Sunday, September 18, 2011










VATICAN.VA REPORT: The Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience this morning, in the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa (Italy), President of the Italian Episcopal Conference;

Their Excellencies the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of India, visit "ad Limina Apostolorum":

Anil Joseph Thomas Couto Archbishop, Bishop of Jullundur;

Archbishop Ignatius Loyola Mascarenhas, Bishop of Simla and Chandigarh;

Archbishop Joseph Kaithathara, Bishop of Gwalior;

Rev. Chacko Thottumarickal, SVD, Bishop of Indore;

HE Bishop Gerald Almeida, Bishop of Jabalpur;

Archbishop John Devprasad Ganawa, SVD, Bishop of Jhabua;

Archbishop Sebastian Arockia Durairaj, SVD, Bishop of Khandwa.


Mission & History

AQUINAS COLLEGE SITE: Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., came into being in the late 1960s and early 1970s, during a time of great tumult in the United States that deeply affected the country’s institutions and its mores. The College’s founders, a seasoned group of lay Catholic educators, were concerned about the declining condition of higher education and, in particular, Catholic higher education.

Freshman Beach Day

The publication in 1967 of the “Land O’ Lakes Statement on the Nature of the Contemporary Catholic University” was a watershed moment for Catholic higher education in the United States. In effect, it codified for many Catholic colleges and universities the steady erosion — already underway — of both their Catholic character and their commitment to traditional liberal education.


Across the country, venerable Catholic institutions that for many scores of years had faithfully passed on the intellectual heritage of the Church and of Western civilization were instead, in the name of “academic freedom,” adopting the curricula, methods, and aims of their secular counterparts. Not only did campus life in many places swiftly give way to the permissiveness of the time, the very commitment to Catholic liberal education was quickly disappearing.

In response, and in accordance with the Second Vatican Council’sdecree on the apostolate of the laity, encouraging laymen and women to take a more active part in “the explanation and defense of Christian principles,” the founders of Thomas Aquinas College published A Proposal for the Fulfillment of Catholic Liberal Education in 1969. In this, the founding document of Thomas Aquinas College, they proposed to establish a new Catholic institution that was determined to be faithful to Christ and never to compromise its principles. They were unbending in their resolve to pass on the great intellectual patrimony of our civilization and the wisdom of the Church’s greatest thinkers, and to do so in complete fidelity to the Church and her Magisterium.

Thus, amid this great turmoil and disintegration, and in spite of the dominant relativism and skepticism in higher education, Thomas Aquinas College came to life. This new college would be dedicated to renewing what is best in the Western intellectual heritage and to conducting liberal education under the guiding light of the Catholic faith. The College welcomed its first freshman class in 1971, and it has remained faithful to its founding mission ever since.

TypePrivate, four-year, undergraduate, coeducational
Religious AffiliationRoman Catholic with a lay administration
CurriculumFully integrated, ordered to wisdom, great books-based
DegreeBachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts
Enrollment358 (49% men, 51% women)
Average SAT scoreReading and Math: 1281
Reading, Math & Writing: 1921
Student BodyFrom 38 states; Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, United Kingdom
Retention rate88% of freshman return as sophomores (2010-11)
Graduation rate76% in four years; 80% in six years (2007, 2009)
Room & Board$7,550
Other Costs$450 (books & supplies, no additional fees)
Financial Aid ProgramLoans; campus employment; grants; giftsfrom individuals, foundations; no government or archdiocesan subsidies
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, American Academy for Liberal Education
Teaching Faculty37 members
Faculty-Student Ratio1:11
Classroom EnvironmentTutorials, seminars, and laboratories of 14-18 students
Library70,000 volumes
Campus Size131 acres
Location65 miles northwest of Los Angeles Adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County
Accolades“Top 50” for Academics — Princeton Review, 2010
“Best Value” — Princeton Review, 2010
“Financial Aid Honor Roll” — Princeton Review, 2010
Top Tier — US News & World Report, 2010
“Best Value”— US News & World Report, 2010
“100 Best Values in Private Colleges” —Kiplinger’s
AlumniNearly 40% enroll in graduate or professional schools 11% have entered the priesthood or religious life
Notable Alumni AwardsFord Foundation, Fulbright, National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars, Pontifical Academies Prize, and numerous graduate fellowships
Do you have questions? Please contact the Admissions Office or call 1-800-634-9797.


