BENEDICT XVI TAKES HIS LEAVE OF CASTELGANDOLFO
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI made his traditional farewells to the local civil and religious authorities prior to returning to the Vatican later this week. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
"Over these months", he told his audience, "we have once again had the opportunity to admire the solicitude and generosity of the many people who provide vital assistance to me and my collaborators, as well as to the guests and pilgrims who come here to visit me. For all of this I wish to express my deep recognition to each and every one of you, who have worked to ensure my stay here was peaceful and serene".
"For my part", he concluded, "I will not fail to pray for each of you and for all your intentions, at the same time asking you to remember me in your prayers. May the Lord, rich in goodness and mercy Who never fails to give His aid to those who trust in Him, be your support".
Yesterday afternoon Benedict XVI bid farewell to staff who work at the Pontifical Villas in Castelgandolfo, thanking them for their efforts on his behalf during the period he had spent there.
"Here in this place", he said, "we live in constant contact with nature, and in an atmosphere of silence. I am happy to have this occasion to recall that both these things bring us closer to God: nature, because it is the masterpiece which emerged from the Creator's hands; silence, because it allows us to think and meditate without distraction upon what is essential to our lives. ... In a place like this it is easier to find ourselves, to listen to the inner voice, what I would call the presence of God which gives profound meaning to our lives".
The Pope concluded by thanking the staff of the Pontifical Villas for their prayers. "Christians stand out of their prayers and charity. ... Our relationship with the Lord in prayer nourishes our spirit and allows us to be increasingly generous and open in our charity towards those in need".
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday promulgated "Quaerit Semper", an Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" which modifies the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus", transferring certain functions of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to a new office established in the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. The office will deal with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of priestly ordination.
Extracts from the document are given below.
"The Holy See has always sought to adapt its structures of government to the pastoral requirements of the various historical periods that have succeeded one another in the life of the Church, modifying the organisation and functions of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia".
"In the current circumstances it seemed fitting that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments should dedicate itself chiefly to giving fresh impetus to promoting sacred liturgy in the Church, in keeping with the renewal promoted by Vatican Council II through the Constitution 'Sacrosanctum Concilium'.
"Therefore, I believe it is appropriate to transfer the function of dealing with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of priestly ordination to a new office to be created within the Tribunal of the Roman Rota".
"Articles 67 and 68 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' are abolished".
"Article 126 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' is modified to read as follows:
"1. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota is a court of higher instance at the Apostolic See, usually at the appellate stage, with the purpose of safeguarding rights within the Church; it fosters unity of jurisprudence, and, by virtue of its own decisions, provides assistance to lower tribunals.
"2. An office shall be established in this Tribunal with the task of examining the fact of non-consummation in a marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation. It receives all the acts together with the 'votum' of the bishop and the remarks of the defender of the bond, weighs them according to its own special procedure, and, if the case warrants it, submits a petition to the Supreme Pontiff requesting the dispensation.
"3. The same office is also competent to examine cases concerning the nullity of sacred ordination, in accordance with universal and specific law, 'congrua congruis referendo'".
"The office dealing with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of sacred ordination shall be moderated by the dean of the Roman Rota, with the assistance of officials, commissioners and consultors".
The new norms will come into effect as of 1 October.
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, for the Jewish festivities of Rosh Hashanah 5772 (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which fall in the months of September and October.
The Pope sends his cordial greetings to the rabbi and to all the Jewish community of Rome, expressing the hope that "these important feasts may be an occasion for many blessings from on high, and a source of infinite grace. May the desire grow in all of us to promote justice and peace in the world, which has great need of authentic witnesses of truth. May God in His goodness protect the Jewish community and allow us to deepen our friendship, both here in Rome and all over the world".
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is due to make an apostolic trip to Benin from 18 to 20 November, for the signing and publication of the Apostolic Exhortation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.
The Holy Father will depart from Rome at 9 a.m. on Friday 18 November, arriving at Cotonou at 3 p.m. Following the welcome ceremony at the airport he will visit the local cathedral.
On Saturday 19 November the Pope will meet with members of the government, representatives of State institutions, the diplomatic corps and leaders of the principal religions at the presidential palace in Cotonou. Later that morning he will visit the grave of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin in the chapel of the Seminary of St. Gall at Ouidah before going on to meet with priests, seminarians, religious and lay faithful in the seminary courtyard. He will subsequently visit Ouidah's Basilica of the Immaculate Conception where he will sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.
That afternoon Pope Benedict will visit the "Peace and Joy" house, run by the Missionaries of Charity in the parish of St. Rita in Cotonou, and meet with a group of children. At 6.15 p.m. he is due to meet the bishops of Benin at the apostolic nunciature.
On Sunday 20 November, the Pope will celebrate Mass and consign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation to the bishops of Africa at Cotonou's "Stade de l'amitie". He will then have lunch at the apostolic nunciature with members of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops before travelling to the local "Cardinal Bernardin Gantin" airport where, at 4.30 p.m., he will board his return flight to Rome.
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Given below is the text of an English-language note released today by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, concerning the publication of the theme for World Communications Day Message 2012.
"The extraordinarily varied nature of the contribution of modern communications to society highlights the need for a value which, on first consideration, might seem to stand in contradistinction to it. Silence, in fact, is the central theme for the next World Communications Day Message: 'Silence and Word: path of evangelisation'. In the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, silence is not presented simply as an antidote to the constant and unstoppable flow of information that characterises society today but rather as a factor that is necessary for its integration. Silence, precisely because it favours habits of discernment and reflection, can in fact be seen primarily as a means of welcoming the word. We ought not to think in terms of a dualism, but of the complementary nature of two elements which when they are held in balance serve to enrich the value of communication and which make it a key factor that can serve the new evangelisation. It is clearly the desire of the Holy Father to associate the theme of the next World Communications Day with the celebration of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops which will have as its own theme: 'The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith'.
