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Saturday, January 28, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : SAT. JAN. 28, 2012

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : US BISHOPS ON AD LIMINA IN ROME
AUSTRALIA : SISTERS FROM IRAQ AT ACU TO HELP PEOPLE
AFRICA : DEM. REP. CONGO : AIDS PATIENTS LACK TREATMENT
EUROPE : COUNCIL OF EUROPE REJECTS EUTHANASIA - PACE
TODAY'S MASS AND GOSPEL ONLINE : SAT. JAN. 28, 2012  
TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 28 : ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
 
 
VATICAN : US BISHOPS ON AD LIMINA IN ROME
RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Bishops from the United States are continuing their ad limina pilgrimages to Rome to pray at the tombs of the Apostles, and to meet with the Holy Father and officials from the Curia. Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans is one of the prelates visiting the Eternal City this week.

In an interview with Chris Altieri, Archbishop Aymond talked about some of the issues facing the Church in America.

He spoke about the recent decision by the President Barack Obama’s decision to demanding that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. “This is extremely disappointing – that the government has taken this stance. It’s unprecedented, as we know… We must express our disappointment, we must express our confusion, because, I think, we thought the United States was a land of liberty and justice and freedom, and that seems not to be the case.”

Archbishop Aymond also spoke about the upcoming Year of Faith and the New Evangelisation: “I’m very much looking forward… to the Synod on Evangelisation. We know that there are people who are un-churched, and there are people who are nominally catholic, people who are catholic by title. This is an opportunity for us to become more missionary, to become more outreaching, because as we know, what we are really about in evangelisation is to help people come to a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus and then that leads to a greater commitment to the Church and to religion.”

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, he said, has a special focus during the Year of Faith. “We have declared it a Year of Faith, with a specific emphasis on coming to a better understanding of and appreciation of the Eucharist.” Their approach was inspired by “the gift of the new Roman Missal.”

http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=558452

ASIA : HOLY LAND INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR PEACE

ASIA NEWS REPORT: Card. Turkson, Justice and Peace, and the Custodian of the Holy Land for the fourth edition of the Day. Prayers and Eucharistic adoration, Mass at Calvary in Jerusalem. Angelus with the Pope.

Rome (AsiaNews) - At least 2500 cities around the world will participate tomorrow in the IV International Day of Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land, an initiative launched by youth groups and Eucharistic adoration groups, involving over time the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Custody of the Holy Land.

The Day is promoted by various realities of young people: the National Association Papaboys (www.papaboys.it); the Apostolate "Youth For Life" (www.youthfl.org); the chapels of perpetual adoration throughout Italy and around the world; Eucharistic Gathering groups (www.adorazione.org), the Association for the promotion of extraordinary prayer for all the churches for reconciliation, unity and peace, beginning with Jerusalem.

Many of their representatives will be present tomorrow at the Angelus with the Pope in St Peter's Square. Others will commemorate the theme of the day during mass and take part in Eucharistic adoration.

Cardinal. Peter Turkson, President of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace, has sent a message to mark the event to the young people who will pray for Christian unity and peace in the Holy Land. In it he stresses that "young people are and can be a resource for peace .... The period of your youth is the season of life where you look with enthusiasm to the great values that today, unfortunately, seem to be very weak: truth, freedom, justice, love, brotherhood ... I thank you for showing the world the active, beautiful and young face of the Church of Christ. "

Marking the Day, tomorrow morning beginning at 6am in Jerusalem, Mass will be celebrated at the altar of Calvary, in the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, sent a greeting to the young people: "... I welcome the fourth International Day of Prayer for peace in the Holy Land. An event that enriches this month of shared reflection on the Gift we have just received, and invites us to overcome every division, to give thanks to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ). "

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/International-Day-of-Prayer-for-Peace-in-Holy-Land-23823.html

AMERICA : DOLAN FIRM ON GOSPEL OF LIFE


Cardinal-designate Dolan at last November's U.S. bishops' meeting. (CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

C
CNS REPORT: By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Natural law is a concept of objective truth, not religious preference, and reliance on natural law and human rights will move the culture and its laws in the direction of authentic respect for human life, Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York said in an address Jan. 24.

