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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: MON. MAY 2, 2011











VATICAN: POPE: MEETS PRESIDENT OF POLAND AND OTHER NEWS

ASIA: PHILIPPINES: POPE-MOBILE BRINGS MANY PILGRIMS

AFRICA: LIBYA: BISHOP ATTENDS FUNERAL OF GADDAFI'S SON AND GRANDCHILDREN

TODAY'S SAINT: MAY 2: ST ATHANASIUS

POPE RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF POLAND

VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2011 (VIS REPORT) - This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience the president of the Republic of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski, according to a communique from the Holy See Press Office. (IMAGE SOURCE RADIO VATICANA)

"The president", reads the text, "wished to express the gratitude of the Polish nation for the beatification of Servant of God John Paul II. It was agreed that Blessed John Paul II's long pontificate marked a great turning point, not only in Poland, but in the entire world. It was moreover highlighted that his teachings and his actions in support of the dignity of the person and the sanctity of human life remain current and of great importance".

OP/ VIS 20110502 (110)

JOHN PAUL II: DEFENDER OF THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At 10:30 this morning in St. Peter's Square, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., secretary of state, presided over the thanksgiving Mass for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. The liturgical texts were those of the new Blessed.

The celebration included music performed by the Choir of the Diocese of Rome, with the participation of Warsaw's Polish Union of Choirs and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice. Preparation for the holy rite began at 9:30am with the reading of poems by Blessed John Paul II in alternation with pieces performed by the orchestra and choir. Before Holy Mass, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, addressed those present.

"The dialogue of love between Christ and the human person characterized the entire life of Karol Wojtyla ...", Cardinal Bertone said in his homily. "We all recall how, on the day of his funeral, during the ceremony there was a moment when the wind shut the book of the Gospels placed on the coffin. It was as if the wind of the Spirit wanted to signal the end of the spiritual and human existence of Karol Wojtyla, illumined by the Gospel of Christ. With this Book he discovered God's plan for humanity and for himself, but he also learned of Christ, His face and His love, which was always a call to responsibility for Karol".

"He was a man of faith, a man of God," the cardinal emphasized. "His life was a constant prayer that lovingly embraced all who inhabit our planet, created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore worthy of the greatest respect; redeemed by Christ's death and resurrection the human person is therefore truly become the living glory of God. Thanks to the faith that he expressed, above all, in prayer, John Paul II was a true defender of the dignity of every human person and not a mere activist for political or social ideologies".

"But his prayer was also a constant intercession for the entire human family, for the Church, for each community of believers throughout the earth. ... Weren't these - his prayers, prayers tied to so many sorrowful events in his own and others' lives - what gave rise to his concern for peace in the world and for the peaceful harmony among the peoples and nations?" the cardinal secretary of state asked.

"Today we give thanks to the Lord for having given us a Pastor like him. A Shepherd who know how to read the signs of God's presence in human history and to announce Him through his great acts in the world, in every language. A Pastor who had ingrained within him a sense of mission, of the commitment of evangelization, and of announcing the Word of God everywhere".

"Today we give thanks to the Lord for having given us a Witness like him, so credible, so transparent, who taught us how to live in Faith and how to defend Christian values, beginning with life, without anxiety or fear; how one should bear witness to the faith with courage and coherence, giving expression to the Beatitudes in everyday experience".

The cardinal invited those present to give thanks to the Lord for "having granted us a Pope who knew how to give the Church not only a universal reach and unprecedented moral authority at an international level, but also, especially with the celebration of the Great Jubilee in 2000, a more spiritual, more biblical vision, more focused on the word of God. A Church capable of renewing itself, initiating a 'new evangelization', intensifying ecumenical and inter-religious links, and also rediscovering the way towards a fruitful dialogue with the new generations".

