Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Vatican City, 28 February 2012 (VIS) - The programme of the Holy Father's forthcoming trip to Milan, Italy, for the Seventh World Meeting of Families was published today. The meeting is due to last from Tuesday 29 May to Sunday 3 June and will have as its theme: "The Family: Work and Celebration". Benedict XVI will be present for the last three days.
The Holy Father will arrive at Milan's Linate airport at 5 p.m. on Friday 1 June, where he will be welcomed by the local authorities. At 5.30 p.m. he is due to meet citizens in the Piazza del Duomo and deliver an address. At 7.30 p.m. he will visit La Scala opera house where a concert is scheduled to be held in his honour.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday 2 June the Holy Father will celebrate Lauds and pronounce a meditation in the cathedral of Milan, in the company of priests and religious. He will then travel by car to the city's San Siro stadium for a meeting with young people who are due to receive Confirmation this year. In the afternoon Benedict XVI is due to deliver an address before the local authorities. At 8.30 p.m. he will move on to Milan's Parco Nord for the Feast of Testimonies of the World Meeting of Families.
On Sunday 3 June, Benedict XVI will preside at a concelebration of the Eucharist, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the Parco Nord. After praying the Angelus he will return to the archbishopric where, that afternoon, he will meet with members of the "Milano Famiglie 2012" foundation and with the organisers of his visit. At 5.30 p.m. the Holy Father will bid farewell to the authorities at Linate airport before boarding his return flight to Rome.
The World Meetings of Families trace their origins back to 1981 when Blessed John Paul II promulgated the Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris consortio" and established the Pontifical Council for the Family. The first meeting was held in Rome in 1994 and they have been taking place every three years since then. Their purpose is to celebrate the divine gift of family, to bring families together to pray, and to increase understanding of the role of the Christian family as a domestic Church and the basic cell of evangelisation.

Vatican City, 28 February 2012 (VIS) - The Twelfth Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops recently held its seventh meeting. The outcome of their deliberations has been made public in a press communique.
Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod, began by recalling that the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is due to be held in the Vatican from 7 to 28 October on the theme: "The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith". The members of the council then turned their attention to a draft version of the "Instrumentum laboris" or working document of the forthcoming Synod, pausing to examine the issue of "the recipients of the new evangelisation and the identity of Christians in their relationship with Christ".
The communique notes that "debate was particularly intense concerning the primacy of the faith at this time in history, characterised as it is by a crisis in faith which is also a crisis in the transmission of faith. Mention was made of the 'fruitlessness of current evangelisation', also due to the influence of modern culture which makes the transmission of the faith particularly difficult, and represents a challenge for both Christians and the Church. In this context, the Year of Faith will be a good occasion to develop to gift of the faith received from the Lord, to live it and transmit it to others.
"The primary place for the transmission of faith was identified in the family", the communique adds. "There the faith is communicated to young people who, in the family, learn both the contents and practice of Christian faith. The indispensable efforts of families are then extended by catechesis in ecclesial institutions, especially through the the liturgy with the Sacraments and the homily, or by giving space to parish missions popular piety, movements and ecclesial communities".