Cardinal-designate Dolan, speaking on "Law & the Gospel of Life," gave the inaugural talk in a lecture series sponsored by the Institute on Religion, Law and Lawyers' Work at Jesuit-run Fordham University School of Law.

"Our society has caricatured natural law as some medieval tool the church is using to justify its own unique and antiquated system of teaching. Of course, the opposite is true," he said. "Natural law theory is not uniquely Catholic, it's human.

"Some of the greatest exponents of the natural law, like Aristotle and Cicero, never heard of the Catholic Church. These things we teach are not true because they happen to be taught by the church. We teach them because they happen to be true. Their truth antedates the church."

According to Cardinal-designate Dolan, the most effective way to engage in conversations about human life with people who disagree with the Church's position is to "untether" discussions of natural law "from what might be thought of as unique Catholic confessionalism" and reference the writings of non-Catholic authors. "It's not a Catholic thing. It's a natural thing. It's a human thing."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said Blessed John Paul II's encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," described the culture of death as one that denies the basic solidarity inherent in the human person, is obsessed with efficiency and convenience, and wages a war of the powerful against the weak.

"Can sustained human rights, girded by law, survive in such a culture?" Cardinal-designate Dolan asked. "The pragmatic, utilitarian world view depends upon sand to construct a system of laws protecting human rights, particularly that of life itself, since everything is constantly being re-negotiated, based on drifting dunes of utility, convenience, privacy, and self-interest."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "It is a bedrock feature of modern political and legal theory that only neutral, utilitarian principles can provide a basis for public policy discussions and law, and that appeals to transcendent values, such as religion, cannot legitimately be presented."

"The Gospel of life proposes an alternative vision of law and culture, one that provides an antidote to the pragmatic nihilism that produces a culture of death. It seeks to recapture the essential relationship between the civil law and the moral law, and to foster a culture in which all human life is valued and authentic human development is possible."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "The Gospel of life calls us specifically to offer a clear, faith-based view of humanity as a basis for human law. As Christians, we propose that truth can only be known and freedom truly exercised by recognizing that they are a gift from God."

He said an important proposition of the Gospel of life is "that the dignity of the human person and respect for inviolable human rights are not just based on divine revelation, but on 'an objective moral law which, as the 'natural law' written in the human heart, is the obligatory point of reference for civil law itself.'"

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "A reliance on the natural law, and human rights, will enable us to move the culture, and thus our laws, in the direction of authentic respect for human life. It will be a gradual, incremental process ... and require compromise and acceptance of intermediary steps."

He described pragmatism, utilitarianism and consumerism as a trinity of related culprits that chisel away at the culture of life and "seem to be ascendant in culture and normative in making laws."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "A baby is useless and impractical from a raw, pragmatic, utilitarian or consumerist view" and is seen by some in the culture of death "as a commodity, an accessory. We have babies, if at all, to satisfy our desires, not to sacrifice for theirs; to fulfill our needs, not to invite us to spend the rest of our lives fulfilling their needs; to reward us, not because we want to give to them."

"To this culture of death, the church boldly and joyfully promotes the culture of life," he said.

Cardinal-designate Dolan said people can promote the culture of life by living, speaking and teaching the truth in love. "Usually, we will attract more people by the compelling nature of our love and, in the end, that will be what most hypnotizes and magnetizes people."

In a response to Cardinal-designate Dolan's address, Jacqueline Nolan-Haley, a Fordham law professor, said the Gospel of life "is pulling us to bring greater morality and justice to civil law."

Monica McDaniel, a 2009 Fordham Law graduate and associate at the White & Case firm, said the culture of death has infiltrated private practice and law schools, both secular and Catholic. "Law schools, many nonprofit human rights organizations and the pro bono departments of many law firms are generally confused about human rights because they lack the sound ethical philosophy of the natural law."

