Tuesday, July 26, 2011





VATICAN CITY, 26 JUL 2011 (VIS) - This morning at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, presided at a funeral Mass for Cardinal Virgilio Noe who died on 24 July at the age of 89. The Mass was concelebrated by a number of cardinals, archbishops and bishops. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Cardinal Noe had been archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, vicar general of the Pope for Vatican City Stateand president of the Fabric of St. Peter's.

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VATICAN CITY, 26 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Luc Cyr of Valleyfield, Canada, as metropolitan archbishop ofSherbrooke (area 8,000, population 338,000, Catholics 304.000, priests 261, permanent deacons 24, religious 951), Canada. He succeeds Archbishop Andre Gaumond, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Antonino Raspanti of the clergy of the archdiocese of Trapani, Italy, professor of the history of spirituality at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. John the Evangelist in Palermo, Italy, as bishop of Acireale (area 665, population 228,500, Catholics 225,200, priests 168, permanent deacons 9, religious 332), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Alcamo, Italy in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Bishop Pio Vittorio Vigo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the apostolic vicariate ofIzabal, Guatemala, presented by Bishop Gabriel Penate Rodriguez, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Mario Enrique Rios Montt C.M., auxiliary emeritus of the archdiocese of Guatemala,Guatemala, as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of of the apostolic vicariate of Izabal, Guatemala.


Bishops from the USA and Canada have offered prayers for the people of Norway. On July 22, 93 people were killed in an act of terrorism. Please see story:
The USCCB release this quote from Archbishop Dolan: “Please accept the deepest condolences of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at this moment of terrible sadness in the beautiful nation of Norway. The assault on government buildings in Oslo and a neighboring youth camp reminds us again of the fragility of life and the challenge to overcome evil in its many forms,” Archbishop Dolan said.

“The almost unfathomable tragedy and the deaths of so many innocent people touch the hearts of people all around the world and call us to special prayer for the victims, their families and the people of Norway especially.

“The Catholic bishops of the United States are in particular solidarity with the Scandinavian Bishops Conference at this time. We pray that you may experience God’s grace as you console your people at this moment of intense pain and outrage.
(image source: India Today)
“We join with the church in Scandinavia in working towards peace in our society. As we see exacerbated social divisions overshadow the fact that we are all brothers and sisters who seek a better world for all, we ask God’s guidance and inspiration and gift of peace at this troubled time,” he said.
The Canadian bishops also released condolences:

On behalf of all my brother Bishops of Canada, I wish to extend a most sincere message of sympathy to and of solidarity with the Norwegian people who are actually confronting a terrible tragedy in their country.

Rest assured that all the Catholic Bishops of Canada are united with them in prayer, especially for families who have lost of one of their own. This message of sympathy is also addressed to the Norwegian Royal Family, the Government and the civil authorities who must deal with the repercussions of this tragedy. (Morissette)

Sources: USCCB and CCCB


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The priest, one of the founders of a movement for democracy that calls for an end to single party rule, is serving a sentence of 8 years in prison. He was released last year for serious health condition.

Hue (AsiaNews) - Father Nguyen Van Ly, the priest among the founding members of "Bloc 8406", a movement that demands the end of the single party in Vietnam has been arrested again. Imprisoned in 2007 (photo: the trial) with a sentence of eight years, he was released in March last year because of his serious health condition.

Yesterday, at 14 (local time), as reported by Father Phan Van Loi, the police went to Nha Chung, the office of Bishop of Hue, where the priest had to live, and arrested him. The police agents had brought an ambulance, as Father Van Ly had suffered several strokes in recent years that left him partially paralyzed.

His precarious health, along with criticism of Hanoi by human rights groups, the U.S. governments and the European Union, had prompted authorities to suspend the prison term for a year, forcing him under house arrest at the bishop’s residence. Since his house arrest, Father Ly had begun to send written denouncements of serious human rights violations of the Communist Party and the Vietnamese government.

Father Phan Van Loi says that "before the police arrested Father Vn Ly they asked Father Vien Le Quang, head of the bishop’s office, to sign a statement. The priest wrote that 'Father Van Ly is still sick. He has not recovered from his illness'. The police at first objected, but eventually accepted the document written by Father Le Quang Vien. Within minutes they arrested Father Ly ".

In March, the police had met with Father Ly to ask him to write an application to request not to have to go back to prison, but the request was decisively rejected.

It is known that Father Ly was again taken to the prison in Ha Nam, Kim Bang district, Ha Nam province.


