Saturday, June 9, 2012


The Press Office of the Holy See has released a statement in connection with the seizure this week, by Italian authorities, of a private document meant for Pope Benedict XVI when they raided the home of the former head of the board of directors at the Holy See’s main financial establishment – the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR. Italian paramilitary police raided the home of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi on Tuesday as part of a corruption investigation into Italy's state-controlled aerospace giant Finmeccanica. Gotti Tedeschi himself is not under investigation, and at the time of the raid prosecutors said the search had nothing to do with his recently terminated role as president of the IOR. During the raid, however, police seized documentation Gotti Tedeschi had prepared for the Pope in conncection with the confidence vote he faced last month. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

In the statement, the Press Office says The Holy See learned with surprise and concern of the recent events in which Gotti Tedeschi was involved, and expresses the utmost confidence that the sovereign prerogatives of the Holy See - recognized internationally – will be adequately assessed and respected by the Italian judicial authority. The statement goes on to say the Holy See confirms its full confidence in the people who work with commitment and professionalism at the IOR, and is examining the circumstances with great care to see whether any injury might have been done to the Holy See’s rights or those of the Holy See’s organs. Finally, the statement emphasizes that the motion of no confidence taken against Prof. Gotti Tedeschi by the IOR’s Board of Superintendence was founded on objective reasons, related to the governance of the Institute, and not determined by a supposed opposition to the line of transparency, to which the authorities of the Holy See and the IOR itself are wholeheartedly committed.


Book DetailPastors, teachers and other writers focus their idea on who the Top 10 picks of influential Christian leaders who helped shape our church and beliefs as we know it. Which self-professed Christan made the cut? Who do we think influenced our beliefs the most? How did each rank in modern opinion? Who didn't make the list? You may be surprised. Read to find out.
REVIEW BY Ben Umnus (host of radio program ‘The Christian Perspective’)
From heroes to heretics, Ken Lambert and Abby Matzke’s “Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the Apostles” lives up to its goal of answering the question: “Which self-professed Christians have had the most influence on today’s Christianity? And what happened in their lives that may have earned them this honor?” In a clear, down-to-earth fashion, Lambert and Matzke attempt to make sense of the messy business that is Church history by sharing the stories of those who have left a lasting impact upon the face of Christianity.
Designed to serve as a basic introduction to Church history, the authors have done a phenomenal job of presenting a fair, balanced picture of Christianity’s legendary figures, leaving individual readers to draw their own conclusions about the theology which they espoused. As such, the book sometimes leaves us with more questions than answers. Readers are encouraged to examine their faith from new angles and ask sometimes difficult questions about their own and $4.95 in electronic edition at
To view excerpts and further reviews, please visit:


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
8 Jun 2012

Pakistani cuisine with a difference at cooking classes
hosted by newly arrived refugees
Cooking classes hosted by asylum seekers and refugees from Sydney's House of Welcome not only introduced locals to the delights of Congolese and Ugandan cuisine as well as delicious dishes from Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but proved such a success that North Sydney Community Centre has already booked a second series of classes for later in the year.
"We had big waiting lists for each of the three classes and could easily have filled another two classes," says Joanna Juin. "The response was fantastic and so was the feedback."
Billed as "A Welcome Feast - Meet, Learn and Eat," the community cooking classes were the brainchild of the House of Welcome at Carramar. A project of the Franciscan Friars with the Archdiocese of Sydney as one of the main funders, the House of Welcome is one of just two agencies offering accommodation, financial and other assistance to refugees and asylum seekers awaiting visas and final clearance, as well as offering a range of support and help during their transition to life in Australia.

Ugandan and Congolese cuisine is delicious
and goat curry a favouirite
"A small amount of money was raised from those who enrolled in the classes but the object wasn't to raise funds, but instead to give the refugees an opportunity to share their stories, cuisine and culture with the wider community," says Jo Lee, volunteer and funding co-ordinator with the House of Welcome. "It was also a wonderful chance for the refugees to grow in confidence, have their skills acknowledged and realise just how much they have to offer."
But most of all it was an opportunity for everyday Australians to see refugees not through the prism of 'illegals' and politically-created stereotypes but instead as people who have been disenfranchised but are no different from you or me. It was a chance to put a human face on refugees and change perceptions, not just among those who took the classes but through word of mouth with their friends and communities."
Home cooking Sri Lankan and Pakistani-style proved a big hit but it was the third class in the Welcome Feast series, offering an introduction to Ugandan and Congolese cooking that intrigued with most of those who enrolled in this class unsure what to expect.
"Most people have no knowledge of Congolese or Ugandan cuisine," Jo says and describes the delicious goat curry that was cooked and later shared with everyone, along with the East African dish of Ugali which is known as "fufu" in the Congo and "posho" in Uganda. A staple starch it is made into a ball and dipped into stews and sauces much as Europeans use dumplings with to sop up juices.