"World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by Vatican Council II ('Inter Mirifica' 1963), is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2012, 20 May).
"The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (January 24)".
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Today, Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, patron of the Corps of the Gendarmerie, a commemorative ceremony will be held on the square in front of the Governorate of Vatican City State. The event will be attended by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and by a number of civil and military authorities of the Italian State.
"The Gendarmerie, in co-ordination with the Swiss Guard, are responsible for the security of the Supreme Pontiff", says a communique on the event released today. "They also function as a police force, control the territory of the State and oversee public order twenty-four hours a day, every day. ... In 2008 Vatican City Statebecame a member of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL)".
During this afternoon's ceremony Prince Sforza Ruspoli will give the Gendarmerie a flag which has been in the possession of the Sforza Ruspoli family since 1870. Yesterday, in the course of a private audience with the Holy Father, the prince gave him the flag as a gift in memory of the pontifical troops who fell in the defence ofRome in 1870. It will be put on display in the Historical Museum of the LateranPalace.
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, accompanied by an entourage.
- Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang O.F.M. Cap. of Padang, the Indonesian Episcopal Conference, on his "ad limina" visit.
Pope John Paul II gives Archbishop Philip M. Hannan a pat on the shoulder following a luncheon at the archbishop's residence during the pope's 1987 visit to New Orleans. The archbishop died Sept. 29 at 98. (CNS/courtesy Archbishop Hannan)
CNS REPORT: By Peter Finney Jr.
Catholic News Service
NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- Retired Archbishop Philip M. Hannan of New Orleans, a World War II paratroop chaplain who befriended and secretly counseled John F. Kennedy during and after his historic run for the White House as the first U.S. Catholic president, died Sept. 29 at age 98.
"Archbishop Hannan in every way was a good shepherd of the church who was modeled after Christ, not just for Catholics of New Orleans but for the whole community," Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans said in a statement.
"We will miss him, but at 98, he has lived a full life. We truly believe in faith that he will feast not just at table of the Eucharist but at the table of the Lord in heaven," he said.
Archbishop Hannan had become increasingly frail in recent months because of a series of strokes and other health problems. He moved in June from his private residence in Covington, La., to Chateau de Notre Dame, a senior apartment complex and elder care facility he first envisioned and then dedicated in 1977 to provide for seniors in archdiocese.
"From the time Archbishop Hannan came here right after Hurricane Betsy in 1965, he truly made New Orleans his home," Archbishop Aymond added. "This was his parish and his archdiocese, and it had no boundaries. He was there for anyone and everyone. That was his goal in life.
"He always quoted St. Paul, and he truly believed that his mission and ministry was to preach the Gospel untiringly both in actions and in words."
Archbishop Aymond planned to hold a noon news conference to announce funeral details.
Archbishop Hannan was the third-oldest U.S. bishop, after Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, N.J., who turned 99 July 19, and Auxiliary Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin of Brooklyn, N.Y., who will turn 99 Nov. 19. He was the last surviving U.S. bishop to have attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) as a bishop.
A staunch defender of civil rights and the unborn as well as a fierce proponent during Vatican II of the morality of nuclear deterrence, Archbishop Hannan burnished his reputation for fearlessness in 2005 by riding out Hurricane Katrina alone at age 92 in the fortresslike studios of Focus Worldwide, an offshoot of the television network he created in the 1980s.
Although the building's backup generator failed, the veteran 82nd Airborne chaplain had a ready supply of water, peanut butter and crackers -- as well as a trusty 3-wood to ward off potential looters. Five days later, he talked his way through police barricades and drove across the 24-mile causeway bridge over Lake Pontchartrain to give emotional pep talks to weary first responders.
Never the master of understatement, he called it "the easiest drive of my life."
He was ordained auxiliary bishop of Washington in 1956 and was attending the final session of Vatican II -- with the responsibility, because of his background as a Catholic newspaper editor, of coordinating the daily press briefings for English-speaking reporters -- when Pope Paul VI appointed him as the 11th archbishop of New Orleans Sept. 29, 1965.
The appointment came 20 days after Hurricane Betsy had flooded and damaged large swaths of New Orleans.
As archbishop, he endeared himself to a Catholic populace that could be wary of outsiders through his plain talk against abortion -- which drew the ire of Catholic politicians who supported keeping abortion legal -- and through his outreach to the poor, the elderly and those of other faiths.
He was a dynamo in building affordable apartments for the poor and elderly, navigating government channels to finance many of the projects. The result was Christopher Homes, the housing arm of the archdiocese that now provides thousands of affordable apartments.
In 2010, Archbishop Hannan published his memoirs, "The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots," which documented his career as a seminarian in Rome in the 1930s during the buildup to World War II, his service as a paratroop chaplain for the 82nd Airborne and his confidential relationship with Kennedy when he was an auxiliary bishop of Washington.
Archbishop Hannan and Kennedy were so close that first lady Jacqueline Kennedy asked him to deliver the eulogy at the assassinated president's funeral Mass on Nov. 25, 1963, at St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington. According to church protocol, that responsibility normally would have fallen to Washington Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle, who graciously allowed his auxiliary to deliver the eulogy.
In 1968, Archbishop Hannan returned to Washington from New Orleans to deliver the graveside eulogy at the funeral of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. In 1994, he offered graveside prayers at the interment of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in Arlington National Cemetery.
