Wednesday, January 18, 2012



VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins today, was the theme of Benedict XVI's general audience celebrated this morning in the Paul VI Hall. The Holy Father explained how this initiative has been held annually for more than a century and brings together Christians from Churches and ecclesial communities, who "invoke that extraordinary gift for which the Lord Jesus prayed during the Last Supper: ... 'That they may all be one'". (IMAGE SOURCE : RADIO VATICANA)

The Week of Prayer - established in 1908 by Paul Wattson, founder of an Anglican religious community who later entered the Catholic Church - "is one of the most effective annual expressions ... of the impetus which Vatican Council II gave to the search for full union among all Christ's disciples", said the Pope. "This spiritual event, which unites Christians from all traditions, increases our awareness of the fact that the unity we strive for cannot result merely from our own efforts; rather, it is a gift we receive and must constantly invoke from on high".

The texts for this year's Week of Prayer have been prepared by a group of representatives from the Catholic Church, and from the Polish Ecumenical Council which proposed the theme of "We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ". The history of Poland - marked by defeats and victories, by the struggle to end oppression and achieve freedom - led the ecumenical group to reflect more deeply upon what it means to "win" and to "lose".

In this context the Pope pointed out that, "in contrast to 'victory' understood in triumphal terms, Christ shows us a very different way. His victory does not involve power and might. ... Christ speaks of victory through love, mutual assistance and boosting the self-esteem of those who are 'last', forgotten, excluded. For all Christians, the best expression of such humble service is Jesus Christ Himself, His total gift of self, the victory of His love over death. ... We can share in this 'victory' only if we allow ourselves to be transformed by God".

Likewise, "the unity for which we pray requires inner conversion, both shared and individual. But this must not be limited to cordiality and cooperation; we must reinforce our faith in God; ... we must enter into the new life in Christ, Who is our true and definitive victory; we must open to one another, accepting all the elements of unity which God has conserved for us; ... we must feel the pressing need to bear witness, before the men and women of our time, to the living God Who made Himself known in Christ".

Ecumenism, as defined by Vatican Council II and Blessed John Paul II, is "the responsibility of the entire Church and of all the baptised, who must augment the partial communion that already exists among Christians until achieving full communion in truth and charity. Praying for unity ... must then be an integral part of the prayer life of all Christians, in all times and places, especially when people from different traditions come together to work for victory in Christ over sin, evil, injustice and the violation of human dignity".

Benedict XVI also pointed out that "lack of unity among Christians hinders the effective announcement of the Gospel and endangers our credibility", but noted that, "as far as the fundamental truths of the faith are concerned, there is far more that unites us than divides us. ... This is a great challenge for the new evangelisation, which will be more fruitful if all Christians together announce the truth of the Gospel and Jesus Christ, and give a joint response to the spiritual thirst of our times".

In conclusion, the Pope exhorted the faithful to unite more intensely in prayer during the course of the coming Week, "to increase shared witness, solidarity and collaboration among Christians, in expectation of that glorious day when together we will all be able to celebrate the Sacraments and profess the faith transmitted by the Apostles".

At the end of his audience, the Holy Father greeted a group of Italian lawyers, encouraging them to practise their profession "in faithfulness to the truth, which is a fundamental premise of justice".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Guwahati, India, presented by Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil S.D.B., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop John Moolachira.


By Simon Caldwell on Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Pray for the Beatification of our Servant of God
CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: Mother Riccarda Beauchamp Hambrough was a member of the Bridgettines, nicknamed 'the hot cross bun nuns'
The Vatican has taken up the canonisation Cause of a British nun who helped to hide scores of Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War.
A file on Mother Riccarda Beauchamp Hambrough has been sent to the Vatican to be studied by historians and theologians.
Her Cause for sainthood was opened in July 2010 by the Diocese of Rome along with that of Sister Katherine Flanagan, marking the first phase of the investigations.
In a significant development, the Causes of both women, who have the status of Servants of God, have together been sent to the Holy See’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, marking a quick and early step forward in the long road to becoming saints.
If it is concluded that the pair lived lives of “heroic virtue”, the Pope will declare the London-born nuns to be “Venerable” and the search will begin for two miracles to first declare them Blessed and then as saints.
Both nuns belonged to a revived order of Bridgettine Sisters nicknamed “the hot cross bun nuns” because of the distinctive crosses covering the tops of their wimples.
Mother Riccarda helped to save the lives of about 60 Jews by hiding them from the Nazis in her Rome convent, the Casa di Santa Brigida.
She born in 1887 and was baptised in St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Brighton, at the age of four years after her parents converted to the Catholic faith.
Fr Ray Blake, the parish priest of St Mary’s, has welcomed the progress of her Cause. “I think it is fantastic,” he said.
“We are celebrating our 150th anniversary of the opening of the church this year and we can add that to our celebrations.”
He added: “Here in Brighton we are following her cause with great enthusiasm and see her very much as our local saint.
“When I tell people at Mass that her Cause is going forward I’m sure that they will be overjoyed.”
While Mother Riccarda spent most of her life in Rome, eventually becoming the head of the order, Sister Katherine was at the forefront of efforts to open Bridgettine convents around the world some 400 years after the Reformation nearly wiped out the order.
Judith Whitehead, a niece of Sister Katherine, said she was astonished that the first phase had concluded so quickly.
“I am surprised that it has moved to the next stage in my lifetime,” said Mrs Whitehead, 73, of Shaftesbury, Dorset, who had given evidence to the initial Rome inquiry.
“I thought that the progression of looking into her life would take about 10 years,” she said.
“It is amazing to have someone in your family who was so revered by everybody … the Bridgettines obviously think that she is going to become a saint.”
Fr Simon Henry, the parish priest of St Gregory’s Church, Earlsfield, south London, where Sister Katherine was baptised, said: “To have a possible saint from the parish is wonderful.”
Born Florence Catherine in Clerkenwell in 1892, Sister Katherine trained as a dressmaker before she left the family home for Rome at 19 years with the aim of becoming a nun.
She went on to become the first prioress of new convents in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire; Lugano, Switzerland; and Vadstena, Sweden – where she died in 1941.
A year after Sister Katherine joined, the future Mother Riccarda – born Madaleina Catherine – also journeyed to Rome.
Because of her ability and intelligence she soon became deputy of the Order, called the Most Holy Saviour of St Bridget, and remained at the mother house in the Italian capital.
When the Nazis took control in Rome in 1943, and began to round up the Jews of Rome for deportation to Auschwitz, Mother Riccarda risked her own life by smuggling fugitives into her convent.
Some Jews who gave evidence to the initial inquiry spoke of Mother Riccarda’s kindness, saying they nicknamed her “Mama”.
She died in Rome in 1966 at the age of 79 years.


