Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Vatican City, 24 April 2012 (VIS) - The "Osservatore Romano" and the Italian newspaper "Il Sole e 24 Ore" are paying homage to the Holy Father for the seventh anniversary of his election with a book entitled "Benedict XVI, Theologian and Pontiff". The volume is being distributed with today's edition of "Il Sole e 24 Ore" and will shortly be available in digital format on the newspaper’s website, with addition multimedia content and English and Spanish translations. The Spanish newspaper "La Razon" will place the book on its own website on 26 April. (image source: RADIO VATICANA)
In the prologue to the work Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano", explains that, for the Holy Father's eighty-fifth birthday and the beginning of the eighth year of his pontificate, it was decided to publish a book bringing together a number of little-known texts on the figure of Benedict XVI. These include a dialogue on secularism and religion between the philosopher Armando Massarenti and the journalist Giuliano Ferrara, some suggestions for reading the works of Joseph Ratzinger by the historiographer Lucetta Scaraffia, and a chronological summary of the life of "the theologian who became pontiff".
This initiative, Vian writes, "aims above all to contribute to an understanding of the person and works of an intellectual who has dedicated, and continues to dedicate his life to the tireless search for truth, engaging in continuous dialogue between faith and reason, and using a language accessible to everyone".

Vatican City, 24 April 2012 (VIS) - The Catholic news agency Fides has reported that 22,104 people were baptised in China on Easter Sunday. The statistics were collected by the Study Centre of Faith in the Chinese province of He Bei. The newly-baptised Catholics, 75 per cent of whom are adults, belong to 101 dioceses. In He Bei itself 4,410 people were baptised on Easter Day, 615 more than last year, while in Hong Kong, which has more than 360,000 faithful, there were 3,500 baptisms.
In evaluating these figures, it should be borne in mind that some dioceses do not celebrate all their baptisms at Easter. For example, in Shang Hai there were 379 Easter baptisms but the total figure could exceed 1,500 by the end of the year. According to Sr. Li Guo Shuang of the Study Center, "there are still some dioceses or communities which, due to communication difficulties, have not yet reported data to us. So we must emphasise that the figures are not complete, they may still increase".


Klimeck, 27, an actor from Brazil was accidentally hanged during a performance of the Passion and Death of Jesus. During the play the character of Judas Iscariot commits suicide by hanging for his betrayal of Jesus Christ.. It was during this scene that Tiago was accidentally hung. This took place on Good Friday in the city of Itarare, Brazil. It was after 4 minutes of hanging that the performers noticed the actor was not conscious. He was taken to hospital but died on Easter Sunday. A polic investigation is underway; it seems the knot on the rope might have been wrongly tied.
He was pronounced dead in the Santa Casa de Itapeva hospital. (image source:


More than 20,000 demonstrators from all over Poland rallied in downtown Warsaw on Saturday to protest the decision of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) to deny the right to broadcast on a free public digital network to a conservative Catholic Trwam TV channel.

KRRiT has denied TV Trwam the broadcast license because of lack of transparency in its funding. The channel, available on satellite and private cable, belongs to a Catholic media holding run by a priest, Tadeusz Rydzyk.

The protest was organized by the main opposition conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski and started with an open-air mass.

Then protesters from, carrying Polish flags and anti-government placards marched to the seat of government and to the residence of President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Kaczynski, speaking outside the office of PM Donald Tusk, said: "The people in this building must be ashamed to have raised a hand against the Polish Church, against democracy, against national dignity."
He also used the opportunity to call on the right-wing opposition to unite against the liberal government of Tusk.

Kaczynski appealed to right-wing Solidary Poland (SP) party leader Zbigniew Ziobro to come back to PiS (SP party was formed after its leaders were expelled from PiS). Ziobro later dismissed the proposal, however his first reply on Saturday was more emotional, suggesting the unity is possible. Kaczynski's call might be seen as a strategic move to marginalize SP and gain stronger position, the Polish dailies wrote.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nirmala Carvalho
The husband and his family were "dissatisfied". The woman, 36, has denounced them and the doctors. A network of clandestine clinics uncovered, the government has already withdrawn the licenses of two gynecologists. Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life: "The female sex-selective abortions are altering the Indian population."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Forced to abort six times, because "incapable" of giving her husband a male heir: it happened in the district of Ahmedabad (Gujarat) to Amisha Bhatt, 36. The woman reported all her captors: her partner and his family for harassment, the doctors and other clandestine clinics in which she suffered first the test to find out the sex of the fetus, and then the six abortions. "With my gesture - Amisha said - I hope I have helped many other women who are in the same condition." Meanwhile, thanks to her complaint, the State of Gujarat has launched detailed investigations and already withdrawn the licenses to two doctors.

