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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : TUES. JAN. 29, 2013- SHARE


 
ASIA : VIETNAM : HUMAN RIGHTS MASS WITH OVER 2000 
CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH LILIES OF THE FIELD - PART 4
AUSTRALIA : SISTER HONORED WITH ORDER OF AUSTRALIA
AFRICA : ZAMBIA : HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ESCALATING
EUROPE : BISHOPS FULL TEXT BRIEFING ON MARRIAGE
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. JAN. 29, 2013
TODAY'S SAINT : ST. GILDAS THE WISE
LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS TO BE PRESIDED BY POPE: FEBRUARY–MARCH
Vatican City, 29 January 2013 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the calendar of celebrations that are due to be presided by the Holy Father in February and March.
FEBRUARY
Saturday 2: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Consecrated Life. At 5:30pm in the Vatican Basilica: Mass with members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.
Monday 11: At 11:00am in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace: Ordinary public consistory for several causes for canonisation.
Wednesday 13: Ash Wednesday. At 4:30pm in the Basilica of Sant'Anselmo: "statio" and penitential procession. At 5:00pm in the Basilica of Santa Sabina: blessing and imposition of ashes.
Sunday 17: First Sunday of Lent. At 6:00pm in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace: beginning of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.
Saturday 23: At 9:00am in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel: conclusion of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.
MARCH
Sunday 24: Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. At 9:30am in St. Peter's Square: blessing of palms, procession, and Mass.
Thursday 28: Holy Thursday. At 5:30pm in the Basilica of St. John Lateran: beginning of the Easter Triduum with the Mass of the Last Supper.
Friday 29: Good Friday. At 5:00pm in the Vatican Basilica: celebration of the Lord's Passion. At 9:15pm at the Colosseum: Way of the Cross.
Saturday 30: Holy Saturday. At 8:30pm in the Vatican Basilica: Easter vigil.
Sunday 31: Easter Sunday. At 10:15am in St. Peter's Square: Mass. At midday, from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica: "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.
PRESENTATION OF PAPAL MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF THE SICK
Vatican City, 29 January 2013 (VIS) – This morning, in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the Holy Father's message for the 21st World Day of the Sick (7–11 February) and the celebrations for the Day that will take place in Altotting, Bavaria, Germany. Participating in the press conference were: Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers along with Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu and Fr. Augusto Chendi, M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of that same dicastery; Msgr. Ludwig Limbrunner, rector of the shrine to Our Lady of Altotting, Bavaria, Germany; and Rev. Janusz Surzykiewicz, professor of pastoral theology at the Catholic University of Eichstatt in Bavaria, Germany. The Message is entitled:"Go and Do Likewise".
This Day, Archbishop Zimowski explained, is "a unique moment of reflection, of renewed attention and commitment, on behalf of everyone, to all to the problems inherent to caring for life, health, and suffering. In particular, the Holy Father … emphasizes that its celebration should be strongly characterized by prayer, sharing, and offering up suffering for the good of the Church, as well as serving as a call so that everyone might recognize, in the face of their sick brother or sister, the face of Christ who, suffering, dying, and rising, saved humanity."
The Pope's text challenges us "to let the figure of the Good Samaritan call to us". It is a Gospel narrative that constitutes a "parable that is paradigmatic and ever-topical for all of the Church's action, especially her outreach in the area of health, disease, and suffering." In the story "Jesus, with his actions and words, reveals God's deep love for every human being, above all those suffering illness or pain." The Pope, however, "puts the emphasis on the end of the parable when Jesus ... concludes with an urgent mandate: 'Go and do likewise'."
"This is," the archbishop continued, "an incisive mandate because with these words Jesus shows us what, even today, the attitude and behaviour of His disciples with others, especially those in need of care, must be. Looking to how Christ acted, therefore, we can understand God's infinite love, can feel ourselves to be part of this love, and sent to show it with our care and our closeness to all those in need of help because of being wounded in body and in spirit. But this capacity to love cannot come solely from our efforts, but rather is born of our being in constant relationship with Christ through a life of faith. From this stems the call and the duty of each Christian to be a 'Good Samaritan', who ... is everyone who stops at the suffering of another, everyone who is sensitive to the suffering of others, everyone who is moved by the misfortunes of others, everyone who wants to try and be 'God's hands'."
"Before concluding his message, the Holy Father pointed out the Year of Faith as 'a propitious occasion for rediscovering the Good Samaritan and of living in imitation of him': in imitation of his knowing how 'to see with compassion' and love someone who needed care and assistance; in his knowing how to bend down and pick up the needs of others'. ...This is why it is useful to 'turn our gaze' to the many witnesses to the faith and their charitable self-giving. It can be said that the entire history of the Church … is marked by countless witnesses. The Pope indicates some of those who are closest to us in time: St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face; the venerable Luigi Novarese; Raoul Follereau; Blessed Teresa of Calcutta; and St. Anna Schaffer of Mindelstetten."
"Blessed John Paul II, in the section of his Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris referencing the Good Samaritan, wrote: 'At one and the same time Christ has taught man to do good by His suffering and to do good to those who suffer. In this double aspect He has completely revealed the meaning of suffering.' In naming five Good Samaritans who are close to us in history, Benedict XVI takes into consideration both dimensions: St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face and St. Anna Schaffer do good out of their own suffering while the other three witnesses do good for those who are suffering."
VIA CRUCIS: MEDITATIONS TO RECALL MIDDLE EAST
Vatican City, 29 January 2013 (VIS) – Recalling his trip to Lebanon and inviting the whole Church to remember the problems of and the Christian communities in the Middle East in their prayers, the Holy Father has invited?through his cardinal secretary of state?His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, O.M.M., Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, to prepare the texts for the Via Crucis on Good Friday at the Colosseum. Under the guidance of the Patriarch, the texts will be prepared by two young Lebanese and will follow the traditional pattern of the fourteen stations.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 29 January 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Alexander King Sample as archbishop of the archdiocese of Portland (area 76,937, population 3,296,705, Catholics 412,725, priests 300, permanent deacons 72, religious 653), Oregon, USA. Bishop Sample, previously bishop of Marquette, Michigan, USA, was born in Kalispell, Montana, USA, in 1960, was ordained to the priesthood in 1990, and received episcopal ordination in 2006. In the national bishops' conference he currently serves on the Subcommittees on Native American Catholics and on the Catechism. He is also vice-postulator for the cause for canonisation of Venerable Frederic Baraga, first bishop of the Diocese of Marquette. He succeeds Archbishop John George Vlazny, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH LILIES OF THE FIELD - PART 4