Cisa News
CISA REPORT: SOKOTO, January 17, 2012 (CISA) –The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassah Kukah has called on Nigerian religious leaders to unite amidst the crises facing the country by offering leadership that promotes common good rather than focusing on the insignificant division issues.
The bishop in his statement titled: Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10) sent to CISA said, “We live in a state of ineffective law enforcement and tragic social conditions.”
“Corruption has destroyed the fabric of our society. Its corrosive effect can be seen in the ruination of our lives and the decay in our society. The inability of the state to punish criminals has created the illusion that there is a conflict between Christians and Muslims,” said the bishop.
Bishop Kukah said, “In fact, it would seem that many elements today are going to great extremes to pitch Christians against Muslims, and vice versa, so that our attention is taken away from the true source of our woes: corruption.”
He called on all Nigerians to stand together to ensure that their resources are well utilized for the common good adding, “despite the hardships we must endure as a result of the strike, the fuel subsidy debate must be seen as the real dividend of democracy.”
Bishop Kukah strongly condemned the tendency by some religious leaders to play politics with the issues of “collective survival.”
“Rather than rallying our people, some of our religious leaders have resorted to divisive utterances, wild allegations and insinuations against fellow adherents of other religions,” said the bishop.
Bishop Kukah said that the country is not faced with a crisis or conflict between Christians and Muslims. He called for restraint on the part of the religious leaders.
He appealed for prayers, solidarity of people of all faith during the hard times and said a more united and peaceful Nigeria is possible.
The cleric also urged the government to strive to earn the trust of the people in order to build a better stronger nation.


ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA RELEASE: Archdiocesan priest Fr Ron Flack, who was a heart transplant recipient about 20 years ago, has died in Clare Holland House, Canberra.
Fr Flack, who was 74, died just six months short of his golden jubilee as a priest.
Between 1968 and 1975, Fr Flack was secretary to Archbishop Thomas Cahill. He also served in Young, Waramanga, the Cathedral, Curtin, Bungendore and Braidwood parishes.
The funeral Mass for Fr Flack, with Bishop Pat Power presiding, will be celebrated at 10.30am on Wednesday in St Christopher’s Cathedral. A Vigil Mass with North Woden parish priest Fr Tony Frey presiding will be celebrated at 7.30pm on Tuesday in St John Vianney’s Church, Waramanga.
Fr Flack, who struggled with ill health for a number of years, is survived by his older sister Mary; siblings Joan, Colin, Bernie and Paul predeceased him. Mary is the mother of Fr Frey. He is also survived by his former housekeeper and best friend Frances Smyth.


UCAN REPORT: Order says it is looking to expand its activities in the country reporter, Dhaka
Catholic Church News Image of Jesuits to open college in Dhaka
St. Xavier’s College
Jesuits are planning to open a new college in Dhaka in a bid to expand their services in the country, the BBC’s Bengali service reported yesterday.
Jesuit Father Felix Raj, principal of St Xavier’s College in Kolkata, said they would like to extend more than 150 years of experience in higher education to Bangladeshi students, the report said.
The report added that the authorities are looking at either establishing a branch or a new college in Dhaka.
“I will meet the Bangladeshi prime minister next month to inform her of our willingness to start a St Xavier’s in Dhaka. If she agrees and promises to help us with necessary infrastructure, we will open a college there,” said Fr Raj.
He said if they can open a St Xavier’s college in Dhaka they have plans for curriculum, faculty and teacher exchanges between the Kolkata and Dhaka branches.
“The Jesuits’ Kolkata province is seeking to expand the services of our order in Bangladesh. We’ve already opened a training center and it will be really great to open a higher education center there,” Fr Raj continued.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - With the presence of hundreds of faithful, the feast of the National Shrine Ñandejára guasu or Sweet Name of Jesus was celebrated. His Exc. Mgr. Claudio Gimenez, Bishop of the Diocese of Caacupé, presided at the Eucharist attended by various authorities and politicians in the area and by the central government, including the Vice-president of the Republic, Federico Franco.
In his homily Mgr. Claudio Gimenez talked about the confusing situation of the country: "This year of preparation for elections (general elections will be held on April 21, 2013, ed) begins with great confusion, because not even the politicians themselves know what they want. So it is better to pray for our country, so that things will improve". The Bishop said that there are several cities in the area which, with work and sacrifice of their people, are putting all the effort they can, and mentioned in particular the communities of Juan de Mena (Department of Cordillera) and Cleto Romero (Department of Caaguazú), who are still waiting for paved roads in order to join each other.
The note seny to Fides says that Mgr.Gimenez also reported the common theme chosen by the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay (CEP) for all the religious holidays of the year: "Permanent Mission in Paraguay: Evangelizing the family". In this regard, he stressed that all issues on which the Church is reflecting from the novena to Our Lady of Caacupé, are very important, "because they help to strengthen this important institution called family". "To speak and defend the family as an institution is needed more than ever, especially since the institution was accused and attacked, even in its foundations and bases", said the Bishop. The Conclusions of the 192th Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay (November 2011) have placed great emphasis on the defense of the family and the Church's position against abortion and same-sex unions (see Fides 10/11/2011). (CE) (Agenzia Fides 18/01/2012)


