"The rebel group, came to know that the Bishop was in the area, and moved to capture him. The attack took place on June 2. After a while, thankfully, they released him, but kept his driver and the car. Later, the rebels returned to get his mobile phone. The Bishop is still in Ngerengou because the area is still dangerous. Mgr.Mathos is safe and sound, and is protected by the local people"
"We do not know which group is responsible for this act, because in this area at least three or four rebel groups operate. Investigation and research by the Central African military and UN peacekeepers are being carried out " conclude the sources of Fides. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 06/04/201)
For the many fans of the book by AP journalist Matt Baglio, on which the film is loosely based, screenwriter Michael Petroni has respected the basic story while raising the emotional stakes to great dramatic effect when combined with excellent cinematography and the masterful presence of Anthony Hopkins.
When time came to make a decision about his profession in life, Michael knew well that his options were limited, as he told a friend, "in my family; you either become an undertaker or a priest". Michael chose the priesthood, not out of sense of mission, but as a way out of his bleak existence and a means to pay for college. After he is ordained as a deacon, Michael's guilt over deceiving his superior about his intentions impels him to write Fr Matthew (Toby Jones) about his decision to leave the seminary. He admits he has no faith and feels he has no vocation to the priesthood.
But fate intervenes before Fr Matthew can act. The two men are involved in a car accident where a young woman is fatally wounded and Fr Matthew looks on stunned silence as Michael blesses the victim reluctantly yet tenderly as she dies. He is impressed by this and convinces Michael to delay leaving the seminary until after he has taken a two month course in Rome. A course in exorcism; "you're an undertaker, so you're not squeamish" he adds with a gleam in his eye.
Not at all squeamish, Michael plays the role of devil's advocate in his exorcism class in Rome, challenging his instructor over whether the possessed are suffering from psychosis, and is nonplussed over a sudden power outage when the demon Baal is mentioned. In order to help Michael overcome his doubts about the existence of Satan, his professor, Fr Xavier (Ciaran Hinds) sends him to observe veteran exorcist Fr Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins). Michael is joined in his doubts by Italian journalist Angeline (Alice Braga) who wants him to share his experiences at Fr Lucas side for the purposes of an article. These two young cynics are about to engage in a life and death struggle which will evoke deep-seated fears and upend their worldview
An eccentric Welshman, Fr Lucas lives a lonely existence in an obscure corner of Rome, occupying an ancient villa whose courtyard is overrun by cats. Fr Lucas takes Michael's cynicism in stride, and advises Michael not to engage in conversation with the demon who possesses the pregnant teen who has come with her sister for her regular exorcism session. Michael is so captivated by her predicament that he finds himself drawn into a life and death struggle with the devil whose very existence he denies.
Although the movie trailer plays like a high-tech adaptation of "The Exorcist", to which exorcism films will inevitably be compared, there is more spiritual and emotional depth to director Mikael Hafstrom's work than Blatty's. "The Rite" more closely resembles the cinematic subtlety and theological accuracy of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", according to Fr. Gary Thomas, the priest from the book on which the film is based. Michael is a sympathetic character and the film's dramatic exposition of the tragic origins of his faith crisis help the audience sympathize with him as he confronts demons both within and without his tortured soul.
Even eccentric Father Lucas, played compellingly by Hopkins is more vivid than the ghostly older priest in "The Exorcist", yet the pairing of priests to defeat Satan is a familiar theme. Fr Lucas even makes a sarcastic reference to "The Exorcist" telling Michael, "You'll see no spinning heads and pea soup here!" What will enliven Catholic viewers is the authenticity of the phenomena of the exorcisms and the splendor of the priesthood when contrasted against the darkness of pure evil. Special effects enhance but do not overpower this compelling thriller and magnificent architecture of Rome augments the timelessness of the story.
