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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : WEDNESDAY MAY 30, 2012


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : POPE THE LORD WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT CHURCH  
 AMERICA : CANADA : 2 SUSPICIOUS FIRES IN TORONTO AREA CHURCHES
EUROPE : PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE AT OLYMPICS - INTER -FAITH 
 ASIA : CHINA : RIP BISHOP FRANCIS CHANGZHI
AUSTRALIA : RIP SISTER MARGARET MCKENNA LIVING GOSPEL
AFRICA : MALI : MANY AFFIRM INDIVISIBILITY OF COUNTRY  
TODYA'S MASS ONLINE : WEDNESDAY MAY 30, 2012
TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 30 : ST. JOAN OF ARC

VATICAN : POPE THE LORD WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT CHURCH 

RADIOVATICANA : IMAGE
THE POPE: DESPITE THE WEAKNESS OF MAN, THE LORD WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT HIS CHURCH
Vatican City, 30 May 2012 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father made some remarks concerning recent developments in the Vatican.
"The events of recent days involving the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart. However, I have never lost my firm certainty that, despite the weakness of man, despite difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and the Lord will ensure she never lacks the help she needs to support her on her journey.
"Nonetheless there has been increasing conjecture, amplified by the communications media, which is entirely gratuitous, goes beyond the facts and presents a completely unrealistic image of the Holy See. Thus, I wish to reiterate my trust and encouragement to my closest collaborators and to all those people who every day, in silent faithlessness and with a spirit of sacrifice, help me carry out my ministry".





WE MUST NOT ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE OVERCOME BY TRIBULATIONS AND DIFFICULTIES
Vatican City, 30 May 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning, which was celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued a series of catecheses on Christian prayer according to St. Paul who, the Pope said, saw it as "a real individual encounter with God the Father, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. This dialogue comprehends the faithful 'yes' on the part of God and the trusting 'amen of the faithful".
In his explanation of this relationship Benedict XVI focused on the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where the Apostle writes: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God".
Comfort, the Pope explained, is not to be understood as mere consolation, but as an "exhortation not to allow ourselves to be overcome by tribulations and difficulties. We are invited to experience every situation in unity with Christ, Who takes all the suffering and sin of the world upon Himself in order to bring light, hope and redemption. Thus He enables us, in our turn, to console those who are afflicted by any kind of suffering". Profound union with Christ in prayer, and confidence in His presence, predispose us to share the sufferings of our brothers and sisters.
"Our life and our Christian journey are often marked by difficulty, misunderstandings and pain", the Holy Father went on. "In a faithful relationship with the Lord, in constant daily prayer, we are able to feel the consolation that comes from God. This strengthens our faith because it means that we enjoy a concrete experience of God's 'yes' to man ... in Christ, the faithfulness of His love which went so far as to give His Son on the cross".
The faith, a gratuitous gift of God, is rooted in His fidelity, "in His 'yes' which leads us to understand how to live our lives while loving Him and our neighbour. The entire history of salvation is a progressive revelation of this fidelity of God's, despite our own infidelity and our constant denials".
In this context the Pope pointed out that God's way of acting is quite different from that of man. "Faced with conflict in human relationships, often even within the family, we tend not to persevere in gratuitous love, which requires commitment and sacrifice. However God never loses patience with us and, in His immense mercy, precedes us always and comes out to meet us. ... On the cross He offers us the measure of His love, which is not calculated and has no limit". Such faithful love can wait even for those who reject it. God always seeks man and wishes to welcome him into His communion, to give him fullness of life, hope and peace.
Onto the 'yes' of God is grafted the 'amen' of the Church, the response of faith with which we conclude our prayers and which expresses our own 'yes' to God's initiative. "In our prayers we are called to say 'yes' to God, to respond with an 'amen' which is an expression of adherence, of faithfulness to Him with all of our lives. But we can never achieve such faithfulness by our own powers, it is not only the result of our daily efforts; it comes from God and is founded on the 'yes' of Christ. ... We must enter into Christ's 'yes' by following God's will so that, with St. Paul, we too can affirm that it is not we who live, but Christ Himself Who lives in us. Then the 'amen' of our individual and community prayers will embrace and transform all of our lives".