St. Volusian
Feast: January 18

Feast Day: January 18
Died 496
Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere.
In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.
Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.
As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.
He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.
We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.
Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good fruit; poor varieties, don't.... A good man's speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it."—Matthew 12:33, 35



Mark 3: 1 - 6
1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here."
4 And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.
5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero'di-ans against him, how to destroy him.



VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is due to begin tomorrow, 18 January, under the theme "We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ". The Week is promoted by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a worldwide fellowship of 349 Churches seeking unity, common witness and Christian service. The Catholic Church participates in this ecumenical initiative, despite not being a member of the WCC. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally celebrated from 18 to 15 January in the northern hemisphere, and around the time of Pentecost in the southern hemisphere. It brings together Christian parishes and congregations from different confessional families all over the world, who meet and pray together in special ecumenical celebrations.

Each year ecumenical partners in a particular region are asked to prepare a basic text on a biblical theme. Then an international group with WCC-sponsored (Protestant and Orthodox) and Roman Catholic participants edits this text to ensure it is linked with the search for Christian unity. The text is jointly published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and by the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order which also accompanies the entire production process of the text. The final material is sent to member Churches and Roman Catholic dioceses, which are invited to translate the text and contextualise it for their own use.

This year's theme comes from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians which promises the transformation of human life - with all its apparent dimensions of 'triumph' and 'defeat' - through the victory of Christ's resurrection.

Following the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Benedict XVI invited the faithful, "as individuals and in communities, to participate spiritually, and where possible practically in the Week of Prayer, to ask God for the gift of full unity among the disciples of Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Today in Italy marks the Day for Dialogue between Catholics and Jews, an initiative launched by the Italian Episcopal Conference in 1990 with the aim of increasing mutual understanding among the members of the two religions.

In an interview with Vatican Radio Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, president emeritus of the Italian Rabbinic Assembly, explained that the aim of the Day "is to simplify and intensify Jewish-Christian dialogue. To this end, Jews and Catholics meet to reflect especially on those themes we can confront together, such as the search for peace and mutual understanding after two thousand years of misinterpretation and distressing events. Thus, both the Catholic and Jewish worlds await this Day with high expectations, because the more dialogue is consolidated the more the risk of anti-Semitism diminishes".

Some years ago the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Italian Rabbinic Assembly agreed to dedicate the Days to the Ten Commandments, and the theme for 2012 is "Thou shalt not kill". Rabi Laras commented: "The command not to kill is vital for men and women, irrespective of their membership of one religion or the other. It is vital to respect and honour human life in all its sacredness and uniqueness. This is an important theme for our own times, in which throughout the world respect for human life is often ignored and violated".

For his part, Fr. Gino Battaglia, director of the National Office for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue, observed that "the rich Jewish tradition, developed through millennia of studying the Law, makes a fundamental contribution. Yet the validity of this Commandment is evident, and not only in the literal sense of murder being a crime. I am thinking, for example, of the battle to abolish the death penalty, the problem of widespread violence, ... and of respect for life. In this sense, Jesus-Christian dialogue takes concrete form in its commitment to society and to the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has appointed Fr. Sergio Pellini S.D.B. as director general of the Vatican Press.


South Sudan: two priests kidnapped | Fr Joseph Makwey, Fr Sylvester Mogga,St Josephine Bakhita’s Catholic Church, priests abducted, Sudan, Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur

Bishop Daniel Adwok
Fears are growing for the safety of two priests from Sudan who have been abducted. Fr Joseph Makwey, in his 40s, and Fr Sylvester Mogga, in his mid-30s, were seized on Sunday (15 January) by men who smashed through the gates of their parish compound and broke down the presbytery door.

According to neighbours, the attackers arrived at St Josephine Bakhita’s Catholic Church in a huge truck filled with people. Besides abducting the priests, they looted the property, taking electrical goods and other valuables including laptops and other computer equipment.

Reporting the incident in Rabak town, south of Khartoum, Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum told Aid to the Church in Need that the two men’s whereabouts remained unknown. Speaking by telephone en route to the scene to assess the situation, Bishop Adwok said: “We are worried about the two priests. One of them – Fr Sylvester – although quite young, is sick and is in need of medical help.”