Archbishop Hannan retired one year after the historic 1987 visit of Pope John Paul II to New Orleans, an event he often called the highlight of his life as a priest.
Archbishop Hannan started educational television station WLAE in the 1980s and was still filing television reports as late as Hurricane Katrina in 2005. One week after the storm, when an Army helicopter carrying Archbishop Paul Cordes, the papal envoy, and several other bishops landed in a field in Biloxi, Miss., Archbishop Hannan -- along with his cameraman -- was waiting for them to conduct interviews for his TV show.
Born in Washington May 20, 1913, Archbishop Hannan was the fifth of eight children. His father, an Irish immigrant, came to the United States at 18 and found work as a plumber, building his trade into a flourishing business that weathered even the Great Depression.
A leader in both scholastic work and sports activities, young Philip captained the winning cadet company his senior year at St. John's College High School in Washington. As graduation approached, he startled his family by announcing that instead of taking the test for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he would enter the seminary.
He attended St. Charles College in Catonville, Md., and the Sulpician Seminary in Washington, receiving a master's degree from The Catholic University of America before going in 1936 to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he experienced firsthand the growing tensions in Europe and the preparations for World War II.
He earned a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and later earned a doctorate in canon law from Catholic University.
Ordained in Rome Dec. 8, 1939, by Bishop Ralph Hayes of Davenport, Iowa, then rector of the North American College, Father Hannan remained in Rome until the following summer, when all American seminarians were ordered by the U.S. secretary of state to leave to ensure their personal safety. He celebrated his first Mass in the United States June 16, 1940, at St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington.
He then served as assistant pastor for two years at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Baltimore.
In 1942, he volunteered as a wartime paratroop chaplain and served with the 505th Parachute Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. After cursory instructions on the ground, he took five practice jumps to earn his official status as a paratroop chaplain.
After his first jump, he was appointed "jump master" to a small crew of greenhorn jumpers and he affectionately became known as "The Jumping Padre."
In 1945, as the horrors of Nazi prisoner-of-war camps became widely known, Chaplain Hannan liberated a German camp of emaciated prisoners at Wobbelin.
After the war, Father Hannan was assistant pastor at St. Mary's Church in Washington. In 1948 he was appointed vice chancellor of the newly established Archdiocese of Washington. In 1951 he helped organize the Catholic Standard, the archdiocesan newspaper, and was its editor-in-chief for the next 14 years.
Named a bishop by Pope Pius XII, he was ordained Aug. 28, 1956, in St. Matthew Cathedral. In 1962 Bishop Hannan went to Rome for the first session of Vatican II.
Appointed to two council posts, the Committee on Government of Dioceses and the Committee on Christian Unity, Bishop Hannan also served on the U.S. bishops' conference committee established to assist secular press members covering the council's proceedings.
During the second and third sessions of the Vatican Council, Bishop Hannan addressed the council fathers twice, during the session on the role of the laity and the session nuclear warfare. The latter address persuaded the council to accept the morality of nuclear deterrence.
In New Orleans, one area in which Archbishop Hannan had the greatest impact on the community was social work. Shortly after his arrival, he walked the streets of a housing development and immediately determined the church needed to institute a social action program.
Beginning in the summer of 1966, with only 25 volunteers, the archdiocesan Social Apostolate program developed into a year-round activity at nearly a dozen centers, focusing on educational, recreational, cultural and social activities.
When the city's public swimming pools developed mysterious problems -- meaning they could not be opened for blacks and whites to swim together -- the archbishop decided to make the swimming pool at Notre Dame Seminary available to the children who attended his Summer Witness camps. Archbishop Hannan said he received some negative attention from whites but paid it no attention.
The archbishop was successful in bringing to New Orleans the Second Harvest Food Bank program, and the Elderly Supplemental Food Program.
Following the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, through Catholic Charities, was one of the leaders in the nation assisting in the resettlement of thousands of Vietnamese refugees.
In the conclusion of his autobiography, Archbishop Hannan wrote: "The road to heaven begins -- and ends -- with faith in God from whom all blessings, wisdom, tolerance, joy and forgiveness have always -- and will ever -- flow. Consequently, I have come to believe that only when we actually get to heaven will we truly understand what we accomplished here on earth -- especially when it concerns the priesthood.
"From my perspective as a priest -- I will accomplish in death what I could not in life because as priests we are most fully alive when we die," he wrote. "If we don't feel that way, we certainly have not served the cause of Christ as we were meant to. In the final spiritual analysis, to fulfill the will of God, a priest must die in life as did his own Son. And when that times comes, with the grace of God, I am ready."
Sydney Archdiocese REPORT:
26 Sep 2011
Construction at Sydney's Catholic schools as part of the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution (BER) is due to be completed within the next five to six weeks and has come in ahead of time and on budget.
The construction of new classrooms and a school hall at St Joseph's Primary School at Enfield will mark the end of the final stage of the Archdiocese's $300 million grant as part of the BER package which has seen 49 libraries, 64 halls, 17 Covered Outdoor Learning Areas, 218 classrooms and 34 science labs built at 113 of the city's 120 Catholic secondary and primary schools.
Not only do these schools now boast state of the art facilities but each structure has been individually designed to meet the specific needs of the school and its students.
With an eye to the future and the long term use of the BER constructions at its schools, the Archdiocese insisted only durable easy-to-maintain materials be used with an emphasis on natural light and space. Sustainability was also a key factor for the Archdiocese, which promoted the installation of tanks for rainwater harvesting and solar panels for energy at schools as part of the program.
