CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: FRI. MAR. 4, 2011: Headlines-
BENEDICT XVI RECEIVES ICELAND PRESIDENTVATICAN CITY, 4 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, president of the Republic of Iceland. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
(IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
"During the cordial discussions special mention was made of the good relationship that has linked Iceland to the Holy See and which is symbolically represented in the person of Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir, pioneer of the Christian faith on the Island, and a sculpture of whom the Icelandic Head of State has given to the Holy Father in memory of the pilgrimage to Rome he made shortly after the year 1000, during which she met with the successor of Saint Peter.
"During the audience, emphasis was given to the high esteem enjoyed by the small Catholic community in Iceland, alongside the valid contribution it offers to Icelandic society through its initiatives in educational and social fields, particularly in the current economic circumstances. Themes of common interest at national and international level were then considered, with particular attention to the role of traditional values in the construction of the Nation and the contribution of Iceland in the promotion of peace, the peaceful co-existence of its various communities, and in environmental protection".
VATICAN CITY, 4 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, this morning presented in the Holy See Press Office the "Lineamenta" (Guidelines) for the XIII General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held at the Vatican from 7 to 28 October 2012, on the theme of "The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith".
The "Guidelines", or first draft on the theme of the Synod, is published in eight languages: Latin, French, English, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and German, and consists of a prologue, an introduction, three chapters and a conclusion. The text includes a general questionnaire regarding the issues under examination. Responses -71- are to be submitted to the Secretary General of the Synod by 1 November 2011, the Solemnity of All Saints. The summary of the responses shall constitute the "Instrumentum laboris" or working document of the Synod.
In the Preface, explains the Archbishop Eterovic, "a distinction is drawn between evangelization as a regular activity of the Church; the first approach "ad gentes", to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ, and the new evangelization which is directed towards those who have moved away from the Church, those who have been baptized but not sufficiently evangelized".
"In the Introduction it is emphasized that the XIII Synod Assembly takes place within the context of the renewed ecumenical commitment to evangelization undertaken by the Church following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council".
The first chapter, entitled "Time for a "New Evangelization", is described as "the birth of the concept of new evangelization and its diffusion throughout the Pontificates of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI".
This section lists the "six sectors" which the Church has to confront in order to be "equal to the challenges posed to the Christian faith by today's social and cultural context". These six sectors are: secularization, immigration, communication, the economic sector, scientific and technological research and the political sector.
"Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ" is the title of the second chapter, which asserts that "the aim of evangelization and more specifically of the new evangelization is the proclamation of the Gospel and the transmission of faith. The Gospel is to be understood not as a book or a doctrine, but rather as a person: Jesus Christ, the definitive Word of God, who made himself a man".
The third chapter, "Initiation into the Christian experience", "reinvites", says the Secretary General of the Synod, "reflection on the tools of the Church for introducing the faith and, in particular, Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Communion".
Finally, the Conclusion reaffirms that "the new evangelization should aim to revive in the original enthusiasm in Christians, a new mission that should involve all members of God's Community".
Furthermore, Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, undersecretary of the General Secretariat of Synod of Bishops, reiterated that "the very name 'synod' (synodos) means journey in communion" and underlined the responsibility of the Synod to proceed "with the sign of the times, with the discernment and dynamism appropriate to the Church, the faith and the Works of faith and pastoral care".
VATICAN CITY, 4 MAR 2011 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. on March 9, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, Benedict XVI will preside at a moment of prayer in the church of St. Anselm on Rome's Aventine Hill. There will follow a penitential procession to the basilica of Santa Sabina attended by cardinals, archbishops, bishops, the Benedictine monks of St. Anselm, the Dominican Fathers of Santa Sabina and lay faithful.
Following the procession, the Pope will preside at a Eucharistic celebration in the basilica of Santa Sabina, with the traditional rite of blessing and the imposition of the ashes.
VATICAN CITY, 4 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
- Emilio Marin, ambassador of Croatia, with his wife, on his farewell visit.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – “You have killed my brother, now you are stopping me from seeing his body [. . .]. You cannot protect the minorities,” said an angry and pained Anila Bhatti, when security forces prevented her from entering the church for her brother Shahbaz’s funeral. The service began at 11.40 am in Our Lady of Fatima Church in Islamabad. Right after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani entered the building, security forces closed the doors and did not let anyone in or out. A security perimeter was thrown up around the church, blocking access to the building. Christians who wanted to say goodbye one last time to the Catholic minister reacted by protesting. In the meantime, thousands of people travelled to Khushpur, the village in Punjab where Bhatti was buried this afternoon next to his father’s grave before a crowd of some 10,000 people.
