Wednesday, April 13, 2011









VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS REPORT) - During this Wednesday's general audiences, Benedict XVI concluded the cycle of catechesis he has dedicated over the course of two years to the many saints who "with their faith, with their charity and with their lives, have been beacons for many generations, and are thus also for us". IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA

"Often we are led to believe that sainthood is reserved to a few chosen ones", the Pope said. Nonetheless, "saintliness, the fullness of Christian life, does not consist in the achievement of extraordinary feats, but in uniting oneself with Christ... in making His disposition ... His behaviour ... our own. ... The II Vatican Council, in the Constitution of the Church, speaks clearly of the universal call to sainthood, affirming that no-one is excluded".

However, a holy life, the Pope continued, "is not principally the result of our efforts, as it is God ... who renders us holy, and it is the action of his Spirit which animates us from within, the same life of Christ resurrected which is communicated to us and which transforms us ... Saintliness is therefore ultimately rooted in baptismal grace, in being introduced to the paschal mystery of Christ, by which His Spirit, His resurrected life, is communicated to us. ... But God always respects our freedom and asks us to accept this gift and to live with the demands it brings, asks that we may allow ourselves to be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, conforming our will to the will of God".

"How can it be that our way of thinking and our actions become the thought and action of Christ?" asked the Pope. "Once again, the II Vatican Council offers us clear guidance; it tells us that Christian holiness is none other than charity, fully experienced". However, in order that charity might, "like a good seed, grow in the soul and there bear fruit, the faithful must listen gladly to the Word of God and, by its grace, carry out His will through their works, participate frequently in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist and the Holy Liturgy; they must constantly apply themselves in prayer, in the abnegation of their selves, in the active service of their brothers and in the exercise of every virtue. ... For this reason the true disciple of Christ is characterised by his charity both toward God and toward his neighbour".

"The Church, during the Liturgical Year, invites us to commemorate an array of saints who have fully lived in charity, and have loved and followed Christ in their everyday lives. They show us that it is possible to follow this path. ... We are all called to saintliness: it is the very measure of Christian life".

Benedict XVI concluded by inviting us all to open ourselves "to the action of the Holy Spirit, which transforms our life, so that we too may become tesserae in the great mosaic of sainthood that God creates throughout history".

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VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - Following today's catechesis and during his greeting to the pilgrims in several languages, the Holy Father addressed an English-language video message to the participants in the Third National Family Gathering in Melbourne, Australia:

"This important event is an occasion for you not only to witness to the bonds of affection within your individual families, but also to deepen them with the wider family of God, which is the Church, so that you become protagonists of a new humanity, a renewed culture of love and unity, of life and stability, giving glory to God our Father at all times".

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VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - The following declaration was made to the press in the late afternoon yesterday by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., regarding the situation of the ex-bishop of Bruges, Belgium, Msgr. Roger Vangheluwe:

"In view of the proceedings against Msgr. Roger Vangheluwe, ex-bishop of Bruges, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - as already communicated to the Nunciature in Belgium - has requested that he leave Belgium and undergo a period of spiritual and psychological counselling. Throughout this period he will obviously be forbidden from publicly exercising his priestly or episcopal functions. The psychological treatment has been decided upon by the Congregation to enable further diagnostic and prognostic information to be gathered in order to continue and conclude the proceedings with a definitive decision, which shall remain the competence of the Congregation, to be approved by the Holy Father. This decision shall naturally require consideration of the various aspects of the question, above all the suffering of the victims and the need for justice. The proceedings are therefore still in progress and the decision made by the Congregation is of an interlocutory nature and not definitive".

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VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office at 12.30 today to present "Youcat", the Catechism of the Catholic Church aimed at the young, prepared by participants in the XXVI World Youth Day to be held in Madrid from 16 to 21 August 2011.

The speakers at the conference were cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Christoph Schonborn, O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria; archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation; Bernhard Meuser, promoter and editor of Youcat, and two young participants.

Cardinal Rylko commented that this catechism for young people has been translated into six languages, and 700,000 copies have been distributed. "It is a gift from the Holy Father to the young participants in World Youth Day".