The BER stimulus package for Australian schools was introduced by the then Minister for Education, Julia Gillard in 2008 to counter the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). But over the past two and a half years as the scheme got underway, the BER has become a symbol of government bungling and inefficiency with mass media headlines about millions wasted, rorting, cost overruns and lack of consultation.
A $10 million taskforce established by the Government to investigate these accusations found that in NSW less than two-thirds of the $3.4 billion allocated to the state's public primary and secondary schools went on actual construction of buildings. The remainder - a whopping 36% - was instead spent on "agency and management fees," "unique project costs" and "external works and services."
The taskforce found NSW public schools paid $3285 per square metre for classrooms while NSW Catholic schools paid less than a third of this at just $2204 per square metre for similar work.
When it came to the cost for a standard 319 square metre school library, the discrepancy was even more alarming with the NSW government paying $4860 per square metre against just $2451 per square metre for a similar library at NSW Catholic schools.
Determined to obtain value for money from its $300 million BER grant, the Archdiocese of Sydney in collaboration with the Catholic Education Office (CEO), carried out detailed planning and consultation with each of its schools before any work began.
Talking with principals, teachers, parents, local parishes and communities, the Archdiocese and CEO determined the city's 120 Catholic schools were most in need. Choosing 113 of the most run down schools, many of which were sited in areas of higher than average unemployment, architects were commissioned to design individual purpose-built facilities.
This was followed by a strict tendering process for each school which came with built in protocols to contain costs within budget estimates.
"As stewards of public funding, the CEO Sydney had a serious responsibility to deliver true value for money," says Dr Dan White, Director of Schools for the Sydney Archdiocese.
As a result, Catholic schools in Sydney are now very much schools for the 21st century. Unlike public schools under the BER scheme, and the watchful eye of Bovis Lend Lease who acted as Project Managers, there are no prefab classrooms. Instead each of the classrooms constructed at the various schools were purpose built complete with the latest in IT technology, white boards, flexible working spaces and partition screens able to change the size and shape of a classroom depending on what is being taught on the day.
While the BER program has been attacked by the Opposition in Canberra as well as the mainstream media for wastage and cost overruns, the Sydney Archdiocese and CEO have nothing but praise for what the BER grant has enabled them to achieve.
Describing the BER stimulus package as a "once in a generation event," Barry Mullins, Head of School Facilities for CEO Sydney says what would normally have taken 20 years to accomplish in terms of modernising schools and classrooms for the 21st Century, has been carried out in just two and a half years.
An NGO has launched a petition to fight against terrorism and to commemorate the Bali bombings of 2002.
In collaboration with the Association for Victims of Terrorism Bombings in Indonesia (ASKOBI) and the Communication Forum for Ex-Afghan Fighters in Indonesia (FKEAI), Lazuardi Birru, established three years ago to advocate for nonviolence and pluralism, started the petition on a 200-meter shroud yesterday during a press conference in the Park Royal Apartment in South Jakarta.
According to the NGO’s head Nugroho Wahyujatmiko, the campaign will collect signatures from people in public spaces such as universities and railway stations and will run until October 12.
The Bali bomb attacks killed 202 people and injured more than 400 others.
Wahyujatmiko said the campaign, which seeks one million signatures, aims to raise awareness of terror attacks and to encourage people to take an active part in creating harmony, peace and tolerance.
Also speaking at the press conference were Nasir Abas, former al-Qaida militant, and Ahmad S from the FKEAI.
“Terrorism, whatever the reason is, is immoral and inhumane,” Abas said at the press conference.
Ahmad added that terrorism cannot be simplified to a matter of law and security.
“No matter how sophisticated our security personnel’s and legal officers’ instruments are, we cannot fight against terrorism if we do not pull out the main causes: ideology and doctrines the terrorists have,” he said.
"There are many injured people in the inland towns, as for example in Sirte, who are then transported to Misratha" says Mgr. Martinelli, referring to one of the cities where violent fighting is still going on between the forces of the Libyan Transitional National Council and Gaddafi’s loyal fighters. "The same thing happens for the injured in Ben Walid, who must be transported to other centers because there are no hospitals in the area able to accommodate them", continues the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli. "We need doctors, nurses assistance and medicines. I am launching appeals in all directions, not only to receive aid, but also for the most seriously injured to be hospitalized in Italy or elsewhere", concludes Mgr. Martinelli. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 29/09/2011)
St. Michael, St. Gabriel, & St. Raphael
Feast: September 29
The Sacred Scriptures have revealed the proper names of only three Angels, all of whom belong to the Choir of the Archangels. The names are well known to all, namely: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. Ancient apocryphal literature of the Old Testament contains several other names of Archangels in addition to the three just mentioned. Like the sources themselves, these other names are spurious. Names like Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jeremiel are not found in the canonical books of Sacred Scripture, but in the apocryphal book of Enoch, fourth book of Esdras, and in rabbinical literature. The Church does not permit proper names of Angels that are not found in the canonical books of the Bible. All such names that were taken from apocryphal writings were rejected under Pope Zachary, in 745. There must have been danger of serious abuses in this regard during that century, because a similar step was taken in a synod held at Aix-la-Chapelle in 789.
THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL
Michael from the Hebrew
As the proper name of one of the great Archangels, the word Michael appears for the first time in the book of the prophet Daniel, where he is called: "Michael, one of the chief princes," and again: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."
