Thursday, April 12, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: On Easter Sunday within the walls of a juvenile detention centre in Rome by the name of ‘Casal di Marmo’ which houses roughly 50 young people, a 6 and a half feet chocolate egg stood tall.

Hand decorated, it sported the coat of arms of Benedict XVI.

Simply because the Easter egg had been a gift to him on the part of the representatives of a Chocolate Factory from Cremona in the North of Italy.

It had been personally presented to him on Wednesday 4th of April in Saint Peter's Square , following the weekly General Audience. And a day later, it was Holy Thursday, it was already no longer within Vatican walls but delivered behind bars to the detention centre and placed within its Chapel walls.

A Chapel this where the Pope had once prayed on a visit there back in March 2007, during which he had celebrated mass with the detainees in the gym. Speaking to them during the homily of the Parable of the “Prodigal Son”. Explaining how “freedom when it is interpreted as doing as much as I want or living for myself” is not right and that life brings more satisfaction when lived for others.

On that occasion Benedict XVI put a personal touch to the event individually giving each young detainee, a blessing and a rosary.

Vatican officials promote a new Forum for Culture and Development in AfricaRADIO VATICANA REPORT:
An ecclesiastical Forum for culture and development involving African representatives of culture and providing a bridge for the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, is just one of the projects on the table aiming to strengthen ties and further collaboration between the Dicastery and the Church in Africa.

This project was recently under discussion at the Pontifical Council for Culture during a day-long reception for the Ambassadors to the Holy See from Africa.

As Father Theo Mascarenhas explained to Linda Bordoni, the successful initiative follows in the wake of a reception last hear for Ambassadors to the Holy See from the Asian Continent in a bid to further and promote intercultural dialogue between the various countries and the Council.

He says that in that occasion there was a very good response with Ambassadors or representatives from twenty-two countries attending.

So, Father Mascarenhas says, in continuation of the objective of carrying forward cooperation between the Pontifical Council for Culture and many of the countries that are geographically distant from the Vatican, the Dicastery organized on March 22, a meeting of Ambassadors from the African continent to the Holy See.

He illustrated the programme which was held in three different parts and at more than one venue.

The first part of the day was devoted to a detailed presentation of Dicastery by the President Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and the Secretary of the Council Bishop Barthélemy Adoukonou who comes from Benin.

After the presentation, the Ambassadors had the chance to intervene and express their opinion and make their proposals for collaboration.

The group then was then taken on a guided tour of the Temple of Hadrian which hosts Rome’s Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event.

During the last part of the programme, the diplomats were taken visit to the Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome’s main auditorium built on a project by architect Renzo Piano.

The event, Father Mascarenhas explains, intends to strengthen further the ties between the embassies and the Dicastery and to evolve new ways for cultural cooperation.



Catholic Church News Image of US bishops and liberal Catholics fall out over contraception
Urge strong lay involvement
Outline threats to First Freedom at all levels of government and abroad
Call upon dioceses to pursue religious liberty fortnight, June 21-July 4 (image source: ucan)

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops have issued a call to action to defend religious liberty and urged laity to work to protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights. They outlined their position in “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.” The document was developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), approved for publication by the USCCB Administrative Committee March 13, and published in English and Spanish April 12.
The document can be found at
“We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today,” the bishops said in the document, “… for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.”
The document lists concerns that prompt the bishops to act now.Among concerns are:
• The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate forcing all employers, including religious organizations, to provide and pay for coverage of employees’ contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs even when they have moral objections to them. Another concern is HHS’s defining which religious institutions are“religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty.
• Driving Catholic foster care and adoption services out of business. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia and Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities adoption or foster care services out of business by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.
• Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. Despite years of excellent performance by the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require USCCB to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching. Religious institutions should not be disqualified from a government contract based on religious belief, and they do not lose their religious identity or liberty upon entering such contracts. Recently, a federal court judge in Massachusetts turned religious liberty on its head when he declared that such a disqualification is required by the First Amendment—that the government violates religious liberty by allowing Catholic organizations to participate in contracts in a manner consistent with their beliefs on contraception and abortion.
The statement lists other examples such as laws punishing charity to undocumented immigrants; a proposal to restructure Catholic parish corporations to limit the bishop’s role; and a state university’s excluding a religious student group because it limits leadership positions to those who share the group’s religion.
Other topics include the history and deep resonance of Catholic and American visions of religious freedom, the recent tactic of reducing freedom of religion to freedom of worship, the distinction between conscientious objection to a just law, and civil disobedience of an unjust law, the primacy of religious freedom among civil liberties, the need for active vigilance in protecting that freedom, and concern for religious liberty among interfaith and ecumenical groups and across partisan lines.
The bishops decry limiting religious freedom to the sanctuary.
“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans,” they said. “Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?”
“This is not a Catholic issue. This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon, or Muslim issue. It is an American issue,” they said.
The bishops highlighted religious freedom abroad.
“Our obligation at home is to defend religious liberty robustly, but we cannot overlook the much graver plight that religious believers, most of them Christian, face around the world,” they said.“The age of martyrdom has not passed. Assassinations, bombings of churches, torching of orphanages—these are only the most violent attacks Christians have suffered because of their faith in Jesus Christ. More systematic denials of basic human rights are found in the laws of several countries, and also in acts of persecution by adherents of other faiths.”
The document ends with a call to action.
“What we ask is nothing more than that our God-given right to religious liberty be respected. We ask nothing less than that the Constitution and laws of the United States, which recognize that right, be respected.” They specifically addressed several groups: the laity, those in public office, heads of Catholic charitable agencies, priests, experts in communication, and urged each to employ the gifts and talents of its members for religious liberty.
The bishops called for “A Fortnight for Freedom,” the two-week period from June 21 to July 4—beginning with the feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and ending with Independence Day—to focus “all the energies the Catholic community can muster” for religious liberty. They also asked that, later in the year, the feast of Christ the King be “a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad.”
Members of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty include Archbishop-designate William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman; and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington;Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, of Philadelphia; Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta; Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul–Minneapolis; Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, of Mobile, Alabama: Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle; Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix; Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. Consultants include Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton. California; Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne–South Bend, Indiana.