For the many fans of the book by AP journalist Matt Baglio, on which the film is loosely based, screenwriter Michael Petroni has respected the basic story while raising the emotional stakes to great dramatic effect when combined with excellent cinematography and the masterful presence of Anthony Hopkins. Priests who watched the film in the theatre with me had a positive reaction but pointed the following theological errors; as a deacon, Michael could not give absolution as he appears to do in the case of the dying woman, and that an inexperienced priest with emotional wounds and of questionable faith would never be chosen to become an exorcist. Too many weaknesses for Satan to exploit, they explained.
The manifestations of possession (vomiting nails and frogs, unearthly voices, superhuman strength and knowledge of inner weaknesses) are absolutely accurate, according to Fr Gary Thomas, the real priest from Baglio's book, who had a less dramatic change of heart about the existence of Satan. When I asked him in an interview whether he believed that the devil was a being he responded, "I believed when I met him".
For older teens and up for frightening and macabre scenes, appropriate but vivid sexual innuendo (verbal references to incest and rape) and foul language. This film is best seen with parental supervision. Rated PG-13, 114 minutes
CATHOLIC LEADER REPORT: PRIESTS in Brisbane archdiocese have paid tribute to the vision, hospitality, pastoral excellence and capacity for friendship of Fr Basil Meaney whose funeral Mass was to be celebrated in St Stephen's Cathedral on Thursday.
Fr Meaney (pictured) died at St Vincent's Hospital, Kangaroo Point, last Sunday (May 29), a month short of the golden jubilee of his ordination to priesthood.
The 81-year-old priest was parish priest at Brighton from 1975 to 1983 and Tewantin (Noosa District) from 1983 to 2003 after which he retired to Bribie Island.
Fr Harry Bliss, whose friendship with the late Fr Meaney spanned 60 years, spoke fondly of long car trips together including one around Australia.
St Stephen's Cathedral dean Fr Ken Howell, who ministered in his internship year alongside Fr Meaney and next as his assistant priest at the then parish of Tewantin, said the popular priest was a "great man of prayer" as well as action.
Fr Howell said Fr Meaney's ordination in 1961 with his brother, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Father Adrian Meaney, had drawn one of the biggest crowds ever to St Stephen's Cathedral.
Fr Clem Hodge recalled him as a "gentle giant" and a mentor figure when he attended Banyo Seminary in 1955.
"He'd been in the workforce as an electrician and had done his senior studies in the seminary the year before, so the rest of us who had come straight from school tended to look up to him," he said.
Fr Bliss said he had first met Fr Meaney at a YCW leaders' conference at Indooroopilly and the friendship had flourished through their seminary years together.
"We would eventually go on two long car trips together - in 1978 going through places like Quilpie and Longreach and to Alice Springs to Basil's brother's parish and then onto Darwin," he said.
"In 1985 we travelled around Australia together in five weeks and three days, covering some seventeen-and-a-half thousand kilometres."
Fr Bliss recalled Fr Meaney as "a great hospitality man".
"Cooking was one of Basil's favourite hobbies," he said.
"He loved putting on a dinner for three or more."
Fr Howell said soon after being ordained, he had gone to join Fr Meaney as assistant priest in
Vale: Fr Basil Meaney Tewantin (now Noosa) parish.
"He was a very effective pastor and always had the interests of the people at heart," he said.
"His twenty years at Tewantin were extremely productive including the renovation of two churches, at Pomona and Cooroy, the building of a new church at Tewantin and a school at Sunshine Beach.
"However, it was not necessarily Fr Meaney's achievements in initiating building projects that people remembered him most for ... rather it was his generosity and pastoral care."
A Vigil Mass for Fr Meaney was to be celebrated at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Tewantin, on Tuesday.
Priests and rights activists joined thousands of factory workers yesterday in nationwide demonstrations to protest the killing of a 21-year-old Catholic co-worker during violent clashes with police earlier this week.
Roshen Chanaka, a garment worker, was killed on Monday after police opened fire during a protest in the country’s biggest Free Trade Zone (FTZ) against a proposed pension scheme.
The government has since backtracked on the scheme which would have docked an extra two percent from private sector workers’ salaries.