Referring to the planned World Youth Day, the cardinal continued "It is not enough to make young people 'dream'; it is necessary also to help them grow well-rooted in the rich earth of Christian tradition. ... A real education in the faith of the young, therefore, must begin by freely proposing Christ to them. He is the solid rock upon which they may build their lives!"

He explained that "'Youcat' translates the content of the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church' rigorously and faithfully, and using language adapted to the young. It does not replace the Catechism, but rather, leads toward it, paving the way to the 'Catechism' and its 'Compendium'. It aims to guide the young toward a deeper knowledge of their faith".

Archbishop Fisichella emphasised that "'Youcat' answers a current need to present the content of the faith, professed by throughout time by Christians everywhere, in language that is simple, complete and above all accessible to the young".

One of the young people present explained that the name "Youcat" is a translation of the word "Ju-Kat", which corresponds to the abbreviation of the German "Jugend" (youth) and catechism.

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VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Erected the new ecclesiastical province of Pelotas (area 20,594, population 588,000, Catholics 341,000, priests 54, permanent deacons 15, religious 176), Brazil, raising it to the rank of Metropolitan Church. The new ecclesiastical province will have as suffragans the dioceses of Bage and Rio Grande, previously belonging to the ecclesiastical province of Porto Alegre. He appointed bishop Jacinto Bergmann of Pelotas as metropolitan archbishop of the new circumscription.

- Erected the new ecclesiastical province of Santa Maria (area 21,316, population 532,000, Catholics 400,000, priests 106, permanent deacons 14, religious 588), Brazil, raising it to the rank of Metropolitan Church. The new ecclesiastical province will have as suffragans the dioceses of Uruguaiana, Cruz Alta, Santo Angelo, Santa Cruz do Sul and Cachoeira do Sul, previously belonging to the ecclesiastical province of Porto Alegre. He appointed bishop Helio Adelar Rubert of Santa Maria as metropolitan archbishop of the new circumscription.

- Erected the new ecclesiastical province of Passo Fundo (area 12,000, population 525,000, Catholics 416,000, priests 157, religious 419), Brazil, raising it to the rank of Metropolitan Church. The new ecclesiastical province will have as suffragans the dioceses of Vacaria, Frederico Westphalen and Erexim, previously belonging to the ecclesiastical province of Porto Alegre. He appointed bishop Pedro Ercilio Simon of Passo Fundo as metropolitan archbishop of the new circumscription.

The ecclesiastical province of Porto Alegre, Brazil, shall retain as suffragans the dioceses of Caxias do Sul, Novo Hamburgo, Osorio and Montenegro.


UCAN REPORT: Government wants to brainwash detained priests, local sources say reporter, Xuanhua
April 13, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Priests not spared in China’s crackdown
A church in Xuanhua diocese in Hebei province

At least three “underground” priests in northern Hebei province have been detained in the crackdown on human rights activists and Christians not affiliated to the government-sanctioned Church.

One priest has been reportedly tortured and there are fears for the others’ safety.

Father Joseph Chen Hailong of Xuanhua, who serves in the Yanqing and Yongning suburbs of Beijing, was taken away by dozens of plain clothes officers on April 8 when he was travelling with two young people to visit Catholics.

These officers from his Xuanhua hometown reportedly have waited weeks for Father Chen, who was ordained less than two years ago, to appear, Church sources say.

He and his companions were taken on Friday to a guesthouse in Yanqing and then religious officials took the priest from there the next day. His whereabouts are unknown.

Family members are worried about Father Chen who is in ill health. They heard reports that detained Father Peter Zhang Guangjun, also of Xuanhua, was beaten weeks ago.

Father Joseph Chen Hailong

Other sources report that Father Zhang, 40, has been tortured since he was taken away on January 13. Government officials did not allow him to sleep for five nights and days and tortured him physically and verbally, they said.

After several rounds of negotiations between his family and the officials, they allowed Father Zhang to return home temporarily for Chinese New Year in February on the condition that a layperson left his car at the detention center as bail and that the priest remained constantly in contact.

Father Zhang was taken into detention again on March 8, which he was reportedly beaten again.

Another Hebei priest in detention, Father Wang Lifang of Zhengding, works under underground Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo. His whereabouts was unknown since he was lured with requests to perform sacraments for the sick.