"And finally", he concluded, "we give thanks to the Lord for having given us a Saint like him... he was a man of truth as he was inseparably bound to He who is the Truth... His was a holiness lived, especially in the last months and weeks of his life, in total fidelity to the mission that had been assigned to him, until death... He knew that his physical weakness demonstrated ever more clearly Christ's work in history. And, offering his suffering to Him and to the Church, he gave us all a final, great lesson in humanity and in abandoning oneself to the arms of God".

Cardinal Bertone concluded by inviting those present to sing "a hymn of glory to God for the gift of this great Pope: a man of faith and prayer, Pastor and Witness, Guide in the transition between two millennia" and thanked Benedict XVI "who wished to elevate his predecessor to the glory of the altars".

At the moment of the offertory, six people presented to the celebrant a saddle produced by the Polish Post Office and the Vatican Post Office, a bas-relief from the Association of Mercy and a portrait of Blessed John Paul II by the municipality of Zakopane.

More than 250,000 faithful entered the Vatican Basilica yesterday to pray before the remains of the new Blessed. The basilica remained open until 3:00am and reopened at the end of today's Mass. At 5:30pm today the last Rosary will be recited before the coffin of John Paul II. The basilica will then be closed and, in a private ceremony, the coffin will be placed in the Chapel of St. Sebastian, which is located to the left of Michelangelo's statue of the Pieta.

SS/ VIS 20110502 (900)

POPE'S CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF CARDINAL GARCIA-GASCO

VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Benedict sent the following telegram of condolence to Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, bishop of Valencia, Spain, on the death of Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, archbishop emeritus of that diocese, at 80 years of age. The cardinal was in Rome to attend the beatification ceremonies of John Paul II.

"On receiving the sad news of the death of beloved Cardinal Austin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, I offer my fervent prayers for the eternal rest of one who exercised his episcopal ministry with diligent apostolic concern, first as auxiliary bishop of Madrid and secretary of the Spanish Bishops' Conference, and then at the head of that dear archdiocese of Valencia, wisely and generously devoted to her evangelizing actions, tirelessly supporting numerous pastoral initiatives, above all in the area of the teaching and pastoral care of the family".

"On recalling the great service he gave to the Church and the unforgettable memory of my stay in that renowned city for the Fifth World Meeting of Families, I wish to express my most heartfelt sympathy to your Excellency, Archbishop Osoro, to your auxiliary, to the priests, seminarians, religious communities, and faithful of the church in Valencia, asking your kindness in extending my sentiments to the family of the deceased cardinal. I wholeheartedly impart to all the comfort of apostolic blessing as a sign of our Christian hope in the resurrected Christ".

TGR/ VIS 20110502 (230)

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR ON DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN

VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., released the following declaration on the news regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden.

"Osama Bin Laden, as is known, claimed responsibility for grave acts that spread division and hate among the peoples, manipulating religion to that end. A Christian never takes pleasure from the fact of a man's death, but sees it as an opportunity to reflect on each person's responsibility, before God and humanity, and to hope and commit oneself to seeing that no event become another occasion to disseminate hate but rather to foster peace".

OP/ VIS 20110502 (120)

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and the Governorate of Vatican City State.

- Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland.

- Fr. Saverio Cannistra, O.C.D., provost general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.

AP/ VIS 20110502 (50)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father removed Bishop William M. Morris from the pastoral care of the diocese of Toowoomba, Australia.

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AFRICA: LIBYA: BISHOP ATTENDS FUNERAL OF GADDAFI'S SON AND GRANDCHILDREN

ASIANEWS REPORT: The funeral of Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren was held this afternoon. Russian Foreign Ministry criticises NATO for using disproportionate force, harming the population. It says the alliance is violating UN resolution. In Tripoli, the embassies of Italy and Great Britain and UN offices are set on fire.

