Friday, March 11, 2011







VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - Yesterday morning, as is traditional at the beginning of Lent, the Pope met with pastors and priests of the diocese of Rome to whom he imparted a "lectio divina" inspired by St. Paul's address to the elders of Ephesus in chapter twenty of the Acts of the Apostles, focusing on the priesthood as service and faithfulness. (IMAGE RADIO VATICANA)

"One cannot be a priest part-time", said the Holy Father. "We are always priests with all our soul and with all our heart. ... Being an ambassador of Christ ... is a mission which penetrates our entire being".

The Apostle Paul "did not preach an 'a la carte' Christianity, organised according to taste, he did not preach a Gospel according to his own preferred theological ideas". Priests "must announce the will of God entire, including the 'more difficult' will, ... the themes they may least like personally".

Referring then to Lent which has just begun, the Pope spoke of conversion which, he said, must be reflected, above all, in "a change of thinking and of heart" which leads us to focus not on the things of the world, "but on the presence of God in the world".

The Pope also highlighted the importance that spiritual life must have for priests. "Praying and meditating on the word of God is not time lost from the care of souls, but a condition enabling us to remain in contact with the Lord, and so be able to speak first hand of Him to others".

Finally, the Pope encouraged priests not to lose hope, despite the difficulties they may encounter in their ministry.

"The truth is stronger than lies", he concluded, "and love is stronger than hatred. God is stronger than all adverse forces. With this joy, with this inner certainty we follow our journey amidst the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world".

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VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2011 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office yesterday afternoon, the second volume of Benedict XVI's book on Jesus of Nazareth: "From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection" was presented in the course of a press conference chaired by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S. prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Claudio Magris, a writer and German scholar.

Cardinal Ouellet explained how, apart from the natural interest in a book about Jesus, "the Pope's book is humbly presenting itself to the forum of exegetes in order to compare methodology and research results with them. ... I cannot but see in this book the dawn of a new era of exegesis, a promising age of theological interpretation", he said.

"The Pope first enters into dialogue with German exegesis, though he does not overlook other important authors from the French, English or Romance language areas", the cardinal said. The Holy Father's "is that of 'seeking the real Jesus', not the 'historical Jesus' of the dominant school in critical exegesis, but the 'Jesus of the Gospels'".

Cardinal Ouellet explained that, "although the author is not presenting an official teaching of the Church, it is easy to imagine that his scholarly authority and the profound consideration given to certain disputed questions will be of great help in confirming many people's faith. This will also serve to enliven debates that have become stagnated because of rationalist or positivist prejudices, impairing the prestige of modern and contemporary exegesis".

Going on then to comment on the contents of the new book, the cardinal first noted how "the question of the historical foundation of Christianity has interested Joseph Ratzinger since his formative years and his first experience of teaching, as is evident from his book 'Introduction to Christianity', published forty years ago".

"A second question touches on the Messianism of Jesus. A number of modern exegetes, under the influence of dominant ideologies, have made Jesus out to be a revolutionary, a master of morality, an eschatological prophet, an idealist rabbi, a madman of God, a messiah in some way in the image of His exegete".

The prefect of the Congregation for Bishops explains how "the Pope powerfully and clearly outlines the regal and priestly dimensions of this Messianism, the meaning of which is to establish the new form of worship - adoration in spirit and in Truth - which involves all of individual and community life, as an offering of love for the glorification of God in the flesh.

"A third issue", the cardinal added, "concerns the meaning of redemption and the place that it should occupy in the expiation of sins. The Pope examines the modern objections to this traditional doctrine, ... and shows how mercy and justice go hand in hand within the framework of the Covenant established by God".

"The fourth problem involves the priesthood of Christ. In terms of today's ecclesial categories, Jesus was a lay person invested with a prophetic vocation. He did not belong to the priestly aristocracy of the Temple. ... This fact has led many interpreters to consider the figure of Jesus as entirely divorced from any relationship with priesthood. ... The Pope provides an ample response to the historical and critical objections, demonstrating how Jesus' new priesthood was coherent with the new worship He came to establish upon the earth, in obedience to the will of the Father".

"The final issue", the cardinal went on, "concerns the resurrection and its historical and eschatological dimension, its relationship with corporeity and with the Church. ... The Pope speaks out against ... interpretations which declare that the announcement of Christ's Resurrection is compatible with His body remaining in the tomb. He excludes these theories observing that the empty tomb, even if it is not proof of the resurrection, which had no direct witnesses, remains as a sign, ... a trace in the history of a transcendent event. ... The paradoxical experience of the apparitions reveals that, in this new dimension of existence, ... Jesus lives fully, in a new relationship with real corporeity but free from corporeal ties as we understand them. The historical importance of the resurrection is clear from the evidence of the early communities, which instituted the tradition of Sunday [worship] as a sign identifying the fact that they belonged to the Lord".

