CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: FRI. MAR. 25, 2011: HEADLINES-
THE PEDAGOGICAL VALUE OF CONFESSION
VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2011 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received participants in an annual course on the "internal forum" organised by the Apostolic Penitentiary. The penitentiary is presided by Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli and its regent is Bishop Gianfranco Girotti O.F.M. Conv. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
In his address to the participants the Holy Father spoke of the "pedagogical value of sacramental Confession" for both priests and for the penitents themselves.
On the subject of priests he said: "The priestly mission represents a unique observation point from which we are daily granted the privilege of contemplating the splendour of divine mercy. ... By administering the Sacrament of Penance we can receive profound lessons of humility and faith. For each priest, this is a powerful call to an awareness of his own identity. Never could we hear the confessions of our brothers and sisters merely on the strength of our own humanity. If they come to us it is only because we are priests, configured to Christ, the Supreme and Eternal Priest, and granted the capacity of acting in His Name and Person, so as to make present the God Who forgives, renews and transforms.
"The celebration of the Sacrament of Penance has a pedagogical value for the priest, which concerns his faith, the truth and poverty of his person; and it nourishes in him an awareness of his sacramental identity", the Pope added.
"Sacramental reconciliation is certainly one of the moments in which individual freedom and self-awareness are called to express themselves particularly clearly", he went on. "It is perhaps for this reason too that, in an age of relativism and of the consequent reduced awareness of self, the practice of this Sacrament should also have diminished. The examination of conscience has an important educational value. it teaches us to look sincerely at our own lives, to compare them with the truth of the Gospel and to evaluate them with parameters that are not only human but drawn from divine Revelation. Comparison with the Commandments, with the Beatitudes, and above all with the Precept to love, represents the first great 'school of penance'", he said.
"Dear priests", the Holy Father concluded, "do not fail to give appropriate space to exercising the ministry of Penance in the confessional. To be welcomed and heard is also a human sign of God's welcome and goodness towards His children. Integral confession of sin also helps penitents to be humble, to recognise their own fragility and, at the same time, to achieve an awareness of the need for God's forgiveness and the belief that divine Grace can transform life".
HOLY FATHER RECEIVES PRELATES OF SYRO-MALANKAR CHURCH
VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received prelates of the Syro-Malankar Church, who have just completed their five-yearly "ad limina" visit.
"The apostolic traditions which you maintain enjoy their full spiritual fruitfulness when they are lived in union with the Church universal", said the Pope in his English-language remarks. "In this sense, you rightly follow in the footsteps of the Servant of God Mar Ivanios, who led your predecessors and their faithful into full communion with the Catholic Church. Like your forefathers, you too are called, within the one household of God, to continue in firm fidelity to that which has been passed down to you".
"The deposit of faith handed down from the Apostles and faithfully transmitted to our times is a precious gift from the Lord", said the Holy Father, noting that "due to its ancient roots and distinguished history, Christianity in India has long made its proper contribution to culture and society, and to its religious and spiritual expressions. It is through a determination to live the Gospel ... that those whom you serve will make a more effective contribution to the entire body of Christ and to Indian society, to the benefit of all. May your people continue to flourish by the preaching of God's word and by the promotion of a fellowship based on the love of God".
Benedict then turned to consider the challenges facing the prelates in their work, especially the shortage of parish priests. In this context he encouraged them not to lose heart because "small Christian communities have often, as you know, given outstanding witness in the history of the Church. ... It is this divine presence which must remain at the centre of your people's life, faith and witness, and which you their pastors are called to watch over so that, even if they must live far from their community, they will not live far from Christ".
"One of the ways in which you exercise your role as teachers of the faith to the Christian community", the Pope concluded his remarks to the bishops, "is through catechetical and faith formation programmes. ... Since 'instruction should be based on Holy Scripture, Tradition, liturgy, and on the teaching authority and life of the Church', I am pleased to note the variety and number of programmes that you currently employ. Along with the celebration of the Sacraments, such programmes will help ensure that those in your care will always be able to give an account of the hope which is theirs in Christ".
VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has granted the "Ecclesiastica Communio" requested of him in accordance with canon 76 para. 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches by His Beatitude Bechara Rai, canonically elected as Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites by the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Church meeting in Bkerke, Lebanon, on 15 March.