On Wednesday, Mahinda Balasuriya became the first national police chief to resign as a result of the incident.
However, tempers are still running high.
Priests and rights activists at an FTZ protest yesterday carried white flags and wreaths as they and the factory workers marched to demand justice for Chanaka.
Soldiers were deployed to monitor the protest while the police stayed out of sight.
“We want the government to take the responsibility for this heinous crime. After the war in the north, the government has started a war in the south and this killing is an example of this,” said Father Sarath Iddamalgoda, a member of the Christian Solidarity Movement.
“This young man [Chanaka] gave his life for thousands of workers in this country and his death gives us a message,” said Saman Rathnapriya, general secretary of the country’s Trade Union Confederation.
St. Francis Caracciolo
Feast: June 4
St. Francis Caracciolo as a boy was one of those children whom the world "sets down as unnatural." No doubt we ourselves also had we seen the little Ascanio, by which name he was baptized, eschewing games and "the things of a child," to make constant visits to the Blessed Sacrament and give food and other reliefs to the poor, would have thought it all very "odd," did we not reflect that the "supernatural" does strange things at times and manifests itself in old and young alike, regardless of what people may say or even do! Ascanius, or as we must call him by his name in religion, Francis, Caracciolo, was born at Villa Santa Maria in that quarter of Italy known as the Abruzzi, the very name of which always recalls mental pictures of wild and lonely scenery and picturesque groups of Salvator Rosa-esque brigands! The family of the Saint was noble, being a junior branch of the ancient house. While still a youth, he was attacked by one of the several skin complaints collectively described as "leprosy" in those days, but which in the case of the subject of this memoir was made the means of still further withdrawing him from things of earth and towards those of Heaven. He was cured in consequence, it is said, of a vow to devote his life to the service of God, and with this end in view he went, at the age of about twenty-two, to study for the priesthood at Naples. In the intervals of reading, he busied himself with works of devotion and charity, making long visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and consoling the inmates of hospitals and prisons. He had a special liking for neglected churches, seeking to make up by his attendance and prayers for the absence of worshippers in these uncared-for sanctuaries. After his Ordination in 1587, he joined a pious confraternity, known as the "The White Robes of Justice." This Society, like that of the better-known Misericorde, attended condemned criminals and prepared them to die well. All this time, Francis seems to have had in mind the founding of a new religious Order, and next year the matter came to a head. It happened that the same idea had also occurred to another devout man, Giovanni Agostino Adorno, who unburdened his mind on the subject in a letter addressed to another member of the Caracciolo family, named Fabricius Ascanio. The letter was delivered by a very natural error to our Saint, who saw in the occurrence a clear indication of the divine will. Joining in at once with John Adorno and Fabricius Caracciolo, our Saint and they retired for a while to the desert of Camaldoli, where the holy trio drew up the Rule of what was to be the Minor Clerks Regular. Francis then went to Rome to obtain the approval of the Pope for the new Foundation. Sixtus V was at that time in the midst of his strenuous pontificate, clearing the Papal States of the swarms of brigands which had long made that part of Italy one of the most insecure places in Europe, and in beautifying Rome with those stately public buildings which still reflect the glory of the Sistine rule. The Holy Father with quite unwonted alacrity approved the Congregation on 1st July of the same year (1588).
The new Congregation of the Minor Clerks Regular thus established was one of considerable severity. The Clerks bound themselves to distribute various practices of penance among themselves daily, so that while one fasted, another took the discipline, a third wore the hair-shirt and so on. The rest not so engaged were meanwhile watching in turn before the Blessed Sacrament. In addition to the three usual vows, a fourth was added-not to aspire after dignities (de non ambiendis dignitatibus).