Vatican City, 28 February 2012 (VIS) - On Sunday 4 March, dioceses in Spain will be celebrating Spanish America Day and, for the occasion, the Pontifical Commission for Latin America has published a message entitled: "Committed with America to the New Evangelisation", signed by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., president of the commission.
"Today", the message reads, "the Church in Spain and the Church in America are, in some sense, facing the same challenges. Their rich Catholic tradition ... runs the risk of gradual erosion, Secularisation is advancing on all sides. There is no lack of hostility to the presence and message of the Church. The hedonistic and relativist trend of consumer and media society tends to displace and uproot the Christian culture of the people".
Therefore, it is necessary "to update, reformulate and revitalise Catholic tradition, rooting it more firmly in people's hearts, in the lives of families and in the culture of peoples, so that it may shine forth as beauty of truth, and as a promise of happiness and of a more human life for everyone". Both America and Europe are in need of a new evangelisation.
Speaking in the Brazilian city of Aparecida in 2007, Benedict XVI noted that Latin America's most precious heritage is its Catholic faith, which "has animated its life and culture ... for more than five centuries". This heritage, as the bishops gathered in Aparecida said, finds expression "in charity, which on all sides inspires gestures and initiatives of solidarity with the poorest and those most in need". Likewise, it foments "an awareness of the dignity of the person, wisdom about life, passion for justice, hope against all hope, and joy of living even in very difficult circumstances".
The message of the pontifical commission recalls how "calls for a 'new evangelisation' have been made very frequently, by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and addressed in particular to Europe and America. ... There is a need for people who show that God is present in their own lives and at all levels of existence and coexistence; people who invite others to share a life that is new, authentic and more human, a life that refers back to the event which made it possible and which continually regenerates it. ... May the People of God not fail to pray in all dioceses on this Day, that divine providence may arouse new missionary vocations".
The message contains a number of recommendations to strengthen missionary commitment to new evangelisation. These include welcoming families and communities of Latin American immigrants, especially in the current period of crisis "because they need the closeness, solidarity, charity, evangelisation and catechesis of Christian communities". Another important aspect is to welcome Latin American priests who undertake pastoral service in foreign dioceses, and to involve young people in new evangelisation, following the journey which began with World Youth Day in Madrid on "a spiritual, educational an missionary pilgrimage" to the next World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013.

Vatican City, 28 February 2012 (VIS) - An exhibition entitled "'Lux in Arcana' - the Vatican Secret Archives unveiled", organised to mark the fourth centenary of the foundation of the Archives, will be inaugurated in Rome's Capitoline Museums tomorrow. The exhibition, which will remain open until 9 September, includes around 100 documents of great importance, including Clement VII's letter to the English parliament on the matrimonial cause of Henry VIII, the bull of excommunication against Martin Luther, documents from the trial of the Templars in France, and a letter from St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes to Pope Pius IX.


Approved by 89.4 per cent of voters, the new basic charter opens the country to a multiparty system. However, it allows Assad to remain president until 2028. Wounded photojournalist Paul Conroy and reporter Edith Bouvier have left Homs. In the city, the bodies of 68 people were found, showing gunshot and knife wounds.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - Syria's new constitution came into effect after President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued decree No. 94 on the Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic. The Interior Ministry announced that the new fundamental charter was approved by 89.4 per cent of those who voted; however, only 57.4 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot.

Under the new constitution, the Baa'th party's monopoly is abolished allowing more parties to form. New elections are set to take place in three months time. The presidency is now limited to two terms, but will come into force only at the end of Assad's current seven-year term (in 2014) and is not retroactive. This means that Assad (who came to power in 2000) could rule until 2028.

As the government celebrates this milestone, the opposition has released more reports about clashes and bombing by the Syrian air force for a total of 128 dead. In Homs, 68 people were found dead in a "massacre" with men, women and children showing signs of gunfire but also knife wounds.

According to some reports from the "martyr" city, British photojournalist Paul Conroye and French reporter Edith Bouvier, who were wounded a few days ago, were evacuated to Lebanon.

The International Committee of the Red Cross also announced that its workers have reached Hama with help for 12,000 people. It had been prevented from doing so since 17 January.

At the international level, European nations have indicated their intention to put more pressures on Damascus through tougher sanctions. Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said his government is in favour of providing weapons to the rebels. "We should do whatever necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves," he said during an official visit to Norway.

By contrast, Russia and China continue to oppose any international action against Assad.

In a newspaper article, the Russian president has accused the West of "lacking the patience to work out an adjusted and balanced" solution, calling on the opposition to do what is asked of the Syrian armed forces.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei slammed the United States, urging the Americans to look at the situation in Iraq, ten years after their intervention. (PD)'s-new-constitution-comes-into-effect-amid-bombing-and-massacre-claims-24099.html