“All these cases make me wonder if cracking down on the underground community is the work focus of the Hebei government for this year,” said a Church source.

“I feel pain to hear of our priests being tortured and beaten and am in no mood to care how it goes with the political game between China and the Vatican. I only want to pray hard for our good pastors,” he said.

The government wants to brainwash the detained priests because they refused to accept the principle of an independent Church, local sources say.

In Hong Kong, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission issued a statement today, urging the Hebei government to stop the persecution on Catholics, especially in Zhangjiakou district.

The crackdown in that district, which covers Xuanhua and Xiwanzi dioceses, is particularly severe. Since 2007, more than 20 priests have been illegally detained, tortured and forced to attend classes on religious policy.

The statement asks the government to respect religious freedom and to release all the detained priests, including Fathers Li Huisheng and Ren He of Xiwanzi.

Apart from the underground Catholics, more than 150 members of Protestant’s Shouwang Church in Beijing were taken away by police on April 10. While they were released yesterday, Pastor Li Xiaobai remained under detention. More than 100 human right activists were also detained since this year


Agenzia Fides REPORT- “The violence and bloodbath must stop immediately, as war is not the solution to the current problems,” affirms a statement by the Ecumenical Council of Christian Churches in Tripoli (Libya) issued today, 13 April, to the United Nations Office in Tripoli and copied to Fides. The statement, in Arabic and English, was forwarded by Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli. In the preamble it states: “As a community of believers we are greatly saddened by the tragic events that happened recently tearing apart this Country with prolonged agony and suffering, fears and anxieties of its people and we wish to express our solidarity.”
The Christian Churches asks for “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire by all parties involved in the dispute and humanitarian assistance to... the victims.” It further states: “dialogue and reconciliation should be the way forward to find amicable solutions and bring about peace.” For this, the message continues, “we strongly support any efforts and initiatives of elders of this Country who know the genuine sentiments and aspirations of the Libyan people and of any international organisations, in creating an atmosphere of confidence to find a peaceful solutions.” The statement concludes saying that their “prayers will continue to be in solidarity with all the Libyan Muslims as they struggle to find peace and justice in this difficult time in the Country's history.”


USCCB REPORT: Bishops Highlight Protecting the Poor, Fiscal Responsibility as Moral Criteria of Budget Debate

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2011)—The federal budget should protect human life and dignity, make the poor a top priority and promote the common good of all during tough economic times, said the U.S. bishops who oversee foreign and domestic policy on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated, Their voices are too often missing in these debates, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources,” wrote Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, and Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California in their April 13 letter.

Bishop Hubbard and Bishop Blaire chair the USCCB Committees on International Justice and Peace and Domestic Justice and Human Development, respectively.

“A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons,” the bishops wrote. “It requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.”

The bishops also expressed their gratitude that the FY 2011 budget, which is scheduled for a vote this week, expands funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Fund, restores the ban on congressionally appropriated funds for abortion in the District of Columbia, and that spending cuts to programs that serve the poor are significantly less than originally proposed.

The bishops also offered a framework of three moral criteria that could guide budgetary decisions: “1. Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity. 2. A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first. 3. Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.”

The bishops wrote, “In light of growing deficits, Congress faces difficult choices about how to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices. We welcome the efforts of those who have offered serious plans and encourage other leaders to do the same. These choices are economic, political, and moral. This important national discussion requires wise bipartisan leadership, clear priorities, and moral clarity.”

The full text of the letter is available online:


CATH NEWS REPORT: The new Bishop of the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese, Father William Wright, will be ordained on June 15 at Newcastle's Sacred Heart Cathedral, reports the ABC.

Fr Wright said he believed the rigours of running large parishes over the years have prepared him for the new challenges he'll soon face.Bishop-elect Fr Wright will be ordained by Cardinal George Pell, who will be assisted by retiring Bishop Michael Malone.


CNS REPORT -- Distribution of an Italian edition of a new youth catechism was temporarily suspended because of a translation error concerning the church's teaching on contraception.

Thousands of copies of the Italian translation of "YouCat," a recently released supplement to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously left the impression that Catholic couples could use "contraceptive methods."