The bishop said the police had been notified but investigations were at an early stage. He added that it was as yet impossible to speculate on the identity of the kidnappers and their motives. But, reporting an upsurge in kidnappings in the region, Bishop Adwok said he feared the men may be conscripted to fight amid reports of worsening internal conflicts involving Sudan and South Sudan.

He said: “It is not as if the law cannot be maintained – it seems that this abduction was something deliberate. The kidnappers would have known that these men were priests.”

The bishop, who lives in Kosti, a town close to Rabak on the other side of the White Nile, said that across Sudan militants were intimidating people originally from what is now South Sudan, pressuring them to leave. He said: “The abduction of young men has frightened practically everybody here.”

Bishop Adwok criticised the Government of Sudan for appearing to brush off the kidnappings and saying that the abductors are “foreigners” who cannot be controlled.

The bishop added: “Innocent people are not there to be brutalised and the authorities must be called to account for what is going on. It is not only in Kosti that this is happening. It is also taking place in Khartoum.”
Source: ACN


KNA REPORT: The Belgian religious and Author Phil Bosmans has died. By Christoph Arens (KNA)

Brussels ( his books are vitamins for your heart: light, goodness, love - this simple basic melody runs through the lyrics of the Flemish religious man and Author Phil Bosmans, who died on Tuesday in a Belgian hospital at the age of 89.

About ten million times, his books - without large marketing strategy - have been sold worldwide in the 1980s. The classic scored countless editions and about one million copies sold only in Germany entitled «Do not forget the joy».

The religious born 1922 in Gruitrode in the Belgian province of Limburg, has made courage to life not only Christians. He turned to people who «have a heart under her jacket» with titles such as «Love does daily wonders» or «Flowers of happiness you yourself have to plant» Ruling have transported messages «in tangible portions», a lecturer once described a further success of the author.

Bosmans was ethnic missionary. A graduate of a school in 1941, he entered the order of when Grignion de Montfort, and was ordained a priest in 1948. He went to the workers of Northern France, to people who do anything did with the traditional language of the Church and with citizenship.

From 1950 he participated in the Mission in Belgium, moved with a mobile chapel on land, gave sermons and meetings, found time for home visits.

1954 then the great exhaustion: Bosmans suffered a breakdown, kept the bed for two years. The doctors wrote him off. But in 1957 he was sufficiently recovered that he could go to a task, which would become his life's work: after a model in the Netherlands, while the took in Antwerp built the «Federal Government without a name"up - a political movement, which wants to revive the love for God and neighbour in everyday life through Word and deed.

The took became the master of spell cards, brought aphorisms and texts, the trademark for a counseling from the spirit of the Gospel. It began with radio speeches and «Lever cards» - printed aphorisms that give a boost to life as a mental lever.

The religious achieved particular notoriety but by the «"Vitamins for your heart": after ruling over a decade had operated a kind phone mission, a selection of texts in book form was published.» It was a bestseller.

But ruling was not only a master of the word: he founded the first social stop in Belgium for ex-offenders and the unemployed without support, then a House for homeless women. In Germany, a German-language «bunch without a name"came out in 1988 the organisation «Friends create friends».

1994 then a stroke of fate: due to a stroke, ruling was since then on the right side paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. «God has crossed out my schedule», he commented on his disability that him but not bitter.

He lived in the following years in a small room at the Montfortaner monastery in the Belgian Kontich. It was full of clown representations that Bosmans loved so much.

The Author had continued writing almost entirely in the past few years. However, further unpublished texts were published by him. His works have been translated into 26 languages, he was awarded numerous prizes and awards.

Last week the 89-Jährige was recorded with a severe bronchitis and fever in the Saint Joseph Hospital in the Belgian Mortsel. Soon, it became clear that his condition was irreversible. In the Tuesday editions of Belgian newspapers, it was reading that would be expected at any time to leave.

«My last word: gratitude» means the movement, with the ruling itself by the public adopted. All in the spirit of his decades-long career.



Nicholas Tonti-FilipinniTuesday, 17 January 2012
By Anna Krohn
John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family and tutor in ethics
“TOLD that I would die within five years (in 1977) and having become interested in philosophy, I saw no harm in making the latter my principal interest rather than following a career-orientated path," writes Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, with disarming understatement, in the introduction to his timely new book entitled: About Bioethics: philosophical and theological approaches.
The preface to Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini's recent book includes many biographical details and wry asides which cast a moving light on his own life, courage and faith.
Although a bioethicist of very high profile, Professor Tonti-Filippini first revealed his own daily experiences of a painful, debilitating "end-stage" chronic illness in an letter originally intended for the South Australian parliament in 2011. The letter, which received widespread coverage (see The Age 5 July 2011) was as not simply another story of difficult suffering during terminal illness but a personalised account of the way in which the respect for the dignity of the terminally ill can be so easily undermined and influenced-both in the hearts and minds of patients, their carers and within society as a whole.
He wrote of the apparently growing desire for euthanasia within the community: “ As many researchers have found, a request for death often incorporates hidden existential yearnings for connectedness, and care and respect.”