INTERVIEW WITH SUBSTITUTE FOR GENERAL AFFAIRS ON STOLEN PAPAL DOCUMENTS
Vatican City, 30 May 2012 (VIS) - The "Osservatore Romano" newspaper today published an interview with Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, concerning the question of stolen papal documents.
Archbishop Becciu says that he has seen the Holy Father "suffering because, on the basis of what has thus far emerged, someone very close to him would seem to have acted in a completely unjustifiable manner. Of course, the Pope's prevailing sentiment is one of pity for the person involved, but the fact remains that he has been the victim of a brutal action. Benedict XVI has had to witness the publication of letters stolen from his own home, not simply private correspondence but information, reflections, expressions of states of mind, and effusive comments which he has received merely by virtue of his ministry. For this reason the Pope is particularly sorrowful, also for the violence suffered by the writers of the letters he has received".
In the view of the Secretariat of State, the publication of these documents "is an immoral act of unprecedented gravity, especially because it is not just a serious violation of the privacy to which everybody should have the right, but a despicable abuse of the relationship of trust that exists between Benedict XVI and those who turn to him, even if they do so to express some heartfelt protest. The question does not merely involve the theft of some of the Pope's letters; the consciences of those who address him as the Vicar of Christ have been violated, and the ministry of the Successor of the Apostle Peter has come under attack".
It is, Archbishop Becciu said, unjustifiable to claim that the stolen documents were published for the cause of transparency and reform in the Church. Robbery and accepting stolen goods are both illegal. "These are simple concepts, perhaps too simple for some people, but certainly when a person loses sight of them he easily loses his way and also leads others into disaster. Renewal cannot trample moral law on the basis of the principle that the end justifies the means, which is not in any case a Christian principle".
A number of articles which have appeared in newspapers in recent days have suggested that the published documents reveal turbid dealings inside the Vatican walls. On this subject the substitute for General Affairs notes that, "on the one hand they criticise the monarchic and absolutist nature of central Church government, while on the other they are scandalised because people who write to the Pope may express ideas or even complaints about how that government is organised. Many of the published documents do not reveal power struggles or vendettas but the freedom of thought which the Church is criticised for not allowing. ... Diverging points of view, even contrasting evaluations, are part of the normal order, and if someone feels misunderstood he has every right to turn to the Pontiff. What is scandalous about that? Obedience does not mean renouncing one's own opinions, but sincerely and fully expressing one's point of view, then abiding by theleader's decision".
In conclusion Archbishop Becciu tells the Catholic faithful that "the Pope has not lost that serenity which enables him to govern the Church with determination and foresight. ... We wish to echo the Gospel parable which the Holy Father himself mentioned a few days ago: the winds beat against the house but it does not fall. The Lord sustains it and no storm can bring it down".

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 30 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jeremias Antonio de Jesus of the clergy of the diocese of Braganca Paulista, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Cristo Rei" in the city of Atibaia, as bishop of Guanhaes (area 15.047, population 278,000, Catholics 248,000, priests 26, religious 16), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Atibaia in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1993. He has served in a number of parishes and worked as rector of the major diocesan seminary of "Imaculada Conceicao".

AMERICA : CANADA : 2 SUSPICIOUS FIRES IN TORONTO AREA CHURCHES

Two suspicious fires at Catholic Churhes in the area of Toronto, Canada. Canadian Martyrs' Church had a fire on May 30th at 1am, which was extinguished by firefighters. Also St. Jerome's Catholic Church was set on fire earlier in the week.
At 3:45 a.m. on May 29, suspicious activity prompted a fire at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church on 8530 Chinguacousy Road. The two blazes were deliberately set and are being investigated by police.


EUROPE : PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE AT OLYMPICS - INTER -FAITH

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:
London: Olympic Peace Prayer Vigil  | St Martin-in-the-Fields,100 Days of Peace, Westminster Justice and Peace,
Where else would you find Brazilians, Catholics, Buddhists, Pentecostals and others praying through the night for peace? At St Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church on Trafalgar Square of course!

To mark the opening of the 100 Days of Peace for the 2012 Games, Westminster Justice and Peace, together with St Martin in the Fields and the London Church Leaders’ Group, will hold a 12-hour vigil in St Martin in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square, on 8 June from 11pm – 9 June 12 noon.

The Anglican Bishop of London, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and other church leaders will be taking part. Each hour will be led by different groups, including More Than Gold, London Citizens, the London Peace Alliance, World Vision, Christian Aid, CAFOD, Pax Christi, Anna Scher- drama leader with communities in conflict, London’s Brazilian community, St Ethelburgas Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Sikh and Buddhist community inspired by Thich Nhat Hahn, as well as a selection of youth choirs and the St Martin’s Choral Choir.

