Monday, March 12, 2012


Vatican City, 11 March 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, the third Sunday of Lent, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Pope commented on today's reading from the Gospel of St. John which recounts how Jesus drove animal sellers and money changers from the Temple, arousing great wonder among His disciples and the people. "How must we interpret this gesture?" the Pope asked. "First of all we must note that it did not cause any reaction from the guardians of public order, because it was seen as a typically prophetical act. Prophets, in fact, in the name of God often denounced abuses, sometimes with symbolic gestures. If anything, the problem was their authority. That is why the Jews asked Jesus 'what sign can you show us for doing this?'; in other words, show us that you are truly acting in God's name.
"The cleansing of the Temple has also been interpreted as a political-revolutionary gesture", the Holy Father added, "with Jesus being seen as part of the Zealots movement. The Zealots were, indeed, 'zealous' for the law of God and ready to use violence to ensure it was respected. In Jesus' time they were awaiting a Messiah who would free Israel from Roman rule. But Jesus disappointed that hope, causing some disciples to abandon Him, while Judas Iscariot even betrayed Him. The truth is that it is impossible to interpret Jesus as violent. Violence is contrary to the Kingdom of God. It is an instrument of the Antichrist. Violence never serves man, but dehumanises him".
"The words Jesus used while accomplishing His gesture - 'Take these things our of here!Stop making my Father's house a market-place!' - reminded His disciples of the words of the Psalm: 'It is zeal for your house that has consumed me'. The Psalm is a cry for help in a situation of extreme danger caused by the hatred of enemies, which is what Jesus would experience in His passion. Zeal for the Father and His house would take Him to the cross. His is the zeal of the love which pays in person, not that which seeks to serve God through violence. Indeed, the 'sign' Jesus would give as proof of His authority would be His death and resurrection. 'Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up', which St. John glosses with the words: 'he was speaking of the temple of his body'. At Easter Jesus inaugurated a new cult: the cult of love, and a new temple: Himself, the risen Christ, through Whom allbelievers can adore God the Father 'in spirit and truth'".
"The Holy Spirit began to build this temple in the Virgin's womb", Benedict XVI concluded. "Through her intercession let us pray that each Christian may become a living stone in this spiritual building".
Following the Marian prayer the Pope launched an appeal for the people of Madagascar who have been suffering the devastating effects of tropical storms, the most recent of which left at least seventy dead and many missing, as well as causing material damage affecting 70,000 people.
"My thoughts go", he said, "to the dear people of Madagascar who have recently been struck by violent natural calamities that caused serious damage to people, infrastructures and crops. While giving assurances of my prayers for the victims and for their sorely tried families, I encourage the international community to send aid".

Vatican City, 10 March 2012 (VIS) - The Pontifical Commission for Latin America has recently published a work entitled "Reflections on New Evangelisation in Latin America: Challenges and Priorities". The book, 130 pages long, is the outcome of a study day organised by the commission which took place on 11 November 2011.
The book begins with an introduction by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and includes the text of three lectures delivered during the course of the study day: "New Evangelisation in the Light of the Pontifical Magisterium" by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation; "From the Evangelisation of Jesus Christ to the Continental Mission as New Evangelisation" by Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales, secretary of the Latin American Episcopal Council, and "New Evangelisation in Latin America Today: Challenges and Priorities" by Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. There then follows a list of forty-one recommendations for new evangelisation on the American continent.
The work will be sent to all members and counsellors of the commission, to the bishops of Latin America and to the prefects and presidents of the various dicasteries and offices of the Roman Curia.
A communique from the pontifical commission accompanying today's publication states that the book contains "a number of useful contributions to that 'new evangelisation' which has been repeatedly invoked by John Paul II and by Benedict XVI, ... and which found a significant response in the 'continental mission' launched during the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean held in 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil. That mission is in the process of being accomplished". The book also "aims to contribute to the many discussions and reflections which are taking place in view of the forthcoming General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October, ... and the subsequent Year of Faith".

