Thursday, July 5, 2012




Vatican City, 5 July 2012 (VIS) - The Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See met in the Vatican on Tuesday 3 July and Wednesday 4 July, under the presidency of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.
Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, presented the consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2011, then those of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
The consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2011 closed with a deficit of EUR 14,890,034. The most significant items of expenditure were those relative to personnel (who as of 31 December 2011 numbered 2,832) and to the communications media considered as a whole. The result was affected by the negative trend of global financial markets, which made it impossible to achieve the goals laid down in the budget.
The administration of the Governorate is autonomous, and independent of contributions from the Holy See. Through its various offices, it supervises requirements related to the administration of the State. The consolidated financial statements for 2011 closed with a surplus of EUR 21,843,851. As of 31 December 2011, the Governorate employed a staff of 1,887. A particularly significant contribution to the result came from the Vatican Museums, which produced a revenue that passed from EUR 82,400,000 in 2010 to EUR 91,300.000, for a total of more than five million visitors. According to specialised rankings, these figures place the Vatican Museums among the most prestigious and important such institutions in the world.
Peter's Pence - i.e., donations made by the faithful to support the Holy Father's charity - rose from USD 67,704,416.41 in 2010 to USD 69,711,722.76. Contributions made pursuant to canon 1271 of the Code of Canon Law - i.e., the economic support offered by ecclesiastical circumscriptions throughout the world to maintain the service the Roman Curia offers the universal Church - rose from USD 27,362,258.40 in 2010 to USD 32,128,675.91. Further contributions to the Holy See made by institutes of consecrated life, societies of apostolic life and foundations rose from USD 747,596.09 in 2010 to USD 1,194,217.78. Thus the overall increase with respect to 2010 was of 7.54 per cent.
As it does every year, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) offered the Holy Father a significant sum to support his apostolic and charitable ministry. The amount involved for the financial year 2011 was EUR 49,000,000.
During the meeting, according to a communique made public today, "the cardinals present made numerous comments in which they made clear their appreciation at the completeness and transparency of the information they had been given. Recognition was expressed for the commitment to the ongoing improvement of the administration of the goods and resources of the Holy See, and a call was made for prudence and limiting costs, though while maintaining jobs. Unanimous pleasure was declared at the generous support of the faithful and of ecclesiastical institutions, even more praiseworthy given the persistent economic crisis. The members of the Council also expressed their profound gratitude at the support the faithful give, often anonymously, to the universal ministry of the Holy Father, and exhorted them to continue this good work.
"Finally, under the terms of article 25 (2) of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus', Paolo Cipriani, director of the IOR, outlined the economic position of the institution he directs. This was followed by a debate during which the members of the Council were provided with the necessary clarifications".

Vatican City, 5 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office yesterday released the following English-language communique:
"From 2 to 6 July, the plenary meeting of MONEYVAL (the Council of Europe’s department responsible for the evaluation of member States with respect to anti-money laundering systems) is taking place in Strasbourg. The Holy See is taking part in this meeting with a delegation led by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States.
"The report relating to the Holy See and to Vatican City State was adopted today. According to usual MONEYVAL procedure, in the near future an amended version of the report, based upon today’s plenary session, will be forwarded to the Holy See for possible further comment to be submitted within one month. The report is expected to be published on the MONEYVAL website".

Vatican City, 5 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jaime Calderon Calderon, rector of the major seminary of the diocese of Zamora, Mexico, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 12,000, population 1,642,000, Catholics 1,477,000, priests 345, religious 858). The bishop-elect was born in Churintzio, Mexico in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1991. He studied in Mexico and Rome and, among other roles, is a judge of the ecclesiastical tribunal of Zamora and president of the Organisation of Mexican Seminaries (OSMEX).