USCCB REPORT: Eight U.S. Bishops Chosen As Catechists for World Youth Day

Number of U.S. pilgrims to Madrid approaches 29,000
August 20 Mass will gather, send forth U.S. pilgrims

WASHINGTON—Eight U.S. prelates have been chosen as English-language catechists by the Pontifical Council for Laity, the Vatican’s official organism that convenes World Youth Day (WYD). The group includes Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Se├ín O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Archbishop Charles Chaput, newly appointed as archbishop of Philadelphia, as well as Bishops Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska, William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Frank Caggiano, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn. The group will be among 250 bishop-catechists from all over the world representing many different countries and languages.

The catechetical sessions will be held Wednesday, August 17 through Friday, August 19, in multiple sites around the Spanish capital metropolitan area. Each bishop has been asked to prepare three catechetical sessions, one for each day, based on the theme for WYD Madrid 2011: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (Col 2:7).

Wednesday’s theme, Firm in the Faith, will invite young people to come closer and examine the gift of faith “which illumines and transforms the lives of the believers because we are made for God,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (153-155). Thursday’s theme, Established in Jesus Christ, will invite young people to build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to build their lives with Him on solid foundations. While Friday’s catechesis, Witnesses to Christ in the World, will remind the young pilgrims that every baptized person is called to mission and that young people must be active participants in this new era of missionary activity, particularly among their peers.

On Saturday, a morning Mass at Madrid’s Palacio de los Deportes will gather U.S. pilgrims and bishops and give them a respite at the air-conditioned facility, before sending them out to the Cuatro Vientos Airport for the Vigil Prayer that night and Closing Mass the next day with Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal George will be the main celebrant at Saturday’s Mass, and Archbishop Dolan will provide the homily. At the end of Mass, in a made-for-the-occasion ceremony, the U.S. bishops will send forth the youth to the remaining WYD events and ask them to return home as missionaries. After Mass there will also be some time for participants to gather by diocese or region with their bishops.

Oregon Catholic Press and World Library Publications are donating the music for the Mass and will offer a concert at the facility before Mass, starting at 9:00 a.m. The American Bible Society has donated the programs.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. pilgrims scheduled to attend this world gathering of youth continues to grow. So far, 28,720 U.S. pilgrims and 62 bishops have registered to participate at WYD 2011 in Madrid. Catechetical and spiritual preparation materials for participation at WYD are available

The deadline to request WYD media accreditation for international media is July 31. To apply please go to



26 Jul 2011

Scherger Detention Centre where 80 went
on hunger strike and one man cut his throat.

Australia is in breach of its international obligations over the finalised plan to transfer 800 asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, says Father Jim Carty, Coordinator for the Marist Asylum Seeker and Refugee Service.

Fr Carty also added Malaysia, which has an extremely poor record on human rights, is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention for Refugees.

Regardless of assurances made by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and the Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has not endorsed the deal.

In a statement issued from Geneva yesterday, the UNHCR said while it appreciated that it had been consulted by both countries regarding the arrangement, "the UNHCR's preference has always been an arrangement which would enable all asylum-seekers arriving by boat into Australian territory, to be processed in Australia," adding that this would be "consistent with general practice."

Refugges can wait years to be processed.

So despite the deal not receiving official approval from UNHCR, the Government insists the deal signed in Kuala Lumpur yesterday would ensure the asylum seekers sent from Australia to Malaysia, would have their human rights respected, with Australia paying Malaysia an estimated $316 million, a large amount of which will cover their healthcare, education for their children and accommodation.

In addition the Minister of Immigration, Chris Bowen says the 800 will have permits enabling them to work, a privilege not enjoyed by the rest of Malaysia's 95,000 refugees and asylum seekers.

Despite this, Fr Carty together with many Australian activists, refugee advocates and human rights lawyers remain sceptical.

"If the Government could not fulfil its promise to have the majority of children out of detention by 30 June this year, what chance has it of making sure that all conditions it has signed on to will be fulfilled once the 800 asylum seekers it sends to Malaysia are under Malaysian law," he asks.

One of the teenagers who sewed
his lips together last weekend

Of just over 1100 children in detention in October last year, when the Government promised to have the majority living in freedom within the community by the end of June 2011, an estimated 400 children remain in detention where behaviourists and psychologists predict they will suffer long term mental and emotional damage.

In Victoria where a group of unaccompanied minors has spent more than a year in detention at what the Government euphemistically calls the "Immigration Transitional Facility" at Broadmeadows, life has become so filled with despair that on Saturday, 23 July, three of the teenagers sewed their lips together, then posted photographs of their self-mutilation on Facebook in a desperate plea for help.

According to Fr Carty, this is another example of the harm caused by the Government's ad hoc asylum seeker policy.

He believes the main reason for the escalation of self harm, hopelessness and despair among detainees at Centres across the country are the increasing long delays, often of a year or more, to process asylum seeker claims for refugee status.

Delays, uncertainty and lack of information are the major causes of recent events such as the protests on Christmas Island, the rooftop standoff in Darwin, the five-day hunger strike at Scherger and the overcrowded isolated facility at Weipa in far North Queensland, which saw one man cut his own throat at the weekend and another slash his arm with a knife, he says.