Merkel with Pope Benedict XVI in May - Photo: DPATHELOCAL.DE REPORT:

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday called for Christians to unite against the advance of secularism as she prepared to welcome Pope Benedict XVI on a landmark visit back to his native Germany.

"I think it is important to constantly reinforce the unity of Christians at a time when we are confronted by a growing secularism," said Merkel, who is herself the daughter of a Protestant pastor who died earlier this month.

"What the Christian faith has in common should always be remembered," she said in her weekly video podcast.

Merkel also said that she was "particularly pleased" at the prospect of Benedict coming to Germany for his first official visit since being elected pope in April 2005.

During his visit, which begins on Thursday and wraps up Sunday of next week, Benedict XVI will visit Berlin, Erfurt in the ex-German Democratic Republic, and Freiburg.

The 84-year old pope will give 18 sermons and speeches during his 21st trip abroad, according to his spokesman.

The visit is already mired in controversy, with a number of theologians leading vocal criticism over the Vatican's antiquated attitudes.

But Merkel said that the visit was an opportunity to recall how Europe was marked by the Christian faith.

"This is a source of strength which we should encourage through dialogue among the religions," added Merkel, who heads the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.



ASIA NEWS REPORT; The territory’s Court of Final Appeal granted the diocese a judicial review on 3-4 October. The latter had presented a petition against the 2004 Ordinance, which threatens to undermine the very nature of Catholic education. Bishop Tong urges the faithful to pray intensely for a positive ruling.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/SE) – Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal has ruled in favour of a petition filed by the diocese of Hong Kong against the Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004, granting the appellant a judicial review on 3 and 4 October. The ordinance, passed by the Legislative Council in July 2004, requires the establishment of Incorporated Management Bodies in schools that are partly government funded.

The law provides various benefits to schools that implement the ordinance such as school staff insurance, greater flexibility in managing school funds and an annual financial bonus of HK$ 350,000 (US$ 45,000), but it also requires them to set up an internal School Management Committee (SMC) separate from the Sponsoring bodies, i.e. the schools.

For the government, this will allow for greater transparency and democracy, a claim school administrators reject as interference in the internal affairs of their institutions and a way to undermine freedom of education. Schools that refuse to go along are penalised, something that Christian representatives call “discriminatory and racist”.

Card Zen, Hong Kong’s emeritus bishop, said on several occasions that diocese-run schools cannot exist without such freedom. If the law does not change, “we are willing to close them”.

His successor, Mgr John Tong Hon, has recently called on the faithful to offer special prayers for the future of education in Hong Kong. The prayers will continue until the first week of October when the review will be take place.

The legislation was originally intended to go into effect on 1 January 2005, but in the face of opposition, the implementation date was extended several times and currently is set for 2012.

In February of last year, the diocese lost a judicial review in the Court of First Instance, when the judges ruled that the legislation was constitutional.

However, the Court of Final Appeal has now granted the Church a judicial review because of the matter’s extreme importance to the people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and to the future of education in the territory.

The diocese has repeatedly expressed its concern that with the introduction of a 60 per cent appointed and 40 per cent elected Incorporated Management Committee to run its schools, the ability of the School Sponsoring Body to run its schools in accordance with its own visions and mission ethos could be threatened, thus undermining the very nature of Catholic schools and education.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "Though al-Shabaab has left Mogadishu, there are still pockets of resistance in the city, and Somalia continues to be a difficult operating environment for local and international NGOs", said Caritas Somalia Situational Report, of which a copy was sent to Fides. "There have been incidents with explosive devices in the Somali capital in the past weeks and violence at food distribution points, as reported by sources of AMISOM (the African Union Mission to Somalia) and the Transitional Government".
As for the rest of south-central Somalia, where according to the UN, 3 million people are suffering because of drought, Caritas Somalia report says, "aid delivery continues to be challenging in Al- Shabaab controlled areas. AMISOM offered to help with security for NGOs operating in Mogadishu". However, HCT (Humanitarian Country Team, UN responsible for coordinating the various humanitarian organizations in Somalia) strongly recommended not to use foreign troops for aid delivery. HCT warned that AMISOM’s presence around delivery could further complicate the environment and instead encourage an impartial and transparent strategy involving local communities.
Caritas Somalia continues to support drought affected and displaced communities in Mogadishu and Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions. Through its local partners, Caritas is distributing loads of food parcels, tents and medicine. In Brava region, Caritas Somalia, through local partners has distributed food parcels to 515 families. In Lower Juba, Caritas is providing 2,730 children under five, 945 pregnant women and lactating mothers and 670 elderly people with supplementary feeding. In Bogoley, Caritas Somalia is supporting the construction of a field clinical that will serve the drought affected host communities and displaced families. In Mogadishu, Caritas Somalia through its local partners is assisting 1,050 displaced families.
These activities include that carried out by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Caritas Switzerland and Luxembourg and Trocaire, in different areas, both in Somaliland (north) and in south-central Somalia. (L.M.)


ARCHDICESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT-Friday 16 September 201122-17-listening-pg26

By Laurel Hill

On 28 July 2011, our family had the honour of attending the First Profession of Vows of our eldest daughter, Michelle – who has taken the religious name Sr Mary Helen (after Mary of the Cross MacKillop) – in the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia, in Nashville, Tennessee. This took place at the beautiful Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville.

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Our daughter’s decision came after a long and committed journey to listen to the call of Christ in her life. She is an intelligent woman. Qualified as a chemical engineer, and having completed further studies in theology and anthropology, she has always had a keen mind as well as a love for souls. She worked for Catholic Youth Ministry in the late 1990s and for NET ministries for a year during a break in her university studies.

One of the first things people ask us is, ‘Why America, or overseas, why not here in Australia?’

When our daughter graduated from university, she had the opportunity to take an international placement for six months or longer in several countries. This was seen by all as the opportunity of a lifetime. So, when people ask us, ‘Why America?’, we answer that we are even more excited about the purpose of her relocation than if it was for her employer.

The presence of the Dominican Sisters, and other religious orders, at World Youth Day in Sydney 2008, gave many young women the opportunity to meet and inquire about their charism. During our visit to Nashville we realised that a big attraction to this order was that the average age is the mid-30s, vastly different to what we see in Australia.

The world is much more accessible now than ever before. Distance is a tyranny, but we have learned to communicate in the old-fashioned way, by letter. When the big occasions arise, such as her Profession of Vows, we plan for at least one member of the family to attend. It was almost a miracle in this instance that our whole family was able to attend this grace-filled occasion.

We attended a Mass for Professions of Perpetual Vows, a Mass for sisters renewing their vows three years after initial profession, and then we witnessed our daughter’s First Profession, alongside 14 other women from all walks of life – a college basketball champion, a registered nurse and others with university degrees. They professed the simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, according to the rule of St Augustine and the Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters of the congregation of St Cecilia. The Dominicans are a teaching order, although in special cases the sister will continue in a particular profession, for example, as a doctor or as a nurse.

While there, we also met the Australian postulants, who were in their uniform one day and in white habits the next day, with their new religious names. For a brief period of about 12 hours, when the existing Australian novices had yet to profess their vows, there were five Australian novices – in their white habits and veils. The next day, on 28 July, two of these women exchanged their white veils for black after professing their vows. It is intended that the Australian sisters will return to Sydney after their initial studies at the mother house. This is an added joy to our family.