For the occasion, Benedict XVI has also written a Letter to the new patriarch in which he says: "May the Blessed Mother of God, Our Lady of Lebanon, the Virgin of the Annunciation whose name you bear make you a messenger of unity, so that the Lebanese nation (thanks also to all the religious communities present in your country and to their ecumenical and inter-religious dynamism) may accomplish her mission of solidarity and peace, in the East and in the entire world".
VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Bishop Vincent Paulos Kulapuravilai of Marthandom of the Syro-Malankars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Joshua Ignathios Kizhakkeveettil of Mavelikara of the Syro-Malankars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Yoohanon Chrysostom Kalloor of Pathanamthitta of the Syro-Malankars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Thomas Naickamparampil, apostolic exarch of the apostolic exarchate for Syro-Malankar faithful in the United States of America, and apostolic visitor for Syro-Malankar faithful in Canada and Europe.
This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Valter Dario Maggi, auxiliary of Guayaquil, Ecuador, as bishop of Ibarra (area 4,986, population 347,000, Catholics 332,800, priests 101, permanent deacons 1, religious 263), Ecuador. He succeeds Bishop Julio Cesar Teran Datari, S.J., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Vincenzo Bertolone, S.d.P. of Cassano allo Jonio, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace (area 1,806, population 248,000, Catholics 244,300, priests 182, permanent deacons 17, religious 212), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in San Biagio Platani, Italy in 1946, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop in 2007. He succeeds Archbishop Antonio Ciliberti, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Paul Sueo Hamaguchi, pastor of the cathedral church of Takamatsu, Japan, as bishop of Oita (area 14,071, population 2,376,414, Catholics 6,288, priests 50, religious 228), Japan. The bishop-elect was born in Higashi Shutsu, Japan in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1975.
- Appointed John Eijro Suwa of the clergy of Osaka, Japan, moderator and pastor of the pastoral zone of Kochi Takamatsu, as bishop of Takamatsu (area 18,903, population 4,031,481, Catholics 5,100, priests 46, religious 84), Japan. The bishop-elect was born in Kobe, Japan in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1976. He succeeds Bishop Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Granted the confirmation requested of him in accordance with canon 153 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches by Archbishop Sviatoslav Schevchuk, canonically elected as major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine, by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church meeting in Lviv, Ukraine, on 23 March.
Since 28 February an embargo on medicine decreed by the European Union has been in effect, to force Gbagbo to resign and hand over power to Ouattara. “I issue an appeal to the two leaders (Gbagbo and Ouattara) so stop the killings and violence,” concludes Archbishop Kutwa.
The clash between the armed forces, who support the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo (who has not accepted the results of the presidential ballot in November and is considered the legitimate president of the country), and militants close to President-elect, Alassane Ouattara, is causing serious damage among the civilian population in Abidjan and in other areas of Côte d'Ivoire. “The exodus of people continues. The noise of artillery ceased half an hour ago. For now we have a truce. Yesterday we suffered a very heavy bombardment. Civilians continue to die, killed by stray rounds and artillery shots,” Sister Rosaria tells Fides, from the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto, in Abobo, the neighbourhood in Abidjan where the fighting began between Gbagbo's security forces and the 'invisible commando', a group close to President-elect Alassane Ouattara.
“A climate of fear now reigns in Abidjan. The city is emptying out. Those who can, escape to the villages where they have friends or relatives able to accommodate them” said another local source from the Church to Fides, who for safety reasons, cannot be named. A crack could come from the call for dialogue launched by Gbagbo, who has acknowledged that violence and the use of force are not the solution to the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire.
Lahore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Paul Bhatti, brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani minister for minorities killed March 2 while leaving his home in Islamabad (03/02/2011 Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister who defended Asia Bibi, is assassinated) has been named “special adviser "to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for religious minorities. The brother of the murdered minister will have substantially the same responsibilities as Shahbaz. Paul, who is a doctor and lived abroad, and also in Italy, yesterday met the Minister of Interior, Rehman Malik.
Paul and the Minister discussed various issues related to the assassination of the Christian leader, the advisor said he wanted to continue the work of his brother.Paul Bhatti has appealed to scholars and religious leaders from various schools of thought and faith to create a united front against terrorism. He has also decided to tour in the various provinces to verify the situation first hand and meet with leaders of various religious minorities.Meanwhile Christian activists continue to protest over shortcomings in the investigation into Bhatti’s assassination. They reveal attempts to mislead public opinion and a lack of political will to arrest and punish those responsible, probably linked to Islamic groups who are holding the government hostage.Paul Bhatti has also expressed his disappointment over the lack of results from the inquiry into his brother’s murder and has called for the creation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry. The Christian community of Pakistan has launched a joint appeal for three days of prayer and fasting to demand that peace and stability are restored in the country. The three days end today. Even Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy and awaiting trial on appeal, is in the fasting for peace and justice in Sheikpura prison, as well as her husband and her children.