IN HONOUR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH JCE NEWS WILL BE SHOWING SOME OF THE BEST CATHOLIC FILMS OF ALL TIME - LILIES OF THE FIELD

ASIA : VIETNAM : HUMAN RIGHTS MASS WITH OVER 2000

ASIA NEWS REPORT
by Thanh Thuy
This year, Redemptorists will hold a special Mass on the last Sunday of each month. More than 2,000 people attended the first of such services yesterday in Ho Chi Minh City. During the function, the Buddhist mother of a detained young Catholic woman spoke at the event. The Vietnam Commission on Human Rights slams the internment in a mental hospital of a blogger.


Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Vietnamese, Catholics and non-Catholics, attended a Mass celebrated by Redemptorist priests in Saigon. Totalling some 2,000 people, they prayed together for peace and freedom of religion in their country. The latter was recently violated with the demolition of a Carmelite monastery in Hanoi and the imprisonment of a number of bloggers and activists. The mother of a young woman arrested for criticising "Chinese expansionism" spoke at the service. Meanwhile, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights complained about the internment of another blogger and activist in a mental institution in the capital.
In an official press statement, the Redemptorists in Ho Chi Minh City (ex Saigon) said that they would continue "to work for peace and justice in Vietnam." With this purpose in mind, they plan to celebrate a special Mass on the last Sunday of each month, as well as undertake other initiatives, which they "will present in coming days," the press release said.
In explaining the reasons for yesterday's ceremony, Fr Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai called on all the faithful "to pray for the victims of social injustice" and "serious violations" by local authorities, in particular in relation to Church properties and assets.
The Redemptorists made a earnest appeal for the release of activists, jailed for expressing their views online or in the streets, against Beijing's "imperialist policies".
During the function, Fr Joseph introduced Nguyen Thi Nhung to the congregation. A Buddhist, she is the mother of Nguyen Phuong Uyen, a Catholic student from Long An province who was arrested for expressing anti-China views online.
Speaking about her case, Fr Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, provincial superior of the Redemptorists, said: "If prison doors opened today, Phuong Uyen would be free to the joy of her parents, friends and all of us," he said. "As Catholics, we cannot but pray for the freedom of all human beings, as Jesus did," he added.
At the end of the service, both priests and faithful lighted candles to Our Lady of Mutual Help, and prayed for peace and justice in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights complained about the internment of Le Anh Hung, a blogger and activist, in a mental hospital in Hanoi.
On Thursday, security agents went to his place of work and took him away on a pretext, pushing him into a car.
Some friends tried to see him, but the hospital turned down their request, saying that his mother had asked for his internment, a claim she denies.