Assisi: major conference on ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue | Assisi 2012

More than 250 theologians, from 54 countries representing all the major religions of the world will meet in Assisi, on 17 April to discuss ecumenicism and inter-faith dialogue.

Entitled 'Assisi 2012: Where We Dwell in Common—Pathways for Dialogue in the 21st Century,' the gathering will spend three days considering first the divisions among churches and faiths, then what they have in common and, on the third day, what can be done to stimulate the cause of ecumenism.

According to Dr Gerard Mannion, chair of the organizing committee and director of the Frances G Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego, California, the overall aim of the conference is to discern new ways to promote dialogue, understanding and harmony among people of differing faiths and those of no faith.

“It is intended to be not so much a conference, as the beginning of a process to identify productive pathways for dialogue in these times,” said Mannion, who also chairs the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network, the principal sponsors of the gathering. “It wishes to encourage ecumenical ‘thinking outside the box’ and to gather together a diverse array of voices to help make this happen.”

The conference, which is unprecedented in terms of the scope of the variety, expertise and international reputation of its participants, has the support of institutions and religious organizations from major centres of learning in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The organizers chose to meet in Assisi, Mannion said, because of its association with St Francis and St Clare and their long-standing reputation as patrons of peace and harmony.

Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi, is welcoming participants and formally opening the conference on the evening of 17 April.

The following day, Dr Paul Arthur, a professor of peace studies at the University of Ulster who took part in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998, will open the conference with a talk on the lessons to be learned from that process. The final day will be devoted to developing constructive methods for building bridges between churches and religions in the future.

Participants will be accommodated at Domus Pacis, a convention center operated by the Franciscan Order.

For further information, see:


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Orissa: Paolo Bosusco released
by Nirmala Carvalho
Reported by media and later confirmed by the government and the Italian authorities in Delhi. Yesterday in an audio message the Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda had announced the possible release through "democratic process".

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - Paolo Bosusco, the Italian kidnapped by the Naxalites in Orissa 29 days ago was released today in the village of Mohona, Gajapati district. The news was first reported by the local NDTV television which had ongoing contacts with the Maoist group thorughout the entire episode. His release was confirmed by the government and the Italian Embassy in Delhi.

Paol Bosusco's release came one day after an the audio message from the Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, in which he says would free the hostages if the government of Orissa honored the agreement signed through mediators. In the message, the Naxalite leader said that the same Bosusco wanted the government to release a tribal woman before his release.

After weeks of haggling, the government had agreed to release 27 members of the Maoist group. These included Sushashree Panda, wife of the Maoist leader, released two days ago.

Paolo Bosusco, 54, a manager of a tourist agency familiar with the tribals of Orissa, and Claudio Colangelo, 61, a physician and volunteer operator, were captured on March 14 by a Maoist group who immediately made a series of conditions for their release to the Orissa government, which often ignores the fate of the tribals,.

On 24 March the situation was further complicated because another Maoist group kidnapped a Hindu nationalist politician, Jhina Hikaka, from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), undermining the dialogue between government and the Naxalites. But on March 25 Claudio Colangelo, sick with malaria, was released.