The name "Archangel" is given only to Saint Michael, even though sacred tradition and the liturgy of the Church attribute the same title to Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael: "When Michael, the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee." In spite of such an explicit testimony of the Scripture, a few writers have maintained that Saint Michael, because of his exalted position among the Angels, must belong to a much higher order, perhaps to that of the Seraphim, rather than to the order of Archangels. We do not believe that this opinion can be defended. The exalted position occupied by Saint Michael can be explained by the fact that, even though he belongs to a relatively low order by nature, his outstanding zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of his fellow Angels, at the time of Satan's rebellion, merited him such glory and power as to equal and even to excel through grace such celestial spirits that belong to a much higher Choir by nature. If we remember, ie Angels lived through a period of probation during which they could merit each according to his works. The great variety of merit explains, in addition to other natural elements, the great difference in their glory and in their power.
Father Joseph Husslein points out that the Church calls Saint Michael "Prince of the heavenly hosts"-
According to Gustav F. Oehler, "this name: Michael-Who is as God?-of the prince of the Angels does not imply merely a humble acknowledgment on the part of the Angel, but it is rather an actual assertion concerning the Angel himself. The name thus expresses the irresistibility of him to whom God gives the power to execute His behests."
Saint Michael has always been the warrior Angel, fighting first Satan and his demons from the beginning, then, in the course of time, all the enemies of God's own People. He is "the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." As of old, so today, Saint Michael is the great defender of the Church of Christ on earth.
The now famous problem, "The Angel of the Lord,"
Saint Michael who had defended and protected God's children in the spirit world, was to extend the same protection to the human children of God here on earth. Surrounded and threatened as they were by hostile pagan nations, over which Satan had established his tyrannical rule, Saint Michael could not remain indifferent to this new form of seduction and rebellion introduced by his archenemy among the children of men. As long as Satan persists in his attacks, the heavenly champion, the Prince of the heavenly hosts will continue to shatter his plans with the war cry of old: "Who is as God?" In the Old Testament, therefore, Saint Michael is the Angel par excellence, the Angel of the Lord, the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites.
At times, especially in the book of Exodus, this "Angel of the Lord" is called simply, the Lord; as for example in this passage, "And the Lord went before them to show the way by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire, that he might be the guide of their journey at both times." He who is called "the Lord" in this passage, is mentioned again in the same capacity as the "Angel of God" in the following passage: "And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, leaving the forepart, stood behind, between the Egyptian camp and the camp of Israel, and it was a dark cloud, and enlightening the night." This very clever military maneuver dearly shows the strategy of the Prince of heavenly hosts.
As the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites, and God's special legate to His people, Saint Michael is introduced with words which reveal the great divine love and solicitude of the Lord, together with man's duties towards Guardian Angels in general: "Behold I will send my Angel who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned, for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee."
The other opinion which holds that the expression the "Angel of the Lord" is not really an Angel, or Saint Michael, but the Word of God (the Logos) God Himself, is now regarded as a mere conjecture and a rather obsolete opinion.
Several apparitions of the Archangel Michael have been reported during the Christian centuries. One of the most outstanding of all such apparitions is the one which is commemorated in the universal Church on May 8. The Archangel Saint Michael appeared on Mount Gargano in Apulia, South Italy, in the days of Pope Gelasius (492- 496). A shrine was erected in the cave of the apparition and it became the goal of devout pilgrimages in subsequent centuries. Another feast in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel, on September 29, formerly known as
In the liturgy of the Mass Saint Michael is regarded as the Angel who leads the souls of the faithful departed to heaven: "Deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell engulf them not, that they fall not into darkness; but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light."
Saint Michael is invoked in a particular manner in the prayers recited at the foot of the altar after Mass: "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, etc." This particular prayer is a condensed form of the general exorcism against Satan and all the evil spirits, published by Pope Leo XIII.
As long as God's children are exposed to the attacks of Satan in this world, Saint Michael's battle cry: "Who is like God?" will continue to scare and shatter all the forces of evil, and his powerful intervention in the struggle in behalf of the children of God will never cease.
THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL
The name Gabriel seems to be composed of the Hebrew words,
Practically all the missions and manifestations of this Archangel are closely connected with the coming of the Messias. The most accurate prophecy regarding the time of the coming of Christ was made by Saint Gabriel through the prophet Daniel.
Immediately before the coming of Christ we meet the Archangel Gabriel in the temple of Jerusalem, announcing to Zachary the birth of a son, John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ: "I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings."
The greatest and by far the most joyful message ever committed to an Angel from the beginning of time, was the one brought by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, announcing to her the Incarnation of the Word of God and the birth of Christ, the Savior of mankind. The simplicity and heavenly grandeur of this message, as related to us by her who was the only witness to Gabriel's good tidings, should be read in full in order to understand the sublime and delicate mission of Gabriel in the work of human redemption.
It is the first time that a prince of the court of heaven greets an earthly child of God, a young woman, with a deference and respect a prince would show to his Queen. That Angel's flight to the earth marked the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new covenant, the fulfillment of God's promises to His people: The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary."
Heavenly wisdom, tact, adroitness are evident in Gabriel's conversation with the Virgin Mary: "The Angel being come in said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Gabriel must overcome Mary's reaction of surprise at both his appearance and especially at his "manner of salutation." He has to prepare and dispose her pure virginal mind to the idea of maternity, and obtain her consent to become the mother of the Son of God. Gabriel nobly fulfills this task: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God." He calls her by her own name in order to inspire confidence and to show affection and solicitude in her perturbation. The great message is presented to her as a decree of the Most High God, a thing ordained in the eternal decree of the Incarnation, predicted centuries before by the prophets, and announced now to her as an event of imminent occurrence depending on her consent: "Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." From these words of the Angel, it became very evident to Mary that her son was to be the promised Messias, the Son of David. But she did not know how to reconcile her vow of virginity with the promised motherhood, hence her question: "How shall this be done, because I know not man." Gabriel's reply shows that God wanted to respect Mary's vow of virginity and thus make her a mother without a human father, in a unique and miraculous way: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."