Tripoli (AsiaNews)Mgr Martinelli, apostolic vicar of Tripoli, took part in the funeral of Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren. The three-hour ceremony was held this afternoon. The prelate did not release any statement, but yesterday confirmed the death of members of Gaddafi’s family in a NATO airstrike against the Libyan leader’s personal Bab al-Azizia military compound. In the meantime, Russia criticised NATO bombing for causing civilian casualties. According to Moscow, the alliance is using disproportionate force and going beyond the terms of Resolution 1973.

"The disproportional use of force, all the more so, beyond the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution No. 1973, which in no way stipulates the replacement of the Libyan leadership, is leading to harmful consequences and the death of civilians," a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.

“We are again calling for strict compliance with the provisions of the decisions made by the international community on the Libyan conflict, for an immediate ceasefire and the start of a political settlement without any preconditions," the statement added.

Despite accusations, the commander of NATO operations in Libya, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, said that the alliance does not target civilians, and that recent operations were aimed at command and control centres that threaten the civilian population.

Also yesterday, in Tripoli mobs attacked the embassies of Italy and Great Britain as well as the UN offices in reprisal for the death of members of Gaddafi’s family.

For security reasons, Turkey also evacuated its diplomatic mission.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Tripoli-bishop-attends-funeral-of-Gaddafi%E2%80%99s-relatives,-Moscow-criticises-airstrikes-21451.html

ASIA: PHILIPPINES: POPE-MOBILE BRINGS MANY PILGRIMS

UCAN REPORT; 16 year old vehicle packs in the fans on display near Manila together with other relics
Bernardino Balabo, Malolos City
Philippines
May 3, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of John Paul’s ‘Popemobile’ draws pilgrims
A pilgrim peeps inside the Popemobile

While the photographs are quite popular, it is thePopemobilethat proved to be a real crowd drawer, with people taking photographs and posing beside the 16-year-old car. It will be shown in different churches in Bulacan province until May 15.

Some pilgrims touch the vehicle, hoping to be cured of illnesses or wishing for good things to happen to them. Others meditate or offer prayers before it.

“I can still recall how I felt when I first saw this vehicle with the pope inside it in 1995. It’s the same feeling now, my hair is rising again,” said Christian Natividad, the 32-year-old mayor of the city.

Natividad said he was only 16 when Blessed John Paul visited Manila in 1995. He was one of the more than five million people who participated in that historic event.

Natividad said he still could not explain why the hair on his arms rose upon seeing the Popemobile. “It’s like reliving the past. It’s like he is on the Popemobile again.”

The mayor prayed that God might use him as an instrument of development and change in Bulacan’s capital city.

“I believe God will answer my prayers again like when I was 16,” he said.

Father Jay Lina, head of the Commission on Cultural Heritage Preservation of the Diocese of Malolos, said the Popemobile is part of their surprise for the exhibit.

“We planned to have the relics and photo exhibit, but we thought of the Popemobile because its maker was born in this province,” said Father Lina.

The custom-built Popemobile has a 250hp Mazda engine, six wheels, footplates for the Swiss Royal Guard, and four-inch thick glass that served as a protective shield for the pope.

The bulletproof glass, however, has been removed and replaced by plate glass that partly cracked.

http://www.ucanews.com/2011/05/03/john-paul%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98popemobile%E2%80%99-draws-pilgrims/

EUROPE: GREAT BRITAIN: MASS FOR MIGRANTS BY BISHOP

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:
Text: Bishop McMahon at Mass for Migrants - 'not charity but justice'  | Bishop Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood,Mass for Migrants,Southwark Catholic Cathedral

Procession before Mass
Bishop Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood, gave the following homily today at the Mass for Migrants at Southwark Catholic Cathedral.

I chose the Old Testament lesson, hidden in the later chapters of Jeremiah (36 : 21 – 26) because it contains a story that does not often get the audience it deserves.

