CATHOLICS AND JEWS: WITNESS TO DIGNITY OF HUMAN BEING
VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a delegation from B'nai B'rith International, ("Sons of the Covenant" in Hebrew), the oldest Jewish service organization in the world. It was initially founded in New York City in 1843. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Pope expressed his appreciation for B'nai B'rith's "active participation" in the meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee, held in Paris at the end of February on this 40th anniversary of dialogue between the two religions. " What has happened in these forty years must be seen as a great gift from the Lord and a reason for heartfelt gratitude towards the One who guides our steps with his infinite and eternal wisdom".
"The Paris meeting affirmed the desire of Catholics and Jews to stand together in meeting the immense challenges facing our communities in a rapidly changing world and, significantly, our shared religious duty to combat poverty, injustice, discrimination and the denial of universal human rights".
The Holy Father emphasized that "one of the most important things that we can do together is bear common witness to our deeply-held belief that every man and woman is created in the divine image and thus possessed of inviolable dignity. This conviction remains the most secure basis for every effort to defend and promote the inalienable rights of each human being".
Recalling a recent conversation between delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Benedict XVI stated that, on that occasion, "stress was laid on the need to promote a sound understanding of the role of religion in the life of our present-day societies as a corrective to a purely horizontal, and consequently truncated, vision of the human person and social coexistence".
"The life and work of all believers", he concluded, "should bear constant witness to the transcendent, point to the invisible realities which lie beyond us, and embody the conviction that a loving, compassionate Providence guides the final outcome of history, no matter how difficult and threatening the journey along the way may sometimes appear".
CARDINAL SARAH TO VISIT EARTHQUAKE-DAMAGED AREAS IN JAPAN
VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" published a communique that announces that its president, Cardinal Robert Sarah, will visit - in the Pope's name - the areas affected by the earthquake that devastated Japan two months ago.
The president of "Cor Unum" - who will travel there from 13 to 16 May - "will carry Benedict XVI's embrace extended to all the family members of the victims, to all the displaced persons, and to all the volunteers who are working tirelessly on reconstruction. Caritas Japan, which went into action immediately following the disaster, continues to be the point of reference for all the assistance that the Catholic Church continues offering in rebuilding Japan's community life after this state of emergency".
"The president of 'Cor Unum'", the communique continues, "will travel to Saitama on 14 May to visit the Catholic Church's assistance centers for those who have lost their homes. Later he will go to Tokyo where, together with the Japanese bishops, he will celebrate a thanksgiving Mass for the beatification of John Paul II. On 15 May he will go to Sendai, the epicenter of the earthquake, where he will preside over Holy Mass in the cathedral.
On Monday, 16 May, he will visit two other assistance centers for displaced persons and will meet with the directors of the main charitable organizations present.
Accompanying Cardinal Sarah on this trip will be the undersecretary of 'Cor Unum', Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz".
VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
-Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, apostolic nuncio to Greece.
- Six prelates from the Bishops' Conference of India on their ad limina visit:
- Bishop Lumen Monteiro, C.S.C., of Agartala.
- Bishop Stephen Rotluanga, C.S.C., of Aizawl,
- Bishop Vincent Kympat of Jowai,
- Bishop Victor Lyngdoh of Nongstoin,
- Bishop Andrew Marak of Tura, and
- Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil of Bongaigaon.
VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Fr. Simon Ok Hyun-jin of the clergy of Kwangju as auxiliary bishop of that same archdiocese. Kwangju (area 12,596, population 3,373,315, Catholics 329,951, priests 270, religious 722), Korea. The bishop-elect was born in Kwangju, was ordained a priest in 1994, and is currently a professor at the Catholic University of Kwangju.
OTTAWA, Ontario, May 13, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Canada’s record-breaking National March for Life made a splash in the national media this year, reversing a long-standing trend in the mainstream media of diligently ignoring the largest annual rally on Parliament Hill.
Over 15,000 pro-lifers gathered on the Hill Thursday for Canada’s 14th annual National March for Life, which marked the 42nd anniversary of Trudeau’s infamous Omnibus Bill that paved the way for abortion-on-demand.