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AUSTRALIA : SISTER HONORED WITH ORDER OF AUSTRALIA


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
29 Jan 2013
Sister Marianne Dacy Recognised in this year's Australia Day's Honours
A sister of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, Sydney-based Dr Marianne Dacy has been made a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant contribution to interfaith dialogue.
The prolific author, founder and senior archivist of the Australian Judaica Archives at the University of Sydney's Fisher Library, Dr Dacy is one of the many leading Catholics to be recognised in this year's Australia Day Honours which were announced on Saturday, 26 January.
"So many people work so hard and don't get acknowledged so to receive this recognition was a complete surprise and is very exciting," she says.
Dr Dacy heard the news in Melbourne where she is currently staying for a few days at the Lady of Sion House in Kew.
"To be honoured with an AM is very affirming of the wonderful work with Jewish Christian relations and also the work carried out at the Australian Judiaic Archives at the University of Sydney," she says.
News of Dr Dacy and her award triggered immediate congratulations from Sister Giovanni Farquer, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations and from William Szekely, Chair of the Australian Council of Christians and Jews (ACCJ).
Sr Marianne Dacy's books have made important contribution
"Sr Marianne Dacy and I have been colleagues in Interfaith Relations for 10 years during which time I've had firsthand experience of her rich and unique contribution, particularly in the field of Christian and Jewish mutual appreciation, understanding and collaboration," Sr Giovanni said this morning. "The complexities of Sr Marianne's character and personality have revealed themselves and manifested in this simple unassuming woman is a remarkable breadth and depth of knowledge across many fields including theology, history, languages and the Arts which are not always readily perceived by the casual observer. The sharpness of her intellect and academic excellence are revealed in the painstaking precision and order of her research and writings."
William Szekely is equally admiring and says that given Dr Dacy's longstanding stewardship of the Judaica Archives it might well be appropriate for the Jewish community to wish her "Bis hundert und tzwantig" which is a typical Jewish expression and toast wishing "that you should live to 120 years".
"It is so heartwarming to see her selfless efforts in interfaith and also her own order the Congregation of the Sisters of Sion given public recognition through our national honors system," he says and praises her work and tireless dedication over the past 25 years describing her as a "quiet achiever for our work" and on behalf of the ACCJ, expresses his deep gratitude and congratulations.
Other members of Sydney's Catholic community to receive honors this year include Paul Dyer, Artistic Director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra who received the highest honor, an AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) for his distinguished service to the performing arts and through the promotion of educational programs and support for emerging artists.
The following is a list of NSW recipients of Australia Day Honors:
Paul Dyer, Director of The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra received an AO in the Australia Day Honours
Member (AM) of the Order of Australia
John Aquilina, Blacktown for service to the NSW Parliament and to the community; Grant De Fries, Picnic Point for service to youth through administrative and leadership roles with the Scouting movement in NSW; Eric Goodwin, Fairlight for service to the community through educational organisations, and to business including his role as chairman of the Conservation Project for St Mary's Cathedral since 2006, Sandra McPhee, Point Piper for service to business and to the community through leadership and advisory roles including her many years as Chairman and Non-Executive Director of the St Vincent's and Mater Health Advisory Council.
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia
Eftihia Bland, Turramurra for service to the community and in particular her volunteer work at the Turramurra St Vincent de Paul Op Shop for the past 15 years; Fr Tyson Doneley, Sacred Heart Monastery, Kensington NSW for service to Catholic education organisations which included appointments with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Kerala, India, 1998-2002 prior to many years as a teach at the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary; Alan Harper, Eastwood, for services to education including his years as Studies Coordinator and Chair of College Studies Council, St Patrick's Marist College; Anthony KHOURI, Parramatta, for service to the community through multicultural organisations and in particular as a member of the Diocesan Development Council, Maronite Catholic Community, Central Western Sydney as well as his active contributions to major events and activities including World Youth Day, 2008; Patrick MacMillan, Wahroonga for service to the community through Alzheimer's Australia New South Wales; Antonio Mustaca, Chatswood for his service to the community through a range of organisations including hsi work as Chairman of the Mercy College School Council, Chatswood from 1999-2003 and previously as vice chairman of the College Council.
A Posthumous OAM was awarded to John Sidgreaves, late of Blakehurst for services to pharmacy and to the community as founder of Blooms the Chemist Group. Mr Sidgreaves who died in December 2011 was recognised for his generosity including his support for the Pacific Mission Group with a Cross pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 2010.
SHARED SYDNEY ARCHDIOCESE

AFRICA : ZAMBIA : HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ESCALATING


Agenzia Fides REPORT- "The respect and protection of human rights in our Country is deteriorating at an alarming rate," say the Bishops of Zambia in their last Pastoral Letter, sent to Fides Agency. The document makes explicit reference to an "arbitrary use of power by government officials; intimidation and threats of arrest against leaders and individuals who speak against Government; deportations, and even threats to Catholic priests for sermons seen as critical of Government. "
The Pastoral Letter entitled "To act justly and to walk humbly with your God", provides an overview of the situation of the Country in which, while recognizing the democratic change that began in 1991 with the adoption of the multiparty system, several signs of authoritarian involution and "political intolerance, both between parties and within them" are highlighted. Intolerance that sometimes leads to violence and ends with an impact "on the well-being of ordinary citizens." This climate also influences the action of the police, to whom the Bishops express their gratitude for the efforts against crime, but also noted that "over the years, each ruling party seems to have unlimited freedom to carry out any public activity, on any day and at any time, while the opposition political parties and some civil society organizations are literally discriminated against every time they try to carry out public activities " on behalf of the police.
The Bishops also recall the situation in Barotseland in Western Province. "We are aware of a climate of intimidation and serious violations of human rights in Western Province: kidnappings of citizens, arbitrary arrests of people to be subjected to long periods of interrogation, even torture. These acts are totally unacceptable. They must cease immediately. This Country is not in a state of emergency. " (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 29/01/2013)
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EUROPE : BISHOPS FULL TEXT BRIEFING ON MARRIAGE