The prophet Jeremiah, whose task was so challenging both to himself and to his hearers, that tradition has it that he was put to death to silence his message, he creates a scroll on which his prophetic words are written down. This scroll ultimately finds its way into the palace of the King of Judah, where it is read to the King as he sits by the fire. The King doesn’t like what he hears and so takes a knife and cuts away at the scroll and burns the strong words of the prophet in an attempt to silence the message. We hear an echo of this in the Gospel where Jesus tells us that a prophet is never welcome in his own country.

How different from ancient legend which speaks of an isolated Kingdom where the grain harvest one year turns poisonous. Everyone who eats it will become mad, yet there is no other food available. Finally, the King turns to a trusted councillor and says: “We must all eat or we will die. But you,” he said: “try to eat less. Preserve enough sanity to enable you to remind us through the long dark period ahead that we are mad; tell us again and again the time will come when we are sane again.”

Prophetic voices challenge us. St Hilary of Poitiers wrote in the 4th century: “Where caution is everywhere, courage is nowhere to be found. Our ancestors were not so quiescent; we shall die of prudence yet, you will see”.

History has never lacked voices to tell out the unwelcome message. I think of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese political prisoner under house arrest for so many years in an attempt by the authorities to silence the message. Last year the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo whilst in prison in China for criticising the abuse of human rights in that country.

This year has seen a remarkable number of people taking to the streets. There were a quarter of a million people in London recently protesting against the cuts. But I think especially of the Middle East and North Africa. In those parts of the world it takes great courage for ordinary people to take to the streets. It always takes courage to stand up for what we know to be right.

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets when the Pope visited this country last September and they created great energy for one another in doing so. Pope Benedict said to the Bishops in Birmingham: “That the prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged who can so
easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources”. The Holy Father urged all of us to be examples of faith in public life and said that society needed clear voices in what the Chief Rabbi described as: “our short attention span – hyperactive – information saturated – wisdom-starved age”.

Over the years citizens who come to these kind of gatherings have always shown themselves to have ‘clear voices’. Today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Living Wage campaign. The first prophetic all for a Living Wage was by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 when he spoke out against the treatment of labour as a commodity. This is what he said: “Wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and good wage earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the worker accepts harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford them no better, then the worker is made the victim of force and injustice”.

Cardinal Manning known as the friend of workers, spelt out that principle by saying that: “A workers wage should be sufficient to keep his wife and children, to provide them with decent housing and a healthy diet and to educate them”. Since then the Churches and especially Catholic Social teaching have always focused on the ‘person’ and called for dignity and justice for the worker. On the other hand the Market always focuses on ‘profit’ and how to maximise gain.

Like many here, I am proud to have been part of different gatherings organised by Telco over the last ten years pressing for a Living Wage. I recall a particular occasion in 2006 when a number of us interviewed Sir John Bond, Chairman of HSBC.

A cleaner from his bank, paid less than the minimum wage, was also present. As Sir John sang out the praises of the Bank for giving large sums away to Charity each year, I was moved to retort: “Sir John, we are not here to talk about Charity but to talk about Justice”. I am glad to say that thanks to your campaigning he, and many others, have changed over these ten years. But it still remains a scandal and deeply unjust when ordinary workers and especially migrant workers are exploited, taken advantage of and paid less than a living wage. It affronts their dignity, their self-worth and that of their families. After this Mass we march to Westminster Central Hall. On a previous occasion I pointed out that the niches of Westminster Abbey alongside were recently filled with figures of 20th century martyrs from every continent and Christian tradition. People like Martin Luther King, Archbishop Romero. They were honoured and chosen to represent the values which they witnessed to and died for – truth, justice, peace, freedom, love of the poor. Many of them were murdered in order to silence the message, rather like the King burning the scroll, but the message cannot be silenced.

And so, may we, in solidarity with the many others

- Take to the streets

- Raise our voices

- Stand up for Gospel values.

Amen.



http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=18151

AUSTRALIA: CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION IN FAITH

CATH NEWS REPORT: The national conference of the Australian Association of Catholic Adult Faith Educators, to be held in Brisbane next month, is open to anyone from parishes and dioceses involved in adult faith education.