The 100 Days of Peace is a coalition initiative to celebrate the London 2012 Games with the Olympic Truce concept of peace - before during and after the Games, and to begin to create a legacy of peace for London and beyond. 8 June marks 50 days before the Games begin, and 28 October the fiftieth day after. Other ‘100 Days‘ events are being organised by the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, by London Citizens and the John Paul II Sports Foundation. There will be a closing event in October, to pass the legacy of peace on to the Brazilian community towards the Rio 2016 Games.

In an uncertain time for London’s security, for young people, for the homeless, for those being trafficked, or for those countries so poor that they struggle to send athletes to the Games, it is vital that we pause for a while, and pray together for peace.

The 100 Days of Peace coalition invites everyone not only to attend the Vigil, but to pray each day during this period for peace, and to build a peace legacy after the Truce period ends on October 28th.

Registration not necessary, but groups of five and over should contact the organisers for tickets so they can plan seating.

For further information contact:
Barbara Kentish 0208 888 4222 or 07758630961
Or email justice@rcdow.org.uk

STOP PRESS: 50 Stewards are needed for three-hour ‘blocks’ at the Prayer Vigil. You will need to arrive by 10.20pm for night briefing (10pm-7am) or 7.20am for morning briefing. Duties include ensuring a prayerful atmosphere, seating people, distributing programmes, directing people to toilets, etc. First Aid qualification welcome!
SHARED FROM http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=20503

ASIA : CHINA : RIP BISHOP FRANCIS CHANGZHI

UCAN REPORT:
Officials say 'no' to honoring status of Changzhi prelate who died last week
ucanews.com reporter, Changzhi
China
May 30, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Restrictions in place for bishop’s funeral
Bishop Francis Li Yi of Changzhi
Government officials have barred the Church community from honoring Bishop Francis Li Yi of Changzhi’s status at his funeral, which is scheduled to take place in northern Shanxi province tomorrow.
The Franciscan prelate died of a stroke at the age of 89 on May 24. He had been ill since March.
Bishop Li, who was consecrated secretly in 1998, was approved by the Vatican but not recognized by the government. Despite negotiation with government officials, the Church community will not be allowed to recognize his bishop’s status at his funeral.
The funeral Mass will take place at Machang village church, followed by a funeral procession and his burial in the cemetery at St. Elisabeth Nuns’ Convent.
Two senior priests recognized by the government will preside at the funeral, since the government-recognized ordinary of Changzhi diocese, Bishop Andrew Jin Daoyuan, is not expected to attend, local Church sources said.
Bishop Jin, 83, received “self-ordination” without papal mandate in 2000. The Holy See recognized him as a legitimate bishop without jurisdiction in 2008, but he continues to lead the “open” Church community.
Born in 1923 in Changzhi, Bishop Li entered a minor seminary when he was 13. In 1943, he joined the Order of Friars Minor.
He was ordained a priest in 1949, just as the Communists took control of mainland China.
He later served at a Catholic high school and a parish in Macau before entering the University of Tianjin in northern China to study history in 1951. After his graduation four years later, he served in a parish there before returning to his hometown in 1958.
Like many other churchmen, he was imprisoned when the Cultural Revolution began in 1966.
Returning to Changzhi diocese after his release in 1985, he worked for the revival of Church life. In 1998, he was ordained secretly by his predecessor Bishop Anthony Li Weidao and succeeded him after he died that same year.
Changzhi currently has about 50 priests and 55,000 Catholics. Four of the ten priests ordained by Bishop Li in 2004 are still not recognized by the government.
SHARED FROM http://www.ucanews.com/2012/05/30/restrictions-in-place-for-bishops-funeral/

AUSTRALIA : RIP SISTER MARGARET MCKENNA LIVING GOSPEL

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELESE:

