Friday, January 27, 2012



VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received participants in the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whom he thanked for their service to the Church, particularly in view of the forthcoming Year of Faith. "As we know", he said in his remarks to them, "in vast areas of the earth the faith risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel. We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of a religious sense which represents one of the greatest challenges for the Church today. The renewal of faith must, then, be a priority for the entire Church in our time. I hope that the 'Year of Faith' may contribute ... to restoring God's presence in this world, and to giving man access to the faith, enabling him to entrust himself to the God Who, in Jesus Christ, loved us to the end". (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

All this, Benedict XVI explained, is closely associated with the question of Christian unity, and he turned to consider certain doctrinal issues related to the Church's ecumenical journey. "Today", he said, "we see the many good fruits that have emerged from ecumenical dialogue. Yet we must also recognise that the risks of indifference and of false Irenicism, completely alien to the mindset of Vatican Council II, require us to be vigilant. Such indifference is caused by the increasingly widespread opinion that truth is not accessible to man and that, therefore, we must limit ourselves to finding rules to improve this world. In this scenario, faith comes to be replaced by a shallow-rooted moralism. By contrast, the core of true ecumenism is faith, in which man encounters the truth revealed in the Word of God. Without faith the entire ecumenical movement would be reduced to a kind of 'social contract' to which we adhere out of shared interests. The logic of Vatican Council II was quite different", holding that "the sincere search for the full unity of all Christians is a dynamic process animated by the Word of God".

The Holy Father went on to highlight a "crucial problem running through all ecumenical dialogue: ... the question of the structure of revelation; that is, the relationship between Holy Scripture, the living tradition of Holy Church and the ministry of the successors of the Apostles as witness of the true faith. It is vital to discern between Tradition and traditions", he said. One important step in this direction has been the recent implementation of measures concerning groups of Anglican faithful who wish to enter into communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining their own traditions. "There exists, in fact, a spiritual richness in the carious Christian confessions, which is an expression of the one faith and a gift to be shared", the Pope said.

The methodology followed in the various forms of ecumenical dialogue must also reflect the priority of the faith. "Even controversial issues must be faced courageously, while always maintaining a spirit of fraternity and mutual respect. Moreover, it is important to offer a correct interpretation of that 'hierarchy of truths' in Catholic doctrine, as defined in the Decree 'Unitatis redintegratio'".

On the subject of the documents that have emerged from various ecumenical dialogues, the Pope explained that "they are the important, though provisional, fruits of shared reflections". But he also pointed out that "they must be given their correct status as contributions presented to the competent authorities of the Church, which alone is called to pass definitive judgement on them".

Benedict XVI also referred to the moral issue, saying: "In our dialogues we cannot overlook the great moral questions about human life, the family, sexuality, bioethics, freedom, justice and peace. It is important to speak on these issues with a single voice, drawing on the fundamentals contained in Scripture and in living tradition. ... By defending the fundamental values of the great tradition of the Church, we defend man and we defend the creation".

In conclusion, the Holy Father reaffirmed that unity is "a means towards, almost a precondition for, the increasingly credible announcement of the faith to people who do not yet know the Saviour".
AC/ VIS 20120127 (710)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, has written a message for the fifty-ninth World Leprosy Day, which falls on Sunday 29 January. The message is entitled: "In the Fight Against Hansen's Disease the Commitment of All Men of Good Will in Required".

Extracts from the English-language version of the message are given below:

"Mycobacterium Leprae has not as yet been eradicated, even though the official number of new cases of the infection continues to decrease and at the present time are about 200,000, according to the estimates of the World Health Organisation for the years 2010-2011. In addition to supporting the free distribution of those drugs and medicines that are required, one should, therefore, further promote speedy diagnosis and perseverance in receiving therapies. It is of fundamental importance, furthermore, that the work directed towards sensitising and training communities and families that run the risk of contagion be strengthened.

"The Gospel phrase 'Stand and go; your faith has saved you', chosen by the Holy Father Benedict XVI as the theme for the twentieth World Day of the Sick which will be held on 11 February of this year throughout the world, constitutes an exploration and a call that touches in a particular way those who have been afflicted by this infection; in this passage from St. Luke, indeed, we are told about ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, readmitted to the community and reintegrated into the social and occupational fabric.