Guest speaker at the conference dinner will be Archbishop Bathersby, chair ACBC Commission for Mission and Faith Formation.

The web site provides background information to the conference, a PDF of the conference brochure and workshop choices and an online registration form.

www.bne.catholic.net.au/faithlife/cafeconf/

AMERICA: USA: BISHOPS TO HAVE MEETING IN SEATTLE

Usscb report: U.S. Bishops to Meet June 15-17 in Seattle, Discuss Charter Revisions, Assisted Suicide Document, Spanish Mass Translation

WASHINGTON (May 2, 2011)—The annual Spring General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be June 15-17, at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue Hotel in Seattle. The meeting will begin with Mass at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15.

The bishops will debate and vote on revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a document on physician assisted suicide called “To Live Each Day With Dignity,” and the Spanish translation of USA Propers, as well as an appendix of major feast days of Spanish-speaking countries for inclusion in the future Spanish translation of the Roman Missal.

The bishops will hear addresses by Ken Hackett at the conclusion of his service as president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland on the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in June 2012, Father Edward Dougherty on the 100th anniversary of the Maryknoll Society, and Msgr. David Malloy at the conclusion of his service as general secretary of USCCB.

The agenda also includes:

  • A presentation on the Defense of Marriage efforts of the USCCB, including a Spanish-language video.
  • A report by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington on Anglicanorum coetibus, the Vatican guideline for allowing communities of Anglicans to enter into Full Communion with the Catholic Church.
  • A report by Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections, on the evaluation of national collections.
  • Discussion of Faithful Citizenship, the bishops’ call to political responsibility.
  • A request by the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations to proceed in drafting a document on preaching.

Coverage of the meeting is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to the media will be Wednesday, June 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time and Thursday, June 16, until 10:30 a.m. There will be media conferences after all open sessions. Credentialed media should book their rooms through USCCB to ensure space (instructions will be given upon registration). Reporters seeking to cover the meeting can download a credential application form atwww.usccb.org/comm/credentialform.pdf and submit it by June 3, by fax to (202) 541-3173, or mail to:

June Meeting Credentials
Office of Media Relations
3211 4th St. NE

Washington, DC 20017-1194

http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2011/11-086.shtml

TODAY'S SAINT: MAY 2: ST ATHANASIUS

St. Athanasius

BISHOP, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Feast: May 2



Information:

Feast Day:May 2
Born:

295 at Alexandria, Egypt

Died:2 May 373 at Alexandria, Egypt
Major Shrine:Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt

San Zaccaria, Venice, Italy

St. Athanasius, known as the "champion of orthodoxy," was born about the year 297, in Alexandria. There is a tradition, related by Rufinus, that he first attracted the notice of Patriarch Alexander as he was playing at baptism on the seashore with other small boys. After watching young Athanasius perform the rite, the prelate called the boys to him and by questioning satisfied himself that the baptisms were valid. He then undertook to have these boys trained for the priesthood. Athanasius received an excellent education, not only in Christian doctrine, but also in Greek literature and philosophy, rhetoric, and jurisprudence. He knew the Scriptures thoroughly, and learned theology from teachers who had been confessors during the terrible persecutions under Maximian. In youth he appears to have formed friendships with several hermits of the desert, especially with the great Antony, whose biography he was to write. He was reader to the patriarch, and in 318 became his secretary. During this period he wrote a discourse, , in which he attempted an explanation of the Incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity.

