Monday, November 21, 2011











VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2011 (VIS) - At 4 p.m. today, the Pope arrived by car at the Cardinal Bernardin Gantin airport of Cotonou for the departure ceremony at the end of his apostolic trip to Benin. The event was attended by representatives from the civil authorities, the bishops of the country and numerous faithful. (IMAGES SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Following an address from Thomas Yayi Boni, president of Benin, the Holy Father spoke to thank the authorities, bishops, volunteers and all the people of Benin "for their warm and enthusiastic welcome", and for the efforts they had made to ensure the success of his visit.

"I wanted to visit Africa once more; it is a continent for which I have a special regard and affection, for I am deeply convinced that it is a land of hope", Benedict XVI said. "Here are found authentic values which have much to teach our world; they need only to spread and blossom with God's help and the determination of Africans themselves. The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Africae munus' can greatly assist in this, for it opens up pastoral horizons and will lead to creative initiatives. I entrust it to the faithful of Africa as a whole, to study carefully and to translate into concrete actions in daily life. Cardinal Gantin, that eminent son of Benin whose greatness was so widely acknowledged that this airport bears his name, took part with me in a number of Synods. He made a vital and much-appreciated contribution to them. May he accompany the implementation of this document!

"During my visit I was able to meet various components of Benin's society and many members of the Church", the Pope added. "These numerous meetings, very different in nature, testify to the possibility of a harmonious coexistence within the nation, and between Church and State. Good will and mutual respect not only aid dialogue, but are essential for building unity between individuals, ethnic groups and peoples. The word 'fraternity' is the first of the three words found on your national emblem. Living in unity as brethren, while respecting legitimate differences, is not something utopian. Why should an African country not show the rest of the world the path to be taken towards living an authentic fraternity in justice, based on the greatness of the family and of labour? May Africans be able to experience reconciliation in peace and justice! These are the prayerful good wishes which I express to you, with confidence and hope, before I leave Benin". In his final act before departing, the Holy Father entrusted the entire continent to the intercession of Our Lady of Africa.

The papal plane landed at Rome's Ciampino airport at 10 p.m., whence the Holy Father returned to the Vatican.

PV-BENIN/ VIS 20111121 (470)


VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique today.

"The International Theological Commission, presided by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, is due to hold its plenary session from 28 November to 2 December. The meeting will be held at the 'Domus Sanctae Marthae' in the Vatican under the chairmanship of Msgr. Charles Morerod O.P., secretary general of the commission whom the Pope recently appointed as bishop of Lausanne, Geneve et Fribourg, Switzerland.

"During the plenary, the commission will continue its examination of three important themes. The first is the question of methodology in modern theology, its perspectives, principles and criteria. A significant contribution to this subject has already been made in the earlier five-year period 2004-2008. The second theme concerns monotheism, and the third the significance of the Church's Social Doctrine in the broader context of Christian doctrine".

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VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Filippo Santoro of Petropolis, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Taranto (area 1,056, population 408,481, Catholics 405,542, priests 236, permanent deacons 16, religious 384), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Benigno Luigi Papa O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Catholic Romanian Church of Fr. Claudiu-Lucian Pop, rector of the "Pio Romeno" Pontifical College in Rome, as a bishop of the major archiepiscopal curia. The bishop-elect was born in Piscolt, Romania in 1972 and ordained a priest in 1995. Before coming to Rome he worked in pastoral ministry in the Greek-Catholic Romanian mission in Paris, France.

- Appointed Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, vice chamberlain of Holy Roman Church, as archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major.

- Appointed Msgr. Cesare Burgazzi, official of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, as bureau chief of the same section.


UCAN REPORT: Catholics mark founding of Indonesian Church by marching to Ende
Albertus V. Rehi, Ende
November 21, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Thousands join five-day-long procession
The procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament

About 5,000 Catholics joined a special five-day procession in East Nusa Tenggara’s Ende district to parade the Most Blessed Sacrament in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Indonesian Church and the feast day of Christ the King.

The November 13-18 procession wound its way through every parish in the district starting from St. Mary Church in Worhonio before finishing at Christ the King Cathedral in Ende.

Here the Most Blessed Sacrament was displayed until yesterday’s feast day.

“Not only did this procession celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Indonesian Church and the feast, it was also to remind Catholics of their devotion to Jesus,” Father Reginaldus Piperno, cathedral parish priest, said in his welcoming speech at the cathedral church.