She said "pro-abortion" initiatives dominate the pro bono departments of virtually all major law firms because pro-life lawyers are silent. She encouraged fellow young lawyers to spread the Gospel of life one-on-one, challenge people who make dubious claims and oppose unethical practices.
http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1200332.htm

AUSTRALIA : SISTERS FROM IRAQ AT ACU TO HELP PEOPLE

CATH NEWS REPORT:
Many concerns weigh on the minds of two Sisters from a tiny, endangered religious order in Iraq currently studying at Brisbane's Australian Catholic University (ACU), reports the Catholic Leader.
For Daughters of Jesus' Sacred Heart Sisters Samar Mikha and Azhar Koka, these concerns include the health and education of Catholics in their war-torn country, particularly those of the Chaldean community.
The Sisters are also planning to share knowledge gained from their ACU studies in English and educational administration when they return to Kurdistan, in Iraq's north, in mid-2013.
There, in conjunction with the Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, they intend to help set up a Catholic university.
Their study opportunity followed a visit to Iraq in 2009 by Brisbane priest Fr Gerry Hefferan, who was seeking ways to support the rapidly dwindling Catholic community there.
However, when Sr Koka recently spoke with The Catholic Leader, her primary concern was to spread the message that her order was celebrating the jubilee of the centenary of its foundation.
"Our order celebrates the jubilee as a moment of meditation and prayer for the path of God's salvation for blessing our land and people," she said.
"The establishment of our order reaches back to 1908 in a village called Araden, in the north of Iraq, where four girls gathered around Fr Ablahad Rayes helping him in serving the sick, teaching mothers in raising children and organising family matters as well as the catechism.
"The spirit of the young nunnery was characterised from the beginning with a biblical simplicity and meekness. "They were following Christ's saying: 'Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart' (Matthew 11:29) and taking this as a slogan for their lives.
"Fr Rayes founded the convent, taking the name of the Nunnery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on August 15, 1911, hoping to spread the worship of the Sacred Heart to be known and loved everywhere."

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=29639

AFRICA : DEM. REP. CONGO : AIDS PATIENTS LACK TREATMENT

CISA REPORT: KINSHASA, January 27, 2012 (CISA) –Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is alarmed by the situation of HIV/AIDS patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the lack of priority given by the Congolese authorities and the withdrawal of donors, all occurring as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary on 28 January.
The conditions surrounding access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS in DRC are horrific. At the Centre Hospitalier de Kabinda (CHK) in Kinshasa, MSF has observed an excessively high number of patients arriving with serious complications resulting from lack of treatment. Their advanced illness creates unacceptable suffering.
“I have worked with HIV-positive patients in many countries in central and southern Africa, but what I’m seeing in DRC has not existed elsewhere for years,” says Anja De Weggheleire, MSF’s medical coordinator in DRC. “The situation here reminds me of the time before any antiretroviral (ARV) treatment was available. Our doctors face serious complications every day that could be prevented if patients received early ARV treatment.”
The number of HIV-positive people in DRC is currently estimated at more than one million, 350,000 of whom could benefit from ARV treatment. However, only 44,000 are receiving treatment at this time. This represents a 15 percent ARV coverage rate, one of the lowest in the world (of all African countries, only Somalia and Sudan have similar rates).
DRC is also one of the two lowest-ranked countries in western and central Africa in terms of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). Only one percent of pregnant women estimated to be HIV-positive have access to PMTCT treatment. Without treatment, approximately one-third of the babies who are exposed to the virus will be born with HIV.
Despite these disastrous indicators, donors have not given DRC the priority it deserves. What is worse, some donors – such as the Global Fund – are withdrawing or sharply reducing their funding. While the Global Fund is the leading supplier of ARV drugs in the DRC, the countries that finance the Fund have not kept their promises. As a result, the Global Fund is having to lower its sights.
This pull-back by donors is directly threatening the lives of thousands of people in DRC.
“It is crucial that Congolese authorities meet their commitment to provide free prevention services and free treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. It is also critical that donors immediately mobilise the necessary resources to ensure that patients waiting for ARV treatment are not condemned to die,” said De Weggheleire

EUROPE : COUNCIL OF EUROPE REJECTS EUTHANASIA - PACE

Europe: landmark resolution rejects euthanasia | Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE,European Centre for Law and Justice,ECLJ, euthanasia
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has adopted a Resolution outlawing euthanasia. The Resolution states the principle that: “Euthanasia, in the sense of the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit, must always be prohibited.”