In Egypt two strong and often divergent forces had early appeared in the Christian Church: the conservative hierarchy in Alexandria, represented by the patriarch or bishop, and the theologians of the schools, who cared little for tradition and stood for free reasoning on theological subjects. The leaders of the latter party had sometimes been obliged, like the famous Origen, to go into exile. There were also schisms over the distribution of authority in the Church and over doctrinal questions. It was probably about the year 323 that one Arius, a priest of the church of Baucalis, began to teach that Jesus, though more than man, was not eternal God, that he was created in time by the Eternal Father, and could therefore be described only figuratively as the Son of God. The patriarch demanded a written statement of these doctrines. With only two dissenting voices the bishops condemned them as heresy, and deposed Arius, together with eleven priests and deacons of Alexandria. Arius retired to Caesarea, where he continued to propagate his ideas, enlisting the support of Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and other Syrian prelates. In Egypt he had already won over many of the metaphysicians, as well as Meletius, bishop of Lycopolis, and leader of a dissident group. Theology being the topic which most deeply engaged men's minds, the Arian controversy interested all classes of the population. The heretical propositions were publicized in the form of songs set to popular tunes, and these were chanted in the forums and carried by sailors from port to port.

Athanasius, as the patriarch's secretary, took a prominent part in this great Church struggle. It is probable that he even composed the encyclical letter announcing the condemnation of Arius. We know that he was present, as an attendant on Alexander, at the famous Council of Nicaea, summoned by the Emperor Constantine to determine matters of dogma. There the sentence against Arius was confirmed, and the confession of faith known as the Nicene Creed promulgated and subscribed. This gathering of churchmen influenced Athanasius deeply, and, as a modern writer has said, the rest of his life was a testimony to the divinity of the Saviour.

Shortly after this Alexander died, and Athanasius succeeded him, although he was not yet thirty. One of his first acts was a tour of his enormous diocese, which included the great monastic settlements, especially the Thebaid. He ordained a bishop for Abyssinia, where the Christian faith had recently been established. Yet in spite of his best efforts, there was strong opposition. The Meletians made common cause with the Arians, and the movement, temporarily discredited by the Council of Nicaea, was soon again rampant in Asia Minor and Egypt.

In 330 the Arian bishop of Nicomedia, Eusebius, returned from his exile and before long had persuaded the aging Constantine to write to Athanasius, bidding him readmit Arius into communion, in the interests of unity. Eusebius sent an ingratiating letter in defense of Arius, but Athanasius held to his conviction that the Church could have no communion with heretics who attacked the divinity of Christ. Then Eusebius wrote the Egyptian Meletians urging them to impeach Athanasius for personal misconduct. They brought charges that he had levied a general tribute of linen for use in his own church, and made other petty accusations. At his trial before the emperor, Athanasius cleared himself and returned in triumph to Alexandria, bearing with him a letter of approval from Constantinople.

His enemies now accused him of having murdered a Meletian bishop named Arsenius, and summoned him to attend a council at Caesarea. Knowing that his supposed victim was in hiding, Athanasius ignored the summons. In 335 an order came from Constantinople to appear before another assembly at Tyre, packed by his opponents and presided over by an Arian who had seized the see of Antioch. Realizing that his condemnation had been decided on, Athanasius abruptly left the council and took ship for Constantinople. There he accosted the emperor as a suppliant in the street and obtained an interview. So completely did he vindicate himself that Constantine summoned the bishops to Constantinople for a retrial of the case. Then, for some unexplained reason, he suddenly changed his mind. Before the first letter arrived, a second was sent, confirming the sentence and banishing Athanasius to Treves. During this first exile, Athanasius kept in touch with his flock by letter.

In 337 Constantine died, shortly after his baptism by Eusebius of Nicomedia, and his empire was divided among his three sons, Constantine II, Constantius, and Constans. Many of the exiled prelates were now recalled. One of the first acts of Constantine II, who had sovereignty over Britain, Spain, and Gaul, was to allow Athanasius to return to his see. Two years later Constantine II was to be killed in battle in Aquileia. The patriarch reentered Alexandria in seeming triumph, but his enemies were as relentless as ever, and Eusebius of Nicomedia had completely won over the Emperor Constantius, within whose portion of the empire Alexandria was situated. New scandals were invented and Athanasius was now accused of raising sedition, promoting bloodshed, and keeping for himself corn intended for the poor. A Church council which met at Antioch again deposed him, and ratified an Arian bishop for Alexandria.