"As is emphasised by the Holy Father in his Message for this year, 'help us to become aware of the importance of faith for those who, burdened by suffering and illness, draw near to the Lord. In their encounter with him they can truly experience that he who believes is never alone! God, indeed, in his Son, does not abandon us to our anguish and sufferings, but is close to us, helps us to bear them, and wishes to heal us in the depths of our hearts".

"This love, which is also expressed through individual action and through Church institutions and volunteer organisations, amongst which the Raoul Follereau Foundation and the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta, as well as the successes that have been obtained hitherto in terms of a strong reduction in the number of people infected by this disease, certainly do not exempt governments and international organisations from increasing the attention they pay to, and their work to combat, the spread of leprosy, or from their responsibilities as regards prevention, in educational and hygiene/health-care terms, and the 'readmission' of people who have been cured, as well as support for all the victims of infection".

"Those who have attained a cure can ... communicate all their interior riches and experience and at the same time, in helping their neighbour, all their dignity and profundity as people touched by suffering and involved in working for the health of the community to which they belong.

"This will amount to a further and relevant contribution to progress in the fight against Hansen's disease which for millennia has constituted a terrible scourge and involved automatic exclusion from society. Indeed, only the involvement of everyone - and at all levels - will allow the transformation of leprosy from being a threat and a scourge into being a memory, however frightening, of the past".
CON-AVA/ VIS 20120127 (570)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2012 (VIS) - A note released today announces that the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel held its plenary session at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs yesterday, to carry on negotiations pursuant to the Fundamental Agreement, article 10 paragraph 2, dealing with economic and fiscal matters.

The meeting was presided by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States, and by Daniel Ayalon, Israeli deputy minister for foreign affairs. Today's communique states that "the negotiations took place in an open, friendly and constructive atmosphere. Substantive progress was made on issues of significance".

The parties agreed on the next steps towards the conclusion of the Agreement, and to hold their next plenary meeting on 11 June in the Vatican.
OP/ VIS 20120127 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Bishop Francesco Cavina of Carpi, Italy, accompanied by members of his family.
AP/ VIS 20120127 (40)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Msgr. Julio Murat, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio to Zambia, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Karsiyaka, Turkey in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986. He entered the Holy See diplomatic service in 1994 and has served in Indonesia, Pakistan, Belarus and Austria.

- Msgr. Santo Gangemi, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio to the Solomon Islands, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Messina, Italy in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986. He entered the Holy See diplomatic service in 1991 and has served in Morocco, Italy, Romania, Cuba, Chile, France, Spain and Egypt.

- Msgr. Luciano Russo, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Lusciano, Italy in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1988. He entered the Holy See diplomatic service in 1993 and has served in Papua New Guinea, Honduras, Syria, Brazil, Netherlands, U.S.A. and Bulgaria.


By Ed West on Friday, 27 January 2012
Mulryne during his Manchester United days (Tom Honan/EMPICS Sport)
A former Manchester United footballer is training to become a priest. Phil Mulryne, who was once a teammate of Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, has enrolled at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
The former Northern Ireland international midfielder was invited into the priesthood by Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor after leaving the sport and becoming involved in charitable activities.
Mulryne, 34, began his career with the Manchester United youth team in 1994, but despite great talent found it hard to find a first team place in one of the most famous English league sides of all times, with Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt all playing in similar positions. He joined Norwich in 1999 and eventually had spells with Ipswich Town, Barnsley, Leyton Orient and Polish side Legia Warsaw.
During his time as a footballer Mulryne dated a model, Nicola Chapman, and was once sent home from the Northern Ireland squad in 2005 after breaking a curfew to go drinking. His career was cut short in 2008 by injury, and he decided to return to Ireland.
However since returning home and becoming involved in charity work he turned his life around. Former Norwich teammate Paul McVeigh said he had visited his friend in Rome and was surprised by the change.
Mr McVeigh said: “To my amazement, and most likely to the rest of the footballing fraternity’s, Phil decided to train to become a Catholic priest.
“I was still in contact with him and knew that he had turned his life around and was doing a lot of charitable work and helping the homeless on a weekly basis. Still, it was a complete shock that he felt this was his calling.
“I know for a fact that this is not something he took lightly as the training to be ordained as a Catholic priest consists of a two-year philosophy degree, followed by a four-year theology degree and only after that will he finally be qualified as a priest.
“When I arrived in Rome, I was met by a very contented-looking Phil who took me back to the Irish college where he was to be based for the next four years.”
Mulryne’s mother Sally said the decision to follow his vocation was a “big decision”.


