and Saleh. Seven people have been killed in clashes in Aden, hospital and government officials said. A human rights organization put the number of dead as high as 12.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters have called for the ouster of Saleh, who has ruled Yemen since 1978. The country has been wracked by a Shiite Muslim uprising, a U.S.-aided crackdown on al Qaeda operatives and a looming shortage of water. High unemployment fuels much of the anger among a growing young population steeped in poverty. The protesters also cite government corruption and a lack of political freedom.

Here's a look at some key recent events related to unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been in "continuous contact" with regional leaders in northern Africa and the Middle East, his office said late Sunday. Ban has been deeply concerned by escalating violence and bloodshed during pro-reform demonstrations, the office said, adding: "This is the time for broad-based dialogue and for genuine social and political reform."


Protesters have demanded government reform, prompting authorities to say they will soon lift a state of emergency that was imposed in 1992 to quell a civil war that led to the deaths of more than 150,000. The rule was used to clamp down on Islamist groups, but critics say the insurgency has long since diminished and the law exists only to muzzle government critics.

Roots of unrest:

Protests began in January over escalating food prices, high unemployment and housing issues. They started in Algiers, but spread to other cities as more people joined and demonstrators toppled regimes in Tunisia and later Egypt. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would lift the state of emergency law in what analysts called an attempt to head off a similar revolt.


Thousands of people have marched in protest through Djibouti. On Friday, riot police charged the crowd after the call to evening prayers, shooting canisters of tear gas at the demonstrators, according to Aly Verjee, director of the international election observation mission to Djibouti, who witnessed the event. Djibouti is home to Camp Lemonnier, the only U.S. military base on the African continent.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters have called for President Ismail Omar Guelleh -- whose family has ruled the country since its independence from France in 1977 -- to step down ahead of elections scheduled in April. Guelleh has held the post since 1999 and is seeking a third term. Economic stagnation is also a source of anger among the people.


Protesters have been met with force in major Iranian cities. In Tehran, thousands of security officers patrolled Revolution Square, at times striking at throngs of protesters with batons and rushing others on motorcycles. Opposition websites reported that security forces opened fire on protesters in Hafteh Tir Square, killing one person. Several were reported injured and detained. In Isfahan, protesters were met with batons and pepper spray in one square, while another peaceful march took place elsewhere under the watch of security agents.

Roots of unrest:

Opposition to the ruling clerics has simmered since the 2009 election, when hundreds of thousands of people filled Tehran streets to denounce the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as fraudulent.


Demonstrators in Iraq have clashed with Kurdish security forces in Sulaimaniya in northern Iraq. Most of the demonstrators opposed Kurdistan regional president Massoud Barzani and the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Roots of unrest:

Demonstrations in Iraq have usually not targeted the national government. Instead, the protesters are angry over corruption, the quality of basic services, a crumbling infrastructure and high unemployment, particularly on a local level. They want an end to frequent power outages and food shortages.


Protesters in Jordan have called for reforms and for abolishing the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. On Friday, about 200 people clashed with pro-government demonstrators in Amman. Several people were reported injured. Anti-government protesters who participated in Friday's demonstration included leftists and independent activists demanding political and economic reforms.

Roots of unrest:

Jordan's economy has been hit hard by the global economic downturn and rising commodity prices, and youth unemployment is high, as it is in Egypt. Officials close to the palace have told CNN that Abdullah is trying to turn a regional upheaval into an opportunity for reform. King Abdullah II swore in a new government following anti-government protests. The new government has a mandate for political reform and is headed by a former general, with opposition and media figures among its ranks.


Protesters in Kuwait have clashed with authorities on at least two occasions. A second straight day of demonstrations occurred on Saturday in Sulaibiya, just north of Kuwait City, according to witnesses and a government official. Hundreds of protesters are demanding greater rights for longtime residents who are not citizens of the country demanded the release of people arrested in demonstrations Friday. The protesters attacked the security forces, who managed to disperse the people and make arrests, he said. The forces used tear gas on the demonstration involving between 200 and 400 protesters.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters are seeking greater rights for longtime residents who are not Kuwaiti citizens, an issue the country has been grappling with for decades. There are believed to be 100,000 noncitizens in the country.