For many, the Tonti-Filippini letter defined, with humanity and clarity, two ethically distinct paths within the very complex world of end-of-life care. One road accepts that the deliberate causing or hastening of death can be a legitimate and compassionate “option" in the face of suffering and disability: the other pursues wholistic care of the terminally ill person in the face of suffering and debility- insisting on imagination, good science and virtue but never the deliberate killing of the of the patient.
At a recent seminar at St Gregory the Great's Parish, Doncaster designed to provide practical insight into the promotion and protection of patient dignity and involvement in the face of future care planning, Professor.Tonti-Filippini, explored some of the major fears and misconceptions which patients, their families and even medical professionals experience during important discussions about the end-of-life.
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The seminar was chaired by Mgr Tony Ireland and was part of the Archdiocese's Respect Life Sunday theme organised by the Life, Marriage and Family Office for
2011 and 2012- 'To Love ... to the End: Planning for a Good Death': is a year long resource and education project which aims to provide constructive and practical insights into the many spiritual, moral and social issues associated with end-of-life care.
Professor Tonti-Filippini opened his seminar with a discussion about the very common anxiety experienced by many elderly and sick people: "the fear of being a burden” to family, friends and society. Many studies suggest for many people in Western society this fear is greater than the fear of unrelieved physical pain. Thisshis type of shame he reiterated can be generated at a very deep level by societal attitudes and language. He suggested that the really destructive fiction lying behind such pressure, was the notion human decision making should be made by individualised and "totally autonomous people" with the absolutely "controlled lives."
Being "in need" is not, he said, a human "failing" nor is it abnormal. He challenged the audience to think of the positive place of interdependence in human lives and also the way in which "being disabled and needy" gives others around us and society in general the opportunity and stimulus to be "more humane". In responding to the needs of the sick and ageing, the community itself can become more united and learns to value both itself and those in need of care.
Despite the fact that we all have times when we "need" the help of others, and despite the fact that our secular liberal society often proposes unrealistic expectations of "personal control", Dr Tonti-Filippini proposed an alternative ethics of "engaged" and active acceptance which enabled people to become involved in forward planning for disability or death in ways that were both consistent with a "culture of life" and attractive to those concerned about human dignity and informed consent in the face of future medical treatment.
In Australia, as in other Western societies, there have been a number of methods, both statutory and regulatory, which attempt to preserve a person's ability to both appoint another person as a representative should they lose competency and to protect the person's wishes in the event of such events as dementia, unconsciousness or cognitive disability.
Professor Tonti-Filippini briefly explained the options proposed by existing guardianship provisions, the notion of enduring power of attorney and the implementation of so-called "advance directives".
He pointed out to the audience of over 80 people, that today many hospitals as well as laws in the Australian Capital Territiory, South Australia and Queensland propose the legally binding documentation of "advance directives": the documentation by a person at one point of time for the delegated future medical treatment choices based on the prediction of "outcomes" in the face of degrees of disability or loss of future loss of "quality of life."
Professor Tonti-Filippini commented upon some of the practical and ethical difficulties which arise in some of the "advance directives" processes even when these are done in a fully guided and informed way. These difficulties were outlined as legal, practical and philosophical in nature.
He noted that the legal status of advance directives is unclear. In three jurisdictions in Australia, documented directives are legally binding. In others (such as Victoria) they are not. Where they are legally binding the legal difficulties include doubt about the application of such a directive because it is very likely that what the person envisages months, or even years, before signing the directive document may not correspond in detail or completeness with the aactual situation at a later time.This causes great difficulties for the patient's family, the carers and for medical and nursing personnel. The directive may include an instruction that is no longer in the best interests of the patient, or is impossible to achieve or may no longer correspond with the probable wishes of the patient.
Some advance directives assert that it is a patient's "quality of life" that is the outcome in the balance rather than promoting a discernment of the proportionate benefit or harm of a particular treatment option. This tends to divert attention from the comfort and well-being of the person in care, to a more utilitarian and yet vague attitude to the human capacity for adaptability and virtue in the face of suffering or diminished function.
Professor Tonti-Filippini explained that in contrast with these problematic modes of decision making, and the very real legal difficulties connected with advance directives, a more palliative, flexible and wholistic approach, is entailed in what he called a "future planning" ethos.
He briefly outlined the philosophy of "future planning" which promotes the involvement of a community of carers who are informed not only of theoretical or likely health outcomes but of the general wishes,goals and values of the person who formulates their “future planning”. The documentation of these values then offer a more helpful guide to those entrusted with advocating for the future patient or resident while allowing for unexpected medical outcomes and contexts.
The "future planning" approach, explained Professor Tonti-Filppini assumes that the person's life no matter how disabled, requires appropriate and competent care- which does allow for appropriate withdrawal of treatment where it is burdensome or futile .and where this is consistent with the patient’s moral and spiritual care.
Professor Tonti-Filippini suggested that documentation of these aspects of a person’s wishes can offer a rich, reassuring and fulfilling way for them to plan for disability and a "good death" while helping them to grow spiritually and personally. It enables those facing age and death to reflect pro-actively upon with the values which are most important to them and are shared by good palliative principles.

The seminar provoked many questions and discussions and clearly met a genuine need within the Catholic and wider community. Therefore Professor Tonti-Filippini will repeat his presentation on “Future Care Planning” – the seminar will be presented on 16th February, 2012 at Sacred Heart Parish Kew. For more inquiries please contact Anthony Coyte on 03 412 3370 or the Diocesan Office for Life, Marriage and Family.