As a result, "the product is temporarily suspended, but not halted," so that the Italian publisher can "examine the text," Elena Cardinali, a spokeswoman for the Citta Nuova editorial group, told Catholic News Service April 12. Citta Nuova, the publishing arm of the Focolare lay movement, handled the Italian edition of the catechism.

The youth catechism was originally written in German and the work was supervised by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna. The Italian edition was translated by Pietro Podolak and translation revisions were overseen by Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, according to the credit pages in the book.

The 300-page book uses a question-and-answer format to talk about what the church teaches.

Question 420 of the Italian edition and its brief reply incorrectly suggest that a married couple can use contraceptive methods.

The question in the Italian version reads: "Can a Christian couple turn to contraceptive methods?" The answer reads: "Yes, a Christian couple can and must be responsible about their capacity of being able to give life."

The answer in Italian goes on to explain -- in line with church teaching -- that the church does not accept artificial means of contraception, but does allow regulation of fertility through natural methods.

The error was not found in the original German text of "YouCat," nor in the U.S. English edition, which was published by Ignatius Press.

The German text of question 420 "asks whether a Christian married couple may regulate the number of children they have. It does not ask whether the couple may use methods of contraception," wrote Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, on the Ignatius Press blog, Insight Scoop.

"I don't know why the Italian translation reads as it does, nor do I know how it came about that it reads as it does, but it should be fixed to reflect, without ambiguity, the church's teaching that contraception is evil," Brumley wrote April 12.

"It is my understanding that the Italian text is being fixed," he added.

A Vatican official, speaking on background, said a previously planned press conference April 13 was expected to clarify the issue.

The English translation of the question and reply in "YouCat" as published by Ignatius Press is: "May a Christian married couple regulate the number of children they have? Yes, a Christian married couple may and should be responsible in using the gift and privilege of transmitting life."

The "YouCat" Italian edition came out in bookstores March 30 and sold 14,000 copies in five days, a Citta Nuova press release said April 6. At that time, Citta Nuova said some 46,000 copies had already been printed and more than 27,000 copies ordered.

It was the third best-selling religious book in Italian, it said, coming in behind Pope Benedict XVI's "Jesus of Nazareth" and a recent biography of Pope John Paul II.

"YouCat" was to be translated into at least 13 different languages and about 700,000 copies were to be distributed to young people taking part in World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. An electronic version will also be available.

Pope Benedict wrote the book's foreword and said he wanted to supplement the Catechism of the Catholic Church by translating it "into the language of young people."


Pope St. Martin I


Feast: April 13


Feast Day:April 11
Born:Todi, Tuscany, Italy
Died:655 at Cherson, Crimea

Martyr, born at Todi on the Tiber, son of Fabricius; elected Pope at Rome, 21 July, 649, to succeed Theodore I; died at Cherson in the present peninsulas of Krym, 16 Sept., 655, after a reign of 6 years, one month and twenty six days, having ordained eleven priests, five deacons and thirty-three bishops. 5 July is the date commonly given for his election, but 21 July (given by Lobkowitz, "Statistik der Papste" Freiburg, 1905) seems to correspond better with the date of his death and reign (Duchesne "Lib. Pont.", I, 336); his feast is on 12 November.The Greeks honor him on 13 April and 15 September, the Muscovites on 14 April. In the hymns of the Office the Greeks style him infallibilis fidei magister because he was the successor of St. Peter in the See of Rome (Nilles, "Calendarium Manuale", Innsbruck, 1896, I, 336).

Martin, one of the noblest figures in a long line of Roman pontiffs (Hodgkin, "Italy", VI, 268) was, according to his biographer Theodore (Mai, "Spicil. Rom.", IV 293) of noble birth, a great student, of commanding intelligence, of profound learning, and of great charity to the poor. Piazza, II 45 7 states that he belonged to the order of St. Basil. He governed the Church at a time when the leaders of the Monothelite heresy, supported by the emperor, were making most strenuous efforts to spread their tenets in the East and West. Pope Theodore had sent Martin as apocrysiary to Constantinople to make arrangements for canonical deposition of the heretical patriarch, Pyrrhus. After his election, Martin had himself consecrated without waiting for the imperial confirmation, and soon called a council in the Lateran at which one hundred and five bishops met. Five sessions were held on 5, 8, 17, 119 and 31 Oct., 649 (Hefele, "Conciliengeschichte", III, 190). The "Ecthesis" of Heraclius and the "Typus" of Constans II were rejected; nominal excommunication was passed against Sergius, Pyrrus, and Paul of Constantinople, Cyrus of Alexandria and Theodore of Phran in Arabia; twenty canons were enacted defining the Catholic doctrine on the two wills of Christ. The decrees signed by the pope and the assembled bishops were sent to the other bishops and the faithful of the world together with an encyclical of Martin. The Acts with a Greek translation were also sent to the Emperor Constans II.