CBN REPORTS: Victims for the Long Haul
At the same time, grassroots activists are springing up in and around churches around the country. They want to help fight trafficking and many are interested in opening shelters.
CBN News recently visited one of the few faith-based shelters in the United States. Hope House is located in a remote area of North Carolina and its pioneering work in both finding victims and helping them recover is drawing attention.
Hope's Shelter
Emily Fitchpatrick is the founder and president of the Asheville-based On Eagles Wings Ministries. After witnessing trafficking overseas on a short-term missions trip she felt called to start a shelter back home.
Alongside a group of supporters she founded Hope House in 2009. The voluntary program is supported entirely by private donations and its work is intense.
"You're dealing with a very hardened situation," board member John Parrish said. "You're dealing with the face of evil and it is just very, very hard."
"It's not about numbers. It's about one on one, it's about face to face," he said. "It's about one to two years that you're talking about in terms of redemptive process with this."
Hope House averages seven to 10 victims a year. They are often referred by law enforcement and come from all over the country.
They stay typically for seven or eight months. Staff and volunteers mentor and counsel them. They also help with home-schooling, driving to therapy appointments, and engaging in new-found hobbies like jewelry making.
The Long Haul
Fitchpatrick said she's often besieged by requests for information from church groups wanting to start their own programs. She emphasizes that the work is difficult and the commitment must run deep.
"You actually have more days when you feel like, 'Why are we doing this?'" she said.
A big reason is the severity of the trauma the girls have endured.
"We've seen girls that have had pimps that love them one minute [and then] are putting hot irons on their backs the next," Fitchpatrick said. "They tell us they've been locked in car trunks, burned with cigarettes, starved-only given Gatorade and saltine crackers because they were being punished."
Fitchpatrick said the aim with these victims then is to begin to stabilize them and help them learn healthy boundaries and self-esteem.
Ultimately, the staff hopes the girls will believe in Jesus Christ as the only one who can truly change them.
Calling for Hope
Fitchpatrick's desire to help trafficking victims led her to start a pioneering phone-call ministry last year called Rahab's Hope.
Rahab's Hope trains volunteers to make calls to girls advertised on Internet "escort" websites.
"The ad says they're escorts but they're not--so when we started looking at the ads we started getting really frustrated like, 'Where are these girls? Why are they on here? Who's controlling them?'" Fitchpatrick said.
"We saw ads that had young girls and their face was blurred, so to us that meant she could have been a minor," she explained."And we saw ads that said she was 19 and she looked every bit of 12 to 13 years old."
Volunteers with Rahab's Hope use a script that discreetly identifies the extent that a pimp may be controlling a girl. It asks questions like, "Do you get to talk to your family?" and "Can we contact anyone for you?"
Volunteers also work with a list of resources to provide to girls needing shelter or help finding a job or going to school.
They also rely on prayer partners that intercede for every call.
"We have to approach it very gently, very openly - just whatever your needs are, we're here," Fitchpatrick said. "If they're not ready to leave, there's nothing we can do about that.
"But I've had girls say, 'I'm not ready to leave but I'll take your number,'" she said. "And they've called later and said, 'I'm ready.'"
Rescue One by One
Many girls are not even free to talk, so controlled by their pimps that they have to hang up. But since it started last year, Rahab's Hope has spoken with close to 1,000 victims in 19 cities.
It partners with law enforcement and in the last year has helped rescue four girls.
Many are brain-washed and deny that they're even being trafficked. Others are able to admit the horror of their world.
"We've had girls who, as soon as we say, 'Is there anything I can pray for you?' burst into tears. 'I hate what I'm doing. I hate this,'" Managing Director Kim Kern said.
On the night that CBN News visited, Kern spoke with just such a victim. She told Kern that she's six months pregnant.
"That must be really hard to work when you're pregnant," Kern said. She was able to pray with "Ashley" and help her think through how she might get out.
After she hung up, Kern was overcome with emotion, telling her prayer partner "that was awesome."
The Marathon Journey
In an adjacent room, volunteer Michelle Kent encouraged another victim who shared her dream of getting out and going back to school.
"I can tell by talking with you that you're right on and you're a very smart woman and you can achieve anything that you would set your mind to. You know I can tell. I can hear it-I can hear it in your voice," Kent told her.
For both Rahab's Hope and Hope House, the journey of finding, rescuing, and beginning to restore victims is no sprint. It's more like a marathon for each girl.
The trauma they've endured is hard to imagine. But these workers say each rescue and restoration is worth the time and cost.