"It is clear from this book", the cardinal concluded, "that Peter's Successor dedicates himself to his specific ministry, which is to confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith. ... This book will serve, on the one hand, to mediate between contemporary and Patristic exegesis and, on the other, to foster the necessary dialogue between exegetes, theologians and pastors", he said.

"In this work", the cardinal completed his remarks, "I see a great invitation to dialogue on the essential aspects of Christianity, in a world seeking points of reference, a world in which religious traditions struggle to transmit humanity's heritage of religious wisdom to new generations".

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VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Consistory Hall, the Pope received members of the Belgian association "Pro Petri Sede" which offers annual financial aid for the needs of the Holy See.

"The generous contribution you make to Peter's Successor", said Benedict XVI, "will enable him to help those who have recently undergone difficult trials, in particular the people of Haiti. The service of charity forms part of the very nature of the Church; it is a living expression of God's solicitude for all humankind. The Church, while bringing vital material assistance, can also offer that attention and love of which people who suffer have such need. I thank you in their name for the help you give them in the struggle against that which vilifies and degrades the dignity of each person, 'created in the image of God'".

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VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

- Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte O.F.M. of Trujillo, Peru, president of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference.

- Fr. Bruno Cadore, master general of the Order of Friars Preachers, Dominicans.

- Claudio Magris, accompanied by his wife.

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VATICAN CITY, 11 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, U.S.A., presented by Bishop John H. Ricard S.S.J., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.



ASIA NEWS REPORT: It is the worst earthquake in Japanese history. In the capital, aftershocks continue to be felt as fires break out and power is out. Trains and buildings are evacuated. The death toll remains low thanks to good anti-quake measures. Tsunami alert is issued for the entire Pacific.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – A 8.9 earthquake has hit northeast Japan and triggered a tsunami with 10-metre waves, causing panic in Tokyo and across the Japanese islands. The epicentre was located near the city of Sendai, about 375 kilometres north of the capital. The death toll is rising. More than 200 people have been found dead on the beaches of Sendai, Honshu Island, with dozens of missing.

Sources in Tokyo told AsiaNews that the ground is still shaking. “The city [of Tokyo] has come to a standstill. Public transit is not moving. Buildings have been evacuated and many parts of the city have no electrical power,” sources said. “People are scared, but they have followed the emergency plan and poured in the streets. Thanks to sophisticated anti-quake technologies, the tallest buildings are still standing.”

Any major loss of life on Tokyo’s trains was avoided only because of high tech security systems, the source said. Carriages have been designed for such situations and seats can be used as slides to let passengers escape from trains without the help of rescuers.

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake is the worst in Japanese history. The epicentre is located 130 kilometres from the city of Sendai. The strongest quake hit at 2.46 pm, local time, and was followed over the following two hours by 18 aftershock of between 6 and 7.7 magnitude.

The quake triggered a tsunami with 10-metre waves that swept away buildings, ships and cars, carrying them inland for several kilometres.

Near Sendai, video media showed scenes of devastating waves carrying all sorts of debris, some aflame, sweeping away houses and factories.

In Niigata, entire buildings were broke up by the water as streets became littered with tree trunks and rumbles metres high.

In Fukushima Prefecture, the water reached five kilometres inland, sweeping over entire towns.

A fire that broke out at the Onagawa nuclear power plant (in Miyagi prefecture) has raised major concerns. The UN agency for nuclear safety has asked the Japanese government to shut down all its nuclear power plants as a safety precaution. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said there were no radioactive leaks.

A tsunami warning was issued for the entire Pacific region. Experts said that it could reach as far as Chile, swallowing up islands and atolls along the way.

An alert has been issued for Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. (S.C.)


Friars gather at Clare Priory

Augustinian friars from 11 countries are pictured outside Clare Priory church after morning Mass on Tuesday March 1, at the opening of last week’s conference of the Organisation of Augustinians in Europe (Photograph: Fr Bernard Rolls, OSA, Prior of Clare)

CATH. HERALD REPORT: Augustinian friars from 11 countries were at Clare Priory in Suffolk last week for the 2011 conference of the Organisation of Augustinians in Europe (OAE).

The 25 friars represent the religious order’s communities in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Britain.