This morning, Mgr Rufin Anthony, bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, and Mgr Edgar Peña Parra, apostolic nuncio to Pakistan, celebrated the funeral of the slain Catholic minister. During his homily, the bishop of the Pakistani capital, described Bhatti, who was killed by a group of gunmen on Wednesday, as a “son”, someone he saw “growing up”. The prelate remembered how “, since his childhood he use to stand for the children who couldn`t speak for themselves or were bullied. [. . .] He regularly visited me for Bible studies. At a very young age, he dedicated his life to Jesus Christ.”
Mgr Anthony stressed how the Minority Affairs minister worked on behalf of discriminated minorities. “Whenever he heard that someone was being discriminated, he would rush to help,” he said. “Bhatti`s vision was to fulfil the dream of Quaid-e-Azam (Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founding father) in which minorities have equal rights and freely practice their religion”.
“He wanted to repeal the blasphemy laws,” which he saw as “the root of the problems for Christians in Pakistan.” Certainly, “he never feared death” and “played a vital role in interfaith harmony, bringing together Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus”.
After the last prayer by the apostolic nuncio, the bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi voiced his misgivings about the lack of proper security that led to Bhatti’s death, pinning the blame squarely on the government.
“The Interior minister said that his ministry took all the necessary security measures, which included two cars and 16 guards, which the slain minister deliberately turned down,” the prelate said. However, for the prelate, the government is trying to put the blame on Bhatti’s “negligence”. That “is not true. He had asked for a bulletproof vehicle. [. . .] The Interior minister is trying to avoid responsibility.”
A group of government ministers, including Prime Minister Gilani, took part in the service. The same cannot be said for many Christians, including some of Bhatti’s relatives, who were kept out of the church by police. Outrage worshippers lashed out, protesting. “Now you block the entrance of the Church,” but “where were you when Shahbaz Bhatti was killed?” said Maqbool Bhatti, one of the protesters.
Even the minister’s sister, Anila Bhatti, was unable to attend the funeral. In a fit of anger and distress, she shouted, “You’ve killed my brother, now you are stopping me from seeing his body”. In fact, the authorities, she added, are not capable of “protecting minorities”.
A delegation from the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) was also held up outside of the church.
After the funeral service, the body was flown by helicopter to Bhatti’s native village of Khushpur, near Faisalabad, in Punjab. More than 10,000 people came for burial service (which began at 3.30 pm) in the local Catholic church. The burial was delayed by a few hours to allow people to pay their last respect to the slain minister.
Hundreds of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, religious and political leaders as well as ordinary people, joined Christians to show their solidarity.
Banners and posters hailing Bhatti were set up in the streets of the village. Crowds were calm and well behaved. No incident took place. People just endured their grief and pain.
“Shahbaz Bhatti, son of the Nation, will be missed,” one banner read. Songs rang out as people shouted, “We will carry on your mission Bhatti" and " Bhatti your blood is the beginning of a revolution". A torchlight procession is planned for the later in evening.
The coldblooded assassination of the Minority Affairs minister has unleashed a wave of popular indignation and protest across the country. Demonstrations were held in the streets of Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Khushpur. Many public figures spoke out.
Shahbaz Bhatti “gave his life for the cause” of minorities,” said Pervaiz Rafique, president of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance (APMA). “We will carry on his mission,” he added.
Members of the National Commission for Peace and Justice (NCPJ) of the Catholic Church echoed these sentiments. Marching in Lahore, they called for the arrests of the extremists who killed the minister. They also hailed the life of Bhatti and that of the late governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who was killed on 4 January for opposing the blasphemy law and coming to the defence of Asia Bibi.
In a public statement, the Joint Committee of Fathers (JCF) expressed its “deep grief” for the loss of a “patriotic statesman”, calling on the government “to go beyond the rhetoric of minorities enjoying all the rights in the country”.
“The worst kind of extremist is developing”, said Rizwan Paul, from Life for All.
The last word goes however to Shahbaz Bhatti’s family, which must be going through unspeakable grief and sadness. The family is “devastated by the huge loss,” Shahbaz’s elder brother, Gerard Bhatti, toldAsiaNews. “From childhood, he was passionate for the rights of minorities and the weakest,” he said.
“Once he told me about the threats against him,” the brother said. “I told him to leave the country. But he would not have it, saying that he did not fear death, that he was ready to sacrifice himself for the cause.”