Substituting certain vegetables for Chinese
vegetables available here one of the refugees
demonstrates the best in Ugandan
and Congolese cooking
The teachers chosen for each class were all current or former clients at the House of Welcome. Two of the classes were given by married couples and the one was taught by a married woman whose husband was unable to accompany her as he was working.
"Some of those teaching began the class with their own personal stories while others were more shy but as the class went on and they relaxed and passed on their stories."
For one of the couples their story only came out after someone in class asked them how the pair had met and married. That's when the class learned how shortly after the wedding the couple had been forced to flee their homeland which was caught up in a bloody civil war.
"The classes were filled with warmth and laughter and at the end of a class, one of those there welcomed the refugee teachers to Australia and asked them to come and visit. It was a lovely moment," says Jo.
To Now the North Sydney Community Centre has pencilled in dates in early October for the next series of Welcome Feasts hosted by refugees and asylum seekers from the House of Welcome.
To find out more about the House of Welcome log on to


by Nina Achmatova
The accusation comes from an NGO, the Consumer Rights Protection Society, which claims that the Patriarchate is running businesses from inside Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, symbol of Russia's spiritual renaissance, has become a shopping mall run by the Orthodox Church, a prominent consumer rights watchdog says in a lawsuit against the Moscow Patriarchate. For some commentators, this is but the latest attack against the Russian Orthodox Church, which of late has been caught up in several controversies and media scandals.

According to the Consumer Rights Protection Society, the cathedral hosts numerous businesses, including jewellery and souvenir stands, an eatery, dry cleaner and car wash.

In a report, it says the cathedral has become a de facto mall, but is not identified as such. What is more, its tenants do not comply with various regulations for commercial enterprises. For this reason, the consumer watchdog wants all violations remedied.

Equally, it noted that whilst religious organisations enjoy various tax breaks in Russia, those do not include their commercial operations not directly related to religious services.

Khamovnichesky court in the capital has accepted the lawsuit, but has not yet set a date for a hearing, Ria Novosti reported.

The cathedral does not belong to the church, which only rents out space on the premises, Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Vladimir Vigilyansky told Ria Novosti.

"Now the lies propagated by the media, which say that the church is running commercial operations at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, will hopefully be finally disproven," Vigilyansky added.

After making this statement, Vigilyansky resigned as Patriarch Kirill's press agent.

According to Kommersant, he quit because he could not also act as rector in a church near Moscow to which he was recently appointed. Others tie his resignation to a number of scandals that have hit recently the Russian Orthodox Church, which Church leaders say are an "attack from anti-Russian forces".

Lately in fact, the Church has been embroiled in several controversies, including Kirill's reaction to a provocation by a punk group called Pussy Riot, a picture on the Patriarchate's website showing the patriarch himself wearing an expensive watch that was later photoshopped out as well as reports about his luxury homes, including a prestigious flat in front of the Kremlin.



BAMAKO, June 8, 2012 (CISA) -The Association of Mali for the Protection of Human Rights (AMHR) has reported serious violations of human rights in the North African area controlled by Tuareg rebels and the armed Islamist groups, who declare themselves independent from the government of Bamako.
According to sources of the AMHR, there have been sexual abuse cases on women, recruitment of child soldiers, accompanied by looting and pillage at the hands of the militants of the Tuareg group, National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). Hotels, restaurants, bars and churches have been destroyed.
This past April, the MNLA had announced the separation of the northern area of Mali and the founding of the “republic of Azawad”, a vast region of 850,000 square kilometers which includes the three main cities situated north of the country.
They include Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. Amnesty International recently issued a warning about what is happening in Mali, where systematically extrajudicial killings and all kinds of sexual abuse at the hands of Tuareg rebels are committed.
Meanwhile, discussions continue on sending an African military force in Mali to help local armed forces