WASHINGTON - The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception hosted the Closing Mass of the Fortnight for Freedom on Wednesday, July 4, at 12:10 p.m. in the Basilica’s Great Upper Church.
His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, was the principal celebrant of the Mass.His Excellency Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia was the homilist. Apostolic Nuncio to the United States (Vatican Ambassador), His Excellency Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, concelebrated the Mass and delivered a message from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput
My dear faithful people of God and people of Good will,
Philadelphia is the place where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were written. For more than two centuries, these documents have inspired people around the globe. So as we begin our reflection on today's readings, I have the privilege of greeting everyone here today -- and every person watching or listening from a distance -- in the name of the Church of my home, the Church of Philadelphia, the cradle of our country's liberty and the city of our nation's founding, so greetings to all of you from the people of Philadelphia. May God bless and guide all of us as we settle our hearts and minds on the Word of God.
Paul Claudel, the French poet and diplomat of the last century, once described the Christian as "a man who knows what he is doing and where he is going in a world [that] no longer [knows] the difference between good and evil, between yes and no. He is like a god standing out in a crowd of invalids . . . He alone has liberty in a world of slaves."
Like most of the great writers of his time, Claudel was a mix of gold and clay, flaws and genius. He had a deep and brilliant Catholic faith, and when he wrote that a man "who no longer believes in God, no longer believes in anything," he was simply reporting what he saw all around him. He spoke from a lifetime that witnessed two world wars and the rise of atheist ideologies that murdered tens of millions of innocent people using the vocabulary of science. He knew exactly where forgetting God can lead.
We Americans live in a different country, on a different continent, in a different century. And yet, in speaking of liberty, Claudel leads us to the reason we come together in worship this afternoon.
Most of us know today's passage from the Gospel of Matthew. What we should, or should not, render unto Caesar shapes much of our daily discourse as citizens. But I want to focus on the other and more important point Jesus makes in today's Gospel: the things we should render unto God.
When the Pharisees and Herodians try to trap Jesus, he responds by asking for a coin. Examining it he says, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?" When his enemies say "Caesar's," he tells them to render it to Caesar. In other words, that which bears the image of Caesar belongs to Caesar.
The key word in Christ's answer is "image," or in the Greek, eikon. Our modern meaning of "image" is weaker than the original Greek meaning. We tend to think of an image as something symbolic, like a painting or sketch. The Greek understanding includes that sense but goes much further. In the New Testament, the "image" of something shares in the nature of the thing itself.
This has consequences for our own lives because we're made in the image and likeness of God. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the same word, eikon, is used in Genesis when describing creation. "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" says God (Gen 1:26). The implication is clear. To be made in the image of God is more than a pious slogan. It's a statement of fact. Every one of us shares -- in a limited but real way -- in the nature of God himself. When we follow Jesus Christ, we grow in conformity to that image.
Once we understand this, the impact of Christ's response to his enemies becomes clear. Jesus isn't being clever. He's not offering a political commentary. He's making a claim on every human being. He's saying, "render unto Caesar those things that bear Caesar's image, but more importantly, render unto God that which bears God's image" -- in other words, you and me. All of us.
And that raises some unsettling questions: What do you and I, and all of us, really render to God in our personal lives? If we claim to be disciples, then what does that actually mean in the way we speak and the way we act?
Thinking about the relationship of Caesar and God, religious faith and secular authority, is important. It helps us sort through our different duties as Christians and citizens. But on a deeper level, Caesar is a creature -- a creature of this world -- and Christ's message is uncompromising: We should give Caesar nothing of ourselves. Obviously we're in the world. That means we have obligations of charity and justice to the people with whom we share it. For Christians, patriotism is a virtue. Love of country is an honorable thing. As Chesterton once said, if we build a wall between ourselves and the world, it makes little difference whether we describe ourselves as locked in or locked out.
But God has made us for more than the world. Our real home isn't here. The point of today's Gospel passage is not how we might calculate a fair division of goods between Caesar and God. In reality, it all belongs to God and nothing - at least nothing permanent and important - belongs to Caesar. Why? Because just as the coin bears the stamp of Caesar's image, we bear the stamp of God's image in baptism. We belong to God, and only to God.
In today's second reading, St. Paul tells us, "Indeed religion" -- the RSV version says "godliness" - "with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it." My dear friends, true freedom knows no attachments other than Jesus Christ. It has no love of riches or the appetites they try to satisfy. True freedom can walk away from anything -- wealth, honor, fame, pleasure. Even power. It fears neither the state, nor death itself.
Who is the most free person at anything? It's the person who masters her art. A pianist is most free who -- having mastered her instrument according to the rules that govern it and the rules of music, and having disciplined and honed her skills -- can now play anything she wants.
The same holds true for our lives. We're free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God's plan. When we do this, when we choose to live according to God's intentions for us, then -- and only then -- will we be truly free.
This is the freedom of the sons and daughters of God. It's the freedom of Miguel Pro, of Mother Teresa, Maximillian Kolbe, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and all the other holy women and men who have gone before us to do the right thing, the heroic thing, in the face of suffering, adversity and death.
This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty - religious or otherwise.
I say this for two reasons. Here's the first reason. Real freedom isn't something Caesar can give or take away. He can interfere with it; but when he does, he steals from his own legitimacy.
Here's the second reason. The purpose of religious liberty is to create the context for true freedom. Religious liberty is a foundational right. It's necessary for the good of society. But it can never be sufficient for human happiness. It's not an end in itself. In the end, we defend religious liberty in order to live the deeper freedom that is discipleship in Jesus Christ. What good is religious freedom, consecrated in the law, if we don't then use that freedom to seek God with our whole mind, our whole strength, our whole soul and all that we are?
Today, July 4, we celebrate the birth of a novus ordo seclorum - a "new order of the ages," the American Era. God has blessed our nation with resources, power, beauty and the rule of law. We have so much to be grateful for. But these are gifts. They can be misused. They can be lost. In coming years, we'll face more and more serious challenges to religious liberty in our country. This is why the Fortnight for Freedom has been so very important.
And yet, the political and legal effort to defend religious liberty - as vital as it is - belongs to a much greater struggle to master and convert our own hearts, and to live for God completely, without alibis or self-delusion. The only question that finally matters is this one: Will we live wholeheartedly for Jesus Christ? If so, then we can be a source of freedom for the world. If not, nothing else will do.
God's word in today's first reading is a caution we ignore at our own expense. "Son of man," God says to Ezekiel and to all of us, "I have appointed you as a sentinel. If I say to the wicked, 'you will surely die' - and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them . . . I will hold you responsible for their blood."
Here's what that means for each of us: We live in a time that calls for sentinels and public witness. Every Christian in every era faces the same task. But you and I are responsible for this moment. Today. Now. We need to "speak out," not only for religious liberty and the ideals of the nation we love, but for the sacredness of life and the dignity of the human person - in other words, for the truth of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God.
We need to be witnesses of that truth not only in words, but also in deeds. In the end, we're missionaries of Jesus Christ, or we're nothing at all. And we can't share with others what we don't live faithfully and joyfully ourselves.
When we leave this Mass today, we need to render unto Caesar those things that bear his image. But we need to render ourselves unto God -- generously, zealously, holding nothing back. To the extent we let God transform us into his own image, we will - by the example of our lives - fulfill our duty as citizens of the United States, but much more importantly, as disciples of Jesus Christ.
May God brings to completion the good things he begins in us today.