LIFESITE NEWS REPORT: BY KATHLEEN GILBERT
SANTA MARIA, California, March 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Several decades after an abortion left Jane Russell unable to bear children and spurred her to become an outspoken pro-lifer and adoption advocate, the silver screen beauty died yesterday at the age of 89. In lieu of flowers, the family of the born-again Christian actress is asking for donations in her honor to Care Net, a pro-life pregnancy resource center network.
Jane Russell, the brunette bombshell of the films The Tall Men and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, whose image became a popular pinup for World War II servicemen, passed away of respiratory failure at her Santa Maria home Monday.
Leading a wild lifestyle early on, Russell later became, in her words, “a teetotal, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded, conservative Christian bigot” - but not before an illegal abortion caused her to lose her fertility.
The experience, which she says nearly killed her, led her to become outspoken about abortion, denying that any circumstance - rape or incest included - justified taking the life of an unborn child.
“People should never, ever have an abortion. Don’t talk to me about it being a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body. The choice is between life and death,” Russell declared in one quotation widely attributed to her.
In another quotation cited by IMDB.com, Russell said that when she found herself pregnant at 18, “The only solution was to find a quack and get an abortion. I had a botched abortion and it was terrible. Afterwards my own doctor said, ‘What butcher did this to you?’ I had to be taken to hospital. I was so ill I nearly died. I’ve never known pain like it.”
Even decades after the procedure was made legal in America, loss of fertility remains a common side effect of abortions: post-abortive women telling their stories through Silent No More Awareness frequently testify to losing the ability to bear children as a consequence of their abortions.
Her struggle conceiving led Russell to adopt three children and to found the World Adoption International Fund in 1955. She also started the ‘Hollywood Christian Group,’ a weekly Bible study she hosted at her house for Christians in the film industry. Russell, who divorced once and was married two more times, is survived by her three children, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
After confirming her death on Monday, her family suggested that donations be made in her name to Care Net Pregnancy & Resource Center at 121 W. Battles, Santa Maria, CA, as well as CASA of Santa Barbara County, a group that helps abused children find a court advocate.
Care Net, which oversees a nationwide network of 1,100 pregnancy centers, specializes in helping women facing unplanned pregnancies by providing practical help as well as emotional support.
On how Tunisia is experiencing a mass exodus of foreign workers (mostly Egyptians), on the run from Libya, Bishop Lahham says, “In terms of the social impact on Tunisia, the problem relates to the border area and Djeraba Island, where flights are departing to repatriate the thousands of Egyptian workers. Of course it is an economic burden for Tunisia to host the 100,000 people who have arrived suddenly at the border. As a Church we try to make our contribution, which is still a small drop in a sea of need,” concludes Archbishop Lahham.
PRINCE OF POLAND
Feast: March 4
St Casimir was the third among the thirteen children of Casimir III, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the Emperor Albert II, a most virtuous woman, who died in 1505. He was born in 1458, on the 3rd of October. From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all bishoprics and other dignities of the church and state which were pressed upon him. Uladislas, the eldest son, was elected King of Bohemia in 1471, and became King of Hungary in 1490. Our saint was the second son; John Albert the third son, succeeded the father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the other princes were so affectionately attached to the holy man, who was their preceptor, that they could not bear to be separated from him. But Casimir profited most by his pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his age to the exercises of devotion and penance, and had a horror of that softness and magnificence which reign in courts His clothes were very plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. His bed was frequently the ground, and he spent a considerable part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. He often went out in the night to pray before the church-doors; and in the morning waited before them till they were opened to assist at matins. By living always under a sense of the divine presence he remained perpetually united to, and absorbed in, his Creator, maintained an uninterrupted cheerfulness of temper, and was mild and affable to all. He respected the least ceremonies of the church: everything that tended to promote piety was dear to him. He was particularly devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought of which excited him to tears, and threw him into transports of love. He was no less piously affected towards the sacrifice of the altar, at which he always assisted with such reverence and attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or at least frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are his members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, and his brother Uladislas, King of Bohemia, to procure them succour. His compassion made him feel in himself the afflictions of every one.