In this congregation, we see that our daughter has found a home where she can continue to live according to God’s plan, as well as continue to grow as a whole person. We see her being able to serve Christ, grow in love for him and bring his love to others in a practical way, yet use and develop her intelligence as well.

It seems that distance is no barrier to responding to God’s call and we are thankful that our daughter is brave enough to put God first. We have no doubt that our daughter is just where she is meant to be and we have no doubt that his plan for her is unfolding in ways we cannot fully fathom.

One of the new novices wrote in a letter to her parents recently: “I don’t know what the Holy Spirit has in store for Australia, but nine vocations in three years certainly suggests that he is cooking up something good.”

Kairos Catholic Journal Volume 22, Issue 17

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St. Robert Bellarmine
Feast: September 17
Feast Day:
September 17
October 4, 1542, Montepulciano, Italy
September 17, 1621, Rome, Italy
June 29, 1930, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
Preparatory; canonists; canon lawyers; catechists; catechumens

A distinguished Jesuit theologian, writer, and cardinal, born at Montepulciano, 4 October, 1542; died 17 September, 1621. His father was Vincenzo Bellarmino, his mother Cinthia Cervini, sister of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, afterwards Pope Marcellus II. He was brought up at the newly founded Jesuit college in his native town, and entered the Society of Jesus on 20 September, 1560, being admitted to his first vows on the following day. The next three years he spent in studying philosophy at the Roman College, after which he taught the humanities first at Florence, then at Mondovì. In 1567 he began his theology at Padua, but in 1569 was sent to finish it at Louvain, where he could obtain a fuller acquaintance with the prevailing heresies. Having been ordained there, he quickly obtained a reputation both as a professor and a preacher, in the latter capacity drawing to his pulpit both Catholics and Protestants, even from distant parts. In 1576 he was recalled to Italy, and entrusted with the chair of Controversies recently founded at the Roman College. He proved himself equal to the arduous task, and the lectures thus delivered grew into the work "De Controversiis" which, amidst so much else of excellence, forms the chief title to his greatness. This monumental work was the earliest attempt to systematize the various controversies of thetime, and made an immense impression throughout Europe, the blow it dealt to Protestantism being so acutely felt in Germany and England that special chairs were founded in order to provide replies to it. Nor has it even yet been superseded as the classical book on its subject-matter, though, as was to be expected, the progress ofcriticism has impaired the value of some of its historical arguments.
In 1588 Bellarmine was made Spiritual Father to the Roman College, but in 1590 he went with Cardinal Gaetano as theologian to the embassy Sixtus V was then sending into France to protect the interests of the Church amidst the troubles of the civil wars. Whilst he was there news reached him that Sixtus, who had warmly accepted the dedication of his "De Controversiis", was now proposing to put its first volume on the Index. This was because he had discovered that it assigned to the Holy See not a direct but only an indirect power over temporals. Bellarmine, whose loyalty to the Holy See was intense, took this greatly to heart; it was, however, averted by the death of Sixtus, and the new pope, Gregory XIV, even granted to Bellarmine's work the distinction of a special approbation. Gaetano's mission now terminating, Bellarmine resumed his work as Spiritual Father, and had the consolation of guiding the last years of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who died in the Roman College in 1591. Many years later he had the further consolation of successfully promoting the beatification of the saintly youth. Likewise at this time he sat on the final commission for the revision of the Vulgate text. This revision had been desired by the Council of Trent, and subsequent popes had laboured over the task and had almost brought it to completion. But Sixtus V, though unskilled in this branch of criticism, had introduced alterations of his own, all for the worse. He had even gone so far as to have an impression of this vitiated edition printed and partially distributed, together with the proposed Bull enforcing its use. He died, however, before the actual promulgation, and his immediate successors at once