Thursday, July 14, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 13 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Speaking on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation, announced a new pastoral initiative being promoted by his dicastery. The initiative has the name of "Metropolis Mission" and will begin in Lent 2012. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Archbishop Fisichella explained that the scheme is the result of a meeting which took place in the Vatican on 11 July with European cardinals and archbishops ofBarcelona, Budapest, Brussels, Dublin,Cologne, Lisbon, Liverpool, Paris, Turin,Vienna and Warsaw.

The new initiative, which will initially involve only large European cities, is divided into two phases: firstly, ordinary pastoral care activities particularly in the field of formation, and secondly, during Lent 2012, "the simultaneous implementation of these activities" in the aforementioned European cities.

"This is an initial response to the request made by the Pope during our first plenary meeting, to overcome division and to show signs of unity", said the archbishop.

During the 11 July meeting with European cardinals and archbishops, emphasis was given "to the fact that the 'Metropolis Mission' should be a concrete message sent by the great cities - the great dioceses - of Europe to the Synod of Bishops of 2012, which has new evangelisation as its theme".


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Zaveri Bazaar, the Opera House and Dadar are hit. Terrorism is suspected. Today is the birthday of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the lone gunman who survived the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Card Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, grief and sorrow” as well as “strong condemnation of this insensate violence.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Three explosions were reported tonight (local time) in Mumbai, one in the busy Zaveri Bazaar, another near the Opera House and a third in the city’s Dadar area. According to official police sources, at least 20 people were killed and another 100 wounded. A preliminary investigation suggests a possible terrorist link. The blasts coincide in fact with the birthday of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the lone gunman who survived the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The blasts took place during rush hour and in crowded places. Eyewitnesses said about 15 to 20 people were taken to hospital in Zaveri Bazar. Other reports said six people died in the Dadar blast, four in the Zaveri Bazaar where the first blast occurred.

Zaveri Bazaar was hit before—over 50 people were killed in twin blasts in 2002.

Police confirmed one explosion in a car at a bus stop in Dadar West. An unexploded bomb was also reportedly found in the area and a bomb disposal squad was working to defuse it.

A police officer said that in Zaveri Bazar the explosive might have been placed in a meter box behind a billboard. The Opera House blast took place at Prasad Chamber.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team was rushed to Mumbai from Delhi to investigate and collect forensic evidence. The police have appealed for calm.

Malls, markets and other crowded places in Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore have been placed on high alert.

Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, spoke to AsiaNews about the event. He “expressed grief and sorrow” as well as “strong condemnation of this insensate violence.” The prelate extended his condolences to the families of the victims.

“Once again, our city is plunged into grief because of a cowardly act of violence,” said the Mumbai-born cardinal. At present, “we are still dismayed and puzzled by what happened.”

“Let us pray to Our Lady,” the prelate said, “that she may protect us and help us not lose hope. Let us pray for those who perpetrated this horrendous crime, that they may realise the gravity of their action against the whole of humanity.”

The Church in Mumbai has already placed its medical staff and other resources at the disposal of the authorities to help them cope with this tragic situation.


Poland: new draft law could ban all abortions | abortion, Poland,Jacek Sapa

Polish pro-life demo
The Pro-life Foundation in Poland say they have collected 600,000 signatures in favour of a bill that would prohibit any type of abortion in the country.

The present Polish legal system had asked the promoters of the initiative to collect 100,000 signatures in three months. The Foundation, in charge of the initiative, has collected 600,000 in two weeks. The initiative is supported by the Catholic Church and a new Parliamentary Pro-Life Committee.

"This project is definitely an opportunity to reject the legacy left by Nazism and Communism, which brought the practice of abortion to Poland", said a statement by Jacek Sapa, a member of the Foundation, released by Aica Agency.

In 1993 Poland passed the most restrictive abortion laws in the world.

Since then, the rate of legal abortions has declined substantially. According to estimates by the Ministry of Health, there was a decrease from 82,000 abortions in 1989 to approximately 500 recorded in 2008.

The current legislature provides recourse to abortion only when a baby is diagnosed with a serious illness, when the mother has a grave health problem or when the pregnancy is the result of "an unlawful act" such as rape.

A Polish Catholic doctor who asked not to be named, said: "this proposed law could lead to a tragic situation where a woman, for example, with an ectopic pregnancy, will die if she is not given an abortion. At the same time a baby in such a situation will not survive to full term. While abortion is a terrible thing, there are times when I believe it is clinically necessary and therefore must be allowed by law. These campaigners must take into account the views of medical experts."

But Mr Sapa rejected this opinion, saying: "physicians often abuse the law, and even if the maximum allowed by law is 24 weeks, they go further".


- Numerous pro-life organizations in Argentina are holding a rally outside the nation’s capitol building to protest a bill that would legalize abortion in the country.

According to the AICA news agency, the Consortium of Catholic Doctors said the purpose of the July 13 rally is “to convey our position on abortion while the hearing is taking place since, given that the majority of lawmakers on the committee have signed on to the abortion measure, we cannot enter the building.”

The rally comes as the Argentinean Congress welcomes the president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the U.N. Relator for Argentina, Luz Patricia Mejia. Mejia is an outspoken proponent of sexual and reproductive health and an abortion rights advocate.

Mejia has been invited to address the Committee on Criminal Legislation of the Argentinean Congress, which is considering a bill that would legalize abortion in the country.

The measure, which so far has the support of more than 50 congressional leaders, would allow girls ages 14 and older to obtain abortion without parental consent. It would permit federal funds to be used for abortions and would allow the procedure on demand up until the third month or pregnancy.

The bill would also limit the right of health care workers to conscientious objection.


Agenzia Fides REPORT- Last year, the AJAN (the African Jesuit Network against AIDS) launched a contest on the theme: "young people’s movies for life and love against AIDS", open to students of Jesuit schools on the African continent. With this competition the AJAN wanted to offer these young people, who are part of these educational centers, the opportunity to understand and describe what this pandemia means in their lives and that of their friends, their families, their communities. It was also an opportunity to inform other young people of the need to protect themselves against AIDS infection and to support those who are most directly affected. According to information sent to Fides by the General Curia of the Jesuits, 55 compositions arrived from nine countries. The jury was impressed by the high quality of the works, and awarded twenty authors. The stories of the winners will soon become short films directed by the Jesuit Loyola Productions in Lusaka (Zambia). The staff of AJAN House in Nairobi (Kenya) has already translated the texts written in French into English. However, when the scripts are ready for production, half will be directed in English and half in French, while the final versions will all be dubbed or subtitled in English, French and Portuguese.


Screenshot from The Border Mail

CATH NEWS REPORT: A priest in Wodonga, Victoria, has defended a Congolese refugee who felt snubbed by fellow parishioners, and was almost reduced to tears while speaking about the importance of acceptance at a weekend Mass, reports the Border Mail.

Mr Nkoranyi told ­Father Crameri of his hurt at instances of people changing aisles to avoid being served communion by him at services at ­Sacred Heart Catholic Church.Father Dennis Crameri said there was no place for racism after relaying the story to stunned church-goers on Sunday about how Yves Nkoranyi felt par­ishioners were bypassing him for communion, in his role as a special minister, because of the colour of his skin.

The family has also been abused in a supermarket car park since moving to Wodonga nearly three years ago, but he was more upset by the treatment of some fellow churchgoers.

"I was seeing people jumping from my line and jumping onto other lines," he said yesterday. "For that to happen in the church was really bad. Maybe they don't like to be served by my black hand."

Father Crameri said he rejected Mr Nkoranyi's offer to stop serving communion if it was making it people uncomfortable. The priest spoke at the weekend services about the importance of acceptance, the report said.

"It may be human nature to fear what we don't know or to fear being challenged by difference," Father Crameri said.

"But as a Christian community we have to be above human nature, we are kingdom people and it should never be levelled at a Christian community that they were in any way selective or non-accepting of difference.

A Sacred Heart parishioner at the 10.30am mass on Sunday said: "The fact there was a spontaneous round of applause at the end of his sermon suggested that the congregation was in support.

"It's not something you see every day, but it obviously struck a chord with people."


St. Henry II


Feast: July 13


Feast Day:July 13
Born:May 6, 972, Bavaria, Germany
Died:July 13, 1024, Gottingen, Germany
Canonized:1146 by Pope Eugene III
Major Shrine:Bamberg Cathedral
Patron of:against sterility, Benedictine Oblates, childless people, disabled people, dukes, kings, people rejected by religious orders

German King and Holy Roman Emperor, son of Duke Henry II (the Quarrelsome) and of the Burgundian Princess Gisela; b. 972; d. in his palace of Grona, at Gottingen, 13 July, 1024.

Like his predecessor, Otto III, he had the literary education of his time. In his youth he had been destined for the priesthood. Therefore he became acquainted with ecclesiastical interests at an early age.

Willingly he performed pious practices, gladly also he strengthened the Church of Germany, without, however, ceasing to regard ecclesiastical institutions as pivots of his power, according to the views of Otto the Great. With all his learning and piety, Henry was an eminently sober man, endowed with sound, practical common sense. He went his way circumspectly, never attempting anything but the possible and, wherever it was practicable, applying the methods of amiable and reasonable good sense. This prudence, however, was combined with energy and conscientiousness. Sick and suffering from fever, he traversed the empire in order to maintain peace. At all times he used his power to adjust troubles. The masses especially he wished to help.

The Church, as the constitutional Church of Germany, and therefore as the advocate of German unity and of the claims of inherited succession, raised Henry to the throne. The new king straightway resumed the policy of Otto I both in domestic and in foreign affairs.

This policy first appeared in his treatment of the Eastern Marches. The encroachments of Duke Boleslaw, who had founded a great kingdom, impelled him to intervene. But his success was not marked.

In Italy the local and national opposition to the universalism of the German king had found a champion in Arduin of Ivrea. The latter assumed the Lombard crown in 1002. In 1004 Henry crossed the Alps. Arduin yielded to his superior power. The Archbishop of Milan now crowned him King of Italy. This rapid success was largely due to the fact that a large part of the Italian episcopate upheld the idea of the Roman Empire and that of the unity of Church and State.