‘Without change’ suddenly means ‘with change’
‘Choice’ means ‘force’
Liberalism becomes illiberal
Sterilization, contraception, abortifacients essential; ‘essential health benefits’ not
WASHINGTON—The Department of Health and Human Services mandate that would force virtually all employers to pay for sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs to employees has “absurd consequences,” Bishop William E. Lori said February 28.
Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chair of the US bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, made his comments in testimony about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
His written and oral testimony can be found at
Bishop Lori voiced concern for an “accommodation” President Obama described February 10, which suggested a way around moral concerns the church outlined in the health care reform act.
“This‘accommodation’ would not change the scope of the mandate and its exemption,”he said. “Instead, it would take the form of additional regulations whose precise contours are yet unknown and that may not issue until August 2013.”
“For present purposes, the ‘accommodation’ is just a legally unenforceable promise to alter the way the mandate would still apply to those who are still not exempt from it,” he said. He added that “the promised alteration appears logically impossible.” He said that despite discussions on an accommodation the President has already finalized the controversial mandate that was proposed months earlier “without change,” thereby “excluding in advance any expansion of the ‘religious employer’ exemption. Somehow, this situation of ‘no change,’ is heralded as ‘great change,’ for which the Administration has been widely congratulated.”
Bishop Lori underlined the government’s forcing a religious body to violate its beliefs.
“I emphasize this word—‘force’—precisely because it is one of the key differences between a mere dispute over reproductive health policy and a dispute over religious freedom. This is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government. This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs,” he said.
“It is not a matter of ‘repackaging’ or ‘framing’this as a religious freedom dispute. It is a matter of acknowledging the basic fact that government is forcing religious people and groups to do something that violates their consciences,” he said.
Bishop Lori noted that earlier “people and groups of all political stripes—left, right, and center—came forward to join us in opposing it. But now, the mere prospect of the ‘accommodation’ described above has caused some simply to abandon their prior objection. In so doing, they undermine the basic American values that they would otherwise espouse.”
“Only in the post-mandate world might it be considered ‘liberal’ for the government to coerce people into violating their religious beliefs; to justify that coercion based on the minority status of those beliefs; to intrude into the internal affairs of religious organizations; to crush out religious diversity in the private sector; and to incentivize religious groups to serve fewer of the needy.”
He questioned why sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients are requirements of the health care act while decisions on prescription drugs and hospitalization that are supposed to be “essential” are “handed off to each state.”
“HHS will brook no dissent regarding whether sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients must be covered as ‘preventive services,’” he said. “HHS is essentially indifferent regarding what is— or is not—mandated as an ‘essential health benefit.’ As a result, genuinely beneficial items may well be omitted from coverage, state-by-state. By contrast, states have no such discretion with respect to sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients.”
He asked the committee for support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R.1179, S. 1467) to “help bring the world aright again.”
“This legislation would not expand religious freedom beyond its present limits, but simply retain Americans’longstanding freedom not to be forced by the federal government to violate their convictions,” he said.