The resolution, on 25 January, marks the first time in decades, that euthanasia has been so clearly rejected by a European political institution. It is likely to have a direct impact on an upcoming judgement of the European Court in a case concerning the ban of assisted suicide in Germany.

The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has welcomed the resolution. Dr Grégor Puppinck, Director of the ECLJ said: “this Resolution is a clear indication that the growing majority of Europeans is opposed to euthanasia. The many abuses occurring in the countries allowing euthanasia are alarming and constitute violations of true human rights. It is convincing that euthanasia must always be prohibited. The small number of European States allowing euthanasia shall review their legislation according to the principles set forth by the PACE.”

Even if this resolution is not legally binding on Member states, it has a real influence on the legislative process and on the judicial process, especially on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

On the legislative process, the Assembly “recommends that the Committee of Ministers [the 47 national ambassadors in Strasbourg] bring the Resolution to the attention of member states, with a request for implementation.”

On the judicial process, this Resolution will have an impact on the European Court of Human Rights, in particular on its future decision in the case Koch v Germany. In this case, the Court is mainly called to decide whether or not the ban of “assisted suicide” in Germany respects the Convention. In this case, the applicant, Mr Ulrich Koch, complains for the refusal by the German administration to give to his late wife authorization to obtain a lethal substance in order to commit suicide. The Resolution of PACE shall have an important impact on this case.

Just a year ago, on 20 January 2011, the European Court delivered another judgment (Haas versus Switzerland) on assisted suicide. Although admitting a sort of right to self-suicide, the Court denied the existence of a right to assisted suicide stemming from the European Convention and guaranteed by the State; but still, the Court did not ruled –as the PACE does now- that assisted suicide or euthanasia is a violation per se of the right to life guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights.

Mr Luca Volonte', chairman of EPP Group in PACE, said: “last year we obtained a great victory reaffirming the right of medical practitioners to conscientious objection; today we have also fought a good battle and we have won, thank God, against a real ideological tyranny of culture of death (...); now euthanasia is completely banned from PACE”.

Source: ECLJ

http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=19733

TODAY'S MASS AND GOSPEL ONLINE : SAT. JAN. 28, 2012

Mark 4: 35 - 41
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."
36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.
37 And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?"
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?"
41 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"
TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 28 : ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
St. Thomas Aquinas
CONFESSOR, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: January 28


