Saturday, January 21, 2012


RADIOVATICANA REPORT: On Saturday Pope Benedict XVI delivered his annual allocution to the judges of the Roman Rota, the highest judicial appeals court in the Catholic Church. In his remarks, Pope Benedict spoke of the essential role the court has to play in the life of the Church, concentrating on the profound connection between positive law and transcendent justice.
It was a theme the Holy Father developed in his discourse to the Reichstag last year in Berlin. “True law is inseparable from justice,” he said. “The principle,” said Pope Benedict, “is valid for Canon Law,” just as it is for civil law in the sense that Canon Law “can not be locked within a merely human system legal, but must be connected to a just order of the Church, in which there is a higher law. In this context, positive human law loses the primacy attributed to it, since law is no longer identified with it alone; in this, however, human law is valued as an expression of justice, primarily for what it declares regarding divine law, but also for what it introduces regarding self-determination as a human right. "

To respond then to the "crucial question" of what is right in each case one must "always look at the disciplined reality, not only when the Law is primarily declarative of divine right, but also when it introduces constitutively human rules." In such a realistic prospect, "the interpretation of canon law must take place in the Church. This is not merely an external, environmental circumstance: it is also a reference to the same humus of Canon Law and the realities that are regulated by it. Thinking with the Church also makes sense in this discipline, because of the doctrinal foundations that are always present and active in the legal norms of the Church. "

"These reflections take on a special significance in the context of the laws regarding the constitutive act of marriage, its consummation and the reception of Holy Orders, and those relating to the respective processes. Here the true sense of harmony with the law of the Church becomes a matter of deep and broad practical impact in people's lives and communities and requires special attention". In particular, all legally binding means that aim to ensure unity in the interpretation and application of the laws that is required by justice should be applied: papal Magisterium specifically regarding this field, especially in the content of speeches to the Roman Rota; the jurisprudence of the Roman Rota; the standards and statements issued by other departments of the Roman Curia. This hermeneutic unity in what is essential does not in any way diminish the functions of the local tribunals, the first called to deal with the complex real-life situations that occur in every cultural context. Each one of them, in fact, is required to proceed with a sense of reverence towards the truth of law, trying to practice in an exemplary way in the judicial and administrative institutions, communion in discipline, as an essential aspect of the Church's unity".

“In encouraging your precious work,” said Pope Benedict, “which requires faithful, constant dedication and commitment, I entrust you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Speculum iustitiae – Mirror of Justice,” and imparted his Apostolic Blessing.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT:
20 Jan 2012

Hon. Tim Fischer says farewell
to friends and colleagues
Tim Fischer, former deputy prime minister, train enthusiast, author and genial knockabout bloke has said his farewells to friends, colleagues, staff and the Pope and is heading home from Rome.
The Herefords and the farm in Victoria await his arrival on Australia Day.
Australia's first Rome-based Ambassador to the Holy See for the past three years the Hon Tim Fischer AC has now officially ended his career in public life. Although those who know Tim are convinced the man and his traditional Akubra will not be off the scene for long.
Just as his Akubra became a regular site around Australia so too did it in Rome. He wore it everywhere, except to the Vatican audiences with the Holy Father. Not to have it on his head or in hand would have been like R.M.Williams walking out without his, well, R.M.s.
Tim's farewell reception in Rome included 150 close friends and colleagues, his wife Judy and their two teenage boys. And his devoted staff.
It was held at Domus Australia, the pilgrim and visitors centre officially opened by Pope Benedict XVI in October last year.
The evening began with an organ recital in the St Peter Chanel chapel of Domus followed by a reception in the Cardinal Knox Centre and conference room at Domus. Tim also wanted the reception to recognise and celebrate Australia Day.
His ability to freely mix in wide and varied circles was highlighted by the guests - ambassadors, politicians, leaders of industry and trade, clergy ,friends from his parish in Rome and visitors to the Eternal City.