For the second straight year, the march won coverage in all the major media outlets, including the CBC, CTV, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post, Metro, and Global.
In particular, the overwhelmingly positive coverage from the Sun News Network revealed how the new station will likely be a game-changer for national media coverage of pro-life issues.
The reporting was admittedly not all positive, however, with many media outlets giving equal attention to the small pro-abortion counter-protest, and the CBC reporting an estimate of 5,000 despite the official count of over 15,000. As well, while the Globe and Mail published a Canadian Press article about the march on its website, it was nowhere to be found in the paper’s print edition.
On the other hand, Postmedia, which runs the National Post and a chain of local papers across the country, ran a largely-positive piece headlined ‘Party atmosphere on Parliament Hill for anti-abortion rally’. “Had it not been for the signs expressing sentiments such as ‘Abortion: A Crime Against Humanity,’ Thursday’s anti-abortion rally would have looked like Canada Day on Parliament Hill, as thousands gathered under sunny skies for the 14th annual March for Life,” it read.
Sun News offered by far the most complete and positive coverage from the mainstream media, however. Their top story Thursday morning was a poll they had commissioned in advance of the March showing that 59% of Canadians want legal restrictions on abortion and more than quarter want protections for the unborn from conception. They also ran an internet poll on abortion throughout the day.
Brian Lilley, the host of Sun News’ Byline, dedicated his show Thursday evening to abortion, with an opening call for Canadians to build a culture of life. “We need to speak openly about what an abortion is. It’s the killing of an unborn child,” said Lilley. “[The unborn child] is a human life flourishing inside a woman.”
“Not only do these abortions end a human life, they hurt the women involved. We need to help these women,” he added.
Lilley also engaged in a dialogue with Abacus pollster David Caletto, debunking the myth that it would be political suicide for Canadian politicians to enshrine in law some legal protections for the unborn.
(See video here.)
Lilley, and Sun News coverage in general were refreshingly clear, in a way perhaps unprecedented for a national media outlet, about the vastly misunderstood status quo of abortion law in Canada – namely that there has been no abortion law since 1988, and thus abortion is legal and state-funded up until birth.
Though there has been a spattering of media coverage over the march’s history, it made its first major breakthrough into the media spotlight last year, fueled by the controversy over the Conservative government’s exclusion of abortion funding from its G8 maternal health initiative.
This year’s march won a huge amount of free publicity in the days before the event, after LifeSiteNews broke the story that Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson had proclaimed May 12th ‘Respect for Life Day’ in honor of the March for Life.
The perhaps unprecedented level of coverage was foreshadowed by the fact that the Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s most pro-abortion papers, announced the pro-life event in advance, on Thursday morning. The Ottawa Citizen also announced the event beforehand, promising coverage and photos, as well linking to Parliament’s webcam so readers could see the massive crowd.
Lahore (AsiaNews) – A 24-year Christian woman from southern Punjab was abducted by a Muslim man who, after forcing her to convert to Islam, also forced her to marry him. Although her family filed a formal report of kidnapping, the police did not act immediately, either to stop the abduction or to arrest the culprits. Likewise, her family has gone to court to get her released to no avail; the young student nurse remains in fact in the hands of her kidnappers. This, according to a local priest, is part of an “alarming” trend in anti-Christian violence. He is, to put it mildly, “disappointed by the behaviour of local authorities”. A human rights activist confirms that the region of Pakistan where the woman lives is a “safe haven for extremists” who perpetrate abuses and kidnappings “with total impunity”.
Farah Hatim, 24, from Rahim Yar Khan, a town in southern Punjab, was training to be a nurse at the Sheikh Zaid Medical College, working in the orthopaedic ward. Last Sunday, she was kidnapped as she crossed Jinnah Park, which is located near the college where she worked.
Her kidnapper is Zeehan Iliyas, a young Muslim man working as an office boy at a local branch of the United Bank Ltd. With the help his brothers Imram and Gulfam, he abducted the young woman, ordering her to convert to Islam and marry him.