Schola Affectus reflects on 'The God Particle' | Higgs, the God Particle

image editor Flicker
So we have been told this morning of a historic announcement at CERN in Switzerland that a sub-atomic particle that behaves like the Higgs Boson has been observed with ’5 sigma certainty’. Formally, it’s known as the Higgs Boson, informally its called the ‘God Particle’. The proper name comes from an Edinburgh based physicist, Peter Higgs, who conceived of it while walking in Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains in 1964.
When I was a theology undergraduate here in Edinburgh 15 years ago, one of my professors, Dr James Mackey, was personal friends with Peter Higgs. He used to go on about it in theology lectures,, none of us had heard of it then, but its certainly become famous since. It became the God particle due to editorial anxiety – originally called the “Goddamn Particle” by Leon Lederman since it was seemingly impossible to isolate. Lederman, a leading researcher in the field, wanted to title his book “The Goddamn Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?” But his editor decided that the title was too controversial and convinced Lederman to change the title to “The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?”
To read more of Schola Affectus' interesting blog see:



Many people left without help as water starts to recede reporters, Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal
July 5, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Thousands still stranded by floods
Flooding has claimed thousands of properties across the country
Although water levels have receded following devastating floods that killed at least 100 people at the end of last month, many of those affected across the country say they remain stranded without aid.
Authorities said yesterday that more than 50,000 people have been left stranded in the northwestern district of Sirajgonj, one of the country’s most flood-prone areas, after torrential monsoon rains caused the Jamuna River to burst its banks.
“The river has wiped away my home and farm land. I’ve nowhere to go,” said Abdul Khaleque, 54, a farmer.
Rezaul Karim, 25, a college student, said that flooding and river erosion had also hit his family but that relief efforts had not reached them yet.
Aminul Islam, deputy commissioner of Sirajgonj, said authorities had distributed 1.3 million taka (US$ 15,854) and 500 tonnes of rice, stressing there were no reports of water-borne diseases so far.
“The flood waters have started receding in our area and 10 camps have been set up to shelter hundreds of flood-stricken people,” he said.
Authorities are yet to make a decision on compensation for farmers hit by the floods, he added.
In Kurigram district on the Indian border to the north, the river remains 32 centimeters above safe levels, said authorities, leaving thousands of people stranded in 350 villages. Reports said two children have died from flooding in the area.
Habibur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Kurigram, said river water levels were down by 90 centimeters in the past three days prompting hope that the situation was returning to normal.
In Manikgonj district further south, river erosion has claimed hundreds of hectares of arable land, according to the authorities and farmers in the area.
Sandhya Rani, 46, said that the Jamuna River had swept away all of her few plots of land.
“The river has left me destitute,” she said.
In Chittagong district in the south, deputy commissioner Foyez Ahmed said that the situation was improving after 35 people died last month.
“We hope life will return to normal in a week,” he said.
Floodwater had also started to recede in Sylhet and Sunamgonj districts in the northeast of the country, according to reports, but tens of thousands remained trapped by floodwater in Borga and Jamalpur districts in the northwest.
Related reports
Flooding death toll tops 100