In the midst of all this confusion a Cappadocian priest named Gregory was forcibly installed as patriarch of Alexandria by the city prefect, pagans and Arians having now joined forces against the Catholics. Confronted unceasingly by acts of violence and sacrilege, Athanasius betook himself to Rome to await the hearing of his case by the Pope. A synod was summoned, but the Eusebians who had proposed it failed to appear. The result was a complete vindication of Athanasius, a verdict afterwards endorsed by the Council of Sardica. Nevertheless he found it impossible to return to Alexandria until after the death of Gregory, and then only because Emperor Constantius, on the eve of a war with Persia, thought it politic to propitiate his brother Constans by restoring Athanasius to his see.

After an absence then of eight years, Athanasius was welcomed back to Alexandria in 346, and for three or four years there was comparative peace. But the murder of Constans in 350 removed the most powerful support of orthodoxy, and Constantius, once he found himself ruler of both West and East, set himself to crush the man he now regarded as a personal enemy. At Arles in 353 he obtained the condemnation of Athanasius from a council of Gallic bishops, who seem to have been kept in ignorance of the importance of the issues. Two years later at Milan he met with more opposition from the Italian bishops, but when with his hand on his sword he gave them their choice between condemnation of Athanasius and exile, by far the greater number yielded. The few stubborn bishops were exiled, including the new Pope Liberius. He was sent into isolation in Thrace until, broken in body and spirit, he too gave his consent to the Arian decrees. Athanasius held on for another year with the support of his own clergy and people. Then one night, as he was celebrating a vigil in the church of St. Thomas, soldiers broke in. Athanasius was instantly surrounded by his people, who swept him out into the safety of darkness; but for six years thereafter he had to live in hiding. His abounding energy now expressed itself in literary composition, and to this period are ascribed his chief writings, including a , three letters to Serapion, a defense of his position to Constantius, and a treatise on the synods of Rimini and Seleucia.

The death of Constantius in 361 was followed by another shift in the situation. The new emperor, Julian, a pagan, revoked the sentences of banishment enacted by his predecessors, and Athanasius returned once again to his own city. But it was only for a few months. Julian's plans for a reconquest of the Christian world could make little headway as long as the champion of the Catholic faith ruled in Egypt; he also considered it necessary to banish Athanasius from Alexandria as "a disturber of the peace and an enemy of the gods." During this fourth exile, he seems to have explored the entire Thebaid. He was in Antinopolis when two hermits informed him of the death of Julian, who, it was later ascertained, at that moment was expiring in distant Persia, slain by an enemy's arrow.

The new emperor, Jovian, a soldier of Catholic sympathies, revoked the sentence of banishment and invited Athanasius to Antioch, to expound the doctrine of the Trinity. Jovian's reign lasted only a year, and his successor in the East, Valens, succumbed to Arian pressure in Constantinople and in May, 365, issued an order banishing again all orthodox bishops who had been exiled by Constantius and restored by his successors. Once more the worn and aged prelate was forced to flee. The ecclesiastical historian, Socrates, tells us that Athanasius hid himself this time in his father's tomb, but a better- informed writer says that he spent the months in a villa in a suburb of Alexandria. Four months later Valens revoked his edict, fearing possibly a rising of the Egyptians, who were determined to accept no other man as bishop. Joyfully they escorted him back. Athanasius had spent seventeen years in exile, but his last years were peaceful. He died in Alexandria on May 2, 373. His body was twice removed, first to Constantinople, and then to Venice.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stathanasius.asp#ixzz1LOPTffi1

TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY. 2: JOHN 3: 1- 8

John 3: 1 - 8
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicode'mus, a ruler of the Jews.2This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him."3Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."4Nicode'mus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"5Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.'8The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."

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