Since 1994, with the approval of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technologies (Pndt) Act in India it is illegal to use special tests - such as amniocentesis or ultrasound - to determine the sex of the fetus. By law, doctors are required to submit a list of patients who, for reasons of health, have conducted these tests. However, the Pndt was not enough to curb the spread of selective female abortions, and over the years clandestine clinics have spread. After having made a complaint, Amisha Batt has discovered that her name was not listed in any of the lists of gynecologists who carried out the six abortions on her.

Pascoal Carvalho, a physician and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told AsiaNews that "selective female abortions, feticide and violence against women and girls" are the only thing in India "beyond the barriers of caste and class." This, he adds, "reveals the brutal instances of widespread prejudice against girls."

These practices have become a plague, tied the archaic cultural preference for male children. But this situation, says Carvalho, a member of the Commission for human life of the Archdiocese of Mumbai, "is altering the composition of the population. According to the latest government census (2011), an average of 914 girls born for every 1,000 males." This is alarming, because in the very years in which the government has taken various measures and awareness campaigns on the theme, the gap between males and females has widened even more. In 2001, in fact, the sex ratio was 927 females per 1,000 males.

According to the doctor to change this situation and reverse the trend we need to first change people's mentality. "Mother Teresa said: If we accept that a mother kills her child, how can we tell others not to do it?".,-they-were-all-female-fetuses-24580.html


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "My call to the Episcopate happens in the context of the crisis in Casamance that lasts and there does not seem to be a solution. This may lead many to a certain weariness and discouragement. This motto wants to give new courage and once again remind all men of good will that all things are possible to who believes in God. "With these words, the new Bishop of Ziguinchor (Senegal), Mgr. Paul Abel Mamba, explained the meaning of his episcopal motto "Nothing is impossible for God" (Lc.1, 37), during the solemn rite of his episcopal ordination, which took place on Saturday, April 21.
The war for secession of the Casamance (of which Ziguinchor is the capital), broke out in 1982 and has left hundreds of victims and forced thousands of refugees to flee. In the region, one of Senegal's most fertile, different ethnicities and faiths live together: Muslims, Christians and animists. Before the war it was the most important tourist center of Senegal.
According to information sent to Fides from the Curia of Bissau, the Mass of ordination of Mgr. Abel Mamba was presided by Cardinal Thédore Adrien Sarr, Archbishop of Dakar, there was also His Exc. Mgr. Jean-Noel Diouf , Bishop of Tambacounda, and His Exc. Mgr. Jean Pierre Bassène, Bishop of Kolda. Mgr. Paul Abel Mamba, who was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Ziguinchor after the death of his predecessor, Bishop Maixent Coly, who died on August 24, 2010, and Bishop of the Diocese on January 25, 2012 (see Fides 26/01/2012) thus became the fourth Bishop of Ziguinchor.
The three Bishops of Guinea-Bissau, His Exc. Mgr. José Câmnate na Bissign, Bishop of Bissau, His Exc. Mgr. Pedro Carlos Zilli, Bishop of BafatḠand His Exc. Mgr. Jose Lampra Cá, Auxiliary Bishop of Bissau, accompanied by a good number of priests and faithful of the Diocese of Bissau and Bafata, participated in this moment so solemn and so important for Ziguinchor and also for the whole sub-region. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 24/4/2012)


24 Apr 2012

Vinnies helping children, families and parents
on the margins
Pensioners, sole parents, those with disabilities and the unemployed have been hit hard by steep rises in electricity and water bills with an increasing number forced to turn to St Vincent de Paul Society for help.
In the past 12 months, Vinnies NSW has experienced a 20% increase in those needing assistance with food, debt management and their utility bills, says Dr John Falzon, Chief Executive of the National Council of St Vincent de Paul Society.
Traditionally, the biggest demand for Vinnies services has come from welfare recipients, according to Dr Falzon there is a "new alarming trend in poverty" with more and more low income workers turning to Vinnies for assistance.
A report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) entitled, "Life on Struggle Street," released two weeks ago, found that over past year, one in three low income households had been unable to pay a utility bill on time, with one in 10 of these households forced to seek help from charitable agencies such as Vinnies.
"It is a very worrying picture that so many Australians are struggling to meet the cost of basic needs," Dr Falzon says.

Dr John Falzon,
CEO St Vincent de Paul Society
Over the past five years the cost of living has escalated leaving many households across NSW battling to survive.
Water costs have shot up by 58% , rents by at least 39%, food by 21%, health costs up by 32% and the fares on public transport have risen by 20% or more with train fares increasing at a rate of 7% per year.
But it is NSW electricity costs that seem to be impacting households the most.
Over the past five years electricity bills risen sharply by more than 64% and are set to increase by a further 17% from 1 July this year with further increases set for 2013 and 2014.
"Energy is a social good. But sadly, it is treated as a commodity with households in NSW forced to bear the burden of price increases as a result of the need for infrastructure renewal to bring power to people's homes," Dr Falzon says. "The injustice of this is felt most sharply by people on low incomes. And it is these households that are being disproportionately impacted."
While the Government continues to congratulate itself on Australia's low unemployment figures, what the monthly statistics don't show are those who are under-employed. Instead the monthly employment figures encompass not only the fully-employed but any man or woman who has had some form of paid employment including those who work for just a couple of hours per week.

Underemployment and lack of job security
is becoming a massive problem
This masks the true picture, says Dr Falzon, explaining that under employment and job insecurity are becoming a massive problem that negatively impacts a wide spectrum of Australians across all industries.
"The latest ABS Labour Market figures show that 2 million workers- or almost one quarter of all employees in Australia - are employed as casuals," he says. "The ABS figures also show there are only around 60% of all Australian workers engaged in full or part-time ongoing employment."
Against this, he says, are more than 850,000 Australians working part-time hours and wishing to work more hours and to have additional shifts.
For most of these casual workers there are not only too few hours of work available or only irregular hours of work on offer, but no paid annual or personal leave and no ongoing job insecurity.
"This puts enormous pressure on individuals and families and we fully understand why the underemployed might turn to us for help," Dr Falzon says.

One in three of all Australian workers
are casually employed
Vinnies and other members of the Australian Council of Social Services (ACSS) have called on the Government to urgently increase income support payments.
"People on unemployment benefits are living in abject poverty," Dr Falzon says and believes this and other allowances are needed to ease the pressure on low income families as they struggle to meet the spiralling costs of food, rent, utilities and transport.
But with Treasurer, Wayne Swan flagging tough measures to bring the Government back into surplus, there is little chance of society's battlers receiving any increases to entitlements or allowances when the Federal Budget 2012-13 is handed down on Monday, 8 May.


John 10: 11 - 16
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.