Vatican City, 12 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See has sent a delegation to participate in the Sixth World Water Forum, being held in the French city of Marseille from 12 to 17 March. For the occasion the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has prepared a document entitled: "Water, an Element Essential for Life".
The text highlights how, despite a certain amount of progress, a large part of the world population still does not enjoy guaranteed access to potable water. The document also underscores the need for improved management of water resources by public authorities, private sector operators and civil society, and invites those bodies to act with responsibility, sobriety and solidarity, while taking account of the principles of justice and subsidiarity.
The World Water Fora are organised every three years by the World Water Council. They bring together private and State entities, as well as representatives of various associations, to analyse and develop a long term vision of the status and utilisation of this indispensable resource.

Vatican City, 10 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Thirteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Jerome George Hanus O.S.B. of Dubuque.
- Bishop Martin John Amos of Davenport.
- Bishop Richard Edmund Pates of Des Moines, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Joseph Leo Charron C.PP.S.
- Bishop Ralph Walker Nickless of Sioux City.
- Archbishop Robert James Carlson of Saint Louis, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice, and by former Auxiliary Bishop Robert Joseph Hermann.
- Bishop John Raymond Gaydos of Jefferson City.
- Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Raymond James Boland.
- Bishop James Vann Johnston of Springfield-Cape Giradeau, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John Joseph Leibrecht.
- Frere Alois, prior of Taize.
- His Grace Rowan Williams, Anglican archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion.

Vatican City, 10 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Archbishop Francesco Alfano of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi - Conza - Nusco - Bisaccia, Italy, as archbishop of Sorrento-Casellamare di Stabia (area 205, population 240,900, Catholics 240,000, priests 169, permanent deacons 6, religious 501), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Felice Cece, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 450th anniversary of the formal renewal of the archbishopric of Prague, due to take place on 12 May.
- Appointed Archbishop Mario Roberto Cassari, apostolic nuncio to Croatia, as apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland.


Jubilant Crowd WYD Mass - (c) WYD 2008
Vatican City, 10 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs, presented the Holy Father with the 2012 edition of the "Annuario Pontificio" or pontifical yearbook, and the "Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae". Also present were the officials responsible for compiling and printing the volumes.
A note concerning the presentation highlights some of the facts contained in the new edition. In 2011, the Pope erected eight new episcopal sees, one personal ordinariate and one military ordinariate. One archdiocese and eight dioceses were elevated to the rank of metropolitan see; one prelature, one apostolic vicariate and one apostolic prefecture were elevated to the rank of diocese, and one "sui iuris" mission was elevated to the rank of apostolic prefecture.
The statistical information, which refers to the year 2010, reveals details about the Catholic Church in the 2,966 ecclesiastical circumscriptions on the planet. The number of Catholics in the world moved from 1,181 million in 2009 to 1,196 million in 2010, an increase of fifteen million faithful, corresponding to a growth of 1.3 percent. Over the last two years the presence of baptised Catholics in the world has remained stable at around 17.5 per cent.
The number of Catholics with respect to the total population varies considerably between the continents. Their numbers have dropped in South America (from 28.54 per cent to 28.34 per cent) and in Europe (from 24.05 per cent to 23.83 per cent), while they have increased in Africa (from 15.15 per cent to 15.55 per cent) and in South-East Asia (from 10.47 per cent to 10.87 per cent).
The number of bishops went from 5,065 to 5,104, a growth of 0.77 per cent. This increase involved Africa (sixteen new bishops), America (fifteen) and Asia (twelve), while numbers fell slightly in Europe (from 1,607 to 1,606) and in Oceania (from 132 to 129).
The steady increase in the number of priests which began in the year 2000 has continued. In 2010 their numbers stood at 412,236, composed of 227,009 diocesan priests and 135,227 regular priests; whereas in 2009 they numbered 410,593 (275,542 diocesan and 135,051 regular). The number of clergy has increased in Asia (by 1695), Africa (765), Oceania (52) and the Americas (42), while their numbers have fallen by 905 in Europe.
Numbers of permanent deacons have increased by 3.7 per cent, from 38,155 in 2009 to 39,564 in 2010. They are present above all in North America and Europe, which respectively represent 64.3 per cent and 33.2 per cent of the world total.
The negative tendency in the number of non-ordained male religious reversed, as their number passed from 54,229 in 2009 to 54,665 in 2010. Numbers fell by 3.5 per cent in South America and by 0.9 per cent in North America, in Europe they remained stationary while Asia and Africa saw an increase of 4.1 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.
The number of female religious is undergoing a strong decline, moving from 729,371 in 2009 to 721,935 in 2010. Numbers fell by 2.9 per cent in Europe, by 2.6 per cent in Oceania and by 1.6 per cent the Americas. Nonetheless they increased by around 2 per cent in both Africa and Asia
The number of students of philosophy and theology in diocesan and religious seminaries has increased constantly over the last five years, from 114,439 in 2005 to 111,990 in 2010, a growth of 4 per cent.
Numbers of major seminarians have fallen by 10.4 per cent in Europe, and by 1.1 per cent in the Americas, but are increasing in Africa (14.2 per cent,) Asia (13 per cent) and Oceania (12.3 per cent).