Information on the 2012 Bioethics Colloquium public events in Melbourne, January 22 and 24, here


UCAN REPORT: Says gifts meant in a personal capacity and nothing to do with politics
Albertus V. Rehi, Kupang
Catholic Church News Image of Richest man donates to orphans
Bakrie with Sister Maria Irensia Liliana Kemat
An orphanage managed by Religious of the Virgin Mary nuns in Kupang, capital of East Nusa Tenggara province, received donation yesterday from Indonesia’s richest man, who said there was no political motive.
“For us, this is an honor. There are many orphanages in this town but he chose us. This is also God’s gift that we must thank [Him] for,” said Sister Maria Irensia Liliana Kemat, who heads the Rosa Mystica Orphanage.
The donation from Aburizal Bakrie, Golkar party chairman and a former minister, of 25 million rupiah (US$2,717), contained the values of love and humanity, she said. “Through him, God visited small people and the disadvantaged,” she added.
She later recalled that the orphanage, officially opened in 2000, has only a few bedrooms for the 24 girls it serves. “We do need more bedrooms for them as well as other facilities including computers,” she continued.
Handing over the donation, Bakrie said: “I hope the nuns who manage this orphanage can accept my donation because it will surely be useful for those staying in this orphanage.”
He also asked the nuns not to take note of what political party he comes from. Instead, “please look at (my) sincere willingness to share with this orphanage’s children.”
Bakrie donated a further 50 million rupiah to five parishes located in remote areas and two other orphanages, respectively managed by Muslims and Protestants.


Agenzia Fides REPORT -The "School of the IAM Animators" (Missionary Childhood and Adolescence) was opened yesterday in Buenos Aires, two levels (children and teenagers) will be held at the headquarters of the Animators School of the Pontifical Mission Societies (ESAM) from 16 to 22 January. According to information sent to Fides from the National Directorate of the PMS of Argentina, the ESAM is a fundamental reality of formation for animators (both new and already committed) to enrich them and help them grow in their missionary service to children and adolescents. The animators are trained through prayer, community life, animation and theological, spiritual and methodological aspects, in reference to the mission given to children in Level I and adolescents in Level II.
The National Director of the PMS, Fr. Osvaldo Pablo Leone, on opening the event, welcomed the participating animators, who come from 7 of the 8 pastoral regions of Argentina, the religious and lay animators, and representatives of 17 dioceses in the Country. The National Director also announced that the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood and Adolescence in 2013 will celebrate its 170 years, "so for us - he said - as well as it being a great joy, it is also the time to thank God for everything that the Lord Jesus has done in the history of the Church through the missionary life of many children and adolescents. At the same time it will be a moment to review and evaluate our service, and project into the future the new lines of action. For us today, as in 1843 was for Mgr. De Forbin-Janson, children and adolescents are a treasure in the Church, a true potential, capable of transforming reality through a 'network of human and spiritual solidarity', as Pope John Paul II loved saying , referring to the IAM". (CE


Mark 2: 23 - 28
23 One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.
24 And the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?"
25 And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him:
26 how he entered the house of God, when Abi'athar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?"
27 And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;
28 so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."


St. Anthony the Abbot
Feast: January 17

Feast Day: January 17
251, Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt
Died: 356, Mount Colzim, Egypt
Major Shrine: Monastery of Anthony, Egypt; Vienna, Austria
His body was at Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Isère, France
Patron of: against pestilence; amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; butchers; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism; erysipelas; gravediggers; graveyards; hermits; hogs; Hospitallers; monks; pigs; relief from pestilence; shingles; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds
St. Anthony is generally considered to be the founder and father of organized Christian monasticism, although he himself preferred to live the life of a true hermit, apart from any community, in the deserts of Egypt. Most of the known facts about this famous "Desert Father" are derived from the biography by St. Athanasius (ca. 296-373), the "Father of Orthodoxy."