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT

By STAFF REPORTER on Tuesday, 29 January 2013
MPs will debate the Bill at its second reading next Tuesday (Photo: PA)
MPs will debate the Bill at its second reading next Tuesday (Photo: PA)
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Briefing to Members of Parliament on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill
Tuesday 29th January 2013
We urge Members to oppose this legislation at Second Reading for the following reasons:
1. THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE MATTERS
This Bill, for the first time in British history, fundamentally seeks to break the existing legal link between the institution of marriage and sexual exclusivity, loyalty, and responsibility for the children of the marriage. If the Bill passes, several previously foundational aspects of the law of marriage will be changed to accommodate same sex
couples: the common law presumption that a child born to a mother during her marriage is also the child of her partner will not apply in same sex marriages (Schedule 4, para. 2); the existing provisions on divorce will be altered so that sexual infidelity by one of the parties in a same sex marriage with another same sex partner will not constitute adultery (Schedule 4, para. 3); and nonconsummation will not be a ground on which a same sex marriage is voidable (Schedule 4, para. 4).
Marriage thus becomes an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, is no longer central to society’s understanding of that institution (as reflected in the law). The fundamental problem with the Bill is that changing the legal understanding of marriage to accommodate same sex partnerships threatens subtly, but radically, to alter the meaning of marriage over time for everyone. This is the heart of our argument in principle against same sex marriage.
The existing approach to marriage in British law encourages a particular understanding of marriage and the obligations taken on by those who marry. British law currently provides, for example, that a marriage is between two, rather than several, individuals; that the commitment of husband and wife is meant to last for their lifetime; that there is a sexual aspect to the relationship (in the requirement of consummation for there to be a valid marriage); that the husband is presumed to be the father of the child carried by his wife; and that the partners to the marriage will remain loyal to the relationship to the exclusion of all other sexual partners.
Those elements of the law of marriage are not arbitrary, archaic, or reactionary; they serve to show that marriage has an important and unique function.
These provisions cannot be understood unless they are seen as intimately related to the conception and rearing of children. This view is one held particularly strongly by the Catholic Church, but it is not a uniquely religious view.2 As Bertrand Russell said: ‘But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex …. It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution.’
We recognise that there is an alternative view of what constitutes the ‘good’ of marriage, and we understand that proponents of same sex marriage often adopt this alternative view, in good faith.
Under this alternative view, the ‘good’ of marriage is that it fosters intimacy and care-giving for dependants, builds trust, and encourages openness, and shared responsibilities.3 We accept, of course, that these are, indeed, important aspects of marriage. But we believe that marriage is not only the institutional recognition of love and commitment. Marriage, as legally recognised in this country, is also the institutional recognition of a unique kind of relationship in which children are raised by their birth-parents. Even if this is not always possible in practice, the law, by recognising this core understanding of marriage, sends a vital signal to society of an ideal.
We recognise, of course, that British law does not limit marriage to those who intend to have children; nor does it deny marriage to those who are infertile. We also recognise that many same sex couples raise children in loving and caring homes. Nevertheless, marriage has an identity that at its core is distinct from any other legally recognised relationship, no matter how much love or commitment may be involved in these other relationships. Marriage has,
over the centuries, been the enduring public recognition of this commitment to provide a stable institution for the care and protection of children, and it has rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection for this reason. Marriage furthers the common good of society because it promotes a unique relationship within which children are conceived, born and reared, an institution that we believe benefits children.
2. RETAINING MARRIAGE SOLELY FOR OPPOSITE SEX COUPLES IS NOT DISCRIMINATORY
We believe, along with those who support same sex marriage, that the law matters both in terms of the
signals that it sends and the effects of those signals on future behaviour. We disagree that the signal that
is sent currently, by restricting marriage to opposite sex couples, is one of disparagement of same sex
relationships.
The basic argument that is advanced in favour of same sex marriage is one of equality and fairness. But we suggest that this intuitively appealing argument is fundamentally flawed. Those who argue for same sex marriage do so on the basis that it is unjust to treat same sex and heterosexual relationships differently in allowing only heterosexual couples access to marriage. Our principal argument against this is that it is not unequal or unfair to treat those in different
circumstances differently. Indeed, to treat them the same would itself be unjust.
The Government, in proposing this change to the law and definition of marriage, has itself not sought complete equivalence between same sex couples and heterosexual couples. We have already shown how significantly the Bill distinguishes between same sex and opposite sex marriages (there is no consummation requirement, there is no common law presumption as to the parenthood of any children, and adultery will not be a ground for divorce). What results in the Bill is a distinct set of differences between opposite sex marriage and same sex marriage. In addition to these differences incorporated in the Bill, civil partnerships will remain an option for same sex couples, but heterosexual couples will not be given access to civil partnerships and the Government has made this decision against the views of the majority in the consultation.
The Government itself recognises, therefore, that it is not necessarily unfair discrimination or a breach of the principle of equality to treat different people differently, if they are different in a relevant way. So too, retaining different institutions in order to serve differing functions is not unfair, but a recognition of relevant differences in the functions served by those institutions.
Catholic teaching, whilst it does not condone same sex sexual activity, condemns unfair discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We note that same sex couples already effectively enjoy equivalent legal rights as heterosexual couples by virtue of the Civil Partnership Act 2004. A Civil Partnership in essence entitles a same sex couple to equivalent legal benefits, advantages and rights as heterosexual couples6 . Therefore the changes proposed in the Bill
are not needed in order to provide legal recognition to and protection for same sex relationships. Our opposition to same sex marriage is not based in discrimination or prejudice; it is based in a positive effort to ensure that the unique social values currently served by marriage carry on being served by that institution in the future.
3. THERE IS NO MANDATE FOR THIS CHANGE AND THE VIEWS OF MANY HAVE BEEN IGNORED
Fundamentally changing the definition of marriage is a major constitutional change and Parliament should not be rushed into making a decision that will have far reaching long-term consequences, many of them unintended. Once this understanding of marriage is fundamentally weakened, its unique value will be lost. The risk, if this Bill becomes law, is that the true meaning of marriage will gradually, over time, be lost, to the detriment of future generations. This Bill, we repeat, will change the meaning of marriage for everyone.