UCAN REPORT|: Suicide of teenager sparks anti-violence campaign as rights law meets opposition staff, Seoul
January 27, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Religions unite against school bullies
Religious leaders appealing for an end to school violence (photo: Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education)
Religious leaders have agreed to join forces to try and combat the growing menace of bullying at school following the suicide of a middle school student in Daegu in December.
Although suicides are not uncommon in Korea the death of the boy, surnamed Kim, made headlines because of the long suicide note he left his parents expressing his love for them and what he was subjected to before leaping to his death from a window at his apartment.
In his note the 14-year-old Kim said he was beaten and underwent “water torture” at the hands of two other boys who would follow him home every day and abuse him.
The case has sparked a great deal of soul-searching in over the issue of bullying in schools and has also prompted leaders from the country’s six main religions to issue an appeal yesterday calling for a joint effort to end what many now see as a growing problem.
Their appeal came in the form of an open letter which they read out at a meeting yesterday at the Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education.
“All of us should regret our wrongdoings because we have neglected suffering students and school violence,” they said.
“Every effort will be made to come up with ways to prevent school violence,” they added.
Archbishop Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil of Daegu said: “We will cooperate to instill a culture of respect for others and help strengthen the education system to produce students with better character.”
Superintendent of the Daegu education office, Woo Tong-ki, also announced a new campaign called “Stop Violence” which promises to severely punish school bullies.
Religious and civic groups, as well as the Daegu Police have all agreed to participate in the campaign.
Meanwhile, Catholic educators welcomed the promulgation yesterday of an ordinance by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to protect student rights, including regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or religion and corporal punishment, while guaranteeing religious freedom.
But the education ministry filed a petition with the Supreme Court to invalidate it, saying the ordinance could create confusion in schools, especially among teachers in their student guidance.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
25 Jan 2012

Cardinal Pell is Patron of the St Thomas More Society.
He will celebrate Monday's Red Mass
Justices from the High Court, judges from the NSW courts together with magistrates, barristers, lawyers and law students will observe the ancient tradition of the Red Mass to mark the opening of the new judicial term for 2012.
The Red Mass which prays for divine guidance for those seeking or dispensing justice will be celebrated by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell at St Mary's Cathedral at 9 am, Monday, 30 January.
Dating back to the 12th Century when it was celebrated by the Papal Courts of Avignon, the Red Mass was held in Sydney for the first time on 16 February 1931 and has become an important part of both the Church as well as the legal calendar ever since.
Initially the city's Red Mass was celebrated by an informal group of the city's Catholic lawyers, many of whom went on to help found the St Thomas More Society of NSW. Established in 1945 and named after the patron saint of lawyers, Englishman and Chancellor to the court of Henry VIII, the Society boasts an impressive list of past and present members.

Cardinal Pell talks with Judges of NSW
after celebrating Red Mass at the Cathedral
These members include Justice Jack Slattery former judge of the NSW High Court; Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE, former Chief Justice of the High Court; the Hon Murray Gleeson AC QC, former Chief Justice of Australia and former Chief Justice of NSW; Justice Terrence Ludeke, former judge of the NSW Supreme Court and the Hon Robert French AC, current Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.
Cardinal Pell is patron of the St Thomas More Society of NSW. The current Society President is Richard Perrignon, a judicial member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of NSW, Arbitrator with the Workers Compensation Commission and a Fellow of St John's College, University of Sydney.
"The Society has a rich history dating back to shortly after the Second World War and each year more and more members of Sydney's legal community attend the Red Mass ," says Michael McAuley, vice president of the Society, adding that it is particularly pleasing to see increasing numbers of newly-graduated young lawyers and law students participating each year.