proceeded to remove the blunders and call in the defective impression. The difficulty was how to substitute a more correct edition without affixing a stigma to the name of Sixtus, and Bellarmine proposed that the new edition should continue in the name of Sixtus, with a prefatory explanation that, on account of aliqua vitia vel typographorum vel aliorum which had crept in, Sixtus had himself resolved that a new impression should be undertaken. The suggestion was accepted, and Bellarmine himself wrote the preface, still prefixed to the Clementine edition ever since in use. On the other hand, he has been accused of untruthfulness in stating that Sixtus had resolved on a new impression. But his testimony, as there is no evidence to the contrary, should be accepted as decisive, seeing howconscientious a man he was in the estimation of his contemporaries; and the more so since it cannot be impugned without casting a slur on thecharacter of his fellow-commissioners who accepted his suggestion, and of Clement VIII who with full knowledge of the facts gave his sanction to Bellarmine's preface being prefixed to the new edition. Besides, Angelo Rocca, the Secretary of the revisory commissions of Sixtus V and the succeeding pontiffs, himself wrote a draft preface for the new edition in which he makes the same statement: (Sixtus) "dum errores ex typographiâ ortos, et mutationes omnes, atque varias hominum opiniones recognoscere cœpit, ut postea de toto negotio deliberare atque Vulgatam editionem, prout debebat, publicare posset, morte præventus quod cœperat perficere non potuit". This draft preface, to which Bellarmine's was preferred, is still extant, attached to the copy of the Sixtine edition in which the Clementine corrections are marked, and may be seen in the Biblioteca Angelica at Rome.
In 1592 Bellarmine was made Rector of the Roman College, and in 1595 Provincial of Naples. In 1597 Clement VIII recalled him to Rome and made him his own theologian and likewise Examiner of Bishops and Consultor of the Holy Office. Further, in 1599 he made him Cardinal-Priest of the title of Santa Maria in viâ, alleging as his reason for this promotion that "the Church of God had not his equal in learning". He was now appointed, along with the Dominican Cardinal d'Ascoli, an assessor to Cardinal Madruzzi, the President of the Congregation de Auxiliis, which had been instituted shortly before to settle the controversy which had recently arisen between the Thomists and the Molinists concerning the nature of the concord between efficacious grace and human liberty. Bellarmine's advice was from the first that the doctrinal question should not be decided authoritatively, but left over for further discussion in the schools, the disputants on either side being strictly forbidden to indulge in censures or condemnations of their adversaries. Clement VIII at first inclined to this view, but afterwards changed completely and determined on a doctrinal definition. Bellarmine's presence then became embarrassing, and he appointed him to the Archbishopric of Capua just then vacant. This is sometimes spoken of as the cardinal's disgrace, but Clement consecrated him with his own hands--an honour which the popes usually accord as a mark of special regard. The new archbishop departed at once for his see, and during the next three years set a bright example of pastoral zeal in its administration.
In 1605 Clement VIII died, and was succeeded by Leo XI who reigned only twenty-six days, and then by Paul V. In both conclaves, especially that latter, the name of Bellarmine was much before the electors, greatly to his own distress, but his quality as a Jesuit stood against him in the judgment of many of the cardinals. The new pope insisted on keeping him at Rome, and the cardinal, obediently complying, demanded that at least he should be released from an episcopal charge the duties of which he could no longer fulfil. He was now made a member of the Holy Office and of other congregations, and thenceforth was the chief advisor of the Holy See in the theological department of its administration. Of the particular transactions with which his name is most generally associated the following were the most important: The inquiry de Auxiliis, which after all Clement had not seen his way to decide, was now terminated with a settlement on the lines of Bellarmine's original suggestion. 