WASHINGTON (March 25, 2011)—As the U.S. and other nations take military action to protect the people of Libya from their own government, the U.S. bishops asked the Obama administration to stay focused on this limited goal and mission, as well as the wellbeing of the civilian population.
“Important questions include: How is the use of force protecting the civilian population of Libya? Is the force employed proportionate to the goal of protecting civilians?” wrote Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a March 24 letter to National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon. The bishop also urged that the use of force be continually evaluated in light of these questions: “Is it producing evils graver than the evil it hopes to address?” and “What are the implications of the use of force for the future welfare of the Libyan people and the stability of the region?”
“We know these are difficult questions to which there are few easy answers, but it is our moral responsibility as a nation to rigorously examine the use of military force in light of the need to protect human life and dignity,” said Bishop Hubbard.
Bishop Hubbard said the purpose articulated in UN Security Council Resolution 1973 to demand “a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians” appears to meet the traditional criterion of “just cause,” but said the U.S. bishops joined Pope Benedict XVI in following the military action in Libya with “great apprehension.”
The letter is available online: www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/callafrica/2011-03-24BishopHubbardtoNationalSecurityAdvisor.pdf
CATH NEWS REPORT: Depicting the history of salvation throughout the rebuilt St Patrick’s Cathedral in Bunbury is the highlight of internationally-renowned West Australian artist Robert Juniper’s career, reports The Record.
Juniper has depicted stories from the Bible for 14 seven-metre high window walls, two rose windows and a five-metre wide tapestry for the new St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Mr Juniper - whose art has been presented in group shows of Australian contemporary art in London, USA, New Zealand, Europe, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and New Caledonia – became a member of the Order of Australia this year.
“I was very excited. I thought it was going to be a highlight of my artistic career, because of the hugeness of the scale and being on the ground floor of a new Cathedral. Not many artists get that opportunity. I was very honoured and excited to be asked to do the job,” he said.But he said one of his greatest honours was when Cathedral architect Marcus Collins approached him to design the windows, where his trademark depictions of recognisable Australian flora and fauna are ever-present.
Bishop Gerard Holohan was sceptical about the economy of recruiting such a high-profile artist, but a visit to Mr Juniper’s Darlington home studio confirmed to the prelate that “the decision was fairly clear he’d be able to do what we were looking for”.
“The original plan was simply to have colour glass patterns in the windows as we thought we wouldn’t be able to afford an artist. I was going to leave that to future Bishops,” Bishop Holohan said.
“Then Marcus Collins indicated Bob (Juniper) would be interested in the project and, while initially I was sceptical because he’s an artist so great and I didn’t know he could do religious art; but part of my conversion was going to his home looking at his art;” then the decision was clear, he said.
Mr Juniper’s brief was simple: to create images that were understandable to a child and colourful. They must also have a catechetical value.
Feast: March 25
This great festival takes its name from the happy tidings brought by the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, concerning the incarnation of the Son of God. It commemorates the most important embassy that was ever known: an embassy sent by the King of kings, performed by one of the chief princes of his heavenly court; directed, not to the kings or emperors of the earth, but to a poor, unknown, retired virgin, who, being endowed with the most angelic purity of soul and body, being withal perfectly humble and devoted to God, was greater in his eyes than all the sceptres in the world could make a universal monarch. Indeed God, by the choice which he is pleased to make of a poor virgin, for the accomplishment of the greatest of all mysteries and graces, clearly demonstrates that earthly diadems, dignities, and treasures are of no consideration with him; and that perfect humility and sanctity alone constitute true greatness. God, who is almighty, can do all things by himself, without making use of the concurrence of creatures. Nevertheless he vouchsafes. in his exterior works, most frequently to use their co-operation. If he reveals his will and speaks to men, it is by the intervention of his prophets, and these he often enlightens by the ministry of angels. Many of the ancient patriarchs were honored by him with the most sublime commissions. By Moses he delivered his people from the Egyptian slavery, by him he gave them his law, and he appointed him mediator in his alliance with them. When the Son of God became man, he could have taken upon him our nature without the co-operation of any creature; but was pleased to be born of a woman. In the choice of her whom he raised to this most sublime of all dignities to which any pure creature could be exalted, he pitched upon her who, by the riches of his grace and virtues, was of all others the most holy and the most perfect. The design of this embassy of the archangel is as extraordinary as the persons concerned in it. It is to give a Saviour to the world, a victim of propitiation to the sinner, a model to the just, a son to this Virgin, remaining still a virgin, and a new nature to the Son of God, the nature of man, capable of suffering pain and anguish in order to the satisfaction of God's justice for our transgressions. And the Son of God being to take a human body formed of her substance, the Holy Ghost, who, by a power all-divine, was to her in place of a spouse, was not content to render her body capable of giving life to a Man-God, but likewise enriched her soul with a fulness of grace, that there might be a sort of proportion between the cause and the effect, and she the better qualified to co-operate towards this mystery of sanctity.