The British public, as a whole, did not seek this change; none of the mainstream political parties promised it in their last election manifestos; there has been no referendum; there was no Green or White Paper; and when the Government launched its consultation it did not ask whether the law should be changed, but how the law should be changed. There is no clear mandate for this change.
In pressing forward with this Bill the Government has set aside the views of over 625,000 people who signed a petition opposing the change, and effectively ignored the submissions of many others to the Equal Civil Marriage Consultation who also opposed the change. Whilst we accept that there is support for this change among a section of the British public, we believe that such a major constitutional change should not be decided on the basis of simple head counts. In short, we suggest that that there is no public consensus on this issue and that there is not sufficient public demand for so
fundamental a change to the definition of marriage.
It is essential that Parliament proceeds with extreme caution before fundamental alterations are made to an institution that provides the primary tried and trusted context in which children are born and raised. We have made it clear that there are major arguments in principle against this change, but even leaving these to one side, any such changes should await considerably more evidence about child bearing and child rearing in the context of same sex unions.
4. THE BILL PAVES THE WAY FOR YET MORE FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE
By fundamentally altering the definition of marriage, the Government will leave the law on marriage vulnerable to even more radical change in the near future, however much the Government protests that this is not its intention. Over the last two decades, the laws have changed continually, despite assurances at each stage that the law would change no further. In 2004, for example, the Civil Partnerships Act was passed and religious organisations were excluded, but this was later changed (after assurances that it would not be) to allow civil partnership ceremonies to be conducted on religious premises. At the time the Civil Partnerships Act was debated there were also assurances that the definition of marriage would not be affected but, only a few years later, the Bill now before Parliament seeks to alter the fundamental meaning of marriage.
If the law is changed and the existing core understanding of marriage is lost, further changes both in Parliament and through the courts can be expected. Previous experience shows that statutory changes to fundamental institutions pave the way for further changes going well beyond what the drafters of the original measure considered desirable, or even conceivable. Slippery slope arguments are often overused, but in this case the evidence is clear: by making these changes, it is more likely that the law and core understanding of marriage will be altered further in the coming
years.
5. THE PROPOSED ‘SAFEGUARDS’ ARE INADEQUATE
The Government’s safeguards, although well intentioned, will not provide adequate protection for individuals or religious organisations with conscientious objections to same sex marriage.
(a) The Religious Protection Provision Inadequately Protects Individuals:
The Bill is likely to generate further difficulties and barriers for individuals with conscientious objections to same sex marriage both inside and outside the work place.
The government purports, in Clause 2, to protect individuals from being ‘compelled’ to conduct same sex marriages even if their religious organisations have opted-in; but it has failed to protect individuals in other circumstances, where the state is involved. Carefully tailored protections are needed for individuals who have a conscientious objection to same sex marriage in several other contexts.
For example, such individuals should be able reasonably to express views that relate to same sex marriage without fear of criminal prosecution under public order legislation. Freedom of expression is one of the hallmarks of a democratic society and it is central to achieving individual freedoms. It deserves to be protected explicitly.
The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion of employees may also be limited as a result of the Bill. Protection should be accorded to those working in the public and religious sectors. Individuals should be able reasonably to excuse themselves from activities, or be able reasonably to express views, that relate to same sex marriage without fear of being reprimanded or losing their jobs.
(b) The Religious Protection Provision Inadequately Protects Religious Organisations:
The Prime Minister personally, and the Government in general, have also sought to reassure religious organisations that they will not be required under any circumstances to conduct same sex marriages if they object to them. Clause 2
of the Bill seeks to protect religious organisations in two ways: by providing that religious organisations may not be ‘compelled’ to opt-in, and by providing that religious organisations may not be ‘compelled’ to conduct same sex marriages.
Whilst we welcome the recognition that protections are necessary, we do not consider that these provisions adequately address the problem, because it is entirely unclear what the protection from being ‘compelled’ in law means in these circumstances.
As regards Clause 2(1), there remains a significant risk that religious organisations that conduct legally recognised opposite sex marriages (in the civil and religious sense) will be regarded as ‘public bodies’ for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998 and judicial review. This could result in legal challenge to a decision not to ‘opt in’, thus limiting the breadth of the discretion of those religious organisations. This is a significant threat and even if such litigation may ultimately be successfully resisted, it would only be after significant costs had been incurred. Religious organisations should not be exposed to such costs, and more explicit protections are therefore
needed.
(c) The Implications of the Public Sector Equality Duty Have Not Been Addressed:
A similar problem arises under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. Most public authorities, such as local authorities, are under a duty to have ‘due regard’ to the need to ‘advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.’ In particular, public authorities must have ‘due regard’ to the need to ‘remove or minimize disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected
characteristic that are connected to that characteristic’.
The Bill does nothing to prevent public authorities from taking into account a decision by a religious organisation not to opt-in to same sex marriage. The Bill does nothing to prevent religious organisations which do not opt-in to same sex marriage from being treated less favourably by public authorities, for example by refusing to award public contracts or grants to religious organisations. It is not at all clear that Clause 2(1) protects religious organisations from such less favourable treatment.
(d) Interference with the autonomy of other Churches establishes a dangerous precedent:
We have made it clear that the Catholic Church will not be conducting same sex marriages. But our concerns extend beyond the effect of the Bill on the Catholic Church. We are concerned also about the significant inroads that the Bill makes on the internal affairs of other religious organisations, in two respects.
First, Clause 2(3) makes it unlawful for the Church of England to conduct same sex marriages. Whether or not religious organisations wish to provide same sex marriage ceremonies is a decision that must be made by the religious organisations alone. The Bill establishes a dangerous precedent for government interference with other religious organisations. Second, there is a further problem of principle.