At his solemn profession at Naples, 9th April, 1589, Fr. Caracciolo took the name of Francis, from his great devotion to the holy Founder of the Seraphic Order. Fr. Adorno dying two years later, Fr. Francis, entirely against his own wish, was chosen Superior of the Congregation. He showed himself a model in all that related to the Rule, but quite surpassed all his brethren in the matter of prayer and austerity. He meditated several hours daily on the sufferings of Our Lord, and spent most of the night before the Blessed Sacrament. This he did, among other reasons, to make up as far as he could for the coldness and ingratitude of men, and often, too, the culpable negligence of indifferent ecclesiastics which so frequently caused the churches to be practically abandoned day after day. When kneeling before the altar, the face of Fr. Francis appeared to be lighted up with celestial glory, while he ejaculated from time to time a favourite sentence from the Scripture: "the zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up!" (Ps. lxviii. 10.)
The first house of the Clerks was one at Naples, known as St. Mary Major's, which had been made over to them by Sixtus V, but the expansion of the Congregation soon made it imperative to found others elsewhere. Spain early extended its welcome to the newest arrivals in the monastic field, and St. Francis undertook no fewer than three journeys to that most Catholic country under the special protection first of Philip II and afterwards of his son, Philip III. On one of these voyages, the ship that bore the holy Founder and his fortunes was nearly wrecked, but the vessel was saved by the prayer of our Saint. Of course, there was the opposition of the good to be met and overcome, but the spiritual methods and perseverance of Francis were rewarded by the establishment of three branches-the House of the Holy Ghost at Madrid (20th January, 1599), that of Our Lady of the Annunciation at Valla, closed (9th September, 1601), and St. Joseph at Alcala (1601). This last was opened in the University for the purpose of study and the requirements of the usual academic courses, and many of the aspirants to the Order in Spain spent some years there as part of their preparation for Holy Orders. Before this the Clerks obtained in Rome the Church of St. Leonard afterwards exchanged for that of St. Agnes in the Piazza Navona, the famous Church built on the traditional site of the martyrdom of St. Agnes. It was entirely rebuilt in 1642, at the expense of the Pamfili family, and among the many monuments of artistic or historic interest is the tomb of the Princess Mary Talbot Doria-Pamfili, who died 1857. She was the beautiful daughter of the Sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury, and one of the Maids of Honour to Queen Victoria at her Coronation in 1838.
In spite of the general knowledge as to the "fourth vow" of the Congregation against accepting or even seeking ecclesiastical honours, many desired to see the Founder exalted to what they considered a wider field of usefulness, and Pope Paul V, who greatly admired the heroic virtues and practical wisdom of Francis, wished to make him a bishop, but desisted at the earnest entreaty of the Saint. Besides his work for the Congregation, Francis unceasingly interested himself in the salvation of souls generally. He was much sought after as a confessor while his exhortations brought to repentance numerous public sinners, and he fortified the wavering and the despondent by personal encouragement and the recommendation of the two great Catholic devotions, those to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady. He had the gift of discerning hearts and of prophecy, and his own approaching death was made known to him one day, when, according to custom, he was praying before the altar of the Church of St. Lauretana. He was at that time in negotiation with the Oratorian Fathers with reference to taking over their house at Agnone in the Abruzzi for the use of his Congregation, and he lost no time in going to that place. Arrived there, he was shortly after seized with fever, and having received all the last rites, he died surrounded by the Oratorian Community of the place on the Vigil of Corpus Christi, 4th June, 1608. His body was removed to the Church of St. Mary Major, Naples, where it remained till it was transferred to the Church of Montivergonella which had been made over to the Clerks Regular, 1893, apparently in exchange for the other seized during the occupation of Naples by the French Revolutionary Army.
The Saint was proclaimed patron of the City of Naples in 1838, but the devotion to him which was once so marked a feature of the spiritual life of the place is said now to be much less in evidence. In addition to the Rule which he drew up in conjunction with his two holy coadjutors, St. Francis Caracciolo also left a devotional treatise on the Passion, this work, apart from the inherent value of the subject, is precious as containing the holy reflections and aspirations of one of the outstanding notabilities of the Church in the last period of the Counter-Reformation—the lover of souls—who did so much to heal by his zeal and piety the wounds which heresy and iniquity had inflicted upon the Mystical Body of the Lord.