The Indonesian Church was officially established with the issuance of the “Quod Christus Adorandus” by Pope John XXIII on January 3, 1961, nine months after the Bishops Council sent its petition letter.

According to Father Piperno, the procession was not a show.

“We wanted to re-strengthen Catholics’ devotion to Jesus, who was crucified,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his homily during yesterday’s Mass, theVicar General of Ende archdiocese Father Sirilius Meo thanked all the faithful involved in the procession.

He also thanked people from other faiths who helped the procession go smoothly.

“The presence of Jesus breaks barriers. Such brotherhood is very much appreciated,” he said.

Aleksius Raja Seko from St. Joseph Freinademetz Church in Mautapaga said the procession “reminded Catholics of the importance of the devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, which, I think, has been forgotten.”

He hoped a similar procession will be held regularly to celebrate the feast of Christ the King.



Jason Mesick of Chicago prays Nov. 18 after receiving the sacrament of reconciliation during the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis. (CNS/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

By Mary Ann Garber
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- More than 2,000 years after his birth, Christ the King was honored in a historic way with a massive electronic "holy shoutout" via texts, emails and tweets sent simultaneously from cellphones Nov. 19 by 23,000 participants at the National Catholic Youth Conference and National Catholic Collegiate Conference.

It was a fun and faith-filled way for the Catholic youths and young adults to honor God and conclude the 31st biennial national conference, held Nov. 17-19 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and host of the conference, asked the teenagers, collegians and all attending the closing Mass to text, email or tweet the words "Called to Glory," the conference theme, to family members and friends throughout the U.S. at the conclusion of the vibrant liturgy.

Murmurs began to spread through the quiet football stadium when Bishop Coyne surprised the conference participants by asking them to turn on their cellphones at the end of Mass.

"For over two hours now, we have turned this space into a holy place where holy people have listened to holy words and done holy things and received holy gifts," Bishop Coyne said.

"I want you all to dig out your cellphones, ... and turn them on because we're going to do a holy shoutout. I don't think this has ever been done ... with a crowd like this, and maybe the first time at a big Catholic gathering. I want you to type in 'Called to Glory.'"

After he announced the "holy shoutout," the teenagers, collegians and others in attendance quickly typed in the words then awaited his cue to press the "send" button on their cellphones.

"When I say, 'We are ...,' " Bishop Coyne told them, "we are going to shout out 'Called to Glory' and you're going to send it out to all those people out there on the Internet that are watching us and all the people we love. We are going to spread that greatness to the call to glory. Are you ready? We are ... called to glory!"

Jacqueline Jackson-Morant from the Archdiocese of Detroit sent her "Called to Glory" message to her mother, siblings, grandmother and aunt.

"It was a great conference," she told The Criterion, the Indianapolis archdiocesan newspaper. "I loved it. I'm blessed to be here today, and I'd like to come again in 2013. I liked seeing all the bishops and priests and deacons."

Bishop Coyne was the principal celebrant for the closing Mass, which was concelebrated by eight bishops and 250 priests from throughout the country.

Thirty deacons and 175 seminarians from many dioceses also participated in the Mass with talented teenage lectors and music ministers.

"It's just wonderful to be gathered here tonight with all 23,000 of you," Bishop Coyne told the gathering at the start of the liturgy, "and welcome you on behalf of the entire Catholic community here in Indianapolis. It's been a glorious three days, and it's going to be a glorious celebration of the Mass."

The reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew spoke of when the Son of God will come in his glory before all the nations then separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats to reward those who help the poor, hungry, sick and imprisoned.

The Scripture passage reminds Christians that Jesus said: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did to one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me."

Bishop Coyne's homily focused on God's call to service and charity, and included a visual aid and joke.

He held up a poster-size image of his bishop trading card -- conference organizers created trading cards, designed like baseball cards, for several bishops in attendance.

Bishop Coyne joked that he wanted to order copies of his card for all of the parishes in central and southern Indiana. Then he got serious about the need to live a faith-filled life that honors God.

Popular culture wants people to believe "the idea that 'it's all about me,'" Bishop Coyne said, "the idea that what I need is the only thing that matters. ... That's what gets us in trouble."

God calls us to choose what is right and good, and to reject what is sinful and wrong, he said, instead of acting on our selfish needs and desires in daily life situations.

"Our Christian Catholic faith tells us that we need to be down at the bottom of the hill looking up to the King of the Hill, Christ the King, on the cross," Bishop Coyne said. "He is the King of the Hill, and when we follow that (path) we are placing ourselves in righteousness before God. We are placing ourselves in the call to glory, and we're working toward salvation."