Now we have been deputed through your affection to write down the triumphs of the blessed man Anthony, and to send by an envoy a history of them to you in writing which will show how it was that he began his discipleship, and what manner of life he led before this took place, and how he was living when he brought his days to a close, and whether all the words which have been spoken concerning him and have come to our hearing are true; and straightway with joy I have devoted myself to the fulfilment of your command. Now by merely writing a commemorative history of the blessed Anthony I also shall gain great benefit, for I am convinced, O my beloved, that by narrating these histories two things will be effected: we shall increase the renown of the man of God in honour and wonder, and we shall begin to instruct your minds step by step; for the acts of the blessed Anthony form a perfect example for the solitary ascetics....
Now, by race the blessed Anthony was an Egyptian, and he was descended from a noble family, and was, indeed, an owner of slaves. His forefathers were believers, and from his earliest childhood he was brought up in the fear of our Lord; and when he was a child and was being reared among his own kinsfolk, he knew nothing of his father or of what went on among his own people. He was so silent in disposition, and his mind was so humble, that he did not even trouble his parents by asking them questions. He was exceedingly modest, and he was honest beyond measure He was unable to read or write because he could not bear the rough behaviour of the boys in the school; his whole desire was to be even according to what is written about Jacob, "He was a simple man, and a dweller in tents." He clung closely to his parents, and when they came to church he would run before them in the flow of his affection; and he was not like an ordinary child, the course of whose customary attendance is broken by the amusements of childhood. He never neglected the observance of any of the seasons of the Church, and he neither neglected them in his childhood, nor held them lightly in his early manhood. And from the time when he was a child and knew how to distinguish between good and evil, his going to church was not a mere matter of custom, but was the result of discerning understanding. And, moreover, he did not wait for the members of his family to be admonishers unto him, because by his life and acts he became a teacher unto them. For they reamed by the experience of his childhood that he did not live among them like an ordinary simple child, and they accepted the proof of the rectitude of his early manhood; he paid them honour after the manner of a full-grown man, and they regarded him as the master of the house.
Now when the time arrived and they brought their days to an end, and they departed from this world when he was about eighteen or twenty years old, he and one little sister were left behind, and it happened from sheer necessity that he had to rule the house and take care of his sister. And when as yet not six months had passed since the death of his parents, and when, according to his wont, he was continually in the church, it came to pass one day, when he was in the church, that a righteous idea entered his mind, and that he began to meditate within himself how the blessed Apostles forsook everything and followed after our Redeemer; and how the others who succeeded them and walked in their footsteps sold everything which they had possessed and laid the money which they received at the feet of the Apostles, that it might be spent upon the poor; and how great was the blessing of those who had in this wise obeyed the voice of our Redeemer. Now whilst he was meditating these and such-like things, the Lesson was being read, and when the Scriptures were ended the Gospel was read, and he heard the words of our Lord, who said unto the rich man, "If thou wishest to be perfect, go and sell everything which thou hast, and give to the poor, and take thy cross, and come after Me, and there shall be unto thee treasure in heaven." And the blessed Anthony received the word of the Gospel as a sign to himself, and he reflected that this reading had not taken place as a matter of chance, but in order that the righteous idea which had taken up its abode in him might be confirmed. And straightway he went out from the church, and departed and set in order his house and the possessions which he had inherited from his parents. Now he had three hundred fields, a great estate which produced abundant crops, and these he handed over to the people of his village, so that they might trouble neither himself nor his sister; but the remainder of his other possessions which were in the house he sold, and gathered in money not a little, which he distributed among the poor, but he laid by a little which was sufficient for his sister's wants . . .
Now unto his sister he spake words of love, and of truth, and of the fear of God, and he made her mind to be like his own; and he delivered her over to certain chaste nuns who were living there at that time. And when he had made an end of these things, he forthwith became a solitary monk, and he took no care for anything whatsoever except his soul, and he began to train himself in the habits of the strictest abstinence and self denial. Now he dwelt alone in a house which was by the side of the village, for as yet there were no monasteries for ascetics in Egypt, and among the monks there was no man who had any knowledge of the inner desert; and everyone who wished to have a care for his soul used to seek out an habitation of this kind. Saint Anthony did not betake himself to the mountain at a great distance from the village, but only at a sufficient distance therefrom, so that he might be somewhat apart from the habitation of men....
Now Saint Anthony was the storehouse of fasting, and of prayer, and of ascetic labours, and of patient endurance, and of love, and of righteousness, which is the mother of them all, but towards those who were young monks like himself he was not envious, except in one matter only, that is to say, he would not be second to any of them in fair works. And he contrived in every possible manner not to give offence to the wicked man; on the contrary, he wished that those who were yoked together with him might be drawn to his opinion by his solicitude and by his graciousness, and that they might make progress in their career. And he toiled in his labours in such a manner that they were not only not envious of him, but they rejoiced in him and gave thanksgiving for him. Now by reason of these triumphs every man used to call him "Theophilus," which is, being interpreted, "God-loving," and all the righteous gave him this name; and some of them loved him like a brother, and some of them like a son.
And when the Enemy, the hater of the virtues and the lover of evil things saw all this great perfection in the young man, he could not endure it, and he surrounded himself with his slaves, even as he is wont to do, and began to work on Anthony. At the beginning of his temptings of the saint he approached him with flattery, and cast into him anxiety as to his possessions, and solicitude and love for his sister, and for his family; and for his kinsfolk, and the love of money and lusts of various kinds and the thought of the rest of the things of the life of this world, and finally of the hard and laborious life which he lived, and of the weakness of body which would come upon him with the lapse of time; and in short, he stirred up in him the power of the thoughts so that by means of one or other of them he might be flattered, and might be made to possess shortcomings and be caught in the net through his instigation. Now when the Enemy saw that his craftiness in this matter was without profit, and that the more he brought temptation unto Saint Anthony, the more strenuous the saint was in protecting himself against him with the armour of righteousness, he attacked him by means of the vigour of early manhood which is bound up in the nature of our humanity. With the goadings of passion he used to trouble him by night, and in the daytime also he would vex him and pain him with the same to such an extent that even those who saw him knew from his appearance that he was waging war against the Adversary. But the more the Evil One brought unto him filthy and maddening thoughts, the more Saint Anthony took refuge in prayer and in abundant supplication, and amid them all he remained wholly chaste. And the Evil One was working upon him every shameful deed according to his wont, and at length he even appeared unto Saint Anthony in the form of a woman; and other things which resembled this he performed with ease, for such things are a subject for boasting to him....