The Kenya chapter of the African Network of Religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (ANERELA) has launched a comprehensive HIV/AIDS tool kit as part of its commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country.
The launching of the tool kit will promote the organization’s program of SAVE (Safer practice, availability of medication, voluntary, counseling and Testing, empowerment). It coincided with a one-day HIV/AIDS forum for the civil society, organized by ANERELA.
Attended by over fifty participants, the forum’s theme was: Getting to zero: Interface and Synergy on prevention messaging.
In her remarks, Hariet Kongin, Head, Stake holders Coordination at the National AIDS Control Council welcomed the Church’s initiative as part of its commitment to combating the pandemic in the country.
“As the pandemic takes new trends, we, the Government and other stakeholders, the Church included must equally be on the move towards battling out the pandemic,” she stressed.
In his address, Professor Mohammed Karama, a board member of ANERELA said the HIV/AIDS pandemic was posing a new challenge for it is shifting its effects from the young generation to the old.
“The effect of the pandemic was today more felt within marriages and among people exercising man/woman relationship, which was not the case years ago, where the impact was more among those within youth age bracket,”, he said.
ANERELA National coordinator in Kenya, Jane Ng’anga in her address described the SAVE initiative as a step up to improve on the ABC approach.
“The SAVE, unlike ABC addresses issues such as stigmatization,” she pointed out.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
11 Apr 2012

At least 500 children or teenagers remain in detention
Asylum seeker children should not be subjected to mandatory detention and adults should be detained no longer than 30 days, says Dr John Falzon, Chief Executive of St Vincent de Paul Society's National Council.
Dr Falzon, who has long spoken out against Australia's mandatory detention policies for asylum seekers, nevertheless welcomes the release of a report into detention by a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee and supports its recommendation that time limits be put on detention.
But the committee's suggestion people be held for up to 90 days is still too long, Dr Falzon says and believes the submission to the committee by the Refugee Council of Australia of 30 days is "nearer the mark."
"Children on the other hand should not be detained at all," he says and once again calls on the system of mandatory detention for asylum seekers to be dismantled. "Detention Centres are factories for producing mental illness and anguish. We should instead be looking to align ourselves more closely to the European model of registration and release for people seeking asylum."

Asylum seekers arriving by boat
Results of the Parliamentary inquiry along with recommendations were released last week. Sparked by riots at the Villawood and Christmas Island detention centres, the inquiry began receiving submissions in August last year.
After considering more than 3500 submissions, holding 11 public hearings and visiting detention facilities in Sydney, Melbourne and on Christmas Island, the committee released its report last week.
Among the 31 recommendations made by the Committee was that asylum seekers who pass initial health and security checks should not be held in detention for more than 90 days. The Joint Select Committee also recommended that asylum seekers be permitted to appeal assessments by ASIO. Currently even if asylum seekers are found to be genuine refugees, if they receive a negative security assessment they are not given a reason nor chance to appeal this assessment.

Dr John Falzon, CEO St Vincent
de Paul Society
Instead asylum seekers who are genuine refugees but have a negative assessment find themselves in limbo and held in indefinite detention unless some other country agrees to take them.
Although 3400 asylum seekers have been placed in community detention since October 2010, more than 5000 adults and 500 children remain in detention centres, some of whom have been held for more than two years.
"We recognise the Minister for Immigration, his department and not-for-profit organisations have made a concerted effort towards community-based detention, but we urge them to take the next step and legislate a minimal time-limit on detention," says Vinnies' National President, Anthony Thornton.
Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre supports this view and says after policy promises by successive governments have failed, the only way the current system can be brought under control is through legislated time-limits on detention.
"The evidence before us now is a system in crisis with seven deaths in 18 months, people in dire distress, widespread mental illness and a culture of neglect and denial," she says.


Luke 24: 35 - 48

35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them.
37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.
38 And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?
39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have."
41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
43 and he took it and ate before them.
44 Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled."
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
48 You are witnesses of these things.