St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Feast: April 24

Feast Day: April 24
Born: 1577 at Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany
Died: 24 April 1622 at Grusch, Grisons, Switzerland
Canonized: 29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV
Major Shrine: Capuchin Convent of Weltkirchen (Feldkirch), Austria
He was born in 1577, at Sigmarengen, a town in Germany, in the principality of Hoinvenzollen. The name of his father was John Rey. The saint was christened Mark, performed his studies in the university of Fribourg in Switzerland, and while he taught philosophy, commenced doctor of laws. He at that time never drank wine, and wore a hair-shirt. His modesty, meekness, chastity, and all other virtues, charmed all that had the happiness of his acquaintance. In 1604, he accompanied three young gentlemen of that country on their travels through the principal parts of Europe. During six years, which he continued in this employment, he never ceased to instil into them the most heroic and tender sentiments of piety. He received the holy sacrament very frequently, particularly on all the principal holidays: in every town where he came, he visited the hospitals and churches, passed several hours on his knees in the presence of the blessed sacrament, and gave to the poor sometimes the very clothes off his back. After this he practiced the law in quality of counsellor or advocate, at Colmar, in Alsace, with great reputation, but with greater virtue. Justice and religion directed all his actions. He scrupulously forbore all invectives, detractions, and whatever might affect the reputation of any adversary. His charity procured him the surname of counsellor and advocate for the poor: but the injustices of a colleague in protracting lawsuits for gain, and his finding fault with our saint for producing all his proofs for his clients in the beginning, in order to the quicker dispatch, gave him a disgust of a profession which was to many an occasion of sin, and determined him to enter among the Capuchin friars. He first received holy orders, and having said his first mass in their convent at Fribourg, on the feast of St. Francis, in 1612, he consecrated himself to God by taking the habit. The guardian gave him, in religion, the name of Fidelis, or Faithful, alluding to that text of the Apocalypse which promises a crown of life to him who shall continue faithful to the end. From that moment humiliations, macerations, and implicit obedience were his delight. He overcame temptations by discovering them to his director, and submitting to his advice with regard to his conduct under them. By his last will, he bequeathed his patrimony to the bishop's seminary, for the establishment of a fund for the support of poor students, to whom he also left his library; and gave the remainder of his substance to the poor.
In regard to dress and furniture, he always chose that for his own use which was the least valuable and convenient. He fasted Advent, Lent, and Vigils, on bread and water, with dried fruits, tasting nothing which had been dressed by fire. His life was a continued prayer and recollection, and at his devotions he seemed rather like an angel than a man. His earnest and perpetual petition to God was, that he would always preserve him from sin, and from falling into tepidity or sloth in his service. He sought the most abject and most painful employments even when superior; knowing that God exalts those highest who have here humbled themselves the lowest and the nearest to their own nothingness. He had no sooner finished his course of theology, than he was employed in preaching and in hearing confessions; and being sent superior to the convent of Weltkirchen, that town and many neighboring places were totally reformed by his zealous labors, and several Calvinists converted. The congregation de propaganda fide, sent to father Fidelis a commission to go and preach among the Grisons; and he was the first missionary that was sent into those parts after that people had embraced Calvinism. Eight other fathers of his order were his assistants, and labored in this mission under his direction. The Calvinists of that territory, being incensed at his attempt, loudly threatened his life, and he prepared himself for martyrdom on entering upon this new harvest. Ralph de Salis, and another Calvinist gentleman, were converted by his first conferences. The missionary penetrated into Pretigout, a small district of the Grisons, in 1622, on the feast of the Epiphany, and gained every day new conquests to Christ; the conversion of which souls ought to be regarded as more the fruit of the ardent prayers in which he passed great part of the nights, than of his sermons and conferences in the day. These wonderful effects of his apostolic zeal, whereof the bishop of Coire sent a large and full account to the congregation de propaganda, so enraged the Calvinists in that province, who had lately rebelled against the emperor. their sovereign, that they were determined to bear with them no longer. 'The holy father having notice of it, thought of nothing but preparing himself for his conflict, passing whole nights in fervent prayer before the blessed sacrament, or before his crucifix, and often prostrate on the ground. On the 24th of April, 1622, he made his confession to his companion with great compunction, said mass, and then preached at Gruch, a considerable borough. At the end of his sermon, which he delivered with more than ordinary fire, he stood silent on a sudden, with his eyes fixed on heaven, in an ecstasy, during some time. He foretold his death to several persons in the clearest terms, and subscribed his last letters in this manner: "Brother Fidelis, who will be shortly the food of worms." From Gruch he went to preach at Sevis, where, with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. A Calvinist having discharged his musket at him in the church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered, that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Gruch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. The martyr rose again on his knees, and stretching out his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have pity on me. Mary, mother of Jesus, assist me." Another stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay wetering in his blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stabs in his body, and hacked his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them. A Catholic woman lay concealed near the place during this butchery; and after the soldiers were gone, coming out to see the effects of it, found the martyr's eyes open, and fixed on the heavens. He died in 1622, the forty-fifth year of his age, and the tenth of his religious profession. He was buried by the Catholics the next day. The rebels were soon after defeated by the imperialists, an event which the martyr had foretold them. The minister was converted by this circumstance, and made a public abjuration of his heresy. After six months, the martyr's body was found incorrupt, but the head and left arm separate from the trunk. These being put into two cases, were translated from thence to the cathedral of Coire, at the earnest suit of the bishop, and laid under the high altar with great pomp; the remainder of the corpse was deposited in the Capuchin's church at Weltkirchen. Three miracles performed by his relics and intercession, out of three hundred and five produced, are inserted in the decree of his beatification, published by pope Benedict XIII., in 1729. Other miracles were proved, and the decree of his canonization was published by Benedict XIV., in 1746. The 24th of April is appointed the day of his festival, and his name is inserted in the Roman Martyrology. See the acts of his canonization: also his life, written by Dom. Placid, abbot of Weissenau, or Augia Brigantina, published by Dom. Bernard Pez, librarian in the famous abbey of Melch, in Austria, in his Bibliotheca Ascetica, t. 10, p. 403.
To contribute to the conversion of a soul from sin is something far more excellent than to raise a dead body to life. This must soon fall again a prey to death; and only recovers by such a miracle the enjoyment of the frail and empty goods of this world. But the soul which, from the death of sin, is raised to the life of grace, is immortal, and, from a slave of the devil and a firebrand of hell, passes to the inestimable dignity and privileges of a child of' God; by which divine adoption she is rescued out of the abyss of infinite misery, and exalted to the most sublime state of glory and happiness, in which all the treasures of grace and of heaven are her portion forever. Hunger, thirst, watchings, labors, and a thousand martyrdoms, ought to seem nothing to one employed in the sacred ministry, with the hopes of gaining but one sinner to Christ. Moreover, God himself will be his recompense, who is witness, and keeps a faithful account of all his fatigues and least sufferings.


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