BY: FELIX SHARE - ALLAFRICA.COM REPORT(THE HERALD): A GROUP of six church leaders recently toured the region to persuade Sadc leaders to force President Mugabe to implement a cocktail of security, electoral and media reforms.
The group, led by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe president Dr Goodwill Shana, has come up with a position paper with demands that they are presenting to Sadc ministers of justice.
It has also emerged that most of the information contained in their paper is similar to MDC-T's election demands.
The paper is entitled "The role of the church in nation building in Zimbabwe."
Government sources described the tour as a "regime change plot" saying the clergymen were selling an MDC-T position paper.
The group, operating under the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations, was in Mozambique last month where it met the Minister of Justice, Judge Maria Benvida Delfina Levi, without an invitation.
The other five clergymen are Bishop Naison Shava (head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church), Bishop Alexio Muchabaiwa, Fathers Edward Ndete, Frederick Chirombo (Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference) and Father Richard Menatsi (Southern African Catholic Bishops secretary-general).
A representative of the group, Bishop Shava yesterday confirmed the visit but said it had nothing to do with Zimbabwe's political parties.
"The visit has got nothing to do with political parties in the country. Anyway, talk to Dr Shana . . . he is the one we mandated to respond to media inquiries and I cannot comment further than that," he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Dr Shana were fruitless as his personal assistant only identified as Chipo, said he was out of the country on church business.
Presenting their paper to Jugde Levi, the clergymen reportedly said they were engaged in various ways to "try and resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe".
The group said it expected key reforms to take place in the country after the completion of the constitution-making process.
"Our own desire is that there should be a people-driven Constitution. After the adoption of the new Constitution, we expect political, legislative, electoral, media and security reforms to take place before holding free and fair elections," read part of the paper.
The clergymen said they had no faith in the country's voters' roll, adding that Sadc should explore a "more appropriate" model for monitoring elections.
"Zimbabwe needs a new voters' roll. We believe Sadc needs to explore a more appropriate model of monitoring elections. We urge your Government (Mozambique) to push for a Sadc presence on the ground six months ahead of any election.
"During the pre-election period Sadc would have to open satellite offices in provinces and districts, which will remain open during and well after the election."
The group said Sadc's presence after an election should not be "less than a month".
"Such presence on the ground would improve our electoral atmosphere especially by curbing violence and possible rigging of elections."
A Government official yesterday said some clergymen were being used by MDC-T and foreigners to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.
"There is just something fishy about their visit because everything in their document coincides with the MDC-T position paper," the official said.
"How can they move around the region with such an ill-informed document? The contents simply show that they have got a hidden agenda.
"They are busy talking about reforms instead of concentrating on their core business. Their interest is a cause for concern," he said.
The issue of reforms in the country, especially in the security sector, is being pushed by agents of regime change who want to reverse the gains of independence.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said his party had nothing to do with the pastors' regional offensive.
"The pastors are acting on their own without the insistence of the MDC-T. The coincidence in demands might be because we are seeing similar things on the ground," he said.
However, Zanu-PF argues that the country's security sector needs no reform because it is the envy of so many countries in the world as it is highly disciplined and professionally managed.
The reputation of the security forces has seen them participate in numerous United Nations peacekeeping missions worldwide.
Every year groups of Zimbabwean police officers serve under UN peacekeeping missions.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
28 Feb 2012

Fr Gerry Iverson
The Rev Dr Gerald Iverson, former rector of St Patrick's College, Manly and Pastor Emeritus at Greystanes' Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish where he served as parish priest, has died.
Fr Gerry, as he was affectionately known, lost his courageous battle against the ravages of Parkinson's Disease on Friday, 24 February.

He was 75.
"There is a mixture of emotions among his many friends as we prepare to celebrate his funeral," says Fr Peter Confeggi, Parish Priest at St Patrick's Parish, Blacktown explaining that along with great sadness at Fr Gerry's passing there is also a sense of relief he is now free of the crippling effects of Parkinson's which claimed his voice and ability to eat himself making him "unable to share a glass of red wine with friends."
"I was privileged to spend the last evening of his life alongside him in ICU," Fr Peter says recalling how with the early light of a new day and the arrival of his brother, Fr Gerry had pointed to three letters on his spell chart...SMH.
"The Sydney Morning Herald was duly brought to him and this was typical of his engagement with life - the Gospel in one hand, a newspaper in the other!"
With his limitless compassion, profound faith as well as his humour, warmth and ability to engage with people of all faiths, all walks of life and all ages, Fr Gerry's passing is being mourned by all those who were lucky enough to have known him.
"He was a great parish priest, a great personal friend and a great leader," says Fr Peter Confeggi. "He was also a man who stood with people in times of change, crisis and transition, and helped them draw the best from the experience."

As preparations are made for a Funeral Mass to be held on Friday, 2 March at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Greystanes where he served as parish priest for 17 years, stories of Fr Gerry's many friendships and kindnesses have flooded the parish office with tributes being sent by text, phone, email as well as hastily written sympathy cards.
"Gerry had a wonderful capacity to gather people and build friendships," Fr Peter recalls. "I remember sharing breakfast with him the morning after 9/11. What can we do? he asked. And within weeks he had Catholic parishioners sitting down with Muslims from the Gallipoli Mosque at Auburn."
Along with Fr Gerry's compassion, was what Fr Peter describes as a "rare depth of emotional intelligence," a fine, agile mind and an unceasing zest for life which he lived to the full.
"By the time we met in midlife he had climbed in the Himalayas, kayaked in Antarctica and seemed to fit 30 hours in to most days," Fr Peter says and believes Fr Gerry in his relationships with people, put a human face on the Church and for those within the Catholic community and beyond, he was a voice of compassion and understanding."