AFRICA : MALI : MANY AFFIRM INDIVISIBILITY OF COUNTRY

CISA REPORT:
Mali
BAMAKO, May 29, 2012 (CISA) -”Both the political authorities and the local citizens have reaffirmed that Mali is one and indivisible. The original inhabitants of the north have opposed the suggestion of secession of the north and the creation of an Islamic State in that area,” said Fr Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali.
On Sunday, May 27 rebels of the National Liberation Movement and of Azawad and the jihadists of Ansar Dine proclaimed the establishment of an Islamic State in northern Mali. “The proclamation of an Islamic State in the area scares all the neighboring countries, starting with those that are part of ECOWAS. We will see in the next few days what the reaction to the proclamation of the independent State of northern Mali will be, which could include military action” continued Fr Dembele.
“On the political front, the Prime Minister has reassured the population concerning the improving health condition of the transition president, Dioncounda Traore, who is still hospitalized in France after the attack carried out last week by a group of supporters of the military junta that had taken power in a coup on 22 March.”
“The attempt by a group of parties favorable to the coup leaders to set up the military junta leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo Haya as President of the transition instead of Dioncounda Traore also seems to have failed” says Fr Dembele.
“Another group of parties has however announced from today, May 29th, a protest against the attack on the President of the transition. In view of the protest the authorities, together with religious leaders, have urged people to remain calm. At this point it is unknown whether the demonstration will take place.”
The various religious denominations in the Country continue to play an important role in finding a solution to the double institutional policy crisis (the secession of the north and the coup on 22 March).
On Sunday, in all Catholic and Protestant churches, there was half an hour of prayer for peace in Mali, following the directions taken by the religious leaders of the Country last May 24.
“Muslims prayed for peace on Friday, May 25, while Catholics and Protestants on Sunday, May 27. His Grace Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako, had urged Catholics to pray intensely at Pentecost,” concluded Fr Dembele. SHARED FROM CISA NEWS AFRICA

TODYA'S MASS ONLINE : WEDNESDAY MAY 30, 2012

Mark 10: 32 - 45
32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him,
33 saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles;
34 and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise."
35 And James and John, the sons of Zeb'edee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
36 And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"
37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."
38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 30 : ST. JOAN OF ARC

St. Joan of Arc
PATRON SAINT OF FRANCE
Feast: May 30


Information:
Feast Day: May 30
Born: 6 January c. 1412, Domrémy, France
Died: May 30, 1431, Rouen, France
Canonized: May 16, 1920, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome by Pope Benedict XV
Patron of: France; martyrs; captives; militants; people ridiculed for their piety; prisoners; soldiers; Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service; Women's Army Corps
Savior of France and the national heroine of that country, Joan of Arc lives on in the imagination of the world as a symbol of that integrity of purpose that makes one die for what one believes. Jeanne la Pucelle, the Maid, is the shining example of what a brave spirit can accomplish in the world of men and events. The saint was born on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1412, at Domremy, a village in the rich province of Champagne, on the Meuse River in northeast France. She came of sound peasant stock. Her father, Jacques d'Arc, was a good man, though rather morose; his wife was a gentle, affectionate mother to their five children. From her the two daughters of the family received careful training in all household duties. "In sewing and spinning," Joan declared towards the end of her short life, "I fear no woman." She whose destiny it was to save France was a well-brought-up country girl who, in common with most people of the time, never had an opportunity to learn to read or write. The little we know of her childhood is contained in the impressive and often touching testimony to her piety and dutiful conduct in the depositions presented during the process for her rehabilitation in I456, twenty-five years after her death. Priests and former playmates then recalled her love of prayer and faithful attendance at church, her frequent use of the Sacraments, kindness to sick people, and sympathy for poor wayfarers, to whom she sometimes gave up her own bed. "She was so good," the neighbors said, "that all the village loved her."

Joan's early life, however, must have been disturbed by the confusion of the period and the disasters befalling her beloved land. The Hundred Years War between England and France was still running its dismal course. Whole provinces were being lost to the English and the Burgundians, while the weak and irresolute government of France offered no real resistance. A frontier village like Domremy, bordering on Lorraine, was especially exposed to the invaders. On one occasion, at least, Joan fled with her parents to Neufchatel, eight miles distant, to escape a raid of Burgundians who sacked Domremy and set fire to the church, which was near Joan's home.

The child had been three years old when in 1415 King Henry V of England had started the latest chain of troubles by invading Normandy and claiming the crown of the insane king, Charles VI. France, already in the throes of civil war between the supporters of the Dukes of Burgundy and Orleans, had been in no condition to resist, and when the Duke of Burgundy was treacherously killed by the Dauphin's servants, most of his faction joined the British forces. King Henry and King Charles both died in 1422, but the war continued. The Duke of Bedford, as regent for the infant king of England, pushed the campaign vigorously, one town after another falling to him or to his Burgundian allies. Most of the country north of the Loire was in English hands. Charles VII, the Dauphin, as he was still called, considered his position hopeless, for the enemy even occupied the city of Rheims, where he should have been crowned. He spent his time away from the fighting lines in frivolous pastimes with his court.