Detainees Desperate in Another Protest
on Christmas Island

"In some cases, asylum seekers are forced to live in detention even after they have been declared genuine refugees because of even longer delays for ASIO to undertake security checks," he says.

The results of ASIO's security checks are not divulged and according to Fr Carty have put some refugees in a terrible limbo "with no end in sight."

"Although declared refugees, ASIO has refused to give them a security clearance, so they are now held indefinitely in detention, with little chance of another country accepting them for settlement after Australia has labelled them a security risk," he says and cites the case of a mother and father of three children, who have been held at Villawood for more than two and a half years, with little possibility of release.

He also speaks of three Tamils, with whom he had contact when he visited Christmas Island in March 2010 and who despite being found to be genuine refugees and moved into detention on the mainland, have been denied security clearance by ASIO.

Keeping people in detention this way lacks humanity, compassion and is an abuse of human rights, Fr Carty believes and is equally scathing about the Government's latest policy that would see the next 800 men, women and children who arrive by boat on our shores seeking asylum, shipped off to Malaysia in return for Australia promising to resettle 4000 processed refugees sent here by Malaysia.

Signed by Minister of Immigration, Chris Bowen and Malaysian Home Affairs Minister, Dato Seri Hishammunddin Bin Tun Hussein in Kuala Lumpur, but not endorsed by the UNHCR, the agency will nevertheless process the asylum seekers Australia's sends to Malaysia as part of its registration and processing of all refugees in the region.

Children, pregnant women, no one will be exempt
from Swap Plan

But while UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOC) will also provide advice and assistance where needed, exactly how those sent to Malaysia will have their human rights protected remains inconclusive.

"The Australian government claims the 800 it sends to Malaysia will have access to health care as well as education and housing. But the health care and education they will be entitled to minimal and refers to the schools and clinics set up by the UNHCR," says Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, pointing out the deal will not give them access to quality health care at Malaysia's largely privately-run hospitals or at the nation's privately-run schools.

Instead, he says, the asylum seekers sent from Australia will be treated virtually the same way as those already in Malaysia, with children attending the poorly resourced UNHCR schools and similarly overburdened UNHCR health clinics.

"There is not a single clause in the agreement that suggest anything will be different for the 800 deportees to Malaysia. Our Government's assurances of dignity and respect for asylum seekers transferred to Malaysia are meaningless," Mr Rintoul says pointing out that there is not a single proposal in the agreement signed yesterday to enforce guarantees these people, some of whom in all likelihood will include unaccompanied minors, will be properly treated.

"There is also nothing in the agreement to confirm UNHCR participation," he says, describing the exchange deal as "nothing less than brutal people trafficking."

"The core purpose of this deal is to outsource our human rights violations to one of South East Asia's most infamous rights abusers," he says.

Fr Carty agrees and instead of an exchange deal would like to see the 800 instead processed in Australia.

"There is no reason we can't process and settle those who are genuine refugees here as well as resettle the 4000 refugees from Malaysia," he says.

Refugees arriving by boat.

Australia is spending a minimum of $316 million on this latest scheme at a cost of approximately $95,000 per asylum seeker it sends to Malaysia, and has promised to meet the ongoing health, education and accommodation costs not just for the four years the deal is in operation, but for any years after that Australia's asylum seeker deportees are without a country.

"Yet again this is policy on the run," says Fr Carty referring to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's admission yesterday. After insisting any asylum seeker boat people arriving in Australia from now on would be immediately sent to Malaysia, under questioning revealed that despite the plan's implementation as from midnight on Monday, Australia had yet to take out leases on boarding houses and hostels in Kuala Lumpur as secure "transit facilities" for the deportees.

Mr Bowen has also refused to make exceptions of pregnant women, family groups or unaccompanied minors and insists rather than blanket exceptions, each will be assessed on a case by case basis over a 72 hour period before being flown to Malaysia.

"This is not nearly enough time for checks to prevent the vulnerable such as unaccompanied children or mothers with husbands and other family members already living in Australia," says Fr Carty.

His concerns are echoed by the UNHCR Director of International Protection, Kurt Volker who also believes any individual assessments should be given more time than a mere 72 hours.

In the New York Times this morning, Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch accused the Australian Government of using Malaysia "as a dumping ground for boat people it does not want and in the process, walking away from its commitments to follow the 1951 Refugees Convention."

Fr Carty, along with many others across Australia and in Asia, agree.