The pope appointed John, Bishop of Philadelphia, as his vicar in the East with necessary instructions and full authority . Bishop Paul of Thessalonica refused to recall his heretical letters previously sent to Rome and added others,—he was, therefore, formally excommunicated and deposed. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Paul, had urged the emperor to use drastic means to force the pope and the Western Bishops at least to subscribe to the "Typus". The emperor sent Olympius as exarch to Italy, where he arrived while the council was still in session. Olympius tried to create a faction among the fathers to favor the views of the emperor, but without success. Then upon pretense of reconciliation he wished to receive Holy Communion from the hands of the pontiff with the intention of slaying him. But Divine Providence protected the pope, and Olympius left Rome to fight against the Saracens in Sicily and died there. Constans II thwarted in his plans, sent as exarch Theodore Calliopas with orders to bring Martin to Constantinople. Calliopas arrived in Rome, 15 June, 653, and, entering the Lateran Basilica two days later, informed the clergy that Martin had been deposed as an unworthy intruder, that he must be brought to Constantinople and that another was to be chosen in his place. The pope, wishing to avoid the shedding of human blood, forbade resistance and declared himself willing to be brought before the emperor. The saintly prisoner, accompanied by only a few attendants, and suffering much from bodily ailments and privations, arrived at Constantinople on 17 Sept., 653 or 654, having landed nowhere except the island of Naxos. The letters of the pope seem to indicate he was kept at Naxos for a year. Jaffe, n. 1608, and Ewald, n 2079, consider the annum fecimus an interpolation and would allow only a very short stop at Naxos, which granted the pope an opportunity to enjoy a bath. Duchesne, "Lib. Pont.", I, 336 can see no reason for abandoning the original account; Hefele,"Conciliengeschichte" III, 212, held the same view (see "Zeitschr. für Kath. Theol.", 1892, XVI, 375).

From Abydos messengers were sent to the imperial city to announce the arrival of the prisoner who was branded as a heretic and rebel, an enemy of God and of the State. Upon his arrival in Constantinople Martin was left for several hours on deck exposed to the jests and insults of a curious crowd of spectators. Towards evening he was brought to a prison called Prandearia and kept in close and cruel confinement for ninety-three days, suffering from hunger, cold and thirst. All this did not break his energy and on 19 December he was brought before the assembled senate where the imperial treasurer acted as judge. Various political charges were made, but the true and only charge was the pope's refusal to sign the "Typus". He was then carried to an open space in full view of the emperor and of a large crowd of people. These were asked to pass anathema upon the pope to which but few responded. Numberless indignities were heaped upon him, he was stripped of nearly all his clothing, loaded with chains, dragged through the streets of the city and then again thrown into the prison of Diomede, where he remained for eighty five days. Perhaps influenced by the death of Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, Constans did not sentence the pope to death, but to exile. He was put on board a ship, 26 March, 654 (655) and arrived at his destination on 15 May. Cherson was at the time suffering from a great famine. The venerable pontiff here passed the remaining days of his life. He was buried in the church of Our Lady, called Blachernæ, near Cherson, and many miracles are related as wrought by St Martin in life and after death. The greater part of his relics are said to have been transferred to Rome, where they repose in the church of San Martino ai Monti. Of his letters seventeen are extant in P.L., LXXXVII, 119.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 14: JOHN 8: 31- 42

John 8: 31 - 42
31Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples,
32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
33They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?"
34Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever.
36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
37I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you.
38I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."
39They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did,
40but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did.
41You do what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God."
42Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.

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