The Palatines and other nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with Matthias Corvin, their king, son of the great Huniades, begged the King of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The saint, not then quite fifteen years of age, was very unwilling to consent; but in compliance with his father's will he went, at the head of an army of twenty thousand men, to the frontiers in 1471. There hearing that Matthias had formed an army of sixteen thousand men to defend him, and that all differences were accommodated between him and his people, and that Pope Sixtus IV had sent an embassy to divert his father from that expedition, he joyfully returned, having with difficulty obtained his father's consent so to do. However, as his dropping this project was disagreeable to the king his father, not to increase his affliction by appearing before him he did not go directly to Cracow, but retired to the Castle of Dobzki, three miles from that city, where he continued three months in the practice of penance. Having learned the injustice of the attempt against the King of Hungary, in which obedience to his father's command prevailed upon him to embark when he was very young, he could never be engaged to resume it by fresh pressing invitation of the Hungarians, or the iterated orders and entreaties of his father. The twelve years he lived after this he spent in sanctifying himself in the same manner as he had done before. He observed to the last an untainted chastity, notwithstanding the advice of physicians who excited him to marry, imagining, upon some false principle, this to be a means necessary to preserve his life. Being wasted with a lingering consumption, he foretold his last hour, and having prepared himself for it by redoubling his exercises of piety, and receiving the sacraments of the church, he made a happy end at Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, on the 4th of March, 1484, being twenty-three years and five months old. He was buried in the Church of St. Stanislas. So many were the miracles wrought by his intercession that Swiecicki, a canon of Vilna, wrote a whole volume of them from good memoirs in 1604. He was canonized by Pope Leo X, whose legate in Poland, Zachary Ferrier, wrote the saint's life. His body, and all the rich stuffs it was wrapped in, were found quite entire, and exhaling a sweet smell one hundred and twenty years after his death, notwithstanding the excessive moisture of the vault. It is honoured in a large rich chapel of marble, built on purpose in that church. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland and several other places, and is proposed to youth as a particular pattern of purity. His original picture is to be seen in his chapel in St. German des Prez in Paris, built by John Casimir, King of Poland, the last of the family of Waza, who, renouncing his crown, retired to Paris, and died Abbot of St. Germain's in 1668.
What is there on earth which can engage the affections of a Christian, or be the object of his ambition, in whose soul God desires to establish his kingdom? Whoever has conceived a just idea of this immense happiness and dignity must look upon all the glittering bubbles of this world as empty and vain, and consider every thing in this life barely as it can advance or hinder the great object of all his desires. Few arrive at this happy and glorious state, because scarce any one seeks it with his whole heart, and has the courage sincerely to renounce all things and die to himself: and this precious jewel cannot be purchased upon any other terms. The kingdom of God can only be planted in a soul upon the ruins of self-love: so long as this reigns, it raises insuperable obstacles to the perfect establishment of the empire of divine love. The amiable Jesus lives in all souls which he animates by his sanctifying grace, and the Holy Ghost dwells in all such. But in most of these how many worldly maxims and inclinations diametrically opposite to those of our most holy heavenly king, hold their full sway! how many secret disorders and irregular attachments are cherished! how much is found of self-love, with which sometimes their spiritual exercises themselves are infected! The sovereign King of men and their merciful Redeemer is properly said to reign only in those souls which study effectually, and without reserve, to destroy in their affections whatever is opposite to his divine will, to subdue all their passions, and to subject all their powers to his holy love. Such fall not into any venial sins with full deliberation, and wipe away those of frailty into which they are betrayed, by the compunction and penance in which they constantly live, and by the constant attention with which they watch daily over themselves. They pray with the utmost earnestness that God deliver them from all the power of the enemy, and establish in all their affections the perfect empire of his grace and love; and to fulfil his will in the most perfect manner in all their actions is their most earnest desire and hearty endeavour. How bountifully does God reward, even in this life, those who are thus liberal toward him! St. Casimir, who had tasted of this happiness, and learned truly to value the heavenly grace, loathed all earthly pomp and delights. With what joy ought not all Christians, both rich and poor, to be filled when they hear: The kingdom of God is within you! With what ardor ought they not to devote themselves to make God reign perfectly in their hearts! How justly did St. Casimir prefer this pursuit to earthly kingdoms!
|Mark 11: 11 - 26|
|11||And he entered Jerusalem, and went into the temple; and when he had looked round at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.|
|12||On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.|
|13||And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.|
|14||And he said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it.|
|15||And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons;|
|16||and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple.|
|17||And he taught, and said to them, "Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers."|
|18||And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.|
|19||And when evening came they went out of the city.|
|20||As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.|
|21||And Peter remembered and said to him, "Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered."|
|22||And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God.|
|23||Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.|
|24||Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.|
|25||And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."|