Fides Service report - "At the moment I cannot confirm the reports of Amnesty International with regards to the indiscriminate killing of civilians by the forces of antiterrorism", says His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop of Maiduguri, the capital of the State of Borno, in the north-east of Nigeria, where, according to a report by Amnesty International, on July 23, a group of soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) after being the subject of a bombing, they opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd , killing at least 23 civilians.
"The problem is that the attacks continue almost every day, but no arrest of those responsible has been carried out by the security forces. This contributes to an increasing sense of distrust between the military and the population", said the Bishop of Maiduguri, describing the climate in which such a tragic event could have occurred, without justifying it. The Boko Haram Islamic sect is accused of being responsible for terrorist attacks against the police force, churches and cafeterias. According to Amnesty International, since the beginning of the year 250 people have died in the attacks attributed to the sect. The humanitarian organization, however, also denounces the brutalities committed by the military. (L.M.)


St. Joachim


Feast: July 26


Feast Day:July 26
Patron of:Fathers, Grandparents

Joachim (whose name means Yahweh prepares), was the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we were to obey the warning of St. Peter Damian, we should consider it a blameable and needless curiosity to inquire about those things that the Evangelists did not deem it advisable to relate, and, in particular, about the parents of the Blessed Virgin (Serm. iii de Nativ. B.M.V.). Tradition nevertheless, grounded on very old testimonies, very early hailed Saints Joachim and Anne as the father and mother of the Mother of God. True, this tradition seems to rest ultimately on the so-called "Gospel of James", the "Gospel of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary", and the Pseudo-Matthew, or "Book of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Childhood of the Saviour"; and this origin is likely to rouse well-founded suspicions. It should be borne in mind, however, that the apocryphal character of these writings, that is to say, their rejection from the canon, and their ungenuineness do not imply that no heed whatever should be taken of some of their assertions; side by side, indeed, with unwarranted and legendary facts, they contain some historical data borrowed from reliable traditions or documents; and difficult though it is to distinguish in them the wheat from the tares, it would be unwise and uncritical indiscriminately to reject the whole. Some commentators, who believe that the genealogy given by St. Luke is that of the Blessed Virgin, find the mention of Joachim in Heli (Luke, iii, 23; Eliachim, i.e. Jeho-achim), and explain that Joseph had, in the eyes of the law, become by his marriage the son of Joachim. That such is the purpose and the meaning of the Evangelist is very doubtful, and so is the identification proposed between the two names Heli and Joachim. Neither can it be asserted with certainty, in spite of the authority of the Bollandists, that Joachim was Heli's son and Joseph's brother; nor, as is sometimes affirmed, from sources of very doubtful value, that he had large possessions in herds and flocks. Much more interesting are the beautiful lines in which the "Gospel of James" describes how, in their old age, Joachim and Anne received the reward of their prayers to obtain issue. Tradition has it that the parents of the Blessed Virgin, who, apparently, first lived in Galilee, came later on to settle in Jerusalem; there the Blessed Virgin was born and reared; there also they died and were buried. A church, known at various epochs as St. Mary, St. Mary ubi nata est, St. Mary in Probatica, Holy Probatica, St. Anne, was built during the fourth century, possibly by St. Helena, on the site of the house of St. Joachim and St. Anne, and their tombs were there honoured until the close of the ninth century, when the church was converted into a Moslem school. The crypt which formerly contained the holy tombs was rediscovered on 18 March, 1889.

St. Joachim was honoured very early by the Greeks, who celebrate his feast on the day following the Blessed Virgin's birthday; the Latins were slow to admit it to their calendar, where it found place sometimes on 16 Sept. and sometimes on 9 Dec. Assigned by Julius II to 20 March, the solemnity was suppressed some fifty years later, restored by Gregory XV (1622), fixed by Clement XII (1738) on the Sunday after the Assumption, and finally raised to the rank of double of the second class by Leo XIII (1 Aug., 1879).



St. Anne


Feast: July 26


Feast Day:July 26
Patron of:Housewives, women in labor, cabinet-makers, and miners

Of St. Anne we have no certain knowledge. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, and we must depend on apocryphal literature, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back only to the second century.

In this document we are told that Anne, wife of Joachim, was advanced in years and that her prayers for a child had not been answered. Once as she prayed beneath a laurel tree near her home in Galilee, an angel appeared and said to her, "Anne, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world." Anne replied, "As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life " And thus Anne became the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The devotion of St. Anne was known in the East in the fifth century, but it was not diffused in the West until the thirteenth. A shrine at Douai, in northern France, was one of the early centers of the devotion. In 1382 her feast was extended to the whole Western Church, and she became very popular, especially in France. Her two most famous shrines are at St. Anne d'Auray in Brittany and at St. Anne-de Beaupre in the province of Quebec.

She is patroness of housewives, women in labor, cabinet-makers, and miners. Her emblem is a door. St. Anne has been frequently represented in art, and the lovely face depicted by Leonardo da Vinci comes first to mind in this connection. The name Anne derives from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning "grace."

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