Judges depart the Cathedral after last year's Red Mass
One of the highlights of the Red Mass for Sydney locals is the impressive procession that takes place after the NSW and Australia High Court judges don their crimson robes in the crypt and then in full judicial regalia make their way slowly from the Crypt along the side of the Cathedral and up the steps and through the main doors.
The Red Mass takes its name from the rich crimson robes worn by the judges and clergy who attend the service. The crimson of the liturgical vestments worn at the Red Mass represent the Holy Spirit and tongues of fire that came down on the Apostles at Pentecost. The red robes worn by the judges and barristers which feature the vestigial hood and folds of the clerical dress from which they are descended add drama and impact to the spectacle.
Among those set to attend Monday's Red Mass is the NSW Attorney General, the Hon Greg Smith, who is also a member and past president of the St Thomas More Society. Also there will be former NSW Attorney General, John Hatzistergos; Professor Gerard Ryan, Dean of the School of Law at the University of Notre Dame; Professor Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University; Stuart Westgarth, President of the Law Society of NSW and Bernard Coles QC, President of the NSW Bar Association.

Cardinal Pell celebrating a previous Red Mass
at St Mary's Cathedral
Since the Red Mass began the tradition of praying for guidance at the start of each new judicial term, other denominations have adopted the practice and today as well as being celebrated by the city's Catholic legal community, similar services are held in synagogues and at Anglican and Orthodox Christian churches.
The general public is welcome to attend the Red Mass at St Mary's Cathedral. Everyone no matter what their faith or political persuasion are invited to join the service which begins at 9 am on Monday, 30 January.


Agenzia Fides report - The National Council of the Churches of Kenya (NCCK, which includes most of the non-Catholic Christian denominations in the Country) has called on all Kenyans to accept peacefully the ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the post-election violence which occurred in late 2007 and early 2008, according to reports from CISA agency in Nairobi. The CPI judges formally charged the Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and the Advisor to the President Francis Muthaura, in addition to the MP William Ruto and the journalist Joshua Arap Sang for murder, crimes against humanity, deportation and persecution based on political affiliation. The indictment was delivered on January 23 by Prosecutor Ekaterina Trendafilova in The Hague, Netherlands.
The violence erupted on December 27, 2007 following the re-election of the out-going President Kibaki challenged by the current Prime Minister Odinga. The clashes caused 1,200 deaths and 600,000 displaced.
The NCCK said: "This indictment should not be considered in any way as an indictment against any community or individual, but a process of seeking justice for the victims of post-election violence". Leaders of the Christian confessions in Kenya call for "moderation and restraint" in the discussions on the CPI’s decision and appealed to Kenyans to pray for peace and reconciliation, especially in view of the forthcoming elections. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 27/01/2012|)


Mark 4: 26 - 34
26 And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground,
27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.
28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."
30 And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;
32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;
34 he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.


St. Angela Merici
Feast: January 27

Feast Day: January 27
21 March 1474, Desenzano del Garda, Province of Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
Died: 27 January 1540, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
Canonized: May 24, 1807, Rome by Pope Pius VII
Major Shrine: The Merician Centre (including the now subterranean Church of St Afra, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy)
Patron of: sickness, handicapped people, loss of parents
Angela Merici was born on March 21st, 1474, at Desenzano on Lake Garda; left an orphan at the age of ten she was brought up by her uncle and on his death went to live with her brothers. She was a devout girl and, having joined the Third Order of St. Francis, devoted herself to teaching children. As her work became known she was asked to go to Brescia where a house was put at her disposal and a number of women came to join her; she was thus enabled to establish a religious association of women, under the patronage of St. Ursula, who, remaining in the world, should devote themselves to every sort of corporal and spiritual work of mercy; but the particular emphasis was on education. Angela's methods were far removed from the modern idea of a convent school; she preferred to send her associates to teach girls in their own families, and one of her favorite sayings was, 'Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family'. It was by educating children in the milieu in which they lived that she strove to effect an improvement in social conditions.

Angela Merici is known now as the foundress of the Ursuline nuns—and so she was, but despite her own inclinations. In reality she was in advance of her own times. Her plan of religious women without distinctive habit, without solemn vows and enclosure, was directly contrary to prevailing notions at her period, and under the influence of St. Charles Borromeo at Milan and subsequent papal legislation (under St. Pius V) the Ursulines were obliged to adopt the canonical safeguards then required of all nuns.
Angela Merici died in Brescia on January 27th, 1540.


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