Information:
Feast Day: January 28
Born:
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
Died: 7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
Canonized: July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine: Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of: Catholic universities, colleges, and schools
The great outlines and all the important events of his life are known, but biographers differ as to some details and dates. Death prevented Henry Denifle from executing his project of writing a critical life of the saint. Denifle's friend and pupil, Dominic Prummer, O.P., professor of theology in the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, has taken up the work and is publishing the "Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, notis historicis et criticis illustrati"; and the first fascicle (Toulouse, 1911) has appeared, giving the life of St. Thomas by Peter Calo (1300) now published for the first time. From Tolomeo of Lucca . . . we learn that at the time of the saint's death there was a doubt about his exact age (Prummer, op. cit., 45). The end of 1225 is usually assigned as the time of his birth. Father Prummer, on the authority of Calo, thinks 1227 is the more probable date (op. cit., 28). All agree that he died in 1274.
Landulph, his father, was Count of Aquino, Theodora, his mother, Countess of Teano. His family was related to the Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, and to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and France. Calo relates that a holy hermit foretold his career, saying to Theodora before his birth: "He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him" (Prummer, op. cit., 18). At the age of five, according to the custom of the times, he was sent to receive his first training from the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino. Diligent in study, he was thus early noted as being meditative and devoted to prayer, and his preceptor was surprised at hearing the child ask frequently: "What is God?" About the year 1236 he was sent to the University of Naples. Calo says that the change was made at the instance of the Abbot of Monte Cassino, who wrote to Thomas's father that a boy of such talents should not be left in obscurity (Prummer, op. cit., 20). At Naples his preceptors were Pietro Martini and Petrus Hibernus. The chronicler says that he soon surpassed Martini a grammar, and he was then given over to Peter of Ireland, who trained him in logic and the natural sciences. The customs of the times divided the liberal arts into two courses: the Trivium, embracing grammar, logic, and rhetoric; the Quadrivium, comprising music, mathematics, geometry, and astronomy . . . . Thomas could repeat the lessons with more depth and lucidity than his masters displayed. The youth's heart had remained pure amidst the corruption with which he was surrounded, and he resolved to embrace the religious life.
Some time between 1240 and August, 1243, he received the habit of the Order of St. Dominic, being attracted and directed by John of St. Julian, a noted preacher of the convent of Naples. The city wondered that such a noble young man should don the garb of poor friar. His mother, with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow, hastened to Naples to see her son. The Dominicans, fearing she would take him away, sent him to Rome, his ultimate destination being Paris or Cologne. At the instance of Theodora, Thomas's brothers, who were soldiers under the Emperor Frederick, captured the novice near the town of Aquapendente and confined him in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. Here he was detained nearly two years, his parents, brothers, and Sisters endeavouring by various means to destroy his vocation. The brothers even laid snares for his virtue, but the pure-minded novice drove the temptress from his room with a brand which he snatched from the fire. Towards the end of his life, St. Thomas confided to his faithful friend and companion, Reginald of Piperno, the secret of a remarkable favour received at this time. When the temptress had been driven from his chamber, he knelt and most earnestly implored God to grant him integrity of mind and body. He fell into a gentle sleep, and, as he slept, two angels appeared to assure him that his prayer had been heard. They then girded him about with a white girdle, saying: "We gird thee with the girdle of perpetual virginity." And from that day forward he never experienced the slightest motions of concupiscence.
The time spent in captivity was not lost. His mother relented somewhat, after the first burst of anger and grief; the Dominicans were allowed to provide him with new habits, and through the kind offices of his sister he procured some books—the Holy Scriptures, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard. After eighteen months or two years spent in prison, either because his mother saw that the hermit's prophecy would eventually be fulfilled or because his brothers feared the threats of Innocent IV and Frederick II, he was set at liberty, being lowered in a basket into the arms of the Dominicans, who were delighted to find that during his captivity "he had made as much progress as if he had been in a " (Calo, op. cit., 24). Thomas immediately pronounced his vows, and his superiors sent him to Rome. Innocent IV examined closely into his motives in joining the Friars Preachers, dismissed him with a blessing, and forbade any further interference with his vocation. John the Teutonic, fourth master general of the order, took the young student to Paris and, according to the majority of the saint's biographers, to Cologne, where he arrived in 1244 or 1245, and was placed under Albertus Magnus, the most renowned professor of the order (on chronology of this period see Prummer, op. cit., p.25). In the schools Thomas's humility and taciturnity were misinterpreted as signs of dullness, but when Albert had heard his brilliant defence of a difficult thesis, he exclaimed: "We call this young man a dumb ox, hut his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world."
In 1245 Albert was sent to Paris, and Thomas accompanied him as a student. In 1248 both returned to Cologne. Albert had been appointed regent of the new , erected that year by the general chapter of the order, and Thomas was to teach under him as Bachelor. (On the system of graduation in the thirteenth century see PREACHERS, ORDER OF—II, A, 1, d). During his stay in Cologne, probably in 1250, he was raised to the priesthood by Conrad of Hochstaden, archbishop of that city. Throughout his busy life, he frequently preached the Word of God, in Germany, France, and Italy. His sermons were forceful, redolent of piety, full of solid instruction, abounding in apt citations from the Scriptures . In the year 1251 or 1252 the master general of the order, by the advice of Albertus Magnus and Hugo a S. Charo (Hugh of St. Cher), sent Thomas to fill the office of Bachelor (sub-regent) in the Dominican < studium> at Paris. This appointment may be regarded as the beginning of his public career, for his teaching soon attracted the attention both of the professors and of the students. His duties consisted principally in explaining the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard, and his commentmies on that text-book of theology furnished the materials and, in great part, the plan for his chief work, the "Summa theologica".
In due time he was ordered to prepare himself to obtain the degree of Doctor in Theology from the University of Paris, but the conferring of the degree was postponed, owing to a dispute between the university and the friars. The conflict, originally a dispute between the university and the civic authorities, arose from the slaying of one of the students and the wounding of three others by the city guard. The university, jealous of its autonomy, demanded satisfaction, which was refused. The doctors closed their schools, solemnly swore that they would not reopen them until their demands were granted, and decreed that in future no one should be admitted to the degree of Doctor unless he would take an oath to follow the same line of conduct under similar circumstances. The Dominicans and Franciscans, who had continued to teach in their schools, refused to take the prescribed oath, and from this there arose a bitter conflict which was at its height when St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were ready to be presented for their degrees. William of St. Amour extended the dispute beyond the original question, violently attacked the Friars, of whom he was evidently jealous, and denied their right to occupy chairs in the university. Against his book, "De periculis novissimorum temporum" (The Perils of the Last Times), St. Thomas wrote a treatise "Contra impugnantes religionem", an apology for the religious orders (Touron, op. cit., II, cc. vii sqq.). The book of William of St. Amour was condemned by Alexander IV at Anagni, 5 October, 1256, and the pope gave orders that the mendicant friars should be admitted to the doctorate.
About this time St. Thomas also combated a dangerous book, "The Eternal Gospel" (Touron, op. cit., II, cxii). The university authorities did not obey immediately; the influence of St. Louis IX and eleven papal Briefs were required before peace was firmly established, and St. Thomas was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Theology. The date of his promotion, as given by many biographers, was 23 October, 1257. His theme was "The Majesty of Christ". His text, "Thou waterest the hills from thy upper rooms: the earth shall be filled with the fruit of thy works" (Ps. ciii, 13), said to have been suggested by a heavenly visitor, seems to have been prophetic of his career. A tradition says that St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas received the doctorate on the same day, and that there was a contest of humility between the two friends as to which should be promoted first. From this time St. Thomas's life may be summed up in a few words: praying, preaching, teaching, writing, journeying. Men were more anxious to hear him than they had been to bear Albert, whom St. Thomas surpassed in accuracy, lucidity, brevity, and power of exposition, if not in universality of knowledge. Paris claimed him as her own; the popes wished to have him near them; the of the order were eager to enjoy the benefit of his teaching; hence we find him successively at Anagni, Rome, Bologna, Orvieto, Viterbo, Perugia, in Paris again, and finally in Naples, always teaching and writing, living on earth with one passion, an ardent zeal for the explanation and defence of Christian truth. So devoted was he to his sacred task that with tears he begged to be excused from accepting the Archbishopric of Naples, to which he was appointed by Clement IV in 1265. Had this appointment been accepted, most probably the "Summa theologica" would not have been written.