Screenshot from the Inner West Courier
Next month at least 30 boxers, from champion Anthony Mundine to novice John Safran, will face pugilist Anglican priest Father Dave Smith in an attempt to break the world record for the most continuous rounds of boxing, on Palm Sunday, reports the Inner West Courier.
The parish priest at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Sydney's Dulwich Hill aims to box 120 rounds of three minutes over eight hours on Sunday, April 1.
Fr Dave, 50, is aiming to raise $10,000 for the church's youth drop-in centre which he has been running since 1994.
The centre brings together young people from the community and rehabilitates those with drug and alcohol issues through boxing.
Mundine and his father Tony and radio personality Safran and female boxer Lauryn Eagle are some of names entering the ring.
But Fr Smith is still looking for more people to face a round against the 'fighting priest' on Palm Sunday.
"When I started fighting, people would say 'I can't hit the father' and stuff like that," Fr Smith said.
"But I'd start hitting them and they'd quickly change their mind."


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The UN envoy leaves Syria without any agreement between President Assad and the rebels, but is optimistic for the future. Over 120 dead in two days of clashes in the city Idblid, Homs and Hama.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Kofi Annan, the UN envoy in Syria is optimistic after yesterday's meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but stresses that it will be difficult to reach an agreement to stop the clashes which since March 2011 have left more than 7500 people dead. "I was in the country for a very short period - he says - but almost every Syrian I met wants peace." The diplomat said that the population is tired of violence and wishes a speedy return to normality.

In the talks which began on March 10, Annan asked the Syrian president and the opposition to stop the fighting, provide a humanitarian corridor to help the wounded and lay the foundations for dialogue.

Despite the optimism of the former UN secretary general, many are skeptical of the outcome of the meetings. Assad stressed that any discussions will not begin as long as there are armed terrorists in the country. The rebels want the president to leave power. Within the 48 hours of Annan's stay, about 120 people died in clashes between the army and Free Syrian Army. The majority of victims were in the city of Idblid (northern Syria), under siege of the regime troops for the past two days, but there were also victims in Homs and Hama.

Today, Koi Annan will travel to Turkey to meet Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister and inspect camps set up in the province of Hatay on the border with Syria.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - We are called to urgent and concrete answers to everything that is opposed to life, because God's Word is clear when he says "Thou shalt not kill". In this, God is determined, clear and precise, "you cannot re-interpret the will of God, the God of life does not want death" said Cardinal Julio Terrazas, Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in his homily in the Cathedral in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Giambattista Diquattro, deploring the lynchings and murders that have occurred recently. The Cardinal asked to stop these violent actions, rejecting " death given by human laws, they can always make mistakes and commit injustice, and death decided by some".
A week ago the community of Quila Quila (25 km from Sucre), the locals inhabitants grabbed two people who were stealing in the village church and, after binding and beating them, they were buried alive near the church. The police found the bodies after several attempts of dialogue with the locals, who kept saying "the people have carried out justice". Furthermore, 4 days ago, the intervention of the authorities alerted by a Catholic priest prevented the lynching of two alleged thieves, always by the inhabitants of Quila Quila. This is not the first time such incidents occur in the area (see Fides 23/09/2010).
In his homily, Cardinal Terrazas asked "not to repeat what happened in the past, and not to be fooled by those who hate and seek revenge, or by those who applaud increasingly severe measures but fail to reach the heart of what causes the damage, injury, evil". He also asked not to get used to hearing the words of death and revenge with one’s own hands, because in this way a dangerous culture of death in the family and the people is introduced. He invited all believers to use this time to "shake off the spiritual laziness in which we live and to ask the Lord to purify our minds and our hearts, and finally to rebuild our relationships with God and with our brothers and sisters". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 12/03/2012)