Clause 2(2) seeks to allow individuals, connected to a religious organisation which has opted-in to same sex marriages, to refuse to conduct or be present at a same sex marriage ceremony. This will undoubtedly generate conflict and the religious freedom of individuals will (under the Bill) be accorded greater weight than the institutional autonomy of religious organisations. The major effect of this safeguard will be to undermine the traditional institutional autonomy of religious organisations, providing scope for further dispute and division between religious organisations and their members. Were this protection to be accorded to individuals outside the religious sector as well, this interference would be justified. The fact that this is directed only at religious organisations is disturbing.
(e) Sharing Religious Buildings – Creating Future Friction Between Religious Organisations:
Clauses 44 A-D of Schedule 1 will generate friction between religious organisations and damage interfaith relations. This provision is likely to lead to division between religious organisations that share buildings but have opposing views on same sex marriage. It will result in disputes over whether or not one religious organisation has the right to veto the use of shared religious buildings, and it will hinder inter-faith relations by engendering a reluctance to share buildings and resources in the future.
(f) Recourse to the ECHR renders the ‘safeguards’ questionable in any event:
Parliament may seek to provide protections for religious individuals or religious organisations under domestic law but it cannot ensure that these protections themselves will withstand complaints against them to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
There is a risk that the ECtHR will find that the protections provided by the Bill are incompatible with the Convention under Article 89 alone, or Articles 8 and 1210, read with Article 14,11 on the ground that the Bill adopts a discriminatory regime by enabling some religious organisations to refuse to perform same sex marriage ceremonies.
A key reason for this increased risk is that Britain, by changing the law on ‘marriage’ as such would open up the prospect that a discrimination claim could succeed because the claimed discrimination would then come ‘within the ambit’ of Article 12. It is clear that a challenge directly under Article 12 would be unlikely to succeed (because the ECtHR has held there is no right to same sex marriage under Article 12) but a claim under Article 14 read with Article 12 is a different matter.
The Government has argued that the chance of a successful challenge to the protections in the ECtHR is low on the basis that Article 9 (protecting freedom of religion) would protect the safeguards. But the recent judgment by a Chamber of the ECtHR in the case of Eweida and Others v The United Kingdom [2013] (Application nos. 48420/10, 59842/10, 51671/10 and 36516/10)12 illustrates that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9) does not
provide adequate protection when there is a clash between it and other competing rights and interests. The Government cannot therefore guarantee that the ECtHR would accept the safeguards put in place to protect the position of individuals and organisations that have a conscientious objection to same sex marriage, should a challenge be brought.
There is no precedent from the ECtHR on the acceptability under the Convention of balancing religious protections with sexual orientation in the context of a same sex marriage law that has been introduced by a Member State.13 Previous case law has involved the question whether Member States should introduce same sex marriage, not on how it legislates for same sex marriage. What we know from case law, however, is that the Court often accords Article 9 rights relatively little weight, and accords a Member State a considerable margin of appreciation in deciding how to protect that right.
Much greater weight is given to equality on the basis of sexual orientation, meaning the margin of appreciation is correspondingly reduced. Differences in treatment based on sexual orientation can be justified only with very considerable difficulty, as indicated by the case law of the ECtHR.
It is also likely that challenges will be made under the Human Rights Act in domestic courts, where, of course, the margin of appreciation does not apply. The proposed ‘safeguards’ may turn out not to be safeguards at all.
6. THE WIDER CONSEQUENCES OF THE BILL HAVE NOT BEEN ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED
The consequences of the Bill will be wide-ranging. The Government has not identified all these consequences and they certainly have not all been addressed. Three of the wider potential repercussions are explored below, but there are and will be many others.
(a) Unknown Implications For Public And Private Law:
Clause 11(1) is extremely broad and its implications cannot possibly be known in advance. It states: ‘In the law of England and Wales, marriage has the same effect in relation to same sex couples as it has in relation to opposite sex couples.’ The intention is to ensure, as the default position, that same sex marriage is for all legal effects the same as opposite sex marriage. To incorporate such a broad provision is a dangerous substitute for the detailed (and extensive) inquiry that is necessary. Inadequate thought has been given to the repercussions of such a significant change, no doubt because of the rushed way in which the legislation was prepared. This provision is likely to lead to costly litigation, the need for continuing ad hoc parliamentary engagement, or both.
Given the constitutional importance of this proposed change of law, such a clause (with extensive and unknown consequences that may detrimentally affect a number of people and institutions) is unacceptable.
(b) Education – Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion:
A change in the definition of marriage will have an adverse impact on schools because the Secretary of State is under a statutory duty to issue guidance on ‘the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children’ under s.403 of the Education Act 1996. A statutory change may therefore result in religious schools being compelled to teach a definition of marriage contrary to their own understanding and thus impact on previously accepted and protected religious freedoms.
There is also a danger that teachers will be limited in their freedom of expression both inside and outside school as far as same sex marriage is concerned. It is imperative that freedom of expression and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, are protected in the school curriculum, when individuals are teaching, or where teachers publicly express dissenting views in other contexts. The Bill fails to do this.
(c) An emerging gulf between religious and secular conceptions of marriage:
In marriage, legal and religious institutions are thoroughly intertwined. It is one of the central examples in Britain where there is, at present, no clear separation of church and state. This is true not just with regard to the special role of the Church of England, but more generally. Britain, unlike most continental European countries, provides that ‘religious’ marriages are also valid ‘civil’ marriages.
The effect of the Bill, if it is passed, will be to make a more complete separation of church and state in the area of marriage almost inevitable. ‘Civil’ marriages will be performed by state officials only and the state will determine the legal benefits, rights and duties that accompany marriage, but these will not be regarded as marriages in the eyes of many Churches. ‘Religious marriages’ will be performed by religious institutions according to their own doctrine and rites, and will have no effect on legal relations. Over time, civil and religious marriages will become fundamentally
distinct institutions.
Some will welcome that development; some will not. But either way it is important that Members of Parliament are fully aware of the longer-term effects of the Bill in this respect. The choices that Parliament is being called to make will have profound implications for the future architecture of relations between church and state in Britain.
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC HERALD

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. JAN. 29, 2013

Mark 3: 31 - 35
31 And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
32 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."
33 And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
34 And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!
35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."

TODAY'S SAINT : ST. GILDAS THE WISE


St. Gildas the Wise
Abbott
Feast: January 29


Information:
Feast Day: January 24
Born:
516, traditionally Strathclyde in modern Scotland
Died: 570, Street, Somerset or Rhuys
Major Shrine: Glastonbury Abbey, now destroyed, or Rhuys Church, extant.
Patron of: Welsh historians; bell founders
He was son to a British lord, who to procure him a virtuous education, placed him in his infancy in the monastery of St. Iltutus in Glamorganshire. The surname of Badonicus was given him, because, as we learn from his writings, he was born in the year in which the Britons under Aurelius Ambrosius, or, according to others, under king Arthur, gained the famous victory over the Saxons at Mount Badon, now Bannesdown, near Bath, in Somersetshire. This Bede places in the forty-fourth year after the first coming of the Saxons into Britain, which was in 451. Our saint, therefore, seems to have been born in 494; he was consequently younger than St. Paul, St. Samson, and his other illustrious school-fellows in Wales: but by his prudence and seriousness in his youth he seemed to have attained to the maturity of judgment and gravity of an advanced age. The author of the life of St. Paul of Leon, calls him the brightest genius of the school of St. Iltut. His application to sacred studies was uninterrupted, and if he arrived not at greater perfection in polite literature, this was owing to the want of masters of that branch in the confusion of those times. As to improve himself in the knowledge of God and himself was the end of all his studies, and all his reading was reduced to the study of the science of the saints, the greater progress he made in learning, the more perfect he became in all virtues. Studies which are to many a source of dissipation, made him more and more recollected, because in all books he found and relished only God, whom alone he sought. Hence sprang that love for holy solitude, which, to his death, was the constant ruling inclination of his heart. Some time after his monastic profession, with the consent, and perhaps by the order of his abbot, St. Iltut, he passed over into Ireland, there to receive the lessons of the admirable masters of a religious life, who had been instructed in the most sublime maxims of an interior life, and formed to the practice of perfect virtue, by the great St. Patrick. The author of his Acts compares this excursion, which he made in the spring of his life, to that of the bees in the season of flowers, to gather the juices which they convert into honey. In like manner St. Gildas learned, from the instructions and examples of the most eminent servants of God, to copy in his own life whatever seemed most perfect. So severe were his continual fasts, that the motto of St. John Baptist might in some degree be applied to him, that he scarce seemed to eat or drink at all. A rough hair-cloth, concealed under a coarse cloak, was his garment, and the bare floor his bed, with a stone for his bolster.