Joan was in her fourteenth year when she heard the first of the unearthly voices, which, she felt sure, brought her messages from God. One day while she was at work in the garden, she heard a voice, accompanied by a blaze of light; after this, she vowed to remain a virgin and to lead a godly life. Afterwards, for a period of two years, the voices increased in number, and she was able to see her heavenly visitors, whom she identified as St. Michael, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Margaret, the three saints whose ages stood in the church at Domremy. Gradually they revealed to her the purpose of their visits: she, an ignorant peasant girl, was given the high mission of saving her country; she was to take Charles to Rheims to be crowned, and then drive out the English! We do not know just when Joan decided to obey the voices; she spoke little of them at home, fearing her stern father's disapproval. But by May, 1428, the voices had become insistent and explicit. Joan, now sixteen, must first go quickly to Robert de Baudricourt, who commanded the Dauphin's forces in the neighboring town of Vaucouleurs and say that she was appointed to lead the Dauphin to his crowning. An uncle accompanied Joan, but the errand proved fruitless; Baudricourt laughed and said that her father should give her a whipping. Thus rebuffed, Joan went back to Domremy, but the voices gave her no rest. When she protested that she was a poor girl who could neither ride nor fight, they answered, "It is God who commands it."

At last, she was impelled to return secretly to Baudricourt, whose skepticism was shaken, for news had reached him of just the sort of serious French defeat that Joan had predicted. The military position was now desperate, for Orleans, the last remaining French stronghold on the Loire, was invested by the English and seemed likely to fall. Baudricourt now agreed to send Joan to the Dauphin, and gave her an escort of three soldiers. It was her own idea to put on male attire, as a protection. On March 6, 1429, the party reached Chinon, where the Dauphin was staying, and two days later Joan was admitted to the royal presence. To test her, Charles had disguised himself as one of his courtiers, but she identified him without hesitation and, by a sign which only she and he understood, convinced him that her mission was authentic.
The ministers were less easy to convince. When Joan asked for soldiers to lead to the relief of Orleans, she was opposed by La Tremouille, one of Charles' favorites, and by others, who regarded the girl either as a crazy visionary or a scheming impostor. To settle the question, they sent her to Poitiers, to be questioned by a commission of theologians. After an exhaustive examination lasting for three weeks, the learned ecclesiastics pronounced Joan honest, good, and virtuous; they counseled Charles to make prudent use of her services. Thus vindicated, Joan returned full of courage of Chinon, and plans went forward to equip her with a small force, A banner was made, bearing at her request, the words, "Jesus Maria," along with a figure of God the Father, to whom two kneeling angels were presenting a fleur-de-lis, the royal emblem of France. On April 27 the army left Blois with Joan, now known to her troops as "La Pucelle," the Maid, clad in dazzling white armor Joan was a handsome, healthy, well-built girl, with a smiling face, and dark hair which had been cut short. She had now learned to ride well, but, naturally, she had no knowledge of military tactics. Yet her gallantry and valor kindled the soldiers and with them she broke through the English line and entered Orleans on April 29. Her presence in the city greatly heartened the French garrison. By May 8 the English fort outside Orleans had been captured and the siege raised. Conspicuous in her white armor, Joan had led the attack and had been slightly wounded in the shoulder by an arrow.

Her desire was to follow up these first successes with even more daring assaults, for the voices had told her that she would not live long, but La Tremouille and the archbishop of Rheims were in favor of negotiating. However, the Maid was allowed to join in a short campaign along the Loire with the Duc d'Alencon, one of her devoted supporters. It ended with a victory at Patay, in which the English forces under Sir John Falstolf suffered a crushing defeat. She now urged the immediate coronation of the Dauphin, since the road to Rheims had been practically cleared. The French leaders argued and dallied, and finally consented to follow her to Rheims. There, on July 17, 1429, Charles VII was duly crowned, Joan standing proudly behind him with her banner.