“This [Muslim] family has a history of kidnapping young Christian women and forcing them to convert,” said Bilquees Marriam, Farah’s mother, adding that they act with impunity because they are backed by a local Member of the National Assembly, who belongs to the ruling party.
The woman and her other six children went to the police to file the abduction report, but the duty officer refused to take a First Information Report (FIR).
The day after the kidnapping, the local Christian community rallied around the kidnapped woman’s family and began protesting against the violence against her and the complicity of local law enforcement. Initially, police tried to disperse the crowd but following the intervention of the superintendent of police, a FIR application was accepted and an investigation was launched.
However, the delay gave Farah Hatim’s kidnappers time to take the young woman to a district court under duress so that she could state that she had converted to Islam and would marry Zeehan Iliyas.
The judge, who failed to cross-examine the woman, especially with regards to the wounds to her body, simply accepted her statement as “valid”.
Zahid Hussain, the Hatim family lawyer, slammed the gross violation of the Farah’s rights and the faulty legal procedures. He said that when “someone makes a statement before a court, the judge must question the applicant alone in order to determine whether his or her decision was made under duress or by consent. In this case, the courtroom was full of people, including those who actively took part in her abduction and assault. The judge also ignored her wounds. [. . .] All this shows that she was forced to sign the statement”.
Last Tuesday, Farah’s family filed a second complaint, which the police has so far failed to pursue.
“Southern Punjab is a safe haven for extremists,” said Rizwan Paul, head of the human rights organisation ‘Life for All’. Indeed, local authorities and police are more interested in “protecting offenders” than in justice.
“We have highlighted several cases of forced conversions and brought it to the attention of the authorities, but they have turned a deaf ear to our complaints,” he said.
“It is a sad incident,” said Fr Sohail John, parish priest at Rahim Yar Khan. “We strongly condemn the kidnapping and the forced conversion. We are disappointed over the response of the local authorities. It is alarming that [. . .] the Punjab government has failed to protect the minorities” and is instead “protecting the culprit”.
- A 35-year-old man was arrested after entering a Catholic church in Spain and destroying a number of statues and religious objects.
Officials said the man entered the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Navalcarnero at 8:30 a.m. on May 8. He proceeded to destroy several religious works of art.
The pastor, Father Fermin Marcos, and a religious sister who works at the parish, tried to reason with the man, but after numerous attempts they called the police.
Within minutes officers arrived and detained the suspect.
The religious objects destroyed were made of plaster and had belonged to the parish since the 1930s.
“Their value is more sentimental than economic,” Fr. Marcos said. One object was a statue of St. Isidore the Farmer, which was going to be used in a procession this coming weekend.
Navalcarnero’s mayor, Baltasar Santos, regretted the incident, calling it “terrible and very serious.”
“Attacking religious images is not only against the faith of persons and the tradition of a people, it is also against the historical-artistic patrimony of the municipality, which we are trying so hard to preserve for present and future generations,” he said.
The parish of Our Lady of the Assumption is the oldest historical site in the town. Its architecture is the result of 500 years of history that includes reforms, renovations, collapses and reconstruction.
Feast: May 12
He is said to have suffered at Rome in the fourteenth year of his age. Having been beheaded for the faith, which he had gloriously confessed under Dioclesian in the year 304, he was interred in the cemetery of Calepodius, which afterwards took his name. His old church in that place was repaired in the fifth century by Pope Symmachus, and in the seventh by pope Honorius I. St. Gregory the Great speaks of his relics. St. Gregory of Tours1 calls him the Avenger of Perjuries, and says that God by a perpetual miracle visibly punished false oaths made before his relics. Pope Vitalian sent a portion of them to king Oswi in 656.2 Italy, England, France, Spain, &c., abound with churches which bear his name.3 See D. Jenichen, Diss. de S. Pancratio, urbis et ecclesiae primariae Giessensis patrono titular), in 4to. anno 1758, at Giessen, a university in Upper Hesse, belonging to the landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt.