HOLY SEE AND MALAYSIA ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
VATICAN CITY, 27 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See and Malaysia, desirous of promoting bonds of mutual friendship, have decided by common accord to establish diplomatic relations at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See and of embassy on the part of Malaysia.
(IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
A communique published today explains that Malaysia is the 179th nation to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The country has a surface area of 329,750 square kilometres and a multi-racial and multi-cultural population of 28,306,700. The religion of State is Islam, professed by 60.4 percent of the inhabitants. The next largest religious group is the Buddhists (19.2 percent), followed by Christians (9.1 percent), Hindus (6.3 percent), Chinese religions (2.6 percent) and Animists (2.4 percent).
The Catholic Church has had a presence in the country since 1511, when the first Portuguese missionaries reached Malacca. St. Francis Xavier also arrived in that city in 1545. Today the Church has nine ecclesiastical circumscriptions centred on the archdioceses of Kuala Lumpur (on the peninsula) and of Kuching and of Kota Kinabalu (on the island of Borneo). There are eleven bishops, 274 diocesan priests, 119 regular priests, 123 male religious, 759 female religious and 270 major seminarians. Catholics number 850,720, around three percent of the population.
The Catholic Church, the communique explains, is active in evangelisation and in the pastoral care of families and young people. While fully respecting people's cultural and religious identity, she works in the fields of education, charity and social work, running numerous primary and secondary schools, as well as institutions for the poor and for migrant workers. Initiatives exist to promote social harmony and reconciliation among the various religious communities, through dialogue, equality of rights and duties, and mutual respect.
The apostolic delegation to Malaysia was created on 2 February 1998 and has existed until now.
On 18 July Benedict XVI received Najib Bin Abdul Razak, prime minister ofMalaysia, in audience at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo. During that meeting agreement was reached to establish diplomatic relations betweenMalaysia and the Holy See.
VATICAN CITY, 27 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Manoel dos Reis de Farias of Patos, Brazil, as bishop of Petrolina (area 15,622, population 421,836, Catholics 337,468, priests 36, religious 67), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Paulo Cardoso da Silva O. Carm., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same bishop the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Ivo Muser of the clergy of the diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, Italy, dean of the cathedral chapter in Bressanone, as bishop of the same diocese (area 7,400, population 500,030, Catholics 485,029, priests 700, permanent deacons 18, religious 800). The bishop-elect was born inBrunico, Italy in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Karl Gosler, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Appointed Msgr. Gilson Andrade da Silva of the clergy of the diocese of Petropolis, Brazil, rector of the diocesan seminary "Nossa Senhora do Amor Divino", as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Salvador da Bahia (area 3,859, population 3,210,878, Catholics 2,284,477, priests 283, permanent deacons 93, religious 1,070), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1991.
In Lassa, near Jbeil, Shiites armed with guns prevent cadastral survey on land belonging of the Maronite Church. A meeting at the patriarchate of Bkerke to solve the problem peacefully. Will force triumph over justice?
Beirut (AsiaNews) – For over two week the Maronite Church has been involved in strenuous efforts to reclaim large areas of land which has been taken over by part of the Shiite population of Lassa, a village in the district of Jbeil Mount Lebanon. The affair erupted when official land surveyors tried survey land on which stands a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. Since 2011 the building has been used, against the advice of the Church as a place of worship for women. In spite of all the past efforts to regulate this sensitive and highly symbolic issue the chapel key was never returned to the Church. For several days the population has prevented the team, with the threat of arms, from carrying out the survey.
The conflict has ancient roots, some details date as far back as the nineteenth century. So the Shiites population claims that the Maronite chapel was already a Shiite place of worship. The Maronite Patriarchate, for its part argues that the plot of land was purchased by the Maronite Church in the nineteenth century, as supported by documents such as title deeds and cadastral surveys dating to 1939. These are the facts that the Church seeks to confirm today, once and for all, with the help of the Lebanese state.
The use of threats by the Shiite population of Lassa has awakened feelings of confessional hostility in Maronite environments. Nurtured by certain personalities this anger has begun to manifest itself. To avoid exacerbating these feelings the patriarchate of Bkerke called a meeting involving all parties concerned, including representatives of Hezbollah and the Amal Shiite movement. The patriarch chaired the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the police and army. Closing the meeting, and confirming his original direction, the Patriarchate has appointed a commission to resolve the legal problem, expressing the desire to confine the issue to a strictly legal framework and avoid any political and confessional drift.
Legal documents show that the land belongs to the Maronite Church in the village where a Shiite majority and a Maronite minority coexist in about 3.6 million square meters, divided into 95 plots. The plots were registered in 1939. Over 80 cases of trespassing on land belonging to the Maronite Church have been registered, in the form of illegal construction or unauthorised agricultural use. Most buildings were built at the beginning of this century, thanks to the mayor's illegal authorization of the village and with the passive complicity of the local police, responsible for repressing violations of construction law.
Moreover, not content with occupying the Church land illegally, the Shiite population prevents the development of Christian farmers on their own uncontested agricultural land. To the point that one of them was beaten and kicked off the land that he had rented. The lawyers of the Patriarchate, who are in direct contact with a Hezbollah official, Ghaleb Abu Zeinab, ensure that this party does not give political cover to the families illegally occupying the property of the Maronite Church, and that an attitude of firmness is required by all so that justice is done.
At present this is the situation. The cadastral surveys have been suspended, waiting, as usual, for the political forces to take the necessary steps, within the village, in favour of a compromise. But what compromise are they speaking about? Will force eventually win over justice? The antagonistic political forces spy on each other, they watch each other, while the fire smoulders beneath.
New York, NY, July 26, 2011 LifeSiteNews.com REPORT– This past Sunday, an estimated nearly 10,000 people participated in a New York City rally and march in support of the traditional definition of marriage. The rally, which was organized by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), took place on the same day as the first homosexual “marriages” were legally performed in New York State.
More than 200 people also attended a NOM rally organized in Buffalo, New York on Sunday. In addition to New York City and Buffalo, NOM held rallies in Albany, Rochester, and Syracuse.
“The crowds of supporters were just amazing,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “The crowd in Manhattan was so large the New York Police Department asked us to begin our march early so that we could relieve overcrowding at the gathering site.”
The New York City march began in front of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York City offices on Park Avenue and then proceeded to the United Nations. Men and women waved Bibles and sang hymns, and cries of “Jesus, Jesus” and “Let the People Vote” reverberated through the city streets.
The Wall Street Journal reported that one counter protester was present, a muscular bald white man who held aloft a sign that read: “ADVANCEMENTS: STOP DRAGGING YOUR KNUCKLES!!! CATCH UP, EINSTEINS!!!”
The nearly 10,000 people at Sunday’s rally and march was less than the approximately 20,000 who attended a similar event in New York in 2009, also organized by NOM and Democratic New York State Senator Diaz. Many of the people who attended Sunday’s rally were Hispanic members of the Bronx church run by Diaz, an ordained pastor. A quarter to a third of the crowd, according to the Wall Street Journal, was African-American.
Brown said that NOM will help organize monthly activities to keep up public pressure in support of true marriage.
“The rallies yesterday were just the beginning,” he said. “Every month we’ll be calling on supporters to take action and to help us grow our coalition. Working with leaders such as Sen. Ruben Diaz, Bishop Joseph Mattera, New Yorkers for Constitutional Rights president Jason McGuire and others, we will create the largest coalition ever assembled in New York history by the time we’re done.”
The new National Director was born on May 11, 1958 in Aldeia da Ponte, diocese of Guarda. He studied at the Missionary Seminary of the Divine Word in Tortosendo (1969-1978), he did his novitiate at Guimaraes and on October 4, 1979 he professed his first vows. He studied philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of Lisbon and obtained a licentiate in theology (1986). On 19 October 1985 he professed his perpetual vows and on April 20, 1986 he was ordained a priest in the chapel of the Seminary of the Divine Word in Fatima. After holding various positions in Portugal, in 1990 he left for Togo, where he was parochial vicar, pastor, director of vocations SVD, professor of liturgy, director of the St. Paul institute, treasurer, superior, regional treasurer of the region SVD Togo/Benin. From 2001 to 2003 he graduated in systematic theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris. Since 2003 he has been Director and Professor at St. Paul Institute in Lomé, head of biblical animation SVD in Togo, member of the priestly Counsel in Lomé. From 2007 to 2010 he was Rector of the Seminary SVD in Guimaraes, head of social communications SVD in Portugal. In 2008-2009 he was Assistant priest in the diocese of Braga, and since 2009 he has been a moderating priest in the same diocese and member of the priestly council. (S.L.)
Image from The Catholic Weekly
CATHNEWS REPORT: More than 60 priests attended a dinner to celebrate priestly jubilees, ranging from 25- to 60-year anniversaries of ordination, at the former St Patrick's Seminary at Manly last week, reports the Catholic Weekly.
Eight of the 12 jubilarians were able to attend, along with Bishops David Cremin, Julian Porteous, Terry Brady and Peter Comensoli.
The Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell, praised the priests for their dedication and their unstinting service.
Cardinal Pell presented each of the priests with a gift to mark the occasion.
Feast: July 27
Martyr, died about 305. According to legend he was the son of a rich pagan, Eustorgius of Nicomedia, and had been instructed in Christianity by his Christian mother, Eubula. Afterwards he became estranged from Christianity. He studied medicine and became physician to the Emperor Maximianus. He was won back to Christianity by the priest Hermolaus. Upon the death of his father he came into possession of a large fortune. Envious colleagues denounced him to the emperor during the Diocletian persecution. The emperor wished to save him and sought to persuade him to apostasy. Pantaleon, however, openly confessed his faith, and as proof that Christ is the true God, he healed a paralytic. Notwithstanding this, he was condemned to death by the emperor, who regarded the miracle as an exhibition of magic. According to legend, Pantaleon's flesh was first burned with torches; upon this Christ appeared to all in the form of Hermolaus to strengthen and heal Pantaleon. The torches were extinguished. After this, when a bath of liquid lead was prepared, Christ in the same form stepped into the cauldron with him, the fire went out and the lead became cold. He was now thrown into the sea, but the stone with which he was loaded floated. He was thrown to the wild beasts but these fawned upon him and could not be forced away until he had blessed them. He was bound on the wheel, but the ropes snapped, and the wheel broke. An attempt was made to behead him, but the sword bent, and the executioners were converted. Pantaleon implored heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleemon (the all-compassionate). It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him.
The lives containing these legendary features are all late in date and valueless. Yet the fact of the martyrdom itself seems to be proved by a veneration for which there is early testimony, among others from Theodoret (Graecarum affectionum curatio, Sermo VIII, "De martyribus", in Migne, P. G., LXXXIII 1033), Procopius of Caesarea (De aedificiis Justiniani I, ix; V, ix), and the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" (Acta SS., Nov., II, 1, 97). Pantaleon is venerated in the East as a great martyr and wonderworker. In the Middle Ages he came to be regarded as the patron saint of physicians and midwives, and became one of the fourteen guardian martyrs. From early times a phial containing some of his blood has been preserved at Constantinople. On the feast day of the saint the blood is said to become fluid and to bubble. Relics of the saint are to be found at St. Denis at Paris; his head is venerated at Lyons. His feast day is 27 July, also 28 July, and 18 February.