Fr Gerry Iverson with St Paul's College
Year 8 student, Alexander Burke at
opening of language centre named
in his honour
The eldest of four children, Fr Gerry was born in 1937 to Claude and Kathleen Iverson and grew up in Albury where he was educated at St Brigids Primary School and Christian Brothers College.

At just 17, he entered St Columba's Seminary at Springwood. He spent two years there before continuing with his priestly studies at St Patrick's College, Manly. Many years later, when he became Rector of the Manly seminary, he used to tell his students that if he'd been Rector at that time, he would have said: 'Gerry Iverson go away and grow up a bit.'"
Celebrating his golden jubilee of ordination in July 2010, he talked about his vocation and said a number of things had drawn him to the priesthood. "A priestly vocation that had a lot more prestige attached to it than it does now," he commented and revealed that one of his teachers at College had also played a role in his decision to become a priest.
"Br Tom Davitt, a Christian Brother was a wild eccentric Irishman, but his love of the priesthood was profound and his influence on all of us was extraordinary. He showed us what a truly fulfilling vocation the priesthood was."
Ordained by Bishop Henschke on 16 July 1960, Fr Gerry served in various parishes across the Wagga Wagga Diocese under Bishop Frank Carroll who appointed him Administrator of the Cathedral parish where as a member of the parish team, he helped establish a marriage and counselling service as well as an agency providing services now provided by Centacare.
In 1979, Fr Gerry returned to academia studying for a masters degree at the Institute of Pastoral Studies in Chicago. Returning to Australia, he took over as Director of Marriage Education and Family Support by the Diocese of Wagga Wagga and then in 1985, the then Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Edward Clancy appointed him Rector of St Patrick's College, Manly.
Among the seminarians at St Patrick's when he took over, was Tony Abbott, the current leader of the Coalition.
"Fr Gerry did not quite order me to spend the following year as a pastoral assistant in a distant parish to sort myself out, because modern churchmen are not that authoritarian," Tony Abbott wrote of this period in his life, in his recently published memoir, Battlelines. "Under protest I went to Emu Plains but I sensed that it would work out well when the parish priest asked if I took my coffee with milk or with brandy!"

Fr Gerry joined Minister Chris Bowen
and other dignitaries at unveiling of
St Paul's College's new language centre
Fr Gerry loved his experience at St Patrick's and found being in charge of the formation of young people, and dealing with their enthusiasm and questions, immensely rewarding. But after five years in the role, he found he missed the variety and closeness involved in ministering to families, children and individuals that he had experienced as a parish priest.
Incardinated in Parramatta, in 1994 he was appointed to Greystanes during extremely difficult times for the parish. His role was to rebuild and reunite the parish. While many felt disillusioned and had walked away, many others recognised through Fr Gerry's compassion, energy and ministry, the chance of a new beginning.
For the next 17 years he remained parish priest at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, respected, admired and very much loved.
Equally at home as a behind-the-scenes confidante to Church leaders as he was in counselling those about to wed, praying and comforting the bereaved or visiting his fellow priests in prison, Fr Gerry led a life filled with God's love and laced with compassion.
In July 2011, Federal member for Mahon, Chris Bowen officially opened the $1.9 million Fr Gerald Iverson Language Centre at St Paul's Catholic College, Greystanes. Funded by the Commonwealth's BER stimulus scheme, the Centre creates new possibilities in learning and teaching. While commending these, Chris Bowen said he was also there to "specifically honour and pay my respect to Fr Gerry and the thousands he has helped through difficult circumstances over the many years he was parish priest."
Although battling his Parkinson's Disease, Fr Gerry attended the blessing and opening of the Centre named after him which stands as a fitting memorial and legacy to the esteem and love in which he was held by the parish, its schools and its people.
"The Church was blessed to have Fr Gerry's ministry. As many were blessed to have him as a friend," says Fr Peter.
A Vigil for Fr Gerry Iverson will be held at 7.30 pm on Thursday, 1 March at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Old Prospect Road, Greystanes. A Pontifical Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial for Fr Gerry will be offered at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Greystanes at 11 am, Friday 2 March. Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Bishop of Parramatta will be principal celebrant and Homilist for the Mass will be the Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus for the Archdiocese of Sydney, Most Rev Geoffrey Robinson.
Fr Peter Confeggi will deliver the eulogy.