Christians are called to lives of loving service and charitable sacrifice for God, Bishop Coyne said, to help bring forth the kingdom and give glory to God along the road to salvation.

"The call to glory is the call to our personal cross," he said. "It's the cross to love, and Jesus says it's not a heavy cross because how can love be heavy.

"We give glory to God every time we come together to worship God," Bishop Coyne said. "All those sacrifices that we make, all those gifts that we give, all those things we do out of love for God and neighbor, we bring them to the altar ... and we join them to Christ's sacrifice -- Christ, the King of the Hill, on the cross."


Sisters of Mercy in PNG


CATH NEW REPORT: Australian Mercy congregations and their sisters from Papua New Guinea will form a newInstitute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, on the 180th anniversary of the founding of the order next month, the sisters said in a media release.

For many years, but particularly since 2005, the 17 Australian congregations and the Autonomous Region of PNG, which have been federated in the present Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia since 1981, have been searching for the best way to nurture their unity and to strengthen their capacity for engaging in God's mission of mercy in this 21st century, said the media release.
The new institute, which includes 14 of the 17 Mercy congregations, is to take effect on December 12, the anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy by Venerable Catherine McAuley in Ireland.

"This search has involved much prayer, frequent theological reflection on the social needs of our time, careful study of the life and ministry of our founder, Catherine McAuley and her vision for religious life, and several comprehensive consultations in which all sisters were encouraged to participate," said Sister Nerida Tinkler, President of the current Institute.

"Eventually it led us to the point where 14 of the congregations, as well as the Autonomous Region of PNG, decided to petition the Holy See for permission to relinquish their independence and to come together as one new congregation."

On July 20 this year, the Holy See approved the petition for the new Institute to take effect at the commencement of its first chapter on December 12. On that day, each of the 15 groups will cease to be a separate canonical and legal entity and its sisters will become members of the new Institute.

The 15 uniting groups, comprising some 930 sisters, are Adelaide, Ballarat East, Bathurst, Cairns, Goulburn, Grafton, Gunnedah, Melbourne, Papua New Guinea, Perth, Rockhampton, Singleton, Townsville, West Perth and Wilcannia-Forbes.

The foundation of the new Institute will be celebrated with a Eucharist in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, on December 18 at 2:00pm.


CATHOLIC HERALD: The National Gallery’s unique assembly of masterpieces may never be seen again

By FR ANTHONY SYMONDSON SJ on Monday, 21 November 2011

The divine illuminated through Leonardo

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder by Leonardo da Vinci, started in 1499

Leonardo: A Painter in the Court of Milan
National Gallery, until February 5

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: Leonardo de Vinci was the greatest artist and thinker of the Renaissance. Like many eminent painters, he had a mixed start in life. The illegitimate son of a Florentine notary, he was enrolled in the fraternity of St Luke in Florence and was a pupil of the sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio. Verrocchio’s workshop was the largest in Florence during the second half of the 15th century and many Renaissance artists were trained there. The universality of his talent foreshadowed that of Leonardo.

Leonardo worked in Florence until 1482 when, at the age of 30, he was invited to go to Milan by Ludovico Sforza, known as the Moor because he was dark and violent, primarily as a musician, a player on the lyre. In a document urging his continued stay in Milan, Leonardo wrote mainly of himself as an “artificer of instruments of war”. From then on schemes of applied science – flying machines, fortifications, waterways – were to occupy much of his energy, while his notebooks were filled with studies of flowers, birds, skeletons, cloud and water effects and children in the womb.

He searched insatiably for knowledge, and in the vast medley of his manuscripts he seemed constantly on the verge of discoveries, some achieved, some not yet realised. He never formulated his results or attempted any coherent systematisation; when he put theories into practice, whether methods of painting or diversion of rivers, the results were generally faulty. It was the quest which absorbed him: the limitations of human knowledge, rather than the potentialities, were his interest.

It is only in painting, even more in drawing, that Leonardo’s restless, acute intellect expressed itself in an accessible form, and it is as the artist rather than the scientist that he exists today. In Milan, in the 17-year sojourn between 1482 and 1499, in addition to portraits his three great works were the Virgin of the Rocks, the Sforza Monument and the Last Supper in the refectory of St Maria delle Grazie, the supreme image of the subject. Only 17 of his pictures survive, of which nine are on show at what is probably the most prestigious exhibition ever mounted at the National Gallery. Paintings from as far afield as Milan, Krak√≥w, St Petersburg, the Louvre and the Vatican are assembled with works from the Royal Collection and the Gallery itself. A copy by Leonardo Giampietrino of the Last Supper is on view in the Sunley Room upstairs.

Most arresting at the beginning of the exhibition is the portrait of the 15-year-old Cecilia Gallerani, Sforza’s mistress, the Lady with the Ermine, famed for her faultless beauty. This painting has a skill in modelling that alone would ensure its repute were not all technical accomplishments, such as the painting of soft light, fur and textiles, subordinate to the completeness of the character study. The still, close-lipped face, half-determined, half-foreboding, is preserved by the hand of genius for posterity. It is in contrast to the later Mona Lisa in the Louvre, with its exploitation of the device of the enigmatic half-smile, which seems strange and soiled in comparison with the composure of this portrait. The exquisitely painted ermine cradled in her arms represents Sforza himself, the order of the ermine being part of his heraldic devices.

The exhibition’s main gallery is devoted to the dramatic contrast of the two versions of the Virgin of the Rocks, the earlier from the Louvre, the later from the National Gallery. These are hung not side by side but facing each other at the extremities of the room, one heavily fortified in a glass case, the other hung freely. They are united here for the first time and the comparison is instructive. The Louvre version is covered with darkened varnish; the second, commissioned in 1483 and worked on at intervals up to 1508, is very thoroughly cleaned and was recently put into a fine contemporary frame.

The exact relationship between them is a complex one about which much has been argued, and the difference in their condition makes comparison all the harder. The Louvre version has, despite its strange cave setting, a gentleness that is now lacking from the cold, livid colouring of the London example where, almost certainly, a pupil’s hand was employed. The excellent catalogue regards these paintings as representing the divine and emphasises their command of Marian theology. Both depict the Virgin kneeling in a rocky grotto above the infant Christ, St John the Baptist and an angel, an attitude that represents her as a tender mother immaculately conceived. But perhaps through familiarity, the London version has the edge on the Louvre’s, because the refinement of detail, tonal harmonies and the working of the brush can be seen more clearly.

The last picture is the newly attributed Salvator Mundi. Here, we see the hand raised in blessing and the thick, coiling hair which are such familiar ingredients of Leonardo’s mystery, augmented by the rock crystal orb emblematic of divinity. No other painter would have attempted this. I don’t have the space to comment on the many beautiful drawings which complement the pictures, nor the distraction of so many works by Leonardo’s pupils which only serve to show how decisive his influence was in preventing a personal style.


CISA REPORT: TAITA TAVETA, November 18, 2011 (CISA)–The Kenyan government has been urged to intervene and save children education threatened by sexual exploitation and child labour in the Taita-Taveta region.
As the world prepares to mark 16 days of activism against gender violence fromNovember 25 to December 10, on the theme: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World; Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women, sexual exploitation of young girls continues to be reported in Taita-Taveta County with worrying frequency.
According to Reject a bi-monthly local newspaper, provincial labour and child’s officers have raised concern over the high number of girls and boys engaging in prostitution as well as child labour at the expense of going to school.
According to the local education officials, sexual exploitation cases in both primary and secondary schools involve defilement, early marriages, pregnancy, sodomy and incest.
The members of the Taita District Education Board (DEB), Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu, District Education Officer Samuel Nyantika and the KNUT Executive Secretary Rosalia Mkanjala blamed some scrupulous provincial administration officials and some parents for perpetuating child abuse.
District Education Officer Samuel Nyantika accused some chiefs and parents of dragging their feet on the issue adding that those who were involved in abusing the rights of children included teachers, civilians and fellow students.
“Some chiefs demand facilitation fee from parents and schools in order to arrest the suspects while other cases are determined in kangaroo courts hence denying justice to the victim,” Nyantika said.
Reports show that primary and secondary school girls bore the brunt of sexual exploitation in the area. This year over 40 girls under the age of 17 in Taita-Taveta were sexually abused, a report from the education office indicates.