As a last word of encouragement and, at the same time, a most gratifying information, the Archangel reveals to Mary that her elderly and barren cousin Elizabeth is now an expectant mother in her sixth month of pregnancy. This final argument was offered in order "to prove that nothing can be impossible with God."
Mary, unshaken in her profound humility, replied: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." This reply was Mary's consent, a consent awaited by heaven and earth. The Archangel Gabriel departed from Mary to bring to all the Angels the glorious tidings of the Incarnation of the Word.
It seems very probable that Gabriel, the Archangel of the Annunciation, was given special charge of the Holy Family of Nazareth. He was probably the Angel who brought "good tidings of great joy" to the shepherds "keeping night watches over their flock," the night that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. We notice, on this occasion, the same procedure of first assuaging fear and surprise, as had been the case at Mary's Annunciation by Gabriel: "Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.... This day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." Who else could be the messenger of such good tidings, but he who had promised them through the prophet Daniel, and announced them to Mary, Gabriel the Archangel?
Having delivered the joyful message, the Archangel is joined suddenly by a vast multitude of the heavenly hosts, singing for the first time in this valley of tears the canticle of the celestial Sion. It was fitting that the Archangel of Redemption should intone the canticle of human redemption: "Suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will."
Gabriel's duties towards the Messias did not come to an end with his birth. Gabriel was probably the Angel who "appeared in sleep to Joseph," first in Bethlehem when he warned him saying: "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I shall tell you. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him." After the death of Herod the Angel appeared to Joseph again in Egypt to tell him to bring the child and his mother back into the land of Israel.
Gabriel who is "the strength of God" must have been the Angel mentioned by Saint Luke, in his narrative of Christ's agony in the garden: "And there appeared to him an Angel from heaven, strengthening him." It was fitting that the Angel who had witnessed the Savior's agony, and who had announced His coming to both the Old and New Testament, should also be the first to announce to the world the Savior's Resurrection, His triumph over sin and death on Easter morning: "An Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow."
It is very probable that the Archangel Gabriel is meant when Saint Paul speaks of the second coming of Christ at the end of the world, when Saint Michael's struggle with Satan shall be over, and when all the physical and spiritual remedies of Saint Raphael are needed no more. It would seem that of the three
Archangels known to us, Saint Gabriel is the one who with a mighty voice will call the dead to life and to judgment: "The Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first." The voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God seem to be the same thing, having the purpose to convey the divine command to the dead to rise again by the power of the Almighty God. The resurrection of "the dead who are in Christ" is the harvest, the gathering of the fruits of Redemption. Gabriel, who helped along during the long day of man's life on earth, in preparing man for the work of Redemption by the Messias, would seem to be the first among the Angels who are sent out to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth.
THE ARCHANGEL RAPHAEL
Raphael, from the Hebrew
The history of Tobias, father and son, contains the grandest angelophany of the whole Bible, and it all revolves around the manifestation of the Archangel Raphael under the assumed name and form of a beautiful young man named Azarias. At the very end of his long mission the Archangel revealed his own identity and his real name, together with the actual purpose of his mission: "And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord." In this angelophany, Saint Raphael reveals himself as a divine healer not only of physical infirmities, the blindness of old Tobias, but also of spiritual afflictions and diabolical vexations, as in the case of Sara, young Tobias' wife. Had not the Archangel resorted to an assumed human form and personality, it might not have been possible for him to consort in such a familiar way with men, for several consecutive weeks, because of the instinctive fear that man experiences in the presence of celestial beings. Had either father or son, or both, known the real identity of the stranger, from the beginning, the Angelic mission could not have been accomplished in the charming human way in which it was actually carried out. However, the assumed form, and especially the assumed name and paternity-"Azarias the son of the great Ananias"-has been regarded by some as a sort of deception and a lie. However, the perfect sanctity of the Angels is opposed to even the appearance of sin and deception, even to what we call a white lie. In order to carry out his mission, it was necessary for the Angel to assume a form perceptible to man, a human form and a human name. In this case he assumed the appearance of an Israelite, a young relative of Tobias himself. By divine command the Archangel was to act as proxy for that young Israelite, Azarias, whose name he took; hence there was no lie on his part when he gave the name of the person he was representing in his human form. His true identity was revealed at the close of his mission, and whatever misconception had been created in the minds of the various persons he had met, was completely removed, and these were then grateful to the Archangel not only for his many benefits but also for his consideration in dealing with them like a human being. Besides, the Archangel was not hiding a human name and personality and giving another instead; in taking the place of Azarias he could in all truth call himself Azarias.
The story of the Archangel Raphael and the two Tobias' is too beautiful and too instructive for us to dismiss it with a simple reference: it reveals how Angels act when in human form; their Angelic nature, their power, wisdom, holiness are made manifest in the various incidents of this charming narrative. The Archangel is God's legate, he carries out God's plan acting as an instrument of Divine Providence, and Divine Goodness.
The old, charitable, and pious man Tobias is blind and feels that his days are numbered. He gives his young son Tobias some godly admonitions and tells him of some money he had lent to Gabelus of the city of Rages in Media, many years back, for which he had a regular note with Gabelus' signature. He wants his son to go and collect that money, but he first wants him to find a man to accompany him on the long journey: "Go now and seek thee out some faithful man, to go with thee for his hire, that thou may receive it, while I yet live."