1606 marked the beginning of the quarrel between the Holy See and the Republic of Venice which, without even consulting the pope, had presumed to abrogate the law of clerical exemption from civil jurisdiction and to withdraw the Church's right to hold real property. The quarrel led to a war of pamphlets in which the part of the Republic was sustained by John Marsiglio and an apostate monk named Paolo Sarpi, and that of the Holy See by Bellarmine and Baronius. Contemporaneous with the Venetian episode was that of the English Oath of Alliance. In 1606, in addition to the grave disabilities which already weighed them down, the English Catholics were required under pain of prœmunire to take an oath of allegiance craftily worded in such wise that a Catholic in refusing to take it might appear to be disavowing an undoubted civl obligation, whilst if he should take it he would be not merely rejecting but even condemning as "impious and heretical" the doctrine of the deposing power, that is to say, of a power, which, whether rightly or wrongly, the Holy See had claimed and exercised for centuries with the full approval of Christendom, and which even in that age the mass of the theologians of Europe defended. The Holy See having forbidden Catholics to take this oath, King James himself came forward as its defender, in a book entitled "Tripoli nodo triplex cuneus", to which Bellarmine replied in his "Responsio Matthfi Torti". Other treatises followed on either side, and the result of one, written in denial of the deposing power by William Barclay, an English jurist resident in France, was that Bellarmine's reply to it was branded by the Regalist Parlement of Paris. Thus it came to pass that, for following the via media of the indirect power, he was condemned in 1590 as too much of a Regalist and in 1605 as too much of a Papalist.
Bellarmine did not live to deal with the later and more serious stage of the Galileo case, but in 1615 he took part in its earlier stage. He had always shown great interest in the discoveries of that investigator, and was on terms of friendly correspondence with him. He took up too--as is witnessed by his letter to Galileo's friend Foscarini--exactly the right attitude towards scientific theories in seeming contradiction with Scripture. If, as was undoubtedly the case then with Galileo's heliocentric theory, a scientific theory is insufficiently proved, it should be advanced only as an hypothesis; but if, as is the case with this theory now, it is solidly demonstrated, care must be taken to interpretScripture only in accordance with it. When the Holy Office condemned the heliocentric theory, by an excess in the opposite direction, it becameBellarmine's official duty to signify the condemnation to Galileo, and receive his submission. Bellarmine lived to see one more conclave, that which elected Gregory XV (February, 1621). His health was now failing, and in the summer of the same year he was permitted to retire to Sant' Andrea and prepare for the end. His death was most edifying and was a fitting termination to a life which had been no less remarkable for its virtues than for its achievements.
His spirit of prayer, his singular delicacy of conscience and freedom from sin, his spirit of humility and poverty, together with the disinterestedness which he displayed as much under the cardinal's robes as under the Jesuit's gown, his lavish charity to the poor, and his devotedness to work, had combined to impress those who knew him intimately with the feeling that he was of the number of the saints. Accordingly, when he died there was a general expectation that his cause would be promptly introduced. And so it was, under Urban VIII in 1627, when he became entitled to the appellation of Venerable. But a technical obstacle, arising out of Urban VIII's own general legislation in regard to beatifications, required its prorogation at that time. Though it was reintroduced on several occasions (1675, 1714, 1752, and 1832), and though on each occasion the great preponderance of votes was in favour of the beatification, a successful issue came only after many years. This was partly because of the influential character of some of those who recorded adverse votes, Barbarigo, Casante, and Azzolino in 1675, and Passionei in 1752, but still more for reasons of political expediency, Bellarmine's name being closely associated with a doctrine of papal authority most obnoxious to the Regalist politicians of the French Court. "We have said", wrote Benedict XIV to Cardinal de Tencin, "in confidence to the General of the Jesuits that the delay of the Cause has come not from the petty matters laid to his charge by Cardinal Passionei, but from the sad circumstances of the times" (Études Religieuses, 15 April, 1896).
[Note: St. Robert Bellarmine was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, and declared a Doctor of the Universal Church in 1931. He is the patron saint of catechists.]
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