By the constant mortification of his natural appetites, and crucifixion of his flesh, his life was a prolongation of his martyrdom, or a perpetual sacrifice which he made of himself to God in union with that which he daily offered to him on his altars. If it be true that he preached in Ireland in the reign of king Ammeric, he must have made a visit to that island from Armorica, that prince only beginning to reign in 560: this cannot be ascribed to St. Gildas the Albanian, who died before that time. It was about the year 527, in the thirty-fourth of his age, that St. Gildas sailed to Armorica, or Brittany, in France: for he wrote his invective ten years after his arrival there, and in the forty-fourth year of his age, as is gathered from his life and writings. Here he chose for the place of his retirement the little isle of Houac, or Houat, between the coast of Rhuis and the island of Bellisle, four leagues from the latter. Houat exceeds not a league in length; the isle of Hoedre is still smaller, not far distant: both are so barren as to yield nothing but a small quantity of corn. Such a solitude, which appeared hideous to others, offered the greatest charms to the saint, who desired to fly, as much as this mortal state would permit, whatever could interrupt his commerce with God. Here he often wanted the common necessaries and conveniences of life; but the greater the privation of earthly comforts was in which he lived, the more abundant were those of the Holy Ghost which he enjoyed, in proportion as the purity of his affections and his love of heavenly things were more perfect. The saint promised himself that he should live here always unknown to men: but it was in vain for him to endeavor to hide the light of divine grace under a bushel, which shone forth to the world, notwithstanding all the precautions which his humility took to conceal it. Certain fishermen who discovered him were harmed with his heavenly deportment and conversation, and made known on the continent the treasure they had found. The inhabitants flocked from the coast to hear the lessons of divine wisdom which the holy anchoret gave with a heavenly unction which penetrated their hearts. To satisfy their importunities, St. Gildas at length consented to live among them on the continent, and built a monastery at Rhuis, in a peninsula of that name, which Guerech, the first lord of the Britons about Vannes, is said to have bestowed upon him. This monastery was soon filled with excellent disciples and holy monks. St. Gildas settled them in good order; then, sighing after closer solitude, he withdrew, and passing beyond the gulf of Vannes, and the promontory of Quiberon, chose for his habitation a grot in a rock, upon the bank of the river Blavet, where he found a cavern formed by nature extended from the east to the west, which on that account he converted into a chapel. However, he often visited this abbey of Rhuis, and by his counsels directed many in the paths of true virtue. Among these was St. Trifina, daughter of Guerech, first British count of Vannes. She was married to count Conomor, lieutenant of king Childebert, a brutish and impious man, who afterwards murdered her, and the young son which he had by her, who at his baptism received the name of Gildas, and was godson to our saint: but he is usually known by the surname of Treuchmour, or Tremeur, in Latin 'Trichmorus. SS. Trifina and Treuchmeur are invoked in the English Litany of the seventh century, in Mabillon. The great collegiate church of Carhaix bears the name of St. Treuchmour: the church of Quim per keeps his feast on the 8th of November, on which day he is commemorated in several churches in Brittany, and at St. Magloire's at Paris. A church situated between Corlai and the abbey of Coetmaloon in Brittany, is dedicated to God under the invocation of St. Trifina.
St. Gildas wrote eight canons of discipline, and a severe invective against the crimes of the Britons, called De Excidio Britanniae, that he might confound those whom he was not able to convert, and whom God in punishment delivered first to the plunders of the Picts and Scots, and afterwards to the perfidious Saxons, the fiercest of all nations. He reproaches their kings, Constantine, (king of the Danmonians, in Devonshire and Cornwall,) Vortipor, (of the Dimetians, in South Wales,) Conon, Cuneglas, and Maglocune, princes in other parts of Britain, with horrible crimes: but Constantine was soon after sincerely converted, as Gale informs us from an ancient Welsh chronicle. According to John Fordun he resigned his crown, became a monk, preached the faith to the Scots and Picts, and died a martyr in Kintyre: but the apostle of the Scots seems to have been a little more ancient than the former. Our saint also wrote an invective against the British clergy, whom he accuses of sloth of seldom sacrificing at the altar &c. In his retirement he ceased not with tears to recommend to God his own cause, or that of his honor and glory, and the souls of blind sinners, and died in his beloved solitude in the island of Horac, (in Latin Horata,) according to Usher, in 570, but according to Ralph of Disse, in 581.[6] St. Gildas is patron of the city of Vannes. The abbey which bears his name in the peninsula of Rhuis, between three and four leagues from Vannes, is of the reformed congregation of St. Maur since the year 1649. The relics of St. Gildas were carried thence for fear of the Normans into Berry, about the year 919, and an abbey was erected there on the banks of the river Indre, which was secularized and united to the collegiate church of Chateauroux in 1623. St. Gildas is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 29th of January. A second commemoration of him is made in some places on the 11th of May, on account of the translation of his relics. His life, compiled from the ancient archives of Rhuis by a monk of that house, in the eleventh century, is the best account we have of him, though the author confounds him sometimes with St. Gildas the Albanian. It is published in the library of Fleury, in Bollandus, p. 954, and most correctly in Mabillon, Act. SS. Ord. Saint Bened. t. 1, p. 138. See also Dom Lobineau, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, (for. an. 1725,) p. 72, and Hist. de la Bretagne, (2 vol. fol. an. 1707) and the most accurate Dom Morice, Memoires sur l'Histoire de Bretagne, 3 vol. fol. in 1745, and Hist. de la Bretagne, 2 vol. fol. an. 1750.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/G/stgildasthewise.asp#ixzz1ks5mtM00
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