The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast: November 21
Feast Day:
November 21

Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to the divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some amongst the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the temple, to be lodged in apartments belonging to the temple, and brought up in attending the priests and Levites in the sacred ministry. It is an ancient tradition, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was thus solemnly offered to God in the temple in her infancy. This festival of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, or, as it is often called by the Greeks, the entrance of the Blessed Virgin into the Temple, is mentioned in the most ancient Greek Menologies extant.
By the consecration which the Blessed Virgin made of herself to God in the first use which she made of her reason, we are admonished of the most important and strict obligation which all persons lie under, of an early dedication of themselves to the divine love and service. It is agreed amongst all masters of Christian morality, that everyone is bound in the first moral instant of the use of reason to convert his heart to God by love; and if divine faith be then duly proposed to him (which is the case of Christian children) by a supernatural assent to it, he is bound then to make an act of faith; also an act of hope in God as a supernatural rewarder and helper, and an act of divine charity. Who can be secure that in the very moment in which he entered into his moral life and was capable of living to God, did not stain his innocence by a capital omission of this duty? How diligent and solicitous are parents bound to be in instructing their children in the first fundamental mysteries of faith, and in the duty of prayer, and in impressing upon their tender minds a sense of spiritual things in a manner in which their age may be capable of receiving it. These first fruits of the heart are a sacrifice of which God is infinitely jealous, an emblem of which were all the sacrifices of first fruits prescribed in the old law, in token that he is our beginning and last end. Such a heart, adorned with the baptismal grace of innocence, has particular charms. Grace recovered by penance is not like that of innocence which has never been defiled; nor is it the same happiness for a soul to return to God from the slavery of sin, as for one to give him her first affections, and to open her understanding and will to his love before the world has found any entrance there. The tender soul of Mary was then adorned with the most precious graces, an object of astonishment and praise to the angels, and of the highest complacence to the adorable Trinity, the Father looking upon her as his beloved daughter, the Son, as one chosen and prepared to become his mother, and the Holy Ghost as his darling spouse.
Her first presentation to God, made by the hands of her parents and by her own devotion, was then an offering most acceptable in his sight. Let our consecration of ourselves to God be made under her patronage, and assisted by her powerful intercession and the union of her merits. If we have reason to fear that we criminally neglected this duty at the first dawning of our reason, or, if we have since been unfaithful to our sacred baptismal engagements, such is the mercy and goodness of our gracious God, that he disdains not our late offerings. But that these may be accepted by him, we must first prepare the present he requires of us, that is, our hearts. They must be washed and cleansed in the sacred laver of Christ's adorable blood, by means of sincere compunction and penance; and all inordinate affections must be pared away by our perfectly renouncing in spirit, honours, riches, and pleasures, and being perfectly disengaged from creatures, and ready to do and suffer all for God, that we may be entirely his, and that neither the world nor pride, nor any irregular passion may have any place in us. What secret affections to this or that creature lurk in our souls, which hinder us from being altogether his, unless they are perfectly cut off or reformed! This Mary did by spending her youth in holy retirement, at a distance from the commerce and corruption of the world, and by the most assiduous application to all the duties and exercises of a religious and interior life. Mary was the first who set up the standard of virginity; and, by consecrating it by a perpetual vow to our Lord, she opened the way to all virgins who have since followed her example. They, in particular, ought to take her for their special patroness, and, as her life was the most perfect model of their state, they ought always to have her example before their eyes, and imitate her in prayer, humility, modesty, silence, and retirement.
Mary lived retired until she was introduced into the world and espoused to St. Joseph. Some think her espousals were at first only a promise or betrothing: but the ends assigned by the fathers, seem rather to show them to have been a marriage. These are summed up by St. Jerome as follows: that by the pedigree of Joseph, the descent of Mary from the tribe of Juda, might be demonstrated; that she might not be stoned by the Jews as an adulteress; that, fleeing into Egypt, she might have the comfort and protection of a spouse. A fourth reason, says St. Jerome, is added by the martyr Ignatius: that the birth of the Son of God might be concealed from the devil. The words of that apostolic father are: "Three mysteries wrought by God in silence were concealed from the prince of this world. the virginity of Mary, the bringing forth of her Son, and the death of the Lord." Not that God could fear any impediment to his designs from the devil; but he was pleased to effect these mysteries in silence and without worldly show and noise, that pride and hell might, by his all-wise and sweet providence, be more meetly triumphed over, whilst the devil himself hastened his own overthrow by concurring to the mystery of the cross. From the marriage of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, St. Austin shows that marriage requires no more than the mutual consent of the will between parties who lie under no impediment or inability to an indissoluble individual society of life. In this holy marriage we admire the incomparable chastity of Mary and Joseph; and the sanctity and honour, as well as the patronage and example, which that holy state receives from this mystery. In certain particular churches the espousals of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are honoured with an office on the 23rd of January.


Luke 21: 1 - 4
1He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury;
2and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins.
3And he said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them;
4for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had."

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