And it came to pass that in the process of time his fame reached all the monks who were in Egypt, and all the other folk therein who did not lead the life of the ascetic and recluse, and men of distinction, and monks in Egypt began to come unto him in large numbers. The Egyptian monks came that they might copy the manner of his life and deeds, and I the laity came that he might pray over them, and might heal certain of them of their sicknesses. One day, when a multitude of people had come there in a body to see him and they had besought him repeatedly to speak to them, and he had answered them never a word, they lifted the door out of its socket, and threw themselves down on their faces before him, and made supplication unto him and pacified him, and then each man among them stood up, and made known his request unto him. And having gone forth to them even like a man who goeth forth from the depths of the earth, they saw that his appearance was like unto that of an angel of light, and they marvelled why it was that his body had not been weakened by all his confinement, and why it was that his under standing had not become feeble, and why, on the contrary, his appearance, and his bodily stature, and his countenance were then as they had known them always to have been in the times which were past....
Now when he saw that much people were gathered together to him, and that the trouble which men and women caused him increased, he became afraid either lest he should be unduly exalted in his mind by reason of the things which God had wrought by his hand, or lest others should esteem him beyond what was right and more than he deserved, and he determined to go away from that place and to enter the Thebaid. Then he took a little bread and went and sat down by the side of the river, and waited until he should see a boat going to that district to which he was ready to go. And as he was pondering these things in his mind, suddenly a voice from heaven was heard by him, and it called him and said unto him, "Anthony, whither goest thou? Why art thou departing from this place?" Now he was not afraid of the voice which came to him, but like a man who was accustomed to do so he spake with it, and answered and said, "Because, O my Lord, the people will not permit me to enjoy a little silent contemplation; it is for this reason that I am wishing to go up to the Thebaid, and especially do I desire it because the people are seeking at my hands that which is wholly beyond my powers." . . .
It is meet that we should call to remembrance his death, and should relate how it took place, and in what manner he finished his life, for I know that ye will be exceedingly pleased therewith. Now he was accustomed to go out and visit the memorial stones of the brethren in the outer mountain. Now the matter of his death also was not hidden from him, and he went forth to visit them even when he knew that his departure was nigh. And after he had spoken to the brethren according to his wont, he said unto them, "This act which ye have just performed is the end of all acts; and I marvel at this world. Let each look for himself alone; for it is time for me to die." Now he was then about one hundred and five years old....
Now when the brethren heard concerning the matter of his departure, they entreated him that he would remain with them in order that his course might be ended there, but he would not accede to their request for many reasons which he had made known in his silence, but for the following reason especially. The Egyptians were in the habit of taking the dead bodies of righteous men, and especially those of the blessed martyrs, and of embalming them and placing them not in graves, but on biers in their houses, for they thought that by so doing they were doing them honour. And the blessed old man had on very many occasions besought the bishops to preach to the people and to command them to cease from this habit. And he himself used to entreat and exhort the multitudes who came to him, saying, "This work is neither seemly nor right. Moreover, the burial places of the early Fathers, and of the prophets, and of the Apostles are known unto this day, and even the grace of our Lord who rose on the third day." And by these words he shouted forth that it was a transgression of a command for a man not to hide in the ground the bodies of those who were dead, even though they were righteous men. Therefore many hearkened and were persuaded not to do so, and they laid their dead in the ground, and buried them therein, and they thanked God because they had accepted his entreaty, which was seemly. And it was through fear of this thing that he would not grant the entreaty of the brethren and remain with them, but departed to his own place.
And after a few months he became sick, and he cried out to the brethren who were with him (now these were only two in number, and they had been with him from the time when his old age began, which was nearly fifteen years before, and they ministered unto him with the greatest care), and said unto them, even as it is written, "Behold, I go the way of my fathers, for I have felt within myself for some days past that I have been called by my Lord. Observe ye now how carefully ye can maintain this contest, and take good heed that ye lose not the long-suffering which ye have acquired, and that, like men who are just beginning the strife, ye increase it more and more and add to it day by day. Ye are well acquainted with the baneful devils and their craftiness, and ye know well this fact, that if ye please they shall be accounted as nothing by you. Be ye therefore not terrified by them, but always take refuge in Christ. And remember ye everything which ye have heard from me during all this time which ye have been with me, that ye have no intercourse whatsoever with the Arians, the heretics, for ye know how filthy they are in my sight because of their blasphemy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Take ye also heed then diligently at all times that ye cleave to the Spirit of Christ and agree therewith, and be ye, moreover, friends and associates of just men that they may receive you into their everlasting habitations as friends and men of whom they have good knowledge. Therefore meditate ye upon these things and keep them in your minds. And if your minds are set upon me, and ye remember me as a father, permit no man to take my body and carry it into Egypt, lest, according to the custom which they have, they embalm me and lay me up in their houses, for it was to avoid this that I came into this desert. And ye know that I have continually made exhortation concerning this thing and begged that it should not be done, and ye well know how much I have blamed those who observed this custom. Dig a grave then, and bury me therein, and hide my body under the earth, and let these my words be observed carefully by you, and tell ye no man where ye lay me; and there I shall be until the resurrection of the dead, when I shall receive again this body without corruption.
"And divide ye my garments into lots, and give one leather tunic to Bishop Athanasius, and the covering of this my bed which he gave unto me when it was new; but now it hath become old. And to Bishop Serapion do ye give the other leather coat; and this covering of my bed which is made of hair ye yourselves shall keep; now therefore, my children, abide in peace, for, behold, Anthony bringeth his journey to an end, and he goeth whither Divine Grace shall bring him." And when he had spoken these words, he straightway stretched out his legs, whereupon the brethren began to cry out to him, and to kiss him; now his face was full of joy unspeakable at the meeting of those who had come for him, and it resembled that of a man when he seeth a friend whom it rejoiceth him to meet. So the blessed man held his peace and died, and was gathered to his fathers....