The angel begins his address to her with
The angel concludes his address with these words:
Though we are obliged to consider the eminent quality of Mother of God as the source of all other graces bestowed on the Blessed Virgin, it must yet be owned it is not the greatest, and that she was happier in loving Jesus Christ than in having conceived him and brought him forth. She is
Moreover, had not Mary been deep-rooted in humility, what impression must not these great promises have made in her heart, at a time especially when the first transports are so apt to overflow the soul on the sudden news of an unexpected glory. The world knows, from too frequent experience, how strongly the promise and expectation of new dignities raise the spirits, and alter the words, the looks, and the whole carriage of proud men. But Mary is still the same, or rather much more lowly and meek in spirit upon the accession of this unparalleled dignity. She sees no cause to pride herself in her virtues, graces, and privileges, knowing that the glory of all these are due only to the divine Author and Bestower of them. In submission, therefore, to God's will, without any further inquiries, she expresses her assent in these humble but powerful words:
But what tongue can express the inward feelings and affections which; then filled the glowing heart of the most pure Mother of God? What light shone in her understanding to penetrate the mysteries and the excess of the unfathomed goodness of God! what ardours of holy love inflamed her will! what jubilee filled her soul! Let men redeemed exult and praise, returning to God their best homages of adoration, thanksgiving, and love. It is for this duty that the church has appointed this present festival, which we ought chiefly to consecrate to the contemplation of this adorable mystery with hymns of love, praise, and thanksgiving. It was the hope and comfort of all the ancient saints, and the great object of all their earnest prayers, tears, and sighs. The prophets had a view to it in all their predictions, this being the principal point in all the wonderful revelations of God made to his church since the fall of Adam in Paradise, whom he immediately comforted with a promise and glimpse of this glorious mercy. Every ordinance in the law which he gave the Jews was typical, and had either an immediate or at least an indirect relation to Christ and our redemption by him. Among the numberless religious rites and sacrifices which were prescribed them, there was not one which did not in some manner represent or allude to this mystery. How high an idea ought this circumstance to give us of its incomprehensible greatness, which its nature and wonderful effects and fruits must enhance beyond the power of words! We are lost in astonishment when we contemplate this prodigy of omnipotence and infinite wisdom and mercy, and adore it in raptures and silence.
Gerson cries out on this mystery: "What ought every heart to say or think! every religious, every loving and faithful heart? It ought to rejoice exceedingly in this singular comfort, and to salute you with Gabriel,
From the example of the Virgin Mary in this mystery, how ardent a love ought we to conceive of purity and humility! According to St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Jerome, she would rather be the spouse of God in spirit, by spotless virginity, than his mother in the flesh; and so acceptable was this her disposition to God, that she deserved immediately to hear, that she should bring forth the Son of the Most High, still remaining a most pure virgin: nor would God have otherwise raised her to this astonishing honor. The Holy Ghost is invited by purity to dwell in souls, but is chased away by the filth of the contrary vice. The dreadful havoc which it now-a-days makes among Christian souls, calls for torrents of tears, and is the source of the infidelity and universal desolation which spreads on every side. Humility is the foundation of a spiritual life. By it Mary was prepared for the extraordinary graces. and all virtues with which she was enriched, and for the eminent dignity of Mother of God. St. Austin says that, according to an ancient tradition, this mystery was completed on the 25th of March. Both eastern and western churches celebrate it on this day, and have done so at least ever since the fifth century. This festival is mentioned by Pope Gelasius I, in 492. The council of Constantinople, in 692, orders the