Fr David Middleton OSA, who is head of the order in Britain, said: “It is a historic moment for the community at Clare Priory to welcome the leaders of all the Augustinian provinces in Europe. The Augustinians put down their roots in Clare in 1248, their first foundation in the English-speaking world. This is the first time that the conference of European provincials has met in this country.”

During the week the friars explored areas of common interest and highlighted some of today’s challenges.

Fr Middleton said: “Among the challenges we face are how to encourage potential candidates to follow their vocation and how to provide their initial training. This will lead to discussion on the need for collaboration between various national groups. The movement among the nations of Europe cannot be ignored, and any talk of our provinces sharing in common tasks will be against the background of modern migration and the needs of the Church now and in the future.

“We are also evaluating the success of our international Youth Encounter held in the UK last August, and looking forward to August this year when the World Youth Day is being held in Madrid.

“One of the most important aspects of the conference is that we are all committed to a common Augustinian tradition, seeking to live according to Gospel values. It means that we can speak our minds freely and share our thoughts deeply. We shall also relax with a day’s excursion to Ely and Cambridge. No need to ask, we’re hoping for a fine day on Thursday.”

Fr Middleton, who was elected president of the OAE for a three-year term at the European friars’ annual conference in Salamanca, Spain, last year, hosted the conference. Fr Robert Prevost, the Prior General in Rome (the head of the order worldwide), attended with some members of his council.

The Prior General was principal celebrant when members of Clare Priory parish joined the European friars for morning Mass on the opening day of the conference, Tuesday, March 1, the feast of St David.

Fr Bernard Rolls, OSA, prior of Clare, took the photograph on the right outside Clare Priory church after morning Mass. That day was the opening of this week’s conference of the Organisation of Augustinians in Europe (OAE).

The Augustinian order had its origins in 1244 when the Pope of the day, Pope Innocent IV, brought groups of hermits in Tuscany into a single religious order to travel and preach in the developing commercial centres of Europe.

Within four years Augustinian friars arrived in England at the invitation of the Earl of Hertford and Gloucester, who made land available next to his castle for their first house. Clare Priory in Suffolk became the friars’ motherhouse in England.


USCCB REPORT: Illinois Bishops Laud State’s Death Penalty Repeal

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2011)—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) congratulated the Illinois bishops, the Catholic Conference of Illinois, the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty, and all advocates for their work to bring about the repeal of the death penalty in Illinois.

“These advocates have worked tirelessly to ensure that Illinois joins the growing momentum to turn away from the use of the death penalty in our country,” said Kathy Saile, director of Domestic Social Development at the USCCB.

Governor Pat Quinn signed the repeal of the state’s death penalty March 9, making Illinois the sixteenth U.S. state to abolish the death penalty.

The passage of this legislation would help “to begin building a culture of life in our country,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in a March 3 letter to Governor Quinn.

“No longer will there be a risk in Illinois that an innocent person will be convicted and sentenced to death,” said the Catholic Conference of Illinois in a March 9 statement. “Furthermore, society will continue to be protected and those who commit crimes will still be held accountable through alternatives to the death penalty, including life without parole.”


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “The situation is still tense. Yesterday, 14 young Christians were killed in Moqattam. There are also tensions in Giza. The protest by the Copts is also still going after four days in front of the national TV headquarters,” Fr Nabil Fayez Antoun, PMS National Director, in Cairo, Egypt tells Fides. In Mansheya, the neighbourhood of the garbage collectors (called “Zabbaleen”), which is found at the foot of the Moqattam hills, and where there were clashes between Muslims and Protestants about the destruction of the Church in Atfih, in Helwan (see Fides 7/3/2011 e 9/3/2011)
“The youth revolution set off the different forces present in Egyptian society, thus presenting all together the various issues that have long troubled Egypt,” says Fr Nabil. “In addition, the economic situation is very critical. In short, we are undergoing a very confusing phase which is difficult to navigate. However, we hope that reason will prevail over violence.”
Fr Nabil adds, however, that with the change pressed upon Egypt by the young people's revolution, perhaps some room to breathe can open up also to Christians. “I held a meeting in the cathedral, which was also televised, with some young people from Tahrir Square and representatives of various parties to discuss how Christians may also partake in this new reality, to make their contribution to the common good,” concludes the National Director of the PMS in Egypt.


CATH NEWS REPORT: Tuesday marked both International Women’s Day and Shrove Tuesday. The second is problematic in Sydney, which hosts a world-famous Gay Mardi Gras every year, a festival of vulgar depravity which leaves the inner city knee-deep in litter and filth.