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Episcopal Conference of Gabon has denounced some serious practices found in the Catholic schools of the capital, Libreville. During a press conference that was held on July 2, presided by Mgr. Patrick Nguéma Edou, Apostolic Vicar of Libreville, the dismantling, within Catholic schools was announced, of networks committed to prostitution, exploitation of prostitution, homosexuality, drug trafficking and esoteric practices, involving boys and girls aged 14 to 18 years. The press conference was also attended by sister Sidonie Oyembo, Superior of the Congrégation de l'Immaculée de Castres au Gabon (whose mission is education, particularly girls), the head of the Coordination of associations of parents of Catholic schools, Mrs. Solange Bémengué, in addition to the Minister of Family and Social Affairs, a representative of UNICEF and the world of education and justice.
Mgr. Patrick Nguéma Edou reiterated that the mission of Catholic teaching is to offer quality education enlightened by the values of the Church. This is why the Apostolic Vicar of Libreville said that the Church refuses to remain silent in the face of these facts. Mrs. Bémengué accused "those adults, in the higher ranks of public and private administration, who are seriously involved in leading the children astray. We condemn with all our strength all adult criminals, pimps, witch doctors, drug dealers, rapists, that not only rot their homes, but spread these abominations into other families." (L.M.)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
5 Jul 2012

Hearing a gospel choir in church changed Stephen's life
Canberra-based composer, songwriter and musician, Stephen Kirk describes himself as a living example not only of the power of faith but the power of music.
Stephen, goes on to describe his mission in life "to witness to the presence of God by leading people in prayer through music" and he will be doing just that in Sydney next week as part of SCENE - the Sydney Congress Embracing the New Evangelisation.
Not only will he give two much anticipated workshops but he will be among the performances at SCENE 2012 which is putting a special focus on the arts and music in particular.
Stephen's first workshop will be held on Thursday afternoon, 12 July, the second day of SCENE's weeklong celebrations and festivities. During this workshop, he will provide simple practical tools and ways prayer can be approached as a musician, and using music will help people experience a true awareness of God's presence and His great love.
A scene at the last SCENE
in Martin Place - enjoying the music
"In God's hands music is a very powerful tool," he says.
Stephen's second workshop to be held on Saturday, 14 July between 3.30 and 4.45 pm, will give young Sydneysiders a chance to learn how to become songwriters themselves.
"Songs have a unique place in the New Evangelisation," he says pointing out music is a universal language and able to speak directly to the heart. "Songs help us hear the truth of the Good News without the barriers and preconceptions we all carry. We can all write songs to praise God and during this workshop I want to give people the confidence to do this."
Stephen, whose latest album, Rend the Heavens was released earlier this year, strongly believes in the power of songs that convey the truths and sounds of heaven in the music on earth.
"I am a living example of this," he says , explaining that although he grew up in a Catholic household, the youngest of six boys, by the time he reached his teens his faith was more a cultural and casual thing than a deeply held conviction.

Stephen Kirk is equally at home
playing flute piano or guitar
"And by the time I started at uni, I'd pretty much walked away from it altogether."
Studying IT, Stephen spent his final year in San Diego as an exchange student.
"I'd always loved music and decided to enrol in a course on gospel choirs. My teacher, Ken Anderson was a wonderful musician and he took me to a church in a rundown part of town where he had grown up, which had an outstanding gospel choir."
Stephen says he was the only Australian in the congregation that day and "the only white guy."
But what he remembers most about that day is his teacher Ken Anderson singing a solo entitled: "Jesus You Are the Centre of My Joy."
This is when Stephen says his life changed forever.
"As Ken was singing I became aware of the presence of God. In a quiet unassuming way He was there with me. Through music I'd been drawn into His presence. That day I rediscovered the faith experience. The presence of God was the fulfilment of everything I'd been yearning for. My life until that moment was the merest shadow of what it now became."