On his second expedition to Rome, occasioned by the dispute between the Counts of Tuscany and the Crescentians over the nomination to the papal throne, he was crowned emperor on 14 February, 1014. But it was not until later, on his third expedition to Rome, that he was able to restore the prestige of the empire completely.

Before this happened, however, he was obliged to intervene in the west. Disturbances were especially prevalent throughout the entire north-west. Lorraine caused great trouble. The Counts of Lutzelburg (Luxemburg), brothers-in-law of the king, were the heart and soul of the disaffection in that country. Of these men, Adalbero had made himself Bishop of Trier by uncanonical methods (1003); but he was not recognized any more than his brother Theodoric, who had had himself elected Bishop of Metz.

True to his duty, the king could not be induced to abet any selfish family policy at the expense of the empire. Even though Henry, on the whole, was able to hold his own against these Counts of Lutzelburg, still the royal authority suffered greatly by loss of prestige in the north-west.

Burgundy afforded compensation for this. The lord of that country was Rudolph, who, to protect himself against his vassals, joined the party of Henry II, the son of his sister, Gisela, and to Henry the childless duke bequeathed his duchy, despite the opposition of the nobles (1006). Henry had to undertake several campaigns before he was able to enforce his claims. He did not achieve any tangible result, he only bequeathed the theoretical claims on Burgundy to his successors.

Better fortune awaited the king in the central and eastern parts of the empire. It is true that he had a quarrel with the Conradinians over Carinthia and Swabia: but Henry proved victorious because his kingdom rested on the solid foundation of intimate alliance with the Church.

That his attitude towards the Church was dictated in part by practical reasons, primarily he promoted the institutions of the Church chiefly in order to make them more useful supports his royal power, is clearly shown by his policy. How boldly Henry posed as the real ruler of the Church appears particularly in the establishment of the See of Bamberg, which was entirely his own scheme.

He carried out this measure, in 1007, in spite of the energetic opposition of the Bishop of Wurzburg against this change in the organization of the Church. The primary purpose of the new bishopric was the germanization of the regions on the Upper Main and the Regnitz, where the Wends had fixed their homes. As a large part of the environs of Bamberg belonged to the king, he was able to furnish rich endowments for the new bishopric. The importance of Bamberg lay principally in the field of culture, which it promoted chiefly by its prosperous schools. Henry, therefore, relied on the aid of the Church against the lay powers, which had become quite formidable. But he made no concessions to the Church.

Though naturally pious, and though well acquainted with ecclesiastical culture, he was at bottom a stranger to her spirit. He disposed of bishoprics autocratically. Under his rule the bishops, from whom he demanded unqualified obedience, seemed to be nothing but officials of the empire. He demanded the same obedience from the abbots. However, this political dependency did not injure the internal life of the German Church under Henry. By means of its economic and educational resources the Church had a blessed influence in this epoch.

But it was precisely this civilizing power of the German Church that aroused the suspicions of the reform party. This was significant, because Henry was more and more won over to the ideas of this party. At a synod at Goslar he confirmed decrees that tended to realize the demands made by the reform party. Ultimately this tendency could not fail to subvert the Othonian system, moreover could not fail to awaken the opposition of the Church of Germany as it was constituted.

This hostility on the part of the German Church came to a head in the emperor's dispute with Archbishop Aribo of Mainz. Aribo was an opponent of the reform movement of the monks of Cluny. The Hammerstein marriage imbroglio afforded the opportunity he desired to offer a bold front against Rome. Otto von Hammerstein had been excommunicated by Aribo on account of his marriage with Irmengard, and the latter had successfully appealed to Rome.

This called forth the opposition of the Synod of Seligenstadt, in 1023, which forbade an appeal to Rome without the consent of the bishop. This step meant open rebellion against the idea of church unity, and its ultimate result would have been the founding of a German national Church. In this dispute the emperor was entirely on the side of the reform party. He even wanted to institute international proceedings against the unruly archbishop by means of treaties with the French king. But his death prevented this.

Before this Henry had made his third journey to Rome in 1021. He came at the request of the loyal Italian bishops, who had warned him at Strasburg of the dangerous aspect of the Italian situation, and also of the pope, who sought him out at Bamberg in 1020. Thus the imperial power, which had already begun to withdraw from Italy, was summoned back thither. This time the object was to put an end to the supremacy of the Greeks in Italy. His success was not complete; he succeeded, however, in restoring the prestige of the empire in northern and central Italy.

Henry was far too reasonable a man to think seriously of readopting the imperialist plans of his predecessors. He was satisfied to have ensured the dominant position of the empire in Italy within reasonable bounds. Henry's power was in fact controlling, and this was in no small degree due to the fact that he was primarily engaged in solidifying the national foundations of his authority.

The later ecclesiastical legends have ascribed ascetic traits to this ruler, some of which certainly cannot withstand serious criticism. For instance, the highly varied theme of his virgin marriage to Cunegond has certainly no basis in fact.

The Church canonized this emperor in 1146, and his wife Cunegond in 1200.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JULY 13: Matthew 11: 25- 27

Matthew 11: 25 - 27
25At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;
26yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
27All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
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