Demonstrators have clashed with authorities on recent occasions in Sudan. Human Rights Watch has said that "authorities used excessive force during largely peaceful protests on January 30 and 31 in Khartoum and other northern cities." Witnesses said that several people were arrested, including 20 who remain missing.

Roots of unrest:

Demonstrators seek an end to the National Congress Party rule and government-imposed price increases, according to Human Rights Watch. It accuses the government of being heavy-handed in its response to demonstrations, and using pipes, sticks and tear gas to disperse protesters.


As protests heated up around the region, the Syrian government pulled back from a plan to withdraw some subsidies that keep the cost of living down in the country. President Bashar al-Assad also gave a rare interview to Western media, telling The Wall Street Journal last month that he planned reforms that would allow local elections and included a new media law and more power for private organizations. A planned "Day of Rage" that was being organized on Facebook against the al-Assad government failed to materialize, The New York Times reported.

Roots of unrest:

Opponents of the al-Assad government allege massive human rights abuses, and an emergency law has been in effect since 1963.


An uprising in Tunisia prompted autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to leave the country on January 14 after weeks of demonstrations. Those demonstrations sparked protests around North Africa and the Middle East.

Roots of unrest:

The revolt was triggered when an unemployed college graduate set himself ablaze after police confiscated his fruit cart, cutting off his source of income. Protesters complained about high unemployment, corruption, rising prices and political repression.


Hundreds of Palestinians rallied for unity in Ramallah, calling on Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian political factions to heal their rifts amid arguments over elections scheduled for September in the Palestinian territories. "Division generates corruption" was one of several slogans on banners held up by the demonstrators Thursday, who flooded the streets after calls went out on social-networking sites as well as schools and university campuses.

Roots of unrest:

The Palestinian territories have not seen the kind of demonstrations as in many Arab countries, but the Fatah leaders of the Palestinian Authority have been under criticism since Al-Jazeera published secret papers claiming to reveal that Palestinian officials were prepared to make wide-ranging concessions in negotiations with Israel. Negotiations toward a resolution of

the decadeslong Israeli-Palestinian conflict have since collapsed. Palestinian protests, largely in support of Egypt and Tunisia, were generally small and poorly attended, and in some cases the Hamas rulers of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority rulers of the West Bank actively tried to stifle protests. The split between Hamas and Fatah hampers internal change in the territories, although calls for political change are growing louder among Palestinians. Large-scale protests have failed to materialize as many Palestinians believe their problem remains the Israeli occupation.


THENEWS.PL REPORT: The Tunisian ambassador to Poland Aidoudi Ali has assured that the search for the murderers of Father Marek Rybinski in Tunis last week continues and his killers will be face the full force of the justice system.

"The Polish priest was much loved in Tunisia,” Ambassador Aidoudi Ali told Polish Radio.

The late Father Rybinski

Earlier Monday, the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the killing of the 34 year-old Salesian missionary, who was found with his throat cut in a storage room at the mission near Tunis.

“Tunisia has traditionally been a land of religious tolerance and I underline the importance that this be preserved in order to build a fully democratic rule based on the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she said in a statement, Monday.

Hamadi Jebali, from the Islamist al-Nahda movement is quoted in the Tunisian Realites magazine condemning the murder and questioned whether it had a religious motive.

A letter was sent to the Salesian mission in January demanding money. The letter, addressed to “Jews” was signed with a Swastika.

Many in Tunisia believe that the motive for the crime was financial, in the wake of a breakdown in law and order following the overthrow of President Ben Ali.

A small crowd gathered outside the Tunisian embassy today to pay respects to Father Rybinski, which had been serving in Tunisia for three years.

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