Pope St. Julius I
Feast: April 12

Feast Day: April 11
Born: Rome, Italy
Died: 12 April 352
The immediate successor of Pope Silvester, Arcus, ruled the Roman Church for only a very short period — from 18 January to 7 October, 336 — and after his death the papal chair remained vacant for four months. What occasioned this comparatively long vacancy is unknown. On 6 Feb., 337, Julius, son of Rustics and a native of Rome, was elected pope. His pontificate is chiefly celebrated for his judicious and firm intervention in the Arian controversies, about which we have abundant sources of information. After the death of Constantine the Great (22 May, 337), his son Constantine II, Governor of Gaul, permitted the exiled Athanasius to return to his See of Alexandria (see ATHANASIUS). The Arians in Egypt, however, set up a rival bishop in the person of Pistus, and sent an embassy to Julius asking him to admit Pistus into communion with Rome, and delivering to the pope the decisions of the Council of Tyre (335) to prove that Athanasius had been validly deposed. On his side Athanasius likewise sent envoys to Rome to deliver to Julius a synodal letter of the Egyptian bishops, containing a complete justification of their patriarch. On the arrival of the Athanasian envoys in Rome, Macarius, the head of the Arian representatives, left the city; the two remaining Arian envoys, with the Athanasian deputies, were summoned by Pope Julius. The Arian envoys now begged the pope to assemble a great synod before which both parties should present their case for decision.
Julius convened the synod at Rome, having dispatched two envoys to bear a letter of invitation to the Eastern bishops. Under the leadership of Eusebius, who had been raised from Nicomedia to the See of Constantinople, the Arian bishops had meanwhile held a council at Antioch, and elected George of Cappadocia Bishop of Alexandria in the place of Pistus. George was intruded forcibly into his see, and Athanasius, being again exiled, made his way to Rome. Many other Eastern bishops removed by the Arian party, among them Marcellus of Ancyra, also came to Rome. In a letter couched in haughty terms, however, the Arian bishops of the party of Eusebius refused to attend the synod summoned by Julius. The synod was held in the autumn of 340 or 341, under the presidency of the pope, in the titular church of the presbyter Vitus. After a detailed examination of the documents, Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra, who had made a satisfactory profession of faith, were exonerated and re-established in their episcopal rights. Pope Julius communicated this decision in a very notable and able letter to the bishops of the Eusebian party. In this letter he justifies his proceedings in the case, defends in detail his action in reinstating Athanasius, and animadverts strongly on the non-appearance of the Eastern bishops at the council, the convening of which they themselves had suggested. Even if Athanasius and his companions were somewhat to blame, the letter runs, the Alexandrian Church should first have written to the pope. "Can you be ignorant," writes the pope, "that this is the custom, that we should be written to first, so that from here what is just may be defined" (Julii ep. ad Antiochenos, c. xxii). After his victory over his brother Constantine II, Emperor Constans was ruler over the greater part of the Empire. He was entirely orthodox in his views, and, at the request of the pope and other Western bishops, interceded with his brother Constantius, Emperor of the East, in favour of the bishops who had been deposed and persecuted by the Arian party. Both rulers agreed that there should be convened a general council of the Western and Eastern bishops at Sardica, the principal city of the Province of Dacia Mediterranea (the modern Sofia). It took place in the autumn of 342 or 343, Julius sending as his representatives the priests Archidamus and Philoxenus and the deacon Leo. Although the Eastern bishops of the Arian party did not join in the council, but held their assembly separate and then departed, the synod nevertheless accomplished its task. Through the important canons iii, iv, and v (vii in the Latin text) of this council, the procedure against accused bishops was more exactly regulated, and the manner of the papal intervention in the condemnation of bishops was definitely established.
At the close of its transactions the synod communicated its decisions to the pope in a dutiful letter. Notwithstanding the reaffirmation of his innocence by the Synod of Sardica, St. Athanasius was not restored to his see by Emperor Constantius until after the death of George, the rival Bishop of Alexandria, in 346. Pope Julius took this occasion to write a letter, which is still extant, to the priests, deacons, and the faithful of Alexandria, to congratulate them on the return of their great pastor. The two bishops Ursacius of Singidunum and Valens of Mursia, who, on account of their Arianism, had been deposed by the Council of Sardica, now made a formal recantation of their error to Julius, who, having summoned them to an audience and received a signed confession of faith, restored to them their episcopal sees. Concerning the inner life of the Roman Church during the pontificate of Julius we have no exact information; all agree, however, that there was a rapid increase in the number of the faithful in Rome, where Julius had two new basilicas erected: the titular church of Julius (now S. Maria in Trastevere) and the Basilica Julia (now the Church of the Twelve Apostles). Beside these he built three churches over cemeteries outside the walls of Rome: one on the road to Porto, a second on the Via Aurelia, and a third on the Via Flaminia at the tomb of the martyr St. Valentine. The ruins of the last-mentioned have been discovered. The veneration of the faithful for the tombs of the martyrs continued to spread rapidly. Underthe pontificate of Julius, if not earlier, catalogues of feast-days of saints came into use — the Roman feast-calendar of Philocalus dates from the year 336.
Through St. Athanasius, who remained in Rome several years subsequent to 339, the Egyptian monastic life became well-known in the capital, and the example of the hermits of the Egyptian deserts found many imitators in the Roman Church. Julius died on 12 April, 352, and was buried in the catacombs of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, and, very soon after his death, was honoured as a saint. His body was later transported to S. Maria in Trastevere, the church which he had built. His feast is celebrated on 12 April.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)


No comments: