Friday, March 18, 2011


CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: FRI. MAR. 18, 2011: Headlines-







VATICAN CITY, 18 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORT) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, the presentation took place of the "Courtyard of the Gentiles", an initiative by the Pontifical Council for Culture which will involve two days of meeting and dialogue between believers and non-believers in Paris, France, on 24 and 25 March. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Participating in today's press conference were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Fr. Jean-Marie Laurent Mazas F.S.J., executive director of the "Courtyard of the Gentiles", and Stanislas de Laboulaye, French ambassador to the Holy See.

Cardinal Ravasi explained that "at the request of Benedict XVI the Church has decided to embark on a new stage of dialogue, exchange and joint activity among believers and non-believers. This has been entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Culture".

The name "Courtyard of the Gentiles" evokes "the image of the vast area near the Temple of Jerusalem reserved for debates between Jews and non-Jews", the cardinal said. "It complements inter-religious dialogue which has been going on for some decades and represents a long-term commitment of the Church which will interest many people in the world, believers and non-believers alike".

"The aim", Cardinal Ravasi continued, "is to help to ensure that the great questions about human existence, especially the spiritual questions, are borne in mind and discussed in our societies, using our common reason".

The president of the pontifical council went on: "That symbol of apartheid and sacral separation which was the wall of the 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' was cancelled by Christ. He wished to eliminate barriers so as to ensure a harmonious meeting between the two peoples. ... Believers and non-believers stand on different ground, but they must not close themselves in a sacral or secular isolationism, ignoring one another or, worse still, launching taunts or accusations as do fundamentalists on one side and the other. Of course, differences must not be skimmed over, contradictory ideas must not be dismissed, or discordances ignored, ... but thoughts and words, deeds and decisions can be confronted, and even come together", he said.

Relations between Christians and Gentiles "can follow the paradigm of a duel", the cardinal concluded, "but what the 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' wishes to propose is, by contrast, a duet. A duet in which the sound of the voices may be at antipodes - such as a bass and a soprano - yet manage to create a harmony without renouncing their own identity; in other words, ... without fading away into a vague ideological syncretism".

The inaugural session of the "Courtyard of the Gentiles" will take place on the afternoon of 24 March at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, presided by Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, and attended by diplomats and representatives of the world of culture.

A number of initiatives are scheduled to be held on Friday 25 March: in the morning at the Sorbonne University and in the afternoon at the "Institut de France" and the "College des Bernardins". The day will conclude with a celebration on the forecourt of the cathedral of Notre Dame with the theme: "Into the Courtyard of the Unknown". The event is open to everyone, especially young people. The Pope will address those present from giant screens set up for the occasion, explaining the significance and objectives of the Pontifical Council for Culture's initiative.

OP/ VIS 20110318 (570)


VATICAN CITY, 18 MAR 2\011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Jonas Guerrero Corona, auxiliary of Mexico, Mexico, as bishop of Culiacan (area 37,800, population 2,474,898, Catholics 2,399,672, priests 185, permanent deacons 4, religious 273), Mexico. He succeeds Bishop Benjamin Jimenez Hernandez, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze of Uromi, Nigeria, as metropolitan archbishop of Benin City (area 13,678, population 1,761,701, Catholics 123,350, priests 69, religious 146), Nigeria. The archbishop-elect was born in Kaduna, Nigeria in 1956, he was ordained a priest in 1987 and consecrated a bishop in 2006.

- Appointed Fr. Malachy John Goltok, pastor and bursar of the archdiocese of Jos, Nigeria, as bishop of Bauchi (area 64,605, population 6,105,000, Catholics 78,000, priests 33, religious 8), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Bauchi in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1990.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: In a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr. Pennacchio, the President assures prompt action to prevent attacks against Christian communities. Secretary of the Council of Ministers: "In a secular state respect for religious freedom should prevail."

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The debate on the risk of attacks and violence against religious minorities continues in Nepal. The lack of security especially concerns Catholics and Protestants, previously a target for attacks by Hindu extremists. Yesterday, during the presentation of credentials of ambassadors, the President of Nepal said he was ready to defend minorities against possible attacks and violence by radical groups. The meeting was also attended by Msgr. Pennacchio who recently expressed his concern about the rights of Christians in Nepal.

Rajendra Dahal, spokesperson of the President Ram Baran Yadav, admits that in recent months there has been an increase in the activities of Hindu extremist groups. However, he ensures that "the President is attentive to the rights of Catholics and Christians, and has given special directives to the security forces to protect the community from possible attacks."

Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Secretary of the Council of Ministers, also spoke of the need to protect minority rights. He stressed that security is a right for all citizens. "Christians and Catholics - he says - must be respected as well as other religious minorities. In a secular state respect for religious freedom should prevail. "

The internal conflict between the government and Maoist communists has so far delayed the appointment of a Minister of the Interior and the police have been left without funds for investigations and operations against criminal and terrorist groups.

Recently the police foiled a series of attacks by the Nepal Defence Army (NDA), an extremist Hindu group, against Christian churches and public buildings. The mastermind was Ram Prasad Mainali former leader of the NDA, arrested in 2009 and responsible for several attacks, including one against the Cathedral of the Assumption of Lalitpur (Kathmandu). From prison he managed the entire criminal network and extorted money from businessmen and Christian politicians with the threat of bloody attacks against churches and public buildings. To date the investigations are at a standstill and according to local sources there are other group members who are preparing for future attacks.


CATHOLIC ONLINE REPORT: Church has not officially recognized visions; stills draw the faithful

Medjugorje or "Between the Hills" is a village in the southern part of Herzegovina in the present-day state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The area is famous due to a series of reported visions of the Virgin Mary that began in 1981 and continues today. Although the apparitions have not been validated by the Catholic Church, the Shrine of the Queen of Peace at Medjugorje attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year.

The parish church of St. James was rebuilt and consecrated on January 19, 1969. After the apparitions began in 1981, the church and the surrounding area were gradually developed and expanded.

The parish church of St. James was rebuilt and consecrated on January 19, 1969. After the apparitions began in 1981, the church and the surrounding area were gradually developed and expanded.

LOS ANGELS, CA (Catholic Online) - The reported visions at Medjugorje began on June of 1981. Near the area now called Apparition Hill, six Croatian children saw a beautiful young woman with a child in her arms. She was silent, but gestured for them to come closer.

The following day, four of the same children and two different ones returned to the hill in hopes of seeing the lady again. There was a sudden flash of light, and the lady appeared again, this time without the child. The children kneeled and prayed the rosary, and the lady prayed with them -- except for the Hail Mary.

On the third day, the vision identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the fifth day, a large crowd gathered for the vision, but only the children saw it. On the sixth day, a miraculous healing occurred. On the seventh day, the Virgin appeared to the children away from the original apparition site.

Each of the visionaries has also reported that the Virgin has disclosed either nine or 10 "secrets" to them. The three visionaries who have received all 10 secrets no longer receive daily visions, but annual visions on their birthday, anniversary of the visions, or Christmas, respectively.

Unlike most reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, the children of Medugorje reported that she appeared to them regularly for more than a decade, no matter where they traveled. None of the visionaries has become a monk or nun. Several of them are married with children, and one lives part-time in Massachusetts.

The parish church of St. James was rebuilt and consecrated on January 19, 1969. After the apparitions began in 1981, the church and the surrounding area were gradually developed and expanded.

The St. James Parish Church of Medjugorje is the focus of worship and prayer for both the local parish and visiting pilgrims. A marble statue of the Queen of Peace, which became a symbol of the Medjugorje Shrine, was erected in 1987 at the square in front of the church.


- Cuban officials released 10 more political prisoners, including prominent dissident Oscar Elias Biscet, who was recently nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Biscet, a doctor who had been serving a 25-year sentence for being accused of activities that endangered state security, was released on March 11 with nine others. The dissidents were among 75 who were jailed during a repressive wave in the country nearly eight years ago.

The office of Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Archbishop of Havana, made the announcement of Biscet’s release by e-mail on March 10.

The release is the latest of several, following unprecedented dialogue between Cuban officials and the country's Catholic leaders. In 2003, 75 dissidents were arrested for what the local communist government viewed as treason. The prisoners have reportedly suffered harsh conditions while incarcerated, with some going on hunger strikes as a sign of protest.

Many of the political prisoners who have been released in the last several months are living in exile in Spain, which agreed to accept them, and three remain imprisoned in Cuba. However, Biscet belongs to a small group of dissidents who refused to be exiled to Spain in exchange for their release. He returned to his home in Havana last Friday.

The 49 year-old doctor is the president of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights. He became one of the most well known opponents of the communist government in Cuba and has earned the respect of both human rights groups and African American activists in the United States.

Biscet suffered numerous arrests beginning in 1998. He was convicted in 2000 and arrested again in 2002. For his opposition to Cuban authorities, then-president George W. Bush awarded him the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.

Earlier this year, Biscet was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban. In a Feb. 1 letter to the peace prize committee, Orban called the dissident a “man of courage and dignity” and an “ardent defender of human rights.”

Biscet is also the subject of a documentary from U.S. director Jordan Allott titled “Oscar’s Cuba.” The film was a selection of the 2011 John Paul II Film Festival.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – “Yesterday I had a fruitful meeting with the Secretary General of the World Islamic Call Society (WICS), an institution funded by Libya, which is involved in interreligious dialogue and the promotion of Islam throughout the world,” says Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, in Libya, to Fides. “The Secretary General of the WICS was grateful for the presence of the Catholic Church in Libya and particularly for the service by religious sisters in various hospitals.”
“He believes that the media have not always provided accurate information of the Libyan situation and this is not helpful in finding a solution to the problem, because the prejudices contribute to finding solutions that are not appropriate,” continues Bishop Martinelli. “I reiterated to the Secretary General of WICS my opinion that we must find mediators to resolve the crisis. He replied that they are trying, even though it is not easy. Incidentally, hearts are wounded and to heal these type of wounds is not easy. This week, a mission from the African Union is expected. We will see if this opens up the way for peace.”
“WICS,” concludes the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli “appealed to the Holy See to offer its assistance in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. I replied that meanwhile we will seek to contribute with prayer, to which the Secretary General of WICS replied that they too are praying hard for peace”.



Catholic Leader columnist and prison chaplain Fr Kevin Ryan died last weekend.

The popular columnist said at that time "the best part" of priesthood was "being a bridge between God and people, between this world and the next".

Brisbane Centacare Pastoral Ministries director Fr John Chalmers said Fr Ryan's ministry took mid-20th century theologian Karl Barth's "idea of living the Christian faith with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other ... (and) made it his own".

"Kevin took the Bible to heart," Fr Chalmers said.

"Like St Augustine he met the living God on the pages of the Bible - the encounter broke his heart open and set him free ... (but) that left Kevin with two empty hands.

"With one he reached out to all God's people particularly those doing it tough - whether a prisoner, a prisoner's family, a prison officer or a fellow chaplain (and) with the other hand, he grabbed hold of, even reverenced, people's stories - whether of the outback or the great urban sprawl."


St. Cyril of Jerusalem


Feast: March 18


Feast Day:March 18



Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, born about 315; died probably 18 March, 386. In the East his feast is observed on the 18th of March, in the West on the 18th or 20th. Little is known of his life. We gather information concerning him from his younger contemporaries, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Rufinus, as well as from the fifth-century historians, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret. Cyril himself gives us the date of his "Catecheses" as fully seventy years after the Emperor Probus, that is about 347, if he is exact. Constans (d. 350) was then still alive. Mader thinks Cyril was already bishop, but it is usually held that he was at this date only as a priest. St. Jerome relates (Chron. ad ann. 352) that Cyril had been ordained priest by St. Maximus, his predecessor, after whose death the episcopate was promised to Cyril by the metropolitan, Acacius of Caesarea, and the other Arian bishops, on condition that he should repudiate the ordination he had received from Maximus. He consented to minister as deacon only, and was rewarded for this impiety with the see. Maximus had consecrated Heraclius to succeed himself, but Cyril, by various frauds, degraded Heraclius to the priesthood. So says St. Jerome; but Socrates relates that Acacius drove out St. Maximus and substituted St. Cyril. A quarrel soon broke out between Cyril and Acacius, apparently on a question of precedence or jurisdiction. At Nicaea the metropolitan rights of Caesarea had been guarded, while a special dignity had been granted to Jerusalem. Yet St. Maximus had held a synod and had ordained bishops. This may have been as much as the cause of Acacius' enmity to him as his attachment to the Nicene formula. On the other hand, Cyril's correct Christology may have been the real though veiled ground of the hostility of Acacius to him. At all events, in 357 Acacius caused Cyril to be exiled on the charge of selling church furniture during a famine. Cyril took refuge with Silvanus, Bishop of Taraus. He appeared at the Council of Seleucia in 359, in which the Semi-Arian party was triumphant. Acacius was deposed and St. Cyril seems to have returned to his see. But the emperor was displeased at the turn of events, and, in 360, Cyril and other moderates were again driven out, and only returned at the accession of Julian in 361. In 367 a decree of Valens banished all the bishops who had been restored by Julian, and Cyril remained in exile until the death of the persecutor in 378. In 380, St. Gregory of Nyssa came to Jerusalem on the recommendation of a council held at Antioch in the preceding year. He found the Faith in accord with the truth, but the city a prey to parties and corrupt in morals. St. Cyril attended the great Council of Constantinople in 381, at which Theodosius had ordered the Nicene faith, now a law of the empire, to be promulgated. St. Cyril then formally accepted the homoousion; Socrates and Sozomen call this an act of repentance. Socrates gives 385 for St. Cyril's death, but St. Jerome tells us that St. Cyril lived eight years under Theodosius, that is, from January 379.



Matthew 5: 20 - 26
20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
21"You have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.'
22But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire.
23So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
25Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison;
26truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

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