More than 150 people attended
the reception at Domus Australia
He told the gathering his time in Rome had been an uplifting and useful time for what he consistently calls "Team Australia" and the cause they have worked hard at advancing like interfaith dialogue and food security.
"It has been a great privilege to be Ambassador of Australia to the Holy See; I thank so many and observe that the four pillars of family, education, army and faith helped me with the posting, plus the supportive friendship of so many here," he said.
"Diplomacy does matter and many issues have been pursued in practical ways, particularly with regard to religious freedom, interfaith dialogue and food security, including the vital seminar held in Domus Australia on 'Food Insecurity' which was addressed brilliantly by Bishop Sanchez Sorondo (who is here tonight).
"On this Australia Day celebration, the 111th birthday of Australia this month, I salute the Holy See, the oldest organisation in the World, and I salute Australia, a relatively new nation going places.
"Finally, in thanking everybody, I would also highlight and thank the Caravita Church community, my local Parish Church near Piazza St Ignazio, where much good faith and friendship are well fostered. In closing, my salutations to all who do so much magnificent work in Rome from both sides of the Tiber, from the Curia and Caritas Internationalis to the Anglican and Methodist centres, the Gregorian University and beyond."

Ambassador Fischer attended the official opening of
Domus Australia by Pope Benedict XVI
Cardinal Pell could not be at the farewell reception however the Rector of Domus Australia, Fr Anthony Denton read a statement from the Cardinal in which he acknowledged Tim Fischer's unfailing and energetic accomplishments both in Australia and more recently Rome.
"It goes without saying that the office of the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, and you as the more recently appointed Ambassador, have been instrumental in further strengthening the links between Australia and the Holy See, as well as connecting the Vatican and Australians more generally.
"Particular highlights of your time in office in Rome have without a doubt been the role you played in the Canonisation of Australia's first saint, Mary MacKillop of the Cross, as well as the official opening of Domus Australia in the presence of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
"Both of these occasions were very special moments for Australia and the Catholic Church," Cardinal Pell wrote.

Tim Fischer supported Sr Maria Casey
for the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop
A former army conscript and farmer Tim Fischer entered public life when at 25 he was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly for what was then the Country Party.
However after 13 years in state politics he was encouraged to stand for the federal seat of Farrer in 1984. Six years later he defeated former leader Ian Sinclair for the leadership of the re-named National Party. In federal politics Tim Fischer's experience was in energy, resources and trade. He was Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister between 1996 and 1999. When he retired from Federal Parliament in 2001 he had the respect of Catholics and non-Catholics alike and from all sides of politics.
From 2004-2007 he was chairman of Tourism Australia before the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed him the following year to be Australia's first resident Ambassador to the Holy See.
Tim has also found time to write a book on Bhutan, a landlocked statein South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas, a place he has visited a number of times. His passion for trains and train journeys has also produced two books.
Retirement will no doubt bring more books, charity work and helping Judy run the farm.
As yet no replacement for Tim Fischer has been announced. He will be a hard to follow.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The Salafis attack the religious minority to prevent them from voting. In the raid-Rahmaniya Kebly a boy was hit by a bullet, one man has facial injuries. Police and firefighters intentional delay their intervention. In the province of Qaliubia a Christian place of worship attacked.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Anti-Christian violence continues in Egypt, according to local sources, the episodes are linked to the attempt of fundamentalist Islamic fringe - Salafis - to block the vote of the religious minority in the next election. On 19 January, a mob attacked the Coptic Christian community of the village of Kebly-Rahmaniya, near the town of Nag Hammadi, Qena governorate, Upper Egypt. The assailants, chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) attacked and burned down houses, huts, shops and businesses (click here to see the video). The raid was also caused two injuries: a 16 year old boy, struck by a bullet and a 40 year old man with facial injuries.

Witnesses quoted by Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) report that Egyptian security forces did not intervene promptly to repel the onslaught and defend the Christians. Even the teams of firefighters delayed their intervention, arriving only 90 minutes after the assault, and when most of the buildings were already in flames. A source adds that a hut belonging to a Coptic Christian was burned to make room for the construction of a mosque. Moreover in the area there are now 300 Muslim places of worship, compared to only one Christian church even though Christians are 50% of the local population.

According to the Copts, the anti-Christian violence is related to the upcoming parliamentary elections: the Salafis, in fact, want to prevent the religious minority from voting which, with its 20 thousand members, can shift the balance of power in the area. The Copts are close to the Muslim moderate wing, which opposes the Islamist front. A witness confirmed that "no Copt from Rahmaniya-Kebly could vote" and that "the Salafis will win the elections."