While this was going on in Tobias' home, Heaven was listening in and preparing the companion, the "faithful man" young Tobias was looking for. The Lord gave the Archangel Raphael the command to appear as a young man named Azarias, to accompany young Tobias to the land of the Medes, and to bring peace and happiness to two God-fearing but very unhappy families. As the young man stepped out of his house in search of a companion, one morning, the Archangel Raphael was there as if waiting for him, in the disguise of "a beautiful young man." "And not knowing that he was an Angel of God, he saluted him, and said: From whence art thou, good young man? But he answered: Of the children of Israel." In a very short time the Archangel informed young Tobias that he knew the road to Gabelus, and knew Gabelus himself, having spent some time there; he knew all that country very well. Tobias could hardly believe in such a happy coincidence. Immediately he took his new friend and companion and returned to his blind father. The Angel who well knew the purpose of his mission, implicitly announced it in his words of greeting directed to the blind old man, when he said: "Joy be to thee always!"
Not knowing who was he who wished him joy, old Tobias replied: "What manner of joy shall be to me, who sit in darkness, and see not the light of heaven." Here the Archangel Raphael became more explicit, making both a promise and a prophecy: "Be of good courage, thy are from God [God heals, was Raphael's own name] is at hand." He could not say more without engendering suspicion and betraying his own identity. Old Tobias regarded those kind words as an expression of good will and paid no particular attention to them; he had heard such expressions so often in the past. His interest is now in the voyage of his son, and he wants to know in whose hands he is committing the life of his only child and part of his own fortune. Upon hearing that the young guide is no less than Azarias, the son of the great Ananias, he remarks: "Thou art of a great family." Old Tobias, like his kinsman Gabelus, later on in this story, expresses his belief in the protection and guidance of guardian Angels. Not knowing that an Archangel is actually accompanying his son, he says: "May you have a good journey, and God be with you on your way, and his Angel accompany you." Had this circumstance been known to him, both he and his wife would have been spared all the worry and the sleepless nights during the long absence of their son. One thought, however, sustained the mind of old Tobias during his waiting: "Our son is safe: that man with whom we sent him is very trustworthy."
How carefree, and how joyful must have been that journey for young Tobias. To travel in the happy company of an Angel! He knew the road so well. He was never in doubt about anybody or anything they met on the road; always cheerful, never tired or sleepy; so sweet and kind in his conversation, yet always full of respect and attention. He was deeply spiritual and profoundly devout in his prayers, pure in all his words and actions. How true and inspired were the words of old Tobias when, comforting his weeping wife, he said to her: "I believe that the good Angel of God doth accompany him, and doth order all things well that are about him, so that he shall return to us with joy."
The sacred text remarks that when young Tobias started on his journey with his Angel companion, his pet dog followed him all the way to the East. Tobias was one of the thousands of Israelites living in the Babylonian captivity. Some of them had settled down in neighboring provinces, such as Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Media. It was exactly in this last province of Media that Tobias' kinsman Raguel lived with his family. This was not really the goal of his trip to the East, but it was here that God and His Angel wanted him to go; whereas his father had sent him to collect his money from Gabelus in the city of Rages in the mountains of Ecbatana, in Media. The Angel by diverting his trip accomplished more fully his mission, bringing unexpected joy and happiness to three families.
Having left his home town, the great city of Ninive, that morning, Tobias and his guide reached the river Tigris just before dark. They decided to spend that night by the bank of the Tigris. Here the Archangel Raphael began to reveal medical knowledge and experience. At the same time he provided food for that evening and for the rest of the journey. Weary of walking all day, young Tobias went to wash his feet in the cool water of the river before retiring. Here the sight of a monstrous fish that seemed to be coming up to devour him, frightened him exceedingly and made him cry for help: "Sir, he cometh upon me !" The Angelic guide, without coming to his rescue, instructed him on what to do, both giving him directions and inspiring him with confidence. At the end of the first day young Tobias had not yet acquired familiarity with his guide, so he calls him, Sir. Later he will call him brother. When the monstrous fish had been successfully drawn out of the river, it was cut open, roasted, and salted. "Take out the entrails of this fish," ordered the Angel, "and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee, for these are necessary for useful medicines." These, no doubt, may have seemed strange medicines to young Tobias and he wanted to know when and how to use them. Here he begins to show more confidence and affection for the heavenly guide: "I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish." The Angel explains the medical virtue of those parts of the fish. More practical details are imparted as the proper time for their use approaches. The liver of the fish was needed as a material ingredient for an exorcism in order to free Tobias' future wife Sara from the evil influence of the devil; the gall was to be used for the cure of the blindness of old Tobias.
The Archangel Raphael had been sent by God to cure and comfort two afflicted souls, old Tobias and Raguel's young daughter Sara, the widow of seven husbands, all of whom had died on the first night following their wedding to her.