Over 100 churches go solar after appeal to higher order | green energy, ecotricity

installing solar panels on church roof
More than 100 churches have benefitted from the High Court decision to extend the Feed-in-Tariff window for solar panels – which closes on Saturday. Since January 25, Ecotricity has helped the Church of England’s green mission by taking the total number of churches with solar panels past 150 in the South West alone.

This is in addition to 300 churches, vicarages and CoE schools across the diocese of Gloucester, Exeter and Bath & Wells that now use green energy from Ecotricity – the Stroud based renewables company that the Church of England has chosen as preferred green supplier for every parish in the UK, as part of their new ‘Parish Buying’ scheme.

With 16,000 church buildings throughout the UK, parishes are being urged to reduce their carbon footprint by making greener purchasing choices, in line with the Church of England’s national campaign – ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ – with a target of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

“This is far more than a cost saving exercise - it is a means of demonstrating good stewardship and releasing money which can be directed towards mission and ministry,” said Church of England procurement officer Russell Stables.

Before Feed-in-Tariff rates were suddenly slashed on December 12, only 47 church buildings in the diocese of Gloucester, Exeter and Bath & Wells had installed solar panels, but the High Court appeal allowed more than 100 to take advantage of the new March 3 deadline for the higher rate.

On January 25, the Court of Appeal rejected the Government’s appeal against the High Court ruling that cuts to solar panel Feed-in-Tariffs was ‘legally flawed.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “The Church of England is setting a great example for others to follow. They are looking right across their organisation and making it as sustainable as possible.

“The need to protect the environment is unarguable these days and organisations of all shapes, sizes and creeds need to step up and take responsibility like the Church of England has done.”

The Church of England’s new shortlist of preferred products and services champions ethical businesses and Ecotricity have been selected for their dedication to people and planet over profit.

Britain’s leading green energy company, Ecotricity was founded over 15 years’ ago when, in 1996, it founded the UK’s green electricity market and movement. A ‘not for dividend’ company with no outside shareholders to answer to, it now powers over 58,000 homes and businesses in the UK from its fleet of 53 windmills and it invests more per capita in building new sources of green energy than any other UK electricity company.


Matthew 6: 7 - 15

7 "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread;
12 And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors;
13 And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;
15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