In a second incident, which also occurred January 19, the Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood - together - broke into the church of Abu Makka in Bahteem, Qaliubia, informing members of the congregation that the place of Christian worship is illegal. An extremist also said that the 1,300 square meter building "is perfect for building a mosque and a hospital." The local bishop was to inaugurate the church and celebrate the first Mass, has suspended all ceremonies for security reasons, sparking the anger and disappointment of the whole congregation.,-two-wounded,-houses-burned-and-churches-attacked-23760.html


COMECE REPORT: In response to the economic and financial crisis currently hitting Europe, the COMECE Bishops propose that the Common Market evolves towards the concept of a Social Market Economy in order for the EU to become a viable ‘Community of Solidarity and Responsibility’.

unknownBy means of this Statement, which will be unveiled on 12 January 2012 in Brussels, the Bishops of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), offer a commentary on the concept of “a highly competitive social market economy”, which has become one of the treaty objectives of the European Union since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.
As a formulation, the concept is used most often in German-speaking countries, but it has also entered the constitutional traditions of other EU States, such as Poland. It usually means: wide-ranging freedom of the market associated with the instruments of the competitive economy together with the principle of solidarity and its mechanisms for the promotion of greater social equality, i.e. far-reaching social protection on the part of the State. However, this concept still needs to be fleshed out and made more specific. This is the purpose of the Statement.

Voluntary Welfare
After recalling the cultural background of the Social Market Economy, the Statement of the COMECE Bishops underlines first of all the importance of ‘gift’ and ‘reciprocity’ in the Social Market Economy. “The institutions corresponding to the free form of solidarity – mutual associations, cooperatives and self-governing municipal bodies – and other forms of the social economy and ethical investments, therefore demand to be given particular attention in building a European social market economy” p.13

Competitiveness and Responsibility
The market is not inherently anti-social. Ordered in the right way it can be a place for interactions that create relationships. The Statement recalls in particular the positive role of Competition in the Social Market Economy: “Monopolies, cartels, price-rigging and the distortion of competition through the abuse of economic power or public aid must be combated effectively or prevented by the legislative and executive branches of the European Union” p.14. However, the Bishops condemn an economy which aims solely at the accumulation of profit “This vision threatens to overshadow the social and ecological dimensions of quality of life, which often cannot be directly expressed in monetary terms, and ignores the impact of economic activity on others, especially the generations to come” p. 15. The Bishops remind us that “With regard to the supply of vital goods and public services in particular, public authorities have a formal obligation” and they call on the EU to adopt “an appropriate regulation of public services, and social services in particular, in the common European market” p.17. Finally, “It is the consumers who ultimately dictate the direction of economic activity to a great extent through their consumer habits, both in Europe and globally. Every economic decision has a moral consequence. Here, too, the Church seeks to play its part”p.18.

Social Policy
In this area, the Bishops call for a reallocation of responsibilities between the European Union and the Member States “in the European social market economy social protection is put in place to fill this gap so that a dignified standard of living can be guaranteed to all citizens. This can no longer be the concern of the Member States alone, but must also be a concern of the European Union”p.19. Concerning social partners, the Bishops invite “the European institutions, in a time of crisis and sometimes difficult adjustments, to create the conditions that will enable social dialogue between European partners to play the role assigned to it in the European treaties” and they recall that the recent conclusion of the “Pact for the Euro”, may lead “to align taxation policy and social policy in the direction of greater justice” p.20.

For a sustainable development
The Statement firmly calls for respect for the economic and ethical principle of sustainability. “Without a systematic integration of ecological factors, neither economic competitiveness nor social justice can be achieved in the long run” p.22. The Bishops call for a specific commitment and an institutional guarantee for sustainability, not just at European level but also at the global level.

The COMECE Bishops call on the EU to commit to the development in the long term of “a true world political authority” which, together with economic ingenuity, should show due regard for the principles of justice and ecological responsibility. They conclude that “Today, the social market economy needs be spread across Europe, so that it may survive the challenge of global competition, and in order to be able to continue offering the most vulnerable in our midst effective social protection, and in order to be sustainable, given the requirements of environmental and climatic protection. To make the social market economy a reality in the European Union, we need a community of solidarity and responsibility. With solidarity and responsibility, we Europeans will also succeed in mastering the present difficult crisis and walking together on our common path and, in the end, demonstrating peace and justice to all people throughout the world” p.24