The mission entrusted to her by the heavenly voices was now only half fulfilled, for the English were still in France. Charles, weak and irresolute, did not follow up these auspicious happenings, and an attack on Paris failed, mainly for lack of his promised support and presence. During the action Joan was again wounded and had to be dragged to safety by the Duc d'Alencon. There followed winter's truce, which Joan spent for the most part in the company of the court, where she was regarded with ill-concealed suspicion. When hostilities were renewed in the spring, she hurried off to the relief of Compiegne, which was besieged by the Burgundians. Entering the city at sunrise on May 23, 1430, she led against the enemy later in the day. It failed, and through miscalculation on the part of the governor, the drawbridge over which her forces were retiring was lifted too soon, leaving her and a number of soldiers outside, at the mercy of the enemy. Joan was dragged from her horse and led to the quarters of John of Luxembourg, one of whose soldiers had been her captor. From then until the late autumn she remained the prisoner of the Duke of Burgundy, incarcerated in a high tower of the castle of the Luxembourgs. In a desperate attempt to escape, the girl leapt from the tower, landing on soft turf, stunned and bruised. It was thought a miracle that she had not been killed.

Never, during that period or afterwards, was any effort made to secure Joan's release by King Charles or his ministers. She had been a strange and disturbing ally, and they seemed content to leave her to her fate. But the English were to have her, and on November 21, the Burgundians accepted a large indemnity and gave her into English hands. They could not take her life for defeating them in war, but they could have her condemned as a sorceress and a heretic. Had she not been able to inspire the French with the Devil's own courage? In an age when belief in witchcraft and demons was general, the charge did not seem too preposterous. Already the English and Burgundian soldiers had been attributing their reverses to her spells.
In a cell in the castle of Rouen to which Joan was moved two days before Christmas, she was chained to a plank bed, and watched over night and day. On February 21, 1431, she appeared for the first time before a court of the Inquisition. It was presided over by Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beauvais, a ruthless, ambitious man who apparently hoped through English influence to become archbishop of Rouen. The other judges were lawyers and theologians who had been carefully selected by Cauchon. In the course of six public and nine private sessions, covering a period of ten weeks, the prisoner was cross-examined as to her visions and voices, her assumption of male attire, her faith, and her willingness to submit to the Church. Alone and undefended, the nineteen-year-old girl bore herself fearlessly, her shrewd answers, honesty, piety, and accurate memory often proving embarrassing to these severe inquisitors. Through her ignorance of theological terms, on a few occasions she was betrayed into making damaging statements. At the end of the hearings, a set of articles was drawn up by the clerks and submitted to the judges, who thereupon pronounced her revelations the work of the Devil and Joan herself a heretic. The theological faculty of the University of Paris approved the court's verdict.

In final deliberations the tribunal voted to hand Joan over to the secular arm for burning if she still refused to confess she had been a witch and had lied about hearing voices. This she steadfastly refused to do, though physically exhausted and threatened with torture. Only when she was led out into the churchyard of St. Ouen before a great crowd, to hear the sentence committing her to the flames, did she kneel down and admit she had testified falsely. She was then taken back to prison. Under pressure from her jailers, she had some time earlier put off the male attire, which her accusers seemed to find particularly objectionable. Now, either by her own choice or as the result of a trick played upon her by those who wanted her death, she resumed it. When Bishop Cauchon, with some witnesses, visited her in her cell to question her further, she had recovered from her weakness, and once more she claimed that God had truly sent her and that the voices had come from Him. Cauchon was well pleased with this turn of events.

On Tuesday, May 29, 1431, the judges, after hearing Cauchon's report, condemned Joan as a relapsed heretic and delivered her to the English. The next morning at eight o'clock she was led out into the market place of Rouen to be burned at the stake. As the faggots were lighted, a Dominican friar, at her request, held up a cross before her eyes and, while the flames leapt higher and higher, she was heard to call on the name of Jesus. John Tressart, one of King Henry's secretaries, viewed the scene with horror and was probably joined in spirit by others when he exclaimed remorsefully, "We are lost! We have burned a saint!" Joan's ashes were cast into the Seine.

Twenty-five years later, when the English had been driven out, the Pope at Avignon ordered a rehearing of the case. By that time Joan was being hailed as the savior of France. Witnesses were heard and depositions made, and in consequence the trial was pronounced irregular. She was formally rehabilitated as a true and faithful daughter of the Church. From a short time after her death up to the French Revolution, a local festival in honor of the Maid was held at Orleans on May 8, commemorating the day the siege was raised. The festival was reestablished by Napoleon I. In 1920 the French Republic declared May 8 a day of national celebration. Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized by Benedict XV in 1919.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjoanofarc.asp#ixzz1wLwT5y4i

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