As night was falling, at the end of another day of their long journey, young Tobias turning to his guide asked him the customary question: "Where wilt thou that we lodge ?" Here begins the first part of Raphael's mission. He must induce young Tobias to marry Sara, Raguel's daughter, and at the same time deliver her from all diabolical influence and vexation. This was a very delicate matter, for sinister rumors about this young dame, as being the cause of death to seven husbands, had reached Ninive and young Tobias himself knew all about her and was deathly afraid of associating with her. At the question of where to lodge for the night, Raphael had proposed to put up at Raguel's and for Tobias to propose to Sara, his own cousin. "I hear," answered Tobias, "that she hath been given to seven husbands, and they all died; moreover I have heard, that a devil killed them." Imagine this young man, now, going to ask for the hand of such a dame! The Archangel Raphael obtained just that, and what is more, their marriage was a very happy one, blessed with good health and long life, so that they both saw their children's children to the fifth generation. The instructions on marital union given by the Archangel Raphael to young Tobias on this occasion remain an ideal of moral perfection for married couples for all time. Prayer, continence, and pure intention dispose the soul for God's blessings and thwart all influence of the evil spirit. Young Tobias listened intently to his heavenly guide and later carried out his instructions most faithfully, first repeating them to his bride: "We are the children of the saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God."
Amid the charming and intimate family reunion in Raguel's home, described in chapter seven of the book of Tobias, an unseen struggle goes on in the spirit world. Young Azarias (the Archangel Raphael) absents himself for a very short while from the gathering of the family and friends in order to attend to a very important business of his own. During those few minutes, Raphael, in the name and with the power of God, "took the devil, and bound him in the desert of upper Egypt." This devil Asmodeus, who had caused so much sorrow to Sara and her family, was Satan himself. With the exile of the spirit of evil, joy, peace and all blessings came to Raguel's home. Having attended to his business, young Azarias returned and took his place at the wedding feast, while actually contemplating the face of the Father Who is in heaven. The following morning, leaving Tobias there with his happy bride, he continues on the journey, accompanied by four servants and two camels. He finally found Gabelus and collected the money for old Tobias and, on his return, he took Gabelus to the wedding feast of his kinsman young Tobias.
The last part of the mission entrusted to Raphael the Archangel was now to follow. Having brought joy and happiness to Sara and all her family, it was time to bring a similar and even greater joy to old Tobias and his wife. The slow pace of the caravan that accompanied the bride to Ninive did not suit the Archangel who well knew the pain and the worries of Tobias' old parents: "Brother Tobias," said the Archangel, thou knowest how thou didst leave thy father. If it please thee, let us go before, and let the family follow softly after us, together with thy wife and with the beasts." Tobias agreed and taking with himself the gall of the fish, he and the Angel began to advance with much greater speed, the dog following them. It was time now to give the final instruction as to the use of the gall: "As soon as thou shalt come into the house, forthwith adore the Lord thy God, and giving thanks to Him, go to thy father and kiss him, and immediately anoint his eyes with this gall of the fish.... Thy father shall see the light of heaven, and shall rejoice in the sight of thee."
In the meantime Tobias' old mother was waiting for her son, sitting daily on top of a hill, scanning the horizon for a sign of her son and his guide. Finally one day Tobias' pet dog, running ahead brought the joyful news to the afflicted parents by his fawning and wagging his tail. All these human and earthly elements blend beautifully with the heavenly in this charming story of Angels and men.
Everything happened as promised by the Angel. Old Tobias regained his sight. At this point the heart of young Tobias was filled with gratitude, love, and admiration for his wonderful guide; so many and so great were the benefits received through him. Having witnessed the miraculous cure of his father he could find no words to express his feelings: "We are filled with all good things through him," he kept telling his father. Old Tobias understood that it was God Who was actually working all these marvels through young Azarias, and thus, full of reverence, he calls the young guide a holy man: "What can we give to this holy man, that is come with thee?"
The Lord never permits man to remain in error because of the disguise assumed by His ministering spirits in any of their apparitions. Sooner or later the truth about them will be made manifest. For several weeks in succession, the Archangel Raphael had been acting under assumed human form and human name. Now that his mission has been happily completed, he begins to prepare his two friends, father and son, for a great surprise, the revelation of his real self. At the moment that they both humbly approach him offering one half of everything that had been brought home as payment for his service, young "Azarias" answers with a wonderful explanation of why God has so blessed them. He recalls to the mind of old Tobias all the good he did in his days, his charity, his mercy, his patience, his alms, and his tearful prayers. Thus he begins to reveal himself gradually in order not to frighten them with a sudden disclosure. The enumeration of all the good deeds and of secrets of conscience known only to God are the first step in this revelation; the second is the statement: "Now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil." The third and final step was liable to trouble and frighten them, hence he begins with comforting and reassuring words: "Peace be to you; fear not." As he said this, both father and son fell upon the ground on their faces, for suddenly the human form of Azarias was transfigured into that of an Archangel of light and beauty, and the final revelation came: "I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord . . . when I was with you I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him." This is the only reward that he will accept, but none of the material things, money and cattle and clothes offered him generously by his good friends. Yet, these could still entertain some doubts, because they had seen him eat and drink like any other human being, and Angels do not eat and drink as men do. To this secret doubt he answers with saying: "I seemed indeed to eat and to drink with you, but I use an invisible meat and drink, which cannot be seen by men." Now that his work has been done, and that they know that God has sent His Angel to fill them with blessings, it is time for him to return to Heaven: "It is time therefore that I return to him that sent me; but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works." Here the Archangel returned to his invisible form, and from the company of men returned to that of the Angels.
Raphael, the Divine healer, seems to have been at work at Jerusalem, in the days of Christ our Lord, in the pool called Bethsaida by the Sheepgate. In the five porticoes surrounding that pool there was a multitude of sick people, waiting for the action of the Angel upon the water of the pool, an action which cured immediately any person who first descended into the pool: "An Angel of the Lord used to come down at certain times into the pool and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pool after the motion of the water, was cured of whatever infirmity he had."
The health-giving ministry of Saint Raphael may still be seen in the miraculous cures that have taken place up to our own times in many of the sacred Shrines throughout the Christian world.