Cisa News REPORT
LAGOS, March 9, 2012 (CISA) -A spokesman for the Islamic militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria has said that they are planning to launch a number of attacks to eradicate Christians from northern Nigeria.
The spokesman told on Sunday that they are planning a “war” on Christians in the next few weeks.
He said, without giving specific details, “we will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won’t be able to stay.”
The spokesman also said the government “cannot be prepared for what is to come.”
Boko Haram have taken responsibility for a number of bomb attacks on Christian churches across the country since a Christmas Day bombing left dozens of people killed.
The government has promised to crackdown on the group and has deployed military units across the country in an attempt to curtail the Islamic group’s activities, arresting and killing a number of members in recent weeks.
Last week on Friday, the group reportedly killed three of its own members late on Friday in the north-eastern state of Maiduguri, police and military sources confirmed.
“This was part of our planning and it is unfortunate,” said the spokesman.
The explosion in the Kaleri suburb of the northern city on Friday destroyed a house and dismembered the three Islamist sect members, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed of the special military unit in Maiduguri said.
The violence by the militant group has since mid-2009 claimed more than 1,000 lives, including more than 300 this year alone, according to rights groups.


Luke 4: 24 - 30
24 And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country.
25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Eli'jah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land;
26 and Eli'jah was sent to none of them but only to Zar'ephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Eli'sha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Na'aman the Syrian."
28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.
29 And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.
30 But passing through the midst of them he went away.


St. Theophanes
Feast: March 12

Feast Day: February 14
758, Constantinople
Died: 817
Chronicler, born at Constantinople, about 758; died in Samothracia, probably 12 March, 817, on which day he is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology. He was the son of Isaac, imperial governor of the islands of the White Sea, and of Theodora, of whose family nothing is known. After the early death of his parents he came to the Court of Constantine Copronimus. He was married at the age of twelve, but induced his wife to lead a life of virginity, and in 799, after the death of his father-in-law, they separated with mutual consent to embrace the religious state, she choosing a convent on an island near Constantinople, while he entered the monastery called Polychronius in the district of Sigriano near Cyzicus. Later he built a monastery on his own lands on the island of Calonymus (now Calomio). After six years he returned to Sigriano, founded an abbey known by the name "of the great acre", and governed it as abbot. As such he was present at the second General Council of Nicaea, 787, and signed its decrees in defense of the sacred images. When the emperor Leo the Armenian again began his iconoclastic warfare, he ordered Theophanes to be brought to Constantinople and tried in vain to induce him to condemn what had been sanctioned by the council. Theophanes was cast into prison and for two years suffered cruel treatment; he was then banished to Samothracia, where, overwhelmed with afflictions, he lived only seventeen days and wrought many miracles after death.
At the urgent request of his friend George Syncellus (d. 810), Theophanes undertook the continuation of his chronicle, during the years 810-15 (P. G., CVIII, 55). He treated of the time from the year 284-813, and made use of material already prepared by Syncellus, probably also the extracts from the works of Socrates, Sozomenus, and Theodoret, made by Theodore Lector, and the city chronicle of Constantinople. The work consists of two parts, the first giving the history, arranged according to years, the other containing chronological tables, full of inaccuracies, and therefore of little value. It seems that Theophanes had only prepared the tables, leaving vacant spaces for the proper dates, but that these had been filled out by someone else (Hurter, "Nomencl." I, Innsbruck, 1903, 735). The first part, though lacking in historical precision and criticism, which could scarcely be expected from a man of such ascetical disposition, greatly surpasses the majority of Byzantine chronicles (Krumbacher, "Gesch. der byz. Litt., 1897, 342). The chronicle was edited at Paris in 1655 by Goar; again at Venice in 1729 with annotations and corrections by Combefis. A Latin version was made by Anastasius Bibliothecarius, and both were ably edited by de Boor (Leipzig, 1883).

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)


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