Agenzia Fides REPORT- Increase efforts to protect human rights, enact laws on crucial issues such as torture, education and women's rights: is what the Pakistani government has asked the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, at the conclusion of a four-day visit to the country (4-7 June). "All the rights must be guaranteed to all people in Pakistan, regardless of their sex, religion, social group," she remarked, noting that Pakistan has made some progress, but "has a long way to go in other areas", for a greater respect for human rights, in particular with regard to religious minorities. Yesterday Navi Pillay also had a direct meeting with Paul Bhatti, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Harmony, discussing the issues that touch, in particular, religious minorities and social programs. As reported to Fides, Bhatti said that "the government is taking all possible measures to tackle problems like poverty, illiteracy and intolerance" and called on the international community to cooperate with Pakistan "to establish peace, to promote religious harmony." Bhatti recalled the existence of a "National Commission for Religious Minorities" and his work in the Ministry for National Harmony, which was born to alleviate the problems between "majority minority". Pillay praised the government's efforts for the protection of minorities, in favour of "programs of study scholarships abroad for Pakistani students."
In recent days, after a debate that lasted for months, the Pakistan president Ali Zardari signed the decree establishing the "National Commission on Human Rights," which will be tasked to monitor the situation, promote special investigation in the field of human rights. The Commission, which will be renewed every four years, will consist of 10 members: a president, one representative from each of the four Provinces and of the two Territories in which the nation is divided; two members of religious minorities; the president of the National Commission on the Status of women. At least two Commission members must be women. As learned by Fides, the Catholic Church and civil society have welcomed the step taken by the Pakistani government, hoping that "the new institution will serve to really improve the standard of protection of human rights in the country." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 08/06/2012)


Mark 12: 38 - 44
38 And in his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places
39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."


ST. COLUMBKILLE is one of three great saints of Ireland and was the first missionary to Scotland. Born in 521 in Donegal, Ireland to a family connected to kings and princes, Columb was a man gifted with incredible talents. He wrote poetry and music, established churches and monasteries, preached the gospel and painted manuscripts. St. Adamnan, his biographer wrote of him: "He had the face of an angel; he was of an excellent nature, polished in speech, holy in deed, great in counsel . . . loving unto all." He is personally described as "A man well-formed, with powerful frame; his skin was white, his face broad and fair and radiant, lit up with large, gray, luminous eyes.”
DoveFrom an early age Columb seemed destined for the priesthood, his family sent him off to study under the future St. Finnian and at Clonard Abbey he surrendered his princely claims, became a monk and was ordained. He spent the next 15 years preaching and teaching in Ireland. As was the custom in those days, he combined study and prayer with manual labor. By his own natural gifts as well as by the good fortune of his birth, he soon gained ascendancy as a monk of unusual distinction. By the time he was 25, he had founded no less than 27 Irish monasteries, including those at Derry, Durrow, and Kells, as well as some 40 churches. His work for the Church gained him the addition of “kille” to his name. Columb means “dove” in Gaelic and kille is “church”, so he came to be known as the “church’s dove”. Columb lived, with every ounce of his energy, the commission of Jesus to “go and make disciples.”
QuillThere is a famous tale about Columbkille that stands as one of the first copyright cases on record: Columbkille was so anxious to have a copy of Finnian’s Psalter that he shut himself up at night in the church that contained it and secretly transcribed it by hand. He was discovered by a monk who watched him through the keyhole and reported it to his superior. Bibles and prayer books were so scarce in those days that Abbot Finnian claimed the copy, refusing to allow it to leave the monastery. Columbkille refused to surrender it until he was obliged to do so, under protest, on Finnian's appeal to King Diarmaid, who said, "To every cow its calf," meaning to every book its copy.

BoatWhile historically a bit unclear, an unfortunate period followed, during which, owing to Columbkille's protection of a refugee and his impassioned denunciation of an injustice by King Diarmaid, war broke out between the clans of Ireland, and Columbkille became an exile of his own accord. Filled with remorse on account of those who had been slain in battle and condemned by many of his own friends, he experienced a change of heart and an irresistible call to preach to those who had not heard the gospel. In 563, at the age of 42, he left Ireland with 12 companions and landed on an island now known as Iona. Here on this desolate rock, only three miles long and two miles wide, in the northern sea off the southwest corner of Mull, Scotland, he began his work; and, Iona became a center of Christian learning. It became the heart of Celtic Christianity and a potent factor in the conversion of the Picts, Scots, and Northern English. Monks from the monasteries established by Columbkille would later travel to mainland Europe and Christianize the Frank and Germanic tribes.
There are many miracles and incredible events recorded by St. Adamnan in his biography of St. Columbkille and they make for interesting reading. If you wish to believe it, he is one of the first people to encounter the Loch Ness monster. His memory remains a potent force in Celtic lands and his poetry and songs are still sung:
“Alone with none but Thee, my God,
I journey on my way;
what need I fear when Thou art near,
O King of night and day?"

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