In the words of a weary garbo last Saturday evening, “Mate, the rubbish… it's like a tsunami.” In more ways than one.

The traditional way of celebrating Lent makes more sense. At this time of year, I always think of my Irish grandmother whose tales of the old country set us an standard of inimitable austerity.

She came from the isolated settlement of Inishmore, the westernmost of three islands in Galway Bay. From what I recall of her stories, during the 40 days of Lent her family dined exclusively on salted codfish and black tea. There might have been dried kelp for dessert and maybe a potato on Sundays.


St. Eulogius


Feast: March 11


Feast Day:March 11

prior to 819, Córdoba, Spain

Died:March 11, 859
Major Shrine:Cathedral of Oviedo

Spanish martyr and writer who flourished during the reigns of the Cordovan Caliphs, Abd-er-Rahman II and Mohammed I (822-886). It is not certain on what date or in what year of the ninth century he was born; it must have been previous to 819, because in 848 he was a priest highly esteemed among the Christians of Catalonia and Navarre, and priesthood was then conferred only on men thirty years of age. The family of the saint was of the nobility and held land in Cordova from Roman times. The Mussulman rulers of Spain, at the beginning of the eighth century, tolerated the creed of the Christians and left them, with some restrictions, their civil rule, ecclesiastical hierarchy, monasteries, and property, but made them feel the burden of subjection in the shape of pecuniary exactions and military service. In the large cities like Toledo and Cordova, the civil rule of the Christians did not differ from that of the Visigothic epoch. The government was exercised by the comes (count), president of the council of senators, among whom we meet a similarly named ancestor of Eulogius. The saint, like his five brothers, received an excellent education in accord with his good birth and under the guardianship of his mother Isabel. The youngest of the brothers, Joseph, held a high office in the palace of Abd-er-Rahman II; two other brothers, Alvarus and Isidore, were merchants and traded on a large scale as far as Central Europe. Of his sisters, Niola and Anulona, the first remained with her mother; the second was educated from infancy in a monastery where she later became a nun.

After completing his studies in the monastery of St. Zoilus, Eulogius continued to live with his family the better to care for his mother; also, perhaps, to study with famous masters, one of whom was Abbot Speraindeo, an illustrious writer of that time. In the meantime he found a friend in the celebrated Alvarus Paulus, a fellow-student, and they cultivated together all branches of science, sacred and profane, within their reach. Their correspondence in prose and verse filled volumes; later they agreed to destroy it as too exuberant and lacking in polish. Alvarus married, but Eulogius preferred the ecclesiastical career, and was finally ordained a priest by Bishop Recared of Cordova. Alvarus has left us a portrait of his friend: "Devoted", he says, "from his infancy to the Scriptures, and growing daily in the practice of virtue, he quickly reached perfection, surpassed in knowledge all his contemporaries, and became the teacher even of his masters. Mature in intelligence, though in body a child, he excelled them all in science even more than they surpassed him in years. Fair in feature [clarus vultu], honest and honourable, he shone by his eloquence, and yet more by his works. What books escaped his avidity for reading? What works of Catholic writers, of heretics and Gentiles, chiefly philosophers? Poets, historians, rare writings, all kinds of books, especially sacred hymns, in the composition of which he was a master, were read and digested by him; his humility was none the less remarkable and he readily yielded to the judgment of others less learned than himself." This humility shone particularly on two occasions. In his youth he had decided to make a foot pilgrimage to Rome; notwithstanding his great fervour and his devotion to the sepulchre of the Prince of the Apostles (a notable proof of the union of the Mozarabic Church with the Holy See), he gave up his project, yielding to the advice of prudent friends. Again, during the Saracenic persecution, in 850, after reading a passage of the works of St. Epiphanius he decided to refrain for a time from saying Mass that he might better defend the cause of the martyrs; however, at the request of his bishop, Saul of Cordova, he put aside his scruples. His extant writings are proof that Alvarus did not exaggerate. They give an account of what is most important from 848 to 859 in Spanish Christianity, both without and within the Mussulman dominions, especially of the lives of the martyrs who suffered during the Saracenic persecution, quorum para ipse magna fuit. He was elected Archbishop of Toledo shortly before he was beheaded (11 March, 859). He left a perfect account of the orthodox doctrine which he defended, the intellectual culture which he propagated, the imprisonment and sufferings which he endured; in a word, his writings show that he followed to the letter the exhortation of St. Paul: Imitatores mei estote sicut et ego Christi. He is buried in the cathedral of Oviedo.



Matthew 9: 14 - 15
14Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
15And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

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