Yielding to the requests of his brethren, he on several occasions took part in the deliberations of the general chapters of the order. One of these chapters was held in London in 1263. In another held at Valenciennes (1259) he collaborated with Albertus Magnus and Peter of Tarentasia (afterwards Pope Innocent V) in formulating a system of studies which is substantially preserved to this day in the of the Dominican Order (cf. Douais, op. cit.). It is not surprising to read in the biographies of St. Thomas that he was frequently abstracted and in ecstasy. Towards the end of his life the ecstasies became more frequent. On one occasion, at Naples in 1273, after he had completed his treatise on the Eucharist, three of the brethren saw him lifted in ecstasy, and they heard a voice proceeding from the crucifix on the altar, saying "Thou hast written well of me, Thomas; what reward wilt thou have?". Thomas replied, "None other than Thyself, Lord" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 38). Similar declarations are said to have been made at Orvieto and at Paris. On 6 December, 1273, he laid aside his pen and would write no more. That day he experienced an unusually long ecstasy during Mass; what was revealed to him we can only surmise from his reply to Father Reginald, who urged him to continue his writings: "I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that all I have written now appears to be of little value" (, Prummer, op. cit., p. 43).
The "Summa theologica" had been completed only as far as the ninetieth question of the third part (De partibus poenitentiae). Thomas began his immediate preparation for death. Gregory X, having convoked a general council, to open at Lyons on 1 May, 1274, invited St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure to take part in the deliberations, commanding the former to bring to the council his treatise "Contra errores Graecorum" (Against the Errors of the Greeks). He tried to obey, setting out on foot in January, 1274, but strength failed him; he fell to the ground near Terracina, whence he was conducted to the Castle of Maienza the home of his niece the Countess Francesca Ceccano. The Cistercian monks of Fossa Nuova pressed him to accept their hospitality, and he was conveyed to their monastery, on entering which he whispered to his companion: "This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it" (Ps. cxxxi, 14). When Father Reginald urged him to remain at the castle, the saint replied: "If the Lord wishes to take me away, it is better that I be found in a religious house than in the dwelling of a lay person." The Cistercians were so kind and attentive that Thomas's humility was alarmed. "Whence comes this honour", he exclaimed, "that servants of God should carry wood for my fire!" At the urgent request of the monks he dictated a brief commentary on the Canticle of Canticles.
The end was near; extreme unction was administered. When the Sacred Viaticum was brought into the room he pronounced the following act of faith: "If in this world there be any knowledge of this sacrament stronger than that of faith, I wish now to use it in affirming that I firmly believe and know as certain that Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament." Then he added: "I receive Thee, the price of my redemption, for Whose love I have watched, studied, and laboured. Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught. Never have I said anything against Thee: if anything was not well said, that is to be attributed to my ignorance. Neither do I wish to be obstinate in my opinions, but if I have written anything erroneous concerning this sacrament or other matters, I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass from this life" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 45). He died on 7 March, 1274. Numerous miracles attested his sanctity, and he was canonized by John XXII, 18 July, 1323. The monks of Fossa Nuova were anxious to keep his sacred remains, but by order of Urban V the body was given to his Dominican brethren, and was solemnly translated to the Dominican church at Toulouse, 28 January, 1369. A magnificent shrine erected in 1628 was destroyed during the French Revolution, and the body was removed to the Church of St. Sernin, where it now reposes in a sarcophagus of gold and silver, which was solemnly blessed by Cardinal Desprez on 24 July, 1878. The chief bone of his left arm is preserved in the cathedral of Naples. The right arm, bestowed on the University of Paris, and originally kept in the St. Thomas's Chapel of the Dominican church, is now preserved in the Dominican Church of S. Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, whither it was transferred during the French Revolution.

A description of the saint as he appeared in life is given by Calo (Prummer, op. cit., p. 401), who says that his features corresponded with the greatness of his soul. He was of lofty stature and of heavy build, but straight and well proportioned. His complexion was "like the colour of new wheat": his head was large and well shaped, and he was slightly bald. All portraits represent him as noble, meditative, gentle yet strong. St. Pius V proclaimed St. Thomas a Doctor of the Universal Church in the year 1567. In the Encyclical "Aeterni Patris", of 4 August, 1879, on the restoration of Christian philosophy, Leo XIII declared him "the prince and master of all Scholastic doctors". The same illustrious pontiff, by a Brief dated 4 August, 1880, designated him patron of all Catholic universities, academies, colleges, and schools throughout the world.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/stthomasaquinas.asp#ixzz1kj81cQFC
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