Agenzia Fides REPORT -With a Mass concelebrated by all the Bishops of Peru, on January 23 the 99th Plenary Assembly of Peruvian Bishops will begin. The event, which ends on January 27, will be held at the headquarters of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, in Lima.
The new Apostolic Nuncio in Peru, Archbishop James Patrick Green will be present at the opening of the Assembly.
During this year's Assembly, the new President of the Episcopal Conference, and the two Vice-Presidents will be elected. Also, the presidents for the episcopal commissions and the responsibles of the subordinate offices of the Episcopal Conference will be appointed. During the meeting, as every year, the Gold Medal of Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo will be given to people and institutions that carried out their job in an exemplary way for the Church in Peru.
The Plenary Assembly is the supreme organ of the Episcopal Conference, composed of all the Bishops of the 45 jurisdictions of the Church of Peru, as well as coadjutor and auxiliary Bishops of the dioceses. The Peruvian Bishops meet annually in the plenary Assembly in the ordinary session. In case of urgent need or on the request of two thirds of its members there may be special sessions during the year.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides 21/01/2012)


UCAN REPEORT: Year of activities to celebrate 100th anniversary of formal Catholic presence in Tianjin reporter, Tianjin
Catholic Church News Image of Diocese marks special anniversary
Father Leo Zhang Liang presiding over the opening Mass of Tianjin diocese's centennial anniversary
Tianjin diocese has begun a year-long series of special celebrations marking 100 years of a permanent Catholic presence in the northern Chinese city.
The opening Mass took place at the Charity Mansion, one of the oldest Catholic buildings in Tianjin which was rebuilt 200 meters from its original location a year ago.
Father Leo Zhang Liang of Tianjin presided over the Mass, which was concelebrated by 17 other priests and attended by about 100 Catholics.
They commemorated the founding of the Apostolic Vicariate of Coastal Chi-Li in 1912, which was renamed Tianjin in 1924. It was later elevated to a diocese in 1946 when the Holy See established the Church hierarchy in China.
The event is divided into four seasons that will concentrate on prayer, sharing, life and communion respectively.
As well as diocesan-level celebrations, every parish is encouraged to hold special prayer meeting, activities and formation classes connected to these themes.
A diocesan priest, one of the organizers, said he feels gratified to be taking part in the celebrations.
At this historic moment, “we should reflect on how to carry on our past heritage and open up the future.”
He explained the significance of starting the celebrations in the small church.
In 1866, when Catholicism was first introduced to Tianjin, nuns from the French Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul order opened the Charity Mansion to serve the sick and orphans.
He also said the 10 nuns were killed in the building by an anti-Catholic crowd during the Tianjin Massacre in 1870.
The diocese, which covers Tianjin municipality, has two bishops, around 40 priests and more than 100,000 Catholics.


Mark 3: 20 - 21
20 Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.
21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, "He is beside himself."


St. Agnes
Feast: January 21

Feast Day: January 21
Died: 304
Major Shrine:: Church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura and the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, both in Rome
Patron of: Betrothed couples; chastity; Children of Mary; Colegio Capranica of Rome; crops; gardeners; Girl Scouts; girls; rape victims; virgins
Few legends of saints have been more cherished than that of the virgin martyr Agnes. She was held in high regard by the primitive Christian Church, and her name has remained a symbol of maidenly purity through the ages. According to tradition, Agnes was a Christian girl of Rome, perhaps twelve or thirteen years old, when Diocletian began his persecutions. Like St. Lucy, she was sentenced by a judge to a house of ill fame, but a young man who looked upon her lustfully was stricken blind. Thereafter she was taken out to be burned, but whether she met her death by fire or sword we cannot know with any certainty. Although we have no contemporary sources for the facts of her life and martyrdom, there is little reason to doubt the main outline of the story. References to this young saint appear in many Church writings of later date. St. Ambrose, St. Damasus, and Prudentius all praise her purity and heroism. Her name occurs in the Canon of the Mass. Agnes' crypt was in the Via Nomentana, and the stone covering her remains was carven with the words, (most holy lamb). A church in her honor is presumed to have been built at Rome in the time of Constantine the Great. In the apse of this basilica, which was rebuilt in the seventh century by Pope Honorius, there is still to be seen the large and beautiful mosaic depicting the saint. St. Agnes is the patroness of young girls and her symbol is, naturally, a lamb. On the anniversary of her martyrdom, the Pope, after high pontifical Mass in her church at Rome, blesses two lambs, and their wool is later woven into the worn by archbishops.


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