Songwriter, musician composer Stephen Kirk
Since then Stephen's mission in life has been to share the power of music and to "lead other people into prayer through music."
At 42 and the father of six, Stephen says the Catholic Church has always embraced music as a way to inspire and bring us closer to God.
"God speaks to us through a wonderful variety of music that reaches into our hearts and our souls," he says.
To find out more about Stephen Kirk, his latest album and his music log on to
To register for SCENE and Stephen's Workshops log on to


Matthew 9: 1 - 8
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
2 And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven."
3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming."
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?
5 For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise and walk'?
6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he then said to the paralytic -- "Rise, take up your bed and go home."
7 And he rose and went home.
8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.


St. Antonio Maria Zaccaria
Feast: July 5

Feast Day: July 5
Born: 1503, Cremona, Duchy of Milan, (now Italy)
Died: July 5, 1539, Cremona, Duchy of Milan
Canonized: May 15, 1897, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine: San Paolo convent, Milan, Italy
Patron of: The Barnabite order
Founder of the Clerks Regular of St. Paul, commonly known as the Barnabites; b. in Cremona, Italy, 1502; d. 5 July, 1539. While he was still an infant his father died, leaving the care of the child's education to his mother, who taught him compassion for the poor and suffering by making him her almoner. After completing the studies given in the schools at Cremona he was sent to Padua for his philosophy, and in 1520, when he had finished this course, began the study of medicine in the university at that place. At the age of twenty-two he received his degree of Doctor of Medicine and returned to Cremona to practise his profession. Three years later he began to study theology and received holy orders in 1528. He now devoted himself with renewed energy to works of charity and mercy, visiting and consoling the sick in hospitals and poor-prisons. The ministry of preaching and the administration of the sacraments produced such great fruit that St. Antonio was encouraged to seek a larger field for his labours and to carry out a great project which he hard formed for the good of souls. He went to the populous city of Milan, of which he was a burgess, and entered the Confraternity of Eternal Wisdom. Among the members of this religious body he allied himself with two priests, Fathers Ferrari and Morigia, and told them of his idea of founding a congregation of secular clergy. Northern Italy at this period was in a deplorable condition. Frequent wars had devastated the country. The advent of the Lutheran soldiery and their contempt for everything Catholic had spread the contagion of bad example, while famine and plague followed in the track of the soldiers. These scourges combined to produce a state of misery that appealed most powerfully to Antonio and his associates. "The Congregation of the Regular Clerks of St. Paul", St. Antonio's work, which began with five members, was canonically sanctioned by Pope Clement VII in 1533. Their rule bound them to "regenerate and revive the love of the Divine worship, and a truly Christian way of life by frequent preaching and the faithful administration of the sacraments."
The first superior of the new congregation was St. Antonio, who soon hecame known in Milan as an apostle. Besides giving conferences in churches to ecclesiastics and lay people, he went into the streets of the city with crucifix in hand, and produced great fruit in souls by preaching on the Passion and Death of Christ and the need of penance for sin. In 1536 he resigned the superiorship to Father Morigia and later went to Vicenza at the request of Cardinal Ridolfi. There he succeeded in reforming morals and in bringing two religious communities of women to a stricter observance of their rule. In the latter labour he was greatly aided by a congregation of nuns "The Angelicals of St. Paul", which he had founded in Milan. He introduced, also, the devotion of the "Forty Hours' Prayers", in Vicenza. The last two years of his life were spent in Milan. He sought there a more suitable church for his Congregation and accepted the offer of the church of S. Barnabas, but died before the affaire was arranged. From this church of St. Barnabas, the Congregation received the name by which its members are commonly known, i.e. Barnabites. Worn out by his voluntary penences, as well as by his untiring labours of charity, he was attacked by fever during one of his mission. Knowing that this illness was his last, he had himself brought to his native city, Cremona. There, in his mother's house, he received the last sacraments and peacefully expired at the early age of thirty-seven. His body was found incorrupt 27 years after his death. He was declared Blessed by Pope Pius IX in 1849. (See BARNABITES.) On 15 May, 1897, he was solemnly canonized in St. Peter's, Rome, by Pope Leo XIII. His writings are: "Detti notabili, raccolti da varii autori" (Venice, 1583); "Constitutiones ordinis clericorum regularium" (not published); "Sermones super praeceptis Decalogi" (not published).


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