St. Hilary
Feast: February 28

Feast Day: February 28 or November 17
at Sardinia
Died: 28 February 468 at Rome, Italy
Elected 461; the date of his death is given as 28 Feb., 468. After the death of Leo I, an archdeacon named Hilarus, a native of Sardinia, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", was chosen to succeed him, and in all probability received consecration on 19 November, 461. Together with Julius, Bishop of Puteoli, Hilarus acted as legate of Leo I at the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449. There he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople (see FLAVIAN, SAINT). He was therefore exposed to the violence of Dioscurus of Alexandria, and saved himself by flight. In one of his letters to the Empress Pulcheria, found in a collection of letters of Leo I ("Leonis I Epistolae", num. xlvi., in P.L., LIV, 837 sq.), Hilarus apologizes for not delivering to her the pope's letter after the synod; but owing to Dioscurus, who tried to hinder his going either to Rome or to Constantinople, he had great difficulty in making his escape in order to bring to the pontiff the news of the result of the council. His pontificate was marked by the same vigorous policy as that of his great predecessor. Church affairs in Gaul and Spain claimed his special attention. Owing to political disorganization in both countries, it was important to safeguard the hierarchy by strengthening church government. Hermes, a former archdeacon of Narbonne, had illegally acquired the bishopric of that town. Two Gallican prelates were dispatched to Rome to lay before the pope this and other matters concerning the Church in Gaul. A Roman synod held on 19 November, 462, passed judgment upon these matters, and Hilarus made known the following decisions in an Encyclical sent to the provincial bishops of Vienne, Lyons, Narbonne, and the Alps: Hermes was to remain Titular Bishop of Narbonne, but his episcopal faculties were withheld. A synod was to be convened yearly by the Bishop of Arles, for those of the provincial bishops who were able to attend; but all important matters were to be submitted to the Apostolic See. No bishop could leave his diocese without a written permission from the metropolitan; in case such permission be withheld he could appeal to the Bishop of Arles. Respecting the parishes (paroeciae) claimed by Leontius of Arles as belonging to his jurisdiction, the Gallican bishops could decide, after an investigation. Church property could not be alienated until a synod had examined into the cause of sale.
Shortly after this the pope found himself involved in another diocesan quarrel. In 463 Mamertus of Vienne had consecrated a Bishop of Die, although this Church, by a decree of Leo I, belonged to the metropolitan Diocese of Arles. When Hilarus heard of it he deputed Leontius of Arles to summon a great synod of the bishops of several provinces to investigate the matter. The synod took place and, on the strength of the report given him by Bishop Antonius, he issued an edict dated 25 February, 464, in which Bishop Veranus was commissioned to warn Mamertus that, if in the future he did not refrain from irregular ordinations, his faculties would be withdrawn. Consequently the consecration of the Bishop of Die must be sanctioned by Leontius of Arles. Thus the primatial privileges of the See of Arles were upheld as Leo I had defined them. At the same time the bishops were admonished not to overstep their boundaries, and to assemble in a yearly synod presided over by the Bishop of Arles. The metropolitan rights of the See of Embrun also over the dioceses of the Maritime Alps were protected against the encroachments of a certain Bishop Auxanius, particularly in connection with the two Churches of Nice and Cimiez.
In Spain, Silvanus, Bishop of Calahorra, had, by his episcopal ordinations, violated the church laws. Both the Metropolitan Ascanius and the bishops of the Province of Tarragona made complaint of this to the pope and asked for his decision. Before an answer came to their petition, the same bishops had recourse to the Holy See for an entirely different matter. Before his death Nundinarius, Bishop of Barcelona, expressed a wish that Irenaeus might be chosen his successor, although he had himself made Irenaeus bishop of another see. The request was granted, a Synod of Tarragona confirming the nomination of Irenaeus, after which the bishops sought the pope's approval. The Roman synod of 19 Nov., 465, took the matters up and settled them. This is the oldest Roman synod whose original records have been handed down to us. It was held in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. After an address of the pope, and the reading of the Spanish letters, the synod decided that the church laws must not be tampered with. In addition to this Hilarus sent a letter to the bishops of Tarragona, declaring that no consecration was valid without the sanction of the Metropolitan Ascanius; and no bishop was permitted to be transferred from one diocese to another, so that some one else must be chosen for Barcelona in place of Irenaeus. The bishops consecrated by Silvanus would be recognized if they had been appointed to vacant sees, and otherwise met the requirements of the Church. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions an Encyclical that Hilarus sent to the East, to confirm the Oecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and the dogmatic letter of Leo I to Flavian, but the sources at our disposal furnish us no further information. In Rome Hilarus worked zealously for the integrity of the Faith. The Emperor Anthemius had a favourite named Philotheus, who was a believer in the Macedonian heresy and attended meetings in Rome for the promulgation of this doctrine, 476. On one of the emperor's visits to St. Peter's, the pope openly called him to account for his favourite's conduct, exhorting him by the grave of St. Peter to promise that he would do all in his power to check the evil. Hilarus erected several churches and other buildings in Rome. Two oratories in the baptistery of the Lateran, one in honour of St. John the Baptist, the other of St. John the Apostle, are due to him. After his flight from the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus, Hilarus had hidden himself in the crypt of St. John the Apostle, and he attributed his deliverance to the intercession of the Apostle. Over the ancient doors of the oratory this inscription is still to be seen: "To St. John the Evangelist, the liberator of Bishop Hilarus, a Servant of Christ". He also erected a chapel of the Holy Cross in the baptistery, a convent, two public baths, and libraries near the Church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. He built another convent within the city walls. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions many votive offerings made by Hilarus in the different churches. He died after a pontificate of six years, three months, and ten days. He was buried in the church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. His feast day is celebrated on 17 November.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


No comments: